Position of objects

Objects follow their verbs. The only words that can go between a verb and its object are adjectives and determiners. These are words that say something about the object. Prepositions can also precede an object. In this case, the object is more likely to be the object of the preposition.

  • She bought a car. (Here the article a separates the object car from the verb bought.)
  • She made a cake.
  • Susie said something.
  • I was watching a horror film.
  • I would like some more potatoes.

Some verbs can be followed by two objects – an indirect object and a direct object. The indirect object usually refers to a person and comes first. The direct object usually refers to a thing and goes after the indirect object. We can put the direct object before the indirect object. In this case, we will usually use a preposition like to or for.

  • I bought Susie a dress. (Indirect object: Susie; direct object: a dress)
  • I bought a dress for Susie. (Note the preposition for.)
  • I sent her a letter. (Indirect object first)
  • I sent a letter to her. (Direct object first)

Note that the object of a verb has to be a noun or a noun-equivalent.

When both direct and indirect objects are pronouns, put the direct object first.

  • Give it to her. (Direct object: it; indirect object: her) (NOT Give her it.)