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    #1

    When can the indirect object immediately follow the verb?

    Usually, we place the direct object after the verb, and attach an indirect object with a prep. phrase.

    The doctor gave it to me.

    Sometimes the indirect object can immediately follow the verb...

    The doctor gave me it.

    Sometimes we can't.

    My friend borrowed it from me.
    My friend borrowed me it.

    She told it to me.
    She told me it.

    My father suggested it to me.
    My father suggested me it.

    I found the book for you.
    I found you the book

    How do we know when we can and when we can't? Is there any rule, or just usage?

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    #2

    Re: When can the indirect object immediately follow the verb?

    Quote Originally Posted by FreeZiebel View Post
    Is there any rule, or just usage?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, FreeZiebel:

    I have found some information in a scholarly book * that may interest you.

    IF I understand the book, I would say:

    1. Yes, there are some rules. But -- in my opinion -- one would go crazy trying to remember all the rules and all the exceptions.

    2. Yes, I would say that -- unfortunately -- usage is the best way for anyone to learn about this matter.

    Here are some points from that book:

    3. Many one-syllable verbs allow indirect object movement [the indirect object right after the verb]. E.g., give, send, lend, teach, tell, etc.

    4. Some two-syllable verbs do not allow indirect object movement. E.g., open, explain, describe, say, mention, etc. But some do: offer, award, scramble, reserve, etc.

    5. But some of those verbs in #4 DO allow indirect object movement IF one keeps the preposition:

    They mentioned the new restaurant on Putney Road to me.
    They mentioned to me the new ....

    6. A piece of "good" news. That is to say, here is a rule that does not seem to have any exceptions: "[N]o verb of three or more syllables may take indirect object movement."

    7. The two scholars admit that this whole system is "rather arbitrary" -- especially when it comes to two-syllable verbs.



    James


    Complete credit to: Mesdames Celce-Murcia and Diane Larsen-Freeman, The Grammar Book / An ESL/EFL Teacher's Course (I have the 1983 edition). It was published by Newbury House Publishers (Rowley, London, Tokyo).

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    #3

    Re: When can the indirect object immediately follow the verb?

    Many people, including me, do not consider a prepositional phrase to be an indirect object. It may serve the same function, but it is not the same thing. Many verbs can take an indirect object and many cannot.

    John threw me the ball. "Me" is an indirect object.
    John threw the ball to me. "Me" is the object of a preposition.

    Same meaning? Yes. Same structure? No.

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