Impersonals with ser ('to be') and the dominion of effective control

Rainer Vesterinen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The present paper analyses the semantic meaning of the subjunctive mood in complements of deontic and evaluative impersonal expressions. From the perspective of Cognitive Grammar, it is argued that the meaning of the subjunctive mood is to designate events that are located outside the conceptualizer's dominion, whereas the impersonal expression puts focus on the relevant dominion, i.e. the dominion of effective control. Thus, the analysis shows that there is a conceptual relation between the conceptual content of the impersonal expression, on the one hand, and occurrence of the subjunctive mood, on the other hand. An additional analysis concerns the occurrence and the meaning of the inflected infinitive in contexts that imply a low degree of effective control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-152
Number of pages10
JournalLanguage Sciences
Issue numberPB
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive Grammar
  • Conceptualizer
  • Dominion
  • Subjunctive mood


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