Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

On the nature of the verb in present day English (existential) there-constructions. Formal and communicative implications

Ana Elina Martínez Insúa


There is general agreement that be is the verb 'par excellence' in so-called English existential there-constructions (existential TCs). In fact, on many occasions, a distinction is made between existential TCs -be TCs- and presentational TCs (non-be TCs). It is true, however, that other verbs may also occur in TCs. These are mainly intransitive verbs that express the ideas of permanence, being, existence, movement, position, entrance into the scene of discourse, arrival or continuation of an event (seem, come, remain, follow, develop, etc.). From a corpus-driven perspective, the proportion of non-be TCs in Present Day English (PDE) is analysed, granting special attention to their communicative value. It is hypothesised that even though, strictly speaking, non-be TCs do not primarily express existence, they do share with be TCs their main pragmatic function -i.e. signal function- a trait genuinely linked to the use of there. It is also examined whether any significant difference is observed between the use of non-be TCs in speech and writing, and what is the rationale for this difference (if any).


Verbos; There; Construcción impersonal; Análisis pragmático; Construcciones sintácticas; Lengua inglesa


Copyright (c) 2002 Ana Elina Martínez Insúa

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