Indirect Object (definition)

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An 'indirect object' (also referred to as 'secondary object') appears in the environment of a ditransitive verb, where the 'indirect object' is the first noun phrase after the verb (when there are two NPs) or an obligatory prepositional phrase . Indirect objects typically express goals and locations for verbs that define a caused change or location or movement, or express a benefactor. For example, the in the following sentences the indirect object is bold faced.

  1. . Tako gave Zelda the cake
  2. . Tako gave the cake to Zelda
  3. . Calvin put it on the dresser
  4. . Dave bought Melissa the flowers
  5. . Dave bought the flowers for Melissa

Interestingly in Scottish Gaelic,the sentence types in (1) and (5), where the 'indirect object' precedes the direct object is not grammatical as in (6)-(7).

  1. . *Thug Morag Bill leabhar.
   give.Pst	Morag	Bill	book
   ‘Morag gave Bill a book.’
  1. . Thug Morag leabhar do Bhill.
  give.Pst	Morag	book	to	Bill
  ‘Morag gave a book to Bill.’

See Also

Valence (definition) Double Object Constructions (definition)

External Links