A sentence containing ditransitive verb can have two objects.
In the ditransitive verbs a subcategory, as it is described in some of the articles, usually called "Attributive ditransitive verbs" segregates these verbs in two. Attributive ditransitive verbs include name, call, consider among others. But in grammatical terms attributive ditransitive verbs are not ditransitive as they have only one object.

"They called me a liar" Here "a liar" is the object complement, not direct object.

In most of the articles I've read about object complements the sentences they have instantiated with are the ones including an attributive ditransitive verb.

The other type of sentence is Secondary predicate Construction. As described in wikipedia there are two types of secondary predicate construction

  1. Depictive
  2. Resultative

And they say it's mostly "Adjectival" in construction.

For example

  1. The cup arrived broken (Broken is the resultative secondary predicate)

  2. They shot him Dead (Resultative secondary predicate over object)

  3. I only eat carrots raw (Depictive secondary predicate over object)

  4. Sam ate fish hot. (Depictive secondary predicate over object)

And reading this article amI've found an example where they used a "Noun phrase" as complement in the resultative secondary predicate construction. The sentence goes like this

  1. Sue finished the project a complete wreck. ( "a complete wreck" here used as the complement of object "Project")

In almost every article about object complements on internet, including the trustable wikipedia, they say that both "Noun phrases" and "Adjective phrases" are used as object complements. And at the same time they give "Attributive ditransitive construction" as examples of "noun" as object complement, whereas giving examples of "Resultative and Depictive construction" as examples of "adjective" as object complement.

Is it possible to have a "noun or noun phrase" as object/subject complement in "Depictive or Resultative" construction?

For example

  1. Winter froze the lake an ice block. ("An ice block" is complement of object "Lake")

  2. I pounded the metal a rectangular sheet. ( "a rectangular sheet" is complement of object metal)

  3. He drank the soup a dead man. ( "a dead man" is complement of the subject "he")

  4. She pulled the luggage an elephant. ( "Elephant" is complement of object "luggage")

Are these constructions legit from linguistic perspective?

Also, in the constructions without object it is still possible to use resultative and Depictive constructions; can we still construct a sentence in the same vein?

For example

  1. The lake froze an ice block. ("an ice block" is the complement of subject "the lake")

Please help.


Please Refer to these articles

  1. Resultative
  2. Secondary Predicate

The construction with "adjective" immediately after object is grammatically correct even though to my eyes they sound a bit weird. It's justified by the construction called "Resultative" in most of the places and at some other places "depictive". Together they are called "Secondary predicate" as they are not part of the main predicate. It sparked a doubt in me when I read that article I have included in the question. If they consider "Attributive ditransitive" construction an example of object complement (The second "noun" in the construction is obviously COMPLEMENT) then why not this very example of noun being the complement not considered one? (Depictive and Resultative)

The only example I've seen of it is from the Berkeley article

Sue finished the project a complete wreck. ( Here "a complete wreck" is without a doubt a noun phrase and "Complement" to the subject or object)

If i write "Sue finished the project tired" or "Sue finished the project nearly incomplete", it is justified according to the above articles.

But what if i change these adjectives to nouns? (As it is written in the Berkeley article)

  1. Sue finished the project an insane woman.
  2. Sue finished the project a boring mess. (Remember to read these sentences from the Depictive/resultative POV, otherwise they may sound awkward.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ditransitive_verb (Attributive ditransitive close to the end)

  • "in the same vein, not "vain" Oct 26, 2020 at 0:36
  • 1
    Your sentences numbered 1 through 4 are all non-idiomatic. And I cannot even understand them. For example: The lake froze into a block of ice. The lake became a frozen block of ice.
    – Lambie
    Oct 26, 2020 at 0:41
  • This is the Green Conspiracy, discusses in "How Abstract Is Surface Structure?" by Georgia Green in CLS 6 (1970), pp 270-281. They shot him dead, They buried him alive, They want him dead/alive, etc. Verb plus object plus adjective, but many different kinds, and tons of idioms. Oct 26, 2020 at 1:59
  • I've updated the question, please take a look.
    – New Moon
    Oct 26, 2020 at 7:56
  • The number of verbs licensing (grammatically taking part in) depictive and resultative constructions is quite limited, and often the noun phrases and adjective phrases are also restricted. 'He shot her dead' but not 'He knifed / strangled / drowned / poisoned ... her dead'. I'd say not 'He beat her dead' either, but 'He beat her senseless' is fine (linguistically speaking!) 'He painted the fence red' but not 'He varnished the fence yellow'. 'I only eat my carrots raw / cooked / fresh' but not '... recently purchased'. 'He was being eaten alive' but not ' ... asleep, fully conscious ...'. Oct 26, 2020 at 10:19

2 Answers 2


"Sue finished the project a complete wreck."

This is highly artificial to the point I wouldn't immediately understand it if someone said it to me in conversation. At first glance it is not even clear whether Sue is a wreck or the project is a wreck. On thinking about it, I believe the author intends that Sue is the wreck. In real life no-one would utter this as a standalone statement. Here's a possible version:

"Sue's project was so all-consuming that she finished it a wreck." However even that sounds unnatural.

Your other examples make no sense.

He drank the soup a dead man. Dead people don't drink soup.

She pulled the luggage an elephant. If this means anything at all in English, it means that she became an elephant in order to be strong enough to pull the luggage.

The lake froze an ice block. I could understand "The lake froze solid" or even "The lake froze into a solid block of ice" however it is impossible for a lake to freeze an ice block because an ice block is already frozen.

  • I've updated the question. Please take a look.
    – New Moon
    Oct 26, 2020 at 7:58
  • 1) Lake froze an ice block. (Or let's say "a solid block") (Ice block is Complement) 2) Lake froze solid. (Solid is Complement) The difference between these two construction is that the complement of the first sentence is a "Noun Phrase", and the complement of the second sentence is an "Adjective".
    – New Moon
    Oct 26, 2020 at 8:15
  • Second sentence is obviously a Resultative construction, so is the first sentence. (It's not an ordinary construction, that's sure) The second one is correct according to the Wikipedia articles. My question is, "Why not the Noun Phrase in the first sentence a Complement just like the second one?" (The sentence does make sence looking from the Resultative perspective) Also from the linguistics perspective are these constructions justified? (I could not find a source)
    – New Moon
    Oct 26, 2020 at 8:16
  • The lake froze solid. ("The lake is solid".) The lake froze an ice block. ("The lake is an ice block") They make sense to me.
    – New Moon
    Oct 26, 2020 at 8:19
  • "Sue finished the project a complete wreck." is fully idiomatic and comprehensible. Oct 26, 2020 at 10:21

He drank the soup a dead man.

This is valid and follows the same form as “He arrived a beggar and left a rich man; He arrived Wednesday and left Friday” etc.

"A dead man/beggar/rich man/ Wednesday and Friday " are complements of the whole clause: they are adverbial free-modifiers of the whole clause.

This may be clearer when the adverbial is fronting:

“A beggar he arrived and a rich man he left.

"Wednesday he arrived and Friday he left.”

The adverbial is created from an unspoken preposition + NP.

He drank the soup in the state of being a man who already knew (or "who was unaware") that he was about to die.

“He arrived as a beggar and left as a rich man"

"He arrived on Wednesday and left on Friday” etc.


  1. Sue finished the project as a complete wreck.
  • Sir, aren't free modifiers seperated with a comma? 🤔 Nowhere have I ever seen it being labelled as such. It is labelled as complement just like in this sentence- I made him manager. The name in Wikipedia for this construction is "Resultatives and Depictives". They're either complements or adjuncts.
    – New Moon
    Oct 26, 2020 at 11:33
  • @NewMoon Aren't free modifiers separated with a comma? I don’t think it is essential It is labelled as complement … - I made him manager. A complement is part of a sentence - like object and subject, but objects and subjects are also nouns. The name in Wikipedia for this construction is "Resultatives and Depictives" That tells you their function in the sentence as opposed to the class of word/phrase.
    – Greybeard
    Oct 26, 2020 at 12:14
  • Sir, My question is whether it is possible to use noun or noun phrase as object complement. The soldiers reached the camp exhausted. (@peter shor said it is possible so I'm changing this construction) The soldiers reached the camp healthy men. (Here as well the subject is being complemented) Another example: She drinks her coffee black. I'm changing it.... She drinks her coffee the most darkest colour. ( Here I suppose "the most darkest colour is "noun" and acts as the complement to object- coffee) Is it possible? I hope the question is clear to you.
    – New Moon
    Oct 26, 2020 at 12:33

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