“These Pretzels Are Making Me Thirsty!”

Before teaching grammar, I had never heard of object complement nouns or object complement adjectives.  I didn’t recognize it as a sentence pattern.

But when I had to teach it, I realized these sentences were EVERYWHERE.

To me, the funny one was “These pretzels are making me thirsty!”  My kids recognize this from the TV show Liv & Maddie, but I recognize it from Seinfeld.

Even if you aren’t a fan of either of these shows, you can see how this exclamation makes a nice sentence pattern for teaching.

So, to introduce this concept to me students, we start with this sentence on the board and we diagram it.

These pretzels are making me thirsty!


We would point out a few observations in the process:

  • “Are” is  a helping verb.
  • “Thirsty” describes “me,” which is why the line between “thirsty” and “me” slants back toward “me.”
  • Not all verbs will work with this pattern.  “Make” is one of the verbs that works well with this sentence pattern.
  • The pattern is: The subject is making a noun an adjective.
  • The pretzels are making me.  This is not a complete sentence.  That’s why it needs an object complement to make it complete.  The pretzels are making me what? thirsty
  • The sentence does not fit the other patterns.  “Me” could not be an indirect object.  (“These pretzels are making thirsty to me” does not make sense.)


After these observations have been made, we play a round (or two) of pass the board.

On their individual white boards (or paper), students all write “These” followed by a plural noun.

They pass the board to the right.  They all write the verb.  In this case, the verb is fairly limited.  They could all write “are making” or possibly change the tense (were making, had been making, made, make, etc).

They pass the board again.  They all write a person’s name or a pronoun.  You could also change it up and write an animal instead.

They all pass the board and write an adjective.  They add punctuation to the end and diagram the sentence on their own board. (The model sentence could still be on the main board at this time.)  I let the students read their sentences out loud.  We usually get a few laughs at the sentences they create.


I like this activity because the sentences follow a predictable pattern but the students have to diagram their own individual sentence instead of just copying the one on the main whiteboard.

As time allows, we might continue to pass the board, adding prepositional phrases, adjectives, or clauses.

After I began teaching these sentence patterns, I found that they were common in Scripture as well.



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