Given the sentence:

I gave Tom a cup.

I can say, that

I is the subject.

But what is object here:

"Tom" or "a cup"


  • 1
    An indirect object is the recipient of the direct object – Lucian Sava Nov 28 '14 at 11:10
  • 1
    Denis, look up this article: "Ditransitive Verb" – CowperKettle Nov 28 '14 at 11:25
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    @CopperKettle I believe your answer is the best, could you convert it, please. – Denis Kulagin Nov 28 '14 at 11:36
  • "I is" is too regular for such idiomatic language as English. The English irregularity is "I always am". Or, you is just a more advanced learner than I am. – Little Alien Dec 27 '16 at 15:54

Denis, look up this article: "Ditransitive Verb". A ditransitive verb can have two objects, one direct, one indirect. They are also called primary and secondary.

In the sentence

I gave Tom a cup.

Cup is the direct object, and Tom, the indirect.

  • 1
    ngram shows that the term ditransitive is a relatively new word. It was born in the LSD-era. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 28 '14 at 13:56
  • Thanks, @TRomano! That explains why I've been getting such a kick out of using this term. I hope it's not a Schedule I word. ^_^ – CowperKettle Nov 28 '14 at 14:14
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    And you will probably use it again some time in the future. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 28 '14 at 14:18
  • Nah, I can go cold turkey on ditransitive any moment. – CowperKettle Nov 28 '14 at 14:22
  • M-m-m-m-m. Cold turkey. Cranberry sauce. BRB. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 28 '14 at 14:24

Who finally receives? TOM, so it's object. Okay, What you give? A cup, so cup too is an object.

So, the question is which is direct and which is indirect.

I gave Tom a cup - TOM is the indirect object of the verb give

Excerpt from the page having useful information

An indirect object is the recipient of the direct object, or an otherwise affected participant in the event. There must be a direct object for an indirect object to be placed in a sentence. In other words an indirect object cannot exist without a direct object.


"Tom" and "a cup" are both objects. "Tom" is an indirect object whereas "a cup" is a direct object.

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