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 The moving hand embodies the subject, the movement is the action, and the other hand is the direct object. Carl Zimmer, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019 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, 22 Aug. 2019 Who is used for subjects, whom for objects, including direct objects such as that of the verb to fire. The Economist, 1 Mar. 2018 In Steve kicked John, Steve is the subject and John is the direct object. The Economist, 24 May 2018 Both distinguish between an animate direct object and an inanimate one. The Economist, 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, 1 Mar. 2018 But putting a comma between a verb and its direct object is not a common mistake. The Economist, 21 Sep. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'direct object.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1879, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of direct object was in 1879

Dictionary Entries Near direct object

Cite this Entry

“Direct object.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

direct object

: a grammatical object that is the main goal or the result of the action of a verb
"me" in "he called me" and "house" in "we built a house" are direct objects
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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