Article published in:Corpus Perspectives on Patterns of Lexis
Edited by Hilde Hasselgård, Jarle Ebeling and Signe Oksefjell Ebeling
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 57] 2013
► pp. 113–132
The construction cannot help -ing and its rivals in Modern English
This paper describes the history and present status of a family of constructions containing two older (obsolescent and recessive) members, cannot choose but + bare infinitive and cannot but + bare infinitive, and two younger ones, cannot help -ing and cannot help but + bare infinitive. It is shown that cannot help but + bare infinitive constitutes an American-led innovation and that even today the type is distinctly more common and versatile in American than British English. In addition, the paper explores some major distributional constraints distinguishing between cannot help -ing and the three but-types. These involve differences between individual text types, the lexical diversity of the non-finite verb, and certain non-basic, especially Low Transitivity structures.
Published online: 27 June 2013
Cited by other publications
Ruohonen, Juho & Juhani Rudanko
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