Re: "do" captures agent+subject
|From:||Philippe Caquant <herodote92@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, March 18, 2004, 8:57|
I think that, in a question like "What did Peter do
yesterday?", "to do" as a very general meaning. If you
ask the question, that usually means that you don't
know the answer yet, so if the answer sounds like
"Well, yesterday, Peter died", there is no
contradiction, even if "to die" is hardly "to do"
something (and even less German "machen").
- Was hat Peter gestern gemacht ?
- Peter ist gestern gestorben.
(the answer corrects somehow the question)
Of course, if the questioner already suspected
something, he would probably have asked, for ex:
- Was ist gestern mit Peter geschehen ?
- What happened to Peter yesterday ?
--- Roger Mills <romilly@...> wrote:
> Aha, found the original..................
> John Cowan wrote:
> > Henrik Theiling scripsit:
> > > Peter dries.
> > > Peter falls.
> > > Peter sneezes.
> > > Peter speaks.
> > > Peter runs.
> > >
> > > In English, you could argue that for each of
> these sentences, the
> > > answer to the question 'What does Peter *do*?'
> is the verb. But this
> > > is simply because Peter is the subject of each
> of these sentences and
> > > by asking for the doer, you ask for the subject.
> > I don't agree. ...... "What does X do?" marks X
> as both subject and
> > and if either is not true, it doesn't work.
> Apparently we agree. "What does X do?" IMO(lect)
> would only apply to the
> last two, and many other trans.verbs (...sells cars,
> writes books etc);
> "What happened to X?" to the first two; either
> might be appropriate to
> sneeze, cough etc., where they might be a question
> of volition.
"He thought he saw a Rattlesnake / That questioned him in Greek: / He looked
again, and found it was / The Middle of Next Week. / "The one thing I regret',
he said, / "Is that it cannot speak !' " (Lewis Carroll)
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