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Argument structure

MORPHOLOGY/SYNTAX: what makes a lexical head induce argument positions in syntactic structure is called its argument structure. EXAMPLE: the head open has an argument structure which induces obligatorily one argument position (Theme), and optionally two more (Agent and Instrument). This argument structure explains what the sentences in (i) have in common. The argument structure of open is usually indicated as in (ii)a or b.

(i)	John opened Bill's door (with his key)
	John's key opened Bill's door
	Bill's door opened
	Bill's door was opened (by John)

(ii)  a:  OPEN	(John	door	key)
	          |	 |       |
		Agent	Theme	Instrument

      b:  OPEN	<Ag, Th, Instr>
Sometimes argument structure is identified with theta-grid, sometimes they are distinguished.
LIT. Di Sciullo, A. M. and E. Williams (1987)
Grimshaw, J. (1990)
Jackendoff, R. (1990)
Levin, B. and M. Rappaport (1986)
Scalise, S. (1984)
Spencer, A. (1991)
Williams, E. (1981b)