+0

I have a problem that has bothered me for days. Can you help me? It is about infinitive clauses. To illustrate my problem, here is a sentence:

"I want him to come home."

Is "to come home" the object complement, or is "him to come home" the direct object?
1 2 3
Comments  
Hello Voxii

Welcome to this Forum. I am an English learner from Japan. Here we have many native English speakers who are versed in grammar. So I think I had better wait until some of them comes to answer your question. But if you don't mind it, let me throw my two yens worth (I'm a Japanese).



  1. I want him to come home.



  2. I told him to go home.


  3. The sentence #1 is a so-called "object-with-infinitive" (or "accusative-with-infinitive) construction. Here you can take the whole of "him to come home" as the object of "want". On the other hand, in the sentence #2, the object of "told" is only "him", and "to go home" is the complement of "him". You can paraphrase this sentence as "I told him that he should go home". But you cannot paraphrase the sentence #1 in this way. You will see that "I want him that he should/would come home" is unnatural.

    Hope this helps you at least a little.
    paco
Thanks Paco,

So ... you say "him to come home" is the direct object. Yes, I think you are right. However, several people I have spoken to, including linguists, claim that "him" is the direct object and "to come home" is the object complement. You and I are in a minority ... so far!

Best wishes,

voxxi
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Oh, and further, regarding your second sentence ... you paraphrased it using a noun clause. Am I to assume that the infinitive is nominative?

-v
Hello

Some infinitive clauses are difficult to be grouped into "nominative use", "adjectival use" or "adverbial use". Take "to go home" in "I told him to go home", for example. This "to go home" is the target to which "I" directed "him" by the action "tell". If one paraphrases this sentence, it would be "I told him so" rather than "I told him it".
paco
Paco2004Hello

Some infinitive clauses are difficult to be grouped into "nominative use", "adjectival use" or "adverbial use". Take "to go home" in "I told him to go home", for example. This "to go home" is the target to which "I" directed "him" by the action "tell". If one paraphrases this sentence, it would be "I told him so" rather than "I told him it". paco

Emotion: big smile You mean that it CANNOT be accurately grouped?

-V

Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Hello

Yes, you're right. If I'm forced to group the infinitive "to go home" from the standpoint of syntactic sentence patterns into one of "nominative use", "adjectival use" and "adverbial use, I would choose "nominative use". But, from the semantic standpoint, "to go home" seems to me to function somehow as the complement of "him" and somehow as the adverb of "told". It is very subtle.
paco
I'm willing to join your group in saying that "him to come home" is the direct object of "want". The "for ... to ..." clause is "for him to come home". This, as a whole, is what is wanted, so it is the direct object of "want". The "for" is always deleted after the verb "want".

CJ
Hello CJ

It's long time since I saw your last post. How it's going with you?
CalifJimI'm willing to join your group in saying that "him to come home" is the direct object of "want". The "for ... to ..." clause is "for him to come home". This, as a whole, is what is wanted, so it is the direct object of "want". The "for" is always deleted after the verb "want".
I'm glad to know we are the majority on this issue, at least here. :-)

paco
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Show more