direct object


Definition of direct object

: a word or phrase denoting the receiver of the action of a verb

Examples of direct object in a Sentence

“Me” in “He likes me” is a direct object. In the sentence “They built a house for her,” the direct object is “house” and the indirect object is “her.”
Recent Examples on the Web Meanwhile, a two-year-old child tested alongside Kanzi quickly intuits that two nouns can make up a noun phrase, tucked as a direct object into a verb phrase, which in turn is part of a sentence. The Economist, "A new book spells out the magic of language," 22 Aug. 2019 By contrast, oneAPI is intended to produce direct object code with no or negligible performance penalties. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Write AI code once, run anywhere—it’s not Java, it’s Intel’s oneAPI," 18 Nov. 2019 Who is used for subjects, whom for objects, including direct objects such as that of the verb to fire. The Economist, "JohnsonIn the court of common usage, an old pronoun is losing its case," 1 Mar. 2018 In Steve kicked John, Steve is the subject and John is the direct object. The Economist, "The weasel voice in journalism," 24 May 2018 Both distinguish between an animate direct object and an inanimate one. The Economist, "JohnsonThe painful origins of many creole languages," 1 Feb. 2018 Four different cases in Old English tell you whether a word is a subject, direct object, indirect object or possessor. The Economist, "JohnsonIn the court of common usage, an old pronoun is losing its case," 1 Mar. 2018 The serving president, Lyndon Johnson, was a direct object of Smith’s and Carlos’s criticism. James Fallows, The Atlantic, "Trump's Shocking Recklessness," 24 Sep. 2017 But putting a comma between a verb and its direct object is not a common mistake. The Economist, "The power of the comma," 21 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'direct object.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of direct object

1879, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for direct object

Time Traveler

The first known use of direct object was in 1879

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Cite this Entry

“Direct object.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for direct object

direct object


English Language Learners Definition of direct object

grammar : a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase which indicates the person or thing that receives the action of a verb

direct object


Kids Definition of direct object

: a word that represents the main goal or the result of the action of a verb The word “me” in “you hit me” is a direct object.

Comments on direct object

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