2

Examples:

  • John attributed his cold to his wife.

  • Jane attributed wisdom to her father that he didn't really possess.

The above are standard transitive constructions. Can I then properly say the following using a ditransitive construction?

Examples:

  • John attributed his wife his cold.

  • Jane attributed her father ('with'?) wisdom he didn't really possess.

  • 1
    I think you can just about get away with discarding with before the second object, particulary when the first object is a pronoun. So We should avoid attributing them selfish motives doesn't sound too unreasonable to me. But I don't like either of your examples, and I wouldn't recommend habitually trying to use attribute ditransitively. – FumbleFingers Jul 7 '16 at 18:41
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    It's not in my list of just under 80 verbs which may be used ditransitively / benefactively , but that's not conclusive. It's used ditransitively in a limited number of examples on the internet, some of which appear quite grammatical otherwise. I agree with everything FF says above. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 8 '16 at 0:02
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    Are you the same Benjamin Harman that hasn't logged on since January of this year. If you are, welcome back! If you're not, Hello newcomer :) – Mari-Lou A Jul 8 '16 at 9:12
  • @Mari-Lou A - Yes, I'm the same one. I haven't been on in a long time -- so long that I don't know what happened to my old account. I couldn't remember the user name. So this is a new account that I created because I have this grammar question I can't seem to find an answer for, which I'm not finding one here either. Anyway, thanks for welcoming me back, Mari-Lou. – Benjamin Harman Jul 8 '16 at 18:27
  • Hello, welcome back! You could, if you want, write to Stack Exchange via their contact us link and ask them to merge both accounts. I've seen it done with others in your same situation. Up to you, of course. – Mari-Lou A Jul 8 '16 at 18:34
1

Yes, this is the correct use of the ditransitive. There are the Attributive Ditransitive Verbs. Wikipedia describes them well: Attributive ditransitive Verbs There is a different kind of ditransitive verb, where the two objects are semantically an entity and a quality, a source and a result, etc. These verbs attribute one object to the other. In English, make, name, appoint, turn into and others are examples:

The state of New York made Hillary Clinton a Senator. I will name him Galahad. What is challenging is that the examples are actions that are relatively intangible.

Let's try "He gave the checkbook to his wife." "He gave his wife the checkbook." From here, you can see that checkbook could be replaced with cold.

    "Jane gave the theater tickets to her father that he didn't have." 
    "Jane gave the theater tickets her father that he didn't have." 

From here, theater tickets could be replaced with "the wisdom" or wisdom.

  • 2
    This misses the point that only certain verbs (eg 'give') may be used ditransitively. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 7 '16 at 22:10
  • 1
    According to Wikipedia, it is okay: Attributive ditransitive Verbs There is a different kind of ditransitive verb, where the two objects are semantically an entity and a quality, a source and a result, etc. These verbs attribute one object to the other. In English, make, name, appoint, turn into and others are examples: The state of New York made Hillary Clinton a Senator. I will name him Galahad. – user183590 Jul 9 '16 at 15:19
  • @user183590 - Thanks for updating your answer. The information you provided was really helpful. – Benjamin Harman Jul 9 '16 at 21:52

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