He seemed hasty.

Is hasty a complement, perhaps a verb complement, to seemed? There is no noun in the object position. May hasty be understood as an object here, to get a complete sentence?

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    Would you please ask a question about what the verb seem means and when to use it in a sentence? And how seem is different from is? Because you need to understand this concept.
    – user6951
    May 19, 2015 at 2:28

1 Answer 1


An object is a kind of complement—a piece of the sentence which "completes" the meaning of the verb. A "complete sentence" does not necessarily require either an object (a Direct Object or Indirect Object) or any other kind of complement; it depends on what verb is employed.

Some verbs require at least one object. We call these transitive, from Latin transire, "go across", because the action of the verb "goes across" to the object: the object "receives" the action. Some of these take both an object and a complement; appoint, for instance, and make in some of its many senses:

The president appointed [DIRECT OBJECThim] [COMPLEMENTprofessor].
Brian made [DIRECT OBJECTme] [COMPLEMENTreally angry].

With these verbs, the complement is usually a nominal which identifies the object or an adjectival which describes it.

Other verbs, which we call intransitive, do not require an object. Some of these, like be, become, seem require a complement, which is usually a nominal which identifies the subject or an adjectival which describes it.

He is angry.
He has become a prominent man.

Others, however, do not require even a complement; verbs like run and talk designate activities which are self-contained.

He is running.
He talked for several minutes.

Note that many verbs have both transitive and intransitive senses. Run, for instance, is intransitive in the sentence above; but it may also be used transitively, as when we speak of running a marathon or running a company.

  • I guess I maybe thought a "complete sentence" contained a noun. I guess I thought nouns seem objects, direct or maybe indirect. In "Brian made me really angry". Brian (subject?), made (verb [transitive]?), me (noun, object?), I don't think that may get a complete sentence, maybe, so, angry (adjective [complement]?), (adjectival complement[?]) I maybe used an intransitive verb? "He seemed hasty" seems a complete sentence.
    – saySay
    May 19, 2015 at 1:21
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    @saySay This is very complicated, particularly if your own language does things differently. Think of it this way: A "complete sentence" consists of 1) a verb. This may be one word or many, as in "was going" or "has been going". 2) the verb's arguments. These are the specific pieces which that particular verb requires. Different verbs require different numbers of arguments, of different kinds; and those arguments, again, may be single words or very long phrases. But all verbs require at least one argument: 2a) a subject. (... continuing ... ) May 19, 2015 at 1:52
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    The subject is a "nominal", a word or set of words which plays the role of a noun. A nominal may be a single noun, or a noun with its modifiers, or a pronoun, or even a clause: a kind of sub-sentence which cannot stand by itself. 2b) Many verbs have more arguments; these are called complements. Complements which "receive" the "action" of the verb are called objects, and these, too, are nominals. But there are many complements which are not objects; some of these are nominals, others are "adjectivals" (which are adjectives, or act like it) or preposition phrases. (..*cont'd* ..) May 19, 2015 at 2:08
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    What you have to keep in mind is that each verb has its own set of complement types and meanings. Some very common verbs, with many different meanings, even have several different sets of complements, depending on which meaning is intended. . . . So in the end you can't just say that a complete sentence consists of Subject-Verb-Object (which is only true sometimes) or that Subjects and Objects are nouns (which is only true in the simplest sentences) -- you have to know the entire range of arguments which each verb requires to analyze the sentence correctly. May 19, 2015 at 2:22
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    @saySay Yes, you've got it! He ran is a complete sentence, because the only argument run requires when it means "move very fast with long strides" is a Subject. May 19, 2015 at 2:24

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