Topic: Object

These resources relate to the grammatical function Object. An Object is often (but not always!) a noun, pronoun or noun phrase that comes straight after the verb, and shows what the verb is acting upon.

Direct Object or Subject Complement?

Is the highlighted Complement a Direct Object or a Subject Complement?

Identify the Object

Identify the Object in each of the following clauses. Click on the first and last words of the Object of each clause to select or deselect them.

Direct Object

Consider the examples below. What do the highlighted phrases add to the meanings?

  • He stroked the dog. [W2F-018 #175]
  • They carried mugs of beer. [W2F-018 #140]

These phrases tell us who or what is being 'verbed', i.e. who is undergoing the action denoted by the verbs, in these situations: the dog is stroked, the mugs of beer are carried. Without these phrases, our examples would be incomplete.

Grammatical functions in the clause

The description of word classes, phrases, and clauses in terms of their structure is part of the study of form. We now turn to the study of grammar from the perspective of function: this notion refers to what words, phrases and clauses do as units of language.

Indirect Object

Consider the following example. Here we have two noun phrases which follow the Predicator (the verb).

  • I’ll give [you] [the school’s number]. [W2F-020 #192]

Can you see how they build up the meaning of the clause? Both noun phrases refer to participants in the situation of ‘giving’, but the participants have different roles.

Pronouns, Subjects and Objects

In this film Professor Bas Aarts introduces the ideas behind three more grammatical categories: pronouns, Subjects and Objects


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