Direct Object (definition)

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The direct object of a verb in English is typically the [[Noun Phrase (definition)|noun phrase (NP)] that follows the verb. The phrase the bagels in the sentence I ate the bagels. is the object of the verb ate. Often, the direct object is the theme or patient argument of the verb, which expresses the entity undergoing the action of the verb, although the correspondence between direct objects and themes is not one-to-one. One can find objets that aren't themes and themes that aren't objects. With ditransitive verbs in English in the [[Double Object Construction (definition)|double object construction, the direct object is the second of the two NPs that follows the verb. So in the sentence I gave Bill the bagels. the phrase the bagels is the direct object. (I I is the subject and Bill is the indirect object). In English, pronouns that are in object position always take the accusative case (me, him, her, us, them etc.)

In Gaelic, the direct object is usually the second NP in the sentence. So in the sentence Chunnaic mi i. 'I saw her', i is the direct object. The exception to this rule is when the subject NP is missing, as in imperatives "Ith do bhiadh, where do bhiadh is the direct object, despite being the first (and only) NP in the sentence. The same is also true in those rare situations where the subject is bundled up in the the inflection of the verb (as in the conditional) or is part of a prepositional phrase (e.g. is toigh/toil leam bainne). In Gaelic the direct object is in the common case.

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External Links

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  • Carnie, Andrew (2006) Syntax: A Generative Introduction. Malden, Wiley Blackwell.
  • Matthews, P. H. (1997) The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.