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We told them what to do.

Is "what to do" a noun phrase ('a thing to do') and direct object in the sentence above?

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I think it is.

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Comments  (Page 2) 
tkacka15I understand that direct object (a noun phrase) is needed for the indirect object to be included into the sentence.

Oh. OK. I didn't know that was a CGEL rule. That's what you're saying, right?

tkacka15Is the complement of the verb (a clause) an equivalent of the direct object?

I'd say so. A direct object is also a complement of a verb, and the clause complement is just another kind of complement of the verb.

CJ

CalifJimOh. OK. I didn't know that was a CGEL rule. That's what you're saying, right?

Yes.

I've got some doubts about taking complement of the verb (clause) and direct object (a noun phrase) as two syntax functions working in the same way.

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We definitely need to see BillJ's take on this.

CJ

CalifJimWe definitely need to see BillJ's take on this.CJ
I couldn't agree more. Emotion: smile