You have already learned about the different kinds of completing elements that help a verb make a clearer or fuller statement about a subject. You learned that subject complements follow linking verbs; direct objects and indirect objects follow certain action verbs; and object complements follow some direct objects.

The completing elements you worked with earlier were simple—usually a single noun, pronoun, or adjective. Now we’ll examine more unusual objects and complements. Three sources of unusual objects and complements are infinitive verb phrases, prepositional phrases, and gerunds and gerund phrases.

An infinitive verb phrase is any verb in its base form preceded by the word to. Infinitive verb phrases are used to complete verbs here:

(a) He loves to fly.

(b) She plans to compete.

(c) They want to surrender.

These examples show prepositional phrases used as completing elements:

(d) The students went over the notes.

(e) He is without resources.

(f) The child abuser was beneath contempt.

Here gerunds—nouns formed from verbs with -ing endings—and gerund phrases serve as completing elements in the predicate:

(g) We attempted placing the bets.

(h) I like playing tennis.

(i) The director requests loud singing on the next number.