14 December 2013

Modifier : Complement and Adjunct

It's been very long time I do not write anything in English. And now I'll try to write something about syntax. Hope you can get some lesson from my writing :)

Many books write these three terms with different meaning. Some only differ between modifier and complement. But some differ between adjunct and complement.

I will write about these terms based on two books written by Jim Miller and Gerald P. Delahunty.

Delahunty did not use the term of Adjunct in his book. He just used the term of Modification and Complementation but they have same reference as complement and adjunct. Miller used the term adjunct and complementation and explained that they are two kinds of modifiers.

I, having read this two books, prefer to use terms used by Miller because it can help me to differ them from modifer which can be appeared before and after the head of a phrase.

Miller (2002: 4) wrote that modifier has two classes. The first is the complementary modifier or complement and second is optional modifier or adjunct. The word ‘complementary’ shows that complement is a must modifier in a phrase or a sentence. Complement is required by the grammar os the sentence. For example, the sentence used transitive verb requires noun as the object.

The girl wore a pink shirt.

On the sentence above, ‘a pink shirt’ is the complement because ‘wore’ is transitive verb. Also, in that sentence ‘a pink shirt’ is commonly called as object.

1. Direct and Indirect Object
When you write a sentence using bitransitive verb, you must (yes, a must) write two objects after the verb.
My mother bought me a birthday gift.

‘me’ is the Indirect object and ‘a birthday gift’ is a direct object.

2. Subject Complement
As it’s name, this complement modify the Subject of the sentence.
The old man seems tired

The one who is ‘tired’ is the old man (subject). So ‘tired’ is the subject complement. Verbs require subject complement are commonly called linking verb.

3. Object complement
Different from subject complement, object complement modifies the Object of a sentence.
I consider him weird

The one who is ‘weird’ is ‘him’ (object), not I (subject). Not all verbs requires object compelemnt. So, becareful in writing sentence with this complement.

4. Prepositional Phrase complement
Prepositional Phrase is recognized by the preposition.
Marry flew from Surabaya to Makassar in 2 hours

The prepositional phrase above shows the source and goal of Marry flight. This complement is a little bit tricky because not all prepositional phrase is complement.

Consider the example of the sentence below:
I bought my sister a book in Jeany’s shop yesterday.

‘In Jeany’s shop’ contains a preosition but it’s not a complement. Verbs of motion are the common verbs which require complement.

Different from complement, adjunct is optional. When it’s elminated from a sentence, the meaning of the sentence will not be changed; the meaning is still complete.

I bought my sister a book in Jeany’s shop yesterday.

The sentence above using bitransitive verb which requires object. The place (in Jeany’s shop) and time expressions (yesterday) are added to the sentence as additioal description, but they are not required.

1. Delahunty, Gerald P. 2010. The English Language from Sound to Sense.

2. grammarpedia

3. Miller, Jim. 2002. Introduction to Syntax. Edinburgh University Press


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