“I Regret Lying" vs. “I Regret that I Lied": Variation in the Clausal Complementation Profile of REGRET in American and British English


  • Raquel P. Romasanta Universidad de Vigo




complementation, Present-day English, cognitive complexity, British English, American English


The historical development and change of the English complementation system has received a great deal of attention in recent years, but work remains to be done on Present-day English. Previous studies on the complement-taking predicate regret have shown that in British English the choice between a that-clause and the gerundial -ing is non-categorical or probabilistic, with the speaker being able to choose between them. This non-categorical variation is the focus of the present article, which aims to identify any existing differences in the clausal complementation profile of regret in British and American English, as well as any linguistic variables that might determine speaker choice.


Download data is not yet available.


Aceto, Michael. 2004. “Eastern Caribbean English-derived Language Varieties: Phonology”. In Schneider, Edgar W. (ed.) Varieties of English: The Americas and the Caribbean. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter: 290-311. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511607240

Algeo, John. 2006. British or American English? A Handbook of Word and Grammar Patterns. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P.

Bernaisch, Tobias. 2013. “The Verb-complementational Profile of Offer in Sri Lankan English”. In Huber, Magnus and Joybrato Mukherjee (eds.) Corpus Linguistics and Variation in English: Focus on Non-native Englishes. Helsinki: Varieng. <https://varieng.helsinki.fi/series/volumes/13/bernaisch/>. Accessed February 10, 2021.

Cuyckens, Hubert, Frauke D’hoedt and Benedikt Szmrecsanyi. 2014. “Variability in Verb Complementation in Late Modern English: Finite vs. Non-finite Patterns”. In Hundt, Marianne (ed.) Late Modern English Syntax. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P.: 182-204. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139507226.014

Davies, Mark. 2012. “Examining Recent Changes in English: Some Methodological Issues”. In Nevalainen, Terttu and Elizabeth C. Traugott (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of the History of English. Oxford: Oxford U.P.: 263-287.

Davies, Mark. 2013. “Corpus of Global Web-Based English: 1.9 Billion Words from Speakers in 20 Countries”. <http://corpus.byu.edu/glowbe/>. Accessed February 8, 2017.

Davies, Mark and Robert Fuchs. 2015. “Expanding Horizons in the Study of World Englishes with the 1.9 Billion Word Global Web-based English Corpus (GloWbE)”. English World-Wide 36 (1): 1-28. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/eww.36.1.01dav

De Smet, Hendrik. 2013. Spreading Patterns: Diffusional Change in the English System of Complementation. New York: Oxford U.P. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812752.001.0001

Deshors, Sandra C. 2015. “A Constructionist Approach to Gerundial and Infinitival Verb Complementation Patterns in Native and Hong Kong English Varieties”. English Text Construction 8 (2): 207-235. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/etc.8.2.04des

Deshors, Sandra C. and Stefan Th. Gries. 2016. “Profiling Verb Complementation Constructions across New Englishes: A Two-step Random Forest Analysis of ing vs. to Complements”. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 21 (2): 192-218. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.21.2.03des

Di Domenico, Elisa. 2017. “Introduction”. In Di Domenico, Elisa (ed.) Syntactic Complexity from a Language Acquisition Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing: 1-22.

Fanego, Teresa. 1996a. “On the Historical Development of the English Retrospective Verbs”. Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 97: 71-79.

Fanego, Teresa. 1996b. “The Development of Gerunds as Objects of Subject-control Verbs in English (1400-1760)”. Diacronica 13: 29-62. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/dia.13.1.03fan

Fanego, Teresa. 1996c. “The Gerund in Early Modern English: Evidence from the Helsinki Corpus”. Folia Linguistica Historica 17 (1-2): 97-152. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/flih.1996.17.1-2.97

Fanego, Teresa. 1998. “Developments in Argument Linking in Early Modern English Gerund Phrases”. English Language and Linguistics 2: 87-119. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1360674300000708

Fanego, Teresa. 2004a. “On Reanalysis and Actualization in Syntactic Change: The Rise and Development of English Verbal Gerunds”. Diachronica 21: 5-55. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/dia.21.1.03fan

Fanego, Teresa. 2004b. “Some Strategies for Coding Sentential Subjects in English: From Expectation to Grammaticalization”. Studies in Language 28: 321-361. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/sl.28.2.03fan

Fanego, Teresa. 2007. “Drift and Development of Sentential Complements in British and American English from 1700 to the Present Day”. In Pérez-Guerra, Javier, Dolores González-Álvarez, Jorge Luis Bueno-Alonso and Esperanza Rama-Martínez (eds.) “Of Varying Language and Opposing Creed”: New Insights into Late Modern English. Bern: Peter Lang: 161-235.

Fanego, Teresa. 2010. “Variation in Sentential Complements in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century English: A Processing-based Explanation”. In Hickey, Raymond (ed.) Eighteenth-century English. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P.: 200-220. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511781643.012

Fanego, Teresa. 2016. “The Great Complement Shift Revisited: The Constructionalization of ACC-ing Gerundives”. Functions of Language 23 (1): 84-119. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/fol.23.1.05fan

Field, Andy, Jeremy Miles and Zoë Field. 2012. Discovering Statistics Using R. London: SAGE.

Fischer, Olga. 1988. “The Rise of the for NP to V Constructions: An Explanation”. In Nixon, Graham and John Honey (eds.) An Historic Tongue: Studies in English Linguistics in Memory of Barbara Strang. London: Routledge: 67-88. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003074687-7

FrameNet. 2015. “FrameNet Project”. <https://framenet.icsi.berkeley.edu>. Accessed May 3, 2017.

García-Castro, Laura. 2018. “Variation in Verbal Complementation Patterns in Nativised Varieties of English: The Case of Remember in Indian English”. In Ferrández San Miguel, María and Claus-Peter Neuman (eds.) Taking Stock to Look Ahead: Celebrating Forty Years of English Studies in Spain. Zaragoza: Prensas Universitarias de la Universidad de Zaragoza: 207-213.

García-Castro, Laura. 2019. “Synchronic Variability in the Complementation Profile of Remember: Finite vs. Non-finite Clauses in Indian and British English”. Miscelánea: A Journal of English and American Studies 59: 137-164.

García-Castro, Laura. 2020. “Finite and Non‐finite Complement Clauses in Postcolonial Englishes”. World Englishes 39: 411-426. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/weng.12481

Givón, Thomas. 1985. “Iconicity, Isomorphism and Non-arbitrary Coding in Syntax”. In Haiman, John (ed.) Iconicity in Syntax. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins: 187-219. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.6.10giv

Green, Clarence. 2017. Patterns and Development in the English Clause System: A Corpus-based Grammatical Overview. Singapore: Springer.

Greenbaum, Sidney. (ed.) 1996. Comparing English Worldwide: The International Corpus of English. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Heyvaert, Liesbet and Hubert Cuyckens. 2010. “Finite and Gerundive Complementation in Modern and Present-day English: Semantics, Variation and Change”. In Winters, Margaret E., Heli Tissari and Kathryn Allan (eds.) Historical Cognitive Linguistics. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter: 132-159. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110226447.132

Hoffmann, Thomas and Lucia Siebers. (eds.) 2009. World Englishes – Problems, Properties and Prospects. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/veaw.g40

Lange, Claudia and Sven Leuckert. 2020. Corpus Linguistics for World Englishes: A Guide for Research. London/New York: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429489433

Leech, Geoffrey, Marianne Hundt, Christian Mair and Nicholas Smith. 2009. Change in Contemporary English: A Grammatical Study. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511642210

Loureiro-Porto, Lucía. 2017. “ICE vs GloWbE: Big Data and Corpus Compilation”. World Englishes 36 (3): 448-470. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/weng.12281

Mair, Christian. 2006. “Nonfinite Complement Clauses in the Nineteenth Century: The Case of Remember”. In Kytö, Merja, Mats Rydén and Erik Smitterberg (eds.) Nineteenth-century English: Stability and Change. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P.: 215-228.

Mair, Christian. 2013. “The World System of Englishes: Accounting for the Transnational Importance of Mobile and Mediated Vernaculars”. English World-Wide 34 (3): 253-278. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/eww.34.3.01mai

Ortega, Lourdes. 2003. “Syntactic Complexity Measures and their Relationship to L2 Proficiency: A Research Synthesis of College-level L2 Writing”. Applied Linguistics 24 (4): 492-518. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/24.4.492

Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech and Jan Svartvik. 1985. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. London: Longman.

Rohdenburg, Günter. 1995. “On the Replacement of Finite Complement Clauses by Infinitives in English”. English Studies 4: 367-388. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00138389508598980

Rohdenburg, Günter. 1996. “Cognitive Complexity and Increased Grammatical Explicitness in English”. Cognitive Linguistics 7 (2): 149-182. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.1996.7.2.149

Rohdenburg, Günter. 2006. “The Role of Functional Constraints in the Evolution of the English Complementation System”. In Dalton-Puffer, Christiane, Dieter Kastovsky, Nikolaus Ritt and Herbert Schendl (eds.) Syntax, Style and Grammatical Norms: English from 1500-2000. Bern: Peter Lang: 143-166.

Rohdenburg, Günter. 2009. “Nominal Complements”. In Rohdenburg, Günter and Julia Schlüter (eds.): 194-211. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511551970.011

Rohdenburg, Günter. 2015. “The Embedded Negation Constraint and the Choice between More or Less Explicit Clausal Structures in English”. In Höglund, Mikko, Paul Rickman, Juhani Rudanko and Jukka Havu (eds.) Perspectives on Complementation: Structure, Variation and Boundaries. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan: 101-127. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137450067_6

Rohdenburg, Günter and Julia Schlüter. (eds.) 2009. One Language, Two Grammars? Differences between British and American English. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511551970

Rohdenburg, Günter and Julia Schlüter. 2009. “Introduction”. In Rohdenburg, Günter and Julia Schlüter (eds.): 1-12. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511551970.001

Romasanta, Raquel P. 2017. “Contact-induced Variation in Clausal Verb Complementation: The Case of Regret in World Englishes”. Alicante Journal of English Studies 30: 121-147. DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2017.30.05

Romasanta, Raquel P. 2019. “Variability in Verb Complementation: Determinants of Grammatical Variation in Indigenized L2 Varieties of English”. In Parviainen, Hanna, Mark Kaunisto and Päivi Pahta (eds.) Corpus Approaches into World Englishes and Language Contrasts. Helsinki: Varieng. <https://varieng.helsinki.fi/series/volumes/20/romasanta/>. Accessed February 10, 2021.

Romasanta, Raquel P. 2021a. “Substrate Language Influence in Postcolonial Asian Englishes and the Role of Transfer in the Complementation System”. English Studies 102 (8): 1151-1170. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0013838X.2021.1966968

Romasanta, Raquel P. 2021b. “A Morphosyntactic Approach to Language Contact in African Varieties of English”. Studia Neophilologica: 1-24. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00393274.2021.1978314

Romasanta, Raquel P. 2021c. “Negation as a Predictor of Clausal Complement Choice in World Englishes”. English Language and Linguistics: 1-23. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1360674321000241

Rudanko, Juhani. 2011. Changes in Complementation in British and American English: Corpus-based Studies of Non-finite Complements in Recent English. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.

Schneider, Edgar W. 2007. Postcolonial English: Varieties around the World. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511618901

Steger, Maria and Edgar W. Schneider. 2012. “Complexity as a Function of Iconicity: The Case of Complement Clause Constructions in New Englishes”. In Kortmann, Bernd and Benedikt Szmrecsanyi (eds.) Linguistic Complexity: Second Language Acquisition, Indeginization, Contact. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter: 156- 191. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110229226.156

Vosberg, Uwe. 2009. “Non-finite Complements”. In Rohdenburg, Günter and Julia Schlüter (eds.): 212-227. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511551970.012

Williams, Jeffrey P., Edgar W. Schneider, Peter Trudgill and Daniel Schreier. (eds.) 2015. Further Studies in Lesser-known Varieties of English. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139108652




How to Cite

Romasanta, R. P. . (2022). “I Regret Lying" vs. “I Regret that I Lied": Variation in the Clausal Complementation Profile of REGRET in American and British English. Miscelánea: A Journal of English and American Studies, 65, 37–58. https://doi.org/10.26754/ojs_misc/mj.20226828



ARTICLES: Language and linguistics