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Using Pronouns as Indirect Objects

Nouns are traditionally defined as words that refer to people, places, things, and ideas. A subcategory of nouns, pronouns are words that take the place of nouns, noun phrases, noun clauses, and other grammatical forms. A noun phrase is a phrase that consists of a noun including a pronoun plus any modifiers, complements, or determiners.

In grammar, an indirect object is word, phrase, or clause that indicates to or for whom or what the action of a ditransitive verb is performed. In addition to nouns and noun phrases, pronouns frequently function as indirect objects in English. Examples of pronouns as indirect objects include the following:

  • Bring me some cake. (personal pronoun)
  • The neighbor bought him a toy car. (personal pronoun)
  • My boss gave her a much deserved raise. (personal pronoun)
  • Give that a good scrubbing. (demonstrative pronoun)
  • You mailed whom a letter? (interrogative pronoun)
  • She sent who a sample? (interrogative pronoun)
  • The criminal stole somebody a new car. (indefinite pronoun)
  • The teacher gave both a passing grade. (indefinite pronoun)


Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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