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Hi! I've been trying to nail down my sentence structure, so that I know when a sentence doesn't work.

So I have these two lines that are making me sad:

1- Being the boss made Jeff feel uneasy.

[Being the boss]: Gerund phrase serving as subject. Made: Verb. Jeff: Direct Object.

Now the problem for me is in [feel uneasy.] I've been searching for like an hour and can't decide what it is:

Is it a verb phrase serving as subject complement? A verb phrase serving as an object complement? Is it modifying Jeff or Made? I mean what kind of phrase is it and what is function is it serving?

In a sentence like this: I like making people happy. People is a noun serving as object and happy is an adjective serving as object complement. But the fact that [feel uneasy] has a verb makes me think it's something different.


Second sentence is:

2- Tom's favorite tactic has been jabbering away to his constituents. Now, the website I've been reading (purdue) said that [Jabbering away to his constituents.] is a gerund phrase, which is no problem, but it also said this:

jabbering away to (gerund)
his constituents (direct object of action expressed in gerund)

And that just makes me confused. Shouldn't it be: Jabbering: Gerund. Away: Adverb modifying Jabbering. [To his constituents]: Adverbial propositional phrase. [His constituents.]: Noun phrase serving as object of the preposition to?


Hope you can help me. Thanks for reading.

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tazhusBeing the boss made Jeff feel uneasy.

This is usually explained with the term "catenative verb". It turns out that "make" is a catenative verb, i.e., connective verb. Here we have 'made' connecting with 'feel'.

Here Jeff is the subject of feel uneasy, but at the same time the object of the causation in the word made.

Regarding your second example, there are very few systems of grammatical analysis which explain every single word in a sentence as it seems you wish to do, and different systems can approach the same problem in different ways. That's why some of the things you read seem to conflict with others or even conflict within themselves.

If it makes you feel any better [There it is again], I find Purdue's analysis faulty, and I think yours is better.

Emotion: smile

CJ

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CalifJimHere Jeff is the subject of feel uneasy, but at the same time the object of the causation in the word made.

To be clear: "Jeff" is only the understood (semantic) subject of "feel". Syntactically, it is the object of "made".

anonymous
CalifJimHere Jeff is the subject of feel uneasy, but at the same time the object of the causation in the word made.

To be clear: "Jeff" is only the understood (semantic) subject of "feel". Syntactically, it is the object of "made".

What does this clarification amount to?

We understand that Jeff is the one who feels, but if we draw a tree of the sentence, we make it look like something made Jeff?

CJ

CalifJim
anonymous
CalifJimHere Jeff is the subject of feel uneasy, but at the same time the object of the causation in the word made.

To be clear: "Jeff" is only the understood (semantic) subject of "feel". Syntactically, it is the object of "made".

What does this clarification amount to?

We understand that Jeff is the one who feels, but if we draw a tree of the sentence, we make it look like something made Jeff?

CJ

Leaving aside for-infinitivals, infinitival clauses don't normally have overt subjects, so I don't think anyone would take "Jeff" to be the syntactic subject of the subordinate clause.

An important point here is that "Jeff" is a raised object since the verb that "Jeff" relates to syntactically is higher in the constituent structure than the one it relates to semantically.

We know that "Jeff" is object of "made" by virtue of the fact that it can be subject of a similar passive equivalent: "Jeff was made to feel uneasy ..."

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anonymousAn important point here is that "Jeff" is a raised object since the verb that "Jeff" relates to syntactically is higher in the constituent structure than the one it relates to semantically.

But we don't know that "Jeff" is an object at all in this sentence (syntactically) unless we consider the pronomialized version, where "Jeff" becomes "him", which is marked for object case. Is that right?

It seems to me that this object marking is just as important as, if not more important than, the "can make it passive" argument. No?

CJ

CalifJim
anonymousAn important point here is that "Jeff" is a raised object since the verb that "Jeff" relates to syntactically is higher in the constituent structure than the one it relates to semantically.

But we don't know that "Jeff" is an object at all in this sentence (syntactically) unless we consider the pronomialized version, where "Jeff" becomes "him", which is marked for object case. Is that right?

It seems to me that this object marking is just as important as, if not more important than, the "can make it passive" argument. No?

CJ


Being the boss made Jeff feel uneasy.

It's a basic fact of grammar that to-infinitivals containing a subject are always introduced by the subordinator "for". This subordinator is not present in the OP's example, so that alone is enough to tell us that "Jeff" cannot be the syntactic subject of the subordinate clause.

Further evidence that "Jeff" is matrix object comes from several tests. For example, in general, adjuncts cannot occur between a verb and its direct object, but they are permitted between a verb and a clausal complement:

*We expected all along an improvement.

We expected all along that things would improve.

In the catenative construction such an adjunct can follow the matrix verb in the construction with “for” but not in the one without:

I’d prefer if at all possible for you to do it tomorrow.

*I’d prefer if at all possible you to do it tomorrow.


Note that if we drop if at all possible both versions are well formed.

And in the OP’s example we cannot say *Being the boss made always Jeff feel uneasy.

Aha! Very clever. I was not aware of those tests.

CJ

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