Linguistic perspectives on a variable morpheme: Let's talk about -s

L.M. Rupp, David Britain

Research output: Book / ReportBookAcademicpeer-review


This book investigates –s marking in English verbs, specifically its manifestations in main verbs, in the past tense of BE, and in existential constructions. It embraces the many ways in which –s marking varies across the English speaking world, and considers both how it arose in these places historically and the ways in which it has since developed. The authors propose a story which holistically accounts for these different manifestations of –s, drawing upon evidence from a wide range of subdisciplines in linguistics, including sociolinguistics, generative syntax, historical linguistics, dialectology, and discourse-pragmatics. This book will be of particular interest to students and scholars in these and related fields.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave / MacMillan
Number of pages370
ISBN (Electronic)9781349728039
ISBN (Print)9781403939685
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • -s morpheme, subject-verb agreement, Northern Subject Rule, discourse-pragmatics, iconicity, existential there sentences, past be, verbal zero, exaptation, regrammaticalization, varieties of English


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