My friend and I got into a heated discussion about direct objects. While we both understand what they are and how they work, we got stuck on a random sentence that I blurted out. Now, if I say:
- "Mary baked a cake."
then obviously "cake" is the direct object.
If I were to say:
- "The cat ran out the door."
then it gets a bit more confusing.
She argues that "door" would be the direct object. I argued that "door" can't be correct since the door did not run, nor did anyone do the running to it. Also, you can not put it into the passive and still retain the meaning:
- "The door was run (out) by the cat."
- "A cake was baked by Mary."
The various answers here and elsewhere on similar questions on the site mainly mention the two points that I mentioned above: firstly, no-one did any running to the door, and secondly there does not seem to be a passive version of the sentence. However, what I need here is a concrete argument to persuade my friend (or for me to be persuaded with). After all, in the sentence "I have a rabbit", I believe rabbit is a direct object. However, no-one is doing any having to the rabbit. And there does not seem to be a good passive version of this sentence either: "A rabbit is had by me". According to the criteria above this would mean that rabbit is not the direct object of that sentence either - but, I believe, it is.
Can anyone help?