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What is a direct object?



A direct object is a grammatical relation that exhibits a combination of certain independent syntactic properties, such as the following:

  • The usual grammatical characteristics of the patient of typically transitive verbs
  • A particular case marking
  • A particular clause position
  • The conditioning of an agreement affix on the verb
  • The capability of becoming the clause subject in passivization
  • The capability of reflexivization

The identification of the direct object relation may be further confirmed by finding significant overlap with similar direct object relations previously established in other languages. This may be done by analyzing correspondence between translation equivalents.


The direct object relation should be identified on a language-specific basis.

  A direct object is a kind of

Crystal 1985 94


Hartmann and Stork 1972 155


Mish 1991 358


Comrie 1989 66


Andrews, A. 1985 68, 120, 126


Comrie 1985a 337

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Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

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