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Most people expect there __________ another financial crisis in the next year.

a. to be

b. being

According to the attached picture, both a & b are okay, but some native speakers of English say only "to be" is correct. Is that true?


I actually make a distinction between the example in the book and your example.

For the second example, "there being" sounds entirely wrong to me.

(BAD!) Most people expect there being another financial crisis in the next year.

But with the verb anticipate, the same example sounds fine!

(OK) Most people anticipate there being another financial crisis in the next year.

Envisage is ok, and intend is bad.

I'm not quite sure why this is the case, but it's probably something to do with whether speakers like me understand anticipate et al. to license the present progressive in the the next clause.

(OK) I anticipate the ballerina dancing.
(BAD!) I expect the ballerina dancing.

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  • There probably is no explanation. It just happens that different words, even with very similar meanings, sometimes take different subcategorisation frames. – Colin Fine Feb 15 '17 at 21:04
  • Good point! My syntax isn't 100%, but I do recall such peculiarities from my syntax textbook. – eijen Feb 15 '17 at 22:04
  • @ColinFine in the last example pair, let's eliminate the ballerina. 1) I anticipate dancing. 2) I expect dancing. -- All of a sudden they both work, but the real difference between the sentences is exposed. #1 is a simple, positive statement of how you feel. #2 can be interpreted as an almost negative emotion, as if, "or heads will roll" will be the following phrase. Perhaps it is that, for whatever reason, with a potential negative connotation, our ears reject "the ballerina dancing". And this could carry over even when no negativity is actually in play. – RichF Feb 15 '17 at 22:15
  • @RichF: I don't agree with your interpretations. "What are we going to see when we get there?" "I expect dancing.". But even if I did, that is an ad hoc explanation for this particular case. In general each verb (and some other words) has its own subcategorisation frame(s), and semantics won't help you choose which ones go with which word. – Colin Fine Feb 16 '17 at 22:00
  • @ColinFine It wasn't so much as an "interpretation" as a "speculation". I certainly didn't mean to imply that "I expect" always has an ominous undertone. On a different tack, do you agree that both "I anticipate dancing." and "I expect dancing." sound okay on their own? If so, how about "I anticipate the ballerina." vs "I expect the ballerina."? I see them both as complete thoughts, but the 1st leaves me wondering "why?" more than does the 2nd. If you agree, perhaps that's the reason appending "dancing" works better with "anticipate". It answers "why?". – RichF Feb 17 '17 at 1:51

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