Nominalizations of English Neutral Verbs

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This article explores the use of three light or support verbs of English, <i>give, make</i>, and <i>have</i>, as they co-occur with the nominalizations associated with the class of English neutral verbs (537 verbs). Neutrality, also known as the ergative construction or the causative alternation, is present when the following equation holds:<br /><i>N0 V N1 &#8596; N1 V</i><br />For example, the verb in the following two sentences is considered neutral:<br /><i>Max chimes the bell &#8596; The bell chimes</i><br />Certain neutral verbs undergo nominalization and may occur with support verbs, as in the following examples:<br /><i>Max gave the bell a chime <br />Max made a chime</i><i> with the bell <br />The bell made a chime <br />The bell has a loud chime</i><br />Prepositional phrases associated with nominalizations of these neutral verbs are also briefly examined. The appearance of these nominals with the various support verbs and prepositional phrases is shown to be highly idiosyncratic. This reinforces the notion that transformations associated with verbs can be best described on an individual basis and gives further evidence for building a formal lexicon or lexicon-grammar.


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