Unit 52 Verbs with two objects

Main points

* Some verbs have two objects, a direct object and an indirect object.

* The indirect object can be used without a preposition, or after `to’ or `for’.

1 Some verbs have two objects after them, a direct object and an indirect object. For example, in the sentence `I gave John the book’, `the book’ is the direct object. `John’ is the indirect object. Verbs that have two objects are sometimes called `ditransitive’ verbs or `double-transitive’ verbs.
His uncle had given him books on India.
She sends you her love.
I passed him the cup.

2 When the indirect object is a pronoun, or another short noun group such as a noun with `the’, you put the indirect object in front of the direct object.
Dad gave me a car.
You promised the lad a job.
He had lent my cousin the money.
She bought Dave and me an ice cream.

3 You can also use the prepositions `to’ and `for’ to introduce the indirect object. If you do this, you put the preposition and indirect object after the direct object.
He handed his room key to the receptionist.
Bill saved a piece of cake for the children.

When the indirect object consists of several words, you normally use a preposition to introduce it.
She taught physics and chemistry to pupils at the local school.
I made that lamp for a seventy-year-old woman.

You often use a preposition when you want to emphasize the indirect object.
Did you really buy that for me?

4 With some verbs you can only use `for’, not `to’, to introduce the indirect object.


They booked a place for me.
He had found some old clothes for the beggar.
They bought a present for the teacher.
She painted a picture for her father.

5 With some verbs you normally use `to’ to introduce the indirect object.


I had lent my bicycle to a friend.
Ralph passed a message to Jack.
They say they posted the letter to me last week.
He sold it to me.

Note that you can use `for’ with these verbs, but it has a different meaning. `For’ indicates that one person does something on behalf of another person, so that the other person does not have to do it.
His mother paid the bill for him.
If you’re going out, can you post this for me, please?