Complements and adjuncts are different. A complement is necessary in order to complete the meaning. An adjunct is not necessary, and adds extra information.

Compare He put the cake in the oven.

Not: He put the cake.

put must have a complement to say where something is put. Without the complement, the clause would not be complete.

We usually go away in the spring.

in the spring is an adjunct. It is not essential to complete the verb ‘go away’; it adds extra information.

Ok, "I cooked it raw", raw here is a complement that complete "it"

see we don't say ""I cooked it rawly""

How about, "Did I hear this correct?"? is correct a complement or an adjunct?

correct is an adjective & not an adverb

Can we say "Did I hear this correctly?" or Did I correctly hear this??

How about, "Am I reading this right?" is right a complement or an adjunct?

right are both an adjective & adverb.

Do we say "Am I reading this rightly?" or "Am I rightly reading this?"?

2 Answers 2


I guess the question comes down to whether there a difference between

I put the cake.

I am saying this.

We never use the verb put without a complement, usually locative.

He put it over there.

He put it in the oven.

He put things right.

But we can and do say "She said it" or "You heard me".

So, if our definition of complement is that a verb requires it in order to make sense, not that a verb can use it to adjust its sense, then "correctly" is not a complement but an adjunct in

She said it correctly.

You heard me correctly.

  • What about "Did I hear this correct?"" is "correct" a compliment?
    – Tom
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 13:31
  • ell.stackexchange.com/questions/152364/…
    – nschneid
    Commented Dec 4, 2022 at 4:21
  • I would consider "correct" (used informally as synonym for "right" or "properly") to be an adjunct if the definition of "complement" is "required to establish the most rudimentary sense of the verb-phrase" and the definition of "adjunct" emphasizes its modifying role. If you hear something your ears detect the sound. If you hear something right you have not misheard, i.e. not missed a syllable or confused something. It's often a roundabout way of saying "You just said something I don't like".
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 13:41

In "I cooked it raw", "raw" is an example of a secondary predicate. See https://ell.stackexchange.com/a/6276/139225

  • 1
    Side point: "I cooked it raw" makes no sense. You can eat something raw but you cannot cook it raw, unless you're talking about par-cooking and trying to say that you cooked it without it having been par-cooked beforehand, and in that case it would not be a good example of a secondary predicate.
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 12:34
  • "I cooked it raw" definitely sounds odd. "I cooked it whole" is fine, but it starts and ends whole in that case. "I served it raw" is also OK because it remains raw.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 10:32
  • Yeah, "raw" would best be interpreted either as a depictive predicate that applies throughout the cooking, or a resultative predicate that applies at the end of the cooking, but neither is (ordinarily) appropriate because cooking something causes it to not be raw.
    – nschneid
    Commented Jan 6, 2023 at 3:41

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