Grammar

Difference Between Subject and Object

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Main Difference

The main difference between Subject and Object is that a Subject is a person or thing that does something or that is something, whereas the Object is the person or thing receiving the action from the subject.

Subject vs. Object

A subject is a person or thing that does something, or that is being something; on the other hand, the object is the person or thing receiving the action from the subject. The subject refers to the noun in a sentence that is doing something; on the flip side, an object is the ‘recipient of action or activity” in a sentence.

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In simple words, the subject is ‘the doer of the action’ while the object is ‘receiving the action.’ Generally, the subject comes before the verb; on the contrary, the object comes after the verb. The question words “what/who” are used to identify a subject; on the other hand, the question words “what/whom” are used to identify an object.

The subject has three types. These types are “simple subjects, compound subjects, and complete subjects.” On the flip side of the coin, the object is also categorized into two types. These types are “direct objects and an indirect object.” In a sentence, the nominative case represents the subject. In the case of the object, the accusative case represents it. In an active voice, a sentence with the same noun or pronoun, which is a subject that becomes the object in a passive voice sentence.

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Comparison Chart

SubjectObject
The doer of the action in a sentenceThe receiver of the action in a sentence
Question Words
What or whoWhat or whom
Order
Precedes the verbFollows the verb
Classification
Simple, compound, and complete subjectDirect and indirect object
Agreement with Verb
Agrees with the verbDoes not agree with the verb
Represented By
Nominative caseAccusative case

What is the Subject?

A subject is a person or thing that does something, or that is being something. The subject refers to the noun in a sentence that is doing something. A subject is also a place person or thing which is being described in a sentence. In simple words, the subject is the ‘doer of the action.’ The question words “what/who” are used to identify a subject. In a sentence, the nominative case represents the subject.

The subject has three types. These types are “simple subjects, compound subjects, and complete subjects.” If the subject is a pronoun or a noun without any modifiers, it is a simple subject. If the subject includes all its modifiers, it is the complete subject. If the subject includes two simple subjects or two compound subjects or one of the two, then it is a compound subject.

In an active voice sentence, the same noun or pronoun, which is a subject, becomes the object in a sentence of the passive voice. Subject nouns can be any of “personal noun, proper noun, pronouns, or noun phrases.” The subject in a sentence agrees with the verb. For instance, the predicate verb must also be plural in a sentence if the subject is plural.

Moreover, the subject is an essential component of any sentence. It precedes the predicate or main verb, but sometimes it also comes after the verb. It happens in such cases when the sentence is a question or starts with “here or there.” The simplest sentences in English contains only a subject and a verb. The subject is not only a word but can also be a group of words.

Examples

  • “The lion chewed the bone.” (Lion is the subject)
  • “She broke her left arm.” (She is the subject)
  • “The oldest lady in the town died today.” (Man is the subject)
  • There were three mangoes on the shelf. (Mangoes is the subject.)

What is Object?

The object is the person or thing receiving the action from the subject. An object can be a “noun, a noun phrase, a pronoun, or a longer complex object (modified).” An object is the ‘recipient of work’ in a sentence. The object comes after the verb in the sequence of a sentence.

In the case of an object, the accusative case represents it. In a sentence of the active voice, the same noun or pronoun, which is a subject becomes the object in a sentence of the passive voice. An indirect object is known to be receiving the direct object. The identification of the direct object can find indirect objects. The question words “what/whom” are used to identify an object.

An object is also categorized into two types. These types are direct objects and indirect objects. The direct object is a noun/pronoun/noun phrase that is receiving the activity or showing the result of the activity. The indirect object is known as the recipient or receiver of the direct object. The verb having an object is a transitive verb, whereas the verb with no object is an intransitive verb. The object belongs only to a transitive verb. Intransitive verbs usually represent indirect objects. Transitive verbs usually represent direct objects.

Examples

  • “I love chocolate cake.” (Chocolate cake is an object)
  • Henry met David last Sunday. (David is an object)
  • She hit the ball. (Ball is an object)
  • I passed John the bowl of snacks. (‘Bowl of snacks is the direct object, John is the indirect object)
  • My sister put the cat into the garden. (Cat is the object)

Key Differences

  1. The subject refers to the noun in a sentence, which is doing something, whereas an object is the receiver of action in a sentence.
  2. A subject is a person or thing that does something, or that is being something; on the other hand, the object is the person or thing receiving the action from the subject.
  3. The subject comes before the verb; conversely, the object comes after the verb.
  4. The question words “what/who” are used to identify a subject; on the flip side, the question words “what/whom” are used to identify an object.
  5. The subject has three types “simple, compound, and complete subjects.” While an object is also classified into two types, these types are direct and indirect objects.
  6. In simple words, the subject is the doer of the action; on the contrary, the object is the receiver of the action.
  7. In a sentence, the nominative case represents the subject; on the flip side, in case of an object, an accusative case represents it.
  8. In an active voice, sentence the noun or pronoun is a subject; inversely, the same noun or pronoun becomes the object in a sentence of the passive voice.

Conclusion

Subject and object are the two main components of a sentence. Both have their different grammatical roles which they play in a sentence.

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Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson