Ergative Verbs

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Ergative verbs

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Ergative Verbs

  1. 1. Ergative Verbs
  2. 2. Ergative VerbsSome verbs can be used as transitive verbsto focus on the person who performs theaction, and as intransitive verbs to focus onthe thing affected by the action.When I opened the door, there was Laverne.Suddenly the door opened.
  3. 3. Ergative VerbsNote: The object of the transitive verb, in thiscase ‘the door’, is the subject of theintransitive verb. Verbs like these are called‘ergative’ verbs.When I opened the door, there was Laverne.Suddenly the door opened.
  4. 4. Ergative Verbs Ergative verbs often refer to:• changes begin dry improve start break end increase stop change finish slow tear crack grow
  5. 5. Ergative VerbsI broke the glass.The glass broke all over the floor.The driver stopped the car.A big car stopped.
  6. 6. Ergative Verbs• cooking bake cook fry roast boil defrost melt simmer
  7. 7. Ergative VerbsI’ ve boiled an egg.The porridge is boiling.I’ m cooking spaghetti.The rice is cooking.
  8. 8. Ergative Verbs• position or movement balance move rock stand stand close open shake turn drop rest
  9. 9. Ergative VerbsShe rested her head on her shoulder.Her head rested on the table.An explosion shook the hotel.The whole room shook.
  10. 10. Ergative Verbs• vehicles back drive reverse sail crash fly run
  11. 11. Ergative VerbsHe had crashed the car twice.Her car crashed into a tree.She sailed her yacht round the world.The ship sailed on Monday.
  12. 12. Ergative VerbsSome verbs can be used in these two waysonly with a small set of nouns. For example,you can say ‘He fired a gun’ or ‘The gunfired’. You can do the same with otherwords referring to types of gun, ‘cannon’,‘pistol’, or ‘rifle’. However, although you cansay ‘He fired a bullet’, you cannot say ‘Thebullet fired’.
  13. 13. Ergative Verbscatch: belt, cloth, clothing, dress, shirt,trousersfire: cannon, gun, pistol, rifleplay: guitar, music, piano, violinring: alarm, bellshow: anger, disappointment, emotions,fear, joysound: alarm, bell, horn
  14. 14. Ergative VerbsI caught my dress on the fence.My tights caught on a nail.A car was sounding its horn.A horn sounded in the night.
  15. 15. Ergative VerbsA few verbs can be used in both ways, butneed an adverbial when they are usedwithout an object.clean handle polishstain freeze marksell wash
  16. 16. Ergative VerbsHe sells books.This book is selling well.She had handled a machine gun.This car handles very nicely.
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