On Fri, May 8, 2009 at 1:51 PM, Paul Hartzer <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > No, but inanimate objects can logically only be the subjects of certain verbs. "Have" is transitive (in the sense of "possess"), but it can take inanimate subjects: > > -- The Earth has one moon, while Jupiter has multiple moons. > > Likewise, the copula "be" is transitive: > > -- The Earth is the third planet from the sun. > > Certain other stative verbs can also take inanimate subjects, such as: > > -- The City of Detroit's borders surround Hamtramck and Lincoln Park. > > However, other stative transitive verbs ("believe," for instance) require animate (or even sentient, as in the case of "believe") subjects. And all dynamic verbs, as far as I know, require animate subjects; for instance, "surround" in the dynamic sense: > > -- Before the Gallic soldiers had a chance to escape, the Roman legionnaires surrounded them. This is a semantic restriction, though. Syntactically, it doesn't matter. "The toaster believed it would prevail" is well-formed, just nonsensical (unless you're talking about the Brave Little Toaster, or are a devout animist).