V n to n

III.14 The 'beat to death' group

These verbs are concerned with:
    ways of injuring or killing someone
    ways of affecting someone strongly e.g. frighten, bore
The verbs concerned with killing or injuring are usually used in the passive. With these verbs, the most frequent prepositional phrase that occurs is to death. The verb bore also occurs with the prepositional phrase to tears.
This is a very productive use: any verb involving injuring or killing can be used with this pattern. The verbs listed below are those which are most frequently used in this way.
A subsequent investigation revealed the two men had been beaten to death.
I wish Alex would take me out, but I'm afraid I bore him to death.
Campaigners working on behalf of the family of a man who was crushed to death by a police car are furious that the officers involved are still on duty.
A woman was stabbed to death for her handbag two weeks ago.
In the case of drink, the noun group following the verb is always a reflexive pronoun. This pattern is V pron-refl to n. The verb starve often has this pattern as well.
He is now on the third day of his hunger strike. He says he will starve himself to death unless his activists are released from prison.
  • batter (usu passive)
  • beat (usu passive)
  • blast (usu passive)
  • bore
  • burn (usu passive)
  • choke (usu passive)
  • club (usu passive)
  • crush (usu passive)
  • drink
  • frighten
  • gore (usu passive)
  • kick (usu passive)
  • knife
  • peck
  • scare
  • shoot (usu passive)
  • spear (usu passive)
  • stab (usu passive)
  • starve
  • stone (usu passive)
  • torture (usu passive)
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