I'd like to ask that in the sentence 'I go to him' , is 'him' direct object (or 'to him' is prepositional phrase functioning as adverb . I know that I go to the cinema , 'to the cinema' is adverb of place but the sentence above confused me , Thanks a lot ,

  • him is the object of the to prepositiion.
    – CDM
    Mar 11 '16 at 18:47

Verbs like go, come, smile, and die are all intransitive, and intransitive verbs by their very definition are incapable of taking objects, be those direct or indirect.

Compare what happens with an actual transitive verb’s objects:

  • I sang        a song that night in the garden.
  • I sang her a song that night in the garden.

The direct object in both cases is a song, the thing that receives the action of the verb sing. In the second case, her is the indirect object, the usually animate agent on whose benefit the action was made. Notice that no linking prepositions are required to connect the transitive verb to either of its objects; syntax alone coördinates these.

Most transitive verbs can be put into the passive voice by making the original direct object the logical subject of the inflected verb be and the (passive) past participle of the original verb:

  • A song was sung that night in the garden, a song sung by me in my very best nightingale impersonation.

In your sentence,

  • I go to him.

You have an intransitive verb of motion, which rules out any possibility of a direct object. One cannot “go *something”, nor can one “go *someone *something”.

You can, however, have adverbial phrases described the location of this intransitive motion verb. So what you have here is the prepositional phrase to him serving as one possible sort of adverbial phrase to describe the direction of the motion. Him is the object of the preposition; it does not receive the action of the verb.

Similarly locative adverbial examples include:

  • I go out the back door.
  • I go down the street.
  • I go from here to a far, far better place.
  • I go there.
  • I go home.
  • I go to where he is.
  • I go wherever he goes.
  • I go anywhere I please.
  • I go in a pee-bottle.

The use of "object" for verbs and prepositions is really irritating. "to him" is a where-to indication and no object. Normally verbs of movement have no object but a where-to indication (an adverb or adverbial group).



then what is the definition of the OBJECT of Preposition? Is it an object that comes after the preposition and together with its preposition make an adverb? or is it a direct object that comes after the preposition and together with its object make an object of the verb?

I just remember reading something like the second option [Object of preposition is a direct object that comes after the preposition and together with its object make an object of the verb], but don' t remember the source though.

Example: I think about my future career much. ( think about what? - my future career - object of preposition that functions as the object).


In my opinion, 'him' is an indirect object for 'go' because 'him' is the direct object for preposition 'to'. 'To him' is a prepositional phrase as well as an adverbial phrase because it tells more about the verb 'go'.

You can't say: I go him.

Example: I bought flower for Jane. Flower is direct object and Jane is indirect object

  • Welcome to English Language and Usage. Do you know what indirect object is and when and how it is used? Please make sure that you take the tour and visit our help center for additional guidance.
    – user140086
    Mar 11 '16 at 13:42

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