Dubious cases 405
Difficulties of this kind usually arise because of the subtlety of the border-line between secondary parts of the sentence expressed by a noun with a preposition or by an infinitive, or sometimes even by a noun without a preposition, which makes it in some cases hardly possible to tell an object from an adverbial, or an attribute from an adverbial.
Object or Adverbial
We come across such difficulties in the sentences She was slowly moving towards Mrs. Carver; She made the policeman look for the catamong the boxes piled up by the wall and the like, in which the underlined parts allow of two alternative interpretations each - as an adverbial of place or as an indirect non-recipient object. The possible identifying questions are of no help here, for such parts may equally answer the where-question and a question with a preposition what/who:Where was she moving?Towardswhom was she moving?
In the same way some adverbials of manner may border on an indirect non-recipient object with an instrumental meaning. Compare: He opened the finwith a knife (object - what did he open the tin with?) and He was woundedwith a bullet, where the bold faced part may be analyzed in two ways, as an object or as an adverbial of manner (What was he wounded with? or How was he wounded?).
Sometimes there is no rigid border-line between a direct object and an adverbial of measure. This is the case where the formal position of the direct object is filled by a word denoting a unit of measure (money, weight, time, etc.). Thus in the sentence The job paid herthe minimum rate the boldfaced part may be analyzed in two ways, that is, either as a direct object (what?) or as an adverbial of measure (how much?).
Attribute or Adverbial
Sometimes it is impossible to tell an attribute from an adverbial of purpose. This often occurs where an infinitive or an infinitive phrase follows a noun which is a direct object to some verb. In this case it may not be clear whether the infinitive is grammatically connected with the noun or with the group “verb + noun”. Thus in the sentence She gave me a book to read on the train the syntactical function of the infinitive may be either that of an attribute (= which I might read...) or that of an adverbial of purpose (= in order that I might read it...). Compare this with the following sentences where relations are more definite.
She turned her headto see who it was (adverbial).
I have two kidsto look after (attribute).