want + object + ing form

This formerly read-only archive of threads dates back to 1996, but as of March 2007 is open to new postings. For technical reasons, the early dates shown do not accurately reflect the actual date of posting.

Feel free to add new postings to any of the existing threads in the archived forums, but please create any new language-related threads in one of the Language Discussion Forums.
Post Reply

want + object + ing form

Post by digitalen » Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:31 am

I don't want a load of traffic going past my house all night, waking me up.

want + object + ing(gerund or participle)

Which is object?
1. a load of traffic
2. a load of traffic going past my house all night
Post actions:

Re: want + object + ing form

Post by Wizard of Oz » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:03 pm

.. digit the object is to keep you awake all night .. hee hee hee ..

WoZ hooning past
Post actions:
Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: want + object + ing form

Post by dante » Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:37 pm

WoZ you are by far the meanest wizard on WW :) And I thought that you were inventing words too, but after I checked OALD it seems you are not guilty of that one in this case, hoon is a word, down under at least:

hoon, noun (Australian English, New Zealand English, informal)

a man who behaves in a rude and aggressive way, especially one who drives in a dangerous way

They don't mention a verb "hoon" though.

Digitalen the object is "a load of traffic", the "ing" clause is a separate complement of the verb "want". The term they use for this kind of a verb dependent in grammars is "catenative complement". Catenative complement is a non-finite verb/clause. "Catenative" comes from the latin word for "chain", which indicates that some verbs appear in chains in a sentence. One of such verbs is "want", it licenses another verb as a complement, comparable to the object of a verb. Semantically, "a load of traffic" is the subject of the clause "load of traffic (is) going past my house all night, waking me up". Sometimes the object of the catenative verb is semantically interpreted as both the object of the verb in the main clause and the subject of the subordinate catenative clause.
I suggest you take a look at grammar for "catenative verbs/complements", you don't need much grammar knowledge to understand the rationale for this grammatical category.
Post actions:

Re: want + object + ing form

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:16 pm

Just the following:

raising vs control vs exceptional case marking verbs;

whether a particular verb catenates; if so whether it takes one or more of the bare infinitive, to-infinitive, or -ing or -en form;

if it takes more than one, whether the meanings are the same (I like to eat fish = I like eating fish almost; I forgot to go to Shaw does not = I forgot going to Shaw)

- and whether or not the catenation is transitive (He lay sleeping vs he sat knitting a pullover),

and simple or complex (I want to go vs I want him to go).

If you feel brave, there's a 78-page overview at http://thiqaruni.org/english/224/(13).doc
; Section 2.5.2.3 Catenative Verbs Followed by Noun Phrase Plus –ing Form on page 23 specifically covers the original construction.
Post actions:

Re: want + object + ing form

Post by dante » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:04 pm

Nice and concise summary of the main points related to the catenative verbs Edwin. Thanks for the link to this document, seems interesting.
I'd like to add that it is also useful to consider the wider perspective here and analyze how catenative complements fit in the wider picture. It is especially important for people who are not much interested in delving into grammar more than it is necessary to understand that the catenative complement is one of the main forms of verb complementation in English. The other complements the verb can take are: objects, predicative complements, finite clauses and prepositional complements. Or to put it differently, verb complementation is the paradigm within which you need to interpret the role of the catenative complement in the sentence. This and other verb complements are part of the verb phrase, they are controlled/licensed by the verb which governs their form and number.
Non-finite complements are one of the most prominent features of English (and Serbian for that matter and most probably all other languages :)), one of the most frequently used syntactic elements, and functionally one of the most versatile forms in the English language.
Post actions:

Re: want + object + ing form

Post by Wizard of Oz » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:30 pm

dante said:

I suggest you take a look at grammar for "catenative verbs/complements", you don't need much grammar knowledge to understand the rationale for this grammatical category.
.. you have GOT to be joking !!! .. you need a PhD in linguistics just to read the dedication on the fly leaf !! ..

WoZ who manages in grammatical ignorance
Post actions:
Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: want + object + ing form

Post by Wizard of Oz » Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:20 am

dante wrote:WoZ you are by far the meanest wizard on WW :) And I thought that you were inventing words too, but after I checked OALD it seems you are not guilty of that one in this case, hoon is a word, down under at least:

hoon, noun (Australian English, New Zealand English, informal)

a man who behaves in a rude and aggressive way, especially one who drives in a dangerous way

They don't mention a verb "hoon" though.
.. but dante, wait there is more .. it could be worse .. the person driving the car could be a doof doof .. now they really make noise !!! ..

WoZ disin' da doof doof
Post actions:
Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: want + object + ing form

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:42 am

digitalen, there is a thread at http://www.englishforums.com/English/Ve ... z/post.htm that examines the verb + noun group + -ing form (+ ...) structure/s.

Here is an extended list of examples, grouped according to the semantics of the verb before the noun group:


Could you give me a list of verbs that can be used with obj [questioner's term] plus -ing form, (no matter whether it is [considered to be] a gerund or present participle)?

1. verbs of sensing / observing eg I felt someone touching my legs. I saw Jack crossing the road.

2. verbs of encounter eg I found/caught him stealing money from the till. He was discovered hiding in a shed.

3. verbs of thinking eg I remember Mary borrowing the book. I can’t picture/countenance her doing that.

4. verbs of dis/liking, tolerating, excusing… eg I love / don’t mind / can’t bear him being here. I dread/ resent Tom winning the prize. I miss//can’t stand/tolerate him shouting. We don’t want James singing! Can we excuse Tom being so late?

5. causative ( / facilitative / preventative) verbs eg The newspapers set / started me thinking. The speaker had the audience listening attentively. A good BBC radio programme will get you talking. Did he stop you going? He took us fishing.

6. verbs of needing eg We need Anne singing at the concert. We don’t want James singing!

7. verbs of confidence of outcome eg You can bank/bet/depend/rely on him being the life & soul of the party.

8. verbs of reporting eg He reported Belle leaving early. .. Yes, but did he mention her coming back at 7?

9. Verbs of displaying eg The photograph showed John leaving the building.


I wouldn't worry too much about labelling (object or not? all or part of the object? complement or adjunct?). There seem to be large differences:

I saw Jack driving past the lake. I saw Jack stands (syntactically) on its own, and we can't say how semantically necessary / independent driving past the lake is - contrast:

- Jack and Bill say they haven't left the house today.
- I saw Jack driving past the lake!

with

- It's been quite a day for seeing old friends - the Smiths came round in the morning, then I bumped into Patty at the library, and later, on my way to the golf course, I saw Jack driving past the lake.

And contrasting:

_ I found Jim. with
_ I found Jim stealing money from the till.

it's arguable that the meaning of 'found' changes (from the 'tracked down' sense), making 'stealing money from the till' syntactically indispensable ('to preserve structure', as is guilty in he found Jim guilty) as well as semantically necessary ('to convey the same information') here. The questions generating the statements as an answer would differ:

Did you find anyone / your friend? // Who did you find?
What did you say your assistant was doing? // What's the matter? // What did you find?

As the above reference goes on to say, frozen expressions such as the below are better analysed separately anyway (I'd probably classify them as involving verbo-nominals best considered as multi-word verbs, such as 'spend time'):

to have no business -ing
to spend [time / hours / months / ...] -ing
to have [trouble / a problem / difficulty / a hard time / a good time / ...] -ing
Post actions:

End of topic.
Post Reply