The FAIL TO construction: A contrastive perspective
Cover for BeLLs vol. 9, issue 1


periphrastic negation
inherent negation
English/ Norwegian

How to Cite

Egan, Thomas. 2018. “The FAIL TO Construction: A Contrastive Perspective”. Bergen Language and Linguistics Studies 9 (1).


This article considers the various senses of the English fail to construction in the light of its Norwegian translation correspondences. This construction has been alleged to be in the process of grammaticalising as a marker of negation in Present-day English. The paper tests the hypothesis that if fail to is in the process of grammaticalising as a marker of negation pure and simple, we should find it used to translate, or find it translated by, pure negation markers (the equivalent of English not) in other languages. The particular language of translation investigated in this paper is Norwegian in which the default negation marker is ikke. It is shown that translations in both directions lend support to the hypothesis.

Copyright (c) 2018 Thomas Egan

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