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  1. #1
    donnach is offline Member
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    Is 'find useful' elliptical?

    Manufacturers like to know what features consumers find useful.

    Useful is an adjective and shouldn't work for the transitive verb useful, but it does.

    Is this due to ellipsis? Ex: ...what features consumers find are useful.

    Thanks,

    Donna

  2. #2
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
    Frank Antonson is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Is 'find useful' elliptical?

    You could expand that sentence to ..".which consumers find to be useful."..

    The quoted clause is then clearly an adjective clause with the relative pronoun acting as the direct object. "To be useful" is then more clearly an objective complement, as in "The sun makes apples ripe".

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    Afit is offline Member
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    Re: Is 'find useful' elliptical?

    Manufacturers like to know what features consumers find useful.

    Consumers find [these features (to be) useful]

    These features are useful.

    "useful" is an object-related complement. An object complement's analogy with a subject complement can be shown by the possible insertion of "to be" and by paralleling the (SV)OC structure with a finite SVC one (see above). "useful" qualifies "features", hence the adjectival nature.

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    Afit is offline Member
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    Re: Is 'find useful' elliptical?

    Manufacturers like to know what features consumers find useful.

    Manufacturers = Subject of the matrix-clause and subject of the superordinate clause

    like to know -- main verb

    what features consumers find useful = object of "know", subordinate clause

    what = conjunctive determiner

    consumers = Subject of the subordinate clause
    find = verb
    what features = object
    useful = object complement


  5. #5
    donnach is offline Member
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    Re: Is 'find useful' elliptical?

    Afit,

    Does this type of construction have a name?

    .....what features consumers find useful = object/subject/verb/object complement

    It works with the verb think as well, and deem. It seems this may be a common construction for verbs of opinion or discovery.

    What are your thoughts? And, have you heard any general explanation for this type of syntax?

    Thanks!

  6. #6
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
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    Re: Is 'find useful' elliptical?

    I would call that an objective complement. With objective complements the words "to be" can often be inserted.

  7. #7
    donnach is offline Member
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    Re: Is 'find useful' elliptical?

    I agree that it's an object complement. In regard to Afit's parsing, is this 'verb object before the verb' structure commonplace in certain situations?

    consumers = Subject of the subordinate clause
    find = verb
    what features = object
    useful = object complement
    Also, would you call the elliptical to be an infinitive acting as a noun?

    Thanks!

  8. #8
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
    Frank Antonson is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Is 'find useful' elliptical?

    I hate to say this, but Afit's diagram is wrong.

    "To know" is an infinitive acting as the direct object.

    Also, the line before "useful" is sloped in the wrong direction.

    I need to start diagramming online again. I am out of practice.

  9. #9
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
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    Re: Is 'find useful' elliptical?

    Also, "what" is the direct object of "find". It is not a modifier.

  10. #10
    donnach is offline Member
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    Re: Is 'find useful' elliptical?

    I see. But what, then, is 'features'?

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