Eugene Green

The Diffusion of I need you to + infinitive in world Englishes

Eugene Green, Department of English, Boston University Arts & Sciences, 236 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215, USA, e-mail:

1 Introduction81

The construct I need you to + infinitive, a full verb taking a non-finite clause as its object, has in recent decades remarkably expanded in frequency. In Davies’ Google Books (American) it has leaped from a count of 1,647 in 1980 to 6,460 in 1990 and 23,463 in 2000; in Google Books (British) the count is 112 in 1980, 413 in 1990 and 1,160 in 2000. This enormous increment, as data in Davies’ corpora reveal, provides, too, a measure for comparing the use of this construct and its close variants throughout world Englishes. ...

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