Internal argument

From Glottopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The internal argument is the argument of a verb that has to be realized inside the maximal projection of that verb. Each verb may have one or more internal arguments. The argument which is closest to the verb is sometimes called the direct internal argument, while the others are called the indirect internal arguments.


The argument structure of the English transitive verb open contains an external argument (Agent) and two internal arguments (Theme and Instrument) as can be inferred from the sentence Tom opened the door with his key, where the door is the direct internal argument, and with his key the indirect internal argument.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Levin, B. and M. Rappaport 1986. 'The Formation of Adjectival Passives.' Linguistic Inquiry 17. 623-663
  • Spencer, A. 1991. Morphological Theory, Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Williams, E. 1981b. 'Argument Structure and Morphology,' The Linguistic Review 1. 81-114.

Other languages

German internes Argument