You can take those examples which I find very hard and show me on them which is a complement and which a modifier?

  • The idea that he proposed //The idea that it will rain I don't know, seems similar (maybe both modifiers?).
  • The man to contact for the job.// Her insistence to see the manuscript. I have no idea here (I would say both are complements).
  • A belief in Politics. //A ring of gold. Here are again both examples complements (I would say).
  • A ban on military training. // The book on the table. Again both modifiers (but I am just guessing).

I understand that complements are obligatory because they are licensed by the noun but I don´t know what does it mean and how can I make a test to be able to recognize them. I tried so many times but I don't see any logic in it so I often confuse their use (using a modifier instead of a complement) .

  • 1
    Your question is very unclear and should go in ELL anyway, and not here. I think you need to review your understanding of modifier and complement. What do you mean by switch between them?? There is nothing unclear in any of your sentences or phrases.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 18:17
  • Relative infinitives (the man to see, the right man to do it) are syntactically complex and have any number of peculiarities (like only allowing relative pronouns that have been pied-piped, for instance (the man with whom to speak, but *the man who(m) to speak to).
    – jlawler
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 21:58
  • @Lambie, In our university, we distinguish between complements as an obligatory elements and modifiers as an optional elements. I have a hard time recognizing which should be used and when.
    – Anu
    Commented May 18, 2023 at 8:45
  • 1
    1A is ambiguous; could be either. 1B is a complement. 2A modifier. 2B ungrammatical. 3A Complement (cf *a belief of politics). 4A Complement. 4B modifier. Commented May 18, 2023 at 15:20
  • @Araucaria-him, thank you, however, you can see that I match incorrectly almost every example, can you tell me your strategy for the recognition?
    – Anu
    Commented May 18, 2023 at 15:59


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