Double object verbs

Level: beginner

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:

Verb + Noun (indirect object) + Noun (direct object)

Alternatively, 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:

Verb + Noun (direct object) + to/for + Noun (indirect object)

Common verbs with to and an indirect object are:





He gave his programme to the man next to him.
He gave the man next to him his programme.

They sent Christmas cards to all their customers.
They sent all their customers Christmas cards.

Common verbs with for and an indirect object are:


They booked a table for me at the restaurant.
They booked me a table at the restaurant.

We made toys for all the children.
We made all the children toys.

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.

If the indirect object is a pronoun, we normally use the Verb + Noun + Noun pattern:

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

Double object verbs 1


Double object verbs 2


Average: 3.7 (21 votes)
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Submitted by k. k_h on Sun, 01/10/2023 - 09:28


Objects are easy to identify. I know its definition, and I know it gave us "what or who" answer , but this structure confuses me.

I am going to school or Paris.

In this what is "to school"? I consider it object, but I realised it is not giving answers to what. Instead, it is giving answers to where. So it is an adverb.

Sir, here I asked for help. What is " to school " in this sentence? Object or anything else, if it is object then how?

Hello k. k_h,

In this sentence 'to school' is a prepositional phrase. It consists of a preposition and a noun phrase complement. In the sentence the prepositional phrase is an argument which complete the predicate (verb) 'go'.

This kind of analysis is really linguistics rather than language teaching and is not the focus of this site. StackExchange is a good site for questions like this:



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by User_1 on Wed, 03/05/2023 - 16:04


As for "double object verbs"
Is there a way to recognise which verbs are double object verbs, or should I look them up in the dictionary for their structure?
Is the structure memorized only by doing practice?
I can remember the structure of the verbs I use, but for all verbs it is difficult to memorise their structure.

Hi User_1,

Double object verbs often have a meaning related to giving or passing something to someone (e.g. give, send, bring, take, pass, contribute, distribute). So if you see a verb with a similar meaning, you can make a reasonable guess that it will be a double object verb. However, since each verb has its own individual characteristics, you should check a dictionary (or other resource) to confirm it.

As for remembering the structures, look for ditransitive verbs when you read or listen to English. When you notice one, make a note and then try to use it in your own writing and speaking. You can find lists of double object verbs (also called ditransitive verbs) online, but I suggest using them as a resource to check information rather than as a list of words to memorise.

I hope that helps.


Submitted by mags77 on Thu, 19/05/2022 - 21:03


The verb match is confusing. When do you use match and when do you use match with?
Your shoes match your dress.
We match job-seekers with suitable employers

Hello mags77,

As you say, both match by itself and match with are used. There is a difference in meaning:

match by itself - used when two things have the same pattern or style as each other: My shoes match my skirt as both are black and quite elegant.

match with - this has several meanings. You can see them with examples in this online dictionary:



The LearnEnglish Team