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    Three-place verbs

    In addition to two-place verbs there are threeplace verbs, which denote a situation connecting three participants: give (Bill, my teacher, a houseplant) (e.g. Bill gave my teacher a houseplant: or Bill gave a houseplant to my teacher) tell (the children, their parents, an incredible story) grant (the authorities, him, permission to leave) put (the milkman, three bottles, the step) (i.e. The milkman put three bottles on the step) convert (the builders, the back room, a study) (i.e. The builders have converted the back room into a study) Each verb determines the way the participants are arranged in the clause; for instance, give has the giver as subject and the recipient and the thing given as complements. The complements can be arranged either as (Bill gave) my teacher a houseplant, or as (Bill gave) a houseplant to my teacher. The verb present, although it is very similar in meaning to give, has different requirements: Bill presented a houseplant to my teacher, or Bill presented my teacher with a houseplant. Each verb has its own peculiar syntax—its power of determining the construction in which it occurs. Some verbs allow a small range of alternative constructions, and other verbs do not. Thus, present varies between the two constructions just mentioned. A verb sometimes has a range of
    different senses, each sense determining a different construction. Thus consider occurs in both He considered the problem (He thought about it) and He considered John foolish (He judged him to be foolish). One-place verbs There are are also verbs that have only one participant. An example occurs in The dog sleeps. These are one-place verbs: sleep (the dog) shake (the house) fall (the leaves) ache (my finger) walk (I) Even here we can see that the verbs denote a wide range of types of situation. Falling is a different kind of process from walking, since falling is something that happens to the faller, while walking is something that the walker does of his own volition. Despite this variety, the criterial meaning of the word-class ‘verb’ is present in all the words listed; I and the leaves denote participants in the situations and fall and walk denote the relation of the participants to the
    situation.

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