Encyclopedia > Ergative verb

  Article Content

Ergative verb

In English language, an ergative verb is a verb whose action affects the subject, rather than the object, of the verb. Another way to describe this is that a normal verb's patient is its object, whereas an ergative verb's patient is its subject. Often, but not always, ergative verbs take no direct object. Some verbs can act as either a regular transitive verb or an ergative verb.

Examples of ergative-only verbs:

  • I think.
  • I see.
  • I understand.
  • I experience.

Examples of verbs that can be ergative or transitive:

  • open
    • The door opens.
    • John opens the door.
  • eat
    • I ate.
    • I ate a hamburger.

See also: intransitive, transitive, ditransitive; compare to ergative case, nominative case.

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article
U.S. presidential election, 1820

... John Quincy Adams (National-Republican) Electoral Vote: Winner: 231 Main Opponent: 1 Total/Majority: 235/118 Popular Vote: no ...