What factors influence the choice between alternative grammatical structures such as the following: a lit / lighted cigarette, more full / fuller of convincing arguments, the main thesis of the book / the book´s main thesis, take hostage a group of 15 holidaymakers / take a group of15 holidaymakers hostage, conceding that the argument is convincing / conceding the argument to be convincing? This is the central issue explored in this volume, which contains a unique selection of innovative in-depth empirical studies written in a broadly functional framework.The factors investigated include the following: phonological influences (such as the principle of rhythmic alternation and optimal syllable structure), frequency, pervasive semantic and pragmatic aspects (including iconicity, markedness, gram-maticalization and typological tendencies), information structure, processing complexity and horror aequi (the avoidance of identity effects).This volume is essential reading for everyone in the field of English grammar and all those interested in how functionalism can be brought to bear in illuminating language structure and use. >From the contents:Manfred KrugFrequency as a determinant in grammatical variation and changeJulia SchlüterPhonological determinants of grammatical variation in English: Chomsky's worst possible caseThomas Wasow and Jennifer ArnoldPost-verbal constituent ordering in EnglishStefan Th. GriesGrammatical variation in English: A question of 'structure vs. function'?John A. HawkinsWhy are zero-marked phrases close to their heads?Günter RohdenburgCognitive complexity and horror aequi as factors determining the use of interrogative clause linkers in EnglishBritta MondorfSupport for more-supportUwe VosbergThe role of extractions and horror aequi in the evolution of -ing- complements in Modern EnglishChristian MairGerundial complements after begin and start: Grammatical and sociolinguistic factors, and how they work against each otherDirk NoëlIs there semantics in all syntax? The case of accusative and infinitive constructions vs. that-clausesAnette RosenbachAspects of iconicity and economy in the choice between the s-genitive and the of-genitive in EnglishAnatol StefanowitschConstructional semantics as a limit to grammatical alternation: The two genitives of EnglishOlga C. M. FischerPrinciples of grammaticalization and linguistic realityPeter Siemund Varieties of English from a cross-linguistic perspective: Intensifiers and reflexivesLieselotte AnderwaldNon-standard English and typological principles: The case of negationSali A. Tagliamonte 'Every place has a different toll': Determinants of grammatical variation in cross-variety perspective.