A modal shock absorber, empathiser/emphasiser and qualifier
The modal auxiliary can occasionally occurs, as it seems redundantly, in sentences like “I can promise that you'll like it”, a usage that has sometimes been difficult to explain. Its occurrence in the CobuildDirect Corpus is here investigated, and it appears that it typically occurs with three types of verbs: performative verbs, verbs of perception and verbs of mental processes. Far from being redundant, it carries out a number of important functions, labelled Shock absorber, Empathiser/Emphasiser and Qualifier. It is finally suggested that its use in those functions will explain why it predominantly occurs with the three types of verbs.
Keywords: empathiser, emphasiser, qualifier, performative verbs, verbs of perception, verbs of mental processes, shock absorber
Published online: 06 January 2004
Cited by 1 other publications
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