English Grammar

Direct object definition and examples

Direct object direct object definition and examples

direct object is a noun or pronoun that receives the action of the sentence. It answers the questions “What?” or “Who?” with respect to the main verb. The direct object must always be after a transitive verb, that is, a verb that needs to transfer that action to something or someone. To understand these concepts a little more, here are some examples of how to identify a direct object. A simple formula can help us: direct object definition and examples

Subject + Transitive Verb + What? To who?

What? or Who? = Direct Object

Example of this formula:

Sasha makes a cake. .

Sasha (subject) + makes (transitive verb) + a cake. (What? Who?)

A cake = Direct Object.

Direct Object Types direct object definition and examples

The direct object will always be a noun. Although it can also be presented as a pronoun , a noun phrase, or a noun clause , it will always serve as a noun. With this in mind, the following examples show how to identify direct object types:

Noun as Direct Object direct object definition and examples

They play the guitar. 

Direct object = the guitar.

Pronoun as Direct Object direct object definition and examples

Aaron likes it. 

Direct Object = it.

It is important to note that in the case of pronouns , these can only represent the direct object when the main antecedent has already been mentioned.

Composite Direct Object

We say that a direct object is compound when it has more than one noun. For example:

Sasha eats apples and bananas. 

Direct Objects = apples and bananas.

Nominal Phrase as Direct Object

These newspapers highlight the challenge facing global warming. / These newspapers highlight the challenge facing global warming.

Direct Object = the challenge facing global warming.

Nominal clause as Direct Object

direct object definition and examples

The kids confessed that they broke the window. / The children confessed that they broke the window.

Direct Object = that they broke the window.

Direct Object vs. Subject Complement

Finally, a subject complement is a structure that accompanies the so-called “linking verbs” . It is very easy to confuse this complement with a direct object, so knowing the “linking verbs” will help us understand the difference.

It is known as ” linking verbs” to all those verbs that connect the subject with the predicate and that do not need to transfer their action to something or someone. For example:

Sasha is happy .

In this example, although the verb “is” can answer the question “What?”, This is a linking verb that connects “Sasha” (subject) with the adjective “happy” . Therefore, “happy” would be the subject complement of this sentence, not the direct object.

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