Is the use "I never lend anyone it" grammatically correct?

I'm asking about it because its flow of reading sounds a bit clumsy to me.

  • Can you give me this book? - This book was signed by my favourite author. So, I never lend anyone it.

  • Can you buy me this pen? - Not now, but I'll buy you it a few days later.

  • Don't insist on asking me for the book. I'll never give anyone it.

I know they are not natural and the more natural ones are "I never lend it to anyone, I'll never give it to anyone, I'll buy it for you a few days later..".

Nevertheless, I would like to learn if my examples are grammatically correct.

What do you think about them? Thank you.

[ Edit: According to the links 1-) https://courses.dcs.wisc.edu/wp/grammar/category/direct-and-indirect-object-pronouns/ (I sent her it yesterday) 2-) http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/indirect_object.htm (Give him it.)

My examples are correct. ]

  • No, they are all ungrammatical. Sorry. There are a few differences here with British English. Sorry, don't know them by heart.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 21, 2021 at 20:09
  • @Lambie - It's not idiomatic, but I don't see how it is ungrammatical. Lend can be a ditransitive verb and the sentence, "I never lend anyone money," has the same grammatical structure and is idiomatic. Commented May 21, 2021 at 20:26
  • @CanadianYankee I never lend anyone money versus I never lend money to anyone. BUT NOT: I never lend anyone it. That is not grammatical. I never lend anyone any money. YES. These are very obvious.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 21, 2021 at 21:41
  • @Lambie 1) don’t answer in comments. 2) you’re wrong. That usage is archaic, but grammatically valid.
    – fectin
    Commented May 22, 2021 at 19:24

4 Answers 4


You're right, it does sound a little clumsy. "I never lend it to anyone" certainly sounds better. But your example isn't wrong.

Consider as an example:

  • I never show my work to anyone
  • I never show anyone my work.

Both of these are correct.

When there are two objects, there are two possible active sentences and two possible passive sentences. In my example, the pronoun "anyone" and "my work" are the two objects. In yours, the objects are "it" and "anyone".

  • 1
    "I never lend anyone it" is a mistake.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 21, 2021 at 20:05

I never gave it to him

is perfectly grammatical as is

I never gave him it

Yet your examples DO sound unnatural. The most common word order in English is for the direct object or complement to follow the verb. The placement of indirect object directly after the verb is a grammatical oddity (possibly derived from a time when English was much more heavily inflected).

The more involved the sentence, the less native speakers rely solely on the more subtle rules of word order to convey meaning. The use of a preposition to supplement word order is an easily comprehensible way to distinguish between direct and indirect objects.


You would put the most important thing at the end.

You could say “I never lend anyone my signed first edition.”

You wouldn’t put something unimportant at the end. “I never lend anyone it”.

Grammatically your sentence is fine. But the pieces don’t fit.


Yes, it is.

The answer you selected says that it sounds "clumsy," and the only other answer here says that it, along with your other examples, sounds "unnatural."

I'm here to tell you it doesn't sound at all "clumsy," nor does it, along with your other examples, sound "unnatural." It and they are perfectly natural-sounding. People say "I never lean anyone it" all the time, like if someone came over and asked to borrow my riding lawnmower, I may very well answer, "I never lend anyone it."

In all of those sentences, you're employing English's special ditransitive verb construction, a construction that switches the order of the direct object and indirect object and eliminates the indirect object's preposition, English's special ditransitive construction being:

verb + indirect object + direct object

English's special ditransitive verb construction is used all the time by English speakers. One answerer said that the corresponding standard transitive verb construction is more common, the corresponding standard transitive verb construction being:

verb + direct object + preposition + indirect object

What that answerer said is 100% true— it is more common, far more common. However, that's not because English's traditional transitive verb construction involving an indirect object is preferred but because English grammar only allows a relative few of English's many transitive verbs to take English's special ditransitive construction. Here is a list of the most common transitive verbs for which English grammar allows use of the its special ditransitive construction:


If you go to that link, you'll see all four verbs you used (i.e., lend, give, and buy) are on that list, making it perfectly grammatical and natural-sounding for you to say the following sentences from your question:

  • I never lend anyone it.
  • Can you give me this book?
  • Can you buy me this pen?

Those are sentences no native English speaker would even blink at hearing from another native English speaker. I've been speaking English since I was about two and taught English for several years. These sentences are fine, not sounding "clumsy" or "unnatural."

Having taught ESL, there is a common phenomenon that occurs where when a non-native English speaker says or writes something in English and, because it's a non-native English speaker saying or writing it, a native English speaker scrutinizes it and believe it to be improper, whereas if another native speaker were to say or write that same thing in that same context, they wouldn't scrutinize it or believe it to be at all improper. If these other two answers are native English speakers, that is what I imagine is going on, because no native English speaker would find the sentence "I never lend anyone it" to sound at all "clumsy" or "unnatural" coming from another native English speaker. This phenomenon I speak of is believed to come from English speakers so closely examining and scrutinizing a non-native speaker's English usage, like to understand them or answer questions about English usage, that suddenly wordings that that non-native English speaker uses that are perfectly grammatical and natural, that English speakers themselves have all used and heard from each other, suddenly sound unnatural, clumsy, and improper, leads to non-native English speakers and ESL students sometimes getting misguided advice.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .