Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{February 14, 2008}   You are the object of my affection and my sentence

I was listening to a Grammar Girl podcast today and, despite it being from last March, she made a reference to Valentine’s Day.  Her mnemonic for remembering “subject” vs. “object” was saying “I love you.”  The “object” is the thing being acted upon…. so “you” is the object of the sentence because it’s the thing that is being acted upon… I am loving you.  Hence the title of this post.
I ❤ grammar.

Happy very-late-in-the-day Valentine’s Day, everyone.


Kalev says:

Actually in that sentence, “you” is its subject, not its object. In fact with the verb “to be,” I don’t think there is an object–it has some other name.

Ah… predicate nominative.

AOM says:

In fact, you are the object – transitive object, even!

Beth says:


@kalev – Can you explain why you are saying that with the verb “to be” there are no objects? And isn’t the verb in that sentence “to love,” not “to be”? And if “you” is the subject in “I love you,” then what is the “I”? Isn’t “I” the subject in that subject, since “I” is doing the loving?

Kalev says:

Beth, you are a scientist. I have a Minor in English. Are you sure you wanna do this? 😛

But beyond that, I was referring to how your title–taken literally–was technically incorrect, not your dissection of the statement “I love you” (which as far as I can tell is correct). So really there’s no fight because we’re talking about two different statements.

As to why there’s no objects with the verb “to be,” it’s pretty much because the subject is not acting on an object through the verb. It’s called a linking verb (if I remember correctly). So what I was talking about was how in the statement “You are the object of my affection and my sentence,” there is actually no object in that sentence. There is the subject (you), the linking verb (are), and the predicate nominative (basically the description of what “you” “are”).

Beth says:

Ah, yes, the title is referring to the statement “I love you,” not to the title itself. So it’s all clear now! (And, to be clear, it wasn’t *my* dissection of the statement “I love you” – it was Grammar Girl’s. I don’t want anyone thinking I’m plagiarizing G.G.!)

And thanks for the info on what the hell predicate nominative is. They didn’t teach grammar in my school, so I don’t know all the funky grammar words. Except in French. We only learned grammar in French class, so I’m all about “adjectif” and “adverbe.”

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