What Is the Objective Case? (with Examples)The objective case is used for nouns and pronouns which function as objects. There are three types of object: a direct object, an indirect object, and an object of a preposition.
In English, the objective case only affects personal pronouns (e.g., I, he, she, we, they). For example, he becomes him, and they becomes them.
Examples of the Objective Case (Direct Object)The direct object of a verb is the thing being acted upon by the verb. In other words, the direct object is the receiver of the action. The direct object can be found by locating the verb and asking "what?" or "whom?". For example:
- Please send him immediately. (Q: send what or whom? A: him)
- Please send this letter immediately. (Q: send what? A: this letter)
(In this example, the pronoun him is in the objective case. It has changed its form from he to him. He is the subjective case version.)
(In this example, the noun phrase this letter is in the objective case. However, it does not change. Remember, only some personal pronouns change their forms in the objective case in English.)
Examples of the Objective Case (Indirect Object)The indirect object is the recipient of the direct object. The indirect object can be found by locating the direct object (see above) and then asking who or what received it. In the examples below, the indirect objects are shaded, and the direct objects are in bold.
- Please send me the letter immediately. (Q: send what? A: the letter)
- Friends should always tell you the truth. But, please donít. (Q: tell what? A: the truth)
(Q: Who (or what) received the letter? A: me)
(Q: Who (or what) received it? A: you)
(Not all personal pronouns change their forms in the objective case. In this example, you is in the objective case, which is the same spelling as the subjective case version.)
Examples of the Objective Case (Object of a Preposition)The noun or pronoun after a preposition is known as the object of a preposition. In the examples below, the prepositions are in bold.
- She sits with me.
- We will sail alongside her.
- You can tell a lot about a fellow's character by his way of eating jellybeans. (Ronald Reagan, 1911-2004) (Here, the objects of the prepositions are noun clauses. An object can be a single word, a pronoun, a noun phrase, or a noun clause.)
The Objective CaseObjects (i.e., direct objects, indirect objects, and objects of prepositions) are always in the objective case. In English, this only affects pronouns (but not all pronouns). Here is a list of subjective pronouns and objective pronouns:
|Subjective Pronoun||Objective Pronoun||Comment|
|who||whom||More on who & whom|
The Accusative and Dative CasesWhen studying other languages, you might encounter the accusative case (for direct objects) and the dative case (for indirect objects). These two cases are used for the objects of prepositions too. In English, there is no distinction between the forms of the accusative case and dative case. The objective case covers both.
Objects are put into the objective case, and the objective case of who is whom. Therefore, who is never an object. For example:
- You like whom? (direct object)
- She gave whom a present? (indirect object)
- They raised money for whom? (object of a preposition)