Perception and conception
This chapter revisits a construction discussed by Bolinger (1974), investigating whether his intuitive interpretation of it holds in the light of robust corpus data. Bolinger’s interpretation has been disputed, notably by Noël (2003), on the basis of what he takes to be diverging evidence from the British National Corpus. A careful examination of all instances of the ‘<i>see</i> x <i>to be</i> y’ construction in three large corpora provides converging evidence showing that Bolinger was basically correct when he stated that when followed by a <i>to</i>-infinitive complement, perceptual verbs are being used in a conceptual sense. This interpretation of the <i>see</i> construction with the <i>to</i>-infinitive complement is related to a more general schematic interpretation of the meaning of the <i>to</i>-infinitive form.