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The Complex Object

Study the following information.

Complex Object is a construction in which the infinitive is in predicate relation to a noun in a common case or a pronoun in the objective case. E.g. Everyone expected Nick / him to win the competition.


This construction is used:

1) after the verbs denoting sense perception, such as to hear, to see, to watch, to feel, to observe, to notice, etc. After these verbs bare infinitives (i.e. infinitives without particle ‘to’) are used. E.g. I haven’t seen anyone enter the room. (Я не бачив, щоб хтось входив до кімнати.)

Note 1. After verbs of sense perception only Infinitive Active is used. If the meaning is passive, we use Past Participle (V3). E.g. I saw the fire slowly conquered. (Я бачив, як пожежу поступово загасили.)

Note 2. If a process is expressed Present Participle Active is used. E.g. I watched them arguing. (Я спостерігав, як вони сперечалися.)

Note 3. The verb to see is followed by a clause when it is not really a verb of sense perception, i.e. when it means ‘to understand’. E.g. I saw that he did not realize the danger. (Я бачив (розумів), що він не усвідомлює небезпеки.) After the verbs to see and to notice the Complex Object construction is not used with the verb to be; a subordinate clause is used in such cases. E.g. I saw he was pale.

Note 4. When the verb to hear is not a verb of sense perception, i.e. when it means ‘to learn’, ‘to be told’, a clause or a gerund is used. E.g. I hear that he left for the South. / I hear of his leaving for the South. (Я чув (мені сказали), що він поїхав на південь.)

2) after verbs of declaring: to pronounce, to declare, to report. E.g. She declared him to be the most disobedient child in existence. (Вона заявила, що він найбільш неслухняна дитина у світі.)

3) after verbs denoting wish and intention: to want, to wish, would like, to desire, to mean, to intend, to choose (in the meaning of ‘хотіти’). E.g. I want you to answer all my questions honestly.

4) after verbs of mental activity, such as to know, to think, to consider, to believe, to expect, to imagine, to find, to feel, to trust, etc. After verbs of mental activity this construction is generally used with the verb to be. (This restriction does not apply to the verb to expect.) E.g. I know you to be the most honest creature that ever lived. I believe him to have no conscience at all.

Note 1. After verbs of mental activity the Perfect Infinitive is used but seldom. E.g. The doctor found his heart to have stopped two hours before.

Note 2. With the verbs to think, to consider, to find the same idea can be expressed without infinitive. E.g. She found the subject rather interesting.

5) after verbs denoting feeling and emotion: to like, to dislike, to hate, cannot bear, etc. E.g. I dislike you to talk like that.

6) after verbs denoting order and permission: to order, to allow, to permit, to let (with bare infinitive) to suffer (неохоче дозволити), etc. E.g. He ordered his car to be ready in the morning. The teacher ordered the room to be aired.


7) after verbs denoting compulsion: to make – bare infinitive (примушувати), to get (добиватися, домагатися), to have – bare infinitive (примусити; сказати, щоб), to cause (примусити, розпорядитися). E.g. Light steps made him turn his head. He hadthe secretary bring in the papers. - She caused a telegram to be sent to him.I cannot get her to finish her lessons.

Note 1. Make/have + object + bare infinitive are used to express that someone causes someone else to do something, but their meaning is slightly different. E.g. She made Tom do his homework. (She insisted that Tom should do his homework.) Shehad Tom do his homework. (She asked Tom to do his homework.)

Note 2. get + object + to-infinitive shows that someone persuades someone else to something. E.g. She got Ann to sign this document.

1. Translate the following sentences into Ukrainian.

1. The judge made vandals pay for the damage. 2. We saw him break into the house. 3. The teacher wanted the pupils to answer all his questions. 4. She watched him open the safe and hide behind the curtain. 5. The teacher had them use dictionaries. 6. The policeman noticed a woman staring at him while he was waiting at the station. 7. We expect them to change their attitude towards this matter. 8. They invited the candidates to take part in the TV debates. 9. The employer got his employees to support his election campaign. 10. We didn’t know him to be our colleague. 11. We could hardly believe this athlete to win the race.

2. Read the text and point out the Complex Object construction.

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