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Hi

I know that direct objects follow the verb and answer the question what or who? But I'm unclear firstly about whether they can also answer the question where? E.g. My brother lives in India. Is "in India" the object?

Also, is "very happy" an object in "My family is very happy"? If it is the complement rather than the object, what is the difference between the two terms?
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Anonymous My brother lives in India.
The verb "to live" is intransitive and does not take an object. "I sleep in my bed." These are prepositional phrases acting adverbially, modifying the verb and telling where.

The verb "to be" does not take an object. We sometimes say it takes a "complement," or it's completed by a noun or an adjective, or their equivalents. The sentence, "My family is happy" complements the verb "to be" with a "predicate adjective," "happy."

"My dream is winning The Lotto." "Winning" sounds like an object, but it's really a sort of noun, or another name for "my dream." In this case, "winning" is a gerund, which is the present participle of the verb "to win" acting as a noun. Also in this case, the whole phrase, "winning the lotto" serves as complement to the verb, or "predicate nominative."

The difference between an object and a complement actually lies with the verb. Transitive verbs take objects; verbs of being take complements; intransitive verbs take neither. (They take adverbial modifiers - adverbs and phrases - as do all verbs.)

"To hit" is a transitive, action verb. The car hit the wall. "Wall" is the object - the thing which was acted upon. I hit you. You hit me. The objects here are "you" and "me."

I gave you a present. The present gets the action, and is the direct object of the verb "to give." We say "you" is the indirect object.

I slept on my pillow. You may think "pillow" is the object, but in fact there is no object. I can't sleep something. I don't sleep my pillow. "To sleep" is an intransitive verb.

I am the king. The verb here is "to be." It takes a complement. (Predicate nominative and predicate adjective are more specific names for complement.)

I feel sick. The verb here is "to feel," but it's one of a special group of verbs which take adjective complements.

Unfortunately, you can't always pin down transitive verbs, intransitive verbs, and being verbs by asking yourself what question is answered by the words or phrases which follow.
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AnonymousMy brother lives in India. Is "in India" the object?
No. in is a preposition. in India is a prepositional phrase. Prepositional phrases can't be objects. Only nouns can be objects.
Anonymousis "very happy" an object in "My family is very happy"?
No. happy is an adjective. very happy is an adjective phrase. Adjective phrases can't be objects. Only nouns can be objects.

Also, the verb here is a linking verb (like am, is, are, was, were). When the verb is a linking verb, the sentence has no object, even if a noun follows the verb.

CJ
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