English Daily Workout: Direct and Indirect Objects: Lesson & Exercises

Direct and Indirect Objects: Lesson & Exercises

English Grammar Lesson and Exercise: Direct and Indirect Objects






1. Direct objects
 

Most of the verbs examined so far have been in the Active Voice. When a verb is in the Active Voice, the subject of the verb refers to the person or thing performing the action described by the verb; and the object of the verb refers to the person or thing receiving the action described by the verb.

In the following examples, the objects of the verbs are printed in bold type.
e.g. He read the book.
      I did not see the balloon.
      They ate the potatoes quickly.
      She rode her bicycle along the sidewalk.
      Do we understand it?

In these sentences, the verbs read, did see, ate, rode and do understand are in the Active Voice; and the words book, balloon, potatoes, bicycle and it are the objects of the verbs. These objects are said to be direct objects, because they refer to things which receive directly the actions described by the verbs.


1. In each of the following sentences, underline the direct object of the verb. For example:
      She forgot the pencils.
      She forgot the pencils.

      Was he writing a letter?
      Was he writing a letter?

      You did not answer the question.
      You did not answer the question.








3. Indirect objects

In addition to taking direct objects, some verbs also take indirect objects. In the following examples, the direct objects are printed in bold type, and the indirect objects are underlined.
e.g. We gave the child a toy.
      I sent the man the information.

In these examples, the words child and man are said to be the indirect objects of the verbs gave and sent. Indirect objects refer to things which receive indirectly the actions described by the verbs. In the above examples, the words toy and information are the direct objects of the verbs.

Indirect objects usually refer to living things.

It is possible for a sentence containing an indirect object to be rewritten by placing a preposition before the indirect object. When this is done, the original indirect object can be regarded either as the indirect object of the verb, or as the object of the preposition.

For example, the sentence We gave the child a toy, can be rewritten as follows:
      We gave a toy to the child.
In the rewritten sentence, child can be regarded either as the indirect object of the verb gave, or as the object of the preposition to.

The following examples illustrate the position of the indirect object in a sentence. The direct object, toy, is printed in bold type, and the indirect object, child, is underlined.
e.g. We gave the child a toy.
      We gave a toy to the child.

When an indirect object is not preceded by a preposition, the indirect object must be placed before the direct object. Thus, in the sentence We gave the child a toy, the indirect object child is placed before the direct object toy.

However, when an indirect object is preceded by a preposition, the indirect object must be placed after the direct object. In the sentence We gave a toy to the child, the indirect object child is preceded by the preposition to. Therefore, the indirect object, child is placed after the direct object toy.

The object which is placed last in a sentence tends to receive greater emphasis than the object which is placed first. Thus, the word order of a sentence can be varied in order to give greater emphasis to one object or the other. For instance, in the sentence We lent the teacher a book, the direct object book is slightly emphasized. However, in the sentence We lent a book to the teacher, the indirect object teacher is emphasized.

6. Rewrite each of the following sentences, omitting the underlined preposition which precedes the indirect object, and making the necessary changes in word order. For example:
I bought a rose for the singer.
I bought the singer a rose.

She gave an apple to the boy.
She gave the boy an apple.

1. I handed the book to the student.
2. He wrote a letter to the twins.
3. She made a scarf for the girl.
4. I told the story to the audience.
5. We paid the money to the dentist.
6. He sent a reply to the doctor.
7. We offered the job to the students.
8. She told the news to her friends.



7. Rewrite each of the following sentences, inserting the preposition to before the indirect object, and making the necessary changes in word order. For example:
      I wrote the president a letter.
      I wrote a letter to the president.

      They showed the visitor the garden.
      They showed the garden to the visitor.

1. We sent the reporters a photograph.
2. They mailed the agency a postcard.
3. I paid the manager the fee.
4. We sold the students the doughnuts.
5. You read the teacher the story.
6. She mailed the seamstress the material.
7. I sent the workers a message.
8. He offered his guest the wine.

Chapter 11: Transitive and Intransitive Verbs
Table of Contents