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The Rise of the To-Infinitive$
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Bettelou Los

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199274765

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199274765.001.0001

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Commanding and permitting

Commanding and permitting

(p.101) 5 Commanding and permitting
The Rise of the To-Infinitive

Bettelou Los (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter identifies a second set of ditransitive verbs: the verbs of commanding and permitting. Unlike the verbs of persuading and urging discussed in the Chapter 3, which have a thematic structure of AGENT, THEME, and GOAL, the verbs of commanding and permitting have a thematic structure of AGENT, RECIPIENT, and THEME. The different roles are clear from the different cases that express them: THEMES are expressed by accusative NPs, and RECIPIENTS by dative NPs. Verbs of commanding and permitting have two ‘variants’, a three-place and a two-place one. This is not an accidental, idiosyncratic lexical property of these verbs, but a structural feature connected with the basic meanings of this group. It is precisely this structural feature of the verbs of commanding and permitting that is responsible for the appearance of the first to-infinitival ECMs in Middle English.

Keywords:   agent, recipient, theme, goal, thematic structure, argument structure, ditransitive, subjunctive, verb complement, syntactic reanalysis

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