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The storage making your home work harder.

It's from a furniture advertisement, and I was just wondering how to dissect the complements here. Is it that storage is the subject, making is the verb, your home is the indirect object (as it complements the verb making), and work harder is a direct object (as it is a gerund phrase?) Sorry if this seems a bit elementary to anyone - grammar is not my strong suit.

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    It's not a sentence. To diagram it, you'd have to expand it from marketing-ese to real English, so it'd have to be something like this: "This is the storage making your home work harder." I'm assuming it's above or below a picture of some storage solution. This happens frequently in ads where space is at a premium, and there aren't any hard and fast rules to how advertisers omit things. Commented Jan 27, 2021 at 20:08
  • Reads like a tag line: Ice...the cubes making your drinks clink! Potatoes...the eyes have it! Cat's captain's bed...the storage making your home work harder. All bets are off for grammar. Commented Jan 27, 2021 at 20:14
  • @FeliniusRex In which case, This would be the subject, is making the verb, your home the indirect object, and work harder the direct object? Again, sorry if this seems a silly thing to ask. And, yes, it was plastered above a hideous chest of drawers.
    – x30
    Commented Jan 27, 2021 at 20:25
  • Well, if you want to go through the effort, then This = subject, is = verb, the storage = direct object, making your home work harder = adjective clause, describing the storage. This is an adjective clause because making is an adjective here. Commented Jan 27, 2021 at 20:33
  • @FeliniusRex Surely "the storage" is the subject complement, as the copula be doesn't take an object.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Jan 27, 2021 at 21:07

1 Answer 1

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The revised example sentence is

  • This is making your home work harder.

There are two verbs (make and work), hence there are two clauses. Both have subjects, but only make has an object; work in the sense of 'expend energy' invoked by the adverb harder is intransitive.

The subject of is making, the main verb in the sentence, is This.
The subject of work, the verb in the infinitive clause, is your home.
The direct object of is making is the infinitive clause (for) your home (to) work harder.

The key question is whether make in this construction has an indirect object. Since indirect objects are invariably sentient, this should let out your home as the receiver. It certainly doesn't work with ordinary infinitive complements. Unless we're talking about AI, in which case we have personification.

  • *I told your home to work harder.
  • *She ordered her car to go faster.

But make is what linguists call a "small verb"; it's got a lot of individual peculiarities and has all kinds of idiomatic constructions it participates in. One sign of its small-verbness is the fact that not only is the for marking the subject of the infinitive deleted -- which is normal -- but the to marking the verb of the infinitive is also deleted -- which is not normal. Verbs like make that take to-less infinitives are special.

In particular, make can pass the tests for B-Equi if its indirect object is human. E.g,

  • We made her be examined by Dr. Jones.

does not mean the same as

  • We made Dr. Jones examine her.

But with a non-human NP, it appears to be B-Raising instead of B-Equi; in

  • She made it rain.
  • He made the shit hit the fan.

the dummy it and idiom the shit must originate in the infinitive, and they're metaphoric so they can't be the indirect object of make. And it fails the passive test

  • She made the truss be supported by the rafter.

does mean the same as

  • She made the rafter support the truss.

tl;dr - make is a very odd verb, and even small sentences with odd verbs can get complicated.

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