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Sentence Structure: Subject-Verb-Direct Object-Object Predicative

Understanding Subject-Verb-Direct Object-Object Predicative (SVOd Po ) sentences

A subject - verb - direct object - object predicative sentence consists of a subject A noun phrase (a person or a thing) or a nominal clause normally placed before a verb phrase and which acts as the performer of the verb. more..., a complex transitive verb A verb which requires a direct object and an object complement (also known as an object predicative) in the form of a noun phrase or adjective, by an obligatory adverbial (including a prepositional object). more..., a direct object A direct object is the "thing" which is directly affected by a transitive verb. It may be a noun, noun phrase, nominal clause, an ing-clause, a to-cause, or a pronoun. more... and an object predicative An object predicative complements an object and occurs with complex transitive verbs. It may be a noun phrase or an adjective phrase. more.... The object predicative gives information about the object and may be a noun phrase A noun phrase consists of a head (a noun, an indefinite pronoun or a demonstrative pronoun and optionally a determiner, pre-modification (e.g. adjectives) and/or post-modification. more..., an adjective phrase An adjective phrase consists of a head (an adjective) and optionally pre-modification in the form of an adverb and/or post-modification in the form of an adjective complement. more..., or (rarely) a wh-clause A clause which begins with a wh-word (who, what, which, where, when, why, how, whether, whatever, whichever ) and acts either as a dependent interrogative clause or a nominal relative clause. more...

The subject in the sentence above is a one-word noun phrase - a personal pronoun. The direct object is also a personal pronoun. In these structures the indirect object almost always precedes the object predicative, as in this case. But see examples below where this is not true.

The relationship between the object and the object predicative may be of three types:

  1. A current relationship (where nothing is changing): "I consider him a friend."
  2. A resulting relationship (where change occurs): "The method got the students more interested in learning."
  3. A naming function: "We call this process photosynthesis."

Here are a few more examples (click and drag to stop, start and find the sentence you wish to examine):

You can view an analysis of some of the noun phrases in the above examples in the animations below (click on Subject to view each noun phrase).

In the above example the object predicative is a noun phrase. This example has a naming function. Other naming verbs are "call", "elect", "nominate".

In the above example the object predicative is an adjective. In this example there is a current relationship between the object and the object predicative.

In the above example the object predicative is an adjective phrase. In this example there is a reuslting relationship between the object and the object predicative (previously ChatGPT wasn't available; after May 4, 2023 it was).

The above example is different. In this case the object predicative precedes the object (although you could equally reverse this). There are a few adjectives which, when used with the verb "make", allow the postponement of the direct object: "available", "plain", "possible", and "clear". Unlike the example above, the reason for this postponement is the length of the direct object; where it is quite long the direct object is postponed. The following are two examples:

  • The human propensity for over-imitationsubject makescomplex transitive verb possibleobject predicative what anthropologists call cumulative culture: the long-term development of skills and technologies over generationsdirect object. (Wood 2020)

  • Small cell sizessubject makecomplex transitive verb availableobject predicative previously unused radio frequenciesdirect object. (Branch 2018)

You can see further examples of this structure on the SVOd Po page and test yourself on the SVOi Od exercise page.


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