1.The boys made Rama captain.

2.Rama called his cousin a liar.

3.I saw him go

Are nouns or pronouns above in bold letters used as indirect object or ,as direct object?

I think that they are indirect objects but, indirect object always occurs with a direct object.

If they are direct object,why are they 'answers' of question 'to whom'?

  • Rama", "his cousin" and "him" are direct objects ("captain" and "a liar" are objective predicative complements). They do not have the semantic role of recipient or beneficiary of something; rather, they are the recipients of the action of the verb, and hence are direct, not indirect, objects.
    – BillJ
    Dec 27, 2017 at 17:48

2 Answers 2


The list of English words that take 2 objects is small. Unless one of those verbs is being used, there won't properly be an indirect object. Reference.

All of your examples are direct objects.

How to test if a complement is an indirect object:

Give is a verb that takes 2 objects. With a verb and 2 objects, you can switch around the objects this way:

I give Mary a ball = I give a ball to Mary.

This doesn't work with your first or second example:

The boys made Rama captain = The boys made captain to Rama.

Rama called his cousin a lair = Rama called a liar to his cousin.

"Captain" and "a liar" are complements, but not objects. I think they are predicate nominatives.

  • Why are they 'answers' to question 'to 'whom'?
    – ashish7249
    Dec 27, 2017 at 13:26
  • The don't answer 'to whom' they answer 'who'. Rama told his uncle to call his cousin a liar. In the previous sentence cousin is an indirect object, uncle remains the direct object. An indirect object is an object acted upon by the direct object.
    – EllieK
    Dec 27, 2017 at 14:32
  • @EllieK Rama told his uncle the truth.I think here uncle is indirect object and truth is direct object.It contravenes what you said.
    – ashish7249
    Dec 27, 2017 at 16:42
  • Look at my edits.
    – LawrenceC
    Dec 27, 2017 at 16:54
  • 1
    Also to tell is a verb that does take 2 objects (I told him a story = I told a story to him) but not to call.
    – LawrenceC
    Dec 27, 2017 at 16:58

The boys gave Rama the captain's position.  /  The boys gave the captain's position to Rama. 

The first of these sentences uses an indirect object.  The second uses a prepositional phrase to do the same job: it represents the recipient of the direct object.*  Rama is the one to whom the position is given. 

And now, for something completely different: 

The boys made Rama captain. 

Here, there is no indirect object.  The direct object has no recipient.  There is no answer to the question "to whom?" 

Instead, we have an object complement.  Specifically, it's a predicate nominative object complement

Even when they're nominative, complements are not objects.  They're a different kind of argument.  The point of a complement is that it uses the referent of whatever it completes.  In this case, the common noun "captain" represents the same person (shares the same referent) as the proper noun Rama. 

The other type of complement is adjectival: 

The boys made Rama happy. 

Here, the adjective "happy" doesn't resemble an object.  Instead, it's an attribute of the direct object and a result of the action of the verb. The boys caused Ramda's happiness. 


The objects in your example sentence are all direct objects.  The thing that they have in common is that they are incomplete direct objects.  They are objects that don't make sense (or, at least, don't make the same kind of sense) unless they have object complements


The sentence pattern in question is:
   Subject / (Complexly Transitive) Verb / Direct Object / Object Complement.


* Another common semantic role that an indirect object plays is beneficiary of the action.  Rather than "to whom?", it answers "for whom?", as in "I did you a favor." / "I did a favor for you."

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