A Direct Object is a noun that receives the action of a verb.

To verify whether a sentence contains a direct object, place question "Whom?" or "What?" after the verb. If nothing answers these questions, you know that there is no direct object.

Only action verbs can have direct objects. A direct object will never follow a linking verb. For action/linking verbs samples and explanation see English Verbs

In the following examples, verb is underlined and Direct Objects shown in color.

  1. I can hardly see the street.
    - See what? - the street
  2. The hurricane shattered our cities and villages.
    - shattered what? - our cities and villages
  3. I placed all students on a waiting list.
    - placed whom? - all students
  4. Tom and Jerry ate the entire cake.
    - ate what? - the cake
  5. Vanessa called the salesperson charlatan and a fraud.
    - called whom? - the salesperson

In the following sentence, nothing answers "What?" or "Whom?" question so it does not have direct object.

  • Tom and Jerry ate fast.
    - ate what? - ???