UEFA said it wants the rules of soccer changed to protect players from concussions, after its own policy for dealing with head injuries came in for critism.

I think in this sentence, "to be" was omitted before "changed", so originally it has to be "it wants the rules of soccer to be changed"(,right?)

But I'm not sure when exactly I can omit "to be" in the sentence. For example, if the structure is Subject + "want" + Object + Object Complement, then can I always omit "to be"? As in,

I want it to be understood more.

I want it understood more.

Is this rule applied to other verbs as well?

  • What is O.C? Please keep in mind that not everyone is familiar which the abbreviations you use. Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 12:13
  • @user178049 sorry I edited!
    – dbwlsld
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 12:24
  • Idiomatic He wants his head examined can be understood to mean He's crazy, he should be assessed by a psychiatrist (even though he himself probably has no such wish). Which isn't the same thing as He wants his to be head examined (not a very likely utterance, but that would almost certainly be understood to mean he really does have such a wish). Note that for some speakers He wants his head examining is also syntactically acceptable - it would normally be understood as carrying the first meaning here, but there's no way to include to be in that one. Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 12:34
  • 1
    (Maybe The [football] referee wants his eyes tested / testing would be a better example.) Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 12:37

1 Answer 1


There are only a small number of verbs that take a past-participial clause as a catenative complement, most of which allow an infinitival complement too. Some of the verbs are "want", "order", and "report" (CGEL, 1244—1245)*.

Here are some examples:

i. UEFA said it wants the rules of soccer (to be) changed
ii. He order it (to be) destroyed
iii. They are feared (to have been)abducted

With "want", this construction is only possible when the main clause is active (cf. the unacceptable *the rules of soccer are wanted changed).

It's to be distinguished from the concealed passive construction, in which case, "want" is synonymous to "need":

His hair wants ?cut/cutting

In this construction, the version with the gerund-participle "cutting" is more common. The version with the past-participle "cut" is restricted to certain regional dialects such as Scottish.

*Huddleston R. D., & Pullum G. K. (2002). The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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