Some verbs can take a nominal structure or an adjectival structure as an object complement for the direct object of the transitive verb.
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
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
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:
I built the hotel
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
We found Sarah
We wanted him
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
Do not consider yourself
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
We have sent Timmy
Put the pizza
✗We understand our child
✗We found him
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 made me
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
✗ I find my boyfriend
✗ They eat chicken
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
They made me
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
in this example the pronoun 'him' is the indirect object which receives the direct object 'a sandwich.'
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:
- nominal relative clause
- a prepositional phrase (made by a preposition and a noun)
- adverb of place
- What Are Object Complements?
- How to Define Whether a Noun Phrase Is an Object Complement or a Direct object?