Polyintransitive Verbs


The relationship between language and thought patterns:

Verbs are normally divided into two categories. Transitive verb have a direct object (the cart pushes the horse), while intransitive verbs do not (the rock falls). I have been thinking about a special type of intransitive verb, which I would call polyintransitive. (If someone knows the real word, please tell me. A polyintransive verb has no direct object, but has more than two (occasionally more) subjects. The two subjects are sometimes replaced by a single plural subject, but there are normally two individuals or groups implied.

Some example intransitive verbs are: cooperate, argue, mate, and disagree. Fight can be polyintransitive or transitive, depending on context. Debate would have to be a polytransitive verb, in that it has two subjects and a direct object.

The interesting thing about these words is what they show about how we think. If you need a single subject, you have to stick some preposition (usually with) after the verb. These are not something A does to B or B does to A, but something A and B do together, equally.

As an example: "My brother and I are fighting." The fighting takes both of us to happen. If my brother does not fight with me, I cannot fight with him. I could beat him up, but that is a different thing.

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