Object Complements

Some verbs can take a nominal structure or an adjectival structure as an object complement for the direct object of the transitive verb.

Intermediate
What Are Object Complements in English?

What Are Object Complements?

An object complement is a noun, nominal relative clause, adjective, a prepositional phrase (made by a preposition and a noun), or an adverb that follows a direct object after a transitive verb to give more information about the direct object.

Object Complements: Types

There are five types of object complements as follows:

Noun Phrases as Object Complements

When a noun phrase follows a direct object in a clause with a transitive verb the noun phrase is an object complement. Check out the examples below:

I can make him a better person.

In this example the pronoun 'him' is a direct object and the noun phrase 'a better person' is the object complement.

I will call you the red head.

Wh-clauses (nominal relative clauses) as Object Complements

Relative pronouns can make a clause (wh-clause) which can be used as an object complement. Check out the examples below:

Call it what you want.

I built the hotel that you bought.

Adjectives as Object Complements

If an adjective is used after a direct object of a transitive verb, it is definitely the object complement, because it gives further information about the direct object. Remember, present participles or past participles are considered an adjective. Check these examples out:

She made me happy.

We found Sarah sleeping.

We wanted him dead.

Prepositional Phrase as Object Complements

A prepositional phrase made by a preposition and a noun can also be used as the complement of the direct object. Here are a few examples:

We made everything in good order.

Do not consider yourself above others. It is selfish.

Adverbs as Object Complements

Only adverbs of place can be placed directly after the direct object of the transitive verb. You are not allowed to use adverbs of time or frequency or manner as an object complement. Check out the examples:

I couldn't find him anywhere.

We have sent Timmy home.

Put the pizza in the oven.

✗We understand our child always.

✗We found him amusingly.

What Is the Difference between the Object Complement and the Subject Complement?

Subject complements are used after linking verbs, but object complements are used after transitive verbs and directly after the direct object. Compare the examples:

She is happy. → subject complement

She made me happy. →object complement

Tip

You cannot use adverbs of time, adverbs of frequency, or adverbs of manner as object complements.Remember, even to be able to use adverbs of place you should be careful to use a suitable verb that can be used with an adverb of place based on its meaning. Check out the examples:

✓ I find my boyfriend amusing.

✗ I find my boyfriend amusingly.

✗ They eat chicken every time.

To-infinitives and Bare infinitives as Object Complements

Sometimes a to-infinitive or a bare infinitive can be used as the object complement of a transitive verb. Here are the examples:

I want you to understand.

They made me laugh.

Keep it in mind that here the verb laugh is used in a causative structure.

How to Define Whether a Noun Phrase Is an Object Complement or a Direct object?

If the object pronouns or nouns after the transitive verb are used as an indirect object which receives the noun phrase after itself as the result of the action of the transitive verb, then the noun phrase is just the direct object.
But if the noun or object pronoun after the transitive verb functions as a direct object which is defined by the following phrase, then the following noun phrase is the object complement. Check out the examples below:

She made him a better person. → object complement

She made him a sandwich. → direct object

in this example the pronoun 'him' is the indirect object which receives the direct object 'a sandwich.'

Review

Object complements are made of two main structures:

  • Nominal Formations
  • Adjectival Formations

There are some phrases and terms that are used as object complements, as follows:

  • noun
  • nominal relative clause
  • adjective
  • a prepositional phrase (made by a preposition and a noun)
  • adverb of place

Comments

You might also like

Adjuncts

'Adjunct' is a word from the Latin that means 'join'. They are any elements in the structure of a clause that is not part of its core. Let's learn about them!

Complements

In grammar, complements are words, phrases, or clauses that are essential to complete the meaning of a given expression. Here, we will study them thoroughly!

Subject Complements

Subject complements are placed after linking verbs. Follow the article to learn more about them.

Adjective Complements

Adjective Complements are clauses or phrases that give information about an adjective. In this lesson, we will learn all about them.

Predicates

The part of a sentence that contains the verb and gives information about the subject is called the predicate. In this lesson, we will discuss it.

Antecedents

Antecedents are nouns or noun phrases that refer to the pronoun. If you are eager to learn them or know more about them, read this.

Download LanGeek app for free