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Consider the following examples:

  • I ate myself sick.
  • They drank the place dry.

Is there a name for this kind of construction. How would it be analysed? Obviously the sense is:

  • I ate (something and made) myself sick
  • They drank (at) the place (until the alcohol supply had run) dry

I am assuming that in this case myself is not the direct object of the verb to eat as the subject did not eat himself. What kind of object then is myself, and how would sick be classified?

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They bought the store out. – Peter Shor May 15 '11 at 12:13
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I read This article about it and faced some advanced grammar expressions, verb forms, and sentence types:

myself is reflexive pronoun here, used when the speaker performs and the action comes back to him/her:

I ate dozens of cookies and made myself sick.

I ate until i became sick.

"eat" is INC verb, occur with non-subcategorized objects in resultative constructions And sick is a resultative predicate (XP).

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Good article. Looks like these constructions are called Resultatives with Exceptional Case-Marking. Found another article here: drum.lib.umd.edu/bitstream/1903/3073/1/umi-umd-2881.pdf – jsj May 15 '11 at 13:11
That's right, and also seems these structures has nothing to do with normal kinds of object. linguistic-specific question! – user8568 May 15 '11 at 13:39
What are "INC" and "XP"? – Andrew Vit Oct 1 '11 at 19:04

One analysis is to say that e.g. [myself sick] is a small clause-- in effect a clause without the full range of verbal inflections, and that this small clause is in turn the complement of the main verb. Similarly:

We consider [[David Cameron] [an excellent prime minister]].

the two NPs [David Cameron] [an excellent prime minister] would together be said to constitute a small clause, as would other cases such existential sentences in some languages (e.g. Russian) which can lack an overt verb.

Notice evidence from passivisation for not saying that the second complement is a "normal" object:

David Cameron is considered an excellent prime minister by all UK voters.

*An excellent prime minister is considered David Cameron by all UK voters.

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