Double Object Construction (definition)

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A linguistic construction, such as a sentence, can have two objects instead of one object; this is identified as a double object construction. Verbs like give and buy typically used in double object construction as in (1) and (2).

  1. Tako gave Zelda the cake
  2. Dave bought Melissa the flowers


Gaelic does not have double object constructions like (1)-(2), as can be seen in (3)-(4). Instead, the indirect object must appear after the direct object and must be contained in a prepositional phrase as in (5)-(6).


*Thug Morag Bill leabhar
give.Pst Morag Bill a book
'Morag gave Bill a book.'


*Bhruich Morag Màiri ugh
cook.Pst Morag Mary an egg
'Morag cooked May an egg.'


Thug Morag leabhar do Bhill
give.Pst Morag a book to Bill
'Morag gave a book to Bill.'


Bhruich Morag ugh airson Màiri
cook.Pst Morag an egg for Màiri
'Morag cooked an egg for Mary.'

Note the different prepositions (i.e. to and for) used in (5) and (6).

See Also

Argument (definition)

Indirect Object (definition)

External Links

DOC at Glottopedia


DOC at Glottopedia
Carnie, Andrew (2007). Syntax: A Generative Introduction. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.