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Subjects and objects 2

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Indirect objects and prepositional phrases

This is the word order we saw previously:
I gave her a gift.
The indirect object, ‘her’ is placed before the direct object ‘a gift’.

But it is also possible to put the indirect object in a prepositional phrase which comes after the direct object:
I gave a gift to her.

Prepositional phrases use the prepositions ‘to’ and ‘for’ with the indirect object:
She baked Paul a cake.
She baked a cake for Paul.

Look at these two sentences:
We sent John a birthday card.
We sent a birthday card to John.

These two sentences do not have any real difference in meaning.

But usually prepositional phrases are used to focus on the indirect object:
She gave Paul the last cake.
She gave the last cake to Paul.

In the first sentence the emphasis is on the last cake; in the second, on Paul.

A prepositional phrase is used when the indirect object is much longer than the direct object:
She gave Paul a cake that she had spent the whole afternoon baking.
Which is better than:
She gave a cake which she had spent the whole afternoon baking to Paul.

A prepositional phrase is also used more frequently when the direct object is a pronoun:
Do you remember the necklace I bought from India? I gave it to Sarah.
Which is more usual than:
I gave Sarah it.
However this is common in certain regions where English is spoken and is used informally.

Lesson by EC Malta teacher, Tristan. Learn English in Malta

Subjects and Ojects

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