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Subjective predicative constructions with non-verbal (nominal) second parts


These constructions structurally belong to the same type of subjective predicative constructions, but semantically they are different from those with verbal parts, because the second part of the predicate being a noun or an adjective denotes a new quality or state acquired as a result of the action or denote judgement, opinion of the quality. Because of its meaning the nominal part is sometimes called a subjective predicative.

The door was painted green.

Suddenly the door was flung open.


Some verbs require the second part of the predicate with the preposition as.

The plan was declared as ridiculous and absurd.


The list of verbs used in these constructions partly coincides with verbs mentioned above as preceding the infinitive. Their number is limited.

The following verbs are used in the passive voice:

1. Verbs of mental perception (to accept, to believe, to think, to consider, to expect, to presume, to estimate, to regard, to suppose, etc.); also verbs of saying and reporting (to declare, to describe, to call, to say, to report).


He is believed as honest as anyone here.

The girl was thought clever.

The plan is considered impractical.

He was called ‘rising’, ‘promising’ before.

2. Verbs implying that the result of the action will be a new quality, state, or reaction. These verbs are rather numerous and fall into several subclasses:


A. Verbs with causative meaning (to make, to render)


The room was made comfortable for the child.

He was made a knight.

The audience were rendered speechless by these words.

B. Verbs denoting an action resulting in the change of colour

(to paint, to tinge, to dye, to stain, to dust, etc.).


The walls were painted light pink.

Her hair was dyed red.

After staying on the beach an hour his skin was tinged pink.

His car had been dusted grey by the journey over bad roads.

С. Verbs denoting actions resulting in the change of social rank, status, function of, or giving identification to, a person (to appoint, to call, to christen, to elect, to raise, to select) to mark, etc.); also to train, to bring up, which acquire the meaning of “the change of social status” only in this construction.

He was appointed secretary of the state.

The child was christened Fernando.

The road to the estate was marked private.

The boy had been brought up as a Catholic.

D. Verbs implying movement to a different position or state (to bring, to fling, to set, to tear, etc.).


All the windows were flung open.

The little bird was set free.

The envelope was torn open.


The objective predicative constructions*

* This construction is often called the complex object.

§ 124. The objective predicative construction functions as a complex object. It consists of a nominal part and a part which stands in subject-predicate relations to the first part. The nominal part is a noun or a noun-pronoun in the common case or a personal pronoun in the objective case. The second element of the construction is a verbal (an infinitive, participle I, participle II) or non-verbal (an adjective or a noun). Accordingly the following objective construction can be distinguished:


I. The objective with the infinitive construction:


I saw Nick take your book.

We hate him to go away.


II. The objective with participle I (or participle II) construction:


They heard somebody knocking at the door.

We found him murdered in his own house.


III. The objective with a non-verbal part construction:


I never thought her clever.

The objective with the infinitive construction

§ 125. This construction is the most recurrent as it may be used after a wider range of verbs, both taking a direct (I didn’t want him to see me here) and an indirect non-recipient object (We were relying on him to put things right ); in the latter case the objective construction is introduced by the preposition generally used with this particular verb.

The objective predicative construction of this type is used after the following verbs:

1. Verbs of wish and intention (to wish, to want, to desire, to choose, to prefer, should/would like, to intend, to mean). Owing to the meaning of these verbs, the infinitive in the construction can be only non-perfect, as it denotes an unfulfilled action.


He would like you to see him in his office.

I did not mean it to be told to her.


2. Verbs of emotion and attitude (to like, to dislike, to love, to hate, cannot/could not bear). Those too can be followed only by non-perfect forms of the infinitive.

I can’t bear people to be unhappy or upset.

I hate you to go away.

3. Verbs of mental activity (to think, to suppose, to consider, to believe, to know, to find, to expect, to imagine, to understand, to assume, to acknowledge, to feel, to trust, etc.). After these verbs the infinitive may be used in any form, depending on the time relation between the two actions:


He believed Jennie to be playing in the garden.

I supposed him to have been married to her years ago.


If the action of the infinitive refers to the person denoted by the subject, the corresponding reflexive pronoun is used.

I know myself to be rather slow.

4. Verbs of declaring (to declare, to report, to pronounce). With these all forms of the infinitive are possible.


They reported the plane to have been lost.

5. Causative verbs (to make, to have) take a complex object with a bare infinitive, usually it is a non-perfect infinitive, as the action is the result of inducement. The verb to gel takes a complex object with a to-infinitive.


With other verbs of inducement (to order, to command, to ask, to allow, etc.) the objective with the infinitive construction can have only the passive infinitive.


She would not allow the life of thechild to be risked.



If the infinitive attached to such verbs is active, it does not form a complex with the preceding nominal part; both the elements should be treated as different parts of the sentence, the first as an indirect recipient object, the second as a direct object:


He ordered him to come. (Whom did he order come? What did he order him? )

6. Verbs of perception (to see, to watch, to hear, to feel, to observe, to notice). After these verbs a bare non-perfect active infinitive is used.


We saw planes zoom into the air.

They felt the earth shake under their feet.


After these verbs structures with the link verb to be are not used. Where the need arises, a subordinate clause is used.


I saw that she was pretty. (---/---> I saw her to be pretty.)

§ 126. As was mentioned in § 125 the objective with the infinitive construction may be used with a few verbs as their indirect non-recipient object. These verbs are to wait (for), to rely (on), to listen (to), to look (for), to count (upon). All of them except the verb to listen take the infinitive with the particle to. With the verb to listen a bare infinitive is used.


Can I really count upon him to undertake the job?

I was relying on him to put things right.

I listened to them talk about me.

The objective with participle I construction


This construction comprises a noun in the common case or a pronoun in the objective case and participle I, which is in subject-predicate relation to the nominal part. In comparison with the infinitive in this position participle I shows more clearly the durative character of the action. The construction functions as a complex object.


§ 127. The objective with participle I construction can be used with verbs of three semantic groups, although with two of them it occurs very seldom. In all cases only non-perfect forms of participle I can be used. These groups are as follows:

1. Verbs of sense perception (see, hear, feel).


There we saw the crocodiles swimming about.

Over his shoulder he could hear them snuffing.

I felt tears running down my chieks.

2. Verbs of wish. These verbs combine with the construction only occasionally.


Nobody wanted him going there alone.


3. The causative verbs to have and to get.


He got them running his errands every day.

We’ll have them trembling with fear.



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