Academics
Areas of Study

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?”

I want a Coke.
s v n (direct object= I want what? a Coke. Coke is the direct object.)
Carole wants a dog.
s v n (DO) Carole wants (what?) a dog.

Kinds of Nouns 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.
  • Plural-Count Nouns: two dogs, a few cats, several books, a lot of puzzles, many students, several places…
    • Bob loves books.
  • Non-Count Nouns (nouns that don’t add -s and don’t use “a”): air, traffic, insurance, equipment, jewelry, cosmetics, soup, water, intelligence, independence … Your dictionary will tell if a noun is non-count.
    • I hate traffic.
  • Gerunds (verbs that act as nouns with the addition of “-ing”): playing, sleeping, boating, hiking, swimming, going, travelling, reading, enjoying, working, living …
    • I love playing chess.
    • I love working in HMB.
    • 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.

Verbs With Direct Objects

  • Some verbs can only use nouns or gerunds (verb + -ing) as the direct object (enjoy, finish, quit, stop, keep, discuss, practice). Your dictionary will tell if a verb needs a gerund.
    • I enjoy reading
    • I discussed going to Florida last week.
  • Some verbs can only use nouns or infinitives to show the direct object (want, need, learn, play, try).
    • I want to go home.
    • I need to buy a new pair of shoes.
  • Some verbs can use either a noun, a noun phrase, a gerund, or an infinitive (like, hate, love, start, begin, continue).
    • I like to go swimming.
    • I like swimming.

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.

Contact Us

Grammar and Vocabulary

JSAC 1225

202.448-7036

202-448-7036

Monday
Closed
Tuesday
Closed
Wednesday
Closed
Thursday
Closed
Friday
Closed
Saturday
Closed
Sunday
Closed
Select what best describes your relationship to Gallaudet University so we can effectively route your email.
By submitting this form, I opt in to receive select information and deaf resources from Gallaudet University via email.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.