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Re: THEORY: Re : THEORY: Connolly: Interpreting ergative sentences

From:Tom Wier <artabanos@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 20, 1999, 5:25
Nik Taylor wrote:

> Irina Rempt-Drijfhout wrote: > > I have no trouble with "the fabric tears". How is it ungrammatical? > > "I caught my sleeve on a nail, and it tore". > > I have no problem with that either. But, I think it's > prescriptivistically incorrect. I remember having a debate with my > English teacher about a similar situation, "my pencil broke" - I said it > made perfect sense, no problem, she said it made no sense, and that it > should be "I broke my pencil". I'd consider "my pencil broke" to be > acceptable if it were accident, like "I sat on my pencil, and it > broke". "I broke my pencil" sounds deliberate, or at least snapping it > in anger.
Boy, am I happy that my highschool teachers were all either linguisticly trained or linguisticly minded! That sounds like someone trying to impose restrictions on the language that simply have never existed, a la split infinitives. =========================================== Tom Wier <artabanos@...> AIM: Deuterotom ICQ: 4315704 <> "Cogito ergo sum, sed credo ergo ero." "Things just ain't the way they used to was." - a man on the subway ===========================================