Humanities › English Objects in English Grammar Verbs and prepositions can have objects Share Flipboard Email Print This sentence (from the novel Crow Lake by Mary Lawson) contains three types of objects: (1) direct objects ( book, twice); (2) indirect objects ( me, twice); and (3) objects of a preposition ( insects and frogs). ThoughtCo English English Grammar An Introduction to Punctuation Writing By Richard Nordquist English and Rhetoric Professor Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester B.A., English, State University of New York Dr. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks. our editorial process Richard Nordquist Updated July 08, 2019 In English grammar, an object is a noun, a noun phrase, or a pronoun that is affected by the action of a verb. Objects give our language detail and texture by allowing the creation of complex sentences. Prepositions also have objects. Types of Objects Objects can function three ways within a sentence. The first two are easy to spot because they follow the verb: Direct objects are the results of action. A subject does something, and the product is the object itself. For example, consider this sentence: "Marie wrote a poem." In this case, the noun "poem" follows the transitive verb "wrote" and completes the meaning of the sentence.Indirect objects receive or respond to the outcome of an action. Consider this example: "Marie sent me an email." The pronoun "me" comes after the verb "sent" and before the noun "email," which is the direct object in this sentence. The indirect object always goes before the direct object.Objects of a preposition are nouns and pronouns in a phrase that modifies the meaning of a verb. For instance: "Marie lives in a dorm." In this sentence, the noun "dorm" follows the preposition "in." Together, they form a prepositional phrase. Objects can function in active and passive voice. A noun that serves as a direct object in the active voice becomes the subject when the sentence is rewritten in the passive voice. For example: Active: Bob purchased a new grill.Passive: A new grill was purchased by Bob. This characteristic, called passivization, is what makes objects unique. Not sure if a word is an object? Try converting it from active to passive voice; if you can, the word is an object. Direct Objects Direct objects identify what or who receives the action of a transitive verb in a clause or sentence. When pronouns function as direct objects, they customarily take the form of the objective case (me, us, him, her, them, whom, and whomever). Consider the following sentences, taken from "Charlotte's Web," by E.B. White: "She closed the carton carefully. First she kissed her father, then she kissed her mother. Then she opened the lid again, lifted the pig out, and held it against her cheek." There's only one subject in this passage, yet there are six direct objects (carton, father, mother, lid, pig, it), five nouns and a pronoun. Gerunds (verbs ending in "ing" that act as nouns) sometimes also serve as direct objects. For example: Jim enjoys gardening on the weekends. My mother included reading and baking in her list of hobbies. Indirect Objects Nouns and pronouns also function as indirect objects. These objects are the beneficiaries or recipients of the action in a sentence. Indirect objects answer the questions "to/for whom" and "to/for what." For example: My aunt opened her purse and gave the man a quarter. It was his birthday so Mom had baked Bob a chocolate cake. In the first example, the man is given a coin. The quarter is a direct object and it benefits the man, an indirect object. In the second example, the cake is the direct object and it benefits Bob, the indirect object. Prepositions and Verbs Objects that pair with prepositions function differently from direct and indirect objects, which follow verbs. These nouns and verbs reference a preposition and modify the action of the larger sentence. For example: Girls are playing basketball around a utility pole with a metal hoop bolted to it. He sat in the basement of the building, among the boxes, reading a book on his break. In the first example, the prepositional objects are "pole" and "hoop." in the second example, the prepositional objects are "basement," "building," "boxes," and "break." Like direct objects, prepositional objects receive the action of the subject in the sentences yet need a preposition for the sentence to make sense. Spotting prepositions is important because if you use the wrong one, it can confuse readers. Consider how odd the second sentence would sound if it began, "He sat on the basement..." Transitive verbs also require an object for them to make sense. There are three kinds of transitive verbs. Monotransitive verbs have a direct object, whereas ditransitive verbs have a direct object and an indirect object. Complex-transitive verbs have a direct object and an object attribute. For example: Monotransitive: Bob bought a car. (The direct object is "car.")Ditransitive: Bob gave me the keys to his new car. (The indirect object is "me"; the direct object is "keys.")Complex-transitive: I heard him shouting. (The direct object is "him"; the object attribute is "shouting.") Intransitive verbs, on the other hand, do not need an object in order to complete their meaning. Sources Woods, Geraldine. "Using Pronouns as Direct and Indirect Objects." Dummies.com. Staff editors. "Pronoun Case." Cliffsnotes.com. Staff editors. "Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns." University of Wisconsin-Madison.