Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Thu Aug 7 18:38:27 UTC 2008

On Aug 7, 2008, at 10:25 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> From Slashdot:
> "[H]e's finally been located and issued _with_ a summons."
> Apparently, the sands of grammar continue to shift metaphorically
> beneath my feet.

this is entirely standard for me, and you can google up vast numbers
of similar examples.

as a matter of fact, the variant *without* a preposition --
   He's finally been located and issued a summons.
is ok for me, but not as good as the prepositional version.

let me focus this a bit by simplifying the examples to their core.
the examples so far are passives:
   (1) He was issued with a summons. [passive; recipient  as subject;
"with" marking theme]
   (2) He was issued a summons. [passive; recipient as subject; theme
the corresponding actives are:
   (1') They issued him with a summons. [active; recipient as object;
"with" marking theme]
   (2') They issued him a summons. [active; recipient as object; theme
example (2') is the "double object" construction, varying with the
prepositional dative:
   (2") They issued a summons to him. [active; theme as object; "to"
marking recipient]

((2') has an alternative passive, not directly relevant here:
   (3) A summons was issued to him. [passive; theme as subject; "to"
marking recipient] )

for me, all these variants are acceptable, and all are attested,
though i suspect with rather different frequencies, and there are
british/american differences (MWDEU: "In British English, the
transitive verb _issue_ is often followed by _with_" [both MWDEU's
examples are passive] "... such usage first occurred in the early 20th
century.  Its common occurrence has led to its acceptance by British
(such as Partridge 1942 and Gowers in Fowler 1965).  Speakers of
American English would say "provided with" or "supplied with" instead
[of "issued with"].")

in addition, the variants with "with" seem to be especially common in
legal contexts, where "issue" has a meaning parallel to "serve"
"serve someone with a summons" and "be served with a summons"  seem to
be much more common than the unmarked-theme variants "serve someone a
summons" and "be served a summons", though apparently all variants
occur).  "issue" in the 'provide, supply' sense sounds much less good
to my american ears with "with" than "issue" in the legal sense does.


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