3

I'm a novice who realised the existence of this site today. The following picture is from Idiomatic and Syntactic English Dictionary by A.S. Hornby:

Pattern 10

Verbs marked P 10 may be followed by an object and an adverb or an adverb phrase (including adverbial infinitives meaning in order to....). See also the notes on the adverbial participles abive.

Examples [...]

  1. They led | me | to believe that there was no danger.

I'm not sure whether the blue-coloured part, 'to believe that there was no danger', is an adverbial complement postmodifying 'led' according to the dictionary. If I had not seen the pattern 10, I would suppose the infinitive phrase is an adjectival complement postmodifying 'me'.


I know that the infinitive phrase is a complement which is obligatory, not a modifier. I also learnt the term 'a catenative complement'. But I'm not content with that term alone. I really want to know whether an infinitive complement is used as adjectival or adverbial or nominal. It's out of curiosity which is something I have been doing for my own understanding.

As you know, 'here' as in [Put it here] is an adverbial complement, not an adverbial modifier. I was told that 'you to go' as in [I want you to go] is a nominal complement clause (S+V+'O') and that 'to do it' as in [I asked you to do it] is also nominal (S+V+I,O+'D.O'). But, I'm not being sure of whether 'to believe that there was no danger' is also nominal or adjectival or adverbial which is an objective complement.

  • 1
    No, it's not an adverbial or adjectival modifier but a catenative complement of "led". – BillJ Apr 29 '17 at 14:40
  • 1
    The fact that "Etc." appears in the heading indicates that it's not to be taken seriously. This is a list of heuristics, not a useful grammatical pattern. – John Lawler Apr 29 '17 at 20:35
  • It might help to clarify why you're concerned with classifying complements as adverbial, nominal or adjectival. Do you need to follow a specific school of thought for tests, or is this something you are doing for your own understanding? The book you cite seems to use a very broad category of "adverbial" that might not be particularly useful for understanding. – sumelic Apr 30 '17 at 3:52
  • I'm sorry for my poor English, thanking for your edited revision and taking care of me. It's out of curiosity which is something I have been doing for my own understanding. I also learnt the term 'a catenative complement'. But I'm not content with that term alone. I really want to know whether an infinitive complement is used as adjectival or adverbial or nominal. – change picture Apr 30 '17 at 5:13
2

No, this is not an adverbial complement.

The sentence pattern is indeed S-V-O. The subject and verb are obvious. The direct object is the entire clause following, me to believe that there was no danger.

This type of clause is known as an infinitive clause. It consists of a subject, me in this case, and an infinitive or an infinitive phrase (the latter is the case here; the object if the infinitive is the indirect quote that there was no danger).

I hope that this clears everything up, though I fear that a long comment chain may spring into existence.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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