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Using Verbs and Verb Phrases as Object Complements


Using Verbs and Verb Phrases as Object Complements

Traditional grammars notionally define verbs as “words that denote an action or a state of being.” A verb phrase is a grammatical structure that consists of a verb that functions as the verb phrase head plus any auxiliary verbs, particles, modifiers, complements, and objects.

In grammar, an object complement is a word or phrase that directly follows and modifies the direct object. Although nouns, pronouns, and noun phrases most frequently perform the function, verb phrases in the form of present participles and infinitives sometimes, although rarely, function as object complement in English. Some grammars refer to present participles that perform nominal functions as gerunds. Examples of verbs and verb phrases as object complements include the following:

  • She considers her favorite activity studying English grammar. (present participle)
  • Cultural analysts declare the American pastime playing baseball. (present participle)
  • The little girl finds her least favorite job cleaning the bathroom. (present participle)
  • Your supervisor considers her least favorite duty dealing with customers. (present participle)
  • The game show host will announce the final challenge scaling the rock wall. (present participle)
  • The teacher declared the extra credit homework to write a report. (infinitive)

Verb Phrase as Object Complement

Verb Phrase as Object Complement Grammar Tree



Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Written by Heather Johnson

Heather is a writer, librarian, linguist, wife, and mother who loves her husband, children, dogs, and cat. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in creative writing and master's degrees in library and information science and English studies with a concentration in linguistics.

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