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I’ll do whatever it takes to get the job.

Is whatever a direct object for do and takes?

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    Whatever is the direct object of takes (it's a bit complicated), but it is not the object of do. The object of do is the entire noun phrase whatever it takes (a fused relative construction). Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 9:23
  • @Araucaria-Nothereanymore. Just a few days ago, you were claiming that the antecedent of a relative clause cannot be the subject or object of the verb in the relative clause. If so, how is whatever, which includes the antecedent, the object of takes?
    – JK2
    Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 9:32
  • @JK2 Yes, you're right ,I was being lazy. Hence my '(it's complicated)' bit, and hence only a comment. Let me redo that. Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 9:38
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    @Araucaria Please write an answer. Doing so helps everyone, including the software which will know when a question has been answered.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 9:58
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    He hit, and shattered, the vase. Two verbs ; one direct object.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 0:48

3 Answers 3

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(1) I’ll do whatever it takes to get the job.

As @Araucaria-Nothereanymore. has commented, the direct object of do is not whatever but the entire noun phrase whatever it takes to get the job, because what you'll do is not just whatever or whatever it takes to get a different job but whatever it takes to get the job.

Now, although @Araucaria-Nothereanymore. argues otherwise in the comment, we can say that the direct object of takes is whatever.

H&P's The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Page 1038) says this about I accepted the advice [which my neighbour gave me ____]:

In the first instance it is the gap that is in object function, as indicated in the diagram. However, prenuclear elements that are linked to a gap are interpreted as having the function of that gap, and we can thus say in a secondary, derivative, sense that they have that function. On this account, therefore, which is object of the relative clause, just as it is in traditional grammar.

(Boldface mine.)

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I’ll do whatever it takes to get the job.

Is whatever a direct object for do and takes?

No.

“Whatever it takes” is the direct object of "do" = “Whatever [action] that it takes/requires”

Thus “it takes” is relative/adjectival and modifies “Whatever”.

to get the job. = in order to get the job.

in order to get the job is an adverbial phrase modifying "takes".

If you want an example of two verbs with one object:

He took and ate the apple.

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Whatever it takes is an idiom, and here, it is the direct object of do:

I’ll do [whatever it takes] to get the job.

You can compare it to:

I'll do [anything] to get the job.

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  • A more similar example would be: I'll do anything it takes to get the job, where the object of do is not just anything or anything it takes, but anything it takes to get the job. Similarly, whatever it takes to get the job is the object in OP.
    – JK2
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 4:45
  • @JK2: You can say anything that it takes, but not whatever that it takes. So not so similar. Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 5:26
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    They're similar enough to show that they both have to get the job as part of the object of do, whereas it's not part of the object in your own example.
    – JK2
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 5:42
  • No: "to get the job" is not part of the object of "do" but a separate constituent, a purpose adjunct. This is evident from the fact that "in order to" can be inserted, and also that "take" does not take a plain catenative complement, but only a complex one, the kind with an intervening NP.
    – BillJ
    Commented Mar 24, 2023 at 8:14

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