"object" as a verb


In Canadian English does the correct use of the verb "object" have a "to" in front of it? Ex. '"object to war vs. object war", "I object to his statement" vs "object his statement".

What is the "to" called, or the name of the type of verb that takes that qualifying "to"?

Brooke Watson

Posted 2017-03-15T17:20:09.143


It's just an ordinary preposition. Some verbs (such as object, stand up, be resistant, all having a similar meaning), require that preposition before specifying the cause of the negative stance. Others, such as detest, despise, dislike are *transitive* (they don't need a preposition before the syntactic "object"). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2017-03-15T17:43:34.410



Yes, object needs to in this case. It's possible to use object as a stand-alone verb without an object, e.g.

"This is not a good idea", he objected.

This construction (object + to) is called a phrasal verb but there is no common word for either of the components (other than verb and preposition, of course).


Posted 2017-03-15T17:20:09.143

Reputation: 12 192

Why is this a phrasal verb and not a verb and preposition? – Chaim – 2017-03-15T17:50:04.233

It's a special construction which is very typical for English; that's probably why it has its own name. Related languages (German, French) usually have the preposition 'baked into' the verb. – Glorfindel – 2017-03-15T17:54:20.160

I don't see how your remark relates to my question. It seems to me that "He objected to my proposal" involves only verb and preposition, not a phrasal verb. Is "He spoke to my brother" a phrasal verb? – Chaim – 2017-03-15T17:57:06.467

@chaim The term "phrasal verb" doesn't have a universally accepted meaning. Some teachers use it for any idiom involving a verb and a following preposition phrase, others use it only for idioms involving a verb and an intransitive preposition--while many linguists avoid the term altogether and call the idioms with intransitive prepositions "particle verbs". – StoneyB on hiatus – 2017-03-15T18:39:39.423

@Chaim I don't use the term 'phrasal verb' as it's ill-defined. The basic concept involved is always "How closely are the 'verb part' and the 'other part' linked – how cohesive, how unitary is the string?" I'd say that only a weak association exists between speak and to in the principal sense of 'speak .. to .. my .. brother'; 'to my brother' is more cohesive, and is thus a prepositional phrase. But with 'speak .. to .. my .. brother' with the sense 'give him a telling off', the coherence between speak and to is greater, and the MWV analysis is at least plausible.... – Edwin Ashworth – 2017-03-15T22:34:11.630

OALD certainly lists this usage (and other idiomatic usages of 'speak to') as a MWV (though they use the term I won't). This is understandable as there is a single-word equivalent, admonish. But there are grey areas, and this is one of them. 'Object .. to .. his .. statement' is another; EnglishClub classes object to as a MWV, but, as the matrix verb object can stand alone, I'd prefer the V + PP analysis here. – Edwin Ashworth – 2017-03-15T22:34:25.163