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What is the grammar of the word married in this sentence?

They are getting married in April.

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1 Answer 1

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The ‘Cambridge Grammar of English’ by Carter and McCarthy calls this construction the get-passive. That perhaps becomes clearer if we re-write the sentence as They will be married in April. Married is the past participle of the verb marry, just as it is in the more conventional passive. As the authors say, 'the get-passive is used in more informal contexts and is more common in spoken than in written English.’

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This usage of 'marry' is intransitive, so it can't be the get- passive. I'd say it's a case of the past participle being used as an adjective. –  Gaston Ümlaut Oct 10 '11 at 11:35
@Gaston: Why is this usage of 'marry' intransitive? I would have thought it was the same usage as "The minister married the bride and the groom", which is definitely transitive. (It's still transitive even if you get married by a judge.) –  Peter Shor Oct 10 '11 at 14:08
It's just occurred to me to wonder whether this construction is calqued from Celtic (as "do support" is said to be). In Welsh the passive is usually expressed using "cael" = "get", as in "cael ei dorri" = "get its breaking" = "be broken". –  Colin Fine Oct 10 '11 at 14:14
For 'marry' to be intranstive the sentence would have to be 'They are to marry in April.' –  Barrie England Oct 10 '11 at 14:19
@PeterShor No, 'they are getting married' indicates the referents of 'they' are marrying each othe; it has only the one argument, the subject 'they'. 'The minister married the bride and groom' has two arguments, subject (the minister) and object (bride and groom), so is transitive. A third verb 'marry' is seen in 'John married her'; this is transitive. –  Gaston Ümlaut Oct 10 '11 at 21:00

protected by RegDwigнt Jan 10 '12 at 15:15

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