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Using Pronouns as Object Complements

Traditional grammars describe nouns as words that name people, places, things, and ideas. Pronouns are a subcategory of nouns that take the place of nouns, noun phrases, noun clauses, and other grammatical forms. A noun phrase consists of a noun including a pronoun plus any modifiers, complements, and determiners that provide more information about the noun or pronoun.

In grammar, an object complement is a word, phrase, or clause that directly follows and describes or completes the direct object. In addition to nouns, pronouns also perform the function of object complement. Examples of relative pronouns as object complements include the following:

  • You painted the bathroom this?! (demonstrative pronoun)
  • He considered the movie what? (interrogative pronoun)
  • The neighbors stained their fence which? (interrogative pronoun)
  • The committee may elect me either. (indefinite pronoun)
  • You should appoint her something. (indefinite pronoun)
  • My boss designated me something stupid. (indefinite pronoun phrase)


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.

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