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Using Nouns and Noun Phrases as Direct Objects

Nouns have traditionally been defined as words for people, places, things, and ideas. A noun phrase consists of a noun plus any modifiers, complements, and determiners that provide more information about the noun. Pronouns, which are a subcategory of nouns, are words that take the place of nouns and noun phrases.

In grammar, a direct object is a word, phrase, or clause that follows and receives the action of a mono-transitive verb. Nouns, pronouns, and noun phrases most frequently function as direct objects in English grammar. Examples of nouns including pronouns and noun phrases as direct objects include the following:

  • My rabbit eats carrots. (noun)
  • Some dogs despise men. (noun)
  • The committee elected no one. (pronoun)
  • She loves him. (pronoun)
  • The hurricane destroyed the extremely tall building next to the ancient bowling alley. (noun phrase)
  • That man likes women who bake pies and enjoy rock climbing. (noun phrase)

References

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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