I’m getting answers from her.

What is from her in this sentence? Is it indirect object?

  • 2
    "Answers" is the direct object of "getting". The preposition phrase "from her" is not indirect object but complement of "getting". – BillJ Sep 28 '17 at 15:53
  • @BillJ: I think it's true to say to get can be "bivalent" with, say, I'm getting John answers. And although I can't think of any really credible examples, I'm inclined to think that if I had to make sense of I'm John getting answers, I'd identify John as the source of the answers, not the intended recipient. Maybe I'm imagining a hyphenated verb John-getting, but it does seem almost credible. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Sep 28 '17 at 17:25

From her is a preposition phrase; its precise syntactic role is complicated.

  • It is certainly not an indirect object, which is semantically a Recipient or Beneficiary of the action and syntactically must (in most contemporary grammars) be a noun phrase rather than a preposition phrase.

  • Traditional grammar would probably call it an 'adverbial phrase' modifying the verb am getting or the verb phrase am getting answers—what many contemporary grammars call an 'adjunct'.

  • Semantically it is a locative designating the Origin of the answers; I am inclined to understand it as an optional complement of get, which as a verb of at least figurative motion—information 'moves' from the Answerer to the Asker—licenses any number of PP designating Origin, Trajectory and Goal.

  • And it's just possible to regard it as an 'adjectival' PP modifying answers. I don't think that's the case here, but in another context, such as "The answers from her are more than adequate", it would be.

  • I's take it as a source complement. – BillJ Sep 28 '17 at 16:36
  • @BillJ Yah, there's variability in the terminology: Source/Origin, Path/Trajectory, Goal/Target. I tend to use the more 'spatial' terms, because I think of the non-spatial versions as metaphors. But mostly I just pick the first one that comes to mind! – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 28 '17 at 16:42

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