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English Grammar in English by John Dow
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:42 PM | Message # 61
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10.3 More Phrase Types
Just as a noun functions as the Head of a noun phrase, a verb functions as the Head of a verb phrase, and an adjective functions as the Head of an adjective phrase, and so on. We recognise five phrase types in all:

Phrase Type Head Example
Noun Phrase Noun [the children in class 5]
Verb Phrase Verb [play the piano]
Adjective Phrase Adjective [delighted to meet you]
Adverb Phrase Adverb [very quickly]
Prepositional Phrase Preposition [in the garden]

For convenience, we will use the following abbreviations for the phrase types:

Phrase Type Abbreviation
Noun Phrase NP
Verb Phrase VP
Adjective Phrase AP
Adverb Phrase AdvP
Prepositional Phrase PP

Using these abbreviations, we can now label phrases as well as bracket them. We do this by putting the appropriate label inside the opening bracket:
[NP the small children in class 5]
Now we will say a little more about each of the five phrase types.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:42 PM | Message # 62
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10.4 Noun Phrase (NP)
As we've seen, a noun phrase has a noun as its Head. Determiners and adjective phrases usually constitute the pre-Head string:
[NP the children]
[NP happy children]
[NP the happy children]
In theory at least, the post-Head string in an NP can be indefinitely long:
[NP the dog that chased the cat that killed the mouse that ate the cheese that was made from the milk that came from the cow that...]
Fortunately, they are rarely as long as this in real use.
The Head of an NP does not have to be a common or a proper noun. Recall that pronouns are a subclass of nouns. This means that pronouns, too, can function as the Head of an NP:
[NP I] like coffee
The waitress gave [NP me] the wrong dessert
[NP This] is my car
If the Head is a pronoun, the NP will generally consist of the Head only. This is because pronouns do not take determiners or adjectives, so there will be no pre-Head string. However, with some pronouns, there may be a post-Head string:
[NP Those who arrive late] cannot be admitted until the interval
Similarly, numerals, as a subclass of nouns, can be the Head of an NP:
[NP Two of my guests] have arrived
[NP The first to arrive] was John
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:42 PM | Message # 63
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10.5 Verb Phrase (VP)
In a VERB PHRASE (VP), the Head is always a verb. The pre-Head string, if any, will be a `negative' word such as not [1] or never [2], or an adverb phrase [3]:
[1] [VP not compose an aria]
[2] [VP never compose an aria]
[3] Paul [VP deliberately broke the window]
Many verb Heads must be followed by a post-Head string:
My son [VP made a cake] -- (compare: *My son made)
We [VP keep pigeons] -- (compare: *We keep)
I [VP recommend the fish] -- (compare: *I recommend)
Verbs which require a post-Head string are called TRANSITIVE verbs. The post-Head string, in these examples, is called the DIRECT OBJECT.
In contrast, some verbs are never followed by a direct object:
Susan [VP smiled]
The professor [VP yawned]
These are known as INTRANSITIVE VERBS.
However, most verbs in English can be both transitive and intransitive, so it is perhaps more accurate to refer to transitive and intransitive uses of a verb. The following examples show the two uses of the same verb:
Intransitive: David smokes
Transitive: David smokes cigars
We will return to the structure of verb phrases in a later section.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:42 PM | Message # 64
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10.6 Adjective Phrase (AP)
In an ADJECTIVE PHRASE (AP), the Head word is an adjective. Here are some examples:
Susan is [AP clever]
The doctor is [AP very late]
My sister is [AP fond of animals]
The pre-Head string in an AP is most commonly an adverb phrase such as very or extremely. Adjective Heads may be followed by a post-Head string:
[AP happy to meet you]
[AP ready to go]
[AP afraid of the dark]
A small number of adjective Heads must be followed by a post-Head string. The adjective Head fond is one of these. Compare:
My sister is [AP fond of animals]
*My sister is [fond]
10.7 Adverb Phrase (AdvP)
In an ADVERB PHRASE, the Head word is an adverb. Most commonly, the pre-Head string is another adverb phrase:
He graduated [AdvP very recently]
She left [AdvP quite suddenly]
In AdvPs, there is usually no post-Head string, but here's a rare example:
[AdvP Unfortunately for him], his wife came home early
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:43 PM | Message # 65
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10.8 Prepositional Phrase (PP)
PREPOSITIONAL PHRASES usually consist of a Head -- a preposition -- and a post-Head string only. Here are some examples:
[PP through the window]
[PP over the bar]
[PP across the line]
[PP after midnight]
This makes PPs easy to recognise -- they nearly always begin with a preposition (the Head). A pre-Head string is rarely present, but here are some examples:
[PP straight through the window]
[PP right over the bar]
[PP just after midnight]
10.9 Phrases within Phrases
We will conclude this introduction to phrases by looking briefly at phrases within phrases. Consider the NP:
[NP small children]
It consists of a Head children and a pre-Head string small. Now small is an adjective, so it is the Head of its own adjective phrase. We know this because it could be expanded to form a longer string:
very small children
Here, the adjective Head small has its own pre-Head string very:
[AP very small]
So in small children, we have an AP small embedded with the NP small children. We represent this as follows:
[NP [AP small] children]
All but the simplest phrases will contain smaller phrases within them. Here's another example:
[PP across the road]
Here, the Head is across, and the post-Head string is the road. Now we know that the road is itself an NP -- its Head is road, and it has a pre-Head string the. So we have an NP within the PP:
[PP across [NP the road]]
When you examine phrases, remember to look out for other phrases within them.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:43 PM | Message # 66
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11 Clauses and sentences

So far we have been looking at phrases more or less in isolation. In real use, of course, they occur in isolation only in very restricted circumstances. For example, we find isolated NPs in public signs and notices:
[Exit]
[Sale]
[Restricted Area]
[Hyde Park]
We sometimes use isolated phrases in spoken English, especially in responses to questions:
Q: What would you like to drink?
A: [NP Coffee]
Q: How are you today?
A: [AP Fine]
Q: Where did you park the car?
A: [PP Behind the house]
In more general use, however, phrases are integrated into longer units, which we call CLAUSES:
Q: What would you like to drink?
A: [I'd like coffee]
Q: How are you today?
A: [I'm fine]
Q: Where did you park the car?
A: [I parked the car behind the house]
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:44 PM | Message # 67
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11.1 The Clause Hierarchy
The clause I'd like coffee is a SUBORDINATE CLAUSE within the sentence I think I'd like coffee. We refer to this larger clause as the MATRIX CLAUSE:

The matrix clause is not subordinate to any other, so it is, in fact, co-extensive with the sentence.
We say that the matrix clause is SUPERORDINATE to the subordinate clause.
The terms subordinate and superordinate are relative terms. They describe the relationship between clauses in what is called the CLAUSE HIERARCHY. We can illustrate what this means by looking at a slightly more complicated example:
He said I think I'd like coffee
Here the matrix clause is:
He said I think I'd like coffee
This matrix clause contains two subordinate clauses, which we'll refer to as Sub1 and Sub2:

Sub1 is both subordinate and superordinate. It is subordinate in relation to the matrix clause, and it is superordinate in relation to Sub2.
Subordinate and superordinate, then, are not absolute terms. They describe how clauses are arranged hierarchically relative to each other.
We can bracket and label clauses in the same way as phrases. We will use the following abbreviations:
Matrix Clause: MC
Subordinate Clause: SubC
Applying these labels and brackets to our first example, we get:
[MC I think [SubC I'd like coffee]]
Just as we've seen with phrases, we can have embedding in clauses too. Here, the subordinate clause is embedded within the matrix clause.
There is a greater degree of embedding in our second example, where there are two subordinate clauses, one within the other:
[MC He said [SubC I think [SubC I'd like coffee]]]
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:44 PM | Message # 68
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11.2 Finite and Nonfinite Clauses
As a working definition, let us say that clauses contain at least a verb phrase:
[MC [VP Stop]]
[MC David [VP composed an aria] when he was twelve]
[MC My solicitor [VP sent me a letter] yesterday]
As these examples show, clauses can also contain many other elements, but for now we will concentrate on the VP. We have already seen that verbs (and therefore the VPs that contain them) are either FINITE or NONFINITE, so we can use this distinction to classify clauses. Clauses are either finite or nonfinite.
Finite verb phrases carry tense, and the clauses containing them are FINITE CLAUSES:
[1] She writes home every day (finite clause -- present tense verb)
[2] She wrote home yesterday (finite clause -- past tense verb)
On the other hand, nonfinite verb phrases do not carry tense. Their main verb is either a to-infinitive [3], a bare infinitive [4], an -ed form [5], or an -ing form [6]:
[3] David loves [to play the piano]
[4] We made [David play the piano]
[5] [Written in 1864], it soon became a classic
[6] [Leaving home] can be very traumatic
These are NONFINITE CLAUSES.
Matrix clauses are always finite, as in [1] and [2]. However, they may contain nonfinite subordinate clauses within them. For example:
[MC David loves [SubC to play the piano]]
Here we have a finite matrix clause -- its main verb loves has the present tense form. Within it, there is a nonfinite subordinate clause to play the piano -- its main verb play has the to-infinitive form.
On the other hand, subordinate clauses can be either finite or nonfinite:
Finite: He said [SubC that they stayed at a lovely hotel] -- past tense
Nonfinite: I was advised [SubC to sell my old car] -- to-infinitive
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:44 PM | Message # 69
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11.3 Subordinate Clause Types
Subordinate clauses may be finite or nonfinite. Within this broad classification, we can make many further distinctions. We will begin by looking at subordinate clauses which are distinguished by their formal characteristics.
Many subordinate clauses are named after the form of the verb which they contain:
TO-INFINITIVE CLAUSE:

You must book early [to secure a seat]
BARE INFINITIVE CLAUSE:

They made [the professor forget his notes]
-ING PARTICIPLE CLAUSE:

His hobby is [collecting old photographs]
-ED PARTICIPLE CLAUSE:

[Rejected by his parents], the boy turned to a life of crime
For convenience, we sometimes name a clause after its first element:
IF-CLAUSE:

I'll be there at nine [if I catch the early train]
As we'll see on the next page, if-clauses are sometimes called conditional clauses.
THAT-CLAUSE:

David thinks [that we should have a meeting]
The that element is sometimes ellipted:
David thinks [we should have a meeting]
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:45 PM | Message # 70
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11.3.1 Relative Clauses
An important type of subordinate clause is the RELATIVE CLAUSE. Here are some examples:
The man [who lives beside us] is ill
The video [which you recommended] was terrific
Relative clauses are generally introduced by a relative pronoun, such as who, or which. However, the relative pronoun may be ellipted:
The video [you recommended] was terrific
Another variant, the REDUCED RELATIVE CLAUSE, has no relative pronoun, and the verb is nonfinite:
The man [living beside us] is ill
(Compare: The man [who lives beside us]...)
11.3.2 Nominal Relative Clauses
NOMINAL RELATIVE CLAUSES (or independent relatives) function in some respects like noun phrases:
[What I like best] is football
(cf. the sport I like best...)
The prize will go to [whoever submits the best design]
(cf. the person who submits...)
My son is teaching me [how to use email]
(cf. the way to use email)
This is [where Shakespeare was born]
(cf. the place where...)
The similarity with NPs can be further seen in the fact that certain nominal relatives exhibit number contrast:
Singular: [What we need] is a plan
Plural: [What we need] are new ideas
Notice the agreement here with is (singular) and are (plural).
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:45 PM | Message # 71
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11.3.3 Small Clauses
Finally, we will mention briefly an unusual type of clause, the verbless or SMALL CLAUSE. While clauses usually contain a verb, which is finite or nonfinite, small clauses lack an overt verb:
Susan found [the job very difficult]
We analyse this as a unit because clearly its parts cannot be separated. What Susan found was not the job, but the job very difficult. And we analyse this unit specifically as a clause because we can posit an implicit verb, namely, a form of the verb be:
Susan found [the job (to be) very difficult]
Here are some more examples of small clauses:
Susan considers [David an idiot]
The jury found [the defendant guilty]
[Lunch over], the guests departed quickly
All of the clause types discussed here are distinguished by formal characteristics. On the next page, we will distinguish some more types, this time on the basis of their meaning.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:46 PM | Message # 72
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11.4 Subordinate Clauses: Semantic Types
Here we will look at subordinate clauses from the point of view of their meaning. The main semantic types are exemplified in the following table:
Subordinate Clause Type Example
Temporal I'll ring you again [before I leave]

David joined the army [after he graduated]

[When you leave], please close the door

I read the newspaper [while I was waiting]
Conditional I'll be there at nine [if I can catch the early train]

[Provided he works hard], he'll do very well at school

Don't call me [unless its an emergency]
Concessive He bought me a lovely gift, [although he can't really afford it]

[Even though he worked hard], he failed the final exam

[While I don't agree with her], I can understand her viewpoint
Reason Paul was an hour late [because he missed the train]

I borrowed your lawn mower, [since you weren't using it]

[As I don't know the way], I'll take a taxi
Result The kitchen was flooded, [so we had to go to a restaurant]

I've forgotten my password, [so I can't read my email]
Comparative This is a lot more difficult [than I expected]

She earns as much money [as I do]

I think London is less crowded [than it used to be]
The table does not cover all the possible types, but it does illustrate many of the various meanings which can be expressed by subordinate clauses.
Notice that the same word can introduce different semantic types. For instance, the word while can introduce a temporal clause:
I read the newspaper [while I was waiting]
or a concessive clause:
[While I don't agree with her], I can understand her viewpoint.
Similarly, the word since can express time:
I've known him [since he was a child]
as well as reason:
I borrowed your lawn mower, [since you weren't using it]
In the following exercise, be aware of words like these, which can introduce more than one type of subordinate clause.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:46 PM | Message # 73
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11.5 Sentences
Most people recognise a sentence as a unit which begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop (period), a question mark, or an exclamation mark. Of course, this applies only to written sentences. Sentences have also been defined notionally as units which express a "complete thought", though it is not at all clear what a "complete thought" is.
It is more useful to define a sentence syntactically, as a unit which consists of one or more clauses. According to this definition, the following examples are all sentences:
[1] Paul likes football
[2] You can borrow my pen if you need one
[3] Paul likes football and David likes chess
Sentence [1] is a SIMPLE SENTENCE -- it contains only one clause.
Sentence [2] consists of a matrix clause You can borrow my pen if you need one, and a subordinate clause if you need one. This is called a COMPLEX SENTENCE. A complex sentence is defined as a sentence which contains at least one subordinate clause.
Finally, sentence [3] consists of two clauses which are coordinated with each other. This is a COMPOUND sentence.
By using subordination and coordination, sentences can potentially be infinitely long, but in all cases we can analyse them as one or more clauses.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:46 PM | Message # 74
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11.6 The Discourse Functions of Sentences
Sentences may be classified according to their use in discourse. We recognise four main sentence types:
• declarative
• interrogative
• imperative
• exclamative
11.6.1 Declarative
Declarative sentences are used to convey information or to make statements:
David plays the piano
I hope you can come tomorrow
We've forgotten the milk
Declarative sentences are by far the most common type.
11.6.2 Interrogative
Interrogative sentences are used in asking questions:
Is this your book?
Did you receive my message?
Have you found a new job yet?
The examples above are specifically YES/NO INTERROGATIVES, because they elicit a response which is either yes or no.
ALTERNATIVE INTERROGATIVES offer two or more alternative responses:
Should I telephone you or send an email?
Do you want tea, coffee, or espresso?
Yes/no interrogatives and alternative interrogatives are introduced by an auxiliary verb.
WH- INTERROGATIVES, on the other hand, are introduced by a wh- word, and they elicit an open-ended response:
What happened?
Where do you work?
Who won the Cup Final in 1997?
Questions are sometimes tagged onto the end of a declarative sentence:
David plays the piano, doesn't he?
We've forgotten the milk, haven't we?
There's a big match tonight, isn't there?
These are known as TAG QUESTIONS. They consist of a main or auxiliary verb followed by a pronoun or existential there
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:46 PM | Message # 75
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11.6.3 Imperative
Imperative sentences are used in issuing orders or directives:
Leave your coat in the hall
Give me your phone number
Don't shut the door
Stop!
Tag questions are sometimes added to the end of imperatives:
Leave your coat in the hall, will you?
Write soon, won't you?
In an imperative sentence, the main verb is in the base form. This is an exception to the general rule that matrix clauses are always finite.
11.6.4 Exclamative
Exclamative sentences are used to make exclamations:
What a stupid man he is!
How wonderful you look!
The four sentence types exhibit different syntactic forms, which we will be looking at in a later section. For now, it is worth pointing out that there is not necessarily a one-to-one relationship between the form of a sentence and its discourse function. For instance, the following sentence has declarative form:
You need some help
But when this is spoken with a rising intonation, it becomes a question:
You need some help?
Conversely, rhetorical questions have the form of an interrogative, but they are really statements:
Who cares? ( = I don't care)
 
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