Published on February 27, 2014
Direct and Indirect Objects Professor Virginia Edith Rosete Tenorio Universidad Tecnológica de Cancún
Direct Objects In a sentence, the object that receives the action of a verb is called “direct object”. For example, in the sentence: Mike and Don bought a new car. What did Mike and Don buy? They bought a new car. So, new car is the direct object.
To identify the direct object we can simply ask whom? Or what? Examples: 1) The doctor had my mother waiting a long time. Whom waited a long time? my mother. So, my mother is the direct object.
2) All students failed the final exam. What did the students fail? the final exam. So, final exam is the direct object. 3) The loud noise caught my attention. What did the loud noise catch? my attention. So, my attention is the direct object.
Indirect Objects In a sentence, the indirect object usually refers to a person and it frequently comes between the verb and the direct object.
For example, in the sentence: verb Direct object Paul gave his girlfriend a big rose. rose is the direct object and the object between it and the verb ‘gave’ is the indirect object, that is: his girlfriend.
To identify the indirect object we can simply ask to whom? or to what? Examples: 1) Claire delivered her dad the parcel. To whom did Claire deliver the parcel? To her dad. So, her dad is the indirect object.
2) Bob should write his mom a letter. To whom should Bob write a letter? To his mom. So, his mom is the indirect object. 3) They will send us a fax immediately. To whom will they send a fax? To us. So, us is the indirect object.
Sometimes, the indirect object can come after the direct object. In such cases, we use either for or to with the indirect object.
For example, the sentence: I can lend you the book. Can be turned into: I can lend the book to you.
More examples: Keep her the seat. Can be turned into: Keep the seat for her.
Kristi made me a delicious cake. Kristi made a delicious cake for me.
However, be careful! We never use ‘for’ or ‘to’ with the indirect object if this is between the verb and the direct object. For example, the sentence : I can lend to you the book. Is incorrect.
Practice In the following sentences underline the direct object and circle the indirect object. Example: He will write Sandy a letter.
They’ve bought their son a new car. Sheila cooked her family an awesome dinner. The students have already shown me their project. She sent Dan a letter. Stop telling me lies! The plumber sent us the bill for fixing the pipe. Mike bought us tickets for tomorrow’s game. Grandma read the children a story before bed. Steve wrote her a beautiful poem. The doctor prescribed Rob some medicine.
Now, re-write the former sentences, using for or to. Example: He will write Sandy a letter. He will write a letter to Sandy.
A direct object answers the question Who? or What? after a transitive verb.
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Learn how to recognize direct and indirect objects in sentences and how to recognize the difference between direct objects and subject complements.
The Indirect Object Recognize an indirect object when you see one. Indirect objects are rare. You can read for pages before you encounter one.