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Understanding an Object Complement (Definition, Examples, Functions)

What is an object complement? How does an object complement work? An object complement immediately follows a direct object and is used to describe, rename or redefine a sentence. It comes after the direct object of an attributive ditransitive verb or resultative verb.

Object complement
Object complement

What is an object complement?

Often, we don’t pay attention to what we speak or the words we use. This causes us to make mistakes or be unclear about what we intend to share. An object complement mitigates this by giving it meaning, redefining it, or describing a direct object to rename or describe it. It states what the direct object has become or provides more information about the direct object in the sentence. 


An object complement can be defined as a word or group of words completing a sentence and giving meaning to it. It is helpful for phrases and clauses that are not self-explanatory and need a complement to give meaning. Knowing how to spot and use an object complement will help you articulate and write better.

How does an object complement work?

An object complement describes or renames a direct object and can be paired with a noun, noun phrase, pronoun, adjective, or adjectival phrase. An object complement is commonly used when using verbs related to making or naming.

Learn more about object complement here.

What is the Function of an Object Complement?

Object complements rename or describe the direct object, it can also identify a subject

Additionally, it is used to make sense of and complement an object, subject, or verb. The 

function of an object complement is to give meaning to an entire sentence. Therefore, it is impossible to remove it without changing the structure and meaning of a sentence.

How to identify an object complement

An object complement usually follows a direct object or subject to make better sense of the sentence. Click here for more information on how to identify an object complement. It is important to remember that an object complement is either a singular word or it can be a group of words.


  • We caught the thief hiding.
  • We caught the thief hiding in the garage.

Object complement examples

Here are a few examples of Object Complements:

  • He found Joyce working.
  • They selected John as their Captain. 
  • They named the dog Uthred.
  • The professor considered Jason very bright.
  • She proved them right.
  • My response made my parents sad.
  • They found Joyce exercising in the sunroom.

Check out this link if you are still looking for more examples.

Object complement
Object complement

Verbs that attract object complements

The verbs that often attract object complements are divided into two.

  • a) Verbs of making (e.g., “to make,” “to create”) and 
  • b) Verbs of naming (e.g., “to name,” “to call,” “to elect”) 

Additionally, other verbs might also require an object complement.

For examples:

  • To paint something white
  • To catch someone napping.

In the examples below, the object complements are bold, while the direct object is in italics.

  • To make her joyous
  • To name him Frank

Object complements are often linked with verbs such as create, make, appoint, choose, name, call, etc. Find more information here.

Object complement
Object complement

Why object complements are important

Being well-versed with object and subject complements helps you write better and be more definitive in your expressions.

Object complement helps you complete a sentence or phrase which otherwise would have been incomplete.

Spoken skills require proper usage of object complement. However, more object complement errors are made while writing. Therefore, it is pertinent to pay importance to its uses.


What is the difference between subject complement and object complement?

The main difference is that additional information is added to a subject in subject complements. And additional information is added to a direct object in object complements.

What is an object complement?

An object complement describes or renames a direct object and can be paired with a noun, noun phrase, pronoun, adjective, or adjectival phrase. It is used to complete a sentence and give it meaning.

Can a group of words be used as an object complement?

Yes, an object complement is used either as a singular word or as a group of words to redefine a sentence.

What is an objective complement?

Jane has nice red nails. The word “red” is the objective complement. The subject complement characterizes the subject.


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About the author

Dalia Y.: Dalia is an English Major and linguistics expert with an additional degree in Psychology. Dalia has featured articles on Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, Grammarly, and many more. She covers English, ESL, and all things grammar on GrammarBrain.

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