Direct & Indirect Objects: A quick review for 9-1

An object is often necessary to complete a basic sentence containing an action verb. Objects also make sentences more meaningful to readers and listeners. Still not sure about what a direct or indirect object is? Here’s a quick review:

A direct object is the noun or pronoun that is receiving the action from the action verb in a sentence.  Finding direct objects in a sentence is simple. They answer whom? or what? about the action verb.

Scott kicked the ball into the net. Kicked what? (the) ball. Ball is the direct object.

Wanda took Sara to the theater.  Took whom? Sara. Sara is the direct object.

There can be more than one direct object in a sentence.  These are called compound direct objects. Example: David planted an apple tree and a lemon tree this weekend. Who planted? David planted. Planted what? An apple tree and a lemon tree are the direct objects.

As well, sentences that have a direct object may also contain an indirect object. An indirect object is directly related to the direct object, it tells who is the recipient of the direct object. You cannot have an indirect object within a sentence without having a direct object first. To identify an indirect object in the sentence ask to or for whom? or to or for what? after the action verb.

Steven showed Cory his iguana.  Who showed? Steven did. Showed what? An iguana (direct object). Showed (an iguana) to whom?  Cory; so Cory is the indirect object.

Tip: Indirect objects are always found between the verb and the direct object. Be careful not to identify an object of the preposition with a direct object:


Margaret sent a postcard to Donna. (Donna is the object of the preposition to; it is neither an indirect or direct object.)

Margaret sent Donna a postcard. (Donna is the indirect object receiving the direct object, the postcard).

Got it? ~~~LMM




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