A direct object is a grammatical relation that exhibits a combination of certain independent syntactic properties, such as the following:
- The usual grammatical characteristics of the patient of typically transitive verbs
- A particular case marking
- A particular clause position
- The conditioning of an agreement affix on the verb
- The capability of becoming the clause subject in passivization
- The capability of reflexivization
The identification of the direct object relation may be further confirmed by finding significant overlap with similar direct object relations previously established in other languages. This may be done by analyzing correspondence between translation equivalents.
The direct object relation should be identified on a language-specific basis.