Is there a difference grammatically between sentences like “I allowed him to play” and ones like “I let him play”?

“I allowed him to play” is clearly just “[subject] [verb] [direct object] [infinitive],” but in the second sentence, is “play” still considered an infinitive phrase, or is there something else going on?

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    Some verbs like let (or sense verbs like see, watch, hear, and feel) can take infinitive object clauses ("complements") without a to; it's a special exception for those verbs only. All others, like want or allow, need a to marking their infinitive complements. – John Lawler Jul 2 '20 at 18:33

[1] I allowed him [to play].

[2] I let him [play].

The bracketed elements are both infinitival clauses.

The grammar is the same in both examples, as is the meaning. The only difference is that "allow" requires a to-infinitival complement, while "let" requires a bare infinitival complement.

"Allow" and "let" are catenative verbs and the subordinate clauses "to play" / "play" are not objects but catenative complements.

Syntactically, "him" is direct object of "allow" and "let", and the semantic (understood) subject of the infinitival clauses.

"Him" is called a 'raised object' since the verb that "him" relates to syntactically is higher in the constituent structure than the one it relates to semantically.

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