How to identify whether an infinitive phrase functions as a direct object or an object complement?

For example, in the sentence:

"Everyone wanted Carol to be the captain of the team.

(cited from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/627/03/), Purdue University Online Writing Lab say "to be the captain of the team" functions as the direct object of the verb "want".

I am confused because I think the infinitive phrase functions as an object complement to give more information about "Carol". Am I wrong?

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    The page says, "The infinitive phrase functions as the direct object of the verb wanted." By the infinitive phrase, they mean the whole phrase: Carol to be the captain of the team. – Damkerng T. Nov 23 '14 at 13:56
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    I agree with @DamkerngT., on the page you quote, Carol is clearly considered part of the infinitive phrase. Please take in that information and reconsider what your actual question is :) – oerkelens Nov 23 '14 at 14:22

'Carol' is the direct object and the infinitive phrase 'to be the captain of the team' functions as an adjective that modifies the noun Carol


The explanations of Owl are not very clear. One thing that annoys me is that verb constructions have no names in English grammars. The sentence in discussion contains a verb construction (vcs) that was beside the ablativus absolutus a favourite construction in Latin - called accusativus cum infinitivo, short aci.

My private name for the corresponding English vcs is ati-construction (accusative + to-infinitive. This vcs has a lot of variants and such special infinitive constructions would be a whole and large chapter in a grammar.

The sentence has the structure: Everyone wanted something.

So the whole part "Carol to be the captain of the team" is the object. A special object consisting of an accusative + to-infinitive.

The ati-object corresponds to a senctence: Carol shall/ should be captain. So the accusative is the "logic subject" of the following infinitive group. And one of the terms covering such special infinitive constructions is "Infinitive constructions with logic subject".


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