• Revision:Direct Object Complement - Complement d objet direct

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Complément d'objet direct

The complément d'objet direct (COD) is the recipient of the action accomplished by an active verb. It defines itself as becoming the subject when a sentence is transformed into the passive voice.

J'ai salué mon frère (Mon frère is the complément d'objet direct). Mon frère a été salué (Mon frère is the subject, now that the sentence has been rewritten in the passive form).

It is, however, difficult sometimes to transpose a sentence into the passive, in which case the COD seperates itself from the COI by its formation WITHOUT a preposition (ie. à, de, etc.).

J'ai donné un cadeau à mon frère (à mon frère is a COI as it is formed with a preposition (à). This sentence also has a COD: un cadeau; which is formed without a preposition).

J'ai frappé mon copain (mon copain is a COD as it is formed without a preposition).


  • The COD is formed without a preposition and is part of the verbal group.
  • It is generally placed after the verb, except when used with a relative or interrogative pronoun (que).

Les chats que j'ai vus... (relative).
Qu'est-ce qu'on peut faire ? (interrogative).

  • It can be replaced by a personal pronoun (me, te, se, nous, vous, etc., in which case it precedes the verb.
  • In the imperative, the COD is joined to the verb with a hyphen and placed after.

Types of COD

A COD could be:

  • A noun or nominal group

Je caresse le chat (noir).

  • A pronoun

Je l'ai vue plusieurs fois.

  • An infinitive

J'aimerais voir....

  • A proposition complétive (completive clause)

Je sais que l'imparfait du subjonctif est le plus sexy des temps.

  • A proposition infinitive (infinitive clause)

Je l'ai entendu conjuguer le subjonctif imparfait (This sentence actually has two CODs; the other one being the pronoun "le").


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