What is an Object Complement? A free detailed guide

In this post, we learn what an object complement is, and how to use and identify it.

What is an object complement?

Object complement definition: An object complement is a word or a group of words (phrase) that comes after a direct object, identifies it, and either renames it or modifies it (what state it has got into). Note that a noun as an object complement renames the object, and an adjective as an object complement modifies it.

Object complement explanation
Object complement explanation

NOTE: an object complement can’t exist in a sentence if it doesn’t have a direct object. And a direct object can only be there in a sentence if the action verb is transitive.

Object complement examples

  • The company just made Ron our team leader.
    (In this sentence, ‘our team leader’ is the object complement (noun phrase) that’s renaming the object ‘him’. Ron = our team leader )
  • Talking to Jane makes me happy.
    (Here, the object complement ‘happy’ is an adjective that’s modifying the object ‘me‘. Me = happy)

Nouns as object complement

  • Nobody considers him a singer.
  • We will name her Amayra.
  • She calls her husband doodoo.
  • The students elected him the class monitor.
  • You can’t call me your best friend.

In these examples, the object complement is either a noun or a noun phrase. But it can be a noun clause too.

  • I will call you whatever I want. (You = whatever I want)
  • The company will not make me what I want to be. (I = what I want to be)

Adjectives as object complement

  • Do you consider him single?
  • I consider Jon highly professional as he does not follow orders properly.
  • I found his room very messy.
  • They found us sleeping at work.
  • They found Jon dead.
  • Do you find me good-looking?
  • Sharing food makes Joe unhappy.
  • You proved me wrong again.
  • They colored the room yellow.

A list of Verbs that take object complements

  • find
  • make
  • name
  • consider
  • color
  • elect
  • declare
  • term
  • drive
  • get
  • knock
  • shoot
  • brand
  • term
  • certify
  • label

Examples:

  • This is driving me crazy.
  • Reading that book got him motivated to start his own business.
  • Jon knocked him unconscious.
  • The police shot him dead.
  • It’s unfair to label him incapable without looking at his capabilities.
  • The news channels have branded him a traitor already.
  • The students termed me the best English teacher.
  • Nobody was declared the winner in the match.
  • The doctors declared him dead.

NOTE: some verbs take “as” between the object and the object complement.

  • They certified me as an English teacher.
  • His country labelled him as a traitor.
  • Are you branding me as a fighter here?
  • The company branded their product as the medicine for cancer.
  • Most doctors have declared Coronavirus as the most dangerous virus in history.

Don’t confuse a direct object with an object complement!

Sometimes, students misread a direct object as an object complement. It happens when a verb has two object: direct and indirect object.

Look at some examples of direct objects:

  • They gave me a car on my birthday.
  • I will bring you your favorite food.

In both these examples, the verb has two objects: direct and indirect. The direct object (in red) is coming after the indirect object (in bold). But note that the direct object is not referring to the indirect object. They (direct and indirect objects) are not the same person.

On the contrary, an object complement (when it’s a noun) identifies the direct object and renames it. They both are the same person or thing.

  • They called me a gifted singer. (me = a gifted singer)
  • I will make you the caption of the team. (you = the caption of the team)

Subject complement vs Object complement

A subject complement comes after a link verb. Whereas, an object complement comes after a direct object.

Examples:-

  • I am a teacher. (subject complement)
  • They made me a teacher. (object complement)

Practice exercise!

Find out the object complement in the following sentences (if any):

  1. We got him a beautiful gift.
  2. We got him upset.
  3. Jon made me his personal trainer.
  4. Jon made me white sauce pasta.
  5. She drove me crazy.
  6. Don’t call me a quitter.
  7. She is driving me to work.
  8. We painted the door red.
  9. His post fight interview made me upset.
  10. My friends got me some gifts.

Answers:

  1. No object complement
  2. upset
  3. his personal trainer
  4. No object complement
  5. crazy
  6. a quitter
  7. No object complement
  8. red
  9. upset
  10. No object complement

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