English Grammar

Direct object definition and examples with Types vs Subject Complement

Direct object

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. In this article we will provide you the definition of Direct object and examples. 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:

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

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

They play the guitar. 

Direct object = the guitar.

Pronoun as Direct Object

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

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.

We hope that after reading this article you have understood the definition of direct object and examples.

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