This chapter focuses on a third type of ditransitive: commissives, with meanings like ‘promise’. The commissives are interesting in that finite clauses are still their preferred complement in Present-day English, unlike the other subject-controlled verbs where finite clauses have been ousted completely by the to-infinitive. Closer investigation suggests that this survival is due to the fact that coreference of the subject of the subclause and an argument of the main clause is less frequent than with the verbs discussed in the previous chapters, i.e., the embedded subject is not ‘controlled’. Secondly, the ratio of modals versus simple subjunctive form is far higher in Old English after the commissives than after other ‘control’ verbs, which suggests that there is a need to distinguish between these types by using different modals for different types, which explains the continued survival of finite clauses.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.