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Recently, I have come across this sentence,

"She bet me £20 that I wouldn't do it."

, which is, for me, very unfamiliar in that I have never seen any verb that can take three objects at once.

So, I want to know more about the verbs, which can take three or more objects like 'bet'.

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  • Why do you think there are three objects that "go with" bet? Perhaps one of these is actually something else?
    – Andrew
    Dec 6, 2017 at 2:02
  • @Andrew Because Oxford Learners' Dictionary defines the structure as "bet (somebody) (something) (that…)", so I have concluded that 'bet' can take three objects. (somebody, something, and that clause)
    – GKK
    Dec 6, 2017 at 2:05
  • How is it different from "She gave me a watch so I wouldn't be late"?
    – Mick
    Dec 6, 2017 at 2:11
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    @EvaristeGalois I expect one of the more linguistically astute members will voice their opinion about this, but I think "that I wouldn't do it" is probably classified as some kind of adverbial phrase and not as an object of the verb. But I could be wrong.
    – Andrew
    Dec 6, 2017 at 2:22
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    @Andrew An adverbial clause, perhaps, since it contains subject, verb and object, but I cannot find any supporting evidence.
    – Mick
    Dec 6, 2017 at 2:27

1 Answer 1

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This sentence has two parts, She bet me £20 and that I wouldn't do it.

She bet me £20 is the main clause of the sentence and can stand alone. It would beg the question, "For what?", which could be answered, "That I wouldn't do [something]."

The main clause has subject - verb - object - object,

She - bet - me - £20

and then a subordinate clause (with that) which has subject - auxiliary verb - verb - object

I - would (not) - do - it.

So, only two objects with the verb bet.

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  • 3
    A concise and clear answer.
    – user242899
    Dec 6, 2017 at 3:20
  • So, following your explanation, Can I add 'that clause' after any main clause only in the case I would beg the question 'for what' in my mind?
    – GKK
    Dec 6, 2017 at 3:25
  • The word 'that' can be used to add information by connecting another clause to the main clause. "The bird, that was flying overhead, was pink and grey." (commas not essential but added for clarity). Here it's not a "for what?" or "why?" question if one only said "The bird was pink and grey." but adds information. You can also use "which", and sometimes "which" and "that" are used interchangeably, and not always correctly, but that is another topic in itself.
    – Mick
    Dec 6, 2017 at 3:40
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    Notice that me is an indirect object and £20 is a direct object. Dec 6, 2017 at 4:44
  • @SovereignSun Were this another language, that might've been reflected in the declenation. As it is, English has too few cases to make the distinction (pronouns do have an accusative form, but not nouns), and has to resort to word order to make it clear which object is direct, and which is indirect.
    – Arthur
    Dec 6, 2017 at 8:38

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