What can be a subject complement?


Infinitives as Subject Complements


Previously we have discussed both the form and the function of infinitives, or at least one function of infinitives.  An infinitive includes “to” and the base form of a verb, and it functions in a sentence as a noun does.  For example, “to win,” “to place,” and “to show” all are infinitives. 


As a noun may function as a subject complement in a clause, and as an infinitive may function in a clause as a noun does, an infinitive also may function as a subject complement.  In each of the sentences below, the subject complement is an infinitive.  Can you spot the infinitive functioning as a subject complement in each of the sentences here?  Can you spot the subject in each of the examples?  To see a complete description of each sentence, click on the sentence number.



His goal was to get an “A” in the course.


The purpose is to give her a good chance to succeed.


His dream became not just to live in Canada but to live in Montreal.


His tendency is to guess the answer.


Another challenge was to catch a fish with a spear.


Subject Complements