November 26, 2014

Nouns: Direct Object

The direct object is the noun that receives the action of the transitive verb.

Typically, a direct object follows the verb and can be found by asking who or what received the action of the verb.

[In the following examples, the direct object is bold and the verb is underlined.]

After dinner, Matthew always serves a cake.

  • To determine the direct object, ask whom or what was acted on by the verb.

To the average citizen, politics offers considerable frustration.

  • Although the direct object follows the verb, an adjective may be between the verb and object.

Christine discovered a pile of books hidden under the staircase.

  • Look for the object that receives the action of the verb, and don’t be fooled by the object of a preposition such as BOOKS in this sentence.

After class, Randall will carry the students’ papers to his office.

  • Once you identify the verb, ask whether the verb was done to someone or something. e.g. Will Randall carry someone or something? Yes, he will carry PAPERS. Therefore, PAPERS receives the action of the verb.

The police have arrested the man who committed the robberies.

  • Identify the subject, find the verb the subject is engaged in, determine if it is an action verb and then ask who or what is receiving the action.

In some cases the direct object may follow the indirect object.

[In the following examples, the direct object is bold and the indirect object is underlined.]

During the play’s intermission, Alice gave Tracy her coat to hold.

  • The object receiving the action of the verb—in other words the object that ALICE GAVE—is COAT, making it the direct object. TRACY received the direct object, making her the indirect object.

Stephen offered his brother a chance to win a million dollars.

  • To determine the direct object find the verb and ask who or what the verb acted upon.

The director assigned the team a project that everyone else had refused.

  • To find the direct object ask what or whom about the subject and verb. The director assigned WHAT? A project.

After the marathon, race organizers furnished the participants a banana, a bottle of water and a t-shirt.

  • More than one word can receive the action of the verb.

The detective showed the witness a picture of a possible suspect in the assault.

  • What did the detective show? Not the witness. The detective showed A PICTURE to the witness.

In some cases, rather than a single word receiving the action of the verb, an entire clause receives the action.

[In the following examples, the direct object is bold and the verb is underlined.]

When questioned by police, Evan admitted he took the bicycle.

  • What Evan admitted is that he took the bicycle.

On the way to the doctor’s office, the child pretended she was not sick.

  • When you ask the question: The child pretended WHAT? the entire clause is the answer. SHE WAS NOT SICK.

A government official reported that agency funding would be cut by 25 percent.

  • To find the direct object ask what or whom about the subject and verb. The official reported WHAT? That agency funding would be cut by 25 percent.

Most Americans believe burning the flag should not be illegal.

  • What do most Americans believe? Burning the flag should not be illegal. By the way, BURNING is both the subject of the dependent clause and a Gerund.

Although he is tired, Dexter says he will plant the garden for you.

  • What does Dexter say? He will plant the garden for you.

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Comments

  1. Sam Johnson says:

    On this page you have the sentence “A government official reported that agency funding would be cut by 25 percent” and another sentence “Most Americans believe burning the flag should not be illegal.” The word “that” appears in the first sentence (reported that agency funding), not in the second (believe burning). Is there a rule defining when we use that after a verb?

  2. thanks a lot. you have a fantastiqe web since i can solve ny gramatical problem by this

  3. Michelle says:

    In the following sentence, “I like to shop.”, what is the verb?

  4. Like

  5. This is a page very interesting for learning. but i am finding it difficult to identify the nouns and its function in this sentence. thus.
    1. for just a short time, the future looks rosy and all pressures are lifted.
    would you please identify them for me.

  6. I don’t understand can you help me please?

  7. In the following sentence, the word “fast” is used as a noun/direct object. Correct?

    “That guy is fast!”

  8. Jay-mar Legaspi says:

    “I like to shop” -the verb there is shop. Why? Because “verb” is an action word

  9. The verb is LIKE. “to shop” is an infinitive.

  10. “fast” is a predicate adjective

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