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Object Complements

An object complement is a noun, a pronoun, or an adjective that follows a direct object to rename it or state what it has become.

Object complements may follow certain verbs in English. Sentences with object complements follow the pattern: S + V + O + Complement. Object complements may be either nouns or adjectives. For example,

Chocolate makes Tanya happy

An object complement

They considered him a criminal.
They considered him insane.

They elected him President anyway.

Examples of Object Complements

Here 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)

An object complement is not always one word. It could be a phrase. For example:

I found the guard sleeping in the barn.

We all consider her unworthy of the position.

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.)

This is a rare mistake with object complements. It is far more common with subject complements. For example:

  • The soup tastes awfully
  • (A subject complement cannot be an adverb.)

  • The soup tastes awful
  • (Here, the subject complement is an adjective.)

Ironically, this mistake occurs most commonly with people who consciously think about whether they should be using adjectives or adverbs.

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