Definition - If the form that grammatical element X takes is determined by the form that grammatical element Y takes (but not vice versa), then X is governed by Y.

Example -
In the sentence I kicked him the ball, the verb kicked governs the pronoun and requires that it be in its accusative form him.

Etymology -
The word derives via Old French from the Latin gubernare, to direct or rule. It ultimately derives from the Greek kybernan, to steer a ship.

Oxford English Dictionary -
Its first citation in its grammatical sense is from 1530:
"Pronownes be suche as … may governe verbes to be of lyke nombre and parson with them."
(Jehan Palsgrave, Lesclarcissement de la langue françoyse, 74)

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