Difference Between Objects and Complements (With Table)

Objects and complements are two basic components of a well-structured sentence. In English, we have different components to organize compound statements. When talking about Objects and Complements, both of these have only a minor difference but this difference can change a well-defined sentence and may fail to deliver the proper message, if mistaken.

Objects vs Complements

The difference between an Object and a Complement is that objects are the ones for which the verb is applied and complements are the ones who define the objects and subjects in a better manner.

Objects are the entities that have to face the consequences of a subject’s action while a sentence is created. Complements are that part of a sentence, which modifies the matter that the subject or the object tries to convey.

Objects can be divided into three, direct object, indirect object, and objects of a preposition. Complements are also similarly divided. When complements are used to describe a subject, it is known as a subject complement. When it is used to modify an object, it is known as object complement.


Comparison Table Between Objects and Complements (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonObjectComplement
PriorityObject is a key feature of a sentence. Objects are a must for a sentence.Complements are not much important while coining a sentence. They only add additional information.
DivisionsObject is divided into direct and indirect objects and objects of the preposition.Complements can speak about objects as well as subjects.
States of existenceObjects can be nouns, pronouns as well as clauses.Complements can take any form ranging from nouns to verbs, adjectives, and clauses.
Part of existenceObjects are generally followed by the verb and hence can fit in any space in a sentence.Complements are used as modifiers and are commonly found in the predicates of sentences.
ContraryObjects can act as complements.Complements cannot take the place of objects.


What is Object?

Objects can be nouns, pronouns, and even a phrase which describes the actions that a subject initiates.  Generally it takes the position after the verb of the sentence. In English, the most basic way of coining a sentence is  Subject+ Verb +Object. This highlights the importance of an object in a sentence.  

Moving broader, objects are divided into three categories – direct object,  indirect object, and objects of a preposition. Direct objects are the ones that come immediately after the verb and completes the action of the subject.  When questions like what, where, and who are asked, an answer is obtained which appears to be the object in the sentence. Such components are termed direct objects in a sentence. For example: She sells seashells. Here ‘ seashells’ is the direct object.

The next category is the indirect object.  Indirect objects collectively have all the words that come after the direct object in the sentence. Commonly the indirect objects gets affected by the direct object. Also an indirect object needs a direct object for its existence. For example: She sells seashells to a lady. Here ‘ a lady’ is the indirect object.

The final category is objects of preposition. This category is largely avoided by most. It comprises of the nouns and pronouns that are affected by the preposition in the sentence. For example: Se sits in her house. Here ‘in her’ is the object of a preposition.

Objects can feature in both active and passive sentences. In passive sentences, they take the lead and the subject follows them. Active voices are the most common one in which objects are followed by subjects.


What is Complement?

Complements are that part of a sentence that gives completeness to the expressions in a sentence. Mostly they come in the predicate of the sentence. The latter part of the sentence is used to complete the idea that is to be conveyed. Hence complements come as a part of clean communication and are not an integral part of a sentence.

Complements are divided into two – subject complement and object complement. Subject complements modify the actions that the subject does. It gives the details that describe the subject and speaks about the actions of the subject. They can be adjectives as well as nouns.

For example: She is scoring high. Here ‘high’ is the subject complement.

The next set comprises the object complement. Object complements describe the object. They commonly come after the object in a sentence. they also can vary from nouns to adjectives. For example: She makes him cry. Here ‘cry’ is the object complement.

Main Differences Between Objects and Complements

  1. Objects are an integral part of a sentence whereas complements are optional. A sentence can exist even without complements.
  2. Objects can be divided as direct, indirect, and objects in a preposition. Complements can be subject complements as well as object complements.
  3. Objects complete the sentence as a result of the verb while complements just modify the idea of the sentence.
  4. An object can act as a complement but a complement cannot act as an object. Hence complements are not that important for a sentence as objects are.
  5. Objects follow the verb in a sentence and they can be found anywhere in a sentence but in the case of complements, they are found in the predicates.



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  1. https://literarydevices.net/object/
  2. https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/grammar/grammar-rules-and-tips/what-is-a-complement-in-grammar.html
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