What is the difference between direct and indirect objects?
In the previous post, titled Part 1: What is the object?, we saw examples of short sentences with objects.
Michael is reading a letter.
My cousin paints portraits.
I really hate camping.
Have they discussed building a house?
These sentences follow a simple subject + verb + object structure.
The object follows immediately after the verb and is the direct focus of the verb.
These closely connected objects are called direct objects.
Here are a few more examples:
Lisa wrote a letter.
We said hello.
They bought a gift.
There is another kind of object called an indirect object. This might be described as the person whom the action is done to or for.
Lisa wrote a letter to her cousin.
We said hello to the visitor.
They bought a gift for you.
Using direct and indirect objects together
From the examples above, we can see that a direct object (DO) and an indirect object (IO) can be used together in the same sentence.
Lisa wrote a letter (DO) to her cousin (IO).
It is also possible to have one without the other.
IO only: Lisa wrote to her cousin.
DO only: Lise wrote a letter.
Notice that an IO is not always about a person. I can also be about a thing.
I designed a poster for the movie.
In the next blog post, we will see why grammatical objects can be complicated.
Part 3: When (and when not) to use objects
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