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KCI등재 학술저널

On the Construction it be time: A Corpus-based Analysis

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The expression it be time is interesting in that it licenses a wide range of complements in its subordinate clause. Adopting a corpus-based approach, this paper gives attention to four variants following it be time, namely modal preterites, mandative subjunctives, mandative indicatives and mandative-should to find out how each fares in frequency in BrE and AmE. Results show that modal preterites are most favored by it be time while the others score negligible frequencies in BrE; that the percentage of modal preterites is still relatively high in AmE but mandative subjunctives and indicatives also return some meaningful percentages. A separate investigation through COHA, tracing any change in the dominance pattern among the variants after the string it be time during 200 years of span (1800’s-2000’s), reveals an interesting fact that mandative-should, a very competitive variant until 1900’s, has become less and less dominant with modal preterites rising in percentage in a compensatory fashion in AmE. The results of this paper also provide a pedagogical implication that corpus linguistics must have a place in English grammar teaching.

1. Introduction

2. Overview of Reference Grammars on the it be time Construction

3. The History of the it be time Construction

4. Corpus Analysis of the it be time Construction in PDE

5. Summary and Implication