English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In the sentence below I want to confirm whether I have correctly identified the subject, object and the verb (It's a sentence I made up as an example and hope it's correct, and if not please correct it too).

He wants them to be go away from the team.

Subject: He
Verb: Wants
Object: Team or Them?

Does "go away" also a verb in here? What kind of a work "Them" in this context?

share|improve this question
"He wants them to [leave/quit/resign from] the team" is natural, idiomatic native-speaker English. "Go away" is understandable but not normal. – user21497 Nov 16 '12 at 7:20
@BillFranke: Unless them refers to someone not on the team. For example, a coach might say (referring to a group of reporters): I want them to go away from the team (although, in that context, I think get away might be better than go away). – J.R. Nov 16 '12 at 11:03
@J.R.: You've made a good point. I'd say "stay away", however, but, yes, get away sounds better than go away. – user21497 Nov 16 '12 at 15:01
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The sentence as it stands is ungrammatical, because you can’t precede the plain form of the verb (go) with to be. Even rewritten as He wants them to go away from the team, it is still unsatisfactory, because the verb normally used in such a context is leave.

In a suitably amended sentence, there are two clauses, the finite, He wants them, and the non-finite, to leave the team, but one cannot occur without the other. In the first clause, he is the subject, wants is the verb and them is the object. The entire second clause is a non-finite complement clause, functioning as the object predicative of the main clause. Them is both the object of wants and the implied subject of to leave, and the team is the object of leave.

share|improve this answer
you mean wants is the verb – Harshana Nov 16 '12 at 13:02
@Harshana: Yes. Now corrected. Thank you. – Barrie England Nov 16 '12 at 13:05
Thanks. by the way why you cant use go after verb be. If we want to use is it should be like "be gone". Also what tense does "be gone" fall in to? – Harshana Nov 16 '12 at 13:32
@Harshana: Gone is the past participle of go, not the plain form. – Barrie England Nov 16 '12 at 13:36
i mean "be gone" all together – Harshana Nov 16 '12 at 14:22

You are correct with the subject and the verb. The object is them, not 'the team' which is part of a new clause due to the word 'to'. 'Go away from the team' describes the state of 'them'. The correct sentence is "He wants them to go away from the team". You don't need 'be', although you could also say "He wants them to be gone from the team".

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.