I already understand and so ask NOT about the meaning of the examples below; I instead ask about the syntax. In the following, it refers to kohlrabi, a more obscure vegetable that I purposely chose to generalise this question.

1. subject + verb + noun + adjective
Example Sentence: 1.1. I deem it palatable. (= I deem that it's palatable).

2. subject + verb + noun + adverb
Example Sentence: 2.1. I cook it well-done.

Although 1 is grammatically correct, 1 still sounds wrong, but I can't pinpoint why. Yet 2 sounds less wrong to me, but again, I don't know why. Please help attune me to syntax 1?
Please explain how I can overcome my angst?

Afterword: This ELU question postdates, but answers my original post here.

  • Except those aren't nouns you're using in your description -- they're pronouns. This doesn't necessarily alter the format (Subject verb object adjective), but may be contributing to your uncertainty?
    – A.Beth
    Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 17:57
  • 2
    Verbs like deem, consider, judge, reckon, regard are so-called 'complex transitives'; they have as complement an object and and object-predicate. I consider the case closed.
    – TimR
    Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 20:42

2 Answers 2


You may just need to gain familiarity with the syntax via exposure. would say it's more an elision of [to be], though. (I deem it [to be] palatable.) It may just be that "deem" is a relatively unusual word!

"You liked that movie? I found it slow." (pretty common to use "I found it" for stating an experience with performances/media (movie, book, TV show, etc.).)

"So that's the princess? I find her fair." (more archaic!)

"Artichoke in butter? I deem it a delicacy!" (unusual word!)

"You cook tomatoes? I like them raw." (Far more common usage of the Subject+Verb+PRONOUN+Adjective pattern.)


I'm not sure sentence 2 is an adverb, though -- Consider the usual exchange: "How do you like your steak?" "Well-done." That would modify the noun being cooked, not the verb of cooking.


You have an error: "well-done" is not an adverb! But the fact you are mistaking it for one seems to indicate where the problem with your intuition lies.

"Well-done" is an adjective in your sentence 2.1. It does not modify "cook", it modifies the thing cooked.

It's easy to see how you would make that error. After all, "well" is a perfectly good adverb you're familiar with and know can modify "cook"; additionally, we refer to the degree of cooking of a piece of meat as "how it's cooked", thus wind up with phrases like "This is cooked well-done" which sure feel grammatically like "this is cooked well", even though its not at all grammatically the same.

So I'm guessing your brain is going "well-done" sounds like an adverb, so it's not too bad, but "palatable"! That's not an adverb at all!

Neither "well-done" nor "palatable" are adverbs, nor should they be. The are adjectives and they are not modifying their respective verbs ("deem" and "cook"), they are modifying the nouns that are the objects of their sentences, ("it", in this case, your hypothetical kholrabi).

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