Compléments de Verbe vs. Compléments de Phrase: What’s the Difference

compléments de verbe vs. compléments de phrase what's the difference

In French, there are two types of grammatical structures known as compléments de verbs and compléments de phrase. Just like other grammar complements in French, these are used to provide additional information about the subject or the object of the sentence and help to give a more complete understanding of the meaning of the sentence. But what’s the difference between the two and how do you use them?

Complément de verbe vs de phrase which one to use?

  • What is the Complément de verbe?

This is a grammatical French tool that consists of a word or even a group of words that are required to complete the meaning of a verb. It usually describes the action or the state of the subject in the sentence.

It can take several forms such as a direct object, an indirect object, or even a subject complement. They provide people with additional information about the verb in the sentence and help give a more complete understanding of the meaning of the sentence.

Il mange un sandwich.

He eats a sandwich.

In the example above, the subject is eating a sandwich, so, the additional information is “un sandwich” the verb manger needs help to give more information about the action that’s taking place.

Just like the verbal type, this is can be either a word or a group of words to help provide additional information about the subject or the object of the sentence, but contrary to the verbal complement, this is not a required element of the sentence.

It does help to give people a deeper understanding of the sentence and it can also take the form of an adjective, an adverb, or a prepositional phrase.

Il mange un sandich delicieux.

He eats a delicious sandwich.

Right here, you’re giving more information about the sandwich that’s being eaten. The sandwich that the subject is eating is delicious. It’s information that’s not necessary but, it paints a more specific picture.

How to tell them apart?

There are 3 main differences you need to keep an eye on to understand the differences between these two and avoid any kind of misunderstanding when speaking your mind.

  1. The complément de verbe is an essential part of the sentence, you can’t leave it out. While when you’re expressing something and adding the complément de phrase, you’re just painting a more accurate picture of what’s happening, you could easily avoid it.
  2. The verbal complement can take up several forms, such as a direct object, an indirect object, or even a subject complement. They are usually formed by pronouns or nouns. And on the other hand, you have the complément de phrase that can take u the form of an adjective, an adverb, or a prepositional phrase.
  3. Compléments de verbe are much closer to the verb, whereas the compléments de phrase are usually separated from the verb by a comma. This helps us identify which words are the complement of verb and which are the complement of phrase in a sentence. As it makes it easier to distinguish between the two.

You’re more than ready to use these in your day-to-day conversations

Understanding the differences between compléments de verbe and compléments de phrase is crucial for mastering French grammar. You need to keep in mind that the key difference between the two is that a complément de verbe is essential to the verb’s meaning, while a complément de phrase is not. With a proper understanding of how these structures work, you will be able to communicate more effectively and understand written and spoken French with greater ease.

Learn more about Second Object Complement in French : COS

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