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6.2.3.Special cases

This section discusses a set of special constructions with complementives: Subsection I starts with the absolute met-construction and Subsections II to IV to discuss constructions involving modal verbs, the verb komen'to come' and the verbs hebben/krijgen'to have/get', subsection V concludes with a brief discussion of a number of adjectives that can be used only as complementives.

[+]  I.  The absolute met-construction

The absolute met-construction consists of the preposition met'with' followed by a noun phrase and a predicative constituent that enter into a subject-predicate relation. Often, the predicative element consists of a locative PP (cf. Section P2.5), so that it is not surprising that adjectives that express a locational meaning, such as open'open' or dicht'closed', are also quite common in this construction. One example is given in (75b).

a. [Met het raam op een kier] krijgen we meer frisse lucht binnen.
  with  the window  on a chink  get  we more fresh air  inside
  'With the window ajar, weʼll get more fresh air inside.'
b. [Met het raam open] krijgen we meer frisse lucht binnen.
  with  the window  open  get  we more fresh air  inside
  'With the window open, weʼll get more fresh air inside.'

The absolute met-construction often expresses a temporary state that is in some way connected to the proposition expressed by the main clause. The examples in (75), for example, seem to express a kind of conditional relation: if the window is ajar/open, we will get more fresh air inside. This relation with the event expressed by the main clause need not be conditional in nature: example (76) has a simultaneous reading, that is, it merely expresses that Jan had his window ajar/open while he was sleeping.

dat Jan [met zijn raam open] sliep.
  that  Jan  with  his window  open  slept

This conditional/simultaneous reading seems to correlate with a difference in word order, which is especially clear in embedded contexts. Consider the examples in (77): in (77a), the embedded clause has a conditional reading, and the met-construction precedes the clausal adverb natuurlijk'of course'; in (77b), on the other hand, the clause has a simultaneous reading, and the met-construction must follow the clausal adverb. The primed examples are unacceptable under a neutral intonation pattern; the number sign in (77a') indicates that this example is at least marginally acceptable if the met-phrase is explicitly represented as belonging to the new information of the clause, for example, as an answer to the question: Hoe krijgen we meer frisse lucht binnen?'How do we get more fresh air inside?'.

a. dat je [met het raam open] natuurlijk meer frisse lucht binnen krijgt.
  that  one  with the window open  of course  more fresh air  inside  gets
  'that one gets more fresh air inside, of course, when the window is open.'
a'. # dat je natuurlijk [met het raam open] meer frisse lucht binnen krijgt.
b. dat Jan natuurlijk [met zijn raam open] slaapt.
  that  Jan  of course  with his window open  sleeps
  'that Jan is of course sleeping while his window is open.'
b'. * dat Jan [met zijn raam open] natuurlijk slaapt.

The order restriction that is connected to these interpretation differences can be overruled by PP-over-V. The examples in (78) show that the met-PP from both (77a) and (77b) can follow the clausal adverb in main clauses if they are placed after the verbs in clause-final position.

a. dat je natuurlijk meer frisse lucht binnen krijgt [met het raam open].
b. dat Jan natuurlijk slaapt [met zijn raam open].

Topicalization of the absolute met-constructions in clause-initial position gives rise to a weird result in case of the simultaneous reading; the primed examples in (79) are only possible with a marked intonation contour with heavy stress on the PP op een kier or the AP open and a brief intonation break after the complete absolute met-construction. These examples contrast sharply with those in (75), which have a conditional reading.

a. Jan sliep vannacht [met zijn raam op een kier].
  Jan slept  tonight   with his window on a chink
  'Jan was sleeping last night with his window ajar.'
a'. *? [Met zijn raam op een kier] sliep Jan vannacht.
b. Jan sliep vannacht [met zijn raam open].
  Jan slept  tonight   with his window open
  'Jan was sleeping last night with his window open.'
b'. *? [Met zijn raam open] sliep Jan vannacht.

Given that the absolute met-construction expresses a temporary state, it is not surprising that the adjective in the absolute met-construction must be a stage-level predicate, that is, that individual-level predicates are blocked. This is illustrated in (80).

a. [Met Jan ziek] krijgen we het werk nooit af.
  with  Jan ill  get  we the work  never  finished
  'With Jan being ill, weʼll never finish the work.'
b. * [Met Jan intelligent] krijgen we het werk snel af.
  with  Jan intelligent  get  we  the work  quickly  finished
  'With Jan being intelligent, weʼll finish the work quickly.'

Note that the interpretative differences discussed in this subsection can be found under the same conditions with supplementives; cf. Section 6.3, sub III.

[+]  II.  Modal verb + adjective

Consider the examples in (81a-c), which involve modal verbs moeten'must', mogen'may', kunnen'may/can' and the negative polarity verb hoeven'need' followed by an adjective; cf. Barbiers (1995). Example (81d) shows that similar constructions can occasionally arise with a participle instead of an adjective.

a. De fles moet/mag/kan leeg.
  the bottle  must/may/can  empty
  'The bottle must/may/can be emptied.'
b. Het raam moet/mag/kan open.
  the window  must/may/can  open
  'The window must/may/can be opened.'
c. Het raam hoeft niet dicht.
  the window  need  not  closed
  'This window need not be closed.'
d. Deze band moet/kan nog geplakt.
  this tire  must/can  still  glued
  'This flat tire must/can still be repaired.'

The fact that the examples in (81) must be translated by means of a passive construction in English perhaps suggests that these examples involve a verbal complement to the modal verb, the verbal part of which is deleted, that is, that these examples are be derived from the passive resultative construction in (82) by deletion of the italicized part.

a. De fles moet/mag/kan leeg gemaakt worden.
  the bottle  must/may/can  empty  made  be
b. Het raam moet/mag/kan open gemaakt worden.
  the window  must/may/can  open  made  be
c. Het raam hoeft niet dicht gemaakt te worden.
  the window  need  not  closed  made  to be
d. Deze band moet/kan nog geplakt worden.
  this tire  must/can  still  glued  be

There is reason, however, to reject this proposal. Given that passive constructions may always contain a passive door-phrase, the deletion analysis predicts that this phrase is also possible if the verbal part is not present. The examples in (83) show that this prediction is wrong.

a. De fles moet/mag/kan door ons leeg *(gemaakt worden).
  the bottle  must/may/can  by us  empty     made  be
b. Het raam moet/mag/kan door ons open *(gemaakt worden).
  the window  must/may/can  by us  open     made  be
c. Het raam hoeft niet door Peter dicht *(gemaakt te worden).
  the window  need  not  by Peter  closed     made  to be
d. Deze band moet/kan nog door Peter geplakt *(worden).
  this tire  must/can  still  by Peter  glued     be

      As in the case of the resultative construction, only stage-level adjectives can be used. If the adjective A is used, the construction expresses that the subject of the adjective is not yet A, but must/may/can attain the state of being A. For instance, the expression De fles moet/mag/kan leeg expresses that the bottle is not empty yet, but must/may/can attain the state of being empty.
      In addition to the requirement of not denoting a permanent property, it has been claimed that the adjective A in the modal construction must be an absolute adjective which implies a continuous scale from “not A" to “A"; in other words, modification by an approximative or absolute modifier such as half'half', bijna'almost', helemaal'completely', etc. must be possible; cf. Sections 3.2, sub II, and III.

a. De fles is half/bijna/helemaal leeg.
  the bottle  is half/almost/completely  empty
a'. De fles moet/mag/kan leeg.
  the bottle  must/may/can  empty
b. De deur is half/bijna/helemaal open.
  the door  is half/almost/completely  open
b'. De deur moet/mag/kan open.
  the door  must/may/can  open

This restriction accounts for the fact that typical scalar adjectives like bang'afraid' or beschikbaar'available' in (84) do not occur in this construction. Observe that the primed examples in (85) become perfectly acceptable if the verbal string gemaakt worden'be made' is added; this shows again that the modal constructions are not derived from the passivized resultative construction by deletion of the non-modal verbal part of the verbal sequence. For completeness’ sake, note that (85b) is grammatical with bijna interpreted as a temporal adverb, which is, of course, irrelevant here.

a. * Jan is half/bijna/helemaal bang.
  Jan is half/almost/completely  afraid
a'. Jan moet/mag/kan bang *(gemaakt worden).
  Jan must/may/can  afraid     made  be
b. * Het boek is half/bijna/helemaal beschikbaar.
  the book  is half/almost/completely  available
b'. Het boek moet/mag/kan beschikbaar *(gemaakt worden).
  the book  must/may/can  available     made  be

      Comparatives are also possible in this construction, whereas superlatives yield a degraded result. Probably, this is again related to the fact that the adjective must imply a continuous scale: the superlative does not satisfy this condition as it refers to the endpoint of the scale.

a. Deze fles moet/mag/kan leger.
  this bottle  must/may/can  emptier
b. ?? Deze fles moet/mag/kan het leegst.
  this bottle  must/may/can  the emptiest
[+]  III.  The verb komen'to come' + adjective

This subsection on the komen + adjective construction relies heavily on the discussion of this construction found in Paardekooper (1986:203ff.), although it also adds a number of new observations.

[+]  A.  Properties of the komen + adjective construction

In the komen + adjective constructions in (87), the adjective nat'wet' is predicated of, respectively, the noun phrases jij'you' and de badkamer'the bathroom'. This construction is of a very limited type: it only occurs in interrogative clauses like (87) in which a cause is questioned and yes-no questions like (88) that contain a causative door-phrase.

a. Hoe kom jij zo nat?
  how  come  you  so wet
  'How come you are so wet?'
b. Waardoor komt de badkamer zo nat?
  by.what  comes  the bathroom  so wet
  'How come the bathroom is so wet?'
a. Kom jij *(door de regen) zo nat?
  come  you      by the rain  so wet
b. Komt die badkamer *(door dat lek) zo nat?
  comes  the bathroom     by that leak  so wet

The examples in (89) show that the komen + adjective construction is also possible in embedded interrogatives and in interrogatives with main clause order. Note that the interrogative meaning of (89b) is triggered by the adverb immers/toch; the negative element niet'not' must be present.

a. Ik vraag me af hoe jij zo nat komt.
  wonder  refl  prt.  how  you  so wet  comes
b. Door zoʼn klein beetje regen kom je toch/immers niet zo nat?
  by such.a little bit rain  come  you  prt  not  so wet

The examples in (90) show that the construction is excluded in declaratives and in interrogatives that question something other than a cause. Note, however, that for some unknown reason (90a) becomes perfectly acceptable in syntactic frame (90a').

a. * Jij komt door de regen zo nat.
  you  come  by the rain  so wet
a'. Ik weet het al: jij komt door de regen zo nat.
  know  it  already you  come  by the rain  so wet
  'I know it already: itʼs the rain that made you so wet.'
b. * Wie komt door de regen zo nat?
  who  comes  by the rain  so wet

      The examples in (91) show that the deictic element zo is normally required in such constructions. This element zo may modify the complementive adjective, but it may also modify some other element: in (92), for example, zo is used to modify an adverbial phrase.

a. Hoe kom jij *(zo) nat?
  how  come  you  so  wet
b. Waardoor komt de badkamer *(zo) nat?
  by.what  comes  the bathroom  so  wet
c. Kom jij door de regen *(zo) nat?
  come  you  by the rain  so  wet
d. Komt die badkamer door dat lek *(zo) nat?
  comes  the bathroom  by that leak  so  wet
a. Hoe kom jij zo plotseling nat?
  how  come  you  so suddenly  wet
  'How come you are wet so suddenly?'
b. Waardoor komt de badkamer zo plotseling nat?
  by.what  comes  the bathroom  so suddenly  wet
  'How come the bathroom is wet so suddenly?'

The examples in (91a&b) without zo can be saved, however, by adding a discourse particle such as nou, which is used to express astonishment. This is illustrated in (93); to our knowledge, examples like these have not been studied so far.

a. Hoe kom jij nou nat?
  how  come  you  prt  wet
b. Waardoor komt de badkamer nou nat?
  by.what  comes  the bathroom  prt  wet
[+]  B.  Comparison with the komen + clause construction

The fact that a cause phrase must be present suggests that the use of komen in (87) is related to its use in the examples in (94), which involve a finite clause instead of a complementive adjective. Observe that in these examples, the cause phrase is compulsory as well.

a. Het komt *(door de regen) dat jij zo nat bent.
  it  comes     by the rain  that  you  so wet  are
b. Het komt *(door dat lek) dat de badkamer zo nat is.
  it  comes     by that leak  that  the bathroom  so wet  is

More evidence for the claim that the two uses of komen are related is found in the fact that, in both constructions, komen can only be combined with epistemic modal verbs: deontic modals, like willen with the meaning “to want", are excluded.

a. Hoe kan de badkamer/Jan zo nat komen?
  how  can  the bathroom/Jan  so wet  come
  'How is it possible that the bathroom/Jan is so wet?'
a'. Hoe kan het komen dat de badkamer/Jan zo nat is?
  how  can  it  come  that  the bathroom/Jan  so wet  is
  'How is it possible that the bathroom/Jan is so wet?'
b. * Hoe wil Jan zo nat komen?
  how  wants  Jan so wet  come
b'. * Hoe wil het komen dat Jan zo nat is?
  how  wants  it  come  that  Jan so wet  is

That the two uses of komen are related is also clear from the fact that the examples in (87) and (88) are near-synonymous with those in (96) and (97). Observe that in (94) to (97), het'it' is an anticipatory pronoun introducing the embedded finite clause. This is clear from the fact that it must be dropped if the finite clause is preposed: compare (94a) to Dat jij zo nat bent, komt door de regen.

a. Hoe komt het dat jij zo nat bent?
  how  comes  it  that  you  so wet  are
b. Waardoor komt het dat de badkamer zo nat is?
  by.what comes  it  that  the bathroom  so wet  is
a. Komt het door de regen dat jij zo nat bent?
  comes  it  by the rain  that  you  so wet  are
b. Komt het door dat lek dat de badkamer zo nat is?
  comes  it  by that leak  that  the bathroom  so wet  is

      The (a)-examples in (98) show, however, that the komen + adjective and the komen + clause constructions differ in that only the latter is compatible with sentence negation. The (b)-examples show that if negation has a more limited scope, as in the case of adjectives prefixed with on-, both constructions are equally fine.

a. * Hoe kom jij niet zo nat als de anderen?
  how  come  you  not  as wet  as the others
a'. Hoe komt het dat jij niet zo nat bent als de anderen?
  how  comes  it  that  you  not  as wet  are  as the others
  'How come that you arenʼt as wet as the others.'
b. Hoe kom jij zo onbetrouwbaar?
  how  come  you  so unreliable
b'. Hoe komt het dat jij zo onbetrouwbaar bent?
  how  comes  it  that  you  so unreliable  are
  'How come that youʼre so unreliable?'

Paardekooper (1986) has suggested that the examples in (87) and (88) are “derived from" the infinitival counterparts of the examples in (96) and (97) by replacing the infinitival copula te zijn'to be' by a “null sign". Although this suggestion might be on the right track, it should be noted that, contrary to what Paardekooper claims, the overt realization of te zijn does not give rise to a very felicitous result according to most speakers of Dutch.

a. Hoe kom jij zo nat (*te zijn)?
  how  come  you  so wet     to be
b. Waardoor komt de badkamer zo nat (*te zijn)?
  by.what  comes  the bathroom  so wet     to be
[+]  C.  Modification of the adjective

The modification possibilities of the adjective in the komen + adjective construction depend on what the element zo modifies. When it modifies some constituent unrelated to the adjective, as in (100), the possibilities are rather limited: (100a) shows that amplifiers like erg'very' or verschrikkelijk'terribly' and downtoners like vrij'rather' are not possible then, and (100b&c) show that comparative/superlative forms and adjectives preceded by te'too' are also excluded. Note that the clausal constructions in (101) are less deviant or even completely acceptable.

a. * Hoe kom jij zo plotseling erg/verschrikkelijk/vrij klein?
  how  come  you  so suddenly  very/terribly/rather  small
b. * Hoe kom jij zo plotseling veel kleiner/het kleinst?
  how  come  you  so suddenly  much smaller/the smallest
c. * Hoe kom jij zo plotseling een stuk te klein?
  how  come  you  so suddenly  a lot  too small
a. ?? Hoe komt het dat jij zo plotseling erg/verschrikkelijk/vrij klein bent?
  how  comes  it  that  you  so suddenly  very/terribly/rather small  are
b. Hoe komt het dat jij zo plotseling veel kleiner/het kleinst bent?
  how  comes  it  that  you  so suddenly  much smaller/the smallest  are
  'How come you are so suddenly much smaller/the smallest?'
c. Hoe komt het dat jij zo plotseling een stuk te klein bent?
  how  comes  it  that  you  so suddenly  a lot  too small  are
  'How come youʼre so suddenly much too small?'

      If the element zo modifies the modifier of the adjective, as in (102a), amplifiers like erg'very' or verschrikkelijk'terribly' become possible in the komen + adjective construction; downtoners like vrij'rather', on the other hand, remain ungrammatical, probably because they cannot be modified by zo. Under the same condition, comparatives and adjective modified by te'too' can be used; this does not hold for superlatives, which may be due to the fact that they never combine with intensifiers. The examples in (103) show that the corresponding clausal constructions are also acceptable.

a. Hoe kom jij plotseling zo erg/verschrikkelijk/*vrij klein?
  how  come  you  suddenly  so very/terribly/rather  small
b. Hoe kom jij plotseling zo veel kleiner?
  how  come  you  so suddenly  so much  smaller
c. Hoe kom jij zoʼn stuk te klein?
  how  come  you  such.a lot  too small
  'How come youʼre so much too small?'
a. Hoe komt het dat jij plotseling zo erg/verschrikkelijk/*vrij klein bent?
  how  comes  it  that  you  suddenly  so very/terribly/rather  small are
b. Hoe komt het dat jij plotseling zo veel kleiner bent?
  how  comes  it  that  you  suddenly  so much  smaller  are
c. Hoe komt het dat jij zoʼn stuk te klein bent?
  how  comes  it  that  you  such.a lot  too small  are

      Observe that the complex modifier zo A mogelijk'as A as possible' in (104), in which zo is used non-deictically, is excluded. Note, however, that some speakers can use komen as a copular verb. For them, example (104a) is acceptable with an inchoative meaning: “how can you become as small as possible", but this is irrelevant for our present discussion.

a. # Hoe kom jij zo klein mogelijk?
  how  come  you  as small  as.possible
b. * Hoe komt het dat jij zo klein mogelijk bent?
  how  comes  it  that  you  so small as.possible  are
[+]  IV.  The verb hebben/krijgen'to have/get' + adjective

Standard Dutch has two constructions with the verbs hebben/krijgen'to have/get' followed by a complementive adjective. In the first construction, exemplified in (105a), the adjective is predicated of the accusative object. In the second construction, illustrated in (105b), the adjective is neither predicated of the accusative object, which is the non-referring pronoun het'it', nor of the subject, which seems to act as a kind of experiencer. These constructions are discussed in more detail in Section 6.2.1, sub IB, on the dialectal semi-copular construction.

a. Hij heeft/krijgt de kwast schoon.
  he  has/gets  the brush  clean
b. Ik heb het/*dat warm.
  I have  it/that  warm
[+]  V.  Adjectives that can only be used as complementives

Some adjectives can only be used in complementive position; cf. Section 5.3, sub I. We will discuss these adjectives in the following subsections.

[+]  A.  Adjectives that take a non-dative nominal complement

Adjectives that take a non-dative nominal complement, such as zat'weary' in (106), do not occur in attributive position; cf. Section 5.3, sub IA.

a. Het meisje is deze opera zat.
  the girl  is this opera  weary
  'The girl is weary of this opera.'
b. *? het deze opera zatte meisje
  the  this opera  weary  girl
[+]  B.  Adjectives obligatorily followed by a PP complement

Adjectives like gek'fond' must be followed by their prepositional complement; cf. the contrast between (107a) and (107a'). Such adjectives cannot occur in attributive position as a result of the Head-final Filter on attributive adjectives; cf. Section 5.3, sub IB.

a. De man is gek op zijn vrouw.
  the man  is fond  of his wife
a'. * De man is op zijn vrouw gek.
b. * de gekke op zijn vrouw man
b'. *? de op zijn vrouw gekke man
[+]  C.  Fixed verb + adjective combinations

Example (108) provides some examples of adjectives that can only occur in combination with a (pseudo-)copular verb.

a. braak liggen 'to lie fallow'
b. gelegen komen 'to be convenient'
c. handgemeen worden/raken 'to come to blows'
d. jammer zijn 'to be a pity'
e. niet pluis zijn 'to be fishy'

The primed examples in (109) show that these adjectives cannot be used attributively. For completeness’ sake, the doubly-primed examples show that these examples become fully acceptable if the verb appears as an attributively used present participle.

a. De akker ligt braak.
  the field  lies  fallow
b. De jongens raken handgemeen.
   the boys  come  to.blows
a'. * de brake akker
b'. * de handgemene jongens
a''. de braak liggende akker
b''. de handgemeen rakende jongens

The examples in (110) also involve copular constructions, but are special in that the adjective seems to take a nominal complement.

a. het spoor bijster raken/zijn 'to lose oneʼs way'
b. iets gewaar worden 'to perceive something'
c. iets kwijt zijn/raken 'to lose something'

The fact that these adjectives can only be used predicatively may therefore follow from the general restriction discussed in Subsection A that adjectives that take a non-dative complement cannot appear in attributive position. Observe that the doubly-primed examples, which contain the present participle of the verbs in (110), are again fully acceptable.

a. De man is/raakte het spoor bijster.
  the man  is/got  the track  lost
  'The man lost his way.'
a'. * de het spoor bijstere man
a''. de het spoor bijster zijnde man
b. De jongens werden de kust van verre gewaar.
  the boys became  the coast  from far  aware
  'The boys noticed the coast from afar.'
b'. * de de kust geware jongens
b''. de de kust gewaar wordende jongens
c. De jongen is/raakte zijn sleutels kwijt.
  the boy  is/got  his keys  lost
  'The boy mislaid his keys.'
c'. * de zijn sleutels kwijte jongen
c''. de zijn sleutels kwijt rakende/?zijnde jongen

For completeness’ sake, (112a) shows that the adjective kwijt can also be used without a nominal complement. In this case it cannot be used attributively either, as is shown in (112b).

a. Zijn sleutels zijn kwijt.
  his keys  are  lost
b. * zijn kwijte sleutels

      The examples in (113) are comparable to resultative and vinden-constructions. Observe that the adjectives in (113b&d) may also occur in a copular construction; cf. (108a&d).

a. iemand iets afhandig maken 'to deprive someone of something'
b. iets braak leggen 'to lay fallow'
c. een belofte gestand doen 'to observe a promise'
d. jammer vinden 'to consider something a pity'
e. zich schrap zetten (voor) 'to brace oneself (for)'

The fact that the adjectives in these fixed combinations cannot be used attributively is demonstrated in the primed examples in (114). The grammatical constructions in the doubly-primed examples again involve an attributively used present participle.

a. Jan maakte Marie het boek afhandig.
  Jan made  Marie the book  deprived
  'Jan deprived Marie of the book.'
b. De jongen zette zich schrap.
   the boy  put  refl  braced
  'The boy braced himself.'