Ditransitive Verbs

Ditransitive verbs are transitive verbs that take two objects. A direct object and an indirect object. Follow the article to read more about them.

Intermediate
What Are Ditransitive Verbs in English Grammar?

What Are Ditransitive Verbs?

Ditransitive (also called bitransitive or double transitive) verbs are verbs that can take both direct and indirect objects.

When Do We Use Ditransitive Verbs?

Ditransitive verbs are used when someone other than the subject receives something as the result of the action of the verb. Check out the examples:

I sent him a letter.

They gave Mother the presents.

ditransitive verbs

Ditransitive Verbs: Types

Ditransitive verbs can be categorized into three groups:

  • Ditransitive verbs that can be converted to mono-transitive verbs with 'to'

Have you paid him the money? → Have you paid the money to him?

Can you pass me the salt? → Can you pass the salt to me?

  • Ditransitive verbs that can be converted to mono-transitive verbs with 'for'

Will you buy me some candies? → Will you buy some candies for me?

Could you do me a favor? → Could you do a favor for me?

  • Ditransitive verbs that cannot be converted to mono-transitive verbs very well

She asked me several questions.

I struck the gate a heavy blow.

Ditransitive Verbs: Sentence Structure

Follow the rules to make correct sentences:

  1. Choose the correct subject.
  2. Use a proper ditransitive verb.
  3. Write the indirect object right after the ditransitive verb.
  4. Use a direct object preceded by the indirect object.

'pass' is a ditransitive verb

Check out the following examples:

The server brought us the orders.

In this example, 'the server' is the subject the verb 'brought' is a ditransitive verb and the pronoun 'us' is the indirect object and the phrase 'the orders' is the direct object of the sentence.

His little sister gave him a present.

Tip!

Sometimes grammarians tend to use indirect objects after the direct object, which does not make sense. The only way to use such a structure is through a prepositional phrase.
Note that the prepositional phrase is made of the prepositions 'for' and 'to.' Let us take a look at the examples:

She sold a house to my father.

In this example, the term 'house' is the direct object and the prepositional phrase 'to my father' works as an indirect object.

Please tell the truth to me.

Common Ditransitive Verbs

Here are some of the most common ditransitive verbs in English:

  • ask, buy, give, offer, send, show, tell
  • assign, bet, bring, cost, do, feed, find, get
  • lend, owe, pass, pay, play

Ditransitive Verbs and Passive Voice

As it is mentioned, ditransitive verbs take two objects, one is the direct one and the other one is an indirect object. Each object can turn to the agent of the passive voice. Let us take a look at the examples for more clarification:

He gave me a book. → active voice

The pronoun 'me' is the indirect object and the phrase 'a book' is a direct object, in this example.

A book was given to me by him. → Passive Voice

In this example, the direct object of the active voice has become the agent of the passive voice.

I was given a book by him. → Passive Voice

In this example, the indirect object has turned to the agent of the passive voice.

Attributive Ditransitive Verbs

Attributive ditransitive verbs (also called complex transitive verbs) are made of a subject, an object, and an object complement. Check these examples out for more clarification:

I accidently called him Bobo instead of Babbo.

In this example, the pronoun 'him' is the object and 'Bobo' is the object complement.

He called me a liar and I am going to prove him wrong.

Common Attributive Ditransitive Verbs

Here are some of the most common attributive ditransitive verbs in English:

  • appoint, call, color, consider, decorate
  • designate, elect, find, keep
  • make, name, paint, prove

Review

Ditransitive verbs are verbs that take both direct and indirect objects at the same time. Check out the table below.

Direct object Indirect object
Transitive verbs
Ditransitive verbs
Intransitive verbs

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