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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

Chapter 7 - Me Liketh/Lotheth but I Loue/Hate: Impersonal/Non-Impersonal Boundaries in Old and Middle English

from Part II - Approaches to Constructions and Constructional Change


Impersonal constructions form one of the most extensively researched topics in English historical syntax, with dedicated publications ranging over a century (e.g. van der Gaaf 1904; Elmer 1981; Allen 1995; Möhlig-Falke 2012). These constructions are commonly distinguished by three morphosyntactic features: (i) a nominative subject is missing; (ii) what is commonly labelled as ‘Experiencer’ – the human argument involved in the action of the verb – bears objective case; and (iii) the verb is in the third-person singular form.