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No one wanted to buy a flower from her.

"wanted" is transitive, flower is the direct object and I'm a little confused about the modifier "from her".

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  • Compare "He bought a tulip from the Netherlands from her." Here "from the Netherlands" modifies "a tulip" and "from her" modifies "bought".
    – Stuart F
    Jan 5 at 13:55

1 Answer 1

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It's really modifying both, as 'buy a flower' is a verb phrase.

You could say either:

  • Nobody wanted a flower from her.
  • Nobody wanted to buy from her.

These could mean that the flower was the problem, or that she was the reason nobody bought from her. Without additional context, your example has to be taken at face value and we can only view the whole thing as a verb phrase. 'Buy' is being used transitively, so we view it as a verb phrase.

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  • Thanks but I thought "buy" is a single verb not a verb phrase. Given this definition for Verb Phrase: A verb phrase is a main verb and any modal or auxiliary verbs together with it. Aug 3, 2023 at 9:05
  • Personally I think "from her" must modify the verb "buy" and acts as the second and indirect object. Aug 3, 2023 at 9:10
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    @KavehBehnia It is a single verb, but you noted that 'wanted' is transitive - so is 'buy'. It is incomplete without the object.
    – Astralbee
    Aug 3, 2023 at 9:11
  • Understood thanks :) Aug 3, 2023 at 9:54
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    @KavehBehnia I've added a bit of detail into my answer to try and explain this better - because buy is being used transitively, we view it as a whole verb phrase. If the writer wanted to state specifically that the flowers were the issue or that buying in general was the issue behind people "not wanting" to trade with her then they could have phrased like my two examples.
    – Astralbee
    Aug 3, 2023 at 9:57

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