Indirect Objects

Introduction

Here is a quick lesson on indirect objects.

The indirect object is a noun or pronoun that expresses to whom or for whom the verb action is done; however, the prepositions “to” or “for” are omitted in the sentence structure.

  • When a sentence uses an indirect object, it must also have a direct object. Do not confuse these two objects.
  • There are two ways to express to whom or for whom the verb action is done — with or without an indirect object.

Without an Indirect Object

You can use the prepositions “to” and “for”. When this is done, the noun or pronoun that is the object of the preposition is NOT an indirect object. It is simply the object of the preposition.

1a. I can do a favor for you. (“You” is the object of the preposition “for”.)

1b. I can send the report to you. (“You” is the object of the preposition “to”.)

With an Indirect Object

To use an indirect object in sentences 1a and 1b above, two changes must be made: (1) The “you” is moved to immediately after the verb (do/send). (2) The preposition (“for” or “to”) is OMITTED.

2a. I can do you a favor. (“You” is the indirect object.)(Direct object is “favor”.)

2b. I can send Tony the report. (“Tony” is the indirect object.)(Direct object is “report”.)

Self-Assessment

Identify any indirect objects in the sentences below. A sentence may or may not have an indirect object.

  1. I gave her some candy.
  2. I went to the store to buy some bread for her.
  3. I went to the store to buy her some bread.
  4. I saw them yesterday.
  5. I called you on the phone for an interview.
  6. I encouraged you to travel more.
  7. They did me a great favor when they all chipped in to buy me a wheelchair.
  8. I said it to her without any emotion in my voice.
  9. She told him a lie to avoid hurting his feelings.

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