Compare direct vs. indirect object definitions and see direct and indirect object examples in sentences. Learn sentence structure and how to...
There are two types of objects in a sentence: direct and indirect.
The teacher gave the students a test.
In this sentence, "teacher" is the subject, "gave" is the verb, "students" is the direct object, and "test" is the indirect object.
You can usually identify the direct object by finding the verb and asking "what" or "whom" after it.
In the sentence: Sheila put the book on the table
you can ask "What did Sheila put on the table?" The answer is "book," which is the direct object.
In the sentence: The coach gave the players a pep talk
you can ask "What did the coach give the players?" The answer is "pep talk," which is the direct object. But you can also ask "For what did the coach give the players a pep talk?" The answer is "players," which is the indirect object.
In the sentence, The teacher read the students a story:
The direct object is "story" and the indirect object is "students." The verb is "read" and the direct object is the thing being read (the story), while the indirect object is the group of people for whom the action is being performed (the students).
In the sentence, Mary gave her brother a new toy.
The direct object is "toy" and the indirect object is "brother." The verb is "gave" and the direct object is the thing being given (the toy), while the indirect object is the person receiving the action (the brother).
You can usually tell if a sentence has an indirect object by finding the direct object and then asking "to whom" or "for whom" after it. If there's a noun or pronoun that answers that question, then you've found your indirect object.
Direct objects are most often used with verbs like "give," "show," "tell," and "send."
Indirect objects are most often used with verbs like "give," "send," and "bring."
But there are exceptions to this rule, so it's best to just learn how to identify them by looking for the questions "what" and "to whom" or "for whom."
Direct and indirect objects tell us about the verbs used in the sentence.