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  1. #1
    linguistica is offline Newbie
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    Prepositional verbs and objects

    (I posted this earlier but I'm afraid it was in the wrong forum).

    Prepositional verbs like ask for and ask about obviously require an object of the preposition. In the examples,
    I asked him about the concert
    I asked the waiter for the menu
    would you consider 'him' and 'the waiter' to be direct objects (DO) or indirect objects (IO)?

    I would personally favor the latter, based on the somewhat similar construction in the sentence,
    I asked him a question, in which 'him' is the IO and 'question' the DO.

    I would appreciate your thoughts and comments!

  2. #2
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Re: Prepositional verbs and objects

    Quote Originally Posted by linguistica View Post
    (I posted this earlier but I'm afraid it was in the wrong forum).

    Prepositional verbs like ask for and ask about obviously require an object of the preposition. In the examples,
    I asked him about the concert
    I asked the waiter for the menu
    would you consider 'him' and 'the waiter' to be direct objects (DO) or indirect objects (IO)?

    I would personally favor the latter, based on the somewhat similar construction in the sentence,
    I asked him a question, in which 'him' is the IO and 'question' the DO.

    I would appreciate your thoughts and comments!
    Regarding

    [A1] I asked him about the concert.

    and

    [A2] I asked the waiter for the menu.

    no, I would not.

    In principle, for there to be an indirect object, there must be some element that can be reckoned a direct object. In neither case can one be found, both 'concert' and 'menu' being simply internal objects of prepositional phrases.

    In the case of

    [B1] I asked him a question.

    however, there are clear grounds for reckoning 'question' to be the D.O., and thus 'him' to be the I.O.

    The slight problem with this analysis is that the reconstituted 'full' form of the above is

    [B1a] I asked a question OF him.

    (not 'to')

    and there is no precedent in English grammar for a genitive phrase to be considered the putative origin of an indirect object!

    However, that (possibly) minor quibble aside, we can rationalize the two different sets of grammatical relations realized respectively by the sets [A] (D.O. construction) and [B] (I.O. construction) in simple semantic terms: in type [A], 'ask' means 'direct an enquiry/request to (smb.)', while in [B] it means simply 'direct (a question, enquiry)'.

  3. #3
    linguistica is offline Newbie
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    Re: Prepositional verbs and objects

    Thanks so much for your detailed answer, philo. I appreciate it!

    I would, however, like for you to clarify one thing, if you wouldn't mind.
    In my first two examples I asked if you would consider 'him' and 'the waiter' to be DO or IO, and you answered "no". I assume that means "neither"? What would you call them then?
    Last edited by linguistica; 30-Nov-2012 at 20:29.

  4. #4
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Re: Prepositional verbs and objects

    Quote Originally Posted by linguistica View Post
    Thanks so much for your detailed answer, philo. I appreciate it!

    I would, however, like for you to clarify one thing, if you wouldn't mind.
    In my first two examples I asked if you would consider 'him' and 'the waiter' to be DO or IO, and you answered "no". I assume that means "neither"? What would you call them then?
    I'm afraid I missed 'D.O.' in your question. I meant that I would regard them as direct, and not as indirect, objects.

  5. #5
    linguistica is offline Newbie
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    Re: Prepositional verbs and objects

    Thanks again!

  6. #6
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Re: Prepositional verbs and objects

    Quote Originally Posted by linguistica View Post
    Thanks again!


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