Indirect Object

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This article is part of the grammar course.

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The Indirect Object is the thing or person onto or for whom the action of the verb is performed - indirectly. In "The King gave some land to the hero", 'some land' is the Direct Object, and 'to the hero' is an Indirect Object. It will help our analysis if we label the Direct object (1) and the Indirect object (2).

An Indirect Object is rarely used without a Direct Object in the same sentence: we don't 'give him' unless we say what it is that we gave to him (though in spoken English, at least, we can say 'tell me'). The Direct Object (1) almost always precedes the Indirect Object when the latter is a prepositional phrase; when it is a noun or a pronoun without a preposition, its position is more variable.

The two Objects can be in the reverse order, (2) (1), e.g. "I am writing it for you"; "King Lear gave his kingdom to his daughters". Here the Indirect Object is usually a Preposition Phrase.