from Quirk et al.The indirect object can generally be omitted without affecting the
semantic relations between the other elements:
David saved me a seat.
= David saved
≠ David saved me
Hence, if there is only one object present, it is generally the direct object.
with a few verbs that are normally ditransitive, the indirect object may be
retained while the direct object is omitted (either one of the O's may be omitted). In that case the only object present
is the indirect object:
Bob is teaching the older children some lesson.
= Bob is teaching the older children
= Bob is teaching
the older childrensome lesson.
What I infer from this excerpt is that in "I told him", where the verb is "told", which is normally ditransitive, the usage of "told" does not belong to instances of "normally", so "told" can't be ditransitive in this sentence, but then it can't be anything else than monotransitive either.
Verbs used in monotransitive function require a direct object,
Quirk et al., 16.25
EDIT*: I found this:In canonical clauses containing just one object, that object is always a direct object, even if it corresponds semantically to the indirect object of a ditransitive clause" and it quotes: "She teaches the first-year students"
*We do not, as some do, apply the term 'indirect object' to the corresponding prepositional
phrases (eg: "for me" in "Pour a drink for me."), though we use the term 'prepositional object' for the
complement in such phrases (cf16.56, 16.60). Some apply (Quirk et al. do not) the term 'direct object' to an indirect
object if it is the only object (eg: you in "I'll show you" or "his children" in "He's teaching his children").
Others again apply the term 'object' exclusively to the first (or only) object.
1. Bob is teaching the older children
2. Bob is teaching the older children.
Can #2 be the ellipted version of #1? We do not know. It depends on the linguistic situation. Ellipsis means omission. We usually omit things using our own judgment, say, for instance, we establish that some part of the sentence is not necessary for coherence, not relevant, not important, not conducive to meaning. When we pass judgment, we are familiar with what we pass judgment on. Do we know what Bob is teaching the students? Maybe, and maybe not. Is ellipsis at work? Maybe, but then again, maybe not.
So far I have been trying to clutch to my theory that the Od is invisibly present. Now I have managed to defeat my argument.
3. I told him.
4. I told him that/this/etc.
Can #3 be the truncated form of #4? We do not say #3 without "what has been said" being understood by both parties in the conversation, so #3 must have undergone some sort of ellipsis.
Now I am punch-drunk.
I am happy you joined the conversation, Curt, I appreciate your excerpts, and I thank you very much for sharing them.Does that help?
Last edited by Afit; 11-Aug-2011 at 11:54.
I told him is an SVO, him is an object, and the the person to whom the speaking is done is "him". Direct object? Not really but yes.
Related to this discussion of indirect objects, I wanted to report that this morning while driving a car and listening to my 91-year-old mother-in-law talk, I noted that she said "She cooked them a meal." "Cooked" is not one of the words that in American English one would usually expect to take an indirect object. I think a younger person would say "She cooked a meal for them."
I may have not chosen the best example (and I may not have quoted it quite right).
But I think that here in Pennsylvania you can hear remnants of the German that some of the original settlers spoke. "I bought for him a shirt" is something that I once heard. In modern AmE one would say "I bought him a shirt" or "I bought a shirt for him."
An example that is crystal clear is when one says here, "What for car does he drive?" That comes straight from the German "was für".