On strolling

Recently I wrote a blog post in which I mentioned that "it makes no sense to say: I strolled you."

Mark Liberman helpfully pointed out that in certain contexts, this is not entirely true. He wrote:

But there's causative examples with a direct object and a goal -- some web examples:


We strolled you around the park and had a picnic.

He was the one who strolled you around the neighborhood and talked to you like you understood everything and encouraged you to have an opinion.

She immediately released Michael's hand while he just stood there in a trance, but realized he needed to be placed somewhere, so Ophelia strolled him over to a nearby chair and sat him down when she said, “You wait for me here..


I strolled him around and admired the beautiful trees.


Her reactions of surprise and delight had been repeated many times over as he strolled her through each garden 'room'

Annie strolled her empty cart straight to the produce department
And there's a transitive sense that the OED glosses as "To walk or pace along (a path) or about (a place)", with citations back to 1623:


1693   R. Gould Corrupt. Times 28   For thee the dirty Drab does strowl the Streets. 

1720   Swift Progr. Beauty 87   So rotting Celia stroles the Street, When sober Folks are all a-bed. 

a1772   Ess. from Batchelor (1773) I. 249   After strolling the Green, arm in arm with L——d M——lt——on. 

1810   Splendid Follies III. 119   [He] had been strolling the solitary path of the elm-walk. 1956   H. Gold Man who was not with It vi. 50   Her laughter rang out as we strolled a business street of the suburb. 

1974   New Yorker 3 June 76/3 (advt.)    Hike forest trails, stroll lovely gardens. 

1977   Gay News 24 Mar. 23/1   They taxi to the Toilet and stroll the dock strip at 3 am. . 

In my defense, I was grasping for a good example of a verb that doesn't transitivize well, and without a goal or a causative reading, stroll fits the bill. There are actually a ton of words like this, too (that is, that aren't default transitive, but that can receive such readings under appropriate circumstances). My first inclination was to use walk but immediately realized it had this problem.  In retrospect, I should have chosen an unaccusative verb -- a topic I'll cover in another post.