From the NYT yesterday, in “Who Will Watch the Charities?” by David Callahan:
Last week federal authorities disclosed that four cancer charities had bilked tens of millions of dollars from donors.
The subordinate clause here has a VP of the form:
(1) bilk MONEY from VICTIM
where I might have used one of the form:
(2) bilk VICTIM of MONEY
i.e., four cancer charities had bilked donors of tens of millions of dollars. Same verb, same participants in the event (a victim, some money), but different syntax: different argument structures, that is, different associations of the syntactic arguments (direct object DO and oblique object OO) with the participants. In more detail:
(1) V: bilk DO:MONEY P: from + OO:VICTIM
(2) V: bilk DO:VICTIM P: of + OO:MONEY
There is some tradition for referring to such a variation between argument structures as a diathesis alternation. In this case, both alternants are standard, and, so far as I can tell, are treated as such in the usage literature.