Complement (verbal attribute) Atv, AtvV


In the part Definition of complement in defining complement we point out that our approach to this category is more restricted than that of Šmilauer's conception: as complement we regard only what he describes as complement not participating in government (doplněk nevazebný).

Since complement is traditionally described as depending on two members at the same time, we have to solve the question of where to suspend it in the tree; this problem is dealt with in the part Getting the complement suspended. Then we have to bring to the reader's attention that complement can easily be mistaken for some other sentence members. To avoid such mistakes, some instances are presented in the part Misinterpretation of complement; in the part Criteria for diagnosing the complement, criterions on which the decisions in this respect are to be based are formulated.

In the part Expressing the complement, possibilities in expressing complement will be shown. A complement can be expressed by a non-agreeing noun Complement expressed by a non-agreeing noun, a nominal adjective Complement expressed by adjective in nominal form, compound Complement expressed by an adjective in compound form or deverbative Complement expressed by a deverbative adjective, a pronoun or a numeral Complement expressed by an adjectival pronoun or a numeral, and it can also be introduced by the conjunction jako Complement introduced by the conjunction jako. As complements also transgressive constructions are regarded Complement expressed by a transgressive, a special but separate case of which are constructions of the type hlavu skloněnou ((having) head inclined) and the so-called French complements where the trangressive is elided Complement with elided transgressive. Further possibilities are subordinate clauses Complement expressed by a subordinate sentence and infinitives Complement expressed by infinitive.

One of the governing elements of a complement is, as a rule, a verb (predicate), which fact will be presupposed through the whole section. Exceptionally, however, situations can take place where this member is transformed into some other. We shall deal with them in the concluding part Complement with a transformed predicate.

Definition of complement


In our conception only Šmilauer's determining complement (not participating in rection) is regarded as complement (Atv, AtvV), while the governed complement (doplněk doplňující - completing, rectional) is diagnosed as object (Obj - see the part Object after copulas and semi-copulas).

  1. chlapec   ležel   nenocen  
    boy   lay   ill   -   Atv  
  2. viděl   ho   nemocného  
    he-saw   him   ill   -   Atv  
  3. stal   se   lékařem  
    he-became   Refl   physician   -   Obj  
  4. označil   úvahy   za   předčasné  
    he-declared   considerations   as   premature   -   Obj  

Getting the complement suspended


For technical reasons the complement is suspended on that of its "governing" members which is not a verb (i.e., on a noun or adjective), if, of course, such a member is present in the sentence. This is because this member determines the agreement. The complement obtains the function Atv from which the complement's dependence on the verb follows.

The complement with afun Atv is emphasized.

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    my   jsme   přišli   rádi  
    we   Aux   came   glad  
    we were glad to come
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    peníze     uloženy  
    money   he-has   deposited  
    he has put the money on a deposit

If, however, there is no second member in the sentence (it is either completely absent or it has been elided), the complement gets suspended on the verb (predicate) and it obtains the function AtvV.

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    she-has   cooked  
    she has done cooking
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    přiběhl   bos  
    he-arrived   barefoot(ed)  

Misinterpretation of complement


The complement should not be mistaken for other kinds of sentence members, e.g., for nominal predicate (which might happen in contexts such as ex. (1)) or adverbial (ex. (3)).

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    pivo   je   dobré   studené  
    beer   is   good   cold  
    beer is good served cold
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    doktor   povstává   rozrušený  
    doctor   is-rising   upset  
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    vojsko   poraženo   ustoupilo   rychle   ke   Skalici  
    troops   defeated   retreated   quickly   towards   Skalice  
    the troops defeated retreated in haste towards Skalice

It can even happen that a complement gets suspended on a copula (být) by the side of the nominal part of the predicate (Pnom). If, as the case may be, the second governing member (here the subject) is absent, the above mentioned rule is to be applied - the complement gets suspended on the verb (the copula, in this case) and obtains AtvV.


je   celý   rozechvělý  
he-is   all   agitated  

Criteria for diagnosing the complement


  1. If an expression jako (meaning: as, playing the part of, etc.) occurs in a sentence (not being the case of a comparison described in Phrases of comparison with conjunctions jako (as), než (than)) and, at the same time, it is not governed by the valency of a verb (in such a case it would be an object - see the part Definition of complement), we shall assign to this conjunctive expression the function AuxY and to the pertinent expression Atv (AtvV).


    Honza   mluvil   jako   předseda  
    Johny   spoke   as   chairman  
    Johny held a speech as the chairman
  2. If the word jako can be supplied to the sentence and the conditions stated in paragraph (1) are fulfilled, the assigned afun is complement (Atv), too.

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      pěšinky   udržoval   čisté  
      paths   he-kept   clean  
      he kept the paths clean
    2. budu     fotografovat   nepřipravenou  
      I'll   you   take-a-snap-of   unawares  
      I'll take a snap of you unawares
    1. There is agreement with Sb, Obj or other member and the verb has no valency.

      1. chlapec   chodí   bos  
        boy   goes   barefoot  
      2. viděl   ho   nemocného  
        he-saw   him   ill  
      3. do   divadla   chodím   jen   do   loutkového  
        to   theatre   I-go   only   to   puppet  
        (as to) theatre I (don't) go but to the puppet
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        představme   si   všechny   skvrny   odstraněny  
        let-us-imagine   Refl   all   stains   removed  
    2. Semantic criteria: verbs such as depict, represent, photograph, preserve, keep, maintain, let;...(as he is) sitting.

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        fotografoval   tě,   jak   sedíš  
        he-took-a-snap   you   as   you-sit  
        he took a snap of you sitting
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        pěšinky   udržoval   čisté  
        paths   he-kept   clean  
        he kept the paths clean
  3. The type máme uvařeno (we have finished cooking), máme plno (we have our place full) (AtvV).

  4. Such expressions as rád (glad), sám, samoten, samotný (alone), všechen (all) prototypically represent complements (provided they are not in the position of Atr at a noun or of Pnom, i.e. following the copula být).

Expressing the complement


Complement expressed by a non-agreeing noun



seděl   modelem  
he-sat   model-Instr  
he sat for a model

A non-agreeing noun can occur as a complement in fixed constructions of the type:

  1. sedět   modelem  
    to-sit   model-Instr   (as   a   model)  
  2. dostat   darem  
    to-get   present-Instr  
    be presented with st., get st. as a present

or in poetic sayings like

žebrákem   půjdeš   světem  
beggar-Instr   you-will-go   through-world  
you'll go begging through the world (as a beggar)

Similarly it can be expressed by a prepositional case:

král   slíbil   Honzovi   svou   dceru   za   ženu  
king   promised   Johny   his   daughter   as   wife  
Complement expressed by adjective in nominal form


  1. otčím   stojí   bled   uprostřed   domu  
    stepfather   stands   pale   in-the-middle   of-house  
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    zemřel   dědeček,   stár   79   let  
    died   grandfather   old   79   years  
    grandfather died, 79 years old
  3. udělal   to   nerad  
    he-did   it   unwillingly  
  4. ty   jsi   ještě   jakživa   nikde   nebyla  
    you   Aux   yet   in-your-life   never   were-not  
    you have never been anywhere in your life
  5. lidé,   zapsáni   v   pořadnících,   čekají  
    people   written   in   waiting-lists   are-waiting  
    the people, entered in waiting lists, are waiting
Complement expressed by an adjective in compound form


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    rudý   vínem   pozbyl   rovnováhy  
    red   from-wine   he-lost   balance  
    red-faced from wine he lost his balance
  2. boty   mi   vyhovují   kotníčkové  
    shoes   me   fit   booties  
    shoes I find comfortable are booties
  3. jednotka   zůstala   bezbranná  
    unit   remained   defenceless  
Complement expressed by a deverbative adjective


  1. tatínek   vešel   zářící   radostí  
    father   entered   beaming   with-joy  
  2. děti   stály   ztichlé  
    children   stood   silent  
  3. přicházel   kryt   smrčím  
    he-was-coming   covered   by-spruces  
    he was coming covered behind spruces
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    neotrkaný   přišel   Franta   na   Žižkov  
    an-utter-greenhorn   came   Frank   to   Žižkov  
    Frank came to Žižkov an utter greenhorn
Complement expressed by an adjectival pronoun or a numeral


As a complement such words are regarded as jediný (the only), každý (each, every), první (first), všechen (all), samojediný (sole), samotný (alone), and nominal forms rád (glad), sám, samoten (alone) in non-attributive positions unless they represent Pnom after a copula (see also part Criteria for diagnosing the complement sub 5). All the three positions of the word sama are illustrated by ex. (6). The sentence in this example is understood as meaning the woman that was alone was the only one that was solitary.

Complements can be cumulated (ex. (7))

  1. tázal   se   sám   sebe  
    he-asked   Refl   alone   himself  
    he asked himself
  2. leželi   sami   dva  
    they-were-lying   alone   two  
    they were lying the two alone
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    vesta   mi   stačí   jedna  
    waistcoat   me   is-enough   one  
    one waistcoat is enough for me
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    zbyl     čas   na   sebe   samu  
    left   her   time   for   herself   alone  
    she had time left for herself
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    veselost   sama   o   sobě   je   přiměřená  
    cheerfulness   alone   in   itself   is   adequate  
    cheerfulness in itself is adequate
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    sama   žena   byla   sama   sama  
    single   woman   was   the-only-one   alone  
    the single woman was the only one alone
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    Čech   se   vydal   sám   jediný   na   Říp  
    Čech   Refl   set-out   alone   the-only-one   for   Říp  
    Čech set out for Říp the only one alone

Mind phraseologized constructions as:

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    bariéra   bude   růst   jedna   za   druhou  
    barriers   will   grow   one   after   another  
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    přátelé   se   vracívají   každý   zvlášť  
    friends   Refl   would-be-returning   each   separately  
Complement introduced by the conjunction jako


The complement expressed by a noun or adjective can also be introduced by conjunctions jako, jakožto - as (see part Criteria for diagnosing the complement). These conjunctions get suspended directly on the complement and obtain afun AuxY (see also part The conjunction jako introducing complement or object).

There can be more complement adjectives following one conjunction (exx. (6), (7)). This conjunction then gets suspended on the first of these complements while the second gets suspended alongside without any conjunction.

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    mluví   o   krystalech   jako   o   individuích  
    he-speaks   about   crystals   as   about   individuals  
  2. některý   z   členů   by   mohl   dotazník   potvrdit   jako   svědek  
    one   of   members   Aux   could   form   verify   as   witness  
    one of the members could verify the form as a witness
  3. vezmeme   kufry   s   sebou   jako   zavazadla  
    we-take   bags   with   us   as   luggage  
  4. miloval   Nováka   jako   přítele  
    he-loved   Novák   as   friend  
  5. odmítá   debatu   jako   druhotnou  
    he-refuses   debate   as   secondary  
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    chápe   vývoj   jako   jediný   správný  
    he-regards   development   as   the-only-one   correct  
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    mluví   o   vývoji   jako   o   jediném   správném  
    he-speaks   of   development   as   of   the-only-one   correct  
Complement expressed by a transgressive


Transgressives fulfil the function of complement in the sentence. An exception is represented by absolute (incontinuous) transgressive constructions neither in agreement nor having subject in common with the verb. They are regarded as adverbials and marked Adv. (See the part Adverbial expressed by an adverb.)

The complement expressed by a transgressive is, as a rule, separated by commas. Since this is a systemic phenomenon, we do not regard this case as parenthesis. It would be assigned function Atv_Pa only if it were separated more distinctly (e.g., by parentheses). This represents one of the exceptions dealt with in A syntactically incorporated sentence part with <afun>_Pa.

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    vzdálil   se,   těžce   pohybuje   nohama  
    he-walked-away   Refl   heavily   moving   legs  
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    Karel   pije   stoje,   leže  
    Charles   drinks   standing,   lying  
Complement with elided transgressive


The construction Jan vstoupil hlavu skloněnou/skloněnu (John entered, his head inclined) expresses dependence on the action (how did he enter?) and, at the same time, traditionally it is understood to depend on the name Jan, due to its agreement with this noun. Šmilauer speaks about "absolute accusative of property" pointing out that here the transgressive (maje, majíc, majíce - having) is elided, and classes these constructions with complement. We, however, miss an element that would make it possible to render exactly syntactic relations in the tree (the absent transgressive). Therefore we describe this type with the aid of afun ExD (see Ellipsis ExD, ExD_Co).

The word skloněnou (inclined) represents a classical complement (Atv) to the member hlava (head) and to the missing transgressive according to the part Complement expressed by a deverbative adjective.

Emphasis denotes the node with afun ExD, which remained after the complement was gone.


Jan   vstoupil   hlavu   skloněnou  
John   entered   head   inclined  

Cases of the so-called French complement can be dealt with in this connection, too, where, for the most part, an ellipsis of a transgressive takes place. The remaining noun then obtains afun ExD as well.

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    seděl   na   zápraží,   tichá   hromádka   neštěstí  
    he-was-sitting   on   porch,   silent   heap   of-misery  
    he was sitting in front of the porch, a silent picture of misery
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    také   ji,   babičku,   malé   ještě   děvče,   mučili  
    also   her   grandmother   small   still   girl   they-tortured  
    they were torturing her too, the grandmother, still a little girl
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    rodák   z   Moravy,   strávil   strýc   celý   život   v   Praze  
    native   of   Moravia,   spent   uncle   all   life   in   Prague  
    a native of Moravia, uncle spent all his life in Prague
Complement expressed by a subordinate sentence


Following such content (autosemantic) verbs as pozorovat (observe), vidět (see), zahlédnout (catch sight of), slyšet (hear), přistihnout (catch), potkat (meet), představit si (imagine), znázorňovat (depict).

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    činil   žalostný   dojem,   jak   tu   stál  
    he-made   pitiful   impression,   as   here   he-was-standing  
    he made a pitiful impression, as he was standing here
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    vidíme   věci,   jak   jsou  
    we-see   things   as   they-are  
  3. dnes     znázorním,   jak   se   rozčiluješ  
    today   you   I'm-going-to-picture   as   Refl   you-get-excited  
    today I m going to picture you as getting excited
Complement expressed by infinitive


This concerns the so-called "Slavonic accusative with infinitive" after verbs like vidět (see), spatřit (see, perceive), slyšet (hear), cítit (feel); nechat (let).

An aid:

"spatřila Vaška (jak?) vcházejícího do dveří" - spatřila → vcházejícího, Vaška → vcházejícího (she saw Vašek enter(ing) the door)

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    spatřila   Vaška   vcházet   do   dveří  
    she-saw   Vašek   enter   to   door  
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    Barbora   se   cítí   být   zavázána  
    Barbara   Refl   feels   to-be   obliged  
    Barbara feels (being) obliged

Complement with a transformed predicate


In classical examples complement relates (as an embedded predication) to the verb and to some other nominal sentence member (having a different afun). By means of a transformation(i.e., through another secondary predication) the governing verb or the nominal part of the predicate (Pnom) can be changed into another nominal construction. In such cases (instead of the verb) the result of this transformation (nominalisation) of the predicate becomes the first governing member of the complement.

Such cases, however, will be treated in the same way as the classical dependent complements. This means that the complement gets suspended on the second "governing" (nominal) member and is marked Atv.

On the assumption that the sentence in the first example means That how we imagined the man as he was dying was shocking, the clause as he was dying constitutes the complement relating to the members image and man.

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    představa   muže,   jak   umírá,   byla   otřesná  
    image   of-man   as   he-dies   was   shocking  
    the image of the man (as he was) dying was shocking
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    houslista,   neznámý   jako   malíř,   trpí  
    violinist,   unknown   as   painter   suffers