Ditransitive Verbs

Ditransitive verbs take two objects instead of one.

Ditransitive verbs are a type of transitive verb. If you're a geometry nut, a transitive verb is a rectangle and a ditransitive verb is a square in that a square is a rectangle but a rectangle isn't a square. Okay, you get it. We probably didn't need to tell you that. We just like math analogies.

Really, the only difference between transitive and ditransitive verbs is that ditransitive verbs take two objects instead of one. There are only a few true ditransitive verbs, probably because life isn't usually so complicated. How many actions inherently require more than two participants (subject and direct object)?

Yeah, not many.



" Bill gave Bob a pen. "

Sorry, we had to give you a super simplified example sentence because the action that happens with a ditransitive verb is just way too much to handle.

So, the act of giving always involves:
- The person doing the giving (subject)
- The thing being given (direct object)
- The person or thing receiving the direct object (indirect object)

In linguistics, you can refer to these participants as arguments: the subject is the agent (or do-er), the direct object is the theme, and the indirect object is the recipient, beneficiary, or goal.

" Claudius introduced Maximus to his archenemy."

"Maximus...prepare to meet thy doom."

We're pretty sure that's how it went down, except with like...ominous music. And evil laughter. And explosions. (We owe you a fun sentence after our first example.)

Plain and simple, here are the participants of this sentence:
Claudius = subject
Maximus = direct object
archenemy = indirect object

Maximus is the person that's being introduced to his archenemy.

" Thadeus bought Chad an entire pizza."

Thadeus sounds like a friend we want to have. The verb bought can certainly be used without a recipient ("I bought a boat."), but there's always an implied recipient; if you buy something, it's usually always for someone or for the benefit of someone—even if it's yourself.

The arguments of this sentence can be broken down like so:
Thadeus = subject
an entire pizza = direct object
Chad = indirect object

Okay, now will you give us Thadeus' number?


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