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NG24. Behaviour of ‘give up’

Give upIn the sentences already seen, a particle can follow the give form.  Depending on the sentence, the particle can appear in one particular place, or in one of two particular places, or nowhere at all.  The particle up will be used to investigate the possibilities.  The sentences used are all variants of those listed in NG15.

Particle up is a good choice because it gives three distinct semantic effects with give.  The three senses depend on the presence or absence of thematic relations:

  • grudge – reluctantly transfer ownership of something; GIVE has AGENT + THEME + GOAL or (passive only) THEME + GOAL
  • quit – break a habit or surrender something; GIVE has AGENT + THEME or (passive only) THEME alone
  • yield – abandon a struggle; GIVE has AGENT alone or AGENT + GOAL (and cannot occur in a passive sentence).

Grudge

For this, a scenario similar to the earlier one can be used, but now with the emperor reluctant to give.

Sentence (5) allows up in some post-verbal positions but not all.

(5a) Nero is giving up Olivia to Poppaea

(5b) Nero is giving Olivia up to Poppaea

(5c) * Nero is giving Olivia to Poppaea up

Sentence (9) also works with up on one or other side of Olivia.

(8) works only with up immediately after giving.

(8a) Nero is giving up to Poppaea Olivia

(8b) * Nero is giving to Poppaea up Olivia

(8c) * Nero is giving to Poppaea Olivia up

Sentence (13) is similar.

But (20) doesn’t work whatever the position of up.

(20a) * Nero is giving up Poppaea Olivia

(20b) * Nero is giving Poppaea up Olivia

(20c) * Nero is giving Poppaea Olivia up

Quit

With this sense, the emperor stops his habitual abuse of the slave-girl.

In sentence (7) both positions of up are possible.

(7a) Nero is giving up Olivia

(7b) Nero is giving Olivia up

In sentence (19) the only place for up is immediately post-verb.  This is grammatical.

(19a) Olivia Nero is giving up

Yield

With this sense, the emperor concedes in an argument with his wife, perhaps about the slave-girl.

Sentence (17) allows up but only before GOAL.

(17) Nero is giving up to Poppaea

(17b) * Nero is giving to Poppaea up

In (18) and (10), the only place for up is immediately post-verb.  These are both grammatical.

Passives

In the passive sentences, up can only appear immediately after given.  It forces a bare noun immediately before the verb to be comprehended as THEME and therefore sentences (12), (29), (30), (38), (15) and (39) do not work.  Other passive sentences with to Poppaea or by Nero before and Olivia after the verb do work.

Pronoun as THEME

For all grudge and quit sentences, up cannot precede but must follow THEME if it is a pronoun.

(88) Nero gave fiddling up

(89) Nero gave it up

(90) Nero gave up fiddling

(91) * Nero gave up it

Perhaps this is because particle-then-pronoun is semantically weak and easily mistaken for a preposition phrase.  If so, it suggests that particle-immediately-after-verb is the unmarked case; the marked case applies to pronouns for the reason just given; and the marked case has come to be available for nouns, as in (88), by analogy with that.

Adjuncts

An adjunct before or between noun and particle causes a dubious sentence.

(92) Nero gave up Olivia sadly to Poppaea

(93) Nero gave Olivia up sadly to Poppaea

(94) ? Nero gave Olivia sadly up to Poppaea

(95) ? Nero gave up sadly Olivia to Poppaea

(96) * Nero gave sadly up Olivia to Poppaea

(97) * Nero gave sadly Olivia up to Poppaea

Note that (95) to (97) are based on Nero gave sadly Olivia to Poppaea, which is clunky even without the particle.

Sentences (92), (95) and (96) are based on the unmarked sequence (assuming the suggestion in the previous section is correct).  The sentences are increasingly bad the farther to the left that sadly occurs.  Evidently verb then particle then noun is easiest to process.

Other points

Where up can occur either before or after the THEME noun, their position does not affect which of grudge, quit and yield applies to the sentence.

The to-phrase can’t precede the particle except where it is fronted:

(9a) To Poppaea Nero is giving up Olivia

(9b) To Poppaea Nero is giving Olivia up

Can NG cope?

To keep the discussion as clear as possible, the semantic and syntactic facts about particles will be addressed separately.  The next piece is dedicated to semantics.

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