Transitive verbs with two objects

Verbs that take an object are called transitive verbs.

I bought a pair of trousers.

Here the noun phrase ‘a pair of trousers’ acts as the object of the verb ‘bought’. Therefore, ‘bought’ is used as a transitive verb in this sentence.

Most transitive verbs are followed by a single object. Some transitive verbs, on the other hand, take two objects after them. Some common verbs that take two objects are: give, tell, offer, make, ask, promise, lend, sell, owe and buy.

She gave me a book.
She bought him a shirt.
I told her a story.
Will you do me a favor?
Can you lend me some money?
You owe me a drink.

The object that immediately follows the verb is called the indirect object. The indirect object usually denotes a person. The direct object usually comes after the indirect object.

It is possible to put the direct object before the indirect object. In this case, we use the preposition to or for before the indirect object.

She gave a book to me.
I told a story to her.
She bought a shirt for him.
Will you do a favour for me?

Notes: The direct object cannot be put before the indirect object in the following cases.

Ask him his number. (BUT NOT Ask his number to him.)
I envy you your new car. (BUT NOT I envy your new car to you.)