Difference Between Subjects and Objects

English is a quite complicated language and so is English grammar. Many English professors and lecturers who have gained mastery in this field still find some English grammatical terms that confuse them. Two of such terms are objects and subjects. The in-depth knowledge of these two grammatical terms is discussed in the coming sections.

Subjects vs Objects

The main difference between subjects and objects is that the former refers to a person or a thing that does a specific action while on the other hand, an object refers to something on which an action has been done. For example – Jessica threw the bag, here Jessica is the subject and the bag is the object.

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A subject is a grammatical term that refers to a person or a thing that delivers a particular action or work. In other words, it describes the noun or pronoun that does work. The subject also indicates a place or idea. It precedes the verb and also agrees with it.

An object is a grammatical term that indicates to the person or thing that a specific action is done on. It is a form of noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that receives an action done on it. It follows the verb in a given sentence and also disagrees with it.

Comparison Table Between Subjects and Objects

Parameters of ComparisonSubjectsObjects
DefinitionSubject refers to a person, thing , or idea that delivers a specific amount and type of action.Object refers to something on which a particular action has been done.
TypesThe types of subjects are simple subjects, compound subjects, and noun phrases.The types of objects are direct object, indirect object, and object of a preposition.
Pronouns To Be UsedPronouns to be used in the case of a subject are I, You, He, She, It, They, Who, Whoever, and We.Pronouns to be used in the case of an object are Me, You, Him, Her, It, Us, Them, and Whom.
Order of OccurrenceThe subject precedes the verb (the action word) in a given sentence.The object follows the verb ( the action word) generally in a given sentence.
Question WordsWhat or Who are the question words used to identify a subject.What or Whom are the question words used to identify an object.

What are Subjects?

A subject is one of the most important grammatical terms discovered. It is directed towards a person or a thing that does an action. Not just something or someone, but the subject also refers to a place or idea. It is also referred to as a doer.

Generally, subjects precede a verb (which is an action word) in any sentence that they are used in. The latter also agrees with the verb. The classification of a subject can be done as a simple subject or as a complete subject.

Subjects can easily be identified in a sentence by using the question words like What and Who. They are of three types:

  • Simple Subject – It is the most important word in a sentence because it tells who or what is acting. For example – Elena is cooking food. Here Elena is the simple subject.
  • Compound Subject – It is a type of subject that combines two or more simple subjects in a sentence using ‘and’, ‘nor’ or ‘or’. For example – Time and tide wait for none. Here ‘time’ and ‘tide’ are simple subjects that are joined by and to form a compound subject.
  • Noun Phrases – It is a noun or pronoun (that appears to act as a noun) containing a phrase. For example – A young child who loved cakes. Here the child is the noun.

What are Objects?

An object is a grammatical term that refers to something on which a particular type and amount of work are done. An object can either be a noun or a pronoun.

Generally, an object follows the given verb (an action word) in a sentence. The former does not agree with the verb. It can be classified as a direct and indirect object.

The question words which help to identify an object in a given sentence are What and Whom. Just like a subject, an object is of three types:

  • Direct Object – It is a type of object that receives an action done by the given subject. For example – Jennie ate the chocolate pastry. Here pastry is the direct object.
  • Indirect Object – It is a type of object which indicates who or what gets benefitted from a specific action. It directs what gets a particular thing as a result. For example – She gave him her book. Here ‘him’ is the indirect object.
  • The object of Preposition – An object of preposition refers to a noun or pronoun that is present to the left of a preposition. For example – John walked in silence. Here ‘silence’ is the object of the preposition.

Main Differences Between Subjects and Objects

  1. A subject refers to somebody or something that delivers a specific action while on the other hand, an object is something on which work is done.
  2. Subject has three types which are simple subjects, compound subjects, and noun phrases whereas object types are indirect objects, direct objects, and objects of the preposition.
  3. What and Who are the question words for subjects while What and Whom are the question words for objects.
  4. Subjects precede verbs whereas objects follow verbs.
  5.  Subjects are direct to people, places, things, or ideas while on the other hand objects are direct to a thing.

Conclusion

English is an integral part of our day-to-day communication. Its complicated nouns and verbs are what build the language immensely valued and respected. English grammar is like a garden and its grammatical terms are the flowers planted in it.

Two of the most common terms are Subject and Object. The person or thing doing an action is called a subject and something on which an action is done is called an object. Both the terms have different meanings and types yet they both complete each other in a sentence.

One precedes and agrees with the verb while the other follows and disagrees with the given verb in a sentence.

References

  1. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9783110589801/html
  2. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-linguistics/article/abs/generating-indirect-objects-in-english/28C14D7E20D0AEAFFC1CC55F6389AF77
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