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Finding objects in sentences

I am running low on oil.
I had plenty of oranges.

Could you help me find the objects in those two sentences? What I've learned about finding an object in a sentence is an object is what receives action from a subject or is affected by a subject. An object also follows a transitive verb. If I ask a subject 'with what or whom', I will get an answer to be an object. In this case, the first sentence seems to have "oil" as an object, and the second sentence seems to have 'plenty of oranges/ oranges' as an object. Because if I ask with 'what' or 'whom' as long as they are not noun compliments.

Thanks in advance.


  • @mnahid89, the first sentence has no object. The object of the second sentence is, as you thought, plenty of oranges.

    If we remove the ends of the sentences, we get

    1. I am running or I am running out
    2. I had

    Now both choice in (1) are possible sentences. They don't need an object to be grammatical. But (2) needs something like plenty of oranges to make it grammatical.

    The technical term for verbs like have which need an object is TRANSITIVE. Verbs like run which don't need an object are called INTRANSITIVE. A good dictionary always tells you whether a verb is transitive or intransitive. Some verbs can be used both transitively and intransitively — which a good dictionary will tell you.

    Most dictionaries consider that run out is a verb consisting of two words. The technical term for a verb like this is PHRASAL VERB. The definition for this sense of the verb in the Oxford Online Dictionary is

    1.1 Use up one's supply of something.
    we've run out of petrol

    Now the sentence We've used up the petrol means the same thing as We've run out of petrol but the grammar is different. Use up is TRANSITIVE and is followed by an object. Run out is INTRANSITIVE, so if we want to express the same idea we use a PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE: of oil.

    There is another way of analysing it. You can say that run out of is a three-word verb. Then you can call oil a PREPOSITIONAL OBJECT. But dictionaries usually describe run out as a two-word verb.

  • @DavidCrosbie , thanks for your great explanation.

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