"write him" was Re: More questions
|From:||Tim May <butsuri@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, November 26, 2003, 21:04|
Costentin Cornomorus wrote at 2003-11-26 11:32:07 (-0800)
> --- Stephen Mulraney <ataltanie@...>
> > Tristan McLeay wrote:
> > > (Of course, in American English, the jarring 'write me' is
> > > grammatically correct... Silly little Americans ... :)
> > Indeed, it's very jarring. It usually causes some little boggling
> > of the mind when I read it.
> Is it not a part of your dialect then? It's totally transparent to
> me. As with any verb of that sort (sing, tell, read, etr.)
Wait, I know about "write", but do you mean "I sang him" is acceptable
to you as a complete sentence synonymous with "I sang to him"?
Here's how it works in my speech (which I imagine to be essentially
representative of British English, at least, in this respect).
Write Sing Tell
Ditransitive clause I wrote her I sang her I told her
a letter a song a story
Theme expressed, I wrote a I sang a I told a
recipient oblique letter to her song to her story to her
recipient unmarked *I wrote her *I sang her I told her
Theme absent, I wrote to I sang to *I told to
recipient oblique her her her
Theme present, I wrote a I sang a I told a
recipient absent letter song story
(I'm using "oblique" here to mean "marked by a preposition"
(specifically, "to"), in case there's any confusion with other senses
of the term. I'm not making any particular theoretical claim about
the status of these NPs)
 These are possible, but inelegant in most contexts. The example
for "write" emphasizes the act of composing the letter rather than the
communicative act suggested by the ditransitive.