The original sentence is "she has this apparent innocence which, I suspect, she uses to her advantage." (Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary, 4th).

I understand that "she has this apparent innocence" == Subject + transitive verb + Object;

"which" guide as an Attributive clause;

"I suspect" is a parenthesis;

However, I have a little confused with the sentence "she uses to her advantage",

Because "I" is a subject, "uses" is a transitive verb, why can a transitive verb accompany with a prepositional phrase, "to her advantage"?

I remember that the transitive verb only accompanies with one or more objects such as a Noun, a to-infinitive and some kinds of clauses but not a prepositional phrase.

1 Answer 1


You yourself have said that I suspect is parenthetical, so you can remove that and not change the grammar of what’s left:

she has this apparent innocence which she uses to her advantage.

I hope it’s clear now that which begins the relative clause which she uses to her advantage.

Put the which as the direct object of uses, as in

she uses which to her advantage

And the which refers to this apparent innocence...

she uses this apparent innocence to her advantage.

In short, the verb use can indeed govern a definite object and a prepositional phrase. It’s all about the verb. Many verbs can govern both an object and a prepositional phrase.

He obeyed the law to his advantage.

  • 1
    Thank you for your detailed and clear explanation. It was very helpful and understandable.
    – chandlerone
    Feb 28, 2018 at 5:04

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