Direct And Indirect Object

The term object refers to a noun or pronoun that comes after the verb, in an active clause.

  • Jane wrote a story.
  • He bought a car.

Many verbs can be followed by two objects – an indirect object and a direct object. The indirect object usually refers to a person and the direct object usually refers to a thing. In the sentence Ann gave me a watch, the indirect object is me, and the direct object is a watch.

Direct Object

The label direct object refers to a person or thing affected by the action of the verb. In the sentence John hit Mike, Mike is the direct object. When the verb takes two objects, the direct object usually follows the indirect object.

He gave me (indirect object) a nice gift (direct object).
I told him (indirect object) a story (direct object).
She showed me (indirect object) her room (direct object).

Indirect object

Most transitive verbs take a single object. But certain transitive verbs, like give, ask, offer and tell, take two objects after them – an indirect object and a direct object.

The indirect object usually refers to a person to whom something is given or for whom something is done.

I gave him (indirect object) a nice gift (direct object).
He told me (indirect object) a secret (direct object).
Will you do me (indirect object) a favour (direct object)?

The indirect object usually comes before the direct object. However, it is also possible to put the direct object before the indirect object. In that case we use the preposition to or for before the indirect object.

I gave a nice gift to him.
She told a secret to me.
Will you do a favour for me?

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Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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