The Open Collections website will be undergoing maintenance on Wednesday December 7th from 9pm to 11pm PST. The site may be temporarily unavailable during this time.

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

A diachronic study of the semi-modal HAVE TO under negation Hirota, Tomoharu


This thesis offers a diachronic corpus-based investigation into a largely ignored aspect of the semi-modal HAVE TO in Late Modern English, namely its behavior under negation. By considering three negation patterns – DO negation, DO-less negation and apparent direct negation – it approaches three broad questions: (1) when and how HAVE TO underwent the changeover from DO-less to DO negation, (2) what status HAVE TO has acquired in the domain of ‘absence of necessity’ and (3) how apparent direct negation, HAVE TO NOT, has been faring. First, I demonstrate that DO negation of HAVE TO was established around the 1870s in American English and around the 1930s in British English. Since the present data reveal that Krug’s (2000) cognitive-functional factors – analogical leveling due to weak entrenchment and bondedness – do not entirely elucidate HAVE TO’s development towards DO negation, I instead propose a constructional approach in which the language user is hypothesized to have an abstraction over the semi-modal HAVE TO and the main verb HAVE, and argue that the abstraction is a critical factor in the change under consideration. Second, I show that negated HAVE TO has become a productive marker of ‘absence of necessity’ over the course of the twentieth century, largely encroaching upon the territory of the central modal NEED NOT. Lastly, historical corpus evidence indicates that HAVE TO NOT has existed only marginally, with no sign of growth even in Present-day English. This, in combination with the acquisition of DO negation, attests to Krug’s (2001) observation that new modals emerging in the Modern English period, where negation and question are normally formed with DO, are expected to develop features typical of Modern English syntax, such as DO-support.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International