Everyone is looking at us.

In the above sentence, "to look" is the verb, "everyone" the subject. Is "us" a direct object or indirect object?

How do you find the DO and IO?


2 Answers 2


Us is here the object of the preposition at, not a direct or indirect object.

The way to tell apart direct and indirect objects is quite simple: a direct object has the verb performed directly upon it, and can be the subject of a subject-verb passive sentence (I saw the man becomes The man was seen), while an indirect object is generally something that receives the DO.

Example: I gave the man a cake. In this sentence, it would make sense to say "A cake was given," but not "The man was given." Therefore, the DO is the man and the IO is a cake.

In your sentence, it would not make sense to passivize it as "We are looked", so the word in question is no DO. Without a DO, an active clause cannot have an IO; therefore, us is neither, instead the object of a preposition.


I gave the man a cake.

According to this sentence, the previous analysis is not correct.

We can differentiate between the direct and indirect object by adding or asking "what is the action?" and "whom did the action?".

For example,

what gave the man? (gave the man a cake).
whom gave a cake? (gave it to the man).

To conclude, what is showing us the direct object, and the whom , shows us the indirect object.

I hope this answer was clarified it for you.

  • 2
    Why are you using whom as a subject? Who is in the nominative case, as befits the subject of a sentence or clause.
    – Robusto
    Commented Feb 11 at 22:23
  • 'He took the dog a walk' is hard to analyse this way. Commented Feb 11 at 23:27
  • What is the action? It is to walk that means it is the direct object. Commented Feb 12 at 5:21
  • Unfortunately this answer is filled with simple grammar mistakes e.g. Question: What was given to the man (DO)? Answer: "He was given a cake." Q: "Who gave the cake (IO) to the man?" A: "I did"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Feb 12 at 12:44

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