Loudly is mentioned as Complement when it is actually an adverb or adjunct in the site, http://changingminds.org/techniques/language/syntax/clause_arrangement.htm . Is it right or wrong?

I have given the following based on my understanding. Is it correct?

The cat / scratched – S / V
The cat / scratched / the door – S / V / O
The cat / scratched / loudly – S / V / A
The cat / scratched / at six o'clock – S / V / A
The cat / gave / the door / a scratch – S / V / IO / DO
The cat / scratched / the door / loudly – S / V / O / A
The cat / scratched / the door / at six o'clock – S / V / O / A
The cat / scratched / the door / soft. – S / V / O / C
The cat / can scratch / in straight lines. – S / V / C

2 Answers 2


Your answer is correct.

Complements can be either subject complements (in which case they follow a stative verb) or object complements (in which case they follow the direct object). A subject complement is required to complete the verb. In the example they give, it's a transitive verb and nothing is required to complete it. "The cat scratched" would be a complete sentence, so "loudly" is an adverb in "The cat scratched loudly".

  • Also I am desperately trying to introduce a complement in the above context. But, i was told, The cat scratched the door soft is not correct usage in english. So how do I introduce a complement? Any 2 examples please?
    – miracles
    Jul 24, 2012 at 15:57
  • 1
    I don't believe the verb "scratch" can take a complement; I can't think of a sentence in which it takes one, anyway. Jul 24, 2012 at 17:43
  • How about these??? The cat's scratch / looked / superficial The cat / scratched / to be let in The cat's scratch / were / deep The cat's scratch / seems / permanent The cat's scratch / looked / like lines
    – miracles
    Jul 24, 2012 at 18:19
  • There isn't a complement in "the cat scratched to be let in." For the rest of them, the word "scratch" is a noun. Jul 25, 2012 at 0:56

We can not blindly classify a word, phrase or a clause as an adverb or complement. It purely depends upon the IDEA we wish to convey. If our idea is to tell WHAT did the cat do, then, "the cat scratched" is enough. In this case, "loudly" is an adverb (adjunct). Even though it is removed, still the sentence leaves the meaning we want to convey. But, our intention is to tell HOW did the cat scratch, then, the word "loudly" plays the role of a complement. If it is removed from the sentence, it can not convey what we wished.

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