Every time I see "owed + direct object", I wince and think why isn't this "owed TO someone". How can I make my mind accept "owed + someone" and process it effort-lessly?

Justice in Transactions: A Theory of Contract Law, 81. Peter Benson is Law Prof. at Toronto University.

In short, there can be situations where the promisee's right will not be enforced despite the fact that she has not waived her rights, resulting in the promisor being unjustly enriched at the promisee's expense. These are situations that can render the consideration promised her illusory, with the consequence that the promisee has given something for nothing. The risk of this happening seems particularly acute where the third party is a donee-beneficiary and, though arguably less so, is still present where she is a creditor- beneficiary.95 According the third-party beneficiary standing in these circumstances to enforce what is owed the promisee may be necessary to give remedial efficacy to the transaction.

p 200.

Similarly, a simple contract of sale of something unique has always been specifically enforceable despite the obvious limits that both the obligation and the enforcement necessarily place on the promisor's actions. Notice, however, that with all these contracts, the limit is strictly un-avoidable if the party's powers are to be absorbed and used via her perfor- mance owed the other.29 The restriction, we might say, directs or channels rather than interferes with or sterilizes the party's productive or other powers.30

Emerging Issues in Tort Law. Anyone know page number? edited by Jason W. Neyers, Erika Chamberlain, Stephen G.A. Pitel

Therefore, where, by fact or law, the promisee's interests would defeated for reasons that have nothing to do with either with the merits of his or her claim or with his or her decision to compromise or waive the claim, a remedial device is justified to secure those expectations. In such circumstances, where the remedy, damages or specific performance, which the promisee should receive must go to the third party in order to fulfill the promisee's enforceable contractual interest, the third party should be able to bring an action to enforce that interest in such a way that the defendant's liability is not enlarged beyond what is owed the promisee. This solution, I submit, is of general application to all three-party scenarios.

Krupnick v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. (1994) :: :: California Court of Appeal Decisions

Plaintiffs here urge that a new predicate for recovering damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress be recognized. They contend that a duty of care is owed a third party claimant by his or her tortfeasor's liability insurance carrier in negotiating settlement of the third party's claim.

SW (Delaware), Inc. v. AMERICAN CONSUMERS, ETC. :: 1982 :: Delaware Supreme Court Decisions

In Diamond State this Court, paraphrasing and adopting the position taken in 2A Larson, Workmen's Compensation Law, § 76.00 (1970), stated that a third party has a right *889 to maintain an action against a negligent employer who may be held liable for indemnity if the employer:

"... has breached an independent duty owed a third party, or if in the circumstances there is a basis for finding an implied promise of indemnity. If such is the fact, [the exclusivity provision of the workmen's compensation law is no bar to the third party suit against the employer.]" Diamond State Tel. Co. v. University of Delaware, supra, at 56-7.


Your inquiry concerns the relationship between the Secretary of the Interior's royalty collection and management authority under the Royalty Act and the requirements governing the settlement of claims by the United States that are subject to the FCCA. Because it is important to our analysis, we first examine the nature of the Secretary's authority to determine and collect additional royalties owed the United States by federal lessees.


Section effective 180 days after Nov. 29, 1990, and applicable with respect to certain actions for debts owed the United States pending in court on that effective date, see section 3631 of Pub. L. 101–647, set out as a note under section 3001 of this title.

DA Pam 27-153, pp 1-2. 15 March 1983.

(Con- gress prohibited the United States from purchasing land unless authorized by law. However, Congress also directed the Treasurer of the United States to obtain regular and punctual payment of money owed the United States. When the Treasurer took title to land as security for a debt owed the United States, the Court sustained the contract.

Navy Contract Law Second Edition 1959, 1965 Supplement, p 153.

*Prepared by Lawrence E. Chermak, Counsel for the Comptroller of the Navy; and by Benjamin Lee Bird, Assistant Counsel, Bureau of Ordnance. The authors wish to express their appreciation to Paul L. Laskin, Assistant Counsel, Bureau of Ships, for his valuable assistance in the of 4.57—4.65 of this chapter, dealing with the collection of debts owed the Government by its contractors.

1 Answer 1


The verb "owe" is ditransitive: SVOO

John owes Jack some money. (= John owes some money to Jack)

In passive constructions, you can make either object the grammatical subject

Jack is owed some money (by John)

Some money is owed Jack (by John)

This second form is less common, and equivalent to

Some money is owed to Jack (by John)

Similar constructions are possible when you use a past particple.

John paid back some of the money owed [to] Jack

The use of "to" is almost universal in plain writing, but the correct passive form without "to" is used in some formal writing styles.

Compare this to another common ditransitive verb "give"

Jack was given some money (by John)

If you can accept that construction, you should be able to accept all your examples.

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