Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 25

Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 1 of 25

All OpenEdition

Anglophonia
French Journal of English Linguistics

22 | 2016
Construction du sens

Aspectual Verbs: a study of


cease and continue
GENEVIÈVE GIRARD-GILLET
https://doi.org/10.4000/anglophonia.1036

Abstracts
FrançaisEnglish
Les verbes aspectuels « cease » et « continue » présentent la particularité d’être
complémentés par une infinitive ou une gérondive, mais ils ne peuvent pas être
comparés à « stop » et « carry on », qui n’acceptent qu’une gérondive dans le sens de
cesser de faire quelque chose ou de continuer à faire quelque chose. L’infinitive, qui
complémente « cease » n’a pas un sens de but, mais, exprime, au contraire, la fin d’un
procès. L’infinitive après « continue » ne signifie pas qu’un procès s’est arrêté, puis a
repris, mais qu’il n’y a eu aucune interruption de ce procès. Les interprétations de ces
constructions nécessitent donc une analyse des paramètres qui conduisent au sens
qu’elles mettent en place. L’opposition to+V et V-ing ne joue pas le même rôle que celui
qu’elle joue avec d’autres verbes. À partir de multiples exemples en contexte, nous
montrerons que l’interprétation dépend du sémantisme du verbe recteur, qui est plus
complexe que communément admis, du rôle que joue le référent du sujet et de la
manière dont l’énonciateur conceptualise l’événement. Cet article propose un
approfondissement d’hypothèses antérieurement formulées, en prenant en
considération la question du type de causation à l’oeuvre.

Two aspectual verbs, “cease” and “continue” do not conform to the usual opposition that
exists between an infinitival complement and a gerund clause, and thus cannot be
compared with “stop” or “carry
This site on”.
usesUnlike what happens
cookies with “stop”,
and collects the infinitive
personal data.after
“cease” does not express a goal, but, on the contrary, the cessation of the process that
For further information,
was developing. The infinitive please read our
after “continue” doesPrivacy
not meanPolicy (updated
that a process was on June 25,
resumed after its cessation, but that there was no cessation at all. These differences call
2018).
for an analysis of the parameters that construe the diverging interpretations. The to+V
Byopposition
and V-ing continuing does to
notbrowse this role
play the same website,
it does you accept
with other theDrawing
verbs. use ofoncookies.
examples in context, we will show that the interpretation depends on the semantic
features of the main verb, which is more complex than usually acknowledged, on the
role played by the referent of the subject and onClose
the way the speaker conceptualizes the

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 2 of 25

event. This paper builds and enlarges on earlier works, by taking into account what type
of causation is implied.

Index terms
Mots-clés: verbes aspectuels, agentivité, rôles thématiques, causation
Keywords: aspectuals verbs, agentivity, thematic roles, causation

Author's notes
I would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers of my paper for their extensive
comments and rich suggestions.

Full text

Introduction
1 The construction of aspectual verbs has puzzled linguists for years and in
particular since Perlmutter’s seminal analysis in 1970. One verb seems to
refuse all suggested explanations as it does not behave as is expected from its
semantic features. It is the verb cease, which, unlike stop, can be followed by
either an infinitive or a gerundive, in order to denote the end of a process. If I
say John stopped to talk to his father I mean that he stopped doing what he
was doing in order to talk to his father. The infinitival clause, to talk to his
father, is a purpose clause, and a pause is possible before to, namely between
stopped and to, in the oral production. On the contrary, with John ceased to
talk, it is the end of the talking event that is expressed, and, in this sentence, no
pause can occur between ceased and to talk.1
2 Duffley (2007: 61) remarks that cease is an exception among verbs denoting
the termination of an event in being preferentially construed with to plus
infinitive, in approximately 90% of its uses. The verb continue is as intriguing,
as it can also be followed by an infinitival clause or a gerund to encode the
continuation of a process. Utterer-based approaches focusing on the role of to
as opposed to V-ing do not seem to have clearly explained why, in the linear
order, the infinitive following stop construes the beginning of an intended
process, while the infinitive following cease construes the end of an existing
process. Deschamps (2014: 65, 70) considers that the interpretations of the
alternations between V-ing and to + V for begin, start, commence, continue,
cease are semantically very close to each other, and that it is only the
opposition between the two constructions that explains the semantic
differences2. This is indeed the case, but the opposition does not play the same
semantic role, as the latter depends on whether it is stop or cease which is the
main verb. The two constructions do differ widely, and this is the issue we wish
to address here. This site usesbuilds
The analysis cookies
and and collects
elaborates onpersonal data.
two earlier works
(Girard 1999, 2008).
For further information, please read our Privacy Policy (updated on June 25,
3 After briefly summing up some parameters in already existing analyses, we
2018).
shall try, in the second and the third part, to show that the two constructions
By continuing
correspond to browse
to two different this or
meanings, website,
at least you
that accept thetendencies
there are use of cookies.
explaining that the two types of construction are not interchangeable. In other
words, it will be suggested that the propertiesClose of the constructions are
explained by appeal to semantic notions, distinguishing between Agentive

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 3 of 25

subjects and non-Agentive ones, and to the way the events are conceptualized
by the speaker. Wierzbicka noted (1988: 81) that with he stopped breathing,
the process is generally thought of as intentional, whereas, the process is
probably not intentional with he ceased to breathe. A comparison in the fourth
part with nominal arguments raises the question of whether these verbs are
transitive or intransitive, a point which could shed some light on the reasons
why there is an opposition between infinitive constructions and gerundive
ones.

1. Some previous approaches


4 Since Perlmutter (1970), it has been assumed that aspectual verbs in English
can be considered as raising and as control predicates. In comparing a) and b):

a) there began to be a commotion (1970: 108)

b) I tried to begin to work (1970: 111)

5 Perlmutter noted that in a) begin is a raising verb, whereas in b) begin is a


control verb, with a thematic subject.3 Another argument for the control
hypothesis is that begin is compatible with the imperative, as in: begin to work
(1970: 113). In this syntactic approach the distinction that exists between
infinitival complements and gerundives does not seem to be taken into
consideration, or at least is not assumed to be an important factor, as far as the
interpretation of the event is concerned.
6 Analyses focusing more on the semantic data have some difficulty explaining
how the two constructions differ, as they look for a general explanation of all
to-constructions as opposed to all V-ing constructions. Freed (1979: 152), for
instance, suggests that:

[i]n general the to V form of a sentencial complement, whether occurring


with start, begin, continue or cease, carries with it a generic reading.
Once again a generic reading of an event suggests a repetition (or a
series) of the event in question, occurring at different moments
throughout an unspecified stretch of time. The V-ing form, on the other
hand, has a durative reading, which here refers to the unspecified
duration of a single event.

7 When focusing more on the opposition between stop and cease Freed claims
that cease expresses the definitive termination of an event (1979: 121)4, as
opposed to stop. She explains that “cease from latin cessare via French cesser,
became common in expressions such as cease to exist. This sense of cease will
be of interest when we compare the definitive quality of cease with the more
temporary nature of stop.” She posits (p. 108) that “what distinguishes one
form from the other is the nature of the cessation -whether or not the cessation
is intentional, and whether it is definitive as opposed to being merely an
interruption of theThis siteShe
event.” uses
alsocookies and
notes that thecollects personalisdata.
“to construction” found to
For
occurfurther
more information,
comfortably withplease read
states ourstates
than Privacycan Policy (updated
occur with many on June 25,
aspectualizers (p. 122), and this is confirmed by
2018). corpora-based studies, and in
particular Egan’s (2008).
By continuing to browse this website, you accept the use of cookies.
8 To avoid the paradox with stop, Egan treats the to construction with cease as
a General Construction, following Freed (1979: 152) and Langacker (1987), and
not as a backward-looking construction, even Close
if he acknowledges that “it seems
very much like a Backward-looking construction”(p. 105). By General

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 4 of 25

Construction, he refers to the General to infinitive schema, and explains


(p. 122) that:

the cease to component contains the semantic component: a certain


situation had been occurring at intervals or had pertained for some time
at point x: at point y (y>x) this was no longer the case. It is this element
of something having pertained in “general”, as it were, which has led to
the classification of cease to as a General construction. In this way, the
construction differs from Backward-looking constructions, such as
cease-ing, which only make reference to the past and the present, in
relation to which the past is defined.” (p. 297)

9 It is not clear to us how the classification operates, and we prefer to opt for a
backward-looking interpretation, whether to or -ing is used. It remains that
Egan’s analyses provide one with numerous examples and is a fascinating read
for anyone interested in this kind of opposition.
10 In a syntactic analysis, Fukuda (2008) tackles the problem of the two
constructions, and wishes to account for the distinction without adopting the
control or the raising analysis. He notes that the main problem for the raising
analysis is the possibility of an imperative: begin writing! which suggests an
Agentive subject, while, on the contrary, begin to write is rare.5 Such data
contradict Perlmutter’s analysis. The other problem for the raising/control
analysis is the very existence of the infinitive. English infinitives have been
analysed as consisting of their own tense, based on the fact that infinitives can
have a time adverbial that is in conflict with another time adverbial modifying
the matrix event (Bresnan, 1972; Stowell, 1982; Martin, 2001, among others).

c) Yesterday, John decided to leave tomorrow

d) Today, John hopes to win someday

11 The infinitival complement in these cases denotes a yet-to-be-realized event;


but aspectual verbs disallow this interpretation:

e) * or ?? Today, the law ceased to have its effect tomorrow.

12 Fukuda concludes that aspectual verbs lack the tense projection, and he
proposes that they are functional heads which appear above and below a
projection of the Voice head or little v (Kratzer, 1994 ; Chomsky, 1995). The
complement of High-Asp (vP) is realized as an infinitival complement (Bill
started to run) and the complement of Low-Asp (VP) is realized as a gerundive
complement (Bill started running).

This site uses cookies and collects personal data.


For further information, please read our Privacy Policy (updated on June 25,
2018).
By continuing to browse this website, you accept the use of cookies.

Close

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 5 of 25

13 The interpretation of certain adverbs like stupidly can be ambiguous


between a speaker-oriented reading, which is generally associated with a
relatively high position, and a manner reading, which is generally associated
with a relatively low position. Fukuda claims that, when such an ambiguous
adverb occurs within the clausal complement of an aspectual verb, its possible
interpretation differs according to the nature of the complement. He gives the
following example:

f) I found everyone around me grew quiet as I began stupidly to say what


I really thought.

14 and suggests that the adverb is interpreted as a speaker-oriented adverb. The


meaning is: what I did was stupid. The referent of the subject considers that it
was stupid of him This
to do what he did.
site uses cookies and collects personal data.
15 He contrasts the example with:
For further information, please read our Privacy Policy (updated on June 25,
2018).
g) I found everyone around me grew quiet as I began stupidly saying
what I really thought.
By continuing to browse this website, you accept the use of cookies.
16 and posits that the adverb here is interpreted as a manner adverb, which is
generally associated with VPs. The meaning is that what I said was stupid. We
Close

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 6 of 25

suggest another interpretation, namely, that the individual spoke in a stupid


way.
17 Although Fukuda’s interpretation is debatable, his suggestion of taking into
account the role of adverbials leads us to reconsider former analyses (Girard:
1993, 2008), and to focus more on the role played by the subject of the
aspectual verb, the subject of the embedded lexical verb, and the Speaker. See
2.4.1. for the interpretation of adverbials.

2. Our hypothesis about cease:


thematic roles in the cease to
V / cease V-ing constructions

2.1. Cease to V
18 Let us consider the following examples:

(1) The ten p coin ceased to be legal tender on July 1.

(2) The above-mentioned Agreement ceased to have effect on 3 August


1983.

19 In these examples, the subject of cease is not the intentional Agent of the end
of the state, be legal tender; and the same can be said about the Agreement.
With inanimate subjects it is clear that no agentivity can be attributed to the
subjects. But cease can also be used with animate entities:

(3) Once people retire, they automatically cease to be union members.


(Oxford English Dictionary)

(4) It is odd, but until Dad ceased to speak I never had this need to talk
to him. (G. Swift, Shuttlecock).

(5) Roma lay so still that, for a second, Cordelia feared that she had
ceased to breathe. (P. D. James, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman)

20 In (3) the decision not to be a union member any more is not the pensioner’s
decision. But the change of social status implies that he can no longer be a
unionist. In (4) the father had a stroke and as a consequence could not speak
any more. In (5) the interpretation is that Cordelia died, and not that she held
her breath voluntarily.
21 The first conclusion we can draw is that in these five examples the subject of
the aspectual verb is not the Agent of the process. It is a participant in the
process, and can be considered as the “affected” entity of the change of state,
the undergoer in Van Valin & LaPolla’s hypotheses (1997) for a change of state
not wished for. The This
termsite uses cookies
“affectedness” and
needs, of collects personalIndata.
course, clarifying. his 2011
article, Beavers resorts to various tests to decide whether the
For further information, please read our Privacy Policy (updated entity is affected on June 25,
or not by the process, and among these the What happened to X is Y test is
2018).
used. This test, which deals with direct objects cannot be used here, as it is the
By continuing to browse this website, you accept the use of cookies.
subject of cease that requires a semantic interpretation. A possible test could
be: What X lost in the process was Y. For (1) we could say that the coin lost its
financial influence, and for (3) that the workers
Close lost the possibility of their

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 7 of 25

unions’ help in case of difficulties. This question is in fact beyond the scope of
our present analysis, but should be taken up in another analysis.
22 Here are some other examples:

(6) the problem with death is not that we grieve, but that we cease to
grieve. (P.D. James, Original Sin)

(7) Mary was not faultless; and one of her faults was a certain envy of
Ernestina. It was not only that she ceased abruptly to be the tacit
favourite of the household when the young lady from London arrived;
but the lady from London came also with trunkfuls of the latest London
and Paris fashion. (J. Fowles, The French Lieutenant’s Woman)

(8) The result of this, as time wore on, was that Dad gave me up. He
ceased to be interested in me as I ceased to be interested in him. (G.
Swift, Shuttlecock)

23 In (6) what is expressed is that, as time flies by, all sufferings gradually
vanish, without the individuals doing anything to bring this about. In (7) Mary
did not choose to be less appreciated, but the arrival of the young lady from
London affected the way she was considered. This implies that she lost the
consideration she used to enjoy. In example (8) we have the expression of
another parameter, i.e. the notion of result, which suggests the following
paraphrase: he was no longer interested in me/ I was no longer interested in
him, or he lost all interest in me, and I in him. Similar paraphrases can be
given for the previous examples: the ten p coin is no longer legal tender, the
father couldn’t speak any longer, they are no longer union members.
24 The following occurrences construe similar interpretations:

(9) They have art in common, although Helena has long ceased to see
any connection between the work of Tom and his paintings. (A. Charney,
La vie en rose)

(10) The will for the deed was absolute, yet surely it wasn’t the need for
revenge. That had long ago ceased to motivate him. (P.D. James,
Innocent Blood)

(11) And when Leah saw that she had ceased to bear, she took Zilpah her
maidservant and gave her to Jacob as wife.

(12) What between the duties expected of one during one’s lifetime, and
the duties exacted from one after one’s death, land had ceased to be
either a profit or a pleasure. (P. D. James, The Private Patient)

25 Another interpretation is possible: there is no end (cessation) at all in the


real world, but only in the speaker-observer’s mind:

(13) I never knew this. This is cruel. I can’t make out the simplest thing. I
am being humiliated. And suddenly my optician ceased to be an optician.
He is the remorseless teacher at infants’school, knocking into us the
rudiments of reading. (G. Swift, Myopia)
This site uses cookies and collects personal data.
(14) He had ceased to be amusing; he was really too inhuman. (H. James,
For further information,
The Wings of the Dove) please read our Privacy Policy (updated on June 25,
2018).
26 In (13) the Speaker/subject was having his eyesight checked and he
By continuing to browse this website, you accept the use of cookies.
discovered to his surprise that he was short-sighted. All of a sudden the
optician reminded him of his teacher when he was a young boy. The optician
didn’t change jobs during the consultation.Close
In (14) Kate Cray, the heroine of the
novel, felt that her father was no longer amusing, even if the father had not

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 8 of 25

altered his behaviour at all. What is expressed is only the young girl’s new
feeling. Although this feeling is real, it was not triggered by any change of
attitude in her father’s psychology. The gerund disallows such a reading, as we
shall now see.

2.2. Cease V-ing


27 The use of the gerund is preferred when the subject is the Agent of the end of
the process, namely when he willingly puts an end to the activity he was
engaged in:

(15) We have ceased trading at this address.6

(16) A guard drew close; we had to cease whispering for a moment. (G.
Swift, Shuttlecock)

(17) I ceased being his secretary some time ago. Two or three months
after I met Edmund. (A. Christie, Nemesis)

(18) On the eve of the elections politicians ceased working and spent
their time in betting and bluffing. (The New York Times)

(19) The papal nuncio in Dublin ordered Comiskey and three bishops
who supported him to remain silent and cease causing scandals to the
Church. (Time Magazine)

(20) I remember his instructing me to cease giving donations to a


particular local charity. (Time Magazine)

28 In each case the decision is made by the subject-agent: they decided not to
trade at their previous address; they stopped whispering; she resigned. If the
papal nuncio can order the bishops to cease causing scandals, it is because they
can act, they can do what they are asked to do.7 The Verbs + their complements
express activities. Even be a secretary is understood along the same line, and
can be paraphrased by: she ceased working as his secretary.
29 We have the expression of an on-going process and the cessation of the
process. The subject is construed as controlling the process and its end: the
subject of cease and the covert subject of the verb in the gerund are co-
referential. Both referents are Agents. The verb cease expresses the change of
state, and can be assimilated to agentive causative verbs as they are described
by Rappaport-Hovav & Levin (1998)8, and Alexiadou & Anagnostopoulou
(2007), who claim that “the event is necessarily brought about by an Agent.”
We shall come back to this point later on.
30 With the infinitive, we have the resultative state, and the previous situation is
backgrounded. The VP does not denote controlled activities, but expresses
either states: be legal tender, be union members, be interested, be the
favourite, be a profit, or involuntary physical or psychological processes:
breathe, grieve, bear
Thischildren.
site usesIt cookies
is the result
andof the change
collects of state
personal that is
data.
being focused on. We know that a state predicates a property of an entity
For further information, please read our Privacy Policy (updated on June 25,
(object or individual). Mental and psychological events have the grammatical
2018).
status of states, as psych-verbs involve states that last for a while. The subject
of ceaseByis continuing to browse
not understood this website,
as the Agent/Actor of theyou accept
change the use
of state. ofbe
It can cookies.
assigned the theta-role of Patient in relation with the verb cease, but
syntactically it can be considered as a formalClosesubject which is raised from its
underlying position. It is the state/process denoted by the verb in the infinitival

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 9 of 25

clause that comes to an end. The change of state that is expressed by cease is
brought about either (a) by the passing of time, which gradually modifies the
states or properties of the entities concerned, and which necessarily brings
about their end, or (b) by an outside initiator.
31 In case (a) the change of state is inherent to the natural course of its
development: after a while one ceases to grieve, or ceases to be interested, the
land ceases to be a profit, the woman ceases to bear children from old age. In
case (b), the father ceases to speak because of a stroke, Mary ceases to be the
favourite because of the arrival of a young lady, and so on9. The father lost his
ability to speak and Mary lost her influence in the family, but both changes of
state were unexpected, and neither the father nor Mary had any part in it. They
were the results of a mental accident and of the arrival of a fashionable lady.
32 We could say that in (a) it is a case of internal causation: the cause of the
change-of-state event exists in the “built-in” properties the entity undergoing
the change possesses.10 But this internal causation is the consequence of the
passing of time, which functions as the trigger. Without this continuous flow of
time, the state would not be altered. We shall discuss the role played by the
passing of time, which does not seem to have been taken sufficiently into
account, and reconsider the distinction between internal and external
causations.
33 We could posit an opposition between a controlled interpretation and a
“raising” one:
34 with the gerund we have the controlled interpretation:
Johni ceased [PROi smoking]
35 with the infinitive we have an interpretation that resembles a raising
construction:11
e ceased [ my father-to speak]
36 where something happened to the father; but the sentence also says that the
father is affected by what happened to him: he is no longer capable of speaking.
With typical raising verbs such as happen in John happened to meet Mary,
nothing is said or even deduced as regards John’s new state, except perhaps, by
implicature.

2.3. Cease + to and the unaccusative


functioning
37 The infinitive construction is also found with unaccusative verbs, such as
arise, emerge, exist, occur, among others, that is verbs which are not supposed
to select a subject, or in other words, which have no argumental subjects. The
verbs of existence figure among the prototypical locative insertion and
there-insertion verbs (Levin 1993: 250). The possibility of the there-insertion
can be taken in English as the sign of unaccusativity.
38 Google gives the following hits, showing an over-riding tendency of the
infinitival use. This site uses cookies and collects personal data.
For further information, please read our Privacy Policy (updated on June 25,
• SN ceased to exist: about 10 700 000 / SN ceased existing: 6180
2018).
• SN ceased to occur: 311 000 / SN ceased occurring: 2580
• BySN
continuing to browse
ceased to arrive: 309 000this website,
/ SN you accept
ceased arriving: 2110 the use of cookies.
• SN ceased to happen: 310 000 / SN ceased happening: 2320
Close

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 10 of 25

(21) On 10 October 2010 the Netherlands Antilles ceased to exist as a


legal entity. Two new countries were born on that date. (Weekly
Geopolitical Summary)

(22) After six sessions of desensitization with an additional self-control


procedure, the dream ceased to occur and anxiety about sleeping
diminished. (Journal of behaviour therapy)

(23) In the eighteenth century, the sugar boom ended and fresh imports
of Africans ceased to arrive in Montserrat. (Irish Cultural Society)

39 The COCA gives very few occurrences of the constructions. We get 220 hits
for ceased to exist, and none for ceased existing; 368 for ceased to be and 56
for ceased being. With agentive verbs, we only find the gerundive construction:
ceased working, ceased talking, ceased telling. For the verb play, which is
thought to be an agentive verb, we get 3 hits for ceased playing and 5 for
ceased to play, which seems to ruin our hypothesis. But the complement of
play makes all the difference: we retrieved indeed ceased to play a role, ceased
to play a significant part, which denotes the end of an influence which was not
wanted by the Agents.12 The infinitival construction is then the construction
that is required for the right interpretation to take place.
40 We need now to analyse some verbs exhibiting two different meanings,
depending on their constructions. The verb live can function as an
unaccusative verb in: once upon a time there lived a young princess in the
forest, and in the following examples:

(24) “We too ceased to live the very day that we killed our husbands”.
These are the words of a woman who spends her nights on the bed across
from me. (http://we-change.org/site/english/spip.php?article62)

(25) Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you
may still exist but you have ceased to live.” (H. D. Thoreau)

(26) If cliché is language that has ceased to live, then Martin Amis’s style
is something like its antithesis. (http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/
03/21/1205602632115.html)

41 but not when it is a synonym of inhabit:

(27) the parties ceased living together as of June 1.


(http://caselaw.findlaw.com/tx-court-of-appeals/1483943.html)

(28) Lisa chooses to treat her dwelling as her main residence for the
period after she ceased living in it. (https://books.google.fr/books?
isbn=2810700230)

(29) Where have you been living since you ceased living in your parents’
household? (http://we-change.org/site/english/spip.php?article62)

42 The verb shine shows unaccusative characteristics in: There shone a star
above the three kings to guide them to the King of Kings, and in the following
Thisbysite
example, it is affected usesqualities:
its own cookies and collects personal data.
For further information, please read our Privacy Policy (updated on June 25,
(30) the Sun will cease to shine in another five billion years or so, and the
Universe will eventually become cold and2018).
inert.
(https://books.google.fr/books?isbn=2810700230)
By continuing to browse this website, you accept the use of cookies.
43 and can be contrasted with:
Close
(31) Flowers should always be watered in the evening, after the sun has
ceased shining on them. (Magazine of Botany)

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 11 of 25

(32) Within 3-4 minutes the sun ceased shining on the water’s surface.
(https://books.google.fr/books?isbn=0816657564)

44 In (30) the sentence says that the death of the sun is programmed and that it
depends on its inherent characteristics, the nuclear reactions inside. When it
has burnt up all its hydrogen and helium, the sun will explode and become a
supernova. In (31) and (32) the sun is still shining. What is over is the
illumination of the flowers and of the water’s surface, because the sun rays no
longer reach the surface of the earth. The situation in the garden is the
consequence of the rotation of the earth, but the sun is felt, to a certain extent,
as if it was responsible for the shadow developing over the surface of the earth,
hence the use of a gerund, in an anthropomorphic interpretation, the
interpretation we have in the sun rises and the sun sets.
45 To explain the difference, we think it useful to resort to the idea already
hinted at earlier that there are semantic sub-classes of causative verbs:
internally and externally caused verbs. Guéron, in her 2008 article, considers
that the opposition is between “inertial causality” and “intentional” one.
“Intentional” causality only implies a human being as the Agent of the cause,
which is not sufficient to define all kinds of causality. For Levin & Rappaport
(2001:790), externally caused verbs describe eventualities conceptualized as
being brought about by an external cause with immediate control over the
eventuality. Internally caused verbs describe eventualities that are
conceptualized as arising from inherent properties of the verb’s argument.
Under internal causality, the change of state does not depend on a human
actor, and the change that cease denotes is understood as the consequence of
the inherent properties of the entity concerned, as regards a given process. This
may account for the interpretation of “definitive end” as opposed to a
temporary one, which was suggested by Freed. These two types of causality
explain the difference between (30) and (31-32). In (30) We have a case of
internal causation. In (31-32), it is a case of external causation.13

2.4. Correlation with other data

2.4.1. Correlation with adverbials


46 Fukuda distinguishes between speaker-oriented adverbs and manner
adverbs. Higginbotham (2000) assumes that C licenses the sentential or
speech-act adverbs such as clearly, frankly, apparently; that INFL licenses the
subject-oriented adverbs such as reluctantly and intentionally and adverbs of
appraisal such as probably; and that V licenses manner adverbs.14
47 We can note an interesting correlation between the interpretation of the
adverb and the construction used:

(33) The experiences


This siteseem to point
uses to the and
cookies assumption that,personal
collects although andata.
animal organism may have apparently ceased to live, a germ of life may
For further information,
exist somewhere. (Bristolplease
Yachtingread
News)our Privacy Policy (updated on June 25,
2018).
48 We have a speech-act reading/modal interpretation in this example, and in
By continuing to browse this website, you accept the use of cookies.
the following ones (34-37). Google gives 8 hits for apparently ceased existing /
9 640 hits for apparently ceased to exist. Other adverbs such as unfortunately,
obviously, also express the speaker’s viewpoint
Close towards the events (Speech-act
reading):

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 12 of 25

(34) The manor court apparently ceased to meet after Thomas Gerrard’s
eldest son and principal heir, Justinian, died childless in 1688.
(https://books.google.fr/books?isbn=0807843431)

(35) His essays have appeared over the years in journals and magazines,
some of which have unfortunately ceased to be published.
(http://www.amazon.com/The-Nostalgic-Drum-Literature-Culture/dp/
0865438064)

(36) At this point the issue obviously ceased to be how far Jewish religion
should be modernized. (https://books.google.fr/books?
isbn=0521340063)

(37) In the 1990s, the issue of genocide unfortunately ceased to be an


item of primarily historical concern. (https://books.google.fr/books?
isbn=1316061272)

49 In the next examples, the adverb denotes the subject’s attitude towards the
process (subject-oriented interpretation):

(38) I naturally ceased talking, and every one looked at me with


astonishment, and asked what was the matter. (A Ghost Story and
others, eBook n°0605741h.(html,
gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0605741h.html)15

(39) On Monday, the first day of school, he reluctantly ceased working on


his class assignment in order to talk to a pesky reporter.
(http://savannahnow.com/effingham/2007-08-06/students-enter-next-
level-education)

(40) In an effort to combat an ever-declining metabolism and a


constantly expanding waistline, Mr. Rasmussen has reluctantly ceased
consuming massive quantities of food. (http://www.scalleyreading.com/
Attorney-Profiles/Scott-N-Rasmussen.shtml)

(41) I have no sympathy anymore for drunkards not because they have
intoxicated themselves to death willingly, but because they have willingly
ceased being men. (lost reference)

(42) Another, after a once in a lifetime windfall, had cleared their


overdraft, taken the surplus and gracefully ceased trading.
(https://books.google.fr/books?isbn=1491893100)

(43) Later he reconsiders and begins again to dwell on the same pictures.
He commits two sins, because he willingly ceased acting before starting
again. (F. Cunningham, The Christian Life <https://books.google.fr/
books?isbn=1608992861>)

50 In some occurrences reluctantly and willingly appear with the infinitive. We


can only say that the tendency is that the higher the syntactic position is, the
more often the infinitive is found.

This site
2.4.2. Correlation withuses cookies and
behaviour collects personal data.
ADVERBIALS
For further information, please read our Privacy Policy (updated on June 25,
51 There exists a semantic opposition between two behaviour adverbials
depending on their D. node16: in alarm/in 2018).
his alarm, the opposition being
By continuing to browse this website, you
expressed by the absence or presence of a determiner in accept
the DP. the use(1999)
Girard of cookies.
showed that in a sentence with in + psychological state, the subject is the
initiator of the event, even when the action is close to a reflex, and the process
Close
is understood as an adequate reaction to a given feeling or impression:

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 13 of 25

(44) He felt a hand on his shoulder and leapt to his feet in alarm. (W.
Boyd, Stars and Bars)

(45) Both women looked up in surprise when the sharp ring of a bell
from the gate announced the arrival of Madame Delon. (BNC)

(46) Words! words! Of what use were words against the whole bent of a
nature? He clenched his hands in despair. (https://books.google.fr/
books?isbn=0748131973)

(47) Wondering what bargain we had made, I turned to the class for an
answer, but the class looked back at me in puzzlement. (H. Lee, To kill a
Mocking-bird, 28)

52 With a determiner, on the contrary, the subject is not the Intentional Agent
of the event, because its referent is in such a state of panic that he/she does not
know what he/she is doing. The individuals do not control the process at all,
even if they are taking part in it. And the processes, unlike those in (44-47) are
in fact not adapted to the situation, and can even be detrimental.

(48) The man sits helplessly while the second woman upsets the table in
her alarm. (www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2001695084)

(49) He colored all over, while in my confusion I half-choked myself with


my tongue. (D. H. Laurence, Sons and Lovers)

(50) In her surprise she had cut her finger on one of the pieces of glass
and it bled unheeded. (R. Rendell, Simisola)

(51) Zoe, meanwhile, gets a fright at the sound of her name and in her
surprise flips the carton into the air. (https://books.google.fr/books?
isbn=0748131973)

53 Can we use this test to discriminate between the two types of construction?
The gerund sounds better when the subject is an agent reacting in adequacy
with the situation:

(52) On hearing his father come in, he ceased talking in alarm.

54 He did what was best, knowing how his father would react, if he did not. The
infinitive tends to be favoured when the subject is not acting of his own accord:

(53) In his alarm, he had ceased to talk.

55 We understand that the individual was in such a state of panic that his words
choked in his mouth.
56 So far we can sum up the motivation for the two types of construction as
follows:
1) the Speaker acknowledges a change of state in a given entity

• this entity is the intentional agent of the end of the process, in which
case the speaker resorts to the gerundive;
This site uses cookies and collects personal data.
• the entity is not the Agent of the end of the process, whether the event
For further information,
is actually brought to an please
end, orread
onlyour Privacy
thought to havePolicy
come to(updated
an end by on June 25,
the speaker-observer, in which case 2018).
the speaker uses the infinitive.
By continuing
When the entity isto browse this
[-animate] website,
the infinitive is you accept the use of cookies.
favoured.

(54) Port-based redirect ceased to work after upgrading Capitan to


10.11.3. Close
(https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7459978?start)

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 14 of 25

57 2) the subject is not selected by the verb (unaccusative functioning of the


verb) -> the infinitive is chosen.
58 3) there is an opposition between internal and external causality.
59 We do not then agree with Fukuda, who proposes that aspectual verbs are
functional heads that never bear theta roles. An important parameter, to us, in
the distinction between the two types of complement seems to be the selection
of the theta roles. A look at Middle English examples seems to exemplify the
distinction, but there are too few of them for us to reach any conclusion.
Boulonnais gives one occurrence: Whan he … ceeseþ [for to blede], In al haste
agayn he toke his stede (14/5° Lydgate) (2004: 64), where the subject, the
wounded soldier, had no part in the healing process. De Smet gives 4
occurrence with V-ing in his Ph.D dissertation (2008: 335), and all of them
have agentive subjects, such as: I .. ceesse not doynge thankyngis for ȝou.
(c1384, Middle English Dictionary)

3. Our hypothesis about continue


60 Freed (1979) suggested that there was an opposition between a single event
and a repeated event, and she gave the following examples:

That never ceases to amaze / ?? amazing me.

That student continued to fall asleep / ?? falling asleep.

61 According to her, gerundives are thought to force a single event


interpretation and infinitives allow for the interpretation of an event repeated
several times.
62 We would like to suggest another explanation based on the role played by the
subject of amaze and of fall asleep. The subject of amaze is not an Agent, as the
verb denotes the reaction to a process as it is experienced by someone
witnessing the process. This is what we understand in the following examples:

(54) Your meanness never ceases to appal me, Greg. (C. Peattie &
R.Taylor, Alex III, Son of Alex) [Greg has just jammed the meter, and put
a note on the windscreen saying "meter jammed".]

(55) The Berbers have never ceased to baffle. (BBC, Radio 4)

63 In (54) and (55) we have verbs expressing the psychological reactions of the
Speaker/Observer to certain activities/behaviours. The Speaker is appalled in
(54) because Greg has jammed the meter, in (55) because Berbers have a
fascinating way of life. But we can hardly say that Greg and the Berbers have
deliberately chosen to appal or baffle the Speaker. As far as fall asleep is
concerned, the gerund sounds weird, as falling asleep is not an Agentive
process. If the gerund was used, the interpretation would be that the student
deliberately woke up, then deliberately fell asleep again, which does not really
make sense.
This site uses cookies and collects personal data.
For further information, please read our Privacy Policy (updated on June 25,
2018).
3.1. By
Continue
continuing to V
to browse this website, you accept the use of cookies.
64 The verb continue also presents diverging semantic features:
65 if someone continues to do something, Close
they keep doing it and do not stop.
What is described is an ongoing process.

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 15 of 25

66 if someone continues doing something, they start again after stopping for a
period of time, and the reading is close to resume.
67 Our hypothesis is that the two constructions help one to differentiate
between the two meanings:

(56) This continued to be a concern for them even though the members
of the school staff with whom they worked were accustomed to doing
grade-level planning. (www.ualberta.ca/~doberg/novicet.htm)

(57) Nevertheless there continued to be a scarcity of labor. As a result,


wages throughout the colonial period stood at a considerably higher level
than rates. (https://books.google.fr/books?isbn=1400856175)

(58) Despite a 1970 congressional ban on aid to the Lon Nol army, there
continued to be reports of MEDT personnel working as advisers to the
Cambodian military.
(www.thirdworldtraveler.com/US.../US_PolPot.html)

68 The verbs used here are stative verbs, which reminds us of what we had
noticed with cease. But the explanation must be different, as activity verbs can
also be found, such as make payments.

(59) Silvio Berlusconi continued to make payments of thousands of euros


to an alleged call girl even after the announcement that he would be sued
for proxenetism. (www.telegraph.co.uk)

69 In the following examples play a part appears in an infinitival sentence, and


it can be compared with the exemples with cease analysed above:

(60) In spite of her Christmas duties, in spite of her brother, the


Wilcoxes continued to play a considerable part in her thoughts. (E. M.
Foster, Howards End)

70 The presence of concessive adverbials such as even though, nevertheless,


despite, in spite of, even after, suggests that the end of a process was expected,
imagined, either by the speaker or by other observers of the events, but the
process did not stop; it went on, and consequently there was no resumption of
it. The occurrences given above can be explained accordingly: in (58) a ban on
military cooperation should have prevented US advisers from helping Lon Nol
army, but it did not. In (59) Italians thought that Berlusconi would stop paying
the call girl, but he did not.
71 The same interpretation prevails in the next examples, where in each case
the end of a process was imagined, but did not take place. There are no
concessive adverbials, but the co-text plays the same concessive role:

(61) In the three days following Rhoda Gradwyn’s murder, Lettie was
struck by how briefly death is allowed to interfere with life. […] The
routine of the Manor went on. Dean continued to cook his excellent
meals, although a certain simplicity in the menus suggested that he was
paying a perhaps unconscious tribute to death. Kim continued to serve
This site
them. (P. D. James, uses cookies
The Private Patient) and collects personal data.

72 For further
The suddeninformation,
violent death ofplease read
a patient ourtoPrivacy
ought Policy
have altered (updated
the habits in the on June 25,
Manor, but things went on as usual, despite2018).
the tragedy.
By continuing to browse this website, you accept the use of cookies.
(62) I will certainly not allow this aggression to affect me, and I will
continue to work as ever for the good of this country. (Silvio Berlusconi).
Close
(63) Title: Daycare worker charged with assault continued to work in
child care. (CBC News)

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 16 of 25

(64) Obama’s spokesman said: Yes, he continued to work with Ayers


after he found out about his past.

73 In (62) the dangerous situation should have pushed Berlusconi into changing
his politics, but it did not. In (63) it is rather strange to hear that someone
charged with assault was allowed to look after children. What was expected was
her condemnation instead. And in (64) the revelations about Ayers should have
compelled Obama to dismiss him. He did not.

3.2. Continue V-ing


74 On the contrary, with the gerund, we understand that a process ceased, and
then was resumed. This requires the decision of an Agent, who first puts an end
to his activity, before resuming it:

(65) I continued working on letterpress jackets for the forthcoming issue


of Parenthesis today. (https://www.facebook.com/.../807571699356673)

(66) Last night I continued working on the scarf for Barry at the knitting
circle. I was so distracted that I kept on making big mistakes, so I just
put the needles down and enjoyed the conversation. (Tokapedia)

(67) After five querries, you need to register, and then you will be able to
continue using the corpus. (Home page of the Corpus of Contemporary
American)

75 In (65) the mention of the date today suggests that there was an interruption
before and a resumption of the work. Otherwise the date would not have been
added. In (66) the lady only knits at the knitting circle, and not at home.
Consequently there is an interruption between the meetings of the knitting
club. (67) is the sentence that appears on the home page of the COCA after five
querries, which means that the corpus is no longer available, but will be
available again after registration.
76 Interruptions are also deduced from what is said in the context of the next
occurrences:

(68) He put down the phone and tried to continue working. (Corpus of
Contemporary American English)

77 The man was working, he stopped to answer the phone, and then turned
back to his work.

(69) Stay with us, Dr. Saper, if you would. We’re going to continue
talking about migraine headaches in just a moment, their signs, their
symptoms.
(www.wbur.org/npr/18916061)

(70) After a time I stopped sending postcards, thinking that Lucy had
either forgotten me or was busy with her school life […] I did feel some
Thisthat
shame and regret siteI’duses cookiestrying
not continued andtocollects personal
keep in touch, data.
but that
For passed. (P. D. James, The Private Patient)
further information, please read our Privacy Policy (updated on June 25,
2018).
(71) I’ll phone Benton. I need to have Sharon watched but it has to be
done with completeto
By continuing discretion.
browseWhilethisI website,
get this set you
up, could you the use
accept of cookies.
continue looking through the files here? I’ll phone from the dining-room.
It may take some time. (P. D. James, The Private Patient)
Close
78

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 17 of 25

In all these examples, we tend to understand that a process was momentarily


stopped, then started again. This is not what was understood when the
infinitive was used. The complementation, gerund, or infinitive, triggers a
change of interpretation. Remember that when the process was expected to
come to an end by the speaker-observer, but did not, the infinitive was
preferred.
79 How can we account for the two constructions? And what do they share with
the constructions we analysed for cease? We do not exactly have the
distinctions we noticed with cease, namely the opposition between an agentive
and a non-agentive activity, expressed through the use of a gerund vs the use of
an infinitive, but the notion of agency still seems relevant, although in a slightly
qualified fashion. I have been suggested examples with inanimate subjects,
such as the unlocked door continued banging in the wind, or it continued
raining. These occurrences are worth analysing, but they are rather puzzling,
inasmuch as Google gives 10 hits for the door continued banging, and 1030 for
the door continued to bang; 17 500 for it continued raining, and 64 600 for it
continued to rain. We do not have any clear explanation, even if the rain
examples we studied, in context, are taken from texts where either the
individual hopes that the rain will stop but it does not, hence the use of to, or
considers that the rain is beneficial and does not hope for its end17:

(72) Another hour, and the rain still continued to come down as hard as
ever, the wind blowing half a hurricane [...]Across every entrance to the
Haram there is a raised stone parapet, apparently built for the purpose of
keeping the water out during these floods [...]The rain showed no sign of
easing [...] It continued to rain and the water to flow in until about three
P.M. (F.E.Peters, Mecca: A Literaray History of the Muslim Holy Land,
<https://books.google.fr/books?isbn=069103267X>)

(73) The governor of Oregon just barely declared an official state of


drought, however, when it started raining. It rained through the rest of
March, and I rejoiced. My garbanzos would germinate. It continued
raining in April. The rains have usually stopped by May, but it continued
to rain. I quit rejoicing. The field with the garbanzo beans turned into a
big lake. (The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self reliance in
Uncertain Times, <https://books.google.fr/books?isbn=1603583157>)

80 Our tentative conclusion will then mainly concern sentences with animate
subjects. The phenomenon with inanimate subjects does require further
research.

• With the gerund, the [+ animate] subject does actually put an end to
his activity, then resumes it, which means that he is controlling the two
events: the end of the previous activity, then the new beginning. This is
similar to what was described about the use of cease. We can compare
(74) with continue and (75) with cease:

(74) John continued smoking after drinking his cup of coffee. [John
This site
voluntarily stopped usestocookies
smoking and collects
drink his coffee, personal
then picked data.
up his
cigarette again. John controls both events.]
For further information, please read our Privacy Policy (updated on June 25,
(75) John ceased smoking: he voluntarily2018).
stopped smoking. [John also
controls both events: the smoking and the cessation.]
By continuing to browse this website, you accept the use of cookies.
• With the infinitive, the [+animate] subject, John, might be thought to
be the controller of both activities but he is not. With continue, it is the
Close
speaker who imagines that the activity he is considering will/should be

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 18 of 25

stopped, but the agent of the activity in question does not, in fact, put an
end to his activity:

(76) John continued to smoke although he knew quite well that I was
allergic to smoke.[I expected John to stop smoking when I came in, but
he did not. The subject, John, is only the agent of smoke, but not of
continue since his activity went on without a second’s pause.]

(77) John ceased to be interested in linguistics. [we understand that one


day his interest ceased, without his actually taking the decision not to
read linguistic analyses any more. He was the subject of be interested in
linguistics, but not of cease, as his interest gradually faded without his
being aware of it.]

4. Comparison with nominal


arguments and the question of
transitivity/intransitivity

4.1. Continue and cease with NP functioning


as complements

4.1.1. Continue
81 The following examples show that the subject of continue is co-referential
with the subject of the nominals in the Noun Phrase (DP), because of the
possessive his.

(78) He arrived in Norway where he continued his campaign.


(dictionnaire.reverso.net/.../to%20continue%20on%20one’s%
20merry%2)

(79) He received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado and


continued his research as a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech.
(https://books.google.fr/books?isbn=030951777X)

(80) In the 1990s, he continued his collaboration with José Luis Garci,
maybe the director who best understood his potential.
(https://books.google.fr/books?isbn=1461672171)

82 In each case, a paraphrase with a gerund is felicitous: he continued


campaigning/ he continued doing research/ he continued collaborating, and
in each sentence the subjects are both the Agents of the continuation and of the
activities continued. In (78) the change of location and the arrival in Norway
suppose an interruption in the campaign and its resumption, just as the
research for a Ph.D.Thisimplies
site uses
the cookies and collects
passage from personal
the subject data.
developed in the
doctoral dissertation to another point of interest. This supports
For further information, please read our Privacy Policy (updated the claim that on June 25,
continue is a control verb, when followed by2018).
a gerundive.
83 Discussing the existence of two constructions after intend, the infinitive and
By continuing to browse this website, you accept the use of cookies.
the gerundive, De Smet (2008: 57) suggests that the infinitive is semantically
motivated, as it is forward-looking, but the gerund is also motivated, albeit for
another reason: intend, which is a transitive
Closeverb is compatible with actions
controlled by the matrix subject. Passive sentences indicating the dates when

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 19 of 25

the activities began demonstrate that these activities had previously been put
an end to:

(81) The research was continued to update the data set previously
collected. (https://books.google.fr/books?isbn=9712335437)

(82) The collaboration was continued in 2010 with another exhibition.


(cofcsummer.blogspot.com/.../what-puppies-jazz-musi).

4.1.2. Cease
84 With an NP complement, cease also functions as a transitive verb:

(83) They ceased publication last year.

(84) They threatened to cease financial support to the university.

85 The sentence can be passivised:

(85) Commercial production was ceased in 1941, with the outbreak of


the World War.

(86) Trading of these products was ceased on Nov. 30, 2000.

86 It can be coordinated with another transitive verb:

(87) They developed then suddenly ceased their production.

87 The subjects are the Agents of the cessation of activity and they were the
Agents of the activity before they put an end to it.
88 We know that stop can be used instead of cease when the subject is the
Agent:

(88) John ceased talking = John stopped talking.

89 It is even possible to have: John stopped himself talking, indicating, with the
reflexive, that John acts upon himself to bring about the end of the process in a
force-dynamic relation18. In each sentence the subject of cease and of continue
is [+ animate], and thus is thought to be endowned with the capacity of
performing the activities denoted.

4.2. Continue and cease with NP subjects


90 When cease is constructed with an infinitive, a parallelism with an
intransitive use of the verb seems quite relevant:

(89) Just as the rain ceased we reached the mouth of the river we
intended to explore. (www.lchr.org/a/30/oh/ma_ar001.html)

This
(90) This rain sitetouses
seemed cookiessouth
have travelled andforcollects
it ceased personal
to rain at data.
For Philadelphia on the 14th. (https://books.google.fr/books?
further information, please read our Privacy Policy (updated on June 25,
id=r58EAAAAQAAJ)
2018).
91 By subject,
and the continuing to browse
this rain, this website, you accept the use of cookies.
is [-animate].
92 Here are other examples with inanimate subjects:

(91) As a result, the traditional pattern ofClose


rent inflation ceased.

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 20 of 25

(92) At first the fungi grew linearly, but later the growth ceased rapidly.

(93) Train service will continue uninterrupted.


(www.saultstar.com/.../train-service-will-continue-unin)

(94) Bad weather will continue through February.


(archive.peruthisweek.com/news-1179-outside-lima-b).

93 and corresponding paraphrastic examples with the infinitive:

(95) it will ultimately happen that the per capita wealth will cease to
increase. (https://books.google.fr/books?isbn=1602069557)

(96) When a gourd has ceased to grow, its connection with the vine turns
brown. (teaohou.natlib.govt.nz/journals/teaohou/.../c31.html)

(97) But over time, the ruble began to stabilize and inflation ceased to
grow.
(ru-facts.com/news/view/47059.html)

(98) Trains will continue to bring you up even on bad weather.


(https://www.tripadvisor.fr/ShowUserReviews-g188098-d531608-
r231868707-Gorn)

(99) Bad weather will continue to hamper the recovery of flight AirAsia.
(https://twitter.com/bbcweather/.../5499773139880796)

94 This brief analysis shows that cease and continue construe different readings
depending on the NP they cooccur with. This confirms our hypothesis that
these two aspectual verbs can only be adequately understood if the
propositional complements they appear with are taken into account, and hence
the semantic role played by the infinitive and by the gerund.
95 With the infinitive, the lack of agentivity for the subject of the aspectual verb
suggests a correlation with raising constructions, exhibited with such verbs as
happen, turn out, even if cease cannot be said to be a prototypical raising verb.
It is then understandable that a NP correlation should be possible when the NP
is subject and [-animate]. We compared it ceased to rain, and the rain ceased.
On the contrary, with the gerund, the construction suggests a control
interpretation, with co-reference between the subject of the aspectual verb and
the subject of the gerund. The comparison is then possible with an NP
complement: he continued doing research on genes / he continued his
research on genes.

Figure 1. Cease and Continue with propositional complements.

Subject [+ AGENT] of V1 and V2 Subject [-AGENT] of V1

CEASE V2 - ing to + V2

change of state brought about no change of change of state


by the referent of the Subject: state: from
John This site
ceased uses
cookies and
talking collects
he ceased to be personal
- internal
data.
For further information, please read our Privacy Policy
the optician (updated on June 25,
causation:
2018). the sun will cease
to shine
By continuing to browse this website, you accept the use of cookies.
- external
causation:
Close she ceased to be
the favourite

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 21 of 25

No cessation of the ongoing process:


change of state (cessation then
resumption of the activity) nevertheless there continued to be a
CONTINUE scarcity of labour
Mary continued working after
the phone call he continued to speak when ordered
to stop

Figure 2. Cease and Continue with subject NPs.

Subject [+ AGENT] Subject [- AGENT]


[+ animate] [- animate]

CEASE they ceased publication inflation ceased

CONTINUE he continued his research bad weather will continue through February

Conclusion
96 Our problem is the well-known matching problem of one type of matrix verb
and one type of complementation: how language-users decide which
complement type to combine with which predicate? We have tried to show that
the type of complementation seems to be determined by the thematic role
played in the process by the referent of the subject of the aspectual verb, as it is
conceptualised by the speaker. For the verbs under study, what matters is
whether the referent of the subject is the Agent/Initiator of the cessation and of
the continuation of the process. When the referent is the agent, the gerund is
used. When the end of the process depends on the “built-in” properties of the
referent, especially when it is inanimate19, or when the animate referent
undergoes a change of state without his wishing for it, cease is complemented
by an infinitival proposition. When no change of state takes place in the
extralinguistic world, but is expected by the speaker, the verb continue is
followed by an infinitive. And thus the construction only denotes the speaker’s
subjective analysis of the situation he is witnessing.

Bibliography
Adamczewski, Henri. & Claude Delmas. Grammaire linguistique de l’anglais. Paris:
Colin, 1982.
Alexiadou, Artemis. & Anagnostopoulou, Elena. “Voice Morphology in the Causative-
inchoative Alternation: Evidence for a Non-unified Structural Analysis of
Unaccusatives”, in Alexiadou, Artemis, Anagnostopoulou, Elena, and Everaert, Martin.
(eds), The Unaccusative Puzzle: Explorations of the Syntax-Lexicon Interface. Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 114-136, 2003.
Alexiadou, Artemis & Anagnostopoulou, Elena. “Agent, Causer and Instrument PPs in
Greek: Implications for Verbal Structure”, Workshop on Greek Syntax and Semantics,
MIT This site uses cookies
20-22.5, and collects personal data. 2007.
<http://www.philology.uoc.gr/staff/anagnostopoulou/files/a15.pdf>
For further information, please read our Privacy Policy (updated on June 25,
Beavers, John. “On Affectedness”, Natural Language and Linguistic theory, vol. 29,
2018).
No. 2 (2011): 335-370.
By continuing to browse this website, you accept the use of cookies.
DOI : 10.1007/s11049-011-9124-6
Bottineau, Didier. « Sémantique et morphosyntaxe des verbes aspectuels anglais », in
Delmas, Claude (éd), Construire et reconstruire, CIEREC, Travaux 107. Université de St
Étienne, 209-242, 2002. Close

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 22 of 25

Boulonnais, Dominique. « TO et les infinitives : l’hypothèse de la transcendance


prépositionnelle », in La contradiction en anglais, CIEREC, Travaux 116. Université de
Saint-Étienne, 55-90, 2004.
Bresnan, Joan. Theory of Complementation in English Syntax, Doctoral dissertation,
MIT, 1972.
Burzio, Luigi. Italian Syntax: a Government-binding Approach. Dordrecht: Reidel,
1986.
Chomsky, Noam. The Minimalist Program. Cambridge, Mass: MIT, 1995.
DOI : 10.7551/mitpress/9780262527347.001.0001
Chuquet, Jean. TO et l’infinitif anglais. Cahier de recherche en linguistique anglaise.
Paris VII, 1986.
Corre, Eric. « Begin/start et leur complémentation : perspective diachronique et
synchronique ». Anglophonia Sigma (2005): 157-172.
Corre, Eric. De l’aspect sémantique à la structure de l’événement : les verbes anglais et
russe. Paris: Presses de la Sorbonne nouvelle, 2009.
Cotte, Pierre. « TO, opérateur de dévirtualisation ». Modèles linguistiques, IV : 2
(1982): 135-149.
Croft. William. Syntactic Categories and Grammatical Relations. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1991.
Delmas, Claude. « Commence + infinitive in G. Stein’s discourse ». Language, Speech,
Discourse, RANAM (2011): 67-79.
Deschamps, Alain. « Prépositions et formes non-finies », in Delmas, Claude (éd),
Construire et Reconstruire, CIEREC, Travaux 107 (2002): 85-106.
Deschamps, Alain. « La complémentation gérondive : étude du schéma V1-V2 + ING »,
in Girard-Gillet, Geneviève (éd), Autour du verbe anglais. Paris: Presses de la Sorbonne
Nouvelle, 2014.
De Smet, Hendrik. “Diffusional Change in the English System of Complementation.
Gerunds, Participles and for … to-Infinitives”, Ph.D. dissertation. Katholieke
Universiteit Leuven, 2008.
Dufley, Patrick. The English Infinitives. London: Longman, 1992.
DOI : 10.4324/9781315504650
Duffley, Patrick. The English Gerund-participle: A Comparison with the Infinitive.
Peter Lang, 2006.
Dufley, Patrick. “A Natural-language Semantics Approach to Infinitival and Gerund-
participial Complementation in English”. Anglophonia (2007): 55-67.
DOI : 10.4000/anglophonia.775
Egan, Thomas. Non-finite Complementation. A Usage-based Study of Infinitive and
-ing Clauses in English. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi, 2008.
Freed, Alice. The Semantic of English Aspectual Complementation. Dordrecht: D.
Reidel, 1979.
DOI : 10.1007/978-94-009-9475-1
Fukuda, Shin. “Two Syntactic Positions for English Aspectual Verbs”, Proceedings of the
26th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (2008): 172-180.
Furmaniak, Gregory. “When Take Means Require: a Study of Extraposed and
Impersonal Constructions with Take”. The Canadian Journal of Linguistics, 59-2
(2014): 173-200.
DOI : 10.1017/S0008413100000220
Girard, Geneviève. « Cease+toV/stop V-ing et la notion de sujet identique ». Sigma, n°
16 (1993): 59-70. This site uses cookies and collects personal data.
For further
Girard, information,
Geneviève. please
« La détermination read our
nominale dansPrivacy
les groupesPolicy (updated
prépositionnels », in on June 25,
Détermination et Individuation. Cycnos (1999): 57-66.
2018).
Girard-Gillet, Geneviève. « Les infinitives problématiques : l’exemple de cease to ».
By continuing
Anglophonia to browse this website, you accept the use of cookies.
24 (2008): 99-115.
DOI : 10.4000/anglophonia.974
Guéron, Jacqueline. “Visible Effects, Hidden Causes”, in Girard-Gillet, Geneviève (éd),
Close
L’envers du décor, études de linguistique anglaise. Université d’Avignon, 158-179,
2008.

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 23 of 25

Higginbotham, James. “On Events in Linguistic Semantics”, in Higginbotham, James,


Pianesi, Fabio, and Varzi, Achille (eds), Speaking of Events. CUP, 49-79, 2000.
Kratzer, Angelika. “On External Arguments”, in Benedicto, Elena. & Jeffrey, Runner
(eds), Functional Projections. University of Mass., Occasional papers 17, 103-130, 1994.
Kratzer, Angalika. “Severing the External Argument from the Verb”, in Johan Rooryck
and Laurie Zaring (eds.), Phrase Structure and the Lexicon. Dordrech: Kluwer, 109-137,
1996.
Langacker, Ronald. Foundations of Cognitive Grammar, vol. 1. Stanford, Stanford U.P,
1987.
Levin, Beth. English Verb Classes and Alternations. Chicago, The University of Chicago
Press, 1993.
Levin, Beth & Malka Rappaport Hovav. “An Event Structure Account of English
Resultatives”. Language, vol 77, n°4 (2001): 766-797.
Levin, Beth. “Further Explorations of the Landscape of Causation: Comments on the
Paper by Alexiadou and Anagnostopoulou”, Proceedings of the Workshop on Greek
Syntax and Semantics, MIT Working Papers in Linguistics 49, Department of
Linguistics and Philosophy. MIT, Cambridge, MA, 239-266, 2009.
Martin, Roger. “Null Case and the Distribution of PRO”. Linguistic Inquiry 32 (2001):
141-166.
DOI : 10.1162/002438901554612
Perlmutter, Dwight. “The Two Verbs Begin”, in Jacobs, Roderick & Rosenbaum, Peter
(eds), Readings in English Transformational Grammar. Waltman, MA: Blaisdell, 107-
119, 1970.
Rappaport-Hovav, Malka and Beth Levin. “BuildingVerb Meanings”, in Miriam Butt
and Willi Geuder (eds.), New Perspectives on Argument Structure in Functional
Grammar, 97-134. 1998.
Ross, John. “More on Begin”. Foundations of Language 8 (1972): 574-577.
Stowell, Tim. “The Tense of Infinitives”. Linguistic Inquiry 13 (1982): 561-570.
Talmy, Leonard. Towards a Cognitive Semantics II: Typology and Process in Concept
Structuring. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000.
Van Valin, Robert, D. and Randy LaPolla. Syntax: Structure, Meaning and Function.
Cambridge, CUP, 1997.
Wierzbicka, Anna. The Semantics of Grammar. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1988.
DOI : 10.1075/slcs.18

Notes
1 With stop the pause is not compulsory, but occurs when the speaker wishes to stress
the purpose clause. With the cease clause the pause is impossible, which shows that the
two constructions are different, as regards the link between the finite clause and the
non-finite one.
2 « On trouve dans cette sous-classe de prédicats des permutations avec TO+V (begin,
start, commence, continue, cease) avec des valeurs sémantiques très proches, mais
aussi des nuances. » (p. 65). « On voit que là où l’alternance est possible entre TO+ V et
V-ING c’est la simple opposition entre ces deux formes qui conditionne la variation
sémantique. » (p. 70)
3 A raising verb is a verb which does not select its arguments, whereas a control verb
selects them. With John happened to meet Mary, we understand that something
happened, namely that This site
John uses
met cookies
Mary, and
but *John collects
happened personal
does not make data.
sense. On
the contrary, with John asked Mary to help him, a semantic
For further information, please read our Privacy Policy (updated relation exists between on June 25,
John and the notion ask; in other words John asks for something. Moreover, in case a
subject is covert, the control verb enables one to 2018).
retrieve its reference.
By continuing
4 In chapter to browse
VI, Freed explains this website,
that she found you
very few data foraccept
cease in the usenovels
the nine of cookies.
she read, which can explain her tentative conclusions. She says “my analysis was
actually hampered by limited intuitions about the word and its infrequent use.” Today’s
vast corpora provide researchers with numerous occurrences, which help them posit
Close
new hypotheses.

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 24 of 25

5 Fukuda asked fifteen native speakers to choose between two imperatives that could
have been pronounced by the proctor, after giving instructions to a group of students
who are about to write an in-class essay. Fourteen students chose begin writing and
only one begin to write.
6 I wish to thank Claude Delmas for this example.
7 Fukuda cites an example given by Ross (1972: 576): “I suggested that they not shriek
anymore, so they stopped/*ceased. We think that “they ceased shrieking” is OK.” This
point will be taken up in Part 4.
8 A distinction is made by Levin & Rappaport-Hovav (1998: 109) between internally
caused state [x <STATE>] and externally caused state [[x ACT] CAUSE [BECOME [y
<STATE> ]]]. An externally-caused state implies the action of a causer that acts, and
which is responsible for the change of state.
9 A “from PP” is thought to be evidence for a causative analysis, by Alexiadou &
Anagnostopuolou 2003.
10 See Alexiadou &Anagnostopoulou (2003) and Levin (2009) for a discussion of
whether internally caused change-of-state verbs are causative or not.
11 It does not indeed allow: *it ceased that he spoke, a construction which is possible
with prototypical raising verbs, such as happen, turn out. The distinction we posit, by
using the terms “control” or “raising” is not syntactic only; it is semantic. It is not the
linear order alone that construes the meaning but the semantic data + the type of
construction resorted to.
12 Despite their assent to the Creed of Nice in 359, they ceased to play a role in eastern
theology or politics. (COCA Church history); The State Department had at that time
long ceased to play any significant part in matters of wartime policy. (COCA,
American Heritage 1995); it’s so much easier to run the country’s foreign affairs if we
have an enemy. Well, the Russian Federation has ceased to play that role (COCA, CNN
Talkback 1999).
13 I was suggested the opposition between my dishwasher ceased to work, and my
colleague ceased working, which does indeed illustrate the opposition very clearly.
14 C stands for Complementizer Node, INFL for Inflection Node, and V for Verbal node.
15 We think that the adverb naturally is subject-oriented here, but this point needs
explaining. We consider indeed that naturally can receive two different readings,
depending on the context. In the following sentence: Although his family were ardent
Catholics, he announced at the age of fourteen that he had naturally ceased believing
in God, we can paraphrase naturally by: it was natural for him to cease believing. On
the contrary in: But the law insisted she remain alive to suffer until her organs
naturally ceased to function, what is “natural” is the way the organs in question evolve,
and it is the passing of time that will cause the necessary end of the process.
16 D node stands for Determiner node.
17 Wierzbicka had noted (1988: 82) that the construction with to implied an
expectation.
18 Croft (1991) and the notion of transmission of force.
19 As we said before more data are necessary to better account for [-animate] subjects.

List of illustrations

URL http://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/docannexe/image/1036/img-1.png

This site uses cookies and collects personal data.


File image/png, 8.3k
For further information, please read our Privacy Policy (updated on June 25,
2018).
By continuing to browse this website, you accept the use of cookies.
References
Electronic reference
Close
Geneviève Girard-Gillet, « Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and
continue », Anglophonia [Online], 22 | 2016, Online since 22 March 2017, connection

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23
Aspectual Verbs: a study of cease and continue Page 25 of 25

on 23 November 2020. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036; DOI:


https://doi.org/10.4000/anglophonia.1036

About the author


Geneviève Girard-Gillet
Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, USPC
genevieve.girard-gillet[@]univ-paris3.fr

By this author
Les infinitives problématiques : l’exemple de cease to [Full text]
Published in Anglophonia/Sigma, 12 (24) | 2008

A posteriori modality, implicative modality by abduction. A case study: he


must have been drunk to have said that [Full text]
Published in Anglophonia, 19 | 2015

Copyright

Anglophonia – French Journal of English Linguistics est mis à disposition selon les
termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale -
Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

This site uses cookies and collects personal data.


For further information, please read our Privacy Policy (updated on June 25,
2018).
By continuing to browse this website, you accept the use of cookies.

Close

https://journals.openedition.org/anglophonia/1036 2020-11-23

Vous aimerez peut-être aussi