Double object construction

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Double object construction is a construction containing two objects, as in (i).

(i) Jason bought Carol a new car

The construction in (i) contains a direct object - a new car - and an indirect object - Carol. In syntactic theory, this construction raises two major problems. The first problem involves Case theory and the assumption that, in a number of languages (including English), adjacency is required between an object and the verb that Case-marks it. If both objects are on the right of the verb in English, only one of them can be adjacent to the verb. The second problem, directly related to the first one, concerns the exact syntactic position of both objects.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Emonds, J. 1993. Projecting indirect objects, The Linguistic Review 10, pp.211-263
  • Johnson, K. 1991. Object positions, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 9,
  • Kayne, R. 1984. Connectedness and binary branching, Foris, Dordrecht
  • Larson, R.K. 1988. On the double object construction, Linguistic Inquiry 19,3, pp.335-391