Indirect Objects

Indirect Objects


Indirect Objects can be used in several ways.

  • Give some money to John.
  • Give some money to him.
  • Give it to John.
  • Give it to him.
  • Give John some money.
  • Give him some money.
  • Give John it. (not common)
  • Give him it. (not common)

(In some very informal situations, you may hear people use this one.

Example: angry mother to child: Give me it right now!!)

Note the following:

Lend me some money. Lend some money to me.
Bring me a cup of coffee. Bring a cup of coffee to me.
Get me a cup of coffee. Get a cup of coffee for me.
Make me a cup of coffee. Make a cup of coffee for me.
Ask him a question. Ask a question of him.
Tell her a story. Tell a story to her.

With Verbs

Let me do it. Allow me to do it.
Help me do it. Help me with it.
Do it for me. Have him do it.
Expect him to do it. Make him do it.
Force him to do it. Ask her to do it.
Tell her to do it. Tell a story to her. (Request)
Tell her to do it. (Command)

Direct Object and Indirect Object Patterns

Pattern A Pattern B Pattern C
I gave him an apple. I gave an apple to him. I bought a car for her.
I bought her a car. I opened the door for her.
I asked him a question. I explained it to him.

Pattern A and B

  • write, read, show, teach, tell, sell, send, lend, bring, take, pass, give

Pattern A and C

  • buy, get, make, find, do, bake, cash, save

Pattern A only

  • ask, cost, charge, wish

Pattern B only

  • explain, announce, describe, introduce, mention, prove, repeat, say, speak, report

(When used with for, has the meaning of “on behalf of”)

Pattern C only

  • open, answer, close, change, pronounce, prescribe

All patterns

  • sing

None of the patterns

  • eat, sleep, talk, walk, and most other verbs

If you have questions or comments about this page, please contact us.