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Verb Agreement in English Wh-Clefts: A Corpus-Based Study

Title
Verb Agreement in English Wh-Clefts: A Corpus-Based Study
Authors
Lee, Seung-Ah
Ewha Authors
이승아
SCOPUS Author ID
이승아scopus
Issue Date
2016
Journal Title
ENGLISH STUDIES
ISSN
0013-838XJCR Link1744-4217JCR Link
Citation
vol. 97, no. 7, pp. 779 - 806
Publisher
ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
Indexed
AHCI; SCOPUS WOS scopus
Abstract
This paper presents a corpus-based analysis of verb agreement in English wh-clefts. The copula in wh-clefts displays a number agreement alternation if the focused element is a plural noun phrase, as in What we want is/are more books in the library. Pedagogical grammars that address this variation hold opposing views on which of the two variants is preferred in formal English. To resolve this issue, the research for this paper examines the entire British National Corpus. An analysis of the present-tense copulas in the relevant wh-cleft constructions reveals that singular agreement is the predominant choicethe author's analysis found 328 occurrences of singular (61.3%) versus 207 occurrences of plural (38.7%). However, in academic prose, the most formal register, the plural copula occurs slightly more frequently (56.6%) than the singular copula (43.4%). The preference for plural verb agreement in academic prose resembles the agreement pattern of there-constructions.
DOI
10.1080/0013838X.2016.1198141
Appears in Collections:
인문과학대학 > 영어영문학전공 > Journal papers
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