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Chapter 7: Ergative Verbs
Introduction
What an ergative verb is

An ergative verb has the following features:

  • it has two patterns
  • only one of these patterns has a noun group following the verb
  • the person or thing indicated by that noun group may also be indicated by the Subject of the other pattern

For example, the verb break has two patterns, V and V n. Only one of these patterns, V n, has a noun group following the verb. An example of the pattern V n is John broke the vase. The noun group following the verb, the vase, may also be the Subject of the verb: The vase broke.

Combinations of patterns with ergative verbs

Some ergative verbs have symmetrical combinations of patterns. For example, the verb break has a combination of two patterns, V and V n. This combination is symmetrical because the only difference between the two patterns is that one has a noun group following the verb and the other does not. You say
The stick broke.
and She broke the stick.

Some ergative verbs have combinations of patterns that are asymmetrical, that is, the patterns are different in more ways than the presence or absence of a noun group. For example, the verb puff has the pattern V n but not the pattern V. Instead, it has the pattern V prep/adv. Therefore, you say
The chimney puffed smoke
and Smoke puffed out of the chimney
but you do not say Smoke puffed.

What the patterns indicate

When you use an ergative verb, you have a choice between two (or more) patterns. These patterns allow you to talk about the world in very different ways. For example, you can choose to indicate that something just happens, perhaps as a natural occurrence, without indicating that someone or something is responsible for it. Or you can indicate that someone or something is the cause of what happens and so is responsible for it. Compare the examples below. (Unlike the other examples in this book, these and the following examples in this Introduction have been invented to illustrate the differences in meaning between the patterns.)

The vase broke. John broke the vase.
The volume often varies. The technician can vary the volume.
Many factories closed. The government's policies closed many factories.

In the first example in each pair there is only one noun group. This noun group indicates something that does something or has something happen to it: the vase breaks, the 475 volume varies, and the factories close. We can call the vase, the volume, and the factories the `doer'. In these examples with only a `doer', you are not told what the cause of the action is. In fact, you may understand that the action has no cause. You may think, for example, that the vase broke by itself. Or you may understand that there is a cause but that the speaker or writer has chosen not to mention it. You may think, for example, that someone caused the vase to break but that the speaker or writer is deliberately hiding that information.

In the second example in each pair there are two noun groups. One of them is the `doer' and the other indicates the person or thing that causes the action: John causes the vase to break, the technician causes the volume to vary, and the government's policies cause the factories to close. We can call John, the technician, and the government's policies the `causer'. In these examples with both a `doer' and a `causer', you can understand the clause in only one way: that someone or something caused something to happen.

How the `doer' and the `causer' relate to the action depends on who or what they are. Here are some more examples:

(i) `Doer' and `causer' are both animate

Where the `doer' and the `causer' are both animate and the action is something that is under the control of the `doer', the exact roles of the `doer' and the `causer' vary according to the verb.

The `causer' may be someone in authority who encourages or orders the `doer' to do the action.

The horse galloped down the hill. The rider galloped his horse down the hill.
The squad marched down the hill. The sergeant marched the squad down the hill.

The `causer' may provide conditions that allow the `doer' to do the action.

The cows grazed in the water meadows. The farmer grazed the cows in the water meadows.

The `doer' and the `causer' may both be involved in the action, with different responsibilities.

She auditioned on Tuesday. I auditioned her on Tuesday.
He enrolled on a two-year course. The tutor enrolled him on a two-year course.
(ii) `Doer' is inanimate, `causer' is animate

Where the `doer' is inanimate, or is animate but the action is not under their control, and the `causer' is animate, the exact roles of the `doer' and `causer' vary according to the verb.

The `causer' may hold ultimate responsibility for the action, even though he or she does not intend to cause the action.

The vase broke when it fell on the floor. He broke the vase when he dropped it on the floor.
The car crashed. He crashed his car.

The `causer' may provide the conditions in which a natural process takes place.

Raspberries freeze well. She froze some raspberries.

The `causer' may not cause the action at all, but may be affected by the action, for example by suffering an injury.

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His leg fractured. He fractured his leg.

The `doer' may not do anything, but may be affected by the action.

The bucket filled in two minutes. He filled the bucket in two minutes.
(iii) `Doer' may be animate or inanimate depending on the verb, `causer' is inanimate

When the `causer' is inanimate, it may be the immediate cause of the action.

The vase broke. The impact broke the vase.

Alternatively, the `causer' may be an indirect cause of the action.

Her spirits lifted as if by magic. The party lifted her spirits as if by magic.
Patterns with reflexive pronouns

With many ergative verbs, the noun group following the verb is sometimes a reflexive pronoun. When this is the case, the `doer' and the `causer' are the same person or thing. Sometimes this means that there is little difference in meaning between this pattern and the pattern which mentions only the `doer'. For example, the first two examples below mean almost the same thing, although they have different patterns, but the third example has a different meaning.

The symptoms of the illness manifested ten days later. The symptoms of the illness manifested themselves ten days later. She manifested all the symptoms of the illness.

Sometimes, however, the pattern with a reflexive pronoun emphasizes that the Subject of that pattern is the cause of an event and also the person or thing that is affected by it. This is true particularly when the verb involved indicates that a person suffers harm. For example, the first example below suggests that the drowning was an accident, the second example suggests that it was suicide, and the third example suggests that it was murder.

He drowned in the river. He drowned himself in the river. She drowned him in the river.

The following ergative verbs often have a reflexive pronoun following the verb.

acclimatize assimilate attach beach disengage drown hang manifest overstretch plunge resolve
Ergative verbs and the passive

In patterns where there is a noun group (the Object) following the verb, the `causer' is indicated by the Subject and the `doer' is indicated by the Object. If that structure is made passive, however, the `doer' becomes the Subject and the `causer' may not be mentioned. Compare the following examples:

The vase broke. John broke the vase. The vase was broken.

The third example is the passive of the second example. We said above that in the first example, you may understand that the vase broke by itself or that someone caused the vase to break, whilst in the second example, you must understand that John caused the vase to break. In the third example, you understand that the vase did not break by itself, but do not know who caused the breakage. The Subjects of the first and the third examples are the same, but the meanings are different.

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Actual and potential events

Most ergative verbs can be used to indicate events that have taken place (actual events), or events that might take place (potential events). An example of an actual event is:

  • The glass broke.

Examples of potential events are:

This kind of glass tends to break in cold weather. This kind of glass breaks easily.

Some ergative verbs, in the pattern with the `doer' as Subject, are usually used only to indicate potential events. The pattern with the `causer' as Subject can be used to indicate both actual and potential events.

This cream smells clean and fresh, and applies easily. After you have stepped from a warm bath, apply the cream evenly over your body.
These eye shadows won't fade or crease and contain herbal extracts to soften the skin. Ultraviolet light will fade the colours in organic materials.

These verbs are indicated in the meaning groups described below.

Ergative link verbs

There are a few verbs which are ergative and which in one of their patterns only are link verbs (see also Chapter 5). For example, the verb turn, in the pattern V colour, is a link verb. It also has the pattern V n colour, in which it is not a link verb.

The feet start to burn, feel hot to the touch, and turn bright red. She experienced a tremendous flush, turning her bright red.

The following verbs are ergative link verbs.

form keep rank rate turn
About this chapter

In this chapter you will find information about all the combinations of patterns that occur with ergative verbs. As in the other chapters, information about clause structure is given here. This information is less detailed than in the other chapters, however. For example, we do not here show the patterns or structures of passives, or of phrasal verbs, although we do include examples of passives and phrasal verbs.

If you want to find out more about the patterns and structures described in this chapter, look in the relevant sections in Chapters 1-4.

Pattern Combinations

There are six symmetrical combinations of patterns.

  • Pattern combination 1: V; V n
    The vase broke. John broke the vase.
  • Pattern combination 2: V prep/adv; V n prep/adv
    The boat sailed up the river. We sailed the boat up the river.
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  • Pattern combination 3: V adj; V n adj
    The door slammed shut. She slammed the door shut.
  • Pattern combination 4: V as adj; V n as adj
    That score counts as successful. We count that score as successful.
  • Pattern combination 5: V to-inf; V n to-inf
    She trained to compete. They trained her to compete.
  • Pattern combination 6: V ord prep; V n ord prep
    They rank sixth in the world. Most people rank them sixth in the world.

There are four asymmetrical combinations.

  • Pattern combination 7: V prep/adv; V n; V n prep/adv
    Light reflects on the water. The mirror reflects light. The glass reflected light onto the wall.
  • Pattern combination 8: V prep/adv; V n
    Smoke puffed out of the chimney. The chimney puffed smoke.
  • Pattern combination 9: V adv; V n
    This carpet cleans easily. We cleaned the carpet.
  • Pattern combination 10: V adj; V n
    The chair folds flat. He folded the chair.
Pattern combination 1: V; V n

In the pattern V, the verb can be used on its own, without anything following it. In the pattern V n, the verb is followed by a noun group. This pattern combination is symmetrical.

This combination of patterns has one combination of structures:

  • Verb; Verb with Object
    The window broke. They broke the window.
V
  Verb group  
SubjectVerbAdjunct (optional)
The patternaltered.  
The foghornblasted.  
My spiritslifted.  
That meetingwill reconvenein two weeks.
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V n
  Verb groupnoun group  
SubjectVerbObjectAdjunct (optional)
All creaturesaltertheir own environmenta little.
Some motoristsblasttheir hornsin support.
Sunlightcan liftthe spirits.  
Ministerswill reconvenetheir meetingtoday.

Verbs with this combination of patterns belong to the following meaning groups:

Groups of verbs concerned with change

1.1 The `change' group 1.6 The `improve' and `worsen' group 1.11 The `divide' group
1.2 The `break' group 1.7 The `blister' group 1.12 The `quicken' and `slow down' group
1.3 The `dissolve' and `solidify' group 1.8 The `bleach' group 1.13 The `open' and `close' group
1.4 The `cook' group 1.9 The `clog up' group 1.14 The `calm down' group
1.5 The `expand' and `compress' group 1.10 The `blur' group 1.15 The `weaken' and `strengthen' group

Groups of verbs concerned with movement and action

1.16 The `detach' group 1.18 The `spurt out' group 1.20 The `assemble' and `disband' group
1.17 The `reverse' group 1.19 The `clench' and `relax' group 1.21 The `overwork' group

Groups of verbs concerned with starting something

1.23 The `start' and `stop' group 1.24 The `develop' group 1.25 The `awaken' group
1.1 The `change' group

In the pattern V, these verbs are concerned with something changing. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with someone or something bringing about a change. The verbs in this group have general meanings. More specific kinds of change are dealt with in other meaning groups below.

As society has changed in Java, the ways in which dancers are taught have also changed. Those who wish to change society have to create an active, political community.
alter change metamorphose vary
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1.2 The `break' group

These verbs are concerned with something breaking or being damaged. They may be divided into two groups:

(i) In the pattern V, these verbs indicate that something breaks or shows damage of some kind. In the pattern V n, they indicate that someone or something breaks or damages something or someone. The Subject in the pattern V n is the person or thing that causes the damage.

He slammed the door with such force that a window broke. They threw stones and broke the windows of buses.
While children can swallow many small objects without ill effect, batteries can cause severe damage if they corrode inside the body. It is claimed that chewing gum helps prevent tooth decay by stimulating saliva, which neutralises the acids that can corrode teeth.
In due time, Carey would go free while his accomplices hanged. The convicted men were due to be hanged this week, having lost their appeal recently.
With some of these verbs, the pattern V is usually used to indicate that something often happens (a potential event), rather than to indicate an actual event.
  • Men tend to bruise far more than women, because of the way their fat is arranged on the body.
These verbs are often followed by an adverb such as easily. This pattern is V adv (see also page xxx). Ch2 Sec2
  • I keep a jar of comfrey ointment which clears up bruises fast. I bruise very easily and the ointment is brilliant.
break bruise buckle burn burst chip choke corrode crack crumble deform derail drown erode flake fray fuse hang jam mark puncture rip rupture scorch scuff shatter short-circuit snap split suffocate tear warp
blow up burn down burn up wear away wear down wear out

(ii) In the pattern V, these verbs indicate that something breaks or shows damage of some kind. In the pattern V n, they indicate that something is broken or damaged. The Subject of the pattern V n may be someone or something that suffers damage to a part of themselves, as in I fractured my skull, or it may be someone who is responsible for the thing at the time that it is damaged, as in I crashed my car.

A couple of fuses had blown, so I had to trot over the road to Halfords. When I tried to factor in the extra odds, my computer blew a fuse.
When Julie was a baby they had to literally wrap her up in cotton wool to make sure no bones broke. Suzanne ran anxiously down the path assuming he'd broken a leg.
blow (a fuse or tyre) break (a bone) burn crash crash-land fracture overstretch rupture tear
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1.3 The `dissolve' and `solidify' group

In the pattern V, these verbs are concerned with something changing in some physical way. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with someone or something causing a physical change in something. The Subject in the pattern V n may be a person who makes a process happen, or provides conditions for a process to happen, as in The scientist condensed the vapor, or something that takes part in the process, as in The cold atmosphere condensed the vapor. In the case of some verbs, such as ripen, ripple, and rot, the second kind of Subject is more frequent.

Stir the mixture with a metal spoon until the sugar has dissolved. Dissolve the sugar in the warm water and add the dried yeast.
The seed will only germinate when the weather is warm and damp. First, the researchers germinated the plantain seeds.
The engineers filled the glasses with water and gunned the engine to 157 miles per hour. The water in the glasses didn't even ripple. The surface of the water was rippled by a sudden wind.
Silicon solidifies as it cools. The latest snowfall was soft, but the bitter cold had solidified the layers beneath it.
After a few minutes, the clumps of trees started to thin out, and Nancy realized she was heading uphill. The trees had been thinned out for cooking fires. They were able to move fast.
burn (fuel) chill coarsen condense cool crystallize curdle decompose deepen (a sound) defrost (a freezer) digest dilute dissipate dissolve drain dry dull empty emulsify evaporate fatten ferment fill flood fossilize freeze germinate harden hatch heal improve incubate liquefy loosen melt mutate naturalize overheat oxidize perish regenerate ripen ripple root rot shrivel singe soften solidify spoil stabilize steady tarnish thaw thicken thin tighten toughen turn vaporize weather
boil away cool down cool off dry off dry out dry up even out fill up firm up grow out (a hairstyle) light up liven up thaw out thin out warm up
1.4 The `cook' group

In the pattern V, these verbs indicate that food cooks. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with someone cooking food. The Subject of the pattern V n is usually the person who cooks the food, but it is sometimes the fuel or cooking equipment that is used.

While the water boiled, I picked up the shopping and put it away. Milwaukee residents have been advised to boil their tap water or drink bottled water.
Buffalo meat cooks faster than beef. I have to have cakes and pastries in my life; fortunately my wife cooks them brilliantly. The heat from the coals cooks the food.
Stir until the soup is just simmering. Simmer the vegetables in the lemon juice and stock for 10 minutes.
In the case of boil 2, the Subject of the V pattern and the Object of the V n pattern is the container of the food or liquid. 482
Ann and Mrs Kelly were standing awkwardly in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil. You will almost certainly want to boil a kettle within minutes of arrival.
In the case of freeze, the pattern V is used to indicate that a particular food does not come to harm when it is frozen.
  • The Iced Apricot and Almond Cream and Iced Maple and Pistachio Cream will freeze.
The verb is often followed by the adverb easily or well. This pattern is V adv (see meaning group 9.1 below for other verbs with this pattern and use).
  • Marrows don't freeze well, but they can be stored by hanging in nets.
bake boil brown char cook crisp defrost dissolve freeze infuse macerate marinade marinate mature melt percolate reduce (a liquid) simmer steam thaw
boil away thaw out warm up
1.5 The `expand' and `compress' group

In the pattern V, most of these verbs are concerned with the size, degree, shape, or configuration of something changing. The verbs bend, curl, curve, kink, and taper 1 indicate what shape something is, rather than how a shape changes. In the pattern V n, these verbs are concerned with someone or something changing the size, degree, shape, or configuration of something.

When we breathe in, the lymphatic vessels in the abdomen compress. The implosion would compress any metal at its core.
I tried to concentrate on the qualities I admired in him: his confidence, his charm, the way his hair curled at the nape of his neck. He spent hours on end curling a strand of his hair with his fingertips and looking stupid.
The hot weather has caused the track to expand slightly. This old-fashioned wooden Shoe Stretcher has special attachments that expand the leather in the specific spots where your foot needs more room.
With the use of random drug testing, the chance of being caught has increased. Just one severe sunburn in childhood can increase the chances of developing skin cancer.
Fighting has also intensified in other cities throughout the republic. In recent weeks, the guerrillas have intensified their attacks.
Relax your muscles and feel your spine straighten out. Osteopathy is gentle - straightening out the pelvis and lower back to improve movement and breathing.
In the case of compress, crease, tangle, tie, unzip, and zip up, the patterns V and V P are usually used to indicate that something may happen or often happens, rather than to describe an actual occurrence.
  • I don't use Styls lines because they tend to tangle in the wind.
bend coil compress concertina contract crease crumple curl curve decrease deepen deflate diminish double ease elongate enlarge erode escalate expand flatten grow halve increase inflate intensify kink lengthen lessen moderate multiply narrow quadruple redouble (efforts) shorten shrink slacken snag straighten stretch swell swivel tangle taper 483 tie treble triple uncoil unfold unfurl unravel unroll unwind unzip widen wrinkle
build up bulk up crumple up ease off fan out flatten out fold up ratchet up ruck up slim down (a company) straighten out zip up
1.6 The `improve' and `worsen' group

In the pattern V, these verbs are concerned with something changing in some abstract way. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with someone or something causing an abstract change in something.

In South Asia, the region most usually associated with mass poverty, the situation is now improving quite rapidly. We are convinced that he could improve the political situation.
As our economy strengthens, our government will be able to recreate the caring services and the decent standards to which I believe a civilised society rightly aspires. Optimists believe that this will strengthen the companies' revenue.
In 1991 the Oklahoma plant began to wind down. The recession went on and on, and I slowly wound down the business.
In addition to the problem of poverty of the old, there is concern over the problem of family poverty, which continues to worsen. The Pope said that war would be a disaster for all of humanity and would only worsen the problems of the region.
bounce (a cheque) brighten broaden clear (a cheque) depreciate (a currency) develop dim (hope) dissolve drop dull float (a currency) fossilize (an idea) globalize heal (a situation) improve industrialize loosen normalize ossify overheat (an economy) petrify relax (a rule) reunite revive sharpen (a disagreement) soften solidify sour (a relationship) strengthen thaw (relations) tighten (its grip) unravel weaken worsen
bog down brighten up broaden out calm down clear up ease off even out firm up liven up move along open up perk up rev up (a situation) sharpen up turn around/round wind down (a business)
1.7 The `blister' group

In the pattern V, these verbs are concerned with someone experiencing something physically. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with something having a physical effect on someone. The Subject in the pattern V n is often inanimate. The Object in that pattern, and the Subject in the pattern V, is a part of the body.

My left hand is dead to sensation. I could accidentally pick up scalding cups of coffee and not feel a thing although my hand would blister. Some persons are able to endure fire, for example, handle, walk on, or roll in hot coals without being blistered.
Coughing and hacking, her eyes stinging, she backed out of Joe's room. Sand stung his eyes.
484 age blister blur chafe churn cloud constrict convulse crease dehydrate dilate dim distend knot mend sharpen stiffen sting wrinkle
stiffen up
1.8 The `bleach' group

In the pattern V, these verbs are concerned with a colour or degree of brightness changing. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with someone or something making a colour or degree of brightness change.

The verbs in this group, when used in the pattern V, often indicate that something may change colour or has a tendency to change colour (a potential event), rather than that a colour has actually changed.

It is forbidden to cut indigo, make charcoal, or put cloth out to bleach in the sun. We make our own yarn, we weave it, we bleach it, we cut and sew.
Don't worry if the bananas discolour slightly - even when sliced at the last minute, they tend to turn brown. This furniture should be stored indoors, because rust will discolour the metal and the fabrics.
blacken bleach brighten darken deepen dim discolour fade lighten redden whiten
1.9 The `clog up' group

In the pattern V P, these verbs are concerned with something such as a pipe becoming blocked. In the patterns V n P and V P n (not pron), they are concerned with something blocking something such as a pipe.

I could stop worrying about my arteries clogging up so quickly again. Too much butter will start to clog up the arteries and lead to excess body fat.
block up clog up freeze up fur up silt up
1.10 The `blur' group

In the pattern V, these verbs are concerned with a glass or image becoming cloudy or distorted. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with something making a glass or image cloudy or distorted. In the pattern V n, the Subject indicates the cause of the cloudiness or distortion.

Alex frowned at the white figure; it was beginning to blur. This creates a spectrum of colours at the edges of objects which blurs the image.
blur cloud distort fog mist
fog up
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1.11 The `divide' group

In the pattern V, these verbs are concerned with a thing, organization, or group of people dividing into two or more parts. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with someone or something dividing a thing, organization, or group of people in this way.

The gene causes a problem in the way cells divide. The suggestion that I proposed to divide the city is absolute nonsense.
This inbred world is dividing and polarising. He has to polarize the electorate.
When the Soviet Union split up, Sahlins lost touch with the theater completely. One of the largest commuter airlines in the country may be split up.
degrade demerge divide fracture fragment polarize split
break down break up split up
1.12 The `quicken' and `slow down' group

In the pattern V, these verbs are concerned with something happening more quickly or more slowly. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with someone or something making something happen more quickly or more slowly.

The pace of unification began to quicken at the beginning of this year. The crisis has at least indirectly forced the President to quicken the pace of change.
The car never slowed down. Its tires squealed as it sped round the corner and out of sight. The idea was dreamed up to slow down traffic and protect cyclists in built-up areas.
accelerate quicken slow
slow down slow up speed up
1.13 The `open' and `close' group

In the pattern V, these verbs are concerned with something opening or closing. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with someone or something opening or closing something.

Rumbelows said 200 of its 500 shops may close within two years. Business was so bad Lynn McCourtney got a job out of town and is closing the shop.
The door opened and Mrs MacMahon, carrying a tray, entered. Before anyone realised what was happening he opened the door and jumped onto the track.
close open reopen shut
close down close up open up shut down
1.14 The `calm down' group

In the pattern V, these verbs are concerned with someone starting to have a feeling or emotion. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with someone or something making someone feel an emotion.

Just calm down and tell me what's happened. Frannie spent two hours on the phone with Dede, trying to calm her down.
All the passengers in the aircraft got up and sort of ran to the front of the plane as the stewardesses were yelling, `Don't panic!' 486 Cats could easily panic the birds and cause the eggs to be broken.
(not) budge freak heal mellow panic relax suffocate tire worry
calm down cheer up cool down crease up perk up warm up
1.15 The `weaken' and `strengthen' group

In the pattern V, these verbs are concerned with someone experiencing something mentally. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with something affecting someone's mind or attitudes. The Subject in the pattern V n is often inanimate. The Object in that pattern, and the Subject in the pattern V, is an aspect of the mind, thoughts, or emotions.

But later, the acid returns to Ryder's tongue, he hunches over the table, and his mood appears to darken once more. Nothing was going to darken his mood today.
Nationalist feeling has strengthened. Economic blockades may strengthen nationalist feeling.
When other men asked me out, the healthy part of me accepted, but as the day wore on, resolve would weaken. No act of defiance will weaken our resolve or shake our determination.
boggle build (confidence) cool (an emotion) crystallize (opinion) darken dim (memory) fray harden (attitudes) heighten (a feeling) jangle lift lighten melt sharpen stiffen stir (memory) strengthen weaken
build up (confidence) wear out (a welcome)
1.16 The `detach' group

In the pattern V, these verbs are concerned with someone or something moving, but not under their own control. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with someone or something moving someone or something, or putting someone or something somewhere. We include here accrue and accumulate, where the movement is sometimes metaphorical.

Many of these verbs also have patterns with adverbs or prepositional phrases (see meaning group 2.8 below), and for most of them those patterns are more frequent.

Her six-monthly statements would have revealed how little interest was accruing. It has promised that the bank's customers will not lose their money, which will continue to accrue interest.
A cable connects the seat to the aircraft. When this is pulled tight, it detaches and ignites the rocket pack below the seat. One night we unscrew every screw and unplug every plug and detach every wire and then that night we put in new systems.
Dark, dusty alleys separated the buildings, and lines of brightly colored clothes flapped like flags on clotheslines stretched across the rooftops. Icy wind flapped his overcoat and he turned his back to escape its knife-like pain on his face.
The first stone fitted exactly over the other stone, and then they would both revolve. Karlov picked up a round ruler like a baton and revolved it slowly between his long fingers.
In the case of recline, the pattern V is used to indicate that something such as a chair has a particular quality which can be made use of rather than to indicate an actual occurrence.
Air France first-class seats recline almost like beds. 487 Charles had reclined his seat and was lying back smoking.
accrue accumulate balance bounce (not) budge circulate collect detach disengage disperse engage (a mechanism) entwine flap flutter fly ground jar jolt jumble land move overturn part recline refract (light) revolve rewind rock rotate settle shake shift slop slosh spin submerge swirl tilt turn twirl unscrew unstick vibrate waggle whirl wiggle
break off double up get away hang up jumble up pile up pour in rain down shear off tip over tip up turn around/round turn over
1.17 The `reverse' group

In the pattern V, these verbs are concerned with a vehicle moving. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with someone driving or operating a vehicle. We include here capsize, refuel, and sink.

The authorities in Japan said the ship would not be allowed to dock. Carpenter docked his ship and turned over his command.
The van came to a halt, reversed, halted again. A gunman opened fire as PC Whitehouse reversed the car in a desperate attempt to escape.
Then my engine stalled, and had to be restarted. She stalled the engine, and restarted it.
In the case of capsize, halt, and sink, the Subject in the pattern V n may be inanimate.
  • Two anglers died when a wave capsized their 17ft boat off Cresswell, Northumberland.
Most of these verbs have another V pattern in which the Subject indicates the person driving or operating the vehicle.
  • When she got out, the driver reversed, crushing her against the patrol car.
anchor back beach capsize ditch dock halt land navigate refuel rev reverse sail sink stall start stop swerve tack
rev up start up warm up
1.18 The `spurt out' group

These verbs are concerned with liquids, gases, or flames coming out of a container. In the pattern V, the Subject indicates the liquid, gas, or flame. In the pattern V n, the Subject indicates the container.

Bake the lemon in the oven at a moderate heat until it begins to crack open and the juice starts to exude. The dandelion is composed of a tapering root and green serrated leaves, both of which exude a milky juice when cut.
The point of the blade slipped further in and a few drops of blood spurted out. So now when the washing machine spurts out water at least we can mop it up.
488 exude leak spurt
spurt out
1.19 The `clench' and `relax' group

These verbs are concerned with movements of part of the body, or changes in behaviour. In the pattern V, the Subject indicates the part of the body or aspect of behaviour. In the pattern V n, the Subject indicates the person whose body or behaviour is involved.

He got suddenly angry. His fists clenched. She clenched her fists. She stared at him fiercely.
Your ears prick up when you hear discouraging or nasty remarks. The dog pricked up its ears, wagged its tail, and scrambled into the back of the truck.
The tensed muscles of the animal slowly relaxed. These tapes will help you to relax each muscle in your body.
Her speech was slurring. She was tired and said she was dying. I was slurring my words a bit.
Jill's voice softened, and her eyes were normal again. She was unable to soften her voice.
In the case of loosen up, tense up, and twitch, in the patterns V and V P, the Subject may indicate a part of the body or a person.
His face tensed up a bit once more. Baxter tensed up.
adjust arch beat bend clench close coarsen contort crinkle curl deepen drop flail flap flare focus furrow jut loosen lower narrow open pucker relax retract roll ruffle shut slacken slur soften tan tauten thrash tighten twitch work wrinkle
ball up loosen up prick up screw up tense up
1.20 The `assemble' and `disband' group

These verbs are concerned with a group of people moving or doing something together. This includes:

  • forming a group e.g. assemble, organize
  • splitting a group up e.g. demobilize, disband
  • going somewhere as a group e.g. pull out, relocate
  • behaving in a particular way as a group e.g. bunch up, rotate

In the pattern V, the Subject indicates the group of people. In the pattern V n, the Subject indicates someone who organizes the group or something that motivates the group to do something.

Monks should assemble at the full and new moons for a form of private mutual confession. While in his twenties he had bought a boat, assembled a crew, and sailed round the world.
On November 17th the group voted quietly to disband. At the end of 1780 Washington had to disband part of his army for lack of clothing.
We're going to unite and we're going to win the next general election. Opposition to the government unites soldiers and civilians.
489 In the case of rotate, the Subject of the pattern V and the Object of the pattern V n is sometimes inanimate.
If there is a leader will the leadership rotate among the members? The new party rules rotate the leadership.
assemble demobilize disband disperse mass mobilize muster organize (workers) reassemble redeploy regroup relocate reorganize resettle reunite rotate scatter settle unite withdraw
bunch up hold together line up pull back pull out split up turn back
1.21 The `overwork' group

These verbs are concerned with a person or animal going somewhere or doing something, under their own control. In the pattern V, the Subject indicates the person or animal who moves or does something. In the pattern V n, the Subject indicates the person or group of people who:

  • makes the person or animal move or do something
  • encourages the person or animal to move or do something
  • provides conditions that allow the person or animal to move or do something
A jolly baby may feed eagerly, but after the first three or four months may keep breaking off to have a little `chat' or a giggle with you. The simplest thing to do is to feed your baby.
I push myself too hard. I overwork a lot. He blamed his heart attack on his employer for overworking him.
If only I had taken better care of him, if only I had insisted he slow down, or eat more sensibly. Meanwhile, Maria refused to let pregnancy slow her down.
As the distribution started the crowd stampeded and many were crushed or trampled underfoot. The next moment Joe yelled, `They're stampeding the herd!'
assimilate feed graze hatch (a bird) hush integrate nurse overwork quiet quieten rearm reform retrain run (a horse) stampede train
dry out hold back liven up move along pull up quiet down quieten down shut up slow down sober up trip up
1.22 The `leak' group

These verbs are concerned with something moving metaphorically. In the pattern V, the Subject indicates the thing that `moves'. In the pattern V n, the Subject indicates someone or something that makes the thing `move'.

NBC Radio was afraid that the news would leak. It would help calm the furious row if details of the trip were leaked.
Perhaps, after ten years in office, it is inevitable that problems pile up. We sometimes waste our energy piling up and dwelling on years of worries.
leak shift spread
pile up spill out
490
1.23 The `start' and `stop' group

In the pattern V, these verbs are concerned with an activity starting or stopping. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with someone or something starting or stopping an activity.

At one stage during the day there was every chance that the meeting might break up without any resolution being passed at all. The meeting was broken up and was called again at six o'clock this morning.
The blaze started in the kitchens of the thirty-six floor hotel. The following year she started a blaze at her husband's parents' home.
For now, the fighting has stopped, but the guns haven't. We're doing what must be done if we're going to stop the fighting.
adjourn begin commence continue convene end halt recommence reconvene restart resume stall start still (a sound) stop terminate
break up kick off strike up (a tune) taper off
1.24 The `develop' group

In the pattern V, these verbs are concerned with something coming into existence or becoming noticeable. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with someone or something making something come into existence, making it noticeable, or noticing it.

In the pattern V n, the Subject may indicate:

  • someone who brings something into being, as in The children formed a circle
  • someone or something that is the unconscious source or cause of something, as in She manifests self-confidence
  • someone who is affected by what is brought into being, as in He developed measles
Concepts develop in parallel and even the greatest thinkers see their initial thoughts developed by others. He has developed the concept of a teaching programme for unborn children.
Fear about my blindness didn't register, as I was in such a state with the pain. She had quickly registered the difference between Archie's run-down residence and the opulent garage, but said nothing.
A pair of pliers turned up in the pocket of a borrowed jacket. He turned up a frightening arsenal of licensed and unlicensed guns.
develop (an illness) develop (an idea) evolve form form (a relationship) manifest obtrude premiere re-form register run (Newspaper...a story) show
brew up (a situation) get across (an idea) open up (opportunities) show up turn up
1.25 The `awaken' group

In the pattern V, these verbs are concerned with someone waking up. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with someone or something making someone wake up.

The tea dishes must be done before the old woman awakened. The sound of the door opening awakened her.
One woman fans her with a magazine, another gets some water, and she finally revives. Alan tried to give Natalie the kiss of life but failed to revive her.
We have to wake up early. 491 Imagine being woken up by the smell of burning coming from downstairs.
awake awaken revive rouse wake waken
wake up waken up
1.26 The `hoot' group

In the pattern V, these verbs are concerned with something making a noise. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with someone or something doing something that makes a noise, either deliberately or by accident.

The coal dust crunched with gritty familiarity under his feet. She ran for her car, crunching old branches underfoot and making far too much noise.
Somewhere in the distance a siren hooted. As he drove away he hooted his horn.
The horses wheeled together again, stirrup irons jingling under the riders' black boots as the police regrouped for another charge. If your baby seems fascinated by a mobile, do you jingle it even more?
bang beat beep blare blast blow chink clack click crack crunch honk hoot jangle jingle ratchet rattle ring rustle slam sound tinkle toll toot twang
blare out blast out boom out
1.27 The `detonate' and `play' group

In the pattern V, these verbs are concerned with a machine or device working or a natural process happening. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with someone or something operating the machine or device or providing conditions that allow the natural process to happen.

Two days later nine firebombs went off in shops in Manchester city centre, while four more failed to detonate. He threatened to detonate an explosive device, and told the pilot to take the plane to Taiwan.
The normal clutch is four white eggs which usually hatch after about 14 days. This pair was for many years kept in a cage indoors, where they laid eggs and even hatched them, but always failed to rear the young.
A taped message from his mother plays in the background. At first Livy had played the records everyone played those days.
detonate explode flash flush hatch (an egg) ignite light operate play run
1.28 Verbs with other meanings

There are a number of other verbs that have this combination of patterns.

Is there any reason he can't audition? Casting directors usually do not audition actors who themselves have mental disabilities to play such roles.
492
Each year we draw up a schedule for opening and closing branches and they normally balance out. You need to balance out all the costs before committing yourself to a particular environment.
The winters were long and cold, while roads, electricity, drainage and schools were largely lacking. He suggested that while Lithuania was theoretically self-sufficient in food, in two weeks time it could lack the means to bring that food to the shops.
The vet rang to say that the puppy's condition had miraculously improved, that he just might pull through after all. We all hoped that proper treatment would pull him through.
audition enlist enrol graduate interview lack sign substitute
add up balance out pull through strike out
Pattern combination 2: V prep/adv; V n prep/adv

In the pattern V prep/adv, the verb is followed by a prepositional phrase or an adverb group. In the pattern V n prep/adv, the verb is followed by a noun group and a prepositional phrase or adverb group. This pattern combination is symmetrical.

This combination of patterns has four combinations of structures, depending on whether there is a prepositional phrase or an adverb group in the pattern, and on what the preposition is:

  • Structure combination (i): Verb with prepositional Complement; Verb with Object and prepositional Object Complement
    The prince changed into a frog. The magician changed the prince into a frog.
  • Structure combination (ii): Verb with prepositional Object; Verb with Object and prepositional Object
    Beauty equates with goodness. He equated beauty with goodness.
  • Structure combination (iii): Verb with prepositional Object; Verb with Object and Adjunct
    She converted to Christianity. He converted them to Christianity.
  • Structure combination (iv): Verb with Adjunct; Verb with Object and Adjunct
    The coach halted in front of the ballroom. The footman halted the coach in front of the ballroom.
Structure combination (i): Verb with prepositional Complement; Verb with Object and prepositional Object Complement
V prep
  Verb groupprepositional phrase
SubjectVerbprepositional Complement
These fashionsparadeas modern movements in art.
The sticksnappedin half.
You'll turn into everyone's dogsbody.
493
V n prep
  Verb groupnoun groupprepositional phrase
SubjectVerbObjectprep. Object Complement
Heparadedthemas stars.
Fierce stormssnappedthe tankerinto two parts.
Parents can't turn their house into a fortress.
Structure combination (ii): Verb with prepositional Object; Verb with Object and prepositional Object
V prep
  Verb groupprepositional phrase
SubjectVerbprepositional Object
Charitywould equatewith interference.
This policydidn't squarewith an accident.
V n prep
  Verb groupnoun groupprepositional phrase
SubjectVerbObjectprepositional Object
Theyequateddiseasewith vice and sin.
Hecouldn't squarehis dreamswith reality.
Structure combination (iii): Verb with prepositional Object; Verb with Object and Adjunct
V prep
  Verb groupprepositional phrase
SubjectVerbprepositional Object
A high priorityattachesto science and technology.
The countryplungedinto civil war.
They qualifyfor extra aid.
V n prep
  Verb groupnoun groupprepositional phrase
SubjectVerbObjectAdjunct
Youcan attachblameto people.
Thisplungedthe countryinto turmoil.
Thisqualifiesthemfor aid.
494
Structure combination (iv): Verb with Adjunct; Verb with Object and Adjunct
V prep/adv
  Verb groupprep. phrase/adverb group
SubjectVerbAdjunct
A larger shipanchoredoffshore.
His gunstill dangledfrom his hand.
The displayendswith a flyby of military aircraft.
Youenrolon a full-time course.
Wemarchedacross the surface of the moon.
V n prep/adv
  Verb groupnoun groupprep. phrase/adverb group
SubjectVerbObjectAdjunct
Weanchoredthe boatin six feet of water.
Shedanglesthe cigarettefrom her lips.
Thomasendedhis remarkswith this statement.
Heenrolledhis daughterin a public school.
Shemarchedthe girlsback to school.

Verbs with this combination of patterns belong to the following meaning groups:

2.1 The `change' group 2.6 The `acclimatize' group 2.11 The `gallop' group
2.2 The `divide' group 2.7 The `centre' group 2.12 The `thump' group
2.3 The `count' group 2.8 The `detach' group 2.13 The `drain' group
2.4 The `equate' group 2.9 The `sail' group 2.14 The `begin' and `end' group
2.5 The `awaken' group 2.10 The `drop' group 2.15 Verbs with other meanings
2.1 The `change' group

These verbs are concerned with change. In the pattern V prep, the Subject indicates the person or thing that changes. In the pattern V n prep, the Subject indicates the person or thing that causes the change. The prepositional phrase indicates the result of the change. The verb change also has the patterns V and V n (see meaning group 1.1 above).

The prepositions most frequently used with the verbs in this group are into and to. With these prepositions, the verbs in this meaning group belong to Structure combination (i). Otherwise, they belong to Structure combination (iii) or (iv).

In the event, the scandal blew up into a major political furore. No good purpose would be served if the unfortunate death of Miss Oates was blown up into front-page news for the Tory gutter press.
His skin dried up like leather and his face changed into a grinning skull. We've got to change this world into a world of love.
495
If broken, toughened glass forms into safe pellet-like pieces rather than lethal shards. O'Brien formed the men into a ragged line.
This Dracula can metamorphose into rats or a wolf as well as a bat. She jolts upright, metamorphoses her face into a macabre parody of her mother and suddenly fills the hushed room with a terrible blood-curdling cry.
After 30 minutes the powder will swell to its maximum capacity, forming a transparent gel. There is a small herb-rich meadow in the wood which helps to swell the plant list to over 120 species.
change convert evolve form metamorphose mutate swell transmute turn
blow up
2.2 The `divide' group

In the pattern V prep, these verbs are concerned with something breaking or dividing. In the pattern V n prep, they are concerned with someone or something making something break or divide. When the verbs in this group are used with into, they belong to Structure combination (i). When they are used with other prepositions, they belong to Structure combination (iii).

If you have lots of children in the car, you might want to divide into two or three groups and sing simple songs. Patients are divided into groups, each group with a primary counselor.
It was decided to separate into two groups. The police wanted to separate them into smaller groups, but they insisted on staying together.
I was just explaining that the ornament was of no great value when I dropped it. It shattered into tiny pieces. Kelly turned her head to see the truck plow through the phone booth, shattering it into a thousand pieces.
divide fragment polarize resolve separate shatter snap split tear
break up
2.3 The `count' group

These verbs are concerned with one thing being thought of or presented as another thing. In the pattern V prep, the Subject indicates one of the two things; the other thing is indicated by the prepositional phrase. In the pattern V n prep, the Subject in most cases indicates the person or group of people who thinks of one thing as being another, or who presents one thing as another. The preposition most frequently used with the verbs in this group is as, but boil down is used with to. This group belongs to Structure combination (i).

A few words scrawled on a piece of paper, or a simple gesture, could count as art. I count him as my best friend.
In the case of qualify, the Subject in the pattern V n prep is something that makes people think the comparison is valid.
Jeff Campbell sat through the program and was won over, but still doesn't qualify as a strong supporter. His loyalty and good works helped qualify him as a candidate for sainthood in the Catholic Church.
In the case of translate, the pattern V as n is used to indicate that a particular translation is possible, not that it was actually used on a particular occasion. 496
The Arc valley is better known as the Maurienne, a name combining the patois words of `mau' and `riau' which translate as `wicked river'. The Celtic word `geis' is usually translated as `taboo', but actually carried connotations not borne by that word.
count parade qualify rank translate
boil down
2.4 The `equate' group

These verbs are concerned with two things being thought of or presented as similar or compatible, or with something being compared with a group of things. In the pattern V prep, the Subject indicates one of the two things; the other thing is indicated by the prepositional phrase. In the pattern V n prep, the Subject indicates the person or group of people who thinks of the two things as being comparable, or who presents the two things as comparable. The preposition most frequently used with the verbs in this group is with. This group belongs to Structure combination (ii).

In relation to several important criteria, hostel accommodation fails to equate with the housing preferences of lone migrant workers. Many people equate conflict with war and seek peace by designing the `perfect' society.
equate square
match up tie in
2.5 The `awaken' group

In the pattern V prep, these verbs are concerned with someone coming to feel or think something. In the pattern V n prep, they are concerned with someone or something making someone feel or think something. The prepositions most frequently used with the verbs in this group are to and towards. This group belongs to Structure combination (iii).

Today many more people are awakening to deeper issues and taking responsibility. His 1979 film, `Cambodia: The Year Zero', did much to awaken the world to the horrors of the four previous years of rule by the Khmer Rouge.
Corti was unable to decide whether Bugno's troubles lay in his head or his legs, but was inclining towards the latter. It becomes important to identify the other factors which incline us towards the particular beliefs we hold.
awaken convert incline tilt
wake up
2.6 The `acclimatize' group

In the pattern V prep, these verbs are concerned with somebody becoming involved in or used to a place, society, or activity. In the pattern V n prep, they are concerned with someone or something making somebody do this or creating the conditions where they are able to do this. This group belongs to Structure combination (iii).

497
The troops and tanks have had time to acclimatise to the desert, and are ready for action. The mountaineers advanced from camp to camp to acclimatise themselves to the thinning oxygen at higher altitudes.
Don't rush into this decision unless you are in desperate need of money. Wright is resisting the temptation to rush her straight into the other big roles of the repertoire.
acclimatize (to) hook (into) integrate (into/with) plunge (into) qualify (for) rush (into) train (for)
2.7 The `centre' group

In the pattern V prep, these verbs are concerned with something focusing on a particular thing. In the pattern V n prep, they are concerned with someone or something making something focus on a particular thing. This group belongs to Structure combination (iii).

Discussion is expected to centre on expanding the role of the United Nations. Ortega centred his farewell speech on a call for all Nicaraguans to work for the disarmament of the Contras.
Inevitably attention will focus on the appearances by Oscar Peterson. The case focused much international attention on Brazil.
attach (to) centre (on/around) fasten (on) fix (on) focus (on) shift switch (to)
2.8 The `detach' group

In the pattern V prep/adv, these verbs are concerned with someone or something moving somewhere, but not under their own control. In the pattern V n prep/adv, they are concerned with someone or something moving someone or something, or putting someone or something somewhere. We include here catch, which indicates that something becomes entangled in something. This group belongs to Structure combination (iv), except for dig, hook, pass, sink, strike, and transfer, which belong to Structure combination (iii).

Many of these verbs also have the patterns V and V n (see meaning group 1.16 above). Some verbs with similar meanings are found in Pattern combination 7 below.

Dead and dying cells had detached from the flask and drifted into the fluid. Pick apples and pears when they can be detached easily from the branches.
The wind funnelled down power lines, blew out windows and damaged several roofs. The towers are topped by wind catchers that funnel air into them.
Tree limbs which rub together can cause weakness through deformation. Nancy rubbed her palms together and got ready to push again.
It developed into a huge game with water splashing everywhere. Leaning over the fountain, Joanna splashed water upon her face.
In the case of clip, the pattern V prep/adv is usually used to indicate that something has a particular quality, that is, it can be clipped somewhere, rather than that something actually happens.
  • When not in use, the blade is protected by a sheath which clips on to the handle of the knife.
498 balance beam bind blow bounce bounce (off) bus catapult catch clip coil curl dangle detach diffuse dig (into) disengage dribble drip drop flick flip float funnel hang hook (onto) inch keep leak lock mould move nestle pass (to) peel (off/from) rain (blows) (on) rest roll rub (together) screw settle shift shoot shuttle sink (into) slide slop slosh slot smash snag snap spatter spew spill spin splash splatter spray spread squeeze squirt stick (in) strike (against/on) swill (around/about) swing swirl swivel tilt tip transfer (from/to) trickle twine uncoil waft wash whirl winter withdraw (from)
pour into rain down (on)

Most of the verbs in this group also have the patterns V adv prep, V prep prep, V n adv prep, and V n prep prep.

A friend and I bussed from New York City to New Jersey without any certainty we'd be able to see our friend. Many supporters are bussed in from across the country.

The verbs spatter, splash, splatter, and spray also have a pattern V n, with the substance that moves as Subject.

  • Rain was spattering the windscreen.
2.9 The `sail' group

These verbs are concerned with vehicles moving. In the pattern V prep/adv, the Subject indicates the vehicle. In the pattern V n prep/adv, the Subject indicates the driver of the vehicle or someone or something that makes the driver move the vehicle somewhere. This group belongs to Structure combination (iv). Some of the verbs in this group also have the patterns V and V n (see meaning group 1.17 above).

The plane finally glided down and taxied towards the terminal. The pilot taxied the plane to the end of the runway.
Most of these verbs have another V prep/adv pattern in which the Subject indicates a person driving or travelling in the vehicle.
On day three we sailed to Poole.
In the case of navigate, the pattern V n prep/adv sometimes has the vehicle as Subject and a place as Object.
  • There was a time when small boats could navigate the creek all the way to the point where Newell Road crosses.
anchor back beach crash (into) ditch dock halt land navigate nose reverse sail slew swerve swing tack taxi

Most of the verbs in this group also have the patterns V adv prep, V prep prep, V n adv prep, and V n prep prep.

499
Nothing prepared us for the sight of Santorini as we sailed into the bay from Crete. The boatman nosed his launch up against what appeared to be a thick wall of jungle foliage.
2.10 The `drop' group

These verbs are concerned with part of someone's body moving. In the pattern V prep/adv, the Subject indicates the part of the body that moves. In the pattern V n prep/adv, the Subject indicates either the person who moves, or someone or something that causes that movement. This group belongs to Structure combination (iv).

Freddy's eyes roll up in their sockets and his head drops into his chest. McGregor slumped, dropping his open palms onto his legs.
When he's into a song, Jones' jaw juts forth. Father jutted his jaw toward the people sitting across the aisle, and I gave a silent nod.
ball curl drop drop jut lash poke sweep tighten twist
2.11 The `gallop' group

These verbs are concerned with a person, group of people, or animal going somewhere or doing something, under their own control. In the pattern V prep/adv, the Subject indicates the person, group, or animal who moves or does something. In the pattern V n prep/adv, the Subject indicates the person or group of people who:

  • makes the person, group, or animal move or do something
  • encourages the person, group, or animal to move or do something
  • provides conditions that allow the person, group, or animal to move or do something.

Most of these verbs are used with a variety of prepositions and adverbs. If one or two prepositions or adverbs only are used with a particular verb, this is indicated in the list below. This group belongs to Structure combination (iv).

A riderless horse galloped in panicked circles, adding immeasurably to the confusion. Staff officers galloped fine horses down the road's wide verges.
He parachuted to safety. He was parachuted in.
The verbs canter, gallop, trot, and walk, which, in the pattern V n prep/adv, indicate that someone rides a horse at a particular speed, also have a pattern V prep/adv with the rider as Subject.
  • The Duke galloped along the right of his line.
canter crowd (into) gallop gather group (together) march parachute pull (out of) settle transfer (from/to) trot unite walk
beam down beam up
2.12 The `thump' group

These verbs are concerned with someone or something making a noise while moving. In the pattern V prep/adv, the Subject indicates the person or thing that moves and makes the noise. In the pattern V n prep/adv, the Subject indicates the person or thing that moves someone or something somewhere. These verbs are used with a variety of prepositions and adverbs. This group belongs to Structure combination (iv).

500
A couple of cars swished by, spray hissing up from their tyres. They then swamped the dunes on horseback in an attempt to scare people away, swishing their whips through the grass as they went.
She carried her drink out to the kitchen, her heavy shoes thumping on the polished floor. She made a fist and thumped it on the counter as hard as she could.
rasp rattle scrape swish thump
2.13 The `drain' group

These verbs are concerned with metaphorical movement. In the pattern V prep/adv, the Subject indicates the thing that `moves'. In the pattern V n prep/adv, the Subject indicates the person or thing that makes it `move'. Most of these verbs are used with a variety of prepositions and adverbs. If one or two prepositions or adverbs only are used with a particular verb, this is indicated in the list below. This group belongs to Structure combination (iv), except for get across, which belongs to Structure combination (iii).

Memory drained out of him in the heat. Relief drained the strength from his muscles as Charley Lunn's head appeared round the half-open kitchen door.
Then a memory stirs in you and you start feeling anxious. This might stir many emotions in me, but I am afraid that understanding is not one of them.
centre drain keep (away/off ) land (in) spread stir (in)
carry over get across (to)
2.14 The `begin' and `end' group

These verbs are concerned with activities or periods of time beginning or ending in a particular way. In the pattern V prep/adv, the Subject indicates the activity or period of time. In the pattern V n prep/adv, the Subject indicates the person or thing whose behaviour is indicated in the prepositional phrase or adverb group. The verbs in this group are most frequently used with prepositional phrases beginning with with, in, and on, and with prepositional phrases consisting of by and an `-ing' clause. This group belongs to Structure combination (iv).

Sunday will begin with a full breakfast, followed by a beauty presentation from Rene Guinot. Clinton began his week in California, a state crucial to his electoral success in November.
A meeting between Turkey, Iraq and Syria to discuss the sharing of waters from the river Euphrates has ended in disagreement. Environment ministers from Eastern and Western Europe have ended a one-day meeting in Dublin with agreement that protection of the environment is one of the most urgent political priorities on the agenda.
begin close end finish open start
2.15 Verbs with other meanings

There are a number of other verbs which have this combination of patterns. Of these verbs, train belongs to Structure combination (i), turn belongs to Structure combination (ii), connect, fill, pull, open up, and translate belong to Structure combination (iii), and the other verbs belong to Structure combination (iv).

501
The phrase `proceeding gingerly' has nothing to do with the spice but derives from the old French word `gensour', meaning `daintily' or `with refinement'. Etak, which derives its name from the Polynesian word for navigation, was founded by Stan Honey.
The screen fills with grainy black and white newsreel footage. On a nice day, fill a bucket with soapy water outside and let your child scrub down toys, outdoor furniture, or just the patio.
Britain's ethnic communities have suffered injustices and degradations which would meet with outrage if they occurred elsewhere. All new ideas are met with hesitancy, most will have teething troubles.
Tables have been constructed so that each life event can be rated as to how disturbing it would usually be to a person. Losses by death or divorce, or gains by marriage or birth always rate highly. I was told he rated me highly, which is a real compliment.
The roots of this plant can substitute for potatoes. In no case should you substitute alcohol for other foods.
His parents wanted him to train as a doctor. They train the young women as seamstresses.
If fine words were to translate into deeds, a massive campaign of Biblical re-education now had to be mounted among the white population. If this mood is translated into votes, the Democrats must strengthen their grip on Congress.
connect (to) decrease derive (from) enlist (in/as) enrol fill (with) hold increase meet (with) pull (out of) rank (in) rate stretch (into) substitute (for) train (as) translate turn (against) widen
fill up (with) open up (to)
Pattern combination 3: V adj; V n adj

In the pattern V adj, the verb is followed by an adjective group. In the pattern V n adj, the verb is followed by a noun group and an adjective group. This pattern combination is symmetrical.

This combination of patterns has one structure combination:

  • Verb with Complement; Verb with Object and Object Complement
    The door slammed shut. She slammed the door shut.
V adj
  Verb groupadjective group
SubjectVerbComplement
The twigsjerkedfree.
The doorslammedshut.
The locksnappedshut.
502
V n adj
  Verb groupnoun groupadjective group
SubjectVerbObjectObject Complement
The boyjerkedhimselffree of Andrew's grasp.
Sheslammedthe doorshut.
The Majorsnappedhis boxshut.

Verbs with this combination of patterns belong to the following meaning groups:

3.1 The `slam shut' group 3.2 The `work free' group 3.3 Verbs with other meanings
3.1 The `slam shut' group

In the pattern V adj, these verbs are concerned with something opening or closing, usually noisily or violently. In the pattern V n adj, they are concerned with someone or something opening or closing something, usually noisily or violently. The adjectives most frequently used with the verbs in this group are open and shut.

Passengers complained when automatic doors on a new train jammed open. They just jam the door open with a brick.
He peered warily up the staircase just as the door upstairs opened, then slammed shut. He managed to drag her back inside the vehicle and slam the door shut.
Her eyes squeezed shut and tears appeared under the lashes. Hart squeezed his eyes tight shut, but the tears fell anyway.
bang (shut) blow jam slam (shut) slide snap spring squeeze (shut) swing tear (open)
3.2 The `work free' group

In the pattern V adj, these verbs are concerned with someone or something becoming detached from something. In the pattern V n adj, they are concerned with someone pulling or shaking someone or something so that they become detached. The adjectives most frequently used with the verbs in this group are free and loose.

He shook his head back and forth, and tried to pull free. She struggled to pull herself loose.
The chair may topple backwards when sat upon and the armrests can work loose. He pulled his key ring from his pocket and worked one key free of it.
jerk pull shake work wrench
3.3 Verbs with other meanings

There are three other verbs which have this combination of patterns. The adjective most frequently used in each case is indicated in the list below.

Ticket and subscription sales have held steady and fund-raising is even up slightly. They had achieved their aim of holding numbers steady.
The woman's eyes opened wide. She opened her eyes very wide.
503 freeze (solid/hard) hold (steady) open (wide)
Pattern combination 4: V as adj; V n as adj

In the pattern V as adj, the verb is followed by a prepositional phrase which consists of as and an adjective group. In the pattern V n as adj, the verb is followed by a noun group and a prepositional phrase which consists of as and an adjective group. This pattern combination is symmetrical.

This combination of patterns has one combination of structures:

  • Verb with prepositional Complement; Verb with Object and prepositional Object Complement
    He qualified as unemployed. This qualified him as unemployed.
V as adj
  Verb groupasadjective group
SubjectVerbprepositional Complement  
Many womencountasunemployed.
His joyqualifiesasgenuine.
V n as adj
  Verb groupnoun groupasadjective group
SubjectVerbObjectprep. Object Complement  
Icountmyselfasold-fashioned.
Thisqualifiedhimasyoung in spirit.

In the pattern V as adj, these verbs are all concerned with something having a particular attribute. In the pattern V n as adj, they are concerned with someone considering someone or something to have a particular attribute, or something causing someone or something to be considered in that way.

The events of 16th January must rank as equivalent to a coronation. The respondents also ranked their local competition as weak, moderate, or strong.
count qualify rank
Pattern combination 5: V to-inf; V n to-inf

In the pattern V to-inf, the verb is followed by a to-infinitive clause. In the pattern V n to-inf, the verb is followed by a noun group and a to-infinitive clause. This pattern combination is symmetrical.

This combination of patterns has two combinations of structures:

  • Structure combination (i): Verbs in phase; Verb with two Objects
    I incline to think he is wrong. This inclined me to think he was wrong.
  • Structure combination (ii): Verb with Adjunct; Verb with two Objects
    She qualified to teach children. Her course qualified her to teach children.
504 Only one verb, incline, has Structure combination (i). The other verbs have Structure combination (ii).
It is true that conservationists incline to adopt a people-centred language. Their political ideas incline them to romanticise the idea of working-class solidarity.
The policewomen only qualify to carry arms on duty when they reach a high standard. Clive has had an hour's lesson on a dry slope, which qualifies him to advise the rest of us by shouting `snowplough!' at the top of his voice all the time.
incline qualify train
Pattern combination 6: V ord prep; V n ord prep

In the pattern V ord prep, the verb is followed by an ordinal number and a prepositional phrase. In the pattern V n ord prep, the verb is followed by a noun group, an ordinal number, and a prepositional phrase. In both patterns, the prepositional phrase usually begins with among, in, or out of. This pattern combination is symmetrical.

There is only one verb with this combination of patterns. The pattern V ord prep has the structure Verb with two Adjuncts; the pattern V n ord prep has the structure Verb with Object and two Adjuncts.

The second-best British player, Michael Adams, already ranks 20th in the world. The junior team is ranked third in the world.
rank
Pattern combination 7: V prep/adv; V n; V n prep/adv

In the pattern V prep/adv, the verb is followed by a prepositional phrase or adverb group. In the pattern V n, the verb is followed by a noun group. In the pattern V n prep/adv, the verb is followed by a noun group and a prepositional phrase or adverb group.

This combination is asymmetrical because in the structure without an Object the verb must be followed by a prepositional phrase or adverb group, whereas in the structure with an Object the verb may be followed by a noun group alone.

This combination of patterns has one combination of structures:

  • Verb with Adjunct; Verb with Object; Verb with Object and Adjunct
    The boat rocked up and down. Huge waves rocked the boat. The waves rocked the boat up and down.
For structure tables, see Pattern combinations 1 and 2.

Verbs with this combination of patterns are concerned with something moving, or someone or something making something move.

A court at Peking has sentenced a hijacker to eight years in prison for forcing a plane to divert to Japan last December. NASA have offered to divert the Space Shuttle Columbia on its next mission to help. Planners fight gridlock by simplifying traffic patterns as well as by trying to divert cars away from the problem area.
The light reflected off the ochre stone, creating a golden glow he found entrancing. The curved surface of the mirror reflects the sun's rays so they form a spot of light one centimetre across. The dish reflects radio waves to an antenna suspended at its focus 150 metres above.
505 In the case of spout, the Subject in the patterns V n and V n prep/adv is a container holding a liquid or gas.
An underground labyrinth of corridors leads to a pool where water spouts from the mouths of carved lions. He replaced the Rayburn when the last one began to spout flames. Ickes jotted down the license plate numbers of cars spouting black smoke from their exhaust pipes.
In the case of angle, the pattern V prep/adv indicates the configuration of something, rather than a movement.
The path angled downhill and northward. Charles reached out for the driving mirror and angled it so that he could see back along the track we'd driven. The lock is the smallest on the river but, by angling the boat across the width, we just scraped through.
angle brush divert drain fasten flash jerk pan reflect rock spill spout swing swivel trail
Pattern combination 8: V prep/adv; V n

In the pattern V prep/adv, the verb is followed by a prepositional phrase or adverb group. In the pattern V n, the verb is followed by a noun group.

This combination is asymmetrical because in the structure without an Object the verb does not occur alone.

This combination of patterns has three combinations of structures:

  • Structure combination (i): Verb with prepositional Complement; Verb with Object
    The glass splintered into pieces. The blow splintered the glass.
  • Structure combination (ii): Verb with prepositional Object; Verb with Object
    His heart hardened against her. The years hardened my heart.
  • Structure combination (iii): Verb with Adjunct; Verb with Object
    Water gushed out of the hole. The hole gushed water.

For structure tables, see Pattern combinations 1 and 2.

Verbs with this combination of patterns belong to the following meaning groups:

8.1 The `smash' group 8.3 The `benefit' group 8.5 The `belch' group
8.2 The `obsess' group 8.4 The `topple' group 8.6 The `diffuse' group
506
8.1 The `smash' group

These verbs are concerned with damage. In the pattern V prep/adv, the Subject indicates the person or thing that is damaged. In the pattern V n, the Subject indicates the person or thing that causes the damage. This group belongs to Structure combination (i).

When you fire at a clay pigeon and it smashes into lots of little pieces, it's a real thrill. The bottle smashed the window, but did not go into the house.
smash splinter
8.2 The `obsess' group

These verbs are concerned with someone feeling an emotion about something. In the pattern V prep/adv, the Subject indicates the person who feels the emotion. In the pattern V n, the Subject indicates the cause or topic of the emotion. This group belongs to Structure combination (ii), except for thrill, which belongs to Structure combination (iii).

If you obsess about small things, it keeps you from obsessing about the really big things. As Rebecca's death grew closer, the lack of a child started to obsess him.
Coleridge has written a book for those who thrill to the scene in Citizen Kane where Charles declares `I think it would be fun to run a newspaper'. It was a sight that never failed to thrill her.
bother (about) harden (against) obsess (about/over) thrill (at/to)
8.3 The `benefit' group

These verbs are concerned with something being an advantage to someone. In the pattern V prep/adv, the Subject indicates the person who gains the advantage. In the pattern V n, the Subject indicates the thing that is advantageous. This group belongs to Structure combination (ii).

It is hoped that hundreds of youngsters will benefit from the charity. We need to persuade employers that equal opportunities can benefit them as well as us.
benefit (from) profit (from/by)
8.4 The `topple' group

In the pattern V prep/adv, these verbs are concerned with someone or something moving somewhere. In the pattern V n, they are concerned with someone or something moving something or someone in a particular direction. This group belongs to Structure combination (iii).

I toppled onto the floor. Protestors tried to topple a bust of Stalin.
spiral splay topple
8.5 The `belch' group

These verbs are concerned with liquids, gases, or flames coming out of a container. In the pattern V prep/adv, the Subject indicates the liquid, gas, or flame. In the pattern V n, the Subject indicates the container. This group belongs to Structure combination (iii).

Traffic roared by and smoke belched from the steelworks in the background. The old van had slowly become a big polluter, wasting gasoline and belching black smoke.
507
The man staggered back, blood spurting from his hand. A gash just above the eye was spurting so much blood that he was all but blinded.
belch (from/out of) gush haemorrhage (from) ooze puff spurt
belch out
8.6 The `diffuse' group

These verbs are concerned with something moving metaphorically. In the pattern V prep/adv, the Subject indicates the thing that `moves'. In the pattern V n, the Subject indicates the person or thing that makes the thing `move'. This group belongs to Structure combination (iii).

My advice to anyone about to launch a new technology is to look at how a new innovation diffuses through the populace. The Society's declared object was to collect and diffuse knowledge of the laws which govern the universe.
Even the restive military rallied to Mr Clinton yesterday morning when he chose Fort McNair for his morning jog. In trying to rally voters, they've focused on dissatisfaction with the government.
devolve (upon/on) diffuse drain emanate (from) exude (from) rally (to)
8.7 The `originate' and `conclude' group

These verbs are concerned with something starting, coming into existence, or concluding. In the pattern V prep/adv, the Subject indicates the thing that starts or comes into existence. In the pattern V n, the Subject indicates the person who makes something start or conclude, or the source of something. This group belongs to Structure combination (iii).

Whales must have originated from a land mammal which moved around on front and hind legs. Dr Stevenson did not really originate this type of test.
conclude originate sprout
8.8 Verbs with other meanings

There are a few other verbs which have this combination of patterns. The verbs average out and sign up (as) belong to Structure combination (i). Sign up (for) belongs to Structure combination (ii). The verbs climax and put up belong to Structure combination (iii).

There were reportedly `important differences of view' between head teacher and governors which climaxed in the head leaving. The victory climaxed a perfect season for UCLA, which won all 30 of its games.
He decided that he would drive back at once instead of putting up for the night at the hotel. The company will put you up when you're between tours.
climax
average out put up sign up (as/for)
508
Pattern combination 9: V adv; V n

In the pattern V adv, the verb is followed by an adverb group. In the pattern V n, the verb is followed by a noun group.

This combination is asymmetrical because in the structure without an Object the verb must be followed by an adverb.

This combination of patterns has one combination of structures:

  • Verb with Adjunct; Verb with Object
    The dress washes easily. She washed the dress.
For structure tables, see Pattern combinations 1 and 2.

In the pattern V adv, the verb often focuses on a quality or feature of the person or thing indicated by the Subject, rather than on something that has actually happened.

Verbs with this combination of patterns belong to the following meaning groups:

9.1 The `clean' group 9.2 The `scare' group 9.3 The `fish' group
9.1 The `clean' group

In the pattern V adv, these verbs indicate that something has a desirable quality, such as being easily cleaned, prepared, or moved. In the pattern V n, they indicate that something is affected in some way, such as being cleaned, prepared, or moved.

Most of the pans cleaned easily with hot, soapy water and a soft cloth. These products are a much safer bet than caustic soda, although not as effective in actually cleaning the surface.
I've put the vine in a raised bed that drains freely. Tulip trees have masses of roots that lie just below the surface and drain the surrounding soil.
The door was closed but only with a wooden bar which lifted easily. She lifted the lid.
The knitwear sold well. It's a regular market. I mean they sell food there, they sell clothing.
apply clean cut display drain fold glue grill lift read sell wash
9.2 The `scare' group

In the pattern V adv, these verbs indicate that someone feels an emotion often or easily. In the pattern V n, they indicate that someone or something makes someone feel an emotion.

This use is productive: any verb which has the pattern V n and indicates that someone is made to feel an emotion can be used with the pattern V adv. However, there are only two verbs for which the pattern V adv is frequent.

Although they are a young team, they do not scare easily. `Things are starting to scare me,' I said.
509 scare spook
9.3 The `fish' group

In the pattern V adv, these verbs indicate that a place used for a sport allows the sport to be enjoyable. In the pattern V n, they indicate that someone takes part in that sport at that place.

The beach is a south-west-facing venue that fishes well when there is a strong breeze blowing directly onto the beach. Chatting to other anglers who fish the water can also be a great help.
The cross-country course rode well, although the water jump caused problems. Ryan rode the 13-fence show-jumping course at Barcelona as if he were David Broome.
fish ride
Pattern combination 10: V adj; V n

In the pattern V adj, the verb is followed by an adjective group. In the pattern V n, the verb is followed by a noun group. This pattern combination is asymmetrical.

For structure tables, see Pattern combinations 1 and 4.

There is only one verb with this combination of patterns.

These easy-to-clean non-stick racks fold flat for easy storage. Brian rose, picked up his copy of `Jitterbug Perfume', folded the lawn chair.
fold