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Apart from sentence structure and its types, the English language has objects too which are included in the concept of Grammar. Let us now look at Direct and Indirect objects and try to understand what each of them means.


First of all, the normal order of an English sentence is SUBJECT-VERB-OBJECT. Something like this, ‘He threw the glass.’

In the above sentence, the subject is ‘He’, while the verb is ‘threw’ and the object is ‘glass’. In the sentence, the action of the verb is ‘threw’. The subject ‘He’ performed the action ‘threw’ and the object ‘glass’ received the action. ‘The glass’ is the direct object in the given sentence. This is why the direct object directly received the action.

The teacherdrewthe table.
TheyHave boughtA bike

You must have noticed that in all the above examples, the subject is ‘doing’ or ‘performing’ the action. The direct object is receiving or undergoing the action.

Note that a direct object can be one word or several words. 

For eg:

  1. Noun (We ate chocolate.)
  2. Noun phrase (They bought a big house.)
  3. Pronoun (She hates you.)
  4. Phrase (I hate mopping the floor.)
  5. Clause (I hate when he yells.)

Note that direct objects are used with transitive verbs only. Direct objects are NOT used with all verbs. Direct objects can only be used with transitive verbs. By using a transitive verb, the action ‘transits’ from the subject through the verb to the direct object (He threw the glass.) Over here, the verb ‘threw’ is a transitive verb because it has a direct object. On the other hand, verbs like live, cough, sneeze, sit, stand do not pass any action towards anything else. Because they are intransitive, they will not have any object. 

Remember to not use direct objects with linking verbs. Linking verbs do not perform any action. In order to check out for a direct object exists in a sentence or not, ask “what?” or “whom?” about the verb.

Let’s have a look at the indirect object.


 Learning indirect objects is no science rocket. It is as simple as it looks. 

The indirect object of a verb receives the direct object. In effect, the action moves from the subject to the verb, to the direct object, and lastly to the indirect object.

For eg:

  1. The teacher gave the class an assignment. 
  2. I typed her a message.
  3. Dias gave Joanna a bouquet.

Note that an indirect object can be one word or several words. 

  • Noun (They normally don’t welcome guests in the house.)
  • Proper noun (The dealer sold Mary a fake ring.)
  • Noun phrase (They welcomed their mother in law in their new house.)
  • Pronoun (Please buy her a new hairband.)

Remember that an indirect object needs a direct object. First, there must be a direct object in order to have an indirect object in the sentence. It also means that only transitive verbs can have an indirect object. This is because only transitive verbs can have a direct object. In order to check whether a sentence has an indirect object, first, you need to find the verb and the direct object. The pronoun must be in an objective case if an indirect object is a pronoun. Indirect objects can even appear in positive, negative, imperative sentences, and even in question sentences.

Quiz on Direct and Indirect Object