Grammar in EAP

Adjectival groups as complements

Adjectives can be used either attributively (e.g. the big house) or predicatively/as complements (e.g. the house is big). Complex adjectival groups used as complements are common in academic writing, as are attributive adjectives. Examples of adjectival groups used as complements are:

It is necessary.

Nicolson's account is far too discreet.

The same is true of the various biographies of Lloyd George.

It is impossible to understand what followed.

The outcome of a correct response is reliably different for the two trial types.

The evolution of associations of mutual benefit is theoretically easy to imagine.

The development of arms and legs is very important in its own right.

A more complex description is:

Premodifier

Head

Postmodifier

Complement
 

necessary

   

that he comprehend the events of 1931.

far too

discreet

indeed

 

 

true

   

of the various biographies of Lloyd George.

 

impossible

 

 

to understand what followed.

reliably

different

 

for the two trial types.

 

theoretically

easy

 

for anyone

to imagine.

very

important

in its own right

 
 

long

enough

 

to convince me that commercial writing and journalism were too ephemeral for me.

 

Sentences such as:

It is impossible to understand what followed.

are frequent in academic writing.

See: Grammar: Extraposition

 

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