trouble identifying the direct objects

Discussion in 'English Only' started by tigerduck, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. tigerduck Senior Member

    Switzerland
    German / Switzerland
    Hello

    Can you help me identifying the direct objects in the following sentence? I'm confused.

    Depending on the texture of the spread you're using, this may take a few minutes.

    As far as I understand, only action verbs take direct objects. My guess is that the direct complement of you're using is the texture of the spread and the complement of take is a few minutes. Is this correct? Depend doesn't have a direct complement, does it?
     
  2. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    the direct complement of you're using is the texture of the spread
     
  3. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    Although 'a few minutes' feels different from a classic object, there's no good grammatical reason to treat it any differently: it is the object of 'take', and it expresses a time duration. There are plenty of similar combinations of verb and object where there is no action: I awaited the concert; I endured the concert; I anticipated the concert; I imagined the concert. The concert lasted a long time; the concert occupied an hour; the concert overlapped lunchtime. Often these can't be turned into passives, but not every transitive verb can be.
     
  4. SevenDays Senior Member

    Spanish
    I think we need to separate semantics (meaning) from syntax (structure). In terms of semantics/meaning, "the spread" goes with "using" (you're using the spread; you are not using "the texture"), so we call "the spread" the direct object. But in terms of syntax/structure, "the spread" functions as the complement of the preposition "of" (of the spread), so "the spread" can't, at the same time, be the direct object of "using." In such cases, what happens is that the transitive verb "using" is absolute, meaning that it has no syntactic direct object (but remember that "using" does have a semantic direct object: "the spread"). Yes, "a few minutes" is the direct object of "take," and "on the texture of the spread you're using" is the complement of "depending." We call it complement and not direct object because, unlike "take," "depending" doesn't have a subject that can undergo passivization.
    Cheers
     
  5. tigerduck Senior Member

    Switzerland
    German / Switzerland
    Thank you very much for all your answers. They are very much appreciated!

    Steve - stupid me, I meant to write direct objects and not direct complements. You made some good points, thank you.
     
  6. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    But take is not an example of a verb that cannot be used in the passive. See here for example: Only a few minutes were taken for the preparation of the recipient blocks. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22461649
     
  7. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    Italian
    Hullo, se16.

    "... unlike "take," "depending" doesn't have a subject that can undergo passivization." = "depending" doesn't have a subject that can undergo passivization, whilst "take" does."

    I think Seven is right. :)

    GS
     
  8. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    I think this is right, and I suspect that depend is therefore not a verb. Depending on is a preposition like owing to, due to or notwithstanding: the only difference is that depending on has not drifted quite so far away from the word from which it derives, depend.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013

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