Guide to Direct Objects
Many sentences in English require a subject, a verb, and a direct object (DO). A direct object is a noun, a noun phrase or a pronoun that comes after the verb. The direct object answers the question "what?" or "who?"
Here is an example:
Here is another one:
Different Kinds of Nouns That Can Be Used as Direct Objects
- Singular Count Noun
- a dog, a cat, a book, a puzzle, a student, a place, one place ...
Bob wants a new car. s v n (DO)
- Plural Count Nouns
- two dogs, a few cats, several books, a lot of puzzles, many students, several places...
Bob loves books. s v n (DO)
- Non-Count Nouns (nouns that don't add -s and don't use "a")
- air, traffic, insurance, equipment, jewelry, cosmetics, soup, water, intelligence, independence ... You can use your dictionary to tell if a noun is non-count.
I hate traffic. s v n (DO)
- Gerunds verb+ing (verbs that act as nouns)
- playing, sleeping, boating, hiking, swimming, going, travelling, reading, enjoying, working, living ...
I love playing chess. I love working in HMB. s v n (DO) s v n (DO)
Don't confuse this with present continuous verb tense.
I am going home now. You are sleeping now. We are working today.
- Infinitives to+verb
- to swim, to eat, to go, to live, to know, to understand...
I like to swim. I love to drink coffee. s v n (DO) s v n (DO)
Some verbs can only use nouns or gerunds (verbing) as the direct object:
- enjoy, finish, quit, stop, keep, discuss, practice
You can use your dictionary to tell if a verb needs a gerund.
Some verbs can only use nouns or infinitives to show the direct object:
- want, need, learn, play, try
Some verbs can use either a noun, a noun phrase, a gerund, or an infinitive:
- like, hate, love, start, begin, continue
Use your dictionary if you can't remember if a noun is count or non-count or if a verb ends in -ing (gerund) or if "to" (infinitive) is added.