Auxiliaries are one of the most complex areas of English syntax.
Disagreement over both the principles and details of their grammar has been
substantial. Anthony Warner here offers a detailed account of both their
synchronic and diachronic properties. He first argues that lexical
properties are central to their grammar, which is relatively non-abstract.
He then traces in detail the history of processes of grammaticalisation in
their development and claims most notably that we can identify a group of
auxiliaries in English from an early period on formal, not just semantic,
grounds. This book meets the dual challenge of accounting for both the
grammar and the history of the English auxiliary. It will be essential
reading for all those interested in English syntax and its history.