A Description of the English Non-finite Verbal Group Clause

Roseline Abonego Adejare


Existing studies of the English non-finite verbal group (VBG) clause are lopsidedly semantic descriptions with focus on to-x+o and x+g forms only. This paper exhaustively describes the English non-finite VBG clause, determines its frequency of occurrence, identifies its functional and positional distribution, and accounts for variations in its syntactic behaviour. Analysed using the systemic grammatical model, the data comprises 643 non-finite VBG clauses obtained from an 18 000-word corpus of five written texts. Results reveal a frequency of occurrence of 36 in 1 000 words that ranged between 46.3 and 31.7 in the individual texts. The to-x+o form was the most frequent, followed by x+g, x+n and x+o. Respectively they featured  17, 11.3, 7 and 1.33 times in 1 000 words and represent 46, 32, 18 and 4 percent of the data. The non-finite VBG clause’s most prominent syntactic position was adjunct, where its 35 percent realisation was about 2½ times more than its function as beta clause, nominal group qualifier, and prepositional group qualifier. While its realisation as catenated VBG headword was 0.93 percent and qualifier 16.2 percent, its proportion as adjectival group qualifier, subject and complement was 0.16, 0.31 and 5 percent respectively. Features inherent in the non-finite VBG clause, authors’ individualism, and theses variation explain the differences.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/elr.v5n2p1


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English Linguistics Research
ISSN 1927-6028 (Print)   ISSN 1927-6036 (Online)

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