Small clause

Small clause

In some descriptions of English grammar, small clauses are minimal predicate structures: they possess arguments and predicates but no tense. Small clauses usually occur within the context of full clauses and may act as the direct object of the verb. In the examples below, the small clause is italicized. Note that a verb is not necessary and that there is no tense.

  • Robert painted the house blue.
  • We consider Mary intelligent.
  • Abby saw Patrick eat the cake.
  • Eating too much cake makes me sick.


Chomsky, Noam (1981). Lectures on Government and Binding. Dordrecht: Foris. ISBN 90-70176-28-9.

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