- 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.
I threw Jonas the ball. [I threw the ball (direct object) but Jonas got it (indirect object).]
- The indirect object always comes before the direct object.
My grandfather left me his gold watch.
- To find the indirect 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.
I gave my mother my report card. (Mother is the indirect object.)I gave 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.
I told her the news. (indirect object)I told her. (direct object)
Compound Indirect Objects
An indirect object may be compound.
Kevin brought Madeline and Josie flowers 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)