I am interested in knowing of any studies of historical changes to verb plus PP constructions in contemporary English. An example is the rise of constructions like "advocate for NP", e.g. "He's advocating for an increase in taxes", which has become quite popular in the last 10 years or so. This is a change from the earlier pattern "He's advocating an increase in taxes", prevalent let's say in the 70's. Has anyone undertaken a study of the rise of PP complements against earlier NP complements? My seat-of-the-pants analysis is that this is based on analogy to near-synonyms like "argue for, campaigning for, lobbying for", but it might also be the result of some older regional construction that happened to gain popularity. Has the history of this change been studied (not limited to "advocate", that's just an example)

  • It's a very interesting question, and I look forward to the answers; but your example is questionable. Advocate (verb) with for complements has been around since the 17th century; it may even be primary, since the verb in this sense appears to derive from the noun, which has almost always taken a for complement, not an of complement, to designate both the persons and the principles on whose behalf the advocate vocates. Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 1:21
  • Fair enough: it sounds totally foreign but contemporary to me, but perhaps there has been a recent resurgence of the prep. construction.
    – user6726
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 1:28
  • I suspect that what is involved is a "resurgence" of advocate, advocacy--these have largely replaced my generation's now cacophemized activist, activism. Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 13:45


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