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Nouns and pronouns can be subjects or objects in a sentence.  As an object, a noun or pronoun does not perform an action.  

A noun or a pronoun can be a direct object, an indirect object, an object of a prepositional phrase, an object of an infinitive phrase, or the object of a present participial phrase.

Direct Objects follow transitive verbs, which are a type of action verb.  Basically, a direct object receives the action.

      At the restaurant, Maggie ordered a hamburger.

      My brother won the race

      Even though Danny does not know how to play guitar, he  

             bought one so that he could learn.

      I ordered new shoes last week, but they have not arrived yet.

Indirect Objects  come before direct objects.  An indirect object receives a direct object.

      My mom sent me an e-mail that wished me a happy birthday.

      Marquis gave Johnny a ride home.

      Yesterday, Jasmine baked her sistercookies.

      The quarterback threw the receiver the ball.

Objects of prepositional phrases  follow prepositions.  A prepositional phrase describes a noun or a verb in a sentence.  In the following sentences, the word described is purple, the entire prepositional phrase is underlined and the the object is green.

      He ranaround the block.

      A womanfrom Mississippiwon the lottery.

      The Jackson family traveledacross the country.

Notice that indirect objects can be turned into objects of a prepositional phrase.

      Yesterday, Jasmine baked her sistercookies.

      Yesterday, Jasmine bakedcookiesfor her sister.

      The quarterback threw the receiver the ball.

      The quarterback threw the ballto the receiver.

Objects of infinitive phrases follow infinitives.  Infinitive phrases can function as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs in a sentence.  In the following sentences, the entire infinitive phrase is underlined, and the object of the infinitive is blue.

     To finish the marathon is Julia's goal.

     Ivan wants to study chemistry.

     To find his lost dog, Tom put up posters all over town.

     Michelle's plan to visit France needs to be put off until summer.

Objects of present participial phrases follow present participles.  Present participial phrases function as nouns.  In the following sentences, the entire present participial phrase is underlined, and the object of the present participial phrase is maroon.

     Eating dinner, Bethany and Deng discussed politics.

     Ben, playing football, sprained his ankle.

     The teacher worked with the students needing extra help