Can verb "set" have an indirect object? E.g "I set myself a task to do that" Where "myself" Is the indirect object. Is that correct?

  • Yes, "myself" is Oi and "a task to do that" is Od. Btw, the infinitival clause "to do that" is complement of the noun "task"
    – BillJ
    Feb 16, 2023 at 13:32
  • Set me free! and Set me to work are syntactically slightly different to Set me a task, but they all feature me as an "object / patient". Feb 16, 2023 at 13:41
  • @FumbleFingers Wouldn't "a task" be the patient in the third sentence, since that is what is being set? If not, then what role would "a task" have? Feb 24, 2023 at 23:51
  • @MarcInManhattan: I'd say Set me a task is an imperative, so the unspecified "agent" is you, and the "patient" is me. The task looks like an indirect object, but I don't know if that has its own name in the agent/patient lexicon Feb 25, 2023 at 13:00
  • @FumbleFingers "Goal" is sometimes used for the beneficiary of the action. Both the word-order of the two objects and the fact that "me" can be replaced by "for me" suggest that "me" is an IO / goal. I think that "task" is the DO, because we can rewrite the sentence as "set a task for me". Feb 25, 2023 at 16:31

1 Answer 1


"Set" is one of the words with the most senses in English. The OED entry for "set" is about 50000 words long, longer than many novels, even Wiktionary lists about 100 different senses.

"Set" can be used with an indirect object and a direct object as in the example, when it is being used in the sense of "give myself a task". The direct object is usually "task" or "goal" or a word with a similar meaning.

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