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This is a spin-off from:

The difference between 'who' and 'whom'

where (among other things) the sentence

1. '*Whom was given the book?'

was discussed.

I understand that in AmE, this sentence is acceptable:

2. Whom did you give the book?

If 'whom' is acceptable in #2 for 'to whom', is 'whom' acceptable in #1 for 'to whom'? If so, is #1 acceptable as an inversion, with 'book' as subject?

3. 'Whom (IO) was given the book (S)?

i.e. 'the book was given to whom?'

Just curious.

MrP
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Comments  (Page 4) 
I found this hilariously funny! Then I thought, "Gosh, maybe he was serious!" (Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic came to mind!)


Ahem, . . .
Terry?
The derivational source of (1b) is a double object construction, not a dative construction and wh-movement is disallowed


Doesn't a double object mean a dative object and an accusative object? Is there a special terminology called "dative construction" which only includes structure with the preposition "to"? The terminology makes it sound as if putting the pronoun in the double object construction takes away its dativeness, doesn't it?

CJ
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The derivational source of (1b) is a double object construction, not a dative construction and wh-movement is disallowed


wh-movement is only disallowed if you need a rule that prevents the generation of a sentence that you believe should not be generated because it is not grammatical to you (or to the person who wants to include the rule in the generative grammar).

Don't you agree?

CJ
Hi, Casi!

I didn't understand the "Ahem". Maybe you didn't see the humor in those examples?
I presented a sentence which was just awful -- so awful that even the "improvement" is awful! It's an "unimprovable sentence"!

Not funny to you? Well, I thought so! Emotion: smile

CJ
It was my attempt at humor. : . . ( (L)
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Stranded prepositions, mysteriously disappearing prepositions...I'm glad you all stopped for a breather. It gave me a chance to catch up.

This aspect I find interesting:

1. The lion was given | the Christian.
2. The lion was given | to the Christian.
3. The lion was given | to eating Christians.
4. The lion was given | ten minutes to eat the Christian.

Given these 4 possibilities (are there more?), and licence to insert as many words or phrases as you want after 'given', how long can ambiguity be maintained?

(My thought here is that passive ditransitives must somehow be left 'open' in the listener's mind, till some aspect of word order resolves the ambiguity.)

MrP
Note, too, that in the third sentence, we even reach the end of the sentence with minds still open!

-- as we might with the spoken version of

The lion was given to preying/praying on Christians. (Although the second meaning is infinitely less likely. I'm sure there are very few known cases of pious lions.)

The term "garden path" sentence comes to mind. Has anybody but me heard that term?

CJ
in the third sentence, we even reach the end of the sentence with minds still open

I hadn't spotted that one!

'Garden path sentence' sounds familiar; or maybe it's just the experience. Where you keep turning corners to find yet another hill ahead. 'Country mile' sentences...

MrP

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I believe the most quoted example of a garden path sentence is

The horses raced past the barn fell.

(where "raced" is a past participle)

CJ
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