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sentence: Let's meet in the lobby at noon.

I see three objects here: "us", "lobby" and "noon", whereas the correct answer is two. This sentence example comes from this YouTube video, 5:50 min.

Please explain me, why the word "us" is not considered an object?

  • "Us" is subject of the verb "meet", not object of "let". – BillJ Mar 28 '18 at 7:34
  • @BillJ: Same analysis with They did not allow him to speak ? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 28 '18 at 12:48
  • To be clear, "us" is only the 'understood' subject of "meet". Syntactically, it is the raised object of "let", and the bare infinitival clause "meet in the lobby at noon" the second complement. – BillJ Mar 28 '18 at 15:41
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I'm not a trained grammarian, but I agree with you. I think someone overlooked it because it's only half there.

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I cannot explain why that presenter ignores the contracted "us".  I also cannot explain why she labels the object of a preposition as an indirect object, or why she labels intransitive prepositions as particles, or why she considers the preposition "through" to be wrong in the sentence "I worked from nine through midnight". 

I can explain how I parse the sentence in question: 

Let's meet in the lobby at noon. 

The sentence has the contraction "let's".  Its idiomatic use is to introduce a suggestion or proposition.  Like you, I prefer to analyze it as two separate words. 

Let us meet in the lobby at noon. 

The verb "let" is among the handful of verbs that license a bare infinitive as an object complement.  Other verbs that license object complements do not license the bare form.  For example:

Allow us to meet in the lobby at noon. 

The grammar and the literal meaning of this version of the sentence match the original.  It does not carry the same idiomatic meaning, but that shouldn't affect our understanding of the grammar. 

This is an imperative clause.  It has an implicit subject in the second person.  We can find the following constituents:

(you) -- implicit subject
allow -- finite verb; imperative mode, present tense, indefinite aspect, active voice
us -- direct object
to meet in the lobby at noon -- object complement

The object complement has its own constituents:

to meet -- non-finite verb; no mode, no tense, indefinite aspect, active voice
in the lobby -- prepositional phrase; adverbial modifier
at noon -- prepositional phrase; adverbial modifier

Each of the prepositional phrases has constituents:

in -- preposition
the lobby -- object

at -- preposition
noon -- object

Under this interpretation, there are three objects.  Two are the objects of prepositions, and one is the direct object of a verb. 

I prefer this interpretation.  However, I can also spot an alternative:

(you) -- implicit subject
allow -- finite verb; imperative mode, present tense, indefinite aspect, active voice
us -- indirect object
to meet in the lobby at noon -- direct object

Support for this interpretation comes from yet another paraphrased version of the sentence:

Allow meeting in the lobby at noon for us.

I don't like this interpretation.  Two infinitives, even when only one is bare, are necessarily more similar than an infinitive and a gerund.  Also, the semantics fall apart if we try to restore the original verb: "Let meeting in the lobby at noon for us" makes no sense.

 

All that being said, let's return to the question at hand. 

How many objects are in this sentence?  It could be two.  It could be three.  It could be four.  Some support exists for any of those counts. 

The support that I find convincing indicates that there are three objects. 

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Let's meet in the lobby at noon.

"Us" is most certainly an object, more precisely it's the direct object of "let".

This is called a '1st person inclusive let-imperative construction' because it includes the addressee in the reference along with speaker: "Let's meet in the lobby at noon" proposes that you and I meet in the lobby at noon". The imperative clause is analysable as containing the catenative verb "let" together with the NP object "us", and the bare infinitival clause "meet in the lobby at noon" as second complement of "let".

The 1st person inclusive construction doesn't allow the addition of a subject, whereas the ordinary imperative does. Compare the ungrammatical *"You let's meet in the lobby" with the ordinary imperative "You let them meet in the lobby".

Semantically, "us" relates only to the subordinate infinitival clause, not to "let". For this reason "us" is called a 'raised object' because the verb it relates to syntactically (i.e. "let") is higher in the constituent structure that the one it relates to semantically (i.e. "meet").

There is no indirect object.

The other objects are complements of prepositions, not of verbs: "the lobby" is complement of the preposition "in", and "noon" is complement of the preposition "at".

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