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  1. LowlandsEnglish's Avatar
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    #1

    Question I saw the car disappear

    I thought I posted this yesterday but somehow the intertubes appear to have eaten it. I'm curious what function 'disappear' serves in this sentence. Is it a verb? Adverb modifying car? All comments are appreciated.

  2. Frank Antonson's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I saw the car disappear

    Quote Originally Posted by LowlandsEnglish View Post
    I thought I posted this yesterday but somehow the intertubes appear to have eaten it. I'm curious what function 'disappear' serves in this sentence. Is it a verb? Adverb modifying car? All comments are appreciated.
    "Disappear" is certainly a verb, but it is not the simple predicate in your sentence. That would be "saw".

    "Disappear" is the objective complement.

    Frank

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    #3

    Re: I saw the car disappear

    Quote Originally Posted by LowlandsEnglish View Post
    All comments are appreciated.
    (1) I believe that there are at least two ways to analyze your sentence.

    (2) Mr. Antonson, who has taught me so much about the Reed-Kellogg diagramming system, has given you one excellent analysis.

    (3) May I give you another analysis? (You did welcome "all comments," even those from this humble soul.)

    (4) I should analyze your sentence this way:

    I = subject

    saw = verb

    the car (to) disappear. (infinitive phrase that is the object of the verb "saw.")

    (a) "the car" is the subject of the infinitive "(to) disappear."

    (i) One book (A Grammar of Present-Day English by Pence & Emery) explains:

    The infinitive without to ... is often used in infinitive clauses following certain verbs , such as let, help, make, see, hear, etc. They give these examples:

    I felt the ground shake (= I felt the ground to shake); Did you see him run away? ( = Did you see him to run away?) REMEMBER: in such sentences, native speakers do NOT say "to."

    (5) Here are some more examples. (You may choose to analyze them as objective complements -- as did Mr. Antonson -- or infinitive phrase/clause as do some books):

    I saw him leave.
    I heard her sing.
    She made me laugh.

    (P.S. Those three examples come from House & Harman's wonderful Descriptive English Grammar. I wish to

    emphasize that they call them "objective complements" -- as does Mr. Antonson.)

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