I am trying to get to grips with direct and indirect object pronouns. In the sentence below I am unsure what is the direct and the indirect object.

Although I do not show it to you.

So I is the subject, show is the verb. Is it the direct object? I'm asking myself what does it show... it so that is why I believe it is the direct object and then you is the indirect object by process of elimination.

Is that correct? How would I tell other than by process of elimination what the indirect object is?

  • 1
    Yes, "it" is direct object. "You" is not indirect object, but object of the preposition "to". The preposition phrase "to you" is complement of the verb "show".
    – BillJ
    Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 14:03

2 Answers 2


To make it easier to see the issue, let's remove two words, although and not from your phrase.

"I show it to you."

Now it is easy to see that it is the direct object (answering the question "what is being shown")

Note that to you is a prepositional phrase acting as an indirect object.

Another issue is that beginning the sentence with Although leads the reader expect the completion of the sentence.

  • Yes, but the PP is not an adverb, but a complement of the verb "show".
    – BillJ
    Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 14:57
  • @BillJ I agree and have modified the answer. Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 14:59

I don't know how. That's the way I do it. For example, she told Bill the news. What did she tell? She didn't 'tell Bill'. 'Bill' is not what came out of her mouth. She 'told the news'. It is the 'the news' that was told. It's the same if the sentence is written as She told the news to Billy. So, the indirect object is sometimes signaled by the word to, but not always. Note that the sentence Tell Bill does not have a direct object, although not everybody agrees about this.

The answers to Can a sentence have an indirect object without a direct object? contain helpful information, although they represent different viewpoints.

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