ergative - definition and synonyms

adjective linguistics 

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  1. an ergative verb, such as ’close’, ’change’, ‘cook’, ‘worry’, and ‘calm down’, is both transitive and intransitive. When it is transitive, its object can be the same as its subject when it is intransitive. For example in the sentence ‘Jack thought the money would change his life’, the verbchange’ is transitive, and in the sentence ‘When he was eleven, his whole life changed’, the verbchange’ is intransitive and there is no mention of anything that has caused ‘his life’ to change. The definition of an ergative verb in this dictionary often takes a special form, for example ‘if you close something or it closes, it moves to cover an open area’.

derived word



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noun [countable]