Complements of Commit: Variation in the Grammar of an Innovative Verb

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Language History and Language Change book series (PSLHL)


Consider sentences (1a–b), from the Bank of English Corpus:
  1. (1)
    1. (a)

      You’re not willing to commit to prior congressional authorization? (US Spok)

    2. (b)

      House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt, Missouri Democrat, refused to commit to a timetable. (US News)

Examining the senses of the verb commit in the 1989 second edition of the OED, one is hard put to find the usage exemplified in (1a–b) recorded among them. The closest seem to be two types of reflexive usages, 10.d and 10.e. The former is glossed as “to pledge oneself by implication to a course (evil or risky),” and illustrations include This is what comes of committing ourselves to an evil line of conduct (1839, J. H. Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons).


Text Type Electronic Edition Negative Context News Corpus Semantic Distinction 
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Copyright information

© Martti Juhani Rudanko 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TampereFinland

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