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.

What Are Object Complements in English?

What Are Object Complements?

An object complement is a word or phrase that follows a direct object after a transitive verb to provide additional information or further describe the direct object. Object complements can take several forms, including a noun, a nominal relative clause, an adjective, a prepositional phrase, or an adverb.

Object Complements: Types

There are four main types of object complements as follows:

Noun Phrases as Object Complements

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

I can make him a better person.

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

I will call you the red head.

Adjectives as Object Complements

Adjectives as Object Complements

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

She made me happy.

We found Sarah sleeping.

We wanted him dead.

Prepositional Phrase as Object Complements

A prepositional phrase consisting of 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.

Adverbs as Object Complements

Adverbs of place can be placed directly after the direct object of the transitive verb. Check out the examples:

I couldn't find him anywhere.

We have sent Timmy home.

Put the pizza in the oven.


Adverbs of time, frequency, or manner are not typically used as object complements. Adverbs of place can be used as object complements, but even in this case, it is important to choose a suitable verb that can be used with an adverb of place. Check out the examples:

✓ I find my boyfriend amusing.

✗ I find my boyfriend amusingly.

✗ They eat chicken every time.

Object Complement vs. 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

Object Complement or Direct object?

When a transitive verb is followed by an object pronoun or a noun, the noun phrase that follows can be either a direct object or an object complement, depending on its relationship to the preceding noun.
If the object pronoun or noun is an indirect object, receiving the direct object as the result of the action of the transitive verb, then the following noun phrase is simply the direct object.
However, if the noun or object pronoun functions as a direct object and is further described or 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.'


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
  • adjective
  • prepositional phrase
  • adverb of place


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