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Masaryk University

Faculty of Arts

Department of English
and American Studies

English Language and Literature

Tatiana Barekov

English Verbs Followed by an ing


Form and an Infinitive
Bachelor's Diploma Thesis

Supervisor: doc. PhDr. Nadda Kudrnov, CSc.

2014
I declare that I have worked on this thesis independently,
using only the primary and secondary sources listed in the bibliography.

..
Tatiana Barekov
I would like to thank doc. PhDr. Nadda Kudrnov, CSc. for her patient guidance.
I would also like to thank my parents and friends for their encouragement.
Table of Contents

1. Introduction ............................................................................................................ 5
2. Overview of the Literature.................................................................................... 7
2.1 Catenative Verbs ................................................................................................ 7
2.2 To-infinitive or -ing Form ................................................................................ 14
2.2.1 No Change of meaning......................................................................... 16
2.2.2 Little change of meaning ..................................................................... 16
2.2.3 Fundamental change of meaning ....................................................... 17
2.3 Catenative Classes ........................................................................................... 17
2.3.1 Begin, Start ............................................................................................ 19
2.4 Stative and dynamic verbs.............................................................................. 23
2.4.1 Listen ....................................................................................................... 23
2.4.2 Hear ......................................................................................................... 24
2.4.3 Sound ...................................................................................................... 24
3. Corpus Analysis .................................................................................................... 26
3.1 Result, Process .................................................................................................... 28
3.1.1 Begin ....................................................................................................... 28
3.1.2 Start ......................................................................................................... 34
3.2 Context Analysis .................................................................................................. 39
3.2.1 Begin ....................................................................................................... 40
3.2.2 Start ......................................................................................................... 51
3.3 Text Types ......................................................................................................... 60
4. Discussion of the Findings .................................................................................. 63
5. Conclusion ............................................................................................................. 65
6. Bibliography .......................................................................................................... 67
7. Resume .................................................................................................................. 69
8. Czech Resume/ esk resum ........................................................................... 70
9. Appendix................................................................................................................ 71
1. Introduction

This thesis deals with a specific class of verbs in English language

catenative verbs from a semantic point of view. The focus is on catenative verbs

that can be followed either by to-infinitive or ing form. This class of verbs

represents a problematic area for students of English, because it is important to

know which form is appropriate for different contexts. Two apparently synonymous

verbs are chosen for analysis: begin and start.

This analysis has three main research questions: What factors affect the

choice between begin and start? In what contexts they occur? In what text types

are they common?

This thesis is divided in two main parts.

In the first part, overview of the literature is given. Different definitions and

points of view concerning catenative verbs are discussed. Some concepts and

theories on the difference between the verbs begin and start are explained. These

theories are supported with appropriate examples.

In the second part, catenative verbs followed by to-infinitive or ing form

are analyzed. The Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) and the

British National Corpus (BNC) are used for the analysis.

The aim of the analysis is to prove the concepts and theories concerning the

verbs begin and start which are explained in the theoretical part of the thesis. For

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begin and start catenative complements with similar meaning (listen, hear and

sound) are chosen in order to create catenative phrases for the analysis. The

context of results from the COCA and the BNC is analysed in order to determine

the meaning of these catenative phrases. Examples from both corpora are

provided.

The focus is on their usage in the English language what are the

differences and similarities between catenative constructions with begin and start,

in what kinds of context selected catenative phrases occur.

The analysis also shows how frequent the particular catenative

constructions are in British or American English or in what type of text they occur.

The results of the findings are summarized in the last part of the thesis.

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2. Overview of the Literature

In this part of the thesis different definitions and theories of catenative

verbs from different sources are compared The characteristics which make them

different from main verbs, modal verbs or auxiliary verbs are explained. Some

theoretical background relevant to the topic is provided.

This part also introduces different types of classification of catenatives.

2.1 Catenative Verbs

Catenative verbs can be defined as lexical verbs which have a special

capacity to combine with non-finite verbal forms according to certain fixed rules

(Rizo, 1990: 382). This means that they can be distinguished from the rest of

lexical verbs because of their ability to create catenative constructions.

Catenative constructions are grammatical units consisting of a sequence of

two predicates, both being verbal groups and the second a non-finite verbal form

(Rizo, 1990: 382).

Catenative verbs function in complex phrases which contain at least two full

verbs; the first a catenative, the following clauses involve subordination (Palmer,

1974: 172).

It cannot stand on its own: A catenative verb does not occur on its own. It

is followed by at least another verb form. It functions like an element of a chain


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(lat. catena) uniting at least two separate verb forms to form one homogenous

verb phrase (Mindt, 1999: 343).

Rizo presents the following pattern which shows the sequence of sentence

elements in a sentence containing a catenative verb:

NP1 + CV + (NP2) + VP2 + ... + VPn (=where NP stands for a noun phrase,

CV for catenative verb, VP for verb phrase)

A noun phrase may or may not occur between the catenative verb and the

following verb (Palmer, 1974: 173).

Huddleston and Pullum distinguish two types of catenative constructions

according to the presence of a noun phrase: simple and complex catenative

constructions. We can distinguish two subtypes of the catenative construction

depending on the absence or presence between the matrix and dependent verbs

of an intervening NP - an NP that is interpreted semantically as subject of the non-

finite clause (Huddleston and Pullum, 2005: 215).

On the one hand in the simple catenative constructions an intervening NP

never occurs, on the other hand complex catenative constructions always have an

intervening NP located between the two verbs and interpreted as the subject of

the dependent clause.

In the simple catenative construction the non-finite clause has no subject

and there is no intervening NP that is understood as the subject. But as usual the

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interpretation requires that we supply an understood or implicit subject. In almost

all cases this is syntactically determined by the subject of the matrix clause

(Huddleston and Pullum, 2005: 216).

Very often a catenative verb immediately precedes a main verb. (Mindt,

1999)

The term 'catenative' alludes to the ability of these verbs to be

concatenated in sequences of nonfinite constructions (Quirk, 1985: 146). In the

pattern above, VP2 stands for a verb phrase which contains a verb in non-finite

form.

Eastwood defines a distinguishes a finite and a non-finite verb as follows: A

finite verb phrase is one that can be the main verb of a sentence. A non-finite verb

phrase is an infinitive, gerund or participle. (Eastwood, 1994: 75) A finite verb

phrase can come in a main clause or a sub clause. A non-finite verb comes only in

a sub clause (Eastwood, 1994: ).

Palmer (1974), Rizo (1990) and Mindt (1999) distinguish four types of verb

forms with which the catenative verbs are followed:

catenative verbs followed by a to-infinitive

catenative verbs followed by a ing form

catenative verbs followed by a past participle (-en form)

catenative verbs followed by a bare infinitive

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Some catenative verbs belong to more than one subclass of central

catenative verbs (Mindt, 1999: 348). Only first two are relevant for the majority of

catenative verbs (Palmer, 1974: 173).

Palmer in his The English Verb states that catenative verbs share some

grammatical characteristics with auxiliary and modal verbs (Palmer, 1974: 173).

Mindt in his essay states that catenative verbs occupy the same syntactic

position as auxiliaries or modals. All these verb classes can premodify main verbs

(Mindt, 1999: 343). Such constructions have meanings related to aspect or

modality, but are nearer to main verb constructions than are semi-auxiliaries,

patterning entirely like main verbs in taking do-support. We may also include

among catenative verbs certain verbs which resemble the auxiliary be in combining

either with the -ing participle in progressive constructions, or with the -ed

participle in passive constructions (Quirk, 1985: 146). It means that catenative

verbs have syntactic similarities (they are formed in according to a similar/identical

set of rules) with auxiliary and modal verbs, but catenatives have a semantic

relation to a following verb (they can premodify closely determine the following

verb).

Modal verbs are a sub-class of auxiliary verb so called modal auxiliaries.

Along with primary verbs be, have and do they are so called 'helping' verbs (Quirk,

1985: 120).

With modal verbs we can express ideas such as actions being possible or

necessary (Eastwood, 1994: 78). This means that modal verbs express meanings

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such as necessity and possibility. We can use modal verbs to tell or allow people

to do things; or we can use them to say how certain or uncertain we are

(Eastwood, 1994: 113).

A very important function of catenative verbs is to allow overlap of two

meanings within one verb phrase. This overlap cannot be achieved by modal verbs

alone, because a verb phrase cannot contain more than one modal verb (Mindt,

1999: 347).

As is mentioned above Eastwood (1994) claims that modal verbs express

necessity and possibility and Mindt (1999) further develops the distinction between

catenative and modal verb and gives examples. Some catenative verbs can occur

as a modal verb or as a catenative verb without a difference of meaning:

I need not tell you that.

I don't need to tell you that.

Possibility/high probability can be expressed by might (fever might kill

him), volition/intention can be expressed by will (I will not be a soldier). If we

want to combine possibility/high probability with volition/intention, it is not possible

to combine the two modals might and will. It is, however, possible to combine

might with the catenative verb want (to) which also expresses volition/intention

(they might want to kill us) (Mindt, 1999: 347).

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Quirk (1985) gives another insight: This propensity for forming chain-like

structures is not, however, confined to catenative verbs, but is also characteristic

of semi-auxiliaries and main verbs followed by nonfinite clauses as objects: Hence

such improbable, but structurally possible sequences as: We are going to have to

enjoy seeming to like listening to his music. (147)

Between catenative verbs and main verbs is tight syntactic and semantic

relationship (Palmer, 1974: 173).

Mindt agrees with Palmer (1974) on the syntactic and semantic relationship

between catenative verbs and other elements of the verb phrase. But he does not

agree that catenative verb phrase should be perceived as a phrase containing two

main verbs. He explains that this is a traditional description which splits the verb

phrase into a finite verb phrase and a non-finite verb phrase with two separate

main verbs: one main verb belonging to the finite verb phrase, another main verb

belonging to the non-finite verb phrase (Mindt, 1999: 344).

Mindt then introduces new description of catenative verb phrases, which

says that they are complex homogenous verb phrases, consisting of two or more

verbal components. In catenative verb phrases there is only one main verb. It is

always in final position. This common feature is obscured by the traditional

description (Mindt, 1999: 344).

He then explains the advantages of this new description: The new

description of catenative verbs and non-finite verb phrases is based on both the

syntactic and semantic relation between catenative verbs and other elements of

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the verb phrase. The new description avoids the discrepancies of the traditional

approach, which assigns catenative verbs a status which ignores the function of

catenative verbs in relation to other components of the verb phrase. This approach

fully integrates catenative verbs into a coherent pattern, and gives a unified

picture of the verb phrase as a whole. Cases which traditionally had to be

described as exceptions can now be explained as examples of rule-governed

grammatical behavior (Mindt, 1999: 345).

In most cases, it is not difficult to distinguish catenative verbs from main

verbs. Sometimes it is difficult to make a clear-cut distinction between them. In

these cases, Mindt suggests two possible interpretations:

In the case of interpretation 1, there is only one homogeneous finite

catenative verb phrase. The meaning of the catenative verb phrase is formed by a

combination of the meaning of the catenative verb (e.g. help, think) and the

meaning of the to-infinitive which follows help or think. The lexical meaning of the

catenative verb phrase with help is 'to be instrumental to the improvement of a

state or event expressed by the following to-infinitive'. The lexical meaning of the

catenative verb phrase with think is 'to have a belief or opinion about a state or

event expressed by the following to-infinitive'. In both cases, to is an infinitive

marker and has no meaning of its own (Mindt, 1999: 350). To support his

statement, Mindt provides following examples:

His soft eyes helped to put her at ease.

I never thought to see such nastiness.

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He then goes on: In the case of interpretation 2, there are two separate

verb phrases, which are divided by the conjunction to. The forms helped or

thought make up the finite verb phrase. The non-finite verb phrase is formed by

the bare infinitive put or see. The two verb phrases are divided by to, which is

used like a conjunction. In this case, to introduces an additional meaning

component, which is similar to the meaning of the conjunction that. The two verb

phrases have two separate meanings (Mindt, 1999: 351).

Mindt also provides division of catenative verbs into three groups according

to their origin: Historically, catenative verbs have originated from main verbs.

From this point of view three classes of verbs have to be distinguished.

Verbs which can be used as main verbs only (say)

Verbs which can be used both as main verbs and as catenative verbs (want)

Verbs which are in the process of becoming catenative verbs (help or think)

Verbs which can be used both as main verbs and as catenative verbs have

retained their original character as main verbs on the one hand.On the other hand

they have become catenative verbs. (Mindt, 1999: 352)

2.2 To-infinitive or -ing Form

In this section various opinions concerning the use of to-infinitive and ing

form after catenative verbs are discussed.

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An infinitive can be a bare infinitive (e.g. play) or a to-infinitive (e.g. to

play). There are also perfect and continuous forms (Eastwood, 1994: 144).

The infinitive construction seems to imply a potential and hypothetical

situation, whereas the ing form supports a factive interpretation (Johansson

1987: 280)

-ing forms, despite their distributional versatility, do have a common

semantic core which distinguishes them from their infinitive counterparts. ing

clauses tend to refer to factive or actual situations, while infinitives refer to

potential, still unrealized situations. (Johansson 1987: 282)

Bolinger (1977) agrees with Johansson and says that the to-infinitive refers

to a possible future action and the ing form is neutral.

Generally speaking, the ing clause focuses on the continuity of the

process denoted by the non-finite verb, while the infinitive focuses on the very

notion of the process (Johansson 1986, 184).

To summarize the statements above it can be said that-ing clauses are

common when the focus is on the continuity of the process (it may just have

started, be going on, or even be completed). The infinitive is common when the

focus is on the 'idea' of the process, which is then a possible or imagined future

action.

According to the use of to-infinitive and ing forms after catenative verbs

following classes are distinguished. This classification is common for most English

grammars.

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2.2.1 No Change of meaning

In a number of cases, there is no difference in meaning when the same

catenative verb is used as a member of different subclasses (Mindt, fotoesej).

These verbs are begin, bother, can't bear, cease, commence, continue, hate,

intend, like, love, prefer, propose, start etc. Alexander (1988) and Palmer (1974)

agree that such verbs are followed by a to-infinitive or ing without any change of

meaning.

I can't bear to see/seeing people suffering. (Alexander, 1988, 319)

2.2.2 Little change of meaning

Verbs like like, prefer, hate and love can be followed by a to-innitive or

ing (would like, would prefer, would hate and would love are always followed by a

to- innitive) (Palmer, 1974).

We often use a to-infinitive after these verbs to refer to a specified future

event and the ing form to refer to an activity currently in progress or existing in

general (Alexander, 1988, 320). Alexander provides following examples:

I hate to disturb you. (= but I am just about to do so)

I hate disturbing you. (= I am disturbing you and I am sorry)

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With verbs of liking and hating, sometimes the gerund gives a sense of the

action really happening, while the infinitive often points to a possible action.

2.2.3 Fundamental change of meaning

Verbs from this class have different meanings with to-infinitive and ing

form. Such verbs are remember, forget, regret, dread, try, stop, mean, go on,

need, want, require, deserve, etc. (Palmer, 1974)

I remembered to post the letters. (= I did not forget to)

I remember posting the letters. (= I posted them and I remember the

action) (Alexander, 1988, 320)

2.3 Catenative Classes

Palmer in his book The English Verb provides another classification of

catenative verbs according to what they denote. He distinguishes nine main

classes of catenative verbs: Futurity, causation, report, perception, process,

achievement, attitude, need and appearance and chance verbs. (Palmer, 1974:

191)

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Futurity verbs This class of verbs semantically referring to future plans.

Most of these verbs occur only with the to-infinitive. Some futurity verbs are wish,

desire, decide, persuade, order, expect, ask, promise.

Causation verbs Verbs like help, make, let, etc.

Reporting verbs Group of verbs of 'reporting', 'saying', 'believing', etc.

Some of these verbs are allege, consider, admit, claim, verbs concerned with

memory e.g. remember, etc.

Perception verbs A set of verbs, involving sensation and imagination.

Verbs like see, imagine, know, etc. belong to this class of verbs.

Process verbs are verbs concerned with processes, starting, stopping,

continuation. Keep, start, finish, cease, leave, prevent, etc. belong to this class.

Achievement verbs A set of verbs concerned with effort, failure and

success. They occur only with to-infinitive. Some achievement verbs are: attempt,

try, manage, etc.

Attitude verbs The more common verbs of this type occur with either

to-infinitive or with the ing form, e.g. like, love, hate, etc. Verbs like miss,

detest, enjoy, deplore etc. occur only with ing form.

Need verbs Need, deserve, want, etc.

Appearance and chance Verbs like seem, happen belong to this class

of verbs.

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2.3.1 Begin, Start

As was mentioned earlier, this thesis focuses on the catenative

constructions with the verbs begin and start.

Tobin in his book Aspect in the English Verb: Process and result in

Language states that the semantic character of begin and start makes them

different in their use: their distribution in the language is directly motivated by

the semantic distinction that exists between them (Tobin, 1993: 182). According

to him, this semantic distinction is based on the concepts of 'process' and 'result',

which are alternative ways of perceiving actions, states and events (Tobin, 1993:

182).

He states that their meanings revolve around the concept of 'inception' or

'onset', but on the one hand, start has a more 'immediate', 'stronger or 'punctual'

meaning usually referring to the 'result' of a process and on the other hand begin

has a more 'durative', 'long-range' meaning, usually referring to the 'process' itself

(Tobin, 1993: 175). In other words, start can be viewed as an independent action,

while begin can be inferred either as the activity/process itself or the initial part of

an activity/process.

He then continues describing begin, which is thus more flexible, neutral and

open-ended of the two verbs. It can be used with all kinds of perceptions of

actions, states and events, because it makes no specific claim for 'result'. However,

start makes a specific claim for 'result', which makes it suitable for contexts where

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an action, state or event must be perceived 'resultatively' the result in the form

of a goal, consequence, conclusion, destination etc. must be taken into account

(Tobin, 1993: 181).

Freed has a similar opinion. From the sentences with begin, we learn that

the event, or more precisely the nucleus or the characteristic activity of the event

named in the complement has been initiated (Freed, 1979: 70-1).

Sentences with start followed by a to-infinitive can also have a consequence that

only the onset of the event named in the complement has been initiated (Freed,

1979: 71).

In other words, start refers to the onset (the 'result') of an event, begin

refers to the initial temporal part (the 'process') of an event.

Freed effectively illustrates the concept of the 'result' and the 'process' with

following examples:

1. Henry started to sneeze but quickly regained his composure without

actually sneezing.

2. Henry began to sneeze but quickly regained his composure after

sneezing only once. (Freed, 1979: 72)

In the first sentence 'started to sneeze' refers to the 'initiation point of

sneezing' which then did not take place, while in the second sentence 'began to

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sneeze' refers to the 'first step of the activity of sneezing' which means that the

action of 'sneezing' took place (Freed, 1979: 72).

Freed also introduces the concept of 'causation'. In the examples below,

where start occurs quite naturally, but where begin is awkward or impossible, we

find that such a notion as this or more specifically 'causation' comes into play. It

will be seen from this discussion that the sense of 'movement' (towards some

action) held over from its older meaning (Freed, 1979: 77-8) This means that

causativity is relevant only to start and begin does not have this causality. She

then provides examples for illustration:

1. I started to walk towards the door.

2. I began to walk towards the door.

Causativity is particularly relevant to 'change of state verbs' or 'verbs of

accomplishment' or 'verbs of achievement' requiring animate as opposed to

inanimate subjects, especially if the 'change of state' or 'causative action' is

intentional or non-intentional or the 'agent' and/or the 'subject' or the 'object' is

'responsible' or not (Freed, 1979: 80).

She then refers to the occurrence of begin and start with stative verbs

which do not have a temporal structure. Stative verbs used after begin and start in

the form od to-infinitive have a dynamic meaning, but in the ing form they are

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stative; then they denote a state that was initiated at some point and lasted for a

period of time (Freed, 1979: 83).

Alexander has different opinion and says that these two verbs can be

followed by a to-infinitive or by -ing form without any change in meaning

(Alexander, 1988: 319).

Oxford Dictionaries Online define begin and start as follows:

Begin Perform or undergo the first part of (an action or activity).

Start Use a particular point, action, or circumstance as an opening for a

course of action; begin or be reckoned from a particular point in time or space;

come into being, cause to happen or begin; embark on a continuing action or a

new venture.

The dictionary states that begin and start are often interchangeable and

that they mean the same thing. However, the dictionary claims there is a

difference in their use: Start is more frequent in spoken English and in business

contexts; begin is more frequent in written English and is often used when you are

describing a series of events.

Another issue is the use of to-infinitive and ing form after begin and start.

Freed explains that in the presence of the V-ing complement form, the temporal

distinction between begin and start disappears (Freed, 1979: 72-3). A comparison

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between these two forms depends on presence of a complement verb that stands

for an event (Freed, 1979: 73).

Oxford Dictionaries Online claims: You can use either an infinitive or a form

with -ing after begin and start, with no difference in meaning.

2.4 Stative and dynamic verbs

Three verbs of perception were chosen for the analysis. A dynamic verb

listen and two stative verbs hear and sound. This particular group of verbs is

chosen to complement catenative verbs mainly because they have similar

meanings which are connected to sounds and hearing.

In order to analyze the meaning of catenative phrases in different contexts,

it is important to know what different meanings listen, hear and sound have.

2.4.1 Listen

Oxford Dictionaries Online defines its meaning as follows:

to pay attention to someone or something in order to hear what is being

said; to give one's attention to a sound

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take notice of and act on what someone says (pay attention); respond to

advice or a request

to make an effort to hear something; be alert and ready to hear something

2.4.2 Hear

Oxford Dictionaries Online defines the meaning of hear as follows:

Perceive with the ear the sound made by (someone or something)

Listen or pay attention to

Listen to and judge (e.g. a case)

Be told or informed of; be aware of; know of the existence of

Be contacted by (someone), especially by letter or telephone

2.4.3 Sound

Oxford Dictionaries Online defines the meaning of sound as follows:

Emit or cause to emit sound:to cause to sound

Give an audible signal to indicate (something)

Express or convey (a warning):

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Pronounce

Test (the lungs or another body cavity) by noting the sound they produce

Convey a specified impression

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3. Corpus Analysis

Some catenative verbs can be followed by either to-infinitive or ing form

without any change of meaning, little change of meaning or fundamental change

of meaning. This research focuses on verbs begin and start. The reason these two

verbs are chosen is that dictionaries (e.g. Online Oxford Dictionaries) and

grammarians (e.g. Palmer or Alexander) often agree that the two verbs have the

same meaning and are interchangeable. However Freed and Tobin agree that on a

semantic level a slight difference between them exists and it affects the choice

between them.

The COCA and the BNC are used for the analysis of the catenative verbs

begin and start (each finite form of begin and start are included in the analysis:

begin, begins, began, begun; start, starts, started). Following complement verbs

are chosen: listen, hear, sound. These three verbs are chosen because they have

similar meanings which are connected to sounds and hearing. Catenative verbs

begin and start can be followed by their to-infinitive and ing forms. Together they

create catenative phrases (or constructions) that can be analysed.

This research deals with three main questions. What factors affect the

choice between begin and start? In what contexts they occur? In what text types

are they common?

In the first part of the analysis, the focus is on the first research question.

The concept of 'process' and 'result' is examined on 1264 results from the COCA

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and the BNC. The aim of this part of the analysis is to approve or disprove whether

start refers to the onset (the 'result') of an event and whether begin refers to the

initial temporal part (the 'process') of an event. Illustrative examples from the

COCA and the BNC are provided and explained.

In the second part the research focuses on the second research question.

The contexts of the catenative constructions with begin and start followed by a to-

infinitive and ing forms of verbs listen, hear and sound are examined. The context

is analysed in a following way: the meanings of verbs listen, hear and sound given

by the Oxford Dictionaries Online (see 2.4.1, 2.4.2, 2.4.3) are examined on the

results from both the COCA and the BNC (1264 results altogether). The results

show what meanings are frequent for selected catenative constructions. Authentic

examples from both corpora are provided for each meaning.

The third part of the analysis deals with the third research question. The

results show in what types of text are selected catenative constructions

distributed. The information is arranged into charts. Each chart is described; their

characteristics are pointed out. The results show how common analyzed

construction with begin and start are in spoken or written language.

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3.1 Result, Process

In this part of the analysis the concept of 'process' and 'result' is examined.

For the selected catenative constructions there are tables showing the number of

occurrences in the COCA and the BNC.

Altogether 1264 results for selected catenative constructions are examined.

For illustration, randomly selected examples are explained for each catenative

construction. Results of this analysis are discussed in the end of this chapter.

3.1.1 Begin

All finite forms of a verb begin are included in the analysis (begin, begins,

began, begun)

3.1.1.1 to listen, listening

Begin followed by to-infinitive of listen is more frequent than the ing form.

(see the table)

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COCA BNC

To-infinitive 53 10

-ing form 23 1

She winced and began to listen to them. One message was from an

employee explaining that she had lost a quarter in the sanitary napkin vending

machine and asking if she could get a refund. (COCA)

From the context it is evident that some listening took place. Began refers

to the actual notion of the process denoted by the to-infinitive complement - to

listen.

She regretted that she had had to make this incoherent and disingenuous

speech, partly because, as she went on, she had begun to listen to what she

was saying and had realized that at some level her apprehensions about her family

were justified. (BNC)

In this sentence begun is used, because the process was initiated and lasted

some time. From the context it is evident that some listening took place, because

the process of listening resulted in some 'realization'.

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She spent some time musing along these lines and

belatedly began listening to what the judge was saying. He reminded the jury

that it was the prosecution's duty to prove that the accused was guilty beyond all

reasonable doubt, not for the defence to prove innocence. (COCA)

Here began is used instead of started because it refers to the actual process

of listening that lasted for a period of time expressed by the ing form listening

and resulted into 'understanding of what the judge was saying'.

Yesterday the jury donned headphones to begin listening to four months

worth of FBI wiretaps of the Edmond headquarters. (BNC)

In this example begin has a more durative meaning it emphasizes

temporal duration of a process denoted by the complement verb listening.

3.1.1.2 to hear, hearing

The table below shows that begin is more common with the to-infinitive of a

verb hear in both corpora.

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COCA BNC

To-infinitive 236 16

-ing form 102 5

Then we began to hear from people in the field. Librarians and teachers

called to ask for book titles and the names of authors represented in the statistics.

(COCA)

In this sentence began refers to a process that started in the past and

lasted for a period of time. We began to hear means that 'we received some

communication' = emphasis on the initial temporal part of an event.

Now, however, I have grave misgivings as we begin to hear from the

European Community more and more talk about a federal Europe and closer

political integration. (BNC)

This sentence from the BNC is similar to the one from the COCA above.

After that, I began hearing increasingly distressing reviews. " Elijah needs

to concentrate better. " " He needs to work on his kicks. " " He's just not keeping

up with the other kids. " (COCA)

31
Here began is used in order to emphasize on the duration of a process

denoted by hearing the process during which 'distressing reviews are received'.

It was about this time that Endill began hearing footsteps echoing around

the corridors of Nightside. They always seemed to be beyond the next corner or in

the next room. (BNC)

The emphasis is on the 'initial part of a process' = 'it is about time that the

first part of some process should have passed'.

3.1.1.3 to sound, sounding

The table below shows that begin is more common with the to-infinitive of a

verb sound in both corpora.

COCA BNC

To-infinitive 116 25

-ing form 22 1

32
Eugen's voice has started to crack, so that he begins to sound breathless

and shaky. (COCA)

In this sentence started to crack is 'the cause' = 'the voice cracked in some

point of time' and immediately after it another process began. 'His voice began to

sound breathless and shaky' after some 'breaking point caused it to happen'.

Then the engine begins sounding like it's ripping sheets of aluminum;

serious acceleration kicks in; and this roadster's mood flips from reluctant cruiser

to take-no-hostages formula racer. (COCA)

'The engine' in this sentence is already in some kind of process (hinted by

then) that is why begins sounding is used instead of started sounding.

Then his corpulent body collapsed and gradually the noise of his drunken

snoring drowned out the quiet sobbing of the Annamese girl. # A black mantle of

pre-dawn darkness still cloaked the jungle and the rubber plantation villages when

the Annamese cai who assisted the French plantation director and his European

staff began sounding clamorous gongs outside the barrack huts. (BNC)

In this sentence some process was in the progress while the initial part of

another process ('staff began sounding gongs') took place.

33
3.1.2 Start

All finite forms of a verb start are included in the analysis (start, starts,

started).

3.1.2.1 to listen, listening

Start is more common with the ing form of the verb listen in both the

COCA and the BNC.

COCA BNC

To-infinitive 24 5

-ing form 188 15

Maybe my voice won't do much if Fm just yelling by myself, but if I add it to

those of other women outraged by injustice, then we can make a deafening roar,

and maybe people will start to listen. (COCA)

In this sentence the phrase start to listen refers to a possible future event =

the result of some previous process.

34
We have been trying to din into the heads of the electricity boards an

inkling that different people are susceptible to different levels of radiation exposure

and that there is no safe level. Maybe they will start to listen as more cases like

Tony Adams's are documented. (BNC)

This sentence is similar to the sentence from COCA above.

When did you first start listening to hip hop/rap music? (COCA)

In this question the interest is in the 'initiation point of some event'

therefore start is used.

Alistair jerked the receiver away from his ear and stared at it. Gingerly

he started listening again. It seemed as if the phone itself was in paroxysm, all

squawk and splat like a cabby's radio. Then the fit passed or paused and a voice

said tightly but proudly,' Hugh Sixsmith?' (BNC)

Here started is used because it refers to the 'onset' of an event, in this case

listening.

35
3.1.2.2 to hear, hearing

Start followed by the ing form of the verb hear is more common in both

corpora.

COCA BNC

To-infinitive 86 5

-ing form 237 3

Did you start to hear from women around the country about your

character? (COCA)

In this question the interest is in the initiaton point of some process

happened, therefore start is appropriate.

At this stage it began to make a noise, or, rather,

Twoflower started to hear the noise it had been making all along. (BNC)

In this example it is evident that begin denotes that some initial part of a

process initiated in the past when (as a result of this process) an 'onset' of a

36
process embarks on, therefore began is used to denote the initial temporal part of

a process and started to is used to indicate the inception of another process.

And, man, when I started hearing that, especially from people who

profess to be Christ-like, I don't know, it's - just something changed. (COCA)

In this sentence started is used because it is a 'cause' - 'the initiation point

of hearing is a cause of another process' (just something changed).

A public inquiry will start hearing local objections to the building of the

complex on May 21. (BNC)

Start in this example refers to some point in the future when a process

denoted by hearing will be initiated.

3.1.2.3 to sound, sounding

Start is followed by the to-infinitive and the ing form of the verb sound

quite equally in both corpora.

37
COCA BNC

To-infinitive 42 9

-ing form 35 5

As soon as we started to sound upset she burst out crying in her infant

seat. (COCA)

In this sentence started is used because it refers to a 'cause'. Started to

sound upset is the initiation point and it 'caused another process to burst' A

possible alternative of this sentence could be: As soon as we started to sound

upset she began crying in her infant seat. (= started refers to an 'initiation point of

a process which initiated the first part of another process - crying).

But the first rumblings of serious criticism had started to sound -- the

honeymoon period was over. (BNC)

In this sentence started refers to a 'cause', but begun to sound might be

also possible, because the first rumblings of serious criticism might be understood

as an 'initial temporal part of some process'.

38
Before we start sounding like Tony Robbins, the Yankees are still nine and

a half games behind, a margin the Red Sox will maintain if they win one of the

remaining two games in this series at Yankee Stadium. (COCA)

'Before we start sounding' refers to an 'initiation point which precedes a

process'.

If ever Kinnock did start sounding posh it would count against him. (BNC)

This sentence from the BNC is similar to the previous sentence from the COCA.

Start refers to an 'initiation point preceding another process'.

3.2 Context Analysis

This part of the analysis looks on the contexts in which selected catenative

constructions occur. The meanings of selected complement verbs (listen, hear and

sound) are examined.

Altogether 1264 results from both corpora are analysed and the numbers of

occurrences are put into tables. For each meaning, authentic examples from the

COCA and the BNC are provided for better illustration. The results show in what

kinds of contexts are these particular constructions used.

Each finite form of begin and start is taken into account (begin, begins,

began, begun; start, starts, started).

39
3.2.1 Begin

3.2.1.1 to listen, listening

Begin followed by to listen occurs 53 times in the COCA; 10 times in the

BNC. The most frequent meaning in the COCA is 'to take notice of; act on what

someone says'; the least frequent meaning was 'to make effort to hear something'.

Following meanings occurred 5 times in the BNC: 'to give one's attention to a

sound' and 'to take notice of; act on what someone says'.

Begin followed by listening occurs 23 times in the COCA; 1 time in the BNC.

The meaning 'to make effort to hear something' does not occur either in the COCA

or the BNC.

COCA BNC

to-infinitive -ing form to-infinitive -ing form

to give one's
attention to a 14 12 5 1
sound

take notice of;


act on what 35 11 5 0
someone says

to make an
effort to hear 4 0 0 0
something

40
'To give one's attention to a sound'

Babies begin to listen at about 6 months in utero, according to Kathy

Thompson, associate professor of (COCA)

Then he began listening to the words of the songs the niggers sang,

admiring how they chanted out every desire and fear in their lives as clear and

proud as could be. (COCA)

Perhaps the best result of the current fascination with' world music' is that,

after decades of using it as a fashion accessory or status symbol, people have

actually begun to listen to music again. (BNC)

Yesterday the jury donned headphones to begin listening to four months

worth of FBI wiretaps of the Edmond headquarters. (BNC)

'Take notice of; act on what someone says'

People have begun to listen to their children more carefully, to examine

places where they go to. (COCA)

41
I began to listen more attentively to the students and found that their

unique life circumstances more than adequately. (COCA)

Desperate for a way out, he began listening to someone-presumably a

fellow prisoner-who explained how the charges were all part of a secret

government conspiracy against him. (COCA)

By this good turn the bishop won the hearts of all, and the

people began to listen more readily to his teaching, hoping to obtain heavenly

blessings through the ministry of one to whom they already owed these material

benefits; (BNC)

'To wait for a sound'

He began to listen, and heard the sounds of approaching hoofbeats and

the sound of voices speaking French. (COCA)

slowly moves toward the door covering that hole and begins to listen to

what is going on behind the door. (COCA)

42
3.2.1.2 to hear, hearing

Begin followed by to hear occurs 236 times in the COCA; 16 times in the

BNC. The most frequent meaning in the COCA is to 'perceive with the ear the

sound made by (someone or something)' with 140 results.

Begin followed by hearing occurred 102 times in the COCA; 5 times in the

BNC. The most common meaning is 'listen to and judge' with 59 results. This

meaning is related to legal English begin hearing testimony, case, etc. It is used

in formal language.

COCA BNC

to- to-
-ing form -ing form
infinitive infinitive

Perceive with the ear the

sound made by (someone or 140 19 5 1

something)

Listen or pay attention to


40 14 2 0

43
Listen to and judge (e.g. a
9 59 2 4
case)

Be told or informed of; be

aware of; know of the 39 20 5 0

existence of

Be contacted by someone 8 11 2 0

'Perceive with the ear the sound made by (someone or something)'

I'll ask Stephen to play something -- anything -- and I begin to hear words

coming out of the music. (COCA)

But while I stood there grappling with these problems,

I began to hear noises-abrupt, muffled sounds-that seemed to be coming from

the other side of the wall on the left side of my compartment. (COCA)

He grabs his hat and coat and we begin hearing the number one hit song

of 1960, PERCY FAITH'S schmaltzy recording of "A Summer Place." (COCA)

Suddenly, she began to hear all sorts of sounds, footsteps and slitherings.

(BNC)

44
After a while Mary began to hear a strange, wild noise. (BNC)

It was about this time that Endill began hearing footsteps echoing around

the corridors of Nightside. (BNC)

'Listen or pay attention to'

A lot of delegates tonight will be very excited to begin to hear the story of

the last eight years and how this administration has really helped improve the lives

of working families. (COCA)

I go back to stirring the spaghetti sauce and try to figure out a way to

speak to my daughter so that, next time, she can begin to hear me. (COCA)

What he meant by this is that the world will begin hearing us. (COCA)

'Listen to and judge (e.g. a case)'

The court also began to hear cases brought by women who demanded

that their husbands hand over a portion of their wages and the family allowance to

maintain their families. (COCA)

45
A sixth judge will begin hearing cases in the federal detention center in

Lumpkin next month, said Elaine Komis, a spokeswoman for EOIR. (COCA)

A week after the judgment in the Babanaft case, the Court of

Appeal began hearing argument in Republic of Haiti v. Duvalier, in which a

prejudgment Mareva injunction was sought in aid of proceedings in the French

courts. (BNC)

'Be told or informed of; be aware of; know of the existence of'

But in places like Farmersburg, a town of 6,000 in rural southwest Indiana,

people say that what they have begun to hear about coal ash is causing them to

turn for help to unexpected places. (COCA)

The Israeli ground invasion began Jan. 3, and in the early hours of Jan. 4,

the International Committee of the Red Cross began hearing of a large clan, the

Samounis, who were wounded and trapped by the fierce fighting around Zeitoun,

in eastern Gaza City. (COCA)

Just as Teddy itself was a diminutive of Theodore as in Roosevelt (or was it

Edward, King of England?), so we began to hear of Charles Lindbear and Wilbear

Wright the pioneer bearaviators. (BNC)

46
'Be contacted by someone; to receive communication'

We have chosen another young man this week whose talent has already

helped him to stand out from the crowd, and unless we are very mistaken, we

have only begun to hear from him. (COCA)

Cahill and colleagues then began hearing from many people who claimed

to have extraordinary memories. (COCA)

Now, however, I have grave misgivings as we begin to hear from the

European Community more and more talk about a federal Europe and closer

political integration. (BNC)

3.2.1.3 to sound, sounding

Begin followed by to sound occurs 116 times in the COCA; 25 times in the

BNC. The most frequent meaning in the COCA is 'to convey an impression'. It was

also the most frequent meaning in the BNC.

Begin followed by sounding occurs 22 times in the COCA; 1 time in the BNC.

47
Only the meanings 'to emit or cause to emit sound'; 'to express something

(e.g. a warning)' and 'to convey an impression' occurred.

COCA BNC

to- to-
-ing form -ing form
infinitive infinitive

Emit or cause to emit


18 4 4 1
sound

Indicate something by a
0 0 0 0
sound

Express something (e.g. a


8 5 2 0
warning)

Pronounce 0 0 0 0

Test by noting the


0 0 0 0
produced sound

Convey an impression 85 6 19 0

48
'Emit or cause to emit sound'

There were rapid flashes from the wings of the jet, and immediately an

alarm began to sound at Carolina's console. (COCA)

Preservationists have begun to sound alarms, warning that rich urban

traditions of art, religion and community service are imperiled. (COCA)

The lights suddenly dimmed, and a klaxon began sounding in the

corridor. (COCA)

Slowing Sabbatical, we began sounding our fog horn and paying close

attention to the radar display. (COCA)

'Wait!' He swore savagely, then, as the bleep he was carrying began to

sound. (BNC)

About three kilometres before he reached Fontanellato each morning

he began to sound the whistle on the engine to warn us that he would soon be

arriving. (BNC)

49
'Express something (e.g. a warning)'

In June 2006, senior U.S. military commanders began to sound the alarm.

They warned that the flood of detainees would transform coalition facilities into "

jihadist universities " --terrorist incubators where Al-Qaeda loyalists could train,

network, and replenish their depleted ranks. (COCA)

Mr. Simon wrote Mr. Ellison in an e-mail message in 2002, several months

after banks began sounding alarms about Mr. Ellison's debt. (COCA)

And a flurry of independent counterterrorism

researchers began sounding the alarm over the latest scary al Qaeda Internet

posting. (COCA)

Her gaze flickered to David, then, as Jennifer looked up at David and

warning bells began to sound in Rachel's head, Belinda said, (BNC)

'Convey an impression'

I think that, as Bob Dole becomes more and more confirmed as a loser in

this campaign, he begins to sound more and more like a comedian who can't get

his audience to laugh. (COCA)

50
The knocking began to sound more like punching. (COCA)

Then the engine begins sounding like it's ripping sheets of aluminum;

serious acceleration kicks in; and this roadster's mood flips from reluctant cruiser

to take-no-hostages formula racer. (COCA)

Remarkably, its arguments began to sound like those of the Central

Electricity Generating Board, as it sought to cast doubt on the very existence of an

acid rain problem. (BNC)

Additional 4 results in the COCA contained phrasal verbs to sound out 'to try

to find out the views or intentions of' and to sound off 'to speak up in a loud voice'.

3.2.2 Start

3.2.2.1 to listen, listening

Start followed by to listen occurs 24 times in the COCA; 5 times in the BNC.

The most common meaning is to 'take notice of and act on what someone says' in

the COCA. However this meaning is more common with the ing form.

51
Start followed by listening occurred 188 times in the COCA; 15 times in the

BNC. As mentioned above the most common meaning is to 'take notice of and act

on what someone says' with 105 results.

COCA BNC

to- -ing to- -ing

infinitive form infinitive form

to give one's attention to a sound 8 74 1 6

take notice of and act on what


16 105 3 8
someone says

to make an effort to hear


0 3 1 1
something

'to give one's attention to a sound'

I had an old record player in my room and started to listen to the album

every day and sometimes sang the songs in my head. (COCA)

'take notice of and act on what someone says'

52
If someone is saying diey have a problem with eating, people need

to start to listen. (COCA)

So how many more Beatles songs can Jim and Mike possibly listen to?'

When I started to listen to all the stuff, I thought I'd be sick of everything.

(BNC)

'to make an effort to hear something'

So in 1960 Drake started listening for possible alien radio signals at a

radio telescope in West Virginia. (COCA)

3.2.2.2 to hear, hearing

Start followed by to hear occurred 86 times in the COCA; 5 times in the

BNC.

Start followed by hearing occurred 237 times in the COCA; 3 times in the

BNC.

53
COCA BNC

to- -ing to- -ing

infinitive form infinitive form

Perceive with the ear the sound made by


53 109 4 1
(someone or something)

Listen or pay attention to 16 41 0 0

Listen to and judge (e.g. a case) 3 5 0 0

Be told or informed of; be aware of; know


10 53 1 2
of the existence of

Be contacted by someone 3 28 0 0

'Perceive with the ear the sound made by (someone or something)'

The cooling engine is the only sound, until I start to hear the bumblebees

gathering nectar from late blooms and the slow hiss of wind through the reaching

branches of the Joshua trees themselves. (COCA)

Once you start hearing the snaps of the rounds, that means theyre right

on you. (COCA)

54
A lot of it is a matter of hearing: you just start to hear it that way after a

while, especially if you listen to a lot of Coltrane and people who really developed

that part of the language. (BNC)

Obviously Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Thunderbirds and Robert Cray are the

people who really got exposed and people started hearing the blues that way,

although the Paul Butterfield Blues Band was my first exposure. (BNC)

'Listen to and judge (e.g. a case)'

The grand jury has started to hear evidence. (COCA)

Jurors return Monday to start hearing testimony about whether Nichols

should be executed for his crimes. (COCA)

'Be told or informed of; be aware of; know of the existence of'

But the minute I started to hear that she had a goal and she was going to

do it, that's what really got me. (COCA)

55
Report until you start hearing the same things from different people.

(COCA)

or whether there is really a situation there, which probably has been going

on since time in memorial, that we've only just started to hear about it. (BNC)

We can expect an acceleration of such activity over the coming week if the

weather remains mild and we are likely to start hearing of our first summer

visitors also. (BNC)

'Be contacted by someone'

Did you start to hear from women around the country about your

character? (COCA)

People are taking the Rebels seriously now, which will seem nice until they

get on the road in the SEC and start hearing from the fans at places like

Arkansas and Kentucky. (COCA)

56
3.2.2.3 to sound, sounding

Start followed by to sound occurred 42 times in the COCA; 9 times in the

BNC.

Start followed by sounding occurred 35 times in the COCA; 5 times in the

BNC.

The most frequent meaning is 'to convey an impression' for both corpora.

COCA BNC

to- to-
-ing form -ing form
infinitive infinitive

Emit or cause to emit


3 6 1 0
sound

Indicate something by a
0 0 0 0
sound

Express something (e.g. a


0 2 1 0
warning)

Pronounce 1 0 0 0

57
Test by noting the
0 0 0 0
produced sound

Convey an impression 38 24 6 4

Additional 3 results in the COCA and 1 result in the BNC contained phrasal

verbs to sound out 'to try to find out the views or intentions of' and to sound off 'to

speak up in a loud voice'.

Emit or cause to emit sound

The familiar beeps of Pong, the classic computer table-tennis

game, started to sound as he moved the paddle up and down, making contact

with the ball. (COCA)

Another alarm started to sound. (BNC)

58
Pronounce

In Rochester, Kennedy stuck closely to a tightly controlled script but

started to sound themes apparently designed to assuage those who question her

readiness for a high-profile elected office. (COCA)

Convey an impression

If you listen to her long enough, you start to sound like her. (COCA)

Their mantra of personal responsibility started to sound a lot like the gun

lobby's, but they didn't even try to back it up with waiting periods, background

checks and safety classes. (COCA)

After 20 generations they were tame and had' dog-like' traits such as

upturned tails and floppy ears. They also started to sound like dogs. (BNC)

59
3.3 Text Types

Following charts show the distributions of text types in the COCA and the

BNC. The major characteristics are pointed out below each table.

Begin (COCA)
100

80 to listen
listening
60
to hear
40 hearing
to sound
20
sounding
0
SPOK FIC MAG NEWS ACAD

Begin followed by to-infinitive of the verb listen is more common in the

COCA than ing form and has the most occurrences in fiction, only a few

occurrences in newspaper and magazine section. Both forms also occur in the

spoken language.

To-infinitive of hear occurs more often after begin in the COCA than the

ing form. The most occurrences are in fiction. Spoken is the second most common

text type. This may indicate that begin followed by to hear, meaning especially 'to

initiate perceiving a sound with the ear' is more universal in both written and

spoken language. Begin followed by hearing occurs mostly in magazine and

60
newspaper section. Presence of this construction in these types of texts is

connected to the legal context reports from courts, etc.

Begin followed by to sound can be found mostly in fiction. Begin followed by

sounding has the most occurrences in magazine section.

Begin (BNC)
12
10
to listen
8
listening
6
4 to hear

2 hearing

0 to sound
sounding

In the BNC begin followed by to-infinitive and ing forms of verbs listen,

hear and begin is not as common as in the COCA. Almost all results occur in

written English, only one result is from spoken English.

61
Start (COCA)
160
140
to listen
120
100 listening

80 to hear
60 hearing
40 to sound
20 sounding
0
SPOK FIC MAG NEWS ACAD

While begin is more common with to-infinitive of listen and hear, start

occurs more often with their ing forms. Although all of these constructions occur

in both written and spoken English, start followed by listening and hearing is

dominant in the spoken section. Begin followed by listening and hearing have more

results in written English especially fiction.

Start (BNC)
7
6
5 to listen
4 listening
3 to hear
2
hearing
1
0 to sound
sounding

62
4. Discussion of the Findings

Catenative verbs begin and start followed by to-infinitive and ing form of

verbs listen, hear and sound are examined from the semantic point of view. In the

first part, the concept of 'process' and 'result' is examined.

The analysis shows that start makes a specific claim for 'result', which

means that it is suitable for contexts where an action, state or event must be

perceived 'resultatively' the result in the form of a goal. It refers to an initiation

point of a process (the process itself is not important).

It can refer to a possible future event (as a result of some previous

process). From the sentences with begin, it is evident that the nucleus or the

characteristic activity of the event named in the complement has been initiated.

In the second part, complement verbs listen, hear and sound are examined

for their meaning in order to understand the context. These results then show in

what types of contexts these particular catenative constructions occur.

Generally, begin followed by to-infinitive form of selected verbs is more

common than ing form, while start is more common with ing form.

This analysis proves that in various contexts with different verbs the use of

toinfinitives and ing forms is different.

Begin and start are used in different contexts.

Begin followed by to-infnitive of a verb listen is more frequent in both

corpora than the ing form. This catenative phrase occurs frequently in the

63
contexts where listen means 'to take notice of, pay attention to; act on what

someone says.'

Start, on the other hand, is more frequent with the ing form of listen. The

most frequent meaning of listen is 'to take notice of, pay attention to; act on what

someone says.' This means that in the same context begin is usually followed by

to-infinitive, but start is usually followed by ing form (especially in the COCA).

The to-infinitive of the verb hear is more frequent with the verb begin,

especially in the COCA. However, start can be found more frequently with the ing

form of hear. The most common meaning is 'to perceive with the ear the sound

made by (someone or something)'.

The verb sound can be found after both begin and start, though more often

after begin, especially in to-infinitive. The most common meaning of sound is 'to

convey an impression'.

The analysis also shows that as far as the number of results is concerned,

the COCA is more dominant. The reason for this may be that the COCA is an open

corpus, which means that its content is up to date. The BNC on the other hand is a

closed corpus.

64
5. Conclusion

The thesis deals with catenative verbs begin and start. Catenative verbs can

be followed by either to-infinitive or ing form. The thesis answers three research

questions: What factors affect the choice between begin and start? In what

contexts they occur? In what text types are they common?

In the first part an overview of the literature is given. Catenative verbs are

defined, various points of view are introduced. It explains what distinguishes them

from auxiliary verbs, modal verbs and main verbs. Different types of classification

are introduced. Then the thesis looks on the difference in use of to-infinitive and -

ing form after catenative verbs.

Various theories concerning verbs begin and start are presented along with

their definitions from dictionary. To create a catenative phrase for analysis, verbs

listen, hear and sound are chosen. Their meanings are defined so that the context

can be analysed.

The Corpus of Contemporary American English and the British National

Corpus are used for the analysis. The analysis consists of two parts. In the first

part the concept of 'process' and 'result' is examined.

The concept states that start refers to the 'initiation point' or 'onset' of a

process and it is suitable for contexts where an action, state or event must be

perceived 'resultatively' (the result in the form of a goal). Begin, on the other hand

65
refers to the process itself or to the 'first part' of a characteristic activity or the

event denoted by the complement verb.

In the second part of the analysis, the results from the COCA and the BNC

are divided according to various meanings denoted by the complement verb. This

research shows in what types of context these particular catenative phrases occur

and where are to-infinitive and -ing forms of selected complement verbs more

frequent.

To listen is more common with begin and the most frequent meaning is 'to

take notice of, pay attention to; act on what someone says.' Start, on the other

hand, is more common with listening. The most common meaning of is 'to take

notice of, pay attention to; act on what someone says.'

To hear is frequent with the verb begin; hearing is frequent with the verb

start. The most common meaning is 'to perceive with the ear the sound made by

(someone or something)'.

Both verbs (start, begin) occur with the to-infinitive and ing form of verb

sound. Its most common meaning is 'to convey an impression'.

Begin and start followed by to-infinitive and ing forms of verbs listen, hear

and sound are more common in American English and occur in both written and

spoken language.

66
6. Bibliography

Alexander, L. G. (1988) Longman English Grammar. London: Longman.

Begin. 2014. In Oxford Dictionaries Online. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/begin.

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7. Resume

This thesis deals with catenative verbs begin and start followed by either a

to-infinitive or an ing form. Although some grammars and dictionaries claim that

there is no specific difference in their use and their meaning, there are some

theories saying that some differences on the semantic level exist.

The first part of the thesis is an overview of the literature which introduces

different theories and definitions concerning catenative verbs. The concept of

process and result is introduced.

In the second part, corpus findings from the Corpus of Contemporary

American English and the British National Corpus are discussed.

The analysis proves that start refers to the initiation point or onset of a

process (denoted by the complement verb) Begin refers to the process itself and to

the first part of a characteristic activity or the event.

Catenative verbs begin and start followed by to-infinitive and ing forms of

selected verbs occur in different contexts and they are more common in American

English.

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8. Czech Resume/ esk resum

Bakalsk prce se zabv anglickmi katenativnmi slovesy begin a start,

po kterch nsleduje sloveso v to-infinitivu nebo v tvaru gerundia. Pestoe

gramatiky a slovnky uvd, e v jejich pouit a vznamu nejsou tm dn

rozdly, existuj teorie, kter dokazuj rozdly na smantick rovni.

V prvn sti prce se nachz teoretick pehled, kter uvd rzn teorie

a definice tkajc se katenativnch sloves. Process/result teorie je vysvtlena.

Druh st se vnuje samotn analze Korpusu souasn americk

anglitiny a Britskho nrodnho korpusu.

Analza dokazuje, e vznam slovesa start se vztahuje na urit poten

bod, v kterm byl proces (uren komplementrnm slovesem) zahjen. Vznam

slovesa begin se vztahuje k procesu samotnmu, resp. k prvn sti dan aktivity,

udlosti.

Katenativn slovesa begin a start, po kterch nsleduj analyzovan slovesa

bu v to-infinitivu nebo v tvaru gerundia, se vyskytuj v rznch kontextech a

jejich vskyt je astj v americk anglitin.

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9. Appendix

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