Objects

Simply put, an object is a noun or pronoun representing the person or thing that the action of the verb is done to. Here, we'll explain the grammatical object.

Objects in the English Grammar

What Is An Object?

Generally, an object is a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that usually comes after the verb.

The object is the person or thing that the action is done to. It is the opposite of the subject instead of doing an action, it receives the action.

Types of Objects Based on Structure

Based on grammatical structure (makeup of the words) we have three main types of objects. They are:

  1. simple objects
  2. compound objects
  3. complete objects

1. Simple Objects

By simple object, we mean one simple individual word (sometimes a word plus a definite or an indefinite article) that acts as an object. It can be:

  1. an object personal pronoun
  2. a masculine or feminine proper noun

I met him yesterday.

She called Marcus to invite him to the party.

I love Sally.

Object Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns can be either subjects or objects in a sentence. In the table below, you can see the list of subject personal pronouns. (To learn all about them, you can read the lesson personal pronouns.)

English Object Pronouns

Object Pronoun
First singular Me
Second singular You
Third singular (M) Him
Third singular (F) Her
Third singular (N) It
First plural Us
Second plural You
Third plural Them

2. Compound Objects

The second type of subject is a compound object. As their names suggest, these objects are comprised of two or more nouns or pronouns. Take a look at these examples:

They invited Lucy and me to their anniversary.

As you can see, sometimes we have a mix of nouns and pronouns, but they're all still the object of our sentence.

I saw Jake and her sister in the supermarket.

3. Complete Objects

Complete objects are noun phrases or noun clauses. A noun phrase is a group of words that together act like a noun. Look at the examples:

The flood destroyed the beautiful giant tall statue in the middle of the garden.

I like men who are well-dressed and enjoy outdoorsy activities.

Types of Objects Based on Grammatical functions

There are three types of objects based on grammatical functions:

  1. Direct Object
  2. Indirect Object
  3. Object of a Preposition

1. Direct Objects

A direct object is a person or a thing that is directly affected by the action of the verb.
The easiest way to find a direct object is finding the verb and asking what? or whom?

He was eating a hamburger.

He was eating WHAT? A hamburger. So, 'a hamburger' is our direct object.

She knows everybody!

She know WHOM? Everybody. So, 'everybody' is our direct object.

2. Indirect Objects

An indirect object is usually a person or a thing that receives or is affected by a direct object.

An indirect object always needs a direct object with it and always comes before the direct object.

She cooked us dinner.

I owe him some money.

3. Object of a Preposition

The object of a preposition is the noun or pronoun that usually (but not always) comes immediately after a proposition.

Try eating your meals without salt.

In this sentence, the noun 'salt' follows the preposition without.' Together, they form a prepositional phrase.

Lee lives in Montreal.

One way to find the indirect object is to rephrase the sentence with a prepositional phrase using to or for. If you do that, as in the examples below, the direct object usually comes first.

indirect + direct object direct object + prepositional phrase with to/for
The postman gave me the letter. The postman gave the \letter to me.
He bought me a drink. He bought a drink for me.

Verbs and Objects

Do All Verbs Take Objects?

Well, no. Here are some important rules you need to know about verbs and objects:

  • 1. Only transitive verbs can have an object.

I ate pizza for dinner.

  • 2. Intransitive verbs do not take an object.

Sarah laughed.

  • 3. Some verbs need both a direct object and an indirect object.

She cooks them a good meal every night.

  • 4. Linking verbs do not have a direct object.

He is a really nice guy.

Here, 'a really nice guy' is not a direct object. It's a subject complement following the linking verb 'is'..

Review

Objects are nouns, pronouns, and noun phrases that receive an action. They usually come after some main verbs and after prepositions (if needed).

simple objects compound objects complete objects
examples They talked o me to convince me. I asked my sister and her friend to make sure if I looked beautiful or not. I hate those who blow the horn at the traffic light.

There are three types of objects based on grammatical functions.

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

There are two types of verbs based on whether they can get an object or not. Those verbs that need an object to have a complete meaning are called transitive verbs and those verbs that have a complete meaning without an object are called intransitive verbs.

I heard a noise from the basement. → transitive

My daughter slept well last night. → intransitive

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