The direct object (COD) in French
What is the direct object complement in French
The direct object complement (French: le complément d'object direct) is an element of the verbal group, not introduced by a preposition, which makes it possible to specify the object of an action performed. The COD allows to complete a verb.
- belongs to the verbal group
- is an essential complement, it can not be deleted because the sentence would not make sense anymore.
- is always preceded by a direct transitive verb.
- is the word that becomes subject when turning the sentence to the passive form
|Je fais mes devoirs||Mes devoirs sont faits par moi||(I am doing my homework)|
|Nous achetons un cadeau.||Un cadeau est acheté par nous||(We are buying a gift)|
|Je pars faire la cuisine.||La cuisine est faite par moi||(I am going to cook)|
How to recognize the COD in French ?
It is important to know what is the subject and the verb before finding out what is the direct complement.
The direct object complement answers the following questions:
- Subject + verb + qui ?
- Subject + verb + quoi ?
In these two examples, you will study the entire sentence.
Nous achetons un cadeau. (we are buying a gift)
- the subject is "nous"
- the verb is "achetons"
- Now, ask the questions "quoi ?" to find the COD because here we are talking about an thing or an object.
- Nous achetons quoi ? → un cadeau
Pierre attend son amie. (Peter is waiting for his friend)
- the subject is "Pierre"
- the verb is "attend"
- Now ask the questions "qui ?" to find the COD because here we are talking about a person.
- Pierre attend qui ? → son amie
The position of the COD in French
The COD usually follows the verb except if it is a pronoun. The COD can be replaced with pronouns like:
When it is placed before the verb, the COD becomes a pronoun and has to agree in gender and number with the complement.
|After the verb||Nathalie fait la vaisselle||(Natalia is washing the dishes)|
|Before the verb||Nathalie la fait||(Natalia washes it)|
Do not forget that when the COD is before the verb, it agrees with the verb that use the auxiliary avoir to form the compound times.
- Ils avaient mangé les lasagnes.
- Ils les avaient mangés.
The grammatical category of the COD in French
The grammatical nature (French: la nature grammaticale) of a direct object can be:
- a noun or nominal group
- subordinate clause
- an infinitive verb
|Noun or nominal group||Samantha conduit la voiture||(Samantha is driving the car)|
|Pronoun||Samantha la conduit||(Samantha is driving it)|
|Subordinate clause||Samantha pense que tu sois faché||(Samantha thinks that you were angry)|
|Infinitive verb||Nous espérions dormir||(We thought we would sleep)|
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