In He ate a sandwich, a sandwich denotes the affected object because the sandwich gradually disappears in the eating-process. In contrast, his father in He gave his father a book or He saw his father does not denote an affected object. A verb like eat is called an affectedness verb. The complement the wagon in he loaded the wagon with hay is called totally affected, in contrast to the wagon in he loaded hay on the wagon (only part of the wagon may be affected).
The notion affected object is closely related to the notion patient.
- Jackendoff, R. 1990. Semantic Structures. Cambridge, MIT-Press.
- Tenny, C. 1987. Grammaticalizing aspect and affectedness. Diss. MIT.