Direct Objects for intermediate learners

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.

"Direct Objects" in the English Grammar

What Are Direct Objects?

In grammar, a direct object is a noun, noun phrase, or pronoun, that directly receives the action of the transitive verb in a sentence.

Transitive Verbs and Direct Objects

Some verbs are transitive which means they need an object to form a complete sentence. This type of verb can take more than one direct object. Take a look at the following examples:

When will you discuss the book?

Here, if you remove 'the book', the sentence will remain incomplete.

I can only donate ten dollars.

Now let us analyze how nouns, noun phrases and pronouns can function as direct objects.

Nouns as Direct Objects

Some English verbs require a noun as their object. In such cases, any noun -whether proper or common, countable or uncountable, and singular or plural- can function as the object. Let us study the following examples carefully:

Johnny talked to a cat on the street yesterday.

Here, 'cat' is used as the object and it is a common noun.

I saw Peggy on my way to school.

Here, 'Peggy' is the object and it is a proper noun.

Noun Phrases as Objects

A noun phrase is a group of words that includes a noun and any words that modify it, such as adjectives or determiners. Noun phrases can function as objects* in a sentence. Take a look at the examples below:

Yesterday, I read an article on 'The Revolt of the Angles'.

She corrected all the grammatical mistakes.

Pronouns as Direct Objects

As you know, pronouns are substitutes for nouns that are used to avoid repetition. First, let us go over object pronouns:

Subject Pronouns Object Pronouns
First Person Singular I Me
Second Person Singular You You
Third Person Singular (M) He Him
Third Person Singular (F) She Her
Third Person Singular (N) It It
First Person Plural We Us
Second Person Plural You You
Third Person Plural They Them

Now, let us take a look at some examples below:

Give it to Anne.

As you can see, 'give' needs two objects in order to be complete.

Would you please tell us the story.

Finding Direct Objects

In order to find the direct objects in a sentence, you can try using question words such as 'what', 'who', and 'whom'. Take a look at the following examples:

I told mother the good news. (What did I tell mother?)

They saw Alexa on the way. (Who did they see on the way?)

Tip!

Keep in mind that gerunds can function as objects too. Take a look at the following examples:

I love dancing ballet in front an audience.

Does she enjoy playing poker with her grandfather?

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