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[ + obj + to infinitive ] Do you want me to take you to the airport?

In this sentence, does a to-infinitive function as an object or a complement?

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  • It's not an object , but a catenative complement.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 9:48

2 Answers 2

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Do you want me [to take you to the airport]?

No: not an object but a complement, on two counts:

(i) "Want" is monotransitive, not ditransitive, so it cannot take an indirect object.

(ii) Infinitival clauses cannot function as indirect objects with any verb.

This is called a catenative construction. "Want" is a catenative verb and the subordinate infinitival clause "to take you to the airport" is its catenative complement.

The intervening NP "me" is the syntactic object of "want" and the understood (semantic) subject of the subordinate clause. It's called a 'raised' object because the verb that "me" relates to syntactically is higher in the constituent structure than the one it relates to semantically.

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< Do you want me to take you to the airport?

  • The verb here is "want".

  • The subject of "want" is "you". That is who does the wanting.

The direct object of "want" is "me". That is the person that the subject wants to do something.

The indirect object of "want" is "to take you to the airport" That is what the subject might want the object to do. It is the thing desired or wanted.

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  • I wouldn't go along with what you say. "Want" is monotransitive, not ditransitive, so it cannot take an indirect object, (note also that infinitival clauses cannot function as indirect objects with any verb). The infinitival clause "to take you to the airport" can thus only be catenative complement of "want", not indirect object.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 16:36
  • -1. Indirect objects represent semantic roles like beneficiary and recipient, which don't appear in the model sentence. The structure in question here represents something like the condition of the direct object. It's a licensed attribution. The pattern found here is subject / complexly transitive verb / direct object / object complement, or SVOC. It isn't SVOO. Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 14:44
  • @GaryBotnovcan The subordinate infinitival clause here is complement of the verb "want", but it's not an object complement. Object complements consist of NPs or AdjPs but not clauses. Note also that the subordinate clause has a subject-predicate structure ("me" is its understood (semantic) subject) so it could hardly be object complement.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jul 9, 2021 at 7:33

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