Grammar: Objective Case – Direct & Indirect Objects…& Objects of a Preposition

Posted December 20, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Grammar Explanations, Self-Editing, Writing

Objective Personal Pronouns

whom   whomever

“The objective case is the overall term for objects, whether they’re direct objects, indirect objects, or objects of a preposition. They’re used for nouns and objective personal pronouns which function as objects” (Grammar Monster).

Three Types of Objective Case:

  1. Direct Object
  2. Indirect Object
  3. Object of a Preposition

Mentions of the accusative case and the dative case crop up in grammar books and online sites. The accusative case functions to point out the direct object and is more frequently used when studying a language other than English. The dative case functions to point out the indirect object.

Grammar Explanations is…

…an evolving list of the structural rules and principles that determines where words are placed in phrases or sentences as well as how the language is spoken. Sometimes I run across an example that helps explain better or another “also known as”. Heck, there’s always a better way to explain it, so if it makes quicker and/or better sense, I would appreciate suggestions and comments from anyone on an area of grammar with which you struggle or on which you can contribute more understanding.

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Direct Object
Definition: A direct object is the object of an action verb — what the verb is affecting, a.k.a., it receives the action.

Rule: Find the direct object by first finding the verb. Then ask what? or whom?

Sentence Verb Accusative Case
Points to
Direct Object
He bounced the ball. bounced What did he bounce? The ball
Give the letter to the mailman. give Give what? The letter
Kathy loves chocolate milkshakes. loves Loves what? Chocolate milkshakes
Jim ate the meatballs. ate Ate what? The meatballs
Please send this letter immediately. send Send what? This letter
Please send him immediately. send Send who? Him
Indirect Object
Definition: An indirect object receives the direct object.

A verb that acts to / for whom or to / for what followed by a noun or pronoun which is always in front of the indirect object, but the words to or for are never actually used.

Rule: Find the indirect object by first finding the direct object (see the direct object table above). Then ask who/what will receive that direct object.

Sentence Find the Verb Direct Object Dative Case
Points to
Indirect Object
Joe gave Jim some meatballs gave Gave what? Some meatballs Who received it? Jim
Please bring me that file immediately. bring Bring what? That file Who received it? Me
Friends should always tell you the truth. tell Tell what? The truth Who should be told the truth? You
Object of a Preposition
Definition: The noun, noun phrase, noun clause, or objective personal pronoun after a preposition (see a list of common prepositions).

Caution: The object does not always follow the preposition.

Sentence Find the Verb Preposition Noun / Pronoun
Jim runs the old trail with me. runs with Who does Jim run with? Me
We will sail alongside her. will sail alongside Who do they sail alongside? Her
You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his actions when he’s drunk. tell about
About what? “a fellow’s character”
By whose actions? His
Go sit with your mom and dad. go sit with your mom and dad
Is that mail on the table for the mailbox? is on
The whine from the mosquitoes is annoying. is from mosquitoes

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