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date: 26 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The term “Great Complement Shift” (GCS) refers to the major changes that have occurred in English predicate complementation. The GCS is characterized by variation and change in a number of patterns of sentential complementation, especially the spread of to -ing complements at the expense of to infinitives. This article presents case studies of two matrix predicates—the adjective prone and the verb consent—that select both patterns today. It examines the variation and change affecting the grammar of these two words, as well as the competition between two patterns of complementation that are very dissimilar from a grammatical point of view. The article uses the TIME Corpus, representing a historical corpus of American English from the 1920s onwards, and the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), representing a corpus of recent American English, for prone. Only COCA is used for consent.

Keywords: Great Complement Shift, complements, infinitives, grammar, predicates, TIME Corpus, Corpus of Contemporary American English, American English, linguistics, recent change

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