Indirect Object

Definition: An indirect object precedes the direct object and tells to whom or for whom the action of the verb is done and who is receiving the direct object. There must be a direct object to have an indirect object. Indirect objects are usually found with verbs of giving or communicating like give, bring, tell, show, take, or offer. An indirect object is always a noun or pronoun which is not part of a prepositional phrase. Indirect objects are usually placed directly before the direct object.

For example:

  • He gave Mary a rose.
    * The predicate of the above sentence consists of the transitive verb "gave," the indirect object "Mary," and the direct object "rose."

Indirect objects can also be complex, consisting of the simple indirect object and all the words describing it.

For example:

  • I bought the little boy with the crooked grin a lollipop.
    * simple indirect object = "boy"
    * complex indirect object = "the little boy with the crooked grin"


  • She gave me the report.
    * Who received the report? "Me". So "Me" is the Indirect object.
  • King Arthur put her sword on the table.
    * King Arthur is the subject; "put" is the verb; the sword is the direct object; the table is the indirect object.

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