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Dative: receiver as second object

Syntactical Level

ἰατρῷ καὶ νομικῷ τὴν ἀλήθειαν λέγε

‘Tell the truth to your doctor and your lawyer.’ (Aesop )

The dative signals a receiver as a second object, with predicates expressing delivery or communication.

Lexical usage

Verbs of delivery

δίδωμι ‘to give (to)’, ἐπιτρέπω ‘to entrust (to)’, πέμπω ‘to send (to)’, προσφέρω ‘to carry (to)’ etc.

Verbs of communication

ἐπιτάττω ‘to impose (a task) on’, κελεύω [Hom. + dat.; Att. + acc.] ‘to impose (a command) on’, πιστεύω ‘to entrust (something) as a task to’ etc.

Syntactic usage

Both the first object (inanimate, in the accusative) and the second object (animate, in the dative) can be used in the nominative as the subject of a passive construction.


In the traditional terminology a receiving (second) object is generally referred to as an indirect object.

Example Sentences: 

ἂν οἶνον αἰτῇ, κόνδυλον αὐτῷ δίδου.

Whoever desires wine, give him a fist. ֍

μεθ’ ἡμῶν τῷ θεῷ τιμὴν δίδου.

Honour the deity with us. ֍

ἤδη με ὁ ὕπνος ἄρχεται παρακατατίθεσθαι τἀδελφῷ

Sleep is already beginning to hand me over to his brother. [Gorgias on his deathbed] ֍

σύνταξις γὰρ ἐμοὶ καὶ θάνατον παρέχει.

Syntax is my death. ֍

καὶ ὑμῖν μὲν, ὦ δικασταί, τὴν μεὶζω δεδώκασι τιμήν.

And to you, O judges, they have granted the greatest authority.