Let Johnny have a go [causative vs complex object]

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loviii

Senior Member
Russian
Good day!

I want to clarify where the complex object and the causitive construction in the next sentence are:

With a verb ("have"):
(1) "Let Johnny have a go on the computer now."
1a) Is "let Johnny have" the causative construction?
1b) Is "Johnny have" the complex object?

Thanks in advance!
 
  • london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    As I understand it a causative construction expresses the concept that someone has an action carried out by someone else rather than do it himself (I had the car washed, my mother got me to cook the Sunday dinner). That's not the case here.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Let Johnny have..." = "Allow Johnny to have..." It's an imperative.

    Complex object:
    I believe that Johnny is on the computer now. - Johnny is the subject of the subordinate clause.
    I believe Johnny to be on the computer now. - Johnny has become the object of the main clause.
     

    loviii

    Senior Member
    Russian
    As I understand it a causative construction expresses the concept that someone has an action carried out by someone else rather than do it himself (I had the car washed, my mother got me to cook the Sunday dinner). That's not the case here.
    According to Causative Form (Active and Passive Causative) » SuparNgeBLog your examples are called passive causative form, mine active causative form.

    "Let Johnny have..." = "Allow Johnny to have..." It's an imperative.

    Complex object:
    I believe that Johnny is on the computer now. - Johnny is the subject of the subordinate clause.
    I believe Johnny to be on the computer now. - Johnny has become the object of the main clause.
    Imperative is one of types of a sentence. Complex object is one of parts of a sentence. I thought these terms couldn't be linked to each other.

    Consider two sentences:
    I let Johnny be on the computer now.
    Let Johnny be on the computer now.

    Why do you say we have the complex object in the first sentence, but we don't have it in the second sentence?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think I'd better bow out of this thread, because I'm not at all sure what Russian speakers mean by "complex object" in English. Sorry.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Why do you say that the complex object in this sentence is "Johnny to be on the computer now", rather than "Johnny to be"?
    An object of a sentence must be a substantive and "Johnny to be" is not a substantive. However "Johnny" is a substantive.

    Likewise "a go on the computer" is a complex object. The object is "a go" (go is a noun) and "on the computer" is an adverbial modifier.

    So we have the simple object of "a go" and the complex object as "a go on the computer".

    A complex object is a noun phrase or clause. "He hit [the man who lives next door]"

    You are probably referring to English Grammar: Infinitive Complex Object
    in which there is
    Infinitive Complex Object
    Complex Object
    Subject + Predicate + Complex Object (Noun/Pronoun + Infinitive)
    and which gives the examples:
    1. I heard [him describe] his new bedroom suite. -> [complex object]
    and
    2. I consider [Bill to be] Jack of all trades. -> [complex object]
    I am unconvinced that these are correct

    in 1. You heard him[object] and you heard him do[describe] and you heard him do[describe] something. All these ideas are encompassed in "I heard him describe his new bedroom suite." Therefore the complex object must be "him describe his new bedroom suite."

    However, the problem is that "him describe his new bedroom suite." does not seem to be a substantive and it does not have a subject or an active verb. "Describe his new bedroom suite" is a reduced compound clause: I heard him when he described his new bedroom suite." in which "when he described his new bedroom suite." is an adverbial clause modifying "heard". Thus the substantive that a answers "Who did you hear?" is "him" - but what you heard was {him describe his new bedroom suite.}
     
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