Difference Between Subject Complement and Direct Object

Key Difference – Subject Complement vs Direct Object
 

Subject complement and direct object are two grammatical elements of a sentence, which follow the main verb of the sentence. Some English learners find it difficult to distinguish the difference between subject complement and direct object due to their similar position. The key difference between subject complement and direct object is that subject complement follows a linking verb whereas direct object follows a transitive verb. It is important to note that a subject complement and a direct object cannot occur in the same sentence.

What is a Subject Complement?

A subject complement is a noun, phrase, or clause that follows a linking verb or state verb. A linking verb (also known as state verbs) is a verb that indicates a state; they do not indicate an action, unlike action verbs.

The main purpose of a subject complement is renaming or describing the subject. A subject complement can either be a noun or an adjective. An adjective that acts the subject complement is also known as the predicative adjective. Predicative adjectives describe the subject of the sentence.  Nouns that act as subject complements are known as predicative nouns, and their main purpose is renaming the subject. For example,

1. Her father is a teacher.

Her father = teacher, is = linking verb, a teacher = subject complement

(The noun teacher, which acts as the subject complement, renames the subject father)

2. You seem sad.

You = subject, seem = linking verb, sad = subject complement

(The adjective sad, which acts as the subject complement, describes the subject you)

The following examples will help you to understand these grammatical concepts more clearly.

Peter is the captain of the ship.

Lucy was happy.

This is the best meal I’ve ever had.

His new novel is very boring.

Timmy is extremely active.

Miriam is the best student in our class.

Difference Between Subject Complement and Direct Object

Bruno is Christine’s pet.

What is a Direct Object?

A direct object is a word, phrase or clause that follows a transitive verb and receives the action of the verb or shows the result of the action. Transitive verb always denotes an action. You can find the direct object of a sentence by asking the question ‘whom’ or ‘what.’  For example,

I gave him a book.

What did you give him? – A book

Romeo loved Juliet.

Whom did Romeo love? – Juliet

I recognized the actress in that old film.

Whom did you recognize? – The actress in that old film.

Here are some more examples. Ask the question whom or what to find the direct object of the sentence.

He passed the ball to Jake.

She gave me a present.

I repaired his car.

The cat ate the mouse.

His neighbors had alerted the police.

He bought a valuable painting.

Key Difference - Subject Complement vs Direct Object

She gave me flowers.

What is the difference between Subject Complement and Direct Object?

Preceding Verb:

Subject Complement follows a linking verb.

Direct Object follows an action.

Purpose:

Subject Complement renames, identifies or describes the subject.

Direct Object and receives the action of the verb or shows the result of the action.

Noun vs Adjective:

Subject Complement can act a noun or adjective.

Direct Object acts as a noun.

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