IS THE BE-PERFECT GONE?
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This article discusses the use of the auxiliary be + past participle in the English language between the middle of the 18th c. and the middle of the 19th C. as documented in the literature of the period. The interest in this familiar grammatical structure, albeit rarely used in the modern language, has been spurred by the question when in the history of the English language this structure has been overtaken by the now standard construction of the auxiliary have + past participle to express aspectual meanings. Also, the analysis argues that contrary to the popular belief that suggests that Jane Austen and her contemporaries used the be + past participle to mark pomposity and high register, writers at the end of the 18th C. and the beginning of the 19th C. used the be + past participle with certain intransitive verbs as fixed expressions which belonged to an everyday, colloquial register similar to the way we use the few expressions such as He is gone, Christ is risen, I am done, The sun is set, etc.ii that are well entrenched in everyday language.
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