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5.1.2.1. Selection restrictions on finite direct object clauses
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Finite direct object clauses can be selected by a wide range of verbs. Providing an exhaustive enumeration is virtually impossible, but example (31) serves to provide a small, but representative sample of verbs that can do so.

Example 31
Verb types that take a finite direct object clause
a. Verbs of communication: aankondigen'to announce', beloven'to promise', bevelen'to command', mailen'to text', roepen'to call', schrijven'to write', melden'to report', smeken'to beg', vertellen'to tell', verzoeken'to request', vragen'to ask', zeggen'to say'
b. Verbs of perception: horen'to hear', kijken'to look', luisteren'to listen', proeven'to taste', ruiken'to smell', voelen'to feel', zien'to see'
c. Verbs of cognition: betwijfelen'to doubt', begrijpen'to understand', doorhebben'to see through', geloven'to believe', overwegen'to consider', voorzien'to expect', vermoeden'to suspect', verwachten'to expect', vinden'to be of the opinion', weten'to know', zich inbeelden'to imagine', zich realiseren'to realize', zich afvragen'to wonder'
d. Verbs of investigation and discovery: aantonen'to show', nagaan'to examine', onderzoeken'to investigate', ontdekken'to discover'
e. Verbs of wishing: hopen'to hope', wensen'to wish', willen'to want'
f. Verbs with subject experiencers: betreuren'to regret', haten'to hate', verafschuwen'to loathe', waarderen'to appreciate'

Direct object clauses also occur in sentences with verbs like achten and vinden'to consider', where they are semantically licensed as the subject of an adjectival or nominal complementive. Note in passing that such object clauses are regularly introduced by the anticipatory pronoun het'it'.

Example 32
a. Jan acht het belangrijk [dat zijn kleren netjes zijn].
  Jan considers  it  important   that  his clothes  neat  are
  'Jan considers it important that his clothes are neat.'
a'. Jan vindt het vervelend [dat zijn schoenen vies zijn].
  Jan considers  it  annoying   that  his shoes  dirty  are
  'Jan considers it annoying that his shoes are dirty.'
b. Jan acht het een voordeel [dat zijn project later start].
  Jan considers  it  an advantage   that  his project  later starts
  'Jan considers it an advantage that his project starts later.'
b'. Jan vindt het een schande [dat zijn project geen aandacht krijgt].
  Jan considers  it  a disgrace   that  his project  no attention  gets
  'Jan considers it a disgrace that his project doesnʼt get any attention.'

Finite direct object clauses normally take the form of a declarative clause introduced by the complementizer dat'that', an interrogative clause with the complementizer of'whether' or an interrogative clause introduced by a wh-phrase; examples are given in (33). The following subsections show that providing a simple and straightforward answer to the question as to what determines the distribution of these clause types is not easy: it appears to be determined by various factors, which all seem to have a semantic component, however.

Example 33
a. dat Jan hoopt [dat Marie morgen komt].
  that  Jan  hopes   that  Marie tomorrow  comes
  'that Jan hopes that Marie will come tomorrow.'
b. dat Peter weet [of/wanneer Marie komt].
  that  Peter  knows  whether/when  Marie comes
  'that Peter knows whether/when Marie will come.'

Subsection I to VI will investigate the selection restrictions imposed by the verb types in (31) and discuss a number of factors that seem to determine these restrictions, subsection VII concludes with a discussion of examples such as (32) which illustrate object clauses functioning as a subject of a complementive.

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[+]  I.  Verbs of communication

At first sight, it seems relatively straightforward to determine whether a verb of communication selects a declarative or an interrogative clause. The former are selected by verbs like zeggen'to say' and aankondigen'to announce', which are used in the (a)-examples in (34) to report something that was said/announced, while the latter are selected by ditransitive verbs like vragen'to ask' and smeken'to beg', which are used in the (b)-examples to report something that was asked/requested. In short, the choice between declarative and interrogative clauses is determined by the speech act reported by the speaker.

Example 34
a. Jan zei [dat Peter ziek was].
  Jan said   that  Peter ill  was
  'Jan said that Peter was ill.'
a'. Marie kondigde aan [dat Els ontslag zou nemen].
  Marie  announced  prt.  that  Els resignation  would  take
  'Marie announced that Els would resign.'
b. Jan vroeg Marie [of Peter ziek was].
  Jan asked Marie whether  Peter ill  was
  'Jan asked Marie whether Peter was ill.'
b'. Marie smeekt Els [of ze nog wat langer wil blijven].
  Marie begs  Els whether  she  yet  a.bit longer  want.to  stay
  'Marie begged Els that she would stay a bit longer.'

Closer inspection reveals the situation to be more complex than this. The above only holds in cases of indirect reported speech; in other contexts verbs like zeggen and aankondigen may also select interrogative clauses, as is shown by the two (b)-examples in (35). The choice between the three examples depends on the speaker's knowledge state. Example (35a) is used when the speaker knows that there will be a reorganization, but does not know whether Marie has made this public. Example (35b) is normally used when the speaker does not know for certain whether or not there will be a reorganization, and (35b') is used when he knows that there will be a reorganization but does not know when it will take place.

Example 35
a. Heeft Marie gezegd [dat het instituut gereorganiseerd zal worden]?
  has  Marie said   that the institute  reorganized  will  be
  'Did Marie say that the institute will be reorganized?'
b. Heeft Marie gezegd [of het instituut gereorganiseerd zal worden]?
  has  Marie said  whether  the institute  reorganized  will  be
  'Did Marie say whether the institute will be reorganized?'
b'. Heeft Marie gezegd [wanneer het instituut gereorganiseerd zal worden]?
  has  Marie said   when  the institute  reorganized  will  be
  'Did Marie say when the institute will be reorganized?'

The examples in (36) show that the speaker has a similar choice if the sentence is negated. The choice between the three utterances again depends on the speaker's knowledge state. Example (36a) can be used to express that the speaker knows that there will be a reorganization but that Marie did not make this public or to express that the speaker expected that Marie would announce a reorganization but that this expectation was not borne out. Example (36b) will typically be used when the speaker does not know for certain whether or not there will be a reorganization, and (36b') expresses that, while the speaker is convinced that there will be a reorganization, Marie did not give more specific information about the time when it will take place.

Example 36
a. Marie heeft niet gezegd [dat het instituut gereorganiseerd zal worden].
  Marie has  not said   that  the institute  reorganized  will  be
  'Marie didnʼt say that the institute will be reorganized.'
b. Marie heeft niet gezegd [of het instituut gereorganiseerd zal worden].
  Marie has  not said  whether  the institute  reorganized will be
  'Marie didnʼt say whether the institute will be reorganized.'
b'. Marie heeft niet gezegd [wanneer het instituut gereorganiseerd zal worden].
  Marie has  not said   when  the institute  reorganized will be
  'Marie didnʼt say when the institute will be reorganized.'

Not all verbs of communication are compatible with an interrogative argument clause if they occur in an interrogative or negative sentence. The examples in (37), for instance, show that the verb aankondigen'to announce' in (37a') does not easily allow it, which is probably due to the fact that it is factive in the sense discussed in Section 5.1.2.3. Observe also that there is a contrast in acceptability between yes/ no- and wh-clauses and that the latter do occasionally occur on the internet.

Example 37
a. Heeft Marie aangekondigd [dat/*of Els ontslag neemt]?
  has  Marie prt.-announced   that/whether  Els resignation  takes
  'Has Marie announced that/*whether Els will resign?'
a'. ?? Heeft Marie aangekondigd [waarom Els ontslag neemt]?
  has  Marie prt.-announced   why  Els resignation  takes
b. Marie heeft niet aangekondigd [dat/*of Els ontslag neemt].
  Marie  has  not  prt.-announced that/whether  Els resignation  takes
  'Marie hasnʼt announced that/*whether Els will resign.'
b'. ?? Marie heeft niet aangekondigd [waarom Els ontslag neemt].
  Marie  has  not  prt.-announced   why  Els resignation  takes

For completeness' sake, the examples in (38) show that verbs like vragen can sometimes also be used with declarative argument clauses, in which case we are dealing with a request/demand rather than a question. The two meanings can be distinguished easily: vragen with the meaning "to ask" takes a nominal object that alternates with an aan-PP, whereas vragen with the meaning "to request/demand" prefers a van-PP and admits a nominal object in formal/archaic contexts only.

Example 38
a. Jan vroeg (aan) Marie [of/*dat Peter ziek was].
  Jan asked   to  Marie  whether/that  Peter ill  was
  'Jan asked Marie whether/*that Peter was ill.'
b. Jan vroeg ?(van) zijn team [dat het altijd beschikbaar was].
  Jan asked     of his team   that  it  always  available  was
  'Jan asked of his team that they would always be available.'
[+]  II.  Verbs of (direct) perception

The examples in (39) show that the perception verbs proeven'to taste', ruiken'to smell' and voelen'to feel' may select either a declarative or an interrogative clause. The meaning of the verbs in the primed and the primeless examples differs in that in the former case the subject of the perception verb senses involuntarily (in the sense of "without conscious control") that the state of affairs expressed by the embedded clause holds (Yuk, the soup has gone off!), whereas in the primed examples the subject intentionally employs his/her senses to establish whether the state of affairs expressed by the embedded clause holds (No, don't worry, the soup is still fine).

Example 39
a. Marie proefde/rook [dat de soep bedorven was].
involuntary
  Marie  tasted/smelled   that  the soup  tainted  was
  'Marie tasted/smelled that the soup had gone off.'
a'. Marie proefde/rook [of de soep bedorven was].
voluntary
  Marie  tasted/smelled  whether  the soup  tainted  was
  'Marie tasted/smelled whether the soup had gone off.'
b. Jan voelde [dat de was droog was].
involuntary
  Jan felt   that  the laundry  dry  was
  'Jan felt that the laundry was dry.'
b'. Jan voelde [of de was droog was].
voluntary
  Jan felt  whether  the laundry  dry  was
  'Jan felt whether the laundry was dry.'

It does not seem to be the case that we are dealing with two uses of one and the same verb but with real polysemy. The reason for assuming so is that in the domain of vision and hearing there are two specialized verbs for the two meanings: zien'to see' and horen'to hear' are used for involuntary perception, whereas kijken'to look' and luisteren'to listen' are used for the active involvement of vision and hearing.

Example 40
a. Marie zag [dat/*of de zon scheen].
involuntary
  Marie saw  that/whether  the sun  shone
  'Marie saw that the sun was shining.'
a'. Marie keek [of/*dat de zon scheen].
voluntary
  Marie looked  whether/that  the sun  shone
  'Marie looked whether the sun was shining.'
b. Jan hoorde [dat/*of de deur klapperde].
involuntary
  Jan heard   that/whether  the door  rattled
  'Jan heard that the door was rattling.'
b'. Jan luisterde [of/*dat de deur klapperde].
voluntary
  Jan listened   whether/that  the door  rattled
  'Jan listened whether the door was rattling.'

That the distinction between involuntary and voluntary perception is also relevant for the polysemous verbs proeven, ruiken and voelen is clear from the fact that imperatives, which imply voluntary action, require these verbs to take an embedded question.

Example 41
a. Proef/ruik even [of/*dat de soep nog eetbaar is]!
voluntary
  taste/smell  prt  whether/that  the soup  yet  edible  is
  'Just taste/smell whether the soup is still edible.'
b. Voel even [of/*dat de was al droog is]!
voluntary
  feel  prt  whether/that  the laundry  already  dry  is
  'Just feel whether the laundry is dry.'

      The contrast between involuntary and voluntary perception seems quite sharp if the argument clause is introduced by the complementizer of, but more diffuse when introduced by a wh-phrase. The examples in (42) seem to allow both readings: example (42c), for instance, does not require that Jan purposely feels how wet the washing was, but that he may accidently it that while putting the washing in the cupboard.

Example 42
a. Marie proefde [welke kruiden er in de soep zaten].
  Marie tasted   which herbs  there  in the soup  were
  'Marie tasted which herbs were in the soup.'
b. De hond rook [welke man cannabis bij zich had].
  the dog  smelled   which man  cannabis  with refl  had
  'The dog smelled which man was in possession of cannabis.'
c. Jan voelde [hoe nat de was nog was].
  Jan  felt   how wet  the laundry  still  was
  'Jan felt how wet the washing still was'

That verbs of involuntary perception are compatible with embedded wh-questions is also shown by the acceptability of the examples in (43), which contrast sharply with the primeless examples in (40).

Example 43
a. Jan zag onmiddellijk [welke boeken Marie geleend had].
  Jan saw  immediately   which books  Marie  borrowed  had
  'Jan immediately saw which books Marie had borrowed.'
b. Jan hoorde onmiddellijk [wie de kamer binnenkwam].
  Jan heard  immediately   who  the room  entered
  'Jan immediately heard who entered the room.'

      A warning flag is needed here, however, given that interrogative argument clauses are generally possible with the verbs zien'to see' and horen'to hear' if we are dealing with indirect perception, as is illustrated in (44). This means that examples such as (43) can only be used for distinguishing verbs of voluntary and involuntary perception if we are dealing with direct perception and not with indirect perception (e.g., on the basis of empty spaces on the book shelves or the sound of foot steps).

Example 44
a. Jan ziet (aan haar gezicht) onmiddellijk [dat/of ze vrolijk is].
  Jan saw  from her face  immediately  that/whether  she  merry  is
  'Her face shows Jan immediately that/whether sheʼs merry.'
b. Jan hoort (aan de misthoorns) [dat/of het mistig is].
  Jan hears from the foghorns  that/whether  it  misty  is
  'The blast of the foghorns tells Jan that/whether it is foggy.'

In addition, the examples in (45) show that zien'to see' and horen'to hear' are also fully compatible with an embedded yes/no questions if they head an interrogative or negative sentence; in this respect they behave just like non-factive verbs of communication like zeggen'to say' discussed in Subsection I.

Example 45
a. Heb je gezien [dat/of de zon scheen]?
  have  you  seen  that/whether  the sun  shone
  'Have you seen that/whether the sun was shining?'
a'. Ik heb niet gezien [dat/of de zon scheen].
  have  not  seen  that/whether  the sun  shone
  'I havenʼt seen that/whether the sun was shining.'
b. Heb je gehoord [dat/of de deur klapperde]?
  have  you  heard   that/whether  the door  rattled
  'Have you heard that/whether the door was rattling?'
b'. Ik heb niet gehoord [dat/of de deur klapperde].
  I have  not  heard  that/whether  the door  rattled
  'I havenʼt heard that/whether the door was rattling.'

The examples in (46) show that the addition of a modal verb can have a similar effect on the selection restrictions.

Example 46
a. Jan kan zien [dat/of de zon schijnt].
  Jan can  see  that/whether  the sun  shines
  'Jan can see that/whether the sun is shining.'
b. Jan kan horen [dat/of de deur klappert].
  Jan can  hear  that/whether  the door  rattles
  'Jan can hear that/whether the door is rattling.'

We will return to verbs of involuntary and voluntary perception in Section 5.2.3.3 where we show that they differ in yet another way: the former but not the latter may occur in AcI-constructions: Jan zag/*keek de zon opkomen'Jan saw the sun rise'.

[+]  III.  Verbs of cognition

Verbs of cognition can be divided into the four groups in (47) on the basis of the question as to whether they select a declarative or an interrogative clause.

Example 47
a. zich afvragen'to wonder'
b. geloven'to believe', voorzien'to anticipate', verwachten'to expect', vinden'to be of the opinion', zich inbeelden'to imagine'
c. begrijpen'to understand', vermoeden'to suspect', zich realiseren'to realize'
d. weten'to know', overwegen'to consider' and betwijfelen'to doubt'

The verb zich afvragen'to wonder' in (47a) cannot be combined with a declarative argument clause; it only occurs with interrogative clauses introduced by the complementizer of or some wh-phrase.

Example 48
a. Jan vraagt zich af [of/*dat Marie dat boek gelezen heeft].
  Jan wonders  refl  prt.  whether/that  Marie that book  read  has
  'Jan wonders whether Marie has read that book.'
b. Jan vraagt zich af [welk boek Marie gelezen heeft].
  Jan wonders  refl  prt.  which book  Marie  read  has
  'Jan wonders which book Marie has read.'

The verbs in (47b) take a declarative object clause introduced by the complementizer dat'that': interrogative clauses give rise to degraded results. This is illustrated in (50) for the verb geloven'to believe'.

Example 49
a. Jan gelooft [dat/*of Marie morgen niet kan komen].
  Jan believes  that/whether  Marie  tomorrow  not  can  come
  'Jan believes that/*whether Marie canʼt come tomorrow.'
b. * Jan gelooft [wanneer Marie niet kan komen].
  Jan believes  when  Marie not  can  come
c. * Jan gelooft [waarom Marie morgen niet kan komen].
  Jan believes   why  Marie  tomorrow  not  can  come

The situation is less clear for the verbs in (47c). The examples in (50) show that the verb begrijpen'to understand' cannot take an interrogative verb introduced by the complementizer of'whether', but that interrogative clauses introduced by a wh-phrase yield a much better result—although example (50b) is definitely marked without the anticipatory pronoun het'it', example (50c) is fully acceptable. The verbs vermoeden'to suspect' and zich realiseren'to realize' show a similar behavior here.

Example 50
a. Jan begrijpt (het) [dat/*of Marie morgen niet kan komen].
  Jan understands   it  that/whether  Marie  tomorrow  not  can  come
  'Jan understands that/*whether Marie canʼt come tomorrow.'
b. Jan begrijpt ??(het) [wanneer Marie niet kan komen].
  Jan understands     it   when  Marie not  can  come
  'Jan understands when Marie canʼt come.'
c. Jan begrijpt (het) [waarom Marie morgen niet kan komen].
  Jan understands   it   why  Marie tomorrow  not  can  come
  'Jan understands why Marie canʼt come tomorrow.'

The examples in (51) show that verbs of the type geloven'to believe' and the type begrijpen'to understand' also behave differently if they function as the head of an interrogative or negative sentence: whereas the former remain incompatible with interrogative argument clauses, the latter readily accept them.

Example 51
a. Heeft Jan geloofd [dat/*of/*wanneer Marie komt]?
  has  Jan believed  that/whether/when  Marie  comes
  'Did Jan believe that Marie would come?'
a'. Jan gelooft niet [dat/*of/*wanneer Marie komt].
  Jan believes  not  that/whether/when  Marie  comes
  'Jan doesnʼt believe that Marie will come.'
b. Heeft Jan begrepen [dat/of/wanneer Marie komt]?
  has  Jan  understood  that/whether/when  Marie  comes
  'Did Jan understand that/whether/when Marie will come?'
b'. Jan begrijpt niet [dat/of/wanneer Marie komt].
  Jan understands  not  that/whether/when  Marie  come
  'Jan doesnʼt understand that/whether/when Marie will come.'

Observe that example (51b) with a declarative clause will normally be used when the speaker wants to check whether Jan did get the relevant information that Marie will come, whereas the use of an interrogative clause suggests that the speaker himself does not know whether/when Marie will come and would in fact like to have more information about it (which might be available to Jan). Similarly, example (51b') with a declarative clause expresses that Jan does not grasp the established fact that Marie will come, whereas the (time of) Marie's coming is left open when begrijpen takes an interrogative argument clause.
      The verbs in group (47d) seem to be compatible both with declarative and interrogative argument clauses. We illustrate this in (52) for the verb weten. Example (52a) is used to express that Jan is cognizant of the fact that Marie is not able to come, and the examples in (52b&c) are used to express that Jan is able to provide further information about whether/when Marie will come.

Example 52
a. Jan weet [dat Marie niet kan komen].
  Jan  knows   that  Marie not  can  come
  'Jan knows that Marie isnʼt able to come.'
b. Jan weet [of Marie kan komen].
  Jan  knows  whether  Marie  can  come
  'Jan knows whether Marie is able to come.'
c. Jan weet [wanneer Marie niet kan komen].
  Jan  knows   when  Marie not  can  come
  'Jan knows when Marie isnʼt able to come.'
[+]  IV.  Verbs of investigation and discovery

Verbs of investigation and discovery may differ with respect to whether they select a declarative or an interrogative clause. The former seems to be the case for, e.g., aantonen'to show', bewijzen'to prove', suggereren'to suggest' and ontdekken'to discover', and the latter for nagaan'to examine' and onderzoeken'to investigate'. The former verbs are used especially if the proposition expressed by the argument clause refers to an established fact and the latter when the argument clause refers to some open question. The selection restrictions remain unchanged in interrogative and negative sentences.

Example 53
a. Jan heeft aangetoond [dat/*of vette vis gezond is].
  Jan has  prt.-shown  that/whether  oily fish  healthy  is
  'Jan has proved that oily fish is healthy.'
a'. Jan ontdekte [dat/*of zijn fiets kapot was].
  Jan discovered  that/whether  his bike  broken  was
  'Jan found out that his bike was broken.'
b. Jan onderzocht [of/*dat vette vis gezond is].
  Jan investigated  whether/that  oily fish  healthy  is
  'Jan investigated whether oily fish is healthy.'
b'. Jan ging na [of/*dat zijn fiets kapot was].
  Jan checked  prt.  whether/that  his bike  broken  was
  'Jan checked whether his bike was broken.'

Question formation, negation as well as the addition of a modal verb may change the selection restriction of verbs like aantonen/bewijzen'to prove', as is clear from the fact that the examples in (54) seem acceptable with embedded yes/no-questions; in this respect such verbs behave just like the verbs of involuntary perception.

Example 54
a. Heeft Jan aangetoond [dat/?of vette vis gezond is]?
  has  Jan prt.-shown  that/whether  oily fish healthy  is
  'Has Jan proved that oily fish is healthy?'
b. Jan heeft niet aangetoond [dat/of vette vis gezond is].
  Jan has  not  prt.-shown  that/whether  oily fish healthy  is
  'Jan hasnʼt proved oily fish is healthy.'
c. Jan kan aantonen [dat/of vette vis gezond is].
  Jan can prt.-show  that/whether  oily fish  healthy  is
  'Jan can prove that/whether oily fish is healthy.'
[+]  V.  Verbs of wishing

Verbs of wishing like hopen'to hope', wensen'to wish', and willen'to want' are only compatible with declarative argument clauses, irrespective of whether the sentence they head is declarative, interrogative or negative. This is illustrated in (55) for the verb hopen.

Example 55
a. Jan hoopt [dat/*of Marie morgen komt].
  Jan hopes  that/whether  Marie tomorrow  comes
  'Jan hopes that Marie will come tomorrow.'
b. Hoopt Jan [dat/*of Marie morgen komt]?
  hopes  Jan  that/whether  Marie tomorrow  comes
  'Does Jan hope that Marie will come tomorrow?'
c. Jan hoopt niet [dat/*of Marie morgen komt].
  Jan hopes  not  that/whether  Marie tomorrow  comes
  'Jan doesnʼt hope that Marie will come tomorrow.'
[+]  VI.  Subject experiencer verbs

The primeless examples in (56) show that verbs like betreuren'to regret' or waarderen'to appreciate', which select an experiencer subject, take declarative object clauses; interrogative clauses are excluded. The primed examples show that interrogative object clauses are also excluded when the matrix clause is interrogative or negative. For the benefit of the discussion that will follow in Section 5.1.2.3 it should be pointed out that the object clauses in the primeless examples are introduced by the anticipatory pronoun het'it'.

Example 56
a. Jan betreurde het [dat/*of hij niet kon komen].
  Jan regretted  it  that/whether  he  not  could  come
  'Jan regretted it that he couldnʼt come.'
a'. Heeft Jan het betreurd [dat/*of hij niet kon komen]?
  has  Jan it  regretted  that/whether  he  not  could  come
  'Did Jan regret it that he couldnʼt come?'
a''. Jan betreurde het niet [dat/*of hij niet kon komen].
  Jan regretted  it  not  that/whether  he  not  could  come
  'Jan didnʼt regret it that he couldnʼt come.'
b. Peter waardeerde het [dat/*of Els hem wou helpen].
  Peter appreciated  it  that/whether  Els him  wanted  help
  'Peter appreciated it that Els was willing to help him.'
b'. Heeft Peter het gewaardeerd [dat/*of Els hem wou helpen]?
  has  Peter  it  appreciated  that/whether  Els him  wanted  help
  'Did Peter appreciate it that Els was willing to help him?'
b''. Peter waardeerde het niet [dat/*of Els hem wou helpen].
  Peter appreciated  it  not  that/whether  Els him  wanted  help
  'Peter didnʼt appreciate it that Els was willing to help him.'

Haeseryn et al. (1997:1155) have claimed that subject experiencer verbs like betreuren may also take an object clause introduced by the conditional complementizer als'if'; some potential cases are given in (57). Section 5.1.2.2 will show, however, that there are reasons for rejecting this claim.

Example 57
a. Jan zou het betreuren [als hij niet kan komen].
  Jan would  it  regret   if  he  not  can  come
  'Jan would regret it if he couldnʼt come.'
b. Jan waardeert het zeer [als Els hem wil helpen].
  Jan appreciates  it  a.lot   if  Els him  want  help
  'Jan really appreciates it if Els is willing to help him.'
[+]  VII.  Finite object clauses that function as the subject of a complementive

Finite object clauses occur not only as internal arguments of verbs, but also as subjects of complementives, that is, in vinden- and resultative constructions. The examples in (58) show that clause-final object clauses in vinden-constructions are normally introduced by the anticipatory pronoun het; omission of the pronoun results in a degraded result. It should be noted, however, that the pronoun is optional if the complementive is topicalized, and even excluded if the object clause is topicalized; see Section 5.1.2.2 for a discussion of topicalization of object clauses and Section 5.1.3 for a discussion of similar behavior of subject clauses.

Example 58
Vinden-construction
a. Jan vindt *(het) leuk [dat Marie morgen komt].
  Jan considers     it  nice   that  Marie tomorrow  comes
  'Jan considers it nice that Marie will come tomorrow.'
a'. Leuk vindt Jan (het) [dat Marie morgen komt].
a''. [Dat Marie morgen komt] vindt Jan (*het) leuk].
b. Peter vond *(het) interessant [dat de bal zonk].
  Peter  considered     it  interesting   that  the ball  sank
  'Peter considered it interesting that the ball sank.'
b'. Interessant vond Jan (het) [dat de bal zonk].
b''. [Dat de bal zonk] vond Jan (*het) interessant.

The primeless examples in (59) show that, in contrast to what we found in the vinden-construction, the anticipatory pronoun in resultative constructions can normally readily be omitted. The primed examples show that the vinden- and resultative construction behave in a similar fashion when the complementive or the object clause is topicalized.

Example 59
Resultative construction
a. Marie maakte (het) bekend [dat er een reorganisatie komt].
  Marie made   it  known   that  there  a reorganization  comes
  'Marie made it known that there will be reorganization.'
a'. Bekend maakte Marie (het) [dat er een reorganisatie komt].
a''. [Dat er een reorganisatie komt] maakte Marie (*het) bekend.
b. Jan hield (het) verborgen [dat hij ontslagen zou worden].
  Jan kept  it  hidden   that  he  fired  would  become
  'Jan kept it a secret that he would be fired.'
b'. Verborgen hield Jan (het) [dat hij ontslagen zou worden].
b''. [Dat hij ontslagen zou worden] hield Jan (*het) verborgen.
[+]  VIII.  Conclusion

The previous subsections have shown that the choice between declarative and interrogative object clauses is not simply a matter of lexical selection by the matrix verb. Specifically, it has been shown that question formation and negation may license interrogative object clauses with a subset of the matrix verbs taking declarative object clauses in positive declarative clauses.

References:
  • Haeseryn, Walter, Romijn, Kirsten, Geerts, Guido, Rooij, Jaap de & Toorn, Maarten C. van den1997Algemene Nederlandse spraakkunstGroningenNijhoff
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