Difference Between Complement and Adjunct

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Complement and Adjunct

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Understanding the distinction between adjunct and complement is particularly helpful when it comes to grammatical theory. Both adjunct and complement are concepts that appear in grammatical theory. There is a substantial difference between complements and adjuncts in terms of the roles they play, despite the fact that, to the vast majority of students, these two categories seem to share a lot of similarities.

The purpose of this piece of writing is to provide a fundamental comprehension of the terms adjunct and complement while pointing out the primary distinction that exists between the two ideas of adjunct and complement. It is a well-known fact that the boundary between a supplement and an adjunct might, at times, be difficult to decipher.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the primary distinction between a complement and an adjunct is that while a complement is required for a sentence or phrase to convey its meaning, an adjunct is not required and instead serves merely to elaborate on the meaning conveyed by the sentence or phrase.

This is the most important distinction between the two. Let's make an effort to get a grasp on these two terms, adjunct and complement, by giving individual terms the focus and consideration they need. It is necessary to have an accurate comprehension of English grammar in order to acquire fluency in the language and to make effective use of its many aspects in order to communicate effectively.

The subject, object, verb, complement, and adjunct are some of the most important parts of a sentence, and they all play an important role in ensuring that the phrase effectively communicates the intended meaning. The theory of English grammar includes a number of key concepts, two of which are the adjunct and the complement. Therefore, it is essential to have a solid understanding of the distinctions between the two.

Complement vs Adjunct

The main difference between an adjunct and a complement is that an adjunct is simply an additional phrase that can be used to elaborate a sentence, whereas a complement is required for a sentence in order to ensure that the sentence conveys the intended meaning. Two of the most important parts of a sentence are called its adjuncts and complements. On the other hand, there is a significant distinction between these two components. Words or phrases that are employed to finish out the thought process expressed in a given sentence are known as complements. Adjuncts are the portions of sentences that contain supplemental information; yet, their presence is not required for a sentence's meaning to be fully conveyed. The most significant distinction between an adjunct and a complement is that adjuncts can be added to a sentence, whereas complements must always be present for the phrase to make sense.

Although adjuncts and complements share a similar visual profile, there are substantial qualitative variations between the roles played by the two. The boundary between an adjunct and a complement is sometimes difficult to delineate. An adjunct is a component of a sentence, clause, or phrase that is discretionary and structurally non-essential.

It is not required for the functioning of the clause, therefore eliminating it will not have a significant impact on the meaning of the sentence as a whole. As a result, the only thing that an adjunct does is give new information to a phrase. The role of an adjunct is always that of an adverb.

In common parlance, an appendage is the same thing as an adjunct. It might be something that is related to something else and serves a supplementary purpose. When functioning as a noun, a complement is a counterpart, an additional component that is added to a statement in order to make it whole. A word or group of words that changes a subject, verb, or object is referred to as a complement.

This definition can be used when discussing what a complement is. If you take away a sentence's complement, the sentence loses all of its meaning and becomes grammatically incorrect as a result. Therefore, these are essential to a sentence since, without them, the sentence would not be able to communicate its intended meaning to the reader.

Difference Between Complement and Adjunct in Tabular Form

Parameter of Comparison Complement Adjunct
Definition A word or group of words that modifies the subject, verb, or object of a sentence is called a complement. A word or group of words that can provide more information about the functionaries that are contained inside a sentence is referred to as an adjunct.
Significance It is essential to include a suitable complement in a sentence in order to ensure that the statement has the intended meaning and is grammatically accurate. It is not necessary to have an adjunct in a sentence in order to give it meaning and ensure that it is grammatically correct.
Role A statement gains additional, more particular meaning when it contains a complement. A sentence can benefit from having an adjunct that adds a descriptive image.
Effect Eliminating the complement will result in the statement losing both its meaning and its structure. The removal of the adjunct does not compromise the integrity of the structure or the meaning as a whole.
Sentence completion It is necessary to have a complement in order for a statement to be finished. A sentence does not need to have an adjunct in order to be considered complete.

What is Complement?

 The words "complement" and "compliment" originally had some of the same connotations because they come from the same source in Latin. The meaning "to compliment" was once associated with the word "complement," although that sense is now archaic. The word "gift" was once understood to be synonymous with the modern-day compliment.

How can you define a complement? If you think the term complement seems a little like the word complete, that can help you to recall some of the most helpful connotations associated with complement. One definition of the term "complement" is "that that completes or perfects."

A word or words that are missing from an expression yet necessary for it to have its full meaning is referred to as the expression's complement.

The majority of phrases and clauses will have some form of compliment attached to them. It's probably a complement if you can't get rid of it even if you try in the statement you're trying to fix. This is the key distinction between complements and adjuncts. Because they are typically only descriptive, adjuncts are not required to be included. Complements are not optional. They are necessary in order to guarantee comprehension.

A sentence has a complement if it contains a word or group of words that modify the subject, verb, or object of the phrase. Complements can be either single words or groups of words.

A sentence cannot function without a complement, therefore one must be aware of both the proper way to employ a complement in a sentence and the many different ways that a complement can be used in a sentence in order to avoid making grammatical errors.

The element that provides a sentence with its particular meaning is known as the complement. If it is eliminated, the sentence's meaning will be altered. In most situations, it is impossible to write or utter whole sentences without the inclusion of a complement.

There are several distinct kinds of complements that are frequently included in sentences, such as

  • Subject complements
  • Object complements
  • Verb complements
  • Adverb compliments
  • Adjective complements, etc.

For instance, the word "carpenter" serves as a complement in the sentence "John is a carpenter," and it is classified as part of the category known as subject complement. If the term "carpenter" is deleted from the statement, both the meaning and the correctness of the sentence are going to change. There are several formats for utilising a complement in a sentence, and the statement itself needs to be associated with a specific meaning.

What is Adjunct?

A word, phrase, or clause that modifies anything in a sentence (clause) and may be taken out of it without changing the main meaning of the sentence is referred to as an adjunct in the English language.

It is an additional piece of information or a secondary piece of information that alters something in a sentence and makes it more informative, but its presence is not required for the formulation of the sentence. Because of this, it is possible to get rid of it in the sentence without affecting the integrity of the sentence or making it grammatically incorrect.

An adjunct is often either an adverb or a noun that also functions in the capacity of an adjective or adverb. Before we get into further detail, let's have a look at some examples of adjuncts in sentences:

An adjunct is a component of a sentence that takes the shape of a word or group of words that, when added to the main parts of a sentence, can provide more information about those parts. These functionaries can take on a variety of grammatical roles inside a sentence, including the subject, the object, or the predicate.

One of the five essential elements of clause structure in English Grammar is an adjunct, which is not a necessary phrase to the structure but rather a word or set of words that can contribute some additional meaning to the sentence. Adjuncts are one of the five elements.

The word "on my shelf" contributes additional meaning to the statement "I kept a copy of the document on my shelf," which is part of the sentence. It provides that information, which is an adjunct.

If there isn't anything to break up the monotony of a sentence, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to answer queries such as "how," "where," "why," and so on. It is possible to remove an adjunct from a sentence without changing the meaning of the statement or making the grammar more unclear.

It is possible for a sentence to continue to convey its intended meaning even after an unnecessary adjunct has been removed from it. As a consequence of this, the function of an adjunct within the formation of a phrase is secondary.

It is not necessary to have an adjunct in order to build a sentence. The majority of adjuncts are adverbs, and their primary function is to assist in the description of verbs. A description of the place, time, reason, manner, frequency, and so on can all be provided by an adjunct.

The phrase "I completely forgot about her arrival" is an example of a sentence in which the word "entirely" functions as an adjunct. Even with the adjunct taken out of the phrase, it is still possible to understand what is being said. It has no effect on the activity itself other than to magnify or strengthen it.

Main Differences Between Complement and Adjunct in Points

  • The primary distinction between a complement and an adjunct is that the former is not an essential component of the sentence, but the latter is. A complement is an element that is required for the correct functioning of a sentence.
  • It is not necessary to include adjuncts in the sentence in order for it to have meaning; nonetheless, if the statement does not have a complement, it will not convey the intended meaning.
  • Contrary to an adjunct, a complement is necessary for the completion of a sentence while an adjunct is not required for the completion of a sentence.
  • To put it another way, complements are required for the structural integrity of a sentence, but adjuncts are optional for the structural integrity of a sentence.
  • Complements can take the form of either nouns or adverbs, whereas adjuncts are invariably adverbial.
  • An adjunct is not as important as a complement when it comes to ensuring that a sentence is grammatically correct and that it effectively communicates its intended meaning.
  • The removal of an adjunct does not change the overarching meaning of the sentence or affect its construction in any way. All an adjunct does is expound on the functionaries of the statement or create a more descriptive image of the sentence.
  • An adjunct is not required, however it does provide more information. The message cannot be entirely realised without the addition of a supplement.


Language possesses a tremendous amount of power. It is essential to be able to deliver a message through a variety of sentences in an accurate manner and make other people understand. The component of a language that is responsible for its beauty and flow is its correct grammar. Although sentences are the fundamental linguistic building blocks, a sentence is composed of a number of other components as well.

They consist of nothing more than the subject, object, verb, and complement, respectively. Among these, an adjunct might be thought of as either a decoration or an additional component. It's possible that adding the adjuncts to the sentence will make it clearer and more exact, but including them is not required in order to convey a meaning or message.

On the other hand, complements are necessary in order to give a statement its intended meaning and to make the sentence comprehensive. When these two components of a sentence are understood, one is able to write and use the sentence in the correct manner.



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"Difference Between Complement and Adjunct." Diffzy.com, 2023. Mon. 05 Jun. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-complement-and-adjunct-352>.

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