Grammar Patterns

Chapter 6 Reciprocal Verbs

Chapter 6 Reciprocal VerbsReciprocal verbs describe actions or processes in which two or more people, groups, or things do the same thing to each other, have a relationship, or are linked because they are participating jointly in an action or event. Verbs of this kind are often called reciprocal verbs.Reciprocal verbs have two basic patterns:1) They can be used with a plural Subject - that is, a Subject consisting of a plural noun group. When they are used in this way, the meaning is that the people, groups, or things involved are interacting with each other. For example, two people can quarrel, discuss something, or meet.2) They can also be used with a Subject which refers to one of the participants and a prepositional Object, Adjunct, or Object which indicates the other participant, as in She quarrelled with her sister, I discussed the matter with him, and I met him at university. This structure is used to focus on the involvement of the first participant mentioned, or to imply that they have a more active role or greater responsibility for what happens. Usually the action or process is reciprocal even when this structure is used, so She quarrelled with her sister implies that her sister also quarrelled with her. However, with some verbs and some noun groups, the action or process may not in fact be reciprocal, as when, for example, someone kisses a baby or a car collides with a tree: in this instance the baby does not kiss the person and the tree does not collide with the car.A number of reciprocal verbs can be used with a singular Subject in patterns where the other participant is not mentioned, as in I agree and I was still negotiating for the best rate. These verbs are listed in the relevant sections in Chapters 1 and 2, for example V or V for n, and are labelled 'also non-recip' (non-reciprocal) in the lists below.Some verbs are ergative as well as reciprocal. These verbs are explained and listed separately in Chapter 8.Pattern combinations

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