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Forum » Test category » English language forum » English Grammar in English by John Dow (English Grammar Book)
English Grammar in English by John Dow
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:24 PM | Message # 16
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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
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:24 PM | Message # 17
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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.
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
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:25 PM | Message # 18
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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

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
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:25 PM | Message # 19
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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
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:26 PM | Message # 20
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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
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:27 PM | Message # 21
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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.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:27 PM | Message # 22
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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
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:28 PM | Message # 23
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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.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:28 PM | Message # 24
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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?
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:28 PM | Message # 25
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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.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:29 PM | Message # 26
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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
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).
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:29 PM | Message # 27
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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
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:29 PM | Message # 28
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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.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:30 PM | Message # 29
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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

In most cases, the comparative is formed by adding -er , and the superlative is formed by adding -est, to the absolute form. However, a number of very common adjectives are irregular in this respect:


Absolute Comparative Superlative
good better best
bad worse worst
far farther farthest

Some adjectives form the comparative and superlative using more and most respectively:


Absolute Comparative Superlative
important more important most important
miserable more miserable most miserable
recent more recent most recent
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:30 PM | Message # 30
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5.2 Attributive and Predicative Adjectives
Most adjectives can occur both before and after a noun:



the blue sea ~ the sea is blue
the old man ~ the man is old
happy children ~ the children are happy

Adjectives in the first position - before the noun - are called ATTRIBUTIVE adjectives. Those in the second position - after the noun - are called PREDICATIVE adjectives. Notice that predicative adjectives do not occur immediately after the noun. Instead, they follow a verb.
Sometimes an adjective does occur immediately after a noun, especially in certain institutionalised expressions:
the Governor General
the Princess Royal
times past
We refer to these as POSTPOSITIVE adjectives. Postposition is obligatory when the adjective modifies a pronoun:
something useful
everyone present
those responsible
Postpositive adjectives are commonly found together with superlative, attributive adjectives:
the shortest route possible
the worst conditions imaginable
the best hotel available
Most adjectives can freely occur in both the attributive and the predicative positions. However, a small number of adjectives are restricted to one position only. For example, the adjective main (the main reason) can only occur in the attributive position (predicative: *the reason is main). Conversely, the adjective afraid (the child was afraid) can only occur predicatively (attributive: *an afraid child).
We have now looked at the main criteria for the adjective class - gradability, comparative and superlative forms, and the ability to occur attributively and predicatively. Most adjectives fulfil all these criteria, and are known as CENTRAL adjectives. Those which do not fulfil all the criteria are known as PERIPHERAL adjectives.
We will now examine the adjective class in more detail.
 
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