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Thread: complain that

  1. #1
    learnerr is offline Newbie
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    Default complain that

    Hi, I wish you could help me with my question.

    I know that the clauses followed by that work as a noun or adverb(when expressing the reason)

    For noun, I know that you are one of us.
    For adverb, I am surprised that I met you here.

    The question I have is, when that-clause is used with complain.
    For sure, in case of
    I complained that the food was bad.
    that-clause is used as a noun and at the same time, as an object of the complain.
    It shows that I complain about food being bad.

    So usually, complain takes objects that have negative expressions(bad, not, no,etc) in them.

    However, I found one line of article that says
    "Some European officials complained that United States should resume a
    leading role in the missions for attack in Libya."

    In this sentence, that-clause is not used as object of complain...am I right?
    If it were used as object then it would mean Europeans complained about U.S. resuming a leading role.
    but this is not what this line means.
    However, it rather means Europeans still want the United States to resume a leading role, so they complained it.

    So in case of " Some European officials~", is that-clause used as an adverb?
    to show how they feel?

    I just want to make sure of it.

    Please help me out!

  2. #2
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: complain that

    Quote Originally Posted by learnerr View Post
    Hi, I wish you could help me with my question.

    I know that the clauses followed by that work as a noun or adverb(when expressing the reason)

    For noun, I know that you are one of us.
    For adverb, I am surprised that I met you here.

    The question I have is, when that-clause is used with complain.
    For sure, in case of
    I complained that the food was bad.
    that-clause is used as a noun and at the same time, as an object of the complain.
    It shows that I complain about food being bad.

    So usually, complain takes objects that have negative expressions(bad, not, no,etc) in them.

    However, I found one line of article that says
    "Some European officials complained that United States should resume a
    leading role in the missions for attack in Libya."

    In this sentence, that-clause is not used as object of complain...am I right?
    If it were used as object then it would mean Europeans complained about U.S. resuming a leading role.
    but this is not what this line means.
    However, it rather means Europeans still want the United States to resume a leading role, so they complained it.

    So in case of " Some European officials~", is that-clause used as an adverb?
    to show how they feel?

    I just want to make sure of it.

    Please help me out!
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) Like you, I am waiting for a teacher (or knowledgeable non-teacher)

    to answer you.

    (2) I learned a lot from your question. It really made me think.

    (3) My only contribution to this discussion is to gently, timidly, humbly

    suggest that perhaps (as you indirectly pointed out) the writer was

    wrong to use the verb complain.

    (4) Maybe the sense of the sentence actually is something like:

    Some officials demanded/recommended/ suggested that the United States

    (should) resume a leading role.

  3. #3
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: complain that

    Quote Originally Posted by learnerr View Post
    For sure, in case of
    I complained that the food was bad.
    that-clause is used as a noun and at the same time, as an object of the complain.
    It shows that I complain about food being bad.

    So usually, complain takes objects that have negative expressions(bad, not, no,etc) in them.
    Complain is intransitive. That-clause is reporting what the complaint was, it's not an object.

  4. #4
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: complain that

    ***** NOT A TEACHER ***** As Senior Member Freezeframe told us,
    "complain" is intransitive. That is, it cannot

    take an object. For example, you cannot say "I complained the bad service." But you can

    say "I complained about the bad service."

    So some people analyze a that-clause this way:

    They complained that the food was bad =

    They complained [about the fact] that the food was bad.

    (a) "that the food was bad" = noun clause.

    (b)The noun clause is NOT (in theory) the object of "complain."

    (c) The noun clause is in apposition with "fact." That is, it explains "fact."

  5. #5
    learnerr is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: complain that

    Thank you think I understood it.
    Knew that complain was not transitive but, thought most of natives would consider it as object when it comes with that-clause.
    And by the line of "reporting" I could find myself understanding.
    So, complain, or similar verbs such as 'think' are reporting verb.
    So they report what the complaint or thought was, as well as do they some kind of 'quote'.

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