Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sentence Diagramming: Diagramming Subject Complements

A subject complement is a noun or an adjective that follows a linking verb and tells us more about the subject.  The linking verb acts like an equals sign between the subject and the complement.

There are two types of subject complements, predicate adjectives and predicate nominatives.

It's easy to remember how to diagram a predicate adjective or predicate nominative if you remember that it points back at its subject.

Diagramming Predicate Adjectives

When a linking verb is followed by an adjective, like "happy," we identify it as a predicate adjective. In the following example, the subject, "Sue" equals "happy."  Other linking verbs that might appear in this sentence are "seems," "feels," or "sounds."  Can you see how no matter which of these linking verbs we use, Sue = happy?

When we diagram the subject complement, we place it in the third segment of the base line, following the linking verb.  The line that separates the verb from the subject complement leans back an angle . . .

as though it is pointing back to the subject.

Diagramming Predicate Nominatives

Linking verbs can also be followed by nouns.  In this example, "Sue = nurse."  "Nurse" is the subject complement.  Because this subject complement is a noun, we identify "nurse" as a predicate nominative. 

Again, when we diagram this sentence, we place "nurse" in the third segment of the base line and draw the division between the verb and the predicate nominative at an angle pointing back toward the subject of the sentence.

Think you've got it?  Try to following quiz to self assess your understanding.

Quiz Yourself on Subject Complements

1. What are the two types of subject complements?
2. What is the subject complement in "Sal seems content"?
3. What part of speech is "content"?
4. Diagram the sentence "Jose is a teacher."
5. In which segment of the base line does the subject complement appear?

Ready to check your answers?  Scroll down a bit . . .

keep going . . . 

almost there . . . 


Click on the image to see if your answers are correct.

Want to read more about diagramming sentences?  Try

Diagramming Gerunds
What's an Object Complement?
Prepositional Phrase or Phrasal Verb?
Wise Words Wednesday

Copyright Amy Lynn Hess.  Please contact the author for permission to republish.

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