The direct object is a concrete syntactic function that limits the meaning of a verb. For example, in the case of the verb “Ver” we find a broad meaning, while the complement limits and specifies its meaning.
It usually starts with “A” if the verb refers to a person or being animated:
- Juan saw his dog.
Although there may be exceptions such as:
- The United States beat England.
When we refer to a thing or an inanimate being, the verb is asked What? And it can be switched with “Lo, La, Las, Los” and can be replaced with That, those things:
- Pedro washes a car.
- Peter washes it. Pedro washes that.
When the complement refers to a person, the verb is asked Who or who? and is switched to “Lo, las, los, la”.
It is a syntactic constituent that is governed by a transitive verb whose semantic interpretation refers to a recipient of the goal of the action expressed by the verb. The complement corresponds to the beneficiary or harmed by the action of the subject and usually refers more to a person than a thing.
It is introduced by the preposition A when the object is a noun phrase and can be replaced by a pronoun. If the indirect object is a pronoun like me, se, le will not have a preposition:
- Carlos gave the book to Pedro.
Differences between direct and indirect object
- The direct object is the one that receives the action of the verb.
- In the indirect object the action of the verb falls indirectly.
- The direct object may or may not be preceded by a preposition.
- The direct object is always preceded by the preposition A.
- The direct object is replaced by the pronouns lo, los, la and las.
- The indirect object can be replaced by le and les.
- The direct object when passing from sentence to passive can become the subject of the sentence.
- The indirect object never modifies its syntactic function.