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Infinitival and gerundial complements

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Abstract

The present contribution investigates three patterns of non-finite clausal complementation which are known to be variable in contemporary British and American English, namely the use of bare and <i>to</i>-infinitives with <i>help</i>, the presence or absence of <i>from</i> before gerunds following the verb <i>prevent</i>, and the choice between infinitives and gerunds as complements of <i>begin</i> and <i>start</i>. On the whole, Australian and New Zealand English usage displays a broadly &#8220;British&#8221; profile of variation, and differences between the two antipodean varieties are minor. While not spectacular in themselves, these findings fit quite well into long-term developments that have been shaping the complement-clause system of English in the Late Modern period. Australian and New Zealand English are taking part in these world-wide drifts at a pace comparable to British English. In particular, no rapid recent &#8220;Americanization&#8221; of usage can be observed.

References

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