Direct and Indirect Objects in English Grammar | Useful Tips & Examples

Identifying what direct and indirect objects are and the differences between them can seem a little tricky, but all it takes is a little practice and you’ll have it down before you know it. This article will help guide you to understand what the difference between direct and indirect objects are, how to find them in a sentence, and even some tips on how to write your own.

Direct and Indirect Objects

The Differences Between Direct and Indirect Objects

Direct Objects

Let’s first find out what an object is because that’s essential if you want to know what direct and indirect objects are. An object is the part of the sentence that gives meaning to the subject’s action of the verb. Let’s look at a sentence to help us better understand…

  • Randy threw the football.

The object would be “football” because the football gives meaning to Randy throwing.

Now that we know what objects are and how to find them in a sentence, we can better understand what direct and indirect objects are. Direct objects answer the question of who or what. So from the sentence from the previous paragraph, “football” would also be the direct object, because it answers what Randy threw. If you’re looking to write your own sentence with a direct object, then first identify what your subject and verb are. Then you can ask yourself what you want the subject to act upon.

Indirect Objects

Indirect objects are a little different because they aren’t as commonly found in sentences. Indirect objects are the recipient of the direct object, so in order to have an indirect object, you must first have a direct object in the sentence. But it’s important to remember that just because there’s a direct object, that doesn’t automatically mean there’s an indirect object in the sentence too! Now let’s modify the sentence a bit so that you can see an example with an indirect object…

  • Randy threw Robert the football.

Again, the direct object would be “football”. From there, ask yourself to whom or for whom? The football was thrown to Robert, so, therefore, “Robert” is the indirect object because he’s the recipient of the football.

Useful Tips

Writing indirect objects in a sentence is optional, but if you’re wanting to write your own then it all starts with again, identifying the subject and the verb. Then, you can identify what the direct object is and ask yourself to whom, for whom, or for what do I want my direct object to be a recipient.

There are some tips that you can keep in mind when identifying direct and indirect objects. If you’re struggling to understand direct objects, then another trick that you can ask yourself is “verb what?” Going back to the sentence… Threw what? Randy threw the football. A trick for indirect objects is that you can remember that it comes between the verb and the direct object.

A good place to start is writing small sentences that contain a subject, a verb, and an object. From there, you’ll be able to ask yourself the simple questions that were previously explained.

Direct and Indirect Objects | Infographic

The Differences Between Direct and Indirect Objects in English GrammarPin