She appears to be tired.

If we write the above sentence as 'She appears tired'....the word 'tired' is an adjective working as Subjective complement.

My question is if we write 'she appears to be tired' then

'to be tired' here is an infinitive phrase working as adjective and a subjective complement?

And I don't know how to put it but I still gonna try in 'to be tired', 'to be' is an infinitive but here,inside the phrase, how this infinitive is working as an adjective, noun or an adverb (Like is it modifying the word tired or what)?

Please answer or even if u don't know the answer please share ur view....I have been stucked in these questions for a long time.

  • She wants to be great. Here, the phrase 'to be great' is working as an object of want and the word 'great' is working as an object of non infinite verb 'to be'. Are u saying similarly by saying in 'to be tired', 'tired' is working as Subjective complement but it is of 'to be'.
    – RADS
    Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 9:35
  • No: that's all wrong! It's the same analysis as your previous example. There is no object. "Want" is a catenative verb, and the subordinate infinitival clause "to be great" is its catenative complement. The adjective "great" is subjective complement of "be" in the subordinate clause.
    – BillJ
    Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 9:51
  • I think I need to start learning Infinitives again from basic...Thanku...
    – RADS
    Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 10:43
  • OK: it might help if you consider that only noun phrases be objects, and never clauses.
    – BillJ
    Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 11:39

1 Answer 1


She appears [to be tired.]

Yes, "tired" is an adjective functioning as subjective complement of "be".

"Appear" is a catenative verb and the bracketed infinitival clause "to be tired" is its catenative complement.

The term 'catenative' comes from the Latin word for "chain", which is appropriate here since the two verbs "appear" and "be" do indeed form a chain.


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