Vol. 16:2 (2015) ► pp.218–249
“Factive” parenthetical clauses?
A synchronic and diachronic account of I regret (to say)
Regret has traditionally been regarded as a “true factive” predicate that always presupposes the truth of its complement and cannot occur in parenthetical clauses (Hooper 1975). In the light of earlier observations that I regret and I regret to say have acquired non-factive uses (Heyvaert and Cuyckens 2010), this paper presents a synchronic analysis of the discourse contexts in which I regret and I regret to say occur as parenthetical clauses, and co-occur not with factive complements, but with reported utterances. From a diachronic point of view, the article describes how regret-clauses came to function as illocution modifiers to a reported utterance after the emergence of various types of to-infinitival complements following the predicate. The article deviates from the traditional view that factive complements are limited to presupposed true complements as expressed in gerunds or that-clauses. Instead, it broadens the concept of factivity to include presupposed non-epistemic complements and complements realized as to-infinitives.