Object Complements for intermediate learners

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 can be a noun, a nominal relative clause, an adjective, or adverb that is used to describe the direct object. Remember that these object complements always come after a transitive verb.


We have five groups of object complements in English. Take a look at the following list:

Now, let us study some of them below:

Noun Phrases as Object Complements

We can use nouns or noun phrases to describe the direct object. Note that the verb is always transitive. Look at the following examples:

My mother always called me Anne.

As you can see, a noun is used to describe the direct object.

The girl gave her ex boyfriend a second chance.

Adjectives as Object Complements

We can use an adjective or an adjective phrase to describe an object. These complements come after the direct object. Study the following examples:

He made me sad.

As you can see, 'sad' is an adjective and it is used to complement the direct object 'me'.

They called her insane.


Please note that present and past participles are also adjectives. Examine the following example:

I saw the cat bleeding.

As you can see, the present participle form of 'bleed' is describing the direct object.

Object Complements Vs. Subject Complements

When we want to describe the subject, we use subject complements and they are used after linking verbs. However, object complements are used to describe objects and they directly follow the direct object. Remember that object complements accompany transitive verbs. Compare the following examples:

Her name is Lana.

Here, the noun is modifying the subject.

She called me a fool.

As you can see, the adjective is modifying the direct object.


It is useful to know that sometimes infinitives are used as object complements. Study the following examples carefully:

I called you to say goodbye.

She told herself to keep calm.


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

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