Difference Between Direct & Indirect Objects in Sentence Structure


Both Direct and Indirect objects are important parts of English grammar. Although they are a part of the grammar they have differences and it is seen that the direct object is situated directly after a verb. Differently, an indirect object is situated between the verb as well as the direct object.

Information on a direct object

A direct object can be a pronoun, noun, or phase of the noun that mainly receives the action. Here the action is done by the subject within a sentence and the structure of a sentence looks like SVO (subject + verb + object). The objects are recognised by asking the questions like whom as well as what. The object within a sentence is placed at the end of the sentence.

It can be defined as a pronoun, noun, or phase of the noun that mainly refers to a thing or a person and it is directly affected by a verb’s action. It is referred to as a transitive verb’s direct object is the group of nouns and it also presents something or someone that directly affected the subject’s action.

Application of a direct object in a sentence

It is presented before that a direct object is a phrase or word that mainly receives the action and is performed by the subject.

The most important uses of this object are seen in sentences like

  • (subject + verb + object) - Neha has a purse.

  • (subject + verb + object + complement) - Rahul made his dad angry.

  • (subject + verb + object + adverbial phrase) - I brought a box of candies Monday.

  • (adjunct + subject + verb + object) - Yesterday, he saw a UFO.

  • (subject + verb + indirect object + direct object) - I made my friend some pasta.

In this way, it is confirmed that there are various uses of direct object within a sentence and it can be identifiers by asking questions like what as well as whom. The idea is clear that if the answers to the questions do not get, then it is not a direct object. In most cases, this object appears after the verb and it is most important for recognition.

Overview of an Indirect Object

The name of the object suggests that an indirect object does not receive action directly in the sentence. In the case of this object, it is a pronoun or a noun that receives the direct object. The identification of this object is done by asking questions like to whom or for whom.

The most common use of this object is seen in the sentence structures like SVIODO (subject + verb + indirect object + direct object) and ASVIODO (adjunct + subject + verb + indirect object + direct object).

It is referred to as a pronoun, noun, or phase of a noun that happens when there is a direct object after some verbs. The verbs here also point out the thing or person that receives the information of what is being given or done.

Normally, it is said as a person or thing where a verb’s action is directed towards or performed. It is commonly used after some verbs and it receives the action of the effect. It is an object that is applied with a transitive verb for indicating the benefits of an action.

Importance of Indirect Object in a Sentence

There are various uses or importance of an indirect object that helps in the construction of a sentence. It is used in a sentence when there is the presence of a direct object and the indirect object helps in receiving the direct object. An object that is indirect in form is always placed before a direct object.

Sometimes the students become confused of the use of a prepositional phrase. This phase is used after a direct object and students understand it as an indirect object. Here the most important point is that a prepositional phrase can never be an indirect object.

An example is −

  • Doyel gave Hiya a piece of bread. (Indirect object)

  • Doyel gave a piece of bread to Hiya. (Prepositional phrase)

It is seen that all the verbs are not used with the indirect object. Only some of the verbs are used with the kind of objects and they are: give, get, make, buy, ask, bake, introduce, as well as bring. There are also teach, show sing, sell, tell, through, read, as well as pass.

Difference between a Direct Object and an Indirect Object

There are various differences between the direct as well as indirect objects within a sentence. The differences are placed below −

Direct object Indirect object
This kind of object mainly receives action that is performed by the subject. The object receives the direct object.
This object is directly located after the verb. This kind of object is placed between the verb as well as the direct object.
In the time of using a direct object, there is the presence of only one object within the sentence. In contrast, within a sentence having an indirect object, there is the presence of two objects.
For example − My brother bought a bike. For example − I bought my sister a new bracelet.


This tutorial presents the concepts of direct and indirect objects, their uses and their differences. In a sentence, there will be only one object where there is a direct object. On the other hand, a sentence consists of two objects where there is an indirect object. They are differentiated by their receiving of actions by subjects as well as direct objects.


Q1. What are the sentence structures of indirect objects?

Ans. The pattern of the structure of the indirect objects is SVIODO as well as ASVIODO. They mean SVIODO (subject + verb + indirect object + direct object) and ASVIODO (adjunct + subject + verb + indirect object + direct object).

Q2. What are the examples of direct object?

Ans. Some examples of this object include −

Rahul loves cakes. Tanu finds the knife after looking for hours. Tina bought me my favourite pastry for dessert.

Updated on: 02-Jan-2023


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