Must a complete sentence have a object?

Chinese
#1
Can anyone tell me if the below is a complete sentence or phrase?

I like to swim. I(subject)+Like(verb)+To swim(Object or Complement?)

I have another example:

He stands on the rug to do the cleaning. He(subject)+Stands(verb)+the rug(object)+ to do the cleaning (infinitive phrase/complement)

Thanks
 
Chinese
#4
They are both as you describe, and complete.

Note: Unlike "above", below is not used as a noun/absolute adjective.
Thank you so much, I didn't know this before.

Would you be so kind as to tell me the part of the speech of my two sentences?

He stands on the rug to do the cleaning. He(subject)+Stands(verb)+the rug(object?)+ to do the cleaning (infinitive phrase/complement?)

I like to swim. I(subject)+Like(verb)+To swim(Object or Complement?)

Where you see question marks are where I am not sure the correct part of speech.

Thank you
 

bennymix

Senior Member
English (American).
#5
iVaco. What is your worry about "He stands on the rug"? It's no different from "He stands on the floor [a chair, etc.]."

Similarly "I like to swim"; "I like to watch TV." etc. I can only see a problem in, for example, "I like to bring."
 
Last edited:

Edinburgher

Senior Member
German/English bilingual
#6
+the rug(object?)+ to do the cleaning (infinitive phrase/complement?)
You have lost the preposition "on" from in front of "the rug". Did you sweep it under the carpet? :D He didn't stand the rug, he stood on the rug.
"On the rug" is not an object, it's a prepositional phrase functioning as an adverb of place (telling us where he stood).
I think "to do the cleaning" is a reduced prepositional phrase, an abbreviation of "in order to do the cleaning", which functions as an adverb of purpose (telling us why he stood on the rug).
+To swim(Object or Complement?)
"Like" isn't really a linking verb, so "to swim" is not a complement, it's an object. The infinitive acts as a noun phrase. What do I like? To swim.
 
Chinese
#7
iVaco. What is your worry about "He stands on the rug"? It's no different from "He stands on the floor [a chair, etc.]."
This is what confuses me. A complete sentence must contain a subject a verb and an object. I am not sure whether or not "the rug" is an object or not.
 

JulianStuart

Senior Member
English (UK then US)
#8
This is what confuses me. A complete sentence must contain a subject a verb and an object. :cross::thumbsdown::cross::thumbsdown:
This rule is WRONG.

The dictionary definition does NOT mention a requirement for an object

sen•tence /ˈsɛntns/
n.
  1. Grammar a group of words that forms an independent grammatical unit:[countable]A sentence in English typically consists of a subject and a predicate containing a finite verb.
 
Last edited:

PaulQ

Senior Member
English - England
#9
He stands on the rug to do the cleaning. He(subject)+Stands(verb)+the rug(object?)+ to do the cleaning
Subject...verb...... preposition determiner noun......[.......preposition..noun ]............preposition...infinitive.....determiner...verbal noun
..........................[..locative adverbial modifier.]....[.adverbial phrase of purpose.]..[preposition]..[.noun/infinitive phrase and object of "do"]
.................................................................................................................[..........................adverbial modifier........................]
.....................................................................[...............................................adverbial modifiers.............................................]
..........................[..........................................................................adverbial modifiers.............................................................]
 
Last edited:

PaulQ

Senior Member
English - England
#10
Must a complete sentence have a object?
No.
The transitivity of a sentence depends on the verb:

There are intransitive verbs: He died. -> these do not have an object
.........................................S....V.

There are transitive verbs "He enjoyed the meal." -> these always have an object
......................................S........v...........O

There are verbs that can be transitive or intransitive: He ate / He ate the apple
...........................................................................S....V. / .S....V......O
 

SevenDays

Senior Member
Spanish
#11
This is what confuses me. A complete sentence must contain a subject a verb and an object. I am not sure whether or not "the rug" is an object or not.
Well, it depends on what you mean by "sentence." The precise meaning of sentence isn't really a matter of syntax; what language/communication wants is to get a complete message across, in a way that's contextually understood. And so a "complete sentence" may lack an explicit subject (most commonly with imperatives: Go away!), or it may lack a verb and subject altogether (Holy Cow! Oh, man! No. No?). However you define a "sentence" (or however it's defined by your teacher/book*), notice that a "sentence" will always end with some sort of punctuation (exclamation point, question mark, period).

He stands has a subject and a verb, and it would meet the traditional criteria of "complete sentence" (see the dictionary definition given in #8). Notice, however, that He stands is not the same (i.e., it doesn't provide the same information) as He stands on the rug. It's not that "He stands on the rug" is a complete sentence, and ghat "He stands" is incomplete; rather, they are both complete sentences, in the sense that both give the information necessary to be understood in context.

In He stands on the rug; what's "on the rug"? Is "on the rug" an object? Do, what syntacticians do: apply syntactic tests. (These tests have limitations, but they can nonetheless help you). For example, replace "on the rug" with the direct object pronoun it, and see if you maintain the same meaning (as in He ate the apple ~ He ate it): He stands on the rug ~ He stands it (???) That doesn't work, because "stands" is said to be "intransitive." Here's another test: try to passivize "on the rug" (as done in He ate the apple ~ The apple was eaten by him): He stands on the rug ~ On the rug is stood by him (???) That doesn't work either. If "on the rug" is necessary to give the intended contextual meaning, and since "stands" is said to be intransitive, then "on the rug" becomes a complement (not on "object").

* Linguists typically don't consider the term "sentence" (because a syntactic definition is problematic); instead, they focus on "clauses."
 

SevenDays

Senior Member
Spanish
#13
The rug is stood on by him. :)
Ah! Good catch ...
I didn't think carefully about prepositional passives before posting my answer.

In any event, if using the label "transitive," what's "transitive" in He stands on the rug is the preposition, not the verb. Try the "it" test: He stands on the rug ~ He stands on it. And so He stands can function independently (the traditional "complete sentence"), but He stands on can't; the preposition needs its object/complement.
 

bennymix

Senior Member
English (American).
#16
iVaco, it seems the problem is 'objects'. As others have said, there is no need for an object. He stands.

Similarly, He ran. There may be another noun but it's not the object, it is part of some phrase, indicating, for example, where. He stands on the rug. He ran to the store.

A real object, i.e. a direct one, the thing acted on*, generally is right after the verb.

Compare: He ran [managed] the store. Here 'store' is an object.

Compare. After rolling it up, He stood the rug in his closet. Here 'rug' is an object. 'closet' is related to where, 'in the closet,' an adverbial phrase.
====


*I like to swim is an example showing that the 'thing' can itself be an action or habit..

Compare I like swimming. Swimming (a noun) is clearly the 'thing' or 'object' liked. As in What I like is swimming.

I like to swim** is analyzed similarly; 'to swim,' an action, is the 'thing' that I like, a direct object.

**Infinitive in a noun role.
 
Last edited:
English - England
#17
A complete sentence must contain a subject a verb and an object.[...]
Whoever told you this? It's not true.

I find this Cambridge definition helpful: a group of words, usually containing a verb, that expresses a thought in the form of a statement, question, instruction, or exclamation and starts with a capital letter when written.

Under this definition, Lady Bracknell's exclamation 'A handbag!' is a sentence.
 
Chinese
#18
Ah! Good catch ...
I didn't think carefully about prepositional passives before posting my answer.

In any event, if using the label "transitive," what's "transitive" in He stands on the rug is the preposition, not the verb. Try the "it" test: He stands on the rug ~ He stands on it. And so He stands can function independently (the traditional "complete sentence"), but He stands on can't; the preposition needs its object/complement.
So this is correct? He(subject)+Stands(verb)+on(preposition)+the rug (object)

or

He(subject)+Stands(verb)+on the rug (prepositional phrase/complement)

Thank you very much
 

Edinburgher

Senior Member
German/English bilingual
#19
So this is correct? He(subject)+Stands(verb)+on(preposition)+the rug (object) :cross: No.
He(subject)+Stands(verb)+on the rug (prepositional phrase/complement) :tick: Yes.
:cross: "The rug" is not the object of the sentence or of the verb. In a sense you can think of it as the "object" of the preposition. The "preposition" is not simply something that is positioned in front of something as some kind of optional extra. The sentence would not make sense without it. He stands the rug. :thumbsdown:
:tick: "On the rug" is a prepositional phrase because it consists of a preposition followed by a noun phrase. Prepositional phrases typically play the role of an adjective or adverb. In this example it's an adverb.
So we can call it an adverbial phrase or adverbial modifier, often simply called an adverbial. This is a sub-type of the broader category of complement, but one needs to be careful because sometimes we use the term "complement" in its narrower sense to mean a subject complement (this is the "object" of a copula linking verb -- a noun phrase or an adjective phrase: That man is a thief. The sky is blue.) or an object complement (I painted the ceiling yellow.).
 

PaulQ

Senior Member
English - England
#20
If I may go back to your original:
I like to swim. I(subject)+Like(verb)+To swim(Object or Complement?)
All objects are substantives, i.e. a noun, a noun phrase/clause, a pronoun, a gerund, a verbal noun, or an infinitive.

All substantives can be replaced by a pronoun:
He likes the dog that is black -> he likes it. -> The object is a noun clause
He likes the black dog -> he likes it. . -> The object is a noun clause
He likes walking his dog -> he likes it. -> The object is a gerund phrase
He likes the walking [of his dog]. -> he likes it. -> The object is a verbal noun
He likes the dog -> he likes it.

So we have:
I like to swim (infinitive) = I like it: to swim is a substantive (a noun/infinitive phrase). The "to" does not operate as a true preposition: wherever to is used with an infinitive, to is an inseparable part of the infinitive and does not create a prepositional phrase.
 
Chinese
#21
:cross: "The rug" is not the object of the sentence or of the verb. In a sense you can think of it as the "object" of the preposition. The "preposition" is not simply something that is positioned in front of something as some kind of optional extra. The sentence would not make sense without it. He stands the rug. :thumbsdown:
:tick: "On the rug" is a prepositional phrase because it consists of a preposition followed by a noun phrase. Prepositional phrases typically play the role of an adjective or adverb. In this example it's an adverb.
So we can call it an adverbial phrase or adverbial modifier, often simply called an adverbial. This is a sub-type of the broader category of complement, but one needs to be careful because sometimes we use the term "complement" in its narrower sense to mean a subject complement (this is the "object" of a copula linking verb -- a noun phrase or an adjective phrase: That man is a thief. The sky is blue.) or an object complement (I painted the ceiling yellow.).
Thank you
 
Chinese
#22
If I may go back to your original:

All objects are substantives, i.e. a noun, a noun phrase/clause, a pronoun, a gerund, a verbal noun, or an infinitive.

All substantives can be replaced by a pronoun:
He likes the dog that is black -> he likes it. -> The object is a noun clause
He likes the black dog -> he likes it. . -> The object is a noun clause
He likes walking his dog -> he likes it. -> The object is a gerund phrase
He likes the walking [of his dog]. -> he likes it. -> The object is a verbal noun
He likes the dog -> he likes it.

So we have:
I like to swim (infinitive) = I like it: to swim is a substantive (a noun/infinitive phrase). The "to" does not operate as a true preposition: wherever to is used with an infinitive, to is an inseparable part of the infinitive and does not create a prepositional phrase.
Thank you for the explicit answers.
 
Top