Nouns + adjectives/participles

The case that will be dealt with now is symptomatic of a general feature which is pervasive in English accentual patterns: whenever possible, the word that bears the nucleus tends to be a noun, in preference to other lexical items such as verbs, adjectives or participles. This characteristic of English prosody was clearly seen in our review of event sentences and will be encountered again in some of the next exceptions to the LLI rule.

The structure analyzed here is made up of a noun followed by a participle, past or present, or an adjective. In spite of the fact that these are lexical words which come at the end of the IP, the nucleus is located in the preceding noun. This pattern is very typical of –but not unique to- causative processes and can be clearly identified in the following clauses:

(136) sound_loud_speaker We’ll have our house painted.

(137) sound_loud_speaker You need to get your hair cut.

(138) sound_loud_speaker Don’t leave the engine running.

(139) sound_loud_speaker Is your luggage ready?

(140) sound_loud_speaker To speak good English, it’s essential that you get your vowels right.


Here are some examples of this phenomenon taken from real life:

(141) sound_loud_speaker She’s whispering at his ear. He has his eyes closed (Julian Barnes; Leicester, UK).

(142) sound_loud_speaker He took a decision and he kept his mouth shut (Philip Roth; Newark, US).

(143) sound_loud_speaker And finally there was a deal struck (Charles Frazier; North Carolina, US).


(144) I have to get my teeth cleaned this week (Barbara Hershey; Hollywood, California, US).


(145) Please, I have to go! I have to have my teeth cleaned! (Barbara Hershey; Hollywood, California, US).


(146) I assumed you wanted a suit made (unknown actor).


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