Volume 33, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0929-7332
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9919


Dutch impersonal passives are often considered to be only compatible with atelic volitional verbs, such as ‘work’, ‘laugh’, and ‘swim’. Two recent corpus studies, however, argue that a wider range of verbs is compatible with the construction, presenting examples of attested impersonal passives with telic and non-volitional verbs. This paper lends further support to this view, by providing an exploratory study of the frequencies of different intransitive verbs appearing in the construction, as well as a discussion of the telicity of attested impersonal passives with ‘fall’ and ‘die’. The paper concludes that also with these telic non-volitional verbs, the impersonal passive merely conveys the occurrence of the type of act described by the verb, without specifying whether this occurrence is constituted by a single or multiple events, or whether it involves one or more participants.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): attested examples; Dutch; impersonal passive; telicity; unaccusativity; volitionality
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