Hi all,

I'm currently a bit stuck in the analysis of a few sentences as far as verb complementation is concerned. The main problem is that certain verbs in these sentences make it hard to analyse them properly.

If anyone thinks this should rather be posted in another section, I would be grateful if you move the thread there.

Here is a link to the text I've tried to analyse: http://www.economist.com/world/international/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15833015

Here are the sentences I have difficulties with:

1. Another Times report said his office was copied on the memo ordering the reassignment.

-> the major problem here is that I don't know if this word "copy sb. on sth" is ditransitive, so as to have "his office" as direct object and "on the memo" as prepositional object or whether "on the memo" is an adverbial, therefore making the sentence a complex-transitive one. I always thought that if "the memo" was a prepositional object, the verb had to be a prepositional verb, too. However, this is not the case here I think, since "copy on" is not a prepositional verb given that an object could be inserted between "copy" and "on" (they copied his office on the memo).

2. He made no specific mention of the scandal, but did say that faith helped believers not to be intimidated by the "chatter of dominant opinion".

-> the problem here is that I don't know if "make mention of" is to be seen as a unit or wether "make" stands alone. The latter would mean that "no specific mention" is a direct object and "of the scandal" is prepositional object, but that seems strange. "Make" therefore would be ditransitive. The other option I have thought of is to see "make mention of" as a unit, therefore regarding "the scandal" as its prepositional object. This is a very tricky one for me, really.

3. It was a slip the Vatican could ill afford.

-> I'm not sure at all about how to start analysing this sentence. I think some transformation would be necessary so as to be able to identify its constituents properly. Unfortunately, I don't know whether "the Vatican could ill afford" is an extraposed subject (represented by "it") or if the structure is just totally different.

I would really appreciate getting your views about these three issues. Most "normal" verbs do not pose a serious problem for me in analysing verb complementation, but these words here are particularly hard for me. Thank you for your help!
copy sb. on sth.

copy - a transive verb
sb. - direct object
on sth. - is clearly an adverbial modifier to me

look up the meaning of "ditransitive verb"

eg.: i brought him a piece of bread

i - subject
brought - main verb (ditransitive - bearing two objects)
him - an indirect object
a piece of bread - direct object consisting of a noun and prepostional phrases (of bread is modifier to "piece")

do u want me to atomize it even more?

3. the pronoun "it" seems to have exophoric reference here. besides, the anticipatory subject "it" can only anticipate a clause (noun cl or infinitive cl). the complement of "was" is the noun phrase that follows. "a slip the Vatican could iil afford" whose head is "slip" and the rest is a relative clause (with "that/which" omitted) that postmodifies "slip"