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    #1

    Cool Verb transitivity

    Hi! Im'm new in the website! I'm studying grammar and I have several questions. Here is the first one:

    The sentence "Dad gave me a car" is clearly ditransitive, it has a direct object and an indirect object.
    But in the sentence "Dad gave a car to me", where "to me" is a prepositional phrase, is the verb still considered as ditransitive?

    Second question:

    With phrasal verbs I get confused. Sometimes the object is the object of the preposition as in:
    "I'm just asking for information" so in this case, the verb ASKING FOR is intransitive (no object).
    But in this case, in the book I'm reading:
    "Jane took off her coat" the verb is transitive. Is the object "her coat" the object of the entire phrasal verb? And in the previous sentence, is "information" the object of the prepositional part of the verb? Am I right?

    Thanks, Gilda from Argentina.

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    #2

    Re: Verb transitivity

    Hi Gilda,

    Wow, you really know how to analyze English very well!
    Let me try to answer to your questions.
    However, I am not a grammar or linguistics expert. There may be someone on the forums who can answer your questions better than I can.

    I think that "Dad gave a car to me" is not ditransitive because there is actually only one object - the car.
    (I may be wrong though).

    I think that in "Jane took off her coat" the verb is transitive because "her coat" is the object of the phrasal verb "took off".

    My guess is that in "asking for information", it is intransitive because the "asking" is not an action that affects the "information" directly.

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    #3

    Re: Verb transitivity

    Ditransitive verb - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    According to Wikipedia, these sentences can be written with or without the preposition. That is, the verb is "ditransitive" either way.

    I have never heard the term before. I imagine the idea is to understand what you are reading, not to be able to classify real language into neat compartments. It doesn't always work that way.

    As for your second question, if you consider "asking for" to be a phrasal verb, it sure does need to have an object. You have to ask for something.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Verb transitivity

    Quote Originally Posted by missgilda View Post
    Hi! Im'm new in the website! I'm studying grammar and I have several questions. Here is the first one:

    The sentence "Dad gave me a car" is clearly ditransitive, it has a direct object and an indirect object.
    But in the sentence "Dad gave a car to me", where "to me" is a prepositional phrase, is the verb still considered as ditransitive?

    Second question:

    With phrasal verbs I get confused. Sometimes the object is the object of the preposition as in:
    "I'm just asking for information" so in this case, the verb ASKING FOR is intransitive (no object).
    But in this case, in the book I'm reading:
    "Jane took off her coat" the verb is transitive. Is the object "her coat" the object of the entire phrasal verb? And in the previous sentence, is "information" the object of the prepositional part of the verb? Am I right?

    Thanks, Gilda from Argentina.
    In my opinion, in your first sentences, only the first is ditransitive. The verb has two objects, one direct and one indirect. In the second sentence the verb has only one object, direct. The confusion comes from English having two ways of expressing the dative case: an indirect object and a prepositional phrase. In other languages, the cases would be marked differently. If you read the Wikipedia article that Dave referred to, the article doesn't really say that the prepositional form makes the verb ditransitive. It simply points out that we have an alternative way of conveying the same meaning. We have a similar dual system for genitive: a possessive form and a prepositional phrase with "of".

    For your second question, I am afraid that I will confuse you even further. There has been an ongoing argument for decades about the actual definition of a phrasal verb. One camp calls almost any verb followed by a preposition and many followed by an adverb to be phrasal verbs. That view leads to an almost endless list of phrasal verbs. The other camp restricts the use of phrasal verb to refer to idioms in which one or more words creates a verb that has a meaning different from the individual words. This view leads to a much shorter list of phrasal verbs. And there are a lot of people in the middle between the camps. I am more in the restrictive camp. With that in mind, I do not consider "ask for" or "took off" to be phrasal verbs. In both of those phrases, the meaning is literal. If one considers them phrasal verbs, they are transitive: "information" and "coat" become direct objects of the phrasal verbs. If one does not consider them to be phrasal verbs, the verb "ask" is intransitive and "information" is the object of a preposition. In the next sentence, the verb is transitive, but "coat" is the object of the verb and "off" is an adverb modifier.

    I hope I didn't confuse you, but you seem to understand the issues. As an example of a phrase that can be a phrasal verb in one use and not in another (in the restrictive model):

    John stood up when the teacher entered the room. (not a phrasal verb; literal meaning)
    John stood up his date last night. (phrasal verbal; idiomatic meaning)
    Last edited by MikeNewYork; 16-Jul-2013 at 22:34. Reason: typo

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