Alternating copolymers containing phosphorus were prepared from 2-phenyl-1,3,2-dioxaphospholane, 2-phenyl-4-oxo-5,6-benzo-1,3,2-dioxaphosphorinane with ethylene oxide and γ-butyrolactone. The polymerisations took place without added catalyst. The copolymers were characterised by i.r. and NMR spectroscopy, viscosity measurements and phosphorus estimation. Key intermediates responsible for initiation and propagation of the copolymerisations were isolated and the mechanism of copolymerisation is discussed. © 1982.