The Indirect Object
Test for identifying indirect objects in English
- An indirect object requires the presence of a direct object.
- An indirect object is the NP that precedes the direct object.
I passed indir.obj [the ball]dir.obj
- Usually, an indirect object can appear as an oblique to-PP complement.
Note: for many grammarians, such to-PPs are also often called indirect objects.
- I passed the salt. -> I passed the salt .
- I passed the salt. -> *I passed Kim .
- Passivization: An indirect object can be passivized, with the direct object remaining an accusative NP. If the direct object is passivized, the indirect object must appear as an oblique complement.
- I passed the salt. -> was passed the salt.
- I passed Kim the salt. -> The salt was passed *(to) Kim.
Categories and structural position
- The indirect object is an NP in accusative case
- It is a sister of V and NP and dominated by a VP.
_S_ / \ / AuxP / / \ subj / ___VP___ / / / \ \ / / / ind.obj dir.obj / / / | \ NP Aux V NP __NP__ /__\ | | /__\ /______\ Pat will pass Kim the salt.
Read further on other grammatical functions:
- The Predicate
- The Subject
- The Direct Object
- The Predicative Complement
- The Oblique Complement
- The Modifier