A direct object receives the action done by the subject. It can be a noun, pronoun, phrase, or clause.
A direct object can be identified by asking the “what” (or “whom”) question using the subject and verb of the sentence.
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The correct answer is
The smallest number is the one that comes first while counting.
To arrange the given numbers in order from smallest to greatest, find the smallest number among all the given numbers.
21 is the smallest number.