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  1. #61
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Identifying the verb

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Antonson View Post
    Not quite.

    "They returned unharmed." is more likely elliptical for "They returned (in an) unharmed (condition)." or "They returned (, and they were) unharmed."

    It's different.

    One could certainly say that since the door was hung out of plumb, it was always closing itself.

    "Returned" in your example would not be transitive.
    No more would 'swing' in my view, unless you arbitrarily chose to make it so. Inserting a semantically strange and syntactically redundant reflexive pronoun here seems little more than an excuse to justify a needlessly overcomplicated analysis.

    Predicate adjectivals, whether 'shut' in the original example or 'unharmed' in mine, serve simply to specify the final state of the subject upon completion of performance of the verb. When the act of returning was accomplished, they were in an unharmed state . When the act of swinging was accomplished, the door was in a closed state.

    I suppose one could argue about the precise starting point of the unharmed state just as one could with regard to the precise moment during the swing at which the door went from being open to being closed: the point, while of doubtless metaphysical interest, seems not in any real sense to be material to a linguistic analysis, since both situations are expressed via precisely the same construction!

    Why try to make it any more complicated than this??
    Last edited by philo2009; 31-Dec-2012 at 03:21.

  2. #62
    Frank Antonson's Avatar
    Frank Antonson is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Identifying the verb

    OK

    There seems to be a difference to me, but with ellipsis a lot is left to the imagination.

    Just checking, though, do you recognize "sick" in "He made himself "sick" as an objective complement?

    Frank

  3. #63
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Identifying the verb

    Yes, most certainly. The reflexive pronoun here is vital to both syntax and semantics, and so no other analysis is possible.

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