The main difference between object and complement in English grammar is that the object is what is affected to the action of the subject while the complement is a part of a clause that usually follows the verb and adds more information about the subject or object.
In the grammar and syntax of the English language, we come across varied terms. Object and complement are two such terms in English grammar. Since both these are included in the main parts of the sentence, most language users get confused about these terms.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is an Object in English Grammar
– Definition, Features, Examples
2. What is a Complement in English Grammar
– Definition, Features, Examples
3. What is the Relationship Between Object and Complement in English Grammar
– Outline of Association
4. What is the Difference Between Object and Complement in English Grammar
– Comparison of Key Differences
English Language, Grammar, Object, Complement, Syntax
What is an Object in English Grammar
Cambridge dictionary defines an object in English grammar as ‘a noun or noun phrase that is affected by the action of a verb’. In brief, an object is what is affected by the action of the subject.
The basic syntax or the sentence structure in English grammar is – Subject + Verb + Object. So the object is what comes at the later most part of the sentence, usually followed by the verb.
My brother wrote this essay.
An object can be a noun, pronoun or even a clause. In the above sentence, the object “this essay”, is a noun. The easiest way to identify the object in a sentence is by asking ‘what’ with the verb of the sentence. For example in the above sentence, Wrote what? – The essay (Object)
However, there are also sentences that do not carry an object according to the form of the verb used. This is especially the case with irregular and intransitive verbs.
She ran fast
He was singing just now.
It started raining heavily.
Moreover, to make an active sentence to passive, an object becomes a necessity. For example:
He eats rice – Rice was eaten by him
She painted this masterpiece – This masterpiece was painted by her
What is a Complement in English Grammar
Complement is ‘a part of a clause that usually follows the verb and adds more information about the subject or object’. Complements are one of the five major elements of clause structures in English grammar. All objects are complements, but not vice versa.
In brief, complement is what completes or brings additional information to make the sentence more meaningful. According to the additional details provided by the complement, there are two main types of complements in English grammar: Subject complement and object complement.
- Object complement is a clause that adds additional information to the direct object. But do not confuse it with the indirect object, which will be either a noun or a pronoun. The object complement is a part of a clause usually having an adverb or an adjective etc
He kicked the ball which was painted in red and blue ( This clause adds more information about the object ‘the ball’)
The monitor wrote the names of the students who didn’t participate in the drill ( This object complement adds additional information about the object ‘the names of the students’)
He found me disturbed. ( The adverb becomes the object complement describing the state of the object ‘me’)
The subject complement is a clause that adds information to the subject. Usually, these sentences do not contain a clear object, rather a subject complement.
She ran fast. ( In this the clause containing the adverb fast adds more information about how the subject ‘she’ has performed the action of running)
This park is very tranquil and attractive in the evening. (This clause qualifies the subject explaining more about it )
Relationship Between Object and Complement
- Since the complement follows the verb and adds additional information about the subject or the object, the object, usually an indirect object, may be a part of the complement as well.
Difference Between Object and Complement
An object is what is affected by the subject while complement is a part of a clause following the verb that adds additional information about the subject or the object of the sentence.
The object is one of the main parts in a sentence while a complement does not become a fundamental part of a sentence. However, it is significant since it adds more information and thus qualifies the sentence.
An object is predominantly a noun, a pronoun, or even a clause while a complement is a part of a clause which includes nouns, adverbs, adjectives, etc.
A sentence contains varied grammatical parts. An object is one such fundamental grammatical part of a sentence. A complement also plays a vital role when we think of making a sentence more complex and thus more meaningful. The difference between object and complement in English grammar is that the object is what is affected to the action of the subject while the complement is a part of a clause that usually follows the verb and adds more information about the subject or object.