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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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tkacka15I think it is.

I think it is, too, but BillJ is the one to ask. Maybe he'll add a post.

CJ

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Thank you for the reply.

Oh, and by the way, I'm not sure you're asking for an analysis in traditional grammar or in modern grammar (the CGEL approach). If it's CGEL, then that particular NP might not be called a direct object, but a complement. I don't know the conventions of modern grammar labeling that well.

CJ

CalifJim

Oh, and by the way, I'm not sure you're asking for an analysis in traditional grammar or in modern grammar (the CGEL approach). If it's CGEL, then that particular NP might not be called a direct object, but a complement. I don't know the conventions of modern grammar labeling that well.

CJ

Yes, I thought that it could be a complement and "them" a direct object, but if that is the case, then "what to do" seems to be a clause, and I'm not convinced about that.

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You're not going to put "them" in that sentence in the direct object case in Polish, are you? Emotion: surprise

CJ

CalifJim

You're not going to put "them" in that sentence in the direct object case in Polish, are you?

CJ

In Polish is exactly like it is in English, i.e. indirect object is followed by direct one. I know that it is strange to name "them" a direct object, but on the other hand I don't understand construction: subject + verb + indirect object + complement.

tkacka15I don't understand construction: subject + verb + indirect object + complement.

Hmm. I guess I don't understand what you mean by this. What is there to understand? Is there some aspect of the grammar (e.g., CGEL grammar) that specifically marks such a construction as impossible in English?

It seems to me that such a construction would occur whenever you have 'tell' or similar (ditransitive) verbs in the following sorts of patterns:

They taught me how to play the violin.
She showed us where to put the documents.
We told him who to talk to about it.

CJ

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CalifJimThey taught me how to play the violin.She showed us where to put the documents.We told him who to talk to about it.

I understand that direct object (a noun phrase) is needed for the indirect object to be included into the sentence. Is the complement of the verb (a clause) an equivalent of the direct object?

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