Category: English Nouns, Grammatical Function|September 1, 2011 12:00 am

Using Nouns and Noun Phrases as Indirect Objects

Nouns are traditionally defined as words that refer to a person, place, thing, or idea. A noun phrase is a phrase that consists of a noun plus any modifiers, complements, or determiners. A subcategory of nouns, pronouns are words that take the place of nouns and noun phrases.

In grammar, an indirect object is word, phrase, or clause that indicates to or for whom or what the action of a ditransitive verb is performed. Nouns, pronouns, and noun phrases most frequently function as indirect objects in English. Examples of nouns including pronouns and noun phrases as indirect objects include the following:

  • That woman gives puppies baths. (noun)
  • My uncle loves to read children stories. (noun)
  • The committee mailed me a letter. (pronoun)
  • Give someone a call tonight. (pronoun)
  • I wished the man in the purple hat who likes squirrels a good evening. (noun phrase)
  • We have offered somebody special a job. (noun phrase)


Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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