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Most Important Phrasal Verbs For Ielts Ielts Documentation
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Transitive phrasal verbs with the particle ”out”: Alexicon-grammar analysis
To cite this version:Michelle Garcia-Vega. Transitive phrasal verbs with the particle ”out”: A lexicon-grammar analysis.Southern Journal of Linguistics, 2011, 35 (1), pp.75-110. �hal-01369825�
Transitive phrasal verbs with the particle out:
A lexicon-grammar analysis*
Florida International University
Using a lexicon-grammar approach developed by Maurice Gross (1992), this project involved systematically
mapping the structural properties of over 550 transitive phrasal verbs with the particle out, PV out. The
data is analyzed in terms of two main tables or matrices. The first table illustrates the morpho-syntactic
properties of purely simple PV out expressions, like freak out the kid ↔ freak the kid out. The second table
illustrates the morpho-syntactic combinations of complex PV out expressions, as in take the boxer out of the
fight. The research shows that PV out expressions may involve up to 25 syntactic features, including N2
promotion, as in The girl spilled the water out of the glass → The girl spilled the glass out, complex-neutral
constructions, like The water spilled out of the glass, and reversed constructions, like The company farmed
the oil out of the land →The company farmed the land out of oil. The research shows that these syntactic
combinations are highly lexical in that a unique combination of features applies to individual phrasal verbs.
Verb particle constructions or phrasal verbs, PV, have long intrigued linguists, since van Dongen (1919), Bolinger
(1971) and Fraser (1976), and up to recent times as reflected in the works of Jackendoff (2002) and Dehé (2002). This
article builds on recent work on phrasal verbs by Machonis (2008 & 2009), who uses a lexicon-grammar framework
(Maurice Gross 1992 & 1994) to provide an extensive description of a full body of language data in order to draw
conclusions. Compress files to zip mac. We constructed an exhaustive lexicon-grammar of 562 purely transitive phrasal verbs with the particle
out, PV out, indicating up to 25 varying syntactic properties and transformations specified by plus or minus signs (cf.
sample Tables 1-5 in this article). Even though certain verb classes show some syntactic similarities in our
classification, it will be shown, nevertheless, that this information is highly lexical with a unique combination of
pluses or minuses applying to individual verbs rather than to broad semantic categories.
In constructing lexicon-grammar tables, we use elementary sentences (Gross 1996) of the type subject-verb-particle-
essential complements, such as N0 V Part N1, where N0 indicates the subject and N1 indicates the first complement.
All of the PV out expressions analyzed are transitive and can appear in both the continuous and discontinuous order, as
in the following examples where the arrow (↔) indicates relative synonymy:
(1) N0 V N1 out ↔ N0 V out N1
Clowns totally freak Peter out ↔ Clowns totally freak out Peter1
* I would like to thank my professor Peter A. Machonis for his inspiration and guidance throughout this project. I would also like to thank the
audiences at the SECOL 77 conference and FIU’s 2010 linguistic colloquium for their comments and feedback.
In contrast to intrinsically simple expressions like (1) above, some of these PV out constructions can also be analyzed
as complex expressions. These introduce a second complement indicated by N2, representing longer prepositional
phrases generally by out of, signified as N0 V N1 out of N2. While simple PV out constructions may appear in both the
continuous and discontinuous form, complex expressions can only appear in the discontinuous form.
(2) N0 V N1 out of N2 ↔ *N0 V N1 N2 out of
Katie took the booties out of the basket ↔ *Katie took the booties the basket out of
All the complex constructions examined, however, have the possibility of being reduced to simple PV out phrases, in
which case the particle can be moved.
(3) N0 V out N1 ↔ N0 V N1 out
Katie took out the booties ↔ Katie took the booties out
In our lexicon grammar tables, subjects and complements were analyzed as simple NPs entailing the properties of
human (Nhum) and non-human (N-hum) indicated by a plus or minus value in the appropriate column. The meaning
of the PV was also included in the table under synonym. The data of 562 PV out expressions2 was divided into two
tables: (1) simple PV out expressions of the form N0 V N1 out, consisting of 201 constructions, and (2) complex PV
out expressions, of the forms N0 V N1 out of N2, N0 V N1 out N2, and N0 V N1 out Prep N2 –all of which can be
reduced to the simple form, consisting of 361 constructions. The tables (c.f. sample tables 1-5) include morphological
information on the nature of the subject and possible complements, as well as the subset of related sentences and
transformations in the sense of Harris (1956).
2. Simple PV out
Section 2 briefly discusses the disambiguation and compositional status of PV out expressions. In section 2.1, it will
be shown that much of the compositional status of PV out expressions is highly contextual. Section 2.2 presents the
variety of transformations intrinsically simple PV out expressions exhibit showing that a unique set of features (plus or
minus) apply to each phrasal verb and that this data is highly lexical and cannot be generalized based solely on
semantic categories. Section 2.3 presents a sample table of the data.
2.1 Semantic Compositionality of Simple PV out
Bolinger (1971) was among the first to recognize that particles can contribute an aspectual or intensifying sense to
regular verbs. Others have analyzed the compositional status of PV expressions as a semantic continuum ranging from
fully transparent to fully idiomatic (Bolinger 1971, Fraser 1976, Dehe and Jackendoff 2002, Baldwin 2002). While
such analyses provide a more comprehensive view of the verb particle combination, compositionality in a lexicon-
grammar framework entails simply two distinct semantic classes defined by the column, N0 V N1, which indicates
relative synonymy with N0 V N1 out (Machonis 2009). The following examples, where the particle out is an optional
element, seem to imply some type of aspectual or intensifying interpretation to the simple verb and are thereby viewed
(4) N0 V N1 ↔ N0 V N1 out
a. Classical music mellows Max ↔ Classical music mellows Max out
b. The boxer punched the opponent ↔ The boxer punched the opponent out
A plus [+] in the column N0 V N1 serves to distinguish compositionally transparent PV out from idiomatic PV out
expressions.3 In 92 of the 200 simple PV out entries examined, the particle can be deleted showing that almost half of
these expressions are compositional. On the other hand, a negative value in the N0 V N1 column indicates the particle
is an essential element of the verb phrase illustrating a more idiomatic PV construction. Idiomatic PV’s, such as (5),
are those that cannot delete the particle without causing a significant change in meaning and thus must be listed in the
lexicon as complete units (Jackendoff 2002).4 The (≠) means the expressions are not synonymous.
(5) N0 V N1 ≠ N0 V N1 out
a. The gangsters took the boy ≠ The gangsters took the boy out ‘kill’
b. The mischievous students burn the professor ≠ The mischievous students burn the professor out ‘exhaust’
In these examples although the N0 V N1 column forms an acceptable expression, as in The gangster took the boy
meaning literally ‘to take’, they do not mean the same as the idiomatic verb plus particle combination The gangster
took the boy out5 meaning ‘to kill’. The particle is as an essential component to the construction and the PV
expression is consequently non-compositional.
Deleting the particle in other idiomatic PV’s can sometimes result in an unacceptable *N0 V N1 expression altogether,
as in (6).
(6) *N0 V N1 → N0 V N1 out
a. *Talented journalists will knock a story → Talented journalists will knock a story out ‘produce quickly
Most Important Phrasal Verbs For Ielts Ielts Documented
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