Verbs with two objects
Many verbs can be followed by two objects – one direct object and one indirect object. The indirect object usually refers to a person and comes first.
He gave his son a cell phone for Christmas. (Indirect object – his son, direct object – cell phone)
We wish you a happy New Year. (Indirect object – you, direct object – happy New Year)
She made us some coffee. (Indirect object – us, direct object – coffee)
They sent me a letter. (Indirect object – me, direct object – letter)
Some common verbs which can be followed by two objects include:
bring, buy, cost, get, give, leave, lend, make, offer, pass, pay, play, promise, read, refuse, send, show, sing, take, teach, wish, write
The indirect object can be put after the direct object. When the indirect object comes after the direct object, it usually takes the preposition to or for.
He sent some flowers to his mother.
I handed my licence to the policeman.
When both objects are pronouns, it is common to put the indirect object last.
Send them to her. (NOT Send her some.)
Give some to him. (Give him some.)
When these verbs are used in the passive voice, the subject is usually the person who receives something, and not the thing which was given or sent.
I have just been given a lovely dress. (More natural than ‘A lovely dress has just been given to me’.)
We were all bought little presents.
Note that with certain verbs like explain, suggest or request, the indirect object always comes after the direct object.
We would like them to explain their decision to us. (NOT We would like them to explain us their decision.)
Can you suggest a good psychologist to me? (NOT Can you suggest me a good psychologist?)