indirect object

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INDIRECT OBJECT. With VERBS that can be followed by two objects, the indirect object typically comes immediately after the verb: Audrey in ‘I've sent Audrey a present’; his son in ‘He bought his son a ball’. It is typically animate and the recipient of the direct object. The same idea is often expressed by repositioning the recipient with a to or for: ‘I've sent a present to Audrey’; ‘He bought a ball for his son’. Grammarians differ about whether the noun in the prepositional phrases should be labelled indirect object. Occasionally, an indirect object is inanimate: ‘Give the kitchen a coat of paint.’ In such cases, usually idiomatic uses of common verbs, the same idea cannot usually be re-expressed with to or for (never *Give a coat of paint to the kitchen). See DIRECT OBJECT, DOUBLE ACCUSATIVE.

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in·di·rect ob·ject • n. Gram. a noun phrase referring to someone or something that is affected by the action of a transitive verb (typically as a recipient), but is not the primary object (e.g., him in give him the book). Compare with direct object.