Basic English Syntax with Exercises

Suggested answer for Exercise 4

In the sentence David made the ball roll to the wall there are two verbs. Made is a light verb while roll is a thematic verb. The light verb sits in the v head while the thematic verb occupies the V head. The verb roll takes a DP argument, assigning a theme thematic role to it and a PP argument with a goal thematic role. The light verb made hosts an argument DP, assigning an agent thematic role to it. The DP the wall will be assigned Case by the preposition to. The theme argument the ball gets its accusative Case from the v. The DP David cannot be assigned Case in its base position, so it has to move to the specifier of the IP to get Case from the finite I head. The vP on top of the agentive vP contains the tense morpheme. The verb picks up the -ed ending on its way to I.