Direct and Indirect Objects

Direct Objects

A direct object is the receiver of action within a sentence. The direct object in “He hit the ball” is the ball. Be careful to distinguish between a direct object and an object complement. While a direct object receives the action, a complement adds information to, or renames, the object in question. Consider the following example:

  • They named their daughter Natasha.

In the above sentence, daughter is the direct object and Natasha is the object complement, which describes the direct object.

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Indirect Objects

The indirect object identifies to or for whom or what the action of the verb is performed. The direct object and indirect object are different people, places or things. The direct objects in the sentences below are underlined; the indirect objects are in italics.

  • The instructor gave his students A’s.
  • Grandfather left Rosalita and Raoul all his money.
  • Jo-Bob sold me her boat.

Incidentally, the word me (and similar object-form pronouns such as him, us, them) is not always an indirect object; it will also serve, sometimes, as a direct object.

  • Bless me/her/us!
  • Call me/him/them if you have questions.

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Exercises

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