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CHAT: Linux etc. was(Re: Zelandish (was: 2nd pers. pron. forGod))

From:Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 24, 2002, 5:29
Someone wrote:
> >> yep. one of my favourite things about the english > >> language is its tendency to get active and passive > >> muddled up ( and also the use of the passive with the > >> active's indirect/prepositional object as subject : 'i > >> was given a book'
Actually, that's arguably because English doesn't have a direct/indirect object distinction, but rather a primary/secondary object distinction, that is: Subj Prim. Obj Subj Passive I saw the man --> The man was seen Subj Prim. Obj Sec. Obj Subj Passive Sec. Obj. I gave the man the book --> The man was given the book Subj Prim. Obj Sec. Obj Subj Prim. Obj Prep. Phrase I gave the man the book --> I gave the book to the man Subj. Passive Prep. Phrase --> The book was given to the man Only the primary object may be made into the subject of a passive sentence. To make the secondary object into a subject, you must first convert it into a primary object by demoting the previous primary object to a prepositional phrase.
> >> 'i could tell i was being talked > >> about', 'she always liked being looked up to' &c. )
Which is a different construction, as indicated by the fact that the preposition remains. *"The man was given the book to" is ungrammatical.
> >But that's one of the beauties of the whole shebang. Mind you, you can say - > >and be understood - "the house was abuilding" for "the house was being > >built".
That would mean "The house was building" (and would thus sound very odd, how can a house build anything? :-)). "A- ... -ing" is simply the archaic form of the progressive. -- "There's no such thing as 'cool'. Everyone's just a big dork or nerd, you just have to find people who are dorky the same way you are." - overheard ICQ: 18656696 AIM Screen-Name: NikTaylor42