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This paper investigates the syntactic structure of the English get-passive construction and explores the implications it holds for theories of Agentivity, the determination of the syntactic status of External arguments, and the nature of Control. Four previous analyses of get-passives are examined, these being the two variants of the verbal passive analysis put forth respectively in Quirk et al. (A grammar of contemporary English, Longman, 1972) and Haegeman (Lingua, 66: 53-77, 1985); the Control approach suggested in Lasnik and Fiengo (Linguistic Inquiry 5: 535-571, 1974); and the currently accepted adjectival passive analysis put forth in Fox and Grodzinsky (A-chains in children's passive and get as an unaccusative (raising) verb, 1992, Linguistic Inquiry 29: 311-332, 1998). By reintroducing and adding to the empirical base, it is shown that this construction is three-way structurally ambiguous, possessing a verbal passive, an adjectival passive, and a Control structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-78
Number of pages38
JournalLinguistic Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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