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When it comes to grammar, “direct object” is one of the main grammatical terms. All this goes much deeper but in order to make your way in language, it's best to start with simple things. That's why our goal today is to understand what direct objects are.

Depending on how you define it, a direct object may refer either to the target of an action or the person or thing affected by a given situation. For example, in the sentence “She gave me a drink,” the word “drink” is the direct object of the verb “gave.” In the sentence: “The principal punished the student for calling out in class,” “student” is the direct object of “called out.”

What is a direct object?

For instance, in the sentence “The kid held the basketball,” “the basketball” is the direct object. In this sentence, the ball functions as the direct object since it answers the question “What?” in the sentence.

Direct object nouns are often used after verbs, such as give, offer, send, write, pick up, take away, etc. We usually talk about direct objects in meaningful phrases.

Direct object of a verb: what does it mean?

We use direct objects with transitive verbs only. Transitive verbs (he kicked the ball) need a direct object (the ball). Intransitive verbs (he lived in Paris) do not need a direct object — although they may happen to have one (he loved Paris).

You can use the following method to check whether a verb is transitive or intransitive: remove the direct object and see if the sentence still makes sense. If it doesn’t, the verb is transitive (She painted the room.). If you remove the direct object, the action has no meaning (She painted.??).

Sentences with direct object: a few examples

When are you going to meet Jones?
Why did you steal her bag?
Would you like water or juice?

Direct object in sentences: phrases

The direct object is not necessarily a single noun or pronoun. They can also include a whole phrase of nouns, a sentence as well as a clause:

Yesterday we bought a new Mercedes AMG sports car.
Sandra wants to go and play volleyball.
He assumed that the concert had already started.
EnglishWhich is correct

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