Many verbs can be followed by two objects – one indirect and one direct.
Normally there is no change in meaning if we switch from one to the other. The meaning is exactly the same and we can choose either formulation irrespective of the context.
When verbs are followed by two objects, the first object (the indirect object) is usually a person or a group of people and the second object (the direct object) is usually a thing:
* I peeled her an orange.
* He lent me his pen.
* They taught us the German alphabet.
If we want to reverse the order and place the direct object first, then the indirect object has to be converted into a phrase beginning with either to or for:
* I peeled an orange for her.
* He lent his pen to me.
* They taught the German alphabet to us.
We often prefer this second pattern is we want to focus particular attention on the people described in the indirect prepositional object or when the prepositional object is very long:
* We gave a course certificate to everyone who had attended 90% of the programme.
* We fetched take-away pizzas for all the children who arrived home after eight o’ clock.
> When do I use to/ for? remember to (90% of times) = + pronoun/ in your direction and for = in your benefit. Click here to have some practice on for/to.