How to Find the Object in a Sentence

To find the object of a sentence, you must understand the sentence and use that understanding to identify the individual components that make up its meaning. The nouns in a sentence are either subjects or objects, with subjects being the focus of the sentence and objects being details provided in the sentence to shed additional light on the actions of the subjects. Keep in mind that sentences do not adhere strictly to a one-subject, one-object structure, and not all sentences have objects.

Lift the nouns and the verb from the sentence. You need the nouns because both the subject and the object are nouns. Similarly, you need the verb to tell which noun is the subject and which noun is the object.

For example, if you are presented with a sentence that reads, "Bob baked a pie," the important words to focus on are the nouns "Bob" and "pie," plus the verb "baked."

Use the verb to figure out which noun is a subject and which noun is an object. Subjects are the nouns that are acting while objects are the nouns that are being acted upon.

For example, "Bob" in the above sentence is doing the baking, meaning that "Bob" is a subject. In contrast, the "pie" is the noun that is being baked, meaning that "pie" is an object.

Check to see if there is more than one subject and/or object. Although most sentences have only one subject and one object, some sentences can have more than one of either type of noun or even more than one of both types of noun.

Continuing from the above example, if the above sentence had been "Bob baked a pie and a cake," then "cake" would be a second object in the sentence. Similarly, if the sentence had read, "Bob and Roberta baked a cake," then "Roberta" would be a second subject in the sentence.

Separate nouns identified as objects as either direct or indirect objects. Direct objects are being directly impacted by the action undertaken in the verb while indirect objects are impacted only indirectly by that same action.

For example, if the sentence had read, "Bob baked a pie for Roberta," both "pie" and "Roberta" are considered objects because they are the nouns impacted by the verb. However, "Roberta" is considered an indirect object because "Roberta" is not being baked but instead is the recipient of the "pie" that is being baked.

  • Keep in mind that the order in which words appear in a sentence is not a reliable method for distinguishing between subject, direct object and indirect object. Although writing in an active voice will follow a subject-object order, not all writing is in active voice. For example, if the sentence reads "A pie was baked by Bob," "Bob" is the subject while "pie" is the object.
About the Author

Alan Li started writing in 2008 and has seen his work published in newsletters written for the Cecil Street Community Centre in Toronto. He is a graduate of the finance program at the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Commerce and has additional accreditation from the Canadian Securities Institute.

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