Recall that if an entity wants to achieve a certain outcome, yet is impeded by some force, this situation can be encoded by a barrier verb in English, such as prevent, ban, protect.
Corpus DataAll data was extracted from The British National Corpus in roughly 2007 (yeah yeah, I could re-do this ... someday). Below are four tables representing the co-occurrence percentages of the most frequent verbs in each of the four categories for which I extracted barrier verb data.
Recall that barrier verbs can occur in one of four full syntactic templates* (S = clause, or an ING verb) which I call the Barrier Verb Construction (BVC):
- A: verb X from S — prevent bad guys from stealing the TV.
- B: verb X from NP — exclude students from the auditorium.
- C: verb X against S — guard against getting athlete's foot.
- D: verb X against NP — defend yourself against the police.
How to read the table: the verb prevent had a total frequency of occurrence of 10286 according to the Kilgarriff data. I found 2152 correct occurrences of prevent intype A of the BVC. I interpret this to mean that about 21% of all instances of the verb prevent (and its morphological variants) within the BNC occur within type A of the Barrier Verb Construction (i.e., with a from ING complement). On the other hand, the word suppress occurred 1311 times overall, but only two of those times did it occur in the BVC (i.e., with a from ING complement).
*These four basic construction types do not include passives or sentences where there is only an implied complement.