Complements and Copulatives


‘The exception to the subject-verb-object rule concerns – guess what – the verb to be. It doesn’t take an object, it takes a complement. To be, and verbs used in a similar way, such as to become, to seem, to taste are called copulative verbs (honestly, they are – look it up in the dictionary if you don’t believe us) – they express a state rather than performing an action. So in sentences such as:

I am a Londoner
You became an artist
He seems respectable enough
The chocolates tasted of arsenic

the words after the verb are the complement, and they may be nouns, pronouns, adjectives or adverbs, or phrases serving the same purpose (e.g. in the above example, of arsenic is an adverbial phrase qualifying the verb tasted).’

– Taggart. C., Wines. J.A. 2008. My Grammar And I (or should that be ‘me’?) London, Great Britain: Michael O’Mara (2011) p. 125

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