Perception and conception

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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&#8217;s interpretation has been disputed, notably by No&#235;l (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 &#8216;<i>see</i> x <i>to be</i> y&#8217; 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.


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