What Is an Object Complement? (with Examples)
Object ComplementAn object complement is a noun, a pronoun, or an adjective that follows a direct object to rename it or state what it has become.
Verbs That Attract Object ComplementsVerbs of making (e.g., "to make," "to create") or naming (e.g., "to name," "to call," "to elect") often attract an object complement. In the examples below, the object complements are shaded and the direct objects are in bold.
- To make her happy
- To name her Heidi
- To consider someone stupid
- To paint something purple
- To catch somebody stealing
Examples of Object ComplementsHere are some more examples of object complements:
- I found the guard sleeping.
- We all consider her unworthy.
- I declare this centre open.
- We consider fish spoiled once it smells like what it is.
- To obtain a man's opinion of you, make him mad. (Physician and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes)
- I found the guard sleeping in the barn.
- We all consider her unworthy of the position.
Other Types of ComplementIf you're learning about object complements, it is worth comparing them to subject complements. A subject complement is a word or phrase that follows a linking verb and identifies or describes the subject. For example (subject complements in bold):
- John is the captain.
- Myra looks angry. (In these examples, "the captain" and "angry" are the subject complements. They follow linking verbs ("is" and "looks") to tell us about the subjects ("John" and "Myra".)
- We named John the captain.
- We made Myra angry. (The verbs are "named" and "made." The object complements tell us about the objects of the verbs ("John" and "Myra").)
Read more about complements in general.
Why Should I Care about Object Complements?Native English speakers have few problems when using a construction like "to make them happy" or "to consider the job finished." Such constructions do not cause too many difficulties for English learners either. However, if you're learning a foreign language (like Russian) that puts its complements in a different case (the instrumental case in the case of Russian), then you should pay more attention to spotting complements.
For native English speakers, the biggest writing issue related to complements occurs more commonly with subject complements, but, it can also occur with object complements too.
(Issue 1) Don't use an adverb as a complement.A complement is an adjective, noun, or pronoun. It's never an adverb. Look at this example:
- The garlic has made the soup awfully. (An object complement cannot be an adverb.)
- The garlic has made the soup awful. (Here, the object complement is an adjective.)
- The soup tastes awfully. (A subject complement cannot be an adverb.)
- The soup tastes awful. (Here, the subject complement is an adjective.)