Ditransitive Verbs

What are ditransitive verbs?

Ditransitive verbs are verbs that take two objects: a direct object and an indirect object.

The direct object is typically the thing that is affected or acted upon by the verb, while the indirect object is usually the person or thing to whom or for whom the action is performed (check out the difference between direct and indirect objects if you are unsure).

The indirect object typically comes before the direct object in the sentence, though this is not always the case.

When do we use ditransitive verbs?

Ditransitive verbs are used when someone or something that is not the subject receives something due to the action of the verb.

For example:

  • I lent my brother some money; Or
  • I lent some money to my brother

So the subject (I) lends the direct object (i.e. money) to the indirect object (the recipient i.e. the brother). 

Common ditransitive verbs

These are some common ditransitive verbs:

  • ask 
  • give
  • offer
  • send
  • show
  • tell
  • buy
  • assign
  • bet
  • bring
  • pay
  • cost
  • do
  • feed
  • find
  • lend
  • owe
  • pass
  • play
  • get

Remember that a verb will still be transitive if there is no indirect object:

  • The vicar gave a sermon (transitive)
  • The vicar gave a sermon to his congregation (ditransitive - there is a recipient)

Here are some examples of common ditransitive verbs and their direct and indirect objects:

Examples of ditransitive verbs:

  • Give - "She gave him the book."

  • Send - "He sent the letter to his friend."

  • Show - "She showed her friend the picture."

  • Tell - "He told his mother the news."

  • Teach - "She taught the children how to read."

  • Bring - "He brought the cake to the party."

More on Verbs:

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