Identifying the Types of Complements

     There are five different possible types of complements. Use the following sequence to identify the types of complements.
Possibility # 1: Subject / Verb

     If nothing answers the question "Verb + whom or what?", the pattern is S/V. 
[STOP: You have your answer.]

Possibility # 2: Subject / Verb / Predicate Adjective

If the word that answers the question "what?" after the verb
describes the subject, it is an adjective. The pattern is S/V/PA.
[STOP: You have your answer.]

Possibility # 3: Subject / Verb / Predicate Noun

     If the word that answers the question is a noun (or pronoun) that renames the subject and the verb implies an equality or identity between subject and complement, the pattern is S/V/PN. For example:

     Ed remained a child. ("Remained" here means "was" and "continues to be.") 
     Bill became a teacher. (He "was" not, but now he "is.")

A sentence such as "Sleeping children resemble angels." implies that when they are sleeping, children equal angels, at least in appearance. "Angels" is therefore a predicate noun. 

[STOP: You have your answer.]
Note that the criteria of implied equality between subject and complement eliminates "herself" from consideration as a predicate noun in a sentence such as "She washes herself." "Washes" does not imply equality.
Possibilities 4 and 5: Subject / Verb / (Indirect Object) Direct Object
[If it's not 1, 2, or 3, it has to be #4 or 5.]

     If a word or construction answers the question "whom or what?" after a verb and is not a predicate noun or predicate adjective, it has to be an indirect or direct object. An indirect object indicates the person "for" or "to" whom something is done.
Examples of Direct Objects:
Sally bought ice cream (S/V/DO)
The cat washed itself (S/V/DO)

Examples of Indirect Objects:

They sent him (IO) a letter (DO).
The sun gave the church's windows (IO) a warm glow (DO).

    "Complement "is simply one word which can be used instead of repeating the five possibilities: Zero Complement; Predicate Adjective; Predicate Noun; Direct and/or Indirect Object.