1887
Volume 123, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0019-0829
  • E-ISSN: 1783-1490
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Abstract

to belongs to a type of verbal structures which are in a syntactic construction with other verbs (e.g. fail to win) and which have meanings related to aspect or modality. In this paper we used the COBUILD corpus to analyse the discursive function of to and the meaning it adds to the verbal group where it occurs. The paper shows that with regard to function to is more similar to auxiliaries than to lexical verbs. to is used in positive clauses to deny an expectation, which explains its association with non-durative aspect and with the modality meanings "non-achievement" and "unfulfilled obligation", and in rhetorical questions and negative clauses it is used to express the speaker's strong commitment to the certainty of a proposition.

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/content/journals/10.1075/itl.123-124.02luz
1999-01-01
2019-10-19
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