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In the sentence:

They made him cry

Are both him and cry complements of the verb "made". So far I have this:

  • They - subject
  • made - the main verb.
  • him - the direct object and it complements the verb made.
  • cry - I am not sure. I am thinking that is is a second complement to the verb made. Also is it a verb or a noun.
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    @Reviewers Why would this question be off-topic? – lemontree Oct 20 '16 at 5:45
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    'Cry' is certainly not a noun; otherwise, 'go to sleep' in 'I make him go to sleep' would be an NP. I think 'him cry' is a non-finite embedded clause with an accusative subject and without a complementiser, the whole thing serving as the verb's complement. – WavesWashSands Oct 20 '16 at 6:55
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    You have it right. This is a catenative construction. "Him" is the raised object of "made", and the non-finite clause "cry" is a catenative complement of "made". "Him" is called a raised object because the verb it relates to syntactically (i.e. "made") is higher in the syntactic structure than the one it relates to semantically (i.e. "cry") – BillJ Oct 20 '16 at 7:21
  • @BillJ Thanks. I did not know about catenative construction. You can add it as an answer so I can accept it. – user2840286 Oct 20 '16 at 12:28
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They made him cry.

You have it right. This is a catenative construction where "him" is the raised object of "made", and the subordinate non-finite clause "cry" is catenative complement of "made". "Him" is called a raised object because the verb it relates to syntactically (i.e. "made") is higher in the syntactic structure than the one it relates to semantically (i.e. "cry").

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    And reflexives "He made himself cry", "They made him look at himself" show that the object of "make" is in the same clause as "make", but that it is also in the same clause as the lower verb. – Greg Lee Oct 20 '16 at 17:11
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    Although 'him' is the grammatical object, the deeper 'object' (thing that is 'made') is an instance of [to] 'cry' (the one with 'him' as its subject). The same is true of ordinary 'object complements' such as in "They made him [to be] sad" and "They made him [to be] a general" (but not in the dative "They made [for] him a sandwich"). – amI Oct 20 '16 at 20:13
  • @aml are you saying that "him [to] cry" is a clause that serves as a Direct Object of the verb make or I am misundersanding? – user2840286 Oct 21 '16 at 0:56
  • Greg Lee. Reflexives have no bearing on the analysis. Your examples are both complex catenatives with the raised objects being constituents of the matrix clause only. The syntactic object of the matrix clause cannot simultaneously be a syntactic constituent of the subordinate clause. The relationship is a semantic one only. – BillJ Oct 21 '16 at 7:43
  • @user2840286 Be clear about this: the object of 'made' is 'him', not 'him cry'. The catenative complement is ‘cry’, not ‘him cry’, for the latter is not a constituent, but a sequence of direct object + complement. – BillJ Oct 21 '16 at 8:03

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