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 provides additional information about the direct object, often describing or renaming it. Object complements always come after a transitive verb.

Object Complements: Types

There are five types of object complements in English. Take a look at the following list:

Now, let us study some of them in more detail:

Noun Phrases as Object Complements

Nouns or noun phrases can be used as object complements to describe or rename the direct object. It is important to note that the verb must always be 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 also use an adjective or adjective phrase to describe a direct 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.


Present and past participles are also adjectives and can be used as object complements. 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 which are used after linking verbs. However, object complements are used to describe objects and they follow the direct object. Keep in mind that object complements are only used with 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.


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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