Verbs with Two Object Patterns
Many English verbs can be followed by a direct and an indirect object. A number of these verbs have two patterns: one with to and one without to.
When a verb is followed by two nouns (V N1 N2), N1 is the indirect object and N2 is the direct object.
John gave Mary a present.
With many verbs the indirect object can follow a prepositional phrase with to, and the order of the two objects is reversed.
John gave a present to Mary. (NOT John gave to Mary a present.)
This phenomenon is called the dative alternation and both forms are possible only with animate indirect objects. With inanimate indirect objects only the to-form can be used:1
John sent the package to France. (NOT John sent France the package.)
Here is a list of common verbs which can be used with and without to:
Another group of verbs uses this same pattern with for instead of to.
Mary made John a cake.
Mary made a cake for John. (NOT Mary made for John a cake.)
Here is a list of common verbs which can be used with and without for:
do (a favor)
pour (a drink)
1Michele I. Feist and Dedre Gentner, "Factors Involved in the Use of In and On," PDF Document, footnote, p. 2.
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