Here is a sentence:

Ich will dich glücklich machen.

My question is what sentence members are "dich" and "glücklich" in the given context, i.e. what roles do they play in the sentence? Are they a direct object and predicate adjective respectively?

  • Compare: "I want to wipe the table clean". You're looking at a resultative object predicative with "glücklich". "Ich ließ die Tür offen". The adjective describes what state the verb leaves the noun in. Commented May 29, 2023 at 18:14

2 Answers 2


German has no direct or indirect objects. Thinking in these categories maybe can help in 90% or 95% of all German sentences, but will lead to wrong results in the rest of all sentences. So when you stick on that concept, you will not learn 100% correct German. Take any textbook about German grammar, written in German language for German native speakers and search for "direktes Objekt" or "indirektes Objekt": You will not find these terms in these books. So, better learn the correct German grammar.

German has these types of objects:

  • genitive objects (objects in genitive case)

    Wir gedenken der Toten.
    Heinrich wurde des Raubes bezichtigt.

  • dative objects (objects in dative case)

    Der Schüler antwortet dem Lehrer.
    Der Arzt hilft dem Patienten.

  • accusative objects (objects in accusative case)

    Der Jäger sieht den Hasen.
    Martin trinkt das Bier.

  • prepositional objects with an inner dative object

    Georg kämpft mit dem Tod.
    Lisa spricht zu der Frau.

  • prepositional objects with an inner accusative object

    Georg kämpft um sein Leben.
    Lisa spricht über die Frau.

Also note, that there is a difference about what a predicate is in English and in German:
In English grammar, a predicate is everything except the subject. So all verbs, all objects and all other parts of speech belong to the predicate.
But in German grammar, only the verbs and very close attachments of the verbs are part of the predicate. Objects do explicitly not belong to the predicate!

Now about your sentence

  • ich
    This is the only part of speech in nominative case, so it is the subject. It means "I" in English. The subject of a sentence in active voice is the thing or person who performs the action. (Who/what is doing something?)
  • will ... machen
    This is the predicate. The predicate describes the action. (What is going on?)
    • will
      This is a modal verb. It means "want" in English. If the predicate consists of a modal verb and a full verb, like it is the case here, then the modal verb is the finite verb, i.e the verb that stands at position 2 of the sentence and matches with the subject in person and number. All other verbs that are part of the predicate must stand at the very end of the sentence.
    • machen
      This is a full verb. It means "to make" in English. Since the modal verb will already occupies position 2, the full verb must stand at the end, and it will not be inflected, so it stands there in its infinite form.
  • dich
    This is a personal pronoun in accusative case. It means "you" in English. It is an object of the predicate. So, it is an accusative object. In case of the verb machen the accusative object contains who or what is affected by the act of making.
  • glücklich
    This adjective is an object predicative. It means "happy" in English. A predicative is similar to an attribute, but an attribute describes whatever it describes independent from the action ("The happy girl eats an apple." - the girl is happy independent from eating.) But a predicative describes a property, that is connected to the action. In your sentence the you-person just becomes happy from the action. And this you-person is the accusative object of the sentence, so it's a predicative not of the subject, but of an object: It is an object predicative.

The finite verb will is a modal verb, dich und glücklich fill the valences of the verb "jemanden etwas machen".

In German grammar, we see "will ... machen" as the predicate (Prädikat) of the sentence, dich as the accusative object and glücklich as an object predicative (Objektprädikativ, because it is the object dich who is to be made glücklich).

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