An entity that facilitates an action by applying intermediate causal force.

Prototypically, an Agent intentionally applies the Instrument with the purpose of achieving a result:

  • I broke the window with a hammer. 001

  • I destroyed the argument with my words. 002

Less prototypically, the action could be unintentional:

  • I accidentally poked myself in the eye with a stick. 003

The key is that the Instrument is not sufficiently “independently causal” to instigate the event.

However, to downplay the agency of the individual operating the instrument, the instrument can be placed in a passive by-phrase, which construes it as the instigator:

Note that the examples in #004 can be rephrased in active voice with the Instrument as the subject.

A device serving as a mode of transportation or medium of communication counts as an Instrument, but is often construed as a Locus or Path:

This includes some expressions which incorporate the Instrument in a noun:

Other non-prototypical instruments that can be construed as paths include waypoints from Source to Goal, and people/organizations serving as intermediaries:

Conversely, roadways count as Paths but can be construed as Instruments:

Compare Means, which is used for facilitative events rather than entities. See also Topic.

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Supercategory: Participant