Middle Verbs

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ashlee803

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Apr 10, 2008
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I'm really confused about the middle verb formation in English.
Let me see if i've got this right. Middle verbs are eventive, agentive, and not stative? but then don't middle verbs depict a state?

Could someone please tell me why the transitive verbs in the following sentences can't form middle sentences?
1) The answer knows easily. (however, john knows the answers is ok)
2)The paintings like easily. (whereas mary likes the paintings is ok)
3) Terrorists hate easy. (versus people hate terrorists is ok)

Could someone please help me? i'm really really confused cause i'm doing a semi-assignment and i have to explain why middle formation is not possible from the transitive verbs. Thanks you so much!
 

riverkid

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Aug 17, 2006
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English Teacher
I'm really confused about the middle verb formation in English.
Let me see if i've got this right. Middle verbs are eventive, agenitive, and not stative? but then don't middle verbs depict a state?

Could someone please tell me why the transitive verbs in the following sentences can't form middle sentences?
1) The answer knows easily. (however, john knows the answers is ok)

An answer, being inanimate can't be capable of thought, or knowing. But, having said that, it could be used in a joking sense;

"No one knows the answer but the answer"

which personifies 'answer'.


2)The paintings like easily. (whereas mary likes the paintings is ok)

The same as in #1, paintings aren't capable of doing things like liking/loving/etc.


3) Terrorists hate easy. (versus people hate terrorists is ok)

This one is possible.

A: Terrorists love easy targets.

B: Terrorists hate easy. There's no propaganda potential to easy targets. They want the big hit, something that makes its mark both physically and emotionally.



Could someone please help me? i'm really really confused cause i'm doing a semi-assignment and i have to explain why middle formation is not possible from the transitive verbs. Thanks you so much!

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