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Some English verbs can be followed by two objects. In this article, we are going to have a look at some examples because it is one of the most common mistakes that English students make.

Don’t you happen to say any of these sentences below?

I will explain you this.

She recommended me this restaurant.

He said me.

She told to me.

Well, if you do then you should read till the end.

Double-object verbs are verbs that can have two objects.

An indirect object + direct object

The indirect object is usually a person or a group of people.

The direct object is a thing or things.

Here are some examples:

· Give: Give me a sandwich. Can I give you a present?

· Send: Send me some food. John sent his wife some flowers.

· Lend: Lend me your car. Charles lent me some money.

· Tell: My boss told me some news.

Look what happens if you change the order of the objects:

A direct object + a preposition (to/for) + an indirect object

· Give: Give a sandwich to me. Can I give a present to you?

· Send: Jon sent some flowers to his wife.

· Lend: Lend your car to me. Charles lent some money to me.

· Tell: My boss told some news to me.

Other verbs which can take two objects:

(to) show, sell, throw, pass, teach, write, want, owe, ask, cost, offer, post, promise, read, write, pay, provide, present, give, lend, tell;

(for) book, bring, buy, cook, find, get, keep, make, pour, save, bake, prepare, build, knit, reserve, sing, do a favour, provide

If the indirect object is a pronoun, we normally use VERB + PRONOUN + NOUN:

I poured him another drink.

However, not all verbs can be used like this:

· Recommend: Adela recommended this book to me.

· Explain: I will explain it to you again.

· Borrow: Can I borrow your mouse?

· Say: My boss said something to me.


It is possible that some verbs will also have different patterns. For example, the verb ‘provide’ can be used followingly:

Provide someone with something: My professor provided me with a great opportunity to go to an environmental educational congress.

Provide something for someone: The company provides baby care for its employees.

Provide something to someone: We offer special tariffs to all our clients.

Verbs which do not take two objects: suggest, describe, push, take, donate

TIP! The best way to learn this is to remember what can follow each verb. If you are not sure, you can check with a good dictionary. Reading would help you naturally too.


In addition to this word order, verbs with two objects are interesting to look at in passive. In the passive form both objects can be used as subjects:

I gave her keys from my flat.

She was given keys from my flat.

Keys from my flat were given to her.

We will provide you with the wi-fi password upon the arrival.

The wi-fi password will be provided for you upon the arrival.

You will be provided with the wi-fi password upon the arrival.

EXERCISE 1: Rewrite these sentences so that they follow this structure: a direct object + an indirect object like in the example:

1. I will cook goulash for you.

2. Can you pass the salt to me?

3. Throw the ball to me.

4. Have you written the report to me?

5. You owe a favour to me.

6. They booked a suite for us.

7. Read this story to me.

EXERCISE 2 - Put the words in the right order.

1. order / an / gave / I / him

2. girlfriend / Felix /a / house / built / his

3. I / drink / will / you / get / a

4. them / they / lot of / owed / money /a

5. send / Vlad / soon / you / an /invoice /will

6. water /Bring / some /me.

EXERCISE 3 - Correct these sentences

1. Mr Novak said me something.

2. You owe to me a lot of money.

3. He recommended me an interesting film.

4. Could you explain me your reasons?

5. I presented to my teacher the presentation.

6. Would you knit a jumper me?

EXERCISE 4 - Make your own sentences

tell vs. say

lend vs. borrow

get vs. take

More practice:

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