The indirect object is a noun that receives the action of the verb, but the action is indirect because it affects the direct object first. Not all sentences that have a direct object also have an indirect object. All sentences with an indirect object must have a direct object.
IthrewJonas the ball. [I threw the ball (direct object) but Jonas got it (indirect object).]
The indirect object always comes before the direct object.
My grandfatherleftme his gold watch.
To find the direct object, ask to or for what was the verb done?
The indirect object is very similar to the object of the preposition. They can mean the same thing. If the preposition is missing, the word is an indirect object. If the preposition is there, the word is the object of the preposition.
Igave my mother my report card. (Mother is the indirect object.)
Igave my report card to my mother. (Mother is the object of the preposition to.)
If there is no direct object, the indirect object is the direct object.
Itoldher the news. (indirect object)
Itoldher. (direct object)
Compound Indirect Objects
An indirect object may be compound.
KevinbroughtMadeline and Josieflowers for Valentine's Day.
Common Indirect Object Mistakes
Some verbs that seem like they should take direct objects do not. They sometimes lead to grammatical mistakes.
Our librarian lent me a book. (correct)
A friend borrowed me a book. (incorrect)
Practice What You've Learned
Use the toolbar above to mark up the sentences. Underline the subject once. Underline the verb twice. Circle the direct object. Draw an arrow from the direct object to the indirect object.