On this webpage http://www.lel.ed.ac.uk/~gpullum/grammar/nonfiniteclauses.html prof.Geoffrey Pullum's explains basic syntactic tests used in distinguishing raised from ordinary subjects/verbs. The verb "stop" passes the first test for raising verbs: "It stopped raining", which shows that "stop" doesn't impose selection restriction on the type of the subject, taking "dummy it" in this sentence. The other test is passivizing the non-finite catenative complement, applied to this sentence it would be:

HP stopped controlling the programs.

which after alternating the voice of the non-finite clause, and taking the object in this clause as the subject in the matrix, becomes:

Programs stopped being controlled by HP.

For me, the sentence doesn't mean the same as the active one, which, according to the given criteria, should mean that "stop" is not a raising verb in the previous sentence. "Controlling the programs by HP was stopped (e.g by the authorities)" is how I read it, meaning "Programs were no longer controlled by HP", rather than "Controlling the programs was stopped by HP".

More importantly, the typical "raised subject/object" is semantically connected only to the non-finite clause, while with "aspectual verbs" such as "stop", "begin", "continue" the subject is obviously the "doer" of "stopping", "beginning" etc.

I've read on the internet and in The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language that "stop" and similar aspectual verbs are to be understood as "raising" verbs. I'd like to know if "stop" is to be analyzed as a raising verb in the example I provided and if so, whether such analysis has any bearing on the relation between the aspectual verb and its verb complement, where the former can be seen as a phase in the event described by the later?

1 Answer 1


The raising-equi analysis of "stop", like "begin", does not predict synonymy between such active/passive pairs as your examples, but only synonymy with the passive of one sense of the active. The active should have senses:

(1) [HP stopped [HP control programs]] -- HP is agent
(2) [ stopped [HP control programs]] -- HP is not known to be agent

(1) and (2) can give rise to the same surface sentence. In sense (2) we predict synonymy with the passive, because the embedded sentence could be passivized before subject-raising. But the embedded sentence of (1) cannot be passivized, because such aspectual verbs require the subjects of the matrix and embedded sentences to be the same (if the matrix has a subject at all).

So your example is problematic for the usual analysis only if your first example with "HP" as subject means unambiguously that HP was responsible for stopping the control of programs. If there is a reading in which the responsibility might lie elsewhere, then there is no problem here.

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