Homer B Week 13 Prometheus

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Homer B Week 13 Prometheus

Postby ccinIdaho » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:58 pm

Hello,

For the first model sentence, I was wondering if "for them" was an object complement. Also, why is "to be" coming off of "them"? Is "to be" an adjective or another object complement??

Thank you!
C.C.
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Re: Homer B Week 13 Prometheus

Postby admin » Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:16 am

This was (and remains) a difficult sentence for me to explain. The 'for' clause really seems to me to be an explanatory modifier, explaining what 'it' is. In that case, it belongs right after 'it', with the little tree in parentheses. With 'is', there is no direct object, so an object complement doesn't make sense.

The reason why 'to be' is coming off of 'for them' is simple: because Descriptive English Grammar does it that way. (Appeal to Authority) Their sample sentence is "It became necessary for Ruth to earn her own living." The explanation is "The necessity of furnishing a subject for the infinitive and of throwing the subject into the objective case has resulted in the invention of an idiom wherein 'for' governs an entire group, consisting of the infinitive and its subject." I can see that 'for' has to govern the whole clause, but why this is the solution instead of something else is not so clear. Perhaps because an infinitive, 'to be', cannot act like a finite (conjugated) verb in clause?

Carolyn
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Re: Homer B Week 13 Prometheus

Postby ccinIdaho » Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:31 pm

Hi Carolyn,

This sentence has sparked a discussion between my daughter and me about how to handle infinitive phrases. In The Mother Tongue (pg 169), Nancy Wilson indicates that infinitives can have subjects and that sometimes the subject is a pronoun and thus in the objective case. This sounds like this sentence from Prometheus. For the six-sentence shuffle, casting he into the accusative, my daughter came up with this: They encouraged him to call some of the shivering men from their caves. I thought "him" was in the dative with the DO being "to call some..." and answering the question "encourage what." My daughter, however, thought "him" was the DO because the infinitive phrase wasn't being encouraged to him but he was being encouraged to do the infinitive phrase.

Thank you,
C.C.
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Re: Homer B Week 13 Prometheus

Postby admin » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:39 am

I lean towards your daughter's assessment of 'him being the DO, or at least part of the DO, rather than the infinitive being the whole DO. It's not the infinitive phrase which is getting encouraged, but 'he' is. (Akin to 'They baked him a cake. The cake is getting baked. He gets the cake.) Yet the whole 'him + infinitive' is what is being encouraged, so that whole batch of words is functioning as a unit here.

(Just for reference .... original sentence from the model: It is best for them to be poor and ignorant, that so we Mighty Ones may thrive and be happy.)
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Re: Homer B Week 13 Prometheus

Postby admin » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:28 pm

I am with your daughter, and with Carolyn.

"They encouraged him to call some of the shivering men from their caves"

Definitely, we have an infinitive with accusative.

You would diagram the sentence with

They | encouraged and then, what they encouraged goes on a pedestal line with the subject being 'him' (in accusative) and the verb, the infinitive 'to call'.

Lene
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