Verbs of incomplete predication
Study the following sentences.
The baby is…
We were …
Neither sentence expresses a complete thought. Some word or words have to be supplied to complete their meaning.
The baby is hungry.
We were shocked.
Such verbs which do not express a complete thought are called verbs of incomplete predication. The chief verb of incomplete predication is be.
The verb to be is followed by a subject complement. The subject complement may be a noun, an adjective, an adverb or adverbial phrase.
|Subject||Verb||Subject complement (noun)|
|Subject||Verb||Subject complement (adjective)|
|Subject||Verb||Subject complement (adverb)|
|He||is||in the next room.|
|It||was||late at night.|
Some intransitive verbs too are followed by subject complements. Examples are: remain, look, appear, turn, sound, feel, go, run, act etc. Here also the subject complement may be a noun, an adjective, an adverb or an adverbial phrase.
|This||appears||a suitable site|
|The boy||ran||very fast|
|He||acted||in a treacherous manner|
The complement of the intransitive verb always describes the subject and is therefore called subject complement.