This dissertation investigates the acquisition of particle verbs in Dutch . Based on longitudinal child data it shows how children acquire lexical categories V , A and P and how they acquire the complex predicate status of particle verbs . It shows that the acquisition of categories A and P is dependent on the acquisition of category V and that the acquisition of category V is tightly connected to the acquisition of verb - second . It is the acquisition of this verb - second that also leads to the acquisition of the complex predicate status of particle verbs . It further shows that the acquisition process inevitably leads children into overgeneralisation of preposition stranding , but that the same acquisition process also inevitably leads children out of it . This dissertation further presents data from experiments with adult speakers that shed an interesting light on the role this overgeneralisation still plays in the adult grammar . Investigating the acquisition of particle verbs cannot be done without taking a closer look at the acquisition process itself . As such , this dissertation also addresses more general questions concerning the acquisition process , such as the role of the lexicon and of generalizations . It shows an acquisition process in which the child makes use of pragmatic bootstrapping and syntactic cueing to build layer upon layer of grammar without the need of inherently , specifically linguistic knowledge . This dissertation will be of interest to anyone working on language acquisition , the syntax of particle verbs and preposition stranding , and the interaction between syntax and information structure .