Verb Agreement and Disagreement

William J. Crawford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


This multiregister corpus study investigates the social factors affecting concord variation found in existential there + be (ETB) constructions in present-day American English. The study questions previous work in this area, which suggests that a lack of concord is reflective of informal, conversational situations of use. The five registers analyzed (conversation, academic lectures, academic writing, fiction, and chat language) showed that the two spoken registers resulted in the greatest number of variation in agreement. A comparison of the linguistic contexts of ETBs in the two spoken registers finds both similarities and differences of function across two spoken registers. The article concludes by adopting the position that the contracted ETB construction is an unanalyzed chunk or formulaic sequence of language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-61
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of English Linguistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • corpus linguistics
  • discourse function
  • existential there
  • register variation
  • verb agreement
  • verb concord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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