Believe it or not, every time this comes up, I get confused.

He made me do it.

I want to think the infinitive "to do" is the direct object of the main verb, and "it" is the direct object of the infinitive. "Me" would be the indirect object.

But there seems to be a good argument that "me" is the direct object of "made."

Any help?


- A.
Here's my take on it. An agent (he) caused (made) something.

He | made [sc me do it]

The small clause (sc) is the direct object of made.
The subject of the sc is me.
The verb of the sc is do.
The direct object of the sc is it.

See this thread.
Small Clauses


It seems to me that I've also seen analyses in which me has a double function. In addition to being the subject of the small clause, it is also an object of made. I don't remember if it was direct or indirect, nor the specifics of the reasoning.

CalifJimHe | made [sc me do it]
I must admit this is most comfortable, although a trifle modern.

"Old friends are the best friends" doesn't always work in grammar.

Thanks, - A.
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Avangialthough a trifle modern.
Hee!!! Emotion: big smile

Truth be told, that view is probably out of date already!

Wasn't it the Red Queen who said you have to run fast around here just to stay in the same place?

Emotion: smile


Edit: From Through the Looking-Glass

"Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you'd generally get to somewhere else -- if you run very fast for a long time, as we've been doing."

"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"
Doesn't the small clause analysis rob "made" of some of the coercive sense it normally has in this usage, as in "He forced me to do it?"

Would you suggest the same analysis in the "forced" version?

- A.
AvangiDoesn't the small clause analysis rob "made" of some of the coercive sense it normally has in this usage, as in "He forced me to do it?"Would you suggest the same analysis in the "forced" version? - A.
No. This is not a question of semantics. The different degrees of force implied by "made" or "forced" have nothing to do with it.

It's a matter of syntax. If you read that whole thread, you'll see that when a full infinitive is used, you don't have a small clause. The presence of "to" makes it a different kind of clause. There may be a special term for that as well -- I think the term is "exceptional clause", but don't quote me on that. In any case, it's a similar analysis. We're dealing with a clause in both cases.

He | forced [me to do it].

me to do it is a clause here, just as me do it is a clause (a "small clause") in He made me do it.

Here it may be even clearer that me is an object as well.

He | forced me [( ) to do it].

In this way of looking at it, the embedded clause then has "an empty subject", which is understood to be the same as the object of "forced".

Note, also:

He | persuaded me [( ) to do it].

I suspect that different authorities prefer different ways of going about this.

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As you might suspect, I wrote my previous before reading your reference.
Even so, I was concerned about the marker in my second example, but for no specific reason.
I hadn't previously come across anything in EF suggesting that the marker was anything more than a curious and random convention. It didn't occur to me that there were two different types of infinitives.

Appreciated the L.C. Thanks. My old harmony professor set a collection of his poems.