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Verbs with two objects – grammar chart

Verbs with two objects - double object verbs

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Direct and indirect objects

The direct object typically answers the question of ‘what’ or ‘who’.

  • I bought a nice sweater
  • What did you buy?
  • I saw Peter and Sarah.
  • Who did you see?

The indirect object typically answers the question ‘to whom’ or ‘for whom’.

  • I sent my friends a picture of the house. 
  • Who did you send a picture to?
  • I cooked my wife breakfast.
  • Who did you cook breakfast for?

Verbs with two objects

There are some verbs which have two objects: an indirect object and a direct object.

Some of these verbs are bring, buy, cook, find, get, give, lend, make, offer, pass, promise, read, sell, send, show, tell, and write.

After these verbs, there are two possible structures:

I sent my friends a picture.

I sent a picture to my friends.

If the indirect object is a pronoun (me, you, him, her, etc.), we normally use it next to the verb.

I sent them a picture.

To or for?

When we use the indirect object next to the verb, we do not use to or for.

  • I send to Alex a postcard. blank
  • I send Alex a postcard. blank

We use to or for in: verb + direct object + to/for + indirect object.

  • I sent a postcard to Alex. 
  • She bought a present for her friend.

Some verbs are used with to, and some other verbs are used with for before the indirect object.

To + indirect object

Some common verbs that are used with to + indirect object are give, lend, offer, pass, promise, read, sell, send, show, tell, and write.

  • You should give an apology to Tom. 
  • She showed the letter to all her friends.

For + indirect object

Some common verbs that are used with for + indirect object are bring, buy, cook, find, get, and make.

  • Can you bring some food for the dog?
  • I’ll cook a nice dinner for you.