• Junichi Toyota
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Language History nad Language Change book series (PSLHL)


In the previous four chapters, we looked at one type of passive, with the auxiliary be. As already noted, there are two possible auxiliaries in PDE, be and get. In this chapter, we will analyse various characteristics of the so-called get-passive and examine how ‘passive’ this construction is and how it fits in the voice continuum in English. The get-passive has received a lot of attention and has probably provided the most active debate concerning the English passive or related constructions over the past few decades. There are basically two trends in research on the get-passive. One trend, which is more traditional, assumes that the construction get+past participle is a type of passive, commonly the dynamic counterpart of the be-passive. The other does not consider the construction a type of passive, pointing out some extra semantic characteristics or pragmatic functions which are all absent in the be-passive, and instead associates the get-passive with other voice forms, such as the middle-reflexive voice. Also, most previous research is synchronic (Hatcher 1949; Lakoff 1971; Barber 1975; Chappell 1980; Haegeman 1985; Vanrespaille 1991; Collins 1996; Downing 1996), although there is some diachronic work (Miller 1985; Givón and Yang 1994; Gronemeyer 1999; Hundt 2001, as well as Jespersen 1909–49; Visser 1963–73; Denison 1993).


Past Participle Verbal Passive Actor Phrase Predicative Adjective Diachronic Change 
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Copyright information

© Junichi Toyota 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Junichi Toyota
    • 1
  1. 1.Lund UniversitySweden

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