I don't know whether I can use the construction "find + noun + noun" the way it is used in the following sentence.

Do you find "behoove" an archaic word?

Is this sentence possible?

I am NOT asking about "find + noun + adjective" or "find + noun + to be noun/adjective".

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    Yes. Do you find Mary an attractive girl? Do you find chicken a palatable food? Do you find Dombey and Son an interesting book? Do you find ELL Stack Exchange a helpful site? Commented Jan 1 at 10:57
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    Note that I find something [to be] ADJ is a relatively formal usage compared to I think something [is] ADJ, so you should use it with caution (if at all! :) Also note that obviously it's a figurative usage essentially meaning to discover [facts], so it won't necessarily work very well in contexts where what you claim to "find" is obviously a matter of opinion (it wouldn't make much sense for two different people to "discover" mutually incompatible opinions/facts). Commented Jan 1 at 11:03
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    There's no meaningful difference between Do you find "behoove" [to be] an archaic word? and Do you find "behoove" archaic? Same with Do you find Mary an attractive girl? and Do you find Mary [to be] attractive? Commented Jan 1 at 11:09
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    Omitting the copula verb (is, to be) is more common with find than far more natural alternatives such as I think you an idiot or He considers Susan a goddess, but there's no real difference in the extent to which you can just use an actual noun (with contextually strong "adjectival" associations) in such constructions rather than using the actual adjective directly (which in general would be the "safest" choice for learners). Commented Jan 1 at 11:20

1 Answer 1


Yes. An SVOC structure is possible and the complement may be a noun or an adjective or an infinitive clause with "to be". In all cases the complement has a similar meaning to the complement in a simple linking verb clause such as "'Behoove' is an archaic word".

In many cases it may be common to choose to phrase with an infinitive to avoid syntactic ambiguity with the SVOO pattern in "I found him a cup" (meaning I found a cup for him)

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    > Henrietta! How did find Lord Willoughby? ... > I found him a perfect gentleman, but him and the gentleman went off together, and now they're getting married.
    – James K
    Commented Jan 1 at 11:48
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    Waiter: How did you find your steak, sir? Diner: Well, I just moved the peas and there it was! Commented Jan 1 at 11:50
  • Thank you, James K. The fact that the verb "find" can take the SVOO pattern is familiar to Japanese learners of English, but the pattern "find + noun + noun" as SVOC is tricky because, as far as I know, all English-Japanese dictionaries only mention the patters "find + it + noun + to-infinitive" and/or "find + it + noun + that-clause". This is the reason that I started this thread.
    – Kaguyahime
    Commented Jan 1 at 12:15
  • @JamesK - Lord Willoughby and the gentleman? Getting married? Oh my! Commented Jan 1 at 12:21

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