Complement/Object/Complemento/Objeto y qué?

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inib

Senior Member
British English
I have a long-standing doubt when trying to teach English to Spanish (peninsular) students. When I studied English grammar (in England) a direct object was one thing, and a complement was another (perhaps I was taught abbreviated versions of the full terms).
The object was the person or thing affected by the action of the verb. In this case, I'm talking about a direct object, so in the sentence "I love you", YOU is the direct object.
In Spanish, from my students' feedback, it would seem that this is a complemento directo or objeto directo, with no difference between the two.
I was taught that a COMPLEMENT in English was "what goes after the verb", with the few verbs (be, seem, look like etc) that are referring to the SAME person all the time. Eg: He is an architect. (An architect would be a complement, but not an object)
Can anybody kindly help me to distinguish these two terms in Spanish?
 
  • Agró

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Navarre
    We call complemento anything in the predicado except the verb, thus we have complemento directo, complemento indirecto and complemento circunstancial. We also call the complemento directo and indirecto "objeto directo" and "indirecto". As for "circunstanciales", we don't call them "objetos".

    EDIT: An architect, in your example, is called an "atributo", which is also a "complemento". After certain verbs "predicativos" may appear.

    Hope I made myself understood.
     
    Last edited:

    JB

    Senior Member
    English (AE)
    It seems to me that terminology changes over time, as teachers find different ways to try to explain certain principles.

    When I (a gringo) studied English,
    in: I am an architect
    "an architect" was referred to as a predicate nominative, meaning it was a noun (or noun phrase) that basically "equalled" the subject: i.e.
    "I" = "architect".

    I am not sure if they still use this term.

    Also, a sentence we divied into a subject and predicate. The predicate included the verb, and everything after it (or associated with it, in case of an inverted structure). In fact, most people just say "subject and verb", meaning "subject and predicate", because "verb" is shorter, I assume.

    So to be clear, in Spanish, as in English, we have the subject and predicate, sujeto y predicado, right?

    And then included in the predicado is the verb and the complement(s) or atributos - still correct?

    I suddenly feel like I am back in Spanish 1.
     

    inib

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thanks to both of you. Agró, "atributo" is definitely the word I was looking for. It makes sense. And, just to make sure, a "complemento circunstancial" is ¿anything? that goes after the verb other than the "complementos directo/indirecto", very often adverbial phrases of time or place? Could you just confirm the ¿anything?
     

    Agró

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Navarre
    By anything I meant all the different adverbial circumstances that may appear in the predicate, that is, time, place, manner, cause, purpose, condition, and so forth, whether in the shape of an adverb (eg yesterday) or in the shape of a subordinate clause (eg when I saw her).

    She was angry yesterday.
    She was angry when I saw her.
     

    inib

    Senior Member
    British English
    That's really clear , Agró. You've suggested a load more "complementos circunstanciales" than I would have ever thought of, and when I questioned "anything", I was referring to my quote, not yours!
     
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