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 scrim01,

I'd need to see the full sentence and context to be sure, but I think you've misunderstood the phrase 'Taiwanese aged 19 to 50 were grouped ...' I believe that this means there was a group of Taiwanese people between the ages of 19 and 50; these people were put into groups.

I say this because 1) it's a common structure in English and 2) the other sentences you suggest (e.g. 'Time aged 50 years to me') are not grammatical.

It's great that you're analysing things this carefully - you'll learn a lot this way!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

could you please give more information on other verbs such as announce, describe, explain,... and also verbs such as cause, ask, allow?!

Hello bahman.adabi,

I'm afraid that what we do in the comments is limited to answering questions about what is on our site or answering short, specific questions. I'd suggest you do an internet search for 'double object verbs' or 'verbs with two objects' and that you look up each of these verbs in the dictionary to analyse the example sentences you can find there. For example, here is the Cambridge Dictionary entry for 'announce'.

Good luck!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Am I wrong or your latest example has a mistake in?
"their mother read them another story"
"their mother reads them"

Hello eliyas.1368,

Both 'reads' and 'read' are possible here. 'Reads' is a present simple form while 'read' is a past simple form (it is an irregular verb).


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

oh yes...my bad! :)) sometimes even simplest points may be missed

I have a question related to indirect objects and basic sentence pattern. I gave this to him. is to him an idirect object? S - SVDOIO?
And also if I have a sentence like this: Structure trees are useful for the development of an understanding of sentence structure .

Hello little mix,

In the sentence you ask about, 'to him' is a prepositional phrase that is functioning as an indirect object, but in terms of sentence structure, it is not an indirect object. In the second sentence you ask about, from 'for' on is also a prepositional phrase, but it's not functioning as an indirect object. The adjective 'useful' can be followed by a preposition phrase with 'for' to say more about the use of something.

By the way, you might enjoy the sentence parser at the University of Berkeley. Enjoy!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, Why is it that ‘ She gave all her Cds away to charity’ is correct and why not 'She gave away all her CDs to charity'?

Hello Melody16,

Both of these are possible and there is no difference in meaning.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team