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English Verb Classes and Alternations: A Preliminary Investigation
by Beth Levin
University of Chicago Press, 1993
Cloth: 978-0-226-47532-5 | Paper: 978-0-226-47533-2

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
In this rich reference work, Beth Levin classifies over 3,000 English verbs according to shared meaning and behavior. Levin starts with the hypothesis that a verb's meaning influences its syntactic behavior and develops it into a powerful tool for studying the English verb lexicon. She shows how identifying verbs with similar syntactic behavior provides an effective means of distinguishing semantically coherent verb classes, and isolates these classes by examining verb behavior with respect to a wide range of syntactic alternations that reflect verb meaning.

The first part of the book sets out alternate ways in which verbs can express their arguments. The second presents classes of verbs that share a kernel of meaning and explores in detail the behavior of each class, drawing on the alternations in the first part. Levin's discussion of each class and alternation includes lists of relevant verbs, illustrative examples, comments on noteworthy properties, and bibliographic references. The result is an original, systematic picture of the organization of the verb inventory.

Easy to use, English Verb Classes and Alternations sets the stage for further explorations of the interface between lexical semantics and syntax. It will prove indispensable for theoretical and computational linguists, psycholinguists, cognitive scientists, lexicographers, and teachers of English as a second language.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
  • Contents 
    • Preface
    • Introduction: The Theoretical Perspective
    • The Layout of the Book
    • Part One 
    • Alternations
      • Transitivity Alternations
        • 1.1 
        • Object of Transitive = Subject of Intransitive Alternations
          • 1.1.1 
          • Middle Alternation
          • 1.1.2 
          • Causative Alternations
            • 1.1.2.1 
            • Causative/Inchoative Alternation
            • 1.1.2.2 
            • Induced Action Alternation
            • 1.1.2.3 
            • Other Instances of Causative Alternations
          • 1.1.3 
          • Substance/Source Alternation
        • 1.2 
        • Unexpressed Object Alternations
          • 1.2.1 
          • Unspecified Object Alternation
          • 1.2.2 
          • Understood Body-Part Object Alternation
          • 1.2.3 
          • Understood Reflexive Object Alternation
          • 1.2.4 
          • Understood Reciprocal Object Alternation
          • 1.2.5 
          • PRO-arb Object Alternation
          • 1.2.6 
          • Characteristic Property Alternations
            • 1.2.6.1 
            • Characteristic Property of Agent Alternation
            • 1.2.6.2 
            • Characteristic Property of Instrument Alternation
          • 1.2.7 
          • Way Object Alternation
          • 1.2.8 
          • Instructional Imperative
        • 1.3 
        • Conative Alternation
        • 1.4 
        • Preposition Drop Alternations
          • 1.4.1 
          • Locative Preposition Drop Alternation
          • 1.4.2 
          • With Preposition Drop Alternation
      • Alternations Involving Arguments Within the VP
        • 2.1 
        • Dative Alternation
        • 2.2 
        • Benefactive Alternation
        • 2.3 
        • Locative Alternation
          • 2.3.1 
          • Spray/Load Alternation
          • 2.3.2 
          • Clear Alternation (transitive)
          • 2.3.3 
          • Wipe Alternation
          • 2.3.4 
          • Swarm Alteraation
          • 2.3.5 
          • Clear Alternation (intransitive)
        • 2.4 
        • Creation and Transformation Alternations
          • 2.4.1 
          • Material/Product Alternation (transitive)
          • 2.4.2 
          • Material/Product Alternation (intransitive)
          • 2.4.3 
          • Total Transformation Alternation (transitive)
          • 2.4.4 
          • Total Transformation Alternation (intransitive)
        • 2.5 
        • Reciprocal Alternations
          • 2.5.1 
          • Simple Reciprocal Alternation (transitive)
          • 2.5.2 
          • Together Reciprocal Alternation (transitive)
          • 2.5.3 
          • Apart Reciprocal Alternation (transitive)
          • 2.5.4 
          • Simple Reciprocal Alternation (intransitive)
          • 2.5.5 
          • Together Reciprocal Alternation (intransitive)
          • 2.5.6 
          • Apart Reciprocal Alternation (intransitive)
        • 2.6 
        • Fulfilling Alternation
        • 2.7 
        • Image Impression Alternation
        • 2.8 
        • With/Against Alternation
        • 2.9 
        • Through/With Alternation
        • 2.10 
        • Blame Alternation
        • 2.11 
        • Search Alternations
        • 2.12 
        • Body-Part Possessor Ascension Alternation
        • 2.13 
        • Possessor-Attribute Factoring Alternations
          • 2.13.1 
          • Possessor Object
          • 2.13.2 
          • Attribute Object
          • 2.13.3 
          • Possessor and Attribute Alternation
          • 2.13.4 
          • Possessor Subject (transitive)
          • 2.13.5 
          • Possessor Subject (intransitive)
        • 2.14 
        • As Alternation
      • “Oblique” Subject Alternations
        • 3.1 
        • Time Subject Alternation
        • 3.2 
        • Natural Force Subject Alternation
        • 3.3 
        • Instrument Subject Alternation
        • 3.4 
        • Abstract Cause Subject Alternation
        • 3.5 
        • Locatum Subject Alternation
        • 3.6 
        • Location Subject Alternation
        • 3.7 
        • Container Subject Alternation
        • 3.8 
        • Raw Material Subject Alternation
        • 3.9 
        • Sum of Money Subject Alternation
        • 3.10 
        • Source Subject Alternation
      • Reflexive Diathesis Alternations
        • 4.1 
        • Virtual Reflexive Alternation
        • 4.2 
        • Reflexive of Appearance Alternation
      • Passive
        • 5.1 
        • Verbal Passive
        • 5.2 
        • Prepositional Passive
        • 5.3 
        • Adjectival Passive (transitive verbs)
        • 5.4 
        • Adjectival Perfect Participles (intransitive verbs)
      • Alternations Involving Postverbal “Subjects”
        • 6.1 
        • There-Insertion
        • 6.2 
        • Locative Inversion
      • Other Constructions
        • 7.1 
        • Cognate Object Construction
        • 7.2 
        • Cognate Prepositional Phrase Construction
        • 7.3 
        • Reaction Object Construction
        • 7.4 
        • X's Way Construction
        • 7.5 
        • Resultative Construction
        • 7.6 
        • Unintentional Interpretation of Object
          • 7.6.1 
          • Unintentional Interpretation with Reflexive Object
          • 7.6.2 
          • Unintentional Interpretation with Body-Part Object
        • 7.7 
        • Bound Nonreflexive Anaphor as Prepositional Object
        • 7.8 
        • Directional Phrases with Nondirected Motion Verbs
      • Verbs Requiring Special Diatheses
        • 8.1 
        • Obligatory Passive
        • 8.2 
        • Obligatorily Reflexive Object
        • 8.3 
        • Inalienably Possessed Body-Part Object
        • 8.4 
        • Expletive It Object
        • 8.5 
        • Obligatory Adverb
        • 8.6 
        • Obligatory Negative Polarity Element
    • Part Two 
    • Verb Classes
      • Verbs of Putting
        • 9.1 
        • Put Verbs
        • 9.2 
        • Verbs of Putting in a Spatial Configuration
        • 9.3 
        • Funnel Verbs
        • 9.4 
        • Verbs of Putting with a Specified Direction
        • 9.5 
        • Pour Verbs
        • 9.6 
        • Coil Verbs
        • 9.7 
        • Spray/Load Verbs
        • 9.8 
        • Fill Verbs
        • 9.9 
        • Butter Verbs
        • 9.10 
        • Pocket Verbs
      • 10 
      • Verbs of Removing
        • 10.1 
        • Remove Verbs
        • 10.2 
        • Banish Verbs
        • 10.3 
        • Clear Verbs
        • 10.4 
        • Wipe Verbs
          • 10.4.1 
          • Manner Subclass
          • 10.4.2 
          • Instrument Subclass
        • 10.5 
        • Verbs of Possessional Deprivation: Steal Verbs
        • 10.6 
        • Verbs of Possessional Deprivation: Cheat Verbs
        • 10.7 
        • Pit Verbs
        • 10.8 
        • Debone Verbs
        • 10.9 
        • Mine Verbs
      • 11 
      • Verbs of Sending and Carrying
        • 11.1 
        • Send Verbs
        • 11.2 
        • Slide Verbs
        • 11.3 
        • Bring and Take
        • 11.4 
        • Carry Verbs
        • 11.5 
        • Drive Verbs
      • 12 
      • Verbs of Exerting Force: PushlPull Verbs
      • 13 
      • Verbs of Change of Possession
        • 13.1 
        • Gzve Verbs
        • 13.2 
        • Contribute Verbs
        • 13.3 
        • Verbs of Future Having
        • 13.4 
        • Verbs of Providing
          • 13.4.1 
          • Verbs of Fulfilling
          • 13.4.2 
          • Equip Verbs
        • 13.5 
        • Verbs of Obtaining
          • 13.5.1 
          • Get Verbs
          • 13.5.2 
          • Obtain Verbs
        • 13.6 
        • Verbs of Exchange
        • 13.7 
        • Berry Verbs
      • 14 
      • Learn Verbs
      • 15 
      • Hold and Keep Verbs
        • 15.1 
        • Hold Verbs
        • 15.2 
        • Keep Verbs
      • 16 
      • Verbs of Concealment
      • 17 
      • Verbs of Throwing
        • 17.1 
        • Throw Verbs
        • 17.2 
        • Pelt Verbs
      • 18 
      • Verbs of Contact by Impact
        • 18.1 
        • Hit Verbs
        • 18.2 
        • Swat Verbs
        • 18.3 
        • Spank Verbs
        • 18.4 
        • Non-Agentive Verbs of Contact by Impact
      • 19 
      • Poke Verbs
      • 20 
      • Verbs of Contact: Touch Verbs
      • 21 
      • Verbs of Cutting
        • 21.1 
        • Cut Verbs
        • 21.2 
        • Carve Verbs
      • 22 
      • Verbs of Combining and Attaching
        • 22.1 
        • Mix Verbs
        • 22.2 
        • Amalgamate Verbs
        • 22.3 
        • Shake Verbs
        • 22.4 
        • Tape Verbs
        • 22.5 
        • Cling Verbs
      • 23 
      • Verbs of Separating and Disassembling
        • 23.1 
        • Separate Verbs
        • 23.2 
        • Split Verbs
        • 23.3 
        • Disassemble Verbs
        • 23.4 
        • Differ Verbs
      • 24 
      • Verbs of Coloring
      • 25 
      • Image Creation Verbs
        • 25.1 
        • Verbs of Image Impression
        • 25.2 
        • Scribble Verbs
        • 25.3 
        • Illustrate Verbs
        • 25.4 
        • Transcribe Verbs
      • 26 
      • Verbs of Creation and Transformation
        • 26.1 
        • Build Verbs
        • 26.2 
        • Grow Verbs
        • 26.3 
        • Verbs of Preparing
        • 26.4 
        • Create Verbs
        • 26.5 
        • Knead Verbs
        • 26.6 
        • Turn Verbs
        • 26.7 
        • Performance Verbs
      • 27 
      • Engender Verbs
      • 28 
      • Calve Verbs
      • 29 
      • Verbs with Predicative Complements
        • 29.1 
        • Appoint Verbs
        • 29.2 
        • Characterize Verbs
        • 29.3 
        • Dub Verbs
        • 29.4 
        • Declare Verbs
        • 29.5 
        • Conjecture Verbs
        • 29.6 
        • Masquerade Verbs
        • 29.7 
        • Orphan Verbs
        • 29.8 
        • Captain Verbs
      • 30 
      • Verbs of Perception
        • 30.1 
        • See Verbs
        • 30.2 
        • Sight Verbs
        • 30.3 
        • Peer Verbs
        • 30.4 
        • Stimulus Subject Perception Verbs
      • 31 
      • Psych-Verbs (Verbs of Psychological State)
        • 31.1 
        • Amuse Verbs
        • 31.2 
        • Admire Verbs
        • 31.3 
        • Marvel Verbs
        • 31.4 
        • Appeal Verbs
      • 32 
      • Verbs of Desire
        • 32.1 
        • Want Verbs
        • 32.2 
        • Long Verbs
      • 33 
      • Judgment Verbs
      • 34 
      • Verbs of Assessment
      • 35 
      • Verbs of Searching
        • 35.1 
        • Hunt Verbs
        • 35.2 
        • Search Verbs
        • 35.3 
        • Stalk Verbs
        • 35.4 
        • Investigate Verbs
        • 35.5 
        • Rummage Verbs
        • 35.6 
        • Ferret Verbs
      • 36 
      • Verbs of Social Interaction
        • 36.1 
        • Correspond Verbs
        • 36.2 
        • Marry Verbs
        • 36.3 
        • Meet Verbs
      • 37 
      • Verbs of Communication
        • 37.1 
        • Verbs of Transfer of a Message
        • 37.2 
        • Tell
        • 37.3 
        • Verbs of Manner of Speaking
        • 37.4 
        • Verbs of Instrument of Communication
        • 37.5 
        • Talk Verbs
        • 37.6 
        • Chitchat Verbs
        • 37.7 
        • Say Verbs
        • 37.8 
        • Complain Verbs
        • 37.9 
        • Advise Verbs
      • 38 
      • Verbs of Sounds Made by Animals
      • 39 
      • Verbs of Ingesting
        • 39.1 
        • Eat Verbs
        • 39.2 
        • Chew Verbs
        • 39.3 
        • Gobble Verbs
        • 39.4 
        • Devour Verbs
        • 39.5 
        • Dine Verbs
        • 39.6 
        • Gorge Verbs
        • 39.7 
        • Verbs of Feeding
      • 40 
      • Verbs Involving the Body
        • 40.1 
        • Verbs of Bodily Processes
          • 40.1.1 
          • Hiccup Verbs
          • 40.1.2 
          • Breathe Verbs
          • 40.1.3 
          • Exhale Verbs
        • 40.2 
        • Verbs of Nonverbal Expression
        • 40.3 
        • Verbs of Gestures/Signs Involving Body Parts
          • 40.3.1 
          • Wink Verbs
          • 40.3.2 
          • Crane Verbs
          • 40.3.3 
          • Curtsey Verbs
        • 40.4 
        • Snooze Verbs
        • 40.5 
        • Flinch Verbs
        • 40.6 
        • Verbs of Body-Internal States of Existence
        • 40.7 
        • Suffocate Verbs
        • 40.8 
        • Verbs of Bodily State and Damage to the Body
          • 40.8.1 
          • Pain Verbs
          • 40.8.2 
          • Tingle Verbs
          • 40.8.3 
          • Hurt Verbs
          • 40.8.4 
          • Verbs of Change of Bodily State
      • 41 
      • Verbs of Grooming and Bodily Care
        • 41.1 
        • Verbs of Caring for the Whole Body
          • 41.1.1 
          • Dress Verbs
          • 41.1.2 
          • Groom Verbs
        • 41.2 
        • Verbs of Caring for a Specific Body Part
          • 41.2.1 
          • Floss Verbs
          • 41.2.2 
          • Braid Verbs
        • 41.3 
        • Verbs of Dressing
          • 41.3.1 
          • Simple Verbs of Dressing
          • 41.3.2 
          • Verbs of Dressing Well
          • 41.3.3 
          • Verbs of Being Dressed
      • 42 
      • Verbs of Killing
        • 42.1 
        • Murder Verbs
        • 42.2 
        • Poison Verbs
      • 43 
      • Verbs of Emission
        • 43.1 
        • Verbs of Light Emission
        • 43.2 
        • Verbs of Sound Emission
        • 43.3 
        • Verbs of Smell Emission
        • 43.4 
        • Verbs of Substance Emission
      • 44 
      • Destroy Verbs
      • 45 
      • Verbs of Change of State
        • 45.1 
        • Break Verbs
        • 45.2 
        • Bend Verbs
        • 45.3 
        • Cooking Verbs
        • 45.4 
        • Other Alternating Verbs of Change of State
        • 45.5 
        • Verbs of Entity-Specific Change of State
        • 45.6 
        • Verbs of Calibratable Changes of State
      • 46 
      • Lodge Verbs
      • 47 
      • Verbs of Existence
        • 47.1 
        • Exist Verbs
        • 47.2 
        • Verbs of Entity-Specific Modes of Being
        • 47.3 
        • Verbs of Modes of Being Involving Motion
        • 47.4 
        • Verbs of Sound Existence
        • 47.5 
        • Verbs of Group Existence
          • 47.5.1 
          • Swarm Verbs
          • 47.5.2 
          • Herd Verbs
          • 47.5.3 
          • Bulge Verbs
        • 47.6 
        • Verbs of Spatial Configuration
        • 47.7 
        • Meander Verbs
        • 47.8 
        • Verbs of Contiguous Location
      • 48 
      • Verbs of Appearance, Disappearance, and Occurrence
        • 48.1 
        • Verbs of Appearance
          • 48.1.1 
          • Appear Verbs
          • 48.1.2 
          • Reflexive Verbs of Appearance
        • 48.2 
        • Verbs of Disappearance
        • 48.3 
        • Verbs of Occurrence
      • 49 
      • Verbs of Body-Internal Motion
      • 50 
      • Verbs of Assuming a Position
      • 51 
      • Verbs of Motion
        • 51.1 
        • Verbs of Inherently Directed Motion
        • 51.2 
        • Leave Verbs
        • 51.3 
        • Manner of Motion Verbs
          • 51.3.1 
          • Roll Verbs
          • 51.3.2 
          • Run Verbs
        • 51.4 
        • Verbs of Motion Using a Vehicle
          • 51.4.1 
          • Verbs That Are Vehicle Names
          • 51.4.2 
          • Verbs That Are Not Vehicle Names
        • 51.5 
        • Waltz Verbs
        • 51.6 
        • Chase Verbs
        • 51.7 
        • Accompany Verbs
      • 52 
      • Avoid Verbs
      • 53 
      • Verbs of Lingering and Rushing
        • 53.1 
        • Verbs of Lingering
        • 53.2 
        • Verbs of Rushing
      • 54 
      • Measure Verbs
        • 54.1 
        • Register Verbs
        • 54.2 
        • Cost Verbs
        • 54.3 
        • Fit Verbs
        • 54.4 
        • Price Verbs
        • 54.5 
        • Bill Verbs
      • 55 
      • Aspectual Verbs
        • 55.1 
        • Begin Verbs
        • 55.2 
        • Complete Verbs
      • 56 
      • Weekend Verbs
      • 57 
      • Weather Verbs
    • References
    • Verb Index
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