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Thread: accustomed to

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    #11

    Re: accustomed to

    I'd be interested in the corpus evidence, especially from texts published later than, say, 1970.
    I am not a teacher.

  2. Phaedrus's Avatar
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    #12

    Re: accustomed to

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    I'd be interested in the corpus evidence, especially from texts published later than, say, 1970.

    From the British National Corpus (BNC):

    "Yet when asked how long it takes each week to prepare and construct the next sequence, Dr Postlethwait is accustomed to laugh heartily (as he did when I asked him) and reply, 'Oh, about fifty hours.'" (Resource-based learning. Beswick, Norman. UK: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd, 1984, pp. 32-121)

    "Perhaps worst of all, there are those stressful situations where one is accustomed to turn to tobacco for support." (1985-1994, New Statesman and Society)

    "A man does not by nature wish to earn more and more money, but simply to live as he is accustomed to live and to earn as much as is necessary for that purpose." (The vital century: England's developing economy 1714–1815. Rule, John. Harlow: Longman Group UK Ltd, 1992, pp. 179-303)


    From the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA):

    "And one is accustomed to equate malady with age, but one of the things that surprised me about my hospital ward was the variety of ages there." (PBS_Newshour, 2004)

    "'When you have finished your tea, I should like to see you in my study,' her father says in the ordinary manner in which he is accustomed to speak to her, though even she can see that something between them has changed." (Shreve, Anita; Fortune's Rocks, 2002)

    "I have a mind that belongs wholly to itself and is accustomed to go its own way." (Adams, Robert M., American Scholar, 1991)

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    #13

    Re: accustomed to

    "to be accustomed to" is followed by a noun phrase, not a verb phrase. It follows the same pattern as "to be used to" and "to look forward to":

    I am accustomed to shopping at Wal-Mart.
    My mother is used to preparing dinner at 6:00 sharp.
    I look forward to visiting Taiwan.

    In these phrases, the -ing words are gerunds (nouns formed from verbs).
    NOT A TEACHER. Translator and editor, and I hold a TESOL certificate. Native speaker of American English (West Coast)

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    #14

    Re: accustomed to

    Quote Originally Posted by bubbha View Post
    "to be accustomed to" is followed by a noun phrase, not a verb phrase.
    Phaedrus has provided evidence that some writers occasionally follow it with a verb phrase and that Swan and Quirk approved of the to me dubious practice. The examples look jarringly wrong to me. I would not teach learners to emulate them.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #15

    Re: accustomed to

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Phaedrus has provided evidence that some writers occasionally follow it with a verb phrase and that Swan and Quirk approved of the to me dubious practice.
    I also gave a quote from Huddleston and Pullum (2002) endorsing the practice. This morning I checked Biber et al. (1999) -- i.e., the Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English -- and it, too, cites (un)accustomed as accepting a to-clause complement (see p. 718). This means that, in addition to the most popular ESL guide published (Swan, 2005), ALL THREE of the most recent comprehensive linguistic grammars of English cite be accustomed to [verb] as correct. The view that it is incorrect is therefore untenable.

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    #16

    Re: accustomed to

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    I also gave a quote from Huddleston and Pullum (2002) endorsing the practice. This morning I checked Biber et al. (1999) -- i.e., the Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English -- and it, too, cites (un)accustomed as accepting a to-clause complement (see p. 718). This means that, in addition to the most popular ESL guide published (Swan, 2005), ALL THREE of the most recent comprehensive linguistic grammars of English cite be accustomed to [verb] as correct. The view that it is incorrect is therefore untenable.
    Maybe it's more common than I thought; my mind will be tuned to spot any instances of this for some time. I can't argue with all those authorities. But nearly every example they cite would be changed if I were editing the texts they come from.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #17

    Re: accustomed to

    Just to clarify, I am not denying that BE accustomed to [base V] is not as common as BE accustomed to [V-ing]; I have only denied that BE accustomed to [base V] is incorrect. The OP did not ask which was more common, only whether both were correct, and they are. (I also see a difference in meaning, but I'll leave that aside.) Interestingly, the resistance of the moderators and members here to the correctness of BE accustomed to [base V] is rendered understandable by a shift-of-usage phenomenon that Bryan Garner has documented. According to Garner, the moderators' preferred form is twice as common nowadays in comparison with the still-correct form that the moderators and members here strongly dislike and wish were incorrect:

    "Formerly, the idiom was accustomed to do, accustomed to think, etc. But in the mid-20th century the phrasing shifted to accustomed to doing, accustomed to thinking. Today the older usage sounds strange to many ears, but some traditionalists stick to it, especially in BrE -- e.g.: 'Both stem from the age profile of a profession in which nearly two thirds of teachers are over 40 and accustomed to think of early retirement as the norm." John Carvel, 'Questioning Professionalism of Teachers Can Be Harmful,' Guardian, 14 Jan. 1997, at 2. Current ratio (accustomed to being vs. accustomed to be): 2:1" (p.16)

    - Garner, B. (2009). Garner's modern English usage (4th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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    #18

    Re: accustomed to

    I actually started to write that BE accustomed to [base V] sounded like something you'd find in Jane Austen, but I thought better of it when I decided I wasn't willing to look.

    But I'd say if it isn't already "incorrect", it's so little used in contemporary American English that I'd expect a modern style guide to recommend strongly against it.
    I am not a teacher.

  9. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #19

    Re: accustomed to

    I gather from the quoted part of post #17 that Mr Garner understands the two forms to carry the same meaning. He seems merely to be saying that one form has come to replace the other, which doesn't make sense if they have different meanings.

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    #20

    Re: accustomed to

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I gather from the quoted part of post #17 that Mr Garner understands the two forms to carry the same meaning. He seems merely to be saying that one form has come to replace the other, which doesn't make sense if they have different meanings.
    It may be that Garner holds that view; I agree that he gives the impression that he does. The difference in meaning that I see is rather subtle and only stands out in certain cases. There is more of an interior orientation with BE accustomed to V-ing, in which construction accustomed is an adjective. Its adjective status in that construction may be demonstrated by the fact that other copulative verbs besides BE can be used there, and it can also be intensified by degree words: They grew very accustomed to doing that.

    In the BE accustomed to [base V] construction, there is an exterior orientation. In this construction, accustomed is a past participle, not an adjective; other copulative verbs besides BE do not work; and accustomed cannot be intensified by a degree word: *They grew very accustomed to do that. A sentence like They are accustomed to do that may be analyzed as an adjectival passive. It would be a mistake to analyze it as a full verbal passive; it is not equivalent to Someone accustoms them to do that.

    In most cases, I don't think it matters from a semantic standpoint which construction is used, so those of you who reject BE accustomed to [base V] can proceed in your unimpeded use of BE accustomed to V-ing instead. However, it is possible to imagine cases where there is a difference. For instance, I live in a condominium complex in which hired gardeners come to mow the lawns every Thursday. I don't know any of these gardeners; I don't know how comfortable they are with mowing the lawns here on those days.

    Thus, if I chose to use BE accustomed to in reference to these gardeners' practice of mowing the lawns at this condominium complex every Thursday, it would be more appropriate for me to use the adjectival passive construction, with its exterior orientation: They are accustomed to mow the lawns here every Thursday. Who am I to say, They are accustomed to mowing the lawns here every Thursday? I don't know what they feel accustomed to; I don't even know who they are, or even whether they're the same people each week.

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