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.


 

Exercise

Exercise

Comments

Hello François,

All of the questions you wrote are grammatically correct, and all four are commonly used with no difference in meaning.

Note that in all of your questions, the wh-word refers to the direct object. When the wh-word 'who' refers to the indirect object in a question, the preposition 'to' or 'for' is used; such a question without the preposition is not correct: *Who did you send it? (incorrect) --> Who did you send it to? (correct)

I hope this helps.

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Team,

In question 1(Exercise 2), is it possible to rephrase it like this?

She gave away all her CDs to charity.

Thanks in advance

Hi!
I have a question about the pattern of these phrases:
- I poured him another drink
- Their mother read them another story
Can we write them in this other way:
-I poured another drink for him
-Their mother read another story to them
Is it correct? Is the first way more common?
Thank you!

Nuras

Hi Nuras,

Yes, all of the sentences you wrote are correct, and the two pairs of sentences mean the same thing. The versions of these sentences with indirect object pronouns (sentences 1 and 2) are probably more common in informal speaking, but the other versions (sentences 3 and 4) sound perfectly natural as well. As is explained above, however, if the indirect object is long, the prepositional phrase option is normally used.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Verbs with two objects has always been a headache for me

I think next time will be better .unuisually question  .

who can make different between hung up hung on  

Hi!
Trere is a missing word in question 7 .

Hello,
Are you talking about the first or second exercise? Question 7 in both of them looks fine to me!
Best wishes,
Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi
In the second activity page four the sentence  "he offered to help us move house" but shouldn't it be " he offered to help us move the house.
thanks
luna

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