I got him to repair the bike.

In this sentence is the infinitive functioning as a noun or an adjective?

Or without context is it just an <object + object compliment>?

  • 1
    Infinitivals do not function as nouns or adjectives but as modifiers or complements (note the spelling). In your example the infinitival clause "to repair the bike" is complement of "got". The noun phrase "him" is object of "got".
    – BillJ
    Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 8:29
  • 1
    I'd say "to repair the bike" can be called an "infinitive verb phrase", functioning as the direct object of ditransitive "get" (where "him" is the indirect object). But "complement" is perfectly reasonable alternative terminology. Much depends on how you hope to extend your understanding of English through such "naming of the parts". Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 11:24
  • It's a VP functioning as head of a clause. It's a clause because it has a subject-predicate structure, though the subject is of course understood rather than being overtly stated. But it's not a direct object. With only one minor exception, objects are always noun phrases, never clauses.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jun 1, 2023 at 11:49

2 Answers 2


I got him [to repair the bike].

This is called a 'catenative construction'.

The verb "got" is here a catenative verb and the bracketed subordinate infinitival clause is its catenative complement.

The intervening noun phrase, "him", is the syntactic object of "got" and the understood (semantic) subject of the subordinate clause.

Incidentally, infinitival clauses do not function as nouns or adjectives, but as subjects, adjuncts, complements (as in your example) or as modifiers. The classification of subordinate clauses is based on a number of factor such as their internal form, not on spurious analogies with the parts of speech.


It is a complement, (note spelling with -e-) that is a construction that completes the clause. It is not a noun nor functioning as one. The di-transitive "get" with two objects has a different sense of "acquire", whereas this means "cause". And it isn't an adjective nor functioning as one, as it doesn't describe a noun (Neither "I" nor "him" could be described as a "to-repair-the-bike person)

The verb "get", in the sense of "cause" has a structure of "get (object) (to infinitive)".

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