Most sentences that contain action verbs also feature objects of the verbs. These objects give us more information about the action by providing specific details about it, such as by telling who or what received the action or to whom or what (or for whom or what) the action was performed. In this way, objects are either direct or indirect, depending on the role they play in a sentence.
What Is a Direct Object?
Unlike a subject, which performs the action in a sentence, a direct object is the receiver of an action, telling who or what received it. Direct objects are always either nouns or pronouns. (Note that nouns and pronouns appearing within a prepositional phrase are objects of the preposition, not the verb, and are not direct objects.)
The best way to determine the direct object of a sentence is to ask yourself a question about the sentence’s action by using the words what or whom.
Direct Object Examples:
Nouns as Direct Objects
(Vanessa rode what? She rode her bike. Bike is the direct object in the sentence.)
Pronouns as Direct Objects
Compound Direct Objects
As you can see, direct objects clarify information in a sentence by telling exactly who or what is receiving the action. Without direct objects, we’d be left without valuable information.
Direct Objects Versus Indirect Objects
Rather than telling who or what received the action in a sentence, as direct objects do, indirect objects tell to whom or what (or for whom or what) the action was performed.
Looking for Practice: View our Direct Object Worksheets