Oops, it’s been a while since I posted here – mea culpa and all that. In my defence I have actually been getting on with some data collection for my MA, which isn’t anywhere near as boring as it might sound – well not to fellow language nerds anyway.
I am investigating the Dative Alternation; which, in a nutshell, is why we can say
I gave John a coffee
I gave a coffee to John
Do these different ways of arranging the sentence give the meaning some slightly different nuances? Do we consciously decide which we are going to use, and if so, why do we make those choices? Would we ever say
You gave an idea to me?
You gave me an idea?
From my own instinctive feeling and initial research I would say not – but why not? Anyway, back to the data collection which, hopefully, might give me some clues. In the meantime – I found this fascinating article which I thought you might like to read too:-