likes <his friends to entertain him> [direct object?]

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Bovary05

Senior Member
français
hello,
I would like to now if in this sentence : My brother likes his friends to entertain him. «his friends to entertain him. » is a direct object.
Thank you
 
  • SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Yes, it's a direct object.
    More to the point, it's a non-finite clause, with a to-infinitive functioning as direct object. The direct object is a clause because it's got a subject ("his friends") and a verb (to entertain). The clause is non-finite because the infinitive does not show tense. Inside the direct object, the infinitive has its own direct object ("him").
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The Cambridge Grammar (CGEL) would not call any clause an object. The object is 'his friends'. That is its syntactic role. Likewise 'them' is object in 'He likes them to entertain him', with the object form of the pronoun. However, it obviously does not have the same semantic role as in the sentence 'My brother likes his friends'. There are various ways of analysing this. You can say that there is an underlying clause 'his friends entertain him', and the subject of that has been raised into object position.

    Sometimes (though not in this sentence) the object can be raised again to subject of the main clause: namely, by using the passive voice. Consider 'My brother expects them to stay away from his party'. This clearly does not mean 'My brother expects them' (= expects them to arrive), but again 'them' is the object of 'expects', and we can make the sentence passive: 'They are expected to stay away'. That shows that 'them' is in the main clause.
     
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    karlalou

    Banned
    母国語:日本語
    My brother likes his friends to entertain him. «his friends to entertain him. » is a direct object.
    Yes.

    We are traditionally taught it as SVOC, the 5th basic structure among five basic structures. Subject+Verb+Object+Complement. The to-infinitive is explained as functioning as an adjective.

    This method works very well though it has an impression of the object and the complement being separate elements, though it has the more precise naming of object complements; it's complementing the object. All learner's dictionary in my native tongue follow this method and use tiny symbol marks to explain which elements each verb can take for each possible usage.

    I see it's probably more natural to think that when the object needs to express an action by someone or something, [I find that-clauses are an exception,] it shouldn't have any tense: [My brother] [likes] [his friends to entertain him]. Now it's the same as the 3rd basic structure: SVO.

    Michael Swan treats them in his Practical English Usage as
    §408.2.d clause-like structures
    §411.7 object complements
    The structure object + participle (clause) is used after verbs of sensation (e.g. see, hear, feel, watch, notice, smell) and some other verbs (e.g. find, get, have, make).
     
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    Man_from_India

    Senior Member
    India
    That non-finite clause is not an object. But it indeed is a complement of the verb - "like". The subject of the non finite clause is "his friends".
     

    karlalou

    Banned
    母国語:日本語
    That non-finite clause is not an object. But it indeed is a complement of the verb - "like". The subject of the non finite clause is "his friends".
    I find when something is complementing the verb, it should be an adverb.
    For the 2nd structure, SVC, we are taught as the complement is complementing the subject.
     

    Man_from_India

    Senior Member
    India
    I find when something is complementing the verb, it should be an adverb.
    For the 2nd structure, SVC, we are taught as the complement is complementing the subject.
    "He is beautiful."
    The adjective "beautiful" is an adjective, and it's called subject-related complement. Its the complement of the verb "is".
    "He is in the middle of the road"
    "in the middle of the road" is a complement of the verb "is". But it is not a subject-related complement like in our previous sentence. It's a locative complement.
     

    karlalou

    Banned
    母国語:日本語
    "He is beautiful."
    The adjective "beautiful" is an adjective, and it's called subject-related complement. Its the complement of the verb "is".
    This 'is' is a linking verb, connecting the complement to the subject.
    M. Swan says so in PEU:
    §328.1
    Some verbs are used to join an adjective or noun complement to a subject. These verbs can be called 'link verbs', 'copulas' or 'copular verbs'. Common examples: be, seem, appear, look, sound, smell, taste, feel, become, get.

    "He is in the middle of the road"
    "in the middle of the road" is a complement of the verb "is". But it is not a subject-related complement like in our previous sentence. It's a locative complement.
    This 'is' expresses an action, exist. This is not the type of SVC, but this is SV, the 1st basic structure. My grammar book calls this prepositional phrase as an adjunct. It says this is a special type of the 1st basic structure: SV+A. Then this adjunct is an adverb.
    <S+V+A> Mother is in the kitchen. (source: 徹底例解ロイヤル英文法, §9)
     
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    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Terminology aside (I'm not sure that there's any discernible difference in calling it "object," "direct object," "complement" or even "direct object complement"), the more interesting question is whether his friends to entertain him is a single unit or not. I see what CGEL is doing in calling it a "syntactic" direct object, but a verb's valency/transitivity is really a combination of syntax and semantics.

    Rather than focusing on "object/complement," I ask myself, what are the arguments of the verb "likes" in My brother likes his friends to entertain him? I see the argument "My brother," which satisfies all that I need to know about the category "subject," and I see the argument "his friends," but that alone isn't enough to tell me about the "direct object" in this sentence. As has been pointed out, obviously the meaning is not that "My brother likes his friends." I suppose what CGEL is saying is that "his friends" belongs in the main clause (that's true), but "to entertain him" and "his friends" go together.

    Unfortunately, grammar books often don't use the exact sentence that we have in mind. CGEL uses the verb "persuade," but persuade and like don't behave the same:

    My brother persuaded his friends to entertain them
    My brother persuaded them
    ("them" takes the place of the direct object "his friends")

    My brother likes his friends to entertain him
    My brother likes them
    (???).
    My brother likes
    it ("it" takes the place of the entire clause that functions as "direct object")

    Raising is what happens after the complementizer "for" is omitted (My brother likes for his friends to entertain him), but I see that "his friends" and "to entertain him" form a single unit, which functions as (take your pick) object/direct object/complement/direct object complement.
     

    Man_from_India

    Senior Member
    India
    This 'is' is a linking verb, connecting the complement to the subject.
    M. Swan says so in PEU:




    This 'is' expresses an action, exist. This is not the type of SVC, but this is SV, the 1st basic structure. My grammar book calls this prepositional phrase as an adjunct. It says this is a special type of the 1st basic structure: SV+A. Then this adjunct is an adverb.
    "in the middle of the road" in "he is in the middle of the road" is not an adjunct, it's a complement. And "is" in that sentence is semantically as void as that "is" in "he is good".

    As far as I remember, I might be wrong as well, some grammarians, hmmm, probably Quirk et al must have analyzed this, which later was analyzed as complement, as obligatory adjunct.
     

    Man_from_India

    Senior Member
    India
    Terminology aside (I'm not sure that there's any discernible difference in calling it "object," "direct object," "complement" or even "direct object complement"), the more interesting question is whether his friends to entertain him is a single unit or not. I see what CGEL is doing in calling it a "syntactic" direct object, but a verb's valency/transitivity is really a combination of syntax and semantics.
    Can you please tell me the page number where CGEL says something like that?
     

    Charlie Parker

    Senior Member
    English Canada
    I am no expert in English grammar, Bovary05, but I think it makes perfect sense to view those words as a direct object. I agree with SevenDays. I found this explanation on line. It might be helpful.
     
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