© 2018

Corpus-Based Studies on Non-Finite Complements in Recent English


  • Examines the applicability of the Choice Principle to a range of constructions not considered before

  • Investigates the use and distribution of different complement options in American and British English

  • Demonstrates the diachronic rise of gerunds at the expense of infinitives

  • Utilises data from the Corpus of Historical American English, the Corpus of Contemporary American English, Hansard and the British National Corpus


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Paul Rickman, Juhani Rudanko
    Pages 1-14
  3. Paul Rickman, Juhani Rudanko
    Pages 97-103
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 105-108

About this book


This book showcases fresh research into the underexplored territory of complementation through a detailed analysis of gerunds and ‘to’ infinitives involving control in English. Drawing on large electronic corpora of recent English, it examines subject control in adjectival predicate constructions with ‘scared’, ‘terrified’ and ‘afraid’, moving on to a study of object control with the verbal predicate ‘warn’. In each chapter a case study is presented of a matrix adjective that selects both infinitival and gerundial complements, and a central theme is the application of the Choice Principle as a novel factor bearing on complement selection. The authors argue that it is helpful to view the patterns in question as constructions, as combinations of form and meaning, within the system of English predicate complementation, and convincingly demonstrate how a new gerundial pattern has emerged and spread in the course of the last two centuries. This book will appeal to scholars of semantics, corpus linguistics, and historical linguistics as well as those with an interest in variation and change in recent English more generally. 


Choice Principle Bach's Generalization Hansard corpus regional variation British English American English complementation Subject control object control Great Complement Shift Corpus of Historical American English COHA British National Corpus diachronic change understood objects adjectival complementation

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.English Language, Literature and TranslationUniversity of TampereTampereFinland
  2. 2.English Language, Literature and TranslationUniversity of TampereTampereFinland

About the authors

Paul Rickman is a University Instructor of English at the University of Tampere, Finland. His research interests include complementation, New Zealand English, World Englishes and new-dialect formation. His recent work has addressed the issue of variation in the predicate complementation system of New Zealand English.

Juhani Rudanko is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Tampere, Finland. His recent work has focused on the system of English predicate complementation in recent centuries and on the pragmatic analysis of political discourse in the early American Republic.

Bibliographic information