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ESTRATTO DOCUMENTO

-COMPOUND: however, nowhere, anyway

-BY SUFFIXATION: hardly, carefully

-AS FIXED EXPRESSIONS: of course, at last, at first, in the end

We can think of adverbs as something to answer questions, such as HOW, WHERE, WHEN,

HOW OFTEN, TO WHAT EXTENT? They can also reveal our viewpoint (comment). We can

divide them in 3 big subclasses:

-adjuncts: it’s the largest subclass of adverbs and they’re the most similar to adjectives (ex.

careful/ carefully). We can distinguish different kinds of adjuncts:

-adverbs of MANNER (how): the operation was completed carefully

-adverbs of PLACE (location and direction): put the book here / she turned the key clockwise

-adverbs of TIME (when, how long, how often): tonight/ for ages/ every day

-adverbs of DEGREE (to what extent): particularly / almost / absolutely

Some adjuncts can take the form of wh-words, like where, when … They can take the place of a

larger unit, like a phrase or clause.

-Disjuncts: t

hey only relate to complete sentences (not to a particular element of a sentence); they

can comment on what is being said (Obviously, I should have told her) or they can show the

“voice” in which something is said (Honestly, I think she will lose her job).

-Conjuncts: they relate one sentence or one part of a sentence to another, so they have a linking

function.

Ex: liking of 2 sentences -- > it looked as if it might rain. They decided to go out nevertheless.

Ex: linking of 2 parts of the same sentence -- > She was tired and besides she had an

headache.

1)PRONOUNS

A pronoun takes the place of a noun (it means “substitute for noun”):

-ex: Michelle was offered a new job but she refused it.

It can also substitute a complete noun phrase:

-ex: I left some delicious cheese sandwiches on the table and someone has eaten them.

It can also refer to what is unknown:

-ex: Somebody has stolen my jacket.

We can subdivide pronouns into smaller classes:

A) PRIMARY PRONOUNS:

-PERSONAL PRONOUNS in the subjective (I/ you/ he/ she/ it/ we/ you/ they) and objective form

(me/ you/ him/ her/ it/ us/ you/ them);

-POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS in the dependent form (my/ your/ his/ her/ its/ our/ your/ their - > like

determiners) and in the independent form (mine/ yours/ his/ hers/ its/ ours/ yours/ theirs -> real

pronouns);

-REFLEXIVE PRONOUNS: myself/ yourself/ himself/ herself/ itself/ ourselves/ yourselves/

themselves;

-reciprocal pronouns (each other, one another);

-GENERIC PRONOUN: ONE -- > it can be use as impersonal form, but it’s very formal and usually

replaced by you (One has to eat healthy / you have to eat healthy), or it is used as a substitute

pronoun --> I wear the white t-shirt and you wear the pink one.

B) WH-PRONOUNS:

-INTERROGATIVE PRONOUNS: they’re used to ask questions (what, who, why, where, when

whatever -- > Why are you here?);

-RELATIVE PRONOUNS: they’re used to introduce relative clauses (that, which, who, whose,

whom, where, when -- > the cake that you’re eating looks really good);

-NOMINAL RELATIVE WH-PRONOUNS: who, whoever, whom, whomever, which, whichever,

what, whatever (who to ask was something of a problem);

-CONDITIONAL WH-PRONOUNS: whoever, whomever, whichever, whatever (whenever you call

me, I’m here);

C) INDEFINITE PRONOUNS:

Anything, anybody, anyone, something, somebody, someone, nothing, nobody, none, no one,

some, any, all, everything, everybody, everyone, either, neither, both, each, another, several,

many, little, much.

D) DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS:

This / these/ that/ those -- > they’re DEICTIC, their meaning can be understood thanks to the

context, they’re related to the speakers or to the context. This indicates something closer to the

speaker than that. Ex: This book is very expensive, while that is cheaper.

E) NUMERALS:

Numerals are a very problematic category, since they share similarities with nouns, pronouns and

determiners.

Ex: they arrived at the party in twos and threes (here they take the plural like nouns);

There are four people (similarity with determiners).

There are: CARDINAL NUMERALS (one, two, three), ORDINAL NUMERALS (first, second, third)

and FRACTIONS (a quarter, two-thirds).

2)DETERMINERS

Determiners occur only at the beginning of a noun phrase, while adjectives and nouns can also

occur before the head noun, but they come after determiners.

Ex: All these (determiner) large sugary (premodification) doughnuts (head) filled with jam and

cream (postmodification).

According to their position, we can distinguish the determiners in 3 groups: PREDETERMINERS,

CENTRAL DETERMINERS and POSTDETERMINERS. There are restrictions on the number and

type of determiners which can occur in any noun phrase: there may be a predeterminer, a central

determiner and a postdeterminer, but there can be NO CO-OCCURRENCE of any of these types

(there are very few exceptions). For example a noun phrase which already contains a central

determiner the, can not also contain the central determiner some. It is rare (but possible!) that a

noun phrase contains all three kinds of determiners (usually there’s only one or two determiners).

-PREDETERMINERS:

predeterminers specify QUANTITY in the noun which follows them and the major types are:

-“multiplying expressions”, including expressions ending in times (numerals), like twice/

three times, double (twice my salary);

- fractions : half/ a quarter of/ one-third of (half my salary);

-the words ALL and BOTH (all my salary, both my books);

-the exclamative determiners WHAT and SUCH (what a lovely day!);

PREDETERMINERS DO NOT NORMALLY CO-OCCUR ! (*all both my salaries)

-CENTRAL DETERMINERS:

-the definite article THE and the indefinite article A/AN are the most common central

determiners (all the book/ half a chapter);

-the possessive pronouns MY, YOUR, etc. (all my money/ both you dogs);

-the DEMONSTRATIVES too, are central determiners (all these problems, half that

amount); -there are also INDEFINITE DETERMINERS, some, any, (n)either, each, every, enough,

much.

-POSTDETRMINERS:

-CARDINAL and ORDINAL NUMERALS: the two children / his fourth birthday/ my next

project;

-other quantifying expressions, like many, several, few (my many friends/ a few butter);

-the INDEFINITE DETERMINERS another, other;

POSTDETERMINERS CAN CO-OCCUR! Many other people / my next several projects

CO-OCCURRENCE OF DETERMINERS:

-All/ both/ half (predet.) + possessive determiner (central det.) -- > All my life / Both my parents

-The (central det.) + more/less/fewer/most/least/fewest (postdet.) -- > the more the merrier

-A (central det.) + little/few (postdet.) -- > this sauce needs a little sugar

-What (predet.) + a/an (central det.) -- > What a lovely day!

-Such (predet.) + a/an (central det.) -- > this book is such a bore!

-Some/any/no (central det.) + more (postdet.) -- > I’d like some more cake

In Italian it is possible to have co-occurrence of IL (central det.) + AGG. POSSESSIVO (central

det.) but this is impossible in English!

The + my !! -- > The my book* (il mio libro)

Be careful! DETERMINERS ARE ALWAYS FOLLOWED BY A HEAD NOUN!

-Which is the best way to London? -- > this is a pronoun (not followed by a noun);

-Which route is the best way to London? -- > this is a determiner f route (head noun).

3)AUXILIARIES

Auxiliaries only occur in VERB PHRASES (phrases which have a lexical verb as their heads) and

we can distinguish between:

-PRIMARY AUXILIARY VERBS: HAVE – BE – DO, which are used to create progressive or on-

going aspects (to indicate whether the action is complete or on-going), to form questions and for

negation. Do is also used for emphasis:

-“Do you like dogs?” “I do like dogs” (emphasis)

-Phil has gone to the supermarket (complete – perfect)

-Mark is studying (on-going, progressive)

-MODAL AUXILIARY VERBS: they are used to provide shades of meaning. They do NOT

INFLECT ( = coniugare) to show tense. They precede the negative particle not in the negations

and the subject in questions. They take a bare infinitive (without to) when they’re main verbs in

verb phrases.

THREE FUNCTIONS OF MODALS:

1)EPISTEMIC FUNCTION / MODALITY -- > it expresses the degree of certainty associated with

the lexical verb; it’s used to express:

-intention: I will/ shall go tomorrow

-probability: I should be able to go tomorrow

-possibility: I may/ might go tomorrow

2)DEONTIC FUNCTION / MODALITY -- > it expresses the degree of permission or obligation and

it’s used to express:

-ability: I can/ could go tomorrow

-permission: I can/ could/ may/ might go tomorrow

-obligation: I must/ should/ ought to go tomorrow

3)DYNAMIC FUNCTION / MODALITY -- > it expresses real/factual statements, often referring to

past actions; it is used to express:

-habit: I would/ used to have a cup of coffee after lunch

-past ability: I could swim quite well when I was a child

-present ability: I can swim quite well

There are also some MARGINAL AUXILIARIES:

HAVE TO – NEED TO – OUGHT TO – USED TO – TO BE GOING TO

4)PREPOSITIONS

Prepositions show the relationship between two elements and usually introduce a noun phrase

(the dog ran under the table). They can be SIMPLE (formed by just one word, like on, under) or

COMPLEX (formed by two or more words like according to, with regard to). We can distinguish:

-prepositions of TIME: about, after, at, before, past, between, in

-prepositions of PLACE: about, above, on, onto, through

-prepositions of PURPOSE, CAUSE, ASSOCIATION, ATTTUDE: according to, about,

apart from, besides, because of, for, without, with

5)CONJUNCTIONS

They JOIN linguistic elements and can be simple (one word, like as) or complex (more words, like

as far as). They can be subdivided into:

-COORDINATING CONJUCTIONS (coordinators): they join words, phrases and clauses of a

similar status (ex. and, but, or );

-SUBORDINATING CONJUCTIONS (subordinators): they join clauses together (ex. although,

because, as far as, as, before, in case, where, when, etc.) and they occur at the beginning of

clauses. When they introduce a clause, they make that clause SUBORDINATE to another clause

in the sentence (that is said “complex sentence”).

WH-WORDS

Wh-words (but also how, however) are included in 3 different word classes:

-adverbs: When did he phone her?

-pronouns: Who is that guy?

-determiners: Which book did you choose?

MORPHOLOGY

It’s the discipline that deals with the internal structure of words and it’s divided into two branches:

1.Lexical Morphology:(derivational morphology): the means by which existing words have been

constructed and by which new words (neologisms) might be constructed;

2.Inflectional Morphology: deals with the way in which words are adapted in different

grammatical contexts, such as plurals and tense.

SIMPLE AND COMPLEX WORDS:

Simple words cannot be divided into smaller units of meaning, while complex words can be

subdivided into smaller units of meaning.

Ex: sing = simple singer = complex sing +er

fortune = simple unfortunately = complex un + fortune +ate +ly

MORPHEMES: is the smallest linguistic unit of meaning or grammatical in a word:

ex: print = 1 morpheme printer = 2 morphemes (print + er)

Morphemes are usually written within curly braces. {}

Morphemes can be free or bound:

-FREE: it can stand alone as a proper meaningful word (ex. rubbish / printer);

-BOUND: it cannot stand alone (ex. er of printer, un of unfortunately).

ALLOMORPHS

Morphemes are abstract items and they’re realized by allomorphs -- > they’re concrete realizations

of morphemes. The realizations depend on the phonological (or pronunciation) environment in

which that morpheme occurs and the same morpheme can be realized by different allomorphs in

different contexts. Let’s see an example:

Impolite

Illegal

Irregular

Inelegant

The 4 prefixes IM-IL-IR-IN are used to express the contrast with what follows (not polite, not legal,

etc.) but they’re not 4 different morphemes! They’re 4 different allomorphs/realizations of the same

bound morpheme.

COMPOUND AND COMPLEX WORDS

-Compound words are formed by 2 FREE MORPHEMES (which can stand alone), like

businessman, user-friendly.

-Complex words are formed by a ROOT MORPHEME (bound or free) and AT LEAST ONE

BOUND morpheme, like funny (fun + ny), sketchy (sketch + y).

ROOT AND BASE

-A ROOT morpheme is the part of a word which is at the heart of its construction and meaning;

roots are used to identify families of words, like expel, impel, repel which contain the root -pel

which means “drive/force” (and is a bound morpheme).

-A BASE is a unit (meaningful on its own) to which another element can be added to create a new

word; for ex. the word origin is a word which provides the base to form the word original, which

becomes a base itself for both originally and originality.

Derivational morphemes: are affixes used for deriving new words when attached to other

morphemes.

eg. un- ; -able

Inflectional morphemes: which are always suffixes, are not used to create new words and modify

neither the core meaning of a word nor its word classes.

INFLECTIONS : t he principles of adapting words according to the different grammatical contexts, such as

plural form, -ed / -ing endings, which are known as “inflections”.

However, because inflections are part of the internal structure of words, they can be considered also a

branch of MORPHOLOGY (the discipline that deals with the internal structure of words); in fact morphology

is usually subdivided into two parts:

1)Derivational Morphology: deals with the means by which existing words have been constructed and new

words or lexemes might be constructed (word formation strategies);

2) Inflectional Morphology: it represents the relationship between Morphology and grammar, and deals

with the way in which words are adapted in different grammatical contexts (such as plural forms or tenses).

Noun Inflections

Nouns can be inflected to show PLURALITY or to indicate POSSESSION. We can divide nouns into:

-Uncountable Nouns: they cannot be made plural (furniture, sugar, music, physics, linguistics, politics).

-Countable Nouns: they have both the singular and the plural form (flower/s, dog/s).

Words which exist only in the plural form (they don’t fit the categories shown above): they want the verb at

the plural form (trousers, scissors).

-Aggregate Nouns: refer to entities made up of several parts, like cattle, police, dregs, goods; they are

used always in the plural form (ex. the dregs in a bottle of wine taste not pleasant / the police have

surrounded the building).

-Collective Nouns: they refer to groups but they are grammatically countable, because the have both the

singular and plural forms, like family, herd (ex. the family is/are spending Christmas at home / Three

families are going on holiday).

Some nouns can be used in the cont or non-count form according to the context in which they’re used,

according to the meaning they have to express (ex. Wine is an alcoholic drink / Australian wines are very

famous -- > generic sense (1) and a particular variety of wine (2) ).

Plural inflections

When they take the plural form, countable nouns can have a REGULAR (-S) OR IRREGULAR ENDING.

-Some nouns (like bus) add –ES word-finally instead of –S, because when pronouncing, we actually add

an extra syllable -- > bus – buses / bush – bushes.

-The regular ending –S can be pronounced either /s/ or /z/, depending on the consonant which precedes

the inflectional ending; this process is known as ASSIMILATION (a voiceless sound wants to be followed

by a voiceless sound, while a voiced sound wants to be followed by a voiced sound) -- >

-cakes /s/, because /k/ is voiceless

-guns /z/, because /n/ is voiced

-IRREGULAR ENDINGS can be:

-ZERO inflection, like sheep/ sheep;

-VOWEL MUTATION, like tooth-teeth, foot-feet;

-Voicing of final consonant, like leaf-leaves, life-lives;

-Irregular plural inflection, like child-children, ox-oxen;

-Foreign plural, like curriculum-curricula (curriculums).

Possessive case

In English possession can be denoted by an inflectional ending, most typically indicated by -‘S (apostrophe

+ s). It can be applied both to proper and common nouns, like in the example:

Susan’s brother was preparing the dog’s dinner.

Possessive inflection can be added to both singular and plural nouns: for plural nouns (which already

contain an –s), an apostrophe is added:

The girls’ bedroom, BUT -- > The children’s bedroom

However possessive inflection does not refer only to ownership of one person or thing, it can also indicate

time (like in hard day’s work, the work lasted a day), so we need to distinguish different meanings of this

possessive inflection:

-SPECIFYING GENITIVE: the genitive is used as a possessive determiner and answers the question

whose…? -- > The girl’s face; his parents’ home;

-CLASSIFYING GENITIVE: the genitive functions as an adjective or noun modifier and answers the

question what kind of…? -- > Men’s clothing; the women’s movement;

-GENITIIVE OF TIME AND MEASURE: it’s used to specify time, duration, distance, length, monetary

value -- > an hour’s delay; at arm’s length;

-INDIPENDENT / ELLIPTIC GENITIVE: when the following element is omitted, like in It’s Paul’s (book);

I’m going to a friend’s (house); I’m going to the chemist’s (shop).

Sometimes in English we use an OF- CONSTRUCTION rather than a possessive inflection, like in:

The end of the journey = The journey’s end

In some cases the possessive form isn’t used at all, like in the window of the kitchen/ the kitchen window

(usually we don’t say the kitchen’s window).

Verb inflections

The uninflected stem of the verb is known as BASE FORM of the verb and we distinguish between the

TO-INFINITIVE (particle to + base form) and the bare infinitive (without to). The base form of the verb

may be varied by adding 4 REGULAR INFLECTIONS according to the different grammatical

contexts -- > these inflections are used only with LEXICAL VERBS, because primary auxiliary verbs (be,

have, do) have irregular inflections (like am, are, is, has, had, was, were, did, does ...) and modal auxiliary

verbs do not inflect at all (non si coniugano, I can/ she can).

–S INFLECTION

It marks the third person singular of the present tense:

I walk – you walk – HE/SHE/IT WALKS – we walk – you walk – they walk

The person and number of the subject determines which form the verb takes: this relationship is called

concordor agreement.

–ING INFLECTION

The base form of the verb + the -ing inflection is known as –ING PARTICIPLE and occurs in various

grammatical contexts (progressive forms, verb after a preposition ...):

Tom is walking to school

I’m sorry for keeping you waiting so long

–ED This regular inflection is used to form the past tense:

I hoped

They walked

–ED PARTICIPLE

It’s the same form as the regular paste tense, but it’s used for different functions (irregular verbs can

have different forms for both the past tense and the –ed participle):

They have walked three miles today

She’s very admired by her friends

Considered carefully, it’s not a very good idea

ZERO INFLECTION

As for lexical verbs, we can also find the base form without any inflection (zero inflection):

I walk – you go

Irregular verbs

Irregular verbs can take various patterns (for example, all three form can differ/ past and participle can be

identical, etc.):

Make made made

Lose lost lost

Speak spoke spoken

Hurt hurt hurt

Etc. Auxiliary verbs

BE, HAVE and DO are irregular, but BE is the most irregular verb in the English language, because it has 3

different forms for the present tense (am, are, is), while all other verbs have only two (have/has; do/does;

walk/walks), and 2 different forms for the past tense (was, were), while all other verbs have only one (had,

did, walked, etc.).

When a particular form of a verb is unrelated to the base form, so we don’t have an inflectional ending, but

a different form (like am, was, were), we call these forms SUPLLETIONS.

Adjective and abverv inflections

Grading adjectives and adverbs can be used to compare one thing or person with another.

-The UNINFLECTED form of the adjective or adverb (with no inflectional endings) is called ABSOLUTE

FORM: tall;

-the –ER inflection gives the COMPARTIVE FORM: taller;

-the –EST inflection gives the SUPERLATIVE FORM: tallest.

Polysyllabic adjectives and adverbs do not use these inflections for the comparative and superlative forms,

but use the pre-modifying adverbs MORE and MOST.

There are IRREGULAR SUPPLETIVE FORMS of comparatives and superlatives:

GOOD – BETTER – BEST

WEEL – BETTER – BEST

BAD – WORSE – WORST

MUSCH – MORE – MOST

LITTLE – LESS – LEAST

Pronoun inflections

PERSONAL PRONOUNS take different forms depending whether they are in the subjective form

(preceding the verb) or in the objective form (following the verb). These different forms are not inflectional,

but SUPPLETIVE FORMS:

I – ME

YOU – YOU

HE –HIM / SHE – HER / IT – IT

WE – US

YOU – YOU

THEY – THEM

DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS also have SUPPLETIVE forms for the PLURAL:

THIS – THESE

THAT – THOSE SYNTAX - PHRASES

Syntax the rules by which words are combined into larger

= word order, rules that govern the world order. It’s concerned with

units. We can identify three types of larger units of construction:

­PHRASES

­CLAUSES

­SENTENCES

PHRASE – DEFINITION

It’s a GROUP OF WORDS, a unit of linguistic construction smaller than a clause, consisting of a head

What is a phrase?

word and any other words that depend on it. For each class of lexical words there is a major phrase type, that has an example of

that word class as its head (ex. a noun is a lexical word, so we can have a noun phrase, which has a noun as its head). Each phrase

fulfils a function within a clause.

HEAD WORD the central lexical item in the phrase

The in a phrase is (other pre­ or post­modifying elements depend on it) and it

can’t be removed, because without it some crucial information would be missing. In the following example the heads are underlined:

The black Labrador + was chewing + a juicy bone + very noisily

We have 5 types of phrases; four of them have a lexical word as their head (noun, verb, adjective and adverb) and one has a

grammar word as the head (preposition):

PHRASE: NP

­NOUN (head = noun or pronoun)

PHRASE: VP

­VERB (head = verb)

PHRASE: AdjP

­ADJECTIVE (head = adjective)

PHRASE: AdvP

­ADVERB (head = adverb)

PHRASE: PP

­PREPOSITIONAL (head = preposition)

With the exception of prepositional phrase (it cannot consist only of a preposition, there must be other elements depending on the

may actually consist of a single lexical item.

prep.), all other phrase type Example: I (NP) walked (VP) quickly (AdvP).

all phrases can be expanded,

However, because the heads can be premodified or postmodified by other elements. Example:

British grass snakes (NP) may appear (VP) rather dangerous (AdjP).

The noun phrase

• a phrase that has a noun or a pronoun as its head.

A noun phrase is It may consist of a single lexical item or it can be long and

complex (with pre­ and post­modifying elements), more than other phrase types.

Examples of short and long NP:

[NP houses]

[NP the houses]

[NP the beautiful houses]

[NP the beautiful houses admired by the architect]

HEADS OF A NOUN PHRASE

Besides nouns, the head of a noun phrase can also be:

PRONOUN

­a ­­ > She (NP) phoned me yesterday/ Someone (NP) who knows you,

ADJECTIVE USED PRONOMINALLY

­an (=aggettivo sostantivato) ­­ > the rich and the poor / the innocent was let free; these

adjectives do not have plural inflection;

CARDINAL NUMBER

­a ­­ > the magnificent seven.

PRE­ AND POST­MODIFICATION

The noun phrase can be preceded by elements that pre­modify it, or followed by elements that post­modify it (post­modifiers can be

complements, that­clauses, infinitive to­clauses). Example:

Those (determiner) large sugary (premodifying elements) doughnuts (head noun) filled with jam and cream (post­modifying

elements).

PRE­MODIFYING ELEMENTS

There are many elements that can occur in pre­modifying position.

Premodifiers are usually adjectives (including deverbal ones) and more than one adjective can appear in the premodifying

position (usually no more than three); when more than one adjective precedes the head noun, there is an ordering process to

consider. For example, adjectives relating to size, age and colour occur in a set order and gradable adjectives precede non­

gradable ones. Examples:

A pretty (gradable) woollen (non­gradable) dress

A large old blue (size, age, colour) suitcase

A head noun can also be pre­modified by other nouns, both common and proper. There’s a logical relationship between them,

that the reader must understand. Examples:

A suitcase / Several guests ­­ > the heads (underlined) are preceded by common nouns

leather party

The experience / fashion ­­ > the heads (underlined) are preceded by proper nouns

London Gucci

The music ­­ > the head can be preceded also by a noun in the possessive form.

composer’s

NOUN­SEQUENCES,

Here are some which express relationships between the nouns:

Composition: glass windows (= windows made of glass)

Purpose: brandy bottle (= bottle used for brandy)

Identity: men workers (=workers who are men)

Content: market report (=a report about market)

Objective (process / action): egg production (x produces eggs)

Subjective: child development (children develop)

Time: winter holidays (holidays that occur during the winter)

Location: Milan Trade Fair (trade fair located in Milan)

Institution: insurance company (company for selling insurance)

Partitive: family member (member of a family)

Specialization: Gossip columnist (journalist who specializes in gossip)

Some other noun­sequences not included above are:

­RIOT POLIC = police used to control riots

­VOICE COMMUNICATION = communication using voice

­BANK HOLIDAY = holiday observed by banks.

POST­MODIFYING ELEMENTS head nouns can be post­modified by both PHRASES and CLAUSES.

Many elements can have this function, indeed

Example: The proposal for a new building which the committee put forward last week

The NP [the proposal] is post­modified by both a prepositional phrase [for a new building] and a relative clause[which the committee

put forward last week].

ADVERB PHRASES can occur post­nominally, in particular those referring to time and place:

The meeting [NP] yesterday [AdvP] / The trip [NP] abroad [AdvP]

adjectives can occur post­nominally

Some instead of pre­nominally, example:

president heir

elect; apparent

CLAUSES in the post­modifying position are that­clauses, infinitive to­clauses, relative clauses, comparative clauses. Examples:

The girl [NP] who phoned … ­­ > relative clause

The belief [NP] that God exists ­­ > that­clause

Pat showed less interest than Tom did ­­ >comparative clause

Verb phrase

• A verb phrase has a LEXICAL or PRIMARY

Verb and noun phrases are the most central ones in the construction of sentences.

VERB as its head, preceded by an auxiliary verb or followed by a participle (in the –ed or –ing form). A verb phrase (VP) can

contain only one auxiliary verb, but up to three primary auxiliaries.

[The naughty children NP] [might have been being told off VP] ­­ > one modal auxiliary (might) + three primary auxiliaries (have been

being) + lexical verb (told off).

AUXILIARIES:

­MODAL AUXILIARIES (can, could, must, might, may, shall, should, will, would) are used to add shades of meaning (possibility,

permission, obligation, etc.);

­PRIMARY AUXILIARIES (have, be, do) are used to construct questions and for negation (do is also used for emphasis) and they

construct different ASPECTS (they indicate whether the action indicated by the lexical verb is compete or on­going) and different

VOICES (they indicate whether the action is active or passive).

TENSE a grammatical feature of verbs, indicated by inflections. In English we have

A feature possessed by VP only is tense: this is

only two tenses, present and past:

­PRESENT TENSE is indicated by the base form and by inflection –s for the third person singular;

­PAST TENSE is indicated by the –ED inflection for regular verbs and by the equivalent form for irregular verbs.

BE CAREFUL ! TENSE IS NOT TIME!

TENSE is the grammatical form/ending on a verb stem, but it doesn’t always correspond to the time indicated by the

sentence. Examples:

­I said I would give him dinner when he arrived ­­ > past tense, but the semantic meaning is future, in the sentence with this form we

refer to a moment in the future;

­I like wine ­­ > this is a general truth, so the present tense used does not refer to a present action;

­The train leaves at 7.30 ­­ > present tense, but reference to the future.

there is not a future tense,

In English so we use different forms to refer to this time: present simple for timetables, present

continuous, going to (also called “periphrastic verb” or semi­modal) for planned actions and intentions, the modal WILL + bare

infinitive for predicted actions or unplanned ones.

FINITE AND NON­FINITE VERB PHRASES

When a verb phrase is MARKED FOR TENSE, IT IS FINITE

When a verb phrase is NOT MARKED FOT TENSE, IT IS NON­FINITE

If a finite verb­phrase consists of a lexical verb only, the tense is marked on it ­­ > She walks She walked

/

THE TENSE IS ALWAYS MARKED ON THE FIRST ELEMENT OF THE

If a finite verb­phrase consists of more than one element,

VERB PHRASE ­­ > She walking / She walking

is was

NON­FINITE VERB PHRASES are not marked for tense and take one of the following forms:

FORM

1)INFINITIVE of the verb with or without to;

FORM

2)ING as the FIRST OR ONLY ELEMENT;

FORM

3)ED as the FIRST OR ONLY ELEMENT;

Examples:

1) To arrive on time was their duty ­­ > VP = infinitive phrase, non­finite (with the particle to);

To have arrived on time was their objective ­­ > VP = infinitive phrase in the perfect aspect, but it’s not past tense! So it’s a non­

finite verb phrase;

Susan helped wash up ­­ > VP = infinitive phrase, non­finite (without particle to).

2)Philip went out for a walk, hoping to see the rainbow ­­ > VP = ­ing form, non­finite form;

3)Summoned to an urgent meeting, Peter left at once ­­ > VP = ­ed form, non­finite form.

ROLE AND POSITION OF THE AUXILIARIES

The auxiliary verbs always precede the lexical verb and they dictate the form that the following element takes. There is an order that

the auxiliaries must follow: MODAL AUXILIARIES PRECEDE THE PRIMARY ONES:

Fred might have arrived by now.

ASPECT – EXPRESSED BY PRIMARY AUXILIARY VERBS

aspect, that is to show whether the action or state referred to by the

Primary auxiliaries have the main function of indicating the

lexical verb is complete or on­going. Aspects can be combined with tense, so when no aspect is described, then the tense is

defined simple. There are two aspects:

PERFECT ASPECT denotes the completion of the action and points back to an earlier moment, and usually signals that the

circumstances or consequences continue up to a certain time, that can be the present (present perfect), the past (past perfect) or the

future (future perfect). The primary auxiliary used is HAVE + ­ED PARTICIPLE.

PROGRESSIVE ASPECT denotes that the activity is on­going; the present progressive indicates an event that is happening now or

is quite certain/planned for the future, the past progressive signals an event that was happening in past time, and the future

progressive is used to express an action that will be in progress in future time. The primary auxiliary used is BE + ­ING PARTICIPLE.

It is possible for the aspect of the verb to be both perfect and progressive: They had been dancing for twenty minutes when the band

stopped playing

Both the progressive and the perfect aspect may occur with modal auxiliaries. Examples:

­Progressive form: Sarah is helping her sister / Sarah might be helping her sister

­Perfect form: Sarah has helped her sister / Sarah might have helped her sister

­Progressive / perfect form: Sarah has been skating / Sarah might have been skating.

VOICE – ACTIVE AND PASSIVE

the contrast between ACTIVE and PASSIVE.

Voice is An active verb is a verb phrase in which the subject is also the agent of the

activity (who does the action denoted by the verb). A passive verb is a verb phrase in which the subject is the affected element of the

lexical verb (something is done to it)and the real agent is indicated with a by­phrase. As a consequence, a clause can be active or

passive.

George is eating an apple (active)

The apple is being eaten by George (passive)

The primary auxiliary used to form the passive voice is be followed by –ed participle (or the equivalent for irregular verbs).

Modal verbs can occur both in active and passive verb phrases:

The mechanic might being repairing the machine

The machine might be being repaired

INTERNAL STRUCTURE OF THE VERB PHRASE

The phrase cannot include elements that are not allowed by the phrase structure rules. Only adverbs (a particular class of

words) can occur within a verb phrase, especially disjuncts, usually after the first auxiliary (while adverbs of manner occur at the end

or before a VP, in order to modify its meaning):

They have told off ­­ > disjuncts

certainly /severely

He came in ­­ > adverb of manner

slowly

Adverbs can appear in front, mid­ and end position in sentence.

Adjective & Adverb phrases

The ADJECTIVE PHRASE has an adjective as its head and this can be followed by post­modifiers or preceded by pre­modifiers.

Predicative adjectives can constitute an AdjP, while attributive adjectives modify noun phrases. Example:

The hungry cat (NP; pre­modifiers = determiner the and attributive adjective hungry) was feeling (VP) aggressive (AdjP,

predicative adjective).

The ADVERB PHRASE has an adverb as its head:

The hungry cat (NP) was sleeping (VP) deeply (AdvP).

The heads in AdjP and AdvP are frequently pre­modified by another adverb (an intensifier) or followed by “indeed” and “enough”:

Extremely cold (AdjP)

Very slowly (AdvP)

Warm enough

Hot indeed

Prepositional phrase

The PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE has a preposition as its head, but the head must be accompanied by another element, the

prepositional complement, otherwise the phrase is not complete. This prepositional complement is usually:

­a NOUN / NON PHRASE ­­ > John was searching in the cupboard

­an ADVERB / ADVERB PHRASE ­­ > You’ll e getting it by tomorrow

by shifting it:

We can tell whether a PP is an integral part of another phrase,

Clive (NP) gave (VP) Kate (NP) a large bouquet of roses (NP) ­­ > * Of roses Clive gave Kate a large bouquet

She (NP) cycled (VP) 50miles (NP) for charity (PP) ­­ > For charity she cycled 50miles ­­ > it can be shifted, so it’s an

independent prepositional phrase.

Prepositional phrases can also post-modify head words of AdjP and AdvP:

Peter felt ready for a beer

Unhappily for Sarah, she fell off the bike

-Phrases are formed from words;

-clauses are formed from phrases;

-sentences are formed from clauses.

CLAUSE = unit of syntactic structure, larger than a phrase and usually containing a subject element,

a verb element (typically finite) and any verb complementation. Clauses form sentences: a sentence

will be made up from at least one MAIN CLAUSE (a clause that makes sense on its own, not dependent

on or part of any other clause).

Clauses can be made up from 5 elements, each one with a different function:

-SUBJECT (S)

-VERB (V)

-OBJECT (O)

-COMPLEMENT (C), predicative of the subject and of the object

-ADVERBIAL (A), it can be an AdvP, a PP or a clause (=complemento in italiano)

NB: PHRASES AND CLAUSES ARE TWO DIFFERENT LEVELS OF ANALYSIS!

FORM (phrase structure) IS DIFFERENT FROM FUNCTION (clause elements)!

Example: [The black Labrador NP] (S) [has bitten VP] (V) [Mr. Smith NP] (O)

Form: NP + VP + NP

Function: S + V + O

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE SUBJECT ELEMENT

The subject typically occurs before the verb (in the subject position) and indicates the person who, or

the thing that does the action of the verb. It dictates whether the verb will be singular or plural and this

distinction is particularly clear for the verb be (that has three different forms):

st

I am considering a career move (1 person)

nd

You are watching television (2 person)

rd

She is babysitting (3 person)

The subject element is usually a NOUN PHRASE or a PRONOUN, but it can also be a CLAUSE or a

DUMMY SUBJECT:

-The girl was watching television (NP)

-She was watching television (pronoun)

-It was snowing (dummy subject –it)

-There is no more jam (dummy subject – there)

-What the teacher said was interesting (a clause)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE VERB ELEMENT

The verb element must be a verb phrase and has a very central role: it’s the most obligatory element

of the clause and cannot be omitted (a part from very rare occasions, in expressions such as “like father,

like son”). It expresses a range of different meanings: actions, states, processes …

Some lexical verbs are complete without any verb complementation, they can stand alone (without

object):

Ex. Paul FELL -- > it is complete, doesn’t need an object

Some other lexical verbs dictate which elements have to follow, because they cannot occur without

complementation, or the clause will be incomplete:

Ex. Paul BROKE … --> it is incomplete, it needs an object, a verb complementation!

VERB COMPLEMENTATION = any obligatory element which follows the verb to make the clause

complete

PREDICATE AND PREDICATOR

The clause is divided into two parts:

CLAUSE

SUBJECT PREDICATE VERB ELEMENT (PREDICATOR) + ANY VERBY COMPLEMENTATION

The subject is the focus or topic of the sentence, while the predicate expresses what we want to say about

the subject. Example:

Paul (subject) broke his ankle (predicate = predicator [broke] + verb complementation/object [his ankle])

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE OBJECT ELEMENT

The object element occurs after the verb and describes the person or the thing that is directly affected

by the verb. It can be a noun, a pronoun or a clause:

-I ate an apple (noun)


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Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea in scienze linguistiche (BRESCIA - MILANO)
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I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher lauraaguzzi94 di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Morfosintassi inglese II e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore - Milano Unicatt o del prof Maggioni Maria Luisa.

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