Spencer Caplan


Posts by Spencer Caplan:

    English Verb-Particle Constructions

    Lately I've been thinking about "optionality" as it relates to syntactic alternations. (In)famous cases include complementizer deletion ("I know that he is here" vs. "I know he is here") or embedded V2 in Scandinavian. For now let's consider the English verb-particle construction. The relative order of the particle and the object is "optional" in cases such as the following:

    1a) "John picked up the book"
    1b) "John picked the book up"

    Either order is usually acceptable (with the exception of pronoun objects — although those too become acceptable under a focus reading…)

    1c) "John put it back"
    1d) *"John put back it"

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