Syntactic constraints on the use of dual form intensifiers in Modern English

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Recent work on comparative variation has highlighted two major syntactic environments encouraging the choice of the more explicit <i>more</i>-variant, a) the use of non-attributive rather than attributive adjectives and b) the use of complemented rather than uncomplemented (non-attributive) adjectives (cf., e.g., Mondorf 2009). The present article shows that throughout the Modern English period these environments have also favoured the choice of the more explicit suffixed variant in dual form intensifiers. In addition, the paper briefly assesses some important theories that have been or could be invoked to account for these findings. Specifically, it is shown that the prosodic (sub)type of the intensifier itself does not play a decisive role in selecting the suffixed or suffixless variant.


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