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Indirect Object

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2:19 min read
  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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A sentence in English language is made up of a subject, a verb and sometimes an object. We all are familiar with what a subject and a verb is, but what is the object. The subject of a sentence is the noun who does the action and the verb is the word that describes the action being done. The object however is the noun/pronoun on whom/which the action is being done. This is the simplest type of object and is referred to as a direct object.

But what is an indirect object? Yes, it exists in English language and today, we will discuss the meaning and correct usage of the indirect object. We will also make it easy for you to identify an indirect object in a sentence.

Indirect Object

Indirect object is a type of object that is found in English sentences. Indirect objects are very rare in English writing and it will take you several paragraphs or pages to find an indirect object in a text.

An indirect object only appears in a sentence that has a direct object because it has a connection with the direct object.

The direct object in a sentence can be identified by asking the question what or who after the verb of the same sentence.


The kite was run down by Adam.

In the above sentence, ask the question what or who after the verb run down. The answer is Adam. And that gives away our direct object which is Adam.

When an indirect object is concerned however, it can be identified by asking the question who or what got the direct object? Thus, it makes it absolutely essential for an indirect object to exist with a direct object in a sentence. If the direct object is missing, so is the indirect object.


Darren painted the scene for his friend.

Now consider the above example.

Darren (the subject) has painted (the verb) the scene (the direct object). Identifying the direct object in the sentence is easy and once you had done that ask for what or who? Now the answer to this question will be your indirect object. Friend is the noun who gets the painting (direct object) so it is our indirect object.


The kid told the truth to his mom.

This is another simple example containing an indirect object but in order to identify that you first have to identify the direct object. As we can see, truth is the direct object and who gets the direct object? Mom. So mom is the indirect object in this case.

So an indirect object, though rare, is always accompanied by a direct object and in order to identify it, you first have to identify the direct object of that sentence.


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