Some verbs are used with two objects (indirect-; somebody, direct-object; something). e.g.

I gave him a watch for his birthday.
Could you send me the report?
I will lend you some money.
She told me a story.

This sentences can also be used like this (I think):

I gave a watch to him for his birthday.
Could you send the report to me?
I will lend some money to you.
She told a story to me.

But these verbs cannot be used like above sentences:

I would like you to explain me this theory. (X)
I would like you to explain this theory to me (O)
Can you suggest me a good cardiologist? (X)
Can you suggest a good cardiologist to me? (O)
Please describe me your job. (X)
Please describe your job to me. (O)

So my questions are:

  1. Can we explain differences between these verbs of which some are used only [direct- + to (or any prepositions) + indirect-verb], not [indirect- + direct-verb] and the others are used both.

  2. "inform" is used like this (inform + indirect- + preposition + direct):
    "Please inform us of any changes of address."
    How to explain this verbs like "inform"? What's the difference? What is preposition "of" here?

  • Some verbs are ditranstive and thus can take Oi and Od. Others are monotransotive and require a PP with to or for (and sometimes of) to express the recipient or beneficiary. I'm not sure why this is the case - I suppose it's just the way the language has evolved.
    – BillJ
    Oct 19, 2017 at 11:23

1 Answer 1


It's possible for a verb in English to want 0, 1, or 2 objects - some only accept a specific number of objects, some work with 0 or 1 objects but with a change in meaning. It's just part of the meaning of the verb.

A verb that "wants" 2 objects can always be expressed in the form "{verb} {indirect-object} {direct-object}" with no prepositions.

I gave him the ball.

Other forms are possible ...

I gave the ball to him

but if the verb wants 2 objects, the first form will always work. If it doesn't work, one of them is not an object but an other type of complement.

Please inform us of any changes of address.

Please inform any changes of address of us (fails - we're still asking who is being informed.)

So "any changes of address" is not an object and inform is not a two-object verb.

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