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Thread: Complement

  1. #1
    veka is offline Newbie
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    Complement

    I'm wondering the following sentence

    The shirt and tie suited him well.

    According to my grammar book, there is no complement in this sentence. Making exercises, I thought "well" would be that. Why it is not?

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    apex2000 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Complement

    Quote Originally Posted by veka View Post
    I'm wondering about the following sentence

    The shirt and tie suited him well.

    According to my grammar book, there is no complement in this sentence. Making exercises, I thought "well" would be that. Why it is not?
    Be careful with your spelling:
    Compl-i-ment = praise
    Compl-e-ment= to complete or fill up.
    Look at your dictionary.

    Your sentence is a compliment! You could also say: he looks good in that shirt and tie.

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    veka is offline Newbie
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    Re: Complement

    Complement is noun or adjective used to complete the meaning of a copulative verb. It gives information about the subject (a subject complement) or the object (an object complement) of the sentence. For example, in the sentence "He felt well again" adjective 'well' is complement.

    Be careful with your replies.

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    Re: Complement

    Quote Originally Posted by veka View Post
    Complement is noun or adjective used to complete the meaning of a copulative verb. It gives information about the subject (a subject complement) or the object (an object complement) of the sentence. For example, in the sentence "He felt well again" adjective 'well' is complement.

    Be careful with your replies.
    In that case you should be more careful with your questions.
    You could also broaden your knowledge by looking up both words in a good dictionary; there you will find plenty to complement your ideas. It is of more use to understand how a language is used everyday, than to enter into polemic responses.

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    veka is offline Newbie
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    Re: Complement

    I'm sorry, but I asked since I didn't know. It seems that "well" is modifier, not complement. Right?

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    orangutan is offline Member
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    Re: Complement

    "Complement" is used in slightly different ways in different linguistic approaches. It is often used nowadays for anything that completes the meaning (or the syntactic requirements) of another word. For example, the object of a transitive verb, or the noun phrase governed by a preposition.

    But I think on almost any approach, "well" in this sentence would be a modifier. (For the approaches I have just described, "him", as object, could be called a complement.)
    Last edited by orangutan; 24-Jun-2009 at 12:33. Reason: technical correction

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    velimir is offline Member
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    Re: Complement

    Hello everyone,

    I'm not a native speaker but I think I could help on this veka.

    As is said earlier,
    It is often used nowadays for anything that completes the meaning (or the syntactic requirements) of another word.
    "Anything" is maybe not the best word since there are some typical forms (phrases) which fill the place of complements. It is also important to distinguish between the types of complements and how they occur syntactically.
    On the level of a sentence we can distinguish between object complements and subject complements.

    Here are links to pages where the object and subject complements are explained nicely

    http://languagestudy.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_grammatical_subject_complement_in_english
    http://languagestudy.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_grammatical_object_complement_in_english



    Complement is noun or adjective used to complete the meaning of a copulative verb. It gives information about the subject (a subject complement) or the object (an object complement) of the sentence. For example, in the sentence "He felt well again" adjective 'well' is complement.

    The definition you gave is true but not complete since it fails to explain that complement occurs not only on the syntactic level of the sentence but also as the element of the phrase.

    On the level of phrase we talk about complements of nouns and adjectives. ( In wider sense "complements" include verb complements too. "Verb complementation" is a crucial point of any language and a separate and vast topic which includes a variety of forms occuring in various transitive and intransitive patterns).

    Nouns and adjectives are most often heads of phrases (noun and adjective phrases respectively) ,which they form with various pre- or post-modifiers and complements.

    In the example below, the adjective "cold" is complemented with a prepositional phrase:

    "It's cold for this time of the year" ( in the analysis of the sentence,the whole adjective phrase "cold for this time of the year" is to be analyzed as inseparable syntactic element of the sentence, acting as a subject complement in the structure of the sentence. The analysis of the subject complement as the syntactic element of the sentence shows that "cold for this time of the year" is an adjective phrase in its form, with the adjective "cold" functioning as the head of the phrase and the prepositional phrase "for this time of the year" functioning as the complement of the adjective in this phrase)

    Now you apply this logic in the analysis of noun phrases, and use it as a hint for further reading.
    Remember to make a clear distinction between modifiers and complements in the analysis of the phrase structure. Not the same thing, search the net for the information.

    Finally, "well" in the sentence you gave isn't a complement of any kind in my opinion, since the verb "feel" ( though frequently used that way) isn't used as a copular (linking) verb in this sentence.
    Copular verbs are followed by adjectives not adverbs. "Well" is an adverb and in your sentence modifies the verb "feel", telling us more about the way he felt, and not about "him" personally. So, I vote that "well" is an adverbial in the sentence:

    He felt well again.

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    velimir is offline Member
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    Re: Complement

    I have to post again to add an additional information to what I said in my previous post.
    I read more on the subject on the net after I posted here and I think I'll need to correct myself here.

    Finally, "well" in the sentence you gave isn't a complement of any kind in my opinion, since the verb "feel" ( though frequently used that way) isn't used as a copular (linking) verb in this sentence.
    Copular verbs are followed by adjectives not adverbs. "Well" is an adverb and in your sentence modifies the verb "feel", telling us more about the way he felt, and not about "him" personally. So, I vote that "well" is an adverbial in the sentence:

    He felt well again.
    From what I've read on this point, which is by the way a point of dispute even for native speakers,it seems to me that most native speakers would use "good" instead of "well" in the sentence above:

    "He felt good again."

    although the sentence with "well" isn't incorrect either.
    You can find many discussion on "bad" or "badly", "good" or "well" after the verb "feel" and similar.

    I'd comment on the sentence from your opening post here, which I failed to do in my previous post:

    I'm wondering the following sentence

    The shirt and tie suited him well.

    According to my grammar book, there is no complement in this sentence. Making exercises, I thought "well" would be that. Why it is not?
    Because "well" is an adverbial in this sentence veka. It doesn't complement "him" if that was what you thought. Adverbial in the sentence always add information and modifies the meaning of the verb in the sentence. "Well" here answers the question : "How did the shirt and tie fit him" .
    Last edited by velimir; 26-Jun-2009 at 11:33.

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