Edited by Juana I. Marín-Arrese, Gerda Haßler and Marta Carretero
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 271] 2017
► pp. 297–313
Exploring evidential uses of the passive of reporting verbs through corpus analysis
One feature which has interesting evidential implications in English is the passive form of verbs of saying or thinking. Corpus evidence is used to trace the evolution of the most frequent passive structures of this kind over the last two hundred years, and to explore changes in their use. Diachronic developments in frequency, and evidence for semantic and syntactic narrowing of the passive forms of “say”, “expect” and “suppose”, are analysed in the light of claims that these forms are becoming grammaticalised. Trends concerning the deontic and evidential uses of “expect” and “suppose” are discussed.