references for Grammar Glossary entry: “complement (clause element)”

• The following sections of A Comprehensive Grammar of The English Language (Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, Jan Svartik, Longman, London & New York, 1985) were consulted in preparing this entry:

Central and peripheral elements of the clause

§2.13  49-50

Clause types

§2.16   53-55

Objects and complements

§2.17   54-55 (§ numeral omitted; apparently in error)


§2.32   65-66

Complement: subject and object

§10.8   728-729

Types of verb complementation

§16.20  1170-1171

Copular complementation

§§16.21-16.27  1170-1171

further notes:

1. In two notes, [a] to §2.17, the authors of CGEL mention that subject and object “complements” are sometimes referred to as “predicative” nouns and adjectives — “The choice between ‘nominal’ and ‘adjectival’ being determined by whether this element is a noun phrase or an adjective phrase.” In note [b] they state that the term “complement” is often used in a more general way to refer to objects and obligatory adverbials.

2. On page 65 (§2.32, Complementation) the authors CGEL say: “ We reserve the term “complementation” as distinct from “complement” for the function of a phrase or clause which follows a word and completes the specification of a meaning relationship which that word implies. On the following page, as an example of what they have in mind, they describe the difference between the “semantically similar” adjectives “cheerful” and “glad”; the former does not require complementation but the latter does. (It is necessary to be glad about something).”

3. Although, as stated in the entry, complements are normally either noun phrases or adjective phrases, it is also possible for subject complements to be noun clauses as in: “Dick’s opinion is that Harry is a criminal.” (See CGEL, §15.4, 1049)