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So it was something of a surprise to find her giving a Commons statement on her return.

Is "her" collocated with "to find" or with "giving" in the sentence above?

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'find' is a complex catenative verb. It takes a verb in -ing.

The intervening NP is associated with both 'find' and the -ing verb, but in different ways, so that it says, in effect,

... to find her/she was giving ...

'her' is thus the object of 'find' and the subject of 'was giving'. I don't know how 'modern grammarians' resolve the dual nature of 'her' in such cases, but they are sure to have a very definite answer.

CJ

Comments  

"Her" is the direct object of the infinitive "to find". "Giving a Commons statement [up]on her return" is adjectival, modifying "her." "On her return" is adverbial, modifying "giving."

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 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
CalifJimThe intervening NP is associated with both 'find' and the -ing verb, but in different ways, so that it says, in effect,... to find her/she was giving ...'her' is thus the object of 'find' and the subject of 'was giving'. I don't know how 'modern grammarians' resolve the dual nature of 'her' in such cases, but they are sure to have a very definite answer.

Thank you for the reply. I've suspected that the double-function role of "her" is the case here but wasn't sure about it.

By the way, the same is true of most complex catenative constructions.

We heard him coughing.
The police caught them stealing.
She resented him questioning her motives.

CJ

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