Volume 25, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1566-5852
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9854



Building on Goldberg’s (2006: 52) observation regarding the existence of “a family of related constructions in English” centred around the verb , this article explores the history of the construction exemplified in the title (“Don’t go getting into trouble again!”) and its relation to other members of the network of constructions. The analysis, conducted using three large corpora, shows that the VP construction emerges from two source constructions (one with an – participle following the verb and the other with an infinitive) which exhibit overlap in terms of certain aspects of their form and meaning. From its earliest attestations in the eighteenth century, the VP construction has grown increasingly more interpersonal, and has become conventionalized as a marker of admonitive mood (Bybee et al. 1994: 321) which serves to dissuade or limit the performance of an activity that is apprehended as undesirable and counter-normative.

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