Direct Objects

Generally, an object is a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that usually comes after the verb. In this article we will talk about the direct objects.

Intermediate
"Direct Objects" in the English Grammar

What Are Direct Objects?

A 'noun,' a 'noun phrase,' or a 'pronoun' can act as the direct object of the verb.
It means that the action of the verb is being acted upon them. When we say 'direct' it means that the object is directly receiving the action of the verb. Direct objects are used after 'transitive verbs.' Now it may raise the question of what transitive verbs are. Let us explain in detail.

Direct Objects and Transitive Verbs

'Transitive verbs' are ones that need an 'object' to have a complete meaning.' Some transitive verbs can have two objects.

They ate dinner beside the sea coast.

Please give us a clear answer.

Nouns as Objects

Any kind of noun whether proper, common, singular, plural, countable, or uncountable can be used as the object of the sentence if you have a 'transitive' verb that requires a noun as the object. Check out the examples.

My mother saw Alex at the central park.

Pronouns as Objects

As you know, 'pronouns' are used to avoid repeating the same nouns. Here are the objective pronouns:

subjective pronouns objective pronouns
I Me
You you
He Him
She Her
It it
We Us
They Them

using a direct object in a sentence

Noun Phrases as Objects

'Noun phrases' are two nouns that are used beside each other to make a phrase. Sometimes we can use noun phrases as the direct object of the transitive verb. Remember, noun phrases can be made of two or more words. Check out the examples:

The little girl drank the apple juice by herself.

She decorated her grandmother's house.

Gerunds as Objects

As you might know, gerunds can be used as the subject or object of a sentence, as a result, we can use gerunds as the direct object of a transitive verb. Since the direct object of the transitive verb in a passive voice is the subject of a sentence, using gerunds will cause no harm.

I like cooking with my grandmother.

How to Find Direct Objects

As you know, direct objects are nouns, pronouns, or noun phrases that receive the act of the verb. As a result, You can easily find the direct object by asking who, whom, or what is being acted upon.

I gave him a card. ("Who was given a card?" "him.")

We started a new project. ("What was started?" "A new project.")

Active and Passive Voice

'Direct objects' can be used as the 'object' of the transitive verbs in the active voice and even as the 'subject' of the transitive verb in the passive voice.
Remember, here comes a golden hint: If the direct object of a 'transitive verb' is a pronoun you cannot use it as the 'subject' of a passive voice, So, you have to change them into 'subjective pronouns.'

I heard him. → ("He was heard by me.")

They studied medicine at university. → ("Medicine was studied by them at university.")

Objects with Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are made of two parts. The main part of a phrasal verb is the main verb and the second part is a preposition or an adverb. You can use direct objects in different places. Here are the structures:

  1. You can use a noun phrase or a noun as an 'object' between the two parts of the phrasal verb or after the phrasal verb.
  2. You can use an objective pronoun only between the two parts of the phrasal verb and you can never use objective pronouns after phrasal verbs.

Add them up, please. → (Not " Add up them, please.")

Add the numbers up, please. → (Also "Add up the numbers, please.")

Separable or Inseparable?

You cannot separate all the phrasal verbs. It means you cannot put an object between the parts of every phrasal verb. As a result, you cannot use an objective pronoun with these phrasal verbs at all. For example:

Elijah will care for the store, while you are not here. (Not "Elijah will care for it, while you are not here.)

The dog ran and got in the car. (Not "The dog ran and got in it.")

Review

The direct object directly receives the action of the verb. Here are the possible direct objects:

  • object pronouns
  • gerunds
  • nouns and noun phrases

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