DIRECT OBJECT. In GRAMMAR, the person or thing affected by the action of a transitive verb. The direct OBJECT usually closely follows the verb (‘I love you’, ‘Do the work now’), unless there is an indirect object, when the direct object comes second (‘I've sent Audrey a present’). The expression ‘affected by’ has a range of meanings, referring also to things that only come into existence as a result of the action of the verb (‘Then somebody invented the wheel’) and objects of place (‘She paced the room’). Although direct objects are typically nouns and pronouns, other structures can follow transitive verbs, and some grammarians analyse all the following constructions as direct object: that-clauses (‘He said that he loved her’); clauses beginning with wh-question words (‘She explained why the idea was impossible’); various -ing and infinitive structures with or without subjects (‘They both enjoy dancing’, ‘I can't bear (you) to be unhappy’).
di·rect ob·ject • n. a noun phrase denoting a person or thing that is the recipient of the action of a transitive verb, for example the dog in Jimmy fed the dog. Compare with indirect object.
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