I want to ask a question to you about the sentence:

I want you to go there.

I can't separate the sentence into its parts. Could you please tell me which one is correct?

  1. "You to go there" is a direct object of the sentence.

  2. "You" is an indirect object and "to go there" is a direct object.

  3. "You" is an indirect object and "to go there" is a purposal adverb.

The question may be easy for you, but I want to learn grammar very well.

  • Hi, b.east. Actually you asked a very interesting question which is not easy to answer. However, your post had multiple typos. Please try to be more careful when you post a question. I edited your question and see what has been chaged by clicking on "edited X mins ago" over my user name. Good luck. – user24743 Mar 16 '16 at 5:39
  • Thank you , each comment,answer and editing is important for me as a learner , – d.alex Mar 16 '16 at 8:47
  • See my comment about this verb construction ell.stackexchange.com/questions/84591/… – rogermue Mar 16 '16 at 18:49

(1) is correct. The infinitive complement clause (for) you to go there is the direct object of want in

  • I want (for) you to go there.

(The infinitive subject marker for is normally deleted, except at the beginning of a sentence:

  • For you to go there would be a mistake.
  • *You to go there would be a mistake.)

Since want is not a bitransitive verb, it has no indirect object, only a direct object.

EDIT: Ask is a bitransitive verb with a direct object complement and an indirect object.

  • I asked him to go there

Here him is both the indirect object of ask (the person to whom the request was addressed)
and the subject of go (the person who is to go). It's situated in exactly the same position as the
you in I want you to go there. How can one tell the difference?

It's the verbs. Want governs B-Raising, but ask governs B-Equi.

  • thank you very much for your answer , what about the sentence ' I ask him to go there' ? 'him to go there ' is direct object ? – d.alex Mar 15 '16 at 14:41
  • @JohnLawler - Could you please explain the terms B-Raising and B-Equi. I have no idea what the B and the Equi stand for. – rogermue Mar 16 '16 at 19:09
  • That's what the link is for. – John Lawler Mar 17 '16 at 1:44

None of your alternants are correct, I'm afraid. Direct objects are very rarely subordinate clauses like the infinitival "you to go there". In almost all instances, direct objects are noun (inc pronoun) phrases. In your example "want" is a catenative verb, "you" is direct object and to go there is catenative complement of "want". It's catenative in the sense of 'chain' of verbs, because that's what you have here, even though the 2 verbs have an intervening object, "you", and hence it's called a complex catenative construction.

Semantically, "you" is subject of the subordinate clause, but syntactically it's object of the matrix clause.

EDIT: To reiterate the above with some syntactic evidence:

The catenative complement is "to go there", not "you to go there", for the latter is not a constituent, but a sequence of direct object + complement. There are two tests to show that "you" must be object of the matrix verb "want":

1 . Insertion of adjunct. With "want", the intervening NP "you" in the complex catenative construction behaves like an object of the matrix clause in that it can’t be separated from the verb by an adjunct, such as "later", cf. *"I want later you to go there". Its inadmissibility is just like that of the non-catenative *"I want later your attention".

2. The 'pseudo-cleft' construction. Forming a pseudo-cleft would yield the ungrammatical *"What I want is you to go there"; instead we would say “What I want is for you to go there” (where “for” marks the beginning of an infinitival clause). It’s ungrammatical because "you to go there" is not a syntactic constituent and thus cannot be placed in the position of complement to the verb "be". And the reason it is not a syntactic constituent is because it is a sequence of two complements of "want", i.e. "you" is object and "to go there" is a non-finite clause functioning as catenative complement.

Finally, "you” is a raised object. "I" is not an argument of "want", thus "want" has three complements ("I", “you” and "to go there", but only two arguments "you" and "to go there"). This shows that "you" is a raised object: the verb that it relates to syntactically is higher in the constituent structure than the one it relates to semantically.

  • If "you" were the direct object of "want", one would expect the passive *"You are wanted to go there." – Greg Lee Mar 15 '16 at 18:10
  • 2
    @Greg Lee Yes, but the resistance of some verbs (like “want”) to passivisation doesn’t provide convincing grounds for saying that post-verbal NPs are not objects. In other words, passivisation doesn't provide either a necessary or a sufficient condition for objects, cf. the non-catenative We wanted our lunch before we went there. ~ *Our lunch before we went there was wanted – BillJ Mar 15 '16 at 20:07
  • So far, the score is some evidence against "you" in the example being a direct object versus no evidence at all in favor of it being a direct object. Because you provide nothing in support of your analysis. Why do you say it's a direct object? – Greg Lee Mar 15 '16 at 21:50
  • @Lee Evidence? You asked about the passive. "Want" is a transitive verb with "you" as object. What is so difficult about that? If you don't accept the 'catenative' analysis, just say so. No sense in wasting time. – BillJ Mar 16 '16 at 7:28
  • Evidence in linguistics is some fact of language. Not just an opinion about to apply terminology. – Greg Lee Mar 16 '16 at 7:49

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