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British or American English?

Speakers of British and American English display some striking differencesin their use of grammar. In this detailed survey, John Algeo considers ques-tions such as:

∗Who lives on a street, and who lives in a street?∗Who takes a bath, and who has a bath?∗Who says Neither do I, and who says Nor do I?∗After “thank you”, who says Not at all and who says You’re welcome?∗Whose team are on the ball, and whose team is?

Containing extensive quotations from real-life English on both sides of theAtlantic, collected over the past twenty years, this is a clear and highlyorganized guide to the differences – and the similarities – in the grammar ofBritish and American speakers. Written for those with no prior knowledgeof linguistics, it shows how these grammatical differences are linked mainlyto particular words, and provides an accessible account of contemporaryEnglish as it is actually used.

is Professor Emeritus in the Department of English, Uni-versity of Georgia, Athens. His previous posts include Fulbright SeniorResearch Scholar, University College London (1986–7), GuggenheimFellow (1986–7), and University of Georgia Alumni Foundation Distin-guished Professor (1988–94). Over the past forty years he has contributedpapers to a wide variety of books and journals, including 91 book reviews.

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The aim of this series is to provide a framework for original studies of English, bothpresent-day and past. All books are based securely on empirical research, and representtheoretical and descriptive contributions to our knowledge of national varieties ofEnglish, both written and spoken. The series covers a broad range of topics andapproaches, including syntax, phonology, grammar, vocabulary, discourse, pragmaticsand sociolinguistics, and is aimed at an international readership.

General editorMerja Kyto (Uppsala University)

Editorial BoardBas Aarts (University College London), John Algeo (University of Georgia), SusanFitzmaurice (Northern Arizona University), Richard Hogg (University of Manchester),Charles F. Meyer (University of Massachusetts)

Already published in this series:

Christian MairInfinitival Complement Clauses in English: a Study of Syntax in Discourse

Charles F. MeyerApposition in Contemporary English

Jan FirbasFunctional Sentence Perspective in Written and Spoken Communication

Izchak M. SchlesingerCognitive Space and Linguistic Case

Katie WalesPersonal Pronouns in Present-day English

Laura WrightThe Development of Standard English, 1300–1800: Theories, Descriptions, Conflicts

Charles F. MeyerEnglish Corpus Linguistics: Theory and Practice

Stephen J. Nagle and Sara L. Sanders (eds.)English in the Southern United States

Anne CurzanGender Shifts in the History of English

Kingsley BoltonChinese Englishes

Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta (eds.)Medical and Scientific Writing in Late Medieval English

Elizabeth Gordon, Lyle Campbell, Jennifer Hay, Margaret Maclagan, Andrea Sudburyand Peter TrudgillNew Zealand English: Its Origins and Evolution

Raymond Hickey (ed.)Legacies of Colonial English

Merja Kyto, Mats Ryden and Erik Smitterberg (eds.)Nineteenth Century English: Stability and Change

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British or AmericanEnglish?A Handbook of Word andGrammar Patterns

JOHN ALGEOUniversity of Georgia

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Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo

Cambridge University PressThe Edinburgh Building, Cambridge , UK

First published in print format

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© John Algeo 2006


Information on this title: www.cambridg e.org /9780521371377

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provision ofrelevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take placewithout the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

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Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of sfor external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does notguarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York





eBook (EBL)

eBook (EBL)


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Preface page xiAcknowledgments xii

Introduction 1British and American as national varieties 1Differences between British and American 2The basis of this study 2Sources of comparative statistics and citations 4Conventions and organization of this study 6

Part I Parts of Speech 9

1 Verbs 111.1 Derivation 111.2 Form 121.3 Verb phrases 241.4 Functions 31

2 Determiners 432.1 Definite article 432.2 Indefinite article 492.3 Possessive construction 522.4 No determiner versus some determiner 532.5 Predeterminers and postdeterminers 64

3 Nouns 693.1 Derivation 693.2 Form 763.3 Function 863.4 Names and titles 1023.5 Genitive constructions 104


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viii Contents

4 Pronouns 1074.1 Personal 1074.2 Impersonal 1104.3 Demonstrative 1114.4 Relative 1124.5 Interrogative 1144.6 Indefinite 1144.7 Expletive 1154.8 Case 116

5 Adjectives 1195.1 Derivation 1195.2 Frequency and collocation 1265.3 Comparison 1285.4 Adjective order 131

6 Adverbs 1336.1 General 1336.2 Disjuncts 1466.3 Comparison 1486.4 Adverb order 1486.5 Adverbial particles 151

7 Qualifiers 1537.1 Modifying adjectives or adverbs 1537.2 Modifying prepositional phrases 1577.3 Modifying comparative structures 158

8 Prepositions 1598.1 Choice of preposition 1598.2 Omission of any preposition 1948.3 Omission of the prepositional object 1978.4 Prepositional phrase versus noun adjunct 1978.5 Order of numbers with by 197

9 Conjunctions 1999.1 Coordinating conjunctions 1999.2 Subordinating conjunctions 201

10 Interjections 207

Part II Syntactic Constructions 215

11 Complementation 21711.1 Complementation of verbs 21711.2 Complementation of nouns 25111.3 Complementation of adjectives 25711.4 Complementation of adverbs 261

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Contents ix

12 Mandative constructions 26312.1 Mandative present indicative 26412.2 Mandative past indicative 266

13 Expanded predicates 26913.1 Five “light” verbs in British and American 27013.2 Modification and complementation of the

expanded predicate noun 27613.3 Other expanded-predicate-like constructions 277

14 Concord 27914.1 Verb and pronoun concord with collective nouns 27914.2 Verb concord in other problematical cases 285

15 Propredicates 28715.1 Propredicate do 28715.2 Complements of propredicates 292

16 Tag questions 29316.1 Canonical form 29316.2 Anomalous forms 29316.3 Frequency of use 29616.4 Rhetorical uses 29716.5 Other forms and uses 302

17 Miscellaneous 30517.1 Focus 30517.2 Phatic language 30817.3 Numbers 31017.4 Dates 311

Bibliography of British book citation sources 313Bibliography of studies, dictionaries, and corpora 319Index of words 325

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The study on which this book is based began about forty years ago as a casualinterest in the subject engendered by Thomas Pyles’s history textbook, TheOrigins and Development of the English Language (now in its fifth revised edition,Algeo and Pyles 2004). It was focused during a year (1986–7) the author spentin the Survey of English Usage at University College London as a FulbrightSenior Research Scholar and a Guggenheim Fellow. In those days, the Surveywas only beginning to be converted into electronic form, so at first researchinvolved hunting through paper slips and copying information by hand. Later,as the Survey was computerized, electronic searches became possible, initiallyonly at the Survey office and later through a CD anywhere.

The present study later benefited from the collection of citations made byAllen Walker Read for a historical dictionary of British lexical items. My wife,Adele, and I then set out to supplement Read’s files with citations we collectedfrom more recent material than he had used, including citations for grammaticalas well as lexical matters. Our own corpus of British citations is now about threemillion words in size. That is not large for a contemporary data file, but it consistsentirely of citations that we had reason to suspect exemplified British use.

Work on this book was delayed by a variety of other duties to which its authorhad fallen heir. It is now presented, with painful awareness of its limitations,but, as the French are fond of saying, faute de mieux. Undoubtedly, British andAmerican English are grammatically different in ways not reported here. Andsome of the grammatical differences reported here may be less certain thanthis book suggests because of difficulties in identifying and substantiating thosedifferences or because of the misapprehension of the author. Nevertheless, I hopethat it will be helpful in pinpointing various areas of structural difference betweenthe two major national varieties of the language.


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The debts owed for help in producing this book are more than the author canpay. The greatest debt for a labor of love is to his wife, Adele Silbereisen Algeo,who has assisted him in this, as in all other activities during the nearly fifty yearsof their married life. In particular, she has been the major collector of Britishcitations that compose the corpus from which most of the illustrative quotationshave been taken. She has also critiqued and proofed the text of the book at everystage of its production.

Gratitude is also due to a succession of editors at the Cambridge UniversityPress who have, with kind hearts and gentle words, tolerated a succession of delaysin the book’s preparation. Likewise gratitude is due to the Cambridge UniversityPress for permission to use the Cambridge International Corpus, without whichstatements of relative frequency in British and American use would be far moreintuitional and far less data-based than they are.

I am indebted to a variety of scholarly studies, both general and specific, fortheir insights into British-American differences. These are cited in the text of thisbook and listed in the bibliography of scholarly works at the end. I am particularlyindebted to the works by Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech,and Jan Svartvik (1985), Michael Swan (1995), and Pam Peters (2004). Forexisting scholarship that has not been cited here, I can only say “mea culpa, meaculpa, mea maxima culpa.”

Individuals who, over the years, have kindly sent Adele and me quotations thathave been entered into our corpus include notably Catherine M. Algeo, ThomasAlgeo, L. R. N. Ashley, Carmen Acevedo Butcher, Ronald Butters, Tom Creswell,Charles Clay Doyle, Virginia McDavid, Michael Montgomery, and Susan WrightSigalas.

Finally, and in a sense initially, I am grateful for the support of the John SimonGuggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Fulbright Senior Research ScholarProgram for support at the Survey of English Usage, University of London,during the academic year 1986–7, when the project was begun, and to the nowdeparted Sidney Greenbaum, who as Quain Professor of English Language andLiterature invited me to the Survey.


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British and American as national varieties

There are many varieties of English other than British (here the English ofthe United Kingdom) and American (here the English of the United States).All of those other varieties are intrinsically just as worthy of study and useas British and American. But these two varieties are the ones spoken bymost native speakers of English and studied by most foreign learners. Theyhave a special status as the two principal national varieties of the languagesimply because there is more material available in them than in any othervariety.

British is the form of English now used in the country whence all otherforms of English have ultimately derived. But present-day British is not theorigin of any other variety of the language; rather it and all the other varietiesare equally descendant from a form of English spoken in the British Isles inearlier times. In some respects, present-day British is closer to the commonancestral form of the present-day varieties than is American or other vari-eties; but in other respects the reverse is true, and American, for instance, pre-serves older uses that became obsolete in British use. To mistake present-dayBritish for the ancestor of all other forms of English is a logical and factualerror.

The focus of this study is on how contemporary British English differsfrom American. That is, in comparing two varieties of a language, it is con-venient to take one as the basis for comparison and to describe the otherby contrast with it. This study takes American as its basis and describesBritish in relation to that basis. The reason for this approach is that Americanhas more native speakers than British and is rapidly becoming the dominantform of English in non-native countries other perhaps than those of WesternEurope. Much European established academic bias favors British as a model;but evolving popular culture is biased toward American. This widespread dis-semination of the American variety makes it a reasonable basis for describingBritish.


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2 Introduction

Differences between British and American

The most obvious difference between British and American is in the “tune” ofthe language, that is, the intonation that accompanies sentences. When a Britonor an American talks, they identify themselves primarily by the tunes of theirrespective varieties. In singing, the prose tune is overridden by the musical tune,making it much harder to distinguish British and American singers.

Other pronunciation differences exist in stress patterns and in consonant andvowel articulation and distribution. Those differences have been described infine detail. Vocabulary differences have been very widely noted between the twovarieties, and they are fairly extensive, although also often subtler than most listsof supposed equivalences account for. Popular awareness probably centers moreon lexical differences than on any other sort, partly perhaps because they are theeasiest for the layperson to notice. Subtle differences of national style also exist,but have been but little and only incidentally noted (Algeo 1989, Heaco*ck andCassidy 1998).

Grammatical differences have been treated, but mainly by individual scholarlystudies focused on particular grammatical matters. Extensive and comprehen-sive treatment is rare. Popular writers on grammar are aware that British andAmerican differ in their morphosyntax but tend to be sketchy about the details.Anthony Burgess (1992), who is one of the linguistically best informed men ofletters, settled on a few verb forms as illustrations. The grammatical differencesbetween the two principal national varieties of the language are, however, man-ifold. Some general treatments of British-American grammatical differences,from various standpoints, are those by Randolph Quirk et al. (1985), John Algeo(1988), Michael Swan (1995), Douglas Biber et al. (1999), Rodney Huddlestonand Geoffrey Pullum (2002), Gunnel Tottie (2002, 146–78), Peter Trudgill andJean Hannah (2002), and Pam Peters (2004).

Although many, few of the grammatical differences between British and Amer-ican are great enough to produce confusion, and most are not stable because thetwo varieties are constantly influencing each other, with borrowing both waysacross the Atlantic and nowadays via the Internet. When a use is said to beBritish, that statement does not necessarily mean that it is the only or even themain British use or that the use does not occur in American also, but only that theuse is attested in British sources and is more typical of British than of AmericanEnglish.

The basis of this study

A distinction is often drawn between intuition and data as the basis for state-ments about language. That dichotomy, like most others, is false. Intuition isneeded to identify matters to comment on, and data is (or, as the reader prefers,are) needed to substantiate intuition. My wife and I have spent twenty years

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Introduction 3

gathering citations of what intuition told us were British uses. Then I set outto substantiate those intuitions by consulting corpora of data. In most cases,our intuitions proved correct, and the corpora yielded statistics to supportour hunches. In some cases, however, what intuition told us was a Briticismturned out to be nothing of the sort, but instead just to be a rare or pecu-liar use – rare and peculiar in both British and American English. And in afew cases, we were spectacularly wrong. Linguistic intuition is invaluable butunreliable.

Corpus data is likewise invaluable, but it has its own unreliability. The statis-tics from any corpus should be used with care and reservations, especially incomparing statistics from different corpora or even statistics derived from thesame corpus but in different ways. A bit of folk wisdom has it that there are threekinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. The problems with statistics basedon language corpora include the fact that two corpora may not be comparablebecause they are of different sizes or because they are composed of different kindsof texts. Academic printed texts and conversational oral texts will have strikinglydifferent characteristics.

The way one phrases a search in a corpus can also produce different results; forexample, if the search engine is sensitive to capitalization, asking for examples andstatistics of a form with a lower-case initial letter may produce rather differentresults than a query asking for the same information of the same form, but with anupper-case initial letter. In this study, capitalization was taken into considerationwhen it seemed potentially influential, but not otherwise.

Moreover, many grammatical items are difficult to find in a corpus unless ithas been extensively and accurately tagged, and few corpora, especially the largerones, have the sort of tagging that would make grammatical searches easy. Instead,one must come up with ways of asking the corpus about instances of somethingthat its search engine can find and that will give at least implicit, albeit incomplete,information about grammatical structures. Thus if one wants information aboutthe form of negation in sentences with indefinite direct objects (They had nomoney) versus those with definite direct objects (They didn’t have the moneyneeded), barring sophisticated grammatical tagging, it is necessary to ask aboutparticular constructions (such as those just cited) and extrapolate a generalizationfrom them. This study generally eschews such broad extrapolation, but some wasunavoidable.

Finally, however, one relies on whatever is available. For the entries in thisstudy, such evidence as was convenient to extract from corpora has been cited. Butwhen that evidence was not readily available, intuition was still used. Any entrywith no substantiating evidence is an intuitional guess, as far as its Britishness isconcerned. In those, as well as other, cases it is advisable to keep in mind the wisewords of Oliver Cromwell to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland:“I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.”The author intones those words as a mantra.

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4 Introduction

Sources of comparative statistics and citations


In the body of this work, several corpora have been used and are cited by name,but the one most used, especially for comparative statistics, is the CambridgeInternational Corpus (CIC). Statistics from it are sometimes cited as ratios orpercentages; in those cases, the base number is of a size to make such form ofcitation appropriate and easy to follow. CIC statistics are also sometimes citedby an arcane abbreviation: “iptmw,” that is, “instances per ten million words,”which is the way the CIC reports frequencies from its nearly two hundred millionwords. The accompanying table shows the composition of this great corpus andthe relative sizes of its component parts. As can be seen, the British corpus totals101.9 million words, of which 83 percent are written texts and 17 percent spokentexts; the American corpus totals 96.1 million words, of which 77 percent arewritten texts and 23 percent spoken texts.


corpusgroup corpus name


numberof cites contents

British BRNEWS25 25.0 60224 mixed newspapers 1988 – June 2000

written BRWRIT2 25.4 26915 fiction, nonfiction & magazines etc.

BNCWRIT1 25.1 901 British National Corpus part 1 (1979–1994)

ACAD BR 9.2 1260 British academic journals & nonfiction


British BRSPOK2 7.1 1652 spoken (lexicography) incl. Cancode/Brtrans

spoken BNCSPOK 10.1 911 British National Corpus spoken (1980–1994)


American AMNEWS25 25.0 45026 mixed newspapers 1979–1998

written AMNW01 2 22.0 23042 newspapers 2001

AMWRIT2 23.8 28453 fiction, nonfiction & magazines etc.

ACAD AM 3.6 41 American academic journals & nonfiction


American AMLEXI 6.2 764 spoken (lexicography) incl. Naec/Amspok

spoken AMSPPROF 1.9 17 spoken professional (lexicography)

AMTV 13.6 60881 TV & radio (lexicography & research)


In consulting the CIC, all textual categories were weighted equally, eventhough only 17 percent of British texts and 23 percent of American texts arespoken versus written, and 11 percent of British written texts and 5 percentof American written texts are academic versus general. That equal weightingemphasizes disproportionately the fewer spoken over written texts and academicover general writing. Different weightings would very likely have produced atleast somewhat different results.

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Introduction 5

Because the focus of this study is not on speech versus writing or academicversus general style, and because British and American are treated alike in thisrespect, ignoring the differences in text types probably does not greatly affect thegeneral conclusions concerning British versus American use. Thus a statementsuch as “daren’t is 13.9 times more frequent in British than in American” refersto a combination of spoken and written texts in both varieties, although it is in thenature of things that contractions are more frequent in speech than in writing.That, however, is not the concern of this study.

The CIC is especially useful for a statistical comparison of British and Amer-ican because of its large size and because it has roughly comparable samples ofBritish and American texts. As mentioned above, statistics from it are often citedin terms of “instances per ten million words” (iptmw). When some form or con-struction is cited as occurring X times more or less often in one variety than inthe other, or in percentages, the basis for that comparison seemed adequate, andthat style of comparison easier to understand.


In keeping with the focus on British English mentioned above, all of the illustra-tive citations are of British use. Most of them are drawn from a corpus of Britishexamples compiled by Adele and John Algeo over a period of some twenty years.That corpus consists of British citations gathered because they were suspectedto contain characteristically British features, chiefly lexical but also some gram-matical ones. Most of the citations are from newspapers or popular fiction. Thecorpus is stored electronically in word-processor format.

Illustrative quotations are generally limited to one for each entry. In manycases the files that underlie this study contain a great many more, but space wasnot available for them. Several of the chapters depend heavily on prior studies bythe author and draw both examples and exposition from articles reporting thosestudies.

The sources cited are heavily in the genre of mystery novels and other lightfiction, chosen because the initial reading was for lexical purposes, and thosegenres have a rich store of colloquialisms and informal language (in which British-American differences are most pronounced) whereas serious fiction containsfewer such items.

British fiction that has been adapted for American readers provides a usefulsource to document the words and expressions that publishers change for theAmerican market. In the case of the Harry Potter books, a website (www.hp-lexicon.org/) provides a list of such changes. Quotations from these books in thiswork note the American adaptation when it was recorded on that site.

Many of the quotations cited here were computerized by graduate assistantsat the University of Georgia. They sometimes made mistakes in transcribing aquotation that suggest the quotation’s use was at variance with their own native

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6 Introduction

use; such mistakes are occasionally noted as evidence for the Britishness of aparticular form.

Examples cited from publicly available corpora are identified appropriately.Those cited from the Survey of English Usage (SEU) have corpus identificationnumbers preceded by either “s” for spoken or “w” for written.

Conventions and organization of this study

Illustrative quotations are abridged when that can be done without distortion orlosing needed context. Matter omitted in the middle of a quotation is indicatedby ellipsis points; matter omitted at the beginning of a quotation is indicatedonly if the retained matter does not begin with a capital letter; matter omitted atthe end of a quotation is not indicated.

In the illustrative quotations, periodical headlines have arbitrarily been printedwith initial capital letters for each word, as a device to facilitate their recognition.

The abbreviation “iptmw,” which is widely used, has been explained above asmeaning “instances per ten million words” in the CIC texts. An asterisk before aconstruction (as in *go sane) means that the construction is impossible in normaluse. A question mark before a construction (as in ?They dared their friends solvethe puzzle) means that the construction is of doubtful or disputed possibility innormal use. Cross-references from one chapter to another use the symbol §; thus§ means “chapter 2 section 2.2.3”. Abbreviations of titles of dictionaries,grammars, and corpora are explained in the bibliographies of scholarly worksand of citation sources.

Studies and dictionaries are cited either by title abbreviations (e.g., CGEL),which are identified in the bibliography, or by author and year (e.g., Peters 2004).Citation sources are cited by date and author (e.g., 1977 Dexter) and short title,if necessary (e.g., 1937 Innes, Hamlet) or by periodical date and title (e.g., 2003June 12 Times 20/2; for location in a periodical, “2 4/2–3” means “section 2,page 4, columns 2 to 3”).

In headwords and glosses to them, general terms representing contextual ele-ments are italicized, e.g., pressurize someone means that the verb pressurizetakes a personal object.

A comment that a construction is “rare” means that the Algeo corpus containsfew examples, often only one, and that CIC has no or very few instances ofit. Such constructions are included because they illustrate a pattern. The term“common-core English” designates usage common to the two varieties, Britishand American, and not differing significantly between them.

Of the seventeen following chapters, the first ten deal with parts of speech,and the final seven with matters of syntax or phrase and clause constructions.Because the verb is central to English grammatical constructions, it is consideredin Chapter 1. Thereafter, the elements of the noun phrase are taken up: deter-miners, nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. Adverbs and qualifiers (i.e., adverbsof degree) follow, succeeded by prepositions and conjunctions, with the highly

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Introduction 7

miscellaneous category of interjections coming last in the chapters on parts ofspeech.

In the chapters on syntactic constructions, no effort is made to treat all mat-ters of English syntax, most of which vary little between British and Ameri-can use. Instead, chapters have been devoted to those relatively few syntacticmatters that do show significant differences between the two national vari-eties: complementation (agree [on] a plan), mandative constructions (insistedhe was/be there), expanded predicates (have/take a bath), concord (the teamhave/has won), propredicates (I haven’t finished but I could [do]), tag questions (hewould, wouldn’t he?), and other constructions, such as focusing (it’s right tasty, isWebster’s).

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Parts of Speech

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1 Verbs

1.1 Derivation

British has some verbs lacking or comparatively rare in American, many of whichare denominal.

bath Bathe: In CIC British texts, bathe is 5 or 6 times more frequent than bathas a verb, whereas the verb bath is very rare in American use, bathe occurringabout 40 times more often. 1. intransitive Wash oneself in a (bath) tub <Wemust all bath twice a day.> 1990 Aug. 13 Times 10/2. 2. transitive Wash(someone) in a (bath) tub <He got her to bath herself.> 1992 Dexter 292.Note: In common-core English use, transitive bathe also means “apply wateror other liquid to something to clean or soothe it,” but in British English itdoes not usually mean “wash someone in a bath,” for which bath is used;that difference in meaning explains the following: <“Is it all right” she asked.“Not gone gangrenous, has it? I can’t see very well.” [ ¶ ] I assured her it wasn’tgangrenous, that I’d bathe it and that it would be better left exposed. [ ¶ ] Shemisunderstood or pretended to. “A bath,” she said. “I haven’t had a bath fortwo years. I need someone to get me out. You’ll bath me.”> 1991 Green 40.

beast Behave like a beast: The verbal use of beast is very rare. < . . . provostsergeants appear at work at 8am and don’t stop shouting, bullying and beastinguntil they clock off at 4.30.> 1995 Aug. 28 Independent 2 7/5.

bin Trash; junk; put into a bin “trash can”: The noun bin is not used in Ameri-can English of a container for trash, so no corresponding verb exists. <Junkmail? Don’t bin it, enjoy it.> 1990 Aug. 20 Evening Standard 22/3–4.

burgle Burglarize: Burgle is frequent in British use; CIC has no tokens of Britishburglarize. Both forms are used in American, but burglarize is about 20 timesmore frequent than burgle. Of a random CIC sample of 250 tokens of Britishburgle, 96 were active and 154 were passive; of the active uses, 57 had places astheir objects, 3 had persons, 11 had things (burgle a radio), abstractions (burglea victory), or were indeterminate, and 25 were intransitive. Of the passive uses,1 applied to a thing, 56 to places, and 97 to persons. Thus the verb is morelikely to be passive than active, and when active to take a noun of place as


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12 Parts of Speech

its object, but when passive to have a personal noun as subject. <But if theyburgle a country house, they can be miles away in minutes.> 1994 Sept. Tatler147/1. <People over 60 who are burgled are more likely to die or be movedinto residential care.> 2003 June 26 Guardian international ed. 8/7.

cellar wine Stock wine in a cellar: This use is rare though recorded in bothNODE and MW. < . . . we have not been in the habit of cellaring Rhonereds.> 1987 July Illustrated London News 70/3.

chair Carry on the shoulders of a group as an acclamation: This use is identi-fied as British in MW and NODE. <And the choir themselves were beingchaired round the cricket pitch – > 1988 Trollope 217.

cheek Be cheeky [impudent] toward: CIC has 0.6 iptmw of the verb in Britishtexts and none in American texts. <Thersites was not a traitor, but a rankofficer in the Iliad, who got a bloody nose for cheeking other officers.> 1998Jan. 3 Times Metro 17/2. Cf. § 5.2 .

pressurize someone Pressure someone: CIC American tokens of pressurize out-number British by 2 to 1, but of all the American tokens, only 3 have personalobjects; on the other hand, two-thirds of the British tokens have personalobjects, with which American would use the verb pressure. <She could havearranged to meet her lover . . . to pressurize him into marriage.> 2003 James342.

sculpture Sculpt: CIC has 4.5 times as many tokens of sculpt as of the verbsculpture in British texts, but 7.5 times as many in American texts. Althoughsculpt is the usual verb in common-core English, to sculpture is relativelymore frequent in British. <Even tiny plastic chocks of Lego can be agglom-erated to make a sculptured figure.> 1991 Apr. 25, Evening Standard23/3.

slob CIC has 0.6 iptmw of this verb in British texts and none in American.<She [Camilla] . . . can go home to Wiltshire and slob in front of the televisionwithout the butler spying on her.> 2004 Dec. 15 Daily Telegraph 18/6.

treble Triple: CIC has about 1.3 times as many treble as triple in British texts,and 18 times as many triple as treble in American texts. < . . . the figure couldeasily be doubled or trebled.> 1989 July 28 Times 2/1.

workshop a play Perform a play for the purpose of critiquing and improvingit: This use is rare (it is in NODE, but not MW). <Yasmin was written bySimon Beaufoy . . . and nobody can question the nobility of his motives in“workshopping” it first with the Muslim community in northern England.>2005 Jan. 14 Daily Telegraph 33/1–2.

1.2 Form

1.2.1 Principal parts

The inflected forms of verbs show some variation, with the irregular -t forms usedmore in British than they are in American (Johansson 1979, 205–6; LGSWE 396;

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Peters 2004, 173). Conversely, however, British favors the regular preterit andparticiple of some verbs ending in t for which American often uses unchangedirregular forms. In the following list, verbs are listed under their dictionary-entry form, with their preterits and past participles following. If the second twoprincipal parts are identical, only one is given.

awake/awoke/awoken In CIC, wake (up) is 6 times more frequent than awakein British texts, and 9 times more in American texts. The present tense iscomparatively rare in both varieties, but the preterit is frequent in both (1.3times more frequent in British than in American texts); the participle is 3.9times more frequent in British than in American texts.<Hopefully the tsunamihas awoken the true spirit of human compassion the world over.> 2005 Jan.9 Sunday Times 3 1/6.

beat/beat/beaten Beat/beat: CIC has 270.2 iptmw of the participle beaten inBritish texts and 179.8 in American texts. < . . . months of dreary slog, onlyto find . . . that the other chap had beaten you to it.> 1982 Simpson 111. Cf.§ 5.1.3 beaten-up.

bet/betted Bet/bet: Betted is rare in British use (0.5 iptmw), but non-occurringin American (CIC). <Every woman in England had betted on him [Derbywinner My-Love].> 1994 Freeling 99.

bid/bidded This is a rare variant of bid/bid, not in NODE. < . . . the pricesare bidded up all the time.> 1987 June 8 Evening Standard 24/6.

broadcast/broadcast Broadcast/broadcasted: CIC has no tokens of broad-casted in British texts and 0.6 iptmw in American texts. <He broadcast thisafternoon.> 1971 Mortimer 34.

burn/burnt Burn/burned: Of 501 tokens in the American Miami Herald, 95percent were burned and 5 percent burnt; of 277 tokens in the British Guardian,56 percent were burned and 44 percent were burnt. Thus although both nationalvarieties prefer the regular form, the American preference for it is significantlystronger (Hundt 1998, 24). CIC has about equal numbers of the two forms inBritish texts, but 11 times more tokens of burned than burnt in American texts.<Moving past the burnt-out garage . . . she saw that he was working in Mrs.Clutton’s garden.> 2003 James 292.

burst/burst Burst/bursted: MW lists bursted as an option, but there are noexamples in CIC. < . . . there had also been damage from a burst pipe.> 1989Autumn Illustrated London News 74/2.

bust/bust Bust/busted: CIC has 9.2 iptmw of busted in British texts and 32in American texts. < . . . it was the ending of the Cold War that bust hisbusiness.> 1989 July 29 Spectator 22/3.

catch/catched nonstandard for Catch/caught: CIC has 0.8 iptmw of catchedin British texts and none in American texts. <Harry gets catched, quietly.>1987 Oliver 200–1.

cost/costed Estimate the cost of: CIC has 6.3 iptmw of costed in British textsand 0.2 in American texts. <The Alliance planned to channel £500,000 to

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14 Parts of Speech

the inner city in a carefully costed programme.> 1987 May 28 HampsteadAdvertiser 7/6.

dive/dived Dive/dove: CIC has 70 times as many tokens of dived as of dove inBritish texts, but only 1.6 times as many in American texts.

dream/dreamt Dream/dreamed: Of 167 tokens in the American Miami Her-ald, 95 percent were dreamed and 5 percent dreamt; of 104 tokens in the BritishGuardian, 69 percent were dreamed and 31 percent were dreamt (Hundt 1998,24). CIC has twice as many tokens of dreamed as of dreamt in British texts butnearly 13 times as many in American texts. <I dreamt mixed-up dreams.>1991 Bishop 138.

dwell/dwelt Dwell/dwelled: CIC has dwelt 14 times more often than dwelledin British texts but only 1.3 times more often in American texts. Past formsare 3 times more frequent in British than in American texts. <Danny’s . . .mind dwelt lovingly now on those accumulated spondulicks [“money”].>1993 Dexter 195.

eat/ate/eaten The British preterit is typically /εt/, the American /et/. InAmerican, /εt/ is nonstandard.

fit/fitted Fit/fit: In American use, the preterit and participle are fit, exceptin certain contexts, such as The tailor fitted him with a new suit and Theyfitted (out) the ship with new equipment. CIC has more than 7 times as manytokens of fitted in British as in American texts. <There were houses . . . thatfitted the description.> 1994 Symons 145. < . . . it [a coat] had been reducedby 50 per cent and, what’s more, fitted perfectly.> 2003 July 8 Times T213/1.

forecast/forecast Forecast/forecasted: Forecasted has only minority use incommon-core English, but CIC has it 5 times more often in American thanin British texts. < . . . he would suffer bouts of the “depression” he forecastafter his resignation.> 2004 Dec. 17 Independent 6/2.

forget/forgot/forgotten Forget/forgot: NODE labels the participle forgot“chiefly US,” and CIC has nearly twice as many tokens of forgotten in Britishas in American texts. In American, participial forgot is particularly likely to beused in perfect verb phrases (we must have forgot), but not as a subject comple-ment or in the passive voice (*the inventor is / has been forgot). In the following,however, American could have forgot as well as forgotten: <They must haveforgotten to send it.> 1994 Sept. Tatler 100/3.

get/got Get/got/gotten or got: CIC has 32 times as many tokens of gotten inAmerican as in British texts, in which the form is sometimes dialectal and occa-sionally used interchangeably with got: Haven’t you gotten your key? = “Don’tyou have your key?” American uses both participles, but often in differentsenses: got typically for static senses like “possess” in I’ve got it=“I have it” and“be required” in I’ve got to go = “I must go”; and gotten, typically for dynamicsenses like “acquire” in I’ve gotten it = “I have received it” and “be permitted”in I’ve gotten to go = “I have become able to go.” The American use of got-ten is more common in conversation than in written registers (LGSWE 398).The following examples show British got in a variety of senses, all involving

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a dynamic change of state, for which American would typically have gotten.American use fluctuates, however, in contexts where either got or gotten canoccur without difference in meaning: He hasn’t got/gotten beyond the beginner’sstage (Gilman 1994, 482). In other contexts, however, with a possible semanticcontrast, the two forms are used differently: I’ve got a cold = “I have a cold”;I’ve gotten a cold = “I’ve caught a cold.” A. transitive 1. Acquire <And whathave we got? . . . just more unnecessary bills through our letterbox.> 2005 Jan.14 Daily Telegraph 28/3–4. 2. Cause (someone/something) to become/come<Ron obviously realised that he’d got Harry into trouble.> 1999 Rowling 9(US ed. gotten). 3. Procure <A typical high street price is about 50p to 60p . . . ,but they [strawberries] can be got for half that.> 1985 June 13 Times 3/3.4. Produce <The duty of the pilots was to get results. They hadn’t got them.>1940 Shute 26. 5. Receive <Had the match been played, he says, Mrs T wouldhave been invited – “and she would have got a good game”.> 1986 Oct. 11Times 16/1. 6. Succeed in causing (someone) to come <Once they’d got him infor questioning they’d twig that the late Helen Appleyard wasn’t our Jenny.>1985 Bingham 42. 7. Succeed in obtaining <If Mrs-Duggins-what-does hadanswered the door she’d have got a good look at her.> 1985 Bingham 159.– get back Reacquire possession of <I had got the mortgage back.> SEU w8-1.227. B. intransitive 1. Become; come to be <I’ve got quite used to it.>1987 May 7 Evening Standard 35/1. 2. Succeed in going <Some have gotno farther than the entrance.> 1988 Mar. Illustrated London News 27/3.– get along/on without/with Succeed in living without/with <. . . he hadgot along without women for quite a long time.> SEU w16-7.312. < . . .he had liked Colonel Garrett, had got on well with him.> SEU w16-8.296.– get away with Succeed in avoiding undesired consequences from <We’vegot away with it.> 1985 Mortimer 271. – get in the habit Acquire thehabit <He had got in the habit over the years.> SEU w16-7.37. – get into1. Enter <I was very relieved . . . to get five CSEs. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’thave got into sixth form.> 1994 Oct. 5 Evening Standard 12/1. 2. Becomeinvolved with < . . . how on earth had she got into this mess?> 1987 Mar.22 Sunday Times 4/7. – get out/round Become known <Somehow wordhad got round among the nannies of England.> SEU w16-3.34. <I shouldhave thought word of your U. D. I. plans could easily have got out.> 1985Mann 118. – get round Get around <Until now this problem has been gotround.> 1988 Apr. 10 Sunday Telegraph 35/2. – get round to Get around to<. . . dividend would have been limited, even if Ethical Financial had gotround to paying one.> 2005 Jan. 14 Daily Telegraph 40/5. – get throughSucceed in finishing (with) < . . . in my experience you’ve scarcely got half-way through [serving a group], when those to whom you dished out first arealready crying for seconds.> 1987 Dec. Illustrated London News 68/1. – getto Come to <I have got to know a lot of songs from jazz records.> 1985 July16 Times 10/6. – get up to Achieve < . . . mastering this season’s trends issimple – once you have got up to speed with the new looks.> 2005 Jan. 14Daily Telegraph 27/2.

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16 Parts of Speech

hang/hung/hanged or hung In CIC texts, hung and hanged are used in similarproportions in both British and American texts, with hung 5 to 6 times morefrequent than hanged. In news reports, however, British favors hanged, whereasAmerican favors hung (LGSWE 397). <A boy of two hanged himself whileplaying.> 1994 Sept. 30 Daily Telegraph 11/5.

hew/hewed/hewn Hew/hewed: CIC has more than twice as many tokens ofhewn in British as in American texts. Conversely, American uses participialhewed slightly more than twice as often as British does. <The last film . . .has rough-hewn Geordie Jimmy Nail in the lead.> 1987 Mar. 13 EveningStandard 31/5.

lean/leant Lean/leaned: In CIC, 23 percent of the British and less than 1percent of the American past forms are leant. <Harry leant further over thebanisters.> 2003 Rowling 73 (US ed. leaned).

leap/leapt Leap/leaped: In CIC, 80 percent of the British past forms are leaptand only 32 percent of the American. <Two co*cker spaniels leapt out.> 1962Lodge 70.

learn/learnt Learn/learned: Of 3104 tokens in the American Miami Herald,all were learned and none were learnt; of 1259 tokens in the British Guardian,78 percent were learned and 22 percent were learnt (Hundt 1998, 24). In CIC,34 percent of the British past forms are learnt and less than 1 percent of theAmerican. <I learnt that traffic humps are not only damaging ambulancesand fire engines but are also slowing them down.> 2004 Jan. 4 Sunday Times13/6.

light/lit Light/lighted: In CIC, 83 percent of the British past forms are lit and77 percent of the American. < . . . the blue touch paper was lit on July 14.>1989 July 20 Midweek 19/3. Cf. below.

mow/mowed/mown Mow/mowed: In CIC, mown occurs in British texts 33times more often than in American texts; mowed occurs in American texts 2.3times more often than in British texts. <During the hols The Man had got apatch of grass mown up behind the stables.> 1983 Dickinson 47.

prove/proved Prove/proved/proven: In one study of 424 tokens of the pastparticiple in the American Miami Herald, 65 percent were proven and 35percent proved; of 548 tokens in the British Guardian, 20 percent were provenand 80 percent were proved (Hundt 1998, 28). In CIC, proven occurs 2.4 timesmore often in American than in British texts. <From the beginning she hadproved herself to be a tireless church worker.> 1995 Charles 58.

quit/quitted Quit/quit: Four British dictionaries (CED, CIDE, LDEL,NODE) give quitted as the preterit, with quit as a variant, three calling thelatter (chiefly) American. MW lists “quit also quitted.” CIC has 36 times moretokens of quitted in British texts than in American.

saw/sawed/sawn Saw/sawed: CIC has nearly 6 times as many tokens of sawnin British texts as in American. < . . . the keys to one of the ballot boxeswere lost and it had to be sawn open.> 1987 July Illustrated London News

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21/2. – sawn-off shotgun Sawed-off shotgun <So long as it doesn’t involvea balaclava and a sawn-off shotgun.> 1995 Jones 49.

sew/sewed/sewn Sew/sewed: CIC has nearly half again as many tokens ofsewn in British texts as in American. < . . . when they organize anything theyget it sewn up from A to Z.> 1954 Ellis 118.

shave/shaved/shaven Shave/shaved: CIC has twice as many tokens of shavenin British texts as in American. <Sam Langford drove his Jag slowly . . .stopping to ask shaven, surly youths the way to the British Legion Hall.>1991 Critchley 177–8.

shine/shone Shine/shined: CIC has 3 times as many tokens of shone in Britishtexts as in American and nearly 4 times as many tokens of shined in Americantexts as in British. American shone usually rimes with own rather than with on.<A single chandelier shone feebly.> 1991 Green 25.

sh*t/shat or sh*tted sh*t/sh*t: CIC has more than 3 times as many tokens ofshat in British texts as in American. It has 0.4 iptmw of sh*tted in British textsand none in American. <My only choice was to smile while you shat on me.>1992 Walters 37. <That sh*tted them up.> 1995 Bowker 24.

short-cut/short-cutted Shortcut/shortcut: This form is rare. <He short-cutted across the grass towards them.> 1985 Price 212.

smell/smelt or smelled Smell/smelled: In CIC, the two past forms, smelt andsmelled, occur with similar frequency in British texts, but in American texts,smelled is nearly 21 times more frequent. <The air smelt, a sour-sweet stink.>2003 James 74.

sneak/sneaked Sneak/snuck or sneaked: In CIC, snuck is about 3.4 timesmore frequent in American than in British texts. < . . . other junk mail artistessneaked up on consumers.> 1989 Aug. 3 Guardian 25/1.

speed/sped or speeded In CIC, sped is the more frequent form in both vari-eties, in British by 67 percent and in American by 77 percent. NODE identifiessped with the sense “moved quickly” and speeded with the senses “traveled fasterthan the legal limit,” “did something more quickly,” and “caused somethingto happen more quickly.” <The driver hooted furiously as his car sped pastthe side road.> 1993 Smith 124. < . . . it was going so slowly . . . but by thetime I realised, it was too late, he had speeded up.> 1992 Green 68.

spell/spelt Spell/spelled: In CIC, British texts use spelt more than half againas often as spelled; American texts use spelled 136 times more often than spelt.< . . . it is still unwise to say the word spelt p-i-g.> 1988 July In Britain26/3–4.

spill/spilt or spilled Spill/spilled: In CIC, British texts use spilt rather thanspilled about 32 percent of the time; American texts use it about 2 percent of thetime. <Magdalena had spilt a few drops of tea into his breakfast marmalade.>1969 Amis 25.

spin/span/spun Spin/spun: Span as the preterit of spin is labeled “archaic”in both British and American dictionaries, yet it has some rare use in current

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British. <Two teenage friends were killed . . . when their car span out ofcontrol in torrential rain.> 2000 Dec. 14 Times 11/1.

spit/spat or spit In CIC, British texts use spat more than half again as oftenas American texts do. It is primarily a written form in both national varieties,but almost exclusively so in American. <[American resident in London abouther child:] . . . he’d say, ‘She spat at me.’ Can you imagine kids saying that inAmerica?> 1990 Critchfield 74.

spoil/spoilt Spoil/spoiled: In CIC, British texts use spoilt in 54 percent of thetokens, and American texts use spoiled in 95 percent. <She spoilt this spasmof marital solidarity.> 1985 Barnard 24. – spoilt for choice, be Have toomany options <There were, he calculated, eleven different buttons which hemight press. He was spoilt for choice.> 1993 Greenwood 35.

spotlight/spotlit Spotlight/spotlighted: CIC British texts have the two pastforms about equally; American texts have only spotlighted. < . . . the oddspotlit bit of Wedgewood.> 1979 Cooper 227.

spring/sprang or sprung Although sprung is labeled American by NODE, inCIC it is used in British texts in 45 percent of the incidences and in Americantexts in 47 percent, so there is only a small, probably insignificant difference.

stave/stove Stave/staved: Stove is a rare form in both national varieties; stavedis about a third more frequent in CIC American texts than in British. <Youmean . . . he just killed her, stove her head in afterward, and left her.> 1979Snow 86.

stink/stank or stunk/stunk In CIC, stank accounts for 85 percent of the formsin British texts, and stunk accounts for 52 percent in American texts.

strive/strove/striven Strive/strived: In CIC, British uses strove about twiceas often and striven 6 times as often as American does; American uses strivedabout half again as often as British does. <Troy . . . strove to think of some-thing perceptive and intelligent to say.> 1987 Graham 112. <Joshua had oncestriven hard for political promotion.> 1991 Critchley 4.

tread/trod or treaded/trodden or trod In CIC, British texts use trod andtrodden respectively nearly 4 and 14 times more often than American textsdo. The verb in all its forms is more than twice as frequent in British as inAmerican. <Someone trod on her foot.> 1992 Granger 3. < . . . powder wastrodden deep into the carpet.> 1994 Symons 187.

wake/woke/woken The verb is, on the whole, about a third more frequent inBritish than in American CIC texts. However, woken is nearly 10 times morefrequent in British. <Most companies and advertisers have not yet woken upto it.> 1996 Aug. 6 Times 27/8.

wet/wet or wetted Wetted is more than 3 times as frequent in CIC British textsas in American. < . . . at last we got the flock moving – but not one of themwetted its feet, for the mob split to skirt the pool on either side.> 1987 Nov.8 Manchester Guardian Weekly 29/1.

write/wrote/written or writ Writ is an archaic past participle still used foreffect occasionally but nearly twice as often in British as in American CIC

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Verbs 19

texts. <They must be kicking themselves and wishing they’d never writ thoseletters.> 1987 July 5 ITV morning talk show.

1.2.2 Contraction

The basic rules for contraction in British and American are the same, but theirapplications differ somewhat. Contraction involving have

Unlike the uncontracted verb have (cf. § 1.4.1 below), the contraction ’ve differsin frequency between the two varieties. The LOB and Brown corpora (Hoflandand Johansson 1982, 36) have 1.3 times as many tokens of ’ve in British as inAmerican; a 1000-item sample of the CIC corpus has 1.58 times as many inBritish. In both national varieties, the overwhelming use of ’ve is as an auxiliary(British 96.5 percent, American 99.2 percent). But it is more than 5 times asfrequent in main-verb use in British (1.1 percent versus American 0.2 percent).The remaining percentages are indeterminate because of interruptions, syntacticinconsistency or incoherence, etc.

When one of the personal-pronoun subjects I, you, we, or they is followed byhave and not (e.g., I + have + not), two patterns of contraction exist: contractionof the verb with the subject (e.g., I’ve not) and contraction of not with the verb(e.g., I haven’t). The second pattern is more frequent in common-core English;however, it is only 2.5 times more frequent than the first pattern in British butis almost 26 times more frequent in American. Thus the pattern I’ve not is astatistical Briticism. <We’ve not seen any evidence of copy-cat crimes beingcommitted.> 1987 Feb. 8 BBC2 “Did You See . . . ?”

The past tense had is rarer, but its use is similar. The second pattern (e.g., hehadn’t) is the norm in common-core English but is nearly 20 times more frequentthan the first pattern (e.g., he’d not) in British English and nearly 140 times morefrequent in American. <I’d not heard the story before.> 1987 Mar. 30 EveningStandard 24/1. As a main verb

’ve Have: In CIC, British uses ’ve a more than 7 times as often as Americandoes, and ’ve no close to 11 times more often than American does. <Mum,I’ve a boil on my bum.> 1999 Mar. 21 Sunday Times Magazine 14/3.

’ve not Don’t have: CIC has 1.4 iptmw of ’ve not the/a/any in British texts andnone in American texts. <He knew bloody well I’ve not the faintest idea.>1982 Lynn and Jay 123.

’d Had: CIC has 8.6 iptmw of ’d a and 6.9 of ’d no in British texts; it has none of’d a and 0.2 of ’d no in American texts. <Maybe they’d a better map.> 1986Knox 48.

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20 Parts of Speech

’d not Didn’t have: The construction is rare. < . . . sitting there like he’d nota care in the world.> 1997 popular fiction CIC.

’ve to Have to: This form is 9 times more frequent in CIC British texts (8.2iptmw) than in American (0.9). <I’ve got a supervision tomorrow, and I’ve toturn in two thousand words on Cowper.> 1985 Benedictus 90–1.

’d to Had to: CIC has 6.2 iptmw of this form in British texts and none in Amer-ican texts. < . . . I’d to hand wash and boil for six children, my husband andmyself.> 1987 May 10 (Scotland) Sunday Post 33/2.

In British use, not sometimes contracts with have, whereas American usestrongly favors its contraction with the auxiliary do.

haven’t Don’t have: Cf. CamGEL 112. The British texts of CIC have 6 times asmany tokens of don’t have a as of haven’t a and 10 times as many tokens of don’thave any as of haven’t any, thus confirming the observation of the lexicographerPaul Beale: “Apparently quite unremarked has been the substitution of . . . ‘Wedon’t have . . .’ for the former Brit. usage . . . We haven’t any. . . . It seems to methat the ‘do’ formation is almost universal in what passes for Standard Englishnowadays” (1995 Dec. 6 personal letter). Nevertheless, the do-less forms arestill characteristically British because CIC American texts have a ratio of 55:1for don’t have a versus haven’t a and of 60:1 for don’t have any versus haven’tany. < . . . they haven’t a clue what it means.> 2003 June 28 Times Weekend9/2.

hadn’t Didn’t have: CIC has 6.2 iptmw of hadn’t a and 1.5 of hadn’t any inBritish texts; it has 1.4 of hadn’t a and 0.4 of hadn’t any in American texts.<As far as I know he hadn’t any enemies.> 2003 James 176.

haven’t to Don’t have to: CIC has 0.4 iptmw of this rare form in British textsand none in American texts. <I haven’t to read it all.> CamGEL 112.

hadn’t to Didn’t have to: CIC has 0.3 iptmw of hadn’t to in British texts andnone in American texts. <I wish it hadn’t to happen.> 1997 popular fictionCIC. As an auxiliary

The auxiliary have contracts with its subject in both British and American pro-vided the sentence is positive: We’ve done that; but when it is negated by not,have usually contracts only in British: We’ve not done that; whereas in American,not contracts with have: We haven’t done that. However, British may use anunstressed but uncontracted have in the phrase have got: She has got a cold;whereas American normally uses only stressed have: She has got a cold or con-tracted have: She’s got a cold (cf. § 1.4.1).

’ve/’s not Haven’t/hasn’t: In CIC this construction is about 3 times more fre-quent in British than in American texts. <I’ve not read it.> 1992 Dexter28.

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Verbs 21

’ve/’s not got Don’t/doesn’t have: CIC has 23.2 iptmw in British texts and 0.3in American texts. <I’ve not got a breath pack.> 1986 Aug. 27 Times 10/5.

’d not Hadn’t: In CIC this construction is about 4 times more frequent inBritish than in American texts. <I’d not heard the story before.> 1987 Mar.30 Evening Standard 24/1.

’d not got Didn’t have: CIC has only 0.2 iptmw of this rare construction inBritish texts and none in American texts. <She’d not got anything much laidon for next day.> 1989 Dickinson 85.

Have also contracts in common-core colloquial English with a precedingmodal, notably must and the preterit modals could(n’t), might, should(n’t), andwould(n’t) or ’d. That contraction is often represented as ’ve in CIC Britishprinted matter (in 73.1 iptmw) but not in American, in which the frequentcontracted pronunciation is not usually represented in standard writing. Thecontraction is also represented as of in both national varieties in nonstandardspelling.

<We should’ve given it out.> 1971 Mortimer 67. <. . . you’d think he’d ’vemade some kind of effort, wouldn’t you?> 1985 Bingham 138. Contraction involving be

When a personal-pronoun subject is followed by a present-tense form of be andnot (e.g., he + is + not), two patterns of contraction exist: contraction of the verbwith the subject (e.g., he’s not) and contraction of not with the verb (e.g., he isn’t).The first pattern is more frequent in common-core English; however, it is 20times more frequent than the second pattern in British and only 10 times morefrequent in American. <You’re not telling me she wasn’t hot stuff.> 1991 Jan.26 Daily Telegraph Weekend 1/4.

ain’t The term is often taken as a shibboleth of the uneducated; but amongcertain groups and areas, educated speakers use it informally, as they have sincethe eighteenth century (Gilman 1994). CIC has twice as many American tokensas British, but more British uses appear to be in otherwise standard-Englishcontexts. <[Jeffrey Archer to his wife, who is conducting the interview:] Iwouldn’t say more to any other interviewer and you ain’t getting it out of meon the record, young lady.> 1989 Sept. 9 Times 33/7.

aren’t I At one time some Americans supposed this to be a Briticism, but itwas naturalized long ago in much American use (Gilman 1994). However,CIC has about 1.3 times as many British tokens as American. <Why aren’t Isatisfied?> 1995 Lodge 22. Cf. § 16.2.3 for its use as a tag question.

int, in’t Isn’t: CIC has 3.9 iptmw of this form in British texts and none inAmerican. A variant of the form is frequent as part of the tag question innit“isn’t it” (cf. § 16.2.3). <[Yorkshire man:] Aye, . . . and there’s summat else –why in’t Boycott captain?> 1985 Ebdon 145.

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22 Parts of Speech

Is X not? Isn’t X? The negative interrogative pattern of forms of be followed bya personal pronoun subject and uncontracted not is nearly twice as commonin CIC British texts as in American. <Is she not?> 1989 Nicholson 90.

there’s not There isn’t: CIC British texts have 3 times as many tokens of there’snot as of there isn’t; American texts have only 1.3 times as many. < . . . there’snot an agenda.> 1986 Oct. 11 TV news.

’tis; ’tisn’t Contraction of it with a following is, “formerly common in prose,now poet., arch., dial., or colloq.” (OED), still turns up as a stylistic feature. CIChas no tokens in either British or American, but it is probably more frequentin British. <’Tisn’t often an editor dares disagree with his proprietor.> 1987Apr. 1 Evening Standard 6/3. <And bring the cream jug. ’Tis over on thedresser.> 1992 Granger 8.

Contraction with who, either interrogative or relative, is more frequent withis than with are, and is primarily a British feature. Thus, CIC British texts have319.0 iptmw of who’s and 5.2 of who’re; American texts have 8.6 of who’s (mainlyin headline style or citing the titles of programs, films, etc.) and none of who’re.

who’s <. . . it’ s not just an old tart talking who’s getting elbowed off the streetby young scrubbers.> 1980 Kavanagh 91. Contraction involving modals

For the functions of modals, see § 1.4.4.

cannot, can not; can’t ([ka:nt] in standard British English; /kænt/ in stan-dard American): Can’t is more frequent than cannot in common-core English:nearly twice as frequent in British, but nearly 3 times as frequent in American.The open spelling can not is nearly 6 times more frequent in British than inAmerican.

daren’t; dare not In CIC, daren’t is 13.9 times more frequent in British thanin American; dare not is 2.3 times more frequent in British than in American.< . . . the English Department dared not give tenure to a man who publiclyadmitted to not having read Hamlet.> 1975 Lodge 136. <You . . . daren’t usethe phone to find out.> 1992 Dexter 39.

mayn’t The contraction of the negative with may, although rare in British(CGEL 11.8n), is more so in American. CIC has 2.2 iptmw of mayn’t inBritish texts and none in American. The monosyllabic pronunciation of mayn’t([ment]) is apparently more common than the disyllabic one in British; as faras the word is said at all in American, it would usually have two syllables. <Hemayn’t have believed his life would actually be in danger.> 1989 Underwood115.

mightn’t This form is 10 times more frequent in British than in American. <Itmightn’t have been one of the people I mentioned at all.> 1984 Gilbert 166.

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mustn’t The contraction is more than 5 times as frequent in CIC British textsas in American. Uncontracted must not is only about twice as frequent. <Imustn’t keep you.> 1987 Oliver 18.

needn’t; need not Needn’t and need not are each twice as frequent in Britishas in American. 1. Do(es)n’t have to <He needn’t eat it, then.> 1988 Lodge233. 2. needn’t/need not have Didn’t have to <I needn’t have bothered,need I?> 1986 Dec. 20 BBC1 Bergerac. 3. Better not <You needn’t thinkyou’re dossing there.> 1991 Graham 137.

ought not to; oughtn’t to Uncontracted ought not is more frequent than con-tracted oughtn’t in common-core English, about one-fourth more frequent inBritish than in American. Another notable difference, however, is in its com-plementation. Ought is usually followed by a marked infinitive (e.g., ought to try)in common-core English; the negative, however, is followed by an unmarkedinfinitive (e.g., oughtn’t or ought not try) in 10 percent of CIC British tokens, butin about 20 percent of the American tokens. Also, American uses ought about89 percent as often as British does, but its negative only about 74 percent asoften. The reason for that difference is probably the fact that American prefersshouldn’t as a negative, using it 1.3 times as often as British does. <Well, youbloody well oughtn’t to be.> 1969 Amis 207.

shalln’t This is a rare form. <I shalln’t try to be a mother.> 1979 Price 177.shan’t Shan’t, although rare everywhere, is more used in Britain than in the

US (CGEL 3.23). It is 17.9 times more frequent in CIC British texts than inAmerican, whereas shall not is only about 3.6 times more frequent. 1. Withthe first person for both simple and emphatic futurity. <I’m sure I shan’t.>2003 James 236. 2. With the second or third person for determination. <Well,this one shan’t happen.> 1931 Benson 13.

usen’t to Didn’t use to: Because of the normal pronunciation [ju:stu] thespelling of use(d) to is highly variable, even in standard edited texts (Gilman1994). The OED has no tokens of usedn’t, which might be expected. CIC hasno tokens of use(d)n’t with or without the d. In CIC, the negative of used tois rare, but used not to occurs 11 times more often in British than in Americantexts, and didn’t use(d) to occurs 1.39 times more often in American than inBritish texts. <They usen’t to take Laura?> 1991 Dickinson 269.

will = ’ll The contraction’ll is 1.39 times more frequent in British than inAmerican. Although it is normal after pronouns in common-core English,it is less usual, at least in writing, after other forms, especially in American.<. . . one of you lot’ll have to buy me another drink to console me.> 1985Clark 157.

will not = ’ll not Won’t: In British CIC texts, ’ll not occurs once for every 36tokens of won’t, but in American, once for every 346 tokens. <They’ll notbe able to set foot outside their gates without being hounded.> 1992 Walters97.

would have = ’d’ve Such double contractions are normal in common-coreEnglish, but seem more often represented in British writing than in American.

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24 Parts of Speech

CIC has 4.8 iptmw of ’d’ve in British texts and none in American. <Mostuncommon, I’d’ve said.> 1988 Mortimer 206.

would not = ’d not In CIC, ’d not (representing both would not and had not)occurs 4 times as often in British texts as in American. <I’d not touch themas a lass.> 1991 Glaister 53.

1.2.3 Ellipsis

The copula and verbs of motion may be omitted in certain constructions.

be omitted <The next thing that happened [was (that)] the black lad hadcrossed a good ball, fifty-fifty between the keeper and Graham.> 1976 Raphael200. <Smoking [is] absolutely out.> 1986 Oct. 7 Times 15/7. <[Lady Eliza-beth Anson, cousin of the Queen:] Normally I would stay on until 4am or 5amwhen the last guests were leaving and the plates [were] being stacked up.>1991 Mar. 2 Daily Express 14/3.

go/come/return <Let’s [go] to our beds.> 1977 Barnard 41. <I’ll be twentyminutes late [coming] in, there’s something I have to do.> 1988 Stoppard24. < . . . large numbers of Iraqi soldiers allowed [to return] home from thefront line are refusing to go back to their posts.> 1991 Feb. 3 Sunday Times2/4.

1.3 Verb phrases

“Verb phrase” here refers to a simple verb or combinations of a main verb andauxiliaries.

1.3.1 Present tense

A passive present tense is sometimes used in British to report a generally currentsituation, for which American would use the present progressive, the presentperfect, or a future tense.

<Anthony Caro . . . is made a knight.> 1987 June 18 Hampstead Advertiser12/1–2. <The Missionaries is published on May 3.> 1988 Apr. IllustratedLondon News 85/3. <A discount plan . . . is launched today.> 1988 Sept. 15Times 3/7.

British also uses the active present tense with future meaning in contexts whereAmerican would favor an overtly marked future form or a progressive.

<We had to miss an invitation. . . . So we make it another time.> 1976 Brad-bury 23. <This summer he moves just three miles away.> 1989 Aug. 13Sunday Times Magazine 42/4.

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In contrast to the British preference for perfect tenses (cf. § 1.3.4 below), asimple present may occur where a present perfect might be expected.

<It’s some years since we actually met.> 1985 Bingham 52.

1.3.2 Progressive aspect

According to a corpus-based study (LGSWE 462), American uses the progres-sive aspect more than British does by a ratio of approximately 4:3. Americanpreference for the progressive is strongest in conversation.

Progressive forms are not usual with stative verbs (that is, those verbs thatindicate a state or condition rather than an action: She had [stative] a cold but wastreating [dynamic] it). However, some British examples exemplify such use, inwhich cases the verb expresses a process.

<Breeches are being popular among hill-walkers.> 1988 Sept. 3 Times 59/1.<Let’s be seeing you. Soon.> 1989 Daniel 86. <It is looking crazy for anyman without an income even to contemplate supporting a family.> 1989 Sept.2 Spectator 9/1.

The juxtaposition of two tokens of be, as in the progressive passive (be being),is not frequent in British: CIC has 6.2 iptmw in British texts, but that is morethan twice as many as in American (2.8).

<Collins . . . is now understood to be being courted for a major position.>1996 July 24 Times 22/6.

1.3.3 Future time

English has two main verb signals of future time: (1) will or shall (the modalfuture) and (2) be going to (the periphrastic future). In general, British favors willor shall, and American be going to, notably in American conversation and fiction(LGSWE 488). The be going to future is more recent and is still expanding in bothvarieties (Mair 1997). Benedikt Szmrecsanyi (2003) has identified the followingdifferences in corpora of the two national varieties (parenthesized statistics arefrom CIC for comparison):

1. Shall is rare in both varieties, but is more frequent in British than in American(in CIC, 6 times more frequent after personal pronouns).

2. The encl*tic ’ll is more frequent in British than in American (in CIC, nearly1.4 times more frequent).

3. Be going to, on the other hand, is more frequent in American than in British,especially in informal style (in CIC, nearly 2.3 times more frequent).

4. The negative contraction won’t is more frequent in British than in American(in CIC, on the contrary, it is more than 1.5 times more frequent in American).

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26 Parts of Speech

5. The negative encl*tic ’ll not, although rare in British, is not used at all inAmerican (CIC American texts have 5.4 iptmw, but British have 32.9).

6. A negated form of be going to, e.g., I’m not going to, is more frequent in Americanthan in British (more than 2 times as frequent).

7. Be going to, however, is relatively more frequent than will or shall in BritishEnglish in subordinate clauses, compared with main clauses, but less so inAmerican, and is especially more frequent in conditional if-clauses.

British also uses the modal future perfect for events in the past, especiallyprobable ones. Thus will have left is the equivalent of “(have) (probably) left.”

<I think he’ll have killed himself.> 1982 Brett 122. <[with reference to thespeed of driving:] ‘What car were you in?’ [ ¶ ] ‘My Jag.’ [ ¶ ] ‘Then you won’thave been hanging about, will you?’> 1988 Ashford 25.

Another use of the modal future is as a polite circumlocution instead of asimple present tense.

<What was that one about loose talk? . . . You’ll know the one I mean.> 1989Burden 115.

1.3.4 Perfect aspect

According to a corpus-based study (LGSWE 462), British uses the perfect aspectmore than does American by a ratio of approximately 4:3. British preference forthe perfect is strongest in news media.

British normally uses the perfect in the environment of adverbs like already,ever, just, and yet (CGEL 4.22n; CamGEL 146n, 713; Swan 1995, 563) andadverbial clauses introduced by the temporal conjunction since (CamGEL 697),as well as in contexts where the verb can be considered as referring to eithera simple past action (preterit) or one with relevance to the present (perfect): Ireturned the book versus I’ve returned the book (Swan 1995, 423). American hasa tendency to use the simple preterit in such cases, although the perfect is alsoacceptable.

<He pulls open the hamburger bun and there indeed is the worm coiled neatlyon top of the meat . . . . Everyone agrees that he has had a narrow escape.>1988 May Illustrated London News 19/4.

The difference is, however, perhaps not so great as is often supposed. In CIC,the sequences have had, has had, and had had occur only about 1.7 times moreoften in British than in American. Moreover, American seldom shares a Britishuse of the perfect with reference to a specific past time (CGEL 4.23n).

<Look, the bike’s been invented in 1890.> 1987 May 31 Sunday Times Mag-azine 76/1. <Sharapova also tried to play down the significance of the vocal

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tic which has already got her into trouble on her first visit to England.> 2003June 25 Guardian international ed. 22/2.

The perfect form have got is used in common-core English in the present-tense sense “have” and have got to similarly in the sense “must.” In both cases,have may be (and usually is) contracted: I’ve got a cold and He’s got to go. Theconstructions are, however, on average about 1.5 times more frequent in British.The constructions are also similarly used in the past perfect with past-tensesense: I had got a cold and He had got to go. Such use is rare in American, whichuses instead had and had to. British uses had/’d got about 15 times more thanAmerican, and had/’d got to about 20 times more.

<The park-demon hadn’t got a body of its own.> 1983 Dickinson 140. <I’dstill got the hots for her, hadn’t I? I was jealous. Knew she’d got somebodyelse, didn’t I?> 1987 Hart 101.

British is especially more likely to use the past perfect where it is logicallycalled for, to denote an action or state that existed prior to some other pastaction or state. There is nothing un-American about the tense in the following:<Mrs Derrick was astounded that all this had been going on under her noseand she hadn’t had a clue about it.> 1986 Oct. 12 Sunday Times 52/1–2. YetAmerican would be more likely to use was going on and didn’t have. The Americanpreference for a nonperfect form is shown by the first two citations below, in whichAmerican typists substituted a preterit for a past perfect; such errors show thenatural preference of the typist.

<The days when he had felt that the cops were one of the great obstacles tocivilized progress were long past.> 1976 Hill 193. <Simeon seemed to findthe news less catastrophic than she had expected.> 1985 Mortimer 151.<But you hadn’t really got to know Mrs Norris.> 1998 Rowling 111 (US ed.haven’t got).

In the following examples, the past perfect is not clearly appropriate by theusual interpretation that it signals an action or state anterior to some other actionor state. Instead, a simple preterit form seems appropriate. The British preferencefor the past perfect appears to have produced it even when the context does notsuggest it.

<Amy came in and stared at me until I had noticed the dirty sweater andholed jeans she had exchanged for her earlier get-up.> 1969 Amis 52. <I’dsaid – or meant – I’d be there as usual on Saturday, but I hadn’t gone.> 1989Burden 76.

British uses the past perfect and especially the would perfect for an unrealizedcirc*mstance in the present or future, for which a common-core option preferredin American is a nonperfect form. “If my mother had been alive, she wouldhave been 80 next year. ( If my mother were alive, she would be . . .) / It

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would have been nice to go to Australia this winter, but there’s no way we cando it. ( It would be nice . . .) / If my mother hadn’t knocked my father off hisbicycle thirty years ago, I wouldn’t have been here now. ( . . . I wouldn’tbe here now.)” (Swan 1995, 248).

1.3.5 Voice

The passive voice has some distinctive uses in British English.

be let (to) do something Be allowed to do something: The theoretical passive oflet someone do something is someone is let do something, but that is marginal inAmerican use, in which someone is allowed to do something is more idiomatic.CIC has pre-1900 examples in British with a marked infinitive: <I . . . hopeI shall be let to work.> 1854 Dickens, Hard Times. Later examples with anunmarked infinitive are <. . . the younger children were let sleep on.> 1891Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and <Would he expect to be let bring thatwoman back with him?> 1995 Joseph O’Connor, Desperados.

Ditransitive verbs have two objects: indirect and direct: They gave me this watch.Such verbs have two possible passive forms: one with the active indirect objectas the passive subject: I was given this watch, and another with the active directobject as the passive subject: This watch was given me (CGEL 2.21). AmericanEnglish is less likely than British to have the second construction.

<It was told me in confidence.> 1985 Mortimer 231.

British English uses the passive verb be drowned as a semantic equivalent of theintransitive drown: He (was) drowned while trying to swim across a river (Swan1995, 166). American journalism is reported as conventionally using intransitivedrown for accidental drowning and the passive of transitive drown for intentionaldrowning: He was drowned by his kidnappers (Gilman 1994, 373). However, anycontext in which transitive drown is implied permits the passive, whether or notintention is involved, for example, The rising waters drowned him might underlieHe was drowned. Consequently, the semantic distinction may be difficult to draw.CIC British texts have 4 times as many tokens of was/were drowned without afollowing by phrase as do American.

A British idiom for “become unwell” is the passive (be) taken ill, rather thanthe active took ill (with 15 tokens of the former versus 2 tokens of the latter in theOED, and 9.3 versus 1.7 iptmw in CIC British texts). This construction is not anormal passive; He was taken ill has no corresponding active *Someone/somethingtook him ill. Rather, be taken in this use is a verb passive in form but functioningas a copula with a limited range of adjective complements. British uses eitherverb form with sick instead of ill only occasionally (0.5 iptmw); American seldomuses the idiom in any form, having only 1.6 iptmw of taken/took sick/ill.

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1.3.6 Imperative

The first person plural imperative is marked by let’s in common-core English.CIC has 2.4 times as many tokens of let’s in American texts as in British (cf. alsoLGSWE 1118). For let us not and let’s not cf. § 1.3.8.

1.3.7 Sequence of tenses

Sequencing of tenses occurs notably in reported speech: She says they are happyversus She said they were happy, and in conditions: If it rains, we will stay homeversus If it had rained, we would have stayed home. That is, the tense of the verbin the reporting clause or the condition clause attracts the verb of the report orresult into a harmonious tense. An exception is the statement of timeless truthor of current events, for which a present tense may be used, even following a pasttense. Tenses may be sequenced in some other contexts also.

British, especially reportorial use, strongly favors tense sequencing, even incases of timeless truth and current events. American is more likely to break thesequence.

<She said that there was nothing in the Bible that had anything to do withordination as we knew it today.> 1986 Oct. 6 Times 18/2.

The tendency to sequence tenses is so strong that occasionally a following verbmay be put in the past even when the preceding verb is not past or no conditionfor sequencing tenses exists.

< . . . we cannot be surprised if they [prisoners] are already planning theirnext crime before they came out.> 1987 June 18 Times 3/5.

Sometimes, both verbs are put in the past, even when the context is clearlypresent, as in the following naıve speech.

<Mind, nowadays you couldn’t tell whether they were a boy or girl.> 1987Apr. 13 elderly lady in a London Post Office line to her neighbor about asmall child wandering around.

A different sort of tense-sequence rule is that for catenative verbs, in which, ifthe first verb is perfect, a following infinitive is not perfect: They could have refusedto come. But, perhaps because of tense sequencing under other circ*mstances,infinitives sometimes appear also as perfects.

<Anyway, we would have refused to have been on the same bill as Sting.>1989 Sept. 4 Evening Standard 30/3.

1.3.8 Operators

The operator is a verb (the auxiliaries be, do, have, or one of the modals)that inverts with the subject in yes-no questions (Are you there?) and other

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30 Parts of Speech

environments calling for subject-verb inversion, that not can follow or contractwith in negations (You are not / aren’t there), and that carries the nuclear accentin emphatic statements (You are there). In common-core English the copula bealso functions as an operator, as in the preceding examples. In British, the mainverb have can similarly function as an operator: I hadn’t any; American gener-ally uses do with have: I didn’t have any (CGEL 2.49; 3.21, 34; 10.55; 11.5, 15;Swan 1995, 231, 355). Operator use of the main verb have applies also to thecombination have to, as in Have we to get up early tomorrow? That use is said tobe somewhat old-fashioned British (CGEL 3.48), but it is hardly imaginable inAmerican.

have (main verb as operator) 1. have + subject <Nor had he an ounce ofcuriosity.> 1989 Bainbridge 31. <Had he any looks in those days?> 1991Mar. 17 Sunday Times 1 23/1. 2. haven’t <I haven’t a clue where she is.>1993 Smith 176. 3. have not <The village cricket team has not enoughplayers for the match.> 1988 Brookes and Fraenkel 5.

have to As noted above, the have of have to is not generally used as an operator,especially in American English, perhaps because have to is regarded as a singleitem, as its pronunciation “hafta” suggests, and therefore speakers resist treat-ing its two parts as separate syntactical words that can be separated by otherwords. For that reason, also, there is resistance to inserting adverbial modifiersbetween have and to, especially in American English. A comparison of CICBritish and American academic texts suggests that British is about 1.5 timesmore likely to separate have and to by an adverb. <The fact that he had, unlikehis predecessors, to fight an election to get the job is an indication that therewere doubts from the beginning.> 1986 Aug. 25 Times 1/2. To take a specificcomparative example, of the two expressions, have still to and still have to, CICBritish texts consist of 27 percent have still to, and American texts of only 2percent. <. . . he wanted to end the receivership but some legal problems hadstill to be sorted out.> 1986 May 21 Sun 2.

The stressed auxiliary do can also be used to emphasize a positive imperative,especially in British, where it is often judged to be more characteristic of femalethan of male speech (CGEL 11.30, which cites as an example Do have some moretea).

<Do meet Mark Hasper, our director.> 1987 Bradbury 93.

The inclusive imperative with let’s can also take the emphatic do, but in thenegative a difference between British and American arises: don’t let’s is 7 timesmore frequent in British than in American, and let’s don’t is 4.5 times morefrequent than don’t let’s in American, but is not represented in the British CICtexts.

<Don’t let’s talk about it any more.> 1962 Lodge 202.

Do let’s not has no representation in CIC, but occurs:

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<Do let’s not chitter-chatter on the green, Caldicott.> 1985 Bingham 100.

The construction let X not is used without do support (i.e., don’t let X) chieflyin the first person plural and then primarily with contraction: let’s not, especiallyin American English. CIC American texts have almost 2 times as many tokens oflet’s not as British texts do; and British texts have more than 1.5 times as manytokens of let us not as American texts do. Third-person pronouns or me, insteadof us, in this construction are rare, especially in American English.

<. . . let him not think that we have a long way to go.> 1987 Mar. 18 EveningStandard 35/1.

Exceptionally, other verbs sometimes behave like operators, particularly inbeing followed by not, but also with subject inversion in questions. This use isabout twice as frequent in British as in American, though it is not common ineither.

<What think you of Rowntree Mackintosh?> 1987 May 10 (Scotland) SundayPost 7/4. <On balance, he thought not.> 1991 Critchley 195.

1.4 Functions

1.4.1 Have

Have occurs with somewhat similar frequency in the two national varieties.Although the LOB and Brown corpora (Hofland and Johansson 1982, 501) haveabout 1.16 times more tokens of have in British than in American, the larger CICcorpus has about 1.03 times more tokens of have in American. The uses of haveseem, however, to be different in the two varieties. In a 500-item sample fromCIC British corpus, 53 percent of the have forms are auxiliaries in function, 34percent are main verbs, 11 percent are the semi-auxiliary have to, and 2 percentare indeterminate. In a similar sample from CIC American corpus, 42 percentare auxiliaries, 43 percent are main verbs, 14 percent are have to, and 1 percentare indeterminate. Among the reasons for the larger use of have as an auxiliaryin British may be the stronger British preference for perfect verb forms overAmerican simple preterits and the British preference for have got (in which haveis an auxiliary) over American simple have (as a main verb). For the contraction’ve, cf. § above.

have and have got British English has traditionally made a distinction betweenhave and have got, using have for habitual or repeated events or states and have gotfor single events or states. Thus, They have appointments on Mondays, don’t they?versus They have got an appointment today, haven’t they? In the following citation,presumably the first clause is about a general situation (there is never a bin-endsale), and the second clause is about a present-time situation (the inexpensivewines are currently available): <Majestic Wine does not have a bin-end sale,

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but they have got two ridiculously good-value sparkling wines.> 1998 Jan. 3Times Magazine 65/2.

American does not make this distinction, giving rise to such jokes as this sup-posed conversation: an American to an English woman: “Do you have children?”English woman: “Not oftener than every nine months” (Andersen 1972, 857).The British distinction, however, seems no longer to be rigorously observed.

British uses have/has got 2.7 times more frequently than American does andhad got 9.7 times more frequently. British uses the contracted forms ’ve/’s got1.8 times more frequently than American and ’d got 26.6 times more frequently.In both national varieties, as a main verb, have is far more frequent than havegot, particularly in American. However also in both, the contracted form ’ve gotis more frequent than simple ’ve as a main verb.

A corpus-based study (LGSWE 216; also Johansson 1979, 206–7) of the threeinterrogative forms exemplified by Do you have any . . . , Have you any . . . , andHave you got any . . . shows American preference for the first of those options andBritish preference for the last two. In CIC, do you have any is overwhelminglythe most frequent option in American texts with comparatively few tokens of theother two options. In CIC British texts, do you have any and have you got any areof about equal frequency, and have you any occurs about three quarters as oftenas either of the other two options. In the preterit, both varieties strongly favordid you have? with only a few examples of had you got? in British and none inAmerican.

With negation, the favorite form in British is have no, which (at 621.8 iptmw)is more than twice as frequent as its closest British rival, don’t/doesn’t have. Thelatter is the favorite form in American (at 1495 iptmw), where it is more thantwice as frequent as have no. A distant third in both varieties is haven’t/hasn’tgot, which is 2.3 times more frequent in British (at 63.4 iptmw) than in American.An even more distant fourth is ’ve/’s not got, which is 77 times more frequent inBritish (at 23.2 iptmw) than in American. CIC has a few tokens of ’d not got inBritish texts and none in American. Fifth in line is have/has not got, which is 8times more frequent in British (at 14.5 iptmw) than in American. The preterithad not got is even rarer, with 5.1 iptmw in British texts and none in American.Another corpus-based study (LGSWE 161) presents evidence that have no isused before indefinite objects, as in They have no idea, and that do not have is usedin American before definite objects, as in They do not have the answer, but havenot got in British, as in They have not got the answer.

In the sense “must,” have/has to is overwhelmingly favored over have/has gotto in common-core English. The latter option is, however, about a third morefrequent in British than in American. And the contracted forms ’ve/’s got to aremuch more frequent in both varieties than the full form, especially in British.The contracted form ’ve to is rare in both varieties, but is more frequent inBritish.

have/has got Have/had; ’ve/’s got <We have got defibrillators in offices andone-stop shops.> 2005 Jan. 14 Daily Telegraph 14/8.

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Verbs 33

had got <It [the wall] had got safety notices and postcards and a map ofLondon taped to it.> 1989 Nicholson 19.

’ve/’s got <He’s got a bit of previous form [“criminal record”], I know.> 2001Mortimer 188.

’d got <Because he hadn’t got the opportunity in Poland he’d got here!> 2000Granger 335.

have/has got? Do have: <‘Have you got your own chapel?’ [ ¶ ] ‘I do.’ [ ¶ ]Laverne was baffled by this Americanism. ‘I didn’t ask to marry you. I askedif you’d got a chapel.’> 1995 Bowker 130. Do is also used as the operator withmain verb have in British English. <Do you work? Do you have children?>1986 Oct. sign in the London West Hampstead Post Office.

had got? <. . . how on earth had she got into this mess?> 1987 Mar. 22 SundayTimes 4/7.

have/has/had? <Had he any enemies . . . ?> 2003 James 195.have/has no <I have no problem with them.> 2003 June 20 Times 40/4.haven’t/hasn’t got <I haven’t got siblings.> 2003 James 178.hadn’t got <. . . he worked, illegally of course – he hadn’t got any papers.>

1991 Dickinson 275.’ve/’s not got <You’ve not got t’nous [the brains] you were born with.> 1985

Byatt 164.’d not got <She’d not got anything much laid on for next day.> 1989 Dick-

inson 85.have/has not got <If you . . . have not got your card, are you going to be

detained?> 2004 Dec. 13 Times 21/4.had not got <To his dismay Sam realized that he had not got an answer to

this.> 1955 Tolkien 216.have/has got to Have to; ’ve got to; must <Have we got to wait till Tuesday

before making a start?> 1940 Shute 140.had got to <He had got to go out . . . He had got to be alone and he had got

to be on the move.> 1984 Gilbert 184.’ve/’s got to <Not that you’ve got to be that old to have grandchildren – there

must be some grannies under thirty.> (American typist wrote “you have tobe” for “you’ve got to be”) 1991 Dickinson 11.

’d got to < . . . he was told he’d got to wait for two or three days.> 1991 Feb.3 Sunday Times 2/4.

have to? In questions (Have you to attend lectures?), have is not favored as anoperator in either British or American, but it is more often used in British(Johansson 1979, 209).

haven’t got to Don’t have to: This form is not very frequent in British use(about 4.4 iptmw), but it is very rare in American. <We haven’t got to doanything yet!> 2003 Rowling 617.

have had The perfect have had or had had is used in British English in the senseof acquisition: “have/had received.” For this sense, American prefers have/hadgotten.

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34 Parts of Speech

’ve had Have gotten <[of invitations:] She’s just sent out – oh, you’ve hadyours.> 1994 Dickinson 187.

’d had Had gotten <. . . they said they’d had one bid already.> 1987 May 27Punch 34/3.

1.4.2 Been

been Come <Has the telly-man been yet? I meant to ask you yesterday?> 1977Dexter 82.

been and (gone and) This expression, which is a quasi-adverbial modifier ofperfect-aspect verbs, with the sense “despite what might be expected or whatis advisable,” has three variants. 1. gone and This common-core variant isnearly 3 times as frequent in CIC British texts as in American. <Now he’dgone and overshot the entrance.> 1993 Mason 4. 2. been and British Englishhas another such pseudo coordination using been and, which may be usedalone or followed by gone and (CGEL 13.98n). Been and may have the senseof “finally,” as in the following citation. <Well [we] have been and doneit and our . . . e-mail address is . . . .> 2004 June 14 personal e-mail. 3. beenand gone and <‘Well, it’s like this, dad,’ said Peregrine, ‘I’ve been and goneand shot a professor.’ [ ¶ ] Mr Clyde-Browne’s eyes bulged in his head. ‘I’mnot hearing right,’ he muttered, ‘It’s those f*cking Mogadons. You’ve beenand gone . . . Where the hell did you pick up that vulgar expression?’> 1982Sharpe 206.

1.4.3 Participles and gerunds

Present participles occasionally appear in British where past participles might beexpected in common-core English.

owing Owed; due (to one) <You haven’t any holiday owing?> 1992 Walters198.

preached, being Preached <I’ve heard many sermons being preached onthat event.> 1989 Sept. 24 sermon in the Camberley Baptist church.

stuffing with Stuffed with <Heads full of letters and diaries and heaven knowswhat scribblings that they imagine the place [a library] must be stuffingwith.> 1983 Innes 26.

On the other hand, the following citation of sat has the reverse.

sat Sitting <I remember spending three days once sat in a tree.> 1987 June 17Times 23/6.

disappeared, be The construction is disappeared is rare, but is representedin CIC also. <Queen Bess herself was thrilled with the invention [a flushinglavatory] and had one installed in Richmond Palace. It is long disappeared.>1988 Feb. Illustrated London News 28/3.

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Verbs 35

The following citation contains an active gerund without a subject, paying,where other constructions might be expected: your paying, being paid, payment.

<“Please, Kate, just give me a few more days. . . . I’ll pay extra.” [ ¶ ] “It’s notjust the money,” I said hurriedly, “although I could do with paying for thesetwo days.”> 1992 Green 30.

1.4.4 Modals

The marginal modals like dare and need are very rare and practically confinedto British English (LGSWE 484). For modals like would and should in adverbialphrases, cf. § 6.1 + + .

can Can have, when used to question possibilities, as in Can they have missedthe bus? is more often could have in American (CGEL 11.13).

dare Dare without to is British, rare, and mainly negative as in dare not, daren’tor interrogative as in dare I? (Peters 2004, 139). In American, its modal useis rare (Johansson 1979, 208). CIC has 5 times as many tokens of dare I? inBritish texts as in American. <Dare we say it, he’s a bit of a drug-crazed,boring git [“contemptible person”].> 1995 Sept. 6–13 Time Out 38/1.

may May is used in British English in expressions of unrealized possibility inthe past, for which American (and most British usage) would require might(Swan 1995, 325; 1990 Howard, 176). <. . . if they had been left to their owndevices without interference from outside influences they may well be sittingdown right now and planning just how to get that title back.> 1986 Oct. 1Times 42/8.

must Must is somewhat more frequent in British than in American, by about 1.7times in CIC. It has several uses that are common-core English, but are morecharacteristic of British than of American. 1. To express necessity, certainty,or obligation; have to (Swan 1995, 343–5). < . . . he felt he had done nothingfor which he must climb down.> 1987 Jan. 16 Times 12/2. 2. In the negative,to express what is not allowed or reasonable; can’t (Swan 1995, 344). <Nowyou’ve got false teeth, . . . you mustn’t expect to eat toffee.> 1969 Rendell120.

need (not) (Don’t) have to: The modal use of need, although uncommon inBritish English, is even more so in American (CGEL 3.42; Johansson 1979,207–8). It occurs primarily in negative contexts. <Mrs Haines need not thenhave been embarrassed in any way.> 1989 Aug. 29 Times 15/3.

ought to Should: In CIC, ought is about 1.13 times more frequent in Britishthan in American, but ought immediately followed by to is about 1.08 timesmore frequent in American, perhaps because in American, ought is more likelyto be affirmative than either negative (cf. § or interrogative (Johansson1979, 211). In a corpus study of fiction (LGSWE 218), interrogative ought towas rare in British fiction, but wholly lacking in American, which uses shouldinstead. <Ought you to have been listening?> 2003 James 101.

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36 Parts of Speech

shall In pronunciation, British shall is often weakly stressed with a reduced [ə]vowel, whereas American shall, when it occurs, is typically strongly stressedwith a full [æ] vowel. In CIC, shall approaches a frequency in British 5 timesthat of American. American use of shall is greatest in academic discourse and isgenerally restricted to a few formal contexts: (1) in legalistic language to expressa mandative sense: Minority groups shall receive preferential consideration, (2)in a suggestion that seeks the agreement of the addressee but also implies thespeaker’s preference: Shall we leave now? and (3) rarely in a strong expressionof determination: I shall return! The greater British frequency of shall is dueto the infrequency in American of a number of its British uses, for example,its use for simple futurity with the first person and its volitional use with thesecond and third persons (CGEL 4.42, 11.13), albeit that is not now majorityuse (Peters 2004, 495). An example of such older British use is the following,which shows simple futurity in shan’t and volition in shall with the third personbut in won’t with the first person: <I shan’t raise a finger against her, if shebehaves. But she shall ring the bell, and I won’t be dictated to, and I won’tbe called Lulu.> 1931 Benson 110. Such a clear traditional distinction in theuse of shall and will is hard to find nowadays, and indeed the rule stating ithas been declared to be invalid (CamGEL 195). 1. For future time, shall isrelatively frequent in British use with the first person, whereas will is usedwith the second and third person. <. . . passive drinking . . . will be the nexttarget on the list of liberties we shall be robbed of.> 1993 Feb. 13 Spectator41/2. 2. Volitional shall is used with the first person when asking about the willof the addressee (CGEL 11.13). This type of use is shared by American, but thepragmatics often differ. <Shall we call it a night? I’m keeping you up.> 1983Dickinson 63. 3. Shall may be used with the second and third persons withan implication of determination by the speaker. <Every time some terribleaccident occurs . . . , everyone agrees that we must learn lessons from it so thatit shall never happen again.> 1987 Mar. 28 Daily Mail 6/1. 4. First-personshall is occasionally used in a strongly emphatic sense, like the American sense(3) above. <[A:] You must please yourself, dear. [B:] Bernard: I shall! I bloodyshall!> 1974 Potter 174. 5. Shall is also used, exceptionally, with the secondand third persons for simple futurity. Note the inconsistent use of will andshall in apparently the same sense: <The buffet will open in about 5 minutes.A further announcement shall be made.> 1987 announcement over the PAsystem on a train.

should Should is significantly much more frequent in British than in American,by 1.4 times in CIC. Its greater British frequency is due to several factors.The British use of should in mandative constructions is a factor (cf. § 12),as are various other particular conditions (Swan 1995, 252, 345, 518–9, 542),including a preference for first-person should in the main clause of a conditionalsentence (CGEL 14.23): If I had been at home last night, I should have heard thenoise. The rare abbreviation shd is also more British than American:<Translateinto Argentinian if you shd wish.> 1989 Oct. 26 London Review of Books 8/3.

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Verbs 37

The putative meaning of should (that is, signaling that an action has an assumedreality) is more frequent in British than in American (CGEL 3.39n; 4.64; 14.25;16.30): I regret that he should be so stubborn. <Robert Barrow’s have installedcertain machines for those ladies who need them once a month on the 2nd and4th floors. Please feel free to use them if the case should arise.> 1990 Mar. 22notice in a women’s toilet at a brokerage house, London.

British uses of should are particularly common with the first person, whereAmerican would more often have would. In CIC, British percentages of I shouldversus I would are 28 versus 72; American are 13 versus 87. <I should thinkshe’ll get a good talking to.> 1987 Oliver 73. (Cf. § 6.1 + + .)

used to 1. Neither American nor British favors used as an operator, althoughBritish is somewhat less averse to it than is American (Johansson 1979, 209).In CIC, it is about 1.3 times more frequent in British than in American. 2.The negative of used to generally requires do as an operator in American,whereas it can itself serve as an operator in British. When the do operator isused in British, the form didn’t used to has greater acceptance than it doesin American (Gilman 1994, 933–4; Johansson 1979, 209). In CIC, used notto is 3.25 times more frequent in British than in American. <I used not todream.> 1987 Bawden 187. Cf. also § ’ . 3. Although rarein British English, used without to occurs. <I wish you would trust me, as youused.> 1954 Tolkien 43.

will In CIC, the verb will occurs 1.14 times more often in American than inBritish texts, but following a personal pronoun subject, it is very slightly morefrequent in British.

would In CIC, would is used about equally in British and American, but someuses seem more characteristic of British. 1. Supercilious would “A commenton the annoyingly typical” (LDEL). <. . . the rain came in sharp windy gusts,blowing as it does on the streets of Brussels. Well, it would be the samerain, wouldn’t it, blown by the same west wind.> 1994 Freeling 4. 2. Politewould “Used . . . to soften direct statement” (LDEL). <When would theywant to come?> 1985 Clark 135. 3. Contingent would <He [G. B. Shaw]was a vegetarian most of his life. ‘God help us if he would ever eat a beef-steak,’ opined Mrs Patrick Campbell.> 1984 Smith 217. 4. I would(n’t) havethought <I’d have thought you a fool if you had.> 1983 Brooke-Taylor 78.<I wouldn’t have thought so.> 1989 Dickinson 115.

1.4.5 Subjunctive

The subjunctive in English is not an inflected form of the verb, but a cover termfor certain uses of the uninflected base or present form of the verb (be, go), andof the preterit (was or were, went) and past perfect forms (had been, had gone).Those uses are as follows.

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38 Parts of Speech

(1) The present subjunctive is used in mandative constructions: It is necessarythat he be/go there. This use had become rare in British English, survivingmainly in formal and legalistic styles and generally replaced by a modal form(It is necessary that he should be/go there) or more recently by an indicativeform (It is necessary that he is/goes there), for which see § 12. The use of themandative subjunctive has, however, been revived in British use, doubtlessthrough American influence (CGEL 3.59; 10.55n; 16.30, 32).

(2) The present subjunctive is also used in certain traditional formulas or con-structions, such as God save the Queen! and Lord help us. Such use is formaland old-fashioned (CGEL 3.60).

(3) The present subjunctive also has an obsolescent use in conditional and con-cessive clauses: If this be treason, . . . and, in American English, a current usein clauses introduced by lest: . . . lest he be/go there (CGEL 3.61, 15.48).

(4) The preterit subjunctive is used in conditions contrary to fact at the presenttime: If he were/was here now, we could ask him. In such use, the invariant formwere is traditional for all persons and numbers, but in British use especially,was and were are both used in their usual agreement pattern with the subject.A less common option is the indicative as in <In America Neil Jordan’s newfilm, Mona Lisa, is doing business as if it is the only movie in town.> 1986Sept. 6 Times 16/5.

(5) The past perfect subjunctive is similarly used in conditions contrary to factat past times: If he had been here yesterday, we could have asked him.

The latter two subjunctives use back-shifting of the verb forms to indicate anunreal state: the preterit in present time, and the past perfect in past time.

Characteristically British uses of these forms follow. Preterit subjunctive with subject concord

In common-core English, was is sometimes used with first and third personsubjects in conditions contrary to fact, where traditional use calls for were. Butthat use seems to be more prevalent in edited British English than in editedAmerican English. This introduction of subject concord into subjunctive useis one indication that the subjunctive is marginal in the system. That is, thetraditional subjunctive is being assimilated to the concord pattern of indicativeverbs, leaving only past time shift as a mark of subjunctiveness.

was counterfactual subjunctive <Does he [Prince Charles] seriously believe thatif the A Team was taken off television, the people in Brixton market wouldstart taking old ladies across the road tomorrow?> 1988 Sept. 25 ManchesterGuardian Weekly 24/3.<“Are you Canadian or American?” he [Jeffrey Archer]asked. [ ¶ ] “American.” [ ¶ ] “I’d keep rather quiet if I was you.”> 1990Critchfield 290. <We have solved the problem by bunging an ’s at the end ofthe phrase, as though it was a single word.> 1990 Howard 67.

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Verbs 39 Preterit subjunctive form in past time

The preterit subjunctive were is used for counterfactual conditions in presenttime, traditionally without subject concord. British English, however, sometimesuses were with third person singular subjects for past time in constructions thattraditionally call for the indicative. Thus in the following citation <Sometimeshe wondered if it were worth it.> 1927 Firth 58, the condition is an open one:“he” does not know about the worthiness of “it,” but is wondering. Traditionallythe construction would be expected to be Sometimes he wondered if it was worthit. Through their departure from traditional use, these constructions attest themarginality of the preterit subjunctive.

These pseudo subjunctive uses are primarily in clauses introduced by if,which is often a signal for a counter-factual condition, as in If I were you. . . .This occurrence of if seems to trigger the form were, even when it is traditionallyinappropriate. Other subordinating conjunctions with a similar effect are unlessand whether or not. Pseudo subjunctives are part of standard, especially British,English, because they occur in a variety of edited uses. They do, however, indicatethe marginal status of the past subjunctive in present-day English.

were pseudo subjunctive <But the joke, if it were a joke, came too late.> 1985Mortimer 12. <Now if ever there were a gilt-edged education for a girl, thenthat is it.> 1994 Oct. 4 Daily Telegraph 25/3. Past perfect subjunctive form in present time

The past perfect subjunctive is rare. The following use of the form is inappro-priate because the time reference is present, not past. The final clause wouldtraditionally be if he were here now. The past perfect is generally more frequentin British use than in American, but here it is used in a context where it istraditionally inappropriate.

had been past perfect for preterit <I think Neil would have counted me afriend – and I promise you he would have answered if he’d been here now.>1972 Price 94. Anomalous present subjunctive forms

Pseudo subjunctives exist also for be. In the following, instead of be, one mightexpect should be or an indicative form. Because the mandative subjunctive,recently introduced back into British use by American examples, has thoseoptions (We insist he be / should be / is here), be has apparently been extended tocontexts that are not mandative.

<Housing chairman Alan Woods said that it was a national disgrace that theflats be left empty when their [sic] were people sleeping rough outside.>1987 Apr. 16 Hampstead Advertiser 1/2.

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40 Parts of Speech

Some constructions seem to misinterpret the subjunctive be in a mandativeconstruction as an infinitive and consequently introduce the infinitive marker to.

<Hilary Torrance suggested that a letter from the parents to be sent to CountyHall.> SEU w.6.4c.13.

The subjunctive is a marginal form in common-core English, so variationsfrom its traditional use are found in American as well as in British. But Britishseems to have variations of the sort illustrated here with greater frequency inedited use.

1.4.6 Verb adjunct

Because of the freedom with which verbs and nouns shift use, it is sometimes notpossible to say whether the first element in a compound is a noun (as in § a verb adjunct.

backing track Back-up recorded music as background for a singer or soloist<He did the backing tracks when the groups weren’t good enough to dothem themselves.> 1994 Walters 46.

close season Closed season; a time of the year when certain sporting eventsare not held <Marigold spends the close season on yachts with Albanian orGreek flags on them.> 1989 Daniel 46.

dialling tone Dial tone <The dialling tone changed to a sardonic whine.>1993 Stallwood 277.

draining board Drain board <He approves the logical placing of double sinkand draining-board.> 1994 Symons 2.

driving <Do you have your driving licence and log book, sir?> 1992 Green180. <Alice could see his smeary wet red face reflected in the drivingmirror.> 1989 Trollope 7. <And it was she . . . who got into the drivingseat.> 1972 Rendell 89.

extending ladder Extension ladder <Hung on the wall was an extendingladder.> 1992 Green 166.

hijack bus Hijacked <Pupils And Nuns In Hijack Bus> 1988 Sept. 14 Times1/2.

kidnap <Tears Of Joy As Kidnap Girl Is Found Safe> 1990 Aug. 15 DailyTelegraph 1/7–8. <Kidnap Man Shot> 1986 May 21 Sun 16.

pay bed < . . . people can pay for their health care, through private clinics orNHS pay beds.> 1987 June 5 Evening Standard 7/1.

paying-in slip Deposit slip <. . . a paying-in slip at the back of his chequebook.> 1988 Trollope 161–2.

pre-pay card <Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to switchto the [Transport for London] pre-pay Oyster card.> 2004 Jan 5 Times4/5–6.

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Verbs 41

punch bag; punchball Punching bag <He used her as his personal punchbag whenever he was drunk.> 1992 Walters 30. <Harry . . . had served asDudley’s first punchball.> 2003 Rowling 15 (US ed. punching bag).

rushed job Rush job <It’s a rushed job.> 1993 Cleeves 57.sailing boat Sail boat “chief Brit. a boat propelled by sails” (NODE).signalling failure Signal failure <The . . . [train’s] late arrival, “. . . was due

to a signalling failure near Tring”.> 1995 Lodge 37.skimmed milk Skim milk <Long life skimmed milk with non milk fat>

1996 label on a milk container.sniff youth <Sniff Youth Found Dead> 1986 Aug. 29 (Newcastle) Evening

Chronicle 1/2.soured cream Sour cream <Serve hot with a dollop of creme fraiche, soured

cream or yoghurt.> 1989 Aug. 2 Evening Standard 31/6.sparking plug Spark plug <. . . there is no obvious legitimate purpose in car-

rying the shattered top of a sparking plug in one’s pocket.> 1987 Dec.Illustrated London News 20/1.

stab girl/victim <Stab Girl Cathy To Go Home Soon / Schoolgirl stabvictim Catherine Humphrey may be allowed home next week.> 1987 Feb. 3Evening Standard 3/5.

washing line Clothesline <In the last cottage garden, a rubber sheet blew onthe washing line.> 1989 Trollope 198.

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2 Determiners

2.1 Definite article

2.1.1 Definite article versus no determiner With nouns of time

British English may use the in certain expressions of time where American Englishwould have no determiner.

all the afternoon/morning/evening All afternoon/morning/evening: Theforms without the are common-core English. CIC has 5.9 iptmw with thein British texts but none in contemporary American use. <I slept all theafternoon.> 1970 Johnson 18.

all the day long All day long: The definite article is optional in British use(CGEL 8.63n). CIC has 0.3 iptmw of the phrase with the in British texts andnone in American.

the month The implication of this construction, without any posthead modifier,is “this month of some implied year.” In a random sample of 150 tokens ofJanuary in CIC British texts, 6 were preceded by the; a similar Americansample had none. <A settlement . . . was proposed by the MPs in the June,before the legal costs had started to mount.> 1986 Oct. 19 Sunday Times 1/2.

the date of a month; month the date Month date: See § 17.4.in the night At night: CIC has nearly twice as many British tokens of in the

night as American; at night is nearly 6 times as frequent as in the night in Britishtexts, but nearly 10 times as frequent in American. < . . . he gets up in thenight for [his child].> 1993 Neel 70.

the once Once: The adverbial use of the once is about 14 times more frequentin British than in American. <Well, just the once.> 1989 Rendell 31. Cf.§ 6.1 .

the weekday In British English, the definite article the is sometimes used withdays of the week to imply “this day of that particular week.” Although regardedby some as nonstandard, this construction is popular (CGEL 5.67n). The


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44 Parts of Speech

construction is generally the object of the preposition on, although otherprepositions also occur. <He and his lady wife walked the dog . . . on theSaturday, and on the Sunday morning they put the dog in kennels.> 1991Neel 210. <By the Saturday afternoon he was back.> 1993 Feb. 13 DailyTelegraph 11/2.

at the weekends On the weekend; on weekends: At the weekends and on theweekend have similar frequencies in British, and on weekends is twice as frequentas either of them. In American on the weekend and on weekends have similarfrequencies, and at the weekends is very rare. <Getting out the barbie andghetto blaster then popping some nice cold tubes at the weekends.> 1996Graham 157.

all the year All year: CIC shows that both British and American prefer thisexpression without the definite article, but the American preference is muchstronger. CIC has 7.8 iptmw of all the year and 63.8 of all year in British texts(8 times as many). It has 0.5 of all the year and 49.1 of all year in Americantexts (98 times as many). Cf. also § 5.4 () .

over the cardinal number years Over cardinal number years < . . . it was wellover the five years since he had followed his doctor’s advice and given it[smoking] up.> 1987 Amis 3. With nouns of place

The use of the with names of lands has become variable, with a tendency awayfrom the. Until recently, the Congo, the Sudan, and the Ukraine were normal inboth British and American; now, however, the-less forms are normal or frequent.Lands that, at least until recently, sometimes had the definite article in Britishuse, but rarely American, are the following:

the Argentine Argentina <1959 Evening Standard 31 Dec. 8/6, I am homefrom the Argentine.> OED s.v. the a. 3.b.

the Gambia <I hear they have very cheap packages to the Gambia inJanuary.> 1988 Lodge 62.

the Lebanon <He has helped . . . to evacuate the Lebanon.> 1987 Oct.Illustrated London News 28/2.

the Yemen <1981 Church Times 6 Nov. 14/5 The Hoopoo had nested in hiswalls when he was in the Yemen.> OED s.v. the a. 3.b.

The names of certain streets and roads are also sometimes preceded by the:

the A + number A designates a major road (other than a motorway); an Ameri-can analog is US (as in US1). However, the designation for A-roads regularlyincludes the definite article; that for US-roads does not. < . . . the GradeOne-listed building . . . lies close to the A1.> 2005 Jan. 23 Sunday Telegraph(Web ed.).

the Broadway <A Jack Russell terrier crossed the Broadway looking neitherto its left nor right.> 1991 Critchley 168.

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Determiners 45

the Earl’s Court Road <They acquired a small flat in the Earl’s CourtRoad.> 1980 Archer 86.

the High Street: If high street is a generic term for the principle street of a town,it normally takes a determiner, as does its American analog, main street: They dotheir shopping on the high/main street. But if it is the proper name of a street, nodeterminer would be expected in American use: They do their shopping on MainStreet. However, it is not always possible to tell from the linguistic context orthe capitalization whether the term is generic or proper in British use. <StMichael’s Church of England School was in the High Street.> 2002 Smith17.

the King’s Road <Pedalling to work along the King’s Road . . . .> 1987Sept. Illustrated London News 16/1.

the M + number M designates a multilane, restricted-access road; an Ameri-can analog is I (for interstate highway, as in I75). However, the designationfor M-roads regularly includes the definite article; that for I-roads does not.< . . . a diesel tanker ran into the back of a queue of slow-moving traffic onthe M61.> 1987 Nov. 8 Manchester Guardian Weekly 4/4.

the Tottenham Court Road < . . . Kentucky Fried Chicken sold in the Tot-tenham Court Road.> 1987 Aug. Illustrated London News 34/3.

The names of some other places or institutions may also take the in British use:

the Grammar As a generic, grammar school [in England, a prestigious sec-ondary school] would take a determiner. The following use, however, appearsto be a clipping of a proper name. <Peter . . . was . . . having a tough time atthe Grammar.> 1980 Drabble 20.

the Medway Town <However in the Medway Town it is still possible to pur-chase 2 and 3 bedroom properties for under £35,000.> 1986 Dec. 4 Midweek30/3.

the munitions <They evacuated everyone . . . . I was working in the muni-tions at the time and it caused quite a scare.> 1989 Quinton 9–10. With personal names and titles

The definite article is used before personal names and titles under certain cir-c*mstances in English (CGEL 5.64, 66), but the following are exceptional:

<He twisted his neck to contemplate the exhibit which the Merkalova had caston the bed and then straightened it to observe the more compelling exhibit ofthe Merkalova herself.> 1937 Innes, Hamlet 149. <Mr Tucker and Sir Ronaldsat down with the Mr and Mrs Thatcher to discuss the lastest poll findings.>1987 June 13 Times 28/4.

In the following instances, use of the before title and name is normal in British,but less so in American:

the Prince N <The Prince Edward was received by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for the City of Glasgow.> 1990 Aug. 13 Times 12/2.

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46 Parts of Speech

the Rev N <Protestant rector the Rev Timothy Kinahan . . . > 1993 Feb. 12Sun 2/3. With other nominals

A number of other miscellaneous examples show the in British use where Amer-ican would have nothing:

at the back of In back of; behind < . . . a used car lot at the back of ShireHall.> 1990 Rowlands 172.

the cricket The cricket game <1961 New Statesman 10 Feb. 210/3 It all beganwith la Starkie clutching her brandy in front of the Tavern at Lord’s with herback to the cricket.> OED s.v. la.

the emotion <James Munro, who is involved in a victim support scheme insouth-east London, has to fight his way through layers of the emotion beforehe can explain his work to solitary elderly women.> 1987 Nov. IllustratedLondon News 75/3.

the falafel <In designer flats they talked, over the falafel, of financing a film . . .and getting divorced.> 1987 Bradbury 15.

the half of it CIC has 3.4 iptmw in British texts and 1.3 in American. <Nobodyheard him. . . . Mrs. Hannigan had, but she didn’t pretend to understand thehalf of it.> 1987 Mar. 2 London Daily News 17/3.

the most of This sequence is common after make, but not otherwise. <As yousuccumb to once-a-year foodie treats this Christmas, spare a thought for theunsung professionals who have spent the most of the past year samplingthem.> 1997 Dec. 13 Times Weekend 10/1.

the moths <There isn’t anything of value there unless you count the Mothers’Union banner . . . which incidentally I’ve promised to repair. It’s got themoths in it, or something.> 1975 Price 123.

the one son <She had the one son.> 1979 Snow 15.the pumps In the following description of a small garage, there has been no

prior mention of pumps. <The garage stood on a corner . . . . Just the twopumps.> 1987 Hart 14.

the sales < . . . she barges into the crowd like a shopaholic at the sales.> 2003July 15 Times T2 7/3. – in the sale(s) On sale <It was so gorgeous that Iwould have bought it even if it hadn’t been in the sale.> 2003 July 8 TimesT2 13/1.

the social services < . . . public spending on the social services has beencut.> 1988 May Illustrated London News 7/3.

the television <Once, politicians got on the television only to talk about anIssue.> 1987 Nov. Illustrated London News 98/1.

all over the town CIC British texts have 5 times as many tokens without theas with the, but American texts have none with the. <Why, ’tis all over thetown, Miss.> 1981 Lemarchand 16.

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the welfare <Scrounging on the welfare.> 1985 Mortimer 320–1.if the worst comes to the worst CIC has no British tokens of worse comes to

worst and no American tokens of the worst comes to the worst. <Think carefullyabout each option so that, if the worst comes to the worst, you will beprepared.> 1989 BNC.

2.1.2 Definite article versus indefinite article

The following postdeterminers frequently follow the in British.

the occasional The closest American equivalent is an occasional, but Ameri-can might also have the adverb occasionally, as in “blizzards, freezing winds,and occasionally earthquakes” instead of “blizzards, freezing winds and theoccasional earthquake.” In CIC, the occasional is more than twice as frequentin British texts as in American. <After they [child visitors] have gone, I findsticky fingerprints everywhere, . . . not to mention the occasional breakage.>1998 Jan. 3 Times Weekend 30/1.

the odd An occasional: American has no simple equivalent to this collocation;an odd is likely to suggest “a strange.” In CIC, the odd, as a sequence, is nearly6 times as frequent in British texts as in American. <I can recall the oddfishfinger or beefburger for high tea.> 2003 Nov. 12 Times T2 3/2. Cf. § 2.5.2 .

the sporadic A sporadic < . . . there were actually poppies bobbing at theverges. Even the sporadic cornflower.> 1989 July 18 Times 14/6.

Other constructions using the in British are either set collocations or syntacticstructures.

off/on/to the boil Expressions with the boil are more than 20 times as frequentin British CIC texts as in American; expressions with a boil are more than 9times as frequent in American as in British. <His play went off the boil.>1991 Feb. 2 Times 23/3. <It is instructive to see what sets local loyalties onthe boil.> 1991 Feb. 9 Telegraph Weekend Magazine 8/1.

the clergyman’s <His father had the clergyman’s interest in Darwinism.>1988 Oct. Illustrated London News 59/1–2.

the day A day <If I could have an animal head on my body for the day I’d bea cat so I could lick my own bits.> 2004 Dec. 8–15 Time Out 8/1.

the draw, agree Agree to a draw <Karpov . . . refused to agree the draw.>1986 Oct. 9 Times 2/7.

the half hour Half an hour is the dominant form in common-core English. CICAmerican texts have more than 5 times as many tokens of a half hour as Britishtexts do. British texts have nearly 4 times as many tokens of the half hour asAmerican texts do. < . . . within the half hour he was sitting disconsolatelyin the accident room of the Radcliffe Infirmary.> 1975 Dexter 79.

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48 Parts of Speech

the hell of a A hell of a is the dominant form in common-core English. CICBritish texts have some tokens of the hell of a; American texts do not.< . . . there’s the hell of a lot more we need to know.> 1989 Underwood 181.

the market <Smart dresses for this age group are thin on the ground partlybecause . . . there simply isn’t the market.> 2003 June 21 Times Weekend9/1.

the power of good, do one CIC British texts have 3.3 iptmw of a power of goodand 0.9 of the power of good. Neither option appears in CIC American texts.However, DARE has many examples of a power of in the sense “a lot of,” butlabels it chiefly Southern, South Midland, and old fashioned. <I think a littledrop of Scotch would do me the power of good.> 1975 Dexter 29.

the world of good/difference CIC British texts have similar numbers of theworld of good and a world of good; American texts have no tokens of the world ofgood. CIC British texts have 8 times as many tokens of a world of difference as ofthe world of difference, but American texts have 14 times as many. <Choosingthe right travel insurance can make the world of difference.> 1998 Juneinsurance ad poster on a London underground train.

2.1.3 Definite article versus possessive

Occasionally, in both British and American, the is used where a possessive pro-noun is more appropriate. Among the following examples, only the third (themachismo) seems impossible in American (and perhaps unusual in British aswell), but these examples are included because they are part of a larger patternof the use of the.

the girl friend <He had arranged to meet the girl friend in the evening.>1940 Shute 28.

the home <[In] Switzerland, . . . every male . . . has to have a semi-automaticrifle in the home by law.> 1988 Aug. Illustrated London News 27/1–2.

the machismo <Some . . . eager for trouble and anxious to prove the ma-chismo . . . swaggered past and made two-fingered gestures to the unheedingpolice.> 1985 Ebdon 79.

the work <Only something to do with the work.> 1940 Shute 37.

2.1.4 Definite article versus demonstrative

for the matter of that For that matter: CIC British texts have 0.3 iptmw ofthe longer form; American texts have none. < . . . she bore every appearanceof being able, at need, to put young people through it still – or elderly peopletoo, for the matter of that.> 1983 Innes 63.

on the day CIC has 1.7 times as many tokens of on the day in British texts asin American; British texts have 4.3 times as many tokens of on the day as of

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on that/this day; American texts have only 2.3 times as many tokens of onthe day as of on that/this day. <Of the four only Roberts was not sent off bythe referee on the day.> 1987 Nov. 8 Manchester Guardian Weekly 30/1. Cf.§§; 8.1 () .

on the night CIC has 1.7 times as many tokens of on the night in British textsas in American; British texts have 7.9 times as many tokens of on the night asof on that/this night; American texts have only 4.9 times as many tokens of onthe night as of on that/this night. < . . . viewers will be encouraged to pledgemoney on the night [of a BBC1 charity program].> 1988 Feb. IllustratedLondon News 24/4. Cf. § 8.1 .

2.2 Indefinite article

2.2.1 Form of the indefinite article: a/an

For all of the following, majority British use has a rather than an. However, forall except historic(al), CIC American texts have no tokens of an at all. Britishpreference for each form is given in parentheses as the percentage of iptmw fora followed by that for an.

an hallucination (50/50) < . . . an hallucination, nothing more.> 1985Benedictus 13.

an hilarious (85/15) < . . . an hilarious hour with an inspired tutor.> 1993Feb. 1 Times 15/6.

an historic(al) (British 57/43; American 78/22) <Carefree Retirement In AnHistoric Country Mansion> 1987 Aug. Illustrated London News 71/1.

an horrendous (70/30) < . . . an horrendous blunder.> 1988 Apr. 10 SundayTelegraph 48/1.

an horrific (71/29) < . . . such an horrific offence.> 1988 Sept. 6 DailyTelegraph 3/5.

an hotel (93/7) <The woman . . . was living with her daughter in an hotel forthe homeless.> 1987 Jan. 21 Daily Mail 2/1.

an Hussar (no CIC tokens) <Nicholas Soames, an Hussar and all of sixteenstone, grabbed hold of Worthington Evans.> 1991 Critchley 146.

2.2.2 Indefinite article versus no determiner With mass nouns

Most mass nouns can also be used as count nouns under appropriate circum-stances (much bread : a rye bread). However, some uses of the indefinite articlewith nouns that are normally mass are distinctively British. Cf. § 3.2.3 for suchnouns in plural form.

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50 Parts of Speech

Many of these constructs seem to be fairly recent. Sidney Greenbaum, whowas in the United States from 1968 to 1983, remembered being struck by anonsense on his return to England (Greenbaum 1986, 7). The first example of thecount use of nonsense in the OED is by Evelyn Waugh in 1942, but it doubtlesstook about a generation to move into frequent use.

In the following entries, the parenthesized figures following the entry form arethe British/American iptmw, respectively, of the noun preceded by a(n). Whereno figures are given, the number of tokens in both national varieties was too smallto make comparison useful.

cheek (3.0/0.1) Cheek in the sense “insolent boldness” is usually a mass noun,but can take the indefinite article in British use with the sense “an act ofinsolent boldness” or, in have a cheek, the sense of “nerve, presumption.”Other collocations are got a cheek, a bit of a cheek, and What a cheek. Cheek inall these uses is more British than American, which is likely to prefer otherterms, such as gall, nerve, or chutzpah. <What a cheek.> 1995 Stoppard 17.

coffee (24.3/2.9) Coffee is usually a mass noun, but may be used as a count inboth British and American, as in I’ll have two coffees, or a coffee may referto a social event at which coffee is served. Each national variety, especiallyAmerican, prefers a cup of coffee for countable use, British by 1.2 times andAmerican by 6.9 times. <Nescafe Gold Blend coffee commercials [featured]courting neighbours who never seem sure whether to share a coffee or a bed.>1993 Feb. 8 Times 27/2.

curry (2.7/0, probably reflecting the fact that curry is far more popular inBritain than in America) <Anyway they went out for a curry.> 1992 Green132.

eye liner <I used to spend . . . £14 on an eyeliner.> 1995 Sept. Marie Claire245/2.

fly spray Fly spray, like mass nouns generally, can be countable in referenceto a type of the substance; but here it means a unit (bottle/can) of it.<I’ve never bought a flyspray.> 1990 Aug. 18 Daily Telegraph Weekend5/5.

gingerbread <There were scones and a gingerbread.> 1993 Cleeves 95.gossip (0.6/0.1) <Just in time. Coffee and a gossip.> 1990 Hardwick 114.heroin <The American musician . . . had taken a heroin.> 1986 Oct. 9 Hamp-

stead Advertiser 7/1.ice-cream (3.8/1.6) A dish/cone/serving of ice cream <Having consoled

myself for my ruined omelette with a croque-monsieur and a chocolate icecream . . . .> 2000 Caudwell 189. Cf. § 3.2.3.

isolation (1.1/0.3) < . . . if a man in a sensitive job went sick, he was liable tobe whisked into an isolation.> 1987 Rutherfurd 888.

lasagne <I had a cappuccino and a lasagne.> 1987 May 27 Punch 38/2.lettuce (0.8/0) A head of lettuce <Joanna’s doing something to a lettuce.>

1989 Daniel 49.

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mascara (0.5/0) <I used to spend £15 on a mascara.> 1995 Sept. MarieClaire 245/2.

misery (9.7/0.5) Instead of make (something) a misery, American is likely tohave make (something) miserable. <MPs . . . demand police action againsta handful of demonstrators armed with megaphones who are making theirworking lives a misery.> 2003 June 20 Times 13/1.

nonsense (11.8/0) – be a nonsense Be (a) nonsensical (action). <It was a mil-itary nonsense mounted under political pressure.> 1986 Sherwood, MantrapGarden 110. – make a nonsense of something Make something nonsensical.<Does all this make a nonsense of the Vienna talks on conventional forcesin Europe?> 1990 Jan. 27–Feb. 2 Economist 54/2.

persecution <If a health official or a teacher expresses that hom*osexuality isabnormal or immoral he is subjected to a great persecution.> 1987 Feb. 10Evening Standard 35/5.

good service (3.7/0.3)<We [a garage] give a good service.>1989 Wainwright126.

sleep (5.7/0.9) <I understand the doctor wanted you to have a sleep.> 1991Neel 59.

medical training <If . . . she’d had a medical training . . . , she’d have abetter chance of being competent.> 1991 Greenwood 78.

wood < . . . my husband . . . turned round to see a huge pile of a sawnwood already done by his elderly mother-in-law.> 1987 May 27 Punch 14/3–15/1. With days of the week

on a day of the week The alternative to on a Sunday is on Sundays (on Sundayis very frequent but may refer either to Sundays generally or to a particularSunday). In CIC, British texts prefer on a Sunday by 1.3 times, and Americantexts prefer on Sundays by 1.8 times. The other days of the week follow generallythe same pattern. <In the old days . . . we got paid weekly on a Thursday.>1999 Mar. 21 Sunday Times 10/7. With plural nouns

An unusual construction is a with a plural noun as head. In the followingcases, the noun head logically refers to “a building housing . . . ,” and theimplied reference to a building doubtless favors the indefinite article in Britishuse.

a Council Offices < . . . the Council first built a dramatic new CouncilOffices.> ca. 1988 (exact date n/a) In Britain, 18/2.

a public baths <It was . . . a lousy description, admittedly, of a public baths.>1991 Feb. 26 Times 14/1.

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2.2.3 Indefinite article versus possessive

a lip <Wilcox curled a lip. ‘Nancy boys?’> (An American clerk, in copyingthis citation from the original, mistyped “his lip.”) 1988 Lodge 114.

2.3 Possessive construction

A possessive pronoun or occasionally a possessive noun phrase is used as a deter-miner in British English where American would have other options.

2.3.1 Possessive versus definite article

One of the most characteristically British constructions of this type is in their[large numbers], for which the American analog would be by/in the [largenumbers]. In CIC, 60 percent of the British tokens of such constructions havetheir; 99 percent of the American tokens have the. Cf. § 8.1 .

dozens <. . . one of those mass-produced plaster ornaments to be seen in theirdozens at every motorway junction garden centre.> 1989 Rendell 44.

droves <. . . they flocked here in their droves.> 1998 Joss 31.hordes <. . . the office workers started scurrying home in their hordes.> 1987

Fraser 26.hundreds <Residents . . . turned out in their hundreds to welcome the

Prince.> 1998 June 19 Times 5/5.hundreds of thousands <Sikhs have suffered and died in their hundreds of

thousands.> 1999 Mar. 24 Independent Review 5/3.millions <They subscribe in their millions to women’s magazines.> 1967

Frost and Jay 112.scores <Labour voters and MPs will be encouraged to turn up in their

scores.> 2004 Jan. 2 Times 25/2.tens of thousands <Blacks and whites [in South Africa] came together in

their tens of thousands.> 1989 Sept. 13 ITV news.thousands <Party workers . . . quit the conference hall in their thousands.>

1992 Critchley 32.

A rare construction also has a British possessive corresponding with the incommon-core English use.

make their most of Make the most of <The Sandinistas have made theirmost of both qualities.> 1985 June 14 Times 15/1.

2.3.2 Possessive versus indefinite article

one’s bit of fun In CIC British texts, fewer than 3 percent of bit of fun havea possessive; most of the rest have the indefinite article; all of the American

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texts have the indefinite article. <Your mother’s only having her bit of fun.>(An American clerk, in copying this citation from the original, mistyped “a bitof.”) 1985 Mortimer 264.

2.3.3 Possessive versus no determiner

A characteristic of colloquial British is the use of our with a given name. In Amer-ican, this construction would normally imply a contrast between two particularpersons of the same name, an implication not made in the British use.

our Name <For them she’s “our Maggie” – a term of endearment as insultingin its way as “that bloody woman,” since nobody, but nobody, would ever havedreamed of calling Churchill “our Winnie.”> 1990 Hazleton 110. <OurKenny told me all about it. . . . He’s a cousin of mine.> 2000 Granger 237.

2.4 No determiner versus some determiner

British English has no determiner with some nouns for which American Englishwould require one, either definite or indefinite depending on the context, or elsea plural noun.

2.4.1 In collocations

Some of these constructions occur in particular collocations. Most of these nounsare normally countable.

to boiling point Of tokens of boiling point following a preposition, CIC Britishtexts have 14 percent without a determiner, and American texts have 3 percent.< . . . processed white bread . . . is usually enough to bring any modern self-respecting whole-foodie to boiling point.> 1986 Sept. 24 Times 15/3.

at/in/out of college The expressions at, in, and out of college occur in AmericanEnglish, but in general senses such as “attending a college” and “finished withcollege education.” Senses like “located at/in the college” and “away from thecollege building” take a determiner in American use. <Mr Knellie had hadhis lunch and gone out of college.> 1956 Lewis 47. <Dr. Alan Hardingedecided that Monday evening to stay in college.> 1992 Dexter 202. <“Is shethere . . . ?” [ ¶ ] “No, not at college. Can I take a message?”> 1993 Smith182.

on condition (that) CIC British texts have 3 times as many tokens of on con-dition that as of on the condition that; American texts are about evenly dividedbetween the two. <Lawrence had been awarded a Fellowship by All Souls oncondition he wrote a history of the Arab Revolt.> 1988 Nov. In Britain 36/3.

at dead of night CIC British texts are about evenly divided between at deadof night and in the dead of the night; American texts have only the latter.< . . . there is just no evidence that the Bank of England is dumping French

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francs and Danish kroner, at dead of night, on the Tokyo market.> 1993Feb. 13 Spectator 14/2.

devil there is The devil there is <If there was a dead body around, you know,it would be another matter. But devil there is – unless it has been stuffed upa chimney.> 1983 Innes 38.

down at heel CIC has 0.7 iptmw of down at heel in British texts and none inAmerican; it has 0.7 iptmw of down at the heels (plural) in American texts andnone in British. <Teesside, then as now a down at heel seaside resort.> 1990BNC.

in future The collocation in future “from now on” contrasts with in the future,which has either the same sense or means “at some time in the future” (CGEL8.59n). CIC has 80 iptmw of adverbial in future in British texts and 3.6 inAmerican. <Put me in a taxi, tell me not to be a naughty girl in future andsend me home?> 1991 Grant-Adamson 219.

on holiday Holiday in the sense “a period away from home or work for travel orrelaxation” is a Briticism. CIC has 136.7 iptmw of on holiday in British textsand 6.8 in American. The ICE-GB corpus has 27 tokens of holiday in Britishconstructions as the head of a noun phrase without a determiner (It’s the secondMonday that we get back from Easter holiday). In 22 of those tokens, holiday isthe object of the preposition on (You’re going on holiday). In American use,on vacation is possible, but primarily in a general sense (We’ll be on vacation inJuly); in a specific sense (We’re taking the family on a vacation to Alaska), thedeterminer is likely. < . . . an actress who is believed to have gone on holidayto Spain.> 1993 Feb. 13 Daily Telegraph 1/6–7.

(in/to/into/out of) hospital British uses hospital without a determiner aftercertain prepositions of location (CGEL 5.44) but also as the direct object afterverbs implying motion from or to a hospital (leave and rarely attend). CIChas 143.4 iptmw of adverbial in hospital in British texts and 9.1 in Americantexts. It has 25.3 iptmw of in the hospital in British texts and 74.3 in American.< . . . they didn’t send for an ambulance to take him to hospital.> 1966Priestley 122. <I had been out of hospital for six weeks.> 1985 June 2Sunday Telegraph 11/2. < . . . she was taken into hospital.> 1986 Aug. 29(Newcastle) Evening Chronicle 12/4. < . . . where would I hide a knife inhospital?> 1991 Green 184. <She . . . received a telephone call to attendhospital.> 1991 Feb. 20 Times 4/5. <. . . the Department of Environmentbans the use of Housing Corporation money to provide supported housing forpeople leaving hospital.> 1994 Sept. 12 Guardian 20/5.

on hunger strike Although on strike is idiomatic in American English, on hungerstrike is less so. CIC has 2.3 iptmw of it in British texts and 1.0 in American;it has 0.2 of on a hunger strike in British texts and 2.8 in American. <The RevJesse Jackson has gone on hunger strike.> 1993 Feb. 17 Times 11/8.

for/at interview also after/refused interview CIC has 6.4 iptmw of for inter-view and 1.8 of at interview in British texts and 0.1 of the former and noneof the latter in American. <Many graduates are made to feel ashamed of a

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2.2 at interview.> 1993 Feb. 13 Spectator 21/3. <St Benedict’s . . . invitedhim for interview.> 1999 Mar. 22 Times 15/3. < . . . he had been refusedinterview.> 1999 Mar. 22 Times 15/3. <If, after interview, you still feelhe’s not right, I will accept it.> 1999 Mar. 22 Times 15/3.

a bit of ladies man Something of a ladies man <Stephenson, known as “a bitof ladies man”, may be travelling with another woman.> 1986 Sept. 4 DailyTelegraph 40/5.

on look-out On the lookout <He and a white accomplice, who was on look-out outside the victim’s home escaped with two suitcases.> 1987 Apr. 8 DailyTelegraph 32/4.

on mortgage CIC has 0.4 iptmw of mortgage without a determiner in Britishtexts and none in American. 1. With a mortgage; mortgaged <The big advan-tage of buying a home on mortgage is that it provides a roof over your headwhile you pay for it.> 1986 Oct. 4 Times 32/1. 2. In a mortgage <She hadabout £50,000 on mortgage, which was far too high in relation to her salary.>1991 Neel 219.

next day In random CIC samples of next day, British had 42 tokens out of 250without a determiner and American had only 1. <. . . he thought he’d betterspeak to his aunt and uncle about getting to King’s Cross station next day.>1997 Rowling 67 (US ed. the next day).

next moment In CIC samples, 11 percent of the British tokens of next momentwere without a determiner; none of the American were. <Next moment,Professor Dumbledore was there.> 1999 Rowling 120 (US ed. A momentlater). <Next moment – > 1999 Rowling 227 (US ed. Then again).

on offer Available: This collocation, although parallel to several other common-core English ones (on display, on sale, on view), is a Briticism. In CIC, it is 42times more frequent in British texts than in American. <There is still time toapply for one of the 45 MSC scholarships on offer.> 1986 Sept. 23 Guardian12/8.

pound a minute This use is rare. <And his standard charge is pound aminute.> 1985 Price 146.

at source In CIC, at the source is of approximately equal frequency in British andAmerican; at source is 27.3 times more frequent in British than in American.<BT could . . . deal with the problem at source.> 1991 Mar. 10 Sunday TimesMagazine 3/3.

at/on/to/etc. table In CIC texts, at/on table without a determiner is 7 timesmore frequent in British than in American. <It was the presence of the head ofthe order which cast a blight over High Table.> 1977 Barnard 100. <. . . sendthem [muffins] very quickly to table.> 1983 Brooke-Taylor 104. <[BarbaraCartland:] One day . . . there were thirteen at table.> 1990 Critchfield 296.<I dined on High Table.> 2000 Caudwell 322.

to/at/out of/leave university University is much like hospital and college withrespect to its use without determiners, typically after certain prepositions oflocation or verbs of motion. In American use, however, whereas college can

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be so used in general statements (When she finishes high school, she’s going tocollege) but not specific ones (She’s going to the college by train), universityand hospital usually have a determiner in all cases. In CIC texts, university insuch constructions is 17 times more likely to be without a determiner in Britishthan in American. <I haven’t the slightest regret about leaving university.>1986 Aug. 19 Times 8/3. <Raymond dropped out of university last year.>1988 Lodge 238. <Something strange happened to Joanne at university.>2002 Smith 89. <Today, of course, she would have gone to university.> 2003James 10.

2.4.2 With count nouns

In British English, a number of count nouns, in addition to those exemplifiedabove, are exceptionally used without determiners. Cf. § 3.2.4.

accusation <. . . he can blether on about accusation of dishonesty.> 1986Sept. 15 Times 12/7.

-ache (CGEL 5.49n) See , , , - below.

allotment The term allotment is not used in this sense in American, but if itwere, a determiner would be expected. <He’s up on allotment today. . . .A little plot of land . . . like an extra garden where people grow vegetables.>1991 Glaister 28–9.

backache In CIC British texts backache has no determiner in about 71 percentof its occurrences; in American texts in about 50 percent. <Many people whowork in offices get backache because they do not sit at their desks properly.>CIDE.

ball The term good ball is used mainly in sports reporting, often as an exclama-tion; in CIC British texts, approximately 3 uses out of 5 have no determiner.American texts have very few such uses. <Wasps’ international wings . . .showed what they can do when good ball comes their way.> 1989 Feb. 19Manchester Guardian Weekly 32/3.

bog <I became stuck in bog only twice.>1993 Feb. 13 Daily Telegraph Weekend2/8.

break CIC has 8 British tokens without a determiner to 22 with the in theconstructions in/during break. It has no comparable American exampleswithout the. < . . . phone me in first break.> 1988 Stoppard 22.

breaking point In CIC British texts, this expression is 10 times more likely tobe used without a determiner than with one; in American texts, it is 15 timesmore likely to be used with a determiner than without one. <Relatives go onlooking after them [the elderly] through and beyond breaking point.> 1988Sept. 18 Sunday Telegraph 3/3.

bursting point In CIC British texts, this expression is 17 times more likelyto be used without a determiner than with one; in American texts, bursting

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point does not occur. <. . . stands that were packed to bursting point.> 2000Rowling 427 (US ed. the bursting point).

car bomb < . . . Ian Gow’s death by car bomb.> 1991 Critchley 193.carriageway Highway: In CIC British texts, about 4 percent of the tokens of

carriageway are without a determiner. <A contra-flow will be in operationon the A2 Bexleyheath affecting westbound carriageway between Dansoninterchange and the borough boundary.> 1987 Mar. 25 Evening Standard 5/1.

certificate <We did it [Paradise Lost] for higher certificate.> 1975 Dexter 90.century In CIC British texts, about 10 percent of the phrase of (the) last century

are without the determiner; in American texts, none are. <. . . a magazine oflast century.> 1988 Nov. In Britain 16/1.

in chambers In CIC, the phrase is nearly 5 times more frequent in British textsthan in American; it usually refers to a law office in British, but to a judge’soffice in American. <Let’s have a woman in Chambers.> 1971 Mortimer72.

chapter <‘I understand the new dean is sworn to restore proper Catholic wor-ship to the cathedral.’ [ ¶ ] ‘What do chapter think of that?’ . . . [ ¶ ] ‘In general,they’re against anything which lengthens the services.’> 1993 Greenwood 66.

collision In CIC British texts, a determiner is 2 times more likely than notbefore the noun of the phrase in collision; in American texts, it is 9 times morelikely. <. . . her official Jaguar . . . was in collision with a police car.> 1993Feb. 3 Times 4/1–2.

common room <. . . the assistant masters emerged from common room andtook charge.> 1959 Innes 25.

concussion In CIC British texts, 84 percent of the uses of concussion are withouta determiner; in American texts, 81 percent have a determiner. <I thought itwas concussion.> 1992 Walters 251.

contract In CIC British texts, 59.5 percent of the phrases of contract have adeterminer; in American texts, 76 percent do. <I am suing the Strand Theatrefor termination of contract.> 1989 July 27 Evening Standard 31/2.

control <. . . in room 10 you have to sit well up in bed to see the screen andcontrol is manual.> 1987 July Illustrated London News 72/4.

convoy In CIC British texts, 66 percent of the phrases in convoy have a deter-miner; in American texts, 96 percent do. <I’d like to hear . . . why his shipwasn’t in convoy.> 1940 Shute 27.

diet < . . . many obese girls . . . have ruined themselves with bad diet.> 1991Feb. 16 Weekend Telegraph 7/1–2.

diocese In CIC British texts, when diocese is preceded by a proper place name(e.g., Canterbury, London, Rochester), 60 percent of its tokens have no deter-miner; in American texts, 97 percent have one. <In other dioceses, . . . thecongregations may then be more worryingly low than even those in Londondiocese.> 1990 Aug. 21 Times 9/3.

doorsteps <I suppose you’d better come in then, rather than stand there nat-tering on doorsteps.> 1994 Freeling 105.

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drink See § 3.2.4.driver <By 1902 the self-propelled forty-two-inch mower with saddle for

driver was being used by Cadburys.> 1984 Smith 147.earache In CIC British texts earache has no determiner in about 71 percent of

its occurrences; in American texts in about 43 percent. <When I was a childI used to get terrible earache(s).> CIDE.

exchange of contract <[comment on gazumping:] If at any time beforeexchange of contract someone makes a higher offer to the agent he is dutybound to take his principal’s instructions.> 1987 Apr. 10 Evening Standard45/1.

favourite In CIC British texts favourite is used after forms of be without adeterminer in 8.2 iptmw; in American texts, favorite is not so used. <MissJo Richardson . . . is favourite to hold the cabinet post if Labour wins theelection.> 1987 Apr. 8 Daily Telegraph 4/5.

fire In CIC British texts, the phrase with (an) open fire has no determiner inabout 22 percent of its occurrences; in American texts that phrase does notoccur. <That red room with open fire flanked by lion statues . . . is classicbourgeois.> 1987 Feb. 2 Evening Standard 24/3, 25/1.

flu In CIC British texts flu has no determiner in 88.5 percent of its occurrences,and in American texts in 63 percent. <He’s got flu.> 1998 Rowling 96 (USed. the flu).

freezing point In CIC British texts, freezing point has no determiner in 73percent of its occurrences; in American texts it always has the. <From themoment they [strawberries] are picked . . . they are kept at just above freezingpoint.> 1987 June 20 Times 13/7.

gas service <Turn off the whole supply at the meter and call gas service.>1980s poster of instructions on leaking gas.

golf-course <. . . the local Inspector who played such a steady game on golf-course.> 1949 Tey 17.

grant < . . . the Arts Council may intervene and make reasonable access forbroadcasters a condition of grant.> 1988 Sept. Illustrated London News 64/3.

grounds In the sense “area of land used for a particular purpose,” ground(s)may be either singular or plural: parade ground(s). But when it is unmodified,it is usually plural and takes a determiner: the grounds. British, however, some-times has grounds without a determiner especially when it is the object of apreposition. CIC has 1.7 iptmw of in/from grounds in British texts and nonein American texts. <In spite of policing measures taken in grounds, . . . theGovernment says there are still too many incidents of violent hooliganism ingrounds.> 1989 Mar. 5 Manchester Guardian Weekly 31/1.

hall CIC has 2.8 iptmw of in hall(s) in British texts and none in American texts.<Like many students spending their first year in halls. . . .> 1994 Oct. 3–9Big Issue 16/3.

head office In CIC British texts head office has a determiner in 58 percent ofits occurrences; in American texts in 89 percent. <. . . the JVC showroom

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had closed some years ago, presumably without telling head office. I wroteto head office.> 1989 July 31 Times 12/2.

home From home is normal in many uses in common-core English, but in removea child from home it appears to be a British social-work idiom. < . . . a child whohas been abused . . . should be removed from home.> 1991 Feb. 24 SundayTimes Magazine 58/1.

hornbeam British often uses terms for trees in the singular without a deter-miner. CIC British texts have 3.7 iptmw of singular hornbeam, with no deter-miner in 79 percent of the tokens, and no tokens of plural hornbeams; Americantexts have no tokens of the singular and 0.2 iptmw of the plural. <Here oaksvie with hornbeam.> 2003 July 12 Times Weekend 1/4.

house CIC has 0.2 iptmw of share house in British texts and none in Americantexts. It has forms of move house in 19.3 iptmw in British texts and none inAmerican, which uses the verb move alone in this sense. <. . . her demanding. . . mother, with whom she shared house.> 1979 Dexter 27–8. <He hadmoved house.> 1989 Rendell 36.

honeymoon CIC British texts have 57 percent of on honeymoon with a deter-miner, and American texts have 96 percent; British texts have 63 percent offrom honeymoon with a determiner, and American texts 100 percent. <. . . thelovers got back from honeymoon.> 1993 Feb. 1 Times 12/4.

jug Prison<Unfortunate chaps who look after homicidal maniacs in jug.>1973Innes 32.

kettle CIC British texts have 0.3 iptmw of put kettle without a determiner and13.0 with a determiner (put the kettle on, etc.); American texts have nonewithout a determiner, and 0.7 with the. Quite apart from the use of deter-miners, it is apparent that British people put kettles on a good deal morethan Americans do. <Go and put kettle on.> 1987 Feb. 9 ITV CoronationStreet.

line < . . . the traffic had to filter into single line.> 1975 Dexter 165.manner <The papers require to be signed and sworn . . . in similar manner.>

SEU w.7.10.14.mortgage CIC has 0.4 iptmw of on mortgage in British texts and none in Amer-

ican. <She had about £50,000 on mortgage.> 1991 Neel 219.moustache <He is a big man . . . with bushy sideboards and RAF-style

moustache.> 1988 Lodge 70.newsreel <The vulnerability of the crew . . . was all too obvious in the cuts

taken from wartime newsreel.> 1989 Sept. 7 Times 13/6.party conference CIC British texts have party conference without a determiner

in about 2.5 percent of its occurrences, but no American use of the analogouspolitical convention is without a determiner. <His speech . . . was adequate,but too serious – more suited to party conference.> 1993 Feb. 13 DailyTelegraph 11/3.

off plan <. . . half of the 252 homes . . . have been sold off plan.> 2000 Jan.19 Times 27/2–3.

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60 Parts of Speech

plant <Plant tends to be better used, and teaching staff are deployed lessluxuriantly.> 1987 Dec. 20 Manchester Guardian 6/2.

post Mail: Although the expressions are rare, CIC British texts have equal num-bers of by (the) first/second post, with and without the determiner; Americantexts have neither (with the analog mail). <The eleven pounds, etc., came bysecond post.> 1985 Townsend 65.

post Job: CIC British texts have 11 times as many tokens of in post in the sense“in office” or “on the job” as American texts do. <You’re hoping that . . . theremight be someone still in post who knew her.> 2001 James 319.

practice <The task force was established . . . to spread best practice amongschools.> 1999 Mar. 19 Times 43/6.

race <. . . the only point in taking part in race was to win.> 1999 Mar. 16Independent Review 4/6.

radar screen <It [an airplane] . . . disappeared from radar screen.> 1989Aug. 4 BBC1 news.

record, on On record “recorded” is common-core English, although it is 2.7times more frequent than on the record in CIC British texts and only 1.5 timesso in American. <I’m not making a bet on this election because the odds areprobably the meanest on record.> 1987 June 5 Evening Standard 6/4. In thefollowing citation, on record means “on a phonograph record,” in which sense,a determiner would be expected in American. <I don’t even think I’ve heard iton record, though I did see Rosenkavalier in Amsterdam.> 1993 Smith 60–1.

roll <Autumn Term . . . begins today with 330 girls on roll.> 1986 Sept. 6Times 17/3.

saddle See .send up <. . . this 1850 pantomine is played perfectly straight. Any attempt at

send up would ruin the inherent humour of the piece.>1987 Feb. 5 HampsteadAdvertiser 2/4.

shot Camera shot: CIC British texts have 0.8 iptmw of in shot and 0.4 of out ofshot; American texts have none. <Henry, get out of the way, you’re in shot.>1987 Bradbury 135.

spring CIC has in (the) spring without a determiner in 40 percent of the Britishtokens, and in 21 percent of the American. <. . . in spring I did the Seasonand curtseyed to Her Majesty and the Duke.> 1991 Barnard 61.

standard <Shell have put great emphasis on standard of service.> 1987 Jan.29 Deptford & Peckham Mercury 8/4.

stomachache CIC British texts have 5 times as many tokens of stomachachewithout a determiner as American texts do. American texts have 3 times asmany tokens of a stomachache as British texts do. <. . . the orange juice wasgiving him stomachache.> 1988 Taylor 158.

system <Mr Bill Phillips . . . will oversee new management informationsystem.> 1987 Feb. 26 Hampstead Advertiser 6/2.

term CIC has 11.3 iptmw of the phrase of term in British texts and none inAmerican texts with the sense “a division of the school year.” < . . . the last

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Herbology lesson of term was cancelled.> 1998 Rowling 147 (US ed. theterm).

toothache In CIC British texts, toothache has no determiner in 72 percent ofthe tokens; in American texts, it has a determiner in 83 percent of the tokens.<People get toothache in Tangiers.> 1988 Apr. 10 Sunday Telegraph 17/1.

train <. . . a frantic Kennedy took train to Gatwick in order to fly north.>1989 Feb. 19 Manchester Guardian Weekly 27/5.

uproar CIC has 1.7 iptmw of cause uproar and 2.9 of in uproar in British texts;it has neither in American texts. <Mr Clinton risks further alienating themilitary, already in uproar over the issue of hom*osexuals.> 1993 Feb. 15Daily Mail 10/4–5.

value CIC has 1.5 iptmw of be + value and 12.9 of be + good value in Britishtexts; it has 0.5 and 0.2 respectively in American texts. <. . . the admirablebook by Robert Sommers called The US Open-Golf’s Ultimate Challenge. . . is wonderful value at £12.95.> 1987 Dec. 20 Manchester Guardian 31/4.

window, out of CIC shows that out of the window is the overwhelmingly domi-nant form in common-core English, but out of window is 5 times more commonin British than in American. <I noticed Jamie’s head sticking out of windowone floor below.> 1997 fiction CIC.

A number of nouns of this category denote articles of clothing, and they tendto collocate with the verb wear or the preposition in, being in that respect likethe nouns of § 2.4.1.

boiler suit; balaclava <Eyre, . . . dressed in boiler suit and balaclava, wasconfronted by the young policeman in the darkness.> 1987 June 20 Times 2/4.

cap; muffler <Green . . . had found him there, wearing woollen cap andmuffler.> 1985 Clark 129.

suit; trilby <. . . more conservatively dressed in dark suit and trilby.> 1987Feb. 20 Guardian 3/2.

uniform Combinations like common-core in uniform and British wear uniform(1.7 iptmw in CIC British texts and none in American) have no determiner.When uniform has no determiner but another modifier after in, such as inschool/full/military/army/police uniform, CIC British texts have more thantwice as many tokens as American texts do. < . . . he took delivery of a bag. . . from a man in airline uniform.> 1986 Sept. 16 Times 1/2. <Louise. . . wondered whether Soppy would ever wear uniform again.> 1989 Dick-inson 80.

2.4.3 With proper or quasi-proper nouns

Some items of this general category are proper names (such as that of the formerroyal vessel Britannia) or are quasi-proper names, that is, common nouns or nounphrases that serve, in a particular context, to identify their referents uniquely.

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62 Parts of Speech

The latter are often capitalized in recognition of their proper-like function. Theyalso may (and in American usually do) take a definite determiner, typically the.

Big Bang A 1986 change in Stock Exchange practices <. . . the redevelopmentof the City after Big Bang offers a chance to make ample amends.> 1988 MayIllustrated London News 40/1.

Britannia <In the morning there will be a sail past by Dutch and British yachtsbefore Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip in Britannia.> 1988 JuneIn Britain 20/1.

Cabinet CIC British texts have more than 9 times as many tokens of in Cabinetwithout a determiner as American texts do. <This analysis was accepted incabinet.> 1989 Dec. 23–1990 Jan. 4 Economist 61/2.

casualty The emergency room; ER: CIC British texts have about 3.8 iptmwof in casualty and 0.5 of in the casualty department. <A woman of 79 withperitonitis was kept in casualty for four hours.> 1987 Feb. 19 HampsteadAdvertiser 1/2.

Cathedral <You weren’t in Cathedral on Saturday, were you, Bert?> 1984Gilbert 118.

Central Office This term is very frequent as a proper noun in CIC Britishtexts, but has no CIC American tokens. <He will take over responsibility forrunning Central Office.> 1986 Sept. 6 Times 1/7.

Cosmos <Nothing happens in Cosmos except interactions.> 1987 Feb. 1lecture in London.

Council <If Council invite you to take the chair, . . . it will be because theyare going to make me Vice-Chancellor.> 1980 Archer 183–4.

Court <A College porter . . . directed him to his rooms in Third Court.> 1976Raphael 16.

government <. . . some MPs believe last weeks reshuffle . . . will make a privacylaw more attractive within government.> 2003 June 16 Guardian 1/4.

Grand Lodge <Grand Lodge has . . . put out a video.> 1988 May IllustratedLondon News 23/1.

Hall In British use, Hall after a preposition is often without a determiner;in American use, rarely. <‘One hell of a chap,’ remarked an undergraduatequeueing for lunch outside Hall.> 1988 Nov. In Britain 36/1.

Labour Party <Mr Chenery was appointed to these posts by WestminsterSouth Labour Party.> 1987 May 27 Evening Standard 2/1.

London Underground <The letter of thanks to London Underground mustsurely have been a send up?> 1987 Feb. 2 Evening Standard 29/1.

National Service, on In the army <After leaving school each of them spenteighteen months on National Service.> 1979 Dexter 94.

public institutions A CIC sample has the following tokens of the names of publicinstitutions without/with a determiner. British: Waterloo Station 22/1; Sal-isbury Cathedral 25/0; Birmingham Airport 11/0; Bristol Zoo 7/0; ManchesterCity Council 15/0; Liverpool Football Club 12/0. American: Pennsylvania Sta-tion 10/1; National Cathedral 4/22; San Francisco Airport 2/6; San Diego Zoo

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0/39; New York City Council 0/12; Pacific Coast League 0/18. Only with trainstations does American practice agree with British (Swan 1995, 68).

reception The reception desk; the reception lobby/area <Back in Reception,Mrs Stapleton is at her diplomatic best dealing with a family of seven whohave arrived two and a half hours early.> 1988 Apr. In Britain 11/3.

Senate <I don’t remember it coming up at that meeting of Senate.> 1988Lodge, Nice Work 85.

Star Chamber <Cecil Parkinson, recently promoted to head of Star Cham-ber . . . will get one of the important jobs.> 1988 Aug. Illustrated London News16/1.

synod The General Synod of the Church of England <. . . 20 per cent of themembers of synod.> 1993 Feb. 27 Times 15/3.

2.4.4 With mass nouns

air CIC British texts have more than 3 times as many tokens of off the air as of offair, but American texts have none of the latter and 4 times as many of the formeras British does. <He seemed rather to have discharged the weapon warninglyand wrathfully in air.> 1983 Innes 89. <Anne and Nick [broadcasters] wentoff air for their summer break.> 1994 Oct. 5 Evening Standard 61/1.

cabling < . . . a fire burnt through cabling [in a hovercraft].> 1986 Aug. 25Times 1/7.

commission <. . . how do we know we are being sold the right product andthey are not simply telling us to take it to get commission?> 2005 Jan. 15Daily Telegraph 10/6.

honour <Maurice . . . is sent down on a thin pretext for the sake of collegehonour.> 1987 Nov. Illustrated London News 89/1.

play The cricket game: CIC has 1.4 iptmw of start of play in British texts and0.1 in American. <If we left at once, we could be back for the start of play.>1985 Bingham 78.

2.4.5 With predicate nouns

Some nouns without determiners are used as subject complements, equivalentto adjectives. This construction is unexceptional in British English, but rare inAmerican.

champion Great <‘I’ve got some [chips] in, would you like them for your teawith a couple of sausages?’ . . . [ ¶ ] ‘Yes, that’d be champion.’> 1995 Jones73.

necessity Necessary <. . . it was agreed that it would be necessity for theFoundation to continue to receive a certain amount.> 2004 Jan. minutes froma financial meeting, London.

wizard Expert <She appears to be wizard at the job.> 1986 Sept. 15 Times12/1.

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64 Parts of Speech

2.5 Predeterminers and postdeterminers

2.5.1 Predeterminers

A noun phrase or pronoun followed by of and a determiner, if there is one, maysignify a quantity or quality of the following noun. One of those, namely variousof, as in Candidates came from various of the schools, is listed without comment inMW, but has a usage note in NODE commenting that “it is sometimes regardedas incorrect” in British use.

all (of) Common-core English strongly prefers all the to all of the, but that pref-erence is somewhat stronger in British than in American. Of the two options,all the predominates in CIC British texts by 96 percent and in American by 89percent. The pattern with other determiners, such as these and those, is similar.<He was standing in front of an estate agent’s window, studying all the cardswith house details.> 2000 Granger 295. Cf. () below.

a bit of + count noun Something/somewhat of: CIC British texts have thisconstruction 5 times more often than American texts do. < . . . on weekendevenings when they aren’t having a bit of a “do” themselves, they are probablyround at their friends’ houses for dinner.> 2003 June 21 Times Weekend1/2.

a bit of + mass noun Some; a little: CIC British texts have this constructionnearly 4 times more often than American texts do. <I’d fancy a bit of that.>2002 Feb. 19 poster ad on an underground train. – a blind bit of <I’ll tell himwhat I think of him – not that it’ll do a blind bit of good.> 1991 Dickinson188.

both (of) Common-core English preference is strongly for both the over both ofthe, also when the determiner is a possessive pronoun (my, our, your, his, her, its,their). But with the demonstratives those and these and the relative whose, thefrequency of these forms in CIC is more complex. Both national varieties havea preference for both of those over both those, British only slightly (by 51 percent)and American somewhat more (68 percent). Similarly, both prefer both of whoseover both whose (although the first option is quite rare, in the 0.2 to 0.6 iptmwrange); CIC British texts have no tokens of both whose, and American textsprefer both of whose by 2.5 to 1. For both (of) these, however, the two nationalvarieties differ. CIC British texts prefer both these by 58 percent; Americantexts prefer both of these by 64 percent. In the American Michigan Corpus,both of these is 3 times more frequent than both these. <Today, melde . . . isknown as “Fat-hen” in Britain and as “Lambs-quarter” in America. . . . Boththese names refer to its farm food value.> (an American typist substitutedboth of in copying) 1965 Aug. 29 Observer 22/3. Cf. () above.

bunch of This quantifier is nearly twice as frequent in American as in BritishCIC texts. When applied to a group of people, it is usually disparaging in theBNC, according to Pam Peters (2004, 83). The following citations illustratethe disparaging use: <. . . a bunch of Sloanes [upper middle-class, snobbish

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young people who frequent fashionable Sloane Square] and show-offs in lavishrestaurants.> 1991 Feb. 13 Daily Mail 7/3–4. < . . . she makes the rest ofthem [other models] look like a bunch of trannies [= transvestites].> 2003July 13 Times Style 58/2.

but Only: The predeterminer use of but in phrases like the following is twice asfrequent in CIC British texts as in American. <I am but a crooked, amoral,ill-educated, clapped out old drunk.> 1989 Daniel 66.

close on Close to; nearly before expressions of duration: CIC British texts haveabout 4.4 iptmw, but American texts only about 0.1. <We were left in the barto study the menus for close on an hour.> 1989 July 25 Evening Standard31/1.

a couple of Both British and American use couple of, British slightly (about 1.0times) more than American in CIC texts. American also uses couple alone,as in a couple samples and the first couple chapters (Gilman 1994, 303–4; Peters2004, 131). – a good couple of CIC has 11 times as many tokens of thisexpanded form in British texts as in American. <For a good couple of yearsthere’ve been any number of whispers about a possible “hostile” takeover ofChristie’s.> 1987 Feb. 2 Evening Standard 6/1.

ever such CIC British texts have 6.3 iptmw of ever such a; American texts have0.4. <Ever such a mess she made.> 1980 Sharpe 223.

half CIC British texts have nearly twice as many tokens of half a(n) as Americantexts do. American texts have somewhat more tokens of a half than British texts.With pint, British uses both half a pint and a half pint, but with other nouns:half a dozen, half an hour, etc., British prefers half as a predeterminer, whereasAmerican uses it more freely as a postdeterminer: a half dozen, a half hour, etc.(Peters 2004, 239). <But the sport did not take on, and only half a centurylater was it introduced in its present form.> 1987 Sept. Illustrated LondonNews 40/1.

lashings of CIC British texts have 4.8 iptmw of lashings of; American texts have0.2. <Her . . . lips glistened under lashings of lip-gloss.> 1994 Oct. 5 EveningStandard 3/2.

a load of CIC British texts have 86.4 iptmw of a load of; American texts have12.4. <Well, that was a load of rubbish.> 1983 Radley 140.

near Nearly <John Braine began to talk, the voice near a parody of the gravelly“trouble oop at t’ mill” Yorkshireman of Room at the Top.> 1986 Oct. 30 Times18/3–4.

no less CIC has 1.67 times as many tokens of no less a in British as in Americantexts. < . . . no less a personage than the 51-year-old Duke of Kent fell foulof the clampers.> 1987 Mar. 26 Evening Standard 6/2.

quite The form quite is more British than American; CIC has nearly 3 timesas many tokens in British as in American texts. As a predeterminer beforenouns in the combinations quite a and quite the, it is about 1.7 times morefrequent in British than in American CIC texts. When its predeterminer senseis evaluative, quite is common-core English: quite a bore, quite a genius, quite the

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66 Parts of Speech

hero. In these uses, it is semantically equivalent to the adjective real: a real bore.Other senses, however, such as “completely” or “a lot of” or “just” or “only,”seem to be British. <. . . half a dozen people have probably brought men-servants – some quite strangers to the Scamnum staff.> 1937 Innes, Hamlet111. <It might be quite fun.> 1959 Innes 5. <I’ve known him, of course,since he was quite a lad.> 1988 Mortimer 202. And even in common-coreuses, colloquial American would be more likely to use a different construction.Thus for British That’s quite a bike, American might have That’s some bike(Swan 1995, 547). When quite is in predeterminer position before an adjective-noun construction, it is equivalent to the qualifier use of quite (§ 7.1): quite atall building = a quite tall building.

rather CIC has more than 3 times as many tokens of rather a in British as inAmerican texts. <It is all rather a mess.> 1995 Aug. 29 Evening Standard8/1.

right the way Right; all the way: CIC has 12.7 iptmw of right the way in Britishtexts and none in American texts. <I tailed them right the way down to thestream.> 1991 Grant-Adamson 78–9.

a spot of Some / a little: CIC has 8.4 times as many tokens of a spot of in Britishtexts as in American. <And then a chap . . . called out to ask me if I’d like aspot of fishing before dinner.> 2000 Caudwell 143.

such + another CIC has twice as many tokens of such another in British textsas in American, and a few more tokens of another such in American than inBritish. <Twenty-one years before . . . he had commanded just such anothertrawler.> 1940 Shute 72.

2.5.2 Postdeterminers

(a) further An additional: CIC has nearly 6 times as many tokens of a further inBritish texts as in American. If a noun follows, a further can also be paraphrasedas another; if a number follows, the paraphrase can also be [number] more, asin the entry for () below; if a following noun is one ofmeasurement, such as hour, either paraphrase is possible, with retention of thearticle in the second case (an hour more). <On October 4 a further 50 peoplewere injured.> 1987 Nov. Illustrated London News 14/2–3. <A further patrolcar had arrived.> 1993 Graham 141.

the (rarely an) odd CIC has nearly 6 times as many tokens of the odd in Britishtexts as in American. 1. An occasional; a . . . occasionally: <I don’t mind theodd ticket but I haven’t got time to hang around getting the car unclamped.>1993 Smith 167 2. Some; a . . . or so (an approximate number or amount)< We’ve simply got to get the odd bob together.> 1993 Greenwood 172. Cf.§ 2.1.2 .

(an)other number Number more: CIC has 1.6 times as many tokens of expres-sions like another six in British texts as in American. Conversely, it has 1.6 timesas many tokens of expressions like six more in American texts as in British.

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<. . . another five companies . . . make material for the suits.> 1990 Aug. 23Times 4/1.

plural number more When the number before more is plural (hundreds, thou-sands, millions), the American preference for the number more construction iseven stronger (2.7 times as frequent as in CIC British texts). However, Ameri-can also has an alternative construction in such cases: costing hundreds of moreworkers their jobs; the lives of thousands of more Americans; millions of morecustomers come onto our networks. This alternative is rare in American, but isnot attested in CIC British texts, which have only the construction withoutof. <We’re taking on hundreds more staff to keep stations spick and span.We’re putting in hundreds more litter bins.> 1990 Aug. 14 London posteron tube trains.

one or other CIC has 49 times as many tokens of one or other in British textsas in American. American prefers one or another and one or the other, bothof which are more frequent in American than in British. <. . . children . . .who are unloved, beaten and abused by one or other parent.> 1990 Aug. 19Sunday Times Books. 2/2. Cf. § 4.6.

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3 Nouns

3.1 Derivation

The derivation of words of one part of speech from those of another is universal.In Modern English, it has been common to make such derivation without anovert signal in the stem of the word, but rather merely by shifting it to a newpart of speech. This is a common feature of English, but the particular items soshifted may be characteristic of one or the other variety of the language.

3.1.1 From verbs

Some British nouns are derived from verbs. By simple functional shift

The derivation may be a simple shift of the function of a verb form to noun useby analogy with many others of that type in English, for example, to strike is to astrike as to go slow is to a go-slow.

barrack Jeering: MW does not enter the noun but labels the verb chiefly British.<1949 P. Newton High Country Days 46 The other four, full of noisy barrack,were playing pitch and toss with a set of old horse shoes.> OED s.v. barrackn.

bathe Swim: MW labels it British. <Tomorrow a bathe in the cold north sea.>1991 Greenwood 11.

brush Brushing (of the hair): CIC has 2.4 iptmw of the noun in collocationwith hair in British texts and 0.8 iptmw in American texts. “Your hair wantsa good brush” (Swan 1995, 615).

capsize CIC has 1.1 iptmw of a/the capsize in British texts and none in Amer-ican. <Increasing the metacentric height of the intact ro-ro would do little tomake her safer against capsize.> 1987 June 15 Times 11/3.


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70 Parts of Speech

carry-on Carrying-on: MW labels it British. CIC has a few British tokens. <Ifshe told him about the carry-on at Monk’s Mead he would become masculineand protective and make a huge chivalrous fuss.> 1986 Sherwood 76.

cheat CIC has 3.5 times as many tokens of a cheat in British texts as in American,and equal proportions of the two senses “act of deception” and “deceiver.”<It was a bit of a cheat having Gerry to play for House as he wasn’t really.>1994 Dickinson 29.

chuck Rejection: NODE labels the sense “Brit. dated.” <I suppose this is achuck.> 2003 James 126.

clean Cleaning: NODE labels it chiefly British. <If the ultimate spring cleanis going on around you it’s not something you can fail to notice. 2003 Nov. 8Times 7/8.

clearout Auction sell-off <The clearout will finance a continuing programmeof restoration.> 1994 Oct. 5 Times 18/3.

cover Coverage: MW labels it British. <. . . an estimated one in three of Amer-ican executives has insurance cover against abduction.> 1988 Sept. 15 Times6/1.

cuddle CIC has 7.4 iptmw of a cuddle in British texts and 0.3 in American. <Akiss and a cuddle.> 1994 Sept. 28–Oct. 5 Time Out 178/1.

delve Act of delving; exploration: CIC has 0.1 iptmw in British texts and nonein American. <Ask him what makes him tick – I was going for a psychologicaldelve here.> 1989 Sept. 8 Evening Standard 44/3.

distort The use is rare. <. . . on shortwave radio . . . voices . . . have a slightdistort.> 1988 Stoppard 1.

do NODE labels this sense chiefly British. <I expect the wedding’ll be a poshdo. Marquees and all that?> 1987 Graham 88.

draw Drawing; a chance selection of names to select a prize winner <Enter ourFree Prize Draw and you could win up to £50,000.> 1999 Mar. 10 sign inBarclays Bank, Swiss Cottage branch, London.

drink Drinking; excessive consumption of alcohol: This use of drink is foundalso in American English; nevertheless the British use seems more frequent andwider in its contexts. <Drink had made George sentimental.> 1969 Rendell12–3.

dust Dusting <This could do with a good dust.> 1989 Sept. 5 BBC1EastEnders.

feed Feeding; the action of feeding a baby at regular intervals; also metaphorical<She taught herself all about . . . formula feeds.> 2001 Drabble 172.

fire, hire and Hiring and firing <Heads are now having to take serious noticeof their governors, who do have the power of hire and fire.> 1990 Aug. 20Times 25/1–2.

fly past Flyby, flyover: MW labels it chiefly British. <There will then be a flypast by a Hurricane and a Spitfire fighter.> 1985 May 24 Times 2/7.

go In some contexts it is difficult to distinguish the following first two senses ofgo. 1. A turn; an opportunity to do or use something <I had a go on Nigel’sracing bike.> 1985 Townsend 61. 2. An attempt; a try <Christine had said to

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Nouns 71

try and get that green stain off the marble and he had had a go with soap andwater but unsuccessfully.> 1989 Rendell 14. 3. An attack, often verbal: NODElabels this sense chiefly British. <This year, they had a go at Jewish protestersand Western journalists trying to cover their demonstration.> 1987 Dec. 20Manchester Guardian 10/4. – in one go All at once: CIC has 18.6 iptmwin British texts and 0.7 in American. <. . . he’d swallowed a bottle of hotButterbeer in one go.> 1999 Rowling 316 (US ed. in one gulp). – on the goCIC has 11.9 iptmw of various senses in British texts and 7.3 in American.<Celia climbed the stairs; she was fully awake now and Arabella would almostcertainly have a pot of tea on the go.> 1988 Taylor 36.

go-slow Slowdown: MW labels it British. <I think they’ve got a sort of strikeor go-slow.> 1992 Granger 32.

graze CIC has 0.6 iptmw of a graze in British texts and 0.2 in American. <Ihave a graze on my leg which I will cover with plasters.> 1995 Aug. 30 DailyTelegraph 21/5.

hire Rental: MW labels it British. Cf. § <AGS Vehicle Hire> 1999March 20 sign on the side of a truck.

hold-ups Hose with an elastic top <. . . delicate black lace tights and hold-ups.> 1994 Sept. 25 Sunday Times Magazine 64/3.

kidnap Kidnapping <Fear of kidnap is . . . strong among the internationalbusiness community.> 1988 Sept. 15 Times 6/1.

laugh “informal a cause for derision or merriment” (LDEL).< . . . she’s probablythe sort of person it’d be a laugh to have a few drinks with of an evening.>1995 Sept. 6–13 Time Out 20/2.

lie-down Rest; nap: NODE labels it “chiefly Brit.” <I thought you’d gone fora lie-down.> 1998 Taylor 87.

lie-in Time spent in bed past the usual hour of rising: NODE labels it “chieflyBrit.” <Having a lie in, dear? So sorry to disturb you on a Sunday morning.>1992 Green 114.

listen CIC has 7.0 iptmw of listen as a noun in British texts and 4.5 in American.<. . . take the LP . . . home for a listen.> 1987 May 29 Evening Standard28/2.

look-in Consideration, chance: CIC has 3.4 iptmw in British texts and none inAmerican. <An opponent wouldn’t have got a look in.> 1989 Williams 190.

look (a)round <Go there and have a look round.> 1986 Sherwood 3.meet Meeting, assignation <The meet at the pool came unstuck this morning.

We have to consider you blown as our joe. The Russians must consider youblown as their sleeper.> 1988 Stoppard 10.

moan Complaint: CIC has 0.5 iptmw of have a moan in British texts and nonein American. <Blast the Navy. . . . They’ve always got a moan.> 1940 Shute23.

nose round <. . . there’s no reason why we shouldn’t . . . have a thorough noseround.> 1985 Bingham 83.

overspend <. . . he expected a £1.5 million overspend by the end of thefinancial year.> 1994 Sept. 20 Times 6/2.

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72 Parts of Speech

picket Picketing <In Liverpool, another mass picket is planned for thismorning.> 1988 Sept. 15 Times 2/3.

prune Pruning <Needs a good prune, doesn’t it [a tree]?> 1986 Oct. 12 SundayTimes Magazine 46/4.

read CIC has about 1.5 times as many tokens of a read in British texts as inAmerican. 1. Something that is read <What’s a good read this year?> 1989July 22 Times 40/1. 2. “chiefly British : a period of reading <it was a night. . . for a read and a long sleep . . . .>” (MW). <. . . a relaxed holiday readspread over several days.> 1995 Mar. 22 Financial Times p n/a.

read-through <. . . a thorough read-through of the paper.> 1969 Amis23.

rebuild Rebuilding <. . . this process of decay, collapse, and rebuild createdlarge mounds that we call ‘tells’.> 1996 Knight and Lomas 82–3.

refit CIC has 1.4 iptmw of a refit in British texts and none in American. <In arefit costing £110 million the 18-year-old ship gets new engines.> 1987 Apr.9 Times 9/4–6.

re-mark Remarking; reevaluation <. . . the board . . . has stuck by its judgmentthrough three re-marks.> 1996 Aug. 6 Times 2/5.

rethink Instance of rethinking; a reconsideration: CIC has 6.6 iptmw of are(-)think in British texts and 0.2 in American. <Provident has had a re-think and offered to continue insuring her.> 2003 July 9 Times 29/5.

revolve <Exclusive [a play] had rather a wobbly start because we have an amazingset . . . that revolves on two levels in two directions. . . . By Manchester, they’dmastered the revolve.> 1989 Sept. 9 Times 33/1.

rise (in salary) Raise: MW labels it chiefly British. <Unofficial action by somemembers demanding a £64-a-week rise led to further disruption on theTube.> 1989 Autumn Illustrated London News 11/2.

roll-up NODE labels the sense “hand-rolled cigarette” “Brit. informal.”<[Emma] Thompson lights a roll-up. . . . She draws on the ciggie.> 1995Sept. 6–13 Time Out 21/2.

sail past <. . . there will be a sail past by Dutch and British yachts before HerMajesty.> 1988 June In Britain, 20/1.

sell Disappointment because of being oversold <Hawaii’s a bit of a sell as faras tit goes.> 1991 Lodge 244.

shoot Shooting party <This is the first formal shoot of the season.> 1989Quinton 237.

shop Shopping <Tomorrow I shall have to do a big shop.> 1992 Charles 105.sift <. . . he had a good sift through his brown leather executive case.> 1987

May 19 Times 22/7.sit CIC has 1.4 iptmw of a sit in British texts and none in American. <A sit on

the beach.> 1953 Mortimer 49.sit down Rest <Cecily reckoned she was due for a sit-down.> 1998 Joss 148.sleep A period of sleeping: CIC has 6.3 iptmw of a sleep in British texts and 4.5

in American <I told him to have a sleep.> 1991 Green 301.

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spend Amount of money spent; expenditure; income <The average spend perbottle was a miserly £3.89.> 2003 June 21 Times Weekend 1/1.

surround “Chiefly Brit a border” (CED). CIC has 25 times as many tokens inBritish texts as in American. <I planted it in a terracotta pot and it made awonderful surround for a Deutzia rosea.> 1994 Oct. 1 Times Weekend 11/2.

take-away Takeout: MW labels the sense chiefly British. <Why don’t I pickup something at the take-away for both of us?> 1990 Rowlands 142.

take-up CIC has 6.9 iptmw in British texts and 0.2 in American. <. . . take-upof services had dropped noticeably.> 1994 Sept. 27 Guardian 2/5.

undershoot <The figures and the likely undershoot this year suggest thatbuoyant tax revenues will continue through into the next financial year.> 1987Jan. 20 Guardian 1/4.

walkabout NODE labels it chiefly British. CIC has 6.9 iptmw in British textsand 0.7 in American. <But she [Camilla] is not obliged . . . to shake the handsof hundreds of people on walkabouts.> 2004 Dec. 15 Daily Telegraph 18/6.

wander (round) Act of wandering (around) <. . . a leisurely wander amongthe tombstones.> 2001 Lodge 232.

wash An instance of washing oneself <He went upstairs for a wash.> 1994Freeling 83.

weed Weeding <The approach to the front step and garage could do with aweed.> 1996 Graham 48.

whip round Collection of money for a charitable purpose: MW labels it chieflyBritish. < . . . the passengers all chipped in when a “whip round” wasorganized by the crew.> 1987 Apr. 23 Times 2/6.

work-to-rule A labor protest that slows down work by adhering punctiliouslyto work rules: NODE labels it chiefly British. CIC has 0.8 iptmw of the nounand 0.4 of the verb in British texts, and 0.4 of the phrase as a modifier inAmerican texts. < . . . an additional cause of serious delay . . . a work-to-ruleby air traffic controllers.> 1991 Lodge 4. By affixation

Other nouns are formed by adding affixes to a verb to form a related noun. Onefrequent affix in this use is the suffix -ing. It is sometimes difficult to be surewhether the stem to which that suffix is added is a verb or a noun (§ 3.1.2).

barracking Jeering <Once in the House, women have to survive the publicschool humour and barracking and the unsocial hours.> 1993 Feb. 1 Times12/1.

fitting Fit (of shoes): CIC has 26.9 iptmw of all noun senses of fitting in Britishtexts and 8.8 in American. <Size eight . . . and a narrow fitting. I neverrealised what dainty feet he had.> 1992 Walters 115.

parting Part in the hair <. . . the pin-thin scrupulous parting – not a singlehair straying to the wrong side.> 1993 Graham 151.

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74 Parts of Speech

turning Turn (off or onto a road) <Uncle Vernon would take a sharp turningand drive in the opposite direction for a while.> 1997 Rowling 35 (US ed.turn).

Another type of deverbal noun is that derived from a verb-particle combina-tion, with the agent suffix -er (as well as the plural ending -s) infixed.

handers-out <We’ll need some more handers-out . . . . Len and I can’t do itall.> 1985 Gilbert 104.

pullers-back <A tenant [at Smithfield meat market] cannot stock his stallwithout paying “pullers-back”. . . . Pullers-back take the meat off thelorries.> 1988 June Illustrated London News 70/1.

3.1.2 From other nouns

The suffix -ing (§ can also be added to a noun, and the resultingconstruction is typically a collective mass noun (although both guttering andgutterings are attested).

cabling Cables: CIC has 20.1 iptmw in British texts and 1.6 in American.< . . . pollutants such as asbestos and polychlorinated biphenyls in theelectrical cabling.> 2003 Nov. 13 Times 3/2.

chippings Chips: CIC has 5.1 iptmw in British texts and none in American.< . . . chippings of stone flew.> 1993 Graham 71.

curtaining Curtains: CIC has 0.6 iptmw in British texts and none in American.<Di’s also done the upholstery and curtaining.> 1992 Walters 80.

fencing Fence: CIC has 32.9 iptmw in British texts and 24.2 in American.<The expense . . . to sell it [wood] to furniture dealers, or fencing designers. . . would always be considerable.> 1992 Dexter 109.

guttering(s) Gutters: CIC has 6.6 iptmw in British texts and 0.5 in American.<He secured the top of the ladder to the gutterings.> 1999 Dexter 237.

piping Pipes <There were also numerous lengths of . . . piping lieing around.>1992 Walters 79.

schooling School <Kristina – still only eighteen – was in her last year ofschooling.> 1992 Dexter 168.

shelving Shelves <. . . she noticed . . . the white shelving of a kitchen unit.>1992 Dexter 85.

tiling Tiles: CIC has 8.9 iptmw in British texts and 1.2 in American. <A circularbath . . . sat like a giant shell, surrounded by walls of expensive tiling.> 1992Green 127.

towelling Towels: CIC has 7.1 iptmw in British texts and none of toweling inAmerican. <She taught herself all about . . . birth weights, . . . and terrytowelling.> 2001 Drabble 172.

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troughing Troughs, gutters: CIC has 0.2 iptmw in British texts and none inAmerican. < . . . he used to anchor the top of his ladder to the troughing.>1999 Dexter 355.

For two of the preceding forms, context is crucial. Schooling and shelving asgeneral collective nouns are common also in American, as in She was a self-madewoman, without benefit of formal schooling and The library is running out of shelvingfor its collection. However, in the specific sense of the citations above, “her lastyear of schooling” and “the white shelving of a [particular] kitchen unit,” the-ing forms would be less expected than “her last year of school” and “the whiteshelves.”

Another productive suffix is -er(s), which began as public-school and Oxbridgeslang, added usually to the first syllable of a word. The best and only widelyknown of the forms in America is soccer (from association football), though mostAmericans would be unaware of its origin.

brekker(s) <. . . a kindly gent could rise from his bed, . . . step into the showerand enjoy a good hosing-down before brekkers.> 1991 Feb. 7 Midweek 5/1.

champers Champagne: CIC has 1.7 iptmw in British texts and none in Amer-ican. <They’d drunk a bottle of far-from-vintage champers.> 1994 Dexter188.

Duggers <This is my colleague Douglas C. Douglass, known to one and all asDuggers.> 2001 Lodge 55.

ethnickers Ethnic garments <What do they wear? Wampum beads andethnickers?> 1993 Graham 295.

fresher Freshman: CIC has 1.6 iptmw of freshers in British texts and 0.3in American (news reports of the schooling of Prince William). <OxfordUniversity JCR [“Junior Common Room”] distributed Freshers’ Handbooksthis summer.> 2003 Nov. 11 Times 6/4.

gratters Congrats < . . . congratulations became gratters.> 1989 Honey 49.rugger Rugby: CIC has 4.4 iptmw in British texts and none in American. <He

looked more like a professional rugger player than a lawyer.> 1997 James145.

shockers <In American English shock absorbers are known colloquially as‘shocks’, whereas in Britain they are often called ‘shockers’.> 1982 Trudgill29.

starkers Stark naked: CIC has 1.1 iptmw in British texts and none in American.<Do they dance starkers under the moon?> 1993 Graham 294.

Another suffix:

nuddy, in the In the nude: <I had to do battle with the old dragon in thenuddy.> 1992 Walters 207.

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76 Parts of Speech

3.1.3 From adjectives and adverbs

Chinese Restaurant with Chinese food to go: NODE labels it British. <Joycehad said would he mind terribly . . . getting something from the Indian orChinese for his supper.> 1989 Graham 305.

illegal An illegal or undercover agent: Recorded in the OED s.v. illegal B.2.< . . . a network of “illegals”, spymasters working under cover away fromCuban embassies.> 1988 Sept. 18 Sunday Telegraph 5/3.

Indian Restaurant with Indian food to go: NODE labels it British. See C .medical Medical examination <I had to have two very thorough medicals:

heart, lungs, blood pressure, Aids, everything.>1990 Aug. 17 Evening Standard24/1–2.

speciality Specialty: CIC has 57.8 iptmw of speciality in British texts and 2.6 inAmerican. It has 11.2 iptmw of specialty in British texts and 111.5 in American.<IBM . . . was rated the leader . . . in every area of their speciality.> 1993Jan. 16 Economist 24/3.

An instance of conversion from an adjective, with the addition of the suffix -s(as in apologetics or athletics) is electrics “the system of electrical connections in ahouse or vehicle”:

electrics Electrical system: CIC has 11.3 iptmw in British texts and 1.5 inAmerican. <. . . the coroner did say a lot of fatherly things about gettingproperly qualified workmen to mess around with gas and electrics.> 1994Dickinson 231.

Nouns from adverbs are fewer.

abroad “Br informal places outside one’s country” (LDEL). <On balance,abroad has probably done the Englishman more good than harm, and thefact that some six hundred million now speak his lingo bears eloquent testi-mony to the peripatetic restlessness of his forebears; even as it makes him oneof the world’s worst linguists.> 1984 Smith 12.

3.2 Form

3.2.1 Plural for singular count noun

In some cases, British English uses the plural form of a count noun for whichAmerican customarily uses the singular.

ban(n)isters The OED says the word is usually in the plural; MW has nostatement about plural use. BBI-97 enters for banister “to slide down a – (BEalso has to slide down the bannisters).” In CIC, the single n spelling is favored inboth varieties, slightly more in American. Singular and plural forms are aboutequal in British texts; American texts favor the singular by almost 4 to 1.

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baths plural in form, plural or singular in construction A place with bathingfacilities or a swimming pool: MW labels the sense and plural form British.<. . . a lousy description, admittedly, of a public baths.> 1991 Feb. 26 Times14/1.

classes CIC British texts slightly favor classes, and American texts class. TheBritish chattering classes, meaning “liberal intellectuals,” was widely misunder-stood in America as referring to media people. <Her [Margaret Thatcher’s]humor comes out mean and cutting, like her taunting of liberal critics as“moaning minnies” or “the chattering classes.” 1990 Hazleton 108. <Thechattering classes, as sociable Hampstead folk are sometimes known, areas fond of writing letters as they are of holding forth about the evils ofThatcherism at dinner parties.> 1990 Aug. 15 Daily Telegraph 15/3. <Just assome Asian homes keep a bottle of Heinz tomato ketchup on the table as a West-ern status symbol, today no card-carrying member of the chattering classeswould be without their prominently displayed bottle of extra-virgin [oliveoil].> 1999 Mar. 20 Times Weekend 6/1. Other classes identified by Britishjournalism are the banner-bearing classes, landowning classes, lower classes, lower-middle classes, middle classes, monied classes, scoundrel classes, scribbling classes,taxi-driving classes, The Times letter-writing classes, upper classes, and workingclasses.

favours, do someone In CIC, both British and American favor the singular, butBritish does so by only 2.4 times, whereas American does so by 4.3 times. <Weare doing them no favours.> 2003 Nov. 12 Times T2 3/3.

flies Fly; trouser opening at the crotch: NODE says “Brit. often flies.”<. . . blackwoollen breeches tied with a drawstring at the top . . . there’s none of thatnonsense about wrestling with your flies – a quick tug of the drawstring is allthat’s needed.> 2003 Nov. 11 Times T2 13/2–3.

(football) pool(s) In CIC British texts, the plural is about 40 times more fre-quent than the singular, both usually in collocation with win. American textshave neither. <Perhaps he’s won the pools.> 1992 Walters 2.

holidays Vacation: NODE labels the sense “extended period of recreation”chiefly British and adds that the form is often plural. Note the singular agree-ment of that in the citation. <There was a short cricket tour that holidays.>1994 Dickinson 17.

impressions Both British and American CIC texts favor singular first impressionover plural first impressions, but British by only 1.5 times and American by 2.6times. <She appeared, on first impressions, a decided cut or two above herhorticultural spouse.> 1992 Dexter 120.

innings CIC British texts have 118.3 iptmw of plural-form innings and 1.1 ofsingular-form inning (mainly in reference to American baseball); Americantexts have 90.7 of the plural form and 109.7 of the singular. 1. Plural in form,but singular in concord, a cricket term for the time at bat of a player orteam: In American use, an inning is a part of a baseball game during whichthe teams have their turns at bat. < . . . coming off the cricket field after a

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78 Parts of Speech

successful innings.> 1994 Dickinson 138. 2. Also metaphorical, the periodduring which anything lasts <Surely the word “bloody” has had a long enoughtheatrical innings (how old is Pygmalion?) not to cause a laugh when usedquite naturally in an extremely well-written emotional scene.> 1935 Nov. 28Oxford Magazine 222/2. – a good innings A long, satisfying life or career<[Name] has died. . . . At 93 he has had a good innings.> 2004 May 31private letter from East Sussex.

kennels NODE observes that the term is usually plural; MW makes no suchobservation. CIC has approximately equal numbers of singular and plural inBritish texts, but 2.75 times as many singular as plural forms in Americantexts. In nominal use, kennels usually takes a determiner (sometimes singular),unless it is the object of prepositions like in and into. <It is a kennels, aboardinghouse for dogs.> 1989 Drabble 197. < . . . on the Sunday morningthey put the dog in kennels.> 1991 Neel 210.

maths Math: CIC British texts have 112.3 iptmw of maths and 4.2 of math;American texts have 363.3 of math and only a scattering of the plural form.<I’d always thought anyone doing your type of job had to be good at maths.>1993 Mason 11.

moustaches The OED has two subsenses for moustache: “1. The hair whichgrows upon the upper lip of men. a. The hair on both sides of the upper liptaken to form a single moustache . . . . b. The hair covering either side of theupper lip; one half of a ‘pair of moustaches’.” American English, in additionto spelling and pronunciation differences for mustache, uses primarily onlythe first subsense. CIC British texts have 44.2 iptmw of moustache and 7.2of moustaches; American texts have 35.5 of mustache/moustache and 2.9 ofthe plural, most referring to mustaches on different persons. <“What lovelymoustaches, nurse,” said Lettice, unable to think of a more suitable comment[on being shown a picture of the nurse’s brother].> 1942 Thirkell 23.

nights, at At night: CIC British texts have 4.7 iptmw of at nights and Americantexts have 0.5; they have almost exactly the same iptmw (291.0) of the singular.<The Times’s lawyers sleep easy at nights.> 1994 Oct. 1 Times Weekend 5/3.

qualifications usually plural “a pass of an examination or an official completionof a course, especially one conferring status as a recognized practitioner of aprofession or activity” (NODE), a sense not used in American. <A studentwho wanted to study history at Oxford University would continue to takea specialised A-level course, while others might acquire a wider variety ofqualifications.> 1994 Sept. 22 Times 4/3.

roadworks Road repair: NODE labels the sense British. In CIC British texts,the plural is 22 times more frequent than the singular. <Road works on theA217.> 1987 Feb. 24 Evening Standard 5/6.

stables pl. in form, sing. in construction A stable: CIC British texts have 0.6iptmw of a stables. <He trained racehorses for a friend at a stables outsideJohannesburg.> 1994 Sept. 30 Daily Telegraph 27/3.

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Nouns 79

standards, by any In CIC British texts, the plural is 3 times more frequentthan the singular in this phrase; in American texts, the singular is 2.5 timesmore frequent than the plural. < . . . he was a lovely baby, by any standards.>1991 Dickinson 8.

thoughts, on second In CIC British texts, the plural is 8 times more frequentthan the singular in this phrase; in American texts, the singular is 3 timesmore frequent than the plural. <I might work it up into a sermon. On secondthoughts, perhaps not.> 2001 James 148.

(traffic) lights (Traffic) light: In CIC British texts the plural is 7.8 times morefrequent than the singular; in American texts the plural is also more fre-quent, but only by 1.4 times. The American plurals, however, generally referto multiple sets of traffic lights at different intersections, whereas the Britishplurals generally refer to the lights of one set. < . . . at the bottom of theroad there was a lorry waiting at the traffic lights.> 1998 Sayers and Walsh187.

3.2.2 Singular count noun for plural

Nouns listed here can be used with a determiner like a/an. Cf. § 3.2.4.

accommodation CIC British texts have 511.0 iptmw of accommodation and8.5 of accommodations; American texts have 48.8 of accommodation and 88.1of accommodations. <Sir John Chadwick . . . gave her two days to leave heraccommodation.> 1998 Jan. 6 Times 3/4.

Bakewell tart <The more humble queue . . . for cold cuts and Bakewell tart.>1992 Critchley 32.

barrack CIC British texts have nearly 9 times as many tokens of barracks as ofbarrack; American texts have nearly 17 times as many. MW notes “usually usedin plural in all senses.” <The dormitory was a long, dark, bare, barrack-likeroom.> 1985 Mortimer 31.

birch Birch trees <Here . . . little silver birch struggle up to reach the light.>2003 July 12 Times Weekend 1/4.

boot <Riding boot? Well, . . . anyone who rides seriously would need a boot.>1988 May In Britain 14/3.

brace Orthodontic appliance: MW indicates that in this sense the noun is plural;NODE has it singular. <. . . they wanted me to carry on with my brace. Youknow, they’re dentists.> 2000 Rowling 353 (US ed. braces).

chop In CIC British texts, the plural pork chops is 1.5 times more frequent thanthe singular; in American texts, it is 2.7 times. <Harry nodded and tried tokeep eating his chop.> 2003 Rowling 110 (US ed. chops).

eel worm <It was full of insects too: leather jackets and chafer grubs; pea thripsand eel worm.> 1993 Graham 34.

final MW says of the deciding event in a contest “usually used in plural”; NODEmakes no such comment. <If this week’s “grand final” . . . was anything to go

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80 Parts of Speech

by, the entire concept of piano competitions may as well be written off. . . . Inthe final, however, he had clearly sensed that a slick performance would godown a treat.> 1994 Sept. 30 Daily Telegraph 23/4.

firework American use avoids the singular, using instead the plural or singularterms for particular varieties of fireworks: firecracker, sparkler, pinwheel, etc.CIC British texts have 4.6 iptmw of the singular a firework; American texts have0.2. <It was November the fifth [Guy Fawkes Day]; the neighbours thoughtit was a firework.> 1987 Oliver 190.

fruit-machine <. . . bars blessedly free from juke-box and fruit-machine.>1996 Dexter 24.

gear, changing Shifting gears: CIC British texts have 15 times as many tokensof gear as of gears in this construction; American texts have no singu-lars. <Changing gear without a clutch.> 1999 Mar. 13 Times Magazine41.

ground Grounds; sports area < . . . plans to install extra seating at the Kenil-worth Road end of the ground would enable the club to accommodate awaysupporters.> 1990 Aug. 17 Daily Telegraph 30/1.

handicap <Fragile X syndrome . . . causes mental handicap and behaviourproblems.> 1991 Feb. 16 Daily Telegraph 9/3.

head or tail, make Make heads or tails: CIC British texts have only the sin-gular; American texts have only the plural. <I, an innumerate, cannot makehead or tail of them [figures].> 1992 Apr. 5 BNC.

heel, down at CIC British texts have only down at heel; American texts haveonly down at the heels. < . . . nothing on her feet but an old down-at-heel pairof court shoes.> 1996 Neel 7–8.

juke-box See - .minute MW labels the noun sense “record of the proceedings of a meeting” as

plural; NODE does not. <No minute of this gathering has ever been madepublic.> 2003 Nov. 7 Daily Express 40/2.

motorway <Ministers were cutting the ribbon to open small new stretches ofmotorway.> 1987 Bradbury 12.

pickle, Branston The singular is the only form attested in CIC British texts;the term does not occur in American texts. In a sample of CIC texts, the simpleterm pickle occurs in this mass-like use in 42 percent of the British tokens andin 8 percent of the American. <Major sent Gummer out to the kitchen insearch of Branston pickle.> 1992 Critchley 164.

reception Reception rooms: NODE labels the full term British and comments“(chiefly in commercial use) a room in a private house suitable for enter-taining visitors.” Neither the full term nor the clipping are used in American.<What did we want with five bedrooms and three reception?> 1992 Granger83.

saving of, a A savings of: CIC British texts have 5.3 iptmw of the singular andno plurals; American texts have 0.5 of the singular and 3.4 of the plural.

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snipe CIC British texts have some tokens of plural snipe; American texts havenone. <There are also Dartford and grasshopper warblers, snipe, curlews andotters.> 2005 Jan. 23 Sunday Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/.

track <. . . privately-owned carriages are pulled by BR locos [British Raillocomotives] on public track.> 1987 Mar. 25 Evening Standard 2/5.

uniform In the construction in uniform(s), CIC British texts have3 times as many tokens of uniform as of uniforms; American texts have approx-imately the same number of singular and plural forms. <Malfoy, Crabbe andGoyle resembled nothing so much as three gigantic slugs squeezed into Hog-warts uniform.> 2003 Rowling 761 (US ed. uniforms).

wood In the construction to the wood(s), CIC British texts have 2.5 times asmany tokens of wood as of woods; American texts are the reverse, with 2.5times as many woods as of wood. <And [tell them] not to let the badgerout. . . . He’s not well enough to go back to the wood yet, poor thing.>2000 Aird177.

A particular construction in which British often has a singular noun whereAmerican tends to have a plural is the pattern type(s) of (Johansson 1979,212). This construction involves general nouns like class, kind, sort, type, andvariety.

class of <. . . the elite who could be described as “a nice class of person.”>1986 Brett 12.

kind(s) of <In every crowded alley were the roughest kinds of pickpocket.>1998 Winchester 3.

sort(s) of Pam Peters (2004, 507–8) found that sort(s) of is usually, but notinvariably, followed by a plural noun and is more common in British than inAmerican, which prefers kind of. <. . . it ought . . . to give an impression notunlike a tabby cat, or certain sorts of lizard.> 1989 Sept. 14 Daily Telegraph20/6.

type(s) of <There are three types of child trust fund: those using cashdeposits, share-based funds, and stakeholder plans.> 2005 Jan. 15 Daily Tele-graph B 4/1.

varieties of The plural rather than the singular variety seems likely to be fol-lowed by a singular noun. <Norfolk has . . . varieties of terrier, herring,plover, and jacket.> 1994 Sept. 24 Spectator 24/3.

3.2.3 Plural for mass noun

Some words that are normally mass nouns are used in British English as countnouns and therefore have a plural. Cf. § for such nouns with the indefinitearticle. This construction has distinguished precedents, one of which is the KingJames version of Isaiah 64.6: “All our righteousnesses are as filthy ragges.” Inthe following entries, the figures following the entry forms are the percentages of

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82 Parts of Speech

plural forms in British/American in CIC. They show that for these forms, theplural is more frequent in British.

attendances (12/0) <We notice a peak in attendances that other museumsdon’t experience.> 1991 Feb. 17 Sunday Times Magazine 15/1.

brains (19/14) <Hamilton . . . described the Princess of Wales as “a very luckywoman with not many brains.”> 1987 Feb. 24 Evening Standard 6/1.

cauliflowers (21/0) < . . . cauliflowers [cost] 25p–50p each.> 1989 July 28Times 6/6–7.

envies (1/0) <I thought I detected a touch of the envies back there.> 1989Quinton 239.

excitements (3/1) <. . . after the initial excitements the Scrolls have leftthings pretty much where they were.> 1987 Oct. 25 Sunday Telegraph 18/8.

ice creams (11/1) Ice cream; ice cream cones <Carrie . . . asks Ralph to gowith the children to buy ice-creams.> 2001 Lodge 241. Cf. §

ices (1/0) <I’m going for ice creams. . . . you can’t have an afternoon at thebeach without ices.> 1998 Taylor 11.

insurances (1/0) <Extended insurances can cost up to £230 for five years’cover.> 1993 Feb. 7 Sunday Times 5 4/8.

lettuces (13/3) <Then she looked at the kitchen, . . . the trug [“basket”] oflettuces on the table.> 1993 Trollope 16.

newses (0/0) This unusual plural is a shortening of news programs or the like.<I crash out and watch the first 10 minutes of one of the newses.> 1993 Feb.7 Sunday Times Magazine 58/4.

nonsenses (1/0) <I simply wanted to draw attention to the nonsenses inLabour’s policies.> 1992 Critchley 124.

overheads (20/2) Overhead; overhead expenses <The coffee-pushers willargue that their overheads are higher.> 2005 Jan. 14 Daily Telegraph 24/4.

toasts Plural toasts “toasted slices of bread” is 3 times more frequent in CICBritish texts than in American. <Baked Blackcurrant Toasts [slices of breadbaked with a blackcurrant topping]> 1989 Aug. 2 Evening Standard 31.

wallpapers (7/2) <Spring sunlight lit up the house so beautifully that nobodyremembered it needed a coat of paint and new wallpapers.> 1934 Travers161.

weathers (1/0) In all weather <He sits out there all weathers now.> 1985Mortimer 317.

yoghurts (10/2) <. . . the firm makes ingredients for frozen desserts, yoghurts,and ice creams.> 1995 Sept. 4 Daily Telegraph 27/3.

3.2.4 Mass noun for plural

Some otherwise plural nouns are used as mass nouns. Cf. §§ 2.4.2; 3.2.2.

art and craft Arts and crafts is usually plural in both British and American,but CIC has 2.9 iptmw of singular art and craft, whereas American has 0.4.

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<. . . students who took art and craft.> 1989 Sept. 10 Sunday Telegraph7/1.

beetroot The American equivalent, beet, is a count noun.<There’s good pickledbeetroot.> 1989 June In Britain 16/2.

benefit Benefits; welfare (payments) <. . . a bed-ridden woman who receivesinvalidity benefit.> 1996 Aug. 14 Daily Telegraph 13/8.

blossom < . . . children and their mums . . . are paid £2 a kilogram for[elderflower] blossom collected in the lanes and fields.> 2003 July 12 TimesWeekend 7/3.

cloud <The weather is poor with cloud and bad visibility.> 1989 Sept. 9 Times1/5.

dog-biscuit <. . . laying in an immense stock of dog-biscuit, because he saidit didn’t go mouldy as fast as human food.> 1994 Dickinson 31.

drink <And why should he keep spiked drink ready? . . . What a fool to acceptdrink at all.> 1990 Hardwick 104.

egg <We’ll buy potatoes and eggs and have a bit of a fry up. Egg and chips.>1998 Trollope 55.

finance <. . . as long as I have been in academic life, colleges have been grum-bling about finance.> 1987 May 14 Evening Standard 7/4–5.

moth <Fraud appears everywhere once you’ve got it – like moth.> 1993 Neel183.

potato <. . . dishing great mounds of mashed potato on to everyone’s plates.>2003 Rowling 143 (US ed. potatoes).

spirit < . . . a unit is either half a pint of beer, one small glass of wine, or onemeasure of spirit.> 1999 Mar. 20 Times Weekend 6/6.

sport British uses the singular sport as a mass noun denoting sports in general;American uses the plural sports for that sense. <He is a bit of a loner and nogood at sport.> 1998 Jan. 3 Times Vision 5/4.

tax <It suddenly must find an extra £8,000 a year in tax.> 2003 June 28 TimesWeekend 1/3.

water cannon <Use of CS gas and water cannon was advocated yesterdayby a leading authority on the police as a better way of breaking up disorderlycrowds than traditional methods.> 1989 July 19 Times 7/1.

3.2.5 Plural formation

Several plural formations are notable. When a noun consists of more than oneword, the position of the plural marking suffix -s may be variable.

courts martial Its grammar as noun-plus-adjective is sometimes maskedby hyphenating it as court-martial and favoring the alternative plural,court-martials. Dictionaries record both plurals. <Uncle Johnny said you’ddone loads of courts martial.> 1987 Feb. 16 ITV Rumpole of theBailey.

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gins and tonics The common expression a gin and tonic suggests that the com-pound is taken as a lexical, not a grammatical unit, in which case gin and tonicsis the expected plural. CIC has 0.1 iptmw of gins and tonics in British texts andnone in American. <The landlord had once told her that if anyone ordered“gins and tonics” instead of the universal “gin and tonics” – he really was adon.> 1975 Dexter 65.

Lords Justices of Appeal In this case, both nouns are made plural. <SirJohn . . . as one of 31 Lords Justices of Appeal earns £134,551 a year.>1998 Jan. 6 Times 3/4.

Words that are loans from other languages may keep their foreign plurals,more characteristically so in British English than in American. In particular,nouns borrowed from Latin may have either native or Latin plurals: singularpersona, plurals personas or personae. Preference for native or Latin plural formsvaries considerably among nouns; however a national preference is also apparent(Peters 1999, a study based on 129 questionnaires). British respondents weremore inclined to use Latin plurals than Americans (or Australians). Notablewas a British preference for formulae over formulas (86 to 14 percent), whereasAmerican preference was the reverse (21 to 79 percent). The American preferencemay be influenced by the fact that formula is an American term for a milk or milksubstitute food for infants, for which only the native plural is normal. A reversepreference exists for the plurals of syllabus: British preferring syllabuses by 62 to38 percent, and Americans syllabi by 64 to 36 percent.

appendices In CIC texts, both national varieties prefer appendices overappendixes, British by 90 to 10 percent, American by 75 to 25 percent.

bureaux In CIC texts, British prefers bureaux over bureaus by 94 to 6 percent;American, bureaus by 98 to 2 percent. <Their disappointment is revealed bythe National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux.> 1989 Sept. 12 DailyTelegraph 10/8.

milieux In CIC texts, British prefers milieux over milieus by 84 to 16 percent;American, milieus by 67 to 33 percent.

stadia In CIC texts, both national varieties prefer stadiums over stadia, British by58 to 42 percent, American by 99 to 1 percent. < . . . with all-seater stadia, . . .the better off are being attracted to football as they have not been in the past.>1995 Sept. 9 Times Magazine 30/3.

Some nouns have unchanged plurals, depending on a variety of circ*mstances,which differ between British and American use.

birch < . . . little silver birch struggle up to reach the light.> 2003 July 12Times Weekend 1/4.

duck Words for animals considered as game sometimes have unchanged plurals(CGEL 5.87), a use that seems more widespread in British than in American.<. . . men grumble because they are no longer allowed to shoot things – unless,indeed, there are duck around.> 1983 Innes 54.

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flight The unchanged plural of flight seems exceptional, and may be by associ-ation with birds considered as game. <. . . three flight of duck came over – avast assemblage of seven hundred birds or more.> 1985 Ebdon 161–2.

foot (+ adjective) “The plurals feet and foot both occur between a number andan adjective. . . . In present-day American printed use, feet is more commonthan foot, and is prescribed in many handbooks. Foot seems to be more frequentin British English” (Gilman 1994, 455–6). A comparison of two corpora (Peters2004, 213–4) reports that in expressions like six foot/feet tall, although feet isthe major choice in both varieties, British has twice as many tokens of foot asdoes American. <Give them a month and Hagrid’ll have them twenty-foot-high.> 2000 Rowling 478 (US ed. twenty feet high).

pound In citing cost or income, an unchanged plural is possible for this unit ofBritish currency. <[a waitress in Bradford:] And [the salary was] just sevenpound a week.> 1990 Critchfield 217.

quid Pound <. . . you can sit down to a main course for three quid.> 2003 Dec.Square 41/1.

stone Fourteen pounds <. . . he was at least four stone lighter than Burns.>1992 Critchley 175.

Conversely, in some cases, British has the normal plural where an unchangedplural might be expected.

feet + high/tall + noun “In hyphenated adjectives used before a noun, footis the only possible form . . . a six-foot-tall man” (Kahn and Ilson 1985); “theplural foot . . . regularly occurs (and feet does not) between a number andnoun. . . . the 15-foot high statue” (Gilman 1994). Yet feet is attested in some,probably divergent British use. <I could have looked in at the pub . . . with its130-feet-tall chimney.> 1988 Apr. In Britain 14/1–2.

Some nouns ending in -f have a plural in -ves. This morphological variationgoes back to a phonetic variation in Old English but has been preserved in anumber of nouns and even extended to a few for which it is an innovation. For themost part British and American treat these nouns alike, for example loaf/loavesis the common-core norm. But a comparative study of British and Americancorpora (Peters 2004, 198) has shown differences of at least 10 percent for thefollowing nouns (percentages cited are for the -ves forms). For comparison, CICpercentages are given in parentheses. The differences between them and Peters’sfigures are sometimes striking, but may be explained by differences in the corpussamples and by the fact that the total occurrences are sometimes few, so a smalldifference in numbers can produce a large difference in percentage. Cf. also below.

dwarves British 17 percent vs. American 4 percent (CIC 37 vs. 15 percent).This noun did not participate in the Old English f/v alternation. The oldestexample of dwarves in the OED is from 1818; the popularity of the form maybe due to its adoption by J. R. R. Tolkien.

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hooves British 82 percent vs. American 66 percent (CIC 80 vs. 84 percent).scarves British 97 percent vs. American 76 percent (CIC 93 vs. 91 percent).

Like dwarves, this is an analogical form, scarf itself being a sixteenth-centuryword with the plural scarves dating only from the eighteenth century.

turves British 45 percent (CIC 29 percent) vs. American no occurrences of aplural. This plural is also not of Old English provenience but dates from thethirteenth century.

A few special cases warrant notice.

overall Overall(s) may have different meanings in British (“a protective smockworn over other clothing”) and American (“heavy-cloth trousers with a biband shoulder straps”) that affect the word’s grammar. British use is as a normalcount noun, and it has the usual plural denoting more than one item of thesame kind. American use of overalls is as a summation plural, like trousers. <Hewas a mournful-looking man . . . wearing a beige-coloured working overall.>1983 Dexter 149.

pee “Since the decimalization of British currency and the introduction of theabbreviation p, as in 10p, . . . the abbreviation has tended to replace pence inspeech, as in 4p [pi:]” (CED s.v. pence). <All right, clever clogs, you owe mesixty pee.> 1993 Mason 8.

pence Pennies is the plural for coins; pence is used for prices, sometimes as asingular, as in That’ll be three pounds and one pence, please (Swan 1995, 523).<The cost is still thirty pence.> 1985 Bingham 9.

pooves Poof (perhaps from French pouffe “puff”) is not used in American, but isa derogatory Briticism for “effeminate man; male hom*osexual” with the usualplural poofs. There is also, however, a variant singular poove, plural pooves,as well as a verb poove “to act like a poof.” The singular poove may be abackformation from the plural pooves, itself formed by analogy with pluralsfrom Old English that voice final fricatives (hoof, hooves), and the verb similarlyby analogy with denominal verbs like prove from proof. < . . . a lot of poovesdon’t form these establishments [i.e., living together as spouses]> 1988 Amis256.

3.3 Function

3.3.1 Noun adjuncts

Noun adjuncts (of which noun adjunct is an example) have been common inEnglish throughout its history. However, certain uses are characteristic of BritishEnglish. Although not limited to newspaper style, noun adjuncts are character-istic of journalese and are rife in British newspaper headlines. The British voguefor noun adjuncts as a concise method of expression in headlines has doubtlesspromoted their use in ordinary prose as well.

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Nouns 87 Singular noun adjuncts

It has been traditional in English for a noun adjunct to be singular, even if itsreferent is logically plural: a book list customarily has more than one book on it.That pattern is followed by many constructs that are characteristically British.

In some cases, it is difficult or impossible to say whether the initial item in acombination is a noun or a verb adjunct (§ 1.4.6). When a noun adjunct is usedwith various head nouns, even though only one may be illustrated in the followinglist, only the adjunct is used as the lemma here; when a particular combinationof noun adjunct and head noun is notable, both words are used as the lemma.

British and American may also differ with respect to which item in a combina-tion is the head and which is the adjunct, for example, British Leeds town centreand American downtown Atlanta, as in<Every Saturday we’d go into Leeds towncentre.> 1987 Nov. Illustrated London News 84/3. The pattern City-name citycentre occurs in CIC British texts at 8.6 iptmw; the pattern downtown City-nameoccurs in American texts at 181.7 iptmw.

alleyman A criminal who stalks alleys looking for women victims <The Alley-man was finally brought to book.> 1987 June 3 Sun 4/6.

barrack room In nominal use, barracks is usually plural. But as a noun adjunct,it is usually singular. The OED records barrack-field, -flat, -life, -master,-rat, -room (often used as a compound noun adjunct), -school, -shed, -square,-wing, and -yard. American noun-adjunct use, on the other hand, tends to theplural, as in barracks bag. <Even an old barrack room bruiser like NicholasWinterton . . . had some kind words for the Government.> 1993 Feb. 4 DailyTelegraph 2/6.

blaze <Blaze Boys Die> 1987 Feb. 1 Daily Mail 18/1. <Children Saved AsBlaze Mother Dies> 1987 Mar. 10 Evening Standard 13/3–6.

centre party Central party <. . . there may well be 6,179 normally loyal Toriesin the constituency ready to lodge a protest vote with the centre party.>1993 Feb. 27 Times 15/1–2.

check Checked <. . . immaculate as ever in check trousers.> 1996 Aug. 4Sunday Times 3 8/2. Among many other similar compounds are check cap,check cloth, check gingham, check jacket, check-patterned sports coat, check shirt,check suit, check tablecloth, and check waistcoat.

Christ fantasy A fantasy that one will die and be resurrected <Christ Fan-tasy Of Death Leap Man> 1988 Sept. 6 Daily Telegraph 4/2.

coma <A tragic coma boy showed the first signs of life yesterday.> 1986 Aug.23 Daily Mirror 5/4.

consultant <Anthony Fry – Consultant Psychiatrist> 1987 Oct. 25 SundayTelegraph 31/4.

cookery book Cook book <I started buying a few antiquarian cookerybooks.> 1989 Sept. 10 Sunday Telegraph 42/5.

danger man 1. A man committed to taking chances <Harrison Birtwistle maynot look like an obvious Danger Man.> 1987 Mar. 26 Evening Standard 31/4.

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88 Parts of Speech

2. A man who is dangerous <‘Danger Man’ Alert In Mass Killer Hunt> 1986Sept. 4 Daily Telegraph 1/7–8.

drink A frequent collocation is drink-driving, for which American would haveDUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated). <Thereport proposes a lowering of the drink-drive limit.> 1991 Feb. 20 Times1/4. Other combinations have other probable American equivalents: drinkbill/bottle/shop might be liquor bill/bottle/store; drink driver might be drunkdriver or driver over the limit; drink problem might be drinking problem.

drug <Police Not To Charge Drug Man’s Mother> 1986 Aug. 30 Times 4/7–8.entry <The flow of people into the building is checked by entry phone.> 1994

Oct. 3–9 Big Issue 24/3.exam <Worried Exam Girl Died From Anxiety> 1987 June 20 Times 2/3.fire girl <Fire Girl Fights For Life> 1986 Aug. 29 (Newcastle) Evening Chron-

icle 1/4.founder member Founding member <Mr. Carter was a founder member

of the community.> 1993 Graham 10–1.hire Rental: Hire purchase is American (buying on the) installment plan. <Hire

purchase and other forms of borrowing have shot up by more than four timessince 1982.> 1991 Mar. 2 Daily Express 40/3. Other compounds with thisadjunct in the American sense “rental” are hire boat, hire car, hire clubs (golf),hire culture, hire firm, hire papers, and hire shop.

holiday <. . . a holiday father marooned with his family five miles from thenearest telephone.> 1975 Price 24.

horror hospital Hospital whose closing caused “horror stories” <Row OverHorror Hospital> 1987 Feb. 19 Hampstead Advertiser 1/1.

kidnap <Tears Of Joy As Kidnap Girl Is Found Safe> 1990 Aug. 15 DailyTelegraph 1/7–8.

knife man Attempted rapist who laid down his knife <Knife Man’s MistakeSaved A Nurse> ca. 1980s Evening Standard, 11/2–5.

murder <Murder Girl Was Bank Job Grass> 1993 Smith 131. In the forego-ing, murder is the equivalent of “murdered”; in the following, of “murder-site”:murder house and murder monastery.

nurse training Nurse’s training; training as a nurse < . . . during my nursetraining the beds had been covered identically.> 1991 Green 226.

pedigree dog Pedigreed dog <Last week . . . he found a pedigree dog – andgot a reward.> 1987 Oliver 77.

pot plant Potted plant<Broderick Bode, 49, was . . . strangled by a pot plant.>2003 Rowling 482 (US ed. potted-plant).

£ twenty-thousand earnings Earnings of £20,000; a £20,000 income <Theyare the young men . . . who have set their sights on £20,000 earnings thisyear.> 1989 Aug. 27 Sunday Telegraph 2/6.

rabies <£2m Or We Free Rabies Dogs> 1989 Sept. 2 Sun p. n/a. <RabiesWoman Is Dead> 1986 Aug. 30 Times 1/2.

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rape husband Husband charged with the rape of his wife <Rape Husbands‘Must Not Be Identified’> 1991 Jan. 29 Daily Telegraph 5/1.

removal van Moving van <. . . the removal vans went in.> 1993 Graham365.

safari <Two wildlife rangers are to be charged with the murder of safari girlJulie Ward.> 1991 Feb. 13 Daily Mail 2/6. Also safari woman.

saleroom Salesroom < . . . there is a complete range of different types of shopto buy from – department stores, . . . auction salerooms.> 1988 Brookes andFraenkel 70.

shock In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the adjunct shock “shocking” had vogu-ish use on both sides of the Atlantic. British examples: <Liberal Democratsvoted last night to decriminalise the use of cannabis in a shock decision.>1994 Sept. 20 Times 1/1. Also shock choice, shock confession, and shock vote.

skirting board <Harry heard something scuttling behind the skirtingboard.> 2003 Rowling 59 (US ed. baseboard).

sport <The gym at Swiss Cottage sport centre will be out of action for at leasta month.> 1987 Feb. 19 Hampstead Advertiser 7/4.

suicide <Suicide Stepfather Murders Daughter> 2003 July 9 Times 5/8.Sunday working Working on Sundays <Sunday working . . . would become a

condition of employment.> 1989 Aug. 29 Times 15/2. Cf. - below.

thatch cottage Thatched cottage < . . . the house was a beauty, a totally rebuiltthatch cottage.> 1989 Burden 127.

trim, chrome- Chrome-trimmed <. . . here beneath the flyover of London’sWestway the gipsies park chrome-trim caravans on concrete.> 1987 Aug.Illustrated London News 48/1.

weekend working Working on weekends <They are the young men preparedto turn a blind eye to union rules on weekend working.> 1989 Aug. 27 SundayTelegraph 2/6. Cf. above.

youth continental Member of a youth team from the continent of Europe <Ofthe youth continentals at Ryhope this week, names worth noting include Ser-gio Esclusa and Angel Nebreda, of Barcelona.> 1990 Aug. 17 Daily Telegraph30/6. Multiple noun adjuncts

Multiple noun adjuncts, although often thought to be typical of American use,are not unknown in British. Such sequences of two or more noun adjuncts aresometimes difficult to interpret, specifically to analyze for their internal con-stituent structure. For example, is a management information system (see below) asystem of management information (i.e., information about management) or aninformation system for management (i.e., information about various matters formanagement to use)? Such multiple adjuncts are frequent.

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90 Parts of Speech

car blaze boy A boy burnt in a fire inside a car <Car Blaze Boy> 1987 Mar.19 Evening Standard 5/6.

death leap man Man who jumped to his death from a building <Christ Fan-tasy Of Death Leap Man> 1988 Sept. 6 Daily Telegraph 4/2.

death-cell man Man on death row <Mercy Plea By Death-Cell Men> 1987Feb. 1 Daily Mail 18/1.

drink trade paper <. . . it would be morally wrong to “grass” on customers,reports the drink trade paper Morning Advertiser.> 1988 Sept. 18 SundayTelegraph 4/8.

drug-plot husband Husband who drugged his second wife to end their mar-riage <Drug-plot husband . . . has found romance again – with his firstwife.> 1987 Feb. 23 Daily Mirror 5/2.

four hours traffic chaos <Tuesday’s Royal’s comings and goings caused fourhours traffic chaos in the West End and beyond.> 1987 Mar. 27 EveningStandard 47/1.

high-pay high-profit company; low-pay low-profit concern <. . . it wasnot the high-pay high-profit companies that contributed to our economicdecline – it was and is the low-pay low-profit concerns.> 1987 June 19Times 16/3–4.

home alone girl Girl left at home by herself while her mother vacationed<Home Alone Girl, 11, Left By Mother> 1993 Feb. 13 Daily Telegraph1/6–7.

hunger-strike Baptist minister <Supporters of a hunger-strike Baptistminister disrupted a Haringey council meeting when it refused to hear theirviews on its gay and lesbian policies.> 1987 Feb. 24 Evening Standard 5/5.

local development agency scheme <A Whitehall source said last night thatthe Home Office would “pull the plug” on all local development agencyschemes.> 1987 Oct. 25 Sunday Telegraph 3/6.

low-pay economy <Successive governments contributed to the establishmentof a low-pay economy.> 1987 June 19 Times 16/3–4.

management information system <Mr Bill Phillips . . . will oversee newmanagement information system.> 1987 Feb. 26 Hampstead Advertiser6/2.

murder hunt man Man hunted on a charge of murder <Murder Hunt ManGives Up> 1986 Sept. 5 Times 1/7.

murder-charge man Man charged with murder <Murder-Charge ManDefiant> 1989 July 22 Times 9/4–5.

rape ordeal story <British Girl’s Rape Ordeal Story Shocks A Nation>

1987 Jan. 26 Daily Mail 1/4–5.sex change dad <It tackles the big subjects: cancer, flab, the sex change dad

who became a mum.> 1989 Aug. 31 Midweek 11/1.three year wait patient <Agony Of 3 Year Wait Patient> 1986 Sept. 12

Daily Mirror 1/1.

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two-point-five metre diameter gravity-fed circular ring main <Theplan proposes nearly 60 kilometres of 2.5 metre diameter gravity-fedcircular ring main.> 1985 Apr. 24 Times 4/4.

US-trip girl <US-Trip Girl Loses Her Fight Against Cancer . . . Chelsea,who was sent to the United States for treatment on a brain tumour . . . diedearly yesterday.> 1995 Aug. 28 Independent 4/5–6. Nation noun adjuncts

A characteristically British construction is the use of the name of a nation as anoun adjunct in connection with sports teams, particularly cricket and soccer. Inall the following examples, American English would have an adjectival form ofthe nation’s name (Bulgarian, English, Romanian) or else a prepositional phrase(for Great Britain). Cf. § 5.1.2.

Bulgaria <. . . a small model figure wearing Bulgaria Quidditch robes.>2000 Rowling 386.

England <Combat clothing experts . . . are collaborating with Umbro, officialmanufacturers of the England strip [team uniform of a particular color]to devise a high-tech cloth that will give players an advantage.> 1999 Mar.14 Sunday Times 1 8/8. Other tokens: England bowler, England cap “playerawarded a cap signifying membership on the national team,” England captain,England captaincy, England coach, England cricketer, England fans, England line,England party, England physio “physiotherapist,” England players, Englandselectors, England squad, England team, and England Women.

Great Britain < . . . the Great Britain centre [soccer player] . . . almostsettled the issue a few minutes from the end when he was held inches short.>1987 Nov. 8 Manchester Guardian Weekly 31/5.

Romania <Don’t miss the chance to see some of the world’s best women ath-letes in action at Crystal Palace . . . . England Women v Romania Women.>1985 Aug. London tube-station billboard.

The use of a noun denoting a nation in place of the corresponding adjective isnot limited to sports, however, but extends to general use as well.

Romania baby couple Couple seeking to adopt a baby from Romania<Romania Baby Couple Told To Pay £2500> 1990 Aug. 22 Evening Stan-dard 15/1–3.

Spain drugs haul <12 Britons In Spain Drugs Haul> 1988 Sept. 3 Times1/2.

Turkey carpet <In the centre of the floor was a blue and red Turkey carpet.>2000 Granger 180.

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92 Parts of Speech Plural noun adjuncts

Nouns modifying other nouns have generally been in the singular form inEnglish: pencil sharpener, peanut candy. Recently, however, British and, to a lesserextent, American have been favoring plural attributive nouns (CGEL 17.108–9).Although this new pattern occurs in both varieties, it is most frequent in British(Johansson 1979, 213), and notably in news reports (LGSWE 594).

American fluctuating use of the plural adjunct is doubtless due to Britishinfluence, which is strong in certain channels, such as reportage. For example,an issue of the New York Times (July 3, 2004) had several articles on employmentstatistics (A1-B3 and B1–3). The texts of these articles used primarily singularadjuncts (job base, job creation 3 times, job figures 2 times, job growth 4 times, jobreport, job market 2 times, job numbers, job survey) and only occasionally pluraladjuncts (jobs data, jobs front, jobs survey). The headlines, however, had a reverseproportion, with only one singular adjunct (on the front page, Job Growth) andthree plural adjuncts (Jobs Growth, Jobs Report 2 times). Headlines and theirarticles are written by different persons.

In some cases, adjunct nouns may be spelled variably with an apostrophe(appointments’ board, drinks’ cabinet, trades’ unionist), so that it might be arguedthat it is in fact a genitive determiner rather than a noun adjunct. However, theapostrophe spelling is relatively rare and both the syntax and the semantics ofthe constructions point to the noun-adjunct construction, so the apostrophe isprobably just an indication that the writer was subconsciously aware that theplural noun adjunct is a departure from the norm, and thus “corrected” itswritten form to that of the genitive.

Goods in the sense of “products,” “material,” or “freight” occurs only in theplural, so there is no possibility of its use as a singular noun adjunct. In its adjunctuse, the usual American equivalent is freight. Similarly, Guards, in the sense of“troops originally to protect the monarch” is normally plural. Although suchnouns have no singular, their occurrence as adjuncts provides not only additionaltokens of plural noun adjuncts but also reinforces that pattern.

Athletics and maths (American math, as the short form of mathematics) arenot plurals at all, their final -s being a noun-forming suffix (as also in astronau-tics, physics, etc.). Yet because they have the appearance of plurals, their use asadjuncts also reinforces the plural noun adjunct pattern.

As a collective term for competitive activities of physical skill, sports is usuallyplural in American, but may be singular in British. Its British use as a plural nounadjunct, as in sports hall, is therefore noteworthy in this context, even though itwould be usually plural also in American, as in sports arena.

The part of speech of thinks in thinks bubble is not clear (it might be a verb).However, it might also be a noun, as in give it a think, and an American equivalentmight be thought balloon.

accounts Accounting department <. . . she has started work . . . in the accountsdepartment.> 1995 Aug. 30 Daily Telegraph 4/6.

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Accommodations < . . . in the Civil Service, by some quirk of official irony,dealing with bombs came under the Accommodations Officer.> 1977 Aird57.

admissions <. . . some admissions tutors expect an above-average increasewhen this summer’s results are published next week.> 1996 Aug. 9 DailyTelegraph 7/4.

aggregates <They include . . . scrap metal and aggregates wharves at Green-wich Reach.> 1994 Sept. 22 Times 20/4–5.

Airports <The lounges are run on the FO’s behalf by the British AirportsAuthority.> 1987 Jan. 16 Times 1/3–4.

animals <I was never much of an animals person.> 1994 Sept. Tatler 58/1.antiques <Kate and Piers entered it gingerly, as if venturing into an overstocked

antiques market.> 2003 James 200. Also antiques shop.appointments <. . . changes to create a supreme court and independent judicial

appointments commission.> 2003 June 21 Times 2/5. Also appointmentsadvertising, Appointments’ Board, Appointments Card, Appointments Department,appointments diary, and appointments list.

Arrears <Arrears Officer . . . Do you have the determination, patience, expe-rience and sensitivity to recover rent arrears from former tenants?> 1990 Aug.20 Evening Standard 14/3.

arrivals In CIC, arrivals hall/lounge outnumbers arrival hall/lounge by 26 to 3in British texts. Arrival(s) lobby is not attested in CIC. <Instead of distributingthe luggage among all the carousels in the arrivals hall, four or five flightshave to share the only one working.> 1996 Aug. 8 Times 21/2. Also arrivalslobby and arrivals lounge.

arts <In 1976 it opened as an arts venue.> 1998 Jan. 6 Times 17/6. Also artscentre, arts editor, arts graduate, and arts programme.

assisted places <. . . the assisted places scheme . . . subsidises the privateschool fees of bright children from poorer backgrounds.> 1994 Oct. 3 Times41/6.

athletics <Fame has its price. Ask . . . ITV’s athletics commentator.> 1995Aug. 28 Daily Mail 43/4. Also athletics coach and athletics team.

awards <. . . at the awards’ breakfast, Sigourney told me she started theorganisation.> 1988 May In Britain 58/2. Also awards committee and awardsprogramme.

Benedictines <The Grace and Compassion Benedictines Order runs sixresidential homes.> 1989 Aug. 2 Evening Standard 3/3.

Benefits <. . . people can . . . pass on information about suspected cheats toBenefits Agency staff.> 1996 Aug. 4 Sunday Times 1/1.

books <The books section is particularly popular.> 1988 Mar. IllustratedLondon News 28/2.

Boroughs Grants <The chairman of the London Boroughs Grants Com-mittee warned that voluntary organisations will have to send out redundancynotices by the end of the month.> 1987 Feb. 12 Evening Standard 5/1.

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brains trust “A few idiomatic differences in colloquial phrases are apparentlyof recent origin, as are the phrases themselves; thus Mr H. G. Nicholas (in TheAmerican Government, 1948) follows BBC usage in speaking of Mr Roosevelt’sNew Deal experts as his ‘Brains Trust,’ whereas the form actually always usedin America was ‘Brain Trust’ ” (Partridge and Clark 1951, 318–19). <SomeBrains Trust at Reading University.> 1996 Dexter 219.

breeds, rare- <. . . you can get a very acceptable bacon by post from Heal Farm,a rare-breeds survival establishment.> 1988 June Illustrated London News80/4.

bricks-and-mortar <From the end of this year it will be possible for privateindividuals to own shares in . . . large bricks-and-mortar investments.>1987 Aug. Illustrated London News 54/1.

buildings < . . . no charge for building maintenance has been carried to theaccounts, and . . . at least £75,000 a year should have been placed to buildingsreserve [“depreciation”].> 1993 Neel 45.

burns <Mr. McArdle was detained in the burns unit.> 1986 Aug. 29 (New-castle) Evening Chronicle 2/7.

careers Although singular career may be used as a noun adjunct in AmericanEnglish, other expressions are more likely: careers advice might be Americanguidance or counseling; careers office might be counseling office (or in a militarycontext, recruiting/recruitment office); careers adviser/master/officer/teachermight be guidance counselor. <Careers Advice [chapter title]> 2003 Rowling574 (US ed. Career Advice). Also careers brochure, Careers Convention, andcareers-opportunities booklet.

chemicals <. . . a career in the oil and chemicals industry.> 1983 magazineCIC.

cloaks <Sitting/Dining-Room; Fully Fitted Modern Kitchen; Cloaks/Shower Room.> 1994 Dexter 51.

comics <Forbidden Planet, the comics shop.> 1988 Oct. Illustrated LondonNews 18/1–2.

complaints <Studying his complaints list is a way of defining why.> 1989July 20 Midweek 6/3.

components <Mr Channon refused to say how many jobs were at risk in thecomponents industry.> 1987 Feb. 20 Guardian 1/3.

costs collection Bill collection <Mr Parrish has asked me to deal with all costscollection matters.> 1995 Jones 40–1.

Counties, Home <Daphne . . . comes to England in 1946, among eccentricHome Counties relations.> 1987 July Illustrated London News 66/3.

courts <Anti-Smoking Campaigners Prepare Courts Assault> 1986 Aug. 21Guardian 2/1–7.

cuttings Clipping <His cuttings file bulges with tabloid headlines.> 1987June 4 Independent 8/5. Also cuttings book.

damages <If they won, the legal aid fund would be able to claw back from thedamages award all its outstanding expenses, with nothing or very little leftfor compensation.> 1987 June 4 Independent 1/7.

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days, seven <. . . similar Syrian wedding-songs and customs . . . obtain to-day, during the seven days festivities, when the bride and bridegroom arerepresented as a royal couple.> 1908 Mead 16.

deeds <Mr. Ounce replaced the stiff ivory parchment folds in a metal deedsbox and snapped the lock.> 1989 Graham 265.

departures <Morse . . . stood under the high Departures Board and notedthe time of the next train.> 1996 Dexter 209. Also Departures Concourse andDepartures Lounge.

Descriptions, Trade(s) <A picture, surely in breach of the Trades Descrip-tions Act, showed bikini-clad girls running across a golden beach.> 1983Mann 14.

dominoes <He . . . adopted the name of a chap in his father’s dominoesteam.> 1995 Aug. 28 Daily Mail 20/3.

drinks <He had held the obligatory farewell drinks party before luncheon.>2003 James 31. Also drinks allowance, drinks-bar, drinks cabinet, drinks cans,drinks company, drinks cupboard, drinks dispenser, drinks industry, drinks-list,drinks machine, drinksmaker, drinks manufacturer, drinks market, drinks order,drinks table, drinks trade, drinks tray, drinks trolley, and drinks writer.

drugs <Meanwhile, the politicians make a meal out of the problem because atthe wrong end of the drugs ladder [range of drug problems] there are dread-ful social problems and major criminality.> 2000 Jan. 18 Times 17/3. Alsodrugs baron, drugs bill, drugs Briton, drugs company, drugs don, drugs economy,drugs haul, Drugs Intelligence Unit, drugs market, drugs menace, drugs officer,drugs overdose, drugs problem, drugs raid, drugs ring, drugs-smuggler, drugs smug-gling, drugs squad, drugs test, drugs trade, and drugs trafficking.

earnings <. . . it is likely your house will increase in value much more quicklythan your earnings power.> 1987 July Illustrated London News 63/4.

engagements <At first they did not even appear in the Prime Minister’sengagements diary.> 1987 June 13 Times 28/4.

entertainments <The first 10 years of his working life were spent on boardthe Queen Mary as the ship’s entertainments purser.> 1995 Aug. 30 DailyTelegraph 13/3–4. Also entertainments industry.

exams <. . . the biggest shake-up of the exams system for 50 years.> 2004Dec. 17 Independent 7/1.

expenses <. . . the [European] Parliament . . . last month voted itself an expen-ses regime that would send an English district councillor to jail.> 1999 Mar.17 Times 20/4. Also expenses cheque, expenses claim, and expenses fiddle.

ex-pensions < . . . we’ll have to start recruiting ex-pensions salesmen.>1994 Sept. 21 Times 16/2.

families, happy <The secretarial assistant was today at the heart of a happyfamilies scene at the Highland estate and looked perfectly at home amongthe Royal Family.> 1995 Aug. 29 Evening Standard 3/3.

fares <London commuters face swingeing fares increases of up to fourtimes the rate of inflation.> 1994 Sept. 15 Evening Standard 7/1. Also faresrises.

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96 Parts of Speech

features <“I was absolutely furious at first,” features editor Richard Williamsadmits.> 1987 Feb. 16 Evening Standard 6/2.

feeds <If you need larger quantities of fertilizer, then go to an agriculturalfeeds merchant.> 2003 June 21 Times Weekend 13/4.

fees <Among the other papers in Grunte’s personal file was a letter from theCommons’ fees office, the department responsible for the payment of MPs’salaries and expenses.> 1991 Critchley 19.

finals <Its [Oxford University’s] finals students are required to traipse totheir exams in lounge suits, white ties and scratchy gowns.> 1994 Sept. 27Evening Standard 28/6. Also finals papers.

fines <The unit fines system also aims to fine on the basis of betterinformation.> 1989 Aug. 4 Times 5/2.

fixtures <Their names positively don’t appear on the school fixtures list.>1985 Bingham 121.

forces <Theoretically they [contact lenses] were supplied only to forcespersonnel.> 1987 Mar. 9 Evening Standard 29/3.

Galleries <. . . the recent item in the diary of your newspaper about myself andthe Royal Fine Art and Museum and Galleries Commissions encouragingfreer movement of art treasures across EEC boundaries is more than usuallyabsurd.> 1986 Sept. 10 Times 13/5.

games <The games field is the place where all classes can cooperate.> 1990Aug. 16 Times 11/6. Also games afternoon, games cupboard, games facilities, gamesplayer, games room, games staff, games table, and games teacher.

gays and lesbians <. . . the gays and lesbians issue is costing us dearamongst the pensioners.> 1987 May 11 Evening Standard 24/5.

gilts <. . . a huge booming industry generating pop-star-scale salaries forEurobond and gilts traders.> 1990 Critchfield 141.

goodies <They tend to have been the bad boys at school, not the goodiesswots.> 1986 Oct. 26 Sunday Times 48/6.

goods Freight <. . . goods vehicles, oil tankers and military transport litteredthe highway like the giant carcasses of animals hunted down in the night.>1991 Feb. 1 Times 1/3. Also goods access, goods entrance, goods lift, goods train,goods waggon, and goods yard.

Grants Committee <Take, for example, the Universities Funding Council,which replaces the University Grants Committee.> 1987 Dec. 20 Man-chester Guardian 6/4.

greetings card <. . . she . . . collects and sells a huge range of paper ephemerafrom greetings cards to small purse calendars.> 1988 Dec. In Britain26/2.

groundnuts Peanut <We use best quality fresh fish fried in pure groundnutsoil.> 2000 sign at Big Bite Fish & Chips Shop on Walm Lane, WillesdenGreen, London.

Guards officer <. . . men who looked like retired Guards officers and prob-ably were.> 1992 Granger 52.

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highways <. . . highways chairman Corbett Singleton.> 1994 Oct. 3 EveningStandard 20/4. Also Highways Act.

holidaymakers, working <Tens of thousands of men and women under 30from the Commonwealth are to be allowed to work full-time in professionaljobs under an overhaul of the two-year working holidaymakers scheme.>2003 June 21 Times 2/6.

ideas <Being on television, though, is nothing compared with the terror of aTatler ideas meeting.> 1999 Mar. 13 Times Magazine 9/3.

improvements <And top of the improvements list is the swimming-pool.>1989 July 29 Times 5 1/1.

incomes policy <Mr Kinnock made an oblique but not insignificant hint towhat used to be called an incomes policy.> 1986 Oct. 1 Times 13/2.

infants <Derek’s wife would be away running a course for infants teachers.>1998 Joss 14.

interests, special <. . . a succession of policy climbdowns . . . have signalledto special interests groups that this is a government well worth standing upto.> 1993 Feb. 13 Daily Telegraph 10/1–2.

islands <Her income of £8,500 is bumped up with a £500-a-year islandsallowance.> 1986 Oct. 16 Times 40/2.

jobs <Jobs Offer / Tens of thousands of men and women under 30 from theCommonwealth are to be allowed to work full-time in professional jobs.> 2003June 21 Times 2/6. Also jobs list, jobs market, jobs programme, jobs scheme, jobssearch, and jobs shortfall.

lettings Rental <It is quite normal for lettings agents to handle the routinemanagement.> 1986 Winter For Sale Magazine 56/2.

machines, cigarette vending <Don had his own cigarette vendingmachines business.> 1989 June In Britain 11/4–12/1.

materials <. . . materials suppliers who reap a healthy harvest from spendingon building and repairs.> 1987 May 10 (Scotland) Sunday Post 7/4.

maths <What is he, after all? An ex-maths teacher.> 1990 Hardwick 38.meals < . . . up until this week at least one [new school] didn’t even have a

proper meals service arranged.> 1989 Sept. 13 Times 15/3–4.meetings <Enquiries about the meeting should be sent to the Meetings

Secretary.> 1988 first circular Autumn meeting, Linguistics Association ofGreat Britain.

men, three- <Ballesteros, who captains the three-men Spanish team at StAndrews.> 1986 Sept. 24 Times 40/5.

menaces <Gave Barry Kent his menaces money.> 1985 Townsend 42.mergers <Mr Channon . . . will meet Tory backbenchers tonight over mergers

policy.> 1987 Jan. 20 Guardian 1/8.meths <. . . you might as well take in meths drinkers from the streets.> 1980

Drabble 86–7.metres, 400 <Victory smiles from Britain’s 4 × 400 metres team.>1989 Aug.

7 Times 1/4–8 (caption to picture of four team members). Also ten metres line.

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98 Parts of Speech

minutes, 15 <Most centres will give staff 75 minutes off and it is up [to] theindividual whether he takes it all in one go, has 45 minutes for lunch andtwo 15 minutes breaks or has several short breaks.> 2003 July 10 TimesAppointments 4/3.

Monopolies and Mergers <He faces severe criticism over his decision . . . notto refer the bid by BTR . . . to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.>1987 Jan. 20 Guardian 1/8.

Museums <Now it is the silly season, may I recommend a suitable gamefor Museums Year. It is to search the shops attached to museums andtourist attractions for the most irrelevant souvenir.> 1989 Aug. 7 Times13/6.

no-claims <. . . boat owners laying up their craft should . . . review theirinsurance to take advantage of no-claims bonuses.> 1994 Sept. 25 SundayTimes 4/5.

obituaries <. . . they were not convinced that these sympathies justified muti-lating a copy of the Daily Telegraph – least of all its obituaries page.> 1991Feb. 9 Daily Telegraph 13/5.

opportunities, careers- <I wrote a careers-opportunities booklet.> 1990Aug. 21 Times 25/6.

opportunities, equal <The Armed Forces are Equal OpportunitiesEmployers.> 1987 Oct. 25 Sunday Telegraph 2/3. Also equal opportunitiesmanager.

outpatients <. . . the introduction of appointment times in hospital outpa-tients departments should raise a cheer.> 1989 Feb. 12 Manchester GuardianWeekly 12/4.

palaces <. . . families could wait ten years on the council housing list to fulfilthe dream of a nice modern purpose-built flat somewhere like the palacesestate.> 1991 Grant-Adamson 112.

paratroops <He’s wearing a scruffy salt-and-pepper tweed suit and a para-troops tie.> 1989 Daniel 109.

parcels <Parcels Office . . . Parcels Point> 1986 Oct. signs in Euston Sta-tion, London.

passes, A level <Its schools have about as much chance of topping the A levelpasses league as the driver of a family saloon has of winning the MonacoGrand Prix.> 1987 Sept. Illustrated London News 86/2.

payments <Outdated payments rules mean, for example, that the cost to theRoyal Mail of delivering letters sent from Moscow is not fully borne by theRussian authorities.> 1992 Nov. 7 Economist 73/2.

pensions <If you are in the dark about the whereabouts of some of your pen-sions money, contact the Pensions Tracing Registry.> 1995 newspaperCIC.

phones <There will be no formal talks to end the phones dispute until thestrikers go back to work, British Telecom said today.> 1987 Jan. 28 EveningStandard 2/4.

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pinnacles, eight- <Here is rustic England at its best, a little eight-pinnacleschurch, a war memorial, a maypole.> 1938 Crawford 18.

places, assisted <Delegates at Blackpool this week may cheer pledges to scrapthe assisted places scheme that subsidises the private school fees of brightchildren from poorer backgrounds.> 1994 Oct. 3 Times 41/6.

plates, printing <The prestigious Rolls-Royce car . . . looks set to be overtakenthis year by the sharp acceleration of profits from the group’s more mundaneprinting plates business.> 1987 Feb. 23 Evening Standard 41/1.

points <. . . a “tariff system” . . . would give a single points total for progressionto higher education.> 1994 Sept. 22 Times 4/3. Also points victory.

pools < . . . rises and falls in tone informed viewers, with heads down overtheir pools coupons, which team had won even before the visitors’ score wasgiven.> 1995 Aug. 28 Independent 10/1. Also pools win and pools winners.

profits <The profits performance was achieved despite a 14pc increase inthe price of milk.> 1995 newspaper CIC.

railways <Michael Meacher, shadow transport secretary, said he would ask therailways inspectorate division of the Health and Safety Executive to reviewsafety procedures.> 1995 Sept. 4 Daily Telegraph 5/1.

rates <The unpopularity of the domestic rates system in Scotland came aboutbecause of its unfairness.> 1986 Dec. 10 Times 4/7.

real-terms <William Hague will also commit the Conservatives to real-termsincreases in health spending.> 2000 Jan. 18 Times 1/2.

records <This licence is not valid until it is initialled and properly stampedby the officer issuing it at a post office or the National TV Licence RecordsOffice.> 1987 May 18 TV license.

removals <. . . the Gilbert twins: one of them a housing agent; the other aremovals man. Sell some property – and recommend a highly reputable andefficient removals firm.> 1983 Dexter 153.

roads protest Truck-driver strike <Although senior figures in the industrytried to deter drivers from staging a roads protest, they said that the actionwas “inevitable”.> 1999 Mar. 19 Times 2/1–2.

runners-up <Win . . . One Of These Runners-Up Prizes.> 1991 Jan. 31Midweek back cover.

scenes-of-crime officer <Indeed it was . . . the dreams . . . of the hardenedScenes-of-Crime Officers, that would be haunted by the sight of so muchblood.> 1996 Dexter 52.

schools <My prize was for writing a schools booklet.> 1991 Feb. 9 DailyTelegraph Weekend 3/7. Also Schools Council, schools crossing warden, post-schools director of education, schools drama, Schools Minister, schools problem,schools programme, schools system, and schools year.

seconds <Their [Royal Doulton’s] smaller seconds shop sells genuine secondsfrom all the group’s companies at reduced prices.> 1989 June In Britain 40/3.

secrets <Britain has no Freedom of Information Act. What it does have is theOfficial Secrets Act of 1911, which makes it an offence for government officers

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to give or receive official information.> 1989 Feb. 12 Manchester GuardianWeekly 20/1. Also secrets bill.

securities <. . . the banks were wondering whether to go nap on the great newbusiness of securities trading in London.> 1989 Apr. 1 Spectator 25/2.

services <. . . we are looking for a Public Services Officer to patrol a designatedarea of the Borough.> 1990 Aug. 20 Evening Standard 14/1. Also servicesrationalisation.

ships <Mr Ray, . . . director of a ships instrument repair business, said hehad a premonition.> 1987 Mar. 9 Evening Standard 1/5.

signals <Antoine Lurot drifted into estate agency after completing . . . Frenchnational service with a signals parachute regiment.> 1986 Winter For SaleMagazine 28/3.

sittings <The backlash that has developed against the 12-month-old changein the sittings hours of the Commons is more to do with the convenience ofMPs than with the effectiveness of Parliament.> 2004 Jan. 5 Times 8/7.

skills <Skills shortages . . . are having a profound effect on the training, careerdevelopment and influence of personnel managers.> 1990 Aug. 21 Times 25/1.

sounds <Prices . . . include VAT, Car Tax, front/rear seat belts and soundssystem.> 1989 Aug. 28 Daily Telegraph 7.

sports <And there’s a supermarket and restaurants and sports halls.> 2001Lodge 40. Also sports centre.

standards, trading <My local trading standards officer informs me thatterms such as “traditional” are not legally defined.> 1994 Sept. 22 Times19/5.

stores <I left the stores man wondering if it was him or me who was mad.>1991 nonfiction CIC.

students <It is a chance for students . . . of involving themselves in the StudentsUnion in a more positive way than simply going to the Union Bar for a drink.>1991 Mar. UCL News (University College London magazine) 11/1.

sweets Candy (shop/stand) <I was regularly given the job of paying the takingsfrom my grandmother’s sweets kiosk, into the bank.> 1999 Mar. 21 SundayTimes News Review 4/4.

swings <Wexford’s car . . . was parked [near] a children’s playground. . . . [ ¶ ]The men who had come to search for him stood about in groups, some in theswings field.> 1972 Rendell 10–11.

talks <George Mitchell, the former US senator . . . is chairing the talksprocess.> 1997 newspaper CIC.

thinks bubble Thought balloon <. . . we fell silent for a minute or two. Thethinks bubbles over our heads filled up.> 2001 Lodge 252.

tours <. . . we got your address from the tours manager – the coach companyfellow.> 1974 Price 131.

towns <. . . all self employed towns people, working from home, should payno rates, at least on their work premises or garages.> 1987 Feb. 13 EveningStandard 9/1.

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trades <. . . she’s an . . . active trades’ unionist.> 1992 Walters 67. Also TradesDescriptions Act, trades union, and trades unionism.

under-fives <Special play-groups and under-fives clinics for “homeless”children have been set up in hotel basem*nts and church halls.> 1987 Mar. 18Guardian 25/4.

universities <. . . the Universities Funding Council . . . replaces the Uni-versity Grants Committee.> 1987 Dec. 20 Manchester Guardian 6/4–5.

utilities <I picked up a hammer . . . from the tool-box in the utilitiescupboard.> 1969 Amis 152.

wages <. . . his total wages bill was still a mere £15 a week.> 1984 Smith116.

weapons <. . . someone sold Downing Street duff goods about Iraq’s weaponsprogramme last year.> 2003 June 20 Times 22/5. Also weapons policy.

weights <“. . . lift, you’re not waving goodbye to your mum, you know.” Thedark-haired instructor loomed menacingly over Loretta as she lay on her backin a corner of the weights room.> 1993 Smith 41.

works <My favourite memories are of our works outings.> 1998 Jan. 3Times Magazine 18/4. Also works access, works party, works schedule, and worksyard.

3.3.2 Object of preposition for noun adjunct

In a few cases, British English has the structure noun 1 of noun 2 for the structurenoun 2 noun 1.

Captain of Games Team captain <He became Captain of Games in myhouse [at Eton].> 1994 Dickinson 15.

hall of residence Residence hall <They . . . went off together . . . towards thehall of residence.> 1993 Neel 123.

3.3.3 Individual and collective meanings

Some nouns refer either to individuals who are part of a collection or to thecollection as a whole. Cf. § 2.4.2.

crew Crew members <The presence of British air crew as prisoners of war inBaghdad means the RAF Benevolent Fund is having second thoughts.> 1991Feb. 11 Daily Telegraph 17/1.

police Policemen: In common-core English, the plural noun police normallyhas a collective sense “the police force.” That rule, however, has occasionalexceptions in British use. <In the subsequent brawl . . . four police wereinjured.> 1987 Nov. Illustrated London News 78/1.

staff Staff members <. . . she is looking for office premises and . . . hopes toemploy two staff.> 1994 Oct. 3 Evening Standard 14/3. Cf. § 14.1.

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3.4 Names and titles

3.4.1 Personal names

A difference in the treatment of personal given names is in the use of initials.British tends to reduce all given (or Christian) names to initials, as in J. R. R.Tolkien or J. K. Rowling. That pattern is clear from bibliographies, referencelists, and other formal lists of names in British sources. American, on the otherhand, tends to favor a full first name and middle initial (CGEL 5.66), as in HarryS. Truman.

British use of a double-barreled surname is sometimes mistaken by Americansfor a middle name followed by surname, as in the case of Andrew Lloyd Webber.The double-barreled surname was largely unknown in America until recent times,when it was adopted on an ad hoc basis by couples who combined their surnamesas a statement of the equality of the sexes. There is, however, not much evidencethat such combined names will be handed on through the succeeding generations.The British motivation was often to combine one surname with another of a moreprominent, related family. An example is the novelist and politician EdwardBulwer-Lytton, who was the son of William Bulwer and Elizabeth Lytton, butadopted the surname Bulwer-Lytton in 1843 when he inherited the Lytton familyestate at Knebworth.

A practice once common in both countries, in correspondence and in certainsocial situations, was the familiar use of a man’s surname in place of his givenname by his equals or superiors. This practice is said to have arisen out of publicschool practice in England; in America it was known particularly in a militarycontext. It is now rare in American use and is doubtless less frequent in Englandthan formerly.

<Dear Rogers, [ ¶ ] I was interested to meet you last Tuesday and would haveliked to talk longer.> 1983 Dickinson 13.

In America it is, or once was, common to pass on a father’s full name to ason, usually the first-born son. In such cases, suffixes were used to distinguishthe generations: Sr. for the parent and Jr. for the offspring. In the case of latersuccessive generations bearing the same name, roman numerical suffixes wereused: III, IV, etc. The practice is now rare. A distinctively British custom is theuse after the surname of major and minor for, respectively, an older and youngerbrother in the same public school, often although not always capitalized.

<It was by this odd closeness to Dobbs minor that I had been able to recall thata Dobbs major must have existed.> 1983 Dickinson 13.

3.4.2 Titles

The use of occupational titles as a name title, as in Secretary of State ColinPowell and Prime Minister Tony Blair is more characteristic of American than of

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British use (CamGEL 520). Social titles, however, are more used in British thanAmerican. The parenthesised figures are those of British/American iptmw inCIC texts.

ma’am (57.4/22.8) <‘Would you care to lead in to lunch now, ma’am?’inquired someone politely. ‘I don’t think quite yet,’ replied Her Majesty.>1989 March In Britain 37/3.

madam (38.3/7.2) <“Would you stop calling me madam, Sergeant, and sug-gest whom I could see regarding a criminal matter?” [ ¶ ] “No need to getshirty, madam,” he said.> 1992 Green 21.

Miss (1135.7/331.2) <[young girl to teacher:] I saw it in a magazine. Honest,Miss. Honest.> 1989 Aug. 30 Guardian 38/2–3.

Mr (6438.1/3555.2) 1: British newspapers have a greater tendency than theirAmerican counterparts to use titles for persons.<Mr [Graham] Greene, whosefirst play this was, probes the spiritual consequences of an affair between amarried, 45-year-old psychology lecturer and a 17-year-old Roman Catholicorphan.> 1987 Nov. 8 Manchester Guardian Weekly 25/4. 2: The general titlesof Mr., Mrs., and Miss have less prestige in American use than professionaltitles like Prof. and Dr. <[Hagrid writes:] Dear Mr Dumbledore, . . .> 1997Rowling 43 (US ed. Professor).

Sir (1460.6/142.1); sir (435.8/126.8) 1. A general term of address, used formerlybetween upper-class social equals or by inferiors to superiors <. . . the onlypeople now aware of the distinction between the classes are the upper class;the rest of us are confident the whole thing has been abolished. “I don’t have tocall you ‘Sir’ do I?” says the party worker to the Cabinet Minister, the waiterto the famous playwright, the train driver to the chairman of a nationalizedindustry, the gamekeeper to the scrap metal millionaire.> 1967 Frost and Jay29. <When I was at Cambridge the split personality role of the college porterwas summed up in one sentence when he caught me climbing in illegally late atnight. ‘What the hell do you think you’re doing (pause) Sir?’> 1983 Brooke-Taylor 77. 2. A title of honor for knights and baronets <. . . excuse me, SirThomas – Tom . . . But I’ll put the kettle on for a cup of tea while I’m aboutit.> 1986 Price 65.

3.4.3 Place names

Place-naming patterns in the two countries are also distinct. In the followingrhapsody on Englishness, most of the place names (Broadway excepted) arecharacteristically British:

<Broadway and Moreton-in-Marsh, Bourton-on-the-Water, where the dogin the pub was called Winston, Stow-on-the-Wold, the Swells and the Slaugh-ters – such a glut of thatched streets, tea-rooms and cottage gardens, swans onvillage streams and manor houses in that bright honey stone: after the busloads

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of trippers, the empty village street of Minster Lovell, sweet village, freshenedthings.> 1988 Nov. In Britain 48/1–2.

Similarly, the name of Harry Potter’s Muggle hometown, Little Whinging,Surrey, is unmistakably English, and generally not understood by Americans,who do not use the verb whinge.

3.4.4 Institutional names

The personal name of a shop’s proprietor may be used for the shop itself. Thegrammatical significance of this substitution is that a personal nominal is usedfor an inanimate referent.

<The place she heads for . . . is Elizabeth King, the local delicatessen, fish-monger, greengrocer and bakery.> 1998 Jan. 3 Times Weekend 4/1. <Turnup to Navajo Joe (34 King St, WC2, Covent Garden tube) on Thursday 11to take part in history’s biggest ever tequila slam.> 1999 Mar. 10–17 TimeOut 7/1.

When a proper name is used for a business, it may be plural, yet when itis followed by a generic term, it may be singular, despite the British tendencytoward plural noun adjuncts.

<Barings’ modest bet on the Far Eastern markets, Baring Securities, is nowpaying off like a fruit-machine, and competitors wonder whether Baringsmay float the securities business as Hambros did with Hambro Life.> 1989Apr. 1 Spectator 25/2.

When the name of a business firm is that of its proprietor, the proprietor’sname may be followed by an explanatory appositive, the head of which is a pluralnoun identifying the sort of workers characteristic of the business.

<. . . a group operating under the umbrella of Richard Ellis the buildersannounces its plans for . . . developments in central London.> 1987 Aug.Illustrated London News 54/2. <. . . a spokesman for Barnard Marcus, theLondon estate agents.> 1989 July 30 Sunday Times A 9/8.

3.5 Genitive constructions

3.5.1 Encl*tic ’s and periphrastic of

The two main forms of the genitive construction are (1) that with the grammaticalencl*tic ’s (originally an inflectional suffix) and (2) that with the periphrastic of.Anette Rosenbach (2002) has studied the frequency of the two forms historicallyand the factors that affect their choice in present-day English.

Reports of differences between British and American English in their use ofthe two constructions have been contradictory. Rosenbach (40, 45–6) points to

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an unpublished 1980 Oslo thesis and also to a study by Marianne Hundt (1998a),both showing that American is more likely than British to use ’s genitives withinanimate possessors, but also to a study by Magnus Ljung (1997) showing thatthe opposite is true in texts from the British Independent newspaper and theAmerican New York Times and Time magazine. Rosenbach’s own study (166)indicates that ’s with inanimate possessors is more frequent among Americansand younger British than among older British speakers; she therefore concludesthat the ’s genitive is extending its domain into British English from Americaninfluence. In that case, a smaller proportion of inanimate ’s genitives would bea characteristic of conservative British usage. However, until the discrepancybetween this conclusion and Ljung’s findings has been resolved, the questionmust be regarded as open.

One possible explanation suggested by Ljung is that the difference is corre-lated with formality (of being more formal with inanimates than ’s). Ljung citesDouglas Biber (1987) in support of the greater formality of American writ-ten news texts over their British counterparts in the matter of abstraction (asmeasured by the number of nominalizations and prepositions). Biber’s study,however, shows a complex of differences in style that he suggests amounts to agreater adherence to stylistic prescriptions in British than in American texts. Inthat case, one might expect inanimate genitives with of rather than ’s in British,as according closer with prescriptions.

3.5.2 Shopkeeper’s versus shop

British English has a preference for designating a place of business with thegenitive of the term for its shopkeeper (or the term for the shopkeeper alone),whereas American prefers a term for the store.

baker’s (shop) Bakery <They seem to be staring at the world through plate-glass, like a child in the baker’s unable to decide between a caramel slice anda fondant fancy.> 2001 May 10 London Review of Books 39/3.

chemist’s (shop) Pharmacy; drug store <Perhaps one of you could drop thisprescription in at the chemist’s.> 1986 Hardwick 90.

confectioner’s (shop) Candy store <Laverne stepped out of a confectioner’sin Low Petergate.> 1995 Bowker 29.

(green)grocer’s Grocery; supermarket <. . . saw me at the grocer’s with along list.> 1985 Townsend 306. <. . . there’s a greengrocer’s in West EndLane that’s even open on Sundays.> 1989 Sept. 13 Evening Standard 29/1.

ironmonger’s Hardware store <Shout if there’s an ironmonger’s.> 1986Gash 212.

newsagent’s (shop) Newsstand <Loretta . . . remembered that the news-agent’s shop was in the opposite direction.> 1993 Smith 45.

tobacconist’s (shop/store) Cigar store <The two youths . . . started shoppingfor knives in a tobacconist’s store.> 1997 Dec. 12 Evening Standard 5/1.

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Sometimes, however, the shop term may lack the genitive apostrophe or eventhe s.

<The ironmongers . . . have sold out to yet another boutique.> 1989 Mar. 19Manchester Guardian Weekly 23/2. <. . . confectioners, tobacconists andnewsagents, specialist food shops and traditional hardware shops [will be]among the losers over the next five years.> 1989 Aug. 28 Daily Telegraph3/2–3. <Sam Langford drove his Jag slowly past chip shops, launderettes andtired greengrocers.> 1991 Critchley 177. <In the end his mother fixed himup with a job in a Cambridge ironmongers.> 1993 Feb. 27 Times SaturdayReview 46/5. <Family doctors will be able to set up lunch-hour surgeries inhigh street chemists under radical proposals to be announced by the Gov-ernment this month.> 1999 Mar. 13 Times 1/4.

<Anyway in the newsagent, I happened to glance at some of those, er . . . youknow, those things they have in there.> 1986 Brett 69. <In the main streetwere a supermarket and a fishmonger’s, a dairy, a bakery, and a very basicgreengrocer.> 1989 Graham 82. < . . . a long street of shops: supermar-ket, chemist, video shop, off-licence, wine bar, Chinese takeaway, Italianrestaurant.> 1991 Barnard 146. <He sat like a lumpy Guy Fawkes in thedoorway of a tobacconist in Southampton.> 1992 Walters 67. <DolphinSquare has its own shopping arcade, including an off-licence, a dry cleaner,a hairdresser, a newsagent, a chemist and a grocer.> 1993 Feb. 7 SundayTimes 2 7/4.

The lack of a genitive sign extends also to proper names for shops, althoughpractice is inconsistent.

<Fortnum’s or Claridge’s or Rolls Royce or White’s or Harrods aren’tgoing to sue for a few hundred pounds.> 1967 Frost and Jay 192. <Thebattle between Yorkshire grocer Hillards and its would-be owner Tescois descending into the realm of knocking copy. [ ¶ ] ‘Quite untrue, quiteridiculous,’ splutters Hillard’s chairman Peter Hartley as he decries theTesco arguments.> 1987 Apr. 4 Daily Mail 37/5. <The nylon cord . . . wasof a type readily obtainable in . . . all branches of Woolworths.> 1983 Radley28. <Imagine never prowling round Woolworth’s.> 1985 Cannell 9.

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4 Pronouns

4.1 Personal

In the first person, the use of me as a nonstandard form of my is doubtless theresult of vowel reduction under low stress, with consequent confusion or mergerof the vowels in the two words.

me My <Patrick, me boyo, we’ve had our break.> 1989 Quinton 37.meself Myself: CIC has 7.8 iptmw in British texts, principally speech, but also

written representations of speech, and only 0.5 in American texts. <I’d putmeself in an old people’s home just for the peace and quiet.> 1990 Critchfield(quoting TV’s EastEnders) 83.

CGEL (6.18n) reports two uses of the first person plural that are Britishrather than American. (1) The “royal we” is said to be “virtually obsolete . . .traditionally used by a monarch, as in the following examples, both famous dictaby Queen Victoria: / We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. / We arenot amused.” (2) A nonstandard use of plural us for singular me is exemplifiedby “Lend us a fiver.” This use is also reported by Michael Swan (1995, 432):“In very informal British speech, us is quite often used instead of me (especiallyas an indirect object) / Give us a kiss, love.” The contraction of us to ’s in suchconstructions is an additional British feature. For the use of our with personalnames, see § 2.3.3.

us Me <‘Give’s a fa*g’ said one [small boy].> 1995 June 8 London Review ofBooks 8/4. <Auditions are this morning. Pack us a pickle sandwich. I’m offto London.> 2003 July 4 Times T2 2/2.

Since the loss of the second person singular/plural distinction that thou andye represented in earlier English, the language has been trying to fill the lacuna,generally by taking the originally plural you as a singular and constructing newplurals based on it. America has youse, a typically Northern, urban form and you’uns, a Southern Mountain rural form – both uneducated. It also has y’all, a stan-dard Southern form, which, though regionally marked, is socially unrestricted


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in Southern dialect and is a phonological variant of the universally standard youall. It tends to be used as a pronoun of solidarity to indicate that the speakerconsiders those so addressed as forming a community with the speaker. Henceit would not be used where formality or social distance is appropriate. A morerecent colloquial form is you guys, applied to males, females, or mixed groups; itis younger generation in use but widespread in the United States and has spreadto British use as well (Wales 1996, 73).

In addition to various dialect forms, some similar to those used in America(Wales 1996, 73), British has you lot, which is affectively marked: it often indi-cates annoyance or disdain or impatience with the referents. Occasionally, it isan affectionate form, although even then tinged with a tone of condescension.Because of their difference in emotional tone, the new British and Americanplural pronouns are by no means equivalent.

you lot CIC has 22.8 iptmw in British texts, principally speech, but also writtenrepresentations of speech, and only 0.5 in American texts. <[student:] ‘Whatabout you? Are you writing anything?’ [teacher:] ‘No, not really,’ I said. ‘I’vebeen too busy with you lot.’> 2001 Lodge 306.

A variant of you lot is your lot, which makes the form into a syntactically normalnoun phrase.

your lot CIC has 5.8 iptmw in British texts, principally speech, but also writtenrepresentations of speech. Some of the tokens, however, are noun phrases (e.g.,“You have thrown in your lot with the forces of evil”) so the actual numberof pronoun uses is smaller. American uses are all of noun phrases. <Your lot[the police] frightened him off !> 1992 Granger 135.

Another variant is you chaps, which is a friendly option, close to Americanyou guys in tone, though not in the typical age of its users. It is also rare andold-fashioned.

you chaps CIC has 1.3 iptmw in British texts, principally speech, but alsofictional representations of speech. It has no American tokens. <You chapsdon’t believe in that.> 1988 Stoppard 70.

The following examples of abnormal gender concord of third-person pronounsare exceptional.

he It (a car): Personification of cars is not unusual, though feminine rather thanmasculine, and the object form is often contracted (’er, ’im). <Yes, I parkedhim [a car] outside the chip shop, and when I came out again, beggar me, he’d[the car had] gone!> 1994 Sept. 16 Times 39/1.

it They; he or she: Singular to agree with one, although plural they is fre-quent in such constructions; the neuter for a human referent is odd. <Onein six employers said that it was not hiring any graduates this year and

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almost 40 per cent had openings for 25 people or fewer.> 2003 July 16 Times9/2.

its His: The neuter pronoun suggests a lack of human identity in the adoles-cents, who are thereby identified as objects rather than persons. <. . . socialworkers on shift work worry their guts out in case some runty adolescent withmanipulative skills persuades another runty adolecent [sic] to stick a safety pinthrough its nostril.> 1989 July 21 Punch 43/2.

In common-core English, it is “used with many verbs and prepositions as ameaningless object <run for ∼> <footed ∼ back to camp>” (LDEL)). Particulartokens of this use, however, are variety-specific.

<Crookshanks [a cat] leapt lightly from the basket . . . and sprang onto Ron’sknees. . . . [ ¶ ] ‘Get out of it!’> 1999 Rowling 62 (US ed. Get out of here!).

The contraction of it with forms of be (’tis, ’twas) is called “now poet., arch.,dial., or colloq.” in the OED. CIC has 39.8 British iptmw of ’tis and 17.9 of ’twas,principally in written texts, especially literary ones, but also academic texts, wherethe forms generally occur in literary quotations. It has only 8.1 American iptmwof ’tis and 1.4 of ’twas. An example of its British dialect use follows.

<Why, ’tis all over the town, Miss. . . . ’Twas Bert Luke, the milkman,knocked [woke] me up.> 1981 Lemarchand 16.

The contraction is, however, sometimes a stylistic affectation in standard use.

<’Tisn’t often an editor dares disagree with his proprietor.> 1987Apr.1Eve-ning Standard 6/3.

Pronoun order differs somewhat between British and American.

CIC has 287.2 iptmw of them all in British texts and 171 in American texts.It is preferred by 2 to 1 over all of them in British texts, but by only 1.2 to 1 inAmerican texts.

<What’s the matter with them all tonight?> 1940 Shute 89.

When two objects (direct and indirect) follow a verb, the indirect object comesbefore the direct object (give the students a test), unless it is preceded by a prepo-sition, when it comes after the direct object (give a test to the students). When bothobjects are pronouns, those options are still available (give them it or give it tothem), although American prefers the second as avoiding two sequential pronounobjects (indirect + direct), which is more typically British. A search in ICE-GBfor the function-category combination “indirect object realized as a pronoun”followed immediately by “direct object realized as a pronoun” results in 110examples, such as Connie hadn’t told them that.

<So – what are you going to do with it? Give me it back?> 1990 Hardwick100.

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However, British also uses the reverse order for two sequential pronoun objects(direct + indirect), as in give it them without a preposition (CGEL 10.17n, 18.38n;CamGEL 248n). This construction is foreign to American use. It seems to occurwith a limited number of verbs, of which give is the most frequent.

<How I love hearing you talk Italian. . . . Will you teach it me?> 1931 Benson154. <Made my will. . . . Show it you, if you like.> 1940 Shute 146. <Skynnerfinally got the order to give them me this morning.> 1995 Harris 240.

If the indirect object is a noun, but the direct object is a pronoun, as in Igave Kim it, the prepositional option I gave it to Kim is generally favored, thefirst option being “inadmissible for most speakers, especially in AmE” (CamGEL310).

Standard British English does not use the ethical dative (also called “dative ofinterest or advantage,” Wales 1996, 88), as in such colloquial and lyrical Americanexamples as We’ve elected us a President, and now we’re stuck with him and I’mgonna cry me a river.

A noun phrase functioning as the direct object of a phrasal verb (verb andadverbial particle) can be ordered either before or after the particle: send the letteroff or send off the letter. However, a pronoun in that function normally is orderedonly before the particle: send it off but not *send off it. Occasionally, however, theexceptional order occurs.

<Sylvia had rung up me . . . about booking for a meal.> 1992 spoken textCIC.

4.2 Impersonal

One in an impersonal sense is frequent in British use; it is less common inAmerican, in which it is perceived as formal or mannered. The typical Americanoptions are you or various paraphrases. The line between a genuinely impersonalsense and self-reference (see below) is often difficult to draw, but some uses aregenuinely impersonal in intention.

<“One doesn’t say such things,” you are told.> 1990 Hazleton 25.

The uses and history of impersonal one have been treated by Anne Seaton(2005) with evidence that the one . . . he/him/his construction, which had beencommon–core English, fell out of British after the seventeenth century but con-tinues in American. In British use, one is repeated for coreference (CGEL 6.56;10.50; 19.51): One cannot control one’s temper easily if one is discussing a matterover which one has feelings of guilt. American prefers he/him/his for subsequentreferences (Johansson 1979, 198; Swan 1995, 394). Or, at least, American usedto prefer the masculine pronoun in that use. Recent sensitivity to gender neu-trality has promoted alternative expressions, including sometimes one, althoughAmericans as a whole are uncomfortable with it.

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<Nor is it difficult to drown oneself with a millstone round one’s neck – ifone’s intent on leaving behind one as much mystery and anxiety as possible.>1959 Innes 49.

The impersonal use of one shades into a personal, first-person use that ischaracteristic of upper-class and intellectual usage, especially British, but veryrare in American (Swan 1995, 394). Even in British English, this self-reference isoften regarded amusedly or satirically. L. R. N. Ashley (personal letter, 27 June,1990) noted such British response: “I like the Londoner who described one as‘the first person singular in Kensington and Chelsea.’ ”

<He [Sir John Tooley, General Director of the Royal Opera House] refers tohimself as “one” (as in “one’s parents used to take one to the opera whenone was a child”).> 1987 Feb. 12 Evening Standard 29/2. <Did Roy Jenkinsreally say, after winning the Oxford chancellorship at the weekend: “One isimmensely pleased”? [ ¶ ] One can believe it. Mr Jenkins has long looked andsounded like a duke.> 1987 Mar. 16 Evening Standard 9/1. <On November24th the queen made a rare appeal for sympathy, dubbing 1992 an annus hor-ribilis (the Sun’s translation: “One’s bum year”).> 1992 Nov. 28 Economist63/1.

4.3 Demonstrative

The basic semantic distinction between the demonstratives this and that isnearness versus distance. But nearness and distance are matters of perceptionrather than of physical measurement. American English thus tends to use this incontexts where British prefers that. Michael Swan (1995, 41 and 581) observesthis/that national difference with respect to telephone language, in which Britonsask Who is that? and Americans Who is this? John Kahn and Robert Ilson (1985,630) also comment that in many contexts it is possible to use either this or that,e.g., This/That is true and This/That is the problem; they also note that somepeople (presumably British) object “often with surprising strength of feeling” tothis. (On that with a propredicate, cf. § 15.2.)

Extended forms of the demonstratives are these ones and those ones. Curiously,the only token of these ones in the text of the OED is in a 1934 citation (s.v. jinxv.) from the American writer J. T. Farrell. There are no tokens of those ones. CIC,however, has 7.2 iptmw of these ones in British, chiefly spoken, texts and 0.6 inAmerican texts. On the other hand, it has 4.8 iptmw of those ones in British, alsochiefly spoken, texts and 3.2 in American texts. It appears that these ones is morecharacteristic of British than of American English, but that the frequency of thoseones is closer in the two national varieties.

<There are family photographs all over the house, and these ones are Susan’sfavourites.> 1993 Feb. 13 Telegraph magazine 66/1.

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4.4 Relative

In standard English, as is used as a relative pronoun when it is preceded by suchor same (Gilman 1994, 122: such poor things as are our own and the same people asobjected). Otherwise, relative as is marginal, though it has both nonstandard andformulaic use in British. Some British uses appear to be jocularly Dickensian,especially in the formula though X says it as shouldn’t. On one academic occasion(in April 1987), that formula was volunteered as an example of colloquial speechby Prof. John Honey: “He’s a good lad, though I’m his father who says it asshouldn’t.”

as That, who <My friend has got some info as’ll open your eyes all right.>1972 Rendell 112–3. <’E’s [He is] brother-in-law to one of the ambulance menas came.> 1981 Lemarchand 16.

Whose as a relative pronoun was relatively late in developing. An earlier optionwas that (or still earlier Anglo-Saxon þe) followed by a genitive personal pronoun,an option still occasionally used in standard English.

that + genitive pronoun Whose <[actor Simon Callow:] William Rees-Mogg isthe kind of person that just his [whose very] existence depresses one.> 1990Critchfield 306.

The use of what as a relative pronoun in place of which, who, or that is non-standard in both British and American. It is sometimes used as a literary signalof nonstandard use, as in the following citation from a British soap. However, itis more common in conversation than the relative as (LGSWE 609).

what Which; that; who <I’ve got a mate turning up next week what owes me;then I’ll be quids in.> 1986 Dec. BBC1 EastEnders.

In accord with the British tendency to treat collective nouns as animate pluralsthat take plural verb concord (cf. § 14), British also is more likely than Americanto use who as a relative with collective nouns.

who with a collective noun as antecedent That <But it was a subdued group whoheaded back to the fireside.> 1998 Rowling 52 (US ed. that).

In common-core English, a relative pronoun other than the subject may belacking in a restrictive clause, thus This is the book [which/that] I bought but Thisis the book which/that was sold. British has some subjectless relative clauses thatseem less likely in American use, such as the following.

< . . . how many people do you know [who/that] live in a baronial pile com-plete with butler?> 1991 Feb. 25 Ms London 10/3. <There was a letter[which/that] came from him the other day, wasn’t there?> 1992 Granger11.

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Because objective case forms in English are limited to the first- and third-person personal pronouns and who(m), it is inevitable that confusion in theiruse should arise on both sides of the Atlantic. Such common-core confusioncan often be explained by the syntagmatic environment of the word. Occasion-ally, such a use emerges that is noteworthy, such as the following use of hyper-correct whom, illustrating that the quality papers also fumble: <Sylvia [Plath]and Ted [Hughes]. Even those whom have not so much as glanced at a stanzaof their oeuvres have a powerful reaction to their names.> 2003 Nov. 8 Times31/1.

The relative pronouns which and that have variable uses (Gilman 1994, 894–5).In descriptive (i.e., nonrestrictive) relative clauses, which is normal: “Hamlet,”which I saw last night . . . but *“Hamlet,” that I saw last night. . . . On the otherhand, either pronoun is normal in restrictive relative clauses: the play that/whichI saw last night . . . . Writers who recommend usage often aim for a neater comp-lementarity and therefore recommend the sole or primary use of that in restrictiveclauses to balance the use of which in descriptive clauses. The facts, however, areotherwise, as Ward Gilman has shown.

Nevertheless, it is possible that the recommendations of usage writers havebeen more effective in American than in British English. Or it may be thatAmerican is in this respect more conservative than British because that is older asa relative than which. In any case, restrictive which is more frequent in British thanAmerican. British news uses restrictive which 3 times more often than Americannews does; and in conversation, American uses restrictive that about twice asoften as British does (LGSWE 616).

<We were both members of a club which meets in Caroline Dupayne’s flat.>2003 James 362.

Paul Heaco*ck and Carol-June Cassidy (1998, 95) report their experience inadapting a British dictionary to an American version:

We noted a number of words and phrases that were perfectly accept-able in American English, but which were used with such abandon inBritish English that they in fact marked the text as being British. Wordslike which. . . . Americans very often use that to introduce restric-tive clauses. Writers and speakers of British English use which to intro-duce just about any clause they want to, restrictive or nonrestrictive.So in CIDE [Cambridge International Dictionary of English] the defini-tion for gold, for instance, reads “a soft, yellow, heavy, metallic elementwhich is quite rare and very valuable,” whereas in CDAE [CambridgeDictionary of American English] it’s “a soft, yellow metal that is highlyvalued.”

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4.5 Interrogative

The use of how? in the sense “what?” occurs in both British and American. TheOED documents the interrogative use from 1382 and the exclamatory use fromeven earlier, and calls both archaic, but has examples of How do you mean fromSheridan (1777), Thackeray (1849), and Wodehouse (1942). In the expressionWhat/How do you mean, CIC British texts use How in 10.9 percent of the tokens;American texts use it in 3.9 percent.

<How d’you mean?> 2003 James 201.

4.6 Indefinite

For indefinite pronouns referring to persons, English has a choice between com-pounds with -body (anybody, everybody, nobody, somebody) and with -one (any-one, everyone, no one, someone). One study (LGSWE 352) reports that, in fic-tional texts, British strongly prefers the compounds in -one over those in -body(anyone 4:1, everyone 2.3:1, no-one nearly 2:1, someone 3:1) and that Americanis more equally divided, with a slight preference (11:9) for anyone, everyone,and someone, but a reverse preference (11:9) for nobody. CIC texts, however,show little overall difference between British and American preference for formswith -one over those with -body: 1.79 to 1.73, respectively, nor are there strik-ing differences for any of the individual compounds with any-, every-, no-, orsome-.

The OED has 483 tokens of one or other in its text and only 28 tokens of one oranother. CIC British texts have 24.5 iptmw of one or other, nearly 6 times as manyas of one or another. American texts have only 0.5 iptmw of one or other, but morethan 12 times that many of one or another. Cf. § 2.5.2 .

<And ahead of me along the road were three cottages, no doubt once tied toone or other of the various farms in the area.> 1991 Barnard 196.

Several distinctively British forms exist among indefinite pronouns. Most ofthem are marginal, being limited stylistically or regionally.

a bit A little; something: The form bit, in all of its uses, is half again as frequentin the British LOB corpus as in the American Brown corpus (Hofland andJohansson 1982, 478). CIC has 2.7 times as many tokens of a bit in British textsas in American. < . . . you still put by a bit each week to ensure you could payfor a decent funeral.> 2003 James 12.

f*ck all Nothing at all: CIC British texts have 2.7 iptmw of this expression,most in this sense; American texts have none in this sense. <He knows f*ckall about it.> 1989 Drabble 176.

no-one spelling variant No one: In the BNC, no-one outranks no one by 3:2 (Peters2004, 375); the hyphenated spelling is rare and nonstandard in American. CIC

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shows the same difference in national preference, although not the same Britishpreference for no-one. It has, in British written texts, 645.5 iptmw of no one,149.1 of no-one, and 2.5 of noone, and in American written texts, 849.3 iptmwof no one, 3.2 of no-one, and .03 of noone. Thus both national varieties prefer noone, but British has no-one as a strong alternative and noone as a weak option.American hardly uses the other two forms at all.

nowt Northern form of naught; nothing: CIC British texts have 28.2 iptmw ofthis form; American texts have none. <. . . the three monkeys were see nowt,hear nowt, and say nowt.> 1988 Ashford 40.

summat Northern form of somewhat; something: CIC British texts have 49.4iptmw of this form; American texts have none. <Do you want to know sum-mat else?> 1981 Dexter 130.

4.7 Expletive

The two main expletive pronouns are it and there. Certain uses of expletive itare common-core English, such as <. . . it was not done to ask him questions.>1986 Dec. 9 Times 12/2. The only thing slightly British about that clause is theuse of done in the sense “socially acceptable.” But other uses, in which it can bereplaced by there, are characteristically British.

it There (or a paraphrase with the notional subject as grammatical subject)<[speaker from Leeds:] Aye, . . . it’s quiet enough now but it were quite a doat weekend round Chapeltown.> 1985 Ebdon 145. <[Eddie, twenty-one, ofLiverpool:] It’s no one’s to blame.> 1990 Critchfield 208. <[cartoon of twoelderly ladies scraping ice off a TV:] Keep scraping – it’s the weather forecastin a minute.> 1991 Feb. 5 Daily Telegraph 1/7.

Verb concord with expletive there is variable in both British and American, soit is hard to identify a distinctive use in either variety. The following examplesshow variation from alternative patterns.

there 1. with a singular verb and a plural noun <. . . there was families at thepit who traced their connection with coal back to the last century.> 1989 Sept.7 Midweek 32/1. 2. with a singular verb and a singular quantifier for a pluralnoun <There is a further five bedrooms and a second bathroom.> 1986Aug. 21 Hampstead Advertiser 40/2. 3. with a plural verb and a plural noun ofmeasurement <In London, for instance, there have been three inches ofrainfall this month.> 1987 June 22 Times 1/4.

A colloquial and dialect construction consists of the expletive there’s followedby an adjective, a subject and verb, and an optional complement to the adjec-tive (There’s sorry I am to hear it), which is the equivalent of the subject andverb followed by the adjective and its complement (I am sorry to hear it). Theconstruction focuses the adjective.

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there’s <You two had a lot on your minds, but there’s glad I am Iremembered.> 1987 Oliver 217.

An unusual construction is illustrated by expletive that in the following exam-ple, for which there could be substituted.

that There <But Malloch is positively an Ober-Gott. Better brain. . . . [ ¶ ] Butthat’s not all that’s to Malloch.> 1937 Innes, Hamlet 182.

A catch-phrase pattern is there , as in there you are and thereit is (OED s.v. there adv. 16). This catch phrase comments on a state of affairsregarded as inevitable and therefore to be accepted: <c 1921 D. H. LawrenceMr. Noon viii, in Mod. Lover (1934) 266 It’s just like him – but there you are.Those that won’t be ruled can’t be schooled.> OED s.v. rule v. 1b. Or it is used inpresenting someone with something desired or calling attention to a completedmatter: <1925 J. Metcalfe Smoking Leg 26 There you are, old horse; don’t sayI never did you a good turn> OED s.v. horse, n. 4. The American equivalentmight be Here you are. Cf. § 6.1 ⁄ .

<“But there one is, alone. . . . Well, there it is,” with which philosophy shewent down to breakfast.> 1942 Thirkell 5.

4.8 Case

British and American do not differ substantively in their use of subject andobject case forms of pronouns. In both national varieties, the prescribed formsare often more honored in the breach (Gilman 1994, s.v. pronouns and the otherlemma cited there). How acceptable the following proscribed forms are in actualuse varies according to the form. Some are normal in both British and Amer-ican; others would be rare in standard use in either variety. But use of theobjective form of pronouns where the nominative is prescribed seems to bemore accepted in Britain than in America, where copyediting often corrects thatuse.

The norm in both varieties favors the object form in It’s me and She’s as tallas me. As Michael Swan (1995, 435–6) observed, the subject form is “extremelyformal” and “is usually considered over-correct (especially in British English).”Fewer British voices than American ones are raised in protest against suchforms.

<Most of his friends were older than him.> 1986 May 21 Sun 8. <They wereas puzzled as me.> 1989 July 21 Private Eye 13 (a letter from Ivan Fallon,deputy editor of the Sunday Times).

Other constructions, however, are less normal. Katie Wales (1996, 100) citesBritish use of the objective form of pronouns, under certain circ*mstances, evenin the subject function. Other examples:

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<“Only us can save this country!” perorated an excited lady delegate, makingone glad the Liberals were not yet running the nation’s schools.> 1989 Sept.14 Daily Telegraph 38/7. <Asked if he had tried to keep his marriage vows. . . [Prince Charles] replied: ‘Yes, . . . until it became irretrievably brokendown – us both having tried’.> 1994 June 30 Evening Standard p n/a.

Use of the subject form where the object form is prescribed is less frequent andlargely restricted to particular contexts: especially when I follows a coordinatingconjunction or when a personal pronoun is next to a word like who, which attractsthe pronoun into the subject form.

<Everything Comes To He Who Waits.> 1987 Mar. 2 London Daily News 4.

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5 Adjectives

British and American use of adjectives shows little systematic variation betweenthe two varieties. Most of the differences are associated with particular lexicalforms.

5.1 Derivation

The adjectival use of other parts of speech, with or without derivational affixes,is common in English. Some particular examples, however, are indicative ofBritishness.

5.1.1 From nouns + -ed

British and American differ in their use of the suffix -ed to form adjectival mod-ifiers from nominals. British uses certain forms that American does not, suchas booted. But differences between British and American use of individual itemsare less significant than the apparent over-all more frequent British use of thepattern. There are, to be sure, exceptions such as teenage(d). In CIC, 1 percentof the British tokens are teenaged and 99 percent are teenage, whereas 4 percent ofthe American tokens are teenaged and 96 percent are teenage. It would be difficultto ascertain the frequency of all denominal -ed forms in the two varieties, but onthe whole it seems to be greater in British.

aged number For this construction, American might have simply the number,e.g., 20, or such expansions of it as 20 years old or 20 years of age or even age20, depending on the syntactic use of the construction. 1. As an appositive:Number (years old, years of age), age number < . . . the would-be robber hitMr Paul Harry, aged 23, over the head with his gun and made off.> 1989 July28 Times 2/2. 2. As a subject complement: Number (years old, years of age)<His father was on the staff of the castle and he was aged 13 at the time.>1989 Aug. 29 Times 15/4. 3. As a complement of described as: Number (yearsold, years of age) <The raider is described as aged about 30.> 1987 Feb. 5


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Hampstead Advertiser 7/5. 4. As a post-head modifier: Of number (years old,years of age), of age number <The pair aged about 40 entered by the unlockedback door.> 1993 Feb. 3 Times 4/7. 5. As an adverbial: At number (years old,years of age), at age number <Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s former deputy, died aged93.> 1987 Oct. Illustrated London News 20/2.

Other predominantly British noun + -ed adjectives are the following, some ofwhich have no precise American equivalent:

alarmed Protected with an alarm <Spotted on a swanky, burglar-proofedBMW in a London street: “This car alarmed by Mike Wells car stereosystems.”> 1989 Aug. 10 Times 12/1.

badged Decorated in a way indicating status: CIC has 2.0 iptmw in British textsand 0.4 in American texts. <Bruno Lazlo’s office was . . . plumply furnishedand badged with the symbols of mild success in the film business.> 1976Raphael 154.

bedded, double/two- With two beds: CIC has no American tokens. <Themaster bedroom is a double bedded room.> 1988 Sept. In Britain 46/3. <Iwas back in the two-bedded room.> 1995 Lodge 11.

bedroom(ed), number- Number bedroom: With the numbers one, two, andthree, CIC British texts have 43.5 iptmw of number(-)bedroom and 13.9 ofnumber(-)bedroomed; American texts have only number bedroom (58.7 iptmw).<Roger and Jennifer Crawford lived . . . in a modern four-bedroomedhouse.> 2003 James 52.

bibbed overalls Overalls (American overalls usually have a bib, so the com-bination would be redundant.) <The one in the bibbed overalls.> 1989Wainwright 137.

booted With a car trunk; having space at the rear of a car to carry luggageor other things <. . . the next generation Ford Escort, and its booted sistermodel, the Orion.> 1990 Aug. 24 Times 33/1.

branded Brand name: CIC has 18.6 iptmw of brand name in British texts and44.7 in American texts. It has 68.4 iptmw of branded in all senses (including“with a brand name”) in British texts and 34.0 in American texts. <BrandedLabel Fashion / Less than Half Price> 1990 Aug. 23, sign outside clothingshop, Green Street, Oxford.

breeze-blocked Cement block <Inside the breeze-blocked houses, the sparsefurniture and personal belongings have been left untouched.> 1986 Aug. 30Times 1/4.

bricked <. . . she walked slowly . . . before arriving at a row of two-storey,yellow-bricked, newish properties.> 1992 Dexter 85.

buttoned <Barbara . . . was lying on one of the twin buttoned chesterfields.>1976 Raphael 260.

capped, flat- <Every Sunday more than 17 million fans watch actor RichardWilson, left, play flat-capped moaning groaner Meldrew.> 1993 Feb. 12 Sun11/2.

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ceilinged, low-/high- CIC has 5.8 iptmw of low- or high-ceilinged in Britishtexts and 3.2 in American texts. <The low-ceilinged living-room would havebeen a good setting for a more fey, more folk-tale-type figure than Freya.>1985 Mann 24.

corded CIC has 3.1 iptmw of corded (in various senses) in British texts and1.1 in American texts. <. . . a convenient convertible corded/cordless model[iron].> 1989 Aug. 5 Times Review 41/4.

crewed (Of a bus) with a driver and a conductor; (of a boat) with a crew: CIC has21 tokens of crewed as an attributive adjective in a random sample of a thousandBritish texts, and 2 tokens in a similar sample of American texts. <There maystill be scope for crewed buses in the centre.> 1987 Feb. 18 Evening Standard31/6. <Sometimes six to 10 people hire a crewed boat for three days.> 1987Feb. 23 Evening Standard 19/3–4.

flagged Flagstone: CIC has 24 tokens of flagged in the sense “paved with flag-stones” in a random sample of a thousand British texts, and 19 tokens offlagstone as an attributive adjective. It had no such tokens of flagged and 14 offlagstone in similar American texts. <Access to the dustbins was by a flaggedpath.> 1987 Hart 77.

footed, left-/right- CIC has 8.0 iptmw of left- or right-footed in British textsand 0.7 in American texts. < . . . when a shipload of desperately neededfootwear arrived it was discovered that the hold was filled with left-footedboots.> 1983 Brooke-Taylor 113.

garaged, double- With double garages < . . . the powerful commercial devel-oper wanting to build double-garaged executive houses . . . gets the planningpermission.> 1989 Aug. 13 Sunday Times Magazine 43/4.

gravelled Gravel: CIC British texts have 3.1 iptmw of gravelled; American textshave 0.6 of graveled. <A gravelled drive ran up one side of a curved lawn anddown the other.> 1980 Sharpe 70.

haired, golden- CIC has 2.2 iptmw in British texts and 1.0 in American texts.headed, swollen- Big-headed: CIC has 0.2 iptmw of swollen-headed in the sense

“conceited” in British texts and 0.4 of big-headed in the same sense in Americantexts.

holed Holey; with holes in them <I had noticed the dirty sweater and holedjeans.> 1969 Amis 52.

iced Ice (water); cold (drink): CIC has 1.4 iptmw of iced water and 0.8 of icewater in British texts and none of iced water and 6.0 of ice water in Americantexts. <Nor do I always relish American drinking habits with meals: . . . icedwater and weak coffee.> 1991 Feb. 16 Daily Telegraph Weekend 7/3.

lavatoried, number- Number-bathroom <. . . the five-bedroomed, four-lavatoried, neo-Georgian house.> 1988 Lodge 160.

lensed <Hardinge took a pair of half-lensed spectacles from their case.> 1992Dexter 172.

minded, bloody- Uncooperative: CIC has 3.5 iptmw in British texts and 0.8 inAmerican. However, the American sense is “inclined to violence or bloodshed.”

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<. . . the boatmen were being “bloody minded” and didn’t see why theyshould pay the government anything for the right to fish.> 1989 July 22 Times53/3–4.

nosed, snub- CIC has 1.5 iptmw in British texts and 0.6 in American. In addi-tion, all British tokens except one refer to facial features; all American tokensrefer to revolvers.

parqueted Parquet <He left the cadet at the urn and came across the par-queted floor.> 1987 Hart 45.

patterned, check- <He . . . thought he recognized someone . . . dressed ingrey flannels and a check-patterned sports coat.> 1981 Dexter 95.

polo-necked Turtleneck <Barbara, wearing . . . a white polo-necked sweater,was lying on one of the . . . chesterfields.> 1976 Raphael 260.

receipted <We have a system where drivers are not paid for the trip unless theycan produce a receipted document signed at the proper waste-tipping site.>1988 Dec. 30 Independent 3.

resourced <The . . . medical and scientific fronts are seriously under-resourced and under-manned.> 1986 Dec. 10 Times 14/7.

roomed, number- Number-room: With the numbers one, two, and three, CIChas 1.4 iptmw of number-roomed and 6.7 of number-room in British texts. Ithas no tokens of number-roomed and 18.4 of number-room in American texts.<They . . . moved together into a one-roomed flat in their second year.>1990 Byatt 11.

sized, similar- Similar-size; of similar size: CIC has 1.3 iptmw of similar-sizedin British texts and 1.0 tokens in American texts. Similar size is used attribu-tively in 7 percent of its British occurrences and in 12 percent of its Americanones. <And because the houses are often freehold, there are none of the servicecharges associated with similar-sized flats.> 1987 Mar. 11 Evening Standard21/3.

springed, sagging- With sagging springs <Nonie Anholt sat down on asagging-springed sofa.> 1985 Mann 49.

storeyed, number- Number-story: Forms like three-stor(e)y are dominant inboth varieties. However, CIC has 2.0 iptmw of the -ed form in British textsand none in American texts. <The amalgamation . . . had the advantage ofgiving the Shaws a well-appointed, three-storied house in a smart part ofDublin.> 1988 Holroyd 28.

suited, x-type In an x-type suit <The visitor . . . will within encounter a numberof three-piece suited figures . . . talking loudly about money.> 1987 Apr. 6Guardian 12/2.

tarmacked CIC has 1.3 iptmw of tarmacked in British texts and none inAmerican texts, which use forms like tarmac road. <Dalgliesh drove downa tarmacked drive so narrow that two cars would have difficulty in passing.>2003 James 14.

terraced (house) Row house: CIC British texts have 12.4 iptmw of terracedhouse and none of row house; American texts have 0.3 of terraced house (in

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fiction set in England) and 5.3 of row house. <She was . . . born in a two-storeyterraced house in a narrow street in Stepney.> 2003 James 49.

turfed Sodded: CIC has no American tokens of turfed “covered with turf” andno British tokens of sodded “covered with sod.” <Fully fitted kitchens withfridge freezer, . . . turfed lawns, garage and security system.> 1988 Apr. 10Sunday Telegraph 41/6.

unstepped Without steps; on the same level <Exhibition continues / Forunstepped access please retrace your route past the entrance and followsignage> 2002 Feb. 18 sign at Hayward Gallery, South Bank, London.

waisted CIC has 1.6 iptmw of waisted “having a waist” in British texts and nonein American texts. <. . . looking like a schoolmaster in his waisted, off-the-peg suits, Neil Kinnock grabs every opportunity to be snapped in his weekendwear.> 1987 June 1 Evening Standard 26/2.

wheeled, number- Number-wheel: For combinations of two, three, or four withwheel(ed), CIC British texts have 27 percent with wheeled; American textshave 13 percent. <Beside him was a mother with a swaddled baby in a three-wheeled pram.> 2003 James 23.

zipped Provided with a zipper: CIC has 40 tokens of this meaning in 95 ran-domly selected examples of the form in British texts and 2 tokens (from a singletext about couture) in 95 such American examples. <The cover is zipped foreasy removal to facilitate cleaning.> 1989 Sept. 7 Times 13/6–8.

5.1.2 From place names + -an

The use of adjectival forms of certain place names as attributives of nounsis British. In all the following examples (mainly US state names), AmericanEnglish would have the place names themselves as noun adjuncts (California,India, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia). This British use of adjectives for place-namemodifiers is in contrast with the British use of some nation-name noun adjuncts(§

Californian In 154 randomly selected examples of Californian from Britishtexts, CIC has 119 tokens in which California would be possible in Americanuse. In a similar sample of the same size from American texts, it has 32 tokensof Californian in contexts in which California would also be possible. <. . . theCalifornian student Jeannie.> 1991 Lodge 55.

Indian ink India ink: CIC has 2.6 iptmw of Indian ink in British texts (nonein American) and 0.3 of India ink in American texts (none in British). <yes,think of a woman in a house of net / that strains the oxygen out of the air /thickening the night to Indian ink.> 1995 Stoppard 11.

Oklahoman <He levered trees of 18ft or so into a removal van and drove offinto the west as purposefully as any Oklahoman pioneer.> 1991 Feb. 9 Tele-graph Weekend Magazine 51/1.

Serbian Serb: A corpus-based study (Peters 2004, 493) reports adjectival Ser-bian to be more than twice as frequent as Serb in British texts, but the reverse

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in American, in which Serb is especially collocated with military and Serbianwith nonmilitary terms.

Texan <Here in Wimbledon our borough council promises us a hideousTexan-style shopping precinct on the site of our town hall.> 1987 May 28Evening Standard 41/4. CIC has no tokens of Texan-style but 0.7 iptmw ofTexas(-)style in American texts. <Fortunately for Britain the Ambassador ofthe United States at the Court of St James is Mr Henry Catto, a highly respectedand very able Texan oil millionaire.> 1989 July 19 Times 9/6. CIC has notokens of Texan millionaire but 0.2 iptmw of Texas millionaire in Americantexts.

Virginian <. . . Pat Robertson, the other Virginian preacher who is vulgarenough to say he will run for President next year.> 1987 Apr. 6 Guardian21/2.

5.1.3 From verbs and predicates

beaten-up Beat-up: CIC has 1.0 iptmw of beaten-up and 1.3 of beat-up in Britishtexts. It has 0.8 of beaten-up and 6.6 of beat-up in American texts. <. . . theonly way [television] can ensure a character’s individuality is to burden himwith a tic, deface him with a quirk – . . . Rockford’s beaten-up trailer.> 1974Potter 15.

drink-drive CIC has 3.5 iptmw of adjectival drink-drive in British texts andnone in American. <Eastenders star Pam St Clement says her life has beenturned into a nightmare because of her character’s drink-drive shame in thesoap. . . . Pam backs the plot because it highlights drink-drive dangers.> 1993Feb. 12 Sun 3/4. Cf § .

have-a-go hero This use is of an expanded predicate (§ 13) as an adjectival.CIC has 1.8 iptmw in British texts and none in American texts. <Footie bossis have-a-go hero> 2004 May 29 sign in Hereford concerning a footballmanager who foiled a crime.

laden Loaded: CIC has 36.3 iptmw of laden in British texts and 20.9 in Americantexts. <Here, I think fondly of the driver of a police coach laden with prisonerswho rammed a bit of the Old Bailey.> 1987 Apr. 14 Evening Standard 7/2.

lock-up garage Locked garage; garage with a lock <Neville Dupayne has beenburnt to death in his Jag in a lock-up garage at the museum.> 2003 James124.

sawn-off Sawed-off: CIC has 5.4 iptmw of sawn-off and none of sawed-off inBritish texts. It has none of sawn-off and 5.2 of sawed-off in American texts.In both cases, the main collocation is with shotgun. <Years ago, a good villainwould cross the pavement with a sawn-off shotgun to rob a bank.> 1994 Sept.Tatler 147/1.

shaming Shameful <It’s too shaming to retire to bed alone before midnight,but really, she’s almost had enough.> 2001 Drabble 87.

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unladen Unloaded; empty: CIC has 2.1 iptmw in British texts and none inAmerican texts.<This contributed to the accident, and the effect was increasedby . . . the fact that the lorry was unladen.> 1986 Oct. 11 Times 3/6.

5.1.4 From adverbs

all-round All-around: Of the options, CIC British texts have 99 percent all-round; American texts have 56 percent. <1958 New Statesman 6 Dec. 802/3An excellent all-round performance by the Guildford Repertory Company.>OED s.v. all round C. Cf. §§ 6.1 -, and 8.1 .

early days In adverbial use, early days is well established in British use (§ 6.1). Ithas little American use as either adjective or adverb. <In spite of the inevitableearly days hiccups, I think we’ve done it.> 1989 Sept. 12 Evening Standard29/4.

down for “on the list to enter (e.g., a race or school)” (LDEL); American hasa similar but distinct use: “being on record <you’re down for two tickets>”(MW). <My name was down for Eton.> 1998 Rowling 73.

on – be on about something Go (on and) on about: In CIC British texts, theverb that most often collocates with on about (something) is be, occurringin hundreds of tokens. The second most frequent is go (which is the mostfrequent in American texts); others in British use include bang, blather, bleat,dream, drone, gibber, gush, harp, jabber, moan, mope, mumble, nag, prattle, rabbit,rabble, rave, run, scream, spout, start, waffle, wank, whine, and yammer. In CICAmerican texts, be on about occurs in only about 5 tokens. <What are you onabout?> 1997 Rowling 193 (US ed. talking about). – be on at someone “Brit.informal nag or grumble at someone” (NODE). <1952 A. Baron With Hope,Farewell 94 Well, now the second one’s on at him to get married.> OED s.v.on adv. 11.b. – not on “on adj . . . chiefly Br informal possible, practicable –usu negative <you can’t refuse, it’s just not ∼>” (LDEL). <1975 Guardian 20Jan. 4/3 Reductions in the standard of living were not on.> OED s.v. on adv.13.f.

5.1.5 From adjectives and nouns + -ish

Adjectives are freely and spontaneously formed by adding -ish to adjectives,nouns, and a few other forms.

-ish <It was a biggish bit of wooded country, surrounded by a wire fence.>2001 Lodge 39. Also 1850-ish, 1930ish, bitterish, bluntish, boffinish, C. P. Snow-ish, cheapish, donnish, dullish, earlyish, elevenish, fastish, flattish, fullish, good-ish, grayish, Greek-ish, highish, Kandinsky-ish, largeish, latish, live-ish, longish,lowish, Mod-ish, more-ish, newish, oddish, poorish, quaintish, quietish, Rightish,

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school-dinnerish, sharpish, shortish, Sloaneish, slowish, slummish, smallish, smar-tish, softish, stuntish, thinnish, Thirties-ish, toughish, yellowish, youngish, etc.

5.1.6 With the suffix -making

Adjectives are formed with -making suffixed chiefly to other adjectives and nouns.

-making <. . . what a blush-making time that poor fellow must havehad during rehearsals.> 2005 Jan. 14 Daily Telegraph 24/4. Also anxiety-making, cringe-making, giddy-making, mad-making, programme-making, safe-making, shy-making, sick-making, squirm-making, etc.

5.2 Frequency and collocation

Sometimes the difference between British and American adjectives is in theirfrequency or collocational probabilities.

away attributive adjective Visiting (of a sports team or fan): The sports use ofaway (contrasting with home) in reference to a game played on the oppo-nent’s grounds is common-core English. But its American use is primarily incollocation with game. CIC has 2.5 iptmw of away game in American texts and8.3 in British texts. British use also combines away with many other nouns,such as defeat, defence, enclosure, fan, fixture, form, goal, ground, kit, leg, match,performance, point, record, setback, side, strip, success, supporter, team, ticket, trip,victory, and win. British use of adjectival away is both more frequent and widerin collocation than American use. <Luton Town, who tried . . . banning awayfans, are planning . . . to accommodate away supporters at the Oak Roadend.> 1990 Aug. 17 Daily Telegraph 30/1–2.

bloody Bloody is the all-purpose British vulgarism, though it has lost the powerto shock that G. B. Shaw relied on for comic effect in Pygmalion. A contem-porary lexicographer would be unlikely to label its use as “foul language,”as the OED did; more recent dictionaries call it “slang” or “slightly rude.”The word is of grammatical interest for the variety of syntactic functionsit fills: adjective, interposed adjective, adverb (§ 6.1), qualifier (§ 7.1), andinterjection (§ 10). 1. attributive <. . . many of the bloody kids and theirparents are Scots or Geordies on their annual hols.> 1989 Mar. 5 ManchesterGuardian Weekly 5/1. – Bloody Monday An October 19, 1987, precipitousdrop in the stock market. 2. interposed An interposed word or other structureis one used in the middle of a syntactic structure or set expression (brand god-dam new or West by God Virginia). James McMillan (1980) has treated thisphenomenon with both British and American examples. A favorite Britishinterposed word is bloody. < . . . and the investigation of a possible crimecommitted perhaps a year earlier in either Blenheim Park or Wytham Woodsor where bloody ever . . . was not going to be the number-one priority.> 1992Dexter 184.

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cheeky This adjective is almost 9 times more frequent in CIC British textsthan in American ones. <He may be trying to shake off his cheeky-chappieimage.> 2003 June 19 Times 6/4.

cracking nick, in The usual expression in British English is in good nick,that is, “in good condition.” <The hotel’s turn-of-the-century features are,says McCarthy, “in cracking nick”.> 1994 Sept. 24 Guardian Weekend77/4.

last/next but + number ordinal adj. or postdeterminer (Swan 1995, 101). If wetake the OED’s evidence as typical, it appears that last but and next but are usedprimarily by lexicographers. The text of the OED has 11 tokens of last but inthis use, of which 8 are from OED definitions and 1 is in a quoted definitionfrom an eighteenth-century dictionary. Of the 2 remaining tokens, 1 appearsto be an invented example: <Mod. . . . He is last but one in the class> OEDs.v. but C.2. A typical example from a definition is “antepenult . . . Precedingthe penult; the last but two.” By contrast, the MW definition of the sameterm is “the next to the last member of a series; esp : the next to the last syllableof a word.” Next but is similar. Of 7 tokens, 4 are in OED definitions and1 in a quoted definition. A typical definition is “meta . . . Characterized byor relating to (substitution at) two carbon atoms separated by one other in abenzene ring; at a position next but one to some (specified) substituent in abenzene ring.” The corresponding MW definition is “involving substitutionat or characterized by two positions in the benzene ring that are separated byone carbon atom.”

effing CIC has 2.6 iptmw in British texts and none in American texts. <Doubleentendres? But that’s meant to be the Sun and Mirror’s stock in trade. FleetStreet can be a confusing place. I rest my effing case.> 1999 Mar. 17 EveningStandard 63/5. (Cf. § 7.1.)

obliged to do something Obligated to do something: The adjectival use of obliged(usually with an infinitive complement) is much more frequent than obligatedin British English; in American they are used about equally (Peters 2004, 387).CIC has 170.9 iptmw of obliged to and 1.9 of obligated to in British texts. It has37.8 of obliged to and 28.7 of obligated to in American texts. <. . . as I’m againstthe Gulf War I’m not morally obliged to send food parcels to the troops.>1991 Feb. 15 Evening Standard 25/1.

opposite Across; on the other side, e.g., of the road (Swan 1995, 397). <UncleVernon, waving at Mrs Number Seven opposite, who was glaring from behindher net curtains.> 2003 Rowling 10 (US ed. [deleted]).

proper Complete, real: CIC has 583.9 iptmw in British texts and 359.5 in Amer-ican texts. <I’m in charge of the case for months, and then Morse here comesalong and solves it in a fortnight. Made me look a proper Charley, if you askme.> 1979 Dexter 224.

right intensifier Real <I shall look a right pig’s ear.> 1991 Graham 33.– right one “Brit. informal a silly or foolish person” (NODE). Cf. also § 7 .

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ruddy euphemism for : CIC has 21.4 iptmw of ruddy in all senses inBritish texts and 6.0 in American texts. <All right, your kitchen’s a ruddymarvel.> 2000 Granger 236. (Cf. § 6.1.)

shot of, be/get The common-core expression be/get shut of has a Britishvariant with shot instead of shut. <. . . one can understand why the likesof Labour Women Against War would be annoyed about the Prime Ministerand want to be shot of him.> 2003 July 14 Times 16/1.

soluble Solvable: Soluble means “dissolvable” in common-core English; themeaning “solvable” is characteristically British. The word form is more fre-quent in British: CIC has 25.4 iptmw in British texts and 6.8 in American texts.The American sample contained no tokens with the meaning “solvable”; theBritish sample contained 16 such tokens, about 6 percent. <Media psychostalk as if “the problem” (such as depression or obesity) is soluble by follow-ing a particular strategy.> 1988 Sept. 6 Daily Telegraph 15/6.

unbeknown Unbeknownst: CIC has 3.0 iptmw of unbeknown and 0.9 tokens ofunbeknownst in British texts, and 1.0 of unbeknown and 4.1 of unbeknownst inAmerican texts (Cf. Peters 2004, 556).

underhand Underhanded: CIC has 6.1 iptmw of underhand and 0.6 of under-handed in British texts. It has 1.2 of underhand and 3.8 of underhanded inAmerican texts.

voluntary work Volunteer work: CIC has 11.0 iptmw of voluntary work and1.0 of volunteer work in British texts. It has 0.3 of voluntary work and 12.1 ofvolunteer work in American texts. < . . . it was just an argument about hervoluntary work. She never really had enough time for me.> 1991 Green84.

5.3 Comparison

5.3.1 Comparison of equivalence

The usual signal of a comparison of equivalence is as . . . as. . . . The standardof comparison (the item following the second as) is sometimes a catch phrase orproverbial expression.

as thick as a plank This catchphrase has several variations. British thick is asynonym for “stupid, dense” hence the pun in the comparison. < . . . she’s asthick as two short planks.> 1993 Smith 148.

as adjective as makes/made no difference This catchphrase is not commonin CIC, being represented by 0.3 iptmw in British texts and 0.1 in Americantexts. <As far as brain is concerned, . . . he [Bertie Wooster] is as near to beingnull and void as makes no difference.> 1984 Smith 262.

as daft as a brush CIC has 0.9 iptmw in British texts and none in American.<You’re as daft as a brush.> 1995 CIC fiction.

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as sick as the manager’s proverbial parrot The manager’s proverbial par-rot, sick or otherwise, is not to be found in the British or American texts ofCIC. The allusion is to a game program “Sick as a Parrot,” described on theWeb page www.machoward.com/saap.html as “the thinking fan’s soccer man-agement game.” <Both university departments study similar fields in spite oftheir names and each will be sick as the manager’s proverbial parrot ifthey fail to establish dominance on the football pitch.> 1993 Feb 26 Guardian3/2.

5.3.2 Comparative and superlative forms

The way adjectives are compared, by inflection (-er, -est) or periphrasis (more,most), is primarily correlated with the number of syllables – monosyllables byinflection and polysyllables by periphrasis. Two-syllable adjectives vary bothwithin and somewhat between the two national varieties. The comparison ofmonosyllabic adjectives does not vary greatly between British and AmericanEnglish according to the LOB and Brown corpora. In both varieties, althoughthere is greater complexity than simple descriptions imply, inflection with -erand -est is the rule (Fries 1993, 30).

A study by Hans Lindquist (1998) of the 1995 issues of two newspapers, theBritish Independent and the New York Times, shows that both British and Amer-ican favor inflectional comparison for adjectives ending in -y: -er by percentagesin the 80s and -est by percentages in the high 90s, but also that the Americanpercentage is slightly higher in both cases.

CIC percentages for the following two adjectives support Lindquist’s conclu-sion:

more healthy In CIC British texts, 91.7 percent of comparative forms of healthyare healthier, and in American texts 94.7 percent; in British texts 91.8 percentof superlative forms are healthiest, and in American texts 93.7 percent. <Butit’s a bit of healthy blood-letting in order to ensure that the patient becomesmore healthy.> 1989 Autumn Illustrated London News 19/3.

more easy CIC shows that in British English 99.6 percent of both comparativeand superlative forms of easy are inflectional easier/easiest, and in Ameri-can English 99.7 percent of comparative forms are easier, and 100 percentof superlative forms are easiest. <Good women find it more easy to comethrough the national party [than through local politics].> 1987 Jan. speech byIan Twinn, Conservative MP.

Other two-syllable adjectives differ.

commoner In CIC British texts, more common is 10 times as frequent as com-moner, but in American texts, it is 55 time as frequent. So commoner is com-paratively more common in British.

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A number of one-syllable adjectives may also occasionally form periphrasticcomparison.

juster The comparative more just accounts for 74 percent of British comparativeforms of just and 86 percent of American forms. Apparently the form justeris found to be awkward by all English speakers, but British speakers have aslightly greater tolerance for it. The superlative is too rare for generalizations.<. . . we can make a great advance . . . in a juster distribution of the fruits ofLabour.> 1990 CIC nonfiction.

more soft In contrast with just, soft is generally inflectional in its comparison,as softer/softest. The following periphrastic comparative is therefore all theodder, occurring as it does in a series of otherwise inflectional forms. <There[West Riding county districts] the speech sound is warmer, slower and moresoft.> 1985 Ebdon 156.

most twee Twee occurs rarely in American use, sometimes with an explicitacknowledgment of its British identity. It generally resists comparison ofany kind, and in particular there are no tokens in CIC of inflected forms*tweer/tweest, and only a few tokens of analytical comparison. <This year’smost twee toy is Dozzy, a £60 electronic teddy bear with light-up eyes thatgoes on sale in the summer.> 1987 Mar. 2 Evening Standard 22/7.

The irregular comparison of old (elder, eldest) is more common in British usethan in American (Swan 1995, 9; Peters 2004, 175–6). That is especially the casewhen the forms are used as attributive modifiers with reference to seniority ina family (CGEL 7.76): my elder sister, his eldest son. In CIC British texts, 15.8percent of compared forms of old are irregular elder/eldest, and in American 9.4percent.

elder <His elder brother was frowning, clearly taking the matter extremelyseriously.> 1985 Mortimer 67.

eldest <Vic . . . has frequent rows with his eldest son, Raymond.> 1988 Lodge16.

Double comparison, using both inflectional and periphrastic for the sameadjective, occurs occasionally and exceptionally in both national varieties. CIChas 1 British token of most simplest, from an orally delivered lecture by an academic.British CIC texts have 0.6 iptmw of least worst, half of which are in the collocationleast worst option. Those particular forms of double comparison have no tokensin CIC American texts.

<A cucumber sandwich is the most simplest thing there is and the mosttastiest.> ca. 1980s TV interview with a butler on Wogan. <Brace yourselffor the least worst imports coming from the States.> 1989 July 23–29 SundayTelegraph magazine 37/1–2. <The licence fee . . . had proved to be “the leastworst way to pay for the BBC”.> 1995 Aug. 28 Independent 4/4.

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5.4 Adjective order

Noun + adjectivePositioning an adjective modifier after its noun head is a feature of common-

core English in certain constructions, such as time immemorial and devil incarnate(CGEL 7.21). Other constructions are characteristically British.

Air Officer Commanding Air Force commanding officer <He would have tosee the Air Officer Commanding and tell him all about it.> 1940 Shute 27.

decade gone Ten years ago <He bought it a decade gone.> 1986 Gash 17.weekday last/next Last/next weekday: A search for the word sequences Mon-

day (Tuesday, etc.) next and Monday (Tuesday, etc.) last in limited samples ofCIC produced 13 relevant tokens with next and 14 with last in British texts. Acomparable search in American texts produced only 2 tokens.

all (the) year round All year long: In CIC texts, British prefers round to long inthis construction by 35 to 1; American prefers long to round by 2 to 1 (and alsodoes not use the in this construction, cf. § ). < . . . thepublic can enjoy them all the year round.> 1989 July 25 Evening Standard3/2.

time spare Time free, time to spare, (a) free time <. . . whenever I had ten minutesspare, I’d pop in somewhere for pens or knickers.> 1990 Aug. 24–30 GoodTimes 5/7.

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6 Adverbs

6.1 General

British and American differ somewhat in form, frequency, and use of adverbs.American has certain characteristic uses, such as some in The wound bled some andany in That doesn’t help us any. The common-core adverbs anywhere, everywhere,nowhere, and somewhere have minority American options anyplace, everyplace, noplace (usually spelled as two words), and someplace (CamGEL 423).

The aphetic form most from almost has been used since the sixteenth century.Originally Scottish, it is now limited to American and some British dialects(Burchfield 1996, 504). American nondialectal use is chiefly in spoken English asa modifier of all, always, any, every, and compounds of any and every with body,one, and thing (MW s.v. 5most).

The use of “flat” adverbs, that is, adverbs identical in form with correspondingadjectives (such as fast) rather than distinguished by the suffix -ly, is said tobe particularly widespread in American colloquial use, as opposed to British(LGSWE 542). Historically, however, flat adverbs are the older traditional form.The ending -ly, which we think of as marking adverbs, is more recent in thatfunction than adverbs like fast. Other adverbial uses of adjectives, such as good,bad, and real, now thought to be characteristic of American (LGSWE 542–3;Peters 2004, 62), developed between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries inBritain.

Other adverbial forms identified as distinctively American include in back withreference to the rear seat of a car (Burchfield 1996, 85; Peters 2004, 60–1) andpretty much (LGSWE 547).

Distinctively British forms are the following:

a bit A little (Swan 1995, 96) <‘You revise [“review material for an exam-ination”], I suppose?’ [ ¶ ] ‘A bit. But I usually watch telly.’> 1977 Dexter97.

about Around<Drive carefully and slowly when there are pedestrians about.>1996 Highway Code, 16. Cf. § 6.5 .


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actually CIC has more total uses of actually in British texts than in American(3625.9 iptmw versus 2406.7). But as Swan (1995, 6, 7, 158) points out, impor-tant differences are in context and implication. 1. Used to break bad news <I’msorry, Raymond. . . . But we do rather mind, actually. There is a significantrisk of getting lung cancer from passive smoking, you know.> 1989 Mar. 19Manchester Guardian Weekly 6/2. 2. Used to confirm or disconfirm expecta-tions <‘Miss yer train mate?’ asked one of them. [ ¶ ] ‘Yes, I did actually,’replied the newcomer, blushing. There was a general laugh. Someone echoedthe ‘actually’.> 1962 Lodge 33. <‘Constable, can you kindly tell me what’shappened?’ [ ¶ ] ‘I was hoping you’d tell me that, sir, actually.’>1974 Price 24.3. Used to identify additional information <“Is it more fun to play pranks onBritish people or Americans?” [ ¶ ] [British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen:]“It depends on the class, actually.”> 2004 July 15 New York Times B 1/1.

additionally conjunct In addition: CIC has 46 iptmw in British texts and 37.3in American texts. <Additionally her phone runs on an ‘airware’ system,powered by a battery box in her hallway.> 1994 Sept. 28–Oct. 5 Time Out29/1–2.

after Used nonstandardly with a progressive verb form instead of a perfect fora recent event, as in am after attending “have (just) attended” <See, I’m justafter attending the post mortem.> 1989 Turnbull 38.

all round All around <The show is bloody good. What it’s particularly good atis giving stick all round: to Asians who try to be English, to the English whotry to be Asian, to the people who try too hard to understand other culturesand to the people who don’t try at all.> 1998 Jan. 7 Evening Standard 53/2.Cf. §§ 5.1.4 - and 8.1 .

along Further on/down: Peters (2004, 30) notes that in the Brown Corpus, alongin the sense of accompaniment (They came along with us) is twice as frequentas any other sense; that is not true in British, in which spatial and other sensespredominate. <As we settled into our places, I noticed a young man on theother side of the table and two along, slight and decidedly handsome.> 1994Dickinson 133.

always An expression of inevitability with a progressive verb form, as in bealways going to “be bound to; be inevitably going to” <It was always goingto be a hard task in a place like that to find who fired the fatal shots.> 2003June 28 Times 1/1.

and no mistake Make no mistake about that: CIC has 3.3 iptmw in Britishtexts and none in American texts. <But then it was out of the fryin’ pan an’into the fire, an’ no mistake.> 1974 Price 161.

any more In CIC texts, British favors any more over anymore by 563 to 55.7iptmw, and American favors anymore over any more by 450.4 to 283. Anymoreis generally used in negative or interrogative contexts, but an expanding usein America is in positive statements with the sense “nowadays”: “Everybody’scool anymore” (MW).

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any road, anyroad northern English dialect, but found in general texts Anyway:CIC has 0.4 iptmw of the solid spelling anyroad in British texts and none inAmerican texts. <I don’t care where you park, but you can’t leave that vanhere. Anyroad, who are you?> 2002 Sept. Square 22.

anywhere CIC has 500.3 iptmw of anywhere in British texts and 472.9 in Amer-ican texts; it has no British tokens of anyplace and 14.2 in American texts.Anywhere is the norm in both national varieties, but anyplace is a minorityAmerican option, listed from 1916 without comment by MW.

apart The word apart is more frequent than aside in British, and aside morefrequent in American (Hofland and Johansson 1982, 475; Peters 2004, 50).CIC has 420.6 iptmw of the adverb apart in British texts and 347 in Americantexts. It has 331.3 of the adverb aside in British texts and 393 in American texts.1. Aside: <Britain’s borders (Ireland apart) are fixed by cliffs and oceans, notrivers or hedgerows.> 1992 Aug. 1 Economist 49/3. 2. Away, distant (from eachother) <Patrick realized with a sudden glow of elation that the shop where hewould be getting the nice bread for Jenny and the second-best horn shop knownto him could be no more than two minutes’ walk apart.> 1988 Amis 52. Cf.§ 8.1 .

as well Also (Swan 1995, 38): CIC has slightly more tokens of as well in Britishtexts than in American, and slightly more of also in American. <He smokedas well.> 1995 June 8 London Review of Books 9/1.

a treat Very well: CIC has 34.1 iptmw of a treat in all senses in British textsand 13.8 in American texts. CIC has 4.9 iptmw of some form of work a treatin British texts and none in American texts. <Actually, this is a tactic I don’tstrongly disapprove and it worked a treat on this occasion.> 1994 Sept. Tatler57/2. Cf. § .

at speed At high speed: CIC has 15.2 iptmw of at speed and 11.9 of at high speedin British texts and 0.2 and 5.8, respectively, in American texts. Americanpresumably favors other expressions for high-speed automotive movement,but when this one is used, the form with high is typical. <She was hurled intoa stolen car which was then driven at speed at two policemen who tried tostop it.> 1987 Mar. 5 Evening Standard 5/6.

away On one’s way <[to policeman:] ‘I’m just away home, sir.’ The girl steppedoff the steps with a flourish at her skirt and walked away quickly into the night.>1989 Turnbull 39.

awfully, most Very much <Oh I say, ta [“thanks”] most awfully.> 1987 Feb.23 ITV Rumpole of the Bailey.

backwards Backward: CIC has 163.9 iptmw of backwards and 61 of backward(including some adjectival uses) in British texts and 52.3 and 93.2, respectively,in American texts.

been and (gone and) See § 1.4.2.bleeding The frequency of the form bleeding is not greatly different between

British and American (111.5 versus 93.9 iptmw), but the intensive use is notable

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in British texts and extremely rare in American. <Well, that bleedin’ narrowsit down.> 2000 Granger 281.

bloody <Of course I’m trying to bloody scare you.> 1993 Smith 171. Cf. below and §§ 5.1.1 , 5.2, 7.1, 10 .

bloody well CIC has 15 iptmw of bloody well (intensive in use) in British textsand 0.8 in American texts. <“I bloody well don’t.” He didn’t say it aggres-sively but quietly as someone who hears bad news.> 1987 Oliver 85. Cf. §§ 5.2,7.1.

clean Completely; all the way <It’s said you can chop its head off and it willstill run clean round the fowl yard.> 1983 Innes 69.

close Closely <But the Prime Minister is worried that Parliament does notshare her obsession with secrecy and may narrow the focus of the [OfficialSecrets] Act too close.> 1987 June 3 Evening Standard 7/1.

close on Nearly <India . . . has been given close on £1 billion over the past fiveyears.> 1987 Dec. 20 Manchester Guardian 9/1.

close(r) to Close(r) up; up close(r) <Closer to, the cottage looked even moredecrepit than it had from the car.> 1987 Hart 31. <. . . but close-to Harrythought he looked rather weak and foolish.> 2003 Rowling 142 (US ed. upclose).

come to that For that matter; as far as that goes <. . . Captain Prosser had notseen fit to mention the fact to the police. [ ¶ ] Nor, come to that, had the twoworkmen.> 2002 Aird 103. There is also a finite clausal form in <What hadEmma been up to after she left Charles Harvey? If it came to that, what hadHarvey been doing in the hours between two and eight a.m.?> 1991 Critchley201.

early days Early so that other things might yet happen: CIC has 7.1 iptmw ofit is (or it’s) early days in British texts and 0.4 in American texts. <They didn’tknow too much about AIDs at that time; it was early days.> 1993 Greenwood151.

early next Early next year <Paul Hutchins will end his reign as the supremoof British tennis early next.> 1987 Feb. 18 Evening Standard 52/1.

early on At an early period of time: MW (abridging Gilman 1994) comments:“This adverb is sometimes objected to in American writing as an obtrusiveBriticism. It is a relative newcomer to the language, having arisen in BritishEnglish around 1928. It seems to have filled a need, however. It came intofrequent use in American English in the late 1960s and is now well estab-lished on both sides of the Atlantic in both speech and writing.” CIC has 90.8iptmw in British texts and 110.5 in American texts (both including a few withother senses). This form is therefore an example of a historical Briticism (stillperceived as such by some older Americans) that has been fully naturalizedstatistically into American use. <I realised early on that when you do impres-sions you get people’s attention very quickly.> 1994 Sept. 14–21 Time Out21/1. – earlier on The OED derives early on from earlier on by backforma-tion, and earlier on from later on by analogy (early 5.b). <Now you mention it,

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there was a woman hanging about at the top of the stairs earlier on.> 1969Amis 29.

else Otherwise <must be coming; they’d have phoned else> LDEL.endways “Am also endwise” (CIDE). CIC has 0.2 iptmw of endways in British

texts and none in American texts; it has no tokens of endwise in either nationalvariety. MW lists both without comment, but defines the latter by referenceto the former. They are both marginal forms.

evening, in the Evenings <evenings . . . esp. Am � What time do you get homeevenings (= in the evening)?> CIDE.

ever, the moment . . . Whenever; the very moment <. . . they came, it couldbe guaranteed, the moment he ever went near the lavatory.> 1987 Bradbury72. Cf. also below.

ever so Very much<Ooh, my, thanks ever so!>1990 Rowlands 25. Cf. LGSWE566.

everywhere “everywhere . . . Am infml everyplace” (CIDE). Everywhere is thenorm in common-core English. CIC has 1.5 iptmw of everyplace in Americantexts and none in British texts.

fairly British is partial to fairly as an emphasizing adverb with the sense“it is no exaggeration to say” (CGEL 8.88, 100): “He fairly jumped forjoy.”

firstly First: “Our evidence also suggests that firstly is more frequent in BritishEnglish than in American English” (Gilman 1994, 447). “In practice manydifferent patterns are used: First, . . . second, . . . third; Firstly, . . . secondly, . . .thirdly; . . . (AmE) First of all, . . . second of all, . . . and numerous others”(Burchfield 1996, 298). “. . . in enumerations, the phrases first of all and lastof all are probably now acceptable variants of first and last throughout theEnglish-speaking world, but second of all, third of all and the like are regardedas Americanisms” (Kahn and Ilson 1985, 239). CIC data supports the fore-going conclusions: the ratios of British to American iptmw of firstly, secondly,and thirdly are, respectively, 115.5 to 2.2, 181.8 to 56.3, and 51.2 to 7. On theother hand, those of first of all and second of all are respectively 159.3 to 176.3 and0.3 to 6.1. There has also been controversy about mixing forms of enumeration:first, secondly, thirdly; first of all, secondly, third; etc., but “. . . it does appearthat consistency in this specific usage has not always had a particularly highpriority with good writers” (Gilman 1994, 447).

flaming emphasizer <Says Closed, doesn’t it? Can’t you flaming read?> 1974Potter 93.

forwards Forward: CIC has 151.5 iptmw of forwards in British texts and 28.2 inAmerican texts. <Harry darted forwards to pick up the letter.> 2003 Rowling40 (US ed. forward).

frigging CIC has 4 iptmw of frigging (in all uses) in British texts and 2.2 inAmerican texts. <At least I assume she is. I can’t frigging see, can I?> 1994Sept. 28–Oct 5 Time Out 8/2.

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full on Head on <[In deliberately running down a pedestrian with a car:] ‘Youhit them full on.’ [ ¶ ] ‘Amidships, so to speak?’ [ ¶ ] ‘Between the headlamps,’said Harpe seriously. ‘You wouldn’t break any glass then.’> 1968 Aird 95.

getting on Nearly; getting on to (with measurements of time or space)<“What’s the time?” [ ¶ ] “Getting on two.”> 1989 Dickinson 146.

going on with, to be Temporarily; to start with <We’ve charged the guy whohit Barton with driving under the influence. Just to be going on with, mindyou.> 2000 Aird 69–70.

gone Ago <Well, it’s ’ome, in’t it, Benny? Course my Fred an’ me always wanteda place at Southend. And, six months gone, whole street thought it was gonnabe out on its lug’ole.> 1988 Cannell 88.

half-ways Halfway: CIC has no tokens of halfways (solid or hyphenated) ineither British or American texts. The OED’s only token of the form is theproper name Mr. Halfways from C. S. Lewis’s 1933 Pilgrim’s Regress (s.v.escapist 2). It seems to be a marginal form made by analogy with other adverbsin -s. <And he . . . had no one like that on whom he could half-ways depend.>1984 Price 129.

hell, the bloody In hell: Following a wh-word, the hell has similar frequenciesin British and American (with a somewhat greater frequency in American,130.0 to British 119.9 iptmw in CIC). The addition of bloody makes it British:7.6 to American 0.3 iptmw. However, in hell is favored in American, withabout 4.5 versus British 0.8 iptmw. <But he wanted to phone Jaggard again,and ask him what the bloody hell was actually happening.> 1986 Price106.

how Why, how it was that <I was being rather po-faced about the seals beingslaughtered. And I asked how he [the Secretary of State for Scotland], as aman who had the power to revoke the culling licences, had not done so.> 1987Nov. Illustrated London News 64/2.

I + modal + verb of opinion Comment clauses of this pattern have a verb ofopinion, which is usually think or say (after dare) but may be a negated verbof unbelief (be surprised, imagine, wonder). In initial position, such clauses arebest interpreted as main clauses followed by noun clauses as direct objects(cf. § 1.4.4 , ), but in medial and final position, they areclearly adverbial. Final position is most typical for these clauses. <You’ll beold enough, I daresay, to remember that militia call-up of lads a few monthsbefore war broke out.> 1985 Clark 139. <SIS were always treading on SOE’stoes, accidentally on purpose, I shouldn’t be surprised, and vice versa.>1985 Taylor 135. <He’ll be here presently to have a word with you, I should-n’t wonder.> 1987 Aug. 23 ch. 8 Athens GA Jewel in the Crown rerun.<Several hundred miles, I should think. Getting on a thousand.> 1989Dickinson 136. <It was a mews house in Kensington, expensive, well aboveher bracket I’d have thought, but what did I know?> 1989 Nicholson 32.<He won’t be in till Monday, I shouldn’t think, but I promised to keep himfully informed.> 1992 Dexter 238.

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I + verb of opinion In comment clauses of this pattern, the verbs think and sup-pose have been reported as somewhat more common in British conversationthan in American, whereas I guess is almost exclusively American (LGSWE983). The “American” I guess is well represented in Chaucer and other pre- andearly seventeenth-century texts as I gesse, of which the OED has 33 examples,as well as 221 examples of the modern spelling I guess, most of them British.In CIC, I think and I guess are predominantly American, with respectively8713 and 1101.9 iptmw, compared with British 4113.1 and 120.2. However,I suppose and I reckon are predominantly British, with respectively 588.2 and85.8 iptmw, compared with American 180.4 and 6.2. Reckon in the sense “sup-pose” is dialectal in American English. <It’s just that the Ranulph businessis tiresome, I suppose.> 1945 Innes 52. <They say he’s bent, but everyone’sbent nowadays I reckon.> 1980 Kavanagh 101. A different picture emergesfor the intransitive negative I don’t think used adverbially in medial or finalposition. CIC British texts have nearly twice as many of it as American textsdo. <“Had she got nice legs?” “Not so nice as the other’s, I don’t think.”>1975 Dexter 100.

if needs be CIC indicates that if need be is the usual form in both British andAmerican, with 7.6 and 7.1 iptmw, respectively. However, if needs be has 1.8British and no American tokens. <I’ll take him round and introduce him to afew people, if needs be.> 1985 Barnard 50.

I’m sure <. . . the vicar’s redoubtable housekeeper appeared in the doorway.[ ¶ ] ‘Excuse me, I’m sure,’ she said.> 2000 Granger 297.

indeed emphasizing, often in final position <However, once you go down the roadtowards the kind of censorship he envisages you can end up in exceedinglydangerous waters indeed.> 1990 Aug. 20 Evening Standard 31/5.

in the event conjunct As it turned out; as it was; as it happened: The conjunc-tive use of this expression seems to be about 10 times more frequent in Britishuse than in American. “Br when it actually happens or happened <I wasvery frightened beforehand but in the event I didn’t fall>” (LDEL s.v. event).Common-core English uses in the event that followed by a present tense, refer-ring to a future event. <If the remainder of the magazine had been free frompotential libel, this might have been sufficient. In the event, we decided itwas not.> 1993 Feb. 27 Times 15/5.

jolly <‘I don’t aim to keep you long, gentlemen.’ [ ¶ ] ‘I should jolly hope not.’>1985 Bingham 144. Cf. § 7.1.

just 1. following an echoic tag question <‘Well, that bleedin’ narrows it down,’said Hayes sarcastically. [ ¶ ] ‘Doesn’t it just?’> 2000 Granger 281. 2. Barely<Lennon seems not to have inspired the same level of loathing and comesoff rather better, ending the book, just, a hero.> 1988 Sept. 25 ManchesterGuardian Weekly 27/5. The word order is also notable; an expected Americanversion would be “ending the book as a hero, but only barely.” 3. modifyingexpressions of time and place Right: LGSWE (547) suggests that before conver-sational expressions of time and place, British has just and American has right.

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The situation is, however, complex. For example, when just now is used in a con-text of past time, right is not possible. So, <You didn’t half go it just now>

1988 Lodge 168, could not have American right now. Indeed the Americanidiom would be completely different, something like You didn’t hold back justthen [or a moment ago]. However, if the context is present time, American rightfor just is a likely possibility: <Finally my central heating packed up [i.e., brokedown], and it is very cold here just now.> 1990 April 4, personal letter froma Londoner. This use is particularly frequent after a lot on my plate: <I’ve gota lot on my plate just now.> 1985 Gilbert 133, for which American mighthave I’ve got a lot to do [or I’m very busy] right now. Similarly, American rightmay replace British just as a modifier of after or before in <Just after nine.>1989 Quinton 113. <Just before they went off for their dirty weekend.> 1984Brett 70. But American right seems less probable than just before then in <Justthen, the police constable on duty outside the flat opened the front door toadmit Grimes.> 1985 Bingham 19. In combinations of just versus right beforenow, after, and before, CIC has 378.8 iptmw of just and 156.5 of right in Britishtexts, and 284.3 of just and 1146.2 of right in American texts. Thus Britishprefers just and American right in these combinations. Before then, however,both national varieties prefer right over just, British by 38.8 to 22.2 iptmw andAmerican by 19.6 to 11. Similarly, before the expressions of place here andthere, both British and American prefer right, although American does so farmore clearly. As modifiers of here, CIC has 7.6 iptmw of just and 22.4 of right inBritish texts, but 7.9 of just and 122.1 of right in American texts. As modifiersof there, CIC has 17.2 iptmw of just and 25.3 of right in British texts, but 13 ofjust and 114.7 of right in American texts.

just on British dictionaries define this expression before numbers as “exactly.”<I followed a police Range-Rover for several miles up the motorway and myspeedo read just on 70.> 1989 July 21 Evening Standard 9/3.

less soon Opposite of rather: This use has no examples in CIC for either Britishor American. <. . . he would less soon watch television than, in his ownphrase, have a lump of vegetable marrow shoved into his skull instead of abrain.> 1969 Amis 24.

like nonstandard As it were; so to say: This use has something in commonwith the colloquial use of like as a meaningless filler (presumably an Amer-icanism originally), but it is older. <1778 F. Burney Evelina II. xxiii. 222Father grew quite uneasy, like, for fear of his Lordship’s taking offence.>OED s.v. like adv. 7. <It was a commune like, everyone paid something,more if they were in work, and we made like improvements.> 1994 Symons251–2.

like as not, (as) Probably: CIC has 1.6 iptmw in British texts and 0.5 in Amer-ican texts. The omission of the first as is not a distinguishing feature, beingfound in both varieties. The variant (as) likely as not is also more frequentin British, but by a smaller proportion (1.5 to 1). <‘What happened to Paul

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Morris?’ asked Morse. [ ¶ ] ‘Buggered off with Joseph’s wife, like as not.’>1979 Dexter 84–5.

mark you comment clause (CGEL 15.54) This is a rare expression in British,occurring only in some 0.7 iptmw, but not at all in the American texts of CIC.<They aren’t dissembling, mark you: they haven’t a clue themselves whatthey are going to do.> 1996 Aug. 4 Sunday Times 3 4/3.

mind (you) comment clause See § 10.momentarily Although the characteristic American sense of this word is “in

a moment; very soon,” as in The plane will be landing momentarily, its oldestattested and still primary British sense is “for a moment; lasting a brief time.”<James was momentarily distracted.> 1991 Cleeves 117.

near enough Nearly; almost: The expression, in all uses, is 3 times more fre-quent in British than in American, and this particular use is unusual in Amer-ican. <But it might yet amount to the same thing, near enough.> 1986 Price155–6.

near on Nearly: This is rare in British (only 0.2 iptmw of CIC), but does notoccur in any CIC American texts. <My last Subaru . . . had clocked up about50,000 miles when I bought it and near on 90,000 when I part-exchanged it.>1994 Sept. 17 Times Weekend 13/1.

never Not by any means <‘I’m from Rummidge University. I’m, er, takingpart in, that is to say . . . I’m on a kind of educational visit.’ [ ¶ ] The man free-zes in the act of stowing away his wallet. ‘You’re never Vic Wilcox’s shadow?’>1988 Lodge 102.

never ever CIC has 19.5 iptmw in British texts and 7 in American texts.<Believe it or not, but there has never, ever, been a lodge called the Gooseand Gridiron.> 2004 June Square 17/2.

nights, of At night <What d’you say I come and sleep here of nights?> 1949Tey 121.

nobbut Northern English dialect Nothing but; only: CIC has 0.7 iptmw in Britishtexts and none in American texts. <He looked a lot like his uncle when he wasnobbut a lad.> NODE.

none the less Nonetheless: Although the solid spelling is the primary or onlyentry in most British and almost all American dictionaries, the OED textcontains 38 tokens of the spaced spelling, 21 of the solid spelling, and 3 ofa hyphenated spelling. CIC has 46.9 iptmw of the spaced spelling and 143.9of the solid spelling in British texts and 3.2 and 189 respectively in Americantexts. The spaced spelling accounts for nearly a quarter of the British spellings,but for only an insignificant proportion of American spellings. <None theless, the guarantee of some degree of subsidy is a victory for Channel 4.>1989 July 23–9 Sunday Telegraph magazine 17/1.

nor Neither <And she is adamant she cannot foresee a day when she will stopspending. [ ¶ ] But then once upon a time nor could John de Lorean.> 1989Sept. 11 Daily Express 21/6.

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northwards Northward: CIC has 21 iptmw of northwards and 12.4 of northwardin British texts, and 1.5 and 24.7 respectively in American texts. <I was drivingnorthwards to the ring road so that I could go south from Oxford.> 1978Jan. 18 Punch 97/2.

not a bit of it Not at all: CIC has 6 iptmw of this expression in British texts and0.2 in American texts. <Given our present circ*mstances, you might think wewould first ask whether there was oil, or gas, or cheap fertiliser on Mars. Nota bit of it.> 1976 Aug. 11 Punch 207/1.

not before time None too soon: CIC has 3.5 iptmw of not before time and 0.4of none too soon in British texts, and none of not before time and 0.7 of none toosoon in American texts. <‘So I’ve been telling her things are clearing up.’ [ ¶ ]‘Not before time,’ Giles Tanco*ck said.> 1983 Innes 134.

not half The qualifying combination not half is both a downtoner and an ampli-fier. 1. As a downtoner, it modifies the determiner enough (CGEL 5.17n): Hehasn’t half enough money, and adjectives or verbs (CGEL 8.107n): I’m not halfsatisfied, i.e., “I am only partially satisfied (or, in fact, I am dissatisfied).” Inthese uses, it is equivalent to not enough money by half and not satisfied by half.2. It also has use as an amplifier. I’m not half satisfied can also mean “I amfully satisfied.” Similarly, She doesn’t half swear may be “She swears a greatdeal (that is, fully).” A similar American use is the qualifier in the collocationnot half bad “very good.” In some cases the British order of the expression isunlike anything to be found in American: It hasn’t half been cold today. <Youseen that Yamaha he’s got? I wouldn’t half like a go on that!> 1992 Granger207. 3. The expression is also an emphasizer. <A nurse came with cups of teafor both of them. Bridget whispered, ‘Old Smurthwaite doesn’t half keep herrunning.’> 1985 Mortimer 338.

not to worry Don’t worry <Not to worry. . . . I was just ringing to let herknow . . . he’s out of the country till next week.> 1993 Smith 176.

now especially after a tag question <I don’t want wet and mud all over my shop,do I now?> 1974 Potter 94.

on Later, afterwards: CIC contains only a few examples of this use in Amer-ican texts, but a great many in British texts. <It is still owned by a descen-dant of the founder six or seven generations on.> 1989 July 28 Times 33/1.<Seven years on from that party at No 11, Mr Blunkett again surprisedLabour MPs with his brazen self-confidence.> 2004 Dec. 16 Daily Telegraph4/1.

once, the Once <She seemed determined, having met Roper’s eye the once,not to do it again.> 1987 Hart 161. Cf. § .

only ever Only; always only; merely: CIC has 40.5 iptmw in British textsand 2.8 in American texts. <. . . he only ever surmounted the firsthurdle.> 1989 Aug. 5 Times Review 34/2. <Henry Fowler . . . insisted . . .that protagonist is a word that can only ever be used in the singular.> 1998Winchester 30. <He was only ever going to be involved in football.> 2005Jan. 9 Sunday Times 4 3/8.

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only just Barely: CIC has 113.1 iptmw in British texts and 17.6 in Americantexts. <Yes he passed, . . . but only just.> 1962 Lodge 161.

on the whole For the most part: CIC has 119.4 iptmw of on the whole in Britishtexts and 44.4 in American texts. Conversely, it has 70.3 iptmw of for the mostpart in British texts and 128.8 in American texts. <“Do you want to go in,sir?” [ ¶ ] “No. No, on the whole I think not.”> 1949 Tey 111.

perhaps CIC has 3054 iptmw of perhaps in British texts and 1698.5 in Americantexts. Conversely, it has 1342.9 iptmw of maybe in British texts and 2327.8 inAmerican texts. British prefers perhaps, and American maybe.

quite 1. Very much; completely; fully: CIC has 4761.8 iptmw of quite (in alluses) in British texts and 1604.2 in American texts. <Then my wife quitelikes foreign food.> 2004 Jan. 4 Sunday Times Magazine 70/4. 2. Exactly<Quite what she did for the next seventeen years remains far from clear.>1994 Mark Bevir (British scholar) Journal of the American Academy of Religion62:749. 3. Fully <. . . the knots . . . had been tied so effectively . . . thatSergeant Forsyte struggled with them for quite ten minutes.> 1977 Barnard80.

rather CIC has 4065.2 iptmw of rather (in all uses) in British texts and 2174.2 inAmerican texts. <But we do rather mind, actually.> 1989 Mar. 19 ManchesterGuardian Weekly 6/2.

really <I’ve really no idea, old man.> 1985 Bingham 61.right enough CIC has 79 iptmw in British texts and 0.5 in American texts. <It

was a shell right enough.> 1974 Price 137.rough CIC has 8 iptmw of sleep rough and 3.4 of live rough in British texts and

no American tokens. <. . . the rather harsh conditions under which excava-tionists work – living fairly “rough” on overseas digs is another example.>1986 Oct. 28 Times 37/2. <His explosives were soaked with snow as hewandered around Moscow and slept rough at stations.> 1993 Feb. 1 Times8/4.

round Around: CIC has 1408.8 iptmw of adverbial round in British texts and98.4 in American texts. In addition, although the number of senses listed fora word in dictionaries may represent the style of the lexicographer as much asthe semantics of the language being described, it is noteworthy that NODE has14 senses or subsenses for the adverb round but only 6 for the adverb around,whereas MW has 1 for round and 13 for around. <I think I’d like to take afew days’ leave, from the months owed to me, which I shall never get roundto taking.> 1984 Price 20. <Slavin trundled round with him a huge 20-inchby 24-inch Polaroid.> 1987 Mar. 12 Evening Standard 25/3. <Mrs Figg hadrecently taken to asking him round for tea.> 2003 Rowling 8 (US ed. around).Cf. §§ 5.1.4 - and 8.1 .

round about Nearby <Larking [a village] shared . . . a doctor with a cluster ofsmall communities round about.> 1968 Aird 6.

ruddy well; the ruddy hell CIC has 0.3 iptmw of these expressions in Britishtexts and none in American texts. <‘I should ruddy well think not,’ growled

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144 Parts of Speech

Hagrid.> 1998 Rowling 46. <. . . who the ruddy hell are you?> 2003 Rowling385. (Cf. § 5.2.)

sideways on CIC has some 15 tokens in British texts and none in Americantexts. <He had . . . a beaky nose that plunged downwards to meet his tiny oralorifice. If he had a girlfriend he could only have managed to kiss her sidewayson.> 1992 Green 32.

so So much <The old sweetie would adore it so.> 1969 Amis 226.sort of adverb of imprecision British conversational use of this sort of is 3 times

as frequent as American; on the other hand, the adverbs of imprecision ordoubt kind of, like, and maybe are about 5 times more frequent in Americanconversation than in British (LGSWE 869–70). – sort of thing As it were<‘How old is she sort of thing?’ Shirley asked Brian Everthorpe. [ ¶ ] ‘Idunno. Young.’> 1988 Lodge 107.

specially Especially: Specially is less common than especially in both Britishand American English (Peters 2004, 509) but especially in American; CIC hasa British ratio of 1:10 versus an American ratio of 1:26. <I helped collect thesoiled plates . . . and to stack them in the kitchen ready for the domestic help,who was coming in next morning specially to attend to them.> 2001 Lodge143.

straight away, straightaway Right away: CIC has 14.8 iptmw of straightaway(plus 91.7 of straight away) in British texts and 5.2 of straightaway (plus 3.7 ofstraight away) in American texts. By contrast, CIC has 37.8 iptmw of right awayin British texts and 117 in American texts. <Better get these ready-preparedmeals from M and S into the freezer straight away.> 2001 James 112.

straight on Straight ahead: CIC has 31.4 iptmw in British texts and 7.5 inAmerican texts. <Straight on for Bakerloo and Jubilee Lines> 1999 Mar. 10sign in the Baker Street tube station.

surely CIC has 455.0 iptmw in British texts and 200.7 in American. <Nothingthat a couple of nice lunches at The Ivy wouldn’t put right, surely.> 1999Mar. 17 Evening Standard 61/4.

thank you (very much) emphasizer <. . . most Britons are, despite everything,well enough pleased, thank you, not to be numbered among the foreigners.>1990 Critchfield 83.

then In all positions, then as a linking adverb is nearly twice as frequent inBritish conversation as in American; on the other hand, so in the same use ishalf again as frequent in American conversation as in British (LGSWE 887).A distinctive British use of then is in terminal position: <Who’s a clever boy,then?> 1987 Fraser, Your 35. <Well, there you are then.> 1988 Mortimer265. Cf. also 1992 below.

there we are comment clause CIC has 43.9 iptmw in British texts and 2.3 inAmerican. <“And The French Lieutenant’s Woman.” [ ¶ ] “Ah. I’m with you.Saw that at the pictures with the wife . . . Or was it on the box?” [ ¶ ] “Well,there we are then,” said Morse lamely.> 1992 Dexter 6. Cf. § 4.7.

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there you are comment clause CIC has 91.3 iptmw in British texts and 10.4 inAmerican. <. . . we have got accustomed to the idea . . . that musicals cansound good as well as make sense. But there you are.> 1986 Oct. 12 SundayTimes 55/8. <[response to the answer of a question:] Well, there you are.Learned something anyway.> 1989 Jan. 28 Mystery: Inspector Morse ch. 9 SanFrancisco. Cf. § 4.7.

too right Of course; certainly: CIC has 5.5 iptmw in British texts and noneof this use in American texts. <“That’s not usual, is it?” [ ¶ ] “Too right itisn’t.”> 1985 Taylor 77.

unawares Unaware (Peters 2004, 556): CIC has 11.6 iptmw of unawares inBritish texts and 1.5 in American. <This development took me entirelyunawares.> 2000 Caudwell 276.

undoubtedly; doubtless; doubtlessly: These three are listed in the order oftheir frequency in common-core English. American has proportionately astronger preference for undoubtedly, and doubtless is proportionately a strongersecond choice in British than in American. (Cf. also Peters 2004, 557.) <Thisbody . . . doubtless includes a number of wild-eyed cyclists.> 1988 JuneIllustrated London News 7/3.

up (from/on/to) <. . . he had travelled up from London on the same trainas Tim.> 1989 Quinton 100–1. <He’s up on allotment today. . . . Same plothe’s had since 1934.> 1991 Glaister 28–9. <Though it would be theoreticallypossible to travel up to London and back in the morning, it would be an awfulfa*g.> 2001 Lodge 224.

very <The United States is not, to be sure, part of the Economic Community,but is present in Brussels, very, and what does it do there? Spying on us,obviously.> 1994 Freeling 34.

-wards Adverbs in -wards are typical of British, the ending -ward being preferredin edited American use (CGEL I.41; CamGEL 615; Swan 1995, 615–16). Cf. , , .

-ways See , - . As an option to -ways (as in endways),-wise is primarily American, as it is also in the recent sense of “with regardsto” as in healthwise, moneywise, plotwise, and weatherwise (CamGEL 567). Ithas recent use with phrases, notably on the Internet: <The hostels in Londonare . . . centrally located, which makes them great location and staying therewise. . . . [a British example from a Web site on youth hostels]> (bracketedmatter in original) 2005 American Speech 80:108.

well and truly This is a legal phrase in common-core English dating fromthe fifteenth century at least. The OED (s.v. truly adv. 4.b), however, has ausage note: “now also for colloq. emphasis: decisively, ‘good and proper,’ ”which use is more characteristic of British than of American use. CIC has 21.4iptmw of well and truly in British texts and 1.1 in American texts. <I shouldthink the mechanism’s well and truly seized up by now.> 1991 Graham159.

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146 Parts of Speech

wherefore CIC has 7.9 iptmw of wherefore in British texts and 1.6 in Americantexts. <[receptionist to booking clerk in next room:] There’s a lady here to seeyou, Lynn. [booking clerk, fem., age ca. 35:] Wherefore?> (probably a jokinguse) 1990 Feb. 1 London House (Univ. of London).

while(s), the The whole/entire time <Rooks were . . . producing a great dealof clamour the while.> 1983 Innes 131. <. . . she followed the Order of Massthat early Sunday morning, glancing the whiles around her at the familiarstations of the cross.> 1992 Dexter 190.

whilst While, meanwhile: CIC has 380.8 iptmw in British texts and 8.8 inAmerican texts. <Whilst over the coming months, Central [Television]promises several memorable nights.> 1986 Oct. National Theatre program forDalliance [23].

with it As well; in addition <She is sincere, but funny with it.> 2003 June 28Times Weekend 9/2.

you + verb of perception <But that wasn’t quite what I asked, you see.> 1977Barnard 38. <There is a significant risk of getting lung cancer from passivesmoking, you know.> 1989 Mar. 19 Manchester Guardian Weekly 6/2. Cf.§ 10 .

6.2 Disjuncts

A syntactic category of adverbials is the disjunct (CGEL 8.121–2). Disjuncts aresemantically superordinate to the clauses in which they occur. Thus, It has rained,obviously = “It is obvious that it has rained”; or Frankly, this is not working =“I am frank in saying that this is not working.” Disjuncts, as a category, are partof common-core English. But in British, there appear to be a greater propensityto use them and a greater variety of forms with disjunctive function. Most, ifnot all, of the following can be found also in American. Yet the category as awhole is suggestive of Britishness. CIC shows each of the following to be morefrequent in British use than in American (except for more like, which is too rare asa disjunct for a judgment of frequency). The British/American iptmw is shownwithin parentheses after each lemma.

amazingly (62.1/34.2) <Amazingly – that is, it amazed me – she smiled withan almost impish good humour.> 1987 Bawden 82.

arguably (71.9/48.5) <He will retire as arguably the greatest race horse inthe world.> 1986 Oct. TV sports report.

astonishingly (29.4/11.9) <Perhaps, astonishingly, she disarmed self-defence.> 1972 Drabble 24.

awkwardly (42.7/16) <Awkwardly, this tax encourages the rich colleges tominimise their cash incomes.> 1989 July 8 Economist 54/2.

exceptionally (86.7/37) <It was, exceptionally, a state restaurant, whichtaught us not to make assumptions.> 1989 Aug. 28 Daily Telegraph 17/7–8.

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famously (45.6/33.7) <The Prince of Wales is famously a welly-booted andBarbour-suited champion of the countryside who farms organically in muddyGloucestershire.> 1999 Mar. 20 Times Weekend 12/1.

funnily (18.5/0.2) <[Clive Bradley:] Funnily enough, a Brit like me foundhimself relatively shy turning up for the case method of teaching [at Yale LawSchool].> 1990 Critchfield 257.

importantly, more (69.3/47.6) <I had momentarily forgotten that she proba-bly didn’t know who George was, nor, more importantly, who his daughterwas.> 1987 Bawden 60.

interestingly (64.3/33.6) <Interestingly, he [John Major] says of her[Margaret Thatcher], “Apart from admiring her, I like her. She is a jolly nicewoman.”> 1990 Critchfield xxiv.

irony, by an (0.2/0) Ironically <By an irony, it was Grade’s peremptorydeparture from the Beeb the previous year that had cleared the way for him.>1988 Apr. Illustrated London News 58/1.

more like More likely <Called by co*ckerels more like.> 1987 Feb. 2 EveningStandard 23/2.

regrettably (17.8/9.5) <And, regrettably, many colleges only teach theirstudents to type at the bare minimum words per minute; what’s neededis over 60wpm, and an accurate 60wpm, plus.> 1988 Sept. 15 Times41/1–2.

remarkably (148.4/94.9) <Remarkably, this was upheld in 1983 in the HighCourt.> 1988 Sept. 14 Times 18/2.

sadly (241/58.6) <. . . the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary. Sadly, theyare no more.> 1988 Dec. In Britain 35/4.

seriously (570.8/494.7) Really <My God, . . . you haven’t seriously lockedthe door?> 1976 Raphael 132.

surprisingly (265.2/177.3) <In March he surprisingly accepted the job ofmanaging director of BBC Television.> 1988 Apr. Illustrated London News58/1.

unexpectedly (78.1/64.3) <More unexpectedly, she shares an allotment onthe south side of the river with a retired postman called Prime.> 1987 Bawden17.

uniquely (47.9/30.5) <[World Cup rugby:] Of course, extra time is added (inAustralia, uniquely, by timekeepers who record it from the referee’s signalsand sound a hooter at the end).> 1987 June 18 Times 40/8.

unusually (103.7/98.4) <I noticed that Tim, unusually, asked for a doubleScotch.> 1991 Barnard 76.

usefully (34.5/5.5) <More usefully, perhaps, the guide clearly shows studentswishing to study, say, dentistry which 16 institutions offer it, what A-levelsubjects they need to have passed and how stiff the competition is.> 1987 June20 Times 24/2.

worryingly (12.1/0) <Worryingly, he then tries convincing me that my arm’slost feeling.> 1994 Sept. 28–Oct. 5 Time Out 8/4.

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148 Parts of Speech

6.3 Comparison

Only a few differences in the comparison of adverbs have been noted.

far/further/furthest Far/farther/farthest: CIC shows a British/Americanpreference for further (2756.7/1402.9) over farther (90.6/169.8), with theBritish preference being stronger, and a British preference for furthest (27)over farthest (10.5), with a slight American preference for farthest (13.9) overfurthest (10.7). <Lewis drove half a mile or so further.> 1992 Dexter 101.<Career worries were furthest from the former marine’s mind.> 1987 Feb.27 Evening Standard 13/1.

The choice between inflectional or periphrastic comparison is variable incommon-core English, but some choices are more characteristic of one varietythan the other.

badly, more Worse: Although the normal comparative of badly is worse, CGEL(7.83) reports that periphrastic comparison is required in British after needand want: I really need that job more badly than you. CIC has 1.2 iptmw ofmore badly in British texts and 0.4 in American.

oftener More often: CIC has 5.7 iptmw of oftener in British texts, and 0.7 inAmerican. <You ought to do this oftener.> 1940 Shute 145.

Also the choice between positive, comparative, and superlative forms is some-times characteristic of national varieties.

best Better <Well, I’d best hop along to class.> 1989 Oct. 5, undergraduateEnglish major at University College London.

best pleased Well pleased: CIC has 3.6 iptmw of best pleased and 10.1 of wellpleased in British texts; it has none of best pleased and 2.4 of well pleased inAmerican texts. <His editor had not been best pleased.> 1991 Critchley151.

6.4 Adverb order

Different adverbs have different typical positions in a clause (CGEL 8.14–23,150–2). Although there is often considerable latitude in positioning an adverb,certain positions may be more preferable for a given adverb than others. Thepositions of adverbs can be identified with the following symbols (CGEL 8.14),in which I or i is initial, M or m is medial, and E or e is end:

I They iM must M have mM been eM watching iE us E.

The order of adverbs of probability (such as certainly and probably) before orafter an operator (such as has) differs between British and American (Swan 1995,26; Johansson 1979, 200). Those adverbs have the following order distributionsin CIC texts (the numbers are iptmw):

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British Americanhas certainly 22.7 13.4certainly has 11.7 22.2has probably 21.2 14.5probably has 8.8 18.6

These figures do not take account of whether or not the operator was emphasized(which Swan reports as an influencing factor), but they support the generalizationthat American prefers the iM position rather than the M (or later) position forthese adverbs and British has the opposite preference.

Adverbs of frequency (generally, never, usually), like those of probability, tend tooccur in medial position, after the first auxiliary, if there is one. However, withthese also American has a higher tolerance for placement before the first auxiliarythan does British: She usually is at work from nine to five versus She is usually atwork from nine to five (Johansson 1979, 200). In the next example, the adverb offrequency would be expected in the medial position, after the first auxiliary verb(Previously he had always been . . .); here it occurs instead before the main verb.

always <He had previously been always negotiating with Islamic Jihad.> 1987Jan. 27 BBC1 morning news.

An adverb of time-when typically occurs initially or at the end of its clause.The initial position is favored except in relative clauses, where the initial positionof the relative has priority. However, in the following examples, adverbs of timeoccur in one of the medial positions (like previously in the immediately precedingexample). These examples are from journalistic (or in one case advertising) prose,which may explain the shift of the time adverb, since journalistic writing prefersthe subject in first position.

during the week <He . . . lives during the week in a grace-and-favour res-idence in Admiralty House . . .> 2003 June 25 Guardian international ed.9/2.

earlier in the week <We did earlier in the week publish a complete costingof our manifesto.> 1987 May 18 BBC1 morning news (Alliance spokesman).

last night/year <A girl aged four was last night waiting for a life-saving livertransplant in a London hospital.> 1987 Apr. 23 Times 2/6. <Priscilla . . . isa Brit living in America, where she last year earned £30,000.> 1987 May 11Evening Standard 27/4–5.

now <Eric can now hold a saucepan.> ca. 1987 tube train poster ad for arthritistreatment.

this afternoon <The Home Office was this afternoon going to the HighCourt to try to overturn the judge’s ruling.> 1987 Feb. 18 Evening Standard2/3–4.

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150 Parts of Speech

today <The conference is today to give its assent to the joint strike.> 1987Apr. 20 Times 1/3. <The Government will today announce an innovativestructure for the £1 billion-plus flotation of BAA.> 1987 June 22 Times 1/7.

yesterday <Retailers were yesterday ordered not to stock a so-called “Viagrapop” due to go [on] sale in Britain next week, which claims to use herbs to boostsexual performance.> 2003 June 26 Guardian international ed. 8/6. <CultureSecretary Tessa Jowell yesterday announced plans to bring some democracyinto the lottery.> 2003 July 4 Daily Express 12/2.

In the following example with two adverbs of time, an alternative is to putthe larger time unit first, followed by the smaller one (last year in February) orto subordinate the larger time unit to the smaller one (in February of last year).<. . . the vice-chancellors . . . argue that the 1988 pay round was covered by asettlement negotiated in February last year.> 1988 Oct. 16 Sunday Telegraph2/6.

When an adverb of time or duration cooccurs with an adverb of place, theexpected order is place + time/duration. The reverse order is exemplified bythe following citations.

late home Late home occurs in CIC British texts a little more than one-third asoften as home late but not at all in American texts. <His missus would go ona vinegar trip if he was late home again.> 1989 Bainbridge 150.

longer here Here longer <What a pity you can’t stay longer here!> 1986Benson 53.

As a modifier of the subordinating conjunction since, ever usually precedes:ever since. The reverse order, however, is exemplified in the following citation.

since ever <He has a cottage near the church, and since ever anybody canremember he’s been saying he has lived in it for eighty-seven years.> 1983Innes 109.

Other matters of order are illustrated by the following citations.

anyway The usual positions for anyway are clause initial or final. But medialposition is also attested, albeit exceptionally. <But the measure . . . wouldsubsidise many of those who would anyway go private.> 2003 June 12 Times20/2.

better had Had better (Swan 1995, 226). The same order of better first is possiblein American, though the CIC has no American examples and 9 in British texts.Two are from fiction: <Somewhere along the line, Rosemary supposed, theremight have been a question raised about whether the wife had been informed,and a bit of perhaps we better had.> and <I’m sure you’re astute enoughto work it out, and for all your sakes you better had.>. The others are fromspoken texts, such as <Yes you better had>.

defiantly <Marjorie looked defiantly at him.> (an American clerk in copyingthe quotation typed: “at him defiantly”) 1988 Lodge 234.

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just <Have just a think on your own, OK? [i.e., “We’ll give you a moment tothink about it.”]> 1989 Jan. 28 ch. 9 San Francisco Mystery: Inspector Morse.

marginally <“Anyway, I’m too old and fat to model a fur coat,” she said.[ ¶ ] “Of course not,” said Hugo, gallantly, while thinking that in fact she,marginally, was.> 1980 Drabble 7.

matter not, to Not to matter: There are no tokens of to matter not in CIC foreither British or American texts. <It seemed to matter not to Ball that it wasthe filthy elements that reduced Portsmouth’s attendance from the hoped-forbiggest of the season to one of under five figures.> 1986 Oct. 25 Times 41/4.

6.5 Adverbial particles

Although British and American share a common inventory of adverbial particles,with only a few differences of form (e.g., on and off vs. off and on), they differsignificantly in their use of those particles. The following list is of a few adverbialparticles. For many others that complement particular verbs, see § 11.1.6.

about Around (Andersen 1972, 861; Swan 1995, 53–4) <They don’t like beingshunted about. You start moving men about from one job to another, andthey start complaining.> 1988 Lodge 124. <. . . apart from occasionally beingknocked about a bit it has not been physically or psychologically menacing.>1988 May In Britain 39/4. Cf. § 6.1 .

down Away from an important place (cf. ) <In more hierarchical days, . . .London was generally accepted as the most important centre in the UnitedKingdom, and all journeys . . . away from London were down, even if theywent north. In 1846 Lord Chancellor Campbell wrote: ‘At Christmas I wentdown (from London) into Scotland and, crossing the Cheviots, was nearly lostin a snowstorm.’ Miss La Creevey, miniature painter and London landladyin Nicholas Nickleby: ‘You don’t mean to say that you are really going all theway down into Yorkshire this cold winter’s weather, Mr Nickleby?’ Britishtrawlermen used to speak of making a trip down north, even when they wereheading to the Kara Sea or somewhere else within a few degrees of latitude ofthe North Pole, very rightly regarding Grimsby or Aberdeen as the centre ofthe world, and all voyages from there as by definition down. . . . To go up toOxford means to take up residence at the beginning of term, until you comedown at the end of term, unless you have had the bad luck to be sent down(expelled) earlier. But if your parents come to visit you, they will come down toOxford from London, and you will take a trip up to London for the day. This ismerely an extension of the hierarchical system of up and down. As a member ofthe university, you go up to the centre of your universe. As an ordinary citizen,you go up to London from Oxford or Cambridge.> 1990 Howard 107–8.

in 1. Inside <They’ve got real cream-horns and brandy snaps with cream in.>1986 Clark 202–3. 2. “Brit. (of a fire) alight: do you keep the fire in all night?”(CED s.v. in). 3. In the middle of a quarrel <Well, as I said, we quarrelled,

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152 Parts of Speech

Hereward and I, as we always did. We were well in, when Dersingham bargedin.> 1991 Greenwood 200.

on and off Off and on; intermittently: Although on and off is the favored orderin both national varieties, American is relatively more favorable to off and on,particularly in the sense “intermittently.” MW so defines off and on, with onlya cross reference to that form from on and off. The OED documents off and onfrom 1535, but on and off only from the nineteenth century. CIC has 4.5 timesas many tokens of on and off as of off and on in British texts, and only twice asmany in American texts. <He lived for forty five years in Italy on and off butnever learnt to speak Italian.> SEU w1-1.106.

number out Number off <As it turned out, she was correct on the first twocounts, but on the last she was one out.> 1994 Oct. 1 Times Magazine 54/5.

over to someone Up to someone <They are happy to have done their bit inrescuing a historic building that was well on its way to oblivion. But now itis over to someone else to complete the task.> 1991 Feb. 9 Daily TelegraphWeekend 20/5.

up Toward an important place (cf. ) <Saves a special journey up totown.> 1985 Bingham 47.

6.5.1 Omission of a particle

home from home Home away from home: CIC has 5.0 iptmw of home fromhome in British texts and 0.1 in American texts. It has 0.4 iptmw of home awayfrom home in British texts and 4.2 in American texts. <Home from homewas what people wanted then and they achieved that by taking their holidaysin English ghettos eating chips.> 1991 Feb. 18 Girl about Town 10/1.

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7 Qualifiers

Qualifiers (also called degree adverbs) are expressions that modify adjectival oradverbial constructions. They seem to be more frequently used in British thanin American, a generalization that is statistically supported for quite and veryaccording to the LOB and Brown corpora. On the other hand, some qualifiersare characteristic of American, such as kind of in The argument was kind ofcompelling, mighty in It’s mighty hot today, plenty in The nights were plenty cold (aMW usage note points out that, despite advice against the use, it is more precisein some contexts than the alternatives, although it is informal), and some in He’sfeeling some better today. Other qualifiers identified as primarily American arepretty, real, really, so, and totally (LGSWE 564–7).

7.1 Modifying adjectives or adverbs

(a) bit A little; rather: CIC has 1833.7 iptmw in British texts and 670.7 inAmerican texts. <After the judge had said he hoped that the women would“be able to arrive at some sort of truce”, Lady Archer, 58, remarked to hersolicitor: “That’s a bit rich.”> 2003 July 4 Times 7/1.

absolutely <How absolutely super!> 1985 Mortimer 229. Cf. LGSWE 564.as near as makes no difference/matter/odds Very nearly: CIC has no

American tokens but a number of British ones. <There are new options.These are mostly based upon the realisation, which has come upon the Irishlike a cloudburst at a race meeting, that the country is as near as makes noodds bankrupt.> 1987 Feb. 9 Evening Standard 7/2.

at all Very in a negative context <He didn’t feel he knew either at all well.>1983 Innes 55.

awfully, most Very <“Well . . .” The man paused diffidently “. . . it’s mostawfully kind of you – ”> 1975 Price 28.

barking Completely, before mad; barking is also used alone as an adjective inthe sense “mad.” CIC has 3 iptmw of barking mad in British texts and nonein American texts. <The man’s barking mad, thinks Faro.> 2001 Drabble252.


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best, not (before pleased) Very little; not at all: CIC has 3.6 iptmw in Britishtexts and none in American texts. <They weren’t best pleased about that;what with her being new and them being so busy just now.> 2000 Aird76.

blasted Damned <Well, don’t look so blasted boot-faced about it, then! That’sthe trouble with you, you’ve no bloody sense of humour.> 1968 Porter 13.

bleeding euphemism for bloody <Just bleedin’ bored and nosey.> 1985 Ebdon86.

bloody Very: CIC has 709.7 iptmw of bloody in all uses in British texts and 150.5in American texts. <I’d forgotten about that bloody awful one-way system.>1993 Smith 167. <The show is bloody good.> 1998 Jan. 7 Evening Standard53/2. Cf. §§ 5.1.1 , 5.2, 6.1, 10 ; LGSWE 564.

bloody sight Much<Bloody sight too interesting, if you ask me.>1940 Shute111–2.

blooming euphemism for bloody <Our geraniums are fantastic this year . . . andso are our roses / In fact the whole garden is blooming lovely!> (here a pun)1997 July 10 “Fred Basset” (British comic strip) Chicago Tribune 5 12.

crashingly <Bernard Shaw had seized on the crashingly obvious point thatno Englishman can open his mouth without being despised by some otherEnglishman.> 1984 Smith 13.

cringingly <To compensate for their lack of thought, he accuses [TV] writersof “fobbing us off with cringingly appalling anecdotes about bottoms andurinals, with a lot of arm-waving and screaming.”> 1987 May 29 EveningStandard 31/2.

dead Extremely <Paul and Fatima who run it [a cafe] are dead friendly andnice.> 1994 Sept. 14–21 Time Out 33/4.

deuced <He painted my grandfather – deuced well.> 1937 Innes, Hamlet 233.devilish Very <We know devilish little about that sort of thing, after all.>

1983 Innes 69.effing CIC has 2.6 iptmw in British texts and none in American texts. <Oh yes,

I’m good with people. I’m effing brilliant.> 1994 Sept. 24 Guardian Weekend84/1. Cf. § 5.2.

ever post-head qualifier of superlative adjectives Although originally an American-ism as a qualifier in connection with superlatives, ever is now common-coreEnglish. The OED reports this use (s.v. ever adv. 7.f ) with early Americanexamples, such as <1906 ‘O. Henry’ Four Million (1916) 71 Anna and Mag-gie worked side by side in the factory, and were the greatest chums ever>,in which ever is at the end of a noun phrase containing a superlative adjec-tive. However, later British citations place ever immediately after a superlativeadjective within a noun phrase. The use of ever as a post-head modifier ofthe adjective is 2.3 times more frequent in CIC British texts than in Amer-ican. <Neil Kinnock had one of his best ever results with 22,947 majorityin Islwyn, David Owen had his biggest ever win in Plymouth Devonport by6,470.> 1987 July Illustrated London News 21/1.

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ever so CIC has 56.5 iptmw in British texts and 14.6 in American texts. <You’reever so close to a “Touch of Pine” store.> 1995 May 26 radio commercial.

fair <By the time they arrive north of the border, . . . they have worked them-selves up into a fair old lather.> 1999 Mar. 6 Economist 37/1.

flipping <I had caught a flipping awful cold.> 1960 Feb. Lilliput 61/2.frightfully CIC has 10.3 iptmw in British texts and 2 in American texts. <. . . it

really was frightfully good.> 1989 Mar. In Britain 37/4.full Very: Full well is about 1.5 times more frequent in British CIC texts than in

American. <The letter centre is that way, as I’m sure you know full well.>1987 Apr. 20 ITV Crossroads.

full on On full; fully on: In the sense “all the way on” (of lights, sound, heat,water, etc.), on full is the norm in common-core English, as opposed to full on“precisely on” as in full on the lips or “directly, straight ahead” as in hit the carfull on. But full on is more than 3 times as frequent in CIC British texts as inAmerican. <Although it was a warm day the radiators were full on.> 1987Graham 97.

hellish <These things are always hellish difficult to decide.> 1976 Bradbury29.

hugely CIC has 73.3 iptmw in British texts and 28.8 in American texts.<Graduates are hugely important to us.> 1994 Sept. 25 Sunday Times 32/6.

incredibly <It’s . . . incredibly lyrical.> 1986 Dec. 4 Midweek 21/1–2.jolly CIC has 76 iptmw in British texts and 11.7 in American texts. <That was

jolly clever of you!>1990 Rowlands 57.<’Tis the season to be jolly . . . pleasedthat everything you’re looking for is in one place.> (syntactic pun) 2002 Nov.17 underground train car poster for John Lewis store. Cf. § 6.1. – jolly goodCIC has 21.1 iptmw of jolly good in British texts and 1.1 in American texts.<So you found Ryan, Mrs. Clutton. Jolly good.> 2003 James 242. – jollywell CIC has 4.8 iptmw of jolly well in British texts and none in Americantexts. <If he’s the one who did it in the first place, you should jolly well makehim do it in his own time.> 1990 Rowlands 22.

near Nearly <. . . it has sadly made it near impossible to watch the film withan open mind.> 1988 Sept. 13 Metropolitan 10/1–2. – near enough CIC has18.3 iptmw in British texts and 6 in American texts. <At night, provided thealarm system was switched on, Cort Place was near enough impregnable.>1987 Hart 85.

nothing like Not nearly <None of them would have ever been asked to . . .Holland House, nothing like clever enough.> 1979 Snow 226.

over the top <. . . she’s always been a bit over the top vitriolic about HermioneOrwell.> 1987 Bawden 57.

proper(ly) Really, very <Proper upset, he was.> 1968 Aird 122.quite The word quite is significantly more frequent in British than in American

English. LOB has 484 occurrences, compared with Brown’s 281 (Hofland andJohansson 1982, 522; also LGSWE 566). CIC has 4523.6 iptmw in British

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texts and 1541.4 in American texts. <Quite Another of those English wordsthat has been not only changing but is now even reversing its meaning. Thus,while it originally meant ‘totally’ (‘I was quite alone’), it also meant ‘actually’(‘she was quite ill’); and out of this second sense has grown the use of quite tomean ‘fairly’ or ‘somewhat’. So, when we say ‘his work is quite satisfactory’do we mean it ‘somewhat’ or ‘totally’ satisfies? Americans still, and not onlyin this instance, tend to prefer the old sense; in England the original meaningnow sounds distinctly affected – and not just quite affected.> 1984 Smith198. 1. with simple adjectives <. . . they have been known to get quite nasty.>1989 Mar. 19 Manchester Guardian Weekly 24/5. 2. with superlatives Certainly,decidedly, much<Greenbaum’s book provides quite the best discussion of theproblem that I have read.> 1989 Apr. English Today (5.2) 48/1. 3. with numbersFully <Sergeant Forsyte struggled with them for quite ten minutes.> 1977Barnard 80. 4. with adjectival nouns Really <It might be quite fun.> 1959Innes 5. 5. with adverbs Very < . . . it can drip away quite happily.> 1987Oliver 81.

rather CIC has 3880.3 iptmw in British texts and 1943.8 in American texts.<I’m afraid they were rather good, weren’t they?> 1988 Stoppard 20.

right 1. with adjectives Very; real <At the photo-shoot, the band suggested aright royal knees-up round the old Joanna.> 1994 Sept. 28–Oct. 5 Time Out6/3. – right little CIC has 1.5 iptmw in British texts and none in Americantexts.<In fact, those banks could be right little hotbeds of alien intelligence.>1985 Clark 61. – right old CIC has 3.3 iptmw in British texts and none inAmerican texts. <She was a right old so-and-so, his mum.> 1992 Charles128. 2. with adverbials Completely; altogether; all <“We’ve scared them away.”[ ¶ ] “Right away?”> 1987 Nov. Illustrated London News 82/4–84/2. – rightthe way <We costume you in frock coats right the way through.> 1987Bradbury 24.

ruddy “Informal, chiefly Brit. . . . bloody” (CED). <Ruddy great engine infront of you to keep the bullets off.> 1940 Shute 112.

seriously Very: CIC has 1.4 times as many of this use in British texts as inAmerican. <. . . if the Labour Party ever gets back into power, she will be aseriously important adviser to Downing Street.>1988 June Illustrated LondonNews 36/3.

sincerely Very <Stay put while I phone my editor. Don’t budge if you want tobe sincerely rich.> 1991 Critchley 175.

spanking In common-core English, this qualifier collocates mainly with cleanand new. CIC has 3.8 iptmw of spanking new in British texts and 1.5 in Americantexts. It has no tokens of American spanking fine or spanking good. <The Sunin Scotland had a spanking good exclusive story about the President of theScottish Conservative Association and an Edinburgh prostitute.> 1989 Sept.14 Times 17/4.

stone-bonker <Tomorrow we all try to make stone-bonker sure that Hopcraftwas shanghaied from here.> 1985 Clark 124.

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streets “chiefly Br < ∼ ahead of the other girls>” (LDEL).CIC has 3.6 iptmw of streets ahead in British texts and none in Ameri-can texts. <London Rents Streets Ahead.> 2004 Jan. 2 Times Business27/2–3.

that So; very “dial Br to such an extreme degree” (LDEL). <I’ll be thatgrateful.> 1995 Sept. 11 BBC1 “The Chamber.” <I’m that excited.> 2003July 4 Times T2 2/2.

that bit A bit; somewhat <. . . she was wrongly dressed: her powder-blue suitand hat were that bit too formal and old-fashioned for the fete.> 1985 Barnard54.

thumping CIC has 0.5 iptmw of thumping great/good in British texts and nonein American texts. <. . . we insist on a thumping great order or a high price.>1988 Lodge 76.

thundering “Br informal 1 – chiefly in thundering good and thunderinggreat” (LDEL). <A prolonged round of applause from the ground distractedCharters. ‘Someone out, by the sound of it.’ [ ¶ ] ‘Or a thundering good six,’said Caldicott.> 1985 Bingham 179.

too . . . by half Much too <Mavis didn’t seem the type to kill herself. Tooself-satisfied by half.> 1991 Charles 199.

very Although very is common-core English, it is more often used in British thanin American; LOB has 1229 tokens, and Brown 796 (Hofland and Johansson1982, 540). CIC has 12,966.6 iptmw in British texts and 9442.5 in Americantexts.

well + alone Well enough + alone, after leave or let: CIC has 7.7 iptmw of wellalone in British texts and 0.2 in American texts. CIC has 4 iptmw of well enoughalone in British texts and 18 in American texts. 1. with intransitive verb <GoodGod, Pam, leave well alone.> 2000 Granger 43. 2. with transitive verb <Itwould be possible, and much more comfortable, to backtrack now, this minute,out of the whole conversation and leave things well alone.> 1998 Joss 242.

well + in with “Brit. informal. on good terms (with): the foreman was well inwith the management” (CED). <I am well in with the police.> 1986 Dec. 4Midweek 7/2.

well posthead modifier of emphasizing adverbs bleeding, bloody, ruddy, etc., see§ 6.1.

whacking +great “Informal, chiefly Brit.” (CED).<We’d still need a whackinggreat bank loan.> 1988 Lodge 372.

7.2 Modifying prepositional phrases

a bit A little; rather <. . . it looks a bit like brown-nosed sucking-up to showeryour boss with frequent individual presents.> 2003 June 28 Times Weekend2/5.

anything As much as: CIC has 10.5 iptmw of anything up to in British textsand 1.2 in American. <Express mail which normally took three days to arrive

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was now taking anything up to eight weeks.> 1987 May 28 Evening Standard10/5.

bang Exactly; completely <. . . brings the story bang up to date.> 1999 Mar.13 BBC1 News.

hard Close; right <If you’re running a pub hard against a 2,000-acre privatelyowned estate, it would ill-behove you to slag off the owners.> 1998 Jan. 3Times Weekend 3/4.

quite <Nothing quite like the Commonwealth has ever been created or evolvedbefore.> 1990 Mar. 12 a printed program for “An Observance for Common-wealth Day.”

right <She’s in two parts, sir – right in two separate pieces.> 1940 Shute 232.spot + on Exactly at <Mrs Denny, the medium, came in spot on two o’clock.>

1989 Sept. 1 Times 12/6.too Too much <Embarrassed, feeling too like a Peeping Tom for comfort, he

scrambled to the floor.> 1988 Lodge 108–9.very Very much <Both men, safely on the other side of the door, felt very like

naughty schoolboys who had avoided a wigging but had been given a talkingdown which was almost worse.> 1977 Barnard 142.

7.3 Modifying comparative structures

7.3.1 Equivalences

nothing like modifying “as/so . . . as” constructions: Although not nearly is thenorm in common-core English, CIC British texts have 4.8 iptmw of nothinglike and American 0.1. <The food is nothing like as imaginative in contentor in preparation as it is in neighbouring Spain.> 1992 newspaper CIC.

nowhere near CIC British texts have 9.2 iptmw and American 3.9. <They[New York unions] are nowhere near as Luddite as British unions were attheir worst.> 1994 Sept. Tatler 92/2.

quite Just <He took a taxi across to Waterloo, although the tube would havebeen quite as quick.> 1959 Innes 21.

7.3.2 Superlatives

much the most The very most; by far the most: CIC has 3.8 iptmw in Britishtexts and 0.2 in American. <Much the most difficult bit was hiding them inthe cupboard.> 1998 Rowling 160 (US ed. By far the hardest part).

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8 Prepositions

Dieter Mindt and Christel Weber (1989) concluded from a comparative study ofprepositions in the Brown and LOB corpora that 99.9 percent of all prepositionaltokens are of forms used in both British and American and that the six mostcommon prepositions (of, in, to, for, with, on) have the same rank order in bothvarieties and account for nearly three quarters of the occurrences of prepositionsin the two corpora. It is clear that prepositional differences are not mainly ofform. There are, however, a good many differences in collocation and frequency.

8.1 Choice of preposition

The most significant prepositional differences are in the choice of one prepositionover another in particular contexts, that is, the meaning of the preposition incontext or its idiomatic use or collocational probabilities, especially in regardto the preposition’s object. Cf. also §§,,, 11.2.1, and11.4.1.

Prepositions that are primarily American include (in) back of (Burchfield1996, 85; Peters 2004, 60–1). CIC has 0.5 iptmw of in back of in British texts(four-fifths of them oral and the other fifth from popular journalism) and 7.3 inAmerican texts (in all text categories except oral talk about lexicography, whichis the smallest of all text categories and therefore unrepresentative).

about 1. Around; in the vicinity of <I am aware that all about me peopleare watching, assessing, storing up tit-bits of information to pass on.> 1977December 7 Punch 1120/2. 2. Around; on every side or in every part of <“Thetrouble with your hair,” he sniffed as he faffed his fingers about in it, “is thatit’s not saying anything.”> 2005 Jan. 15 Daily Telegraph 27/5. 3. With; on;on the person of: The idiom keep/have one’s wits about one is more frequentin CIC British texts (5.7 iptmw) than American (0.7). <Was glad Ross hadhis wits about him sufficiently to watch out for traffic when visibility was sododgy.> 1983 Radley 144. In the sense of physical possession, the use is clearly


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British. <I haven’t any money about me.> CED. <have you a match ∼ you?>LDEL. Cf. § .

across On the other side of <A large Asda superstore stands across the road.>1995 June 8 London Review of Books 8/3. – across to Across from; opposite<The tea party was in rooms overlooking the main court, across to thechapel.> 1985 Byatt 129.

against 1. For; in anticipation of <He sent some of his books and papers forMr Caldicott to keep in storage against his return.> 1985 Bingham 16. 2. Inaccordance with <Mr Rhodes also says that your department insists on order-ing all pens . . . centrally, and then distributing them against departmentalrequisitions.> 1982 Lynn and Jay 170. 3. In compensation for <Chartersglared at him. ‘Official Mourner? What’s that?’ [ ¶ ] ‘Appointed by the HomeOffice, Unpaid, of course, though one receives a small honorarium againstexpenses – black tie allowance and so on.’> 1985 Bingham 58. 4. Because of;to protect from <He . . . put on his tweed coat against a blustery autum-nal morning.> 1986 James 18. 5. Next to <On your answer sheet, indicatethe letter A, B, C or D against the number of each item 26 to 40 for theanswer you choose.> 1987 May directions on a sample Cambridge Syndicateexamination. – hard against Very near; right next to <If you’re running apub hard against a 2,000-acre privately owned estate, it would ill-behove[Amer. “behoove”] you to slag off the owners – particularly when several ofthe estate staff were in the bar.> 1998 Jan. 3 Times Weekend 3/4. – claimsomething against tax Claim something as an exemption; claim something onone’s taxes <. . . actors will be taxed at source and will not be able to claima whole range of vital expenses against tax.> 1993 Feb. 7 Sunday Times 818/3.

along (a road or passageway) Down (from one location to another on a road,etc.); on (a road, etc.) <Straight into the school, through the swing doors.Right, and all the way along the passage.> 1991 Dickinson 41. – along atAt <Perhaps this afternoon, along at the cottage hospital.> 1987 Hart 18.– along to To <Simply visit a local bank or building society or go along toyour post office.> SEU w7-16.78.

amidst Amid; in the middle of (Peters 2004, 35): In CIC, British amidst isless than one-third as frequent as amid; but American amid is approximately23 times more frequent than amidst. <Even amidst the solemnity and deadseriousness of this stake-out, there was something very funny about the manfrom the Star.> 1995 June 8 London Review of Books 8/4.

amongst Among (Peters 2004, 35): The BNC has 4447 instances (17 percent) ofamongst versus 22,441 instances (83 percent) of among. The Michigan Corpusof Academic Spoken English (MICASE) has 19 instances (12 percent) ofamongst versus 146 instances (88 percent) of among. LOB has 45 instances (13percent) of amongst versus 313 instances (87 percent) of among; Brown has 4instances (1 percent) of amongst versus 370 instances (99 percent) of among.Similarly, CIC has 13 percent of amongst versus 87 percent of among in British

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texts, but 1 percent of amongst versus 99 percent of among in American texts,the same percentages as in LOB and Brown. <A dozen or so newspapers . . .lay in a staggered pile on a table just inside the breakfast room – The SundayTimes not amongst them.> 1992 Dexter 82.

apart from Aside from; except for; in addition to; other than: The BNC has6411 instances of apart from, and only 298 of aside from, and the text of theOED has 606 instances of apart from, and only 113 of aside from. (A majorityof the OED’s citations are British, as is all of its editorial language, in whichapart from features prominently.) CIC has 563.7 iptmw of apart from in Britishtexts and 109.3 in American texts. It has 46.8 of aside from in British texts and89.1 in American texts. <Apart from anything else, it is not fair on the littlepeople to make them sit quietly while great-uncle Tony and his friends rabbiton about Iraq and the European constitution.> 2003 July 9 Times 2/3–4. Cf.§ 6.1 .

as from As of: CIC has 40 iptmw of as from in British texts and 27.1 in Ameri-can. Conversely it has 74.1 iptmw of as of (in all uses) in British texts and 234.7in American texts. <As from the beginning of this term, Professor SidneyGreenbaum has taken early retirement as Quain Professor of English Lan-guage and Literature.> 1991 Mar. UCL NEWS (University College Londonmagazine) 19/1.

at The at of British English often corresponds to different prepositions inAmerican. In some cases, the entire prepositional phrase introduced by atis expressed otherwise in American.

at an attempt On an attempt <She . . . got caught (and prosecuted) at her firstattempt.> 1990 Aug. 24–30 Good Times 5/7.

at the back (of) In back (of): CIC has 257.4 iptmw of at the back in British textsand 39 in American. Conversely it has 6.1 iptmw of in back in British texts and35.9 in American texts. <Their council flat, in a high-rise block, had garagesfor the tenants at the back.> 1989 Williams 179.

at a bungalow In <He knew that she lived at a bungalow outside Taunton,Somerset.> 1994 Oct. 4 Daily Telegraph 3/1.

at college In: CIC has 27.9 iptmw of at college in British texts and 15.9 inAmerican texts. Conversely it has 9.9 iptmw of in college in British texts and147.9 in American texts. <My biggest thieving phase was when I was atcollege in a small town.> 1990 Aug. 24–30 Good Times 5/7.

at dead of night In the dead of night: CIC has equal British and American fre-quency for in the dead of night, but 0.8 iptmw for at dead of night in Britishtexts and none in American. <. . . there is just no evidence that the Bank ofEngland is dumping French francs and Danish kroner, at dead of night, onthe Tokyo market.> 1993 Feb. 13 Spectator 14/2.

at the double On the double: The idiom, with either preposition, is more fre-quent in British than in American, but whereas on the double occurs onlysporadically in either variety, CIC has 2.8 iptmw of at the double in Britishtexts and none in American. <The Government is moving at the double to

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increase the maximum penalty for insider trading from two to seven years.>1987 Jan. 20 Guardian 12/3.

at some election (campaign) In some election: An American clerk, transcrib-ing a British citation with at, mistyped in. <At this election people will havea clear choice. . . . What I’m concerned about is that people understand thenature of the choice that people have at the election.> 2005 Jan. 16 BBC1Breakfast with Frost.

at an examination, grades Grades on an examination <The diploma will beawarded to students at four levels of ability. . . . foundation level would be thesame as the lower grades at GCSE.> 2003 July 16 Times 1/3.

at half-co*ck Halfco*cked: In CIC, half-co*cked occurs with approximately equalfrequency in British and American, but at half-co*ck (used with about the samefrequency as half-co*cked in British) is not used at all in American.

at hand On hand, available: In CIC, at hand is used with approximately equalfrequency in British and American; but on hand is almost twice as frequentin American as in British. <. . . about two dozen hospitals already have GPsat hand in casualty departments.> 1999 Mar. 13 Times 1/6. Cf. below.

at Home Office In: According to random samples of CIC citations, Britishfavors at over in with home office by more than 2 to 1; American favors in overat by 4 to 3. <But we have a liaison officer at the Home Office.> 1986 Clark30.

at interview In/during an interview: Two factors are involved in this con-struction: the choice of preposition and the presence or absence of an articlebefore the noun. CIC has no instance of at interview in American texts and1.8 iptmw in British texts; it has 0.5 iptmw of in interview in American textsand 1.3 in British texts. When one word (generally a determiner) falls betweenthe preposition and the noun, CIC has 11 iptmw of at a/the/etc. interview inBritish texts and 2.6 in American texts, but 51.8 of in a/the/etc. interview inBritish texts and 300.0 in American texts. <Many graduates are made to feelashamed of a 2.2 at interview.> 1993 Feb. 13 Spectator 21/3.

at the moment Right now: CIC has 655.3 iptmw of at the moment in Britishtexts and 146.9 in American texts. By contrast, it has 138.7 iptmw of right nowin British texts and 1035.8 in American texts. <At the moment companiescan make their claims and it is up to the Trading Standards officers to disputethem.> 2003 June 28 Times Magazine 57/2–3. Cf. below.

at a pinch In a pinch: CIC has 4.3 iptmw of at a pinch in British texts and nonein American. It has 0.3 iptmw of in a pinch in British texts and 3.7 in American.

at place name British uses at with place names more than American does (OEDs.v. at 2; CGEL 9.17 for the contrast of area in which versus point at which).CIC has 1.5 iptmw of at the Isle in British texts and 0.1 in American. <I wasactually on board with regular commuters – the staff of the Daily Telegraph,which is now based at the Isle of Dogs.> 1988 Dec. In Britain 19/1.

at risk In danger: Although at risk was popularized in America as part of a 1983report about education and is used in medical contexts, it is used in wider

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contexts in Britain and may have originated there. The oldest citation for it inthe OED is <1965 New Statesman 10 Dec. 951/2 (Advt.), The appointmentshould be of interest to those who are prepared to assist in training childcare officers and actively supervising casework of ‘at risk’ families.> OEDrisk n. 1.d. All four of the OED’s citations of the form without an adjectiveare from British sources; its first American citation is at high risk from a 1973issue of Scientific American magazine. The expression appears to be a Briticismthat extended to American use through professional fields like education andmedicine. CIC, however, has more citations in American texts (161.6 iptmw)than in British (130 iptmw). <The caretaker of the block said that Gemmawas “only alone for about a day. She wasn’t really at risk”.> 1993 Feb. 13Daily Telegraph 1/6.

at school In school; (while) enrolled in a school: In British Sid is at school islikely to mean he is enrolled in a school, rather than being physically locatedthere instead of at home; the equivalent American expression for enrollmentis Sid is in school (CGEL 9.17). CIC has 244.9 iptmw of at school in Britishtexts and 83.9 in American texts. It has 56.9 iptmw of in school in British textsand 189.5 in American texts. <A single certificate . . . would radically reducethe number of exams students take and encourage more 16-year-olds to stayat school.> 2003 June 29 Times 26/1.

at second reading On/during a second reading <It is possible that an amend-ment is tabled at second reading but would almost certainly be defeated.>1999 Mar. 12 Times 14/4.

at source (Of tax) on gross wages < . . . actors will be taxed at source and willnot be able to claim a whole range of vital expenses against tax.> 1993 Feb. 7Sunday Times 8 18/3.

at speed At high speed; fast; quickly: CIC has 15.2 iptmw of at speed inBritish texts and 0.2 in American texts. It has 11.9 iptmw of at high speedin British texts and 5.8 in American texts. The use of the prepositional phrase,rather than an adverb such as quickly or fast, is British, but when the preposi-tional phrase is used in American it usually takes the adjective. <Francesca . . .was excusing herself and leaving at speed with the girl.> 1993 Neel 130.

at stall In the next stall <En route from the crush bar Joshua paused at thepalatial Gents. His neighbor at stall was Charles Harvey.> 1992 Critchley59.

at table, serve/wait Wait (on) tables: CIC has 2.1 iptmw of serve/wait attable(s) in British texts and none in American texts. It has 0.8 iptmw of wait(on) table(s) in British texts and 4.2 in American texts. <The outside cater-ers, who wore teeshirts with the word GNOSH on them as they served attable, were as noted for their nouvelle cuisine as they were for their nouveauBeaujolais.> 1987 Bradbury 18.

at (the) weekend(s) Over/on/during (the) weekend(s): Cf. CGEL 9.34, 40.CIC has 66 iptmw of at weekends and 77 of at the weekend in British texts,and 0.8 and 12 respectively in American texts. It has, on the other hand, 35.2iptmw of over (the) weekend(s) in British texts and 110.8 in American texts,

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26.8 of on (the) weekend(s) in British texts and 92.6 in American texts, and 3.8of during (the) weekend(s) in British texts and 12.9 in American texts. Thus, atis the favored British preposition in this construction, but over, on, and duringare favored in American. <Shall I buy a new pair of jeans? Yes, it will giveme more chance of pulling [“sexually attracting women”] at the weekend.>2004 Dec. 15 Daily Telegraph 13/6.

at past cardinal o’clock After cardinal o’clock: There are no instances in CIC.<At past three o’clock on a Sunday, the public dining-room was empty.>1969 Amis 229.

bar Except; except for, leaving out of consideration; unless there are: The prepo-sition bar is recorded from the early eighteenth century, but is more frequent inBritish (4 iptmw) than in American (0.1 iptmw), except for restricted contexts,such as the collocation bar none, which is slightly more frequent in Americanuse according to CIC texts. <When all was over, bar the disappointment, theonly enthusiast I could find was Michael.> 1996 July 24 Times 15/2–3.

before time Ahead of time: CIC has 6 iptmw of before time in British texts,including 3.7 of not before time. It has only 1 iptmw of before time in Americantexts, and none of not before time. <1961 M. Spark Prime of Miss Jean Brodieiii. 71 She had been retired before time.> OED s.v. retire v. 11a. – notbefore time None too soon <Swavesey provides – not before time – theencouragement I need to continue this quest for evidence that the meridianmeans anything to the people who live along it.> 1999 Mar. 20 Times Weekend3/8.

beneath The CIC has 423.9 iptmw in British texts and 270.4 in American.1. Underneath <From a cupboard beneath the stairs were exhumed a silvermulti-tier cake stand . . . and a leather ledger.> 1996 Aug. 9 Daily Telegraph16/2. 2. Beside but lower than <They came to South Harting presently, avillage close beneath the down.> 1940 Shute 143.

but Except: British and American prepositional use of but is similar, except incertain contexts, for example expressions like last but one, for which CIC has2.5 iptmw in British texts, but only 0.1 in American texts. <. . . for severalmoments they sat silently together, the last pair but one in the dining room.>1992 Dexter 17. Cf. below, § 8.2.2 , § 11.3.1 .

by British by has various American alternatives in a few expressions.by auction At auction: The word auction, in all of its inflected forms as noun

and verb, is used more frequently in American texts of CIC (225.9 iptmw) thanin British texts (182.6 iptmw). However, by auction is 7.5 times more frequentin British (1.5 iptmw) than in American (0.2 iptmw). <Millend was advertisedfor sale by auction on several occasions.> 1989 nonfiction CIC.

by oneself With; near: By meaning “near” with a pronoun object coreferentialwith the subject, as in She wants to have a book by her with stressed by, is char-acteristically British, and is distinct from the same sentence with unstressed byand stressed, non-coreferential her, meaning “written by some other woman,”

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which is common-core English (CGEL 9.9). <I’ll keep it by me – you neverknow, I may need to force a lock.> 1986 Oct. 27 Times 15/5.

by reference to With reference to: Pam Peters (2004, 464) reports that by ref-erence to “is used across a range of writing styles in the UK, whereas in the USit’s mostly found in academic writing.” In CIC texts, by reference to is about6.5 times more frequent in British use than in American. With reference to isalso more frequent in British than in American, but only about 3.3 times moreso. <For obvious reasons, it is desirable that the termination of a trust shouldNOT be by reference to the death of the settlor.> 1960 Feb. 12 EveningStandard 3/6.

by the sea On; next to: By the sea is not usual in present-day American English;compare the following definitions of coaster: “One who dwells by the sea coast”(OED); “a resident of a seacoast” (MW). CIC has 22.4 iptmw of by the sea inBritish texts and 3.4 in American texts.

by way of In CIC texts, by way of is about twice as frequent in British use as inAmerican. 1. Into; given to <“Do you know that as a young man he went in forextravagant hoaxes?” [ ¶ ] “I . . . shouldn’t suppose him to be much by way ofthat sort of thing now.”> 1959 Innes 158. 2. In the way of (gear/equipment)<. . . most had arrived with only sleeping bags and little else by way of kit tokeep out the cold of an English winter.> 1991 Feb. 2 Times 4/6.

cum This loanword, which was a preposition in Latin, is so identified in manyEnglish dictionaries. For that reason, it is treated here among the prepositions.MW, however, more appropriately calls it a conjunction. It sometimes func-tions like the preposition with (cf. bedsitter-cum-bathroom-cum-kitchen below).It more often functions like the conjunction and (cf. friend-cum-housekeeperbelow). But it most often functions like a lexical formative making dvandvacompounds (cf. study-cum-den below); a dvandva compound denotes coequalaspects, such as prince-consort or secretary-treasurer. Cum is very popular inBritish, but much less so in American. The following examples are arrangedalphabetically. <. . . a woman was seated alone in an upstairs flat, bedsitter-cum-bathroom-cum-kitchen.> 1983 Dexter 29. <Mairead, the family’sfriend-cum-housekeeper, lives with them now.> 1989 Sept. 11 DailyExpress 15/1. <And off the sitting room . . . is the writer’s study-cum-den.>1988 Feb. Illustrated London News 46/1.

down American has an archaic or regional use of down cellar “in/into the cellar”and a contemporary regional use of down-home “back home; of one’s homearea” (usually attributive) that have something in common with the Britishlocational uses. Common-core English uses down as a preposition when itsobject is a path (as contrasted with a goal), as in the following: <I strolledback down the lane.> 2001 Lodge 232. Cf. below. 1. At; down at <Whenhe sells it [condemned meat] down the Jockey, the entire estate gets foodpoisoning.> 2004 Dec. 17 Independent Arts & Books Review 2/2. 2. To; downto: “Br nonstandard ” (LDEL). <‘We’d better go down the chippie then.’ . . .They all . . . trail off dispiritedly down the hill to the chip shop.> 1991

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166 Parts of Speech

Glaister 8. 3. down the (tele)phone On/over the (tele)phone: CIC has 8.7iptmw of down the (telephone) in British texts; it has only a few examples inAmerican texts (one from a novel set in England, and another of data comingdown the phone line). <. . . the negligent printer . . . could have been calledon at any time within reason or even castigated down the telephone withoutmuch loss of effect.> 1988 Amis 256. 4. down the years Through the years:CIC has 7 iptmw of down the years in British texts and 0.7 in American texts.On the other hand it has 8.5 of through the years in British texts and 24.7 inAmerican texts. <Sassoon . . . gave voice to an anguish that has screameddown the years.> 2003 Nov. 11 Times T2 3/4.

down to, be (all) 1. Be attributable to (cf. put something down to a cause, whichis common-core English) <But now I can see the menu as clearly as I can myfellow diners and the waiter hovering in the distance. And it’s all down tomy Varilux spectacle lenses.> 1999 Mar. 20 Times Magazine 28. 2. Be up to;be the responsibility of <Whitehall would have a part to play in promotinggood health, but it would also be down to the public.> 1991 Apr. 25 EveningStandard 2/4.

for British for has American variants in a few expressions, and a few distinctivecombinations.

for cost a time At cost each: CIC has a few examples in British texts but none inAmerican texts. <Mr Christian [descendant of Fletcher Christian] registeredPitcairn as a domain on the Internet and planned to sell the “PN” electronicaddresses for £100 a time.> 1998 Jan. 3 Times 3/1.

for hour (o’clock) By hour (o’clock): This construction is common-core Englishin other senses, for example, one can set an alarm, book a table, order a cab,or schedule a meeting for a particular hour. But only in British English willa train get one in for three o’clock, or will one have been in bed for eighto’clock last night. CIC has approximately 7.2 iptmw of the construction withfor in this distinctive sense in British texts and none in American texts. <I’vegot to be back up at the castle for one o’clock.> 2000 Rowling 284 (USed. by).

for it In for it: “chiefly Br informal likely to get into trouble <you’ll be for itwhen teacher catches you>” (LDEL). “Brit. informal. liable for punishment orblame: you’ll be for it if she catches you.” (CED). This construction, with orwithout in, is rare; queries of CIC produced just one instance of be for it andone of be in for it in British texts and none in American texts. MW has a run-onentry under in adv.: “in for: certain to experience <in for a rude awakening>,”which underlies be in for it. <“I’ve made you some real coffee.” She filled twomugs. [ ¶ ] “You’ll be for it. We’re a caffeine-free zone here.”> 1993 Graham190.

for long enough For a long while: CIC has 11.4 iptmw in British texts and 2in American texts. <My missus has been trying to get hold of one of those forlong enough.> 1986 Clark 121.

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for the moment Right now: CIC has 101.2 iptmw of for the moment in Britishtexts and 57.5 in American. By contrast, it has 138.7 of right now in Britishtexts and 1035.8 in American. <Confined though he is for the moment byshadow cabinet elections every autumn, he will have more latitude in office.>1994 Sept. Tatler 96/3. Cf. above.

for a period of time In a period of time (CamGEL 707) <He’s an extremelypleasant dog, the first I’ve had for 20 years.> date n/a newpaper CIC.

for one’s view In one’s view: No examples with for were found in CIC; the con-struction with in is common-core English. <‘Do you gents want somethingto drink?’ though said in a perfectly friendly manner, was not, for my view,the right way for a wine waiter to address First Class passengers.> 1967 Frostand Jay 65.

hour for hour Specifying the earliest hour for arrival at an event (such as a meal)and the hour at which the event is to begin <I’m going to be late. It’s sevenfor seven-thirty.> 1985 Mortimer 102.

number for number A pattern for specifying cricket scores, specifically “Withthe result of (so many runs), at the cost of (so many wickets) . . . (Cricket) Thescore stood at 150 for 6 wickets” (OED s.v. for prep. 15). <. . . the score roseto 63 for 3.> 1985 Ebdon 138.

from a date From a date onward; after a date <Euros will be issued in both coinand note form from 1st January 2002.> 1998 Barclays Bank leaflet Economicand Monetary Union: What It Will Mean to You 4. <. . . the television seriesDad’s Army . . . ran for nine years from 1968.> 2004 Jan. 4 Sunday TimesMoney 6 8/1.

from a month to/until/till a time From a month through a time: The prepo-sition through makes it clear that the end point in from May through July isthe last of that month. The other prepositions leave the end point ambigu-ous (CamGEL 708). CIC shows that until and till are minor options for thisconstruction in common-core English, although both of those prepositionsare more frequent in British than in American. The major options are to andthrough. CIC has 45.5 iptmw of from [a month] to [a time] in British texts, and21.2 in American texts. It has 0.9 of from [a month] through [a time] in Britishtexts, and 14.6 in American texts. Thus to is the most often used prepositionin both national varieties, but through is a strong second option in Americanbut a weak one in British Cf. below.

from last, second Next/second to last: CIC has 0.3 iptmw of second fromlast in British texts and none in American texts. It has 0.4 of next tolast and 0.9 of second to last in British texts, and 7.6 of next to last and2.6 of second to last in American texts. <Their second from last exam. . . > 1999 Rowling 234 (US ed. to). Cf. above, § 8.2.2 ,§ 11.3.1 .

gone 1. an hour of the day After/past an hour of the day <Loretta looked ather watch. “Just gone six.”> 1993 Smith 140. 2. an age Over an age “I’d

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never have thought he was gone 60 – he looks amazingly young for his age”(CIDE).

in British in often corresponds to different prepositions in American. In somecases, the entire British prepositional phrase introduced by in is expressedotherwise in American.

in so many acres On so many acres: CIC has 12.3 iptmw with in and 2.6 withon in British texts. It has 0.6 with in and 19.6 with on in American texts.<Spikemead Farm, a 16th-century listed detached cottage in two acres,priced at £195,000.> 1995 Aug. 30 Daily Telegraph 36/3.

in arrivals In CIC, with arrivals or arrival(s) hall/lounge, in outnumbers atby 6 to 1 in British texts. The American evidence is sparse, other expres-sions, such as at the gate, being favored. <People are likely to say goodbye tofriends at passport control, but would they not wait for friends in InternationalArrivals?> 2001 Apr. English Today 29/1.

in Cambridge At: When Cambridge refers to the town, the preposition in iscommon-core English. When it refers to the university, however, at is usualin common-core English, but in occurs in a number of CIC citations, some ofwhich are ambiguous in reference to town or university. <When he goes forhis interview in Cambridge and they ask him why he thinks he should beaccepted as an undergraduate, he will reply, with his usual charm: “Because Iam a ghastly little oik, Sir.”> 1991 Feb. 5 Daily Telegraph 16/6.

in a card On <Of course, you might write “Best Wishes” in the card (if it isbig enough or folded).> 2001 Apr. English Today 30/2.

in care Under supervision by the child welfare system: This expression is about4 times more frequent in British than in American, in all its uses. <Despitetheir earnings, many were homeless and almost half who had started begginghad been in care.> 1994 Sept. 14 Times 3/1.

in chambers At a lawyer’s office: The expression is frequent in British English,but not used in American. <Miss Aldridge could be in Chambers in abouttwenty minutes.> 1997 James 133.

in college At the college: In American use, in college typically means “enrolledin a college” not “physically present at a college.” <Dr. Alan Hardinge decidedthat Monday evening to stay in college.> 1992 Dexter 202.

in construction Under construction. The preposition under is more frequentfor this expression in both British and American, but especially in the latter.<. . . the new Ackroyden Estate [is] part complete, part in construction.>1954 Aug. 8 Observer 6/3.

in a date At; on: This use is rare and may result from blending with in whichyear. <The show was founded in 1863 and revived in 1952, in which datemany events seem to have become stuck.> 1995 Aug. 28 Daily Telegraph 17/3.

in the decline On the decline: In CIC British texts, on the decline is more thantwice as frequent as in the decline; in American texts, it is 4 times as frequent.<However, do not infer from this that vegetarianism is in the decline.> 1987May 29 Evening Standard 26/4.

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in discussion with Talking with: In discussion with is slightly more frequentin CIC British texts than in American; but talking with is more than 4 timesmore frequent in American texts than in British. <We are listening to thearguments and are in discussion with English Heritage and the Corporationof London.> 1991 Mar. 17 Sunday Times Magazine 3/3.

in dock (Of cars) in a repair shop; (of people) in a hospital: CIC has 1.9 iptmw ofin dock (in various uses) in British texts and none in American texts. <Morse’sold Jaguar was in dock again (“Too mean to buy a new one!” his colleaguesclaimed).> 1993 Dexter 46.

in drink Drunk: CIC has 2.3 iptmw in British texts and none in American texts.<Anyway, a man in drink might babble any old nonsense.> 2000 Granger403.

in education In school: In American use, the sense of this expression is often“in the field of education,” not the sense illustrated here. <There are a millionyoung people not in education, not in work.> 2005 Jan. 16 BBC1 Breakfastwith Frost.

in employment Employed: The expression is about twice as frequent in Britishuse as in American, and has no American use in the sense illustrated here.<He had four children, not all of whom were in gainful employment.>1991 Critchley 5.

in a farm At/on a farm: In both British and American CIC texts, on a farm isusual in constructions like the following; however, British texts have 0.5 iptmwof in, and American texts have none. <We always stayed in the Peter Aragons’farm.> 1983 Mann 82.

in the force On the force: CIC has 6.1 iptmw of in the force in British texts and2.3 in American texts. It has almost exactly the opposite distribution of on theforce, namely 2.4 in British texts and 6.1 in American texts. Also, Americanuse of in the force is primarily military rather than police. <How long have youbeen in the [police] Force?> 1981 Dexter 83.

in gate CIC has no instances of this sequence; it is, as the text comment sug-gests, probably a syntactic blend. <Wait in Gate 5 / – announcement at UKdepartures at London’s Heathrow Airport. / [text comment:] This announce-ment seems to have overlapped with “please wait in the departure lounge”.>2001 Apr. English Today 29/1.

in goal, play Play goal: CIC has 1.8 iptmw of play in goal in British texts andonly a single example in American texts. It has none of play goal in Britishtexts and 0.5 in American texts. <None of this changes the fact that I [formersoccer player] have only one eye . . . that I’ll never be able to play in goalagain.> 1991 Bishop 38.

in (the) grounds On (the) grounds: CIC has 40.2 iptmw of in [some] groundsin British texts and 1.4 in American texts. Of the latter, only 6 instances arein the use illustrated by the following British citations, and 5 of those arein reference to locations in Britain. 1. The area surrounding and belongingto a house <There’s an old potting shed in the grounds.> 2000 Granger

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270. 2. An area used for sporting events <In spite of policing measures takenin grounds, . . . the Government says there are still too many incidents ofviolent hooliganism in grounds, in town centres, and on trains involving rivalspectators.> 1989 Mar. 5 Manchester Guardian Weekly 31/1.

in hand, task Task at hand: CIC has 5.9 iptmw of task in hand in British textsand 0.1 in American texts. It has 1.1 of task at hand in British texts and 5.8 inAmerican texts. <. . . the task in hand seemed possible.> 1985 Byatt 163.– time in hand Free time: CIC has 0.2 iptmw of time in hand in British textsand none in American texts. <But having a bit of time in hand I thought I’dpull in here for a few minutes.> 2001 Lodge 149.

in the hearth On the hearth: CIC has 1.6 iptmw of in the hearth in British textsand 0.6 in American texts. On the hearth is 3.5 times more frequent than inthe hearth in British texts; the two prepositional phrases are about equal in usein American texts. Britons talk about hearths nearly 5 times more often thanAmericans do. Hearth may refer either to the fireplace (hence in the hearth)or to the floor of the fireplace or the area in front of a fireplace (hence on thehearth).

in the holidays During/over the holidays: The preposition most frequentlycollocating with holidays in British texts is in; and in American texts, during.CIC has the following British/American iptmw: in 5.1/0.3, during 3.6/8.0, over1.5/3.2. <We gave balls for her and she had friends to stay in the holidays.>1990 Aug. 26 Sunday Times Magazine 9/1.

in (a) job(s), be Working: CIC has about 2 iptmw of this use in British textsand none in American texts. <But many people might choose periods of theirlives when they are not in jobs.> 1991 Feb. 11 Girl about Town 4/3.

in loss In the red; losing money: The expression is rare in both varieties.<. . . 1990 will see Lloyd’s in loss for the first time since 1966.> 1990 Aug. 2Evening Standard 18/2.

in the lunch hour On/during the lunch hour: CIC has the following British/American iptmw: in 2.2/0.1, on 0.0/2.0, during 0.7/1.5. <Once, in the lunchhour, he invited her to accompany Bunny and himself to church.> 1989Bainbridge 84.

in mistake By mistake is more frequent in both varieties, but CIC has 1.2 iptmwof in mistake in British texts and none in American texts. <It could evenexplain why that wretched Helen Appleyard was murdered in mistake forpoor Jenny.> 1985 Bingham 53.

in a month 1. In is used with months (in January) in common-core English,but if the name of the month is modified, for example, in the January beforelast (CGEL 9.40), American tends to omit the preposition altogether or to usesome other. <. . . the child is registered in the January of the year when itwill be three.> 1987 Mar. 16 Times 11/7. 2. ordinal weekday in the monthOrdinal weekday of the month: CIC has 1.1 iptmw of in a month in British textsand none in American texts. It has 3.4 of a month in British texts and 1.1 inAmerican texts. <. . . the School holds regular introductory meetings on the

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first and fourth Thursday and the third Sunday in the month.> 1999 Mar.10 sign on a London tube train.

in the newsagent(’s) At the newsstand: CIC has 1.5 iptmw of in the news-agent(’s) in British texts and no instances of newsagent in American texts. Ithas no instances of at the newsstand in British texts and 0.5 iptmw in Americantexts. <Anyway in the newsagent, I happened to glance at some of those,er . . . you know, those things they have in there.> 1986 Brett 69.

in the night, get up CIC has 1.5 iptmw of get up in the night in British textsand 0.4 in American texts. <. . . he gets up in the night for William.> 1993Neel 70.

in particular category of person occupation Occupied by a particular categoryof persons: CIC has 0.3 iptmw of this use in British texts and none in Americantexts. <Even to owners determined to keep their houses in family occu-pation – and open to the public – the temptation to sell land and/or contentsto keep the show on the road is overwhelming.> 2003 June 28 Times Weekend2/1.

in one go At once; at the same time: CIC has 18.6 iptmw of in one go in Britishtexts and 0.7 in American texts. <. . . when it comes to furniture, . . . theywant to rush out one Saturday afternoon and get it all in one go.> 1987Apr. 1 Evening Standard 26/1.

in the order of On the order of: CIC has 11.4 iptmw of in the order of (in severalsenses) in British texts and 4.9 in American texts. It has 2.4 of on the order of(also in several senses) in British texts and 12.9 in American texts. <In earlyFebruary London hotels would expect to be quiet. But quiet means somethingin the order of 60 per cent occupancy.> 1991 Jan. 28 Times 1/2.

in/of patter, line Line: CIC has 0.3 iptmw each of line in patter and line ofpatter in British texts. It has no instance of either form in American texts.American use is more likely to be simply line “a glib often persuasive way oftalking” (MW ). <Dark strangers and unexpected fortunes – I ask you. Butyou’ve got a nice line in patter, we can work on that: it’s worth its weight ingold.> 1988 Taylor 32.

in the porch On the porch: CIC has 6.8 iptmw of in the porch and 3.5 of on theporch in British texts, and 0.1 of in the porch and 18.3 of on the porch in Americantexts. < . . . in my rush left the boots in the guest-house porch.> 1987Apr. 9 Times 14/6.

in post On the job: CIC has 2.6 iptmw of in post in a relevant sense in Britishtexts and 0.3 in American texts (when the contexts are telegraphic in style).CIC has 23.2 iptmw of on the job in British texts and 107.8 in American texts.<You’re hoping that . . . there might be someone still in post who knew herand would remember incidents of twelve years ago.> 2001 James 319.

in the pound Per dollar: CIC has 11.7 iptmw of in the pound in uses comparableto the following citation in British texts and 0.1 of in the dollar in Americantexts. It has 2.6 comparable British uses of per pound and 5.2 American uses ofper dollar. <The party also wants to slap national insurance on all earnings,

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taking an extra 10p in the pound on earnings.> 1994 Sept. 25 Sunday Times3 6/3.

in practice Practicing <The girls duly don their ear muffs while I am inpractice [playing the saxophone].> 1991 Mar. 10 Sunday Times Magazine58/3.

in the premises On the premises is the dominant form in both varieties, butmore so in American. In CIC texts, the American ratio of on to in with premisesis 20:1, whereas in British it is 8:1. The word premises is 4.5 times more frequentin British than in American. <. . . we had every reason to believe he was inthe premises.> 1991 Feb. 20 Times 4/7.

in(to) profit In the black; profitable; into profitability <The Royal Mail hasannounced that it is back in profit. . . . “We hope we can stay in profit. . . move into profit . . . make itself in profit.”> 2003 Nov. 13 BBCNews.

in the Riviera On the Riviera is usual in both varieties. <The weather caughtthe south of France by surprise, with snow up to 8in deep in the Riviera.>1991 Feb. 9 Daily Telegraph 1/2.

in the sale(s) On sale; at the/a sale: In the sense of “at a reduced price,” Britishuses in with sale; American does not. <I would have bought it even if it hadn’tbeen in the sale.> 2003 July 8 Times T2 13/1.

in some shelf On some shelf: Both varieties customarily use on in this construc-tion, but CIC has sporadic British instances of in, but no American ones. <I’mjust putting a book back in my shelves.> 1994 Sept. 24 Spectator 63/2. Cf. below.

in a ship On is usual in both varieties. <Uncle Ernest, in the Iron Duke – he’scoming to see us tomorrow night, and I said I’d be home early. His ship camein yesterday.> 1940 Shute 40.

in a side On a team: With reference to sports teams, on is usual in AmericanEnglish. <Fraser is now the best bowler in the England side.> 1990 Aug. 24Times 38/1.

in street/avenue/drive/lane/road/roadway (and proper names of streets)On: For specifying the position of something relative to a street, British gen-erally uses in, and American on. When the street in question is noted as ashopping location, British uses on or in. Thus, CIC has approximately equalnumbers of British in the High Street and on the High Street, but no instances ofAmerican in Main Street, only on Main Street. <Houses in Fentiman Roadare relatively inexpensive and very spacious. . . . Having a gastropub in thestreet is handy, too.> 2004 Dec. 12 Sunday Times Bricks and Mortar 16/2–5.<I’m not desperate, and neither are any of the others who live in the street.>2005 Jan. 9 BBC1 Frost on Sunday.

in the street, man Man on the street: CIC has in for this idiom 13 times morefrequently than on in British texts, and on 3 times more frequently than in withAmerican texts. <For all her much-vaunted support of the small businessman,the Prime Minister has done bog all for the man in the street.> 1989 July29 Times 28/1.

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in some table At some table: Although in combination with in, table often hasthe sense of “tabulation” rather than an article of furniture, it is notable thatin CIC, the frequency of at + table is similar in British and American, butin + table is 4.5 times more frequent in British than in American. <Somenon-University guests sitting in high table for the first time took their verbalbattles seriously.> 1987 Archer 181.

in some team On some team: CIC data indicate that British in + team is 3 timesmore frequent than on + team, but American on + team is 4 times morefrequent than in + team. <Students would also get credit for extra curricularactivities. . . . Mr Tomlinson said last week that even playing “in the localvillage cricket team” should be recognised.> 2003 July 16 Times 1/3. Cf. below.

in one’s own terms CIC data suggest that on one’s own terms is the most fre-quent version of this expression and is equally common in British and Amer-ican, but that in one’s own terms is three time more frequent in British thanin American. <Here are some ‘on’s that are current, and sound wrong, orrather novel, to me: . . . children’s learning ought to be evaluated on its ownterms. . . . I should have used . . . in.> 1990 Howard 104–5.

in some test, mark Mark on some test: This is not a frequent construction,but CIC has 0.2 iptmw of marks/results in + test in British texts and 0.8 ofmarks/results on + test in American texts. <[question from the SingaporePrimary School Leaving Examination:] The highest mark the Math-ematics test was 76 out of 100. . . . The correct answer . . . is . . . in,but the norms for prepositions in Standard American English would dic-tate . . . on.> 2001 Peter L. Lowenberg in Thumboo, Three Circles of English391–2.

in their large numbers By/in the large numbers: In CIC, 79 percent of theBritish instances of such constructions have in (their); the American instancesare nearly evenly divided with 51 percent by (the) and 49 percent in (the).<Merely within the last 90 years, Sikhs have suffered and died in their hun-dreds of thousands.> 1999 Mar. 24 Independent Wed. Review sec 5/3. Cf. §2.3.1.

in some timetable On some timetable: In CIC British texts, in and on occurabout equally with timetable, but American texts have 5 times as many instancesof on as of in. <There’s been a co*ck-up in the first-year timetable.> 1987Smith 79.

in trade On the Trade Commission; in business <‘What was he doing in HongKong?’ [ ¶ ] ‘He was in Trade.’ [ ¶ ] ‘Shopkeeper?’ [ ¶ ] ‘The British TradeCommission,’ said Charters severely.> 1985 Bingham 15.

in two minds Of two minds; unsure: CIC has 5.8 iptmw of in two minds inBritish texts and 0.1 in American; it has 1.5 iptmw for of two minds in Amer-ican texts and none in British. <David Swan was in two minds: should hereturn . . . or should he hang around . . . ?> 1992 Critchley 173.

in the university At the university: In the university is of approximately equalfrequency in CIC British (10.1 iptmw) and American (11.6) texts, but at the

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university is more than twice as frequent in American (41.9 iptmw) as in British(18.1). <I occasionally go to films or lectures in the university.> 1990 Aug.26 Sunday Times Magazine 54/3.

in the uptake On the uptake is the usual version of this expression in both vari-eties with approximately equal frequency; in the uptake occurs sporadically inBritish, but not in American CIC texts. <. . . the illusion that the Westcountryis inhabited by . . . straw-sucking yokels . . . slightly slow in the uptake, isstill perpetuated and cherished.> 1985 Ebdon 170.

in vacations On/during vacations: In vacations occurs occasionally in BritishCIC texts, but not in American; on vacations occurs at a frequency of 2.2 iptmwin American CIC texts, but not at all in British. During vacations occurs in bothvarieties. <And he talked about his holidays in expensive and remote placesthat other students wouldn’t be able to travel to, at least not in vacations.>2001 James 7.

in the week During the week: Although both expressions are common-coreEnglish, in constructions like the following, in the week seems improbable inAmerican use. <Kate Garely . . . runs a free aerobics class here in the weekas well.> 1989 Williams 37.

in work This expression is 3.3 times more frequent in CIC British texts than inAmerican. It is not used in either of the following senses in American. 1. Witha job; employed <There are a million young people not in education, not inwork.> 2005 Jan. 16 BBC1 Breakfast with Frost. 2. At work <I broke downin work today because I heard the news on the radio and my son’s in the 7thArmoured Brigade.> 1991 Feb. 26 Times 5/2.

in aid of For; in support of; for the purpose of: CIC has 20.1 iptmw of in aid ofin British texts and 1.2 in American texts. Moreover, the American uses tendto be more literal references to aid and cannot be adequately paraphrased byfor. <It’s in aid of Survival International (which supports tribal peoples).>1994 Sept. 28–Oct. 5 Time Out 7/2.

in case of This complex preposition can be used in either of two senses: toindicate a possible later event, as in The house has a smoke detector in case of afire (smoke detector first, fire possible later), or to indicate a prior condition,as in In case of a fire, use the stairs not the elevator (fire first, consequent actionlater). British favors the first sense; American uses both (Peters 2004, 271–2).Cf. § 9.2 .

in front of apparently financial jargon Before (in time) <Apart from a slightdip in front of the New York opening futures were well supported. Dealersfelt there was some buying in front of today’s Uruguay tender.> SEU w2-2.227-8.

in reference to See below.in respect of With respect to: CIC British texts have 96.6 iptmw of in respect

of and 66.0 of with respect to; American texts have, respectively, 1.2 and 102.9.<£3,592 was paid. It was only some months after this main settlement thatyou received a further £350 in respect of the pearl necklace.> 2005 Jan. 15Daily Telegraph B8/2.

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Prepositions 175

into “Into is commonly confused with the combination in to, where in is anadverb. In to is correctly used in <we went in to breakfast> <they came into see me> <reports should be sent in to the chief executive>” (LDEL). Theconfusion is common to British and American (Gilman 1994), but here areBritish examples of it in both directions: in to for into <I pulled in to thenext lay-by.> 1996 Aug. 9 Daily Telegraph 15/2 and into for in to <. . . apetition . . . will be handed into the House of Commons next Wednesday.>1986 Oct. 30 Times 22.

into the bargain In the bargain: CIC has 11.8 iptmw of into the bargain inBritish texts and 0.5 in American texts. In the bargain occurs in both varietiesin similar frequencies (British 4.8, American 4.1). <1962 Guardian 7 Aug.5/1 A child can have ten days skiing for under £25 and be kitted out by MossBrothers into the bargain.> OED s.v. kit v. 2.

into some shelf Onto/on some shelf: Both varieties customarily use onto (or on)in this construction, but there are sporadic instances of into, CIC Americanexamples involving a closet or beneath a bar. <He slotted the book back intoits shelf.> 1977 Dexter 61. Cf. above.

into work Find work: The expression into work is about 1.7 times more fre-quent in British than American CIC texts; the general British sense is rarein American, which generally uses the expression in reference to a par-ticular job as in I’m going into work [“to my job”] today. <However, wedeplore the muddled thinking which suggests that helping a minority intowork requires further reductions in incapacity benefits.> 1998 Jan. 3 Times23/3.

next Next to: The sequences next me/him/her occur in CIC British texts at therate of 1.3 iptmw, and not at all in American texts. <The Irishman wedged innext him.> 1994 Freeling 1.

of British of has a few characteristic uses, notably with times of the day. On theother hand, American uses of as the second element in compound preposi-tions: off of, out of, and inside of and outside of in locative senses (CamGEL639). British uses these combinations also, but not as frequently as Americandoes; notably out of is 4 times more frequent in American than in British inCIC.

of an evening In the evening: Of an evening is almost 4 times more frequent inCIC British texts than in American. <To quell these moments of panic shehardened her resolve . . . by joining Annie and Rosie in the boot-room of anevening to watch television.> 1980 Sharpe 202.

of a lunch time At lunch time <In my town council days we used to get fouror five of us bright lads in there of a lunch time.> 1953 Mortimer 11.

of a month In a month<Sunday was fine, a windy sunny day of late February.>1940 Shute 141.

of a morning In the morning: Of a morning is 4 times more frequent in CICBritish texts than in American, very few of whose instances were in this sense.<He has four children. “It’s a fight of a morning to see who gets certaintracksuits and shirts.”> 1991 Feb. 15 Evening Standard 51/1.

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176 Parts of Speech

of nights At night: Of nights in this sense is extremely rare in American texts;at night is frequent. <What d’you say I come and sleep here of nights? Nomeals, just sleeping night watchman.> 1949 Tey 121.

of a weekday (afternoon/evening) On weekdays / [no preposition] weekday(afternoons/evenings) <George always went for a drink about nine o’clockof a weekday.> 1974 Price 67. <But while we were tolerated in the bar ofthe George and Pilgrims of a Saturday afternoon, the travellers [“Gypsies”]were barred.> 1993 Feb. 10 Evening Standard 23/1.

Other nontemporal differences:

of some education With some education <I always doubt whether someone ofa public school education gains much from Borstal training.> 1983 Brooke-Taylor 90.

of that order, something Something on that order: CIC British texts haveonly of in this expression, and American have only on. <Two or three hundreddoctors to each rep, I believe. Something of that order, anyway.> 1986 Clark51.

off This preposition has some characteristic British uses, including “not inclinedtowards: I’m off work; I’ve gone off you” (CED). A characteristic Americancolloquial compound is off of “off.”

off one’s head Out of one’s mind: Off one’s head in this sense is frequent inBritish and rare in American. <Peach had stated frankly that the prospectivesitter was off his head.> 1974 Innes 20.

off plan From a plan; on the basis of a house plan before construction <Goneare the days when a contractor could build a row of identical box-like houses,fill them with identical fixtures and fittings and expect them to sell off plan.>1993 Feb. 17 Times 18/2.

off the ration Unrationed; without ration coupons: This expression is dated inBritish, but non-occurring in American. <. . . a poor quality coal, obtainableoff the ration.> 1959 Opie and Opie 163.

off retirement From retirement <No job for . . . someone ten years offretirement.> 1998 Joss 40.

off school Out of / off from school: In CIC texts, off school is 5.3 times morefrequent in British than in American; out of school is 2.5 times more frequent inAmerican than in British; off from school is the rarest combination of the threein both varieties, but is 12 times more frequent in American than in British,where it is very rare. <You’ll just get some days off school.> 1994 Symons140.

off a source From a source <I get ties and shirts anywhere – some of mybest are off the airport at Milan, and my handkerchiefs are off Paddingtonstation.> 1989 Aug. 13 Sunday Times Magazine 66/1. <Took us three weeksto get a new door off the council.> 1990 Sept. Evening Standard magazine37/2.

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Prepositions 177

off the train, meet someone Meet someone at the train: This expression israre in British, but non-occurring in American. <Luke and Marie met meoff the train.> 1997 James 245.

off work This expression is more than twice as frequent in British as in Ameri-can CIC texts. 1. Away from work; off adv. <Mrs Routley had been off workfor a week with a back problem.> 1994 Oct. 1 Times 3/2. 2. Out of work; notworking <When I was first off work I was in a bad state and I knew somethinghad gone wrong in my head.> 1999 Mar. 15 Daily Telegraph 7/3.

on This preposition is one that has many differences in use between British andAmerican English, most of which are lexically linked, either to its followingobject or to a preceding word that it complements (cf. § 11 passim).

on “compared with another person or thing: This essay is a definite improvementon your last one. | Sales are 10% up on last year” (LDOCE 18). 1. (of a decreasein percentage) From; below <Experts estimate that prices are down 5 per centon last year.> 1989 Aug. 11 Times 29/7. 2. (of an increase in percentage) Over;above <However, graduate salaries were rising fastest in Northern Ireland, up9.1 per cent on last year.> 2003 July 16 Times 9/2.

on some account In some account <An imbalance on the tuition account wasa familiar problem.> 1993 Neel 46.

on any view(s) In any view: CIC has 0.5 iptmw of on any view in British textsand none in American texts. <On any views, it would have been discour-teous to Mr Barker, who was Lord Archer’s friend.> 2003 June 21 Times1/3.

on addresses At addresses: CIC has 0.3 iptmw of raids on addresses in Britishtexts and no instances of on addresses in American texts. <British TransportPolice said last night that they were found in dawn raids on addresses inActon, west London, on Tuesday.> 1989 Sept. 14 Times 5/1–2.

on behalf of In behalf of: On behalf of is the overwhelming choice in common-core English; however, the minority option, in behalf of, is 12 times morefrequent in American than in British CIC texts. “In current British use, onbehalf (of) has replaced in behalf (of); both are still used in American English”(MW usage note). Pam Peters (2004, 67–8) reports also a British variant with-out an initial prepositional element: to speak behalf of individual students. NoAmerican instances of the short form are known.

on some benefit(s) With/receiving some government financial help: CIC has24.2 iptmw of this sequence in British texts and 13.5 in American texts (manyof which have a different sense). The usual American analog would be onwelfare, which is 10 times more frequent in American use than in British.<. . . she needed money to feed and clothe Jessica, especially now she was nolonger on benefits.> 2002 Smith 173.

on the bins With the garbage department: CIC has only sporadic Britishinstances of this expression and no American ones. <. . . their ownchildren, who have double firsts in Latin, can’t get a job on the bins.> 2005Jan. 9 Sunday Times 4 4/7.

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178 Parts of Speech

on the cards In the cards: In CIC on the cards is 15 times more frequent in Britishthan in American; in the cards is nearly 7 times more frequent in Americanthan in British. <Dr Dabbe says the disease is always on the cards if youdon’t take the proper precautions when handling the contents of a mummycase.> 2000 Aird 198.

on some car park In some parking lot: The salient national difference for thisexpression is in the noun: British car park versus American parking lot. Witheither of those terms, the most frequent preposition in both varieties is in.However, British uses the minority preposition on more often than Americandoes. <You theorized they would take [“abduct”] him on the car-park.>1985 Clark 146–7.

on some catalogue In some catalog: The overwhelmingly dominant Britishspelling of the noun is catalogue; American uses catalog about 3 times morefrequently than the longer form. The most frequent preposition in both vari-eties is in. British uses the minority preposition on about twice as often asAmerican does; however, since British also uses catalog(ue) about twice asoften, the prepositional difference may be incidental. <. . . you should findvirtually everything except the collection of ritual material, which is not yetavailable on the catalogue.> 2003 Dec. Square 40/1–2.

on the cheap Cheaply: Now a part of common-core English, on the cheap seemsoriginally to have been British. It is still somewhat more frequent in British texts(British 8.8 to American 6.9 iptmw). <Alan Beith, home affairs spokesman,criticised the “privatisation of police work” as a botched attempt to do every-thing on the cheap.> 1994 Sept. 21 Times 11/3–4.

on closing time At closing time: This combination is rare, having no instancesin CIC. <. . . we shall have to decide on the best time to go in. . . . Just onclosing time in the afternoon?> 1985 Clark 174.

on some computer In some computer: Both on and in are used with computer incommon-core English, and on predominates. British uses on about 64 percentof the time; American 56 percent. <His name went down on the Eurotun-nel computer as someone whose support should not be overlooked.> 1994Sept. 30 Daily Telegraph 15/3.

on some concourse In some concourse: Both on and in are used with concoursein both varieties; on is somewhat more frequent in British (1.6 iptmw of onto 1.1 of in), and in is only slightly more frequent in American (0.7 iptmw ofin to 0.5 of on). <Le Cafe de Piaf . . . transformed into a French restaurantand one of the first private caterers allowed on the station concourse.> 1987July 1 Daily Telegraph 5/4.

on some count By some count: On is more frequent than by with count in bothvarieties, but in British it is nearly 4 times more frequent, and in Americanless than twice. <Even on the most conservative count . . . there were 7,780racially motivated attacks last year.> 1992 Dec. 5 Economist 59/1.

on some course In some course (an educational program): On + course (in allsenses) is some 2.3 times more frequent in CIC British texts than American

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Prepositions 179

ones. In the use exemplified below, the difference would be even greater.<Plus there are assorted spouses . . . enrolled on the chateau’s cook-ery course.> 2005 Jan. 9 Sunday Times 5 1/3–4. Cf. § 11.1.7 .

on some crossing At some crossing: British talks more about crossings (level orrailway or grade, pedestrian, pelican, zebra) than American does, probablybecause they are more prominent in Britain than in America. The Britishchoice of preposition to use with such crossings is 2.5 times on versus at;the American choice is 3 times at versus on. <They crossed on the pelicancrossing.> 1993 Stallwood 170–1.

on (the) day Day; that day; the day of a particular event: An analysis of Britishnews reports (LGSWE 800) concludes that prepositions are generally usedwith names of the days of the week to form adverbial phrases, whereas Americannews reports tend to use the days of the week without a preceding preposition:Br. on Monday versus Am. Monday (cf. also Swan 1995, 451). <. . . havingsampled so many turkeys, we’d all rather have goose on the day.> 1997 Dec.13 Times Weekend 10/4. Cf. also below and §§ 2.1.4, 11.2.1 .

on day of the week, a period of time (e.g., a week on Friday) A period of timefrom a day of the week: This method of specifying dates in the future is 4 or5 times more frequent in British than in American. And when British uses it,the preposition on is about 26 times more frequent than from, whereas whenAmerican uses it, from is 27 times more frequent than on. <. . . school resumesafter half-term a week on Monday.> 1993 Feb. 13 Daily Telegraph 3/2.

on some desk(s) At some desk(s): The use of on rather than at with desk is rarein British, but even more so in American. <Slowly the voters shuffled forwardto give their names to the lady clerks sitting primly on their desks.> 1991Critchley 97.

on some door At some door <Tickets Booked in Advance: £2.50 . . . Tickets onthe Door: £3.00> 1987 London flier advertising a play.

on some drill In some drill <He hadn’t been on a fire drill since he was atschool.> 1977 Dexter 34.

on some estimate 1. At/for some estimated amount <. . . lot 232 in Christie’ssale of garden statuary . . . sold, not on its estimate of £3,000–£4,000,but for £715,000.> 1989 Sept. 14 Daily Telegraph 1/8. 2. By some estimate<On a generous estimate, there are at most ten possible future Cabinetministers among middle-ranking and junior ministers.> 2003 June 19 Times20/1.

on some figures According to some figures <On the Government’s figures, thecost will be twice as high as rates, although experts predict the true cost to besubstantially higher.> 1987 Oct. Illustrated London News 14/4.

on some file(s) In some file(s) <Of course we always knew in the Exchange thatnothing on the files was dead certain – intelligence work isn’t like that.> 1994Dickinson 90.

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180 Parts of Speech

on (the) film(s) 1. In the movies <Love [a character] . . . was played on film byDavid Niven.> 1989 July 22 Times 41/5–6. 2. For camera film <Boots FilmProcessing Same Day Monday to Friday on films handed in before 9.30 amready for collection after 5 pm.> 1990 May 31, sign outside Boots, CharingCross Road.

on Foodworth At/of Foodworth <Magistrates have also made an emergencyclosure on Foodworth, a large supermarket at 244 Kilburn High Road NW6.>1987 Mar. Camden Magazine no. 46 7/3.

on (some) form 1. In (top) form/shape <‘I ’ope I find you well?’ [ ¶ ] ‘On excel-lent form, I thank you.’>2000 Rowling 215 (US ed. in).<Baroness Blackstoneis on top form this evening.> 2003 June 29 Sunday Times News Review 7/1.2. Judging by / according to past experience <On form, it would have endedround about nine-thirty or ten.> 1986 Barnard, Political 177.

on full scale At/in full scale <Looking at the remarkable set for the first timeon full scale, I was able to recognise an old favourite prop from MerryWidow.> 1986 Sept. 25 Hampstead Advertiser 21/3.

on some grade(s) At/in some (pay) grade(s) <You start moving men about fromone job to another, and they start complaining, or demanding to be put on ahigher grade.> 1988 Lodge 124.

on Greenland In Greenland: Both British and American use in Greenland,treating the place as a land; British has on Greenland, treating it as an island,only rarely. <A thousand years ago the Vikings established a settlement onGreenland. Financial Times 13 Jul 99.> 2001 Apr. English Today 66 30/1.

on the halls In vaudeville (houses) <Father was an acrobat and is in the MiddleEast now. Name of Valoroso. It’s an old name on the halls.> 1942 Thirkell25.

on heat In heat; sexually excited: Except for a few sporadic instances of in heatin British texts, on heat is British and in heat American. <Kingsland may havebeen a kitten on heat, but he was a shameless seducer.> 2003 July 13 TimesCulture 45/2.

on income(s) With / [start] at income(s): For the phrase on/with (x) income(s),CIC British texts favor on by nearly 3 times; American texts have approxi-mately equal numbers of the two prepositions, with a slight preference forwith. <Graduates from 1996, who started on an average of £14,774, werenow earning an average of £17,000. Recruits from 1994, who started on£13,500, were now on £21,000.> 1998 Jan. 6 Times 8/3. <All too often peo-ple on very low incomes with debts face a barrage of threats designed tobully and intimidate.> 2003 July 16 Daily Express 31/1. Cf. also below.

on insurance 1. For insurance <She has two monthly standing orders: £30 forher pension, £15 on house insurance.> 1991 Feb. Evening Standard maga-zine 20/3. 2. With/through insurance <Father Leo treats religious addicts inclinics across America and charges them £5000 a month. “Most of them get iton medical insurance.”> 1989 Sept. 4 Evening Standard 26/1–2.

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Prepositions 181

on a junction At a junction: At in this construction is common-core English.CIC has 2.7 iptmw of on in British texts and none in American texts. <InMaida Vale, on the junction of Castellain and Lauderdale Roads, there arethree Redwood Trees.> 1994 Sept. 14–21 Time Out 39/2.

on the lorries Driving trucks: CIC has a few examples in British texts; thereis no direct analog in American. <How the rich live. . . . I must want myhead tested sorting mail all day when I could be picking up wads of it on thelorries.> 1969 Rendell 10.

on certain lunches At certain lunches <On monthly Saturday lunches (inMarch, April and June) Mr Tucker and Sir Ronald sat down with the Mr andMrs Thatcher to discuss the lastest poll findings.> 1987 June 13 Times 28/4.

on some market At/in some market <There are other secrets at Smithfield,suggestions that “famous gangsters” have worked on the market, but no onenames names.> 1988 June Illustrated London News 70/2.

on marriage After marriage <On marriage, I could buy food at the sametime as washing powder.> 1986 Oct. 1 Times 11/7.

on a meter At a meter; in a metered parking place: British uses both on andat in this rare construction; American uses only at. <. . . where’s the bestplace to park in Cambridge? I’m on a meter at the moment.> 1995 Wilson99.

on National Service In the army: This expression is rare in British use. <Afterleaving school each of them spent eighteen months on National Service.>1979 Dexter 94.

on the night American English would be inclined to omit the preposition butwould require a modification of night to identify it: either a phrase like the onein square brackets or a determiner like that rather than the. <. . . viewers willbe encouraged to pledge money on the night [of a BBC1 charity program].>1988 Feb. Illustrated London News 24/4. Cf. also () above and§ 2.1.4.

on the North-East In the northeast: In CIC, the expression is rare in Britishtexts and does not occur in American. <Jobclubs, pioneered on the North-East five years ago, are open to anyone unemployed for more than sixmonths and looking for a job.> 1989 Aug. 7 (Durham) Evening Chronicle8/4.

on oath Under oath: In CIC, both prepositions are used in British texts,with a slight preference for under; American texts have only under oath,which occurs 18.5 times more frequently than the same expression in Britishtexts.

on cardinal number o’clock At cardinal number o’clock: The preposition at isusual in both British and American. CIC has 1.0 iptmw of on in British texts;the only such instances in American texts are 0.3 in the idiom going on, i.e.,“nearing,” which does not occur in the British texts.<Mrs Denny, the medium,came in spot on two o’clock.> 1989 Sept. 1 Times 12/6. <Pick it up on nineo’clock on a Wednesday.> 1996 spoken text in a tearoom CIC.

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182 Parts of Speech

on offer Available; being offered: In CIC, on offer occurs 42 times more fre-quently in British texts than in American. <. . . you’ll buy whatever’s onoffer.> 2005 Jan. 15 Daily Telegraph Books 5/3.

on some park In/at some park: In is the most frequent locative preposition withpark in common-core English. CIC has some 5.1 iptmw of on with park inBritish texts, but only 0.1 in American texts. <Dribbles [a giraffe] is 104 inhuman terms, the oldest animal on the [zoological] park.> 1993 Feb. 13 DailyTelegraph 12/4–6.

on a party At/in a party: CIC has a few instances in British texts, but none inAmerican texts. <Don’t catechize people on a swimming party.> 1985 Byatt83.

on certain patterns With/by/according to certain patterns: CIC has very fewinstances in British texts, and none in American texts. <On present smokingpatterns, the future is going to be considerably worse than the past.> 1994Sept. 20 Times 6/3.

on some photograph In some photograph: CIC has a few examples in Britishtexts, but none in American. <“Are you on this photograph, Mrs Prokosch?”“Do I look as if I’m on it?”> 1976 Bradbury 78.

on a place See F, T, T .on some plans According to some plans: CIC has a few instances of on current

plans in British texts, none in American, and at least one instance of accordingto current plans in American texts, none in British. <Nonetheless, it [a newbank building] has thirty-eight storeys on current plans.> 1982 Lynn andJay 139.

on the pools The whole expression is British; a somewhat parallel Americanexpression, on/in the lottery, uses either preposition, but on the pools is theregular British form rather than *in the pools. <. . . my dad, Selwyn, won acouple of thousand pounds on the pools.> 2004 Dec. 12 Sunday Times Bricksand Mortar 3/1.

on prescription By prescription: With prescription, CIC British texts have onnearly 9 times more often than by; in American texts, the two prepositions areapproximately equal in frequency. <It’s not on prescription, so you can buyit across the counter.> 1990 Hardwick 145.

on a rehearsal At/in a rehearsal: At and in are more frequent with rehearsalin both varieties, but on occurs only in British in CIC texts. <OK, everybody,what can we do, on one rehearsal?> 1993 Neel 191–2.

on release 1. go on release Be released; premiere: This idiom is found inBritish with the adjectives controlled, general, limited, and national; it is notusual in American. <The leaflets, which will be handed out at cinemas all overScotland when the film goes on general release on Friday, have a picture ofGibson as Wallace.> 1995 Sept. 4 Daily Telegraph 2/4. 2. be on release Beplaying: This idiom is applied to films in British but is not used in AmericanCIC texts. <And that afternoon I had to queue to see Four Weddings and aFuneral, a British movie that is still packing them in, despite having been onrelease for months.> 1994 Sept. Tatler 92/3.

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Prepositions 183

on some salary At some salary: In CIC, on is used with salary about equally inBritish and American texts, but at is used about twice as often in Americantexts as in British. <She [Connie Chung] recently jumped ship at NBC Newsto became [sic] an anchor at CBS on a starting salary of $1.3m a year.> 1989Sept. 10–16 Sunday Telegraph magazine 17/2. Cf. also ().

on sale For sale: In American English, on sale has two senses, the common-core“for sale” and “for sale at a reduced price.” <. . . a three-bedroom periodsemi . . . is on sale for £99,000.> 1995 Aug. 30 Daily Telegraph 36/2.

on some score With/at some score: This use, which occurs in CIC British texts,appears to be rare in American. <Tied in first place, on eighty-five pointseach. . . . In second place, on eighty points. . . .> 2000 Rowling 439 (US ed.with).

on the scrounge Scrounging; on the prowl: Although not common in CICBritish texts (0.4 iptmw), this idiom does not occur in CIC American texts.American texts have a somewhat higher incidence of scrounging and on theprowl than do British texts. <Always on the scrounge for money, always introuble with the law.> 1994 Fyfield 66.

on some periodical section In some periodical section: This construction is rare.<If we have space, some opinions may appear on the Letters section.> 2002Sept. Square 27.

on show Being shown/displayed: CIC has 54 iptmw of on show in British textsand 2.2 in American texts. <. . . hardly any of the work on show is of thetwig-woven variety.> 1995 Sept. 6–13 Time Out 56/2.

on some skip In some Dumpster: On (versus in) is rare with skip in British texts,a 1:13 ratio, but only in occurs with the American analog Dumpster. <Dumpingyour aubergine bidet on someone else’s skip is fly-tipping, a criminal offence.>1997 Mar. 19 Evening Standard Homes & Property 17/2–3.

on some stall In some stall: CIC has 5.6 iptmw of on + stall in British texts andnone in American texts. It has 1.6 iptmw of in + stall in British texts and 6.2in American texts. <But the question remains, since you were rarely on thestall, where were you?> 1985 Barnard 148.

on some (train) station In/at some (train) station: CIC has no instances of onfor this construction in American texts. <He was last seen getting off a trainon Waterloo station.> 1992 Walters 71.

on some suburb(s) In some suburb(s): This use of on is clearly exceptional; theOED text and CIC have many instances of in with suburb(s), but no relevantexample of on. The exceptional use is perhaps a blend with live on the [Hamp-stead] Heath. <Residents of Hampstead Garden Suburb say that they live onthe Suburb, perhaps to distinguish themselves from lesser breeds who livecommonly in the suburbs.> 1990 Howard 105.

on income support With income support: In CIC British texts, on is 27 timesmore frequent than with in this construction. The construction does not occurin CIC American texts. <A single mother on income support describeshow she goes scrimping at markets and jumble sales.> 1994 Oct. 3 Times47/3.

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184 Parts of Speech

on some system, fault/leak Fault/leak in some system: In CIC British texts, inis more frequent than on with this construction. CIC American texts haveno instances of the construction with on and only 1 with in. <An electricianwho allegedly failed to spot a fault on a central heating system faced amanslaughter charge.> 1989 Aug. 31 Times 1/2.

on some table At some table <I dined on High Table.> 2000 Caudwell 322.on tank maintenance In tank maintenance: The construction is rare. <Mary

and Terry have been putting on a brave front; they’ve a son on tank main-tenance somewhere in the Saudi desert.> 1991 Feb. 23 Telegraph WeekendMagazine 8/1.

on taxis In taxis: The construction is rare. <Here are some ‘on’s that are cur-rent, and sound wrong, or rather novel, to me: . . . he rode on taxis (ratherthan buses). I should have used . . . in [taxis]>. 1990 Howard 104–5.

on + telephone 1. on a telephone number At a number; by calling: This use isfrequent in British and lacking in American. <I suggest you ring the dean on4673140.> 1993 Greenwood 53. 2. be on the telephone Have a telephone:Judging from CIC, this sense is now rare in British, with only a few instancesin the negative (not on the telephone). The sense “be using the telephone” is,however, common-core English. <Of course that is not including those whoare not on the telephone.> 1977 Dec. 7 Punch 1144/1.

on some temperature At some temperature <If you pop a quilted bedspreadin the freezer overnight, this will kill the dust mites and means you can wash*t on a cooler temperature.> 2004 Jan. 4 Sunday Times Home 7 24/1.

on-Thames, Henley- This naming pattern is characteristically British.<Henley-on-Thames. . . . Prepositions and place-names are two of themost erratic elements in the English vocabulary.> 1990 Howard 106.

on a roasting tin In a roasting pan: CIC has about equal numbers of British ina roasting tin and American in a roasting pan, and no instances of on for thisconstruction in either variety. <Arrange the potatoes and lamb on a roastingtin.> 1994 Oct. 3 Evening Standard 60/3.

on the top of some scale At the top of some scale: CIC has no instances of onfor this construction in either variety. <. . . senior registrars on the top oftheir salary scale will get an extra £400 taking their salaries to £27,210.> 1993Feb. 13 Daily Telegraph 6/4.

on tow In tow: CIC has similar numbers of in tow from British and Americantexts. It is the overwhelmingly dominant form, used chiefly of people, but alsoof land and water vehicles and other objects. Under tow is rare in both varieties,used mainly, though not exclusively, of ships. On tow does not occur in CICtexts of either variety. <The Aberdeen coastguard said that the rig was on towin rough seas.> 1990 Aug. 21 Times 16/7.

on Youth Training In Youth Training: CIC has twice as many instances of onas of in with Youth Training scheme in British texts. Youth Training does notoccur in CIC American texts, but those texts have more than twice as manyinstances of in + training as of on. <Just 4 per cent of girls on Youth Training

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were in jobs such as construction, engineering and computing.> 1994 Sept.12 Independent 6/2.

on one’s travels In one’s travels: CIC has about 7 times as many instances of onas of in with travels in British texts. It has about twice as many instances of inas of on with travels in American texts <She . . . wrote . . . a slim guide to theunusual water closets she had encountered on her travels.> 1985 Richardson101.

on present trends This is a set phrase in British English; there are no instancesof it in CIC American texts, which use instead if/should present trends continue/persist. <On present trends, the jobless total will top 3m in a year.> 1991Mar. 17 Sunday Times 1 14/6.

on Tyneside CIC British texts have more than 12 times as many instances of onTyneside as of in Tyneside, and 3 times as many of the latter as of at Tyneside.By contrast, CIC American texts have twice as many instances of in Riverside(a comparable place name) as of at Riverside, and none of on Riverside. <Astartled horse trampled a bus driver . . . on Tyneside today.> 1989 Aug. 8(Durham) Evening Chronicle 1/3.

on the Underground In the subway: CIC British texts have twice as manyinstances of on as of in with Underground; its American texts have 1.5 timesas many instances of in as of on with subway. <Customers are reminded thatsmoking is not permitted (on any part of the Underground /–Tube announce-ment, Surbiton Station, Greater London, 14.6.00).> 2001 Apr. English Today29/1.

on some ward In some ward: CIC British texts have about equal numbers of onand in with ward; its American texts have about 4 times as many instances of inas of on. <Nor did the deceptively cheerful lemon-coloured decor and amplesupply of toys on the children’s ward raise his spirits one little bit.> 2002Aird 94.

on last year, up/down Up/down from/over last year: In up/down lastyear, the dominant form in CIC British texts is on, with from a distant second,and no instances of over. In CIC American texts, the dominant form is from,with over a very distant second, and no instances of on. <. . . 50 of its Londonstaff would get a Christmas bonus of £1 million each, substantially up on lastyear.> 2000 Dec. 18 Times 1/2. <[income is] well down on last year.> 2002Feb. 25 BBC1 evening news.

on to, onto The spelling on to is the older one, dating from the sixteenth century,but onto has been used since the eighteenth century. A distinction is now madebetween the two forms comparable to that of in to and into, that is, an adverbialparticle followed by the preposition to and a compound preposition (Gilman1994). In CIC’s British texts, the spaced spelling on to outnumbers the solidonto by 2.25 to 1; in its American texts, the ratio is more nearly even: 1.15 to 1.The spaced spelling sometimes gives rise to a confusion by which the adverbplus preposition is spelled solidly: <She was a precocious child, . . . the firstof her family to go onto grammar school.> 1993 Feb. 15 Daily Mail 26/2.

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<. . . they . . . had moved with their glasses [from inside the riverside pub] outon to the almost deserted decking.> 2003 James 128.

onto “chiefly Br in or into contact with <(been ∼ him about the drains” (LDEL).“especially Br E to get in contact with someone: Get onto the hospital and see ifthey can spare extra nurses” (LDOCE 1995).

onto a degree course Into a degree program <. . . if I were applying for auniversity place today I could get onto a degree course in engineering oreven physics.> 1994 Sept. 21 Times 16/2.

onto a flat Into an apartment <The apartment has the benefit of a lift givingprivate access directly onto the flat.> 1988 Nov. Illustrated London News 71/3.

opposite (to) Opposite has been used alone as a preposition since the eighteenthcentury and is common-core English; however, it is more frequent in Britishthan in American (Peters 2004, 396). A random sample of 250 British and 250American instances of the form opposite in CIC found 50 in prepositional usein British texts and 25 in American texts (many of which involved statementsabout one actor playing opposite another, or one structure being oppositeanother on a street or river). CIC has 19.1 iptmw of opposite to in British textsand 2.6 in American texts. American seems to prefer other wordings for theconcept: across from, different from, facing, on the other side of the street from,etc. <Lorton sat down opposite Dougal.> 1988 Taylor 97. <The woman . . .was so opposite to David’s expectation that he almost cried out in protest.>1991 Charles 72.

out / out of The preposition out is used chiefly with door and window, but alsoin American with other objects occasionally and as “not quite part of themainstream” (Gilman 1994). A study (Estling 1999) based on parts of fourcorpora reports that in collocation with door and window, the norm in Britishis out of and in American, out. Specifically, British uses out of twice as oftenas out (67 to 33 percent) whereas American uses out between 6 and 7 timesas often as out of (87 to 13 percent). However, the dominant British formin spoken texts is out (72 percent), and in written texts out of (80 percent),indicating a striking divergence between written and spoken usage. In thatstudy, out is favored in American English and in British speech; out of, inBritish written material. An examination of the frequency of the two preposi-tions with door and window as objects in CIC texts agreed with Estling’s generalconclusions, but differed in the percentages. In CIC texts, both British andAmerican prefer out over out of with door and window, but American morestrikingly so: British by 68 to 32 percent (roughly 2 to 1) and American by91 to 9 percent (roughly 10 to 1). There is also a notable difference with thetwo objects. In American, out is preferred with both door and window by fairlysimilar percentages (93 and 89 percent respectively); in British, the preferencefor out with door is less (70 percent), but with window, British preference isactually for out of (57 percent), thus making the object apparently a significantfactor. With regard to writing versus speech, CIC data also agrees in generalconclusions with the earlier study: American texts, both written and spoken,

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have a preference for out by 90 and 94 percent, respectively; British spokentexts also prefer out by 91 percent, but British written texts prefer out of by58 percent. – out Out of: “Br E used in a way which some people think isincorrect, to say that someone or something is removed from inside something,leaves somewhere etc: Get out the car and push with the rest of us! ” (LDOCE1995). In CIC British texts, out the car accounts for 8 percent and out of thecar for 92 percent of the total uses; American texts have no instances of out thecar. < . . . out the way, Fang . . . out the way, yeh dozy dog.> 2003 Rowling372. – out of Some British uses of out of also seem less likely in American:1. From: CIC British texts have about equal numbers of out of and from withKing’s Cross; American texts have no instances of either preposition withGrand Central. <Consider this report in an English newspaper: “PrincessMargaret travelled last night to Balmoral as an ordinary first class passengerin the Aberdonian night train out of King’s Cross.”> 1967 Frost and Jay 31.2. After (hours): In CIC British texts, out of hours accounts for 21 percent andafter hours for 79 percent of the total uses; American texts have no instances ofout of hours. <The new council will reward further-education colleges for . . .keeping libraries open out of hours.> 1992 Dec. 5 Economist 61/3. 3. Outof (a team): In CIC British texts, out of the team accounts for more than 96percent and off the team for less than 4 percent of the total uses; Americantexts have no instances of out of the team. <He missed two practice sessionsand now he’s out of the team.> 1995 CIDE. Cf. above.4. Beyond: In CIC British texts, out of all recognition accounts for 28 percentand beyond all recognition for 72 percent of the total uses; American texts haveno instances of out of all recognition. <If the situation did not improve out ofall recognition, it did, nevertheless, at last improve – but very, very slowly.>1993 Mason 165.

outside Outside of: These two related forms have been the subject of usagecontroversy (Gilman 1994, 702–3); outside has been said to be “overwhelminglythe normal use in BrE” (Burchfield 1996, 562); yet outside of has also been saidto be “established in British English, and used across a range of prose styles forthe general reader” (Peters 2004, 401). In random samples from CIC, Britishtexts had approximately equal numbers of outside and outside of (49 and 51percent, respectively); American texts had slightly more than a third as manyinstances of outside as of outside of (26 and 74 percent, respectively). <. . . aservice station outside Hull.> 2003 June 14 Times 26/1.

over 1. Across; on the other side of <Most of us probably look at the houseover the road more often than our own.> 2003 June 21 Times Weekend 12/1.2. Over/across to <“Are you in this evening, Mr. Daley?” asked Morse. [ ¶ ]“Wha’ – I usually go over the pub for a jar or two at the weekends but – ”>1992 Dexter 119. 3. Above; more than <He admired John O’Hara over allwriters.> 1986 Oct. 30 Times 18/5. – over the odds Above (the) average: InCIC, above average is the more common expression in both varieties and ofapproximately equal frequency in both, but British has almost half as many

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instances of over the odds, and American has none. <Health-conscious con-sumers are paying over the odds for “inferior” imported cooking oil.> 1993Feb. 13 Daily Telegraph 5/1.

over so many floors On so many floors: CIC British texts include 5 times asmany examples as American texts do, and the latter all refer to spreading orscattering something, not to area measurement. <Boasting 13,957 square foot,over five floors, the store will house the famous footwear alongside accessoriesand men’s and women’s clothing.> 1994 Sept. 21 Times 17/3.

over that score, lose no sleep Lose no sleep on that score <They knew theirstandards were almost anachronistic, probably “pi”, but they lost no sleepover that score.> 1963 Ashford 44.

over a season During a season: In CIC texts, during is more common with sea-sons in both varieties; but British has 6 times as many instances of over asAmerican does. <We get housewives with kids who . . . need six weeks offover summer.> 1994 Sept. 24 Guardian Careers 3/2.

over the top Exaggeratedly, unreasonably: In CIC, this expression is 2.75 timesmore frequent in British texts than in American. <The widow of one of themost famous alcoholics of the 20th century behaving a touch over the topas her husband’s coffin made its way six foot down seems to me pretty smallbeer in the great scheme of unacceptable behaviour.> 1994 Sept. 17 TimesMagazine 3/4.

over to someone Up to someone: As an expression meaning “the responsibilityof,” up to is common-core English; CIC British, but not American, texts alsohave over to as an occasional variant (approximately 0.9 iptmw). <But now itis over to someone else to complete the task.> 1991 Feb. 9 Daily TelegraphWeekend 20/5.

past an hour After an hour: In CIC, with hours (including noon and midnight),British texts have past in 31 percent of the instances and after in 69 percent;American texts have past in 16 percent of the instances and after in 84 percent.“In American English after is often used instead of past (e.g. ten after six)”(Swan 1995, 582).

qua Disregarding sine qua non, which has about equal use in the two varieties,qua is twice as frequent in CIC British texts as in American. <Anita Roddick,supremo of the eco-friendly Body Shop, has written her memoirs, Body andSoul, due out in September. However, there is precious little in the book aboutRoddick qua woman.> 1991 Feb. 17 Sunday Times Books 7/5.

round Around: In combined prepositional and adverbial uses, round outnum-bers around 7:6 in the British LOB corpus; in the American Brown corpus,around outnumbers round 40:1 (Peters 2004, 48). CIC classifies 954.6 iptmwof round in British texts as prepositional and 59.3 in American texts (com-pared with 2561.1 iptmw of prepositional around in British texts and 2883.3in American texts). British notably uses round for circular movement or posi-tion (walk round the car, sit round the table) and for everywhere (look round thehouse), but uses around for indefinite movement or position in the sense “here

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and there in” (wander/stand around the place) (Swan 1995, 53): <And so he[comedian Steve Coogan] turned down the naff jobs and concentrated on anew, character-based routine and took it around arts centres.> 1994 Sept.14–21 Time Out 21/3. American uses around more widely. Although the num-ber of senses listed for a word in dictionaries may represent the style of thelexicographer as much as the semantics of the language being described, itis noteworthy that MW has 7 senses or subsenses for the preposition aroundbut only 2 for the preposition round, whereas NODE has 5 for around and 8for round. 1. Around <The boyfriend greased round her by giving back allher things – and the money he’d nicked. . . . So she decided not to do himfor assault.> 1996 Neel 45. 2. Around to <My father . . . has gone roundPandora’s house to borrow a bottle of spirits.> 1985 Townsend 151. 3. On<The Thurso Boy . . . cheeked two bobbies in a cafe and one of them gavehim . . . a cuff round the back of the head.> 1989 Sept. 6 Evening Standard7/2. – round the twist Eccentric <And she is a bit round the twist.> 1991Neel 121. Cf. §§ 5.1.4 - and 6.1 and .

save (for) Except (for) <However, the party agents, middle-aged men withhairy tweeds and bad teeth, who read nothing save for the Daily Mail, alwaysinsisted on holding public meetings.> 1991 Critchley 54.

saving Except <He had done the round so often that he didn’t need a clock toknow that, saving Christmas and a General Election, he would finish his . . .delivery at a quarter to eight in the furthest farmhouse.> 1968 Aird 6.

since (when) Since (which time): The sequence since when is about 5 timesmore frequent in British than American according to CIC. Two of its uses areas an interrogative and as a relative. In British texts, the relative is 2.5 timesmore frequent than the interrogative; in American texts, the interrogativeis about 5.5 times more frequent than the relative. (Cf. also CGEL 15.29n,57.) <. . . he gained his BA in Fine Art from 1963 to 1989, since when hehas devoted himself to his painting.> 1993 Artist’s and Illustrator’s Magazine(BNC).

till Until; to: In CIC, British and American texts have roughly the same num-ber of instances of until, but British has about 5 times more instances of thepreposition till than does American. <She’s in the casino till nearly dawnmost nights.> 1992 Walters 141. Cf. § 9.2 .

to To is the fourth most frequent word in the LOB corpus (after the, of, and and)and the second most frequent preposition. Its British-American differencesinvolve cooccurrence with objects.

to budget Within budget: CIC has 0.4 iptmw of this use of the phrase in Britishtexts and none in American. <Thus, thirdly, any given National productionis under that much greater pressure to keep to budget; which Lear has dulydone.> 1991 Feb. Evening Standard magazine 53/3.

to camera On camera: CIC has 4.3 iptmw of this use of to camera in British textsand none in American. It has 8.1 iptmw of on camera in British texts and 23.1in American. <The resulting work is strange and disturbing: a sequence of

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oddballs wearing wigs and masks confess their innermost secrets to camera.>1998 Jan. 3–9 Times Metro 22/2.

to commission On commission: CIC has 0.3 iptmw of to commission in Britishtexts and none in American. It has 0.2 of work on commission in British textsand 1.1 in American. <You have to remember that they were professionalpainters, they worked to commission.> 1993 Smith 91.

to contract, out Up for bid: CIC has 0.5 iptmw of out to contract in British textsand none in American. It has no instances of for bid in British texts and 3.3iptmw in American, often in the combination up for bid. <London RegionalTransport . . . has put many of its other routes out to contract.> 1989 AutumnIllustrated London News 26/2.

to a date Through a date: For indicating inclusive time periods, British andAmerican differ notably in five ways. British characteristically uses the follow-ing four constructions (the figures are iptmw in CIC British texts, followedby those in American texts after a virgule): from [a month] to [a later period oftime] 45.9 / 22.3; from [a period of time] to the end of [another period of time] 3.5/ 0.5; from [a period of time] through to [another period of time] 3.1 / 0.6; from[a period of time] to [another period of time] inclusive 0.6 / 0.0. The character-istic American construction is from [a period of time] through [another period oftime]: American 53.7 iptmw, British 1.3. <But even the news that annual wagerises to August had reached 9.25 per cent did little to disturb the equanim-ity of the party faithful.> 1988 Oct. 16 Sunday Telegraph 23/5. Cf. above.

to a design In/from a design <Three generations have worn the same style [ofring] to an old family design.> 1994 Sept. 25 Sunday Times Magazine 48/4.

to some direction At/by/following/according to some direction <But theywere all easy-mannered, answering Sarah’s questions readily as they placedfiles in piles to her direction.> 1993 Neel 66.

to form According to form <. . . it was Lewis’s job that day to ferry the chiefinspector around; doubtless, too (if things went to form) to treat him to theodd pint or two.> 1993 Dexter 46.

to hand 1. On/at hand; available: In CIC texts, to hand is about 1.5 times morefrequent in British texts than in American; on hand is about twice as frequentin American texts as in British; at hand is about equally frequent in bothvarieties. <Having your national insurance number to hand will speed up theprocess.> 2003 June 21 Times Money 6/8. 2. In hand <By ten past nine theentrance and drive-way of the Grand Hotel had filled up with eager Tories, . . .conferences agendas to hand.> 1992 Critchley 76. Cf. above.

to hour Of: In expressions like a quarter to/of nine, British CIC texts have tomore than 7 times as often as American texts do. American texts have of 15times as often as British texts do; however, British uses of rarely (0.1 iptmw),so of in the American construction is minor (1.5 iptmw). Moreover, otherprepositions (before, till ) in this construction are also of minor or negligibleimportance in British and are unrecorded in CIC American texts. Thus it

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appears that American prefers other constructions for telling time, such as8:45, which constructions are about 1.4 times more frequent in American thanin British CIC texts. <[traveler on platform:] Train to King’s Cross? . . .Leaves when? [traveler on train:] Quarter to.> 1990 Jan. 29 conversation atthe Cambridge station.

to interview For an interview; to be interviewed <Local Tory worthies oftenharbour ambitions to be selected as their association’s candidate; parish pumpcourtesies dictate that many of these are called to interview, but few are, infact, ever chosen.> 1991 Feb. 9 Daily Telegraph 10/1.

to a meal At/for a meal: Common-core English collocations are invite to dinner,sit down to dinner, etc. Others exist in British English; e.g., entertain to dinner,for which American is more likely to have entertain at dinner or a completelydifferent construction, such as invite for dinner. <They had been a large partyto dinner.> 1956 Robinson 27. Cf. § .

to some meeting For some meeting; to go to some meeting <Mr Clarke, Educa-tion Secretary, was leaving his office to the Cabinet meeting when the attackhappened.> 1991 Feb. 8 Daily Telegraph 2/6.

to one’s peak At one’s peak<They believe a person needs the right environmentto perform to his peak.> 1989 July 19 Daily Mail 7/5–6.

to someplace Someplace: CIC has 0.4 iptmw of go someplace (without to) inBritish texts, and 7.1 in American texts (cf. also Swan 1995, 452).

to plan As planned: CIC has 5.2 iptmw of go to plan in British texts, and nonein American texts. It has 1 iptmw of go as planned in British texts, and 6.9 inAmerican texts. <Everything was working to plan.> 1989 Quinton 261.

to ransom For ransom: CIC has 2.5 iptmw of hold to ransom in British textsand 0.2 in American texts. It has 0.5 iptmw of for ransom in British texts and3.9 in American texts. <The gazunderer is making a conscious decision tohold somebody to ransom.> 1989 July 30 Sunday Times A-9/4.

to schedule On schedule: The ratio between the prepositional phrases to sched-ule and on schedule in CIC British texts is 1:10, and in American texts, 1:18;moreover, in the American texts, nearly two-thirds of the instances of to sched-ule are according to schedule, which represents less than one-third of the Britishinstances. <. . . sailings . . . had operated to schedule.> 1986 Aug. 30 Times2/3.

to the highest/higher standard(s) This expression is almost 6 times morefrequent in CIC British texts than in American.<The work of the carpenter . . .has been . . . all to the highest standard.> 1990 Sept. 1 Times (Saturday)Review 31/3–4.

to a timetable, work This construction is rare in British, but has no instancesin CIC American texts. <During the long vacation both worked to a gruellingtimetable.> 1987 Archer 167–8.

to wife As a wife: This phrase echoes Leviticus 21.14: “he shall take a virgin ofhis own people to wife”; the construction, which comes from Old English, is

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used archaically in British English; there are no instances in CIC Americantexts. <Be glad you’ve got Jean and not Lee Garfield to wife.> 1989 Quinton239.

towards Toward: Towards in LOB outnumbers towards in Brown by 318 to64; toward in Brown outnumbers toward in LOB by 386 to 14 (Hofland andJohansson 1982, 537). Christian Mair (1997, 144) reports the following ratiosfor towards:toward in limited portions of the 1961 LOB and Brown corpora:45:3 and 6:67; and in the 1991 or 1992 FLOB and Frown updates: 32:0 and 2:41.Their ratios in CIC are British 14:1 and American 1:4.4. These figures indicatethat towards is predominantly British and toward American on a continuingbasis. <‘Over here,’ says Helen, taking her arm and guiding her towards thedownstairs cloakroom.> 2001 Lodge 136.

under A few collocational differences distinguish British and American use.under one’s face Under one’s nose is common-core English. CIC has 0.3 iptmw

of under one’s face in British texts and none in American texts. <Should yourpartner fail to maintain the level of devotion you consider essential, theseyellowing fragments of newsprint should be . . . thrust under his face.>1991 Feb. 11 Ms London 4/2.

under offer CIC has 0.3 iptmw of under offer in British texts and 0.2 of sense2 below (none of sense 1) in American texts. 1. Contract pending; with anoffer received, but awaiting the signing of a contract <Its “For Sale” board is ahopeless bit of cardboard. . . . On it he has written, “Under Offer: £172,000”.>1990 Aug. 18 Daily Telegraph Weekend 14/2. 2. Available for sale <Superboffices under offer> 1999 March sign at a Hampstead estate agency.

under place name <Newcastle-under-Lyme. Prepositions and place-namesare two of the most erratic elements in the English vocabulary: if you tryto find logic in them when they are combined, you will surely go mad.> 1990Howard 106.

under preparation In preparation: CIC has 0.2 iptmw of under preparation inBritish texts and none in American texts. <Malise Ruthven is the author ofIslam in the World . . . a new edition of which is now under preparation.>1996 Aug. 1 London Review of Books 2/4.

underneath the down Next to a low hill: Neither the preposition nor thenoun is used in these senses in American English. <Three hours later theydropped down a muddy lane into co*cking, another hamlet underneath thedown.> 1940 Shute 143.

up This prepositional use corresponds to an optional adverbial up followed byvarious prepositions of location. 1. (Up) at <He wanted nothing to do with hisfather’s brick semi up the Liverpool bypass.> 1993 Greenwood 20. 2. (Up)to “Br nonstandard (up) to <going ∼ the West End>” (LDEL). <He’s goingup the post office to cash his giro.> 1991 Glaister 21. 3. (Up) on <The dog. . . jumped up the policeman’s tunic with its muddy paws.> 1985 Townsend15. – up the spout Pregnant: This phrase has several other senses in BritishEnglish: “pawned”; “useless or ruined”; “lost”; “dead”; (of a bullet) “in a gun

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barrel ready for shooting.” CIC has 1.98 iptmw of the phrase (in various senses)in British texts and one instance in an American text, in which it is glossed“vanished.” <Harriet described her boyfriend . . . and the fright they’d had inMay when Harriet had thought she was up the spout.> 2001 Drabble 235.Cf. above.

upon Christian Mair (1997, 145) reports that, in limited portions of the 1961LOB and Brown corpora and of their 1991–1992 FLOB and Frown updates,upon was more common in American than in British use at the earlier time buthas declined in frequency in both varieties, and so much more in American thatnow the two varieties show no significant difference in its use. CIC, however,shows a difference: whereas British and American have similar frequenciesof the preposition on, British has almost twice as many instances of upon asAmerican (2105.8 versus 1112.6 iptmw); because on is so much more frequent(more than 62,000 iptmw in each variety), American upon/on occur at therespective percentages of 2/98, and British upon/on at 3/97.

upon some bottom On some bottom: Upon here is rare and may be obsolete.<. . . the discovery of a terribly battered car upon the concrete bottom of anempty dry dock, with two dead naval officers in it.> 1940 Shute 60.

upon place names This pattern of place names is characteristically British.<Burton-upon-Trent and Kingston-upon-Thames, . . . Newcastle uponTyne.> 1990 Howard 106.

upon some side On some side: CIC British texts have about 5 times as manyinstances of upon (some) side as American texts do. <A middle-aged lady . . .sat opposite to her upon the far side of the fireplace.> 1940 Shute 213.

upon the telephone On; by telephone: Upon here is rare and may be obsolete.<I’ll get in touch with you upon the telephone after I’ve been to Emsworth.>1940 Shute 162.

upsides Beside: CIC has 0.4 iptmw of upsides in British texts and none in Amer-ican texts. <I could tell tales of being upsides Terry Biddlecombe on FearlessFred at Warwick [racecourse].> 1999 Mar. 16 Independent Review 4/6.

with Several collocations with this preposition involve British-American dif-ferences.

with some bank, deposit something Deposit something in a bank: CIC has 0.5iptmw in British texts and 0.1 in American texts. For the construction usingin instead of with, it has 0.3 iptmw in British texts and 0.8 in American texts.<I’ll deposit it with your bank.> 1985 Bingham 116.

with next/last time period, start Start next/last time period: CIC has 0.5iptmw of the construction using with in British texts and none in Americantexts. For the construction lacking with, it has 19.9 iptmw in British texts and32.1 in American texts. <Interviews should have started with last April.>1989 Sept. 10 Sunday Telegraph 7/8.

with effect from In effect from: CIC has 4.4 iptmw using the preposition within British texts and 0.1 in American texts. For the construction using in insteadof with, it has no instances in British texts and 0.6 iptmw in American texts.

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<The following members of staff have been promoted to chairs, with effectfrom October 1.> 1990 Aug. 22 Times 12/7.

with it As well; in addition: The construction in this sense is listed in NODE,but not in MW. <She’s a pretty lady and fast with it.> 1991 Critchley 201.

with reference to CIC British texts have 2.3 times as many instances of withreference to as of in reference to; American texts have 1.4 times as many of inreference to as of with reference to (the latter primarily in academic texts). Asampling of British texts collected by Algeo and Read for lexical purposes haswith reference to outnumbering in reference to by 3:1. <It first appeared withreference to the Iraq dossier.> 2003 July 9 Daily Express 27/1.

with/in regard(s) to CIC texts show a British preference for with versus in ofabout 4.5 to 1, but an American preference of little more than 2 to 1. Britishpreference for singular regard is about 19.4 to 1, and American preference isalso for the singular, but only about 4.3 to 1. Therefore, although both varietieshave more instances of with regard to than of the other three options combined,it accounts for 82 percent of all the British forms, but only 68 percent of theAmerican forms.

within the hour In less than an hour: CIC has 4.4 iptmw of within the hour inBritish texts and 2.0 in American texts. It has 1.9 iptmw of in less than an hourin British texts and 2.8 in American texts. <He hobbled and hopped acrossto the telephone and rang Lewis, and within the half hour he was sittingdisconsolately in the accident room of the Radcliffe Infirmary.> 1975 Dexter79.

without “Outside of, beyond (in various senses): opp. to within prep. Now onlyliterary or arch.” (OED). <Without the house and within there was muchmellow opulence on view.> 1973 Innes 113.

8.2 Omission of any preposition

8.2.1 In collocation with a following object

The omission of a preposition in the following citations leaves what would havebeen its object as a noun phrase functioning adverbially.

bottom At the bottom <. . . opinion polls regularly place them bottom of theroyal league.> 1989 July 25 Evening Standard 22/3.

care of In care of “In the address of a letter or package ‘care of —’. in care of(US): = care of ” (OED s.v. care n. 4.a).

century With a shorter period of time (year, month, week), omitting any prepo-sition is common-core English, but with century it is more typically British. InCIC, British texts have approximately 2.8 times as many instances of both lastcentury and this century used adverbially as do American texts. – last centuryIn/during/of the last century <Nash got involved in the canal scheme earlylast century when he became entranced by the idea of boats sailing through

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his newly-designed Regent’s Park.> 1986 Aug. 28 Hampstead Advertiser 8/1.– this century In/during/of this century <Our report concluded that upto 200,000 houses a year were likely to be built this century in England andWales.> 1990 Aug. 24 Times 11/5.

corner, fight one’s Defend one’s interest: This idiom is British; CIC has 2.8iptmw of it in British texts and 0.1 in American texts (specifically in a CableNews Network report, where British influence is likely). If an American versionexisted, one would expect fight for one’s corner. <If he hadn’t seen him withhis back against the wall fighting his corner, . . . he might well have got theimpression that the DCI was a touch soft-headed.> 1996 Graham 220.

end, this At/on this end: A sampling of CIC American texts produced noinstances of adverbial this end; a sampling of British texts did. <. . . it wasn’tBeevers I should have been worried about – it was who Beevers was dealingwith this end.> 1985 Bingham 142.

fashion, a valedictory In a valedictory fashion <. . . he actually shook handswith me a valedictory fashion.> 1983 Innes 70.

front In front <It was looks that first led her front of screen when she was aresearcher on Wogan.> 1991 Mar. 9 Telegraph Weekend Magazine 18/1.

late, too Until too late <No one could talk to them about things like that. If Icould have done, I might have been able to get an abortion. I left it too late.>1987 Bawden 82.

latest At the latest <Only if he doesn’t fit me in at half-past one sharp, he can’tfit me in at all. So that means leaving ten past one latest.> 1985 Bingham19–20.

period, this In/during this period <The vendor is asked to undertake not toaccept any other bids this period.> 1987 Apr. 20 Times 18/8. Cf. above.

side, some On some side: In random samples of 100 instances of either sidefrom both British and American CIC texts, the British instances included19 in which either side functioned adverbially without a preposition, and theAmerican instances included 2. <Kingsley Shacklebolt and a tough-lookingwizard . . . were positioned either side of the door like guards.> 2003 Rowling538 (US ed. on either side).

time, a At a time <In any event, concentration was limited to ten seconds atime.> 1994 Fyfield 9.

weather, this In this weather <“The other two were in a little rubber boat.”[ ¶ ] “Too bloody cold for that this weather.”> 1940 Shute 33. – all weathersIn all (kinds/sorts of) weather <He sits out there all weathers now.> 1985Mortimer 317.

8.2.2 In collocation with a preceding word

born year Born in year <Beatrix, born 1866, was a plain and sickly child,starved of companionship.> 1986 Oct. 30 Times 15/1.

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buttered A proverbial expression with three grammatical variations is (on)which side one’s bread is/was buttered (on). The variations are in the presenceand location of the preposition on. 1. Without the preposition on: <1863Kingsley Water Bab. 289 He . . . understood so well which side his bread wasbuttered, and which way the cat jumped.> OED s.v. cat n. 13.e. 2. With on atthe end of the clause: <Brenda Maddox has a funny story about the Americanpublisher of her biography of James Joyce’s wife, Nora: [block quote] Notonly were they trying to copy edit me, they were trying to edit Joyce. He’s gotthis line: “Earth knows which side her bread is buttered.” And this editorcame back with a query, “Surely he meant ‘buttered on’?”> 1990 Critchfield251. 3. With on before the relative: <1834 Macaulay in Trevelyan Life I. 373,I quite enjoy the thought of appearing in the light of an old hunks who knowson which side his bread is buttered.> OED s.v. light n. 9. The BNC has7 instances of the expression and CIC British texts 5 instances, which are,respectively: 4 and 2 of which side one’s bread is buttered; 2 and 2 of which sideone’s bread is buttered on; 1 and 1 of on which side one’s bread is buttered. CICAmerican texts have only 1 instance, of on which side one’s bread is buttered;despite that evidence, the most usual American form is doubtless with theterminal preposition, which side one’s bread is buttered on, as indicated by thereaction of the American editor under 2. above.

fortnight day Two weeks from day <President Mitterrand’s daughter-in-lawElizabeth Mitterrand is standing in the French senate elections a fortnighttoday.> 1989 Sept. 10 Sunday Telegraph 8/7.

half hour Half an hour after hour; half past hour; e.g., half eleven = 11:30:A search of CIC produced some 441 instances in British texts and none inAmerican texts. <Make him bring you home by half eleven – anyhow, bymidnight.> 1940 Shute 136. <I went in just before half twelve.> 1996Graham 209.

month day Month from day <First rehearsal call – one month today.> 1987Apr. 16 Hampstead Advertiser 14/3.

second last Second to/from last (cf. common-core second best): A search of CICproduced 27 instances in British texts and 2 in American texts. <Even furtherbehind was the fancied second favourite, Shadeed, . . . which bumbled homesecond last in a field of 14.> 1985 June 6 Times 1/3. Cf. § 8.1 and , § 11.3.1 .

sides, both Both sides of <I say, have you considered acquiring all the rightsto Noel Coward? . . . I should nobble him, if nobbleable, on both sides theAtlantic: if I were a publisher.> 1938 Lawrence 696.

week day Week from day: CIC has 6.0 iptmw in British texts and none inAmerican (cf. CamGEL 1562). <I’ve got cakes to bake – the fete is a weektoday, you know!> 1991 Charles 76. Cf. § 17.4 .

year last time period Year ago/before last time period: CIC has 0.3 iptmw inBritish texts and none in American texts. <We presented him with one [a goldwatch] a year last December for general good work.> 1986 Clark 41.

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year next time period Year from time period: CIC has no instances in eitherBritish or American texts. <If I want to search Wytham Woods I’ll bloodywell search ’em till a year next Friday.> 1992 Dexter 93–4.

8.3 Omission of the prepositional object

The use of prepositions without an expressed object, when the implicit objectis expressed earlier in the clause, has been reported with such examples as Mysocks have got holes in (them), I’d like a piece of toast with butter on (it), All thetrees have got blossom on (them), and He was carrying a box with cups in (it) (Swan1995, 174, 433). CIC has sporadic instances of this construction in its Britishspoken corpus: <. . . the speech therapist suggested . . . that she made flashcardswith letters on.> 1998 CIC spoken corpus. No American instances have beenlocated.

8.4 Prepositional phrase versus noun adjunct

captain of games Team captain: CIC has 0.1 iptmw of captain of games inBritish texts and none in American texts. It has 6.3 iptmw of team captain inBritish texts and 5.6 in American texts. <He became Captain of Games inmy house [at Eton] and used the position to pick on me unjustly, more thanonce.> 1994 Dickinson 15.

hall of residence Residence hall: CIC has 3.0 iptmw of hall of residence inBritish texts and none in American texts. It has no instances of residence hall inBritish texts and 2.7 iptmw in American texts. <They . . . went off . . . towardsthe hall of residence.> 1993 Neel 123.

8.5 Order of numbers with by

In specifying a two-dimensional size, British tends to put the larger size first,and American the small size. For the three pairs of dimensions 4 by 2 versus 2 by4, 5 by 3 versus 3 by 5, and 6 by 4 versus 4 by 6, CIC British texts have 2.0 iptmwof the larger size first and 0.3 of the smaller size first; American texts have 0.1 ofthe larger size first and 2.7 of the smaller size first.

<The most common size is 28 × 18 cm (11 × 7 in), but it is also useful to havea slightly larger size, 33 × 23 cm (13 × 9 in).> 1986 Pettigrew 19. <We’restill working in the conventional manner with six by four cards.> 1988Edmund Weiner, co-editor Oxford English Dictionary, at MLA in NewOrleans Lexicography Discussion Group. <I . . . send a written-up entryon a 3” × 5” flimsy (we say 5” by 3”!) back to her for eventual keying into her machine.> 1989 July 25 private letter from British lexicographer PaulBeale.

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9 Conjunctions

9.1 Coordinating conjunctions

and 1. When numbers such as 310 are written out or spoken, they may beeither three hundred and ten or three hundred ten (Swan 1995, 385). In randomsamples of 1000 tokens of the word hundred from British texts, CIC’s ratioof hundred and followed by another number to hundred followed directly byanother number was 329:10; from American texts, the ratio was 149:42. Inboth national varieties, the norm is hundred and, but in American there is agreater tendency to omit and. 2. Before the introduction of decimal currency,the expression X (shillings) and X (pence), with optional omission of shilling(s)or of both currency terms, was common. The pattern is now historical only.<Diva scuttled away to the other table without even waiting to be paid the sumof one and threepence which she had won from Elizabeth.> 1931 Benson216. <Did you know, in 1958 you could get bed and breakfast in a one-starhotel in Morecambe for seven-and-six a night?> 1988 Lodge 174.

Certain paired-word collocations with and have different preferred orders forthe paired words in British and American.

board and lodging The American analog is room and board. In CIC texts, eachnational variety has only sporadic tokens of the term regularly used in the othervariety, often with reference to life in the other country.<workhouse . . . a publicinstitution in which the destitute of a parish received board and lodging inreturn for work.> NODE, s.v. workhouse.

egg(s) and bacon; e&b Bacon and eggs is the norm in common-core English;but egg(s) and bacon accounts for 31 percent of the tokens in CIC British textsand only 23 percent in American. <I myself only rarely tuck into e&b [eggsand bacon] by choice.> 1988 June Illustrated London News 80/4. <By two inthe morning Annabelle was eating egg and bacon in a huge kitchen.> 1996Neel 10.

on and off Off and on: On and off is the norm in common-core English, butaccounts for 90 percent of the occurrences in CIC British texts and for only


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200 Parts of Speech

69 percent in American. <[They] have been phoning me on and off all daywith questions about the house.> 2001 Lodge 86.

out and in In and out (of) is the norm in common-core English, but out andin has sporadic representation in CIC British texts and none in American.<[Glaswegian Jimmy Boyle:] . . .we kids were out and in each other’s housesas if they were our own.> 1990 Critchfield 174.

there and then Then and there: There and then is the choice by more than 2:1in CIC British texts; then and there is the choice by more than 4:1 in Americantexts. <Bernard made a telephone call there and then to the Chaplain’s officeat St Joseph’s, and arranged it.> 1991 Lodge 305.

British prefers asyndetic compounds in some cases.

macaroni cheese Macaroni and cheese: CIC British texts prefer theconjunction-less form by nearly 3:1; it is unknown in American texts. <. . .suchlarder standbys as . . . macaroni cheese.> 2003 June 12 Times 9/1.

Double coordinating conjunctions and nor and but nor are characteristic ofBritish, corresponding to common-core English and neither and but neither. CIChas 9.8 iptmw of and nor versus 3.4 of but nor in British texts, and 0.6 versus0.4 of the two forms respectively in American texts. Those figures accord withthe Algeo corpus, in which and nor outnumbers but nor by 2 to 1. Cf. also , below.

and nor And neither <You haven’t had supper and nor have I.> 2003 James144.

but nor But neither <Mrs Pargeter didn’t know much about computers, butnor apparently did the reception staff at Brotherton Hall.> 1992 Brett 47.

neither When it serves as a conjunction between sentences, neither is typicallyfollowed by inverted operator-subject order: A: They don’t gamble. B: Neitherdo I. However, it may exceptionally occur in British English with subject-operator order. CIC had no examples of this exceptional order in a randomsample of 100 tokens of sentence-connector neither in all texts, nor in a randomsample of 85 tokens in spoken texts. <Neither he will, my dear, if he knowsit.> 1935 Firth 310. Cf. 2, 3 below.

no more Neither; nor 1. Used to introduce a sentence with operator-subjectorder that responds to a preceding negative sentence (CGEL 10.58n). In arandomly selected sample of 1000 examples of sentence-initial No more, CIChad 12 tokens of this construction. <He . . . doesn’t see much of her. No moredo her father and mother for that matter.> 1994 Symons 28. 2. Used simi-larly, but with subject-operator order (CGEL 10.58n). In a randomly selectedsample of 1000 examples of sentence-initial No more, CIC had 6 tokens of thisconstruction, 5 of them from nineteenth-century fiction. <No more it was.>1981 Innes 16. Cf. , 3.

nor As a clause coordinator, nor is slightly more characteristic of British thanof American. CIC has 278.2 iptmw of clause initial Nor in British texts and

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200.7 in American texts. 1. Neither (contrasting the subjects of two clauses)<“And she won’t like the fact that Tolby’s involved.” [ ¶ ] “Nor do I,” Lortonsnarled.> 1988 Taylor 66. 2. And . . . not (either) (emphatically contrastingthe predications of two clauses) <‘In referring to Jock Beevers’ cricket accom-plishments, you said his school batting average had never been surpassed.’ [ ¶ ]‘Nor has it.’> 1985 Bingham 10–1. 3. followed by noninverted subject-operatororder <. . . that blasted baby feels his parents do not understand him as shedoes. Nor we do, I’m afraid.> 1993 Neel 78. Cf. , 2.

nor more And . . . not either/anymore: This is a rare construction; neither theBNC nor CIC has any examples of it. <She says you’re not yourself. Normore you are.> 1988 Lodge 316.

only As a conjunction, only is common-core English in the sense “but, however,except,” as in We intended to be there. Only it rained. However, in the followingexample, its use was sufficiently odd to cause the American publisher to omitthe word altogether: <Madam Hooch? Is it OK if Harry has the Firebolt back?Only we need to practise.> 1999 Rowling 188 (US ed. [deleted]).

or nor Or not: CIC has 0.4 iptmw of the form. <Believe it or nor, they evenbuy in bottles of midges.> 1999 magazine CIC.

For the pseudo coordination in They’ve been and (gone and), cf. § 1.4.2.

9.2 Subordinating conjunctions

Like is used as a subordinating conjunction in both British and American Englishas an alternative to as in sentences such as You talk like my mother (does) and to asif/though in sentences such as You look like you need a drink. Though sometimescastigated, the use is standard. It has been reported as somewhat more wide-spread and less exclusively informal in American use than in British (CamGEL1158).

The conjunctive use of other than in the sense “except” is entered withoutcomment by MW and dated to 1605, but it is sometimes criticized (Kahn andIlson 1985, 414–5; Gilman 1994, 699–700) or is said to sound awkward to Britishears (Peters 2004, 399). Nevertheless it occurs in British use: <The Yard doesnot break down the cost of individual murders other than by overtime.> 1993Feb. 3 Times 3/3.

Some subordinating conjunctions with characteristic British uses are listedbelow.

as 1. That <If he’s there, [come] back into the office and tell Trixie as I sentyou.> 1991 Dickinson 41. 2. As it <Well, sir, that’s as may be.> 1983 Innes93. 3. as was As he/she was <I got a call from Elsie Prosser. Elsie Inglefieldas was.> 2001 Mortimer 80.

cos Because: The American spelling is ’cause. CIC has 2077.4 iptmw of cos inBritish texts and 0.3 in American texts. <I am sure he won’t mind me lettingyou know, ’cos it’s what he always says.> 2002 Sept. Square 26.

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202 Parts of Speech

directly As soon as (CGEL 14.12, 15.25; Kjellmer 1997) <I cycled back homehere directly work was finished.> 2000 Granger 17.

for all (that) Despite the fact that <You look at two respectable women in theireighties, but on the posh side for all they’re skint.> 2000 Granger 308.

immediately As soon as (CGEL 14.12, 15.25; Kjellmer 1997)<The two youthssauntering along Oxford Street became targets immediately they startedshopping for knives in a tobacconist’s store.> 1997 Dec. 12 Evening Standard5/1.

in case If; lest: In case has two uses, depending on the priority in time of themain and subordinate clauses. In Have an extinguisher in your house in casea fire breaks out, the main clause has temporal priority and the subordinateclause is a future contingency; and in case = “lest” or “as an anticipation ofthe possible event that.” In Use the fire extinguisher in case a fire breaks out, themain clause is a result following upon the prior condition of the subordinateclause; and in case = “if.” The Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken Englishhas more than twice as many tokens of the “if” sense of in case as of the “lest”sense. Among 50 examples in the BNC, none had the “if” sense. The “lest”sense is the norm in British; American has both senses. <It’s typical of RonGladstone to keep it to himself in case we were upset.> 2000 Granger 188.Cf. § 8.1 .

lest In the mid twentieth century, lest was apparently 5 times more frequent inAmerican English than in British, the ratio in the Brown and LOB corporabeing 17:3. CIC, however, now shows lest to be actually more frequent in Britishuse than in American. It has 53.7 iptmw in British texts, mainly fiction, and32.6 in American texts, mainly academic.

no matter Even though: The common-core use of no matter as a subordinatingconjunction is in the sense “without regard to; irrespective of” (MW), followedby a relative or conjunction (how, what, when, where, whether, which, why, ormore rarely if, that, or though), as in We will come, no matter what the weatheris or We will come no matter if it rains (or as a preposition followed by a nounphrase, as in We will come, no matter the hour). The following use is apparentlya reduction of the rare common-core conjunctive use with if, that, or though,having the sense “even though”: <Frederick Clinton was too important towaste his time merely putting the boot into the CIA, no matter it was arecognised international sport.> 1975 Price 166. CIC has 1 such token out ofa randomly selected 1000 British examples with no matter: <No matter theyhad, or aspired to, Bentleys and Rolls and MGs and Rovers . . . it was somehowtoo vulgar.> 1989. A comparable American sample contained no tokens of theconstruction.

not but what Granted that: The OED says it “often occurs . . . and is still dial.and colloq.” MW lists it without comment in a different sense (“that . . . not”),as in I don’t know but what I will go. <’Tain’t so difficult to make a ship theway he done it. . . . Not but what he made a good job of it.> 1940 Shute 137.

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Conjunctions 203

now Now that: The simple form now has such use also in American, but gen-erally only in highly colloquial contexts in which phonological reduction andelision are also found, so the forms are not stylistic equivalents. <Now Potterand Weasely have been kind enough to act their age, . . . I have somethingto say to you all.> 2000 Rowling 336 (US ed. Now that). <Now the vener-able briefcase has been consigned to the status of endangered accessory, whyshould metrosexuals be forced to endure the hardship of lopsidedly bulgingpockets?> 2003 July 8 Times T2 13/4.

seeing as Since; in as much as: In comparable random samples, CIC has 7.5times more British than American tokens of this use (152 to 20). <The agentgave his consent, seeing as it was doing nothing. I did hear, mind, that SirMarcus was none too pleased.> 1989 Burden 86.

since In its temporal sense, since is often modified by ever. In common-coreEnglish, ever comes first: ever since, but CIC British texts have a few (0.3iptmw) examples of since ever, whereas American texts have none. <He hasa cottage near the church, and since ever anybody can remember he’s beensaying he has lived in it for eighty-seven years.> 1983 Innes 109.

so (that) The OED’s first citation of so [swa] used in this way without that is fromBeowulf, but the editors add (sense 23), “so that (also so alone), denoting resultor logical consequence; also sometimes = ‘in order that’. In the revived useof so alone, orig. U.S.” The OED’s modern citations of so, rather than so that,are evenly divided between British and American. Ward Gilman (1994, 856–7)finds no difference in formality between so and so that. Robert Burchfield (1996,721–2) comments on the history of the two forms: “Constructions using soalone are recorded from medieval times, but are no more than sporadic. First inAmerica in the 19c., and gradually elsewhere, so alone has gradually establisheditself in standard use, esp. in spoken English.” John Kahn and Robert Ilson(1985, 570) distinguish the forms semantically in British use: “There is a slightpreference in British English for so that to indicate purpose [He filled the tankso that he could drive all the way without stopping], and so to indicate result [Thetank was full, so he drove all the way without stopping]; it is possible to use themthe other way round.”

straight after Immediately after; as soon as: Although the two national vari-eties use immediately after with similar frequency, CIC has 10.2 iptmw ofstraight after in British texts and 2.6 in American texts. <Straight after he’dfinished he spirited off his Rent-A-Tottie for a naughty weekend at his countrycottage.> 1984 Brett 90.

suppose/supposing (that) What if; “if by way of hypothesis : on the assump-tion that” (MW s.v. supposing, conj.). As signals of a hypothesis, an assump-tion, or a suggestion, these terms differ in frequency of use between Britishand American, with the suppose forms more frequent in British use, and thewhat if form in American. – suppose CIC has 64.8 iptmw of clause-initialSuppose in British texts and 32.2 in American texts. This use of the verb in

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204 Parts of Speech

expressions like Suppose it rains and Suppose we stay home is common-coreEnglish, although more frequent in British. However, in the following Britishexample, it appears to be a subordinating conjunction with the sense “even if,”introducing an initial concessive clause: <Suppose you’ve got official busi-ness with God Almighty, you can’t leave your car here.> 1984 Gilbert 29.– supposing The LOB corpus has 14 tokens of supposing to Brown’s 2. Of 50randomly selected tokens of the form supposing out of 504 total in the BNC, 7or 8 are interpretable as suggestions (although the context is often ambiguous).The Michigan Corpus (MICASE) is much smaller, but of its 6 tokens of sup-posing, none appears to be a suggestion. CIC has 14.8 iptmw of clause-initialSupposing in British texts and 1.3 in American texts. It also has 41.9 iptmw ofnoninitial suppose in any use in British texts and 6.3 in American texts, thusconfirming the LOB/Brown statistics that the verb suppose is more frequent inBritish than in American. – suppose that CIC has 6.2 iptmw of clause-initialSuppose that in British texts and 2.6 in American texts. <Suppose that thestrontium rate in grass . . . goes bumping up sharply just after the Russianshave done a series of experiments.> 1959 Innes 7. – supposing that CIC has1.1 iptmw of clause-initial Supposing that in British texts and none in Americantexts. – what if On the other hand, CIC has 109.3 iptmw of what if in Britishtexts and 170.6 in American texts.

that in noninitial clause position Though; as: Common-core English has con-structions like Fool that he was, he managed to evade his pursuers = “Eventhough he was a fool . . . ,” with a noun subject complement front shifted(minus its article), followed by the conjunction that. British in addition canfront shift an adjective followed by that rather than as: Poor that they were, theygave money to charity = “Even though they were poor . . . ” (CGEL 15.39).

till Until: CIC has 3727.2 iptmw of until in British texts and 3688.3 in Americantexts, making that form approximately equal in the two varieties. However, CIChas nearly 5 times more tokens of till in British texts than in American (369.7to 74.5). <. . . the porter wouldn’t let them into Dr. Bennett’s room till he’dspoken to the warden.> 1993 Smith 256. Cf. § 8.1 .

whether or nor Whether or not: This construction is rare, occurring not atall in the text of the OED and only once in the BNC (in The Alton Herald ofFarnham, Surrey). CIC has <whether they’re satisfied or nor> in a quota-tion from Dickens. The following citation also attests it. <. . . computer-assisted sperm analysis (Casa) . . . predicts . . . whether or nor it is able tofertilise the egg.> 1993 Feb. 27 Times (Saturday) Review 6/1–2. Cf. § 9.1 .

whilever While; as long as: This parallel to wherever is rare. The OED has 2tokens of while ever, 1 of while-ever, and 1 of whilever; the BNC has 3 tokensof while ever in this use and none of while-ever or whilever. Similarly, CIChas 3 tokens of British while ever and none of the other two spellings, as wellas no American forms. <Nor do I believe in fairies. . . . But whilever he’s

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Conjunctions 205

firmly fixed to the top of the Christmas tree, what else?> 1989 Wainwright43.

whilst While: Whilst is a popular form in British English although secondaryto while, with 1388 versus 11,180 tokens of the two forms in the OED, 5775versus 54,778 in the BNC, and 379.8 versus 5890.1 iptmw in CIC British texts,compared with 8.8 versus 6674.2 in American texts. The Michigan Corpus(MICASE) has no tokens of whilst versus 458 of while. In LOB the number oftokens are 66 versus 590; in Brown, 0 versus 680. In American English whilstis rare. <. . . whilst I see you as a dear and valued friend, I don’t see myselfas your wife.> 2000 Granger 296. <Ron was . . . at a loss for anything to say,whilst Hermione looked on the verge of tears.> 2003 Rowling 64 (US ed.while).

9.2.1 Omission of a subordinating conjunction

Subordinating conjunctions are sometimes omitted before clauses with variousfunctions in their sentences. This is a common-core possibility, but seems to bemore prevalent in British than in American.

appreciate [that] <The “tankies” appreciate they are going to war and so

treat the vehicles better.> 1991 Feb. 16 Daily Telegraph 4/5.check [that/if] <Check no one’s watching.> 1998 Rowling 56 (US ed. Check

that no one’s). <He likes to . . . check I’m happy.> 1999 Rowling 317 (US ed.check if I’m happy).

complain [that] <Of those who received substituted items, more than 40%complained they were often of a poorer quality to those ordered.> 2004Dec. 12 Sunday Times 1 1/5.

confirm [that] <The Office of Fair Trading (OFT), the government’s con-sumer watchdog, confirmed this weekend it had launched an inquiry into theonline services of Tesco and Sainsbury’s.> 2004 Dec. 12 Sunday Times 1 1/1.

ensure [that] <He repeated that the Government wanted to ensure vulnerablegroups would take proper steps to keep warm.> 1991 Feb. 13 Daily Mail3/1.

be [that/if] <[Baroness Warnock:] . . . one of the things that would motivate

me [to die] is I couldn’t bear hanging on and being such a burden on people.>2004 Dec. 12 Sunday Times 1 1/2.

fact [that] <[a sometime head of Mrs. Thatcher’s policy unit:] She used the

fact she was a woman very powerfully to get her way.> 1990 Critchfield 437.

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206 Parts of Speech

it . . . [that] <It’s Malfoy’s problem he wasn’t listening.> 1999 Rowling 92 (US

ed. problem that he).

frightened [that] <And they’re frightened other people have got a tool

[weapon].> 1987 Nov. Illustrated London News 76/3.sure [that] <Harry felt sure there ought to be a security person there.> 2003

Rowling 678 (US ed. sure that there).

operator subject If <. . . she would take her drink in with

her to dinner should dinner be ready.> 1984 Drabble 24. <Had they goneto the pub, William and Darryl would doubtless have discussed music over apint of Strongbow.> 2003 June 20 Times 11/3. <The running costs of any newCentre would need to be assessed and form part of a business plan were thepurchase of a new Centre to be seriously considered.> 2004 Jan. minutesfrom a financial meeting, London.

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10 Interjections

Interjections, whether single-word or multiword forms, are numerous and areparticularly apt to vary between national varieties. The class of interjections isclose to open-ended. The following list is therefore of examples only. Some ofthe items occur also in American use, and some are old-fashioned in use butnevertheless seem characteristic of British English.

Characteristically American interjections include uh huh (CIC 3478.4 iptmw inAmerican texts versus 30.9 in British texts) and wow (CIC 282.8 iptmw Americanversus 78.9 British). For huh, see below. For hi and howdy, see below.The form OK or okay, which has been called America’s most successful exportto the world, has approximately equal use in British and American English; CIChas 2720 iptmw in British texts versus 2710.1 in American texts.aargh, aaargh CIC has 25.3 iptmw in British texts versus 0.2 in American

texts. <‘I think we’re doing the drawing room tomo – AARGH!’ [ ¶ ] Withtwo loud cracks, Fred and George . . . had materialized out of thin air in themiddle of the room.> 2003 Rowling 66.

ah This interjection has been reported as nearly 4 times more frequent in Britishconversation than in American (LGSWE 1097). CIC has 1247 iptmw in Britishtexts versus 262.8 in American texts.

aha This interjection has been reported as more than 4 times as frequent inBritish conversation as in American (LGSWE 1097). CIC has 247.3 iptmw inBritish texts versus 6.8 in American texts. Cf. also and below.

aye Used as a response in discourse, aye is a distinctively British form seldomused in American (LGSWE 1098). CIC has 606.9 iptmw in British texts versus21.4 in American texts, many of them parliamentary language.

blast (it) CIC has 8.4 iptmw of the exclamatory collocation blast it in Britishtexts and none in American.

blimey CIC has 36.7 iptmw in British texts, often in the collocations cor blimeyor oh blimey, and no American tokens. <Blimey. . . . That sounds even moredangerous.> 2005 Jan. 15 Daily Telegraph Weekend 18/1.

bloody hell CIC has 52.1 iptmw in British texts, often in the collocation ohbloody hell and occasionally cor bloody hell, and 1.3 in American texts. <He


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208 Parts of Speech

recalls his poetry classes by the Christian Brothers of St Illtyd as characterisedby ‘Daffodils, Skylarks, Cuckoos, Jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo! Bloody hell,it was, I thought, cissy stuff.’> 1988 Apr. In Britain 43/3. Cf. §§ 5.1.1 ,5.2, 6.1, 7.1 .

Bob’s your uncle Everything works out as expected or desired: CIC has 1.8iptmw in British texts (as well as a few examples of Bob’s your auntie) and noAmerican tokens. The expression is often used as a concluding comment butalso as an interjection. <I was getting out of the car when – Bob’s yer uncle– there was Peter Finch paying off his taxi.> 1994 Oct. 3 Times 19/7.

brilliant This word, in all of its uses, is more frequent in British English thanin American. CIC has 535.4 iptmw in British texts and 184.8 in Americantexts. There is also a British popular clipping to brill, as in <Youths: “Brill”,“Excellent!”> 1991 CIC. <“Daddy has gone to live with Elaine,” I burst out.[ ¶ ] “Brilliant. Now I can stay up and watch Red Dwarf.”> 1994 Sept. 24Guardian Weekend 84/3.

bugger me “a general excl. of surprise, annoyance, alarm” (Green 1998). CIChas 2.4 iptmw in British texts and no American tokens.

cheerio “When leaving people: . . . Cheerio” (Swan 1995, 543). An Americancomparable expression is take care (LGSWE 1097). CIC has 20.4 iptmw inBritish texts, including the collocation Cheerio now, and 0.4 in American texts.Cf. also and below.

cheers CIC has 62.5 British tokens of Cheers, most being interjections in oneof the following senses, and 20.3 American tokens, most being references toa popular TV program. 1. Goodby “Cheers, see you” (CIDE). 2. Used as atoast when drinking alcohol; skoal, here’s to you (Swan 1995, 545). 3. Thanks<‘Cheers,’ said George, taking the slip of parchment Bagman handed himand tucking it away into the front of his robes.> 2000 Rowling 82.

come on (then) An exclamation used to introduce an utterance (LGSWE1118). CIC has 247.7 iptmw of Come on in British texts, including 31.7 ofthe collocation Come on then, and 110 in American texts, including 0.4 of Comeon then. Cf. also below.

cor Gosh! from God, euphemistic expression of surprise: CIC has 79.6 iptmw inBritish texts and no American tokens. <“Cor,” I thought to myself, “lookwho’s talking!”> 1976 Mar. 17 Punch 461/1.

crikey Golly! from Christ, dated euphemistic expression of surprise: CIC has 14.1iptmw in British texts, including the frequent collocation oh crikey, and noAmerican tokens. <Crikey, he is Barclays’ . . . worst nightmare.> 2005 Jan.15 Daily Telegraph 34/2.

eh /ei/ “exclamation infml used to express surprise or confusion, to ask someoneto repeat what they have said, or as a way of getting someone to give some typeof reaction to a statement that you have made • ‘Janet is leaving her husband.’‘Eh?’ • ‘Did you hear what I said?’ ‘Eh? Say it again – I wasn’t listening.’• Going overseas again, eh? – it’s a nice life for some!” (CIDE). It is relativelyrare in American although common in Canadian. An American analog is huh,

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which is rare in British (LGSWE 1097). CIC has 380.4 iptmw of eh in Britishtexts and 87.1 in American texts. For huh, on the other hand, CIC has 169.8iptmw in British texts and 391.8 in American texts. <Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy claims that there was never any strain between the upper-class ‘What’,the lower-middle ‘Pardon’ or the working-class ‘Eh’.> 1979 Cooper 80.

er; erm These British spellings represent, respectively, an oral and nasal vocalicsound that marks a hesitation in discourse. The typical American equivalentsare spelled uh and um, which represent exactly the same sounds respectivelyas the British spellings (LGSWE 1053, 1096). Americans unfamiliar withr-less British pronunciation sometimes pronounce the British spelling er withrhotic quality when they encounter or adopt it, a pronunciation consequentlyrecorded in MW. 1. er Uh: CIC has 13,822.5 iptmw of er in British texts and59 in American texts, which however include tokens of the suffix -er and ’er(for her). On the other hand, CIC has 85.3 iptmw of uh in British texts and5410.3 in American texts. <I’m from Rummidge University. I’m, er, takingpart in, that is to say . . . I’m on a kind of educational visit.> 1988 Lodge102. <Well, er, no.> 2005 Jan. 9 Sunday Times 4 31. 2. erm Um: CIC has9912.6 iptmw of erm in British texts and 3.5 in American texts. On the otherhand, it has 134.6 iptmw of um, umm, and ummm in British texts and 2942.2 inAmerican texts. <Well . . . erm . . . well, you know why you’re here.> 2003Rowling 303. Cf. also below.

God As an expletive, God has been reported to be used twice as often in Britishconversation as in American (LGSWE 1098).

good-oh CIC has 1.3 iptmw in British texts and no clear American tokens.<Good-oh. Which is it to be? Lord’s or the Oval?> 1985 Bingham 78.

ha As an interjection, ha is four times as frequent in British conversation asin American (LGSWE 1097). CIC has 409.3 iptmw in British texts, some ofwhich are in a sequence representing laughter, and 146.3 in American texts.Cf. also above.

hear, hear CIC has 5.3 iptmw in British texts and no American tokens. <Theraucous give-and-take of parliamentary debate, with frenzied shouts and jeersof “Question! Question!” “Reading!” “Hear, hear!” as the Speaker furiouslycries, “Order! Order!” is something totally out of the American experience.>1990 Critchfield 114.

hello The most usual British greeting, hello has been reported as half again asfrequent in British conversation as in American (LGSWE 1097). CIC has 533.7iptmw in British texts and 202.1 in American texts. A predominantly Americangreeting is hi, which is eight times as frequent in American conversation asin British according to LGSWE (1097); CIC has a smaller spread, with 183.3iptmw in British texts and 315 in American texts. A less frequent Americanform is howdy, for which CIC has 0.3 iptmw in British texts and 11.8 inAmerican texts. Cf. also below.

hey presto CIC has 6 iptmw in British texts and no American tokens. <. . . allyou need is the shell of an old local authority college of further education and,

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210 Parts of Speech

hey presto, you can syndicate university degrees around the world.> 1995Sept. 2 Spectator 16/3.

hiya This is a less frequent British greeting (LGSWE 1097). CIC has 24 iptmwin British texts and 1.3 in American texts. Cf. also above.

I say <Oh I say, ta most awfully.> 1987 Feb. 23 ITV Rumpole of the Bailey.<[Bernard Levin:] It is of course the best way to make your opponents spitblood, to say not “How dare you!” but “I say, what fun!”> 1990 Critchfield320.

lawks Lordy! “dial. or archaic Br – used to express surprise” (LDEL). CIC hasno British or American tokens. <Oh, lawks! . . . There, look. Just to the leftof my fringe, a nasty little breeding colony of silvery grey hairs.> 1998 Jan. 3Times Weekend 6/3–4.

lor CIC has 1.3 iptmw in British texts and no American tokens. <Lor, howthey go on.> 1978 Jan. 18 Punch 98/3.

mate A particular kind of interjection is the vocative use of nouns, either propernames or common nouns, chiefly for persons. Mate is the most characteristicBritish common noun so used. American analogs are bro, bud, buddy, dude,folks, guys, man, and pal.

mhm CIC has 1380.4 iptmw of this response signal in British texts and 373.4in American texts. See also below.

mind (you) According to CIC data, Mind you is about seven times more fre-quent in British than in American. Two-thirds of the British uses are clauseinitial, but only about a quarter of the American ones. <Mind you, I don’t sayI mightn’t have chatted her up a bit even if I hadn’t had to – she was lookingquite fanciable.> 1984 Caudwell 80. <“I gather you also do a Good Samari-tan act with stranded caravans.” [ ¶ ] “About twice a year when idiots cut thecorner. It’s good for business, mind. They usually feel obliged to come in andeat something.”> 1992 Walters 94–5. <Mind you, people do get raped on theInner Circle [tube], these days. Even men.> 1995 Lodge 16. <He still loveshis son, mind. He just feels he should have been hanged [for two murders and26 assaults].> 2003 July 3 Times T2 28/2.

mm, mmm, mmmm Used as a response in discourse, the prolonged nasalmm is the major distinctively British form and is 4 times more frequent inBritish conversation than in American (LGSWE 1096). In a wider spread oftexts, CIC finds the form much more distinctively British, with 8325.8 iptmwin British texts and 131.6 in American (including abbreviations for millimeter).Cf. also , above.

never mind CIC has 128.5 iptmw in British texts and 63.7 in American texts.<Archer, short, wiry, athletic, came striding out, telling me I was too early,never mind, ordering coffee and shouting to his secretary.> 1990 Critchfield287.

not a bit of it CIC has 6.0 iptmw in British texts and 0.2 in American texts.<Recalling the intellectual snobbery which has, once or twice, crept into this

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column, you may have thought that I disapprove of Pugin jewellery and Puginheadscarves. Not a bit of it.> 1994 Sept. 12 Guardian 21/2–3.

not at all A reply to an expression of thanks. CIC has 53.4 iptmw of Not atall in British texts and 26.4 in American. “British people, especially, do notusually answer when they are thanked for small things. If a reply is necessary,we can say Not at all (rather formal), You’re welcome, Don’t mention it, That’s(quite) all right or That’s OK (informal British)” (Swan 1995, 439). Most of thealternatives seem to be common-core English. A relatively recent alternativeamong the younger generation is No problem.

now Used to indicate a transition in the discourse, now is more than twice asfrequent in British conversation as in American (LGSWE 1097). Cf. also below.

ooh, oooh, ooooh As an interjection, this form is three and a half times asfrequent in British conversation as in American according to LGSWE (1097).CIC has 627.7 iptmw in British texts and 83.9 in American texts. Cf. also above.

oy, oi A characteristically British, although rare, interjection to gain attention.CIC has 64.3 iptmw in British texts and no clear American tokens, althoughthe quite different Yiddish expression of surprise or concern oy vey is notunusual in American. <Oy, where do you think you’re going?> 1985 Bingham90. An American equivalent is hey, which is six times as frequent in Americanconversation as in British (LGSWE 1097), and for which CIC has 249.4 iptmwin British texts and 472.5 in American texts.

pardon An apology seldom used in American according to LGSWE (1098),although CIC shows the extended form Pardon me to be somewhat morefrequent in American than in British, by 12.4 to 10.5 iptmw. Cf. also below.

please As an interjection, please is twice as frequent in British conversation asin American (LGSWE 1098).

quite (so) Right: a response of agreement in the sense “I quite agree” or “Itis quite so” (in which quite is an adverb or a qualifier) (CGEL 8.120n, 130n).CIC has 4.4 iptmw of Quite so in British texts and no American tokens. <“Sosad. . . . An entire home going under the hammer.” [ ¶ ] “Quite so.”> 1988Taylor 3. <“I hope the news from the infirmary will be . . .” [ ¶ ] “Quite,quite.”> 1990 Aug. 25 BBC1 Miss Marple: Nemesis.

quite right Some speakers of British English think right used as a responsesignal of agreement to be an Americanism. But in the modified form quiteright, it is British. CIC has 8.1 iptmw of Quite right in British texts and only0.4 in American texts. <“It doesn’t bother me.” [ ¶ ] “Quite right.”> 1987Oliver 53–4.

rather “often used interjectionally, esp by British speakers, to express enthu-siastic affirmation <“will you come? ” “Rather!”>” (LDEL). <‘That is whatyou meant, isn’t it, Cantrip?’ ‘Oh rather,’ said Cantrip.> 1984 Caudwell 43.

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212 Parts of Speech

right An exclamation used to introduce an utterance. Characteristically Amer-ican analogs, in their order of frequency are well, okay, and yeah (LGSWE1118). <‘Right,’ I said, ‘into my office and we’ll get this sorted out.’> 1986Simpson 77. Cf. also above.

righto, right oh; righty ho/oh; right you are; too right CIC has 7.5 iptmwof righto and right oh in British texts and 0.6 in American texts. It has 0.5 iptmwof righty ho/oh in British texts and no American tokens. It has 4.9 iptmw ofRight you are in British texts and 0.8 in American texts. It has 5.5 iptmw oftoo right in British texts and no American tokens. An American analog is allrighty, of which CIC has no British tokens and 5.6 iptmw in American texts.<‘Come to Larking Post Office and then fork left and she’s about a quarterof a mile down the road on the bad bend.’ [ ¶ ] ‘Right you are. You get backto her then.’> 1968 Aird 7. <‘Right-oh,’ roared the chaps as time was called,‘but do up your flies – it’s cold outside!’> 1985 Ebdon 131. <“That’s notusual, is it?” [ ¶ ] “Too right it isn’t.”> 1985 Taylor 76–7.

sod it Expletive: CIC has 5.9 iptmw in British texts and 0.2 in American texts.<Barnaby grabbed the paper just before it knocked over a coffee cup. Therewas a lengthy pause, then Christopher said, “Sod it.”> 1993 Graham 232.

some hope(s) <He wanted Swan to settle down, raise a family and do a bit ofgood for himself. Some hopes!> 1972 Rendell 92.

sorry An apology used four times as often in British conversation as in American(LGSWE 1098). It is also used as a polite request for repetition or clarificationof a remark. <‘We’re going out,’ he said. [ ¶ ] ‘Sorry?’ [ ¶ ] ‘We – that is to say,your aunt, Dudley and I – are going out.’> 2003 Rowling 45. Cf. also above.

ta A less common expression for thank you or thanks. The latter expressions aretwice as frequent in American conversation as in British according to LGSWE(1098); however, in a wider range of texts, CIC shows them to be similar, withBritish incidents slightly more numerous. <It is always “Please, Mrs Spilling”and “Ta, Mrs Spilling” whenever he’s offered a cup of tea.> 1994 Sept. 25Sunday Times Magazine 32/1. Cf. also above.

ta ta, tata, tara Goodbye. CIC has 11.9 iptmw of these forms in British textsand no American tokens. <Ta ta for now, Liz.> 1982 Symons 135. <Timefor zizz! Ta-ra! Nighty-night!> 1991 Feb. 2 Times (Saturday) Review 6/4.Cf. also above.

tchah “An exclamation of impatience or contempt” (OED). CIC has no tokens.<‘There are directories too,’ Butler snapped. [ ¶ ] ‘But not walking ones.’ [ ¶ ]‘Tchah!’> 1974 Price 54.

urgh Ugh (cf. , above), a spelling representing “the sound of a cough orgrunt or to express disgust or horror” (MW). CIC has 45.5 iptmw in Britishtexts and no American tokens. It also has 47 iptmw of ugh in British texts and10.4 in American texts. The use of either spelling is more characteristic ofBritish than American, but the r-spelling is exclusively so. <‘Urgh!’ . . . A

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jumble of assorted rags and smelly old blankets were piled on the floor.> 2003Rowling 445.

well done CIC has 46.4 iptmw of Well done in British texts and 2.6 in Americantexts. <Well done! Did you get rid of them?> 1990 Critchfield 287.

you see Used to indicate a transition in the discourse, you see is eight timesmore frequent in British conversation than in American (LGSWE 1097). Themost characteristic American term in this function is you know, which is morethan twice as frequent in American as in British (LGSWE 1096). Cf. also above and § 6.1 + .

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Syntactic Constructions

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11 Complementation

Complementation concerns the forms or constructions required by other formsor constructions. For example, the verb postpone normally requires a noun phraseas its direct object complement (They postponed a decision, *They postponed); theapproximately synonymous verb delay does not (They delayed a decision, Theydelayed). Complementation is thus a particular type of collocation.

11.1 Complementation of verbs

11.1.1 Noun phrase complement As direct object

A verb may have a direct object in British English that would not collocate withit in American. An instance is pull a cracker; crackers containing hats and smallgifts are not part of American Christmas celebrations. The American holidayassociation of crackers is with the Fourth of July, and they are firecrackers, whichare not pulled, but set off.

pull a cracker <[At Christmas] They sat now, with the food eaten and thecrackers pulled, round the table.> 1985 Mortimer 263.

sh*t oneself An example of a verb that is more often reflexive in British than inAmerican is sh*t. In CIC, the reflexive use – as in <I remember when Rufusbit me I was sh*tting myself.> 1994 CIC spoken corpus – occurs once inapproximately every 3 tokens of the verb in British texts versus once in every27 tokens of the verb in American texts. Versus prepositional complement

A number of verbs in contemporary British take a nominal complement, whereasin American (and older British) use, they would normally have a prepositionalcomplement instead. One of the most frequent is agree. The transitive use ofa*gree is recent, and its acceptability is still debated. LDOCE 1978 labeled agree


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218 Syntactic Constructions

a plan nonstandard in the sense “accept after unwillingness or argument.” Kahnand Ilson 1985 say that British usage “allows – just –” the omission of the prepo-sitions on, upon, or about, but that omission of to is informal and unacceptable tocareful users of English. Gilman 1994 finds British transitive agree correspond-ing to either agree on or agree to. LDOCE 1995 calls agree a plan more formalthan agree on a plan. Burchfield 1996 finds transitive agree to be “common butsomewhat controversial”. Despite divided opinions about the acceptability ofthe construction, it is widespread in standard use. The inferable prepositions areusually on and its synonyms, but sometimes also to, as in the 1986 Oct. 9 citationbelow, for which American and older British would typically have agree to a draw.

A random sample of 100 instances each of CIC British and American textsproduced the following numbers of complementations (intr. = intransitive use;inf. = infinitive complement; nom. = noun or pronoun complement). A largersample would certainly refine the comparative figures, but noun or pronouncomplements of agree are primarily British:

with intr. that to inf. on nom. upon aboutBritish 37 20 14 8 8 5 4 2 2American 39 17 24 3 4 13 0 0 0

The unusual 1986 Oct. 10 construction below is based on a complex transitiveuse of agree. The corresponding active, pruned of irrelevancies, would be Theyagreed the game drawn. Although consultants judge the construction in the citationto be odd and constructing plausible transformational analogs for it is difficult,its occurrence is certainly due to the vogue for transitive agree.

agree something Agree on/upon/about/to something <Kasparov . . . refused toagree the draw.> 1986 Oct. 9 Times 2/7. <The twenty-fourth and final gameof the World Chess Championship was agreed drawn yesterday.> 1986 Oct.10 Times 2/8. <European Union foreign ministers . . . agreed the outline ofa deal.> 1994 Sept. 12 Guardian 22/1. The vogue for transitive agree extendsalso to its use as a participial modifier of nouns: <. . . at some agreed datein the future.> 1986 Aug. 23 Times 23/1. – sales agreed Sale pending; sold<Sales Agreed> 1994 Sept. sign on a lot, London.

A number of other verbs can also be used with a noun phrase direct objectin British. In American too there has been a recent tendency to omit preposi-tions: vote (for the) Democratic (Party), shop (at) Macys, fly (by) United, joke (with)someone, which individually may seem odd or marginal to some Americans. Theinnovative pattern is shared by the two national varieties, but the specific real-izations of the pattern often differ. One of the following constructions, graduatecollege, is also in American use, though uncommon in edited prose (Gilman 1994);some such overlap is to be expected, as is variation within a national variety.

ask something Ask for something: In 750 comparable samples each from CICBritish and American texts, British was nearly 3 times more likely to use this

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construction than American and to have a larger number of different com-plements after ask (in order of frequency): advice, permission, pardon, help,directions, forgiveness, leave, opinions, things, and views versus American per-mission, directions, and information. <. . . she had to ask the day off school inorder to play.> 1985 July 2 Times 25/3.

bitch something Bitch about something <For the next hour or so, he bitchedeverything in sight.> 1986 Oct. 5 Sunday Times 54/4.

disapprove something Disapprove of something<Actually, this is a tactic I don’tstrongly disapprove and it worked a treat on this occasion.> 1994 Sept. Tatler57/2.

dispose something Dispose of something; discard something (somewhere) <Pleasedon’t dispose nappies in toilets.> 2003 Nov. 13 sign in lavatory at Heathrowairport.

excuse something Excuse from something “Br to free from (a duty) <the classwas excused homework>” (LDEL). <As usual, the grammar of cricket is tricky.(American readers are excused this paragraph.)> 1990 Howard 106.

flunk university Flunk out of college: The construction is rare. <I flunkeduniversity at Newcastle, but then I took a degree at the Army Collegeof Science at Shrivenham and got a First.> 1991 Feb. 16 Daily Telegraph4/1–2.

fuss someone Fuss at/with someone <The way she was fussing him, I wouldn’tbet on that.> 1975 Price 223.

graduate an educational institution Graduate from an educational institution<. . . it was assumed that once Charles had graduated Oxford, he wouldsucceed his father at Hampton’s Bank.> 1984 Archer 8.

operate a tradition Operate in/by/according to a tradition; follow a tradition<MP’s are continuing to operate the tradition whereby one MP does nothandle the affairs of a constituent of another MP.> 1986 Aug. 21 Guardian12/6.

run fuel Run on fuel <. . . cars which run leaded fuel account only for fewerthan four in 100 sales.> 1989 July 28 Times 31/7.

slum a place Slum in/along a place <I’d slummed that same route longbefore, mostly hitch-hiking and sleeping semi-rough.> 1985 Price 134.

squat a place Live in a place as a squatter <A black theatre group faces evictiontoday from a Camden Town church hall they have squatted for more than ayear.> 1987 Apr. 2 Hampstead Advertiser 1/4.

In the following instances, an implicit goal is left unspecified in the Britishexamples.

hand something Hand something to someone / somewhere: The construction israre. <They sat down together to dinner, served by a maid with fat red hands,who breathed heavily as she handed the vegetables.> 1940 Shute 166.

relegate someone Relegate someone to somewhere; consign to an unimportantposition: Of 50 random CIC tokens of relegate, British texts had 12 without a

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220 Syntactic Constructions

to complement; American texts had none. <A few token extremists have beenexpelled, those many more who remain are to be relegated.> 1986 Oct. 1Times 13/1. Versus a different verb

In some cases, the British construction of a particular verb would be unusual inAmerican, which would have a different verb and sometimes different comple-mentation as well.

attend hospital Go to the hospital: Attend “to be present at” is general Englishwhen the verb collocates with objects like church, college, meetings, school, butthe collocation with hospital is rare. <She . . . received a telephone call toattend hospital.> 1991 Feb. 20 Times 4/5.

buy shopping Do shopping: Rare in CIC British texts and lacking in American.<I tend to buy the weekly shopping with a debit card.> 2004 Jan. 4 SundayTimes Money 6 8/2.

drink soup Eat soup: Eat soup is the norm in common-core English, but drinksoup is about twice as frequent in British as in American. <You’ll have to drinkthe soup yourself.> 1985 Benedictus 164.

hire something Rent something: British uses hire of things, either as “hire from”or “hire out to” for shorter periods of time but rent and let (out to) of dwellingsfor longer periods (LDOCE s.v. hire usage note). American may use hire simi-larly as “hire from” (not “hire to”) but generally prefers rent of things and hirefor beginning to employ a person. In a sample of 100 tokens each of hire fromCIC British and American texts, British used hire of things in 64 percent ofthe tokens and of persons 36 percent; American used it of things in 2 percentand of persons 98 percent. < . . . the only car to be seen was their family-sizedfour-door saloon hired from Pisa airport.> 1988 Mortimer 51.

hop it Leave quickly: Rare in CIC British texts and lacking in American. <Mygirlfriend hopped it.> 1992 Walters 207.

pull a face Pull a face is slightly more frequent than make a face in CIC Britishtexts; but make is 3 times more frequent than pull in American. <Daphnepulled a face.> 1991 Charles 131–2.

sit an exam Take with exams is about 1.5 times more frequent than sit in CICBritish texts, but is practically the only option in American. < . . . it was theeasiest exam any of them had ever sat.> 1999 Rowling 233 (US ed. taken).

take fright Become/be frightened: The construction is almost 12 times morefrequent in CIC British texts than in American. <President Saddam Husseinhas taken fright.> 1991 Feb. 16 Daily Telegraph 2/1.

want something Need something: Want is from Old Norse vanta “to lack, belacking,” which was the word’s earliest sense in English. What one lacks,one needs; and what one needs, one desires. And so those two later sensesdeveloped, and all three senses are still attested in common-core English, as

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Complementation 221

in, respectively, He wants [lacks] common sense; They want [need] a little moreexperience; She wanted [desired] a better life. Although all three senses still exist,the last (and most recent, dating only from the eighteenth century) is now theusual sense, the others being less common, especially in American use. Britishseems to preserve especially the “need” sense more actively, as in the following.<What you want, Rumpole, . . . is a complete makeover.> 2001 Mortimer69. Versus other complement

draw someone Draw someone out <The smooth and urbane Rose is not foolishenough to be drawn on whether he thinks that the profit warning marks thebottom for M&S.> 2005 Jan. 9 Sunday Times 3 5/1.

obsess someone Obsess is generally transitive, usually in passive constructions(in more than 90 percent of its uses in the BNC, Peters 2004, 387). CIC Britishtexts have only a few tokens of obsess followed by a noun phrase beginning withthe; American texts have none. In both British and American texts, obsessed withis the norm; obsessed by is 3 times more frequent in British than in American. Anintransitive use, as in You are just obsessing, is labeled chiefly North American byNODE. <M Duhamel spends 275 pages . . . exorcising the demons obsessingthe populace.> 1993 Feb. 3 Times 16/7. <. . . men are obsessed by the sizeof women’s breasts.> 1993 Feb. 12 Sun 28/1. As direct object with prepositional phrase

commit someone against something Commit someone to oppose something:The construction is rare. <. . . the SLD voted overwhelmingly againstattempts to commit them against the use of nuclear weapons in any circum-stances.> 1989 Sept. 13 Times 1/5.

compare one thing with another Compare one thing to another: The BNC has5502 citations of compared with and 2176 of compared to. The Merriam-Websterfiles “show that with and to are used about equally after the past participle”(Gilman 1994). CIC has 342.2 iptmw of compared with in British texts and211.9 of compared to; it has 413.9 of compared with in American texts and 283.7of compared to. Compared with is favored in common-core English, but slightlymore strongly in British. <And compared with the way they used to live,the Gersons’ simple-lifery is just a sham.> 1985 Mann 84 (an American typed“compared to” in copying the citation). Cf. § 11.3.1 .

direct someone at a place Direct someone to a place: The construction is rare.< . . . people who needed advice . . . were simply directed at the casualtydepartment.> 1986 Sept. 30 Guardian 2/7.

drive a vehicle on headlights Drive a vehicle with headlights on: The con-struction is rare. <‘Was it being driven on headlights?’ . . . ‘My client . . .did have his headlights on in the dipped position.’> 1978 Underwood 20.

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222 Syntactic Constructions

entertain someone to a meal Invite/have someone for a meal: CIC British textshave entertain to tea/lunch(eon)/dinner/coffee; American texts have none ofthose. <He would entertain his local Party members to lunch on Thursday.>1992 Critchley 14. Cf. § 8.1 .

give an answer to Give an answer for: Of 16 Americans consulted informally, 8preferred for and 8 preferred to, several expressing doubt about the choice;of 4 Britons resident in the UK, all preferred to without hesitation, and onecommented “to . . . would be the English/English. I don’t know which theAmerican/English would be.” The sample is too small to be reliable, but it issuggestive. <Give one answer only to each question.> 1987 May directionsto a sample Cambridge Syndicate examination.

hire a car from a place See .hold someone to ransom CIC British texts have 11 times as many tokens of

hold to ransom as of hold for ransom; American texts have 5 times as manyhold for ransom as of hold to ransom. <The gazunderer is making a consciousdecision to hold somebody to ransom.> 1989 July 30 Sunday Times 9/4.

invest a sum on a company/product/etc. Invest in is the norm for this con-struction in common-core English. CIC British texts have a few tokens ofinvest on; American texts have none. <My advice to every cricket team captainis to invest £3.95 on “Howzat” [a book] . . . , then leave it lying around thechanging room.> 1987 May 10 (Scotland) Sunday Post 15/4.

kick someone up the backside Up the backside is not used in American, wherethe usual expression is in the ass, whose variant in the arse is used also in British.<Fox-Strangways . . . kicked Bevan up the backside.> 1987 Feb. 10 EveningStandard 6/2.

laid to lawn Planted with grass: Rare in CIC British texts and lacking in Amer-ican. <The garden . . . was laid to lawn.> 1993 Smith 7.

leave somewhere to Leave somewhere for: CIC texts have approximately thesame frequency of leave for in British and American texts, but 1.6 times asmany tokens of leave to in British texts as in American. <Mr Clarke, EducationSecretary, was leaving his office to the Cabinet meeting when the attackhappened.> 1991 Feb. 8 Daily Telegraph 2/6.

make something to a recipe Make something from /according to a recipe: Rarein CIC British texts and lacking in American.<. . . it really can’t claim itstoffee is “made to a traditional recipe”.> 1994 Sept. 22 Times 19/5.

market something at Rare with at in CIC British texts but lacking in American.1. a purpose Market something for a purpose <. . . it [Dairylea cheese] has beenruthlessly marketed at children’s packed lunches.> 2003 July 2 Times 3/4.2. a consumer Market something to a consumer <The sort of cars marketedat women.> 2003 June 25 Guardian international ed. G2 5/1.

name someone/thing after someone/thing Name someone/thing for someone/thing (Peters 2004, 364): CIC British texts have 6.5 times as many iptmw ofnamed after as of named for; American texts have 1.3 times as many of namedfor as of named after.

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Complementation 223

persuade someone of something to be done Persuade someone to do something;persuade someone that something needs to be done <Mr Gorbachev has per-suaded Mr Reagan of a long agenda of business to be done.> 1988 June 12Manchester Guardian 1/2.

place an amount to an account Place an amount in an account; credit an amountto an account < . . . at least £75,000 a year should have been placed to build-ings reserve.> 1993 Neel 45.

plant an area with vegetation CIC British texts overwhelmingly favor plantedwith, the alternative planted in occurring in less than 3 percent of the tokens.American texts also favor planted with, but less strongly, planted in occurring in29 percent of the tokens and planted to in 7 percent. <. . . the garden carefullyplanted with aubretia and spiky little tulips.> 1985 Levi 94.

put someone off doing something Discourage someone from doing something<A Labour council has been accused of trying to put tenants off buyingtheir homes.> 1987 Feb. 27 Evening Standard 13/2.

put one’s hand to something Put one’s hand on something; come up withsomething < . . . he had first to invest money in it, more money than hecould put his hand to. > 1989 Quinton 265.

save something off doing something Save something by doing something <Ipromised to give her that bit of sugar I saved off not having it in mycoffee since the war.> 1942 Thirkell 7.

spare someone to something Spare someone for something <. . . a mathematicianwho was no longer producing creative work . . . could also be best spared tothe task.> 1993 Neel 14.

strike someone blows to Strike blows on someone’s (head) <He . . . was struckseveral blows to the top of the head.> 1987 July 1 Daily Telegraph 3/5.

take a child into care Take into care is not used in American texts. <A boy hasbeen taken into care.> 2004 Dec. 13 Times 22/6.

take it in turns (to do something) Take turns (doing something): In CIC Britishtexts, 54 percent of the tokens are take turns and 46 percent, take it in turns;in American texts, 99.4 percent are take turns, and 0.6 percent are take it inturns. <Each day she and her husband take it in turns to deliver James to hissecondary school.> 2005 Jan. 14 Daily Telegraph 8/4.

take it out of “exact satisfaction from” (OED s.v. take v. 88f). Take it out ofone’s hide is common-core English. The common-core take it out on “ventone’s anger, frustration, etc., on an object other than the cause of it” (OED s.v.take v. 89) seems to be the sense in the following two citations from the samesource: <He wouldn’t allow for mistakes, he used to take it out of himself,his equipment –; and, of course, the nearest guy at hand.> <I had to take hissand-iron off him because he was threatening the guy with it. He really tookit out of this photographer, and I can tell you he’s lucky to be alive today.>1990 nonfiction CIC.

take something off someone Take something from someone <Lib Dems – theytook the seat off the Tories at the last election.> 2001 Lodge 129.

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224 Syntactic Constructions

The following are instances with an exchange of roles between the direct objectand the object of the preposition.

circulate somebody with something Circulate something among/to somebody<Sir Jeffrey has circulated his staff with some critical remarks about . . .the Zeebrugge disaster.> 1989 July 21 Private Eye 5/2.

exchange X for Y Exchange Y for X; change into X from Y: An earlier thing isusually exchanged for a later thing; the reverse order is, however, exemplifiedin the OED (s.v. exchange 1c) and in the following: <Amy came in and staredat me until I had noticed the dirty sweater and holed jeans she had exchangedfor her earlier get-up.> 1969 Amis 52.

issue someone with something Issue something to someone (frequently passive:someone is issued with something): Although uncommon in the LOB Corpus(with only 1 example), the construction is highly acceptable in British use.In a completion test by Christian Mair, 24 respondents added with to “Theyissued all visitors —– identity badges,” and 1 added their. This responseconfirms the judgment of one consultant that the straight ditransitive use(issue someone something) is marginal in frequency. <. . . the Serbs were issuedwith a fresh ultimatum to accept Nato peacekeepers.> 1999 Mar. 19 Times16/4.

notify something to someone Notify someone of something <He must notifydetails of his earnings to the Official Receiver during the period of hisbankruptcy.> 1996 Aug. 7 Daily Telegraph 3/3.

recommend a patient/client to a specialist Recommend a specialist to apatient/client <And they in turn recommended me to Eric Gustavson, along-established consultant plastic surgeon.> 1991 Feb. 3 Sunday Times 34/5.

substitute X with Y Substitute Y for X; replace X with Y <We recentlyprinted a letter in The Times that advised ‘substituting junk food with freshfruit’.> 1990 Howard 173. As predicate noun

A group of copular verbs ( feel, look, seem, sound, etc.) have predominantly adjec-tival complements in common-core English, but also have nominal subject com-plements in British more frequently than in American.

appear Appear to be / like <As he did so, what had appeared an outsidechance of Britain winning its first track gold of the Games moved closer toevens.> 1996 Aug. 3 Times 45/1.

come top Be at the top; be first; hold the highest place: Come top is a collocation,frequently used of academic standing, but also of any ranking, as in Diana cametop. In various uses, it is represented by 59 citations in the BNC. <Hermione,of course, came top of the year.> 1997 Rowling 204 (US ed. had the bestgrades of the first years).

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Complementation 225

feel Feel like <I felt a fool, my breasts wedged up like a buxom serving wench.>1994 Sept. Tatler last page.

get Get to be; become <People tend to invent all sorts of nouns and verbs andmake words that shouldn’t be. I think we have to be a bit careful; otherwise thewhole thing can get rather a mess.> 1995 Mar. 25 New York Times 24/5–6(quoting Prince Charles).

look Look like <Names [“Lloyd’s insurance underwriters”] . . . look a dyingbreed.> 1994 Oct. 5 Times 16/6. – look a treat Look very good <Theirfive acres of garden looked a treat.> 1991 Feb. 2 Times Saturday Review35/3.

prove Prove to be <But the lone wildebeast proves a better proposition [for ahunting lion to catch].> 1989 July 22 ch. “Kingdom of the Sun.”

seem Seem to be / like <Mr. Shapiro’s unfortunate encounters . . . seeman astonishing excuse.> 1960 Nov. 6 Newcastle Sunday Sun 8/6. – seemcertainties The construction is rare. <Essex seemed certainties to winwhen Northants left them needing only 147.> 1986 Aug. 20 Daily Mirror28/4.

sound Sound like <It sounds a good idea but research evidence shows thatthese programmes do not work.> 1993 Feb. Woman’s Journal 40/2.

turn Turn into; become <. . . the hole in the wall turns fruit machine andchurns out bank notes.> 1991 Feb. 7 Times 11/1. As adverbial

drop someone home Drop someone (off) at home <She was dropped homeabout 10.30 p.m.> 1993 Neel 38.

go walkies Go for a walk (with a dog) <Hilda and Stanley [dogs] . . . are on24-hours notice to go walkies with any guest who fancies a turn around GreenPark.> 1994 Oct. 3 Evening Standard 15/2.

11.1.2 Double noun phrase complement As indirect and direct objects

do someone food Do/fix food for someone <Course I can do you bangers andmash!> 2000 Granger 284.

recommend someone something Recommend something to/for someone: Di-transitive use of recommend is not often attested. There is only one examplein the OED, taken from an 1826 novel by Disraeli: “Let me recommend youa little of this pike!” Historically it is perhaps a syntactic backformation fromthe prepositional construction recommend something to/for someone. <Can yourecommend me a nice hotel?> 1985 Apr. 8 Times 10/1.

write Ditransitive use of write (I wrote them a letter) is common-core English.But some ditransitive verbs can also be used with either object alone: I told

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226 Syntactic Constructions

them a story. I told a story. I told them. In American English, write belongs tothat category: I wrote a letter. I wrote them. In British English, however, if writehas a single object, it is normally the ditransitive direct object, and when theditransitive indirect object occurs instead, it is the object of a preposition: Iwrote to them. Also in British, if the direct object function is filled by direct orindirect discourse, the same prohibition against the ditransitive indirect objectexists: I wrote to them, “I’ll come on Sunday,” not ?I wrote them, “I’ll come onSunday.” I wrote to them that I would come on Sunday, not ?I wrote them thatI would come on Sunday (CGEL 16.59; LGSWE 662; Swan 1995, 614; Peters2004, 583). As direct object and object complement

appoint someone something Appoint someone as something <Mr. T. Thirkill,Labour M. P. for Leicester East, has been appointed an additional FinancialSecretary to the Treasury.> 1979 Snow 201.

describe something something Describe something as something <The manaccused of melting down bullion from Britain’s biggest robbery in his backgarden can now return to . . . the timeshare scheme he has described a “littlegoldmine”.> 1987 Apr. 2 London Daily News 5/2–4.

promote someone a rank Promote someone to a rank “British English some-times omits prepositions where American English retains them, whereas thereverse is rare: for instance, . . . (almost universal) British ‘he was promotedcolonel’ for American ‘he was promoted to colonel’ ” (Partridge and Clark1951, 317).

reckon someone something Reckon someone to be something <In LA he [AndrePrevin] is reckoned a champion of British music.> 1987 June 19 Times 20/4.

think something something Think something to be something; think that some-thing is/was something <Despite the inventor’s assurances of the safety ofthis new tomato I do not think it a very good idea.> 1989 July 22 Spectator18/1.

11.1.3 Noun phrase and adjectival complement As direct object and object complement

expect a business in profit Expect a business to be profitable <Arnault hasannounced he is prepared to sink £22 million into Lacroix before he expectsit in profit.> 1989 July 24 Times 3/6.

order someone off work Order someone to stay away from work <A psychiatristordered him off work for nine months.> 2003 July 14 Times 5/2.

think something adjectival Think (that) something is adjective <[of skinny-dipping:] My children thought it weird that they should be in the waterwith bare bums and bits.> 1989 Sept. 13 BBC1 Points of View.

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Complementation 227 As direct object and subject complement

strike someone adjective Strike someone as adjective; seem adjective to someone<[of the temperature in a flat:] Does it strike you warm? . . . I’m glad it struckyou warm.> 1989 Oct. 29 English woman in conversation.

11.1.4 Noun phrase and verbal complement Passive participle

know someone/something done Know someone/something to be done <I’veknown as many as two hundred and fifty deck-chairs occupied along there.>1985 Clark 131.

need something done Need to have something done <I suggest to Heald that heneeds his head examined, getting involved in this sort of stunt.> 1989 July23 Sunday Telegraph 43/1.

want something done Need to have something done < . . . whoever she is, shewants her head seen to.> 2000 Granger 143. Present participle

get someone/thing doing something Get someone/thing to doing something / to(be able to) do something <Freezing August has got even Russia’s famousBolshoi Ballet shivering.> 1986 Aug. 27 Daily Mirror 4/3.

need something doing Need (to have) something done: Need can be followed by anoun phrase and a present participle, with the latter having the semantic effectof a passive participle. LDOCE labels this use as North of England English,but it seems to be widely acceptable. It is recorded without limitation by Kahnand Ilson. <High Trees [a house] . . . needed a lot doing to it.> 2003 James35.

want something doing Want something (to be) done: Want, like the verb need, canbe followed by a noun phrase and a present participle. Kahn and Ilson (1985)cite letters from the popular press defending the usefulness and propriety ofconstructions like I want the car parking = to be parked, but call the use regional.<Where do you want it putting, miss? By the coffin?> 2000 Aird 47.

want something doing Need to have something done <Vic . . . said I wanted myeyes testing.> 1986 Hardwick 213. Infinitive

A significant difference between British and American is whether the infinitiveis marked by to or is a bare infinitive.

ask someone do something Ask someone to do something: This construction israre. <On St Valentine’s Day, she asked me marry her.> 1993 Feb. 12 Sun22/1.

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228 Syntactic Constructions

have someone to do something Have someone do something <We’re having thisman to come and . . . to do some things to the kitchen.> SEU s.7.1a.41. – havesomeone to stay Have someone stay: The parallel construction with the to-lessinfinitive is common-core English, and American consultants disagree aboutthe acceptability of the construction with to. One British consultant suggesteda semantic difference: She had her to stay implies an invitation, whereas Shehad her stay suggests an unwilling imposition. <We gave balls for her and shehad friends to stay in the holidays.> 1990 Aug. 26 Sunday Times Magazine9/1.

help someone to do something Help someone do something: After help, bothoptions are possible in common-core English: Sarah helped us (to) edit thescript. However, preferences for the two variations are almost exactly oppositein the two national varieties (CGEL 16.52). British (in LOB) uses the to infini-tive 73 percent of the time (out of 44 tokens); American (in Brown) uses theto-less infinitive 75 percent of the time (out of 75 tokens). <I helped collectthe soiled plates and glasses from various rooms on the ground floor, and tostack them in the kitchen.> (note that both options are used) 2001 Lodge143.

know someone do something Know someone to do something: After know, Britishcan use a to-less infinitive, which is less likely in American. There are 5 examplesof the construction in LOB and none in the Brown Corpus. <I’ve known youeat a cheeseburger yourself, sir.> 1994 Symons 31.

tip someone to be/get something / as something; tipped to be somethingSuggest that someone is going to be/get something; rumored as being/gettingsomething: Tip in the sense “regard as a likely choice” is a British lexical itemwith grammatical consequences (CGEL 16.50). It has a direct object followedby an infinitive (or possibly as): They tipped him to be the next president. Unlikesimilar verbs (report, rumor), however, it cannot have a that-clause as comple-ment: *They tipped that he would be the next president. Moreover, the verb isused more often and more naturally in the passive: He was tipped to get theappointment.

11.1.5 Adjectival complement

One of the senses of go in common-core English is “become” or “turn,” restrictedto certain complements; the principles of the restriction are unclear. In many casesthe complement has a negative value or is a departure from a norm. One can gocrazy, but not *go sane. One can go sound asleep, but not *go wide awake (thoughit is possible to come wide awake). However, one can also go straight, but not *gocrooked. And one can either go limp or go rigid (with fear), but neither *go happynor *go sad.

In British, the choice of possible complements after go “become” is somewhatdifferent from that in American. A currently fashionable collocation, which has

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Complementation 229

also been the subject of popular comment and is now appearing in American(Safire 2004), is go missing. But other adjectival complements are also used aftergo “become, turn” in British that are less probable in American.

After each of the following lemmas, British/American iptmw figures are givenin parentheses. If only one figure is given, it is British, and American texts hadno tokens. If no figures are given, there were no CIC tokens or the constructioncould not be conveniently identified.

go absent (0.7) <. . . a confused elderly gentleman who had gone absent froman old people’s home in Kinnisport.> 2000 Aird 22.

go bonkers (1.4/0.9) Go crazy <. . . the kids can get up and spend all day goingbonkers in the sea, without the mothers having to move off their fat arses.>2005 Jan. 9 Sunday Times 5 22/1–2.

go clean (0.7) <[boy who has fallen into the water:] Gar, I’ve gone all clean.>1985 Apr. 5 TV cartoon.

go cold (8.1/3.7) <. . . his hands had broken out in sweat and his feet had gonecold.> 1953 Mortimer 102.

go color (4.7/0.4) Turn color (Cf. Swan 1995, 112) <Two weeks later I startedradiotherapy. I went red, but otherwise it didn’t bother me either.> 1995 Sept.Marie Claire 275/1–2.

go dead (1.4 other than of lines, phones, etc.) <. . . the blasted chap has gonedead on us.> 1983 Innes 145.

go fat <I knew I looked sinister, like an unfrocked parson or a spy gone fat ina neutral country.> 1953 Mortimer 18.

go fuzzy <Prussian ideas on orderly change go fuzzy when it comes to describ-ing a point at which East Germans will be happy with an extra ration offreedom, without asking for more.> 1989 Oct. 7–13 Economist 14/2.

go green (1.2/0.7) Become sensitive to environmental issues <Ministers sharetheir concern that, with more people “going green”, there is a danger ofsome firms exploiting the trend by using misleading claims that their goodsare environment friendly.> 1989 Aug. 3 Evening Standard 3/4.

go into profit (0.3) Become profitable <The party was ambitiously conceivedand the guests’ sartorial aspirations were high. . . . Costume hire shops wentinto profit overnight.> 1994 Sept. Tatler 140.

go mad Get mad “angry” <Mum went mad at them . . . . she’s furious atthem.> 2000 Rowling 52.

go missing (31.7/6.1) <Mr Wren said he is attempting to locate the moneywhich went missing.> 1990 Aug. 18 Daily Telegraph 19/2.

go nap on something Commit oneself wholly to something; go all out for some-thing; bet everything on something (From nap “a bid to win all the tricks in acard game”; though etymologically a noun, nap here seems adjectival) <Again,a road-building policy designed for closer links with Europe might not beexpected to go nap on the Conway estuary.> 1989 Sept. 2 Spectator 21/2.

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230 Syntactic Constructions

go off Go bad; spoil <There are only two reasons for irradiating food. One isto clean up dirty food. . . . The other is to stop it going off in storage.> 1999Mar. 21 Sunday Times 11/7–8.

go operational <Europe’s biggest vertical axis wind turbine . . . goes opera-tional this week.> 1990 Aug. 20 Times 6/3–6.

go pale (1.0) <Seamus . . . was going pale.> 2003 Rowling 197 (US ed. turn-ing).

go quiet (9.1/1.8) <The matter went quiet until 1973.> 1996 Aug. 4 SundayTimes 8/7.

go rogue <. . . cancer is caused by a cell in the body going rogue.> 1985 Clark88.

go rural <. . . they tended to offer such jobs to . . . single girls with no particularties, who were willing to go rural for the sake of a few extra pounds a week.>1985 Clark 51.

go rusty (0.5) Become rusty; rust <. . . they [hedge-clippers left out in the rain]have gone all rusty.> 1985 Townsend 26.

go shapeless <Somewhere there is an outfit that we have had for five years,which never seems to go shapeless or tatty.> 1993 Feb. Woman’s Journal28/1.

go sick (1.0) 1. Become/get sick <. . . all of a sudden Rolley had gone sickinside, dreading the pain from a fractured rib or collar bone.> 1953 Mortimer102. 2. Take time off work on sick leave <Each time her bosses . . . send hera warning letter she puts in a brief appearance at work – before going sickagain.> 1993 Feb. 5 Daily Express 3/3.

go spare (1.6) Become angry or distraught <Hermione was going spare, shekept saying you’d do something stupid if you were stuck all on your ownwithout news.> 2003 Rowling 61.

go woolly/wrinkly <Try to ripen them and, overnight, they suddenly becomegeriatric – the flesh goes woolly, the skin goes wrinkly – and you might aswell eat a prune.> 1996 Aug. 3 Times Weekend 3/1.

go wrong (177.6/101.6) Go bad <However, the marriage went wrong. Sheclaimed that Mr Dale was becoming more violent.> 1989 July 20 Times 3/2.

Other verbs also have adjectival complements.

come expensive/valuable Are expensive/valuable <And mind that Ali Babavase as you go. . . . They can come valuable, too.> 2000 Aird 9.

come good (6.3/0.3) Turn out well <I risked everything for the company andit’s come good.> 2005 Jan. 15 Daily Telegraph 34/2.

leave well alone Leave (someone/thing) (well (enough)) alone: The BNC has54 tokens of leave (X) well alone (where X is a single word) and 4 of leave (X)well enough alone. CIC has 6.7 iptmw of leave (X) well alone in British textsand 0.3 of leave (X) well enough alone. It has 0.1 iptmw of leave (X) well alonein American texts and 1.7 of leave (X) well enough alone. <If I were you I’dleave well alone.> 1992 Green 22.

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Complementation 231

look adjective Look like / as though pronoun is adjective: CIC British texts have1.4 times as many tokens as American texts do. <Tom Hanks looks set to getanother Oscar.> 1994 Sept. 25 Sunday Times Style 42/4.

look done Look like / as if pronoun is done <The fiction looks put in to embellishthe ideas.> 1987 Nov. 8 Manchester Guardian Weekly 24/5.

look prep phrase Look like / as though pronoun is prep phrase <He [SalmanRushdie] comes over as a bespectacled chappie in a double-breasted blazerwho looks in need of a tennis partner.> 1990 Aug. 20 Evening Standard7/3.

look likely (19.6/2.2) Seem likely <. . . interest rates look likely to remain highbecause of consumer spending.> 1989 Feb. 12 Manchester Guardian Weekly6/1.

look set (43.6/3.2) Look as if pronoun is set <[The bill] was stalled in the Com-mons . . . and now looks set to fail.> 2003 June 25 Guardian international ed.G2–7/1.

need doing Need to be done: Need can be complemented directly by a presentparticiple in a construction for which American would have a passive infinitive.<The [TV] licence fee . . . needed raising.> 1995 Aug. 28 Independent 4/4.

need done Need to be done: According to Kahn and Ilson, the past participledirectly after need is limited to regional dialect.<She and her husband Lloyd . . .have just bought their house and there’s lots needing done.> 1987 May 10(Scotland) Sunday Post 12/3.

say sorry (9.5/0.6) Say one is sorry <Harry Says Sorry For Dressing Up AsNazi> 2005 Jan. 13 Daily Telegraph 1/5–6.

seem set for (1.6/0.5) Seem to be set for <Harry seems set for success.>1991 Feb. 17 Sunday Times Magazine 19/1.

strike lucky (2.9) Become lucky <. . . the 54-year-old nuclear scientist still hadto . . . strike lucky when his name was drawn from more than 20,000 entries.>2003 June 21 Times Travel 4/2.

want rid of (1.3) Want to be/get rid of <He just wanted rid of them.> 1998Joss 244.

want shot of (0.2) Want to be rid/shut/shet/shed of <I just wanted shot ofher.> 1986 Simpson 212. The construction with the infinitive expressed alsooccurs. <Mr Lawson . . . clearly wants to be shot of his other house.> 1991Jan. 29 Daily Telegraph 8/5–6.

11.1.6 Adverbial particle complement

be off Be out; be off work <We’ve two chief inspectors and two DIs off withflu.> 1993 Neel 25.

begin off Begin; start off <I once wrote up for an autograph . . . Well I beganoff ‘Am heartily ashamed to write up but – ’> 1971 Mortimer 76.

break down (of a marriage) Break up <So you don’t think he was too upsetabout his marriage breaking down?> 1986 Simpson 60.

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232 Syntactic Constructions

brew up “Brit . . . . to make tea” (CED). <Afternoon tea is one of thosequintessentially English rituals that time seems to have forgotten. Thankfully,at some London venues brewing up is still an event.> 1988 May IllustratedLondon News 96/1.

budge up Move over <Budge up, yeh great lump.> 1997 Rowling 39.clock on Arrive at work, esp. by registering the time on a sheet or clock; clock

in; punch a time clock <The head waiter had said that Wayne was due to clockon at five.> 1991 Critchley 233.

come through Come in<Shall I tell her to come through?>1996 Dexter 215.come with Come along <Sorry about tonight. Tina insisted on coming

with.> 1985 Mortimer 319.cut along “Brit. informal. to hurry off” CED. Cf. American cut out. < 1949 ‘M.

Innes’ Journeying Boy ii. 25 ‘And now you’d better cut along.’ Captain Coxwas a great believer in the moral effects of abrupt dismissals on the young.>OED s.v. cut v. 19.b.

fall about Fall down <It’s nice to think of those [cigarette-smoking] foreignerscoughing themselves silly and falling about all over the place.> 1977 Dec. 7Punch 1095/1. Cf. § .

follow on Follow (after) <You go ahead. . . . I’ll follow on in the van.> 1989Daniel 4.

get on Get along; make out <How did you get on?> 1992 Granger 181.give in Give up: Give in and give up are both common-core English, but they are

used in different contexts in the national varieties. In the following contexts,American is likely to have give up: <You’ll never guess the answer – do yougive in?> CIDE. <1805 Sporting Mag. XXVI. 56 According to the boxingphrase, [he] shewed the white feather and gave in.> OED s.v. give 59.a.

give over Give up; stop it <Oh, give over, will you?> 1972 Rendell 112.pack in Be packed in; crowd in <Normally more than 100 customers would

pack in to watch the game.> 1998 Jan. 3 Times 19/2.pay out Pay up <My 21-year-old son’s E-reg Vauxhall Astra was stolen but

his insurer is refusing to pay out on the grounds that the company was nottold he had fitted his car with alloy wheels.> 1999 Mar. 14 Sunday Times415/2.

phone through Phone <1932 T. S. Eliot Sweeney Agonistes 13 She says willyou ring up on Monday. . . . All right, Monday you’ll phone through.> OEDs.v. phone v. b.

potter about Putter around <We all know some people who . . . potter aboutand do not know what to do.> 1925 Leadbeater 223.

pull in Pull over <She was trying to wave down cars and my first thought wasthat she was in danger of being run over. I pulled in, wound down the windowand asked what on earth she was doing.> 1993 Smith 222.

ring through Call <Just before twelve the hospital rang through to say thatCarpenter was now fit for a brief interview.> 1986 Simpson 140. Cf. § .

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Complementation 233

rub up Jack off; masturbat* <1963 C. Mackenzie My Life & Times II. 115 Justas I was going down the steps into our area B— asked me if I ever rubbedup. . . . In bed that night I tried the experiment recommended by B—.> OEDs.v. rub v. 14.d.

sell up Sell (out/off) <We also discussed . . . how we’d sell up – offer eachother first refusal and use the average of three estate agents’ quotes or put iton the open market.> 2000 Jan. 16 Sunday Times Money 9/5. Cf. § .

sign on Sign up (for unemployment compensation) “(Br infml) To sign on isto report to a government unemployment office that you are unemployed andwish to receive unemployment benefit” (CIDE).

stay off Stay out (of schoool) <OK, you’d better stay off today.> 1991 Glaister127.

strip off Strip down <Of the three doctors . . . Paul Mari . . . is so timid thatwhen he introduces himself he is mistaken for a patient and told to strip off.>1987 Mar. 25 Punch 59/3. Cf. § .

turn in Turn up; come in <In the old days when we got paid weekly on aThursday we used to go out for some beer at night and not bother to turn inFriday.> 1999 Mar. 21 Sunday Times 10/7.

wash up In British this combination refers to washing dishes after a meal; inAmerican, to washing one’s hands (and face). <After supper . . . Charlottesaid she would wash up.> 1991 Trollope 131.

write up Write off/away <I once wrote up for an autograph . . . ‘Am heartilyashamed to write up but – ’> 1971 Mortimer 76. Adverbial particle and preposition

be on about something Be going on about something <Good Lord, girl, I won-dered what you were on about!> 1992 Granger 12.

call out at someone Call out to someone <. . . men . . . would call out at him,asking him questions about his uneventful sex life, which he pretended not tohear.> 1985 Mortimer 82.

carry on with something Go on or continue with something <. . . they wantedme to carry on with my brace. You know, they’re dentists.> 2000 Rowling353.

drop back to someplace Drop back by/in/at someplace; come back to some-place <. . . drop back to the vicarage for a sherry.> 1985 Bingham118–19.

get on for an age/time Get on to an age/time: CIC British texts have 7.1 iptmwof get on for; American have 0.3. <He must be getting on for fourteen now.Doesn’t look much like a teenager, does he?> 1999 Apr. 5 “Fred Basset”(British comic strip) Chicago Tribune 5 6.

get on with something Do something; go ahead with something: CIC British textshave 184.8 iptmw; American have 48.1. <They are not trying to convince us

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234 Syntactic Constructions

to let them wed; we need to tell them [Charles and Camilla] that they shouldget on with it.> 2004 Dec. 15 Daily Telegraph 18/7.

get up to a baby Get up with a baby <The New Man . . . gets up at night tothe crying baby.> 1987 Apr. 6 Guardian 10/1.

give on to someplace Open onto someplace “Brit. (of a window, door, corridor,etc.) overlook or lead into: a plate glass window gave on to the roof ” (NODE).

go about with someone Go around/out with someone <Anthea has beenallowed to go about with young men ever since she was fifteen or sixteen.>1985 Pym 83.

going on with, be Get started with <It’ll do to be going on with. . . . It givesus enough to get him to the police station for questioning.> 1993 Cleeves194.

pop down to someplace Stop by or drop in at someplace <Just popping downto the tavern for a quick drink.> 1997 June 20 “Fred Basset” (British comicstrip) Chicago Tribune 5 6.

ring through to someone Call/phone someone <Sergeant Robinson rangthrough to Walsh.> 1992 Walters 253. Cf. § 11.1.6 .

rub up on something “Chiefly Brit . . . . to refresh one’s memory (of)” (CED).sign up to something Sign on for something <Mr Leighton believes that he is

not getting the reforms that he needs – even if union leaders sign up to them.>2003 July 9 Times 1/3.

turn up to an event/place Turn up at/for an event/place <Hamnet turnedup to No 10 wearing an outsize T-shirt.> 2003 June 28 Times Weekend 9/1. Adverbial particle and noun phrase

answer someone back Talk back to someone <There were Fenians, Suf-fragettes, daughters answering back their parents.> 1987 June 8 EveningStandard 24/3.

bring someone on Bring someone in <Mrs Margaret Thatcher’s changes aimedat . . . bringing on new blood.> 1989 July 24 Times 1/1.

buy something in 1. Buy something (from a subcontractor) <If your companybuys in mailing lists, you may sometimes wonder why they cost so much.>1998 Jan. 7 Times 35/1. 2. Stock up on something <I can’t afford to start buyingthings in.> 1990 Hardwick 120.

catch someone out The expression occurs also in American use but is more than5 times as frequent in British CIC texts. 1. Take someone by surprise <‘Theother road?’ countered the man on the telephone, who had been caught outby bad directions before.> 1968 Aird 7. 2. Catch someone <Blunkett’s realgaffe was to be caught out> 2004 Dec. 15 Daily Telegraph 18/1.

catch someone up Catch up to/with someone <An investigation by two LondonUniversity experts has revealed that the [GCSE] exam fails to help boys catchup girls.> 1991 Feb. 15 Evening Standard 5/3.

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Complementation 235

chase someone/thing up Track someone/thing down<Obstinately he’d workedon the matter over the weekend, chasing up every lead.> 1992 Granger 14.

cover something over Cover something (up) <In the outer office . . . two othergirls were covering over their typewriters.> 1968 Aird 50.

cut a driver up Cut a driver off <The most common grievance is motoristssaying they have been cut up, followed by complaints of tail-gating.> 1996Aug. 3 Times Car 96 9/1–2.

do someone down Do someone in; take advantage of someone <You couldn’tmake out that I was to blame. Trying to do you down.> 1990 Hardwick 100.

do something up Do something over; redecorate something <. . . property valueshave risen, and it is not so easy now to find a cheap house to do up.> 1989Mar. In Britain 15/1.

dosh out food/drugs Dish up food; give out drugs (Dosh out is not recorded indictionaries.) <‘How much did you hear?’ [ ¶ ] ‘Not a lot. I was busy doshingout Lonnie’s seconds.’> 1985 Mortimer 345. <He’d sooner get to the rootcause of it . . . and he’ll treat that rather than just dosh out the Valium.> 1993spoken citation CIC.

draft someone in Draft someone <Then last November, . . . Jones was draftedin [for a round-the-world balloon trip].> 1999 Mar. 21 Sunday Times14/5.

dust someone/thing down Dust/brush someone/thing off <So bring them out,dust them down, and give them a new lease of life.> 2005 Jan. 15 DailyTelegraph Weekend 3/6.

eye something up Eye something; look intently at something <Yesterday, Kensie[a terrier] was eyeing up the big swans grazing by the Round Pond.> 1999Mar. 17 Evening Standard 31/1.

fill a form in Fill a form out <“And . . . and you’ve had the forms, you say?”[ ¶ ] Morse nodded. [ ¶ ] “And . . . and you’ve actually filled ’em in?”> 1994Dexter 16.

fill someone in “Brit. slang. to attack and injure severely” (CED). <1959 Times3 Mar. 3/4 A naval rating accused of murdering . . . an antique dealer . . . wasalleged to have said: ‘I filled in a chap and took his money.’> OED s.v. fill v.15.f.

fit someone up Incriminate someone <If Mr Daniloff was fitted up, MrZakharov was set up, just a week earlier.> 1986 Sept. 12 Daily Mirror 6/4.

give prizes away Give prizes out <. . . Sir Ralph’s kind suggestion that he mightone day give away the prizes at the school’s speech day.> 1991 Critchley 144.

give something in Turn something in “Brit. hand in a completed document toan official or a piece of work to a supervisor” (NODE).

give a player out (of an umpire in cricket) To declare a man at bat to be outin response to an appeal by the other side <The Majarajah of Kashmir . . .tampered with the laws of cricket with the effect that he could only be givenout lbw [leg before wicket, grounds for giving out].> 1983 Brooke-Taylor74.

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236 Syntactic Constructions

glance something over Glance over [prep.] something; look something over <Hepicked up the sheets of buff typewritten paper, and glanced them overrapidly.> 1940 Shute 62.

hatch something out Hatch something: Hatch out is nearly 3.5 times as frequentin CIC British texts as in American. <. . . hatching Aragog out in a cupboardwasn’t his idea of being innocent.> 1998 Rowling 208 (US ed. hatching).

have a day off Take a day off <Yes, he was having a day off to take the twinsto Mum and Dad’s.> 1991 Charles 37.

have someone round Have someone come around; ask someone in <Have somepeople round in the evening.> 1985 Barnard 28.

hide something up Hide something away <There’s a dozen places and morewhere you could easily hide up any amount of drugs.> 2000 Aird 165.

hire someone in Hire someone <With three of the remaining Bad Seeds, hedecamped to Paris . . . to start writing for the album, and there struck on theidea of hiring in gospel singers to enhance the songs.> 2004 Dec. 16 DailyTelegraph 15/4.

invite someone along Invite someone; ask someone to come along <CharlesRichards should be invited along to talk about the small publishingbusiness.> 1981 Dexter 215.

knit something up Knit something <He had been especially enamored of amulticolored Fair Isle beret, and an aunt had knitted it up for him.> 1991Graham 92.

lay something on “chiefly Brit. provide a service or amenity” (NODE). <. . . hecan lay on some Falkland veterans for you to be photographed talking to.>1989 Dickinson 81.

lay up tables Set tables <Wayne was due to . . . begin laying up the tables inthe Members’ and Strangers’ dining rooms.> 1991 Critchley 233.

look something out Look for and find something <I’m fine to . . . look out thespanner they need for tinkering.> 1991 Grant-Adamson 15.

measure something up Measure something <The [bowling] lanes were appar-ently measured up by laser.> 1989 Sept. 5 Evening Standard 31/2.

mess someone around 1. Mess around with someone; play games with someone;give someone problems <I’m supposed to be getting a flight to Moscow butthose wankers at the embassy are messing me around about a visa.> 1993Smith 266. 2. Mess around with someone; i.e., engage in casual sexual activitywith someone < – If you’re messing her around . . . – I’m not messingher around.> 1999 Mar. 22 BBC1 EastEnders. 3. Mess someone up; confusesomeone <I do think you can mess children around by having theories aboutthem.> 1991 Dickinson 78.

miss out someone/thing Miss/omit/overlook someone/thing; leave someone/thing out <The islands are rightly popular, but miss out Dubrovnik and youmiss a rare gem of a tourist town.> 2003 June 21 Times Travel 1/1.

pack (it/something) in Stop (it/working/doing something) <Well, . . . theydon’t like it, so pack it in.> 1991 Graham 132. <Your pancreas has packedin completely.> 1996 Dexter 234.

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Complementation 237

pack a place out Pack a place; fill a place up <They packed the restaurant out,moved the chairs, rearranged the tables.> 1953 Mortimer 19.

pass something through Pass something on <I would like to think they [thesavings] would be passed through to the consumer.> 1999 Mar. 12 Times13/7.

pay someone/thing out Pay someone/thing back; get even with someone or forsomething <Killed is just what he was. But I’ll pay them out.> 1983 Mann50.

phone someone up Phone someone; call someone (up) <I’ve got this jewellerfriend who’s going to phone you up.> 1987 Feb. 23 Mirror Week 4/5.

post something on Mail something; send something on <You dropped it on thestation, did you, and some kind soul’s posted it on?> 1990 Hardwick 151.

pull doors to Close doors: Infrequent; CIC British texts have 0.4 iptmw; Amer-ican have 0.1. <. . . he . . . pulled the doors to.> 1998 Rowling 42 (US ed.closed).

put something by Put something away, save something: <. . . you still put by abit each week to ensure you could pay for a decent funeral.> 2003 James 12.

put an amendment down Put forward or propose/move an amendment <Thebill is short, just three clauses, but already the antis have put down hundredsof amendments.> 1992 Nov. 7 Economist 63/2.

put the (tele)phone down CIC has 23.7 iptmw of this expression in Britishtexts and 1.8 in American texts. The American option is likely to be hang the(tele)phone up, which also occurs in British use, though only about one-fifth asfrequently. <I put the phone down.> 1987 June 8 Evening Standard 13/1.

put washing on Put a load of wash in; do a load of wash <Is there any washingyou’d like me to do? I’m going to put one on this morning.> 1993 Smith 118.

rained off, be (Of an event) be rained out <If you have paid for admission toa baseball game and the game is rained off, your ticket will become valid asa ‘rain check’.> 1982 Trudgill 115.

read something up Read up on something <I’ve spent ages reading up stufffor him.> 1999 Rowling 232 (US ed. reading up on).

rub up something 1. Bone up on something; review something <1885 Pall MallG. 9 June 1/2 Now is the time for all fiddle lovers to go and rub up their fiddlelore.> OED s.v. fiddle n. 7.b. 2. “Chiefly Brit. . . . (tr.) to smooth or polish”(CED). <1924 M. A. Burbridge Road to Beauty 115 Finish by using a bit moreof the tinted polish and rub up with the buffer.> OED s.v. polish n. 3.b.

rub someone up the wrong way Rub someone the wrong way <In his deter-mination to be a modern prince, he [Prince Charles] rubs many moderncommentators up the wrong way.> 2003 Nov. 10 Times 18/2.

run a machine in Break a machine in: MW labels the sense “chiefly British.”“Brit. prepare the engine of a new car for normal use by driving slowly, usuallyfor a particular period of time” (NODE).

run typeset matter on Run typeset matter in: Hence also the derived noun andadjective denoting such matter in dictionaries are British run-on and Americanrun-in. Both variations are used in both varieties, but the preferences seem to

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238 Syntactic Constructions

be as stated. MW has a cross-reference from run on to run in, but not vice versa;NODE defines run on in the relevant sense, but not run in.

run someone over Run over someone; run someone down <I could arrange torun you over in University Avenue. Make it look like an accident.> 2001Lodge 283.

sell something on Resell something <Classic cars can be sold on fairly easily.>2000 Aird 105.

sell something out Sell out of something <It had been said of Essex that ‘eventhe newsagents were white’. But the fact would not prevent them from sellingout the Essex Bugle were it ever to carry the story.> 1991 Critchley 26–7.

sell something up Sell something (off) <I told one Indian shopkeeper in Craw-ley recently that all he could do if he wanted to make money was to sellup his shop and get out.> 1994 Oct. 1 Times Weekend 13/3. Cf. § 11.1.6 .

send someone down Send someone to prison <. . . the press fantasising the whileabout the pretty blonde policewoman and what a story it would all make whenMr Stagg was sent down.> 1994 Sept. 24 Spectator 8/3.

share something out Share something; pass something out; divide something up<Could it be . . . that Lizzie has all the emotional, sensual and reproductiveinstincts that should by rights have been shared out between us?> 1993Trollope 63.

spend money out Spend money (foolishly) <You’re always spending out yourmoney on the boy.> 1985 Mortimer 102.

stock something up Stock up on something <. . . shoppers, fearing even worseweather to come, stocked up food.> 1991 Feb. 9 Daily Telegraph 1/4.

strip someone off Strip someone down <He smelt rotten so we stripped himoff and put him in the bath.> 1985 Townsend 356–7. Cf. § 11.1.6 .

take a phone out Take a phone off the hook: Rare. <Oh, we were in. We werein all right. I’d of taken the phone out.> 1991 Dickinson 244.

take time out Take time off: CIC British texts have approximately the samefrequency of take a year out and take a year off (respectively 2.8 and 2.6iptmw); American texts have almost only take a year off (4.1 iptmw), withvery few take a year out (0.1 iptmw). <He has been taking a year out fromEdinburgh, but returns this autumn to complete his degree in psychology.>1989 July 19 Daily Mail 17/2.

take someone through Take someone in; admit/escort someone <That’s the lastpatient gone . . . . Come along, Inspector. I’ll take you through.> 1996Graham 113.

take up premises Occupy/rent premises <Whether Tobacco Dock will live upto its claim to be the new Covent Garden remains to be seen, but virtuallyall the shop and restaurant space has been taken up.> 1988 May IllustratedLondon News 67/3.

throw in a job The particle up is usual in common-core English; CIC has noexamples of throw in a job. <He was unusual to the degree that, aged 51, hethrew in his job on a farm in Kent, left a note for his wife and five children

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Complementation 239

saying that he wasn’t coming back and became a rough-sleeping tramp.> 1993Feb. 15 Daily Mail 39/2.

throw up the sponge The norm in common-core English is throw in the towel,with sponge as a minor variant. The particle up instead of in is not representedin CIC. <It would be absolutely unlike Elizabeth . . . to throw up the spongelike that.> 1931 Benson 220.

tidy something away Put something away/up “The children were expected totidy away their toys / to tidy their toys away (= put them in the correctplace)” (CIDE).

tidy drawers out Straighten drawers up “(Br) Next week I’m going to tidy outmy drawers / tidy my drawers out (= tidy them up by removing unwantedthings)” (CIDE).

trigger something off Trigger something; set something off: CIC British textshave 8.1 iptmw of trigger off; American texts have none. <1983 Daily Telegraph23 Apr. 21/4 The arrival of the new pound coin has triggered off something.>OED s.v. pound n. 4.b. pound coin.

try it/something on Try something <I’m not just threatening you, Daley – I’llbloody kill you if you try it on again.> 1992 Dexter 235.

tuck someone up (in bed) Tuck someone in(to bed) <And tucked up inbed.> 1991 Critchley 217.

turn someone off “Brit. informal. to dismiss from employment” (CED).<1892 Temple Bar Mag. Mar. 321 A packer had been turned off forcarelessness.> OED s.v. turn v. 74.b.

turn heat out Turn heat off <Turn the heat out [under a pan of rice].>1995 Sept. 6 BBC2 Delia Smith’s Summer Collection: “The Summer KitchenGarden.”

turn a place over Rob a place <The room must already have been turnedover.> 1993 Apr. 22 GPTV ch. Mystery: Inspector Morse.

turn someone up Cause someone to vomit (CED); cf. turn off “disgust” <Ifthere was one thing that turned him up, it was white women dressing likeblacks.> 1993 Graham 212.

turn something up Turn down / pass up something <Alan Clark, a formerTory minister, asserted that Churchill was a warmonger who had turned upopportunities to get “first reasonable, then excellent, terms from Germany”.>1993 Jan. 9 Economist 82/2.

wind someone up “Brit. informal tease or irritate someone” (NODE); put some-one on <He looked at her, saw the amused lift of her lips and laughed.“ . . . You’re winding me up.”> 1992 Walters 248.

In the preceding citations, the nominal functions as direct object. In the fol-lowing, however, it functions adverbially.

go down a storm Be enthusiastically received; go over like gangbusters: CIChas 1.8 iptmw in British texts and none in American. <. . . the Screen Twofilm ‘Priest’ . . . is currently going down a storm at festivals.> 1994 Sept.28–Oct. 5 Time Out 16/2.

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240 Syntactic Constructions

go down a treat Go over well: CIC has 1.5 iptmw in British texts and none inAmerican. <It went down a treat with the studio audience too, apparently.>1995 Lodge 320. Cf. § 6.1 .

In the following, the object is a subject-headed gerund:

find out someone doing something Find/discover someone doing something<There is a mood of uncomfortable deafening silence. It’s as if your grannyhas been found out shagging the butler.> 2004 Dec. 8–15 Time Out 8/1. With preposition

bring someone out in a rash Cause a rash (on someone): CIC British texts have0.4 iptmw; American texts have none. <These plants bring you out in anunpleasant, spreading rash.> 1982 Trudgill 19.

do something out in a style Decorate something in a style: CIC British textshave 1.3 iptmw of done out in; American texts have none. <There was thesame dull reception foyer done out in light oak veneer and worn-lookingsplay-legged furniture.> 1988 Lodge 194.

learn/know something off by heart Learn/know something by heart <. . . try-ing to . . . learn charms and spells off by heart.> 1997 Rowling 179 (US ed.learn spells by heart). <. . . we know it off by heart.> 1999 Rowling 142 (USed. know by heart).

put something out to contract Put something out on/for bid <LondonRegional Transport, the body set up . . . to run London’s public transport,has put many of its other routes out to contract.> 1989 Autumn IllustratedLondon News 26/2. Adverbial particle and adjective

come over all adjective Begin to feel adjective <Annie, 68, comes over allfunny.> 1994 Sept. 14–21 Time Out 8/4.

cut up rough “Brit. informal. to become angry or bad-tempered” (CED). <DidMlle Bardot Cut Up Rough? / Brigitte Bardot, the film star turned ani-mal rights defender, has been accused of castrating a neighbour’s pet donkey,Charly, to end a romance with her own donkey Mimosa.> 1989 July 23 SundayTelegraph 3/1–3. Adverbial particle and verbal Present participle

carry on doing something Continue doing something /to do something: In CICBritish texts this construction is about 10 times more frequent than in

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Complementation 241

American texts. <Waiting lists [for NHS services] carried on growing.>1993 Feb. 17 Times 14/6.

fall about laughing Fall down laughing <They fell about laughing whenwe told them what we were doing.> 1989 June In Britain 8/2. Cf. § 11.1.6 . Infinitive

come on to do something Start/begin to do something <She would look muchmore sensible in her comfortable blue felt [hat] if it came on to rain.> 1985Pym 108.

tell someone off to do something Tell/order someone to do something <Youknow that David has been told off to help me?> 1985 Price 148.

11.1.7 Prepositional complement

admit to doing something Admit doing something: The construction with to isabout 10 times more frequent in CIC British texts than in American. <Icertainly wasn’t going to admit to touching the bowl in the kitchen.> 1992Green 43.

affiliate to In CIC British texts, affiliate to is 4.5 times more frequent thanaffiliate with; in American texts, affiliate with is 27.5 times more frequentthan affiliate to. <Unions . . . ask to join [the Trades Union Congress], to be‘affiliated’ to it.> 1988 Brookes and Fraenkel 91.

aim for Aim at: In CIC British texts, aim for is about twice as frequent as inAmerican texts. <Suggest that he aims for a compromise.> 1989 Dickinson115.

allow of Allow <By this definition, then, a word has the kind of stability whichdoes not allow of further reduction in form.> 1987 Carter 5.

answer to interrogation Answer some questions <In the old days I could havesaid, would you answer to some interrogation?> 1994 Freeling 6.

appeal against According to one count (Hundt 91), of 100 randomly selectedtokens of appeal in the British Guardian, 99 were followed by against, and only1 by a nominal; in contrast, the American Miami Herald contained no tokensof appeal against in an entire year’s issues.

average at a sum Average a sum <. . . pret-a-porter evening dresses average at£1,200.> 1987 Oct. Illustrated London News 64/2.

be on income Have income <. . . women and older pensioners . . . are morelikely to be on a low income.> 2003 July 16 Daily Express 35/1.

be on the phone Have a telephone <This week he’s gone to visit his sister inScarborough. . . . And she’s not on the phone.> 1995 Jones 302.

breathe on some air Breathe in some air <Morse breathed deeply on theearly-morning air – cigarettes were going to be out that day.> 1992 Dexter 20.

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242 Syntactic Constructions

bucket with rain Pour down rain <God, it was a foul night – bucketing withrain.> 1995 Wilson 110. Cf. below.

call into Visit; drop by <Call into your local Barclays branch or ring0 800 000 929> 1999 Mar. 13 poster for Barclays Bank in a London under-ground station.

cater for someone/thing Cater to someone/thing: In CIC, cater for is more than100 times as frequent in British texts as in American; cater to is 3 times asfrequent in American texts as in British. In the sense “provide food (at aparty)” British prefers cater for or possibly cater at; American also uses theverb transitively: cater a party. <Abbey National, another of the biggest highstreet lenders, does cater for people who buy abroad.> 2005 Jan. 23 SundayTelegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/.

chat to someone Chat with someone: CIC British texts have comparable numbersof to and with after chat (with slightly more tokens of to); American texts have26 times as many tokens of with as of to. <[Prince] William chatted to theresidents on subjects ranging from garage music to trendy hairdos.> 2003June 20 Times 11/1.

claim for Claim; file a claim for <Anyone over 16 can claim for low-incomebenefits.> 1986 July Family Income Supplement, FIS.1 (leaflet issued by theDepartment of Health and Social Security), back page.

claim on insurance Claim insurance; file a claim on insurance <He’ll justclaim on his insurance.> 1993 Stallwood 71.

comprise of The complementation of comprise is one of the shibboleths of pre-scriptive usage guides. The range of options in standard use (Gilman 1994)are these (using “whole” and “parts” in a wide sense): (a) the whole comprisesits parts = “consists of ”; (b) the parts comprise their whole = “make up, con-stitute,” or the whole is comprised of its parts = “is made up of, is constitutedby”; (c) a thing or things comprise(s) or is/are comprised of another thingor things = “is/are.” The citation below illustrates yet another alternative to(c): comprise of (“consist of”). CIC British texts have 0.2 iptmw of comprise of;American texts have none. <These [gifts] comprise mostly of tee shirts.>1989 Aug. 31 Midweek 13/2.

consist in Consist of (Peters 2004, 124): In CIC British texts, consist has of 15times more often than in; in American texts, 22 times. < . . . a quaintly-namedduty which consisted in parading with the guard in steel helmets and peelingpotatoes for two hours.> 1962 Lodge 59.

could do with doing something Would like to do something / have somethingdone: This construction is fairly common in British, accounting for about 10percent of the tokens of could do with in a sample from CIC. It is very rarein American. <I could do with paying for these two days.> 1992 Green30.

dabble on the stockmarket Perhaps a blend of dabble in and on the stockmar-ket. <. . . he had broken the resolution of a lifetime not to dabble on thestockmarket.> 1980 Sharpe 131.

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Complementation 243

dine off food Dine on food: This construction is rare in British, but has no CICAmerican tokens. “<dined ∼ oysters>” (LDEL).

do for someone Do someone in <No, whatever they tell us today, it wasn’t reallyNannygate that did for Blunkett. . . . [ ¶ ] So what was it, then, that did forBlunkett?> 2004 Dec. 16 Daily Telegraph 22/6–7.

do with, to Having to do with; about <. . . there was some strange footage todo with a man who had once tended Adolf’s boiler and sitting-room fires.>1989 Sept. 8 Evening Standard 30/6. Cf. § .

doing with, not be Not put up / be bothered with <I can’t be doing withspending an enormous amount of money on clothes.> 1994 Sept. Tatler24/1.

engaged on In common-core English, engaged in is the norm, but engaged on is4 times more frequent in CIC British texts than in American. < . . . someonehere . . . can cook when not engaged on overcomplicating the food.> 1995Sept. 9 Times Magazine 77/5.

enrol on a course In CIC British texts, enrol is followed by in 2.5 times as oftenas it is by on. But American texts have no tokens of enroll on. <Annetteenrolled on an intensive course to become a childminder.>2004 Jan. 4 SundayTimes News Review 5 5/5–6.

enter tickets to a draw Enter tickets in a draw: Rare construction. <Thousandsof tickets [were] never entered to the prize draw.> 1993 Feb. 22 EveningStandard 17/2.

get up a place Get (up) to a place <[Of a ripple in a swimming pool:] It’s prob’lydoing 20 miles an hour, time it gets up the deep end.> 1991 Feb. 26 Times14/3.

go off someone/something Begin to dislike someone/something <Gone offme a bit, hasn’t she?> 2000 Rowling 532.

go on a course Start/take a course <I’ve gone on a relentless self-improvement course in losing weight.> 1989 Sept. 7 Midweek 19/3. Seealso § 8.1 .

go to it Go at it < . . . he had been going to it for a decade or so: experiencedoes count for something.> 1991 Feb. 2 Times 11/4–5.

increase on Increase over <Calls have been increased by 77 on last year.>2005 Jan. 13 BBC News24.

lay about Lay into; criticize <Howard has laid about the prime minister inthe Commons.> 2004 Jan. 4 Sunday Times 13/4.

look like doing something CIC British texts have 12.5 iptmw of look like being;American texts have 0.1. <Middleton’s merger . . . looks like causing aboardroom crisis.> 1995 Aug. 28 Daily Telegraph 22/1.

natter to Chat with <Sir Andrew said he had just been nattering to hisbrother.> 1994 Sept. 22 Times 18/3.

operate to something Operate according to / by something: CIC British textshave 3.5 times as many tokens of operate to as of operate according to;American texts have nearly 3 times as many tokens of operate according to as of

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244 Syntactic Constructions

operate to. <. . . she operates to a formula that invariably incorporates certainingredients.> 1991 Feb. 10 Independent Sunday Review 4/3.

play to the rules In common-core English, play by the rules is the norm.<. . . the inability to play to the rules . . . amounted to a sort of conspiracy.>1987 Mar. 25 Punch 60/4.

play at Although CIC American texts have a marginally higher number oftokens of the verb play, British texts have 1.3 times more tokens of play at.<He . . . recalled playing at cowboys.> 1992 Granger 14.

point at Point to is the norm in common-core English; but in CIC British texts itexceeds point at by 3.3 times, whereas in American texts it does so by 5.3 times.<Eight of the [clock] hands were currently pointing at the ‘home’ position,but Mr Weasley’s, which was the longest, was still pointing at ‘work’.> 2000Rowling 135 (US ed. pointing to).

pour with rain In CIC British texts pour with rain has 3.0 iptmw, and in Amer-ican texts none. <. . . it was pouring with rain.> 2003 Nov. 7 Daily Express3/5. Cf. above.

presume upon something In CIC British texts presume upon has 0.6 iptmw,and in American texts none. <Mrs. Thatcher replied: “What happens to MrKinnock is a matter for the British people. I would not presume upon theirchoice.”> 1986 Dec. 10 Times 1/5.

protest against/at/about/over Protest: According to one count (Hundt 90),the British Guardian typically complements protest by a preposition: against45.5 percent, at 26.5 percent, about 20 percent, over 6 percent, and with a nom-inal only 2 percent of the time; American, on the other hand, complementswith a nominal 97 percent of the time, and with the preposition against by only3 percent. <They were protesting about my proposed new legislation.>1981 Lynn and Jay 122. <More than 200 French removal vans choked thecentre of Paris yesterday . . . to protest against new public allowance cutsfor families moving house.> 1986 Oct. 30 Times 7/3–6. <Those who . . .protested over its waste . . . can say a simple hurrah.> 1999 Mar. 17Times 20/3. <. . . a consultant gynaecologist was protesting at a reduc-tion in the number of beds for women patients.> 2005 Jan. 14 Daily Telegraph27/2.

reckon to/on CIC American texts have no tokens. “have a specified view oropinion of: What do you reckon on this place? ” (NODE). <What do youreckon to the old boy? Think he was genuine?> 2000 Granger 280.

sit on a working party CIC British texts have 31.9 iptmw of working partyand 0.3 of on before it; American texts have 0.2 of the noun but none with apreceding preposition. <. . . members would normally expect to sit . . . ona . . . working party.> 2001 Apr. English Today 30/1.

speak to Speak to is the norm in both varieties, but it is 7 times more frequentthan speak with in CIC British texts and only 2 times more frequent in Amer-ican. In the BNC also, speak to is between 7 and 8 times more frequent thanspeak with. Cf. Swan 1995, 553.

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Complementation 245

stay to a meal Stay for a meal <They stay to tea and supper.> 1988 Brookesand Fraenkel 4.

subscribe for Subscribe to: CIC British texts have 3.5 iptmw of subscribe forand 35.6 of subscribe to; American texts have 0.2 and 68.1 respectively. <Thethrust of the privatisation campaigns has been to persuade individuals to sub-scribe for shares.> 1991 journal CIC.

train to success Train for success <Train to Success / Diploma Coursesin Commercial Typing / Word Processing> 1989 Sept. 4 Girl about Town28/1.

whip round Make an informal collection of funds from <She . . . whippedround the family, parents, uncles and aunts, bullied a bank manager, andproduced enough to buy and furnish a boarding house.> 1987 Bawden 8.

work at something Work at is a characteristic British option to work on (CGEL9.46n): “She is working at her new play.” For Americans work at may implyresistance, difficulties, obstacles to be overcome: “It’s a problem, but I’mworking at it!” <. . . a fourth-class degree . . . was something of a class-conscious badge of not having worked at studies, or having been a swot.>1976 Grotta-Kurska 35.

work to 1. a schedule/plan Work by/on/according to <Primary teachers haveto work to rigid targets set by the Department for Education and Skills.> 2005Jan. 23 Independent (Web edition). 2. a person Work for/under <Mr DuncanSmith has built a strong team at the top . . . . chosen by and working to him.>2003 July 14 Times 16/5.

11.1.8 Verbal complement Gerund Catenative gerund

become accepting of Accept <Daniel is gradually becoming more accept-ing of his handicap.> 1991 Mar. 10 Sunday Times Magazine 49/1–3.

face being arrested Face arrest <Thousands of motorists . . . face beingarrested this week . . . to collect unpaid parking fines.> 1988 Oct. 16 SundayTelegraph 2/7.

intend doing something Intend to do something <Having got this far I do notintend giving up.> 1991 Feb. 2 Spectator 16/2.

like doing something Like to do something: Michael Swan (1995, 285) suggeststhat in British like doing implies enjoyment, whereas like to do implies habit-ual choice, as in I like climbing mountains and I like to put the milk in firstwhen I pour tea. Stig Johansson (1979, 212) concludes that there is a weak ten-dency for Britons to choose a gerund complement and Americans an infinitive.<Beckham is a nice lad who likes being with kids.> 1999 Mar. 17 EveningStandard 83/3.

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246 Syntactic Constructions

need doing Need to be done: In both acceptability judgments and choice ofalternatives, British tends to favor the gerund complement and American theinfinitive (Johansson 1979, 212). <P. needs editing out.> 1992 Walters 249.

show willing Show oneself willing (to do something) <He asked me to make aprivate retreat. . . . To show willing, I went to a Carmelite monastery.> 1991Lodge 211.

want doing 1. Want to be done <We just want leaving in peace. Goodbye.>1990 Byatt 303. 2. Need to be done <You homicidal maniac. You want bloodylocking up.> 1991 Graham 252. 3. Want/need to be done: In some cases, itis impossible, without larger context, to distinguish between the “desire” and“need” senses of want. In some cases, the senses may be indistinguishable; seethe discussion of their history above (§ ). <Aproper chartered accountant, who is going to want paying properly.> 1993Neel 64. Gerund with subject

benefit someone doing something Benefit someone in doing something <. . . canMr Tebbit say whether the agreement on exhaust emissions will benefit thiscountry selling cars?> 1985 July 4 Times 4/6.

excuse someone doing something Excuse someone for doing something <You willexcuse me speaking, won’t you? . . . I wouldn’t have done as a rule, of course.>1977 Barnard 9.

prevent someone/something doing something Prevent someone/somethingfrom doing something: The option without the preposition from is a rela-tively recent British innovation, not used in American (Mair 1998, 150).<. . . traffic humps are not only damaging ambulances and fire engines butare also slowing them down so much as to prevent them doing their work.>2004 Jan. 4 Sunday Times 13/6. Cf. ⁄ below.

recommend someone doing something Recommend that someone do something<But I would not recommend women walking alone at night.> 1987 Feb.23 Mirror Weekend 7/3.

stop someone/something doing something Stop someone/something from doingsomething: British prefers the construction with from by a ratio of 3 to 2(according to 10 examples in the LOB Corpus), but there are no similar from-less examples in the Brown Corpus. <. . . he had to blink to stop his eyeswatering.> 2003 Rowling 117 (US ed. stop his eyes from). Cf. / above. Infinitive

In common-core English, the verbs dare and help can be complemented by aninfinitive with or without a preceding to: They dared/helped (to) solve the puzzle.

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Complementation 247

The infinitive may also have a separate subject or not: They dared/helped (theirfriends) to solve the puzzle. Helped may also be complemented by a to-less infinitivewith a subject: They helped their friends solve the puzzle. Dare is less likely to beso complemented: ?They dared their friends solve the puzzle.

However, these options are not used equally by the two varieties. Accordingto a corpus-based study (LGSWE 735), both varieties prefer the bare infinitiveover the to-infinitive, but American does so more strongly. After help, Americanpreference for the bare infinitive is greater than 9:1 in conversation, and 14.5:1in news sources. By contrast, British preference is 4:1 and 3:1, respectively.Moreover, the preference for bare infinitives over to-infinitives grew over thethree decades of 1961–91 in both British and American English (Mair 1998,148–9). Catenative infinitive

In common-core English, when a verb is complemented by a subjectless infinitive,the infinitive is usually preceded by to. The following, however, seem character-istic of British.

accept to do something Accept an offer to do something; agree to do something<Olivier . . . had accepted to do [the film] Term of Trial because he had beenoffered nothing better.> 1994 Oct. 1 Times Weekend 1/4.

afford to install something Afford something; afford the installation of some-thing <. . . she had afforded to install a proper open fire.> 1991 Dickinson5.

be to do with See § to do something Begin doing something: Although the infinitive comple-

ment is the majority choice in both British and American, American hasa higher percentage of gerund complements, and that percentage has beenincreasing, especially in the press (Mair 1998, 151). Cf. below.

come to think Come to think of it: The long form is the norm in common-core English, and the short form rare. <And perhaps there’d been a streakof puritanism in Eamonn’s Irishness, because come to think, he couldn’tremember Eamonn ever making that sort of joke.> 1994 Freeling 17.

could do to do something Would like to do something: This construction israre. <Please – yeah, please try to make it, will you? I really could do tosee you.> 1989 Daniel 74.

enjoy to do something Enjoy doing something <We thought you would enjoyto have Ianthe Hoskins herself come and talk to us.> 1987 chair introducinga London lecture.

feel to have Feel that one has <Each of us feels in our ordinary being to havea unitary consciousness.> 1986 Oct. London lecture.

invest to save Invest in order to save <The trouble is that the Treasury and theMoD never learnt to invest to save.> 1991 Feb. 16 Daily Telegraph 4/6.

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248 Syntactic Constructions

know to do something Know enough to do something: The construction withenough is more than twice as frequent in CIC American texts as in British.<Dunkirk showed the Brits . . . as game-players who know to give luck achance.> 1984 Smith 83.

look to be/do something Seem to be/do something <It looked to have got it allright.> 1989 July 23 Sunday Telegraph 28/7.

look to do something Hope/expect/work to do something: In 1990 PhilipHoward (Word in Time 44) called this use a recent innovation from sportsjargon. <Brighton is now looking to achieve city status, after merging withits neighbouring local authority.> 1996 July 24 Times 20/4.

omit to do something Omit doing something; fail/neglect to do something: Thisconstruction occurs 5 times in the LOB Corpus but only once in Brown. CIChas only 0.1 iptmw in British texts, but none in American. The Algeo corpushas some 15 examples from popular fiction and periodicals. <. . . she omittedto tell the police it was there.> 1992 Walters 51.

ordered to be done, be Be ordered done This doubly passive verb construction,as in The incinerator was ordered to be closed immediately, is more usual in Britishthan in American; CIC British texts have 6.9 iptmw of it, and American texts1.2. An American analog, as in The incinerator was ordered closed immediately,has no tokens in some 400 CIC British citations of ordered, but a comparablenumber of American citations include 4.3 iptmw.

reckon to do something Think/intend to do something: Reckon is more frequentin British use than in American; CIC British texts have 522.3 iptmw, andAmerican texts have 16.7. Use of the verb in the sense “believe, suppose” isdialectal in American English, chiefly Southern and South Midland (DARE).CIC has 2.5 iptmw of reckon to in British texts and none in American texts.< . . . so she’s reckoning to spend most of her time sailing.> 1984 Caudwell83.

require to do something Need to do something: Require in the sense “need” withan infinitive complement is a construction with no examples in the BrownCorpus, but 9 in LOB. CIC has 10.2 iptmw of require(s) to in British texts and2.7 in American. <He [Lord Chief Justice Taylor] said: “Judges do requireto have decent vacations.”> 1993 Feb. 7 Sunday Times 22/5.

seen to, be Appear to: CIC has 124.5 iptmw in British texts and 24.4 in Amer-ican. <. . . it’s a line [of merchandise] that we cannot be seen to be undercuton.> 1994 Oct. 5 Times 21/1.

settle to do something Settle on doing something <Lucia had settled to leaveRiseholme without the least thought of what injury she inflicted on him.>1931 Benson 159.

sound to be something Sound like / as though clause <. . . you sound to havebeen very moderate with him.> 1990 Hardwick 39.

start to do something Start doing something: British uses both complementa-tions, about equally; American prefers the gerund and that preference hasbeen growing, especially in press reports (Mair 1998, 152). <Any minute now

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Complementation 249

the telephones would start to ring with complaints from car owners.> 1993Mason 97. Cf. above.

think to do something Intend to do something; think about doing something: Theconstruction is about 50 percent more frequent in British than in AmericanCIC texts. <The boys took it back to their home in Clapton, where they wipedit down, and thought to keep it.> 1995 June 8 London Review of Books 8/3.

want to do something Need to do something: <You don’t want to worry aboutthat.> 1991 Cleeves 195. Infinitive with subject

The verb want is complemented by an infinitive with a subject in common-coreEnglish: They want us to meet only twice a year. In some American dialects, wantmay be complemented by a that-clause: They want that we should meet only twicea year (CamGEL 1422).

be (anything/more/nothing/something) to do with Have (anything/more/nothing) to do with: In this construction, the norm in common-coreEnglish is the verb have. Use of the verb be is a recent Briticism, appearing inless than 20 percent of the tokens in the BNC (Peters 2004, 380). A randomcheck of the OED text found 100 tokens of have and none of be for thisconstruction. In the more recent texts of CIC, however, the be construction isgaining ground, accounting for more than 33 percent of the tokens in Britishtexts. In CIC American texts, the be construction accounts for only 6 percentof the whole, and have for 94 percent. <Tough luck. It’s nothing to do withus.> 2005 Jan. 11 BBC News24. <It is to do with common sense.> 2005Jan. 16 BBC1 Breakfast with Frost.

know someone do something Know someone to do something: Complementationof know by a to-less infinitive occurs in British English in the perfect aspect.<I’d never known him lose his temper before.> CamGEL 1244.

permit someone be affected Permit someone to be affected <. . . a flimsily cladfemale “spirit” would . . . glide between members of the audience, permittingherself be groped in the process.> 1991 Feb. 7 Midweek 17/1.

recommend someone to do something Recommend (that) someone do some-thing: This British construction corresponds to an American mandative sub-junctive; its oldest date in the OED is 1856. The construction is entered with-out comment in LDOCE. <Mrs Barefoot . . . would certainly recommendyounger women to look ahead.> 1993 Feb. 1 Times 12/4. Participle

need done Need to be done <She and her husband . . . have just bought theirhouse and there’s lots needing done.> 1987 May 10 (Scotland) Sunday Post12/3.

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250 Syntactic Constructions Verbless nonfinite clause

allow someone back to Allow someone to go back to/someone back in(to): Thisverbless clause structure is rare in British English, but has no tokens in CICAmerican texts. <My father . . . told him that if he didn’t allow me back toschool in whatever colour socks I liked he would protest to his MP.> 1985Townsend 83.

11.1.9 Clausal complement

Some verbs can be complemented either by a noun phrase or by a that-clause. Forthe following verbs as a group, CIC British texts have clause complementation 3.6times more frequently than American texts do. The subordinating conjunctionthat is optional.

absorb that something is the case <Girls, on the other hand, absorb early onthat in the most profound sense they must rely on themselves as there isno-one to take care of them emotionally.> 1986 Oct. 7 Today 15/4.

accept that something is the case <Michael Howard and Mr Letwin acceptthat moves have to be made.> 2005 Jan. 14 Daily Telegraph 1/3.

appreciate that something is the case <The “tankies” appreciate they aregoing to war and so treat the vehicles better.> 1991 Feb. 16 Daily Telegraph4/5.

denounce that something is the case <This is a country where humbug is agreat virtue. You denounce something is being done and rush to read aboutit.> 1990 Critchfield 424.

reinforce that something is the case <John Broome . . . has reinforced thatthe Battersea scheme will remain dominated by the leisure park concept.>1989 Sept. 12 Evening Standard 17/1.

Similarly, depend can be complemented by a preposition (on, upon) or by anindirect interrogative clause. In CIC British texts, the clause is 4 times morefrequent than it is in American texts.

depend what happens <I think it depends what they’re offered.> 2003Rowling 81.

11.1.10 No complement

Occasionally, verbs that would normally have some complementation are usedwithout any. The lack of complementation is of several different sorts. Thecomplement may be understood: She’s been (here/there). Or there may be achange in role relationship, so that a verb’s subject is what, in other uses, wouldbe its object: She closed the door / The door closed. The latter sort, sometimescalled “ergative,” may be more frequent in British than in American (McMillion1998).

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Complementation 251

been Been here; come <Later maybe, after Audrey’s been.> 1993 Smith 97.deliver Be delivered <The delivery of first-class mail within 24 hours is a hit

and miss affair and it is not unusual for properly addressed and pre-stampedmail to take three days to deliver.> 1988 Sept. 25 Manchester Guardian Weekly2/5.

feature Be featured <Ancient craft restored to at least river-worthiness will beback in their element. . . . Modern craft, too, will feature.> 1986 Oct. 30Times 16/2.

go Go off; make a sound <Your alarm’s gone.> 1991 Dickinson 165.make Be made <Ransome has always had a key to the gates and although we

knew that fresh keys were making we didn’t think they would be forthcomingso soon.> 1937 Innes, Seven 180.

notice Be noticed <They’ve got half a dozen already so one more won’tnotice.> 1987 Graham 44.

prepare Be prepared <Even now, strange events are preparing.> 1937 Innes,Hamlet 12.

settle Settle down/in <He was a good worker and he steadied down as he gotolder. He seems to have settled well, to have fitted in.> 1993 Cleeves 147.

tidy Tidy (something) up: In a random sample of 143 tokens of the verb tidy(and its inflected forms), the BNC has 89 tokens of tidy (something) up, 37 ofsimple tidy something (tidy a house/room/drawer/etc.), 9 of tidy away, and 8 oftidy as intransitive. <Give lavender bushes a light trim now to tidy, but leavetheir main cut until the spring.> 1994 Oct. 1 Times Weekend 11/4.

11.2 Complementation of nouns

11.2.1 Prepositional complement

advantage from/in/of doing something Advantage to doing something: CICtexts have comparable proportions of the four prepositions from, in, of, andto after advantage in British and American texts, with not more than onepercentage point difference between the two varieties (respective percent-ages of British/American: 1.2/0.3, 9.9/9.0, 81.4/82.2, and 7.5/8.5). However,when the object of the preposition is a gerund, to is notably more frequentin American texts, and the other three prepositions are somewhat more fre-quent in British texts (percentages as before: 1.4/0.5, 41.0/35.5, 49.0/40.0,and 8.6/24.0). <For Mr Kinnock there are advantages from being broughtback into the fold.> 1991 Feb. 9 Daily Telegraph 5/2. <There are additionaladvantages in setting up a timeshare.> 1989 nonfiction CIC. <. . . studentssee significant advantages of entering the workforce after two instead of threeyears.> 1989 Aug. 5 Times 10/7.

appointment to the sovereign, by This use does not occur in AmericanEnglish. <By Appointment To Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II / Soft

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252 Syntactic Constructions

Drink Manufacturers / Schweppes International Limited / London> 1989Sept. 17 notice on a can.

appreciation of Appreciation for: In CIC British texts, of occurs in 94 percentand for in 6 percent of the tokens; in American texts, in 55 and 45 percent,respectively. <Then he sits nervously twining his long fingers until I walk inand express appreciation of his efforts.> 1989 Daniel 2.

audience of Audience with <The Right Hon Margaret Thatcher, MP (PrimeMinister and First Lord of the Treasury) had an audience of The Queen thisevening.> 1985 May 1 Times 18/1.

bruising to Bruises on: In CIC British texts, bruising to is nearly twice as fre-quent as bruising on (2.0 to 1.1 iptmw); bruising does not occur with eitherpreposition in American texts. Bruises on is preferred over bruises to in bothvarieties, somewhat more in American (British 3.6 iptmw to 0.4, American 4.6to 0.4). <. . . she came home with bad bruising to her handicapped leg.>1994 Sept. 30 Daily Telegraph 2/4.

burns to Burns on: In CIC texts, national preferences for the two prepositionsafter burns is opposite (British to 3.4 iptmw and on 1.5, American 1.7 and 3.9,respectively). <He was taken to hospital with burns to his hands and knees.>1995 Aug. 28 Independent 2/8.

chat to Chat with: CIC British texts have more than 2.0 iptmw of to after thenoun chat, but American texts have none. <I had a brief chat to him to saythat I hoped they turned up and that the kids returned safely home.> 2003Nov. 7 Daily Express 6/5.

change to Change in < . . . the editor . . . is famous for her last-minute changesto the mix.> 1991 Feb. 10 Independent Sunday Review 5/1.

claim to something Claim for something <These figures will have to be specificto items such as . . . claims to reliefs.> 1994 Oct. 1 Times 29/3.

closure on a business, make an emergency Close a business as an emergencymeasure: The construction is rare. <Magistrates have also made an emer-gency closure on Foodworth, a large supermarket.> 1987 Mar. Camden Mag-azine (local London borough), no. 46, 7/3.

contribution to Contribution for: CIC has a slightly larger percentage of forversus to after contribution in American texts (4.4 versus 95.6) than in British(2.3 versus 97.6). < . . . his efforts to raise contributions from other countriesto the British effort in the Gulf.> 1991 Feb. 8 Daily Telegraph 2/1.

decision over Decision on/about <Without having a decision over it, we hadto abide by the university regulation.> SEU s3-4.966-8.

defence to Defense against <. . . merely being depressed did not amount to adefence to that charge.> 1991 Feb. 13 Daily Mail 2/3.

delight to Delight in <So skilfully was I able to blend [the dog] Addo into theplot, though, that even Nicol eventually began to enjoy the audience’s delightto him.> 1994 Oct. 5 Times 14/2.

difference of Difference in <I greatly doubt whether anyone but an expert cantell the difference of flavour between a pasteurized cheese and the unpas-teurized varieties.> 1987 July Illustrated London News 73/1.

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difference to, make a Make a difference in: In CIC British texts, to is 7.4 timesmore frequent than in for this construction; in American texts, in is 2.2 timesmore frequent than to. <That [being an Arabic speaker] makes a distinctdifference to his reporting.> 2005 Jan. 16 BBC1 Breakfast with Frost.

divorce to Divorce to, rather than from, is rare in British use, the only examplesbeing journalistic. <They popped into a supermarket but the petite star [Felic-ity Kendall] was saying nothing about her divorce to Michael Rudman.> 1991Mar. 2 Daily Express 15/3.

doubt at/of Doubt about is the norm in common-core English. But CIC Britishtexts have 3 times as many tokens of doubt at as American texts do, and 4.4times as many of doubt of. <Hilary Steinberg saw the film in the making andhas no doubt at its brilliance.> 1986 Aug. 28 Hampstead Advertiser 17/2–3.<Convicted defendants were left in no doubt of his disapproval.> 1995 news-paper CIC.

edge on one’s voice Edge to one’s voice: In this construction to is the norm incommon-core English. CIC British texts have only 0.1 iptmw of on; Americantexts have none. <The sudden sharp edge on Morse’s voice made Walterslook up anxiously.> 1981 Dexter 83.

end on it, an An end to it: In this construction to is the norm in common-coreEnglish. CIC British texts have only 0.1 iptmw of on; American texts havenone. <I’ll not do it and there’s an end on it.> 1989 Daniel 71.

example to Example for: CIC British texts have 61 percent with to and 39percent with for; American texts have 27 percent with to and 73 percent withfor. <Club officials should set an example to their players!> 1987 Jan. 29Deptford & Peckham Mercury 10/1.

experience of Experience with: CIC British texts favor of by 2.8 times, andAmerican texts favor with by 2.3 times. <I now have some experience of thesubject.> 1999 Mar. 8 Guardian 16/2.

files of Files on: This construction is rare. <West End vice squad officersclosed their files yesterday of “Operation Circus”.> 1987 Feb. 18 Daily Tele-graph 3/3.

fuss of, make a Make a fuss over: The construction with either preposition israrer in CIC American texts (0.9 iptmw) than in British (6.4); British textsprefer of by 7 to 1, and American texts prefer over by 2 to 1. <Get off homeas early as you can, and make a proper fuss of him.> 1993 Mason 147.

grip of Grip on: In this construction on is the norm in common-core English.CIC British texts have 3.0 iptmw with of; American texts have 0.4. <After justa few seconds, I got a grip of myself.> 1997 Sept. 3 CNN British speaker.

guide on Guide to: In this construction to is the norm in common-core English.CIC British texts have 1.9 iptmw of on; American texts have none. <. . . acomplete guide on where to find what is particularly timely.> 1997 Apr.Businesslife (British Airways) 6.

increase of an amount on a time Increase of an amount over a time: In CICBritish texts, 71 percent have on in this construction and 29 percent have over;in American texts all have over and none have on. <Average starting salaries

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254 Syntactic Constructions

have risen . . . to £20,300, an increase of 4.1 per cent on 2002.> 2003 July 16Times 9/1.

key of a place Key to a place: In common-core English, to is the norm in thisconstruction. CIC British texts have of in 2.6 iptmw, and American texts in0.4. < . . . you must have a key of the house.> SEU s1-10.1031.

kick up the backside/arse/bum Kick in the ass; a reproof, esp. one servingas motivation to act: The British and American idioms differ in both thepreposition and its object. CIC British texts have up in 4.3 iptmw; Americanin only 0.1. Other objects of up in British use include behind, fundamentals,pants, rear, and rump, of which pants and rear also occur in American textsafter in, along with butt and tail. <Snivelling little oik needs a kick up thebackside.> 1995 Aug. 29 Evening Standard 11/2.

lease of Lease on: CIC British texts have of after lease 3.2 times more oftenthan on; American texts have on 2.3 times more often than of. <He had . . .the lease of the flat.> SEU w16-7.36. – new lease of life New lease on life:The phrase is 3 times more popular in British use than in American. In CICBritish texts, the ratio between of and on is 43:1; in American, nearly 1:10.<So bring them out, dust them down, and give them a new lease of life.>2005 Jan. 15 Daily Telegraph Weekend 3/6.

legalization on Legalization of: The phrase with on is rare. <[Baroness]Warnock, 80, a Lords’ cross-bencher . . . helped frame Britain’s legaliza-tion on embryo research.> 2004 Dec. 12 Sunday Times 1 1/3–4.

luck on someone, bad Bad luck for someone: This construction is infrequent inCIC British texts, but there are no tokens of it in American texts. <I think sheidentified the school with the Union Jack, which was rather bad luck on theschool.> 1994 Sept. 25 Sunday Times Magazine 10/1–2.

member for Representative from: Both noun and preposition differ betweenthe two varieties. <. . . that instinct for survival . . . had kept the Member forArden in Parliament for so long.> 1992 Critchley 27–8. Cf. also .

membership of Membership in: CIC British texts have of in this construction7 times as often as in; American texts have in 33 times as often as of. <. . . mymembership of the London Library eventually determined the direction ofmy interest.> 2005 Jan. 15 Daily Telegraph Books 2/5.

Minister for CIC British texts have Minister of (as also in the American ana-log Secretary of ) twice as often as Minister for, which occurs in 30.0 iptmw.<Cornelius Fudge, Minister for Magic . . .> 2003 Rowling 537 (US ed. of ).

misconception on Misconception about: The construction is rare. <There isone very common misconception on this.> 1987 Aug. Illustrated LondonNews 47/2–4.

MP for CIC British texts have this construction in 91.1 iptmw. The Americananalog is Representative from. <David Harris, the Tory MP for St Ives, couldbear it no longer.> 1993 Feb. 7 Sunday Times 2 3/2. Cf. also .

name to a book Name on a book: The construction with to is rare. <Ratherjolly to have one’s name to a book.> 1973 Innes 21.

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Complementation 255

one thing for it, only The norm in common-core English is only one thing todo; CIC has 0.5 iptmw of only one thing for it in British texts and none inAmerican. <Only one thing for it. He hobbled and hopped across to thetelephone and rang Lewis.> 1975 Dexter 79.

pass at a particular grade The construction, which is normal in British, doesnot occur in CIC American texts; if it did one might expect with rather thanat. <The intermediate diploma would be roughly equal to five GCSE passesat grade C or better.> 2003 July 16 Times 1/3.

pattern to Pattern for: The construction is rare. <. . . activism . . . set a pat-tern to their future lives together.> 1994 Sept. 25 Sunday Times Magazine25/1–2.

preference for, in CIC British texts have 0.9 iptmw; American texts have 0.1.X in preference for Y means “not X, but Y, by preference” as in <. . . theyavoid salaries in preference for commission payments or fees directly relatedto their performance.> 1994 nonfiction CIC.

processing on Processing of/for: The construction is rare. <Boots Film Pro-cessing Same Day . . . on films handed in before 9.30 am> 1990 May 31 signoutside Boots, Charing Cross Road.

recommendation to CIC British texts have only a few examples with toin the sense “for” or “in favor of.” Recommendation for is the norm. <Theydispersed . . . to get a recommendation to a security firm.> 1993 Neel 145.

report into The norm in common-core English is report on or investigationinto. CIC British texts have 12.1 iptmw of report into; American texts have0.7. <Ministers are currently completing a green paper on children at risk,in response to the Laming report into the death of Victoria Climbie.> 2003June 25 Guardian international ed. 17/1.

respect of, in CIC British texts have 96.6 iptmw of in respect of and 66.0 of withrespect to; American texts have, respectively, 1.2 and 102.9. < . . . the positiontaken by local government in respect of community care.> 1989 Aug. 9 Times15/3.

return of investment This construction with of is rare; the norm is on.< . . . donations which can yield a threefold return of investment.> 1987 Jan.20 Guardian 1/6.

return of post This construction is exclusively British (2.0 iptmw), which alsouses return post and return mail (0.2 each), the latter being the American choiceat 0.5 iptmw. <. . . write to me by return of post.> SEU w7-9.38.

revulsion of CIC British texts have only 0.1 iptmw of this combination, andAmerican texts none. The norm is revulsion against. <. . . environmentalleaders have begun to reassess their revulsion of nuclear power.> 1989 Aug.25 International Herald Tribune 1/1.

room for manoeuvre CIC British texts have 7.0 iptmw with for and 1.5 withto. American texts have 1.5 of room for maneuver and 5.0 with to. <Mr Brownmay seem to have plenty of room for manoeuvre.> 1999 Mar. 6 Economist36/1.

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256 Syntactic Constructions

Secretary for cabinet office The norm in common-core English is Secretaryof, which is notably more frequent in CIC American than British texts (362.9versus 150.9 iptmw). Thus although the frequency of Secretary for is not verydifferent in the two varieties (American 5.4, British 6.7), Secretary for accountsfor only 1.5 percent of the two options in American texts but for 4.2 percentof them in British texts. <Secretary for Employment.> 1987 Feb. 4 EveningStandard 13/4–5. Cf. above.

substitution of X by/with Y This construction appears 2.5 times more oftenin British than in American CIC texts, and with four variations in British versustwo in American. The norm in common-core English is the substitution of Xfor Y, with a minor variation, the substitution of X in place of Y, in both ofwhich X replaces Y. They are the only such constructions in CIC Americantexts. CIC British texts have two other constructions: the substitution of Xby Y and the substitution of X with Y, in both of which X is replaced byY, the reverse of the usual relationship. <. . . the substitution of Jeffers byMoore was greeted with boos.> 2000 newspaper CIC. <Most changes . . .are the substitution of old-fashioned words with others regarded as new.>1987 June 7 Sunday Telegraph 20.

trawl of CIC British texts have 6.6 iptmw of the noun trawl, most metaphor-ical; American texts have 1.2, all references to fishing, and none for trawl of.<. . . they will run software checks – such as a trawl of the electoral register.>2004 Dec. 14 Daily Telegraph 31/3.

value for money Value; one’s money’s worth: CIC British texts have 76.4iptmw of value for money; American texts have 0.5. <. . . we’re not givingvalue for money.> 2003 James 38.

week on day of the week Week from day of the week: CIC British texts have10.9 iptmw with on; American texts have none. <. . . school resumes afterhalf-term a week on Monday.> 1993 Feb. 13 Daily Telegraph 3/2.

win on Win in: This construction is rare, but the few tokens in CIC British textshave on, and the few in American texts have in. <‘But I’ll tell you what wouldhave helped her. . . .’ [ ¶ ] ‘A win on the National Lottery?’> 1996 Dexter 67.

word on something The construction with on is rare; in CIC British texts it isusually word about something; American texts have no tokens of either form.<May we have a word on this?> SEU s3-4.583. With verbal object

opportunity of doing something Opportunity to do something: Opportunity todo is the norm, but opportunity of doing is a secondary British alternative (Peters2004, 396), of which CIC British texts have 53.2 iptmw and American texts6.9. <One must never let slip an opportunity of teasing the next man abouthis geographical origins. Geordie, Scouse, Taff, Paddy, Jock.> 1962 Lodge 65.

preparation for doing something Preparation to do something: CIC Britishtexts have 4.7 iptmw of the construction; American texts have 2.6. <. . . an IRA

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man who worked as a police informer was being interrogated in preparationfor being shot.> 1991 Feb. 20 Times 8/6.

11.2.2 Verbal complement

omission to do something Not doing something: This relatively rare construc-tion is 3 times more frequent in CIC British texts than American (0.6 to 0.2iptmw). <The omission to ask Stephen was another instance of Mrs Annick’stact.> 1970 Johnson 148.

something to be going on with Something to work/deal with: Enough andplenty are frequent as heads in this construction. CIC has 0.6 iptmw in Britishtexts and none in American. <With both a dead body and a missing personon his plate, he had more than enough to be going on with.> 1996 Graham106.

11.2.3 Clausal complement

time (that) someone did something Time (that) someone does / (should) dosomething: In a small sample (28 tokens) of CIC British texts with thisconstruction, the ratio of preterit to nonpreterit verbs was 8:1; in a smallersample (13 tokens) of American texts, the ratio was 1:2. <It is high time thelocal education authorities got their act together on these issues and agreedsome guidelines.> 1986 Oct. 6 Times 12/7.

11.3 Complementation of adjectives

11.3.1 Prepositional complement

In common-core English, enough and sufficient may be followed by a prepositionalphrase with for, as in They have enough/sufficient money for a taxi or by an infinitivecomplement, as in They have enough/sufficient money to take a taxi. AmericanEnglish has, as a minority option, a that-clause as complement (CamGEL 396;Peters 2004, 183): They have enough/sufficient money that they can take a taxi.This option is also available for enough as a pronoun and enough and sufficientlyas qualifiers (CamGEL 969).

bored of Bored with is the usual collocation in common-core English, but boredof is an option (Peters 2004, 76), of which CIC British texts have 3.1 iptmwand American texts 0.7. <Gary . . . got bored of having so little to do.> 2004Dec. 17 Independent 10/3.

comparable with Although compared with and compared to have similar relativefrequencies in British and American, and with is preferred in both, compara-ble with/to is different, to being preferred in both varieties, but much morestrongly in American. In CIC British texts, to is more frequent than with by

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258 Syntactic Constructions

1.8 times, but in American texts, by 11.7 times. <They [civil service jobs]should be for fixed-term contracts, with pay comparable with the privatesector.> 1991 Jan. 31 Times 13/2. Cf. § .

concerned at/for Concerned about: CIC has the following British/Americaniptmw for about 133.3/375.3, at 17.1/3.5, for 14.5/9.5. <The Prince . . . hasbecome concerned at some of the opinions of his unpaid adviser.> 1987 Mar.13 Evening Standard 6/1–2. <Thompson is now secretly concerned for hishealth.> 1993 Feb. 7 Sunday Times 5 2/3.

cover in Cover with: American generally prefers with and British in. < . . . thefar end of Alice’s office with the walls covered in bookshelves and her deskpiled with proofs.> 1990 James 126.

different to Different than: Both British and American also use the prescribeddifferent from (cf. CGEL 16.69n). According to one count (Hundt 1998, 87),the percentage of tokens in which different is followed by various preposi-tions in the British Guardian and the American Miami Herald is as follows:from, British 89 percent, American 65 percent; than, British 3 percent, Amer-ican 35 percent; to, British 8 percent, American none. A study based on acorpus of American English spoken by professional people (Iyeiri, Yaguchi,and Okabe 2004) found 98 tokens of different from and 91 tokens of differ-ent than (followed by a nominal). CIC British texts have the following iptmwof from, to, and than after different: respectively, 242.7, 44.3, and 5.0; Amer-ican texts have 234.2, 1.0, and 91.1. <. . . the sort of detailed informationthat patients need . . . will be different to the kind of information theNHS thinks patients ought to want.> 2003 July 16 Times 16/7. Cf. § 11.4 .

down to Up to; be the responsibility of <The ethics of sex selection [of babies]should not be down to the public.> 2003 Nov. 12 Times 22/6.

due to Due: British is said to favor the prepositional complement in $750 isnow due to you and American the nominal complement in $750 is now due you(CamGEL 546).

earlier to Earlier than <. . . the arching braces . . . are of an earlier type tothose in the kitchen block.> 1990 Aug. 15 Daily Telegraph 26/5.

exempt something Exempt from something <More than 40 soldiers . . . appliedto be exempt service.> 1991 Feb. 5 Daily Telegraph 1/1.

fair on Fair to: CIC has 8.2 iptmw with on in British texts and 0.4 in American.<. . . it is not fair on the little people to make them sit quietly while great-uncleTony and his friends rabbit on about Iraq and the European constitution.>2003 July 9 Times 2/3–4.

fed up of Fed up with: CIC has 6.2 iptmw with of in British texts and 0.5 inAmerican. <It’s a different form of exercise, good for the horses who are fedup of their daily runs.> 1988 Apr. In Britain 51/1.

furious at Furious with: CIC British texts have 11.4 iptmw of at and 9.7 ofwith; American texts have respectively 4.8 and 5.1. <. . . she’s furious atthem.> 2000 Rowling 52.

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good on Good for: CIC British texts have a few tokens with on; Americantexts have none. <Nick said they’d stolen the name from a manor house inSomerset. . . . If so, good on them.> 2001 Drabble 146.

good to one’s word As good as one’s word <He vowed he would return witha vengeance. He has been good to his word.> 1991 Jan. 29 Daily Telegraph34/5.

identical with Identical to is the norm in common-core English, but identicalwith is an option, especially in British (Peters 2004). CIC British texts havehalf as many tokens of identical with as of identical to; American texts have onlya third.

last but cardinal number CIC British texts have 2.5 iptmw of last but one and0.4 of next to last; American texts have respectively 0.1 and 7.6. <The lastweek but one in May.> 1969 Rendell 69. Cf. , () below, § 8.1 , , § 8.2.2 .

lined in The preposition with is the norm for this construction in both Britishand American, but CIC British texts have 2.1 iptmw of lined in and Americantexts 0.8.

nervous of Nervous about: CIC British texts have more than 2 times as manytokens with about as with of; American texts have more than 55 times as many.<We are nervous of financial advice –> 2005 Jan. 15 Daily Telegraph B 10/6.

next but number CIC British texts have 3.3 iptmw; American texts have 0.3.<I happen to live next door but one to a bicycle shop.> 1987 Aug. IllustratedLondon News 14/1–2. Cf. above, () below, § 8.1, , § 8.2.2 .

nuts on Nuts about is the norm in common-core English, but CIC British textshave a few tokens of nuts on; American texts have none. <I got my Eton Scholon a Greek epigram I translated right when all the others made a mess of it,because the Captain was nuts on the Anthology.> 1983 Dickinson 60–1.

oblivious of Oblivious to: Oblivious of is the older form but is being replacedby oblivious to, which is now the norm in common-core English, with nearly3 times as many tokens in CIC British texts and nearly 8 times as many inAmerican texts. <Audley was . . . oblivious of all nuances when it suitedhim.> 1986 Price 281.

opposite to Opposite to is more frequent than opposite from in both varieties, but19 times so in CIC British texts and only 3 times so in American. <The threefloors of the building are connected by a lift shaft situated at the opposite sideof the atrium to the entrance.> 2001 Lodge 44.

reserved to Reserved for is the norm in common-core English, but reserved tois twice as frequent in British as in American. < . . . names usually reservedto the upper classes.> 1969 Rendell 54.

second (to) last Next to last: CIC British texts have nearly 9 times as manytokens of second last as American texts do. <We pass Dronero at the secondlast [jump].> 1989 Daniel 25. <There it was, on the second to back page.>1991 Greenwood 187. Cf. , above.

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260 Syntactic Constructions

separate to Separate from is the norm, but CIC British texts have 0.7 iptmw ofseparate to; American texts have none. <Practicalities and ease of living alsocall for . . . showers separate to the bath where possible.> 1991 Feb. 25 Nineto Five 20/2. Cf. above.

shy of 1. Shy with/around <He . . . was shy of women and his idea of fun wasa four-week holiday with his wife at a hotel in Eastbourne.> 1989 Oct. 7–13Economist 109/1–2. 2. Shy about <She’s not shy of discussing her sex life.>1996 magazine CIC.

smitten with/by The prepositions are used about equally in British, but CICAmerican texts have twice as many tokens of with as of by.

starved of Starved for: CIC British texts have 53 times as many tokens with ofas with for; American texts have 9 times as many with for as with of. <. . . thepoor guy must have been starved of affection by his ruthless career wife.>1995 Sept. Marie Claire 46/2.

suited to something Suited for something: In general CIC British texts useterms like suited, suitable, and suitability 2 to 4 times more often than Americantexts do; the exception is the combination suited for, which is 1.7 times morefrequent in American. <Mr Harris, still in his mid-thirties, appears ideallysuited to the job.> 2003 Nov. 13 Times 1/5.

supportive to Supportive of: CIC British texts have to in 1.0 iptmw and of in12.3; American texts have no tokens with to and 49.2 with of. <I made adeliberate effort not to contact our friends, so they would be supportive toSarah.> 1993 Feb. Woman’s Journal 44/3.

tight on Tight at <He needed, he decided, to get some weight off, his jaw andneck had thickened, and his shirt was tight on the collar.> 1996 Neel 21.

unfair on Unfair to is the norm in both varieties, but CIC British texts have 3.6iptmw with on; American texts have none. <It would be very unfair on Markto read anything too deep into that.> 1994 Sept. 20 Times 3/2.

violent to someone Violent with someone: CIC British texts have about thesame numbers of to and with in this construction; American texts have with 6times as often as to. <Had he ever been violent to you before?> 2003 James202.

worst thing for years Worst thing in years: CIC British texts have similar num-bers with for and in; American texts have 45 times as many with in. <The bugrecently led to Australia suffering its worst flu outbreak for five years.> 2003Nov. 7 Daily Express 17/5. With verbal object

nervous of doing something Nervous about is the norm in common-coreEnglish, but CIC British texts have 7.6 iptmw with of and American 0.6.<. . . he’s nervous of going to see a doctor.> 1991 Feb. 4 Nine to Five 6/3.

terrible with doing something Terrible about / when it comes to doing some-thing: CIC British texts have with in 1.2 iptmw; American texts have

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none. <[British actor:] I’m terrible with talking about myself.> 2004 Apr. 2USA Today 2D/1–2.

11.3.2 Adverbial particle complement

packed out Packed: CIC British texts have 4.3 iptmw with out; American textshave none. <It’s a rabbit-warren of a place and it was packed out.> 1992Granger 170.

11.3.3 Verbal complement

accustomed to do something Accustomed to doing something: CIC Britishtexts have similar numbers of infinitive and to + a gerund complement afteraccustomed (respectively 53 and 47 percent); American texts have the to +a gerund complement overwhelmingly (94 percent to 6 percent infinitives).<He was accustomed to work long hours.> 1940 Shute 165.

concerned to do something Concerned about doing something: CIC Britishtexts have a ratio of 5.3:1 for complements of concerned by an infinitive versusabout + a gerund; American texts have a ratio of 4:1 in favor of about + agerund. <The Chancellor . . . is concerned to keep the lid on pay.> 1989July 23 Sunday Telegraph 1/2.

far to seek Hard to find: CIC British texts have 1.7 times as many tokens of farto seek as American texts do; American texts have 1.7 times as many of hard tofind as British do. <The reason is not far to seek.> 1984 Smith 122.

interested to do something Interested in doing something: CIC British textshave nearly 3 times as many tokens of an infinitive complement after inter-ested as of in + a gerund; American texts have nearly 2.5 times as many of in+ a gerund as of an infinitive. < . . . she was interested to learn all about herpupil’s experience.> 2003 June 14 Times 29/6.

worth doing something CIC British texts have more than twice as many tokensas American texts do (cf. also Swan 1995, 631). <But it is worth remindingthe braying brigade that the aristocrat treads a narrow path between over-refinement and coarseness.> 1993 Feb. 13 Daily Telegraph Weekend 36/3–4.

11.4 Complementation of adverbs

differently to Different(ly) than/from: CIC British texts have 3.5 iptmw ofdifferently to and 1.1 of differently than; American texts have none of differentlyto and 20.0 of differently than. The two varieties are closer in their use ofdifferently from: British 12.9 iptmw and American 11.0. <They may want tolive differently to most people.> 1987 June 16 Evening Standard 5/6. Cf. §11.3.1 .

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12 Mandative constructions

A mandative construction consists of a verb, noun, or adjective (personal orimpersonal) that expresses an order, direction, requirement, necessity, prefer-ence, etc. and is complemented by a subordinate clause whose verb is – variably –modal, present subjunctive, or indicative.

She insists should leaveHer insistence + that he + leaveShe is insistent leavesIt is imperative

It is necessary, when the complement verb is indicative, to distinguish themandative sense of the governing expressions from the factual sense. That is,She insists that he leaves may have either the mandative sense “She insists thathe should/must/ought to leave” or the factual sense “She insists that it is a factthat he leaves.”

British and American English differ clearly in this construction (Algeo 1992).Several elicitation experiments have substantiated those differences (Johansson1979, Turner 1980, Nichols 1987, Algeo 1992). Those studies show that –

The modal option (should leave) is a frequent choice in British English; it isacceptable but little used in American.

The present subjunctive option (leave) is the norm in American English andis a frequent choice in British, especially in passive constructions.

The indicative option (leaves) is approximately as frequent a choice in BritishEnglish as the modal but it is very rare in American.

That is, British English uses all three of the options; American uses primarilythe subjunctive but accepts the modal. The indicative option is characteristicallyBritish.

In a completion test conducted by Christian Mair on 29 January 1987,25 students at University College London who were native speakers of BritishEnglish were asked to complete the sentence Now that the disarmament talkshave been bogged down it is absolutely essential .


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264 Syntactic Constructions

Their responses were as follows:

that + a clearly indicative verb 7that + a verb ambiguous in mood 8that + a clearly subjunctive verb 3that + should 2to infinitive 5

This evidence is too restricted to project it to British English as a whole, but itis suggestive. If the verbs that are ambiguous in mood are divided according to thesame proportions as those that can be identified, the result is that just over half therespondents used the innovative form of an indicative verb, a fifth used the revivedsubjunctive, a fifth avoided the question of modality by using the infinitive, andonly about a twelfth used the traditional alternative, the should modal.

The mandative construction has also been the subject of corpus studies. A com-parison of should versus subjunctive forms in mandative constructions (Hundt1998a, 163) shows that in 1961 the Brown corpus favored the subjunctive in 88.1percent of the cases, whereas LOB favored should in 87.1 percent. Some thirtyyears later, the Frown corpus showed a slight increase in American preferencefor the subjunctive to 89.5 percent, whereas FLOB showed a decline of prefer-ence for the modal to 60.4 percent (with the subjunctive accounting for the other39.6 percent). These statistics do not include the mandative indicative. It is clearfrom them, however, that American use of the mandative subjunctive has spreadto British, which is now using it in more general contexts than it would haveformerly (171).

According to another count by Marianne Hundt (1998, 78) of 252 tokensof mandative constructions in an American newspaper, the Miami Herald, 88percent used the subjunctive, 8 percent modal should, and 4 percent the indicative;by contrast, of 262 tokens in a British paper, the Guardian, 35 percent used thesubjunctive, 55 percent the modal should, and 10 percent the indicative.

The mandative indicative is the most characteristically British form, in that it isthe rarest in American use and is frequently a source of confusion for Americans,who may interpret tokens of it as either factual statements or as unacceptable.When the mandative indicative is used in British, the verb of the complementclause is usually preterit when the general context is past time or else nonpreteritwhen the general context is present or future time. Instances of these variants arecited below. In all of the following examples, the first American choice for the verbof the subordinate mandative clause is likely to be a present subjunctive form.

12.1 Mandative present indicative

12.1.1 After verbs

advise <Some other customers . . . may well have been . . . there to purchasereplacement filters which the manufacturers advise are changed every threemonths.> 1998 June 20 Times Weekend 3/4–5.

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Mandative constructions 265

argue <Nobody would argue that at the end of every day every stall-holdersolemnly writes down the day’s takings . . . and forwards the figures to hislocal Revenue officer.> 1976 Mar. 17 Punch 443/2–3.

demand <Success in the movies has demanded that Rachel Weisz . . . actsas if she is in a Japanese game show.> 1999 Mar. 22 Times 20/7.

insist <New York’s Mayor Giuliani . . . insists that crime is fully reported.[i.e., “must be” not “in fact is”]> 1998 Jan. 8 Times 18/2.

propose <Heseltine is proposing the counters division, which runs the [post]offices, remains in the public sector.> 1994 Sept. 25 Sunday Times 1 5/2.

recommend <I’ll recommend she gets the crime prevention lot over and shecan go through the whole security management issue with them.> 1998 Joss138.

suggest <Might we suggest he becomes a permanent fixture?> 2003 June 20Times T2 4/1.

wish <We wish that each man over twelve years old gives the oath that hewould not be a thief or a thief’s accessory.> (translation of OE law II cnu*t 21)1989 Aug. 7–11 International Society of Anglo-Saxonists meeting, Durham.

12.1.2 After nouns

ambition <. . . the highest ambition of many mothers is that their sonbecomes a doctor or dentist.> 1986 Oct. 10 Times 1/5.

condition <He is currently free on bail on condition that he does not leaveArizona.> 2003 June 19 Times 17/8.

demand <Problems are also looming over Mr Major’s demand that the IRAmakes a ‘significant gesture’ towards decommissioning its arms.> 1995 news-paper CIC.

request <Further offences will then lead to a request that the official is trans-ferred or withdrawn.> 1985 Apr. 24 Times 6/2.

requirement <It is a requirement in most European countries that motorvehicles are constructed by the manufacturers to meet certain design and con-struction requirements.> 1998 Jan. Registering and Licensing Your Motor Vehi-cle, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, Dept of the Environment, Transportand the Regions 4/2.

understanding <Naturally, this is on the understanding that the churchremains open as a church.> 1989 Williams 96.

wish <Gilbert’s last wish is that he lives to see his treasures safely installed.>1996 July 14 Sunday Telegraph Magazine 32/4.

12.1.3 After adjectives

Personal adjectives

concerned <. . . he is concerned that his girlfriends are protected from themedia spotlight.> 2003 June 21 Times 7/2.

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266 Syntactic Constructions

Impersonal adjectives

essential <. . . it is essential that more decisions are taken by majority vote,rather than by unanimous vote.> 1985 Mar. 31 Sunday Times 16.

important <It’s very important that . . . he shoulders the responsibility forhis behaviour and understands the upset that this has caused.> 2005 Jan. 15Daily Telegraph 2/6.

vital <. . . it is vital that he receives daily treatment.> 1991 Feb. 13 DailyMail 35/2.

12.2 Mandative past indicative

12.2.1 After verbs

demand <I remembered gasping and running forward to demand he told mewhat was happening.> 1991 Grant-Adamson 63.

insist <Apart from insisting they kept it clean and tidy . . . she did notinterfere.> 2001 Lessing 4.

matter <This was the time when it mattered so desperately that he said anddid [= should say and do] exactly the right things.> 1979 Dexter 184.

propose <I did what I thought was the sensible and the appropriate thing todo, which was to propose to my son that we went to the police.> 1998 Jan. 3Times 1/3.

recommend <Eventually, her GP recommended that we took her to see aspecialist.> 1996 July 14 Sunday Telegraph Review 4/3.

request <Only one laureate, Henry Pye, was hard-headed enough to requestthat his wine allowance was translated into cash.> 1988 Dec. In Britain28/2.

suggest <Then I rang the friends we were due to meet and suggested thatthey came to our place.> 2003 June 30 Times T2 8/2.

want <All I wanted was that Tanner got my request quickly and I got thevisiting order quickly.> 1991 Grant-Adamson 172.

12.2.2 After nouns

condition <. . . council officers offered him a home improvement loan oncondition he used a particular firm of builders.> 1999 Mar. 10–17 Time Out42/2.

order < . . . in order that the premises were not left vacant, they were used asan antiques shop.> 1986 Aug. 25 Times 11/5.

suggestion <She [a political candidate] . . . was criticised about her appearance,with suggestions she wore a mini-skirt, and “re-do her highlights” to winvotes.> 2005 Jan. 15 Daily Telegraph 10/4. (The coordinated verb “re-do” issubjunctive.)

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12.2.3 After adjectives

Personal adjectives

anxious <. . . he was anxious that aid to people in Africa and other third-worldregions did not dry up.> 2005 Jan. 9 Sunday Times 3 1/6.

Impersonal adjectives

essential <Mr McAuslan said it was essential that the crew knew who themarshal was.> 2004 Jan. 5 Times 4/3.

important <. . . it was important she returned to a tidy desk.> 1995 Sept.4 Daily Telegraph 13/7.

necessary <. . . a set of domestic crises rendered it necessary that she wenthome for an hour.> 1993 Neel 100.

vital <It was vital that Harvey made contact with Emma.> 1991 Critchley140.

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13 Expanded predicates

Hovering between grammar and lexis are constructions like have a look, whichare approximately equivalent to a simple verb, such as look. The construction andits varieties have received several discussions, some primarily general (Allerton2002, Brinton and Akimoto 1999, Claridge 1997, Wierzbicka 1982), some basedon British corpora (Stein 1991, Stein and Quirk 1991), and others dealing alsowith British-American variation (Algeo 1995).

The verb in the expanded predicate may be relatively “light” (that is, generalor nonliteral) in meaning with respect to its object (be a challenge, do a dance, geta view, give a yawn, have an argument, make one’s way, pay attention, put an endto, take trouble), or it may be relatively “heavy” semantically, being appropriateto its object (ask a question, breathe a sigh, effect an alteration, find a solution, grantpermission, heave a sigh, offer an apology, reach an agreement, submit an application,tender one’s apologies, utter a curse).

The object noun in the construction may be “eventive,” that is, correspondto a verb of similar meaning, with or without some change of form from theverb (do a dive = dive, give an answer = answer, take a walk = walk, but alsohave a bath = bathe, and make a discovery = discover). Or the object noun maynot correspond to a verb because (a) there is no equivalent single-word verb (dohomework but *to homework, have mercy but *to mercy, make peace but *to peace) or(b) the semantically equivalent verb is not cognate with the eventive noun (havesex = copulate, take cover = hide, do a favor for = help) or (c) a cognate simpleverb is not semantically equivalent with the eventive noun (make love (to/with)�= to love, have a bite “eat a little” �= to bite, take a chance �= to chance “happen”).

Central expanded predicates are those with a “light” verb followed by aneventive noun cognate with a semantically equivalent verb (e.g., have a look =look). Constructions that depart from either of those characteristics are, for thatreason, related but not central examples.

British and American have some different forms of the construction. The twonational varieties often differ, however, in the frequency with which they use acommon form rather than in the forms used. In the following entries, the figuresin parentheses after the entry form are the iptmw in CIC British and American


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270 Syntactic Constructions

texts, thus (54.2/0.6) indicates that British texts have 54.2 tokens per ten millionwords of the construction, and American texts have 0.6. Lack of such figuresindicates an absence of the construction from CIC texts.

13.1 Five “light” verbs in British and American

A comparison of expanded predicates with the “light” verbs do, give, have, make,and take in the Brown and LOB corpora shows that the construction is at homein both national varieties, though not equally so. The Brown Corpus has 199tokens, representing 133 types (different verb and eventive object combinations)compared with the LOB Corpus’s 245 tokens and 149 types. Brown Corpus typesare used an average of 1.50 times each; LOB Corpus types are used an average of1.64 times each. To the extent that these two corpora are representative of theirnational varieties, we can say that, although the expanded predicate is a sharedfeature, British English uses it somewhat more than American.

A more striking difference, however, is in the particular verbs used in expandedpredicates. The accompanying table shows that the difference between Britishand American is minor for four of the verbs, but not for have. British uses haveas the verb of an expanded predicate nearly twice as often as American does andin about 1.75 times as many different constructions. Have is the British verb ofpreference, in this sample accounting for 41 percent of both types and tokensof expanded predicates, whereas in American, it accounts for only 28 percent oftokens and 26 percent of types.

Expanded Predicates in the LOB and Brown Corpora

Summary of tokens/types

LOB Brown

do 0 4/4give 40/29 40/30have 100/61 55/35make 67/39 59/44take 38/20 41/20

Here follow some examples of the five “light” verbs in British expanded pred-icate constructions, not all of which are central examples:

do a bunk (1.2/0.1) Make a sudden departure; run away <Daley had done abunk.> 1992 Granger 47.

do the car hire Rent the car <I did the car hire.> 1988 Mortimer 157.do a course (8.8/0.2) Take a course: In American use, do a course may mean

“teach a course.” <Having done a short course, which costs about £800, agraduate with a qualification to teach English as a foreign language can crossthe Channel for a subsistence wage.> 1993 Feb. 13 Spectator 21/2.

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Expanded predicates 271

do a deal (22.8/2.8) Make a deal <. . . having done a deal . . . I decided thisweekend to consider my various options.> 1982 Lynn and Jay 11.

do a flit (0.3/0) Run away; secretly move <I hope they get him. Only, the lastI heard, he’d done a flit.> 1990 Hardwick 140.

do a rethink Think again (about)<His chairmanship . . . puts him in a powerfulposition to nudge the Tories into doing a policy rethink.> 1989 July 27Evening Standard 7/5.

do one’s round (1.3/0) Go on / make one’s rounds <He would now be doinghis round of locking up, before descending for the night to his bedsitter in thebasem*nt.> 1986 Brett 32.

do a runner (4.7/0.1) Run away; run off; disappear; escape <His girlfriend hasdone a runner with a work-experience boy.> 2003 Nov. 8 Times 29/6.

do a Virgin Imitate the practices of the Virgin enterprise <According to onesenior manager in Branson’s Virgin empire . . . “When I read about Forgan’sletter, I thought, ‘She’s trying to do a Virgin’.”> 1993 Feb. 7 Sunday Times2 6/2.

do a wiggle <Then go across Wandsworth Bridge . . . and then do a wiggle.>SEU s1/11.872–4.

give someone aggravation (0.1/0) Aggravate someone<“Why on earth did youlose your temper like that?” [ ¶ ] “He gave me aggravation, didn’t he?”> 2003James 241.

give a baby a feed (2.8/0) Give a baby a bottle <Staff changed shifts as thebabies were given a feed.> 1993 Feb. 27 Times 6/1.

give someone/thing a go (13.4/2.0) Give someone/thing a try or chance<Surely it’s worth giving it a go.> 1994 Sept. 13 TV ch. 4 Brookside.

give a lead (2.5/0) Take the lead (57.2/46.9) <What we do say . . . as theopposition is this: for heaven’s sake, give a lead and try and break down thisdreadful suicidal wall where no one will yield an inch.> SEU s5.4:67.

give a look (1.2/0.2) Take a look <Barrington giving a look round the field.>SEU s10.1:1.

give something a look-in Try something < . . . and do give fruit and vegetablesa look-in.> 2004 Jan. 4 Sunday Times 10/2.

give something a look-over <He had a mind to let his cousin . . . give it alook-over.> SEU w16.4:40.

give something a miss (6.3/0.1) Skip something <Chutney Mary (the chichirestaurant) gave a miss to toasted Wonderloaf and processed Cheddar.>1993 Feb. 27 Times Saturday Review 31/5.

give something a respray Repaint something <I could give your car arespray.> 1994 Sept. 27 Evening Standard 56/2.

give something a rest (4.6/1.9, but: give it a rest 1.0/0.9) Give something abreak; let something go <Can’t you give it a rest? . . . You’re always having ago at each other.> 2003 Rowling 212.

give someone a ring (34.7/1.8) Telephone someone; give someone a call <Letme give you a ring tomorrow, all right?> 1992 Dexter 80.

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give something a wipe (0.7/0) <Would you like me to give the books a wipewith a duster?> 1993 Dexter 142.

have a bath (24.2/1.4) Take a bath <You can have a bath and a sit-downthere.> 1998 Joss 15.

have a bitch (about) (0.5/0) <It’s good to be able to have a moan and a bitchabout things.> 1997 Dec. 15 Times 17/4.

have a chat (32.5/2.2) <She could have a chat with his doctor.> 1990Rowlands 63.

have a feed (0.7/0.1) Get fed <They’d [babies would] have a feed.> 1987Jan. 27 BBC1 morning news.

have a game of something (3.7/0.4) Play a something game / a game of some-thing <. . . all the drivers will be . . . having a chat and a game of cards.>1987 Feb. 4 Evening Standard 33/3.

have a giggle (1.4/0.1) <It is one thing to have a giggle at the office party,groaning lasciviously through a rendition of Have Yourself a Merry LittleChristmas . . . , quite another, to think that the result is a piece of art.> 2000Dec. 15 Times 2 13/2.

have a(nother) go (at) (107.2/3.7) 1. Try 1a. have a go Give it a try; make anattempt <Jean de Florette and the other Pagnol films did have a go but . . .failed.> 1993 Feb. 26 Guardian 2 3/3. 1b. have a go at Make an attempt at<Who . . . suggests the tomboy might like to have a go at ballet?> 2003 June25 Guardian international ed. G2 13/3. 2. Behave aggressively 2a. have a goTake violent action <‘What would you commit murder for . . . Money, repu-tation, revenge?’ [ ¶ ] ‘I might have a go for revenge.’> 1993 Greenwood 174.2b. have a go at Attack someone physically <This year, they had a go at Jewishprotesters and Western journalists trying to cover their demonstration.> 1987Dec. 20 Manchester Guardian 10/4. 2c. have a go at Break into; tear apartsomething <The clip-on wrecked stereo kit, complete with dangling wires andbroken plastic, makes robbers think that someone else has already had a goat the car.> 1991 Mar. 2 Daily Express 40/1. 2d. have a go at Attack someoneverbally; criticize <It’s the hunting debate. . . . It’s having a go at the classsystem.> 1998 Jan. 7 Evening Standard 3/3–4. 2e. have a go at Bother; annoysomeone <‘Miles hasn’t been having a go at you, has he?’ [ ¶ ] ‘He was trying toscrounge a cigarette.’> 1991 Charles 90. 3. have a go (of it) Suffer/undergoan illness <Ted says malaria isn’t any worse than flu. He usually works onthrough when he has a go.> 1986 Dickinson 19. 4. have a go Take a turn <Ihad a go on Nigel’s racing bike.> 1985 Townsend 61. 5. have a go Take achance <I’ve only been to one race meeting in my life . . . but London Stan-dard looked such a super horse we felt we had to have a go.> 1987 Mar. 27Evening Standard 64/1. 6. have a go at Try to get information from <They[police] might have a go at me about Vanessa not giving them a statement.>1992 Green 59. 7. have a go at Work on; tackle <Richard Compton-Millerreturned with a largish file for Stephen fifteen minutes later. [ ¶ ] “Have a goat that.”> 1976 Archer 58.

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Expanded predicates 273

have (a) holiday(s) (11.0/0) Take a vacation (in some location) <I decided tohave a week’s holiday in the very selfsame place.> 1974 Potter 135.

have a laugh (21.6/3.3) <People with GSOH [“good sense of humour”] arealways on the lookout for a passing joke, there is an ever-readiness to have alaugh.> 2003 June 21 Times Weekend 9/3.

have a lie-in (1.1/0) Sleep late/in <We’re both dead-beat. Have a lie-in.>1972 Rendell 59.

have a listen (3.4/0.1) <You could have a really tricky problem, . . . and Stevewould come along, have a listen and say, ‘Ah yes, that’ll be the . . .’ whateverit was.> 1986 Simpson 61.

have a look (268.4/20.5) Take a look (57.6/144.0) <I’ll have a look first.>1991 Green 39.

have a moan (0.8/0) <Having a moan can be very therapeutic.>1998 Taylor141.

have a moult <They seem to be permanently losing a feather or two, insteadof having a good moult.> 1993 Feb. 13 Spectator 7/1.

have a nap (1.3/0.4) Take a nap <. . . his pregnant mother . . . was having alunchtime nap.> 1994 Sept. 30 Daily Telegraph 11/5.

have a peck Peck <I can’t use a bird table [feeder] . . . because we’re so exposedto the westerlies. It would be blown off before the birds had a peck.> 1993Feb. 13 Daily Telegraph Weekend 2/3.

have a pee (1.3/0) <. . . the boy had his pee.> 1996 Aug. 9 Daily Telegraph15/2.

have a piss (0.7/0) Take a piss < . . . there’s Terry Wogan having a piss inthe hedge!> 1988 Oct. Illustrated London News 59/3.

have a place Have been admitted (to an educational institution): The sequenceof words occurs more than twice as often in American: 14.7/32.0, but none ofthe CIC American tokens have the British educational use. <We are pleasedto inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School.> 1997 Rowling 42(US ed. have been accepted).

have a rant and rave (rant: 0.4/0, rave: 0.2/0) <Meldrew . . . is never happierthan when he is having a good rant and rave.> 1993 Feb. 12 Sun 11/2–3.

have a rest (10.3/0.9) Take a rest <We both had a rest.> SEU s11/1.717.have a rethink (1.0/0) Give it another thought <We’ll have to have a rethink

on policy.> 1987 Mar. 15 ITV morning news.have a root (around) (0.1/0) <I had a bit of a root around. It was all pretty

well in order, clothes hung up all nice and tidy, no mess.> 1989 Nicholson 7.have a shave (2.6/0.3) <I had a bath and shave every day.> 1993 Feb.

Woman’s Journal 39/2.have a shower (11.5/1.2) Take a shower <I must have a shower.> 1998 spo-

ken text CIC.have a sit-down (0.6/0) Take a rest; sit down for a while <While I’m having

a bit of a sit-down, I might as well tell you what this feels like.> 1994 Sept.28–Oct. 5 Time Out 8/3.

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274 Syntactic Constructions

have a skim (0.1/0) <The Palace will be ringing with the Guidance aroundten – we’ll have a skim through the diaries and see if there’s anything wewant to make a fuss about.> 1989 Dickinson 13.

have a sleep (5.6/0.5) Take a nap <Ben wants you to . . . keep her here for afew hours until he’s had a sleep.> 1992 Green 10.

have a surf Go surfing <. . . you go and have a surf.> 1991 Lodge 295.have a swim (2.1/0.1) Go for a swim; go swimming <Why don’t you come

down and have a swim?> 1988 Mortimer 54.have a tease (0.1/0) <As we lay there perfectly still, with his noble head using

my bum cheeks for cushions, I thought I’d have a tease.> 1994 Oct. 3 Times19/1.

have a test-drive (0.1/0) Take a test drive <So I had a test-drive. And ofcourse I liked the car.> 1995 Lodge 35.

have a think (7.1/0.5) Give it some thought <I’m wondering where theydumped the waste. . . . You know this area well. Have a think for me.>1989 Burden 155. – have got another think coming (0.7/0.3) <If you thinkI’m washing those dishes you’ve got another think coming.> 1987 May 10(Scotland) Sunday Post 23/3.

have a tidy up (0.1/0) <tidy up [=] tidying up (e.g. – Having a bit of tidyup.)> 1988 How to Speak EastEnders.

have a trawl Look around; make a search <Something is incorrectly set up . . .in your autoexec.bat or config.sys or system.ini files. . . . Have a trawl and seewhat it could be.> 1998 Jan. 7 Times Interface magazine 10/3.

have a try (3.2/0) Give it a try <Hoped to specialize in it once. Might still havea try.> 1966 Priestley 45.

have a walk (6.2/1.0) Take a walk <I thought it would be nice to . . . go up onto the Downs and have a walk.> 1940 Shute 132.

have a wander (round) (1.2/0.1) <I’ll just have a bit of a wander here, havea look at the stalls.> 1998 Joss 28.

have a wash (3.5/0.1) <Davey was having a wash.> 1989 Burden 95.have a whisper (0.1/0) <We had a wisper [sic] for a few minutes but you

know what libraries are like.> SEU w7/32.149.have a word (57.6/6.5) Talk (with someone about something) <By all means

have a word.> 1999 Mar. 21 Sunday Times 10 46/1.have a worry (1.0/0) <. . . the television industry was having another Worry

about the Future.> 1994 Sept. 12 Guardian 13/7.made bankrupt, be (1.6/0) Go bankrupt <. . . her father was made

bankrupt.> 2003 Nov. 10 Times 15/2.make a closure (on a business) Close a business <Magistrates have also made

an emergency closure on Foodworth, a large supermarket.> 1987 Mar. Cam-den Magazine no. 46 7/3.

make a co*ckup (0.1/0) Make a mistake/booboo <In the article on the delightsof Sardinia . . . David Wickers made a bit of a co*ckup.> 1993 Feb. 21 SundayTimes 2 7/2.

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Expanded predicates 275

make a loss(es) (13.1/2.0) Take a loss(es) <I found it hard to sell. I can’tremember how long it took but I can remember I made a loss.> 2004 Dec.12 Sunday Times 6 12/6.

make a punt (0.1/0) Take a chance <. . . any restaurant that took such acourse would be making a rash punt.> 1993 Feb. 27 Times Saturday Review31/2.

make savings (1.4/0) Achieve savings <. . . defence chiefs are under pressureto make savings after Wednesday’s announcement that four famous Armyregiments will not be axed.> 1993 Feb. 5 Daily Express 10/2.

take a copy/copies/carbon (2.4/1.1) Make (carbon) copies <Suppose thecopiers were slower than they are now? Then people . . . would take carbons,wouldn’t they? Rather than hang around by the copier for ages?> 1993 Mason176.

take a decision(s) (53.6/8.4) Make a decision(s) <The Bill enables patientssuffering from illnesses such as Alzheimer’s to appoint a relative or friend totake decisions on their behalf.> 2004 Dec. 15 Daily Telegraph 1/2.

take dinner (1 token/none) Have dinner <. . . the lady of the establishmentinterrupted her with the evening’s menu, and asked if she were takingdinner.> 1992 Dexter 11.

take exercise (2.4/0) Get exercise <. . . squash has now spread to all classesand most countries, and is one of the most concentrated modes of takingexercise in huge dollops known to man.> 1984 Smith 223.

take into care (usu. taken into care) (7.1/0) Place in the guardianship ofSocial Services <He . . . has the kind of background you might expect . . .taken into care, placed with foster parents, ran away.> 1995 Lodge 117.

take a look up (0.1/0) <I just took a look up while I was writing, and shegave me a great big smile.> SEU s2/7.1296.

take the mickey (out of someone) (9.4/0.3) Tease, ridicule, or make fun (ofsomeone) <They haven’t stopped taking the mickey out of me since I gotmade a prefect.> 2003 Rowling 245.

take the piss (out of someone/something) (16.0/0.7) Disparage or mock;deflate someone, run someone/something down <He had started turning upat events with Sting. His natural constituency was taking the piss out ofall that. Certainly, he was on the circuit in the ’60s, too. But then he’d haveThe Beatles round to dinner and be taking the piss out of them on telly atthe same time. By the end of his life, he wasn’t in a position to take the piss –he was simply a member of the celeb club.> 2004 Dec. 8–15 Time Out 26/3.

take a place (at) (0.1/0) Become a student; get into <She took a place atOxford.> 1992 Walters 48.

take a punt (0.7/0) Take a chance; gamble (from a gambling term in somecard games, hence to punt “to bet, speculate”) <Given the dullness of thisadministration, I really would take a punt on Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare to do the job for a three-year stint.> 1993 Feb. 2 Evening Standard13/1.

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276 Syntactic Constructions

take supper (0.3/0) Have supper <“Neither he [Tony Blair] nor Cherie wantsto sit around and talk about the Social Justice Commission all evening,” said afriend who has taken supper in front of the Blairs’ Aga.> 1994 Oct. 4 DailyTelegraph 19/4.

take up work (0.8/0.3) Go to work; get a job <Mr Lilley [Social SecuritySecretary] said 50,000 people were expected to take up work as a direct resultof the change [in child-care benefits].> 1994 Oct. 4 Daily Telegraph 6/3.

take a wander (0.2/0) <[traffic wardens passing on information about whereto find good pickings in traffic violations:] Colleagues would pass on the namesand tell me to ‘take a wander up so and so street at 6.00 pm. It’s brilliant upthere,’ all of which was gratefully received at the start of an afternoon shift.>1990 Sept. Evening Standard magazine 65/2.

13.2 Modification and complementation of theexpanded predicate noun

If the noun in the expanded predicate is modified, the modifier may assumevarious forms in the corresponding construction with a semantically heavy verb.At the simplest, an adjective in the expanded predicate may correspond to anadverb with the semantically heavy verb:

<Let’s squat down and have a closer look.> (= look more closely) SEU s10/8.240–1.

In other cases, the modifier in the expanded predicate has a more complexadverbial correspondence. A frequent modifier, good serves as an intensifier andcorresponds to various adverbs, according to the sense of the semantically heavyverb:

<You just sat and had a jolly good giggle at the things he was saying.>(= giggled a lot) SEU s1/6.773-4. <A surgeon gets right in there and has agood look at it.> (= looks intensely) SEU s2/9.671. <Have a good scanround.> (= scan thoroughly) SEU s10/8.318. <. . . sharp minds are havinga good try.> (= trying assiduously) SEU w11/4.104. <I had a good thinkabout that one [i.e., whether to be hypnotized].> (= thought carefully) 1987Jan. 20 Guardian 26/7.

Other adjectives similarly have adverbial paraphrases:

<We were going to do a little tour round West Cumbria.> (= tour a little)SEU s8/4.923-4. <So I took one look at it and sort of gave a great scream.>(= screamed loudly) SEU s1/9.935-6. <We had an advance look-in, too, onsome of his inimitable podgy character’s future quips.> (= looked in advance)SEU w8/3.88. <I had a long talk to her about two weeks ago.> (= talkedat length) SEU s5/8.99.

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Expanded predicates 277

When the verb of the expanded predicate is ditransitive give, its indirect objectis the direct object of the semantically heavy verb:

<It might give them a bit of a prod.> (= prod them a bit) 1987 Bawden 136.

Alternatively, the semantically heavy verb may be prepositional, adverbial, oradverbial-prepositional, rather than simply transitive:

<. . . give them a shout.> (= shout to them) 1988 Apr. 10 Sunday Telegraph37/4. <I think I’ll give it a miss for once.> (= miss it out) 1976 Raphael 41.<. . . television . . . hardly ever gives industry a look-in except as a factor inpolitics.> (= looks in on industry) 1967 Frost and Jay 80.

If the noun of the expanded predicate is followed by a prepositional phrase,its object may be the direct object of the semantically heavy verb:

<Do you want to take a note of my name?> (= note my name) SEU s9/1.77.

13.3 Other expanded-predicate-like constructions

Many other combinations are structurally similar to expanded predicates, butdiffer in that their verbs are “heavy,” that is, semantically more specific andappropriate to their objects or in that those objects are not eventive. Some suchcombinations might also be treated as matters of complementation (cf. § 11). Afew of such combinations are illustrated here. Their number is large.

come a cropper (4.4/0.5) Fail utterly <Predictably, it all came a cropper.>1993 Feb. 7 Sunday Times 6 9/1.

cop a goggle (at) <[literary satire on Orwell’s Burmese Days:] . . . when lusciousElizabeth Lackersteen arrives in Kyauktada for the wet T-shirt and vodka-gargling marathon, her Burma’s not the only thing Flory cops a goggle at!>2003 June 21 Times 16/2.

go a bomb (on) (0.2/0) Be a great success (with); to appeal greatly (to)<Franco detested the Basques, never forgiving them for their staunch repub-licanism during the Civil War. They didn’t go a bomb on him either (otherthan literally).> 1993 Feb. 10 Evening Standard 27/3.

go walkabout (2.4/0.2) Ramble around <Somewhere in the distance, . . . hecould hear the high-pitched sounds of a bleeper, and bleepers didn’t go walk-about by themselves.> 1993 Mason 105.

hitch a lift (3.8/0) Hitch a ride (2.7/5.2) <Surely she wouldn’t try to hitch alift.> 1993 Graham 213.

move house Move (19.3/0) <He had moved house without giving Christinehis new phone number.> 1989 Rendell 36.

pull a face Make a face (9.8/2.4) <As she pulled a face at her reflection, thedoorbell rang.> 1993 Stallwood 131.

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278 Syntactic Constructions

put the boot in(to) Treat cruelly (6.3/0.2) <Belgians put boot into Welling-ton / A group of taxpayers are taking Belgium’s Finance Minister to court inan attempt to curtail the handsome rewards still being reaped by the Duke ofWellington’s descendants 185 years after his victory at the battle of Waterloo.[ ¶ ] Those bringing the action cannot accept that . . . the present Duke is stillreceiving nearly £100,000 a year in Belgian francs.> (a pun on Wellington boot“knee-high waterproof rubber boot” and put the boot in “kick someone whenthey are down”) 2000 Jan. 19 Times 3/1–7.

put paid to (12.0/0) End, stop; put an end to <Looking fondly at Sheryl,Gazza, 25, put paid to press reports that they had split up.> 1993 Feb.12 Sun 12/3.

sit an examination (8.7/0.2) Take an examination <Those sitting finals [atOxford] say they are more hardworking and financially stretched than thosefive years before them.> 1999 Mar. 17 Evening Standard 11/4.

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14 Concord

14.1 Verb and pronoun concord with collective nouns

A collective noun is singular in form but denotes a referent (a group, such as abusiness, committee, team, etc.) composed of separate members and can thereforebe thought of as either singular or plural. A collective noun functioning as asubject may govern a verb that is either singular or plural. Pronouns referringto a collective noun may be either animate or inanimate (who or which) andeither plural or singular (they or it) (CGEL 5.108; 10.48n, 50; 17.11). Britishcollective nouns are more likely than American ones to take animate and pluralconcord (CamGEL 502; Johansson 1979, 203–5; Levin 1998, 2001; Peters 2004,24). Practically every British collective noun sometimes takes plural concord(LGSWE 188).

As a rough comparison of verb concord with collective-noun subjects, CICtexts were examined for seven collective nouns immediately followed by is, was,has versus are, were, have. The results are as follows, in percentage of pluralconcord with each noun subject. The CIC iptmw of the sequence of noun plusverb, whether singular or plural, is given in parentheses, because the larger thatnumber, the more significant is the percentage based on it.

Collective-noun subject British plural concord American plural concord

team 41% (149.0) .35 of 1% (227.0)military 32% (5.6) 1.7% (60.1)press 29% (45.6) 1.9% (52.5)council 22% (143.8) .28 of 1% (71.3)union 16% (70.1) .12 of 1% (82.6)government 9% (376.6) .26 of 1% (573.6)company 8% (305.6) 0.0% (473.4)

These figures suggest that plural concord with collective-noun subjects isa pronounced difference between British and American English. The semantic


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280 Syntactic Constructions

category of the noun is, however, a factor. The following categories are exemplifiedby an alphabetical list of common nouns first, followed in each category by analphabetical list of proper nouns.

S :Plural and animate concord with both common and proper nouns referring tosports teams is regular in British English (LGSWE 189).

club <. . . the club are in a Catch-22 position; they need money to renovatethe crush-barriers, but are unable to draw the crowd to gain this.> 1986 Dec.10 Times 38/5.

side <. . . a side who have won their last seven Test matches [cricket].> 2004Dec. 14 Daily Telegraph 2 1/1.

team general as well as sports use <Kaufman’s Team Are On The Ball> 2003June 20 Times T2 19.

Australia <Australia have named three new caps in their team.> 1989 July2 Manchester Guardian Weekly 31/5.

Blackheath <Blackheath were founded in 1858.> 1986 Sept. 26 Times 30/4.City <The City were playing at home. . . . First match of the season.> 1991

Greenwood 74.England <It is rare for an entire [cricket] team to under-perform, but England

were not far off that nadir.> 2004 Dec. 14 Daily Telegraph 2 1/1.Everton <Saturday afternoon traffic through the tunnel . . . is greater when

Everton are at home.> 1988 Apr. 10 Manchester Guardian Weekly 5/5.Hockey Association <. . . the Hockey Association were founded 100 years

ago.> 1986 Oct. 17 Times 31/1.Leeds <Crooks landed the goal and Leeds were level.>1987 Nov. 8 Manchester

Guardian Weekly 31/5.Luton <Luton, who are considering taking out a High Court injunction

against the management committee’s decision, have barred all away fans.>1986 Sept. 24 Times 1/6.

Middlesex <Middlesex are in good form.> 1985 Bingham 78.Palace <Palace are one of four clubs Wimbledon managing-director Hamman

has talked with.> 1987 Feb. 18 Evening Standard 52/3.Perthshire County Cricket Club <At the moment, Perthshire County

Cricket Club pay almost as much as Lord’s, and Kirkcaldy Rugby Club . . .was charged £5,500 a year.> (concord changes from plural to singular) 1986Oct. 19 Sunday Times 22/8.

Saffron Walden <Saffron Walden were founded in 1963.> 1986 Sept. 26Times 30/4.

Sweden <Sweden a young side who also just missed out of the worldchampionships.> 1986 Sept. 19 Times 34/4–5.

Viking <Viking argue, too, that Marnham’s name gives them an additionaledge.> 1987 Oct. Illustrated London News 46/1.

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Concord 281

Wales <Wales were labelled an underdog.> 1987 June 13 ITV morning news.Wigan <Wigan are regarded as currently the most progressive side in the

league.> 1986 Dec. 10 Times 38/5.

B :In British use, common and proper nouns referring to business firms often takeplural verbs, but not invariably so.

airline <The airline say it will be delivered within 6 hours of arrival.> 1985Apr. Airport magazine 53/3.

bank <I don’t think it will be long before the bank insist that I sell it, andwhen they do . . . it’s curtains for me.> 1976 Archer 66.

company <A Canadian forestry company are involved, too.> 1987 May 10(Scotland) Sunday Post 5/3.

firm <. . . the firm publish a 120,000 circulation magazine.> 1987 Sept.Illustrated London News 78/3.

head office <Head Office are expecting to hear from me.> SEU w7-9.38.industry <. . . the British Phonographic Industry fear it could take hold in

the pirate strongholds of Camden, Portobello and Petticoat Lane markets.>1987 Feb. 9 Evening Standard 19/1–2.

management <The Theatre Management do not accept responsibility forany tickets bought from ticket touts.> 1990 May 31, sign in front of PalaceTheatre, London.

union <. . . the union have to make up only three-sevenths of the weeklywage.> 1985 Apr. 8 Times 1/2.

Chaumet <Chaumet were a firm making very fine jewellery.> 2000 Dec. 17TV Antiques Roadshow.

Citroen <Citroen are now offering the Visa five door hatchback.> 1987 Jan.21 Daily Mail 4/1.

City of London <The City of London don’t understand it.> 1986 Oct. TVreport of MP speaking in Parliament.

Cox <Cox are building on five sites in a 30-mile radius of Evesham. . . . [ ¶ ]Earlier this year Cox was absorbed by the Crest Nicholson group.> (concordchanges from plural to singular) 1987 Nov. 7 Daily Express 24/2.

Dan-Air <Dan-Air are going places in the UK> 1986 Aug. poster on Londontube train.

David Morris <David Morris are offering up to 50% Discount on selectedmodels of . . . watches.> 1987 Feb. 12 Evening Standard 6/5–6.

Discovery Oil <“What price are Discovery Oil this morning?” [ ¶ ] “Theyhave fallen to $7.40,” the broker replied.> 1976 Archer 46.

Eve Construction <Eve Construction are helping Great Ormond Street[Hospital] Get Better> 1990 May 31, sign at London hospital.

Horizon <Horizon are introducing . . . safaris in Kenya and fly drive holidaysin the United States.> 1989 Sept. 4 Girl about Town 24/1.

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282 Syntactic Constructions

London Electricity Board <. . . the London Electricity Board were charg-ing 3.5p per unit.> 1987 Jan. 16 Times 17/4.

Marconi <GEC Marconi are Britain’s largest defence contractors. Marconiis engaged on major contracts.> (concord changes from plural to singular)1987 Oct. 25 Sunday Telegraph 1/3.

Olympia & York plc <Olympia & York plc are a Canadian-based companywho have bought out . . . Canary Wharf development.> 1987 Oct. IllustratedLondon News 92/2.

Peachey <Carnaby Street . . . was bought by Peachey, who have been makingan honest effort to upgrade it.> 1987 Mar. 16 Evening Standard 34/2.

Shell <Shell have put great emphasis on standard of service.> 1987 Jan. 29Deptford & Peckham Mercury 8/4.

Travellers Fare <Travellers Fare operate a wide range and a large numberof modern fast food outlets at main line stations.> 1987 Feb. 12 EveningStandard 24/3.

If the collective noun is plural in form, it sometimes takes singular verbconcord but may take either plural or animate pronoun concord:

<Designer Homes, of Swindon, which was set up in 1985 . . . won with theirfirst scheme at Shipston-on-Stour.> 1986 Nov. 7 Daily Express 25/3.

<Jenny Moody Properties is based in Ingatestone, but her brief is to coverthe whole of East Anglia. She is on the lookout for thatched cottages.> 1986Nov. 7 Daily Express 23/1.

G :

council Municipal council <The Council have agreed . . . to have the PostalAddress of Twatt changed to Dounby.> 1977 Dec. 7 Punch 1144/2.

government <It’s going to be very safe . . . as long as the British governmentdon’t get greedy and try and take control of it themselves.> 1976 Archer41.

jury <The jury have decided that . . . you were not in control of your mind.>1987 June 11 Times 3/7.

CID <CID [Criminal Investigation Department] were doing the rounds of thehouses, dressed in grey suits and carrying clipboards.> 1995 June 8 LondonReview of Books 8/40.

Department of Environment <The Department of Environment do thissort of thing magnificently.> 1976 Aug. 11 Punch 221/2.

Government <Government aim to slash your bus services.> 1985 posteron a bus, Sheffield. But: <The British Government has given immediateauthority to its mission in Cameroon to spend up to £10,000 on assistance.>1986 Aug. 27 Times 1/3.

Labour <Labour were well acquainted with these statistics.>1988 Sept. Illus-trated London News 24/1.

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Concord 283

National Front <But were the National Front not still active in the area?>1987 Nov. Illustrated London News 82/4.

Scotland Yard <Scotland Yard were unable to obtain extradition papers forhim.> 1976 Archer 52.

Security <Security have got in on the act and his phone’s being tapped.>1989 Dickinson 36.

United States <This has been particularly true in fields of technology andof management techniques in which the United States have been pre-eminent.> 1986 Mort viii.

Westminster Council <Westminster Council have already suggested thelegalisation of brothels.> 1987 Feb. 25 Evening Standard 8/4–5.

Despite its plural form, Libyan Revolutionary Cells has singular concord here:

Libyan Revolutionary Cells <The “Libyan Revolutionary Cells” hasnever been heard of before.> 1986 Sept. 6 Times 1/4.

M :

crew See § 3.3.2.military <The military do not use their airways all the time. . . . The mili-

tary controls the majority of the airspace.> (concord changes from plural tosingular) 1987 July Illustrated London News 33/4.

squadron < . . . the squadron were temporarily short of pilots.> 1940 Shute19.

Air Force <The Air Force have made him pilot for these trials.> 1940 Shute166.

Postings <I can’t think what Postings were about.> 1940 Shute 161.

E , , , , , :

chapter <‘What do chapter think of that?’ [ ¶ ] ‘In general, they’re againstanything which lengthens the services.’> 1993 Greenw