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I’ve searched about direct and indirect objects, and all explanations have led me to think that I could say this:

  • ?I brought him him.

Is that allowed? I think it should be, since the rules governing direct and indirect objects’ inversion apply only to the pronouns it and them, and then only if the indirect objects are nouns, not if they’re pronouns.

So, what do you think? Because the rules say nothing against it, would it therefore be right to say the first version, not just the second?

  1. ?I brought him him.
  2. I brought him to him.

(from comments)

After all, we have the grammatical examples of:

  1. Give me it.
  2. Bring me it.

Although I don’t understand why those are ok but

  1. *Do me it.

is wrong.

  • It sounds rather odd. Could you give an example sentence (with established contexts) in which you would like to use it? – Mick Feb 5 '17 at 18:00
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    "John wanted me to bring Mark over, so I brought him him." It's awkward, but technically coherent. I'd avoid using it, personally. – SomethingDark Feb 5 '17 at 18:05
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    The king had a line of men standing before him. He asked me which of these men was the traitor. I pointed to the man with the beard and said, “Him.” The king said, “Bring me him,” so I brought him him. – Jim Feb 5 '17 at 18:08
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    It still violates the rule, which says that pronoun DOs go first after the verb; it doesn't matter whether the IO is a pronoun or not. I brought him[do] to him[io]; I brought him[do] over; I brought him[io] lunch; I brought Bill[do] to him[io[; I brought him[io] Bill[do]. But not *I brought him[io] her[do], *They brought you[io] it[do], or *She brought him[io] him[do], all of which are ungrammatical. In American English, at least; the Dative rule doesn't work quite the same way in UK Englishes. – John Lawler Feb 5 '17 at 18:20
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    @JohnLawler Today in America, yes; yesterday(?) in Britain, apparently not. One version of the famous old “rhyme to porringer” verse has “And gave the Prince of Orange her" for King James II/VII giving William of Orange his daughter Mary’s hand in marriage. It sounds strange to us here now, ungrammatical even, but I have no idea whether that archaic syntax survives in rustic/non-standard speech somewhere or other in the British Isles; Scots often surprises me. – tchrist Feb 5 '17 at 18:48
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Grammatically, it does not work. It would need contextual setup to even make sense. Even then there should be support for the second him.

I brought him Susan.

no problem

I brought Susan him.

This doesn't work, or at a minimum is extremely awkward. It should end with "Susan to him" or "to Susan him".

After his wife died, he seemed to lose himself. But I was his friend, and always will be. Since he had nothing else, we could spend a lot of time together. We talked, and argued, and drank, and cried. His emptiness started fading. He rediscovered himself. I'm not saying with pride but satisfaction that I helped bring him, him.

Other possibilities:

  • ... bring him to him.
  • ... bring him to himself.
  • ... bring him back to himself.
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Feb 5 '17 at 20:00
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In comments, John Lawler wrote:

It still violates the rule, which says that pronoun DOs go first after the verb; it doesn't matter whether the IO is a pronoun or not. I brought him[do] to him[io]; I brought him[do] over; I brought him[io] lunch; I brought Bill[do] to him[io[; I brought him[io] Bill[do]. But not *I brought him[io] her[do], *They brought you[io] it[do], or *She brought him[io] him[do], all of which are ungrammatical. In American English, at least; the Dative rule doesn't work quite the same way in UK Englishes.

Please note that John Lawler has written extensively about dative alternation in many other answers, and one should probably read through those answers first.

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