Arrows PreviousNext

Lexical Leavings

by Tom Gally



An editor of an English-Japanese dictionary asked me whether the pattern "intend doing" is British English or if it is also used in American English. Her dictionary marks it as British as does the Oxford Advanced Learner's, but the American edition of the Macmillan English Dictionary as well as American Heritage give examples that use the pattern without any dialect markers.

I wasn't sure, so I did a Google search for the strings "he intended going" and "he intended to go." While there were a few contemporary hits for "he intended going" that seemed to have been written by Americans, the large majority were British, Australian, South African, etc.:
The secretary then read a letter he had sent to the National Park at Loch Lomond, and read a letter of reply from them. Basically the National Park, welcome the TLC involvement but will not grant them voting rights at their meetings. A. Stewart stated that they appear not to know what is all involved and only constituted bodies could attend. A. Stewart stated that he intended going to the meeting on 11 December, 2002.

There's also the question of whether holding both jobs may involve the potential for a conflict of interest. And indeed, whether he told the Uniting Church's Sydney Presbytery that he intended going into Parliament when he applied to have his contract at Wesley extended, just a few months ago.

She learnt that he had been paid R600 000 from a provident fund and was transferring money to Australia where he intended going.
Most of the American hits I looked at were from nineteenth-century texts:
I sometime since received a letter from Wirt in which he stated that he was at Uncle Alfred Neales, and that he intended going to your house as soon as the weather should settle. (Letter from Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson to his sister, March 20, 1855)

In the evening as we were returning home he complained a good deal, and until we had gotten home he was very dull and had but little to say. This was very uncommon, as he was very noisy and full of fun. He intended going home that evening but father and mother would not let him go until morning and he was still worse, so father made me get on a horse and go home with him. (Letter from Thomas W. Fisher, a Confederate soldier, to his sister, August 20, 1863)
While contemporary American examples can probably be found, the predominance of British and archaic American hits led me to recommend that "intend doing" continue to be labeled either 《英》 or 《主に英》.
(March 3, 2003)