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Certain (syntactico-morphologically) active verbs signify a passion rather than an action. For example, to fall, signifies something that can hardly be called an action. It belongs to its concept that one cannot do it on purpose. One might perhaps call such verbs semantically passive. Or is there already a term for them?

  • Unaccusative? – rchivers Apr 16 at 15:08
  • @rchivers, that looks right; thanks! though i remain unconvinced of the felicity of the term. – Toothrot Apr 16 at 15:12
  • It may not be the most felicitous of terms, but unaccusative (and unergative) verbs is a traditional and commonly used term for them. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 16 at 17:42
  • Not really traditional, except inside a rather small circle. It's a metaphor of ergativity, which actually exists in some languages. But only some linguists feel qualified to deal with the absence of ergativity. – jlawler Apr 17 at 2:17

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