Ditransitive Verb Definition and Examples (with List)

Ditransitive Verbs Definition and Examples

Ditransitive Verb Definition and Examples! The word “Di” means two. A verb followed by two objects, a direct object (that tells ‘what’ or ‘whom’) and an indirect object (that tells ‘to’ or ‘for whom’), is called a ditransitive verb.

Many verbs exist that are followed by two objects (direct + indirect). The indirect is usually refers to a person and comes first.

Example 1

  • Can you bring me some toffees from the shops?

In this sentence, the verb “bring” is followed by two objects: the first object, i.e. (me), refers to a person, and the second object, i.e. (some toffees) refers to a thing.

Example 2

  • She made him a coffee. (First Object: him, Second Object: a coffee)
Ditransitive Verb Definition and Examples

Where Do Direct Objects Come in Sentences?

The indirect object can either come immediately before the direct object in a sentence or form the object of a prepositional phrase using to or for that follows and modifies the direct object. For example, “A man gave the child some money.” In this sentence, the indirect object, the child immediately follows the direct object, some money.). We can write the sentence by switching the direct and indirect objects. “A man gave some money to the child.”

When we put an indirect object after the direct object, it usually has a preposition.

  • I handed the books to the library assistant. (Here, the word “to” is a preposition)
  • She sent some sweets to the gatekeeper.

However, certain verbs are followed by two objects, and we cannot reverse the objects with for/to. Such verbs include allow, refuse, ask, permit, cost, guarantee, deny, and forgive.

  • She envied me and my lifestyle (but not She envied me lifestyle for/to my.)

Ditransitive Verbs List and Rules with Example Sentences

The preposition “for” and “to” is used with certain verbs, including the following.

 for + object

  • Book
  • Order
  • Build
  • Catch
  • Save
  • Choose
  • Make
  • Cook
  • Fetch
  • Buy
  • Find
  • Pour


  • She saved much for a new car.
  • Will you order one more piece of cake for me?
  • She has booked two tickets for us.

to + object

  • Award
  • Give
  • Tell
  • Hand
  • Throw
  • Lend
  • Offer
  • Show
  • Owe
  • Pass
  • Teach


  • They gave us road safety booklets to us.
  • I feel bad that I didn’t offer anything to them.
  • They have to show that to their father.

Some verbs use either to or for which include the following verbs

  • Bring
  • Leave
  • Read
  • Write
  • Send
  • Sing
  • Pay
  • Take


  • My friends played the piece of music to (or for) me.
  • Can you sing it again to or for me?

When both objects are pronouns, putting the direct object first is common.

  • Send money to him.
  • Lend them to her.

But we can put the indirect object first.

  • Give him one.
  • Send her some.

When questions begin with Wh– words, we usually use prepositions referring to the indirect object.

  • Who did they mark it to?
  • Who did they ask about?

Either a direct object, an indirect object, or both can follow some verbs. Such verbs include pay, teach, show, ask, tell, play, sing, write, etc.

  • I pay her.
  • I pay some money.
  • I pay her some money.

But note that the verbs write, play, and sing weren’t followed by a direct object; we put “to” before the indirect object.

  • Write him a letter.
  • Write to him when you get to the office.

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