I thought I was catching on to the "Om" and "Te" placements in a sentence, i.e. "om" preceding a noun/adverb/adjective, and '"te" preceding the verb-- (Ik beloof om goed te eten). However, then along comes the sentence: Zij beveelt hem om te schrijven. Is the "om" necessary here? Could it precede "hem"? Also, could the "om" in "Hij besluit om te fietsen" be omitted?
I believe it's like this:
"Bevelen" is a transitive verb and needs an object. You order someone (or, I suppose, something) to do something. Here the object is "hem", and what follows ("om te schrijven") is what you are ordering him to do. If you move the "hem" between "om" and "te", you change the meaning of the sentence, and you lose the object that the verb needs.
What you place between the "om" and the "te" goes with the verb that comes after "te".
Zij beveelt hem om een boek te schrijven. She orders him to write a book.
Zij beveelt hem om rustig te schrijven. She orders him to write quietly.
Zij beveelt hem om elke dag te schrijven. She orders him to write every day.
Zij beveelt hem om in het Nederlands te schrijven. She orders him to write in Dutch.
Zij beveelt hem om te schrijven. She orders him to write.
Zij beveelt hem om brieven aan de kinderen te schrijven. She orders him to write letters to the children.
I look forward to any corrections by those who know better. :)
I think your analysis is correct, but perhaps it'd be better to say that bevelen is a ditransitive verb: it needs both a Direct Object ('what is being ordered?' and an Indirect Object ('who is being ordered to do x?').
So, in this case:
hem=> Indirect Object
om te schrijven=> Direct Object.
I'm copying this sentence to think further about it, I know om can be dropped in this context, but I think that this is the only word order that is possible. For some reason the Indirect Object has to precede the Direct Object in this sentence, and I need to find out what the reason is.
Btw, I've just realised that if we drop om, the meaning of the sentence changes: hem would become the Direct Object of schrijven, and so I think it'd be as if she's ordering someone (us, I guess) to write to him.
Just my guesses, please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!
The difference here lies in the kind of verb you have:
• hopen (in the example given by El2TheK) is a transitive verb, that is, it requires a Direct Object:
Zij hoopt (om) hem te vinden.
Note that here it is possible to add om right before hem. That's because hem, in turn, is the Direct Object of the verb vinden.
• bevelen is a ditransitive verb, which means that it requires both a Direct Object and an Indirect Object.
In the sentence we have here at hand,
Zij beveelt hem (om) te schrijven.
beveelt=> Verb of the main clause
hem=> Indirect Object of the verb bevelen
om te schrijven=> Direct Object of the verb bevelen. I believe that it's a non-finite clause.
Here it is not possible to move hem after om, if you did I think it would sound as if you were ordering us to write to 'him', since hem, in that position, would become the Direct Object of schrijven. And I think we would have the same problem if we dropped om.
Hope this helps.
Btw, you'll find more info regarding Direct Objects and Indirect Objects in my reply to NCThom.