Students understanding the complexity of language

Chapter 05-08: Clauses I – Clause Type V


Chapter 5: clause type V

A Type V clause appears similar to a Type IV clause, except now we  are dealing with transitive verbs. Transitive verbs – unlike intransitive verbs or linking verbs – require a direct object (nominal function slot)- or a second nominal that completes the action of the verb.
Consider the following examples:
  1. He reported the outcome.
  2. She readied her supplies.
  3. She helped the other survivors
In sentences (1) and (2), the verb needs something to follow it in order to make sense, which is accomplished through the direct  object (underlined in each example). We can think of the direct object  as answering the what or whom of the action.
  1. He reported (what?) the outcome.
  2. She readied (what?) her supplies.
  3. She helped (whom?) the other survivors.
Do not confuse Type V clauses with Type IV clauses. The first, and  most important, difference is the Main Verb: Type V has a transitive  Main Verb, while Type IV has a BE/linking Main Verb. Still, they can be  similar as the nominal complement also answers what or whom; however, the direct object in a Type V clause does not refer back to the subject. Compare the following:
  1. She is an expert survivalist.
  2. She knows survival skills.
The difference between the two sentences is (1) is a Type IV clause—the complement renames the subject (she and expert survivalist are synonymous). Sentence (2) is a Type V clause because the second noun phrase does not refer back to the subject. She is aware of the survival skills,  but they do not define her. There is one exception where the direct  object refers back to the subject, and that is with reflexive or reciprocal pronouns:
  1. They defended each other from the onslaught.
  2. He proved himself.
In the above examples, the direct object and the subject technically refer to the same thing; however, since the Main Verb is transitive, we  treat the reflexive or reciprocal pronouns as “different” from the  subject. Again, the Main Verb is key: BE/Linking Main Verb followed by a  nominal in the predicate function slot is a Type IV; Transitive Main Verb followed by a nominal in the predicate function slot is a Type V.
Type V Variation: Indirect Objects
Sometimes we find a Type V clause with three nominals that each have a  different referent. In such situations, we have the subject, the direct  object, and an indirect object—the recipient of the direct object:
  1. She gave the organization the plans.
  2. He told his troops the truth.
  3. He gave himself the benefit of the doubt.
Determining which noun phrase is the direct object and which is the  indirect object can be tricky; however, the indirect object typically  precedes the direct object and refers to a person or an entity that is  to receive the direct object.
  1. She gave the organization the plans.
  2. He told his troops the truth.
  3. He gave himself the benefit of the doubt.
In the examples, the direct object is underlined and the indirect object is in italics. In sentence (1), she transfers plans (direct object) to the organization (indirect object). In sentence (2), he told the truth (direct object) to his troops (indirect object). In sentence (3), he gave the benefit of the doubt (direct object) to himself.  Notice how we can typically determine the indirect object by asking “to  whom.” And, in most cases, the indirect object will immediately precede the direct object, so if you have two nominals in a row following a  transitive verb, suspect that one is an indirect object.
Type V Variation: Object Complements
With Type V clauses, we sometimes have nominals or adjectivals in the  predicate that complement the direct object by describing or renaming  it. We call these object complements.
  1. He considers himself an expert.
  2. She made surviving easy.
In both sentences, the direct object is underlined and the object  complement is in italics. In sentence (1), we have the nominal phrase expert that follows himself.  While you may be quick to consider one of these to be a direct object  and the other an indirect object, we need to ask a few basic questions:  is there an action that can be received? Can we ask “who” is receiving  the action? In both cases, the answer is no. But if you notice, himself and expert have the same referent: they refer to each other. As for sentence (2), we  have a nominal and an adjective in the predicate. Compared to dealing  with two nominals, it is easier to see the connection between the two. First, we know that since we have a Type V clause, surviving must be a gerund and functioning as the direct object (since we have to have something to complete the action). Furthermore, easy is an adjective that modifies surviving—it describes surviving. Thus, we can determine that easy acts in the capacity of an object complement.