Verbs with two objects – grammar chart
Direct and indirect objects
The direct object normally 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 normally 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, 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 Alex a postcard. (NOT
I send to Alex a postcard.)
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, 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, make.
- Can you bring some food for the dog?
- I’ll cook a nice dinner for you.