Saturday, July 13, 2013

Verbs with two objects

Some verbs can take two objects. The first one is usually a person or group of people, and the second one a thing or things. Learn all about them with these exercises.
At the end of the post there's also a table of the different patterns that can be found with these verbs.

Entry test

Exercise 1Use your instinct and mark each sentence right or wrong.
1.He bought for us some ice-creams.
2.She chose him a new silk tie.
3.They awarded him first prize.
4.She offered to us some coffee.
5.They showed him their new car.
6.He gave it his mother.
7.She fetched him a chair.
8.They served to us tea in the garden
9.I've bought for myself a new laptop.
10.I owe the bank a lot of money.
11.Can you find some string me?
12.He told to us a story.

The basics

Daisy chain - Wikimedia Commons
Exercise 2aLook at these two sentences and answer the questions that come after them.
Jill gave Jack a present.
What did Jill give? =
Who did Jill give it to? =
Jill made Jack a daisy chain.
What did Jill make? =
Who did Jill make it for? =

Now complete the structure rule for a verb with two objects

subject + verb + +

We can also write the sentences with prepositional phrases with to or for.
Exercise 2bRewrite the sentences in a way that includes the preposition to or for.
1. Jill gave Jack a present.
2. She made him a daisy-chain.

Pattern 1 - Verbs that can be used with either an indirect object or a prepositional phrase

to or for?

Exercise 3aComplete each sentence with one of the verbs from the box, and either to or for.
booked   ·   buying   ·   fetched   ·   handed   ·   offered   ·   promising
saved   ·   owed   ·   teaching   ·   telling   ·   threw
EG. She owed quite a lot of money to the bank.
1. Daddy's a new bicycle me for my next birthday.
2. The workman the electric drill his assistant.
3. She a piece of cake the vicar, who politely declined.
4. They two tickets on the Orient Express themselves.
5. She's a new song the children.
6. She the frisbee her dog, which caught it easily.
7. They're a reward anyone who gives them any information.
8. He went and something her to write with.
9. I've the last piece of cake you.
10. He's always stupid jokes anyone who will listen.
Exercise 3bComplete each sentence with either to or for, and then rewrite the sentence with an indirect object, without to or for in the box below. Don't add any punctuation.
EG. She owed quite a lot of money to the bank.
She owed the bank quite a lot of money .
1. They awarded the first prize Peter.
2. He built a new house his daughter.
3. I'll find something you to write with.
4. He wouldn't lend any money me.
5. I'll cook something you to eat.
6. He owes some money me.
7. She poured a drink herself.
8. Can you pass the salt me, please?
9. They showed their photos us.
10. I'll order a taxi you.

Verbs that can take both to and for

Some verbs can take to or for.
bring, leave, pay, play, post, read, send, sing, take, write
Sometimes there's little difference:
  • Shall I sing you a song? = Shall I sing a song to/for you?
  • I'll leave you the washing to do = I'll leave leave the washing to/for you to do.
  • Could you bring me a glass? = Could you bring a glass to/for me, please?
but sometimes there is, in which case the subject + verb + indirect object + direct object structure is only used for the to meaning.:
  • I posted her the letter = I posted the letter to her.
    She couldn't leave the house, so I posted the letter for her.
  • She took her granny the basket = She took the basket to her granny.
    Her granny had her hands full, so she took the basket for her granny.

Pattern 2 - verbs that don't take prepositional phrases

Some verbs, especially those connected with giving or refusing permission, are only used in the indirect verb pattern and not with prepositional phrase.
  • I asked him the way to the city centre.
  • NOT I asked the way to the city centre to him.
These include:
allow, ask, cost, deny, envy, forgive, guarantee, permit, refuse
Exercise 4Complete each sentence with a verb from the top box and an expression from the lower bo. Click and Drop - Click on a word in the box and then click on an appropriate gap. If you change your mind, just repeat the process.
allowed   ·   asked   ·   cost   ·   denied   ·   envied   ·   forgave
guaranteed   ·   permitted   ·   refused
1. His car him an arm and a leg .
2. Unfortunately, the farmer us permission .
3. She him his bad-tempered outburst .
4. I him his good fortune .
5. She them the reason .
6. He me the opportunity .
7. His astonishing win him a place .
8. The festival ticket us full access .
9. The library card me the use .

Pattern 3 - verbs that only take prepositional phrases

Other verbs take prepositional phrases, but are not used in the indirect object pattern:
  • He mentioned the matter to me yesterday
    NOT He mentioned me the matter yesterday
  • They collected some money for the young couple
    NOT They collected the young couple some money
With to - mainly reporting verbs - admit, announce, confess, demonstrate, describe, explain, introduce, mention, point out, prove, report, say, suggest
With for - collect, mend, raise

Correct the mistakes

Exercise 5If necessary, correct the sentences, but don't add any punctuation. If the sentence is already correct, don't write in anything.
1. He admitted us the truth.
2. She allowed us one answer each.
3. He announced us his good news.
4. They denied entrance to the club to us.
5. She refused me permission to leave early.
6. He confessed us his misgivings.
7. He raises his favourite charity a lot of money.
8. She mentioned it to me earlier.
9. It cost a lot of money to him.
10. She mended my shirt for me.
11. They guaranteed a refund to us if things went wrong.
12. He asked a favour to me.

for + noun/pronoun + to-infinitive

Quite often, we use an infinitive indicating purpose, especially with words like something, somewhere etc. It usually comes at the end of the whole expression:
  • When we use the pattern with an indirect object, this follows the direct object.
      I'll get you a book to read.
    • She made me something to eat.
    • He found me a tie to wear.
  • When we use a prepositional phrase after the direct object, it usually follows the prepositional phrase.
    • I'll get a book for you to read.
    • She made something for me to eat.
    • He found a tie for me to wear.

Advanced point - indirect object or prepositional phrase?

Sometimes we prefer to use a structure with an indirect object, at others we prefer to use a prepositional phrase.
Exercise 6aUse your instinct to decide which sentence in each pair sounds better.
1a.Give her the cup right now.
Give the cup to her right now.
1b.Give your mother it right now.
Give it to your mother right now.
2a.She made me some coffee.
She made some coffee for me.
2b.She made some coffee for all the guests who had just arrived.
She made all the guests who had just arrived some coffee.
3a.They awarded me a prize.
They awarded a prize to me.
3b.And we're very happy to award John Gibson the next prize.
And we're very happy to award the next prize to John Gibson.

When we prefer an indirect object construction

We generally prefer this when the indirect object is short, especially when it is a pronoun, or when we want to focus on the direct object by putting it at the end of the sentence.
1. Give Mary her toy back right now.
2. She made us some coffee.
3. They gave Mark an award for bravery.

When we prefer a prepositional phrase

Exercise 6bDecide which reason goes with which sentence
1. Give it to your mother right now.
2. She made some coffee for all the guests who had just arrived.
3. And we're very happy to award the next prize to John Gibson.
a. The prepositional object is be very long.
b. We want to focus on the prepositional object by putting it in end position.
c. The direct object is much shorter than the prepositional object.
Note - when the direct object is a personal pronoun, especially it, we usually use a pepositional phrase structure rather than an indirect object structure.
  • Pass it to your sister.
  • Pass your sister it.

Passive versions of active structures with two objects

When we can use the subject + verb + indirect object + direct object structure, the indirect object (or prepositional object) - generally a person - usually becomes the subject of the passive construction, but it is also possible to make the direct object - generally a thing - the subject, depending on what we want to focus on.
When the the direct object becomes the subject of the passive sentence, we usually have to add the preposition, usually to, but occasionally for.
  • Active
    They gave Natasha Johnson the prize for swimming.
  • Passive
    Natasha Johnson was given the prize for swimming.
    The prize for swimming was given to Natasha Johnson.
  • Active
    They baked us a special cake.
  • Passive
    We were baked a special cake.
    A special cake was baked for us. (more common)
Exercise 7aMake two passive sentences from each active sentence, starting with the word(s) given. Don't add any punctuation.
1. They've sent all their clients a letter.
All .
A letter .
2. They found me some clothes to wear.
I .
Some .
3. They've given each member of the team a special trophy.
Each .
A special .
4. They showed the client a copy of the contract.
He .
A copy .
5. Someone passed the inspector a note.
The inspector .
A note .
6. They reserved me a seat on the early morning train.
I .
A seat .

Some notes on passives

Pattern 2 - with verbs which can only be used in the indirect object pattern, the personal object usually becomes the subject of the passive sentence. Very occasionally, the active indirect object is made the subject of the passive sentence, in which case the preposition is not added.
  • Active
    They refused us permission.
  • Passive
    We were refused permission.
    Permission was refused us. (rather rare)
Pattern 3 - with verbs where only the subject + verb + direct object + prepositional phrase structure is possible, only the direct object can become the subject of the passive sentence.
  • Active
    They explained the procedure to me.
  • Passive
    The procedure was explained to me.
    NOT I was explained the procedure.
Exercise 7bMake passive sentences from these active sentences.
Where possible use the indirect object from the active sentence as the object of the passive sentence, as in EG 1.
Where this is not possible, use the direct object of the active sentence as the subject of the passive sentemce, as in EG 2
Don't add any punctuation.
EG 1. Someone gave some money to me.
I was given some money.
EG 2. They described the situation to me in some detail.
The situation was described to me in some detail
1. Someone sold a fake watch to her.
2. Someone had mentioned the matter to him earlier.
3. They reported the crime to the police.
4. They told the whole story to the newspaper.
5. They are offering us a discount.
6. Then they will introduce you to the ambassador.
7. Someone had donated a million pounds to the party.
8. They promised a new car to the winner.
9. They will announce the decision to the press tomorrow.
10. Someone handed me a bunch of keys.

Table of verbs taking two objects


Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this brilliantly comprehensive overview.

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