1. Some verbs have two objects –an indirect object and a direct object:

Subject Verb Indirect object Direct object
My wife sent me an email
He brought his mother some flowers
He cooked all his friends a delicious meal

These clauses have the structure: V + N (indirect object) + N (direct object)

2. We can use a prepositional phrase with to or for with an indirect object:


Subject Verb Direct object Prepositional phrase
My wife sent an email to me
He brought some flowers for his mother
He cooked a delicious meal for all his friends.

These clauses have the structure : V + N (direct object) + Prepositional phrase (indirect object)

3. Common verbs with for and an indirect object are:

  • book
  • buy
  • get
  • cook
  • keep
  • bring
  • make
  • pour
  • save
  • find

They booked a table for me at the restaurant.
We made toys for all the children.

4. Common verbs with to and an indirect object are:

  • give
  • lend
  • offer
  • pass
  • post
  • read
  • sell
  • send
  • show
  • promise
  • tell

He gave his programme to the man sitting next to him.
They sent Christmas cards to all their customers.

5. If the indirect object is a long phrase we normally use to or for:

He showed his ticket to the policeman standing by the door.
We kept something to eat and drink for all the people who arrived late.

6. If the indirect object is a pronoun we normally use the N + V + N + N pattern:

I poured him another drink.
Their mother read them another story.






I am writing to you regarding a question about prepositional verbs. What is the technical term (grammatical term) for the relation between the prepositional verb and the ing-form (or whatever) that comes after the object of the preposition?

For instance, in the following sentence what is the grammatical term for the relation between "depends on" and "finishing"? (the name of the relation which suggests whatever that comes between the preposition and the verb, the verb will not be affected.)

Sentence: we may be ready tomorrow: it depends on John finishing his part of the work.

I know that the relation is idiomatic, arbitrary, transitive, semantic, syntactic, semantically interrelated and interdependent and indeclinable, but I am looking for a single grammatical term that completely defines this relation.

I really appreciate it if you kindly reply to my email. I would be waiting for your response.


hi aimikparis.

I'm afraid we don't deal with these kinds of topics on LearnEnglish. This is a site for people learning English, not linguistics. I will make one suggestion: I don't think it is useful to think about the relationship between the preposition and one particular word in the clause which follows. The relationship is on (preposition) + object, and the object is the whole clause which follows. 'On' does not have a direct relationship with individual parts of the clause, but rather with the clause as a whole.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi! plz tell me is this sentence correct or not. " You'll not let me rest in peace even when I die/even after my death.

" As my friends irritates me very much So I want to reply to her. Tell me is it correct or any other approriate way to express this.

Hello lleanaa,

Your sentence is fine, though I'd say 'even after' instead of 'when' and in informal contexts 'I die' would be better than 'my death'.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

I have the following doubt:are these examples correct?
I gave to him an orange
I told to him that he wouldnt pass

Hi La Rousse,

The first sentence is not incorrect but a different word order would be more natural:

I gave an orange to him.

The second sentence is not correct. We tell someone something, not *to someone:

I told him that he wouldnt pass.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, In "I ask him a question" is "him" an indirect object? It would seem so, but "I ask (to/for) him a question" really doesn't work--we would say "I ask (of) him a question". Thanks for any help you can give me!

Hi RBecker,

Yes, in this sentence 'him' is an indirect object. You are correct that we would say 'of' rather than 'to' if we wanted to phrase it differently, but this would be a very formal way to phrase it.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you!

I'm an English teacher and I've been looking everywhere for an answer to the following question: how do you ask a question with a double objet verb?

What did you book for Henry? or What did you book Henry?
What did you send her? or What did you send to her?

It seems to me that the first form is more elegant but the second doesn't seem ridiculous at all. Is the second form a mistake?

Thank you in advance for your answer.