5-3 Indirect Objects

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A sentence can have a direct object and an indirect object.  The indirect object answers the question, "To whom?" or "To what?"  The indirect object is the person or thing that receives the direct object from the subject.

Hank gave John the ball.

The ball is the direct object (gave what?) and John is the indirect object (to whom?).  John is the answer to the question, "Hank gave the ball to whom?"

The U. S. Constitution gives people freedom.

The direct object is freedom.  Who is given freedom?  The indirect object, "people."

We do not use the word "to" with an indirect object.  Although "to" maybe looked at as an indirect object it is a prepositional phrase.  Look at the two sentences below.

Hank gave John the ball.

Hank gave the ball to John.

Both sentences mean the same thing.  However, the first sentence uses "John" as an indirect object while the second sentence uses "to John" as a prepositional phrase.

When you look for indirect objects, be careful of prepositional phrases.

Identify the indirect objects below.

The sailor gave me the flag.
Indirect object

People send Jenny cards.
Indirect object

Kari provides Bob worms for fishing.
Indirect object

The law gives people rights.
Indirect object

The book provides Jim the answers.
Indirect object

Our computer sends Dad email.
Indirect object

My teacher teaches me reading.
Indirect object

The coach showed Jimmy the schedule.
Indirect object

The town board paid Frank the money due.
Indirect object

The store manager rearranged store aisles.
Indirect object



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Direct or Indirect Objects