present = conditional perfect

Dennis Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Wed May 16 12:55:56 UTC 2007


Even more complex; of course the "conditional" is periphrastically
marked, but note that this is also a "get" passive. Try this with the
"be" passive (Is Reagan elected...? Oh, he's elected......). Not as
good for me.

"Get" passives are clearly not just informal versions of "be"; "The
demonstrators got arrested on purpose" is a hella better than "The
demonstrators were arrested on purpose, but, that aside, there appear
to be some funny selection rules with "get" passives. In my obviously
standard Louisville dialect, "The Pistons were beat last night"
promotes the the non-passive ("tired") reading, but "The Pistons got
beat last night" is a plain old passive for me (with no "on purpose"
reading). On the other hand, "The Pistons were beaten last night"
suggests that after the game some thugs clubbed them, and "The
Pistons got beaten last night" is not grammatical, making a style
interpretation part of the answer but clearly not the whole story.

Funny  huh?


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>Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
>Subject:      present = conditional perfect
>Watchers of the History Channel have noticed its general taboo
>against use of the past and perfect tenses. But here's a new tense
>Brian Kilmeade of the linguistically-rich _Fox & Friends_ was
>discussing the late Jerry Falwell with a talking-head guest:
>KILMEADE: Does Reagan get elected without Falwell's support [in 1980]?
>HEAD:  Oh, he gets elected, but [etc.]....
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