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 English Grammar in English

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مُساهمةموضوع: English Grammar in English   السبت مارس 07, 2009 7:22 pm

1 An Introduction to Word classes



Words are fundamental units in every sentence, so we will begin by looking at these. Consider the words in the following sentence:

my brother drives a big car
We can tell almost instinctively that brother and car are the same type of word, and also that brother and drives are different types of words. By this we mean that brother and car belong to the same word class. Similarly, when we recognise that brother and drives are different types, we mean that they belong to different word classes. We recognise seven MAJOR word classes:



Verb
be, drive, grow, sing, think
Noun
brother, car, David, house, London
Determiner
a, an, my, some, the
Adjective
big, foolish, happy, talented, tidy
Adverb
happily, recently, soon, then, there
Preposition
at, in, of, over, with
Conjunction
and, because, but, if, or

You may find that other grammars recognise different word classes from the ones listed here. They may also define the boundaries between the classes in different ways. In some grammars, for instance, pronouns are treated as a separate word class, whereas we treat them as a subclass of nouns. A difference like this should not cause confusion. Instead, it highlights an important principle in grammar, known as GRADIENCE. This refers to the fact that the boundaries between the word classes are not absolutely fixed. Many word classes share characteristics with others, and there is considerable overlap between some of the classes. In other words, the boundaries are "fuzzy", so different grammars draw them in different places.
We will discuss each of the major word classes in turn. Then we will look briefly at some MINOR word classes. But first, let us consider how we distinguish between word classes in general.

1.1 Criteria for Word Classes

We began by grouping words more or less on the basis of our instincts about English. We somehow "feel" that brother and car belong to the same class, and that brother and drives belong to different classes. However, in order to conduct an informed study of grammar, we need a much more reliable and more systematic method than this for distinguishing between word classes.
We use a combination of three criteria for determining the word class of a word:

1. The meaning of the word
2. The form or `shape' of the word
3. The position or `environment' of the word in a sentence
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1.1.1 Meaning

Using this criterion, we generalize about the kind of meanings that words convey. For example, we could group together the words brother and car, as well as David, house, and London, on the basis that they all refer to people, places, or things. In fact, this has traditionally been a popular approach to determining members of the class of nouns. It has also been applied to verbs, by saying that they denote some kind of "action", like cook, drive, eat, run, shout, walk.
This approach has certain merits, since it allows us to determine word classes by replacing words in a sentence with words of "similar" meaning. For instance, in the sentence My son cooks dinner every Sunday, we can replace the verb cooks with other "action" words:

My son cooks dinner every Sunday
My son prepares dinner every Sunday
My son eats dinner every Sunday
My son misses dinner every Sunday
On the basis of this replacement test, we can conclude that all of these words belong to the same class, that of "action" words, or verbs.
However, this approach also has some serious limitations. The definition of a noun as a word denoting a person, place, or thing, is wholly inadequate, since it excludes abstract nouns such as time, imagination, repetition, wisdom, and chance. Similarly, to say that verbs are "action" words excludes a verb like be, as in I want to be happy. What "action" does be refer to here? So although this criterion has a certain validity when applied to some words, we need other, more stringent criteria as well.


1.1.2 The form or `shape' of a word

Some words can be assigned to a word class on the basis of their form or `shape'. For example, many nouns have a characteristic -tion ending:

action, condition, contemplation, demonstration, organization, repetition
Similarly, many adjectives end in -able or -ible:

acceptable, credible, miserable, responsible, suitable, terrible
Many words also take what are called INFLECTIONS, that is, regular changes in their form under certain conditions. For example, nouns can take a plural inflection, usually by adding an -s at the end:

car -- cars
dinner -- dinners
book -- books
Verbs also take inflections:

walk -- walks -- walked -- walking


1.1.3 The position or `environment' of a word in a sentence

This criterion refers to where words typically occur in a sentence, and the kinds of words which typically occur near to them. We can illustrate the use of this criterion using a simple example. Compare the following:

[1] I cook dinner every Sunday
[2] The cook is on holiday

In [1], cook is a verb, but in [2], it is a noun. We can see that it is a verb in [1] because it takes the inflections which are typical of verbs:

I cook dinner every Sunday
I cooked dinner last Sunday
I am cooking dinner today
My son cooks dinner every Sunday
And we can see that cook is a noun in [2] because it takes the plural -s inflection

The cooks are on holiday


If we really need to, we can also apply a replacement test, based on our first criterion, replacing cook in each sentence with "similar" words:
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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: English Grammar in English   السبت مارس 07, 2009 7:23 pm

Notice that we can replace verbs with verbs, and nouns with nouns, but we cannot replace verbs with nouns or nouns with verbs:

*I chef dinner every Sunday
*The eat is on holiday

It should be clear from this discussion that there is no one-to-one relation between words and their classes. Cook can be a verb or a noun -- it all depends on how the word is used. In fact, many words can belong to more than one word class. Here are some more examples:

She looks very pale (verb)
She's very proud of her looks (noun)
He drives a fast car (adjective)
He drives very fast on the motorway (adverb)
Turn on the light (noun)
I'm trying to light the fire (verb)
I usually have a light lunch (adjective)
You will see here that each italicised word can belong to more than one word class. However, they only belong to one word class at a time, depending on how they are used. So it is quite wrong to say, for example, "cook is a verb". Instead, we have to say something like "cook is a verb in the sentence I cook dinner every Sunday, but it is a noun in The cook is on holiday".
Of the three criteria for word classes that we have discussed here, the Internet Grammar will emphasise the second and third - the form of words, and how they are positioned or how they function in sentences.


1.2 Open and Closed Word Classes

Some word classes are OPEN, that is, new words can be added to the class as the need arises. The class of nouns, for instance, is potentially infinite, since it is continually being expanded as new scientific discoveries are made, new products are developed, and new ideas are explored. In the late twentieth century, for example, developments in computer technology have given rise to many new nouns:
Internet, website, URL, CD-ROM, email, newsgroup, bitmap, modem, multimedia
New verbs have also been introduced:
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download, upload, reboot, right-click, double-click
The adjective and adverb classes can also be expanded by the addition of new words, though less prolifically.
On the other hand, we never invent new prepositions, determiners, or conjunctions. These classes include words like of, the, and but. They are called CLOSED word classes because they are made up of finite sets of words which are never expanded (though their members may change their spelling, for example, over long periods of time). The subclass of pronouns, within the open noun class, is also closed.
Words in an open class are known as open-class items. Words in a closed class are known as closed-class items.
In the pages which follow, we will look in detail at each of the seven major word classes.

2 Nouns





Nouns are commonly thought of as "naming" words, and specifically as the names of "people, places, or things". Nouns such as John, London, and computer certainly fit this description, but the class of nouns is much broader than this. Nouns also denote abstract and intangible concepts such as birth, happiness, evolution, technology, management, imagination, revenge, politics, hope, cookery, sport, literacy....
Because of this enormous diversity of reference, it is not very useful to study nouns solely in terms of their meaning. It is much more fruitful to consider them from the point of view of their formal characteristics.
2.1 Characteristics of Nouns



Many nouns can be recognised by their endings. Typical noun endings include:


-er/-or

actor, painter, plumber, writer

-ism

criticism, egotism, magnetism, vandalism

-ist

artist, capitalist, journalist, scientist

-ment

arrangement, development, establishment, government

-tion

foundation, organisation, recognition, supposition
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Most nouns have distinctive SINGULAR and PLURAL forms. The plural of regular nouns is formed by adding -s to the singular:


Singular
Plural

car

cars

dog

dogs

house

houses


However, there are many irregular nouns which do not form the plural in this way:


Singular
Plural

man

men

child

children

sheep

sheep


The distinction between singular and plural is known as NUMBER CONTRAST.
We can recognise many nouns because they often have the, a, or an in front of them:


the car
an artist
a surprise
the egg
a review

These words are called determiners, which is the next word class we will look at.
Nouns may take an -'s ("apostrophe s") or GENITIVE MARKER to indicate possession:


the boy's pen
a spider's web
my girlfriend's brother
John's house

If the noun already has an -s ending to mark the plural, then the genitive marker appears only as an apostrophe after the plural form:


the boys' pens
the spiders' webs
the Browns' house

The genitive marker should not be confused with the 's form of contracted verbs, as in John's a good boy (= John is a good boy).
Nouns often co-occur without a genitive marker between them:


rally car
table top
cheese grater
University entrance examination

We will look at these in more detail later, when we discuss noun phrases.

2.2 Common and Proper Nouns



Nouns which name specific people or places are known as PROPER NOUNS.


John
Mary
London
France

Many names consist of more than one word:


John Wesley
Queen Mary
South Africa
Atlantic Ocean
Buckingham Palace

Proper nouns may also refer to times or to dates in the calendar:


January, February, Monday, Tuesday, Christmas, ThanksgivingAll other nouns are COMMON NOUNS
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Since proper nouns usually refer to something or someone unique, they do not normally take plurals. However, they may do so, especially when number is being specifically referred to:


there are three Davids in my class
we met two Christmases ago

For the same reason, names of people and places are not normally preceded by determiners the or a/an, though they can be in certain circumstances:


it's nothing like the AmericaI remember
my brother is an Einstein at maths


2.3 Count and Non-count Nouns

Common nouns are either count or non-count. COUNT nouns can be "counted", as follows:

one pen, two pens, three pens, four pens...
NON-COUNT nouns, on the other hand, cannot be counted in this way:

one software, *two softwares, *three softwares, *four softwares...
From the point of view of grammar, this means that count nouns have singular as well as plural forms, whereas non-count nouns have only a singular form.
It also means that non-count nouns do not take a/an before them:


Count
Non-count
a pen
*a software

In general, non-count nouns are considered to refer to indivisible wholes. For this reason, they are sometimes called MASS nouns.
Some common nouns may be either count or non-count, depending on the kind of reference they have. For example, in I made a cake, cake is a count noun, and the a before it indicates singular number. However, in I like cake, the reference is less specific. It refers to "cake in general", and so cake is non-count in this sentence.

2.4 Pronouns



Pronouns are a major subclass of nouns. We call them a subclass of nouns because they can sometimes replace a noun in a sentence:


Noun
Pronoun

John got a new job

~He got a new job

Children should watch less television

~They should watch less television
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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: English Grammar in English   السبت مارس 07, 2009 7:25 pm

In these examples the pronouns have the same reference as the nouns which they replace. In each case, they refer to people, and so we call them PERSONAL PRONOUNS. However, we also include in this group the pronoun it, although this pronoun does not usually refer to a person. There are three personal pronouns, and each has a singular and a plural form:



Person

Singular

Plural

1st

I

we

2nd

you

you

3rd

he/she/it

they


These pronouns also have another set of forms, which we show here:


Person
Singular
Plural

1st

me

us

2nd

you

you

3rd

him/her/it

them


The first set of forms (I, you, he...) exemplifies the SUBJECTIVE CASE, and the second set (me, you, him...) exemplifies the OBJECTIVE CASE. The distinction between the two cases relates to how they can be used in sentences. For instance, in our first example above, we say that he can replace John



John got a new job

~He got a new job


But he cannot replace John in I gave John a new job. Here, we have to use the objective form him: I gave him a new job.
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2.5 Other Types of Pronoun



As well as personal pronouns, there are many other types, which we summarise here.



Pronoun Type

Members of the Subclass

Example

Possessive

mine, yours, his, hers, ours, theirs

The white car is mine

Reflexive

myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, oneself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves

He injured himself playing football

Reciprocal

each other, one another

They really hate each other

Relative

that, which, who, whose, whom, where, when

The book that you gave me was really boring

Demonstrative

this, that, these, those

This is a new car

Interrogative

who, what, why, where, when, whatever

What did he say to you?

Indefinite

anything, anybody, anyone, something, somebody, someone, nothing, nobody, none, no one

There's something in my shoe


Case and number distinctions do not apply to all pronoun types. In fact, they apply only to personal pronouns, possessive pronouns, and reflexive pronouns. It is only in these types, too, that gender differences are shown (personal he/she, possessive his/hers, reflexive himself/herself). All other types are unvarying in their form.
Many of the pronouns listed above also belong to another word class - the class of determiners. They are pronouns when they occur independently, that is, without a noun following them, as in This is a new car. But when a noun follows them - This car is new - they are determiners. We will look at determiners in the next section.
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A major difference between pronouns and nouns generally is that pronouns do not take the or a/an before them. Further, pronouns do not take adjectives before them, except in very restricted constructions involving some indefinite pronouns (a little something, a certain someone).
While the class of nouns as a whole is an open class, the subclass of pronouns is closed.
2.6 Numerals

Numerals include all numbers, whether as words or as digits. They may be divided into two major types. CARDINAL numerals include words like:

nought, zero, one, two, 3, fifty-six, 100, a thousand
ORDINAL numerals include

first, 2nd, third, fourth, 500th
We classify numerals as a subclass of nouns because in certain circumstances they can take plurals:

five twos are ten
he's in his eighties
They may also take the:

the fourth of July
a product of the 1960s
And some plural numerals can take an adjective before them, just like other nouns:

the house was built in the late 1960s
he's in his early twenties
the temperature is in the high nineties
In each of our examples, the numerals occur independently, that is, without a noun following them. In these positions, we can classify them as a type of noun because they behave in much the same way as nouns do. Notice, for example, that we can replace the numerals in our examples with common nouns:


he is in his eighties
~he is in his bedroom
the fourth of July
~the beginning of July
a product of the 1960s
~a product of the revolution

Numerals do not always occur independently. They often occur before a noun, as in

one day
three pages
the fourth day of July
In this position, we classify them as determiners, which we will examine in the next section.
Finally, see if you can answer this question:
Is the subclass of numerals open or closed?
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2.7 The Gender of Nouns

The gender of nouns plays an important role in the grammar of some languages. In French, for instance, a masculine noun can only take the masculine form of an adjective. If the noun is feminine, then it will take a different form of the same adjective - its feminine form.
In English, however, nouns are not in themselves masculine or feminine. They do not have grammatical gender, though they may refer to male or female people or animals:


the waiter is very prompt
~the waitress is very prompt
the lion roars at night
~the lioness roars at night

These distinctions in spelling reflect differences in sex, but they have no grammatical implications. For instance, we use the same form of an adjective whether we are referring to a waiter or to a waitress:


an efficient waiter
~an efficient waitress

Similarly, the natural distinctions reflected in such pairs as brother/sister, nephew/niece, and king/queen have no consequence for grammar. While they refer to specific sexes, these words are not masculine or feminine in themselves.
However, gender is significant in the choice of a personal pronoun to replace a noun:


John is late
~He is late
Mary is late
~She is late

Here the choice of pronoun is determined by the sex of the person being referred to. However, this distinction is lost in the plural:


John and Mary are late
~They are late
John and David are late
~They are late
Mary and Jane are late
~They are late
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Gender differences are also manifested in possessive pronouns (his/hers) and in reflexive pronouns (himself/herself).
When the notion of sex does not apply -- when we refer to inanimate objects, for instance -- we use the pronoun it:


the letter arrived late
~it arrived late



3 Determiners





Nouns are often preceded by the words the, a, or an. These words are called DETERMINERS. They indicate the kind of reference which the noun has. The determiner the is known as the DEFINITE ARTICLE. It is used before both singular and plural nouns:


Singular
Plural

the taxi

the taxis

the paper

the papers

the apple

the apples


The determiner a (or an, when the following noun begins with a vowel) is the INDEFINITE ARTICLE. It is used when the noun is singular:


a taxi
a paper
an apple

The articles the and a/an are the most common determiners, but there are many others:


any taxi
that question
those apples
this paper
some apple
whatever taxi
whichever taxi

Many determiners express quantity:


all examples
both parents
many people
each person
every night
several computers
few excuses
enough water
no escape

Perhaps the most common way to express quantity is to use a numeral. We look at numerals as determiners in the next section.
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Gender differences are also manifested in possessive pronouns (his/hers) and in reflexive pronouns (himself/herself).
When the notion of sex does not apply -- when we refer to inanimate objects, for instance -- we use the pronoun it:


the letter arrived late
~it arrived late



3 Determiners





Nouns are often preceded by the words the, a, or an. These words are called DETERMINERS. They indicate the kind of reference which the noun has. The determiner the is known as the DEFINITE ARTICLE. It is used before both singular and plural nouns:


Singular
Plural

the taxi

the taxis

the paper

the papers

the apple

the apples


The determiner a (or an, when the following noun begins with a vowel) is the INDEFINITE ARTICLE. It is used when the noun is singular:


a taxi
a paper
an apple

The articles the and a/an are the most common determiners, but there are many others:


any taxi
that question
those apples
this paper
some apple
whatever taxi
whichever taxi

Many determiners express quantity:


all examples
both parents
many people
each person
every night
several computers
few excuses
enough water
no escape

Perhaps the most common way to express quantity is to use a numeral. We look at numerals as determiners in the next section.
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This is a very boring book
~Ivanhoe is a very boring book
That's an excellent film
~Witness is an excellent film

On the other hand, when these words are determiners, they cannot be replaced by nouns:



This book is very boring
~*Ivanhoe book is very boring
That film is excellent
~*Witness film is excellent

The personal pronouns (I, you, he, etc) cannot be determiners. This is also true of the possessive pronouns (mine, yours, his/hers, ours, and theirs). However, these pronouns do have corresponding forms which are determiners:



Possessive Pronoun
Determiner
The white car is mine
My car is white
Yours is the blue coat
Your coat is blue
The car in the garage is his/hers
His/her car is in the garage
David's house is big, but ours is bigger
Our house is bigger than David's
Theirs is the house on the left
Their house is on the left

The definite and the indefinite articles can never be pronouns. They are always determiners.

3.3 The Ordering of Determiners



Determiners occur before nouns, and they indicate the kind of reference which the nouns have. Depending on their relative position before a noun, we distinguish three classes of determiners.




Predeterminer
Central Determiner
Postdeterminer
Noun
I met
all
my
many
friends


A sentence like this is somewhat unusual, because it is rare for all three determiner slots to be filled in the same sentence. Generally, only one or two slots are filled.
3.4 Predeterminers



Predeterminers specify quantity in the noun which follows them, and they are of three major types:
1. "Multiplying" expressions, including expressions ending in times:


twice my salary
double my salary
ten times my salary

2. Fractions


half my salary
one-third my salary

3. The words all and both:


all my salary
both my salaries

Predeterminers do not normally co-occur:


*all half my salary
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3.5 Central Determiners



The definite article the and the indefinite article a/an are the most common central determiners:


all the book
half a chapter

As many of our previous examples show, the word my can also occupy the central determiner slot. This is equally true of the other possessives:


all your money
all his/her money
all our money
all their money

The demonstratives, too, are central determiners:


all these problems
twice that size
four times this amount


3.6 Postdeterminers



Cardinal and ordinal numerals occupy the postdeterminer slot:


the two children
his fourth birthday

This applies also to general ordinals:


my next project
our last meeting
your previous remark
her subsequent letter

Other quantifying expressions are also postdeterminers:


my many friends
our several achievements
the few friends that I have

Unlike predeterminers, postdeterminers can co-occur:


my next two projects
several other people


4 Verbs





Verbs have traditionally been defined as "action" words or "doing" words. The verb in the following sentence is rides:

Paul rides a bicycle

Here, the verb rides certainly denotes an action which Paul performs - the action of riding a bicycle. However, there are many verbs which do not denote an action at all. For example, in Paul seems unhappy, we cannot say that the verb seems denotes an action. We would hardly say that Paul is performing any action when he seems unhappy. So the notion of verbs as "action" words is somewhat limited.
We can achieve a more robust definition of verbs by looking first at their formal features.
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4.1 The Base Form



Here are some examples of verbs in sentences:

[1] She travels to work by train
[2] David sings in the choir
[3] We walked five miles to a garage
[4] I cooked a meal for the family

Notice that in [1] and [2], the verbs have an -s ending, while in [3] and [4], they have an -ed ending. These endings are known as INFLECTIONS, and they are added to the BASE FORM of the verb. In [1], for instance, the -s inflection is added to the base form travel.
Certain endings are characteristic of the base forms of verbs:


Ending
Base Form

-ate

concentrate, demonstrate, illustrate

-ify

clarify, dignify, magnify

-ise/-ize

baptize, conceptualize, realise


4.2 Past and Present Forms




When we refer to a verb in general terms, we usually cite its base form, as in "the verb travel", "the verb sing". We then add inflections to the base form as required.





Base Form

+

Inflection


[1] She
travel
+
s

to work by train

[2] David
sing
+
s

in the choir

[3] We
walk
+
ed

five miles to a garage

[4] I
cook
+
ed

a meal for the whole family


These inflections indicate TENSE. The -s inflection indicates the PRESENT TENSE, and the -ed inflection indicates the PAST TENSE.
Verb endings also indicate PERSON. Recall that when we looked at nouns and pronouns, we saw that there are three persons, each with a singular and a plural form. These are shown in the table below.



Person
Singular
Plural

1st Person

I

we

2nd person

you

you

3rd Person

he/she/John/the dog

they/the dogs
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In sentence [1], She travels to work by train, we have a third person singular pronoun she, and the present tense ending -s. However, if we replace she with a plural pronoun, then the verb will change:

[1] She travels to work by train
[1a] They travel to work by train

The verb travel in [1a] is still in the present tense, but it has changed because the pronoun in front of it has changed. This correspondence between the pronoun (or noun) and the verb is called AGREEMENT or CONCORD. Agreement applies only to verbs in the present tense. In the past tense, there is no distinction between verb forms: she travelled/they travelled.
4.3 The Infinitive Form



The INFINITIVE form of a verb is the form which follows to:




to ask
to believe

to cry

to go

to protect
to sing

to talk

to wish


This form is indistinguishable from the base form. Indeed, many people cite this form when they identify a verb, as in "This is the verb to be", although to is not part of the verb.
Infinitives with to are referred to specifically as TO-INFINITIVES, in order to distinguish them from BARE INFINITIVES, in which to is absent:



To-infinitive
Bare infinitive

Help me to open the gate

Help me open the gate
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4.4 More Verb Forms: -ing and -ed



So far we have looked at three verb forms: the present form, the past form, and the infinitive/base form. Verbs have two further forms which we will look at now.

[1] The old lady is writing a play
[2] The film was produced in Hollywood

The verb form writing in [1] is known as the -ing form, or the -ING PARTICIPLE form. In [2], the verb form produced is called the -ed form, or -ED PARTICIPLE form.
Many so-called -ed participle forms do not end in -ed at all:

The film was written by John Brown
The film was bought by a British company
The film was made in Hollywood

All of these forms are called -ed participle forms, despite their various endings. The term "-ed participle form" is simply a cover term for all of these forms.
The -ed participle form should not be confused with the -ed inflection which is used to indicate the past tense of many verbs.
We have now looked at all five verb forms. By way of summary, let us bring them together and see how they look for different verbs. For convenience, we will illustrate only the third person singular forms (the forms which agree with he/she/it) of each verb. Notice that some verbs have irregular past forms and -ed forms.



Base/Infinitive Form
Present Tense Form
Past Tense Form
-ing Form
-ed Form

cook

he cooks

he cooked

he is cooking

he has cooked

walk

he walks

he walked

he is walking

he has walked

take

he takes

he took

he is taking

he has taken

bring

he brings

he brought

he is bringing

he has brought

be

he is

he was

he is being

he has been
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4.5 Finite and Nonfinite Verbs

Verbs which have the past or the present form are called FINITE verbs. Verbs in any other form (infinitive, -ing, or -ed) are called NONFINITE verbs. This means that verbs with tense are finite, and verbs without tense are nonfinite. The distinction between finite and nonfinite verbs is a very important one in grammar, since it affects how verbs behave in sentences. Here are some examples of each type:




Tense
Finite or Nonfinite?
David plays the piano
Present
Finite
My sister spoke French on holiday
Past
Finite
It took courage to continue after the accident
NONE -- the verb has the infinitive form
Nonfinite
Leaving home can be very traumatic
NONE -- the verb has the -ing form
Nonfinite
Leave immediately when you are asked to do so
NONE -- the verb has the -ed form
Nonfinite

4.6 Auxiliary Verbs



In the examples of -ing and -ed forms which we looked at, you may have noticed that in each case two verbs appeared:


[1] The old lady is writing a play
[2] The film was produced in Hollywood

Writing and produced each has another verb before it. These other verbs (is and was) are known as AUXILIARY VERBS, while writing and produced are known as MAIN VERBS or LEXICAL VERBS. In fact, all the verbs we have looked at on the previous pages have been main verbs.
Auxiliary verbs are sometimes called HELPING VERBS. This is because they may be said to "help" the main verb which comes after them. For example, in The old lady is writing a play, the auxiliary is helps the main verb writing by specifying that the action it denotes is still in progress.
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4.7 Auxiliary Verb Types



In this section we will give a brief account of of each type of auxiliary verb in English. There are five types in total:




Passive be

This is used to form passive constructions, eg.
The film was produced in Hollywood

It has a corresponding present form:
The film is produced in Hollywood

We will return to passives later, when we look at voice.

Progressive be

As the name suggests, the progressive expresses action in progress:
The old lady is writing a play
It also has a past form:
The old lady was writing a play

Perfective have

The perfective auxiliary expresses an action accomplished in the past but retaining current relevance:
She has broken her leg
(Compare: She broke her leg)

Together with the progressive auxiliary, the perfective auxiliary encodes aspect, which we will look at later.

Modal can/could
may/might

shall/should

will/would

must

Modals express permission, ability, obligation, or prediction:
You can have a sweet if you like
He may arrive early
Paul will be a footballer some day
I really should leave now

Dummy Do
This subclass contains only the verb do. It is used to form questions:
Do you like cheese?
to form negative statements:
I do not like cheese
and in giving orders:
Do not eat the cheese
Finally, dummy do can be used for emphasis:
I do like cheese
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An important difference between auxiliary verbs and main verbs is that auxiliaries never occur alone in a sentence. For instance, we cannot remove the main verb from a sentence, leaving only the auxiliary:




I would like a new job

~*I would a new job

You should buy a new car

~*You should a new car

She must be crazy

~*She must crazy


Auxiliaries always occur with a main verb. On the other hand, main verbs can occur without an auxiliary.


I like my new job
I bought a new car
She sings like a bird

In some sentences, it may appear that an auxiliary does occur alone. This is especially true in responses to questions:


Q. Can you sing?
A. Yes, I can

Here the auxiliary can does not really occur without a main verb, since the main verb -- sing -- is in the question. The response is understood to mean:


Yes, I can sing
This is known as ellipsis -- the main verb has been ellipted from the response.
Auxiliaries often appear in a shortened or contracted form, especially in informal contexts. For instance, auxiliary have is often shortened to 've:


I have won the lottery ~I've won the lottery

These shortened forms are called enclitic forms. Sometimes different auxiliaries have the same enclitic forms, so you should distinguish carefully between them:


I'd like a new job ( = modal auxiliary would)
We'd already spent the money by then ( = perfective auxiliary had)

He's been in there for ages ( = perfective auxiliary has)
She's eating her lunch ( = progressive auxiliary is)

The following exercise concentrates on three of the most important auxiliaries -- be, have, and do.
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4.8 The NICE Properties of Auxiliaries



The so-called NICE properties of auxiliaries serve to distinguish them from main verbs. NICE is an acronym for:




Negation

Auxiliaries take not or n't to form the negative, eg. cannot, don't, wouldn't

Inversion

Auxiliaries invert with what precedes them when we form questions:
[I will] see you soon ~[Will I] see you soon?

Code

Auxiliaries may occur "stranded" where a main verb has been omitted:
John never sings, but Mary does

Emphasis

Auxiliaries can be used for emphasis:
I do like cheese


Main verbs do not exhibit these properties. For instance, when we form a question using a main verb, we cannot invert:


[John sings] in the choir ~*[Sings John] in the choir?

Instead, we have to use the auxiliary verb do:


[John sings] in the choir ~[Does John sing] in the choir?
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4.9 Semi-auxiliaries



Among the auxiliary verbs, we distinguish a large number of multi-word verbs, which are called SEMI-AUXILIARIES. These are two-or three-word combinations, and they include the following:




get to
happen to

have to

mean to

seem to
tend to

turn out to

used to

be about to
be going to

be likely to

be supposed to


Like other auxiliaries, the semi-auxiliaries occur before main verbs:


The film is about to start

I'm going to interview the Lord Mayor

I have to leave early today

You are supposed to sign both forms

I used to live in that house

Some of these combinations may, of course, occur in other contexts in which they are not semi-auxiliaries. For example:


I'm going to London

Here, the combination is not a semi-auxiliary, since it does not occur with a main verb. In this sentence, going is a main verb. Notice that it could be replaced by another main verb such as travel (I'm travelling to London). The word 'm is the contracted form of am, the progressive auxiliary, and to, as we'll see later, is a preposition.
4.10 Tense and Aspect

TENSE refers to the absolute location of an event or action in time, either the present or the past. It is marked by an inflection of the verb:
David walks to school (present tense)
David walked to school (past tense)
Reference to other times -- the future, for instance -- can be made in a number of ways, by using the modal auxiliary will, or the semi-auxiliary be going to:
David will walk to school tomorrow
David is going to walk to school tomorrow.
Since the expression of future time does not involve any inflecton of the verb, we do not refer to a "future tense". Strictly speaking, there are only two tenses in English: present and past.
ASPECT refers to how an event or action is to be viewed with respect to time, rather than to its actual location in time. We can illustrate this using the following examples:
[1] David fell in love on his eighteenth birthday
[2] David has fallen in love
[3] David is falling in love
In [1], the verb fell tells us that David fell in love in the past, and specifically on his eighteenth birthday. This is a simple past tense verb.
In [2] also, the action took place in the past, but it is implied that it took place quite recently. Furthermore, it is implied that is still relevant at the time of speaking -- David has fallen in love, and that's why he's behaving strangely. It is worth noting that we cannot say *David has fallen in love on his eighteenth birthday. The auxiliary has here encodes what is known as PERFECTIVE ASPECT, and the auxiliary itself is known as the PERFECTIVE AUXILIARY.
In [3], the action of falling in love is still in progress -- David is falling in love at the time of speaking. For this reason, we call it PROGRESSIVE ASPECT, and the auxiliary is called the PROGRESSIVE AUXILIARY.
Aspect always includes tense. In [2] and [3] above, the aspectual auxiliaries are in the present tense, but they could also be in the past tense:
David had fallen in love -- Perfective Aspect, Past Tense
David was falling in love -- Progressive Aspect, Past Tense
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The perfective auxiliary is always followed by a main verb in the -ed form, while the progressive auxiliary is followed by a main verb in the -ing form. We exemplify these points in the table below:




Perfective Aspect
Progressive Aspect
Present Tense
has fallen
is falling
Past Tense
had fallen
was falling

While aspect always includes tense, tense can occur without aspect (David falls in love, David fell in love).

4.11 Voice

There are two voices in English, the active voice and the passive voice:



Active Voice
Passive Voice
[1] Paul congratulated David
[2] David was congratulated by Paul

Passive constructions are formed using the PASSIVE AUXILIARY be, and the main verb has an -ed inflection. In active constructions, there is no passive auxiliary, though other auxiliaries may occur:
Paul is congratulating David
Paul will congratulate David
Paul has congratulated David
All of these examples are active constructions, since they contain no passive auxiliary. Notice that in the first example (Paul is congratulating David), the auxiliary is the progressive auxiliary, not the passive auxiliary. We know this because the main verb congratulate has an -ing inflection, not an -ed inflection.
In the passive construction in [2], we refer to Paul as the AGENT. This is the one who performs the action of congratulating David. Sometimes no agent is specified:
David was congratulated
We refer to this as an AGENTLESS PASSIVE
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5 Adjectives




Adjectives can be identified using a number of formal criteria. However, we may begin by saying that they typically describe an attribute of a noun:


cold weather
large windows
violent storms


Some adjectives can be identified by their endings. Typical adjective endings include:



-able/-ible

achievable, capable, illegible, remarkable

-al

biographical, functional, internal, logical

-ful

beautiful, careful, grateful, harmful

-ic

cubic, manic, rustic, terrific

-ive

attractive, dismissive, inventive, persuasive

-less

breathless, careless, groundless, restless

-ous

courageous, dangerous, disastrous, fabulous


However, a large number of very common adjectives cannot be identified in this way. They do not have typical adjectival form:




bad
bright

clever

cold

common

complete

dark

deep

difficult

distant
elementary

good

great

honest

hot

main

morose

old

quiet
real

red

silent

simple

strange

wicked

wide

young

As this list shows, adjectives are formally very diverse. However, they have a number of characteristics which we can use to identify them.
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5.1 Characteristics of Adjectives



Adjectives can take a modifying word, such as very, extremely, or less, before them:


very cold weather
extremely large windows
less violent storms


Here, the modifying word locates the adjective on a scale of comparison, at a position higher or lower than the one indicated by the adjective alone.
This characteristic is known as GRADABILITY. Most adjectives are gradable, though if the adjective already denotes the highest position on a scale, then it is non-gradable:




my main reason for coming

~*my very main reason for coming

the principal role in the play

~*the very principal role in the play


As well as taking modifying words like very and extremely,adjectives also take different forms to indicate their position on a scale of comparison:

big bigger biggest


The lowest point on the scale is known as the ABSOLUTE form, the middle point is known as the COMPARATIVE form, and the highest point is known as the SUPERLATIVE form. Here are some more examples:



Absolute
Comparative
Superlative
dark
darker
darkest
new
newer
newest
old
older
oldest
young
younger
youngest
الرجوع الى أعلى الصفحة اذهب الى الأسفل
 
English Grammar in English
استعرض الموضوع السابق استعرض الموضوع التالي الرجوع الى أعلى الصفحة 
صفحة 1 من اصل 4انتقل الى الصفحة : 1, 2, 3, 4  الصفحة التالية
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