> I quote from my English dictionary:
> "I'd like you to meet"
> "I want him to know"
> "my mother didn't want me to go out"
> "do you wish me to ring you back?"
> "he wanted us to go together"
> As far as I know, see, like, wish and want are all transitive verbs, so
> their subordinate clauses can be built in the same way, i.e. if I can say
> "he wanted us to go together"
> then I can say, as well,
> "he saw us to go together"
> Isn't it so? Why? Are there in English transitive verbs that are "more
> transitive" than others ones?
Not quite "more transitive" -- just "differently
transitive". Object Complements function as Noun Phrases, all right,
and that does make sentences with Object Complements transitive, but you
shouldn't push the analogy too far.
Here's the Cliff's on Object Complements:
Learning the grammatical facts of usage about verbs is roughly
equivalent to learning the gender and declension of Latin nouns;
it's just part of the language.
- Complements are Noun Clauses (i.e, clauses used as
nouns), and they may function either as Subject or as Direct
Object. In all the examples below the bold italic
parts are Object complements.
There are three major form classes of complements:
- The Infinitive Clause, which is non-finite
- I hope to go to the fair.
- Bill told me to leave early.
- The Gerund Clause, which is also non-finite
- I enjoy playing "Stairway to Heaven".
- I witnessed his achieving the summit.
- The That-Clause, which is finite
- I think (that) I shouldn't play it so often.
- Bill told me (that) I shouldn't play it so often.
- Finite Clauses need Subjects, and in them Tense (either Present or
Past) is marked on the verb, just like any sentence; they
are sentences themselves, and can have their own
- (The Rules for Finite Clauses are:
- There must be a Subject.
- The Subject must be Nominative (and may not be
Objective or Possessive).
- The verb must express Tense.
- The verb must agree with the Subject in Person and Number.)
- Non-Finite Clauses, on the other hand, don't inflect the
verb for tense, though there are several kinds of compound
infinitive or gerund (e.g, to have been seen is a Perfect
Passive Infinitive, having introduced is a Perfect Gerund,
etc.), which are available for the discerning speaker.
- Object Complements may be used only after certain verbs, and
while all verbs that take Object Complements are transitive in
some sense, not all transitive verbs may take Object Complements.
E.g, kick is certainly transitive in most of its uses, but
it does not take a complement in any use:
He kicked *that Fred is here.
*Fred's being here.
*for Fred to be here.
- Not only does the main or matrix verb determine
whether an object complement may be used, it also determines
which type of object Complement may be used. I.e, some
verbs like want may take only an infinitive:
- I want (you) to leave now.
- I want *(me/you, my/your) leaving now.
- I want *(that) I/you leave now.
Whereas others, like try, may take either an infinitive
or a gerund, but never a that-clause:
- I tried to waterski on one foot
- I tried waterskiing on one foot
- *I tried (that) I waterski on one foot
(Some people notice a small and subtle difference between
the two grammatical sentences above, but it's not always
.. and so on. Every verb that takes an Object Complement
has a unique pattern of which complements it allows, whether
the choice of complement makes a semantic difference or not,
and what kind of difference it might make, which senses and tenses
of the verb work with which choices, and which subclasses of
complement are allowed, required, or forbidden.
- Some infinitives may have a subject (in the objective case),
which may be introduced with for:
- He said for me to wait.
Some may not use a for:
- He told me to wait.
Some may not use a subject at all, especially if it's identical
with the subject of the matrix verb:
- He intends to wait.
Some infinitives (most, actually) use to, but many don't:
- He must (*to) go.
- He let me (*to) go.
- He had me (*to) go.
Again, all of this is determined by the matrix verb.
- Some gerunds may have a subject (usually in the possessive
case, though often in the objective):
- He resents my being smarter than he is. (possessive)
- He resents me being smarter than he is. (objective)
Some speakers sense a small, subtle distinction between the
two constructions, and others find the objective case usage
prescriptively incorrect, though it is statistically the more
- Some that-clauses (the Indicative ones) use a
regular tensed verb, while others (the Subjunctive
ones) use the infinitive form of the verb, without other
- It's important that he is here today.
- It's important that he be here today.
Once again, this is determined by the Matrix Verb.
- If you're learning English, you should learn these facts about
each verb as you encounter it. They should be in any good English
dictionary, like the ones published in England (Longmans, etc.)
Do not use a dictionary published in the United States
(Merriam-Webster, Random House, etc.) They do not contain such
grammatical information because American English speakers are not
generally taught enough about their language to understand it, and
dictionary publishers exploit this fact by ignoring grammar.
>In the sentence, "He liked pork chops so much that he ate them every
>day", what part of speech is "that" and what does it modify?
Well, of the classical Latin eight, this that doesn't really
fit easily into any of the categories, which I suspect is the source
of your question.
There's that demonstrative pronoun that in English, contrasting
with this, these, and those in a paradigm, but in
the sentence you give, that's clearly not the right that.
Then there's that that that introduces restrictive relative
clauses, but again, since this isn't a relative clause, that
can't be the that either.
If you feel constrained to explain it in terms of Latin grammar for some
reason, you might get away with saying that it's the second half of the
Subordinating Equative Correlative Conjunction so ... that ...,
(like as ... as ...). Equative constructions contrast with
Comparative more ... than ... and Superlative (the) most ...
But that doesn't really help, because each of those constructions has
its own very peculiar syntax, and saying it's half of a conjunction
isn't saying very much.
What I'd call it is a Complementizer, like that that that
introduces finite subject or object clauses:
That he's alive at all is astounding. (subject complement)
It's astounding (that) he's alive at all (object complement).
I think (that) he's alive. (object complement)
Note that this that complementizer is optional unless it
introduces a sentence (try deleting it in the first example),
and indeed it's optional in the sentence you cite:
He liked pork chops so much he ate them every day.
So that's one more argument for complementizer status.
Questions about "part of speech" usually don't help much in
understanding English grammar, since English doesn't have nearly as much
morphology (endings, roughly) as Latin. Instead English uses syntax --
the other half of grammar -- and word classes are much less useful than
talking about "constructions".
A good reference is Chapter 15 of Crystal's Cambridge Encyclopedia
of the English Language, which is devoted to Word Classes.
In fact, Part III (English Grammar), consisting of Chaps 13
(Grammatical Mythology), 14 (The Structure of Words), 15,
and 16 (The Structure of Sentences), all bear on this issue.
Sorry not to give you a more straightforward answer; perhaps Miss Fidditch
wasn't teaching you English grammar.
- John Lawler
Linguistics Department and
University of Michigan
"Language is the most massive and inclusive art
we know, a - Edward Sapir
mountainous and anonymous work of unconscious generations." Language (1921)
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