The Direct Object

Are you familiar with direct objects (DOs)? You will be by the end of this lesson! 

But before we dive into the wonderful world of DOs, you need to have a little lesson on action verbs. Are you wondering why? Be patient. I'll be quick.

Some action verbs don't use any other words to complete their meaning. 

The book fell

The flower bloomed.

Some action verbs do use other words to complete their meaning. 

The boy kicked the ball

Alice poured lemonade.

Do you see how ball and lemonade complete the meaning of the verbs kicked and poured?

direct object sentence diagram

Words that complete the meaning of action verbs like this are called direct objects

The type of verbs that need DOs to complete their meaning are called transitive active verbs.

They transfer their action to the DO. (Check out the page on action verbs if you'd like more information.)

To find the DO, ask this question.

What/Whom did the (subject) (verb)?


When we fill in the blanks for those example sentences above, our question becomes...

What did the boy kick?

What did Alice pour?

The answers are ball and lemonade. Voila! We have our DOs. Wasn't that easy?

The DO Question At Work

I'm going to quiz you with two sentences now. Are you ready? Good! Use the DO question to find the DO in the following two sentences.

1. Daniel drew a picture.

To find the DO, we fill in the blanks from our question. --> What did Daniel draw? He drew a picture, and picture is the DO. That means that drew is a transitive active verb in that sentence.

2. Mike ran across the field.

To find the DO, we fill in the blanks from our question. --> What did Mike run? What's the answer? Are you scratching your head? This sentence doesn't answer the DO question. That means there's no DO in this sentence!

Remember that not every sentence has a DO. You'll only find them in sentences that have transitive active verbs. In this sentence, the verb ran is an intransitive complete verb, and that kind of verb isn't accompanied by a DOs.

Sentence Diagramming & Direct Objects

Have you diagrammed sentences before? It's really fun, and it's a great way to make grammar visual. DOs are diagrammed on the same horizontal line as the subject and the verb. 

Put a vertical line between the verb and the DO, but be sure that the line doesn't go below the horizontal line.

Learn more about diagramming DOs with these exercises.

sentence diagram of direct object

Elizabeth read the newspaper.

It's your turn!
What did the (subject) (verb)?

Directions: Find the verbs and DOs in the following sentences. Do you think you can do it? Of course you can! Some of the sentences might not have DOs, so stay on your toes. You'll find the answers right below these questions.

1. The dog ate my homework. 

2. My neighbor's tree fell during the storm.

3. Our amazing soccer team won the trophy!

4. I love my friendly neighborhood.

5. Sam and Ava raked leaves yesterday.

6. The couple swayed with the music.

7. Your new dress is stunning.

8. The sick teacher sipped tea.

9. My dad built a loft for my bed.

10. I took a deep breath.


Answers

The transitive active verbs are in bold and the DOs are underlined.

1. The dog ate my homework

2. My neighbor's tree fell during the storm. NO DO

3. Our amazing soccer team won the trophy!

4. I love my friendly neighborhood.

5. Sam and Ava raked leaves yesterday.

6. The couple swayed with the music. NO DO

7. Your new dress is stunning. NO DO

8. The sick teacher sipped tea.

9. My dad built a loft for my bed.

10. I took a deep breath.

Hello! I'm Elizabeth O'Brien, and my goal is to get you jazzed about grammar.

Newsletter Article

May 9, 2017

Where have you been all our homeschooling life? You are talented at explaining grammar in a way that my youngest (of 8) really gets! Thank you!

- Susan, Homeschooler

Thank you for reading. If you found this lesson interesting or valuable, please share it. :) 

Have a wonderful week!

If you want to teach or learn grammar the easy way, then follow a step-by-step program that clearly lays everything out for you and allows you to move at your own pace. The Get Smart program is presented in a logical sequence, so it's not an overwhelming mishmash of information. Before you know it, you'll be a grammar and sentence diagramming pro. The whole program is online, so you have instant access to these lessons and videos. It's easy and fun. You can get it at www.GrammarRevolution.com/daily-diagrams.html

Keep learning and have fun!

Other Helpful Resources

  • This PDF gives you 20 more sentences to test your skills! The answers are also included.

Go from Direct Objects to Grammar Revolution Home.