English Grammar

object of a preposition Difference between prepositioned direct object and indirect object

Object of a preposition

The object of a preposition (object of a preposition) is formed by the words that are after the preposition within a sentence.

  • The dog is under the car

In this case, the preposition is the word under and the object of the preposition is the common noun car.

  • My parents live in Europe

In the previous example the preposition is the word in and the object of the preposition is the noun Europe itself .

The prepositional object

can be defined in a few semantic unit of a text. In other words by saying that it is a noun phrase preceded by a preposition that performs some kind of grammatical function. It is very common that textbooks also appear as a prepositional complement, a name that encompasses all the possibilities that a prepositional phrase has to perform in the sentence some kind of independent function.

The prepositional object can appear both in the subject and in the predicate, and can perform several different syntactic functions.

Within the subject, the most common function is to complement the name. It usually appears attached to the nominal core, although it is not required to do so. We can take a look at the following examples:

New Year’s Day is one of my favorites
My father’s new car is huge
Rice with seafood is my favorite dish

When the objects of the preposition are semantic unit of a text. In other words that fall within the grammatical category of nouns, there is no variation with respect to a common sentence. It is easy to identify with the naked eye what the object of the preposition is.

The Prepositional Direct Object is a verbal complement that integrates the meaning of the direct transitive verb through a preposition or another term that makes this integration.

Here are some examples of prepositioned direct objects:

  • The student whom I will examine has not arrived.
  • Firefighters defended everyone .
  • I will praise the Gods .
  • I love everyone here.
  • A dishonest politician let no one speak.

Now, read the following sentences to observe the occurrence of the verb “to hate” in two situations:

  • I do n’t hate anyone who thinks differently than I do.
  • I don’t hate anyone .

Note that the verb “to hate” is direct transitive (1) and also pronominal (2), so it admits both forms of construction, remaining semantically unchanged.

This maintenance of the meaning of the verb “to hate” indicates that, in speech, in the use of colloquial language , the absence of the preposition “a” would be imperceptible to users of the Portuguese language. However, in writing, in the standard modality of the Language, Normative Grammar guides the use of the prepositioned direct object.

Object of a preposition: Who and whom

The use of who and whom can be a bit confusing, but it is the same case as with the word I / me, he / him, she / her.

  • This is the guy to whom I owe some money – That’s the guy I owe some money to

In this case, Whom plays the role of object after the preposition to. The pronoun I is not the object in this case. Pronouns as objects of a preposition:

In many cases, it is the pronoun that acts as the object of the preposition and when this happens it is essential to use the pronoun in its objective form. Below you will see the list of pronouns with their corresponding objective form.

  • I: me
  • You: you
  • She: her
  • He: his
  • It: it
  • We: us
  • They: them

The following sentences will show you in context the correct use of the object of a preposition when it comes to a pronoun:

  • Correct use: Andy got angry when the ball fell on him – Andy got angry when the ball fell on him.
  • Incorrect use : Andy got angry when the ball fell on – Andy got angry when the ball fell on him.

In the first example, the preposition is on and the object of the preposition is the pronoun in its objective form him.

In the second used the pronoun I as if it were a subject, which is grammatically incorrect.

  • My mom gave Money to my brother and me to go to the movies

In this sentence we can see several examples of the object of a preposition.

  1. In the first part, the preposition is to and its object is brother.
  2. The second preposition we find is and and the object is the object pronoun me.
  3. Finally, the preposition is to and its corresponding object is movies.

Difference between prepositioned direct object and indirect object

The Prepositioned Direct Object can be easily confused with an Indirect Object. Before knowing what differentiates them, it is important to remember that:

  1. Verbal transitivity is related to the Integrating Terms, which play an essential syntactic role for the production of meanings in verbal, spoken or written utterances.
  2. The Integrating Terms are the Verbal Complements ( Direct Object and Indirect Object ) the Nominal Complements and the Passive Agent .
  3. The Direct Object is an Integrating Term of the clauses, which is linked to the meanings of the Direct Transitive Verbs in a direct way, without the mediation of a preposition .
  4. The Indirect Object is linked to the meanings of Indirect Transitive Verbs through a Preposition .
  5. There are two types of Direct Objects: Prepositional and Pleonastic.

Along with this information, it is clear why many students of Portuguese syntax have doubts to differentiate the indirect object, which needs a preposition to integrate the meaning of the indirect transitive verb , and the prepositional direct object, which also “asks for ” a preposition to integrate with the sense of the direct transitive verb.

It may seem a little strange for a Direct Transitive Verb to need prepositional help, but there are some cases suggested by Normative Grammar.

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