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Direct object as location?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Valakas, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. Valakas New Member

    I always found and worked with the direct object as being the answer to the "what?" question to the verb. However it seems that it can also be a place or change of location. Is this correct?

    Ex: "The cat walks to the window."

    What is "to the window" ? I found on a book saying it's the direct object (accusative case).

    On another one

    "The cat is at the table."

    So if we ask "the cat is what?" - at the table. So it should be the direct object, however it seems like it's the indirect - dative case.

    So i'm confused, if someone could shed a light on this i'd appreciate.
  2. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    Your book is mistaken. "Walks" in that sentence is an intransitive verb that has no object at all. "To the window" is a prepositional phrase indicating whither the cat is walking; "the window" is the object not of the verb, but of the preposition "to".

    It is neither. The verb to be has no objects, whether direct or indirect. Once again you have a prepositional phrase, in this case telling us where the cat is.
  3. Tazzler Senior Member

    American English
    In your sentences these are prepositional sentences functioning as an adverb in the first one and an adjective in the second.
  4. scrotgrot Senior Member

    English - English
    Terms such as dative and accusative are outdated. Each verb takes between one and three mandatory arguments, or objects (plus optional ones). In both your sentences the to and at mark both nouns out as indirect objects. If there is a prepositional phrase, the associated noun is always an indirect object.
  5. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    Really? This would be news to anyone studying Latin, or Greek, or even German. There is also the matter of the difference between he and him in English.

    No. While theoretical linguistics -- which subject has limited practical application in studying English grammar -- may make no distinction, there is a distinction in standard English grammar between indirect objects (as in John gave me the key) and objects of prepositions (as in John gave the key to me.)
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011

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