Objects

While the subject of a sentence performs an action, the object receives the action.

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For this reason, an object usually follows a verb. (They're just not the leading type.)

Verbs have two types of objects:
- Direct
-Indirect

Want an easy way to remember subjects and objects? Just remember this mantra: "I worship Shmoop." You are the one doing the worshipping, and we are the object of your adoration.

We feel so loved right now. All we want to do is hug you.

Note: Pretty much only non-linking verbs can take objects. If the verb functions like an equal sign, then the noun phrase in the predicate is really a complement. Keep clicking for more.

 

Direct Objects

A direct object is a noun or pronoun that receives the action in a sentence. It answers the questions what? or whom?

Examples

"The fog covered the graveyard."

In this eerie example, graveyard is the direct object because it answers the question of what the fog covered. (What did the fog cover? The graveyard.) You know, just before all of the dead rose and started dancing in perfect synchronization.

"Lebron schooled Kobe."

In this example, Kobe is the direct object because he's on the receiving end of the action. Kobe answers the question of who got schooled by Lebron.

"My sister's cooking frequently sets off the smoke alarm."

Here, the direct object is alarm because it answers the question of what is being set off by the speaker's well-meaning but stove-challenged sister.

 

Indirect Objects

An indirect object is a noun or pronoun that is also affected by the action of the verb, but it's not the main thing that's affected. It answers the question of to whom or for whom an action is done.

For that reason, an indirect object usually requires a direct object. But not always.

Yeah, language is weird.

Examples of Common Object Pronouns:

  • Me
  • You
  • Her
  • Him
  • It
  • Us
  • Them

Examples

"Gina's parents bought her a Mercedes for her birthday."

That's a pretty outrageous gift given that little Gina is only nine years old, but whatever. What's important here is that you know that, in this example, her is the indirect object. Her (Gina) is the recipient of the Mercedes, which, if you're keeping score at home, is the direct object.

"At the county fair, Luke won his girlfriend a giant teddy bear."

In this brief tale of romance and overpriced carnival games, girlfriend is the indirect object. It's kind of sneaky because there's no preposition in there, but look at it this way.

For whom did Luke win the giant teddy bear? His girlfriend.

"Whenever I'm sick, my dad makes me Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes."

Nobody takes care of you like Dr. Dad. In this example, me is the indirect object because the speaker (me) is the recipient of the pancakes Dad made. Those scrumptious pancakes? They're the direct object.

Object quiz