1. At http://www.englishforums.com/English/Ad ... v/post.htm one finds:
Many English nouns and noun phrases can be used as adverbs. They are called "adverbial objectives". From the standpoint of word order, an adverbial objective is put as if it were an objective of a verb, but actually it works as an adverbial modifier of the verb. This sort of construct comes from an Old English grammar rule that allowed the use of accusative cases of nouns as adverbs. For example, let's take an Old English sentence "He eode ham"[=He went home]. From the view of current English the word "ham" [home] would be treated as an adverb but it was the accusative of the noun "ham" in Old English. In current English this sort of noun phrase usage is prominent especially in the cases where the noun phrases indicate "time/duration", "space/direction/distance", "measure/degree", and "manner" (there are others):
[1.] Did you see him this morning?
[2.] What time shall we go?
[3.] She is thirty years old.
[4.] I'd like to start Wednesday, the first jury day. ["the first jury day" is appositive to "Wednesday"]
[5.] Please tell me what day you are free.
[6.] The parcel arrived last week.
[7.] They prayed all night in the cathedral.
[8.] They walked two hours.
Some other examples of noun phrases of this use:
every day, next week, next Monday, the day after tomorrow, one of these days, one day, any day in this week, etc.
[1.] Today I came a different way. ["Today" is a TIME adverbial objective]
[2.] Elms stood either side of the street.
[3.] Let's go some place.
[4.] He lives next door.
[5.] She'll come home soon.
[6.] Come this way, please!
[7.] We wandered north and north.
[8.] We walked ten miles.
[1.] She was thirty years old.
[2.] The bottle was about three quarters full.
[1.] I should not mind a bit.
[2.] She blamed herself no end.
[3.] She used to laugh a good/great deal.
[1.] Don't look at me that way.
[3.] He came full speed.
[4.] He stood there sailor-fashion.
[5.] She run upstairs two steps at a time.
[6.] They walked barefoot.
[7.] Our ship sailed first thing in the morning.
[1.] Bind him hand and foot.
[2.] He smote them hip and thigh.
[3.] We all got to go sometime reason or no reason.
[4.] Let's fight tooth and nail.
[5.] They discussed the matter heart to heart.
Some other examples of couplets: day after day, year after year, face to face.
The Superlative and the Comparative
[1.] My father liked this hat the best.
[2.] He runs the faster.
[3.] She couldn't know which she liked the better.
[4.] I don't know whose eyes would be the widest open.
[1.] She visited the States twice a year.
[2.] He paid $ 20 a pair for my shoes. [paco] [tidied]
In an attempt to point towards a more complete understanding of transitivity, I'll also mention:
2. At http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=dMce ... &q&f=false, in ‘An historical syntax of the English language’, Volume 1, Part 3, p135ff,
Fredericus Theodorus Visser gives much valuable information and theorisation on why some of the syntactic patterns we use in English seem / are so idiosyncratic. Functional shifts and loss of markers showing cases not used in today's English are the major reasons given for perhaps unexpected usages. Transitivation of verbs is stated to have been extremely large-scale. Quasi-transitive verbs (I assume half the grammarians in the world consider them truly transitive...) of two types are posited:
The Saharan route is now flown by the French. / They ambled the circuit.
The land flows milk. (archaic) / He sweated blood. (not really a hyponymous cognate object)
3. There are many verbo-nominal expressions that may be considered either as idioms or as less set-in-stone collocations that do not seem to be central transitive verb + direct object usages. Some people label this ‘the use of a syntactic’ [not semantic] ‘direct object’. On an increasingly-fixed cline, I’d suggest:
break the law; bare one’s soul; weigh anchor; catch fire; look daggers (at); trip the light fantastic; lead someone a merry dance.
Notice that only the first example transitivises acceptably, and a follow-on statement or question using pronoun substitution is ungrammatical, eg
It caught fire. *Fire was caught. *Did it catch it?
He looked daggers at her. *Daggers were looked at her by him. *He looked them at her.