Object (grammar)

grammatical term; argument in a proposition

An object in grammar is the target of an action, and occurs in any sentence with a transitive verb. It is an element in the clause which follows the verb, as in:

The cat ate breakfast.
She hit him and then said go away from here

These are direct objects. The following are indirect objects:

The dog brought Jane his lead.
I sent my son a letter.

The structure of these sentences is (S/V/O/O) where S = subject, V = verb and O = object. The first object is an indirect object, the second is a direct object. Notice that, in the last example, you sent a letter, not your son. The sentence makes perfect sense without the indirect object.

An equivalent sentence to the last example is:

I sent a letter to my son.

Here some grammarians also see son as the indirect object (letter is the term which cannot be left out).[1]p720


  1. McArthur, Tom (ed) 1992. The Oxford companion to the English language. Oxford University Press.