Is using double object pronouns ungrammatical?


"I'm going to send him them."

That sentence sounds horrid and I thought it was grammatically incorrect.

Shouldn't it be constructed in one of these two ways?

  "I'm going to send them to him."
  "I'm going to send him the papers."


I have read that it is necessary (a "rule") to use either a prepositional phrase or one pronoun.

I have also read that the contruction is fine.


Which is true?


Thank you for your help!

pronouns PREPOSITIONAL asked Jun 15 '14 at 00:03 Songibrd New member

1 answer


A pronoun replaces a noun or noun phrase.  We use pronouns to simplify things.  We don't have to keep saying the same noun or noun phrase over and over. 


As long as the reader can understand what the pronoun is referring to, the sentence is technically okay.  However, I agree that it is a very awkward sentence.  When you use two or more pronouns in one sentence, it can start to get very messy and confusing.  If you are talking to someone in person (with the benefit of non-verbal cues such as pointing or voice inflection) it can be very clear, no matter how many pronouns you use.  But with the written word, you have to take better care to be clear.  The first of your rewritten sentences is fine, as long as the reader knows what "them" refers to.  The second of your rewritten sentences is very clear.

link answered Jun 15 '14 at 18:25 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

Thank you, Patty. So, the awkward sentence is actually considered to be technically (grammatically) correct, then?

SongibrdJun 16 '14 at 17:28

I have learned that there is no authoritative organisation that decides "rules of grammar" for American English. So, there is no one to say that the awful double object pronoun sentence is incorrect. It's up to the individual, I suppose. Well, I learn something new every day. :-)

SongibrdJun 27 '14 at 14:26

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