What is an “objective complement”?

From LitWiki

An objective complement is an adjective, noun, or group of words that acts as an adjective or noun which modifies the direct object of a sentence.

The Rules

Identifying Objects

  • A direct object is a noun or pronoun that follows a transitive verb and completes its meaning.
  • An indirect object receives the direct object.

Modifying an Object

  • Whereas a subject complement modifies the subject of a sentence, an object complement only modifies an object.
    • Verbs which have to do with perceiving, judging or changing something typically cause their direct objects to take on object complements


Object Complement

Example 1

The student body voted Lucy prom queen.

  • "Lucy" is the direct object of the sentence, "voted" is the transitive verb, and "prom queen" is the object complement as it modifies the direct object "Lucy".

Example 2

The drug will keep your body healthy.

  • "Your body" is the direct object of the transitive verb "keep", and "healthy" is the object compliment as it refers to the direct object "your body".

Subject Complement

Subject complements are similar to an object compliments as they perform essentially the same function: modifying a noun or pronoun within a sentence. However, subject compliments modify or refer to a sentence's subject only.


Lucy became the prom queen.

  • In this case, "became" functions as a linking verb and not a transitive one; because there is no object one cannot be modified. The complement "prom queen" refers to the subject "Lucy", and is therefore a subject compliment.

External Links

Grammar Handbook: Complements

Objects and Compliments