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All about object in a sentence


To understand English well it’s so important to know about ‘object’ first. Without that certainly you are going to face a lot of difficulty while dealing with the proper sense of a sentence. In English, mainly, we have following three types of objects:

1. Objects of Verbs
2. Objects of Infinitives, Gerunds and Participles
3. Objects of Prepositions

Here it’s important to note that verbs, infinitives, gerunds or participles may have objects or not, but prepositions always have objects.

1. How to find an Object

Like the Subject the main word of the Object is also a noun or pronoun. We have already learnt that to find the subject of a sentence/clause we put ‘who’ or ‘what/which’ before the verb of that sentence/clause as the question word for a person is ‘who’ and for a thing is ‘what/which’. To find the object we need to know the objective cases of ‘who’ and ‘what’, otherwise you can’t. The objective case of ‘who’ is ‘whom’ and the objective case of ‘what’ is ‘what’ itself. So just make a question by putting ‘who’ or ‘what’ after a verb, infinitive, gerund, participle or preposition of which you want to know the object. Let’s see how to do that.

a) Deepak killed a snake.
b) She refused to obey her teacher.
c) Mohan likes reading romantic novels.
d) Hearing the noise, the boy woke up.
e) Your shoes are kept under the table.

In the first sentence ‘killed’ is the verb, in the second ‘to obey’ is an infinitive, in the third ‘reading’ is a gerund, in the next ‘hearing’ is a participle and in the last ‘under’ a preposition. So by putting ‘whom/what’ after them we get the following questions: killed what?, to obey whom?, reading  what?, hearing what?, under what? Obviously the answers respectively are: a snake, her teacher, romantic novels, the noise, the table. Not to mention they are the objects only. Now we’ll read objects of only verbs here as the objects of other two categories need not go in much detail.

2. Categorisation of verbs on the basis of Object

A verb can have an object or not. On this basis we can categorise the verbs into the following two ways:

A) Transitive Verbs

A Transitive Verb is a verb that denotes an action which passes over from the Subject to an object. Remember Transitive Verbs only denote actions. Read these sentences to understand it:

i) Deepak killed a snake.
ii) The girl laughs loudly.

In the first sentence, the action denoted by the verb ‘killed’ passes over from the subject Deepak to some Object ‘snake’. The verb ‘killed’ is, therefore, called a Transitive Verb. In the second sentence the action denoted by the verb ‘laughs’ stops with the Subject ‘girl’ and does not pass over to anything. The verb ‘laughs’ is, therefore, called an Intransitive Verb.

Examples of transitive use of verbs

i) He cut his hand with a knife.
ii) The conductor blew his whistle.
iii) Sohan easily lifted the heavy weight.
iv) Time changes all things.
v) Put away your bag.
vi) His new watch does not keep good time.
vii) I could not spare the time.
viii) Neha wrote her mother a letter.

B) Intransitive verbs

An Intransitive Verb is a Verb that denotes an action which does not pass over to an object, or which expresses a state 0f being; e.g.

i) The girl laughs loudly. (You see that ‘laughs’ is an action which is not passing over to anything.)
ii) A beggar stood by the gate. (Verb ‘stood’ is not an action; rather it’s a ‘state of being’.)
iii) There is a flaw in this ring. (Verb ‘is’ not an action; rather it’s a ‘state of being’.)

There are two kinds of intransitive verbs:

i) Action Verbs
ii) Linking Verbs

Linking Verb: Linking verbs do not express an action. Like their name suggests, they simply link the subject of the sentence to the predicate. Some main verbs are called linking verbs (or copular verbs). These verbs are not followed by objects. Instead, they are followed by expressions which give extra information about the subject. Some of the Linking Verbs:

BE (is, am, was, etc.) Appear Become Feel Get Look
Remain Seem Smell Sound Taste

i) The cat was friendly.
ii) This shirt feels good.
iii) Ruchi will be 20 in August.
iv) To people who don’t know him he probably appears rather unfriendly.
v) He’s a teacher.
vi) He remained outside while his mother went into the hospital.

Examples of intransitive use of verbs

i) Your pen is lying on the table.
ii) The dog ran after me.
iii) My watch stopped this morning.
iv) He eats three times a day.
v) The sun is shining very brightly today.
vi) The sun rises in the east.
vii) I looked down from my roof.

3. Kinds of Objects

A verb can also have two objects. If it’s so one of them denotes a person or any other living thing and the other denotes a thing. The object denoting the thing is called the ‘direct object’, and the object denoting the person is called the ‘indirect object’. See the following sentence to understand it well.

Mohan gave me a ball.

We see that the verb ‘gave’ here has two objects namely ‘me’ and ‘ball’. Of course the object ‘me’ is denoting a person and ‘ball’ denoting a thing. So ‘me’ is the Indirect Object and ‘ball’ is the Direct Object in this sentence.

It will be noticed that the position of the Indirect Object is immediately after the verb and before the Direct Object. However if we want, we can use the direct object with the verb and the indirect object after the direct object, but in that case we must insert a suitable preposition TO or FOR before the indirect object. To understand this, study these examples:

Mohan gave me a pen.
= Mohan gave a pen to me.

Will you do me a favour?
= Will you do a favour to me?

I bought my daughter a doll.
= I bought a doll for my daughter.

Fetch her a pencil.
= Fetch a pencil for her.

NOTE-I: If there is only one object of the verb it’s called Direct Object, whether it’s a person or a thing; e.g.

i) Everyone likes her.
ii) She knows everyone.
iii) Nobody writes letters these days.
iv) Have you seen the car keys?

NOTE-II: Some common verbs that can take a direct and indirect object:

Buy, Cost, Give, Leave, Lend, Make, Offer, Pass, Sell, Show, Take, Wish,

i) Suchi passed him a cup of tea.
ii) Can I buy you a bag?
iii) Sarla gave me a pen for my birthday.
iv) Leave me the message in my inbox.
v) Show me your new dress.
vi) I’m going to make you tea.

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Maha Gupta

Maha Gupta

Founder of www.examscomp.com and guiding aspirants on SSC exam affairs since 2010 when objective pattern of exams was introduced first in SSC. Also the author of the following books:

1. Maha English Grammar (for Competitive Exams)
2. Maha English Practice Sets (for Competitive Exams)

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