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.





Hello Sir
I gave a diary to Mary./ I gave Mary a diary
Are both these sentences correct? Both give the same meaning.
Is 'a dtary' the direct object and 'Mary' is the indirect object?
Please let me know.
Thank you.

Hi Lal,

Yes, both are correct and they mean exactly the same thing. In the first, 'a diary' is the direct object and 'to Mary' is a prepositional phrase. In the second, 'a diary' is the direct object and 'Mary' is the indirect object. The prepositional phrase in the first indicates who the indirect object is.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hey, I’d like to know what’s the difference between “She gave all her CDs away to charity.” and “She gave away all her CDs to charity.”
Thank you so much!

Hi zeynepucar,

There is no difference in meaning between these two sentences. Changes in the word order of separable phrasal verbs (like 'give away') don't change their meaning.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


Can you explain what "I've promised the ring to my daughter after I'm gone." means?

Thank you.

Hello learning,

This sentence means that the speaker's daughter will receive the ring after the speaker's death. The phrase 'leave something to someone' is about inheritance - passing on what we own to others (family or friends, for example) after we die.



The LearnEnglish Team


Thank you. But why would a father give his daughter a ring? Shouldn't the husband do that instead?

Thanks again.

Hi learning,

The ring the father plans to give to his daughter is not an engagement ring. It could be some kind of family heirloom, for example.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,

Are the following sentences correct,

When are you bought a cycle?
When was he sold it?

Thank you.

Hello KMC1,

No, those sentences are not correct. I'm not sure what you are trying to say in terms of the time reference (past, present, present perfect etc) so I don't want to suggest a correct version, but you can find information on how to form questions on this page.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team