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I saw the dog bite the stick.

  • “I” is clearly the subject.
  • “stick” is clearly a direct object.

But there are two verbs:

  • “saw”
  • “bite”

And “the dog” is:

  • the object of “saw”
  • the subject of “bite”

What do we call the word “dog” in this sentence?

  • “dependent subject”?
  • “object nominative”?

My research:

If this is a dup, please be nice and I’ll open a meta because I can’t find any answer to this anywhere on the web, even in all the results of “can a subject be an object?”. All results I find point to direct and indirect objects, subject vs object, or else predicate nominatives. I have found nothing to parse a simple sentence with three nouns and two verbs, not even at Purdue where I was sure I’d find something, but still didn’t.

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    According to traditional grammar, the sentence syntax works as: {Subject+Transitive verb+ Object (of the transitive verb) +Infinitive (functions as object complement)+ Object (of the infinitive).}
    – user405662
    Commented Jan 8, 2022 at 7:43
  • "The dog" is the syntactic object of "saw" and the understood (semantic) subject of the subordinate clause, "bite the stick".
    – BillJ
    Commented Jan 8, 2022 at 7:59
  • It is interesting to note: I saw the dog bite the stick. -> I saw the dog at the time that it bit the stick. -- I saw the dog biting the stick. -> I saw the dog at the time that it was biting the stick
    – Greybeard
    Commented Jan 8, 2022 at 11:23
  • @EdwinAshworth yes it does, just that it reverses my question and answer. Thanks, it is helpful for further reading.
    – Jesse
    Commented Jan 8, 2022 at 12:06

1 Answer 1

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I saw the dog bite the stick.

This is a catenative construction in which "saw" is the catenative verb, and the subordinate clause, "bite the stick", is its catenative complement.

The intervening noun phrase, "the dog", is the syntactic object of "saw" and the understood (semantic) subject of the subordinate clause. It's called a 'raised' object because the verb that it relates to syntactically is higher in the constituent structure than the one it relates to semantically.

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  • So, all of that is helpful, but the specific term for “the dog” is “raised object”?
    – Jesse
    Commented Jan 8, 2022 at 11:53
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    @JesseSteele It depends on how detailed you want the analysis to be, i.e. 'object', or in more detail 'raised object'.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jan 8, 2022 at 11:58
  • Ok, I am making an edit so the answer I am looking for is more prominent. If you object or want to alter my edit, please feel free and I will leave it alone. This is exactly the concise elaboration I was looking for, btw.
    – Jesse
    Commented Jan 8, 2022 at 12:01

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