Can There Be a Direct Object When There Is a Verb Phrase?

Verb phrases are composed of the main verb and its modifiers. Simple verb phrases usually contain a main verb plus its helping verb while complex phrases usually include adverbs, direct objects, and/or indirect objects.

Can There Be a Direct Object When There Is a Verb Phrase?

Yes. Because a verb phrase comprises the verb itself plus other elements of the predicate, a direct object is by definition part of the verb phrase.

Direct Objects

A direct object is a noun or pronoun that carries the action of the verb. Direct objects answer the "what" question.

Finding the Direct Object Example:

  1. Consider the sentence "Zeke saw a wombat."
  2. To find the direct object, first, ask yourself "Zeke saw what?"
  3. "Wombat" is the direct object.

The verb phrase in this sentence is “saw a wombat,” the verb itself, the direct object (noun), and the article, “a.”

Phrasal Verbs

Some verbs in English are inherently two-part constructions; these idioms include a second word, called a participle, which completes the meaning of the verb. These phrasal verbs can take direct objects, and the whole construction then becomes a verb phrase in the general sense. An example is “pick up,” which has a different meaning as a verb than simply “pick.” For example, “Zeke picked up the wombat.” “Wombat” is still the direct object, what he picked up. “Picked up” is the two-word phrasal verb, and the whole predicate is the verb phrase “picked up the wombat.”

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