Particle Retention in Deverbalized Constructions
|(1)||a.||Alan Greenspan turned around the economy.|
|b.||Alan Greenspan turned the economy around.|
|c.||The economy turned around.|
|(2)||a.||Steve Jobs makes around $20 million per year.|
|b.||*||Steve Jobs makes $20 million per year around.|
|c.||*||Steve Job's make around is $20 million.|
Set (1) illustrates an instance of a particle. In (1b), I moved the P-word to the position after the noun phrase and yielded a grammatical result. Also, I formed a grammatical sentence without a NP to the P-word. Set (2) on the other hand, shows an instance of preposition use. Moving the P-word yielded an ungrammatical result, as did applying the passive.
In some cases it is difficult to determine the status of the P-word. Observe:
|(3)||a.||Cristina looked up the address.|
|b.||Cristina looked the address up.|
|c.||The address was looked up.|
At first up appears to be a particle, however,
|d.||The naughty boy looked up Cristina's dress.|
|e.||*||The naughty boy looked Cristina's dress up.|
|f.||#||Cristina's dress was looked up.|
I will explore what is going on here in the next section of this paper; however, I feel that this situation shows that there is a need for other tests to determine the status of the P-word.
Diagnostic #2 involves wh-movement. Pied-piping (and by this I mean the P-word moving with the noun phrase to the spec of C position ) results in an ungrammatical result when we have a particle. The result of this movement shows the dependent relationship between the preposition and NP; and demonstrates the dependent relationship between the verb and particle. Contrast the following set of examples:
|(4)||a.||Joe relies on his girlfriend.|
|b.||On his girlfriend Joe relies.|
|c.||On who(m) does Joe rely?|
|(5)||a.||Alfonzo the clown blew up balloons.|
|b.||*||Up balloons Alfonzo blew.|
|c.||#||Up what did Alfonzo blow?|
The example set in (4) show use of a preposition as shown by the grammaticality of pied-piped phrases involving wh-movement. The example set in (5) is more problematic. Pied-piping is not allowed in (5b), but with a wh-word, we get an odd result. While (5c) seems grammatical, the answer to the question cannot be balloons which was the target answer. Instead, the only possible answer would be a pipe or some other object like that, so the meaning is not the same as what we intended.
A third and less definitive diagnostic is related to the first diagnostic that I presented in which we move the noun phrase to the position before the P-word. In this diagnostic, if we replace the noun phrase with a pronoun and try to move the pronoun to the position before the P-word, we have a particle if we get a grammatical result. We get an ungrammatical result if we are putting it before a preposition.
|(6)||a.||Emily looked after the children.|
|b.||*||Emily looked them after.|
|(7)||a.||The student finished up his homework.|
|b.||The student finished it up.|
I stated that this diagnostic is less definitive than the other tests because not all particles can allow the particle to be followed by a pronoun. For example:
|(8)||a.||Joe screwed it up.|
|b.||*||Joe screwed up it.|
But the pattern of (8) passes all of our other diagnostics for including a particle, e.g.
|c.||Joe screwed up the phone lines.|
|d.||Joe screwed the phone lines up.|
|e.||The phone lines were screwed up.|
So this diagnostic is rather limited in how it can be applied. It can merely help to verify that it is a particle, but cannot be used conclusively. It is useful however, for the following example:
|(9)||a.||The failing student fucked up the exam.|
|b.||The student fucked the exam up.|
|c.||The exam was fucked up.|
|d.||The student fucked it up.|
Here, fuck up passed all of our diagnostics, and so we must be dealing with a particle. Question: And what is the point of this?
My hypothesis states that only particles can be used in deverbalized constructions. What I mean by this is that if a verb+particle combination is deverbalized (used in a form that acts as a noun or adjective), we have a good chance of getting a grammatical result. Conversely, my hypothesis predicts ungrammaticality of deverbalized constructions of verb+prepositions in this type of construction. I will use the examples given above to illustrate this.
|(10)||a.||?||The looked-up number was in the phone book.|
|b.||Smith is a commonly looked-up name.|
|c.||*||The phone number was in the look-up.|
Previously, I showed some difficulty in determining whether look up contains a particle or a preposition. My belief is that some P-words are pragmatically dependent on what kind of noun phrase they interact with and this determines what the result will be in a deverbalized construction. In this example, it is possible to use it as an adjective in a limited context (10b), but not in other contexts (10a) or as a noun (10c) showing that it is pragmatically controlled by the noun phrase that follows it.
|(11)||a.||*||The make-around salary for Steve Jobs is $20 million.|
|b.||*||Steve's make-around is $20 million.|
|(12)||a.||*||My relied-on mother arrived late.|
|b.||*||My mother is my rely-on.|
Sets (11) and (12) demonstrate two examples that I already determined to contain prepositions, and neither example works in deverbalized constructions as predicted by my hypothesis.
Sets (13)(18) show constructions that pass the particle tests and have deverbalized constructions.
|(13)||a.||The turn-around time was short.|
|b.||The economy's turn-around was dramatic.|
|(14)||a.||Isabelle felt turned-on by Aspects of the Theory of Syntax by Noam Chomsky (especially Chapter 2).|
|b.||Noam Chomsky was a turn-on.|
|(15)||a.||The student felt put-down by Suzanne's comments.|
|b.||Suzanne's put-downs hurt the student's feelings.|
|(16)||a.||The blow-up furniture stuck to my butt.|
|b.||George had a major blow-up at the party.|
|(17)||a.||The screwed-up wires caused an electrical fire.|
|b.||The fire was the result of a screw-up.|
|(18)||a.||The fucked-up exam confused the students.|
|b.||The student is a fuck-up.|
The diagnostics that I presented work well for sets (13)(18) and provide a good basis for the grammaticality of these examples and the ungrammaticality of sets (11) and (12).
A special case of my hypothesis is how deverbalized idiomatic expressions can be accounted for. One example that is somewhat problematic is come on. This combination fails all of the diagnostics:
|(19)||a.||Marguerite came on a boat.|
|b.||*||Marguerite came a boat on.|
|c.||*||Marguerite came it on.|
|d.||*||A boat was come on.|
And yet, we do have a deverbalized usage:
|e.||Austin Powers' line "Let's shag" was a come-on.|
At first it seems like this should totally go against my hypothesis because it fails the diagnostics that I have laid out so far (namely the preposition cannot be stranded). This phrase seems very idiomatic, as the use of the following imperative:
With this example, my theory seems applicable, since this shows that the P-word can be stranded, thus upholding the principle of the first diagnostic and shows that it does have a chance to be realized in a grammatical deverbalized construction.
Another example that has this same problem is drop out.
|(20)||a.||Lloyd dropped out of school.|
|b.||*||Lloyd dropped school out.|
|c.||*||School was dropped out.|
|d.||*||Lloyd dropped it out.|
But we do have a deverbalized construction:
|e.||Lloyd was a drop-out.|
But, again, we do have an imperative form with a stranded P-word, as found by this legendary quote from Timothy Leary:
|f.||"If you take the game of life seriously...you must turn on, tune in, and drop out."|
And, so, again, the hypothesis continues to hold together if we expand the notion of stranding the particle to include imperatives.
In conclusion, I feel that there is strong evidence to give an effective accounting of why a construction such as turn around can be used as an adjective and a noun, but a construction like make around cannot. This accountability comes down to a simple test as to whether there is a particle or preposition in the verb phrase which would lead to a prediction of grammaticality in deverbalized constructions. Once the status of the P-word is established (if it is a particle or a preposition), we work under the hypothesis that preposition constructions are unable to be used for deverbalized constructions, but conversely, particle constructions have a good chance of resulting in a grammatical deverbalized construction.