Sole argument generalization
The Sole Argument Generalization is a generalization proposed in Levin & Rappaport (1986) which says that an argument that may stand as a sole NP complement to a verb can be externalized by Adjectival passive formation. This generalization is meant to account for the difference between (ii) and (iii):
(i) Dick sold Tom the car. (ii) The car remained unsold. (iii) *Tom remained unsold.
In (ii), the internal argument of sell is externalized. This is allowed since the NP the car can be the sole argument of sell (cf. Dick sold the car). In (iii), on the other hand, the second internal argument of sell is externalized, but this NP cannot be the sole argument (cf. *Dick sold Tom in the reading Dick sold something to Tom), and externalization therefore is not possible.
- Levin, B. and M. Rappaport 1986. The Formation of Adjectival Passives, Linguistic Inquiry 17, pp. 623-663
- Spencer, A. 1991. Morphological Theory, Blackwell, Oxford.