# Thread: Indirect object or Adverbial ?

1. ## Indirect object or Adverbial ?

Dear teachers,

Here is another problem I'm faced with would you please help me sort it out?

How would you analize the following:

Example 1: I gave my sister a cat for her birthday.

Parsing (correct ?):

I = subject
gave = ditransitive verb
my sister = indirect object
a cat = direct object
for her birthday = adverbial of purpose / time ?

Example 2: I gave a cat to my sister.

I = subject
gave = complex-transitive verb
a cat = direct object
to my sister = adverbial (??)

The pattern SVOdOi doesn't exist, doest it? (cf. Greenbaum & Quirk)
How do you pronounce "Greenbaum"? /gri:nbaum/ or /gri:nbɔchemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />>>:m/ ?

Example 3: The senator asked a question of the Supreme Court Justice.

The senator = Subject
asked = Ditransitive verb or Complex-transitive verb ?
a question = Direct Object
of the Supreme Court Justice = Indirect Object or Adverbial ??

and if of the Supreme Court of Justice was an adverbial it would be an adverbial of what?

Thank you for your help.
Hela

2. ## Re: Indirect object or Adverbial ?

Hi, Hela.

Example 1: I gave my sister a cat for her birthday.

It's ambiguous, yes. Though my guess would be that it's an adverb of purpose; i.e., the reason I gave her a cat was because it was her birthday.

Example 2: I gave a cat to my sister.

'give' is ditransitive: "a cat" functions as the verb's direct object (DO). It's the thing being given. "to my sister" functions as the indirect object (IO). It's the recipient of the thing). Change the word order and its function remains the same:

EX: I gave my sister (IO) a cat (DO).
EX: I gave a cat (DO) to my sister (IO).

Example 3: The senator asked a question of the Supreme Court Justice.

Indirect object. It's synonymous with "to the Supreme Court Justice" Cf. She asked the Supreme Court Justice (IO) a question (DO).

The pattern SVOdOi doesn't exist, does it?
What do "d" and "i" represent?

How do you pronounce "Greenbaum"?
green + bomb

3. ## Re: Indirect object or Adverbial ?

Dear Casiopea,

So even if the receiver of the action comes last in the sentence it is still considered an indirect object? That is, the sentence pattern S V DO IO exists along with the pattern S V IO DO (which is the usual order of objects in English), right? If this is the case it is quite reassuring because a teacher in Tunis told me that it becomes an adverbial, which rather confused me.

What I mean by Od and Oi is what you call DO and IO. Are they not the abbreviations that are used in "The Students English Grammar" (not sure about the title) by Greenbaum and Quirk? They are the abbreviations that are used at my faculty anyway, are they wrong?

See you soon
Héla

4. ## Re: Indirect object or Adverbial ?

I think,here,that the syntatic analysis involved here is a simple one.A Direct Object is the noun or pronoun which suffers or enjoys the immediate consequence(S) or influence of the action conveyed by the verb while an Indirect Object,as suggestive of its appellation,suffers or enjoys the remote consequence(S) or otherwise of the action(verb).
"I gave my sister a cat for her birthday"...the action here is "gave"...thus,the sentence could be re-written in this manner..."I picked a cat (and) gave it to my sister(for her birthday or as a birthday gift/present)...it is "the cat" that suffers the immediate consequence of the verb.If the action had been a more gripping one like "killed" it would have been more crystal eg...I killed the cat and gave it to my sister...the death of the cat while the sister still lives shows that it is the cat that suffers the immediate consequence of the verb.Therefore,the cat is the Direct Object while my sister is the Indirect(remote )Object.
"for her birthday" is apparently an adverbial phrase that shows the purpose for which the cat was given.

5. ## Re: Indirect object or Adverbial ?

Dear rhapsomatrics,

I made a mistake while typing my previous message, so please have a look at it again. Thanks,
Hela

6. ## Re: Indirect object or Adverbial ?

Originally Posted by hela
. . . the sentence pattern S V DO IO exists along with the pattern S V IO DO, right?
Right. Verbs that subcategorize for two objects, like the verb "give", are ditransitive. They require two objects to realize their meaning. One of the objects is the person or thing that is "directly" affected by the action of the verb (it's the thing that connects the IO to the verb), and the other is the person or thing that isn't primarily affected by the action of the verb. Its connection to the verb is "indirect" (it has to go through the DO to make a connection with the verb).

So, no matter where the indirect object sits in the sentence, it still functions as the person or thing that's not "primarily" acted upon by the verb. Changing Verb+DO+IO to Verb+IO+DO serves only to bring the IO into focus, that's all. It doesn't change the IO's semantic relationship to the verb. It's still the IO; the person or thing not primarily affected. A similar pattern is found in passive constructs, where the direct object functions as the structural subject, but in terms of its semantic relationship to the verb, it's still the person or thing that's "directly" acted upon by the verb. It's the direct object at the semantic level.

. . . a teacher in Tunis told me that it becomes an adverbial, which rather confused me.
Well, . . . yes. I remember reading a paper some time ago that argued something along those lines but, and if memory serves me correctly, there are specific examples for that argument. Would you have handy the examples the teacher was using?

What I mean by Od and Oi is what you call DO and IO. Are they not the abbreviations that are used in "The Students English Grammar" (not sure about the title) by Greenbaum and Quirk? They are the abbreviations that are used at my faculty anyway, are they wrong?
They are not wrong; they're what Greenbaum and Quirk happen to use: all objects as described as "O" (Note, it's more efficient that way) and each "O" is given a "d" or "i" or "p" according to its semantic relationship to the verb:

(Od) The object directly affected by the verb
(Oi) The object of indirectly affected by the verb
(Op) The object of a preposition

Sentence/clause types
1. SV (intransitive)
2. SVO (transitive)

3. SVC (linking/copular; C = a noun)
4. SVA (linking/copular; A = an adevrb of time or place)

5. SVOO (ditransitive; either Od + Oi or Oi + Od)
6. SVOC (complex-transitive; C = a nominal)
7. SVOA (complex-transitive; A = an adverb, e.g., on the table)

Note, the difference between ditransitive verbs and complex-transitive verbs is this, if you can place a form of the verb BE between the Od and the unknown O, like this,

EX: They call it (Od) a table (O?) => it is a table

and the result makes sense/is grammatical, then you know you're dealing with a complex-transitive verb:

EX: They call it (Od) a table (C) complex-transitive

Complex-transitive structures have hidden forms of the verb BE underlying, and the very reason they're called "complex-transitives".

7. ## Re: Indirect object or Adverbial ?

The S-V-DO-IO sentence pattern does not exist. Indirect objects can only appear between special action verb forms and direct objects.

I gave my sister the cat.
Sister is an indirect object that appears between the special action verb form gave and the dircet object cat. Indirect objects are found by asking "to or for whom or what is something done?" after you find the direct object. I gave the cat "to or for whom or what?".....my sister. The sentence pattern is S-V-IO-DO. (Notice that we are applying an understood preposition (to or for) to isolate the indirect object.)

I gave the cat to my sister.
Sister is the object of the preposition to. The sentence features a simple S-V-DO pattern. With the exception of a single article, the area normally occupied by the indirect object is conspicuously empty. The preposition to is not understood, and the object of the adverbial prepositional phrase sister is nowhere near the area normally occupied by the indirect object.

RE: Syntax for Sailors

8. ## Re: Indirect object or Adverbial ?

Originally Posted by hela
So even if the receiver of the action comes last in the sentence it is still considered an indirect object?
. Right, but only in terms of semantics.
Originally Posted by hela
. . . the sentence pattern S V DO IO exists along with the pattern S V IO DO, right?
Structurally, S V DO *IO doesn't exist. It can't. IO, like DO, is a noun, whereas "to her sister" is a prepositional phrase, which means it can't function structurally as an IO:

[1] She gave a cat *her sister (IO, semantically; IO structurally ).
[2] She gave her sister (IO) a cat (IO, semantically ; IO structurally ).
[3] She have a cat to her sister (IO, semantically ; Adv, structurally ).

Indirect objects can be paraphrased by a prepositional phrase functioning as an adverbial, either headed by "to" or "for"; i.e., "to her sister", depending on the verb's semantics.

That's what your professor in Tunis was referring to when s/he said that the pattern S V DO IO doesn't exist. It can't exist structurally because "to her sister" is not a noun, and an IO must be a noun.

9. ## Re: Indirect object or Adverbial ?

Semantics cannot change syntactic reality. Indirect objects never follow direct objects and never resemble objects of prepositions. Here's a little rap to remember...

Indirect objects are forever seen
in the place that's always in between
the verb and the object we call direct
keep looking there, you'll be correct

RE: Syntax for Sailors

10. ## Re: Indirect object or Adverbial ?

Welcome, RP.

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