What is the Function of an Objective Complement

Before explaining the function of an object complement, this article explains,

1. What is an Object Complement

– Definition

– Nouns as Object Complements

– Adjectives as Object Complements, and then describes

2. The Function of an Object Complement, and presents

3. Exercises to find the Object Complements.

What is an Objective Complement

Definition

An objective complement, also known as object complement, is a noun, pronoun, or adjective used immediately after a direct object to rename or modify it. It is often used with verbs such as name, call, create, make, appoint, choose, and elect.

In the following sentences, the direct object is written in italics, and the objective complement is underlined.

Nouns as Objective Complements

He appointed Mrs. Adams temporary treasurer. 

I named my cat Garfield.

Please call me Jane.

We made you a star.

He called you a liar.

Adjectives as Objective Complements

He painted the door blue.

I found him sleeping in the barn.

The police caught him stealing.

We couldn’t make her happy.

What is the Function of an Objective Complement

They painted the door blue.

What is the Function of an Objective Complement

Objective complements have a similar function to that of subject complements.

1. Object complements rename or describe the direct object.

For example,

We tried to make her happy.

Here, the adjective happy functions as the objective complement of the direct object her. Happy describes the state of her. Similarly,

Everyone calls him an idiot.

They all considered her worthy of the position.

I prefer my tea strong.

The underlined objective complements in the above sentences describe the direct object of the sentence.

2. An objective complement can also rename or identify a subject.

I named him Piggy.

Her friends call her Fatty.

3. However, the main function of a complement is to complete the sense of an object, subject or verb. The main function of an objective complement is to complete the direct object of the sentence. Therefore, it is not possible to remove the objective complement from a sentence, without changing the meaning of the entire sentence.

They elected him vice president. → They elected him.

My sister named him Bruno.→ My sister named him.

We tried to make him happy.→ We tried to make him.

What is the Function of an Objective Complement - 2

He prefers his coffee strong.

Exercise to Find the Objective Complements

Find the objective complements in the following sentences and identify whether they are nouns or adjectives.

  1. We elected Tara the treasurer.
  2. I found him stealing money.
  3. She painted the living room a forest green.
  4. They didn’t consider him worthy.
  5. He prefers his coffee black.
  6. They named the baby Rose.
  7. My decision to stay at home made my mother happy.
  8. He found her work incompetent.
  9. The blanket kept him warm.
  10. The police found the building empty.

Answers (in order) : the treasurer,  stealing money, a forest green, worthy, black, Rose, happy, incompetent, warm, empty

Summary

  • Objective Complements are nouns or adjectives that come immediately after the direct object.
  • Objective Complements are used to complete the sense of the object.
  • Objective Complements can identify, rename or describe the direct object
  • Objective complements cannot be removed from a sentence without changing the meaning of the entire sentence.

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.


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