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Could someone please parse this sentence?

She watched the pot boil slowly.

Also, does slowly here refer to the process of boiling or "her" act of watching the pot boil?

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    It's more likely "boil" and "slowly" go together and it's the pot that is boiling slowly. How can one watch sth slowly, by the way? – Andrew Tobilko Mar 22 at 12:02
  • Thank you, @Andrew Tobilko. What about parsing, though? :) – User40475 Mar 22 at 12:40
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    No: verbs cannot function as object complements. "Watch" is a catenative verb and the subordinate infinitival clause "boil slowly" is its catenative complement. Note that "the pot" is the syntactic object of "watch" and the understood subject of the subordinate clause. The natural interpretation of "slowly" is that it modifies "boil". – BillJ Mar 22 at 12:50
  • The other thing that's odd about this sentence is that if taken literally, it implies that the pot is boiling, rather than its contents. This is of course a standard idiom and we understand that it's talking about the contents rather than the pot itself, but it would need to get a lot hotter to cause a metal pot to reach its boiling point than whatever liquid is contained within it... – Darrel Hoffman Mar 22 at 19:28
  • Of course, simply substitute "anxiously" or "intently" and the answer is rather different. (-: – JdeBP Mar 22 at 20:20
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She watched the pot [boil slowly].

No: verbs cannot function as object complements.

This is a catenative construction in which "watch" is a catenative verb and the subordinate infinitival clause "boil slowly" is its catenative complement.

Note that the noun phrase "the pot" is the syntactic object of "watch" and the understood subject of the subordinate clause. The natural interpretation of "slowly" is that it modifies "boil".

The term 'catenative' comes from the Latin word for "chain, for the construction is repeatable in a way that enables us to form a chain of verbs in which all but the last have a non-finite complement. In your example, the chain is short -- just two verbs separated by the NP "the pot".

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