Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Vivian Cortes


This corpus-based investigation of the mandative subjunctive (MS) (Quirk & Greenbaum, 1973) explored the structure as it co-occurred in published research articles with 10 lexical items previously identified as MS triggers (Overgaard, 1995; Peters, 1998; Crawford & Albakry, 2004): ask, demand, direct, insist, order, propose, recommend, request, require and suggest. Through a variety of quantitative (frequency, form and pattern) and qualitative (function) analyses, the present study examined the use of these lexical items in a corpus of published research articles (≈1.75 million words) by authors in four academic disciplines (Applied Linguistics, Biology, Business and Electrical & Computer Engineering) with the purpose of identifying the discourse factors that contribute to the triggering of the MS structure in academic writing as its main objective.;Results of the quantitative analyses revealed that when functioning as verbs, the majority of these lexical items infrequently co-occurred with that-clauses in the corpus; and, of the 1337 instances that did co-occur with a that-clause, only 50 (3.74%) contained a subjunctive verb form. In the qualitative analysis, 24 of the MS structures (48%) were found to be used to call for a particular action (Peters, 2004) or propose a potential course of action (Biber et al., 1999); one significant exception was require, which co-occurred with an MS structure 17 times (34% of the total instances) to report a necessary condition.;The findings of this study indicate that use of these lexical items does not alone trigger the mandative subjunctive in that-complement clauses in academic writing; rather, the factors involved in triggering the structure were determined to be multiple and complex. Thus, although the structure does indeed co-occur with certain verbs, this study has found the rules governing the triggering of the MS structure to be unpredictable.;Therefore, explicit teaching of the MS structure is not recommended. However, students in an upper level EAP course (those already familiar with advanced English grammar and the conventions of published research articles) could benefit from consciousness-raising activities to "discover" the MS structure and its use(s) for the purpose of awareness and comprehension of the structure in academic writing, and not necessarily production.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Pamela Jo Pearson



Proquest ID


OCLC Number




File Format


File Size

72 pages