I'm reading Goldberg's Constructions and find her employing the symbol 'OBL' to represent a category of syntactic constituent.


I take it that 'OBL' is read 'oblique' in some sense; but I am puzzled to understand exactly what sense, since it seems to embrace both preposition phrases and adjective phrases (e.g. 'OBLPP/AP'), standing in for what I would categorize as adjectival and locative predicate complements. I have found no instance where 'OBL' is realized as a nominal, and it's not the object of a preposition, so it doesn't appear to be an oblique object in either of the senses I'm familiar with.

Can anyone provide a name and definition for this symbol? And for lagniappe, can anyone tell me how folks who use this symbol represent a nominal predicate complement?


Arguments that are neither subject nor object nor adjunct are obliques. For example, indirect objects and causees are obliques. They are usually indexed by θ roles.

  • This appears to be exactly what I want. Just to make sure, though: in this use, the bolded terms in these sentences would all be properly named "obliques"? -- Barack Obama was elected president. My car is black. We painted the living room blue. I put my keys on the table. He was eventually found by the forest rangers. – StoneyB on hiatus Jul 18 '16 at 11:54
  • @StoneyB In the second sentence "blue" is a nominal predicate. In the first sentence "president" is a secondary object. In most languages it would be an oblique though. – Atamiri Jul 18 '16 at 12:36
  • In other words, it's not a very useful term :) – curiousdannii Jul 18 '16 at 12:56
  • @curiousdannii It is useful and well-established. – Atamiri Jul 18 '16 at 13:53
  • Hmm ... then your use does not sort with Goldberg's. in Goldberg, Recipients and Beneficiaries expressed as indirect objects are OBJ; only those expressed as PP are OBL. In Goldberg, blue is an OBL. I don't know how she would designate president; the construction doesn't arise in this book. – StoneyB on hiatus Jul 18 '16 at 14:12

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