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For example, when one says "that apple tastes good", obviously they don't mean that the apple is tasting anything - apples can't taste. Rather, the person eating it does the tasting.

You can also see this in the southern US when people say things like "I'm gonna learn you a thing or two". The person talking in that example is teaching, not learning. The person they're speaking to is learning.

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, Rand al'Thor, NVZ, user66974, oerkelens Aug 17 '16 at 13:59

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  • 5
    Taste is a sense verb, and they come in three flavors: experiencer-subject volitional (look (at), listen (to), taste, smell, feel), experiencer-subject non-volitional (see, hear, taste, smell, feel), and Flip non-experiencer subject (look, sound, taste, smell, feel). The apple tastes good is a flip construction, like It sounds/looks/feels/tastes/smells good. So it's not the wrong subject, it's just a different construction. – John Lawler Aug 16 '16 at 22:36
  • John's comment would be perfect as an answer. – Centaurus Aug 16 '16 at 22:39
  • The ditransitive use of learn (to mean ‘teach’) used to be perfectly common and standard and has equivalents in pretty much all other Germanic languages. It's also perfectly standard in the past participle when used as an adjective: someone who is learned is (by modern, standard definitions) actually taught. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 16 '16 at 22:43
  • @Centaurus It already was. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 16 '16 at 22:45