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Ways of expressing the object

§ 68. The object can be expressed by:


1. A noun in the common case or a nominal phrase, a substantivized adjective or participle.


I saw the boys two hours ago.

The nurses were clad in grey.

First of all she attended to the wounded.

Greedily he snatched the bread and butter from the plate.


2. A noun-pronoun. Personal pronouns are in the objective case, other pronouns are in the common case, or in the only form they have.


I don’t know anybody here.

I could not find my own car, but I saw hers round the corner.

He says he did not know that.


3. A numeral or a phrase with a numeral.


At last he found three of them high up in the hills.


4. A gerund or a gerundial phrase.


He insists on coming.

A man hates being run after.


5. An infinitive or an infinitive phrase.


She was glad to be walking with him.

Every day I had to learn how to spell pages of words.


6. Various predicative complexes.


She felt the child trembling all over.

I want it done at once.

Everything depends on your coming in time.


7. A clause (then called an object clause) which makes the whole sentence a complex one.


I don’t know what it was.

He thought of what he was to say to all of them.


Thus from the point of view of their structure, objects may be simple, phrasal, complex or clausal.*

* Complex objects with verbal and non-verbal second elements (objective predicatives) are treated in detail in § 124-129.

Types of object

§ 69. From the point of view of their value and grammatical peculiarities, four types of objects can be distinguished in English:


the direct object, the indirect object, and the cognate object.

1.The direct object is a non-prepositional one that follows transitive verbs, adjectives, or statives and completes their meaning. Semantically it is usually a non-person which is affected by the action of the verb, though it may also be a person or a situation. The situation is expressed by a verbal, a verbal phrase, a complex, or by a clause.


I wrote a poem.

You like arguing, don’t you?

Who saw him leave?

I don’t know what it all means.

She was ready to sing.


When the direct object is expressed by an infinitive (or an infinitive phrase or a clause) it may be preceded by the formal introductory objectit (see § 78).


I find it exciting to watch tennis.

He foundit hard to believe the girl.

2. Theindirect object also follows verbs, adjectives and statives. Unlike the direct object, however, it may be attached to intransitive verbs as well as to transitive ones. Besides, it may also be attached to adverbs, although this is very rare.

From the point of view of their semantics and certain grammatical characteristics indirect objects fall into two types:


a) The indirect object of the first type is attached only to ditransitive verbs. It is expressed by a noun or pronoun which as a rule denotes (or, in the case of pronouns, points out) a person who is the addressee or recipient of the action of the verb. So it is convenient to call an object of this typethe indirect recipient object. It is joined to the headword either without a preposition or by the preposition to (occasionally for). The indirect recipient object is generally used with transitive verbs.


He gave the kid two dollars.

She did not tell anything to anyone.

Will you bring a cup of coffee for me?


b) The indirect object of the second type is attached to verbs, adjectives, statives and sometimes adverbs. It is usually a noun (less often a pronoun) denoting an inanimate object, although it may be a gerund, a gerundial phrase or complex, an infinitive complex or a clause. Its semantics varies, but it never denotes the addressee (recipient) of the action of the governing verb. So it may be called the indirect non-recipient object.The indirect non-recipient object can only be joined to its headword by means of a preposition.


One must always hope for the best.

She’s not happy about her new friend.


The indirect non-recipient object is used mainly with intransitive verbs. It is usually the only object in a sentence, at least other objects are not obligatory.

3.The cognate object is a non-prepositional object which is attached to otherwise intransitive verbs and is always expressed by nouns derived from, or semantically related to, the root of the governing verb.


The child smiled the smile and laughed the laugh of contentment.

They struck him a heavy blow.

4.The retained object. This term is to be applied in case an active construction is transformed into a passive one and the indirect object of the active construction becomes the subject of the passive construction. The second object, the direct one, may be retained in the transformation, though the action of the predicate-verb is no more directed upon it. Therefore it is called aretained object.


They gave Mary the first prize ——>     (direct object) Mary was given the first prize     (retained object).


§ 70. The direct object is used irrespective of the absence or presence of other objects attached to the same verb.


He wrote the article two weeks ago.

Tommie did not know anything about it.

Ned ordered him to start.


Some English verbs which take a direct object correspond to Russian verbs followed by an indirect non-recipient object with a preposition. These verbs are:

to address smb to affect smb, smth to answer smth to approach smb, smth to attend smth to enjoy smth to enter smth to follow smb, smth to join smb, smth to mount smth to need smth, smb to play smth to reach smth to watch smb, smth - обращаться к кому-либо - влиятьна кого-либо, что-либо - отвечатьна что-либо - подойти, приблизиться к кому-либо, чему-либо - присутствоватьна чем-либо - получать удовольствиеот чего-либо - входитьво что-либо - следоватьза кем-либо, чем-либо - присоединяться к кому-либо, чему-либо - сесть верхом, взобратьсяна что-либо - нуждаться в чем-либо, ком-либо - игратьна чем-либо,во что-либо - дойти, достатьдо чего-либо - следитьза кем-либо, чем-либо


The position of the direct object

§ 71. The most usual position of the direct object is that immediately after the predicate verb it refers to.


Then he found her in the hall.


The direct object is separated from the predicate verb in the following cases:


1. If there is a non-prepositional indirect recipient object to the same verb in the sentence. In this case the direct object follows the indirect one.


I never told him anything.



The direct object may come before the non-preposi­tional indirect object if it is the pronoun it, and the indirect object is any other personal pronoun.

I never told it him.

Give it me, will you?


2. If the direct object is modified by a phrase or a clause. In this case it may be separated from the verb by a prepositional indirect non-recipient object or an adverbial.


Ged had kept for his winter journey the cloak lined with fur.

He took into his hands a small beast.


3. If the direct object is expressed by a noun or a pronoun (except a personal pronoun) referring to a phrasal predicate verb consisting of a verbal part and a postposition such as about, back, down, in, off, on, out, over, through, up.


He laid down his stick.

Ged took off his cloak that was heavy with water.


With most of those verbs, however, the direct object may also precede the adverb.


He laid down his stick. = He laid his stick down.


If expressed by a personal pronoun, the direct object always precedes the postposition.


He laid down his stick. = He laid it down.

§ 72. The direct object comes before the predicate verb it refers to in the following cases:


1. In pronominal questions referring to the direct objector to its attribute.

What did they give you?

Whose car was he driving?

Which piece shall I take?


2. In certain exclamatory sentences.


What a wonderful boat he has built!


3. In case it is necessary to connect the idea expressed in this sentence with the preceding one. This makes the object more emphatic.


The people of the village gathered in silence to watch his quick hands.

This job too he did well and patiently.


4. For the sake of emphasis or contrast.


I enjoyed arithmetic, as always. Grammar I could not understand in the least.

Date: 2015-12-11; view: 675

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