3

I saw him cross the road.

Is cross the road the object of saw? Or is it the complement of him?

4

In this sentence, to cross the road is an objective predicative complement within the sentence.

Such phrases take the general form:

SUBJECT + VERB + OBJECT + COMPLEMENT

The object here is clearly him.

Side note

As far as I'm aware, the "objective complement" is a rather peculiar construct to the English language. Other European languages (I can vouch for French and Spanish at least) require a separate clause, something akin to I saw that he crossed the road. (Also perfectly grammatical English, but less natural.)

1

A verb (cross) cannot be the object.

Break the statement into smaller pieces and the true object becomes more obvious:

I saw him

'I' subject, 'saw' verb, 'him' accusative object

he crossed the road

crossing is a separate activity to the seeing

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.