Sunday, September 16, 2007

23. Pronouns as Indirect Objects

Hey, Y'all! I hope you've had a wonderful week and are as happy as a toad frog under the drip of a house. Around here in Columbus County, we finally got a little bit of rain, although it was NOT a fence lifter...more like a dry weather shower. Maybe soon...

Now back to some more lessons to help you with grammar problems. Today's focus is the third on pronouns used in the objective case, INDIRECT OBJECTS. Our first lesson discussed pronouns used as OBJECTS of PREPOSITIONS and last week's lesson discussed pronouns used as DIRECT OBJECTS.

But first, a quick review:

I hope you all now remember that objective case pronouns look like this:



I...HE...SHE...WE...THEY...WHO...and WHOEVER. These are called nominative case pronouns and we will look at them a little more closely soon.

Now, though, let's concentrate on objective pronouns since we have such a tough time with them.

In our last two lessons, we first reviewed pronouns used as OBJECTS OF PREPOSITIONS. Remember that the object of a preposition is part of a prepositional phrase. In the often mentioned sentence, "The airplane went _________ the cloud," many of the words that would fit into the blank are prepositions and all prepositions have an object. In this sentence, the object is "cloud". Hence, "_______the cloud" is the prepositional phrase. What we were concentrating on here, though, was NOT an object of a preposition as a NOUN, but one used as a PRONOUN. Here are some examples of prepositional phrases with pronouns as the objects:

...for ME (not I)...through Sherwood and HIM (not he) Becky and HER (not she), ...around the team and US (not we)...over the pitcher and THEM (not they)...

...and I can scarcely bear to mention this killer of English teacher sanity...between you and ME ( NOT I)..aargh...puh-leeze...NOT...!!!

Secondly, we also reviewed pronouns used as DIRECT OBJECTS. Direct objects answer "What?"or "Whom?" to the subject and verb and are nouns or pronouns. Here are some examples:

George threw the ball. George threw WHAT? "ball" is the answer, so "ball" is the direct object. Now this sentence uses a NOUN as the direct object, and this type of use is not difficult at all. It's when the PRONOUN is needed for a direct object... boy, oh, boy, do we have a problem! Here are some examples for you to peruse. Read on...

Martha joined Andrea and (I, me) at the crash up derby. Martha joined... WHOM? Andrea and ME (NOT I), because we must use the objective form of the pronoun when the word in question is used as a direct object, and that's exactly what it's doing here. Here's another:

We watched Kevin and (he, him) in the music video. We watched ...WHOM? Kevin and HIM (NOT he), because, again, we must use the objective form of the pronoun when the word in question is used as a direct object, and that's what we have here.

...So, now, all of this brings us to today's lesson. You will see just how important what you've already learned is when we begin this one, since it's imperative that you understand what a DIRECT OBJECT is in order to determine what an INDIRECT OBJECT is.

In its simplest definition, an INDIRECT OBJECT answers the question "to whom?" or "for whom?" to the subject and verb or "to what?" or "for what?" after an action verb. Only sentences with DIRECT OBJECTS can have an INDIRECT OBJECT. (However, interestingly enough, DIRECT OBJECTS don't require INDIRECT OBJECTS.) INDIRECT OBJECTS are usually nouns and pronouns and will ALWAYS come between the verb and the DIRECT OBJECT and NEVER after a preposition. Let's look at some examples:

Steve bought Judy and (I,me) some lunch.

Okay, how do we figure this one out? First, choose the subject and verb. Here, the subject is STEVE and the verb is BOUGHT. Next, check to see if there's a DIRECT OBJECT in the sentence by asking yourself the DIRECT OBJECT questions :

Steve bought...WHAT? or WHOM? Is there an answer? Yes, indeed...and that thing or person is LUNCH, which makes LUNCH the DIRECT OBJECT, and, which, by the way, is also a noun. (Incidentally, if you thought that the WHOM? question was answered by the compound JUDY AND ME, look at the sense of the sentence. How could Steve "buy" two people. Come on, Y'all, I don't think people are for sale! What he paid money for was LUNCH. He wasn't buying two people.)

Now, how do INDIRECT OBJECTS fit in? First, say the subject, verb, and DIRECT OBJECT to yourself and then ask the "to whom?'',"for whom?", "to what?", or "for what?" questions.

Steve (subject)...bought (verb)... WHAT? or WHOM?... lunch..TO WHOM? or FOR WHOM? etc. ...and, of course, you see that you have an answer.

Steve bought lunch FOR WHOM? The compound Judy and ME answers the question so ME becomes the INDIRECT OBJECT. Judy and I is wrong, wrong, wrong!!! Since the pronoun must be in objective case, ME must be used, NOT I. Remember that ME is objective case and I is nominative case.

Try a few on your own.

1. Engineers gave many students and (we, us) enough awards to fill a banquet hall.

2. Trish gives little Larry and (he, him) her full attention.

3. Stuart brought Polly and (she, her) a delicious piece of pig pickin' cake from the party.

4. Uncle Bill offered Walter and (I, me) another piece of watermelon.

5. Our church granted Lucas and (I, me) permission to use the Fellowship Hall Monday evening to organize a Scout meeting.

So, were these easy? I surely hope so. Here are the answers and why they are:

1. Engineers (subject) gave (verb)...WHAT? or WHOM?...awards...TO WHOM? FOR WHOM? (etc.)...students and US (NOT WE).

2. Trish (subject) gives (verb)...WHAT? or WHOM?... attention...TO WHOM? FOR WHOM? (etc.) ...Larry and HIM (NOT HE).

3. Stuart (subject)... brought (verb)...WHAT? or WHOM?...cake...TO WHOM?...FOR WHOM? (etc.)...Polly and HER (NOT SHE).

4. Uncle Bill (subject)...offered (verb)...WHAT? or WHOM?...watermelon...TO WHOM?...FOR WHOM? (etc.) Walter and ME (NOT I).

5. (subject)...granted (verb)...WHAT? or WHOM?...permission...TO WHOM?...FOR WHOM? (etc.) Lucas and ME (NOT I).

Just remember that an INDIRECT OBJECT must have a DIRECT OBJECT to be in a sentence. If you'll ask the questions to determine both DIRECT and INDIRECT OBJECTS, choosing the correct pronoun will make you happier than a clam at high tide, because you'll know what to say--correctly!

Well, that's it for today, Everybody. Thanks for visiting and to many of you for passing on some good ideas for future lessons. There are lots of you out there greatly bothered by some of these grammar errors, and I'll do my best to address them all! Have a wonderful week and much happiness to you all, GG


Anonymous said...

Pronouns are indispensible, but the appropriate usage of the nominative vs objective case, particularly with compound objects, has often proven baffling. Your examples are great and really drove home the role of the objective case. It was a valuable lesson for us'uns! (Contractive overkill for a whole lot of us)

O said...

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