What is a Subject Complement? - Definition & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: What Are Archaic Words? - Definition & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:03 Complements/Terms to Know
  • 1:22 What Is a Subject Complement?
  • 1:35 Predicate Nominatives
  • 2:19 Predicate Adjectives
  • 2:55 Sentence Pattern for…
  • 3:58 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

In writing, it's helpful to know the ingredients of a strong sentence. In sentences that contain linking verbs, one important component is a subject complement. We'll learn all about subject complements in this lesson.


Don't you love it when you find just the right necklace or scarf to make your outfit perfect? Or what about when you have gone out to dinner and had a good meal, and then gotten a dessert that made the meal absolutely amazing? It's great when things like that happen, right? Well, that necklace or scarf has complemented the outfit, and that dessert has complemented the meal.

If you look closely at the word complement, you may be reminded of the word 'complete.' A complement is something that completes or finishes something else - a complement makes it better. Just like an accessory can complete an outfit and a dessert can complete a meal, making them better, a subject complement adds information that makes the subject of the sentence more complete.

Before we explore some examples, let's review a couple of key terms.

Terms to Know

The subject of a sentence tells who or what the sentence is about. The subject can be a noun, pronoun, or group of words that acts as a noun.

  • Christina baked a cake.

The subject in this sentence is 'Christina.'

A linking verb expresses a state of being and connects the subject to a subject complement. Linking verbs are often forms of the verb 'be.' Some other linking verbs include: 'appear,' 'seem,' 'feel,' 'sound,' and 'become.'

  • Pablo is hungry.

The linking verb in this sentence is 'is.'

What Is a Subject Complement?

A subject complement is a word that comes after a linking verb and renames, identifies, or describes the subject. There are two main types of subject complements: predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives.

Predicate Nominatives

A predicate nominative is a noun or pronoun that comes after the linking verb. It can rename or identify the subject. Let's take a look at some sentences. See if you can find a predicate nominative:

  • Maria Luisa is my neighbor.

In this sentence, 'Maria Luisa' is the subject. The linking verb is 'is.' The word 'neighbor' is a noun that identifies Maria Luisa. 'Neighbor' is the predicate nominative: Maria Luisa = neighbor.

Let's take a look at another sentence:

  • Keith's uncle was his soccer coach.

The subject of this sentence is 'uncle.' The linking verb is 'was.' The noun 'coach' is a predicate nominative that renames uncle: uncle = coach.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account