General Writing and Grammar Help/Ditransitive Verbs


I was reading the one question on ditransitive verbs on the forum. ie. He gave the church a great deal of money.

What about "He gave the church money."?
I think this would be ditransitive since the prepositional phrase is dropped. Is this right?

Dear Karen:

The term "ditransitive verb" is rarely used in English grammar.  In English, we commonly say that such verbs require both a direct object and an indirect object.  There MUST be two objects present in the sentence.

Whether you use the additional prepositional phrase or not has nothing to do with the verb.

Compare these two sentences:

David read a story.  [monotransitive]

David read the children a story.  [ditransitive -- "children" is the INDIRECT OBJECT and "story" is the DIRECT OBJECT.

Now, take your sentence, "He gave the church money."

What did he give?  Money -- the direct object

To whom did he give the money?  The church -- the indirect object.

Yes, your sentence uses a "ditransitive verb," which is "gave."  Both the direct and indirect objects are clearly stated.

Your analysis is excellent!


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Ted Nesbitt


I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.


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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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