Covariational conditional

Covariational Conditional refers to the most commonly used "the X'er, the Y'er" structure in English, for example:

  • "The more I think about it, the less I understand."
  • "The sooner, the better."

The structure is composed of two variables: an independent variable ('the X'er') and a dependent variable ("the Y'er").[1][2][3][4] It has also been called the 'comparative correlative construction'.[5]

In construction grammar this pattern is considered a construction because the pattern is not predictable from any other fact of English grammar already established about 'the'.

'The normally occurs with a head noun but in this construction it requires a comparative phrase. The two major phrases resist classification as either noun phrases or clauses. The requirement that two phrases of this type be juxtaposed is another non-predictable aspect of the pattern. Because the pattern is not strictly predictable, a construction must be posited that specifies the particular form and function involved' (Goldberg 2006, 6).[6]


  1. ^ Jeannette Littlemore; John R. Taylor (19 June 2014). The Bloomsbury Companion to Cognitive Linguistics. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 67–8. ISBN 978-1-4411-5291-6.
  2. ^ Stefanie Wulff (17 September 2010). Rethinking Idiomaticity: A Usage-based Approach. A&C Black. p. 16. ISBN 978-1-4411-1644-4.
  3. ^ Ferenc Kiefer; Mária Ladányi; Péter Siptár (30 May 2012). Current Issues in Morphological Theory: (Ir)regularity, analogy and frequency. Selected papers from the 14th International Morphology Meeting, Budapest, May 2010. John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 84. ISBN 978-90-272-7383-3.
  4. ^ Adele E. Goldberg (2006). Constructions at Work: The Nature of Generalization in Language. Oxford University Press. pp. 54–56. ISBN 978-0-19-926852-8.
  5. ^ Sarah Buschfeld; Thomas Hoffmann; Magnus Huber; Alexander Kautzsch (15 September 2014). The Evolution of Englishes: The Dynamic Model and beyond. John Benjamins Publishing Company. pp. 168–171. ISBN 978-90-272-6941-6.
  6. ^ Goldberg, A. E. (2006). Constructions at Work The nature of generalization in language. Oxford University Press.

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