Warn Against -ing: Exceptions to Bach’s Generalization in Four Varieties of English

In: From Data to Evidence in English Language Research


This chapter contributes to the study of prepositional gerunds selected by verbs such as warn. Verbs of this type are special in that with gerundial complements, the omission of noun phrase objects have become more frequent than “regular” constructions with expressed objects, which observe Bach’s Generalization. In the present study both overt and covert constructions selected by warn are investigated in the four subparts of the GloWbE corpus. The purpose is to find out whether violations of Bach’s Generalization are as widespread in other regional varieties as they are in recent American English and whether generalizations can be established among different regional varieties of English, relating to the inner and outer core. The results here shed light on an aspect of the Great Complement Shift in different regional varieties. A second major objective is to inquire into the nature of understood objects in the covert construction in different regional varieties. Here the central issue is whether understood objects in violations of Bach’s Generalization should be assigned general or specific interpretations, and whether regional differences exist with respect to the interpretation of such understood objects.


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