General Writing and Grammar Help/Direct & Indirect Object

Advertisement


Question
QUESTION: Hello:

Is it possible to write a sentence with an indirect object but without a direct object in the sentence?

subject plus predicate plus indirect object

For example, this sentence has a direct object but not an indirect object: The girl skipped the rope.

It is possible to have a direct object and an understood indirect object: She baked a cake. In this sentence, the female baked someone a cake.

I thank you for your reply.

ANSWER: It's not necessarily understood that she baked somebody else a cake - - unless you mean that =somebody= would also include the baker herself.  If you want to specify that she is not included in the list of possible recipients, you need to recast the sentence, as you have done.

She baked Jim a cake.

~~

Now, as to your question, I don't think so.  I am trying to think of a sentence that fulfills that requirement....  Do you have one?

=She baked someone= went out with the Donner party!
 
mb

 

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello:

I want to thank you for the reply.

After I sent you my question, I thought about it, and I was able to think of this example, but I'm not sure it is totally correct.

He assured them that it would not rain today.

If "them" is the indirect object (It does answer the question to whom or for whom.) and the noun clause (that it would not rain today) is the direct object, the sentence can be changed to the following:

He assured them of that situation.

In this sentence, is "them" the indirect object with no expressed direct object?

I thank you for your follow-up reply.

Answer
If you mean =that situation= as "true" words to be included in the sentence, then those words would be the direct object.

I think what you want is something such as this:
He assured them.

Whatever it was that was of concern to them is not stated but is assumed. What exactly this is would have been mentioned/discussed earlier so that there was no question about the topic.

They were concerned it would rain.  The rain forest is known for rain, after all.  Mrs. Primm did not want her hat to be sullied; Mr. Primm did not cotton to the idea of a wet watch chain.  The guide understood their reticence and wanted them to know it definitely would not rain.  He assured them. They took him at his word, something they later were to regret.

~~

Now I am curious and must ask you why you are interested in a sentence that appears on paper with an ID but no DO?
mb  

General Writing and Grammar Help

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Martha Beth Lewis

Expertise

I will answer questions having to do with grammar, plurals, punctuation, capitalization, mood, person, tense, and so on, as well as word usage and word choice. If you want a quick answer to a specific question, particularly if you wish to use formal American English for business or academic purposes (MLA), I can give you a timely response. I also can address word choice, clarity, structure, and similar concerns involving English as a second language. If you want advice of a deeper editorial nature (e.g., substantive [line] editing), please consult an Expert who offers this sort of assistance; I do not offer this sort of assistance.

Experience

I was employed as an editor for the graduate school at a major U.S. university and specialized in dissertations. I have over 200 publications in professional journals, consumer magazines, and newspapers. I am the author of five books and numerous syllabi in an arts field. I also am a freelance line editor, copy editor, and proofreader (over 40 years), and I have written or edited countless community organizations' newsletters and promotional materials.

Organizations
Note: When using a word as a word in a sentence, such as: Put a period after the word dog, =dog= should be set in italics. Since I do not have access to italics here, I shall use = on either side of the word or phrase that properly should appear in italics. For the above example: Put a period after the word =dog=. Also, ~~please do not mark your questions as private~~. I will change them to public because I don't want to type the same answer twice! Thanks for your understanding.

Publications
If you submit a question to other Experts or the pool, I'd appreciate it if you would >>NOT<< submit it to me, also. It's like asking several people out on a date and choosing among those who said yes! This implies my time and particular expertise are worth nothing to you. I want to spend my time responding to those who find my qualifications germane to their question. Remember: I'm a volunteer!

Education/Credentials
Education B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa Ph.D.

Awards and Honors
I ask that you >>COME BACK TO READ MY RESPONSE<<. I've taken time to write the best response I can, so you should come back to read it! It's disheartening to respond to a question, only to see later that the person has not bothered to come back. Remember: I'm a volunteer!

Past/Present Clients
I am happy to help you - that's why I volunteered - but please remember I *am* a volunteer and extend me normal courtesies, such as no multiple submissions and not bothering to come back for your answer. mb

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.