Verbs with 2 objects – Word order

Click edit button to change this code.

Word order in English sentences with two objects

Some verbs have two objects –an indirect object and a direct object.

1. If there are two objects in a sentence, the normal word order is person → thing:

SubjectVerbIndirect ObjectDirect Object
gavemy mothersome flowers.
IsentSusanan email.
Hecookedhis friendsa meal.

2. We can use to or for with an indirect object if we want to place it next to the verb:

SubjectVerbDirect ObjectIndirect Object
gavesome flowersto my mother.
Isentan emailto Susan.
Hecookeda mealfor his friends.

3. If the indirect object is a pronoun we normally put it after the verb:

SubjectVerbIndirect ObjectDirect Object
gavehersome flowers.
Isentheran email.
Hecookedthema meal.

4. Common verbs with for and an indirect object are:

  • book
  • buy
  • get
  • cook
  • keep
  • bring
  • make
  • pour
  • save
  • find

5. Common verbs with to and an indirect object are:

  • give
  • lend
  • offer
  • pass
  • post
  • read
  • sell
  • send
  • show
  • promise
  • tell

If we want to emphasise the person, we put the person after the thing. Then we use the preposition to.

I am going to send the letter to Peter.

With the words describeexplainreport and say – we always put the person after the thing. Then we use the preposition to.

I will describe the situation to you.