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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, 1:51 PM | Message # 91
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12.13 Sentence Patterns from a Functional Perspective
In order to summarise what we have learned, we will now look at some typical sentence patterns from a functional perspective. We will then conclude this section by looking at some untypical patterns, on the next page.
As we've seen, the Subject is usually (but not always) the first element in a sentence, and it is followed by the verb:
Pattern 1
Subject Verb
David

The dog

Susan sings

barked

yawned
In this pattern, the verb is not followed by any Object, and we refer to this as an intransitive verb. If the verb is monotransitive, it takes a Direct Object, which follows the verb:
Pattern 2
Subject Verb Direct Object
David

The professor

The jury sings

wants

found ballads

to retire

the defendant guilty

In the ditransitive pattern, the verb is followed by an Indirect Object and a Direct Object, in that order:
Pattern 3
Subject Verb Indirect Object Direct Object
The old man

My uncle

The detectives gave

sent

asked the children

me

Amy some money

a present

lots of questions
Adjuncts are syntactically peripheral to the rest of the sentence. They may occur at the beginning and at the end of a sentence, and they may occur in all three of the patterns above:
Pattern 4
(Adjunct) Subject Verb Indirect Object Direct Object (Adjunct)
[1] Usually David sings in the bath
[2] Unfortunately the professor wants to retire this year
[3] At the start of the trial the judge showed the jury the photographs in a private chamber
Pattern 4 is essentially a conflation of the other three, with Adjuncts added. We have bracketed the Adjuncts to show that they are optional. Strictly speaking, Objects are also optional, since they are only required by monotransitive and ditransitive verbs, as in the examples [2] and [3] above.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:51 PM | Message # 92
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12.14 Some Untypical Sentence Patterns
The sentence patterns we looked at on the previous page represent typical or canonical patterns But you will often come across sentences which do not conform to these patterns. We will look at some of these here.

Extraposition
The Subject is sometimes postponed until the end of the sentence. Here are some examples:
In first place is Red Rum
Inside the house were two detectives
More important is the question of compensation
Here, the typical declarative order has been disrupted for stylistic effect. In these examples, the Subject comes after the verb, and is said to be EXTRAPOSED. Compare them with the more usual pattern:
In first place is Red Rum ~Red Rum is in first place
Inside the house were two detectives ~Two detectives were inside the house
More important is the question of compensation ~The question of compensation is more important
The Subject is also extraposed when the sentence is introduced by anticipatory it:
It is a good idea to book early
It is not surprising that he failed his exams
In the more typical pattern, these constructions may sound stylistically awkward:
To book early is a good idea
That he failed his exams is not surprising
Extraposition is not always just a matter of style. In the following examples, it is obligatory:
It seems that he'll be late again ~*That he'll be late again seems
It turned out that his secretary had stolen the money ~*That his secretary had stolen the money turned out
Direct Objects, too, can be extraposed. Recall that their typical position is after the verb (Pattern 2). However, when anticipatory it is used, the Direct Object is extraposed:
He made it very clear that he would not be coming back
Again, the canonical pattern is stylistically very awkward:
*He made that he would not be coming back very clear
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:51 PM | Message # 93
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Cleft Sentences
A declarative sentence, such as David studied English at Oxford can be reformulated as:
It was David who studied English at Oxford
This is called a CLEFT SENTENCE because the original sentence has been divided (or "cleft") into two clauses: It was David and who studied English at Oxford. Cleft sentences focus on one constituent of the original sentence, placing it after it was (or it is). Here we have focussed on the Subject David, but we could also focus on the Direct Object English:
It was English that David studied at Oxford
or on the Adjunct at Oxford
It was at Oxford that David studied English
Cleft constructions, then, exhibit the pattern:
It + be + focus + clause
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:52 PM | Message # 94
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13 Functions and Phrases
The syntactic functions which we looked at in the last section -- Subject, Object, Predicate, Adjunct, etc -- are all functions within sentences or clauses. We saw, for instance, that most sentences can be divided into two main functional constituents, the Subject and the Predicate:

Subject Predicate
[1] The lion Roared
[2] He writes well
[3] She enjoys going to the cinema
[4] The girl in the blue dress arrived late

Within the Predicate, too, constituents perform various functions -- in [3], for example, going to the cinema performs the function of Direct Object, while in [4], late performs the function of Adjunct. In each of these cases, we are referring to the roles which these constituents perform in the sentence or clause.
We can also assign functions to the constituents of a phrase. Recall that we have said that all phrases have the following generalised structure:
(pre-Head string) --- Head --- (post-Head string)
where the parentheses denote optional elements.
In this section, we will consider the functions of these parts of a phrase -- what roles do they perform in the phrase as a whole?
We will begin by looking at functions within verb phrases.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:52 PM | Message # 95
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13.1 Complements
Consider the bracketed verb phrase in the following sentence:
David [VP plays the piano]
In formal terms, we can analyse this VP using the familiar three-part structure:

pre-Head string Head post-Head string
-- plays the piano

Let us now consider the functions of each of these three parts.
Actually, we already know the function of one of the parts -- the word plays functions as the Head of this VP. The term "Head" is a functional label, indicated by the capital (upper case) letter. Remember that we also capitalize the other functions -- Subject, Object, Predicate, etc.
Turning now to the post-Head string the piano, we can see that it completes the meaning of the Head plays. In functional terms, we refer to this string as the COMPLEMENT of the Head. Here are some more examples of Complements in verb phrases:

pre-Head string Head Complement
never needs money
-- eat vegetables
not say what he is doing

In each case, the Complement completes the meaning of the Head, so there is a strong syntactic link between these two strings.
At this point you may be wondering why we do not simply say that these post-Head strings are Direct Objects. Why do we need the further term Complement?
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:52 PM | Message # 96
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The string which completes the meaning of the Head is not always a Direct Object. Consider the following:
She [VP told me]
Here the post-Head string (the Complement) is an Indirect Object. With ditransitive verbs, two Objects appear:
We [VP gave James a present]
Here, the meaning of the Head gave is completed by two strings -- James and a present. Each string is a Complement of the Head gave.
Finally, consider verb phrases in which the Head is a form of the verb be:
David [VP is a musician]
Amy [VP is clever]
Our car [VP is in the carpark]
The post-Head strings here are neither Direct Objects nor Indirect Objects. The verb be is known as a COPULAR verb. It takes a special type of Complement which we will refer to generally as a COPULAR COMPLEMENT. There is a small number of other copular verbs. In the following examples, we have highlighted the Head, and italicised the Complement:
Our teacher [VP became angry]
Your sister [VP seems upset]
All the players [VP felt very tired] after the game
That [VP sounds great]
It is clear from this that we require the general term Complement to encompass all post-Head strings, regardless of their type. In verb phrases, a wide range of Complements can appear, but in all cases there is a strong syntactic link between the Complement and the Head. The Complement is that part of the VP which is required to complete the meaning of the Head.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:52 PM | Message # 97
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13.2 Complements in other Phrase Types
Complements also occur in all of the other phrase types. We exemplify each type in the following table:

Phrase Type Head Typical Complements Examples
Noun Phrase (NP) noun PP


clause respect for human rights

the realisation that nothing has changed
Verb Phrase (VP) verb NP


clause


PP David plays the piano

They realised that nothing has changed

She looked at the moon
Adjective Phrase (AP) adjective clause

PP easy to read

fond of biscuits
Adverb Phrase (AdvP) adverb PP luckily for me
Prepositional Phrase (PP) preposition NP

PP in the room

from behind the wall

Adverb phrases are very limited in the Complements they can take. In fact, they generally occur without any Complement.
Noun phrases which take Complements generally have an abstract noun as their Head, and they often have a verbal counterpart:

the pursuit of happiness ~we pursue happiness
their belief in ghosts ~they believe in ghosts
the realisation that nothing has changed ~they realise that nothing has changed
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:52 PM | Message # 98
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13.3 Adjuncts in Phrases
The term "Complement" is not simply another word for the "post-Head string" -- post-Head strings are not always Complements. This is because the post-Head string is not always required to complete the meaning of the Head. Consider:
[NP My sister, who will be twenty next week,] has got a new job.
Here the relative clause who will be twenty next week is certainly a post-Head string, but it is not a Complement. Notice that it contributes additional but optional information about the Head sister. In this example, the post-Head string is an ADJUNCT. Like the other Adjuncts we looked at earlier, it contributes additional, optional information.
Adjuncts can occur in all the phrase types, and they may occur both before and after the Head. The following table shows examples of each type:

Phrase Type Head Typical Adjuncts Examples
Noun Phrase (NP) noun PP

AP
clause the books on the shelf

the old lady
cocoa, which is made from cacao beans
Verb Phrase (VP) verb AdvP

PP she rapidly lost interest

he stood on the patio
Adjective Phrase (AP) adjective AdvP it was terribly difficult
Prepositional Phrase (PP) preposition AdvP completely out of control
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:53 PM | Message # 99
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13.4 Complements and Adjuncts Compared
Complements differ from Adjuncts in two important respects:
1. Complements immediately follow the Head

In most phrases, the Complement must immediately follow the Head:
David [VP plays [Complement the piano] [Adjunct beautifully ]]
In contrast, the reverse order is not possible:
*David [VP plays [Adjunct beautifully] [Complement the piano]]
Similarly:
fond [Complement of biscuits] [Adjunct with coffee]
~*fond [Adjunct with coffee] [Complement of biscuits]
Complements, then, bear a much closer relationship to the Head than Adjuncts do.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:53 PM | Message # 100
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2. Adjuncts are "stackable"
In theory at least, we can "stack" an indefinite number of Adjuncts, one after another, within a phrase. For example, consider the NP:
Adjunct Adjunct Adjunct Adjunct
the book on the shelf by Dickens with the red cover that you gave me...
In contrast with this, phrases are limited in the number of Complements that they can take. In fact, they usually have only one Complement. Ditransitive verb phrases are an exception to this. Recall that they take two Complements:
We [VP gave [Complement James] [Complement a present]]
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:53 PM | Message # 101
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13.5 Specifiers
Adjuncts can appear before the Head of a phrase, as well as after the Head. For example, in the following NP, the Adjunct sudden is part of what we have been calling the pre-Head string:
? Adjunct Head Complement
the sudden realisation that nothing has changed

In this section we will look at the function of the remaining part of the pre-Head string. In this example, what is the function of the in the phrase as a whole?
We refer to this part of the phrase as the SPECIFIER of the phrase. Again, Specifiers may occur in all the major phrase types, and we exemplify them in the following table:

Phrase Type Head Typical Specifiers Examples
Noun Phrase (NP) noun Determiners the vehicle
an objection
some people
Verb Phrase (VP) verb `negative' elements not arrive
never plays the piano
Adjective Phrase (AP) adjective AdvP quite remarkable
very fond of animals
Prepositional Phrase (PP) preposition AdvP just across the street
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:54 PM | Message # 102
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An important point about Specifiers is that they relate to the Head + Complement sequence, and not to the Head alone. For example, in the AP very fond of animals , the Specifier very relates to fond of animals, not just to fond:
Amy is very fond of animals
Q. Amy is very what?
A. *Fond
A. Fond of animals
In functional terms, then, the three-part structure of a phrase can be summarised as:
(Specifier) -- [Head -- (Complement)]

You have now completed the Internet Grammar of English.
The Internet Grammar does not, of course, cover every aspect of English grammar, and many of the topics we have looked at could be discussed in much greater detail.
In the Further Reading section, we have listed some other works on grammar, and on the English language generally, which you may find useful.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:54 PM | Message # 103
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1 An Introduction to Word classes 3
1.1 Criteria for Word Classes 4
1.1.1 Meaning 4
1.1.2 The form or `shape' of a word 5
1.1.3 The position or `environment' of a word in a sentence 6
1.2 Open and Closed Word Classes 7
2 Nouns 8
2.1 Characteristics of Nouns 8
2.2 Common and Proper Nouns 10
2.3 Count and Non-count Nouns 10
2.4 Pronouns 11
2.5 Other Types of Pronoun 12
2.6 Numerals 13
2.7 The Gender of Nouns 14
3 Determiners 16
3.1 Numerals and Determiners 17
3.2 Pronouns and Determiners 18
3.3 The Ordering of Determiners 19
3.4 Predeterminers 19
3.5 Central Determiners 20
3.6 Postdeterminers 20
4 Verbs 21
4.1 The Base Form 21
4.2 Past and Present Forms 22
4.3 The Infinitive Form 23
4.4 More Verb Forms: -ing and -ed 23
4.5 Finite and Nonfinite Verbs 24
4.6 Auxiliary Verbs 25
4.7 Auxiliary Verb Types 25
4.8 The NICE Properties of Auxiliaries 28
4.9 Semi-auxiliaries 29
4.10 Tense and Aspect 29
4.11 Voice 31
5 Adjectives 31
5.1 Characteristics of Adjectives 33
5.2 Attributive and Predicative Adjectives 34
5.3 Inherent and Non-inherent Adjectives 35
5.4 Stative and Dynamic Adjectives 36
5.5 Nominal Adjectives 37
5.6 Adjectives and Nouns 38
5.7 Participial Adjectives 40
5.8 The Ordering of Adjectives 44
6 Adverbs
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:55 PM | Message # 104
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6.1 Formal Characteristics of Adverbs 48
6.2 Adverbs and Adjectives 49
6.3 Circumstantial Adverbs 50
6.4 Additives, Exclusives, and Particularizers 51
6.5 Wh- Adverbs 51
6.6 Sentence Adverbs 52
7 Prepositions 52
7.1 Complex Prepositions 53
7.2 Marginal Prepositions 54
8 Conjunctions 55
8.1 Coordination Types 56
8.2 False Coordination 57
9 Minor word classes 58
9.1 Formulaic Expressions 58
9.2 Existential there 59
9.3 Uses of It 59
10 Introduces phrases 60
10.1 Defining a Phrase 60
10.2 The Basic Structure of a Phrase 61
10.3 More Phrase Types 62
10.4 Noun Phrase (NP) 63
10.5 Verb Phrase (VP) 64
10.6 Adjective Phrase (AP) 65
10.7 Adverb Phrase (AdvP) 65
10.8 Prepositional Phrase (PP) 66
10.9 Phrases within Phrases 66
11 Clauses and sentences 67
11.1 The Clause Hierarchy 68
11.2 Finite and Nonfinite Clauses 69
11.3 Subordinate Clause Types 70
11.3.1 Relative Clauses 71
11.3.2 Nominal Relative Clauses 72
11.3.3 Small Clauses 72
11.4 Subordinate Clauses: Semantic Types 73
11.5 Sentences 74
11.6 The Discourse Functions of Sentences 75
11.6.1 Declarative 75
11.6.2 Interrogative 75
11.6.3 Imperative 76
11.6.4 Exclamative 77
11.7 The Grammatical Hierarchy: Words, Phrases, Clauses, and Sentences 77
12 Form and Function 78
12.1 Subject and Predicat
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-05-27, 1:55 PM | Message # 105
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12.2 Characteristics of the Subject 80
12.3 Realisations of the Subject 82
12.4 Some Unusual Subjects 84
12.5 Inside the Predicate 84
12.6 The Direct Object 85
12.7 Realisations of the Direct Object 86
12.8 Subjects and Objects, Active and Passive 87
12.9 The Indirect Object 87
12.10 Realisations of the Indirect Object 88
12.11 Adjuncts 88
12.12 Realisations of Adjuncts 89
12.13 Sentence Patterns from a Functional Perspective 90
12.14 Some Untypical Sentence Patterns 92
13 Functions and Phrases 94
13.1 Complements 94
13.2 Complements in other Phrase Types 96
13.3 Adjuncts in Phrases 97
13.4 Complements and Adjuncts Compared 98
13.5 Specifiers
 
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