The interrelation between evaluative categories and evaluated items


  • Yong Wang Central China Normal University
  • Jie Xu University of Macau



correlation, evaluation, evaluator, evaluated, functional linguistics


On the basis of 1,171 actual IEC (It-Evaluative Construction, i.e., extraposition in traditional grammar) examples from the BNC and other sources, the present paper investigates the interrelationship between the two major semantic elements of the construction, the Evaluator and the Evaluated. It is found that first-order entities never occur in the IEC as the Evaluated; all instances of the Evaluated belong to second or third-order entities. A general correspondence exists between modality and third-order entities and between attitude and second-order entities. That is, all the exponents of modality are directed to third-order entities and an overwhelming majority of attitudinal exponents is oriented to second-order entities, and vice versa. (The 55 exceptions are explainable in terms of relevance of the entity to the text.) Thus, the distribution of the evaluative categories and the evaluated entities and the correlation between them are semantically motivated.

Author Biographies

Yong Wang, Central China Normal University

English Department, Prof.

Jie Xu, University of Macau

Jie Xu is Professor in Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities (FSH) at University of Macau. His research interests include generative linguistics, Chinese grammar, comparative linguistics, language acquisition and its education. He has published six monographs and over 40 articles in these areas. He is on the editorial board of several linguistics journals both within and outside China.


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How to Cite

Wang, Y., & Xu, J. (2013). The interrelation between evaluative categories and evaluated items. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 8(1), 29–61.