I believed him insane.
He thought me incapable of doing so.
I wished them dead.
Many verbs take more than one complementation pattern. These verbs above are best thought of as verbs which can take different types of complements, because there are many verbs that take infinitival clauses as complements which cannot be "reduced" in this way. For example:
- I know him to be an idiot.
- *I know him an idiot. (ungrammatical)
In sentences (1-3) insane, incapable of doing so and dead are predicative complements. Predicative complements are complements of the verb that describe another argument of the verb, usually the subject or the object. In this case they are adjective phrases describing the objects him, me and them.
This means we can parse the sentences like this:
Huddleston & Pullum (2002) call clauses like this which have a verb which takes both a direct object and a predicative complement complex-transitive clauses. Other such examples are:
- I found her quite friendly.
- I consider the proposal preposterous.
Other examples which don't have parallel infinitive clause variants are:
- We made them angry.
- I painted it green.