The development of and factors influencing double object construction preference of the ditransitive verbs envy and forgive

Veronika Hlaváčková (Charles University, Prague) — Gabriela Brůhová (Charles University, Prague)




The paper investigates the double object constructions, viz. SVOi Od and SVOOprep clause patterns, of the ditransitive verbs envy and forgive. The syntactic and semantic specificity of the two verbs in question may indicate a possible future extinction of their ditransitive use. The present study aims to provide an extensive quantitative and qualitative analysis of the double object construction preference from both the diachronic and synchronic perspectives. Using a corpus sample of American English (COHA), the data reveal a complex situation. While the double object constructions with envy prefer the indirect object clause pattern, there is a notable tendency of such constructions to gradually decline in frequency and give rise to the prepositional pattern. Forgive shows preference for the SVOOprep pattern. Nevertheless, it is the form of the objects that seems to play a significant role in the double object construction preference.


argument structure, ditransitive verb, double object construction, object realization, syntactic change




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