Languages Magazine

How English is Changing

By Expectlabs @ExpectLabs

How English is Changing

The biggest linguistic developments usually happen right under our noses. Below are four nearly imperceptible changes that are happening to English as we speak:

  • "They started to walk" is turning into "they started walking:" Verbs are steadily transitioning from the “to” to the “-ing” ending. Before the forties, “start” and “begin” saw a big increase in the “-ing” form, while in the fifties and sixties, verbs such as “like,” “love,” “hate,” and “fear” underwent the same rise in popularity. On the other hand, verbs like “stand,” “intend,” and “cease” shifted more toward the “to” form.
  • English is becoming more progressive: Progressive English is not a political thing; it means adding the “–ing” ending to verbs to indicate that something is continuous. For example, “they are speaking” vs. “they speak.” “Be” in the progressive form has also become more pervasive: “I’m being serious” vs. “I’m serious.”
  • "Going to," "have to," "need to," and "want to:" Helping verbs such as these have surged in the past few decades. First used in casual conversation, this verb group eventually entered print, which contributed to its rise.
  • Rise of the get-passives: Get-passives are associated with either positive or negative situations, such as “getting fired” or “getting promoted.” This verb form has undergone a steady rise in the past fifty years. 

(via The Week)



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