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Nik Taylor wrote:
> Rob Haden wrote:
>
>>and with
>>word-order fixed so that indirect object precedes direct object
>>with "give," the preposition "to" can easily be omitted (since it could be
>>considered semi-redundant) in sentences like "I give John the dog."
>
>
> I don't think there is an omitted preposition.  ?"I give to John the
> dog" is a very awkward, possibly ungrammatical, sentence.  The correct
> syntax is "I give the dog to John".
>
> In my view, "I give the dog to John" is derived from "I give John the
> dog" rather than the other way around.  The form with "to" is used to
> move "dog" to the position of primary object by demoting "John" from
> that position.
>
> Consider:
> I give John the dog -> John is given the dog
> I give the dog to John -> The dog is given to John
>
> In each case, the primary object (marked by being the first noun after
> the verb) is moved to subject position replacing the agent, the verb is
> made passive, and other features of the sentence remain.

I'd consider "I give the dog to John" to be an example of a transitive
verb with an oblique recipient, while "I give John the dog" is an
example of a ditransitive. But I'm hardly an expert here...