Date: Fri, 17 Nov 1995 08:39:52 -0500
From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU
Subject: Re: Don Nelson puts behind
It sounds odd to me, and my first thought was, quite simply, that I had to
move 'behind' behind: 'to put this sordid ... career behind.' Then I
noticed that the ellipsis of the locative (usually obligatory in English
with 'put,' e.g., '*I put the groceries,' although happy in most other
languages) is clearly involved.
I think there is an odd distribution which has in part to do with the
weight on the right. Look at the following:
1) Nelson put this chapter behind him.
2) ?Nelson put this chapter behind 0.
3) ??Nelson put behind him this chapter.
4) *Nelson put behind 0 this chapter.
Even in a truncated sentence, then, when the material to the right is not
heavy, the 'put' with locative elided is still worst, but all the
dispreferred above are better if the material to the right is 'heavy,' as
in the original example.
How about the other funny business in this sentence? Since the 'him' (in 1
above, a completely grammatical sentence) is a clause-mate to 'Nelson,' why
isn't it reflexive? *Nelson put this chapter behind himself. Could this odd
fact have anything to do with the fact that the locative is predicted by
'put' but here has an obligatory temporal metaphoric reading?
preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]pilot.msu.edu
Does this sound odd to anyone else?
Thursday, NY Times, B8
This is called closure in sports, and Nelson seemed as ready
as anyone to put behind this sordid chapter in his otherwise