From Phrasal Verb practice quiz:Originally Posted by udara sankalpa
Phrasal verbs in English are verbs followed by an adverb or a preposition. Often these phrasal verbs change the meaning of the verb in idiomatic ways.The verb listen to does not change the meaning of the verb listen; however, given that it is a two-part verb, that it has more than one part, that it acts as a complete syntactic and semantic unit, some will hold that it belongs to the category phrasal verb; e.g., question No.4 in this quiz on the phrasal verb listen, here.
With some phrasal verbs the verb and preposition can be divided:
- blow up => explode
- work out => be successful
Other phrasal verbs cannot be separated:
- set a meeting up
- get your point of view across
- get on with
drop out of
A phrasal verb is also called verb-particle construction, verb phrase, multi-word verb, or compound verb. American English expressions are a type of two-part verb or, in some cases, a three-part verb.Does that help so far?
Read more here on idiomatic and literal verb-particle constructions.
If you would like to continue this topic, please start a new thread.
The eggs must be broken so that we can make an omelet.
Agreed. In other words, the semantic subjects are different:Originally Posted by cabledetached
Native Americans were systematically displaced (by the US government) in order that room/space could be made available] for white settlers.
The CD had to be listened to (by us) to make sure it worked (by us). <awkward>
How does that sit with you so far?
You're an amazing teacher!
Thank you very much indeed.
I'm not sure what you mean by "semantic subject". Can you please define it? I see it mentioned on several Google hits, but I haven't come across a satisfactory definition. Is there a place you can point me to? The reason I'm confused is that, in the treatment of my sentence, you assign the "semantic subject" role in a way that seems arbitrary. In the main clause, the semantic subject is the unstated agent (doer) the US government. In the second part (which used to be an infinitive phrase but has been rewritten into an embedded noun clause) the "semantic subject" is apparently the receiver, room. What's wrong with assigning the semantic subject as follows:
Native Americans were systematically displaced (by the US government) in order that room/space could be made available (by the US government) for white settlers.
Then we have both clauses in passive voice, with the agent of each being the "semantic subject". If you accept this analysis, and you agree that it's not awkward, then it follows that
The CD had to be listened to (by us) to make sure it worked (by us).
is also not awkward.
There is a grammar way of looking at this and a semantics way, and I feel like the lines may be getting crossed. What am I missing?
OK. Let's clear this up.
First, about the difference between structural and semantic subjects in passive constructs. The structural subject is the verb's semantic object; the semantic subject is the doer of the verb:
Active: The car hit the dog.
Passive: The dog was hit by the car.
Second, in your example sentence the noun phrase the US government occurs twice:
Native Americans were systematically displaced by (the US government) (in order for the US government) to make room for ...The phrase US government (i) is the semantic subject of a passive verb, whereas the phrase US government (ii) is the semantic subject of the infinitive to make room for. Now, even though both noun phrases are labelled semantic subjects--thanks to terminology--they do indeed differ semantically. US government (ii) sits in a enviornment that's active in structure, not active in voice, which makes it different from the passive voice semantic subject US government. That is what I meant and still mean by "the semantic subjects are different"... structurally. (Note, my apologies for placing the example in passive voice; i.e., in order that room could be made.)
Third, the infinitive phrase to make room for is a verb underlyingly. It may function as an adverb, but its semantic form is a verb, a transitive verb. At the semantic level it takes a object and a subject. Its object is the phrase room for, its subject is elided. That is, to make room isn't short for in order to make room for, it short for in order for someone to make room for.
Fourth, below the semantic subjects under discussion are structurally the object of the preposition for:
1. The CD had to be listened to (by us) (in order for us) to make sure that it worked.2. Native Americans were systematically displaced (by the US government) (in order for the US government) to make room for ...I trust that helps clear up my statement for you. If not, please let me know.
Now, back to the topic. Short and easy: not every verb can undergo passive voice:
Max: (active voice) Who had to listened to the CD?
Sam: (passive voice) But...the CD had to be listened to. <awkward>
The problem with the poster's sentence is passive voice, no matter how you look at it. The sentence is awkward (double to to has nothing to do with it; e.g., homophonous we had listened too to see if it worked.
I'm trying to see another perspective, but I can't. The main clause of the sentence is passive, but the infinitive phrase is neither active nor passive. We call this a verbal phrase: To make an omelet. The phrase could be used in either an active or a passive voice sentence.
Earlier, you tried to show the phrase as active vs. passive in an effort to make the phrase parallel with the clause. That's what I was questioning.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with this sentence.
It seems "weird" simply because you are thinking about it too much and because it is written out rather than spoken. However, it's a grammatically sound English statement.
Such apparent repetition* occurs fairly routinely in English:
The boys had had enough of all the noise.
You could see he was concerned that that old house might go up in flames at any moment.
* Apparent repetition because it represents the back-to-back occurrence of two homographs.