Article published in:Corpus Interrogation and Grammatical Patterns
Edited by Kristin Davidse, Caroline Gentens, Lobke Ghesquière and Lieven Vandelanotte
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 63] 2014
► pp. 239–262
Active and passive infinitive, ambiguity and non-canonical subject with ready
This paper presents a case study of the adjective ready and discusses its properties when it occurs in the tough construction (TC). The paper discusses the active and passive infinitive variation in the TC with evidence from the Corpus of Late Modern English Texts and the British National Corpus. The ambiguity created by the active infinitive and the effect of the semantics of the subject on the choice of the infinitive form are also discussed. The results show that the TC has become more frequent in BrE, and unlike with typical tough predicates, with ready the passive infinitive has persisted, most likely because of the risk of ambiguity with the active. The data also show that when the subject is [+HUMAN], the passive infinitive is used exclusively.
Published online: 14 November 2014
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