Conlinguistics Wiki


In syntax, impersonality is a property held by a verb that does not take an argument of any sort, such as a subject or an object. Impersonal verbs are also known as weather verbs because verbs such as to rain and to snow are the most commonly used examples of impersonal verbs. Impersonal verbs typically use dummy pronouns in place of an actual subject.

Such verbs in English ( to rain, to snow ) are rarely used for something else, while in some languages, they can have an important role.


Impersonal verbs are verbs that take no argument and in languages that need that argument, they use a dummy argument, typically a dummy pronoun. These verbs cannot be used in a wide variety of different situations, simply because of their inability to take arguments.