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NG29. Syntax of ‘give up’ (3)

We’ve already looked at give…up in declaratives.  Now is the turn of who-interrogatives.

To keep some momentum we’ll skip polar and pro-adverb interrogatives.  You could have a go at them, discovering what works and why by reference to earlier posts such as LS19 and LS24-28.

We can draw key conclusions about pronoun interrogatives from a long list of possible sentences and then see what’s going on using just a few examples. 

Long list

The following sentences are numbered the same as the corresponding sentences without up.  The numbers are suffixed according to the position of up; a = immediately after the main verb, b = after the first argument following that predicate, c = farther to the right.

(61a) Who is giving up?

(62a) Who is giving up Olivia?

(62b) Who is giving Olivia up?

(63a) * Who is giving up Poppaea Olivia?

(63b) * Who is giving Poppaea up Olivia?

(63c) * Who is giving Poppaea Olivia up?

(64a) Who is giving up Olivia to Poppaea?

(64b) Who is giving Olivia up to Poppaea?

(64c) * Who is giving Olivia to Poppaea up?

(65a) Who is giving up to Poppaea?

(65b) * Who is giving to Poppaea up?

(66a) Who is given up?

(67a) * Who is given up Olivia?

(67b) * Who is given Olivia up?

(68a) * Who is given up Olivia by Nero?

(68b) * Who is given Olivia up by Nero?

(68c) * Who is given Olivia by Nero up?

(69a) Who is given up to?

(69b) * Who is given to up?

(70a) Who is given up to by Nero?

(70b) * Who is given to up by Nero?

(70c) * Who is given to by Nero up?

(71a) Who is given up to Poppaea?

(71b) * Who is given to Poppaea up?

(72a) Who is given up to Poppaea by Nero?

(72b) * Who is given to Poppaea up by Nero?

(72c) * Who is given to Poppaea by Nero up?

(73a) Who is given up by Nero?

(73b) * Who is given by Nero up?

Sentence (74) is irrelevant here because it includes no give form.

(75a) Who is Nero giving up?

(76a) * Who is Nero giving up Poppaea?

(76b) * Who is Nero giving Poppaea up?

(77a) Who is Nero giving up Olivia to?

(77b) Who is Nero giving Olivia up to?

(77c) * Who is Nero giving Olivia to up?

(78a) Who is Nero giving up to?

(78b) * Who is Nero giving to up?

(79a) Who is Nero giving up to Poppaea?

(79b) * Who is Nero giving to Poppaea up?

(80a) Who is Poppaea given up?

(81a) * Who is Poppaea given up Olivia by?

(81b) * Who is Poppaea given Olivia up by?

(81c) * Who is Poppaea given Olivia by up?

(82a) Who is Olivia given up to?

(82b) * Who is Olivia given to up?

(83a) Who is Olivia given up to by Nero?

(83b) * Who is Olivia given to up by Nero?

(83c) * Who is Olivia given to by Nero up?

(84a) Who is Olivia given up to Poppaea by?

(84b) * Who is Olivia given to Poppaea up by?

(84c) * Who is Olivia given to Poppaea by up?

(85a) Who is Olivia given up by?

(85b) * Who is Olivia given by up?

(86a) * Who is Poppaea given up by Nero?

(86b) * Who is Poppaea given by Nero up?

(87a) Who is Olivia given up by Nero to?

(87b) ? Who is Olivia given by Nero up to?

(87c) * Who is Olivia given by Nero to up?

All the sentences are grammatical without up.  There seem not to be any sentences that are ungrammatical without but grammatical with up.

Preposition phrase before up

The greatest number of ungrammatical sentences in the list are those where up follows a preposition.  The preposition may be complemented by a following noun phrase or by the sentence-initial interrogative pronoun.

Evidently the same mechanism is in play as in declarative up sentences (see LS27) – the imposition, when to or by is encountered, of a different C (category) concept for giving or given which then disallows giving__up or given__up.  For example:

(64c) Who is giving Olivia to Poppaea up?

The sentence fails because there is no giving2__up junction.

While finding (87b) not so bad, I can’t explain why it doesn’t fail just like (86b).  Perhaps up to is treated as a single preposition.  Any other suggestions?

Other passives

Ungrammatical sentences numbered 67, 68 and 81 can all be accounted for by given__(noun) disallowing given__up and vice versa.  For example:

(67a) Who is given up Olivia?

The sentence fails because there is no given2__(noun) junction.

These sentences can be rescued by inserting to before the bare noun (unless the resulting to-phrase would occur before up).  That suggests pre-verb Who or Poppaea needs is treated as THEME, precluding a double-object construction.  Why that should be is a bit mysterious but how it’s done is simple to explain with NG.

Other actives

Explanations of (63a) and (63b) each need two changes of the C concept for giving.  The changes are not the same for both sentences.

In (63a), giving1__up is a valid junction which substitutes giving2; giving2__Poppaea is valid and substitutes giving3; it also forces poppaea to be theme; giving3__Olivia is invalid and the sentence fails; giving3__to is however valid.

(63a) Who is giving up Poppaea Olivia?

 The sentence fails because there is no giving3__(noun) junction.

In (63b), giving1__Poppaea is valid and substitutes giving2; it also forces POPPAEA to be THEME; giving2__up is valid and substitutes giving3; etc.

An analysis like the one just discussed would wrongly make sentences (76a) and (76b) grammatical.  It could be that is__Nero and is__giving substitute giving2 for giving1.  However that would be complicated and would also make it difficult to explain why (77a) and (77b) are grammatical.

The ability to change the C concept for a word should enable any piece of syntax to be explained.  But one instinctively rejects contrived explanations for cases that are not especially obscure.  Here a more plausible explanation is that, at sentence-end, the WHO? proposition remains incomplete because to has not been encountered.

(76a) Who is Nero giving up Poppaea?

The sentence fails because it contains no giving__TO junction

The explanation is still unsatisfactory because GIVE / GOAL / WHO? seems to be completely formed by displacing it away from the THEME proposition.  Further investigation is needed into what that junction would bring to complete the proposition.

Half way

A slightly ragged end to the lengthy discussion of give…up.  The next piece will look at how NG deals with up as a preposition forming an adverbial phrase.

NG1 promised to deliver the Philosopher’s Stone in 57 weekly posts.  This is number 29.  There’s a lot still to be written up.  Whether too much or too little for another 28 posts is not yet known.  But please keep reading and commenting.

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