English Theoretical Grammar

3. It is doubtful whether the grammatical category of gender exists in Modern English for it is hardly ever expressed

English Theoretical Grammar

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of a substance.

 

  1. The grammatical meaning of the adjective lies in the fact that this part of speech names a quality possessing certain stability unlike Participle I, for example: a fast train an approaching train.

 

  1. According to their meanings and grammatical characteristics, adjectives fall under two classes: (1) qualitative adjectives, (2) relative adjectives. Qualitative adjectives denote qualities of a substance directly, not through its relation to another substance, as size, shape, colour, physical and mental qualities, qualities of general estimation: little, large, high, soft, warm, white, important, etc. Relative adjectives denote qualities of a substance through their relation to materials (silken, woolen, wooden, metallic), to place (Italian, Asian), to time (monthly, weekly), to some action (preparatory, educational).
  2. Most adjectives have degrees of comparison: the comparative degree and the superlative degree.
  3. In a sentence the adjective may be used as an attribute or as a predicative, the former in preposition being more characteristic.
  4. Substantivized adjectives have acquired some or all of the characteristics of the noun, but their adjectival origin is still generally felt. They may be wholly substantivized (a native, the natives, a natives hut, valuables, sweets, a Ukrainian, Ukrainians) and partially substantivized (the rich, the poor, the unemployed, the English, the good, the evil).
  5. Qualitative adjectives possess all the grammatical features of the adjective and belong to the central group. The peripheral group includes relative adjectives and words of state (asleep, awake) though there is no hard and fast demarcation line between these two groups.

 

Theme 5. THE NOTIONAL PARTS OF SPEECH (continued).

 

Point 5. The verb. The grammatical meaning of the verb. Semantic and grammatical groups of verbs. The valency of verbs. Grammatical categories of the verb (aspect, tense, voice and state). Transpositions of verb-forms. Functional and semantic fields of temporality, state and modality. Verbals, their grammatical categories and syntactic functions.

  1. The verb is a part of speech which denotes an action.
  2. The grammatical meaning of action is understood widely: it is not only activities proper (He wrote a letter) but both a state (He will soon recover) and just an indication of the fact that the given object exists or belongs to a certain class of objects or persons (A chair is a piece of furniture). It is important that the verb conveys the feature as an action within some period of time, however unlimited.
  3. Semantically and grammatically English verbs are grouped as transitive (to give), intransitive (to sleep), regular, irregular, mixed, notional, auxiliary, link (to grow, to turn, to look), terminative (to come), non-terminative (to live) and verbs of double lexical (aspect) character (to see).
  4. The valency of verbs is their combinability. For example, all verbs are characterized by their subordination to the subject of a sentence; transitive verbs are usually combined with an object; auxiliary and link verbs need a notional predicative, etc.
  5. The verb has the grammatical categories of person, number, tense, aspect, voice, and mood.

In Modern English there are but few forms indicating person and number in the synthetic forms of the verb. These are:

  1. The third person singular Present Indefinite Indicative he speaks.
  2. The Future Indefinite Tense I shall speak (He will speak).

The verb to be has suppletive forms for different persons am, is, are.

The category of tense is very clearly expressed in the forms of the English verb. This category denotes the relation of the action either to the moment of speaking or to some definite moment in the past or future. The category of tense and the category of aspect are intermingled. There are four groups of tenses: Indefinite, Continuous, Perfect and Perfect Continuous.

The category of aspect shows the way in which the action develops, whether it is in progress or completed, etc. The Indefinite form has no aspect characteristics whatever, the Continuous, Perfect and Perfect Continuous forms denote both time and aspect relations. Each of these forms includes four tenses: Present, Past, Future and Future-in-the-Past. Thus there are 16 tenses in English.

Voice is the category of the verb which indicates the relation of the predicate to the subject and the object.

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

 

The active voice shows that the person or thing denoted by the subject is the doer of the action expressed by the predicate.

The passive voice shows that the person or thing denoted by the subject is acted upon.

Some scholars assume there is one more voice in English, the so-called neuter-reflexive voice. (E.g. She was dressing herself.)

Mood is a grammatical category which indicates the attitude of the speaker towards the action expressed by the verb from the point of view of its reality.

We distinguish the indicative mood, the imperative mood, and the subjunctive mood.

The Indicative Mood shows that the action or state expressed by the verb is presented as a fact.

The Imperative Mood expresses a command or a request.

The Subjunctive Mood shows that the action or state expressed by the verb is presented as a non-fact, as something imaginary or desired.

  1. Transpositions of verb-forms may be connected with either substitutions of personal forms in special cases (cf.: If he were present, wed ask him in the Subjunctive Mood) or with functional transpositions of tense forms (cf.: He will come tomorrow. He is coming tomorrow.).
  2. The concepts of temporality (time correlations), state and modality are in most cases expressed by verbs, but the fields may be different in nature. The field of temporality may imply different functional patterns for the same action (cf.: He will come next week. He is coming next week. He comes next week, where the first sentence is grammatically central, and the other two peripheral.). On the other hand, the field of temporality may be represented by semantically different classes of verbs, such as terminative, non-terminative, and verbs of double lexical character, the latter belonging to the centre of the field.

As for the functional and semantic fields of state and modality, they may include a central group of verbs expressing these concepts both lexically and functionally, and a peripheral group of other parts of speech used in similar positions.

  1. There are three verbals in English: the participle, the gerund and the infinitive.

The characteristic traits of the verbals are as follows:

1. They have a double nature, nominal and verbal. The participle combines the characteristics of a verb with those of an adjective; the gerund and the infinitive combine the characteristics of a verb with those of a noun.

2. The tense distinctions of the verbals are not absolute, but relative.

3. All the verbals can form predicative constructions.

The participle is a non-finite form of the verb which has a verbal and an adjectival or an adverbial character. Its categories are those of tense-aspect and voice. In the sentence it may be used as an attribute, an adverbial modifier, a predicative and part of a complex object.

The gerund developed from the verbal noun, which in course of time became verbalized preserving at the same time its nominal character. It has the categories of tense-aspect and voice. The gerund can perform the function of subject, object, predicative, attribute and adverbial modifier.

The infinitive is the most abstract verb-form which simply indicates action (in the Indefinite Aspect). That is why it is referred to first in verb articles of dictionaries. Its categories are those of tense-aspect and voice. It can be used as a subject, a predicative, an object, an attribute, and an adverbial modifier.

Theme 5. THE NOTIONAL PARTS OF SPEECH (continued).

 

Point 6. The adverb. The grammatical meaning of the adverb. The semantic classification of adverbs. The degrees of comparison of adverbs. Syntagmatics of adverbs.

 

  1. The adverb is a part of speech which expresses some circumstances that attend an action or state.
  2. The grammatical meaning of the adverb is pointing out some characteristic features of an action or a quality.
  3. According to their meanings adverbs fall under several groups:
  4. adverbs of time (today, soon, etc.);
  5. adverbs of repetition or frequency (often, seldom, over, etc.);
  6. adverbs of place and direction (inside, backward, etc.);
  7. adverbs of cause and consequence (therefore, accordingly, etc.);
  8. adverbs of manner (kindly, hard, etc.);
  9. adverbs of degree, measure and quantity (very, almost, once, etc.).

Three groups of adverbs stand aside: interrogative (where, when, why, how), relative and conjunctive adverbs, the former being used in special questions, and the latter two to introduce subordinate clauses.

Some adverbs are homonymous with prepositions, conjunctions (before, after, since) and words of the category of state.

(d) Some adverbs have degrees of comparison. This grammatical category finds its morphological expression only in a limited group of adverbs, namely, the suppletive forms of well, badly, much, little, and the degrees of comparison of the adverbs fast, near, hard. In other ca

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