Is it possible to use an infinitive as an indirect object?

For example, in the sentence 'I persuaded him to go there,' I guess that 'him' is the direct object and 'to go there' is an indirect object. Is this right?

  • No, that isn't how it works. An indirect object is the thing on whose behalf something is done.
    – tchrist
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 14:34
  • 2
    No, there is no indirect object in your example. "Him" is direct object and "to go there" is catenative complement of "persuaded".
    – BillJ
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 17:41

3 Answers 3


No. I'm open to the general idea of a sentential complement being an indirect object, though I can't think of any. But the infinitive after "persuade" does not seem to be a reasonable candidate. It's not associated with "to", but rather with "of" ("He didn't believe the earth was round, but we persuaded him of it"). It doesn't express the idea of a recipient. It's not a noun phrase.

  • is it ' to go there' adverb of purpose ? i cant understand it
    – d.alex
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 15:59
  • Perhaps "to go there" is like the complement of "want", if "persuade" is analyzed as the causative of "want". "I made him want to go there."
    – Greg Lee
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 16:42
  • The OP's question raises the same issue as the one we discussed last week with the example I want you to go there, which was migrated to ELL. Shouldn't this one suffer the same fate? (the only difference, btw, is that in the catenative analysis, "him" is not a raised object in this example)
    – BillJ
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 17:46
  • @BillJ, I had nothing to do with that "migration". I found it irritating.
    – Greg Lee
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 18:56
  • I know what you mean. It's strange how this question has remained here, yet the earlier one, which had some pretty substantial answers and comments, got switched. Oh well ...
    – BillJ
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 19:16

Infinitives are the only type of verbals that can also be used as clauses, which this sentence illustrates. In it, "him to go there" is the infinitive clause, with "him" as the subject of the infinitive. The entire infinitive clause functions as the direct object in the sentence. Subjects of the infinitive can be common/proper nouns or objective (not nominative) case pronouns.


The infinitive can be used as an object not in English, but in an other languages, such as Arabic language in specific rule of syntax.

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