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Georgetown University Press | Washington, D.C. Richard V. Teschner and Eston E. Evans Analyzing the Grammar of English Third Edition.
Table of contents
- Navigating English Grammar: A Guide to Analyzing Real Language
- Your Answer
- A SHORT OVERVIEW OF ENGLISH SYNTAX
Chapter goals at the beginning of each chapter help students focus on essential concepts.
Review exercises at the end of each chapter focus on these goals. Teaches the use of phrase marker tree diagrams adapted from transformational grammar and traditional Reed-Kellogg diagrams as alternative tools for analyzing sentence structure graphically. An extensive Instructor's Manual includes an exercise answer key, teaching suggestions, reproducible quizzes, teaching aids, and suggested study plans. Comprehensive discussion of language acquisition, particularly second language acquisition, addresses this increasingly important concern for secondary school teachers in both urban and rural areas.
Includes examples of American regional and social dialects with references to Hispanic and Vietnamese influences to show how English is adapted in various groups. A revised introduction to the classification of English words that distinguishes between traditional and contemporary nomenclature Ch. Additional exercises in some key areas, notably sections related to sentence patterns Ch.
Analyzing English Grammar Zoom. Auxiliaries function as Head, not Dependent, in verb phrase structure. They mostly take non-finite clauses as Complement, like many lexical verbs. Compare the examples in , where the verb phrase is enclosed in brackets, the Head is in capitals and underlining marks the non-finite clause functioning as its Complement:.
We [ CAN answer their queries ]. We [ HELP answer their queries ]. She [ WAS checking the figures ]. He [ WAS attacked by a dog ]. He [ GOT attacked by a dog ]. The particular type of non-finite clause that is used depends on the Head verb, whether auxiliary or lexical. Ought and intend license infinitivals with to , can and help infinitivals without to ; be , in one of its uses, and begin license a non-finite clause with a gerund-participle form of the verb; be , in a second use, and get license one with a past participle form of the verb.
And similarly with the other examples. Little further need be said about do : it is used in constructions like Subject-auxiliary inversion and negation when required to satisfy the requirement that the construction contain an auxiliary. There is also a lexical verb do used in clauses like She did her best , I did him an injustice , etc. Three uses of be can be distinguished, illustrated in :.
They are watching TV. I've been working all morning. It was taken by Jill. He may be arrested. She was a friend of his. That is very likely. It generally serves to indicate that the situation - the action, event, state, or whatever - was, is or will be in progress at the time in question.
There is no active counterpart of [iib] because the latter has no by phrase cf.source
Navigating English Grammar: A Guide to Analyzing Real Language
Thus the interrogative of [a] is Was she a friend of his? In these examples the auxiliary has as its Complement not a non-finite clause but a noun phrase a friend of his and an adjective phrase very likely. This verb belongs to both lexical and auxiliary classes. In She had a swim it is a lexical verb, for the interrogative and negative counterparts are Did she have a swim? The auxiliary uses are seen in :. He has broken his leg. He may have taken it yesterday. She has enough credit. We have to invite them all. It is best regarded as a secondary past tense - the primary past tense being the inflectional preterite.
Note, for example, that the preterite is found only in finite constructions such as He took it yesterday , so it can't occur after may cf. This reflects the fact that while the event of his breaking his leg is located in past time it is seen as having relevance to the present. The most likely scenario is that his leg has not yet healed, so that he is at present incapacitated. Usage is divided as to whether static have is an auxiliary or a lexical verb. Those who say She hasn't enough credit or Have we to invite them all?
Many people use both constructions, though the lexical verb treatment has been gaining ground for some time. Note that in [iia] have , like be in , doesn't have a non-finite clause as Complement. In this section we first note that need and dare , like do and have above, belong to both auxiliary and lexical verb classes; we next set out the main grammatical properties that define the class of modal auxiliaries, then consider the preterite forms, and finally look at the kinds of meaning they express. These are auxiliaries only when followed by an infinitival construction without to , as in Need I bother?
Thus in I need a haircut , I need to get my hair cut , I dare you to repeat that , etc. Note that although We have to invite them all has essentially the same meaning as We must invite them all , this have is not a modal auxiliary: it has none of the above three grammatical properties. It is a special case of the static have , illustrated in [28ii], and as such it is for many speakers not an auxiliary at all, but a lexical verb.
Could , might , would and should are the preterite forms of can , may , will and shall respectively, but the use of these preterites differs from that of other preterite forms in Present-day English. Thus though we can have may in If you come back tomorrow you may find him in , we need might in If you came back tomorrow you might find him in. The preterites tend to be weaker, more tentative or polite than the present tense forms. The modal auxiliaries express a considerable variety of meanings, but they can be grouped into three major types.
Here we are concerned with what is necessary, likely or possible: He must have overslept ; Dinner should be ready in a few minutes ; She may be ill. Here it is a question of properties or dispositions of persons or other entities involved in the situation: She can speak very persuasively ability , Will you help me? This kind of meaning is mainly found with just can , will and dare. In some cases there is a clear ambiguity as to which type of meaning is intended. You must be very tactful , for example, can be interpreted epistemically I'm inferring from evidence that you are very tactful or deontically I'm telling you to be very tactful.
She can't be serious may be understood epistemically She is obviously not being serious or dynamically She is unable to be serious. Nouns form much the largest word class. It contains all words that denote physical entities, but also great numbers of words that do not have this semantic property: in order to be able to identify nouns we therefore need to examine their grammatical properties.
We consider them under three headings: inflection, function and dependents. Nouns generally exhibit inflectional contrasts of number and case :. Nouns can function as Head in noun phrases that in turn function as Subject or Complement in clause structure, or Complement of a preposition, as illustrated in , where nouns are underlined and noun phrases bracketed:.
There are some kinds of Dependent that occur exclusively or almost exclusively with a noun as Head:. Noun phrases typically consist of a Head noun alone or accompanied by one or more Dependents. The Dependents are of three main types: Determiners, Complements and Modifiers. These are found uniquely in the structure of noun phrases. They have the form of determinatives or determinative phrases, as in almost all students , not many people , too few volunteers or genitive noun phrases the girl's voice , some people's behaviour , my book.
Determiners serve to mark the noun phrase as definite or indefinite. We use a definite noun phrase when we assume that its content is sufficient, in the context , to identify the referent. There's only one current Premier of NSW, so the definiteness in the first example is unproblematic, but with the second example there is of course very heavy reliance on context to make the referent clear.
The is a pure marker of definiteness, known as the definite article. Its use effectively pre-empts a which question: if I say Where's the key? I assume you won't need to ask Which key? Noun phrases like black coffee and friends , which have a common noun as Head and no Determiner are normally indefinite.
The clearest cases of Complements involve preposition phrases where the preposition is specified by the Head noun, and certain types of subordinate clause:. With ban and marriage the prepositions required are on and to. The subordinate clauses in [ii] clearly satisfy the licensing test: only a fairly narrow range of nouns can take Complements like these.
The typical pre-Head Modifier is an adjective or adjective phrase: a good book , a very serious matter. But those are not the only possibilities. In particular, nouns can also function as Modifier to a Head noun: a school play , the unemployment situation , etc. Post-Head Modifiers are typically preposition phrases and subordinate clauses that occur more freely than Complements in that they do not have to be licensed by the Head noun: a man of honour , the house opposite the post office , the play that she wrote , the guy who spoke first.
It is also possible to have Modifiers that precede the Determiner: all the books , both these plays , too small a car for our needs. Instead of the latter we need an adjective, an absolute success. Although most nouns have an inflectional contrast between singular and plural, there are a good few that do not - that have only singular or only plural forms:. Note that the last three items in [i] end in s but are nevertheless singular, as evident, for example, from the agreement in This news is good.
Conversely, the last two items in [ii] don't end in s , but are nevertheless plural: cf. These cattle are in good health. Related to the distinction between nouns with variable number and nouns with fixed number is that between count and non-count nouns. Count nouns can take cardinal numerals one , two , three , etc. However, most nouns can occur with either a count or a non-count interpretation :. He pulled out a white hair.
He has white hair. Have another cake. Have some more cake. Can I borrow your football. Let's play football. The interpretations in [a] allow for a contrast between one and more than one cf. When we speak of count and non-count nouns, therefore, we are referring to nouns as used with a count and non-count interpretation. Thus hair is a count noun in [ia], a non-count noun in [ib], and so on.
We noted in Section5. There are, however, certain semantically-motivated types of departure from this pattern, as illustrated in :. There are three main subclasses of noun: common noun , proper noun and pronoun. Common noun is the default subclass and needs no further comment here. They characteristically function as Head of noun phrases serving as proper names , names individually assigned to particular people, places, festivals, days of the week, and so on.
Note, however, that they also occur, derivatively, in other kinds of noun phrase: That's not the Smith I was referring to , Let's listen to some Beethoven. Conversely, not all proper names contain proper nouns: cf. Central Avenue , New Year's Day , and so on. There are several subtypes of pronoun, including:. We will comment here on only the first of these categories. Personal pronouns are those where we find contrasts of person. I and we are first person, used to refer to the speaker or a group containing the speaker.
You is second person, used to refer to the addressee or a group containing one or more addressees. The others are third person: this doesn't encode reference to speaker or addressee and therefore usually refers to entities other than the speaker or addressee. But I can refer to myself or to you in the third person: The writer has noticed The personal pronouns have five inflectional forms:.
I did it. It was I who did it. It bit me. It was me who did it. My son is here. I saw your car. Mine was broken. That's mine. I hurt myself.
We talk to ourselves. Nominatives occur mostly as Head of a Subject noun phrase. Dependent genitives occur when there is a following Head in the noun phrase, independent ones when there isn't. Reflexives usually relate back to the Subject noun phrase, as in the above examples. Most adjectives can be either attributive or predicative :.
These look new. I found it excellent. They seem lonely. Attributive adjectives are pre-head Modifiers in noun phrase structure; predicative adjectives are Predicative Complements in clause structure see Section5. There are, however, some adjectives that are restricted to one or other of these functions:. She's asleep.
He looks content. It's liable to flood. The most central adjectives are gradable : they denote properties that can apply in varying degrees. As such, they can be modified by adverbs of degree and under conditions relating to length and form be inflected for comparative e. Gradable adjectives that don't inflect mark comparative and superlative degree by means of the adverbs more and most respectively: more intelligent , most intelligent. There are also a good number of adjectives that denote non-scalar properties and hence are non-gradable : alphabetical order , the chief difficulty , the federal government , her right eye , third place.
Some adjectives, moreover, can be used in two different senses, one gradable, the other non-gradable and usually the more basic. In The door is open , for example, open is non-gradable, but in You should be more open with us it is gradable. Adjective phrases consist of an adjective as Head, alone or accompanied by one or more Dependents, which may be Complements or Modifiers:. The Complements are preposition phrases or subordinate clauses; in the former case the adjective selects a particular preposition to head the Complement: fond takes of , keen takes on , and so on.
The Modifiers are adverbs e. The majority of adverbs are derived from adjectives by adding the suffix ly : common - commonly , rare - rarely , etc. There are a good number of adverbs not formed in this way, some of them very common e. The major difference between adverbs and adjectives has to do with their functions. Adverbs function as Modifier to a wide range of word or phrase classes, as illustrated in , where underlining marks the modifying adverb and capitals what it modifies:. Too FEW copies were printed.
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A few adverbs inflect for grade soon , sooner , soonest , but for the most part comparatives and superlatives are marked by more and most : more carefully , most carefully. The structure of adverb phrases is broadly similar to that of adjective phrases, but simpler: in particular, very few adverbs license complements. We handled it similarly to the others. It won't end that soon. We left a bit late. The most central members of the preposition class have meanings concerned with relations in time or space: after lunch , at school , before the end , in the garden , off the bridge , on the desk , etc.
In this section we look at the function of prepositions and then at their Complements, and finally consider the phenomenon of preposition stranding. Prepositions function as Head in preposition phrases, and these in turn function as Dependent Complement or Modifier to any of the four major parts of speech:. They ARE in the garden. It's on the WAY to Paris. Usually as in all the examples in  prepositions take a noun phrase as Complement. There are, however, other possibilities:.
I'll stay [ until after lunch ]. I took him [ for dead ]. I can't stay [ for long ]. I told her [ before she left ]. What are you looking at? It's something [ which I can do without ].
A SHORT OVERVIEW OF ENGLISH SYNTAX
This is the book [ I was referring to ]. He went to the same school as [ I went to ]. The construction is characteristic of relatively informal style, but it is a serious mistake to say that it is grammatically incorrect. Negation is marked by individual words such as not , no , never , or by affixes such as we have in un common , non -compliant , in frequent , care less , is n't , wo n't , etc.
We need to distinguish, however, between cases where the negative affects the whole clause clausal negation and those where it affects just a part of it subclausal negation :. He is not well. Surprisingly, he wasn't ill. He is unwell. Not surprisingly, he was ill. The clauses in [i] are negative, but those in [ii] are positive even though they contain a negative element within them. We say this because they behave like obviously positive clauses with respect to the constructions shown in :. He is well, isn't he? Surprisingly, he was ill and so was she.
He is not well, is he? Surprisingly, he wasn't ill and nor was she. He is unwell, isn't he? Not surprisingly, he was ill and so was she. And we see from [iiia], therefore, that He is unwell counts as positive since the tag is negative: the clause is no more negative than He is sick. We get and so after a positive clause and and nor after a negative one. And Not surprisingly, he was ill is shown to be a positive clause because it takes and so.
There are a number of words or expressions that occur readily in negative or interrogative clauses but generally not in positive declaratives. He didn't find any cracks. Didn't he find any cracks? Did he find any cracks? Instead of [iia] we say He found some cracks. They include compounds with any , such as anybody , anyone , anything , etc. More precisely, these are non-affirmative in at least one of their senses: some of them also have senses in which they can occur in affirmative constructions.
The grammatical counterpart is clause type , where we distinguish declarative, interrogative, and so on. The main categories we recognise here are illustrated in :. We use different terms for the clause types than for the speech acts because the relation between the two sets of categories is by no means one-to-one. Consider such examples as :. Grammatically, [i] is declarative, but it would be used as a question: a question can be marked by rising intonation or by punctuation rather than by the grammatical structure. Example [ii] is likewise declarative but again it would be used as a question perhaps in a court cross-examination : the question force this time comes from the verb ask , in the present tense with a 1st person Subject.
Promise in [iii] works in the same way: this example would generally be used to make a promise. This illustrates the point that although we have just a handful of different clause types there are a great many different kinds of speech act: one can apologise, offer, congratulate, beseech, declare a meeting open, and so on. Finally, [iv] is a closed interrogative but would characteristically be used to make a request.
In this use it is what is called an indirect speech act : although it is literally a question it actually conveys something else, a polite request. All canonical clauses are declarative and we need say no more about this type, but a few comments are in order for the remaining four types. These are so called because they are typically used to ask questions with a closed set of answers.
Usually these are Yes and No or their equivalents , but in examples like Is it a boy or a girl? Grammatically they are marked by Subject-auxiliary inversion though such inversion is not restricted to interrogatives: in the declarative Never had I felt so embarrassed it is triggered by the initial placement of the negative never. These are typically used to ask questions with an open set of answers e. This phrase may be Subject Who said that?
If it is Complement or Adjunct it normally occurs at the beginning of the clause, which has Subject-auxiliary inversion, as in the last two examples. It is possible, however, for it to remain in post-verbal position, as in And after that you went where? These have, at the front of the clause, an exclamative phrase containing either how , as in [51iv], or what , as in What a fool I've been!
The most common type of imperative has you understood, as in [51v], or expressed as Subject as in You be careful ; Don't you speak to me like that. The verb is in the plain form, but do is used in the negative: Don't move. We also have 3rd person imperatives like Somebody open the window , distinguished from the declarative precisely by the plain form verb. Subordinate clauses normally function in the structure of a phrase or a larger clause. Whereas main clauses are almost invariably finite, subordinate clauses may be finite or non-finite.
The most central type of finite clause is tensed , i. There is, however, one construction containing a plain form of the verb that belongs in the finite class, the subjunctive :. Subjunctive is thus the name of a syntactic construction, not an inflectional category, as in traditional grammar. It has a plain form verb and when the Subject is a personal pronoun it appears in nominative case. We distinguish three main types of finite subordinate clause: content clauses , relative clauses and comparative clauses. These usually function as Subject or else Complement of a verb, noun, adjective or preposition:.
Like main clauses they select for clause type, except that there are no subordinate imperatives:. The most central kind of relative clauses functions as Modifier in noun phrase structure:. I agree with [ the guy who spoke last ]. I agree with [ the guy that spoke last ]. He lost [ the key which I lent him ]. He lost [ the key I lent him ]. Such clauses contain an overt or covert element which relates back to the Head noun, so we understand in [i] that some guy spoke last and in [ii] that I lent him a key.
This is obvious in the case of [iib], and in [ib] that , although traditionally classified as a relative pronoun, is better regarded as a subordinator, the same one as is found in declarative content clauses like [55i]; on this analysis there is no overt relativised element in [ib] any more than in [iib]. The relativised element can have a variety of functions in the relative clause: in [56i] it is Subject, in [56ii] Object, and so on.
The relative clauses in  are tightly integrated into the structure of the sentence, but it is also possible for relative clauses to be set off by punctuation or intonation, so that they have the status of more loosely attached Supplements , as in:. This is structurally more complex than the above constructions:. Whoever wrote this must be very naive. You can invite who you like. He quickly spent what she gave him. What books he has are in the attic. The underlined sequences here are not themselves clauses but noun phrases: clauses don't denote entities that can be naive or be invited or spent or located in the attic.
Note, moreover, that are in [iib] agrees with a plural noun phrase Subject, whereas Subjects with the form of clauses take 3rd person singular verbs, as in [54i]. Whoever in [58ia] is equivalent to the person who and what in [iia] to that which , and so on. These constructions may look superficially like open interrogative content clauses.
Compare [58iib], for example, with I asked her what she gave him. Comparative clauses generally function as Complement to the prepositions as and than :. I'm as ready as I ever will be. As was expected , Sue won easily. More people came than I'd expected. He has more vices than he has virtues.
The distinctive property of such clauses is that they are structurally incomplete relative to main clauses: there are elements understood but not overtly expressed. In [ia] and [iia] there's a missing Complement and in [ib] a missing Subject. Even in [iib] there's a missing Dependent in the Object noun phrase, for the comparison is between how many vices he has and how many virtues he has.
There are three major kinds of non-finite clause:. He wants to see you. I can't help you. Buying a car was a mistake. He's the guy standing up. All things considered , it's OK. We got told off. Infinitivals contain a plain form of the verb, with or without the special marker to ; gerund-participials and past-participials have verbs in the gerund-participle and past participle forms; for further examples, see  above. Most non-finite clauses have no overt Subject, but all three kinds allow one under certain conditions.