Some verbs, like give and bring can have two different patterns after them:

 

Noun Phrase (Subject) Verb Phrase Noun Phrase
(Direct object)
Prepositional
phrase
She
They
gave
brought
some money
a lot of food
to the old man
for the animals
     >>>>  <<<<
Noun Phrase (Subject) Verb Phrase Noun Phrase
(Indirect object)
Noun Phrase
(Direct object)
She
They
gave
brought
the old man
the animals
some money
a lot of food

These verbs are called double object verbs. When we have two noun phrases after the verb the first noun phrase is the indirect object and the second noun phrase is the direct object.

Exercise

Comments

Er yes. That's what I wanted to know. Which is the direct and indirect object in 'She fed the cat fish' ? if we take the obvious direct object 'fish' Why doesn't "She fed fish" stand on its own without exegesis, like "She fed the cat" does.
Ditto
She fed a cat to the alligator/She fed the alligator a cat
She fed coins to the slot machine/She fed the slot machine coins
If direct object is cat and coins respectively why don't they make complete and relevant sentences by themselves
And what are the direct and indirect obs in "She fed him information"
Is it a rephrasing of "She fed him with information" or "She fed information to him"If the former information is the indirect and if the latter, him is the indirect right?

Hi Darshanie,

When 'feed' has two objects, as in 'She fed the cat fish', the food ('fish') is the direct object and the being that eats ('the cat') is the indirect object.

When 'feed' has only one object, the object is not the food, but rather the eater of the food. I suppose in this case we'd call the eater of the food a direct object, even though it's more of an indirect object.

There may be an explanation for this apparent syntactical inconsistency, but I'm unaware of one if so. Although there is some disagreement about how language works, in general I'd say that although languages can be described using rules, these rules are descriptions of how people speak, and people speak using inconsistent patterns. One could consider this a circular argument, but in any case I'm afraid this is well beyond the level of analysis we do here at LearnEnglish.

As for 'She fed him information', the same pattern is in use as above: 'him' is the indirect object and 'information' is the direct object. I'm not sure I'd say this is a rephrasing of 'She fed him with information' -- I'd say it's an alternative phrasing (i.e. I don't think we can say one is more primary than the other) -- but it does mean the same thing.

I hope this helps you!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

This analysis is good enough Kirk. It's great you are there as a responsive resource. These kinds of inconsistencies only prove what I read somewhere, that grammar rules are just approximate models attempting to explain incompletely understood mental processes that produce speech patterns.

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