Verb patterns

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Funambule

Senior Member
Dutch
Good evening,

In the introduction to The BBI Dictionary Of English Word Combinations it says on page xxi:

'Transitive D-pattern verbs used with to and B-pattern verbs produce identical constructions. We assign to B those verbs that are normally with an animate indirect object, and to D we assign verbs normally occuring with inanimate indirect objects. Compare B: we described the meeting to them and D: we invited them to the meeting.'

I don't understand what they are trying to say here. 'To D we assign verbs normally occuring with inanimate indirect objects', ok, but 'them' in 'D: we invited them to the meeting' is animate, right?


Kind regards,

Funambule
 
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  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Good evening,

    In the introduction to The BBI Dictionary Of English Word Combinations it says on page xxi:

    'Transitive D-pattern verbs used with to and B-pattern verbs produce identical constructions. We assign to B those verbs that are normally with an animate indirect object, and to D we assign verbs normally occuring with inanimate indirect objects. Compare B: we described the meeting to them and D: we invited them to the meeting.'

    I don't understand what they are trying to say here. 'To D we assign verbs normally occurring with inanimate indirect objects', ok, but 'them' in 'D: we invited them to the meeting' is animate, right?

    [....]

    Funambule
    In the examples in your first question, the indirect objects are those introduced by the preposition "to".

    "the meeting" in the first sentence, and "them" in the second would be called direct objects.

    [I believe that you should open a separate thread for your second question.]
     
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    Funambule

    Senior Member
    Dutch
    Thanks.

    I thought that an indirect object could only be expressed by a noun phrase referring to persons.

    Funambule
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Indirect objects are not introduced by a "to". If there is a "to", the object becomes not an indirect object, but an object of the preposition.

    I would therefore say that there are no indirect object in either of these sentences.

    A verb that commonly has animate indirect objects is "buy". For example:
    I bought my wife a new coat: the direct object is coat, while the indirect object is wife.

    Another is "tell":
    John told his children a bedtime story. Here, the direct object is "story", and the indirect object is "children". In both cases one can rearrange the sentence to turn the indirect object into an object of a preposition:
    I bought a new coat for my wife.
    John told a bedtime story to his children.
     
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    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Indierct objects are not introduced by a "to". If there is a "to", the object becomes not an indirect object, but an object of the preposition.

    [....]
    GWB, I agree with you in general.

    However, it is common to translate the cases used for the indirect object in other languages as "to [something]" in English. Thus, some people come to refer to words introduced by "to" in such constructions as indirect objects.

    As you say, the sentence "I gave Mary the book" can also be written, "I give the book to Mary". Thus, some grammarians refer to "Mary" in "to Mary" as the indirect object.

    I assume this is what the authors of Funambule's book are doing. If sense is to be made of what they say, it must be done by making a sort of translation of their terminology.
     
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    kitenok

    Senior Member
    As you say, the sentence "I gave Mary the book" can also be written, "I give the book to Mary". Thus, some grammarians refer to "Mary" in "to Mary" as the indirect object.

    I am assume this is what the authors of Funambule's book are doing. If sense is to be made of what they say, it must be done by making a sort of translation of their terminology.
    I agree that there is some flexibility in a sentence like "I gave the book to Mary" as to whether or not we call "Mary" the indirect object. It has the function, if not the form, strictly speaking, of an indirect object.

    But in the sentence from Funambule's book, "We invited them to the meeting," the prepositional phrase seems to have neither the form nor the function of an indirect object. I think "the meeting" could only be an indirect object if it were used metonymically to stand for the group of people assembled there: "The president gave a speech to the meeting," or some such thing. Then the meeting is receiving the action of the verb, and we have the function of an indirect object.
     
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    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Kitenok makes a valuable point. The indirect object in English perfoms the function in the sentence that, for example, the dative case would perform in Latin. There is a distinct difference in function between the "to" phrase in "I gave the rose to Susan" and "I invited Susan to the meeting." This can be seen in that the first sentence is easily reworded with a standard indirect object: I gave Susan the rose. But who would make any sense out of "I invited the meeting Susan"?
     
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