I am wondering what are you gonna do

In the above sentense, what is the function of subordinate clause what are you gonna do? I am leaning toward object, but maybe it is verb complement? Is there a difference?

edit: My original question was not very clear, so I would like to explain it further: what I am trying to figure out here is whether object can be seen as a type of verb complement. cambridge dictionary online lists complement as separate from object, but this sourceseems to think objects (both direct and indirect) are verb complement.

  • "Gonna" is an informal term for "going to".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 0:32
  • Verb complement
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 0:34
  • Your second suggestion is correct. "What are you gonna do" is a subordinate interrogative clause (embedded question) functioning as complement of "wondering". The meaning is "I am wondering about the answer to the question 'What are you gonna do?'" Note that objects are (virtually) always noun phrases, not clauses.
    – BillJ
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 10:15

1 Answer 1


It is an open interrogative content clause which acts as complement to the verb wondering (CaGEL p972).

The word order seems a bit off as interrogative content clauses usually do not have subject-auxiliary inversion unless they are cited, e.g.

Easily the most popular question put to the PM was: Why are we buying New Zealand carpets for the new Parliament House?

Objects are almost always NPs, are one sort of complement, and behave differently from other possible complements to the verb (to-infinitivals, declarative content clauses, interrogative content clauses, etc.)(CaGEL p 213).

  • But dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/complements list object separately from complement. Woudn't it make more sense to say there are four major elements of clause structure and object is a subset of complement?
    – jxhyc
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 1:42
  • That's basically the view that CaGEL takes: objects are one sort of complement. Dictionaries are not the best go-to for grammar questions.
    – DW256
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 1:59
  • I would add two things: (1) that the subordinate interrogative clause can also be called an 'embedded question', and (2) that the meaning is "I am wondering about the answer to the question 'What are you gonna do?'"
    – BillJ
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 10:12

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