Technical Tuesday: Direct Objects

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Direct Object: A word or phrase denoting the receiver of the action of a verb. (Merriam-Webster, retrieved Nov 26, 2018)


Transitive Verb: characterized by having or containing a direct object. 

Of all of the concepts in grammar, this is perhaps one of the simplest. Related to the previous post on verbs, direct objects always occur in the predicate of a sentence, or after a verb.  A direct object always receives the action of the verb. It's just that simple. There are verbs that require a direct object to complete the sentence. But most do not. All verbs that have a direct object are transitive verbs. A direct object usually answers the question whom or what. 

Let's work through some of our examples from the post on simple sentences.

Mary ran.

Mary ran home.

Home is the direct object of the verb ran.

A dog barked.

A dog barked at me.

at is the preposition  and me it the pronoun that is the direct object of the verb barked.



All of these verbs can be transitive or intransitive, depending on usage. The objects of these verbs usually answer the questions, whom or what.  Now let's take a look at a couple of verbs that must have a direct object. We do not have a complete clause, or sentence without a direct object, the phrase does not represent a complete thought.




She likes
likes is a verb that needs a direct object. She likes is not a complete sentence.

She likes meat.

She likes them.

She likes dogs.

She likes cows.


They advise.

advise is a verb that needs a direct object. They advise is not a complete sentence.

They advise players.

They advise me.

List of common verbs that need a direct object.

admire
advise
affect
bring
buy
cost
give
leave
lend
make
offer
pass
sell
show
wish

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