Liyin Chen & Siaw-Fong Chung

National Chengchi University, Taiwan



This study investigates of-constructions in the predicates of two reporting verbs, demonstrate and show, in academic discourse. A construction perspective is taken to examine how the two predicate constructions ([demonstrate N1 of N2] and [show N1 of N2]) would differ when the information-weighting of N1 and N2 are considered. The noun phrases are compared following Sinclair’s (1991) conception of semantic headedness. He notes the peculiarity of of through the expression of double-headed constructions (i.e., considering both N1 and N2 as the semantic heads). This study adopts this framework and applies it to analyze the of-constructions of the two synonymous verbs. The results show that headedness of the of-constructions can be used to identify the subtle differences between the two synonyms. Demonstrate displays greater information weight predominated by double-headed constructions and tends to be associated with abstract conception for providing evaluative (e.g., importancelimitation) and modal (e.g., possibilityability) functions. Show follows closely afterdemonstrate in the double-headed constructions, but further analysis reveals that show varies from demonstrate by displaying evidential functions through its co-occurrence with nouns denoting perspectives (e.g., patternorganization), representations (e.g., diagramposition) and cause and effect (e.g., resultsimpact). It was also found that only showdisplays a propensity for N2-headed nouns as characterized by N1 measure nouns (e.g., degreelevel) and evidential nouns (e.g., signevidence). Pedagogical implications are provided to indicate where demonstrate can replace show in academic writing.


Key Words: of-constructions, reporting verbs, academic discourse, synonym








本文旨在比較學術論文中兩個動詞近義詞demonstrateshow之受詞中的of-句式 ([demonstrate N1 of N2] [show N1 of N2]),採用Sinclair (1991) semantic headedness論點,以結構語法的角度來檢視這兩個句式中的名詞N1之間的差異。結果顯示這個方法可以成功的找出demonstrateshow之間的相異之處,我們發現demonstrate較常與語意內涵豐富的名詞組一起出現,並且較廣泛用於表達作者的評價 (importance,limitation及情態 (possibilityability等功能。然而show較常與證據類詞一起出現,用於表達宏觀面貌 (patternorganization),表象 (diagramposition),以及因果關係 (results, impact),此外,我們也發現show常被用於表達測量單位詞 (degreelevel和證據類詞 (signevidence)。最後,我們針對本研究結果設計了一些教學活動,為幫助學習者區別這兩個近義詞在學術論文中的用法。


關鍵字: of-句式、引述動詞、學術論文、近義詞