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The term complementizer is used to denote a subordinator that marks a complement clause.


  • English that, for ... to
  • French que
  • Affixes like English -ing
  • Turkish -dik


The term complementizer is also sometimes used (especially in generative syntax) for other subordinating elements such as adverbial subordinators or even relative particles (because these are assumed to occupy the COMP position, like true complementizers).


The term complementizer or more often its abbreviation COMP, is also used for a structural position in X-bar theory that can be filled by complementizers or other elements (most notably, the finite verb in verb-second languages). See complementizer (in X-bar theory).


The term was coined by Rosenbaum (1967:24).


  • Rosenbaum, Peter S. 1967. The grammar of English predicate complement constructions. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics

Other languages

German Komplementierer
Russian номинализатор