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As I attempted to ask there https://english.stackexchange.com/a/90534/19659 and in the original edit of this very question:

  • What part of linguistics does this concept "bitransitive verbs of transfer" (or ditransitive, I don't care which) belong to? And the distinction between verbs that only take a dative noun vs. those that only take "for" or "to" vs. those that take both? Are we talking about syntax? Usage? Is there a much more precise answer, or is one of those perhaps sufficiently fitting?
  • Is there a good general reference for questions such as that one? Maybe Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage? Wikipedia didn't seem to orient me in the right direction.
  • Where should I ask my questions like these above? Is this meta.ELU a good place? Should I just ask in ELU? Should I take it to chat when I have enough points to do so?
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    What? I can't tell what your question is. – JSBձոգչ Nov 8 '12 at 18:19
  • I'm certainly no expert on the terminology here, so I'm a bit leery of paraphrasing exactly what John Lawler meant in his response to OP's comment asking whether the word should be ditransitive or bitransitive. I assume OP's asking here because he felt the response ("Yes, one of those.") was ambiguous. But my guess is John meant both terms are equally "valid". It also seems to me his answer implies that assigning either label to any particular verb isn't necessarily useful, since acceptable usage varies more according to the meaning, rather than the specific verb. – FumbleFingers Nov 8 '12 at 18:48
  • Whatever difference does it make whether people use Greek di- or Latin bi- in a technical term? I've heard both, and linguists use both. It doesn't matter. I thought I'd answered the questions about sources and such in comments after this one was posted. – John Lawler Nov 9 '12 at 0:39
  • @John Lawler: When that question first came up I just assumed that (to a first approximation) any given verb was either intransitive, transitive, or di/bitransitive. I don't suppose I care any more about the di/bi choice than you, but I do seem to have ended up thinking that - just as with What exactly is an “adverb”? - many such terms only really mean something in a specific usage context (Oh! - plus I learnt that I accept "ad-hoc" ditransitive usages more easily than some people! :) – FumbleFingers Nov 9 '12 at 3:21
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    to a first approximation, that's right. But transitivity is a property of a clause, not a verb. Verbs can get used in lots of ways, but grammatical relations like subject and objects have to do with individual clauses that feature the verb, not the verb itself. – John Lawler Nov 9 '12 at 4:17
  • Fully rewrote this sequence of questions in response to the 5-times-upvoted comment "What?" – minopret Nov 9 '12 at 4:28
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    @minopret: I think John's comment starting Syntax and Semantics under his own answer on that original question (which was in response to you asking effectively the same question there) is a good pointer to "the right direction". – FumbleFingers Nov 9 '12 at 22:24
  • @FumbleFingers thanks for pointing me to his comment! I wasn't notified and hadn't sought it out. Cool. – minopret Nov 10 '12 at 16:25

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