It’s been a while since I posted my grammar lesson about the subject, but here is the follow-up on it about the object of a sentence.
You first need to know this information on verbs before we proceed on what an object is.
Transitive vs Intransitive Verbs
Verbs can be transitive or intransitive. A transitive verb takes an object (it transfers its action upon an object) whereas an intransitive verb is an action verb, but it doesn’t take an object.
Example 1: Jane writes poetry.
Example 2: Jane sneezed.
In Example 1, what does Jane write? She writes poetry, hence writing is a transitive verb.
In Example 2, you can’t ask ‘what does Jane sneeze. Jane performs the action, but the action has no effect on anything or anybody; there is no object. Sneezed is an intransient verb.
An object is a noun that is affected by a transitive verb and usually comes after the verb. It can be a noun, a pronoun, a noun phrase (a noun or pronoun with dependent words), or a noun clause (a clause that acts as a noun).
There are 3 kinds of objects:
- a direct object
- an indirect object
- an object of a preposition
To find the direct object, you need to find the verb first (and possibly the subject). Then you ask what or who this ‘verbing’ has an effect on.
Example: I am writing a book.
What am I writing? I am writing a book. A book is the direct object.
The indirect object only exists if there is a direct object and are usually individuals (human or animal). When you have found the direct object, ask who or what is receiving the direct object.
Example: John gave Jane the book.
The verb in this sentence is gave, the subject is John. What did John give? John gave the book. The direct object is the book. To whom did John give the book? John gave the book to Jane. Jane is the indirect object.
Verbs acting upon a direct object and an indirect object are called double object verbs. In these sentences, the indirect object is always placed before the direct object.
Example: Mother read her children a story.
Her children (the indirect object) is placed before a story (the direct object).
Object of a Preposition
The object of a preposition is an object introduced by a preposition, usually to or for. The prepositional phrase is always placed after the direct object.
Example 1: Jane gave John a book.
Example 2: Jane gave a book to John.
In example 1, John is the indirect object and placed before the direct object (a book). In Example 2, to John is the prepositional phrase in which to is the preposition and John the indirect object. They are placed after the direct object (a book).
Note: Objects are always in the objective case. See the table below:
|Subject Case||Object Case|
When unsure if you need to use I or me when using a ‘compound’ object; simplify the sentence.
Example: The bookstore manager picked her and me to open the book fair.
Is it her and me, her and I, or she and I? If we simplify the sentence we get:
Example 1: The manager picked she.
Example 2: The manager picked her.
Example 3: The manager picked I.
Example 4: The manager picked me.
Examples 1 and 3 are wrong as the object pronouns are in subject case. The correct sentences are Examples 2 and 4 (object pronouns in object case) and hence the original sentence above is correct.