In the website, http://www.linguisticsgirl.com/the-object-complement-in-english-grammar/, it is said that a noun clause can function as an object complelemt. There are three examples:

  1. The judges will announce the winner whoever brought the red velvet cake.
  2. Most critics consider one theme of the story what you wrote about in your final paragraph.
  3. I declare the problem that you do not want to learn about grammar.

I think in sentence 1, the clause "whoever brought the red velvet cake" serves as object clause, in sentence 2, "what you wrote about in your final paragraph" object clause, and in sentence 3, "that you do not want to learn about grammar" appositive clause.

My explanation is as follows:
In sentence 1, the original word order is "The judges will announce whoever brought the red velvet cake the winner" in which "whoever brought the red velvet cake " serves as the direct object and "the winner" serves as the object complement. Since the object complement is a lot shorter than the direct object, so the word order is changed into "announce the winner whoever brought the red velvet cake" to keep its balance. So the clause "whoever brought the red velvet cake" serves as the object clause rather than object complement clause.

The rule that caused sentence 1 to change word order also applies to sentence 2.

Am I right? I think there is no object complement clause and the noun clause has only four subsets: object clause, subject clause, appositive clause and subject complement clause.

  • 1
    Did you try to find the answer to your question on Internet first?
    – user11470
    Nov 23, 2014 at 15:14
  • 1
    thefreedictionary.com/complement+clause // a subordinate clause that functions as the subject, direct object, or prepositional object of a verb, as that you like it in I'm surprised that you like it. Also called com′plement sen`tence.
    – user11470
    Nov 23, 2014 at 15:15
  • 1
    I'm not so sure about the grammaticality of those examples (AmE speaker), w.r.t. being standard English. Perhaps they are okay to BrE ears?
    – F.E.
    Nov 27, 2014 at 17:15
  • 1
    That first sentence makes no sense to me (AmE) Jan 27, 2015 at 3:15
  • 1
    Note that "the internet" is not an authority on grammar.
    – user230
    Feb 25, 2015 at 20:06

2 Answers 2


No, you are not right.

First, there is no rule that changes word order to 'keep its balance'. If you know otherwise, please show it to me.

English sentences are grammatical, not 'balanced'.


4 Over the river through the woods across the mountain beside the plane near the ford by the brook along the highway near the lake lived a mouse.

Second, long direct objects may go with long object complements:

5 The judges will announce the winner of this year's County Fair established in 1919 and held every year except from 1941-45 whoever brought the red velvet cake


The problem is that not one of those sentences is idiomatic. All three omit the infinitive “to be” in a way that is not idiomatic.

Although some ellipsis of grammatical elements is permitted in English, omission of “to be” in these sentences is not. My recommendation to learners is to avoid ellipsis of grammatical elements because even most native speakers are unable to articulate rules for when such ellipsis is, and when it is not, permissible.

Consequently, your question about how to analyze the English grammar of these sentences is quite cogent; they are not grammatical. Linguisticsgirl is an incompetent guide to English grammar. When you re-wrote to

The judges will announce whoever brought the cake [as the] winner

that ellipsis is permissible, but personally I find it ugly.

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