Unit 8.2

Verb Complements

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Introduction

The verbal syntagm (SV) [sintagma verbal] is a syntactic structure whose nucleus is a verb (predicative, copulative or attributive, auxiliary) on which other complements of the verb in the sentence depend.

The verb complement [complemento del verbo] is one of the components of the verbal syntagm. It is a word or group of words that accompany the verb in the sentence.

Form

The verb complements can be the attribute, direct complement (DC), indirect complement (IC) and circumstantial complements.

Attribute

The attribute can be a participle, in which case the sentence has the following structure:
(Subject +) Verb copulative + participle + … 

Direct Complement (DC)

The direct complement usually has no preposition, the only exception being when a direct object is a person, in which case it is preceded by the preposition a;

It can be replaced with a CD personal pronoun, which takes precedence over subject personal pronouns. (Lo veo. × Veo a él.).

Indirect Complement (IC)

Indirect complement is placed after the preposition a;

It can be replaced with an IO personal pronoun;

It can can be marked with a dative:

    • of reception or destination in order to involve the other (a ti o a él);
    • separation (Encarcelaron a muchas personas.);
    • possessive (Le rompieron la silla a la profesora.).

Example

Attribute:

  • No te quejes, es mucho peor lo que me ha pasado a mí;
  • No te asustes, no son más que ruidos;
  • Estoy bien, no te preocupes por mí.

Direct Complement (DC):

  • Es increíble, he vuelto a soñar que se me caía un diente;
  • Le pregunte a Pedro porque no dejaban de gritar y molestar;
  • Él compró la mesa de metal. / Él se la compró.

Indirect Complement (IC):

  • A mi antigua vecina le dieron una noticia muy importante;
  • Le hice una pregunta a mi profesor, pero no supo responderla;
  • Le maquillaron los ojos a mi madre para su boda, estaba increíble.

Use

{See Verb Complements, level A1}

Summary

Complements are words that accompany the predicate and subject in a sentence. In Spanish, the complements of the verb are the attribute, the DC and the IC. The attribute is the syntactic function that expresses the qualities of the subject through copulative verbs. The direct complement (DC) is the person, animal or thing on which the action of the verb falls.

Structure:

(Subject) + Copulative verb + participle + …

When the DC is a person, it must be precede by the preposition a.

For example:
— «Ana está cansada». = Attribute (cansadaparticiple);
— «Jorge está llamando a Ana». = DC with the preposition a.

Check the contents of the {Form} section. Then move on to the {Example} section, which shows you the usage in context.

Exercises


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