references for Grammar Glossary entry: “objects”

• The following sections of A Comprehensive Grammar of The English Language (Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, Jan Svartik, Longman, London & New York, 1985) were consulted in preparing this entry:

Object: direct and indirect

§10.7  726-28

Participants (in Semantic roles of clause elements)

§§10.18, 10.19   740-41

(other semantic roles of objects)

§§ 10.27-10.31   749-753

further notes:

1. The status of prepositional phrases such as “of cigars” (see [1] in the entry) as a type of the clause element “object” is not by any means universally accepted. However, as is pointed out in the reference notes to the entry on distransitive prepositional verbs, it is acknowledged by the authors of A Comprehensive Grammar of Contemporary English. As was also mentioned in that note, from the point of view of ESL instruction, the characterization of such phrases as a type of grammatical object seems to be definitely preferable to a characterization as adverbials. It is worth adding, by way of strengthening the case for this analysis, that passivization using a prepositional object as a subject is often possible: E.g. “Harry’s cigars are not approved of (by Sarah).”

2. As is mentioned in the entry, objects can play a number of other semantic roles apart from the most common one of “affected participant.” The other roles discussed in §§10.27-10.31 of CGEL along with examples of each are the following: locative object “Jack and Jill walked the streets of Rome for hours”; resultant objects “Dick baked a birthday cake for Jane”; eventive objects, in which a “deverbal noun” appears as the object preceded by “a common verb of general meaning”; for example: “Harry promised he would give an explanation of his decision later on” instead of “Harry promised he would explain... ”. [There is a long and useful list of such objects and the verbs they are associated with in § 10.30, 150, 152] The authors of CGEL also note that occasionally an indirect object can play the role of affected participant in combination with an eventive object, for example: “Harry gave the car a push” which has the same meaning as “Harry pushed the car.”