Imperatives, when they are used to give orders or make requests, differ significantly from other sentence types. In eighteenth-century fictional speech, the adjacent pair of command and response which occurs between master/mistress and servant as well as between servants creates particular speech-patterns. The subject used in imperatives has three functions: selective, contrastive and emotional. The marked form of the negative imperative is the ‘verb+not’ construction. When the auxiliary-do occurs in the affirmative imperative, it can have an emotional or attitudinal colouring. The third person imperative assumes didactic and authoritative tones among other things.
This paper presents an analysis of the historical transitions of three types of English infinitival constructions: the accusative with infinitive (ACI) construction, the for NP to VP construction, and for to infinitives. It is argued that inflected infinitives in OE had an ambiguous categorial status between nominal and verbal and they lacked independent Tense node. This structure changed during ME along with the decline of the infinitival suffix -enne. First, in the mid-14th century, to was reanalyzed as Tense and consequently infinitives became more articulated than in OE. I claim that it was the immediate cause of the spread of the ACI to believe-type mental perception verbs and the rise of the for NP to VP construction. Then later in the mid-16th century, the ambiguity of categorial status disappeared, which led to the demise of for to infinitives. It will be claimed that these two changes were chronologically distinct processes.
This article will present an analysis of the diachronic development of what will be called Subject Extraposition Constructions (SECs), which are passive constructions with the nominative subjects following past participles. It will be shown that (A) SECs in Old and Middle English do not have to observe a number of constraints which their Modern English counterparts must observe, that (B) the differences between Old and Middle English SECs on one hand and Modern English SECs on the other are attributed to their distinct Case-assignment properties, and that (C) the differences in Case assignment properties are due to the distinct properties of INFL in Old and Middle English on one hand and Modern English on the other. It will also be shown that the present analysis can provide an adequate account for the peculiar behavior of constructions with impersonal and unaccusative verbs.