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Voume I
Voume I
Linguistics Department
University of Oregon
The paper used n ths pubcaton meets the mnmum requrements of Amercan
Natona Standard for Informaton Scences Permanence of Paper for Prnted
Lbrary Materas, ANSI Z39.48-1984.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Gvn, Tamy, 1936-
Engsh grammar : a functon-based ntroducton / T. Gvn.
p. cm.
I ncudes bbographca references and ndexes.
1. Engsh anguage-Grammar. I. Tte.
PE1106.G57 1993
428.2--dc20 93-18295
I SBN 1-55619-459-5 (set hb)/1-55619-466-8 (set pb) (US ak. paper) CI P
1-55619-457-9 (hb vo. 1)/1-55619-464-1 (pb vo.1) (US ak. paper)
1-55619-458-7 (hb vo.2)/-55619-465-X (pb vo.2) (US) ak. paper)
I SBN 90 272 2100 6 (set hb)/90 272 2117 0 (set pb) (Eur ak. paper)
90 272 2098 0 (hb vo.1)/90 272 2115 4 (pb vo.1) (Eur ak. paper)
90 272 2099 9 (hb vo.2)/90 272 2116 2 (pb vo.2) (Eur ak. paper)
Copyrght 1993 - T. Gvn.
No part of ths book may be reproduced n any form, by prnt, photoprnt, mcrofm, or
any other means, wthout wrtten permsson from the pubsher.
| ohn Ben|amns Pubshng Co. P.O. Box 75577 1070 AN Amsterdam The Netherands
| ohn Ben|amns North Amerca 821 Bethehem Pke Phadepha, PA 19118 USA
The author with Prof. Bolinger, Christmas 1987
Dwght Bonger,
generous teacher,
thoughtfu frend,
over of anguage.
1.1. Grammar and communication 1
1.1.1. Structure vs. functon 1
1.1.2. Arbtrary vs. motvated rues of grammar 2
1.1.3. Rues of grammar vs. communcatve strateges 3
1.1.4. Cross-anguage dversty of grammatca strateges 4
1.2. Whose grammar? 5
1.2.1. Prescrptve vs. descrptve grammars 5
1.2.2. Hstorc tme 8
1.2.3. Age: The grammar of youth 9
1.2.4. Spoken vs. wrtten anguage 13
1.2.5. Educated vs. uneducated grammar 15
1.2.6. Forma vs. nforma grammar 17
1.2.7. Grammar and soca status 17
1.2.8. Grammar and ethnc mnortes 18
1.2.9. Geographca daects 19
1.2.10. Grammar and foregn tak 19
1.2.11. Grammar and ndvdua stye 20
1.3. Grammar for communication 21
1.3.1. Ma|or functons of anguage 21
1.3.2. Words, causes, dscourse 21
1.3.3. Grammar as a communcatve code 25 | ont codng 25 Codng devces n syntax 26
1.4. Theme and variation in syntactic description 27
1.5. Parsing: tree diagrams 28
1.6. Deep structure, surface structure and meaning 30
Notes 37
2.1. Preliminaries 41
2.1.1. Recapitulation: Meaning, information and communication 41
2.1.2. The conceptual lexicon: Semantic features and semantic fields 43
2.1.3. Shared vocabulary: Meaning and cultural world-view 44
2.1.4. History of the English lexicon 45
2.2. Lexical vs. grammatical vocabulary 46
2.2.1. Lexical words 46
2.2.2. Grammatical morphemes 47
2.2.3. Derivational morphemes 47
2.3. The morphemic status of English vocabulary 50
2.4. Lexical word-classes 51
2.4.1. Membership criteria 51
2.4.2. Natural classes: Prototypicality and variability 52
2.4.3. Semantic overview 53
2.4.4. Nouns 55 Semantic characteristics 55 Syntactic behavior 57 Morphological characteristics 58 Grammatical morphology 59 Derivational morphology 60
2.4.5. Adjectives 62 Semantic characteristics 62 Prototypical adjectives 62 Less prototypical adjectives 63 Derived adjectives 64 Polarity of antonymic pairs 64 Syntactic behavior 65 Morphological characteristics 66 Grammatical morphology 66 Derivational morphology 67
2.4.6. Verbs 68 Semantic characterization 68 Syntactic characterization 68 Morphological characterization 68 Grammatical morphology 68 Derivational morphology 70
2.4.7. Adverbs 71 Preambe 71 Manner adverbs 71 Tme, frequency or aspectuaty adverbs 73 Epstemc adverbs 74 Evauatve adverbs 75 Adverbs modfyng ad|ectves 76 Emphatc adverbs 77
2.5. Minor word classes 77
2.5.1. Preambe 77
2.5.2. Prepostons 77
2.5.3. Inter-causa connectves 78 Con|unctons 77 Subordnators 78
2.5.4. Pronouns 79
2.5.5. Determners 80 Artces 80 Demonstratves 80 Possessor pronouns 81
2.5.6. Ouantfers 81
2.5.7. Numeras 81
2.5.8. Ordnas 81
2.5.9. Auxares 81
2.5.10. Inter|ectons 81
Notes 84
3.1. Preliminaries 89
3.1.1. Scope 89
3.1.2. States, events, and actons 90
3.1.3. Semantc roes 90
3.1.4. Grammatca roes 92 Overvew 92 The grammatca sub|ect 94 The grammatca (drect) ob|ect 95 The ndrect ob|ect 95 Nomna predcate 95
3.1.5. Basc word-order of Engsh 96
3.2. Parsing and tree diagrams: Recapitulation 96
3.3. Classification of verbs and simple clauses 99
3.3.1. Transtvty 99 Semantc defnton 99 Syntactc defnton 100
3.3.2. Dummy-sub|ect verbs 100
3.3.3. Copuar verbs 101 The statve copua 'be' 101 The process copua 'get' 103 The process copua 'become' 103 The statve copuas 'seem' and 'appear' 104 The process copua 'turn (nto)' 104
3.3.4. Smpe ntranstve verbs 105
3.3.5. Transtve verbs 106 Prototypca transtve verbs 106 Less prototypca transtve verbs 108 Preambe 108 Datve sub|ects 109 Datve ob|ects 110 Patent-sub|ect as cause 110 Instrument as patent-sub|ect 111 Locatve drect-ob|ects 112 Cognate ob|ects 112 Incorporated patents 114 Assocatve drect ob|ects 115 Transtve verbs of possesson 115 Transtvty and unspecfed ob|ects 115
3.3.6. Intranstve verbs wth an ndrect ob|ect 116 The prototype: Verbs wth a ocatve ndrect-ob|ect 117 Verbs wth datve or patent ndrect-ob|ect 118 Recproca verbs wth an assocatve ndrect-ob|ect 119
3.3.7. B-transtve verbs 120 Preambe 120 The b-transtve prototype: Locatve ndrect
ob|ect 120 Datve-Benefactve ndrect ob|ect 121 The nstrumenta-ocatve aternaton 122 Three-ob|ect verbs 123
CONTENTS x Extendng the verba frame wth optona ndrect
ob|ects 124 Verbs wth two drect ob|ects 125
3.3.8. Verbs wth verba compements 127 Preambe 127 Verbs wth causa sub|ects 127 Modaty verbs 129 Manpuatve verbs 132 Percepton-cognton-utterance (PCU) verbs 133 Informaton verbs 136
3.4. Multiple membership in verb classes 137
3.5. Verbs that incorporate prepositions 138
3.6. Summary of the structure of simple clauses 142
Notes 144
4.1. Introduction 147
4.2. Tense 148
4.2.1. Premnares 148
4.2.2. Past 148
4.2.3. Future 149
4.2.4. Present 150
4.2.5. Habtua 152
4.3. Aspect 152
4.3.1. Premnares 152
4.3.2. The progressve 153 Unboundedness (vs. compactness) 153 Proxmty (vs. remoteness) 154 Smutanety (vs. sequentaty) 155 The habtua progressve 157
4.3.3. Other progressve aspectuas 158 Contnuous-repettve aspectuas 158 Inceptve-progressve aspectuas 159 Termnatve-progressve aspectuas 160
4.3.4. The habtua past 161
4.3.5. The perfect 161 Premnares 161 Anterorty 162 Perfectvty 163 Counter-sequentaty 163 Reevance 164
4.3.6. The mmedate aspect 166
4.4. Modality 169
4.4.1. Propostona modates 169
4.4.2. Epstemc modates 169
4.4.3. The grammatca dstrbuton of modaty 170 Tense-aspect 171 Irreas-nducng adverbs 171 Modas and rreas 172 Irreas n verb compements 176 Irreas and non-decaratve speech-acts 176 Grammatca envronments assocated wth presup-
poston 177
4.5. Communicative and cognitive aspects of
tense-aspect-modality 178
4.5.1. Markedness 178
4.5.2. Frequency dstrbuton n text 179
4.5.3. Cogntve consderatons 180 Modaty 180 Perfectvty 180 Sequentaty 181 Reevance 181
4.6. The syntax of tense-aspect-modality 182
4.6.1. Combnatons and orderng rues 182
4.6.2. Some recent deveopments n the grammar of tense-aspect-
modaty 185
4.7. Negation 187
4.7.1. Negaton and ogc 187
4.7.2. Negaton and the strength of asserton 188
4.7.3. Negaton and presupposton 188
4.7.4. Negaton as a speech-act 190
4.7.5. Negaton n dscourse 190 Preambe: Change vs. stass 190 The ontoogy of negatve events 191
4.7.6. Negaton and soca nteracton 193
4.7.7. Presupposton and the scope of negaton 195
4.7.8. The morpho-syntax of Engsh negaton 199
4.7.9. Further topcs n the syntax of negaton 201 Negaton n man vs. compement causes 201 Syntactc, morphoogca and nherent negaton 202 Negatve poarty and eves of negaton 203 Consttuent negaton and emphatc dena 204
Notes 209
5.1. Introduction 213
5.2. Reference 213
5.2.1. Exstence vs. reference 213
5.2.2. Referenta ntent 215
5.2.3. Reference and propostona modates 216
5.2.4. The ndefnte determners 'any', 'no' and 'some' 219 The non-referrng artce 'any' 219 The non-referrng artce 'no' 220 The ndefnte artce 'some' 220 'Any', 'no' and 'some' as pronouns 222
5.2.5. Reference under the scope of negaton 224
5.2.6. Gradaton of ndefnte reference 224
5.2.7. Puraty and reference 225
5.2.8. Pragmatc effects on possbe reference 226
5.2.9. The non-referrng use of anaphorc pronouns 228 Gender and non-referrng and pronouns 228 Semantc reference vs. specfc ndvduaton 229 The pronoun 'one' n defnte expressons 230
5.2.10. Semantc reference vs. pragmatc mportance 230
5.3. Definiteness 232
5.3.1. Defnte reference and the communcatve contract 232
5.3.2. Grounds for referenta accessbty 232
5.3.3. Stuaton-based ('dectc') defntes 232
5.3.4. Cuturay-based defntes 233
5.3.5. Text-based ('anaphorc') defntes 235 Zero anaphora, anaphorc pronouns, and defnte
NPs 235 Stressed vs. unstressed pronouns 235 Demonstratves and text-based defnte reference 238 Names and text-based defnte reference 240
5.4. Generic subjects, defniteness and reference 242
5.5. Defniteness, reference and text processing: A cognitive
overview 244
Notes 246
6.1. Nouns and modifiers 247
6.2. Ordering of elements within the noun phrase 248
6.2.1. Premnares 248
6.2.2. Pre-nomna modfers 249 Ouantfers 249 Parttve defnte quantfers 249 Indefnte quantfers-determners 250 Ouantfer scope 251 Ouantfer scope wthn the cause 251 Ouantfer scope wthn the noun
phrase 254 The scope of 'ony' n the wrtten
regster 254 Determners 255 Ad|ectves 256 Compoundng: Nouns as modfers 258 Adverbs wthn the Ad|ectva Phrase 261
6.2.3. Post-nomna modfers 262 Reatve causes 263 Noun compements 263 Possessve phrases 264 Pseudo-possessves: Compex ocatves 264
6.3. Restrictive vs. non-restrictive modifiers 267
6.4. Modifiers used as anaphoric pronouns 269
6.5. Scattered noun phrases 270
6.6. Complex noun phrases 271
6.6.1. Modfyng ad|ectves and ther 'semantc source' 272
6.6.2. Con|oned noun phrases 273 | ont partcpaton n a snge event 273 The reatve order of con|oned NPs 275 The morphoogca unfcaton of con|oned NPs 277 Case-roe ntegraton 277 Determner ntegraton 279 Number ntegraton 282 Ad|ectve ntegraton 283 Mutpe con|uncton, ds|uncton and event
ntegraton 284 Puraty, verb agreement and group nouns 286
6.6.3. Compex NPs arsng through nomnazaton 287 Preambe 287 The fnte-cause prototype 288 From the fnte toward the non-fnte prototype 288 From verba to nomna morphoogy 289 Sub|ect and ob|ect case-markng 291 Indrect ob|ects n nomnazed causes 293 Determners n nomnazed causes 294 Adverbs as ad|ectves n nomnazed causes 295
6.6.4. Noun compements 298
Notes 300
Bibliography 303
Index 311
"...A great musc contans two ngredents
expresson and form..."
R. Goode
concert panst*
Grammar s everybody's busness. It s the proverba broth tended to by a
pethora of |eaous cooks, a foundng wth hosts of woud-be keepers. It s
aso the rock upon whch generatons of perfecty fuent, manfesty nte-
gent natve speakers have crashed, agan and agan. Of grammar's many
sef-apponted guardans, my own professon may cam speca credt for
our present predcament of profound grammatca teracy. It s the n-
gusts who came up wth the myth of forma structure: Grammar as an arb-
trary, autonomous mechansm whose prme functon was to govern the con-
structon of we-formed sentences. Grammar that was about grammar. The
ogca consequence of ths perncous nonsense s, of course, that grammar
s not about communcaton. Whether t exsts or not, grammar can be
safey gnored, bypassed, so that one may proceed drecty to the heart of
the matter rhetorc, communcaton.
As often as not, common sense rests somewhere n the mdde. The
mdde grounds that nspred ths book s that yes, grammar does exst; and
yes, t does have rues; and persh the thought, those rues reay matter and
can be taught expcty. But no, grammar s not about grammar; and no
agan, grammar s not arbtrary, t s there for a reason. Grammar s our
path to concse, coherent expresson. In grammar as n musc, good expres-
son rdes on good form. Metaphorcay and teray, grammar as mus-
ca form must make sense.
*) Cted by D. Bum, "Gong to the Core", The New Yorker, 6-29-92, p. 54.
Ths book s ntended for both students and teachers, at both the hgh-
schoo and coege eve, for both natve and non-natve speakers. Wth the
gudance of a teacher, t can serve as the student's ntroducton to the gram-
mar of (wrtten) Engsh. Put another way, t s an ntroducton to grammar
as a means for producng coherent text. Lke a ntroductons, t s seectve
and ncompete. The grammar of any anguage s a huge vng organsm, t
cannot be exhaustvey descrbed n ten fetmes. One has to tease apart the
more systematc core from the st-evovng and sometme chaotc
perphery. And one can ony hope then that ths ntroducton to the core
w stmuate the reader to seek the outer reaches.
Amng ths book at the teachng of Engsh Grammar to both natve
and non-natve speakers s a deberate move. In spte of strkng dffer-
ences n pror ngustc background, the natve and non-natve speaker face
a smar task n acqurng wrtten, terate Engsh: nether can cam wrt-
ten Engsh as ther natve anguage. To the natve speaker t s hs/her frst
second anguage, a anguage whose grammar s starky dfferent from that
of the spoken anguage earned frst at home. Much ke the transton from
spoken sounds to a wrtten aphabet, the transton from spoken to wrtten
grammar s a profound transformaton. It |ars the mnd's od habts and
demands conscous refecton upon the nature of two confctng sets of
sks. The frst, face-to-face ora communcaton, s a natve sk supported
by haf a mon years of bo-cutura evouton. The second, wrtten
expresson, s an acqured sk of a reatvey recent vntage. By acqurng a
wrtten anguage we become bngua; and bnguasm demands carefu
dscrmnaton between the two contexts that go wth the two sets of sks.
In the course of earnng, the non-natve speaker ndeed produces "er-
rors". The natve speaker, on the other hand, produces ony "napproprate
contextua choces". St, n the course of both types of earnng, the goa of
deberate nstructon s not to eradcate a vestges of oder ngustc
habts. Wse grammar nstructon teaches, n both nstances, a new set of
communcatve sks, segregatng them carefuy from the oder, natve
sks. The student s then eft wth two sets of ngustc behavors. Both are
usefu, both are vad, but they appy n mutuay excusve contexts.
The approach to descrptve grammar I have pursued here owes much
to many ustrous antecedents, begnnng wth the ate Otto | espersen. It
owes much to many who are st wth us, such as Mchae Haday and Bob
Longacre. And t owes even more to many of my own contemporares and
cose assocates, such as Way Chafe, Bernard Comre, Bob Dxon, | ohn
Haman, Pau Hopper, Ron Langacker, Gan Sankoff, Dan Sobn and
Sandy Thompson. The st of peope I've been fortunate to earn from s
much too ong to recte here n ts entrety; but speca grattude s due to
| ohn Haman for readng doggedy through the entre manuscrpt and
crtczng t unsparngy. Te absolvo, | anos.
In a farness, I must aso acknowedge my great ndebtedness to a
man whose approach to grammar I have re|ected ong ago, Noam
Chomsky. However far apart our paths may have meandered, hs presence
oomed arge over my eary awakenng to the undenabe menta reaty of
grammar, and to the fact that n anguage as n musc form reay mat-
My guardan ange n the study of grammar has aways been Dwght
Bonger, to whose memory ths book s dedcated. Dwght's great acuty,
crtca refecton, profound schoarshp, penetratng nsght, nmtabe
ght touch, and above a hs a-consumng ove for anguage and grammar,
have been an nspraton to me, a beacon whose shnng ght I ony hope to
dmy refect. In hs eary, steadfast and often oney nsstence that form
must be studed together wth meanng, that grammar made sense, and that
the forms of anguage were about the expresson of thought, Dwght was
the most generous teacher and thoughtfu crtc a young upstart coud poss-
by hope to fnd. The many fauts that are st evdent n ths book woud
have perhaps been fewer f Dwght had been abe, as was hs orgna ntent,
to read through the manuscrpt. Lke many of my generaton, I have been
orphaned. I hope some day to be worthy of Dwght's fath.
Eugene, Oregon
| une, 1992
"...Let them dstngush the proper sense
by coons and commas, and et them see the
ponts each one n ts due pace, and et
not hm who reads the words to them ether
read fasey or pause suddeny..."
(attrbuted to the 8th Century Engsh
monk Acun, on behaf of Charemagne)
1.1.1. Structure vs. function
The perspectve from whch ths book s wrtten s unabashedy func-
tona. Perhaps the best way of sayng what grammar s from a functona
perspectve s to say frst what grammar s not. Grammar s not a set of rgd
rues that must be foowed n order to produce grammatical sentences.
Rather, grammar s a set of strateges that one empoys n order to produce
coherent communication.
Nothng n ths formuaton shoud be taken as a dena of the exstence
of rues of grammar. Rather, t smpy suggests that rues of grammar
taken as a whoe are not arbtrary; they are not there |ust for the heck of
t. The producton of rue-governed grammatca sentences s the means by
whch one produces coherent communcaton.
Grammarans use two extreme anaoges to brng across ther concep-
ton of rues of grammar. One common anaogy s taken from, essentay,
Newtonan Physcs; t kens a grammar to an deazed logic machine that
abdes by exceptoness, aw-ke rues. The machne and ts varous parts
operate n a way that s consstent and 100% rue-governed, regardess of
what functon the entre machne or ts varous parts perform. The functon
of the machne and ts parts s another topc, to be nvestgated separatey
at some other tme. The functon has reatvey tte to do wth the structure
of the machne, or how the structure came to be what t s. When one
teaches grammar, therefore, one can safey gnore ts functon, and make
reference ony to parts of the grammar machne.
One can ndeed descrbe rea machnes n such a way, ones that have
been constructed for a purpose, say a car. The fact that the power-tran s
desgned to make the whees spn, that the transmsson moduates the tor-
que whe transmttng power to the whees, that the whees spn to move
the car, and that the whoe car s desgned for transportaton, are rreevant
from such a perspectve.
An atogether dfferent anaogy for grammar s that of a biological
organism. Wthn the organsm, varous anatomca structures perform ds-
tnct physoogca functons. The structura desgn s adapted through pro-
tracted evouton to perform specfc functons. In boogy, the study of
structure woud be meanngess wthout the parae study of functon. Ths
has been an mpct tenet of boogca schoarshp ever snce Arstote, the
founder of boogy, who frst proposed to vew the desgn of organsms by
anaogy wth purposefu toos:
"...If a pece of wood s to be spt wth an axe, the axe must of necessty
be hard; and f hard, t must of necessty be made of ron or bronze. Now
exacty n the same way the body, whch ke the axe s an instrument for
both the body as a whoe and ts severa parts ndvduay have defnte
operatons for whch they are made; |ust n the same way, I say, the body
f t s to do ts work, must of necessty be of such and such character..."
("De Partbus Anmaum", n McKeon, ed., 1941:647)
The same perspectve may be found n a recent standard text on human
"...Anatomy s the scence that deas wth the structure of the
body...physoogy s defned as the scence of functon. Anatomy and
physoogy have more meanng when studed together..."
(Crouch, Functional Human Anatomy, 1978, pp. 9-10)
And t s the same perspectve adopted n ths book, one of assumng that
human anguage s a purposefu nstrument desgned to code and commun-
cate nformaton, and that ke other nstruments, ts structure s not
dvorced from ts functon.
1.1.2. Arbitrary vs. motivated rules of grammar
By sayng that rues of grammar are not arbtrary, one need not gnore
the fact that occasonay a rue n a partcuar anguage at a partcuar
tme ndeed turns out to be arbtrary. That s, the rue seems com-
municatively opaque, non-functona; t does not make sense. Stuatons of
ths type are amost aways due to the cumuatve effect of hstorca
change: An erstwhe communicatively transparent rue of grammar has,
due to the confaton of severa hstorca changes over tme, become
bzarre, fosszed, counter-communcatve. Such cases ndeed exst, but
they consttute a minority of the buk of the extant rues of a grammar at
any gven tme.
Here agan, a boogca anaogy s nstructve. In the anatomy of every
organsm one fnds a certan proporton of vestigial organs that have ost
ther functon atogether. In other nstances, organs undergo functional re-
assignment, over tme osng ther orgna functon but ganng a new one.
When ths re-assgnment s reatvey recent, the structura desgn of an
organ may refect more naturay ts orgna functon than ts current func-
In amost a cases, such a msmatch between structure and functon
s due to mut-step evouton. Evoutonary change n boogca desgn s
the anaog of hstorca change n ngustc structure.
A good exampe of communcatvey opaque rues of grammar n Eng-
sh are nouns wth rreguar puras and verbs wth rreguar past tense
forms. Both refect the ta end of massve re-anayss n the grammar of a
Germanc anguage. In the course of ths re-anayss, prevousy coherent
rues have deterorated over tme and have become argey ncoherent.
They are beng graduay emnated from the grammar; and t s perhaps a
matter of tme before they have dsappeared atogether.
1.1.3. Rules of grammar vs. communicative strategies
The aws of Newtonan physcs are consdered exceptoness. Often,
rues of grammar seem equay rgd, so much so that the unwary may be
tempted to vew them as the workngs of a determnstc automaton. On
coser anayss, many perhaps the buk of the rues n a grammar turn
out to be consderaby more fexbe. Ther fexbty may be understood n
severa senses. Frst, the range of contexts to whch a rue appes s not a
rgdy defned popuaton. Rather, the buk of the cases the run-of-the-
m typical instances ether ceary abde or ceary do not abde by the
rue. But a sgnfcant f sma mnorty of cases aso exsts, who fa some-
where n the mdde. That s, the appcaton or non-appcaton of the rue
n such cases s a matter of more subte |udgement and most mportant
s often a matter of degree. In such cases, a more detaed examnaton
of the communcatve context s requred, before the appcabty of a rue
can be decded wth any degree of certanty.
As a unque, human-specfc devce for codng and communcatng
nformaton, grammar may be vewed as the strategy that takes care, n a
reatvey fast and rue-governed fashon, of the bulk of cases. Ths rue-
bound strategy, however, eaves a sgnfcant mnorty of cases to be process-
ed by more deberate, tme-consumng, anaytc means.
There s, here agan, a transparent boogca anaogy to the dvson
between processng the buk of more typca cases vs. processng a mnorty
of more subte borderne cases. In boogca nformaton processng,
oder, ower-eve anayss of perceptua nput s fuy automated, t s per-
formed at hgh speed and ow error-rate. It s aso more key to be genet-
cay pre-wred, or what boogsts ca a closed behavioral program.
contrast, more compex, hgher-order, more recenty-deveoped sks are
frst performed n a sower, conscous, attended fashon. Through acqus-
ton and habtuaton, these compex hgher-order sks such as payng
musca nstruments, sngng, typng, dancng or rdng a bcyce can and
do become automated over tme. But ther automaton takes pace durng
one's fe-tme, and s heavy dependent on practce.
In boogca terms,
the acquston of such sks depends on an open behavioral program.
Whe the earnng of a human grammar ceary depends upon many
pre-wred cosed neura programs, the acquston of the grammar of a
particular anguage s ceary a sk of the second type. It s acqured post-
natay, va repeated tra-and-error communcatve nteracton. Once
acqured, t s ndeed a hghy automated, n-wred sk. But even then,
grammar contnues to dspay certan margns of context-dependent, con-
scous anayss.
1.1.4. Cross-language diversity of grammatical strategies
By nsstng that rues of grammar are not arbtrary, one does not wsh
to mpy that there s ony one human-unversa way of grammatcay cod-
ng any partcuar communcatve functon. The study of grammatca dver-
sty across anguages certany suggests otherwse. And ths dversty s one
of the reasons why we consder the acquston of grammar to be, at east n
part, an open behavora program. St, there are ony a mted number of
grammatical strategies that human anguages actuay use to code the same
communcatve functons. The observed cross-anguage dversty of gram-
mars s nether unmted nor caprcous; rather, t s hghy constraned. A
particular grammatca strategy adopted by a anguage n one functona
doman s often due to the accdenta confaton of varous hstorca
changes. But n part t s aso due to the strateges used by the anguage n
other functonay reated domans.
To ustrate the partay accdenta nature of the hstorca connecton,
consder the use of the reatve pronouns 'who', 'whom', 'whch', 'where'
and 'when' n the grammar of reatve causes n Engsh. It s not ndepen-
dent of ther earer use as interrogative pronouns n the grammar of WH-
questons. Smary, the use of the subordnator 'that' n both reatve
causes and verb compements s not ndependent of ts earer use as a
demonstrative pronoun. And the use of the adverba subordnator 'snce' to
render the ogca meanng 'because' s not ndependent of ts earer tem-
pora sense ('from the tme').
The fact s then that some communcatve functons seem to borrow
grammatca codng-devces from neghborng (reated) functons. Ths bor-
rowng phenomenon agan has cose anaogs n boogca evouton, where
od organs are often adapted to new functons. The grammar of a anguage
may thus tsef be vewed as a boogca organsm. Wthn that organsm,
the varous grammar-coded functons organs are inter-connected n
many ways and to varyng degrees. Some nter-connectons are stronger
and more drect; others are weaker or more crcutous. A rue of a grammar
ke an organ of the body cannot be fuy understood uness ts
nteracton wth other rues s aso understood.
One may note, fnay, that the boogca anaogy for anguage s not
partcuary new. The words of Franz Bopp, an eary 19th century ngust,
express the same atttude, abet wth a certan pre-Darwnan navete:
"...Languages are to be consdered organc natura bodes, whch are
formed accordng to fxed aws, deveop as possessng an nner prncpe of
fe, and graduay de out because they do not understand themseves any
onger, and therefore cast off or mutate ther members or forms..."
1.2.1. Prescriptive vs. descriptive grammars
The sense of 'grammar' most readers are key to be famar wth s
that of prescriptive grammar: Ths usage s rght, that one s wrong. The
teachng of "anguage arts" n our prmary and secondary schoos, as we as
the popuar press, have combned to renforce ths vew. In ths regard, t
seems, everybody wth a sharp pen and strong opnons s a rghtfu, wrath-
fu expert. For exampe, a we-known coumnst has been fumnatng wth
equa venom aganst the foowng apses of Engsh grammar:
(1) a. "...I n order for your chd to receve credt for ths assgn-
ment, they must turn n a sgned copy..."
b. "...Say, he sad, good grammar never made me no do-
c. "...whom beats who n the Seatte Kngdome ths
d. "...Twenty years of teachng taught my husband and I the
vaue of fed trps..."
e. "...coverage of Monday nght footba has not been dscussed
between Denns and /..."
f. "...he's a ot oder than her, but so what?..."
Exampe (a) s an entrenched creatve nnovaton n the spoken anguage,
adaptng the thrd person pura 'they' to a new use as a gender-neutral pro-
Exampe (b) s correct for the spoken, nforma Engsh of perhaps
75% of Amercans. Exampe (1c) represents hyper-correcton by speakers
for whom the form 'whom' has ceased to exst, and 'who' s used to mark
both sub|ect and ob|ect (agan probaby the vast ma|orty of Amercan
speakers). Exampes (d,e) represent the current fuctuaton of the rue
about sub|ect vs. ob|ect pronoun form foowng the con|uncton 'and'. And
exampe (1f) represents the argey fnshed re-anayss of a smar case, n
the speech of a but a recactrant mnorty of oder speakers.
The same coumnst, n a saner mood, ponts out to where rues of
grammar are reay usefu, namey n nsurng coherent communcaton.
The usages he pans ths tme are ndeed dsruptve:
(2) a. "...Lawyer accused of yng to fy..."
b. "...He dscovered the dentty of an Evanston gr who ked
hersef before the newspapers reguar reporter coud..."
_ "...He s a former Mt. Vernon natve..."
d. "...more attenton shoud be pad to hazng by unversty off-
e. " mnsters who have commtted sex offenses from the
pupt for a year..."
f. "...He pans to teach a course ths fa... on the mysterous
cvzaton at Indan Communty Coege..."
And the very same coumnst s postvey permssve about the nfamous
split infinitive:
(3) ''...The proper formaton, she nssts, was "to go qucky"
or "qucky to go", but under no crcumstances coud one
wrte "to qucky go". Ths s pure baoney, of course, but
t s baoney wth a remarkabe shef fe..."
The sense of 'grammar' used n ths book s unabashedy that of
descriptive grammar. The grammar of current Amercan Engsh s
descrbed |ust ke the grammar of any other anguage. Lke a anguages,
however especay those that serve arge, compex socetes 'Amer-
can Engsh' s n a way a convenent fcton. Rather than consstng of a
snge speech community wth a snge grammar, Amercan Engsh s a
compex mut-ayered speech communty wth an mmense array of gram-
mars. These grammars ndeed partay overap and are hstorcay nter-
reated. But ther dversty s manfest to anybody wth a dscernng ear. It
s then eft to the descrptve grammaran to make choces wthn ths dver-
sty, and then defend them, and hopefuy convnce the reader that they are
we motvated.
The dmensons aong whch grammars most commony vary are:
(a) History: Oder/obsoete vs. newer/current usage
(b) Age: Oder vs. younger speakers
(c) Medium: Wrtten vs. spoken anguage
(d) Education: Educated vs. uneducated speakers
(e) Formality: Forma vs. nforma stye
(f) Social class: Hgh-status vs. ow-status speakers
(g) Ethnicity: Ma|orty vs. mnorty sub-cutures
(h) Geography: Regona, urban vs. rura daects
() Native skill: Natve vs. non-natve speakers
(|) Individual: Ths ndvdua or famy vs. that one
These dmensons are not totay ndependent of each other. Rather, they
show predctabe tendencies to co-vary. Thus, for exampe, wrtten an-
guage (c) tends to be assocated more strongy wth oder usage (a), oder
speakers (b), educated speakers (d), forma usage (e), hgher soca status
(f) and urban daects (h). But these assocatons are not absoute. In the
foowng sectons we w survey each dmenson brefy.
1.2.2. Historic time
As noted above, 'The Grammar' of a anguage s probaby a conve-
nent fcton, dsgusng a wde range of dversty. In the same way, the cur-
rent steady state of the grammar (or of 'The Language') s an equay con-
venent fcton. Much of the dversty that one encounters n 'The Gram-
mar' at ts 'current steady state' s due to the fact that anguage and gram-
mar are forever on the move. Indvdua speakers constanty nnovate and
reshape ther usage aong three ma|or dmensons:
(a) Smpfcaton toward greater code-transparency
(b) Eaboraton toward greater expressive power
(c) Truncaton and choppng toward greater processing economy
As ustraton of how profound ths change coud be, consder the fo-
owng three versons of The Lord's Prayer, one from Od Engsh (ca. 900
AD), the other from Mdde Engsh (ca. 1350 AD), the ast from Modern
Engsh (ca. 1700):
(4) a. Old English (ca. 1000 AD)
Faeder ure u e aert on heofonum,
s n nama gehagod;
to become n rce, gewure n wa
__r_n swa swa on heofonum;
urne gedaeghwamcan haf sye us to daeg;
ond forgyf us ure gytas,
swa swa we forgyfa urum gytendum;
ond ne geaed u us on constunge,
acays us of yfee soce. Amen.
b. Middle English (ca. 1395 AD)
Oure fadr that art n heuenes,
hawd be th name;
th kyngdoom come to, be th we don
n erthe as n heuen;
gyue tu vs ths da oure breed ouer othr substaunce;
and forgyue to vs oure detts,
as we forgyuen to oure dettours;
and ede vs not n to temptacoun,
but deuere vs fro yue. Amen.
. Modern English (ca. 1700)
Our Father who art n Heaven,
haowed be Thy name;
Thy Kngdom come, Thy w be done,
on earth as t s n Heaven.
Gve us ths day our day bread,
and forgve us our trespasses,
as we forgve those who trespass aganst us.
And ead us not nto temptaton,
but dever us from ev. Amen.
Snce change n pronuncaton, word-meanng and grammar s
forever ongong, oder hstorca trats aways coexst wth newer nnova-
tons at any pont n the fe of a anguage. True, the descrptve gramma-
ran s bound to descrbe the anguage as t s at a particular tme. But t
often makes more sense to nterpret today's grammar as the cumuatve
product of hstorca change, and as the current ncubator of future change.
Put another way, n descrbng the synchronic grammar, one must reman
mndfu of ts profoundy diachronic underpnnngs.
1.2.3. Age: The grammar of youth
Each new generaton of mother-tongue earners dspay an ntensve
actvty of ngustc nnovaton, as they re-nterpret the grammar used by
ther parent generaton. Oute often, tomorrow's grammar can be antc-
pated from the speech of today's young. The grammatca nnovatons of
the young are not mere 'corruptons', 'errors' or 'faure to earn correcty'.
More often than not, they are spontaneous attempts to make sense of a
baffng compexty and numerous nconsstences; to creatvey extend
adut grammar; to re-interpret the adut ngustc nput as a more coherent
communcatve code. To ustrate brefy the unque nature of the gram-
matca nventveness of chdren, consder the foowng exampes of chd
grammar of Engsh, produced roughy from the age of three years and
onward. In ths case, we dea wth nnovatons that eventuay fe by the
(5) Clause-initial negation:
a. no the sun shnng
(The sun s not shnng')
b. no Fraser read t
('Fraser does not read t')
(6) Order of pronouns :
Gve me it
('Gve t to me')
(7) Nominal relative clauses:
a. Ths s my did it
(Ths s what I did')
b. Look-a my made
('Look at what I made')
(8) Simplified WH-questions:
a. What do whee?
('What does the whee do?')
b. Where went the whee?
('Where did the whee go?')
_ Where it is?
('Where s t?')
(9) Deictic articles:
a. n there whees
('In the whees there')
b. go n there tran
('Go n the tran there')
(10) Unmarked causati ves:
a. I'm gonna sharp ths penc
(Tm gonna sharpen the penc')
b. Go me to the bathroom
{'Take me to the bathroom')
_ come t coser
('Bring t coser')
d. Can you stay ths open
('Can you leave t open?)
e. Don't dead hm
('Don't kill hm')
Often, nnovatons ntroduced by the young are castgated by oder
speakers as aberratons to be shunned, rank corrupton, the utmate
demse of the real language. | eremads about the decne and fa of human
anguage may go back a the way to antquty. A reatvey ate exampe of
the Decne and Fa schoo of thought can be found n Dr. Samue
| ohnson's Preface to hs Dctonary:
"...Tongues, ke governments, have a natura tendency to degenera-
A smar f more parocha dsmay has been expressed by the popuar 19th
century ngust Max Mer:
"...on the whoe, the hstory of a the Aryan anguages s nothng but a
gradua process of decay..."
The amentatons have been so persstent that one wonders how we have
st wound up, rather mysterousy, wth a functonng nstrument of com-
muncaton. Here agan the descrptve ngust must make choces and often
second-guess rghty or wrongy the future drft of the popuaton mean.
Shoud one, for exampe, rant and rave about the corrupt usage n (11a)
beow, and nsst on ony (11b)? Or shoud one notce the prevaent and
communcatvey usefu meanng dstncton:
(11) a. I fee good. (> mood-wse)
b. I fee well. (> heath-wse)
Shoud one nsst on the sanctoned (12a), or acknowedge the prevaent
and unmpeachaby usefu aternatve (12b):
(12) a. If you see anybody there, te him to...
b. If you see anybody there, te them to...
Shoud one nsst on the cumbersome (13a), rather than acknowedge the
gracefu and more current (13b):
(13) a. The man to whom I showed ths...
b. The man I showed ths to...
Shoud one acknowedge or re|ect the perfecty nterpretabe reatve
causes, a stapes of the spoken regster, such as:
(14) a. ...these faces that you don't know who they are...
b. ...the woman that I tod you about her brother...
_ ...the woman that I know the man who oved her...
d. ...that guy that I was datng his daughter...
Innovatve usage by young natve speakers s often acknowedged n
genre-senstve wrtten fcton. The foowng passage, for exampe, comes
from a short story n The New Yorker:
(15) "...There's this poceman and hs name s Bradey and
every nght there's this thef gong around swpng one
whee from everybody's bcyce. Bradey's partner's name
s Fred that this thief swipes one wheel from his bicycle.
Hs daughter s Tracey. Fred has a poce dog that he
makes him sniff all the bicycles..."
One shoud note, however, that we dea here not wth absoutes
extreme resstance to change vs. tota permssveness but rather wth
reatve |udgements, nvovng the decate baance between two opposng
forces. On the one hand, grammatca change s an unavodabe, spontane-
ousy occurrng phenomenon. Speakers, both young and od, w contnue
dong t as a matter of course. It s a subconscous part of beng a ve, nte-
gent, communcatng user of grammar. On the other hand, a communty
that aows excessve dversty n ts communcatve (and cutura) code w
sooner or ater reach the pont of tota dsrupton of both ts communcaton
and cuture. Somewhere near that pont, the sense of "beng the same
speech communty" and "sharng the same cutura word-vew" w have
dsspated beyond resdua utty. Therefore, the conservatve forces that
the adut power structure exercses aganst excessve ngustc dversty, va
tradtona soca networks or through schoos and teracy, ndeed perform
a egtmate, necessary soca functon.
The decate baance between unformty and dversty n a speech
communty agan fnds t cose anaog n boogy, n the baance between
genetc unformty and genetc dversty wthn popuatons. In ths regard,
Bonner (1988) makes the foowng, profoundy pragmatc, observaton:
"...There w be a constant seecton pressure for ncreased varaton, for
t s ony by producng varants that organsms can successfuy perpetuate
themseves. But too much varaton w be seected aganst, because new,
successfu varants w be ost |to the gene poo, becomng ncompatbe
wth t| by excessve change....The sgnfcance of soaton... s that wth-
out |t| the mechansm for producng a controlled amount of variation
woud be mpossbe; every gan n any compettve advantage |due to a
new varant| woud be ost by mmedate hybrdzaton f there were no
soatng mechansm to prevent a mxng back of the genes whch have suc-
cessfuy come to dffer |from the buk of the popuaton|..." (Bonner,
1988, pp. 231, 239; emphases and parentheses added)
The choce between permssve and nnovatve grammar need not
aways be made. Often, the descrptve ngust mght serve hs audence
better by presentng severa co-exstng varant uses, and then expan ther
reatedness. Then the ngust may even venture a predcton about whch
way the grammar mght be drftng.
1.2.4. Spoken vs. written language
The grammar of a wrtten anguage s profoundy dfferent from that of
the spoken anguage. The dfferences are often sharp and absoute, gven
the constant grammatca nnovaton that goes on n the spoken anguage.
But even when not absoute, the dfferences between ora and wrtten
grammar can be strkng n terms of frequency distribution. Compex,
herarchc syntactc constructons are systematcay shunned n reaxed,
nforma, cooqua face-to-face communcaton. Short, con|oned, 'fat'
structures are preferred. And the avaabty of the nterocutor, wth eye-
contact, nstant feedback, correctons, assents and mutually-negotiated
coherence, has a profound effect on the grammatca structure of the spo-
ken anguage.
The two man regsters controed by educated speakers the nfor-
ma-cooqua and the forma-wrtten are equay usefu and equay
vad. The tradton of dengratng the chd's natve ora regster as 'bad
anguage', 'ungrammatca', 'uncouth' or 'careess' s ndeed a destructve,
msguded tradton. However, the two regsters ft appropratey n mutu-
ally exclusive contexts:
(a) Oral language s the nstrument of face-to-face communcaton,
among famars, n the reaxed, unhurred settng of home, fam-
y, oved ones. It s approprate for communcatng wthn the
society of intimates.
(b) Written language s for more forma, mpersona, abstract com-
muncaton esewhere, n the more pressured settng of educaton
and teracy-demandng |obs wthn the society of strangers.
The profound bnguasm that ths dchotomy entas, for the terate
speaker, s as pervasve as t s necessary. Each regster, ora and wrtten,
serves a unque functon that cannot be performed by the other.
As an exampe of typca spoken Engsh, consder the foowng trans-
crpt of a recorded persona narratve:
(16) "...Well we, you could drill wells, we finally...
got a good well, lots o' water and wonderful, good
water...How deep? I think it was eighty-some feet
deep, I believe...'course, that was slow cable-
tube drillin' then...But anyway, we'll get into
that part later...But we moved there...and my, my
politician brother over here and ah, and another
one and my cousin, Buster...and some neighbors
that moved out there too, some other people...
It was 'bout four-five families moved out there from
this...together, yeah, Brownfield area...Well, we
didn't move together but they did bring the stock.
My dad had 'bout fifty head o' cows, and 'bout forty
head o' horses and mules, and they spent all summer
drivin' 'em out...Let's see, it must'a been at least
seven hundred miles from Brownfield to that oI'
In informal, intimate writing, nominally literate speakers 'write like
they speak'. An example of such writing is:
(17) "...Me i look for work i could do at home nothing yet.
Babysitting I'll do once in a while as C. got sick
for a month when i babysat boys that got sick after
I started
J . works all the time to make up for my pay loves
staying at home when he's off. I walk 4 miles a week
for exercising...
...Last weekend in J uly C. actually started to walk
with out holding on to something. Talks a few words
baby talks i under stand her. She'll say hi there to
people she knows she's shy around strangers. Daddy's
girl can't go (J .) anywhere with out C. when he's
home. Her rooms cute since we J . painted it yellow
the color she picked and bears paper thats a trim..."
The new generation of a speech community, its young, are fluent
native speakers of the spoken register by around 3 years of age. The scope
and complexity of their native spoken grammar continues to expand up to
school age and beyond. Once at school, they are introduced to the grammar
of ther first second language the written register. Ths s often done
rather abrupty and under the ess-than-ntmate condtons of pubc educa-
Snce the grammar of the wrtten anguage s more extensve as we as
more compex, and snce to some extent the grammar of the ora regster s
a sub-set of wrtten grammar, t s not an accdent that descrptve gramma-
rans wnd up descrbng prmary the grammar of the wrtten regster. But
ths understandabe preference agan must be tempered wth recognzng
the dynamc reatonshp between the two regsters. The prmacy, creatve
vgor and centra roe of the spoken anguage must be acknowedged. What
aso must be acknowedged s the fact that the more conservatve grammar
of the wrtten regster s constanty beng repenshed by nnovatons that
arse mosty n the spoken regster.
1.2.5. Educated vs. uneducated grammar
In the man, the dvson between educated and uneducated grammar
cosey paraes the dvson of wrtten vs. spoken anguage, respectvey.
Educated speakers, however, tend to contro a wder range of spoken
genres, some of whch approxmate n ther formaty and compexty
the grammar of the wrtten regster. Whe the descrptve grammaran s
often bound to descrbe the grammar of educated speakers as, at some
eve, 'the norm', what was noted above about the prmacy of the spoken
anguage remans appcabe here.
It s not uncommon for educated speakers or wrters to abuse ther
'upper' regster. In ther zea for compexty and the rght schoary turn of
phrase, such users often mss the pont; namey that anguage, however
compex or ofty ts sub|ect matter, s st an nstrument of communcaton.
As an ustraton of extreme abuse of the schoary |argon, consder:
(18) "If the Roman government at the heght of ts power, and
at the tme when means of communcaton had been
greaty mproved, showed anxety for the food suppy of
that Itay whch was domnant n the Medterranean
word, t may be magned that n the perod precedng the
great economc organzaton ntroduced by the Roman
Prncpate the peopes of the Medterranean regon,
peopes no one of whch at the heght of ts power had
controed the vsbe food suppy of the word so wdey or
so absoutey, had far graver cause for anxety on the same
sub|ect, an anxety such as woud be, under ordnary cr-
cumstances, the man factor, or, even under the most
favorabe crcumstances possbe n those ages, a man fac-
tor, n moudng the fe of the ndvdua and the pocy of
the state."
The |argonzaton of wrtten, educated-soundng anguage may on
occason take a decdedy comc turn, wth grammatca compexty under
some contro, but exca meanng scattered to the four wnds. The foow-
ng passage s perhaps a good ustraton of such woud-be-educated an-
As t s wth most thngs, tme takes ts to and everythng
s affected by t. Some thngs apprecate over tme...fne
art, damonds and god, truth n expresson. Ths s due n
part to honest acceptance, ove and apprecaton of ther
mere exstence. I beeve ths unaduterated atttude
toward these matera thngs can be transcended nto hon-
orabe organzatons that coeagues are fundamentay
attached to such as regon, potca, fraterna and/or
The ma|or adhesve factor n the apprecaton of that
whch you are fundamentay attached to and apprecate s
what stands the test of tme; that whch you covenant
amongst peers con|ures astng power and vaue; that
whch s vewed as sgnfcant to persona and fraterna
dentfcaton s generay protected from batant dsfgure-
ment derved from neggence or rresponsbe compa-
cency. And n beng a ma|or or mnor adhered component
the rewards therefrom are nevtaby equa.
Vaue s mantaned, t s handed over to the fttest by
recognzed and accepted organzatona process for con-
tnua mantenance and prosperty. The board actvey
nvtes enthusastc aumn to provde assstance n the
mantenance and prosperty of the Unversty of Maryand
Archtecture Aumn Chapter..."
The non-standard grammar of ess-educated speakers s ampy rep-
resented n wrtten fcton, when speech s quoted drecty by genre-sens-
tve wrters. Thus, consder the foowng exampes of sub|ect reatve
causes mssng ther reatve pronoun:
(20) a. "...I been tryng to get you, two days I been cang
you. I fgure you're shacked up wth some broad filed
for divorce. Needs a tte sympathy, huh?..." (p. 12)
b. "...I can't magne the stockhoder beng too happy,
spttng somethng he owns wth a guy walks in off the
street..." (p. 31)
_ "...Vrg asked hm whatever happened to Wende
Hanes and Bobby sad Wende had ded. Vrg sad
he heard somethng ke that, but who was t shot
hi ml . . :" (p. 95)
1.2.6. Formal vs. informal grammar
In the man, more forma anguage tends to be strongy assocated wth
the wrtten regster and educated speakers. In contrast, more nforma an-
guage tends to be assocated wth the spoken regster and ess-educated
speakers. But the correaton s not absoute. Frst, even n a purey ora
cuture, some occasons ca for a more forma speech-stye, others for a
more nforma stye. Second, wthn the wrtten genre one can observe fne
gradatons of formaty, wth more ntmate, persona wrtng often ttng
toward the grammar of the nforma spoken regster. Formaty of gram-
mar, n both regsters, s a matter of degree; and then a matter of dentfy-
ng the socio-cultural context of the communcaton and makng the appro-
prate choce of genre.
1.2.7. Grammar and social status
Much of the pre|udce aganst ora, uneducated, nforma grammar
bos down to od and recactrant soca reates. By and arge, potca and
economc power, status and prestige have aways been vested n the more
educated often mnorty segment of the popuaton. Ths was true
when wrtng and educaton were the |eaousy guarded preserve of a
presty cass that served the heredtary power structure, as n ancent Egypt
and Mesopotama, eary Chna, od Canaan or pre-Coumban Mayan
Mesoamerca. And t remans true today, wth some obvous exceptons:
The proporton of educated, terate peope wthn the popuaton s
perhaps hgher. But the facts of unversa pubc educaton tend to obscure
some persstent soca reates. The vast ma|orty of natve speakers of
Engsh n ether North Amerca or Brtan st spend the buk of ther fe
wthn a argey oral culture; that s, wthn the cuture of peope who make
ther vng prmary by the use of ther hands, rather than excusvey by
the use of ther bran.
Among the educated ete, there s a tendency to ook down on the an-
guage of the ess educated, the rura foks, the hcks n the stcks, the hard-
hats, the rednecks. Ths soca pre|udce s perhaps the true foundaton of
pe|oratve atttudes toward the grammar of spoken, nforma, everyday an-
1.2.8. Grammar and ethnic minorities
Snce ethnc mnortes, n both North Amerca and Brtan, tend to
occupy the ower rungs of the soco-economc adder, the extenson of
soca pre|udce to the grammatca usage of ethnc mnortes s ony natu-
ra. Sef-apponted guardans of 'The Language' often snge out the spoken
grammar of mnorty speakers as the quntessenta exampe of decne-and-
fa. Whether the assocaton s made conscousy or subconscousy s of
course a matter of con|ecture. As an exampe of ths pre|udce, consder the
st of deady sns of grammar touted by one guardan of our ngustc pur-
ty, Edward Koch, formery mayor or New York Cty:
(21) "...I n a memo ast week that deat prmary wth hs con-
cerns that back hstory s beng taught nadequatey,
Mayor Koch asked Schoos Chanceor Rchard R. Green
what was beng done about the cty's sang-sngng youth?
About hs chef concerns: Why can't students say
"ask" nstead of "ax"? Koch has rased such concerns
before. In a etter to Dr. Green n November, Koch and
hs staff and frends dentfed the sx most mspronounced
words or phrases as anguage usages that he beeves are
"ob|ectonabe" because they are "ungrammatca and
ack syntax". Among them:
=Droppng the etter 'g' from partcpes, as n
"gon''' nstead of "gong".
=Pronouncng "pcture" as "ptcher".
=I mproper use of the verb "to be", as n "we be
=Use of "an't" nstead of "sn't".
=Improper use of persona pronouns, as n "she sent
t to you and I"..."
Amost every feature that red Hzoner s characterstc of spoken, nfor-
ma Engsh spoken by ess-educated whtes n vast areas outsde New York
Cty. Nonetheess, the excusve assocaton of such offenses wth the
speech of (urban) backs was taken for granted.
1.2.9. Geographical dialects
Any speech communty arge enough and wde-spread enough s bound
to show varaton across geographc space. Such varaton s agan most
apparent n the spoken regster, where regonasms are we documented
across both North Amerca and Brtan. The educated regster on both
sdes of the Atantc, on the other hand, s much more unform and rea-
tvey non-regona. Regional dialects are therefore more key to be
assocated wth rura, workng cass, poorer, ess-educated speech com-
muntes. For members of such communtes, as for the members of ethnc
mnortes, earnng the non-regona terate regster s an obvous step
toward ganng access to economc power and soca status. Ths s a cutura
reaty that no we-meanng deoogca rantng and ravng s key to
change soon.
1.2.10. Grammar and foreign talk
Engsh s spoken as a second anguage over a vast and rapdy expand-
ng swath of our panet. Whe our descrptons are rghty confned to
natve-ke fuent grammar, one must acknowedge the exstence of a arge
number of ess-than-natve varetes of Engsh that are attested word-
wde. The grammars and sound-patterns of such non-natve varetes may
ndeed seem odd to the unaccustomed ear. Nevertheess, there s no ques-
ton but that the users of these forms of Engsh are engagng n systematc,
and on the whoe successfu and coherent, acts of communcaton. As an
ustraton of how far off-center non-natve varetes may stray, consder
the foowng notce to hote guests:
I. Every guest who w stay at the hote must report to
the hote's receptonst and gve up the nhabtant
card (KTP) for a whe that can be used or other cear
testmona competey.
II. For foregn guest ctzen must f "A" regster and f
they are n Indonesa must show sgn etter sef
report (STMD) and other street etter that can be
used and for other foregners must show passport
and document from Immgraton Offce. Based on
P.P. number: 45 n 1954 act 5 and 6 about act regua-
ton foregners probem.
III. Every hote guest/odgng must respect and take care
of the Poteness (dress way and takng) aso may
not brng anma to room.
IV. Every hote guest/odgng may not do somethng who
aw nvade such as: gambng, ntoxcatng and have
sexua ntercourse, save, brng aso use forbd thngs
at the hote/odgng.
V. Every hote guest/odgng must take care of the
thngs and room securty and may not do the actvty
outsde hote functon/odgng and f there are thngs
destructon from the hote/odgng every guest must
change and the thngs owned by guest whch are not
saved to hote tasker/odgng there are ost thngs/
broken the setter of the hote or odgng not respon-
X. ...Transgressons for these certantes become guest
1.2.11. Grammar and individual style
The ocus of ngustc creatvty and nnovaton s the ndvdua
speaker. Utmatey, no two speakers even f they be members of the
same famy use the very same grammar. And whe varaton among
members of a sma communty or bood kns may be consdered trva or
neggbe, t s aways there. Such subte varaton s a trbute to the
ndomtabe sprt of human speakers, engaged even n the most mundane
speech-acts, as they go about nterpretng ther day experence and com-
muncatng t to others. And as they go about the busness of communcat-
ng, they sowy and nexoraby change the nstrument of communcaton,
tryng to fnd better, faster, more transparent or more expressve ways of
"sayng the same thng".
1.3.1. Major functions of language
Human anguage serves many functons, not a of them drecty nked
to the two ma|or tasks of mental representation of experence or ts com-
munication to others. Some of those meta-communicative other functons
(a) Socio-cultural cohesion functions: Language s often the man
venue for both mantanng the soco-cutura coheson of a group
and sgnang the dentfcaton of ndvduas wth the group.
(b) Inter-personal affective functions: Language pays a ma|or roe
n medatng the nteracton between members of a group, n sg-
nang affect, cooperaton, obgaton, domnance or compet-
(c) Aesthetic functions: Language s an mportant venue for sgna-
ng aesthetc vaues, n oratory, fcton, poetry, song and thea-
Grammar ndeed partakes, n one way or another, n the performance of a
these meta-communcatve functons. Nonetheess, the part contrbuted by
grammar to the performance of these meta-communcatve functons s n
some way secondary. The buk of our grammatca apparatus fnds ts prm-
ary use n the nformaton-processng functon of anguage, that s n the
menta codng and verba communcaton of nformaton.
1.3.2. Words, clauses, discourse
Language n ts narrower core functon, as an nstrument of codng and
communcatng nformaton, nvoves three we-coded, concentrcay
arrayed functional realms:
(a) Word (meaning)
(b) Clauses (information)
(c) Discourse (coherence)
Words n our excon code our concepts of entities; words thus have
meaning. The enttes coded by words may 'exst' n severa dstnct senses.
Frst, they may be part of our experence of the so-caed external ('real')
world, accessbe n prncpe to a members of the human speces. Second,
they may be part of each person's internal mental world, accessbe to that
person ony. Thrd, they may be part of our socay-negotated cultural uni-
verse, wthn whch we construe both externa and nterna enttes as we
as customs, nsttutons, nterpretatons, behavor patterns and so on. Ths
unverse s taken to be accessbe to a members of the same cuture. In
most speech communtes, the cutura unverse s the most inclusive un-
verse, subsumng the externa unverse. It aso subsumes at east some por-
tons of the nterna unverse, presumaby those that va communcaton
and repeated comparson have come to be regarded as socay-shared.
Causes, aso caed sentences, code propositions. A proposton com-
bnes concepts .e. words nto information. Informaton s about rela-
tions, qualities, states or events n whch enttes partake. And those rea-
tons, quates, states or events may agan refect n some fashon our exter-
na word, nterna word, cuturay-negotated word, or varous combna-
tons thereof.
In dscourse, asty, ndvdua propostons are combned together nto
coherent communication or coherent text. Dscourse s thus predomnanty
mut-propostona, and ts coherence s a property that transcends the
bounds of soated propostons.
To ustrate the combnatora reaton of word-meaning, propositional
information and discourse coherence, consder the utterances:
(23) Words:
a. drve
b. nsane
_ constant
d. abuse
e. mad
f. k
g. buter
h. knfe
. hde
| . frdge
(24) Propositions:
a. The mad was drven nsane.
b. The buter constanty abused the mad.
_ The mad ked the buter wth a knfe.
d. The mad hd the knfe n the frdge ast nght.
(25) Multi-propositional discourse:
Havng been drven nsane
by constant abuse,
the mad ked the buter wth the knfe
that she had hdden n the frdge the nght before.
Taken by themseves, outsde any propostona context, the words n
(23a-|) can ony have meanng, each one codng some concept. That s, you
may ony ask about them questons such as:
(26) What does- mean?
Uttered as part of propostons, as n (24a-d), the very same words now
partake n the codng of propostona nformaton. In addton to questons
of meanng as n (26), the ndvdua propostons n (24) may now gve rse
to many questons of nformaton, such as:
(27) a. Was the mad drven nsane?
b. Who abused the mad?
_ Who ked the buter?
d. Who dd the mad k?
e. What dd the mad k the buter wth?
f. Dd the mad k the buter?
g. Where dd the mad hde the knfe?
h. When dd the mad hde the knfe n the frdge?
Fnay, the mut-propostona text n (25), n whch the soated prop-
ostons of (24) are nked, has discourse coherence. In addton to ques-
tons of meanng as n (26), and of nformaton as n (27), one may aso ask
questons that pertan to that coherence; such as:
(28) a. Why dd she k hm?
b. How come she had a knfe?
_ Why had the mad hdden the knfe n the frdge?
d. Coud she perhaps have taked to hm frst before takng such
a drastc step?
e. Was her acton reasonabe? Was t defensbe n a court of
The questons n (28) may appear deceptvey ke those n (27). How-
ever, each queston n (27) coud be answered on the bass of knowng ony
one proposton n (24). In contrast, none of the questons n (28) coud be
answered on the bass of such atomc propostona knowedge. Rather, the
knowedge of severa propostons n the coherent dscourse (25), or even of
the entre coherent text, s requred n order to answer the questons n
One may argue that on some occasons snge words are used to carry
nformaton rather than merey convey conceptua meanng. As an ustra-
ton of such a case, consder the foowng exchange:
(29) a. SPEAKER A: -Who ked the buter?
b. SPEAKER _: -The mad.
Dsregardng for the moment the defnte artce 'the', speaker B's response
n (29b) ncudes ony a snge exca word, 'mad'.
However, such a
snge-word response s n fact a truncated cause, standng n for the whoe
(30) The mad ked the buter.
Ony n the proper dscourse context of (29a) coud (29b) be a coherent
communcaton, standng for the propostona nformaton (30).
Smary, n other rgdy prescrbed communcatve contexts, snge-
word communcatons may stand for more expanded propostona nforma-
ton. Some typca exampes are:
(31) a. Scape! (= 'Gve me a scape!')
(>when uttered by a surgeon n the operatng room)
b. Water! (= 'Gve me water!')
(>when uttered by a person crawng out of the desert)
_ Mommy! (= 'Mother, I need you!')
(>when uttered by a chd)
d. Gravy? (= 'Woud you ke some gravy?')
(>when uttered at the dnner tabe)
e. Scram! (= 'Get out of here!')
(>when uttered by a frustrated nterocutor)
The consderabe ndependence of conceptua meanng from propos-
tona nformaton s easy to demonstrate by constructng grammatcay
we-formed sentences that make no sense; that s, sentences whose words
are perfecty meanngfu each taken by tsef, but st do not combne nto
a cogent proposton, as n:
(32) Cooress green deas seep furousy.
The meanng-cashes that make proposton (32) bzarre 'cooress
green', 'green deas', 'deas seep', 'seep furousy' are a due to the
consderabe semantic rigidity, or semantc specfcty, of ndvdua words.
When one attempts to combne words whose meanngs are ncompatbe, at
east n partcuar confguratons, ther semantc rgdty s reveaed.
In the same ven, one coud demonstrate that perfecty nformatve but
wrongy-combned propostons yed an ncoherent dscourse. Re-order-
ng of the coherent paragraph n (25) w acheve |ust that:
(33) Havng ked the buter wth the knfe
by constant abuse,
the mad had been drven nsane
and had hdden t n the frdge the nght before.
1.3.3. Grammar as a communicative code Joint coding
Concepts are coded n anguage as words, a codng procedure that s
acheved prmary va the use of sounds. Brefy and wth nevtabe over-
smpfcaton, the sound code of Engsh conssts of strngs of sounds or
etters n the wrtten anguage that code ('sgna', 'stand for') partcuar
words. The sound code s the most arbitrary part of the human ngustc
code, a fact that s we attested by transaton comparsons of how the same
concept ('meanng') sounds n dfferent anguages.
We w have reatvey
tte to say n ths book about the sound code of Engsh, and w smpy
take t for granted.
Grammar aso caed syntax s the codng nstrument used to
code, |onty, the two other functona reams:
(a) The propositional information n the cause; and
(b) The discourse coherence of the cause paced n
ts dscourse context
The grammatca code s both more compex and more abstract than the
sound code. Ths compexty s due n arge measure to the fact that gram-
mar codes two communcatve reams jointly, and that each of the two
nvoves consderabe compexty on ts own. And further, that the codng
requrements of the two sometmes cash.
The syntactc structure of each cause n coherent dscourse s thus a
mx. Some of ts sub-components are used prmary to code the propos-
tona nformaton assocated wth the cause; ths porton s probaby a
sma fracton of syntax. Other sub-components of syntax probaby the
buk are used prmary to code the discourse-pragmatics of the cause;
that s, ts communcatve functon, ts coherence wthn the text, or ts ds-
course context.
The abstractness of grammar, partcuary of the portons that code ds-
course-pragmatc functon, s due to the fact that those functons are them-
seves abstract. They do not map drecty onto ether our experence of
enttes and concepts (words) or our experence of reatons, states and
events. Rather, dscourse pragmatcs nvoves the arge varety of contex-
tual frames that surround our experence of reatons, states or events. Put
another way, f our word of experenced enttes s a frst-order phenome-
non; and f our word of experenced reatons, states and events s a second-
order phenomenon; then our word of experenced dscourse coherence s a
thrd-order phenomenon. It s thus twce removed from our most mmedate
experence, and wth each remova the abstracton grows.
Why grammar s such a compcated code s of course a queston of
consderabe nterest. It may be resoved, utmatey, n the context of
understandng how grammar arses, through evouton, hstory and an-
guage earnng. Be that as t may, the fact that syntax s used to code two
dstnct functona reams gves rse to a certan measure of friction or com-
petition. Some eements of grammatca structure tt more toward the cod-
ng requrements of one ream, n the process messng up the codng of the
other; and vce versa. We w survey a number of such cases throughout the
In descrbng the grammar of any anguage, t s usefu to foow a two-
step progresson:
(a) the grammar of simple clauses
(b) the grammar of complex clauses
Whe ths dvson s not absoute, t corresponds, up to a pont, to our dv-
son between the two ma|or grammar-coded reams, propostona seman-
tcs and dscourse pragmatcs. The motvaton for ths two-step approach s
deveoped more fuy n secton 1.4. beow. Coding devices in syntax
Syntactc structure, at ts most concrete, s made out of three man cod-
ng devces:
(a) grammatca morphoogy
(b) word-order
(c) ntonaton patterns
Another, more abstract, eement may aso be noted:
(d) constrants
In descrbng the varous syntactc structures of Engsh, and the way n
whch they code ther respectve communcatve functons, we w attempt
to descrbe structure n terms of, at east, these four components.
The procedure we use for descrbng the grammar of a anguage s as
foows: We frst descrbe the grammar of smpe causes; we then descrbe
the grammar of compex causes. The grammar of a compex cause s
descrbed as a function of two factors:
(a) the grammar of the corresponding simple clause;
(b) the causes discourse context or discourse-pragmatic function
Ths common-sensca descrptve progresson, mpct n most tradtona
grammatca descrptons, s due to some more expct nsghts artcuated
by the eary Transformational grammarians.
Wthn our common-sensca approach to grammatca descrpton, the
structure of a smpe cause may be kened to the theme, whe the struc-
ture of the varous compex causes that correspond to t may be kened to
variations on the theme. A smpe cause can be understood n terms of the
theme aone. Each compex cause-type or varaton must be under-
stood n the combned terms:
(a) ts 'underyng' theme; and
(b) the specfc nature of the varaton.
To ustrate ths approach brefy, consder the foowng smpe cause
contanng a sub|ect, a verb and an ob|ect:
(34) Theme: Mary kcked the ba
The theme cause n (34) s a main, declarative, affirmative, active cause.
Each one of these four characterzatons of the theme may be contrasted
wth a possbe varaton or varatons n compex causes. In the var-
ous compex causes beow, we hghght the porton that corresponds to the
smpe-cause theme n (34).
The compex causes n (35) beow contrast wth the theme (34) n that
they are dependent ('subordnate', 'embedded') rather than man causes:
(35) Dependent clauses:
a. Mary wanted to kick the ball.
b. The woman who kicked the ball was penazed.
c. Having kicked the ball, Mary eft.
The compex causes n (36) beow contrast wth the theme (34) n that
they are ether interrogative or imperative rather than decaratve causes:
(36) Non-declarative clauses:
a. Dd Mary kick the ball?
b. What dd Mary kick?
Go kick the ball!
d. Woud you pease kick the ball?
The compex cause n (37) beow contrasts wth the theme (34) n that
t s a negative rather than affrmatve cause:
(37) Negative clause:
Mary ddn't kick the ball.
Fnay, the compex cause n (38) beow contrasts wth the theme (34)
n that s t a passive rather than an actve cause:
(38) Passive clause:
The ball was kicked by Mary.
Wthn bounds, t s ndeed true that both functonay (or conceptu-
ay) and structuray, compex causes are ndeed |ust that more compex
than the smpe theme causes that undere them. The noton of 'undere'
here shoud be taken to mean, roughy, 'share the same propostona-
semantc theme, but ack the dscourse-pragmatc context that motvated
the varaton'.
The forma nstrument we w be usng to descrbe the syntactc struc-
ture of Engsh causes s caed Tree Diagrams. It s a fu equvaent of the
tradtona descrptve nstrument known as parsing. Parsng dagrams tra-
dtonay hande three man aspects of causa structure:
(a) near order;
(b) consttuency; and
(c) category abes.
By near order we mean the temporal order of the varous consttuents of
the cause, both words and ther sub-components. By constituency we mean
whch eements are parts of arger eements. By category labels we mean
what s the structura or functona category to whch a partcuar con-
sttuent s assgned.
To ustrate these eements of parsng brefy, consder the syntactc
structure of our theme cause n (34), gven now as:
The consttuency reatons n ths smpe sentence are ndcated by keepng
the symbo for the whoe sentence |S| at the very top 'root' of the
tree. The sentence |S| has two consttuents, the subject |SUB| | and the
verb phrase |VP| n that order. The sub|ect of ths sentence has ony a
snge consttuent, a name |NAME|. Next, the verb phrase |VP| has two
consttuents, the verb |V| and the object |OB| | n that order. Fnay, the
ob|ect |OB| | has two consttuents, the determiner |DET| and the noun |N|
n that order. The dagram as a whoe thus takes care of abeng each
consttuent wth the approprate category abe, ndcatng whoe-part rea-
tons between consttuents, and pacng them n the rght tempora order.
One eement of our descrpton requres further eaboraton. As one
may have notced, we have assgned a double label to both the subject
|SUB| | and object |OB| | of the sentence, pacng n brackets the abe of
noun phrase |NP| underneath each. The reason for ths has to do wth the
fact that there are at east two eves of grammatca descrpton runnng n
parae. Labes such as |SUB| | and |OB| | refer to grammatca-syntactc
function or relation, a noton to be deat wth more fuy n chapter 3.
Labes such |S|, as |NP|, |VP| and others, n contrast, refer more excu-
svey to syntactc structure. There have been varous attempts n contem-
porary grammatca descrpton to dea wth ths dchotomy wthout usng
doube abes; most of these attempts have been rather unsuccessfu. Ther
camed vrtues have to do wth ther formal purity and theoretca reduc-
tionism, n empoyng ony a snge prncpe to abe syntactc structures. In
wrtng ths book, I have opted for coherence and common sense over for-
ma purty and reductonsm.
Cosey reated to the framework of theme-and-varatons n syntactc
descrpton s the dstncton between deep and surface syntactc structure.
In smpe, 'theme' (man, decaratve, affrmatve, actve) causes, the deep
structure and a surface structure roughy concde, they are to a ntent and
purpose one and the same.
A cause's deep structure corresponds most
cosey to ts semantic structure, that s to ts propositional meaning. The
surface structure of a smpe cause, beng roughy the same as ts deep
structure, s thus semantically transparent. It reveas the underyng mean-
ng reatons wth mnma dstorton.
In most compex ('varant') causes, on the other hand, the surface
structure s somewhat at odds wth the deep structure, so much so that the
two must be descrbed ndependenty. Gven the consderabe dfference
between the two, the surface structure of compex causes does not revea
ther underyng propostona meanng, and may thus be consdered
semantically opaque.
The syntactc compexty of non-theme causes s thus the source of the
semantc opacty of ther surface structure. That s, n producng a syntact-
cay-compex cause, one endows t wth a surface structure that s not
semantcay transparent, a surface structure that does not correspond to ts
deep structure.
The dstorton n form-meanng reaton ntroduced by syntactc com-
pexty s not done for the heck of t. Rather, t s the consequence of the
fact that the syntactc structure of compex causes s tpped heavy toward
codng ther dscourse-pragmatc functon. But dscourse-pragmatcs and
propostona semantcs are here n drect competition for codng resources.
In the process of ttng grammatca codng machnery more heavy toward
dscourse pragmatcs, some of the semantc transparency that s so charac-
terstc of smpe causes s sacrfced.
The structure of compex causes s thus a communicative compromise
between two partay-confctng goas. Each one s served, but not fuy,
snce the other must aso be accommodated. Ths mperfect state of affars
s due to the fact that syntax (or grammar) s used to code two dstnct func-
tona reams.
The best ustraton of the dfference between deep and surface syntac-
tc structure nvoves causes that are syntactcay and thus semantcay
ambguous. Consder frst (40) beow, where the seemngy-dentca sur-
face cause has two dstnct nterpretatons, (40a) and (40b):
(40) Fyng panes can be dangerous.
a. Panes that fly can be dangerous (to peope).
b. For one to fly planes can be dangerous (to one).
The surface structure of (40) may be gven by two near-identical tree da-
grams, (41a,b) beow. These structures are substantay the same, except for
some detas of ther category labels. Dagrams (41a) and (41b) thus corre-
spond to the two nterpretatons of (40), (40a) and (40b) respectvey.
(41) a.
In spte of ther sght dfference, nether of the surface structure da-
grams (41a,b) tes us much about the meanng dfference between the two
nterpretatons (40a) and (40b). In order to accompsh that, we must now
descrbe separatey the deep structure correspondng to each nterpreta-
ton. The one correspondng to (40a)/(41a) s:
(42) S
The one correspondng to (40b)/(41b) s:
The meanng dfference between (40a) and (40b) s now reveaed to be
the functon of the deep structure 'source' of the surface noun phrase 'fyng
panes'. In the case of (40a), we are deang wth the intransitive (ob|ectess)
verb 'fy' whose subject s 'panes'. In the case of (40b), we are deang wth
the transitive verb 'fy' whose object s 'panes'.
Consder next the case of the two causes (44a) and (44b) beow, whose
meanng dfference s ceary coded by the use of two dfferent ad|ectves,
'easy' and 'eager':
(44) a. Say s easy to pease.
b. Say s eager to pease.
Causes (44a) and (44b) share the very same surface structure, (45) beow:
However, some rather trva paraphrase manpuatons of the two struc-
tures n (44) revea that ther 'deeper' structures must be radcay dfferent.
Compare, for exampe, the pared paraphrases n (46) beow, where the
symbo |*| marks an -formed ('ungrammatca') expresson:
(46) a. (For one) to pease Say s easy.
b. *(For one) to pease Say s eager.
c. __ found t easy to pease Say.
d. *He found t eager to pease Say.
e. Say s eager to pease everybody.
f. *Say s easy to pease everybody.
g. Say s easily peased (by anybody).
h. *Say s eagerly peased (by anybody).
In the syntactc anayss of two causes wth a smar surface structure, ds-
coverng grammatca contexts where one fts and the other does not s
taken to be strong evdence that under ther deceptvey smar surface
structures urk two dfferent deep structures. The two deep structures cor-
respondng to (44a) and (44b) are, respectvey, (47) and (48) beow:
The deep structure descrptons (47) and (48) revea that the ad|ectve
'easy' n the surface structure (44a)/(45) s derved from the adverb 'easy'
n the deep-structure (47). One sees now that n (44a) 'Say' s the object of
the verb 'pease'. In contrast, the ad|ectve 'eager' n the surface structure
(44b)/(45) remans an ad|ectve n the deep-structure (48). One aso sees
now that 'Say' n (44b), n addton to beng the sub|ect of 'eager', s aso
the subject of the verb 'pease'.
A smar case of syntactc-semantc ambguty nvoves the compex
(49) I am ookng for someone to teach.
Its ambguty may be ponted out by the expansons:
(50) a. I am ookng for someone to teach French.
(> ...someone so that they teach (someone) French.)
b. I am ookng for someone to teach French to.
(> ...someone so that I teach them French.)
The deep-structure descrpton of the two potenta senses of (49)
(50a,b) must revea the cruca dfference concernng whether the sub|ect
of 'ook-for' s ether the subject or the object of 'teach'. The more
expanded (50a,b), whe st consderaby mutated as compared to ther
fu-fedged deep structure, are aready reveang enough to dfferentate
between the two nterpretatons of (49).
Many types of compex causes n Engsh are suffcenty mutated,
truncated or chopped-up so as to obscure, at east n some contexts, ther
deep structures thus aso ther propostona meanngs. However, the
seemng semantc opacty and potenta ambguty of such surface structures s
not necessary a ma|or bock to communcaton. Ths s so because the dis-
course context wthn whch such compex causes are embedded often
aows the stener to resove ther potenta ambguty one way or another.
For exampe, f (49) above were uttered by a short-staffed hghschoo prn-
cpa at the begnnng of the schoo year, nterpretaton (50a) woud have
been more key. On the other hand, f (49) were uttered by an
unempoyed French teacher, nterpretaton (50b) woud have been more
The toeraton of potenta ambguty n usng compex syntax often
nvoves subte |udgement cas. Speakers and wrters make successfu com-
muncatve choces by beng we tuned to the dscourse context of nd-
vdua causes. Good communcators are partcuary successfu at guessng
what the hearer or reader s key to know or beeve, what s easy for them
to nfer, what they are key to fgure out from context. In strvng to be a
successfu user of grammar, one must remember that grammar s not about
grammar, nor s t about foowng rues. Rather, grammar s about success-
ful communication. In other words, grammar s about producng coherent
1) Proponents of the arbtrarness of grammar are fond of assertng that f not 100% of the
rues of grammar are functonay transparent, or f a snge rue s not 100% transparent, a
functonast approach s untenabe. Ths a-or-nothng approach s agan consonant wth the
ogc-machne vew of grammar, rather than wth a more reastc boogcay-based approach.
2) In the structura desgn of boogca organsms, one aso fnds many nstances of excess
structure (Goud, 1980), whereby nether the current nor any oder functon seems to be per-
formed. Most often, ths turns out to refect hgher and more abstract eves of boogca desgn.
Wthn those eves, structures do not correspond n asimple one-to-one fashon to more obv-
ous, concrete, ower-eve functons. Rather, they tend to refect hgher-eve meta-functional
requirements, ones that arse from combnng mut-eve structures and ther correspondng
functons nto a snge compex desgn. At that eve of compexty, the whoe s not aways
the mere sum of ts parts.
3) See Berko (1961). Chdren acqurng Engsh as ther frst anguage are prone to rebe
aganst such counter-communcatve rues, and often nsst on reguarzng them, commony
purazng 'foot' as 'foots' and 'fsh' as 'fshes', or dervng the past tense of 'see' frst as 'seed'
and ater as 'sawed'.
4) See Mayr (1974).
5) For the dstncton between automated and attended-anaytc processng, see Posner and
Snyder (1974) or Schneder and Shffrn (1977). For grammar as an automated processng
devce, see Gvn (1989, ch. 7).
6) Cted from | espersen (1921/1964, p. 65).
7) | ames Kpatrck, n the Eugene, OR, Register-Guard, 11-11-90.
8) Brown (1986, pp. 191-202) tracks ths usage back at east 200 years.
9) | ames Kpatrck, n the Eugene, OR, Register-Guard, sometme n 1989.
10) Ibid., approx. one year ater.
11) Courtesy of Robert Stockwe (n persona communcaton).
12) McNe (1970).
13) Ths s wdespread among Amercan chdren nto ther teens. Dwght Bonger (n per-
sona communcaton) notes that n hs own speech thefrozen form 'gmme t' s acceptabe,
whe 'He gave her t', 'they gave us t', 'she gave hm them' etc. are not.
14) Hamburger and Cran (1982).
15) Gruber (1967a).
16) Gruber (1967a).
17) Bowerman (1983).
18) Ouoted from | espersen (1921/1964, p. 320).
19) Ibid., p. 322.
20) "At whom the dog barks" by Lore Sega; The New Yorker, Dec. 3, 1990 (p. 45).
21) For a comparatve vew of spoken vs. wrtten anguage, see Ochs (1979); Gvn (1979a,
ch. 5). For an overvew of the structure of conversaton, see Goodwn (1981).
22) From the fe-story of a retred New Mexco rancher n hs eary fftes, tape-recorded n
Boomfed, NM n the wnter of 1980. Ora conversaton tends to dffer even more from the
wrtten regster.
23) From a persona etter by a Caforna woman n her md thrtes.
24) The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 14th Edton, n an artce on ancent Greece; as cted n
an ssue of The New Yorker ca. 1988.
25) A etter from Aumn Chapter Presdent, | oe Ouarterman, n Maryland Architecture,
newsetter of the Unversty of Maryand Archtecture Aumn Chapter; as cted n an ssue of
The New Yorker, sometme n 1990.
26) From Emore Leonard, Unknown Man # 89 (NY: Avon Books, 1977). Ths partcuar
trat of spoken Amercan Engsh s dscussed n chapter 9.
27) From a New York Times artce, reprnted n the San Francsco Chronce, date unre-
28) Posted at the Grand Hote, Cberon, Indonesa; quoted from The New Yorker from
sometme n 1987.
29) The theoretca and methodoogca probems that eaps to mnd here are not easy to sove.
Does one contnue to 'say the same thng' when one has found another way of sayng t? The gst
of the probem s, of course, how to defne it ndependenty of 'the way of sayng if.
30) The phosophca mne-fed whch we w deberatey sdestep here has been a matter of
stormy debate over 2500-odd years of Western cvzaton. The debate concerns what both mnd
and anguage 'represent'. Impcty, I pursue here a mdde-ground Pragmatst approach, cose
n sprt to Kant, Perce and Wttgensten. Wthn ths pragmatc framework, anguage stands for
mental enttes, be those concepts, menta propostons or menta text. Those menta enttes n
turn may stand for a rather heterogenous unverse, part of whch may refect 'The Externa
Word', other parts a purey 'Interna Unverse', other parts yet the cuturay-shared unverse.
The reader nterested n pursung these ssues further may wsh to consut my Mind, Code and
Context (1989).
31) We w gnore for the moment the fact that t aso ncudes the grammatca operator
'the'. Ths operator, the Engsh defnte artce, s used here to code the dscourse coherence of
'mad' across the two causes A's queston and B's response.
32) Ths ceebrated exampe s due to N. Chomsky.
33) The noton 'same concept' s of course a reatve matter. No concept n one anguage s
exactly the same as ts equvaent even cose equvaent n another. For an extensve dscus-
son of ths, see agan my Mind, Code and Context (1989, ch. 9).
34) Harrs (1956); Chomsky (1957, 1965).
35) Ths sense of underlie used here s more akn to Harrs' (1956) than to Chomsky's (1965)
revsed framework. In the atter, one derives compex causes from ther underyng smpe
causes through transformations. The motvaton for Chomsky's approach was, as far as one can
|udge, purey forma, havng to do wth consderatons of descrptve smpcty and economy.
From the perspectve adopted here, the usefuness of vewng the reatonshp between a smpe
and a compex cause as a transformatona dervaton s an ssue for cogntve or neuroogca,
and certany emprca, nvestgaton.
36) Due to Chomsky's (1965) revson of hs and Harrs' earer transformatona framework.
37) Some forma syntactcans nsst on dfferences here too, but for our purpose such dffer-
ences may be safey gnored.
38) After Chomsky (1957).
39) Agan due to Chomsky (1957).
2.1.1. Recapitulation: Meaning, information and communication
Ths chapter covers what has been caed tradtonay parts of speech.
In studyng grammar, we dea wth clauses or sentences from two dstnct
(a) Internal: How they are constructed from a vocabulary
(b) External: How they are combined together nto discourse.
As noted n chapter 1, the three man components of the human commun-
catve code words, causes, dscourse are reated to each other n a
concentrc fashon. That s:
Words code concepts that have meaning. Grammar-cad causes code
propositions that convey information. But causes may aso be strung
together nto mut-propostona discourse, whch then has coherence. The
reatonshp between these three eves may be summarzed as foows:
(1) code level message level
word exca meanng
cause propostona nformaton
dscourse textua coherence
Gven the ncuson reaton between the three ma|or components of
the communcatve code, understandng the meanng of words s one pre-
requste necessary but not suffcent for understandng the nforma-
ton n the cause. And understandng the propostona nformaton n
causes s one prerequste necessary but not suffcent for understand-
ng the coherence of the dscourse. The study of grammar must thus begn
wth the study of the smaer budng-bocks of communcaton the var-
ous types of words that make up causes.
The dfference between 'meanng', a property of words, and 'nforma-
, a property of propostons, can be ustrated by a smpe-mnded test
nvovng the ogca noton of truth. Consder the sentences:
(2) a. The cow |umped over the fence.
b. The cow didn't |ump over the fence.
Ether sentence (2a) or (2b) may be fase wthout the meanngs of the words
'cow', '|ump', 'over' or 'fence
beng affected n the east. Now, does a
snge word have 'truth
? Consder a one-word utterance such as:
(3) cow
Truth seems rreevant here, uness 'cow
n (3) s merey an abbrevated
verson of an answer to queston (4a) beow, .e. a stand-n for the propos-
ton (4b):
(4) a. Who |umped over the fence?
b. The cow |umped over the fence.
The dfference between 'nformaton
, a property of propostons, and
'coherence', a property of dscourse, may be ustrated by contrastng two
aternatve sequences of the same two, equay-true, propostons:
(5) a. The cow |umped over the fence and broke her four egs
b. ?The cow broke her four egs and |umped over the fence
Of the two sequences above, (5a) s coherent but (5b) s not, or at east
vsby ess so. The truth of ndvdua propostons thus cannot, n and
of tsef, guarantee the coherence of ther sequences n mut-propos-
tona dscourse. Something n the nformaton packaged nto the two
causes n (5) s ndeed responsbe for ther yedng a coherent dscourse n
one order (5a) but an ncoherent one n the other (5b). That 'somethng'
has to do wth our cuturay-shared knowedge of key vs. unkey
sequential combinations of events. And t can ony become manfest when
propostons are combned together nto a text.
As further ustraton of coherence reatons that are ndependent of
truth, compare the reatvey coherent (6a,b) beow wth the reatvey
ncoherent (6c,d):
(6) My mechanc oves nachos...
(a) but hates bre.
(b) but I don't.
(c) ?but Chares Darwn ddn't.
(d) ?but the sky s bue.
There s nothng ogcay contradctory about sequencng ether (6c) or
(6d) to the frst proposton n (6). In each case, both propostons n the
sequence may be equay true. Nonetheess, the combned dscourse s ess
than coherent, ths tme due to faure of relevance between the frst and
second proposton.
As a fna ustraton, consder:
(7) a. She |umped nto the rver and drowned.
b. ?She |umped nto the rver. And drowned.
_ ?Mary |umped nto the rver and Mary drowned.
Agan, wthout gong here nto much deta, the two ndvdua causes n
(7a,b,c) may be equay true; they ndeed come n the same sequenta
order; what s more, 'she' refers to 'Mary' n a cases. St, these facts by
themseves do not guarantee that the combnaton woud yed a coherent
dscourse. In ths case, the grammar of cause-combnng s at ssue: It s
used correcty n (7a) but ncorrecty n (7b,c).
In sum, whe exca meanng affects propostona nformaton, and
whe propostona nformaton affects dscourse coherence, the three
eves of anguage-coded communcaton are dstnct.
2.1.2. The conceptual lexicon: Semantic features and semantic fields
The exca meanng of words has both nterna and externa aspects.
Internay, whe words (or 'morphemes') are the smaest code unts n an-
guage, they are not the smaest unts of meaning. Rather, the meanngs of
words are structured clusters of semantic features.
Externay, the semantc features of words aso determne ther cassf-
caton or storage ocaton n the mnd-stored conceptual lexicon. The
semantc features of words thus defne the structure of the excon, the way
t s organzed accordng to semantic fields.
Consder for exampe the noun 'eephant'. Its semantc features make
t a member of many semantc feds, such as:
mammal, herbivore, large, tusks, ivory, trunk, hunting,
poaching, circus, Africa/India, etc.
But a these semantc features may partake n the exca meanng of other
words/concepts n addton to 'eephant'. The semantc feds of 'eephant',
correspondng to the semantc features sted above, are respectvey:
bio-classification, food, size, teeth, tooth-material, nose, human
predation, criminal predation, entertainment, geography, etc.
A these semantc feds have other members n addton to 'eephant'. The
mnd-stored excon may thus be vewed as a network of semantc feds,
where ndvdua words occupy the intersections of varous feds. "Semantc
feature" and "semantc fed" are thus fundamentay one and the same
noton, but vewed from two dfferent perspectves:
(a) The individual word perspective: A concept "contans"
many semantc features.
(b) The total lexicon perspective: The excon s a "network"
of many semantc feds.
2.1.3. Shared vocabulary: Meaning and cultural world-view
"...To magne a anguage s to magne
a form of fe..."
L. Wttgensten,
Philosophical Investigations
(1953, p. 8)
"...The mts of my anguage mean the
mts of my word..."
L. Wttgensten,
Tractatus Logico Philosophicus
(1918, p. 115)
Both as a coecton of words and as a compex network of semantc
feds, the mnd-stored excon codes the stabe, cuturay-shared know-
edge about our unverse, wth 'cuturay shared' subsumng both the 'exter-
na' and 'nterna' unverse. By "stabe" we mean, roughy, that the rate of
change wthn ths mentay-represented unverse s reatvey sow. So that
from one day to the next words retan much of ther meanng. "Cuturay
shared" means that beng a member of the same cuture or speech com-
munity entas, among other thngs, sharng a common excon. That s,
t entas sharng a arge treasury of mnd-stored words that have roughly
the same or substantially smar meanng from one speaker to the
And n turn, sharng a common mnd-stored repostory of concepts
means sharng the same cultural world-view, thus sharng the same unverse.
The ob|ectvty of our unverse s a matter of degree. Some of ts fea-
tures may seem more physca and 'ob|ectve', and thus tend to be shared
by a humans regardess of cuture. Others may be progressvey ess phys-
ca, thus more dependent on one's cuture-specfc pont of vew, or even
at the very extreme on one's sub|ectve perspectve.
2.1.4. History of the English lexicon
The vocabuary of Engsh s not homogenous n ts source, but rather
comes from two man sources. Od Engsh, or Anglo-Saxon, was a custer
of Germanc daects reated to Frsan. These daects were transpanted to
the Brtsh Ises through conquest sometme after AD 400, wth a wrtten
tradton attested snce about AD 700.
Ango-Saxon shared the genera
stock of ts nta vocabuary wth other Germanc daects. The Germanc
vocabuary of Engsh aso ncudes eary borrowngs nto Ango-Saxon
from neghborng contnenta Germanc daects, as we as ater borrowngs
n the Brtsh Ises from Scandnavan setters and raders pror to the Nor-
man conquest.
The buk of the non-Germanc vocabuary of Engsh has come nto the
anguage through four channes of borrowng from Romance anguages:
(a) Latin vocabuary borrowed nto Germanc daect durng
the Roman occupaton of German ands, but before the
Ango-Saxon conquest of Brtan.
(b) Latin vocabuary borrowed nto the Celtic anguages of
Brtan durng the Roman conquest, then ater transmtted
nto Ango-Saxon after AD 400;
(c) French vocabuary borrowed nto Engsh graduay fo-
owng the Norman conquest (AD 1066).
(d) Latin earned vocabuary acqured through conscous
nteectua efforts by ate schoars (such as the excog-
rapher Samue | ohnson and the varous scentfc dsc-
pnes) as the medum of schoary communcaton shfted
from Latn to Engsh.
The frst two ayers of Latn borrowng are we-ntegrated nto the
natve Germanc excon of Engsh, both n terms of cutura-semantc
feds and the sound system. Ony an expert an etymoogst coud te
the foregn orgn of such eary-borrowed words. The same s not true of
ether the Norman-French or ater earned Latn borrowngs. These are ds-
tngushabe to ths day from the Germanc vocabuary of Engsh, by the
foowng custer of crtera:
criterion Germanic Romance
semantic fields:
everyday fe
ncudes grammar
Germanc rues
mosty Germanc
earned, abstract
ony exca
Romance rues
mosty Romance
When we referred to 'words' earer, we deberatey eft a certan mea-
sure of mprecson n the dscusson. Ths mprecson must be now
removed. The vocabuary of any anguage can be dvded nto two ma|or
groups, one of whch s further spt nto two:
(a) lexical ('content') words
(b) non-lexical ('functon') words:
() grammatical morphemes
() derivational morphemes
The three resutng casses exca, grammatca and dervatona
dffer substantay as to ther functon wthn the communcatve code, and
these dfferences are surveyed brefy beow.
2.2.1. Lexical words
What was sad earer about 'words' n fact appes more precsey to
exca vocabuary. Lexca words code the stabe, cuturay-shared con-
cepts. Indvduay and as a network, ths exca vocabuary represents
our shared physca and cutura unverse.
One can ndeed communcate n
any anguage by usng ony exca words, a mode of communcaton caed
pidgin. But pdgn communcaton s mted, sow, error-prone and con-
text-bound; t s used prmary durng the eary stages of language acquisi-
tion, both frst and second.
"Now! ... That should clear up
a few things around here!"
2.2.2. Grammatical morphemes
Grammatca morphemes partake n makng up the grammatca struc-
ture of causes. They thus partake n the codng of both propostona mean-
ng and dscourse pragmatcs. Most grammatca constructons n Engsh
nvove at east some grammatical morphology.
2.2.3. Derivational morphemes
The functon of dervatona morphemes s to create 'derve' new
exca words from exstng ones. We w have reatvey tte to say about
derivational morphology after ths chapter, snce strcty speakng t es n
the provnce of excography rather than grammar.
In addton to ther dvergent functons, other crtera may be used to
dstngush exca words from grammatca and dervatona morphemes. In
We w survey these crtera n order.
a. Morphemic status:
Lexca words tend to come as free, ndependent words. Grammatca
and dervatona morphemes tend to appear as bound morphemes or
affixes. They are attached to exca words as ether prefixes or suffixes.
b. Word size:
Lexca words tend to be arge (ong). Grammatca and dervatona
morphemes tend to be sma (short).
_ Stress:
A exca word n Engsh carres one prmary word-stress. Grammat-
ca and dervatona morphemes tend to be unstressed.
d. Meaning:
Lexca words tend to be semantcay compex; that s, they are cus-
ters of many, hghy specfc semantc features. Each exca word s thus a
member of many semantc feds. Grammatca and dervatona mor-
phemes, on the other hand, tend to be semantcay smpe; they often code
a snge feature, one that s key to be very genera ('cassfcatory').
e. Class size:
Lexca words come n few arge casses. Grammatca and dervatona
morphemes come n many sma casses.
f. Membership:
The membershp of a exca cass s reatvey open; new members |on
reguary and od members drop out, as new words are coned or the mean-
ng of od words s extended. Cultural change s the prme cause of addton
Engsh, these crtera are:
criterion lexical words non-lexical morphemes
morphemic status: free bound
word size: arge sma
stress: stressed unstressed
meaning: compex, specfc smpe, genera
class size: arge sma
membership: open cosed
function: code shared knowedge grammar,
or subtracton of exca vocabuary. The membershp of a grammatca or
dervatona cass, on the other hand, s reatvey cosed, and grammatical
change s usuay nvoved when members are added or subtracted. Most
commony, grammatca change nvoves changes n the communcatve
nstrument tsef, rather than n the cutura word-vew. Such changes tend
to occur under three dstnct functona pressures:
(a) Creatve eaboraton of the code
(b) Truncaton of code eements for faster processng
(c) Smpfcaton of the code:message reaton
g. Historical origin:
The exca words of Engsh, as noted earer above, are both natve
Germanc and borrowed. Ths s aso true of Engsh dervatona mor-
phemes, whch were borrowed together wth exca words. In contrast,
Engsh grammatca morphemes are a natve Germanc.
To ustrate the dfference between exca and grammatca vocabu-
ary, consder the foowng three rendtons of a short text passage. Verson
(8a) retans ony the grammatca vocabuary; verson (8b) retans ony the
exca vocabuary; verson (8c) s the orgna text:
(8) a. -s after -ed
I -ed to the.
Of I had -en over of it a -s,
but it had -en -s then, and not mine.
b. One afternoon about ten day Dad de
decde ought ook ranch.
course be over every nch hundred tme,
be Dad ranch.
_ One afternoon about ten days after Dad ded
I decded I ought to ook over the ranch.
Of course I had been over every nch of it a hundred tmes,
but it had been Dad's ranch then, and not mine.
Verson (8b), wth ony exca words, n fact approxmates a pidgin rend-
ton of the text. Whe cumbersome, at east the skeeton of the ntended
communcaton of (8c) s dscernbe. In contrast, verson (8a) conveys none
of the message. Its varous eements are ndeed extremey hepfu n
eucdatng the precse message when combned wth the exca vocabuary,
as n (8c). But on ts own, the grammatca morphoogy n (8a) commun-
cates nothng. The foowng cartoon pokes fun at ths.
by Garry Trudeau
As can be seen from exampe (8), the morphemc status of grammat-
ca morphemes n wrtten Engsh vares. Some grammatca morphemes n
Engsh are bound morphemes or affixes that must be attached to the stems
of exca words. In Engsh, such bound morphemes may be ether suffixes
(foowng the stem), as n 'waked', 'snging', 'heartless', 'immunize' etc.;
or they may be prefixes (precedng the stem), as n 'ungratefu', 'rearrange',
'impossbe', 'deconstruct' or 'enmesh'.
In addton to those that are wrtten as bound morphemes (prefxes,
suffxes), many grammatca morphemes n Engsh are wrtten as f they
were ndependent word-stems, .e. free morphemes. Such cases are, for
exampe, 'the horse', 'a woman', 'of wne', 'my house', 'should eave', 'had
eft' or 'didn't want'. Ths varaton n the wrtten morphemc status of Eng-
sh grammatca vocabuary s due prmary to the hstorca process that
gves rse to bound morphoogy. Brefy, short, unstressed grammatca (or
dervatona) morphemes naturay tend to become bound to ong, stressed
exca words. However, both grammatca and dervatona morphemes
arse hstorcay from exca words. Durng ther protracted functona
evouton, and gven the conservatve nature of wrtng systems, erstwhe
words that aready functon as grammatca (or dervatona) morphemes
retan ther oder wrtten status as ndependent words, at east for a whe.
In the spoken anguage, ther behavor contracton, oss of stress, merg-
ng wth neghborng exca words matches much more cosey ther new
functona status as grammatca (or dervatona) morphemes.
2.4.1. Membership criteria
In ths secton we w dea wth the four ma|or casses of exca words
n Engsh:
() Nouns
() Verbs
() Ad|ectves
(v) Adverbs
We w characterze each cass by three types of crtera:
(a) Semantic criteria: The knd of meanngs (or 'semantc fea-
tures') that tend to be coded by words of a partcuar cass.
(b) Morphological criteria: The knd of bound morphemes
both grammatca and dervatona that tend to be bound
to words of a partcuar cass.
(c) Syntactic criteria: The typca poston(s) n the cause that
words of a partcuar cass tend to occupy.
In usng a custer of crtera rather than rgd defntons, one tacty
acknowedges the probem of cassfcaton of grammatca phenomena. It s
perhaps worth our whe to rase here, however brefy, the genera ssue of
cassfcaton (or 'categorzaton'). The ssue s not ony reevant to the cas-
sfcaton of words, but aso to the cassfcaton of grammatca phenomena.
Indeed, t goes to the heart of our understandng of the noton rules of
2.4.2. Natural classes: Prototypicality and variability
"...Most of the defntons gven n even recent books are tte better
than sham defntons n whch t s extremey easy to pck hoes...Not
a snge one of these defntons s ether exhaustve or cogent..."
O. | espersen, Philosophy of Grammar
(1924, pp. 58-59)
A natura cassfcaton .e. one created by the perceptons and cog-
nton of vng organsms s never squeaky cean and free of probems.
Natural classes are sedom as neat as logical classes. Rather, they are most
commony a somewhat messy affar. Frst, not a members of a natura
cass abde by rgd membershp crtera to the same degree. Second, mem-
bershp s most commony determned by a cluster of criteria. Some of these
crtera are more mportant ('centra') than others, but none s absoutey
nvoabe by itself. Consequenty, natura casses do not resembe pure og-
ca casses; ther defntons, and thus ther boundares, are a bt fuzzy, they
aow some sop, ambguty and overap.
Otto | espersen, quoted above, dentfed ths probem rather suc-
cncty, and hs theoretca prescrpton n fact audes to the need for a cus-
ter approach, whereby each crteron s nether absoutey necessary nor by
tsef suffcent:
"...the traned grammaran knows whether a gven word s an ad|ec-
tve or a verb not by referrng to such defntons, but n practcay the
same way n whch we a on seeng an anma know whether t s a cow or
a cat, and chdren can earn t much as they earn to dstngush famar
anmas, by practce, beng shown a suffcent number of specmens and
havng ther attenton drawn successvey now to this and now to that dstn-
gushng feature..." (1924, p. 62; emphases added; TG).
Whe natura casses are far from cean, nether are they totay chao-
tc or permssve. Rather, they span the mdde ground between absoute
rgdty and tota fux. Some members most commony a substanta
ma|orty are n fact fairly typical; they resembe the prototype of the
cass n many features. But other members typcay a mnorty resem-
be the prototypes ess, n ether ths or that feature.
The popuaton of a natura cass s often best characterzed by ts fre-
quency distribution curve, where wth respect to any crtera feature or
custer of features the most prototypca members are cosest to the
population mean. Around that mean custers a substanta ma|orty of the
membershp. Such a dstrbuton may be ustrated as:
% of members
n each segment
of the category
A natura popuaton thus toerates a certan proporton of deviant
ess typca members, as ong as that proporton s not too hgh. The ds-
trbuton curve of a natura popuaton accommodates weak, ess-typca or
even ambguous members, but ony at the margns.
When dscussng the semantc characterstcs and membershp of
varous exca casses, one must bear n mnd that some members are more
typca, whe others are ess so. And that some semantc features are more
centra to the defnton of the prototype, whe others are ess centra. And
that, fundamentay, natura cassfcaton s not one hundred percent ar-
tght. Edward Sapr, a noted Amercan ngust, has put t perhaps most
succncty when takng about the mts of grammatca reguarty:
"...Were a anguage ever competey "grammatca", t woud be a perfect
engne of conceptua expresson. Unfortunatey, or ucky, no anguage s
tyranncay consstent. All grammars leak..."
(E. Sapr, Language, 1921, p. 38)
2.4.3. Semantic overview
Of the four ma|or exca word-casses we w survey here, three
nouns, ad|ectves, verbs can be set apart ntay by four semantc
crtera. These crtera may be consdered the top of the hierarchy of seman-
tc features by whch humans cassfy verbay-coded experence. They
(a) tempora stabty (rate of change over tme)
(b) concreteness (physcaty)
(c) compactness (degree of spata scatter)
(d) compexty (number of defnng features)
The way these crtera defne the three exca casses aso serves to hgh-
ght the reevance of the noton prototype for our cassfcaton. We w
ustrate the appcaton of these crtera by consderng some smpe propo-
stons that code states or events:
(10) a. The tree s green.
b. The woman was angry.
The situation was becomng chaotic.
d. The weather there s unpredictable.
e. The tall man then shot the deer.
f. The girl then listened to hs story.
g. The value of her house was sowy depreciating.
(i) Nouns
The custer of experenta features that are typcay coded as nouns
tend to be reatvey complex (mut-featured), concrete (physca), com-
pact (packed together n space). Above a, they are time-stable (sow-
changng). That s, from one mnute to the next one of ther attrbutes may
change, but the ma|orty of ther more mportant attrbutes reman rea-
tvey the same. Thus, f a 'tree' n (10a) shed ts green eaves n the fa, ts
shape, structure, statonary orentaton, bo-ecoogca poston etc. woud
reman stabe enough to nsure ts st beng a tree. Smary, 'woman' n
(10b) may stop beng angry, may be taer or shorter, darker or farer, smar-
ter or duer etc.; but her ma|or attrbutes human, femae, adut, etc.
reman ntact. Other equay prototypca nouns n (10) are 'man', 'deer',
'gr' or 'house'.
On the other hand, 'stuaton' (10c), 'weather' (10d), 'story' (10f) or
'vaue' (10g) are non-prototypca, beng ether more abstract, dffuse, or
temporay unstabe.
(ii) Adjectives
The experenta phenomena typcay coded as ad|ectves tend to be
reatvey simple (snge-featured) attrbutes of prototypca nouns; that s,
inherent, concrete, time-stable qualities such as coor, shape, sze, conss-
tency, texture, weght etc. Thus, 'green' n (10a) and 'ta' n (10e) are such
prototypca ad|ectves. On the other hand, 'angry
(10b), 'chaotc' (10c)
and 'unpredctabe' (Od) a code states that are both more temporary and
more abstract.
() Verbs
The experenta phenomena typcay coded as verbs tend to be of
ntermedate compexty, nvovng concrete (perceptuay accessbe)
events, ether of physca motion or physca action, and above a fast
changing events. Thus 'shoot' (10e) s a fary prototypca verb, beng con-
crete, an acton and a fast change. 'Lsten
( 1 Of), on the other hand, s ess
prototypca. It s an nvsbe event, menta rather than physca, nvovng
no dscernbe acton. It may aso be temporay drawn-out rather than com-
pact. And 'deprecate
(10g) s even ess prototypca, nvovng a reatvey
sow change of hghy abstract propertes.
2.4.4. Nouns Semantic characteristics
The od schoo-grammar defnton "a noun s a name of a person, a
pace or a thng
, whe suggestve, refers prmary to prototypical nouns.
The semantc cassfcaton of nouns s vast, and the sub|ect of fetme work
for semantcsts and excographers. The cassfcaton dscussed beow
touches ony on the most genera features of nouns, the ones that tend to:
(a) yed arge casses;
(b) be attested n many anguages; and
(c) be reevant to grammatca behavor.
a. Concreteness
Concrete nouns code enttes that exst n both space and tme. Tem-
poral nouns code enttes that exst ony n tme. Abstract nouns code
enttes whose exstence cannot be defned n terms of ether tme or space.
Typca nouns n these casses are:
(11) a. Concrete:
rock, tree, horse, woman, house, knfe, char, h, sun
b. Temporal:
Sunday, year, mornng, mnute, | uy, event, annversary
_ Abstract:
freedom, ove, ndependence, sze, pocy, refusa
b. Animacy
Concrete nouns may be further dvded nto ether anmate or nan-
mate. Animate nouns code the fauna vng, sentent bengs. Inanimate
nouns code ether the flora or norganc enttes. Typca nouns n these
casses are:
(12) a. Animate:
horse, woman, boy, fy, pgeon, snake
b. Inanimate:
grass, tree, house, knfe, h, rver, meat, star, rock
c. Artifactness
Inanmate nouns can be further dvded nto ether natural nouns or
artifacts. Thus, n (12b) above, 'grass, 'tree', 'h', 'rver', 'star', 'rock' and
are natura enttes. On the other hand, 'house' and 'knfe' are
human-made artfacts.
d. Humanity
Anmate nouns may be further dvded nto human and non-human
(13) a. Human:
woman, man, chd, mother, teacher, speaker
b. Non-human:
horse, fy, pgeon, cow, bat, dnosaur, snake
e. Countability (individuation')
Both concrete and abstract nouns may be ether count nouns ones
that code individuated enttes, or mass nouns ones that code ether
groups or unindividuated enttes:
(14) a. Count:
Concrete: man, stone, horse, gran, drop, tree, house
Abstract: rght, ove, appearance, contro
b. Mass:
Concrete: sand, water, bood, ar
Abstract: rght, ove, appearance, contro, empathy, freedom
As s apparent n (14), a number of nouns partcuary abstract ones
may have ether a count or a mass sense:
(15) a. Count:
Ths s one right you cannot take away.
She was an od love of hs.
He made an appearance.
We nsttuted a number of controls.
b. Mass:
He's here by right.
She's fu of love.
For the sake of appearance
We ost control over the stuaton.
f. Generality and reference
In genera, nouns ('common nouns') connote enttes. That s, they do
not refer to them as ndvduas, but rather connote ther sense or refer to
ther type. In contrast, names ('proper nouns') denote enttes. That s, they
refer to ndvdua tokens:
(16) a. Nouns:
man, state, month, hoday, sword, horse, theory
b. Names:
| ohn, Oregon, | uy, Haoween, Excabur, Rosnante,
The Unversty of Oregon, The Theory of Reatvty Syntactic behavior
By syntactc behavor of nouns one means both the characterstc syn-
tactic positions that nouns can occupy n the cause or n the phrase, and
ther grammatical role n the cause.
The typca grammatca roes that nouns pay n the cause are subject,
direct object, indirect object, or predicate. Some exampes of these roes
whch aso enta pacng the noun n typca syntactc postons are:
(17) a. Subject, direct object:
The woman broke the knife
b. Subject, indirect object:
The ball roed nto the river
Predicate (non-referring):
Ths s a desk
d. Predicate (referring):
Ths s my desk
In addton, a noun typcay occupes, wthn the noun phrase, the
poston of head of the noun phrase, as n:
( 18) Head of Noun Phrase :
a. Modified by an adjective:
the bg sleep
b. Modified by a REL-clause:
the man I met yesterday
_ Modified by a numeral:
three women
d. Modified by a possessor:
| oe's wife
Fnay, a noun coud aso be the modifier wthn the noun phrase,
rather than the head, as n:
(19) Modifier noun:
a. the delivery truck
b. a dog-house
_ trout-fshng Morphological characteristics
By morphoogca characterstcs of a word we mean the types of
bound morphemes prefxes or suffxes that typcay attach to t.
These morphemes may be ether grammatical or derivational. As noted
earer, n Engsh some of these morphemes are wrtten as separate words,
but we st consder them morphemes. Grammatical morphology
(a) Plural marker
The pura marker of Engsh s a noun suffx, as n:
(20) gr-5
A few nouns have rreguar puras, as n:
(21) foot > feet
man > men
woman > women
ox > ox-en
chd > chd-ren
hoof > hoov-es
And some group nouns have zero pura marker, as n:
(22) deer
(b) Prepositions
Prepostons, whch n Engsh mark the roe of the ndrect ob|ect n
the cause, are wrtten as separate words, but may be consdered prefixes to
the frst eement of the noun phrase. Engsh prepostons mark a varety of
semantc roes of ndrect ob|ects. Some exampes are:
(23) in the house (ocaton)
to the store (ocaton)
at schoo (ocaton)
under one roof (ocaton)
near the next corner (ocaton)
for Mary (benefcary)
for a whe (duraton)
on Tuesday (tme)
during the nght (tme)
with a hammer (nstrument)
with patence (manner)
with her brother (assocate)
by mstake (manner)
like a on (manner)
by the FBI (agent)
(c) Possessor pronouns
Possessor pronouns n Engsh are wrtten as separate words, but may
be consdered prefxes to the noun or to the noun phrase. They are part of
a arger cass caed determiners (see chapter 6). Typca exampes are:
(24) my book
her suggeston
our ast encounter
(d) Articles
Artces, whch n Engsh are wrtten as separate words, may be con-
sdered prefxes to the noun or to the noun phrase. Lke possessor pro-
nouns, they are a sub-cass of determners. Typca exampes are:
(25) the roof
a char
this case
that woman
any good dea
no excuse Derivational morphology
As noted above, dervatona morphemes are used to derve new words
from exstng ones. Most commony, such a dervaton changes the semantic
class of the word. One may thus characterze dervatona morphemes on
nouns as semantic classifiers of varous knds, and then defne each by the
nput and output of the dervaton:
(a) Input: the cass of the underved word to whch the
morpheme appes;
(b) Output: the cass of the derved word resutng from
the dervaton.
Engsh has a rch array of dervatona morphemes markng nouns.
Some of those specaze n changng verbs nto nouns, others n changng
ad|ectves nto nouns, whe others yet n changng one type of noun nto
another. The appcabty of partcuar dervatons to partcuar casses or
sub-casses of nput words s governed n part by semantc rues, n part by
the hstory of the vocabuary, and n part by many dosyncratc, word-
specfc consderatons. Our treatment here s ustratve rather than
(26) Verb-to-noun:
nput output
derve derv-ation
drve drv-er
govern govern-or
wrte wrt-ing
remove remov-al
know know-ledge
nterfere nterfer-ence
dever dever-y
conform conform-ity
(27) Adjective-to-noun :
nput output
knd knd-ness
wde wd-th
serene seren-ity
(28) Noun-to-noun:
nput output
kng king-dom
governor governor-ship
presdent presden-cy
chd chd-hood
anarchy anarch-ist
An ntermedate case of dervaton n Engsh s compounding, where
one noun modfes another to form a derved meanng. Typca exampes are:
(29) Compounding noun-to-noun:
2.4.5. Adjectives Semantic characteristics
One may dvde ad|ectves somewhat roughy accordng to those that
are more prototypca, and thus code nherent, concrete, reatvey stabe
qualities of enttes; and those that are ess prototypca, and thus code
more temporary, ess concrete states.
21 Prototypical adjectives
(a) Size
Sze ad|ectves, most commony comng as antonym pars, may cover a
varety of dmensons, as n:
(30) a. General size: bg/sma
b. Horizontal extension: wde/narrow
_ Thickness: thck/thn, fat/sknny
d. Vertical extension: ta/short
e. Vertical elevation: hgh/ow
f. Length: ong/short
(b) Color
Coor ad|ectves are ether antonym pars for brghtness, or cover the
ranbow and beyond, as n:
(31) a. Brightness: dark/ght, dark/brght, back/whte
b. Color: voet, bue, green, yeow, orange, red,
brown, bege, etc.
(c) Auditory qualities
Audtory ad|ectves, often comng n antonym pars, cover severa
audtory propertes, such as:
(32) a. Loudness: oud/soft, nosy/quet
b. Absolute pitch: hgh/ow
c. Relative pitch: sharp/fat
d. Harmony: meow/harsh
e. Melody: meodous/cacophonous
(d) Shape
Shape ad|ectves descrbe the shape of an ob|ect n one-, two- or three-
dmensona space, as n:
(33) a. One-dimensional: straght, crooked, bent, curve
b. Two-dimensional: round, square, ova, tranguar,
rectanguar, trapezod
c. Three-dimensional: spherca, cubc, conca,
cyndrca, pyramda
(e) Taste
Taste ad|ectves code the varous tastes, such as:
(34) sweet, sour, saty, acd, btter
(f) Tactile
Tacte ad|ectves code varous tacte dmensons, such as:
(35) a. Texture: rough/smooth
b. Resistance: hard/soft
c. Pointedness: sharp/du Less prototypical adjectives
Less prototypca ad|ectves sgna ether ess concrete propertes or
more transtory states.
(a) Evaluative
Evauatve ad|ectves, often n antonymc pars, sgna the sub|ectve
preference of the speaker toward an entty, as n:
(36) good/bad, pretty/ugy, nce/ousy, desrabe/undesrabe
(b) Transitory states
Ad|ectves of ths heterogenous group descrbe externa, nterna,
soca or menta temporary states, such as:
(37) a. Mental-internal: angry, tred, happy, sad, content,
dsgusted, aert, etc.
b. External activity: busy/de
_ External condition: drty/cean
d. Speed of motion: fast/sow
e. Temperature: hot/warm/tepd/ukewarm/cod
(c) States of living
Ad|ectves n ths group descrbe varous states of anmate bengs, such
(38) a. Age: young/od, new/od
b. Life: ave/dead
c. Health: heathy, sck, , we Derived adjectives
The vast ma|orty of ad|ectves n the Engsh dctonary are derved
from ether nouns or verbs. Ther meanng thus owes some to the meanng
of the orgna ('nput') noun or verb, and some to the type of dervaton
nvoved. We w not cover the range of ther meanngs systematcay here,
but many of the morphoogca patterns w be noted further beow.
23 Polarity of antonymic pairs
As noted above, many ad|ectves n varous meanng casses come as
antonymic pairs. That s, each connotes the opposte of the other. Ths
opposton s, however, asymmetrical. Of the two members of the par, one
usuay acts as the positive member, connotng the presence (or greater
extent) of the quaty; the other acts as the negative member, connotng the
absence (or smaer extent) of the quaty. Typca antonym pars of ad|ec-
tves are:
( 39) Antonym pairs of adjectives
quality positive negative
size bg
length ong short
width wde narrow
thickness thck thn
height (position) hgh ow
height (size) ta short
speed fast sow
loudness oud quet
roughness rough smooth
weight heavy ght
brightness brght dark
The asymmetry n the behavor of the postve vs. negatve member of
these antonymc ad|ectve-pars can be observed n a number of ways. Frst,
there s a strong tendency for the postve member of an antonymc par to
aso gve the name of the genera quaty. That s, one fnds 'ength' but not
'shortness', 'wdth' but not 'narrowness', 'thckness' but not 'thnness',
'heght' but not 'owness', 'oudness' but not 'quetness', 'roughness' but not
'smoothness', 'brghtness' but not 'darkness'.
The asymmetry s further evdent n the way we form questons about
the extent of the quaty:
(40) a. Positive question: How ta s she?
b. Possible answer: -Very ta.
-Very short.
_ Negative question: How short s she?
d. Possible answers: -Very short.
-*Very ta.
The postve member, t seems, s used to queston the entire range of qua-
ty or dmenson. The negatve member, on the other hand, s used to ques-
ton ony the negatve porton of the range. Syntactic behavior
Ad|ectves tend to appear n two man syntactc postons n causes:
(a) as predicates n non-verba causes
(b) as modifiers wthn the Noun Phrase
Thus consder:
(41) a. Predicate adjective:
Mary s tall
b. Modifying adjective:
The tall woman
In Engsh, ad|ectves may aso appear n some ess characterstc postons
that nvove compex sentence patterns, n partcuar n assocaton wth
verba compements, as n:
(42) a. You were wrong to say that
b. It's so good of you to come
c. It was hard to forget her
d. It's incredible that she showed up
e. She was anxious to eave
f. He s easy to pease but hard to forget
g. I amaware of your predcament
h. Don't be afraid to |ump
Such syntactc postons are more characterstc of verbs.
24 Morphological characteristics Grammatical morphology
Engsh ad|ectves are characterzed by few grammatca morphemes,
most conspcuousy the comparative and superlative markers, as n:
(43) short short-er short-est
cod cod-er cod-est
far far-ther far-thest
good bett-er b-est
But ths mted morphoogy appes ony to a sma number of short, Ger-
manc ad|ectves.
When an ad|ectve occupes the nta (modfer) poston n the noun
phrase, t may be preceded by varous grammatca morphemes prefxes
that are characterstc of nouns (see secton, above). The buk
of the morphoogca features of Engsh ad|ectves, however, pertans to
ther dervatona morphoogy.
VOCABULARY: WORDS AND MORPHEMES 67 Derivational morphology
Some dervatona morphemes specaze n dervng ad|ectves from
nouns, as n:
(44) Noun-derived adjectives:
nput output
crce crcu-ar
fate fat-al
cyce cyc-ic(-al)
sphere spher-ic-al
repubc repubc-an
rgor rg-id
dsaster dsastr-ous
aw aw-ful
pan pain-less
Others are nvoved n the dervaton of ad|ectves from verbs, as n:
(45) Verb-derived adjectives
nput output
abuse abus-ive
pretend pretent-ious
read read-able
break brok- n
burn burn-t
twst twst-ed
spn spnn-ing
Fnay, severa dervatona morphemes derve negatve ad|ectves from
ther affrmatve counterparts, and thus generate more antonym pars, as n:
(46) Negative-derived adjectives
nput output
wng un-wng
abe -abe
wse un-wse
possbe im-possbe
toerabe in-toerabe
agreeabe dis-agreeabe
coored dis-coored
*gusted dis-gusted
2.4.6. Verbs Semantic characterization
The dscusson of the semantcs of verbs w be deferred unt chapter
3. Ths s so because verbs consttute the core of the semantic frame of
propostons. Thus, when one cassfes the propostona-semantcs struc-
ture of smpe causes, one aso wnds up cassfyng the man semantc types
of verbs. Syntactic characterization
For the same reasons, the syntactc behavor of verbs w be descrbed
n deta n chapter 3. We w see there how the semantc type of the verb
dctates, to qute an extent, ts syntactc behavor; that s, the clause-type
whose core s most typcay occuped by that verb. Morphological characterization Grammatical morphology
Athough Engsh s not a hghy nfected anguage, verbs certany
come wth an array of grammatca morphemes that custer around them n
the verb phrase. But agan, one must remember that many of those gram-
matca morphemes are wrtten n Engsh as separate words. Further, some
grammatca morphemes that are rghty consdered verba, such as those
that mark tense-aspect-modaty, do not attach themseves to the verb n
spoken Engsh. Whe they ndeed precede the verb, they attach them-
seves as suffixes to whatever word that precedes them, often to the cause's
(a) Tense, aspect, modality
Some tense-aspect-modaty markers n Engsh appear as pre-verba
auxiliaries, wrtten as ndependent words. These have deveoped more
recenty from verbs. Others are much oder and appear as ether verb suf-
fixes or as dosyncratc internal changes n the verb-stem tsef. Severa
tense-aspects n Engsh requre the combnaton of both types. The foow-
ng exampes ustrate some of these combnatons.
(47) a. Past: The woman drown-ed
b. Future: The man will drown
c. Present: The chd is drown-ng
d. Perfect: She has spok-en to her mother
e. Past-perfect: She had spok-en to her mother
f. Modal: I can/may/must eave
(b) Negation
Negaton markers n Engsh have compex patterns, ones that are best
understood n terms of ther hstory. Most commony, the negatve mor-
pheme not (or ts contracted form -n't) s suffxed to the frst ('eft-most')
auxary before the verb. But when no auxary s present, the auxary
verb 'do' carres the negatve suffx. Thus consder:
(48) a. She is-n't there
b. You can-'t do that
_ We have-n't fnshed yet
d. I'mnot runnng
e. He dd-n't qut
f. I do-n't know
(c) Subject agreement
Sub|ect agreement s a rather neggbe grammatca phenomenon n
Engsh, confned to ony two grammatca contexts:
(a) thrd person snguar agreement
(b) agreement of the verb 'be'
(49) Third Person singular agreement:
a. He/she/t fa-s
b. I/you/we/they fa
(50) Agreement of 'be':
a. I am
b. You are
_ She/he/t is
d. We/y'a/they are
(d) Passive morphology
The passve verb n Engsh s marked by the auxary verb 'be' before
the verb, together wth the perfect or past suffx foowng the verb, as n:
(51) a. He was see-n by three reabe wtnesses
(>Three reabe wtnesses saw hm)
b. She was-__ forgott-en
(>Someone dd not forget her)
_ The door was mmedatey open-ed
(>Someone mmedatey opened the door) Derivational morphology
Engsh verbs can be derved from ether nouns, ad|ectves or other
verbs. In each case, characterstc dervatona morphoogy s nvoved. We
w survey brefy some of the more common patterns.
(52) From adjective to verb
nput output
arge enarge
hard harden
sod sod-ify
tte be-tte
actve actv-ate
cean ceanse
(53) From noun to verb
nput output
can can
dust dust
backba backba
tomb en-tomb
crce en-crce
mesh en-mesh
theory theor-ize
energy energ-ize
stabe stab-ize
crce crcu-ate
fang de-fang
bug de-bug
caw de-caw
(54) From verb to verb
pattern nput output
a. Negative: stabze
do un-do
b. Causative: rse raise
st set/seat
move move
turn turn
burn burn
2.4.7. Adverbs Preamble
Of the four ma|or exca word-casses, adverb s the east homogenous
cass and the hardest to defne. Ths heterogenety of adverbs s evdent
across the board n ther semantcs, syntax and morphoogy. Further,
many semantc sub-casses of adverbs are coded by ether one-word adverbs
or by more compex syntactic constructons. As a grammatca category,
adverbs thus span the range between the exca and the syntactc. In a ater
chapter, we w ndeed dea wth one arge cass of syntactc adverba con-
structons subordnate adverba causes.
The cassfcaton gven beow s prmary a semantic cassfcaton of
adverbs, .e. n terms of meanng or functon. Wthn each cass, we w
ustrate the range of morpho-syntactc dversty that adverbs toerate. Mariner adverbs
Manner adverbs typcay modfy, or add to, the meanng of the verb.
The semantc range of such modfcaton s wde and heterogeneous, and
depends on the specfc meanng of the verb. Typca one-word manner
adverbs n Engsh are:
(55) a. He ran fast.
b. They fought hard.
_ She whsted softly.
d. She easily defeated hm.
e. They dea wth her rather harshly.
f. He dd t intentionally.
g. She dsmssed hmthoughtlessly.
Many manner adverbs are constructed syntactcay, often as preposi-
tional phrases,
as n:
(56) a. She fought like a tiger.
b. They dd t on purpose.
c. __ came there by accident.
d. They dea wth adversares without mercy.
Manner adverbs may aso be constructed from fu verba causes, often
as participial adverb causes.
The semantc core of the manner adverb s n
such case the verb of the partcpa cause. As ustratons, consder:
(57) a. She went on without thinking about it.
(> 'not thnkng')
b. Disregarding what she told him, he went on.
(> 'dsregardng X')
c. Probing around the bush cautiously, she stumbed
upon the decomposed body.
(> 'probng around X')
The syntactc heterogenety of manner adverbs s aso evdent n the
fexbty of ther poston n the cause: Often they may be paced ether
after the verb, n front of the verb, or at the begnnng of the cause, as n:
(58) a. Quickly she opened the door.
b. She quickly opened the door.
_ She opened the door quickly.
A arge group of adverbs dspay a consstent dervatona markng,
those derved from ad|ectves wth the suffx -ly, as n:
(59) nput output
brave brave-ly
purposefu purposefu-ly
deberate deberate-ly
sudden sudden-ly
manua manua-ly
verba verba-ly
However, the cass of -/y-marked adverbs s semantcay heterogeneous, so
that ther morphoogca unty s not matched by unfed functon or mean-
Some adverbs of manner may shade n ther meanng ever coser to
instruments, augmentng the meanng of the verb wth nformaton about
the nstrument used n performng the acton. One may n fact argue that
"manner" s an abstract metaphor for "nstrument". To ustrate ths, com-
pare the use of with-marked prepostona phrases beow:
(60) a. Instrument: She ked hmwith a knife.
b. Manner: She ked hmwith kindness.
Instrument: They treated hmwith antibiotics.
d. Manner: They treated hmwith respect.
e. Instrument: He fought with a broad sword.
f. Manner: He fought with rare skill.
Most nstrument-ke adverbs are constructed as prepositional phrases, wth
a varety of prepostons.
Further, some may have two aternatve forms,
one wth a preposton, the other wth the dervatona suffx -ly. As ustra-
tons, consder:
(61) a. She made t by hand.
b. You do ths manually.
c. She earned about t by accident.
d. She earned about t accidentally.
e. They attacked hmwith words.
f. They attacked hmverbally.
g. She proceeded with caution.
h. She proceeded cautiously.
. She got there through hard work.
| . They came on foot. Time, frequency or aspectuality adverbs
Adverbs n ths sub-group suppy nformaton about the tme, fre-
quency, or other tempora aspects of the event. Ther semantc scope s thus
not the verb aone, but rather the entre event-cause, .e. the whoe propo-
ston. Both the morphoogy and syntactc poston of such adverbs are
heterogeneous. Some of them are snge-word adverbs, as n:
(62) Frequency:
a. She comes here often.
b. They seldom mss the game.
_ She s always ate.
d. Sometimes she fet funny.
(63) Temporal point:
a. Yesterday t raned.
b. He's comng tomorrow.
_ She eft Wednesday.
d. Soon t' be Sprng.
(64) Aspectuality:
a. They dd t again.
b. He repeatedly refused to compy.
_ They continuously dsrupted her presentaton.
d. We argued on and on.
Some tempora adverbs are structuray noun phrases and may ncor-
porate modfers, as noun phrases often do.
As ustratons, consder:
(65) a. The eecton s next Tuesday.
b. We see themthe following week.
c. She' see you some other time.
d. Every day I see her wakng to work.
Many tempora adverbs have the structure of prepositional phrases,
as n:
(66) a. In two months we' et you know.
b. At that point I sad 'no'.
_ She doesn't come n on Tuesday.
d. They' be back in a minute.
e. In the months that followed, they heard nothng from hm.
Fnay, some tme adverbs are constructed as subordinate adverbial clauses,
and w be treated n some deta ater on.
Exampes of such tme adverbs
(67) a. When my brother comes back, we' see what we can do.
b. Upon her return from the city, she rented a house. Epistemic adverbs
The semantc scope of epstemc adverbs ranges over the entre propo-
ston (cause). Most typcay, they convey the speaker's atttude toward
the truth, certainty or probability of the proposton. They are heterogene-
ous n form, appearng most commony as ether one-word expressons,
one-word expressons derved wth -ly, or prepostona phrases. As ustra-
tons, consder:
(68) a. He s most certainly wrong.
b. Perhaps she' come.
c. Maybe you're rght.
d. Ths s possibly hs greatest nventon.
e. She fnshed supposedly two weeks ago.
f. Probably nothng w happen.
g. Without doubt they' be here.
h. She had tod hm, presumably.
One must note that there are other constructons that perform the very
same range of epstemc functons. A typca one s modal auxiliaries, as
(69) a. She may have eft aready.
b. He might be at the bar.
_ Ths can't be rght.
d. She could come even ater.
Some verbs that beong to the sub-group of perception-cognition-utterance
verbs are aso used for epstemc eaboraton of causes fang under ther
(70) a. They say he's back n town.
b. I guess she's not n.
_ I think you're wrong.
d. Ths s absurd, you know.
e. It's OK, I suppose.
f. She sn't done yet, I see. Evaluative adverbs
The semantc scope of evauatve adverbs agan ranges over the entre
preposton, and agan conveys the speaker's atttude. Ths tme, however,
that atttude concerns the desirability of the state or event. Many evauatve
adverbs are derved wth -ly from ad|ectves; other are constructed syntact-
cay n varous ways. For exampe:
(71) a. Hopefully she's ave.
b. Unfortunately, t turned out the other way.
c. Luckily they fnshed on tme.
d. Fortunately nobody saw them.
e. With luck, she' fnsh before dark.
As n the case of epstemc adverbs, a smar evauatve meanng can
be mparted by other verba constructons. One group of such constructons
nvoves agan modal auxiliaries, ths tme denotng obligation, as in:
(72) a. She should have done t.
b. It need not have turned out ths way.
_ They (had) better be on tme.
Smary, evauatve modaty may be mparted by some percepton-cogn-
ton-utterance verbs, as n:
(73) a. I'm afraid we ran out of uck.
b. I'd rather you don't do ths.
_ Nothng wrong, I hope?
d. I wish that she hadn't done that.
e. They prefer that you qut now.
Other constructons may aso be used to mpart evauatve atttudes and
preference, as n:
(74) a. God willing, he' ve.
b. If all goes well, she' pass wth honors.
c. God forbid they qut now!
d. It's good that you were there.
e. How awful she ddn't make t. Adverbs modifying adjectives
A dstnct cass of adverbs are used to modfy, quantfy or ntensfy the
meanng of ad|ectves. They may appy to both predcate ad|ectves and
noun-modfyng ad|ectves. Some of the adverbs used n ths functon are
morphoogcay marked wth -ly, but others come from dverse sources.
Some exampes are:
(75) With predicate adjectives:
a. She s very ucky.
b. That was rather stupd.
_ It was quite mpressve.
d. Ths s a considerably stronger proposa.
(76) With modifying adjectives:
a. a very ta man
b. an incredibly nave suggeston
_ an altogether thorough revew
d. an unbelievably bad move
Severa grammatca operators ('functon words') n Engsh are used n
emphatc, contrastve capacty, a functon that s not easy to cassfy n a
precse way. For ack of a better sot, one may consder them a sub-cass of
adverbs. Some exampes of these are:
(77) a. I just know she's rght.
b. We really don't understand.
_ They absolutely abhor voence.
d. She dd exactly that.
e. Technically, you are rght.
2.5.1. Preamble
A number of word-casses n Engsh may be consdered 'mnor' n one of
two senses. Most of them are grammatical words that are st wrtten as
separate words. A few are sma casses of content words but wth smpe
meanngs and mted membershp. In ths way, they resembe grammatca
vocabuary. We w st the varous groups here wthout much deta, snce
most of them w be dscussed n reevant chapters ater on.
2.5.2. Prepositions
Engsh prepostons mark varous types of indirect object roes
sometme aso adverbial constructions (see earer above). Typca smpe
prepostons are:
(78) to, from, for, on, off, at, n, out, wth, by, before, behnd,
after, under, above, upon, between
Some prepostons are compex, and are derved mosty from nouns va a
possessive constructon,
as n:
(79) on top of, n front of, n the mdde of, at the bottom of,
n the back of, at the center of, outsde (of), nsde (of)
Syntactcay, Engsh prepostons precede the noun phrase, and are
thus prefixed to the frst word n the noun phrase, be t the head noun or a
precedng modfer. As ustratons, consder:
(80) a. at home
b. to the store
c. on top of the house
d. in her beautfu new downtown offce
2.5.3. Inter-clausal connectives
Inter-causa connectves n Engsh often appear between causes, and
are consdered the initial element n the cause they precede, as n:
(81) a. He came n and sat down.
b. She eft because he asked her to.
_ While he was watng, she eft.
Inter-causa connectves are dvded nto two man casses conjunctions
and subordinators. The use of these connectors w be dscussed n consd-
erabe deta n a separate chapter.
We w dscuss the two sub-casses
brefy here. Conjunctions
Some Engsh con|unctons are smpe, .e. snge words, whe others
are compex. Others yet are hstorcay compex but have become con-
tracted and are now wrtten as snge words. Some exampes are:
(82) a. Simple conjunctions:
and, but, or, so, then
b. Complex conjunctions:
and so, so then, ater on, and then, so ater on
_ Historically complex conjunctions:
however, moreover, furthermore, nevertheess Subordinators
Subordnators may aso be ether smpe, compex or hstorcay com-
pex, as n:
(83) a. Simple subordinators:
when, f, though, t, after, whe, snce
b. Complex subordinators:
n spte of, begnnng wth, because of, n order to, nstead of
_ Historically complex subordinators:
because, unt, athough, despte
Lke con|unctons, subordnators appear typcay at the begnnng of the
cause they cassfy, as n:
(84) a. When Lena came back from work,...
b. If she's rght,...
_ Although she dsked hm,...
d. In order to fnsh on tme,...
e. After arrvng n Ro,...
f. In spite of havng had no pror experence,...
Severa subordnators requre that the cause that foows them s
nominalized, .e. structured as a noun phrase.
Some exampes of those
(85) a. Beginning with | ohn's passng hs exams,...
b. In spite of her apooges
c. Because of Mary's resgnaton,...
d. During the search for the new Drector,...
In one sense, one coud suggest that these subordnators functon as prepo-
sitions, snce they precede a noun phrase.
2.5.4. Pronouns
One may cassfy Engsh pronouns semantcay accordng to person,
number, gender and grammatical role. The most common set, used prmar-
y for definite reference, are:
(86) Definite referring pronouns:
person/number/gender subject object modifier pronoun
1st SG I me my mne
2nd SG you you your yours
3rd SG Fem she her her hers
3rd SG Masc he hm hs hs
3rd SG Neut t t ts ts
1st PL we us our ours
2nd PL you you your yours
3rd PL they them ther thers
Other pronouns are indefinite or non-referring, as in:
(87) Indefinite or non-referring pronouns:
one, some, few, many, severa, none, any
Other pronouns nvove specfc grammatca constructons, such as inter-
rogatives or relative clauses. Some of these pronouns are:
(88) Relative and interrogative pronouns:
grammatical role
subject object location time reason manner
who whom where when why how
2.5.5. Determiners
The syntactc cass of determiners ncudes a number of sub-groups,
each one wth ts specfc grammatca functons.
Engsh determners pre-
cede the noun wthn the noun phrase.
We w dscuss each sub-cass
brefy beow. Articles
Engsh artces are ether defnte, ndefnte or non-referrng:
(89) Definite: the
Indefinite: a(n),
Non-referring: any, no Demonstratives
Engsh demonstratves are dvded accordng to two features dis-
tance from the speaker, and number.
(90) Demonstratives:
distance singular plural
near: ths these
away: that those
The modifier possessor pronouns gven n tabe (86) above n fact
beong to the syntactc cass of determners.
2.5.6. Quantifiers
Quantifiers are noun-modfers that connote quantity or extent, such
(91) some, a, many, few, much, tte, ony, even
2.5.7. Numerals
Numerals are a sub-cass of more exact quantfers. They are noun-
modfers that connote number, as n:
(92) one, two, three,...ten,... one mon,...
2.5.8. Ordinals
Ordinals are a speca sub-cass of ad|ectves that connote serial order;
that s, the poston of an tem n some near rankng, as n:
(93) frst, second, thrd,...tenth,... one month,...
Except for the frst three whch have speca forms, ordnas are coned
from ther correspondng numeras by addng the suffx -th.
2.5.9. Auxiliaries
Auxares or auxiliary verbs are part of the grammar of tense-
aspect-modaty n Engsh. They w be dscussed n great deta n the
approprate chapter beow.
The most common auxares n Engsh are:
(94) be, have, do, w, woud, can, coud, may, mght, sha,
shoud, must
2.5.10. Interjections
Interjections are a heterogeneous cass wth a broad range of functons,
most commony nvovng expressive and social-interactive functons. The
functon of some nter|ectons s prmary epistemic, sgnang ether assent
or dsagreement wth the nformaton or belief of the nterocutor. Others
are deontic, expressng assent to or dssent from the nterocutor's action.
Others are evaluative, sgnang approva, preference or dsapprova of
ether actons or states of affars. Others yet may sgna surprse, ncom-
prehenson, queston, uncertanty, soca nsecurty, and many more.
Inter|ectons tend to be a transition area of the grammar, connectng t
to the varous cutura conventons that govern soca and nter-persona
behavor, such as nteracton, pubc conduct, status and power, poteness
and deference, the fow of conversaton, and more. Some of the more com-
mon nter|ectons n Engsh are:
(95) yes, no, oh, oh?, huh, huh?, uh-huh, uh-uh, wow, reay?
rght, y'know, I see, okay, okay? we, now, no way!
Gven the vast functona domans covered by nter|ectons, and ther
brdgng poston between communcatve and nter-persona behavor, the
cass of nter|ectons s not rgdy constraned, nether semantcay, nor
syntactcay, nor morphoogcay. It thus ncudes more compex construc-
tons, such as:
(96) a. wat-a-mnute!
b. now hod t!
_ now et's see...
d. f you don't mnd,...
e. f you reay thnk so...
f. take t easy now...
g. no way | os!
h. beg your pardon?
. I'm sorry.
| . Excuse me.
The use of nter|ectons n Engsh thus spans the consderabe space
between three partay-overappng aspects of human nteractons that
depend on verba sgnas:
(a) Informative: The use of excon and grammar to commun-
cate nformaton.
(b) Interactive: The use of grammar, gesture, faca expres-
son, ntonaton and mmcry to code non-nformatona,
aspects of the communcatve transacton.
(c) Socio-personal: The use of the communcatve process
tsef both ts nformatve and nteractve aspects for
non-communcatve soca ends.
Whe the buk of grammatca structure ndeed can be understood n
terms of the communcatve functon of anguage, the communcatve use of
anguage s sedom whoey detached from ts nteractve and soco-persona
contexts. As we sha note repeatedy throughout ths survey, the commun-
catve transacton s on the one hand embedded n the nteractve and soco-
persona contexts, and on the other s exploited, often massvey, n carryng
out the non-nformatve aspects of human soca behavor.
1) 'Sharng a common vocabuary' and 'membershp n the same cuture' are obvousy a
matter of degree. Cutures, or speech communtes, provde for an organized diversity, so that
as n the case of boogca popuatons membershp and unformty are to some extent rea-
tve and fexbe. The term 'organzed dversty' foows the anthropoogst A.F.C. Waace
(1961): "...Cuture...s characterzed nternay not by unformty, but by dversty of both nd-
vduas and groups, many of whom are n contnuous overt confct n one sub-system and n
actve cooperaton n another..." (Culture and Personality, 1961, p. 28).
2) See my Mind, Code and Context (1989, Chapters 3, 9).
3) For detas see | espersen (1938).
4) Under ths ate nfuson of earned Latn vocabuary one must aso subsume the nfuson
of Greek scentfc vocabuary.
5) For a dscusson of how the argey-segregated Germanc and Romance phonoogca pat-
terns of present-day Engsh defne two man corpora of Engsh vocabuary, see Chomsky and
Hae (1968).
6) These stress-pacement tendences are not absoute, and non-Germanc words vary n
ther degree of 'natvzaton' nto the Germanc stress-pattern of Engsh. A soco-cutura
dmenson s predctaby nvoved here, as n the courtroom usage of deFENCE vs. the ba-fed
use of DEfence.
7) For more dscusson of the argey-segregated dervatona patterns of present-day Eng-
sh, see Marchand (1965).
8) We w agan dsregard here the phosophca ssue of 'ob|ectve' vs. 'sub|ectve' know-
9) From L. McMurtry, Leaving Cheyenne (1962, p. 109).
10) It s we known that chdren acqure exca vocabuary ('content words'), and commun-
cate n some sort of pdgn, ong before they acqure grammar and grammatca morphoogy (or
'functon words').
11) | espersen presages here both the semantc reatvsm of Ludwg Wttgensten's Philosoph-
ical Investigations (1953) and the ater cogntve psychoogy work on natura casses and pro-
totypes; see my Mind, Code and Context (1989, ch. 2).
12) One coud take ssue wth Sapr's suggeston that a "perfecty grammatca" anguage
woud be a "perfect engne of conceptua expresson". There are grounds for beevng that such
a anguage woud n fact be unprocessabe by the bran of a boogca organsm. Ths has to do
wth the nteracton between communcaton n rea-tme, on the one hand, and memory (stor-
age or retreva) and attenton mtatons. When taken together, these factors have yeded a
cogntve and communcatve system that retans a certan measure of context sensitivity and fex-
bty, n both the defnton of meanngs and the appcaton of rues of grammar.
13) For further dscusson of the prototypes of exca casses, see Hopper and Thompson
14) The status of 'meat' s somewhat mxed. Whe beng part of a natura entty (anmas),
the word most commony refers to meat that has been removed from ts natura confguraton by
human nterventon.
15) We categorze here word senses, not of word forms. Most words nvove severa senses
coded the same form. Often, those senses are ether cosey reated, or at the very east hstor-
cay reated.
16) The dstncton between 'sense' ('connotaton') vs. 'reference' ('denotaton') n modern
phosophy s commony attrbuted to Frege (Philosophical Writings, 1952). But the dstncton
goes a the way back to (at east) Arstote's De Sophisticis Elenchis (see McKeon, ed., 1941),
where the referrng sense of predcate nouns s caed sensus divisus and ther attrbutve sense
sensus compositus.
17) The structure of noun phrases s dscussed n chapter 6.
18) A more extensve dscusson of the varous ndrect-ob|ect roes can be found n chapter
3. Some ngusts restrct the term 'ndrect ob|ect' to ony a narrow range of semantc roes, such
as 'datve-recpent' and 'ocatve'. For those peope, our use of 'ndrect ob|ect' here can be
transated to 'prepostona ob|ect', .e. an ob|ect marked by a preposton.
19) For an extensve treatment of Engsh dervatona morphoogy, see Marchand (1965).
20) The noun foli-um, from Latn, s the orgna nput for foli-age. Many other exampes of
ths type exst n Engsh: The nput word s not n the anguage, or not any more; but the
derved output remans. A ater verson of folium, folio, st exts n earned Engsh. Its derva-
tveportfolio aso exsts.
21) For an extensve dscusson of prototypca and ess prototypca ad|ectves, see Dxon
22) At east ad|ectves of the frst par, good/bad, are so prevaent as sub|ectve refectons on
inherent, stable quates of enttes, that n some sense they can be consdered part of the pro-
totypca subgroup, n spte of the fact that they do not connote concrete features.
23) Here the reader s agan referred to Marchand (1965) for a near-exhaustve dscusson of
dervaton patterns, ther assocate morphoogy, and ther meanng correates.
24) For verb compements, see chapter 7.
25) For comparatve constructons, see chapter 13.
26) The suffx -ing aso derves nouns from verbs (see chapters 6 and 13). It aso functons as
a grammatical aspect-markng morpheme (see chapter 4).
27) Here agan, the orgna underved Latn verb, reated to the st-extant gusto, does not
exst n Engsh.
28) See chapter 13.
29) Prepostona phrases nvove a noun or noun phrase preceded by a preposton. At ths
eve of deta n our descrpton, we do not dstngush between 'prepostona ob|ect' and 'nd-
rect ob|ect'. For further deta see chapter 3.
30) See chapter 13.
31) In chapter 3, beow, we treat nstruments marked by the preposton 'wth' as one of the
optona ndrect-ob|ect roes n the cause.
32) For noun phrases and modfers, see chapter 6. One may aso argue that 'yesterday', 'to-
morrow' and 'Wednesday' n (63) are noun phrases. They certany can be made to ook ke
noun phrases, when used as ether the sub|ect or ob|ect of the cause, as n:
Yesterday was a bad day
Tomorrow w be better
I hate Wednesdays
However, n such exampes they are not used as adverbs.
33) See chapter 3.
34) See chapter 13.
35) For epstemc modates and the use of Engsh modas, see chapter 4. Some reated
matera s aso found n chapters 7 and 13.
36) For percepton-cognton-utterance verbs and ther connecton wth the grammar of eps-
temc modates, see chapters 3, 4 and 7.
37) For obgatve modates and the use of modas, see agan chapters 3 and 4.
38) For evauatve preference modates assocated wth ths type of verbs, see agan chap-
ters 3, 4 and 7.
39) See chapter 3.
40) See chapter 6.
41) See chapter 13.
42) For nomnazed causes see chapter 6.
43) Some of the core referential functons of pronouns are dscussed n chapter 5. Other func-
tons of varous pronouns, and ther nteracton wth other grammatca sub-systems, are dscus-
sed at reevant ponts throughout.
44) The pronouns n ths ast coumn may be consdered double pronouns, snce (a) they mark
the possessor, but (b) they aso stand for an absent head noun. Ths s evdent when ther use s
compared wth that of modifier possessor pronouns:
My brother ves at home.
Mine ves at home.
The pronoun 'mne' coud ony be used n a context where 'brother' the referent of the head
noun s understood.
45) See chapters 5, 6.
46) See chapters 9, 12.
47) See chapters 5,6.
48) See chapter 6.
49) The ndefnte artcea(n) may be used as ether referrng or non-referrng. See chapter 5.
50) See chapter 6.
51) See chapter 4.
52) From an evoutonary perspectve, t s most key that the nteractve aspects of soca
communcaton are probaby much oder than grammar-coded communcaton, and that ther
sgna system evoved ong before the advent of grammar, or even of verba communcaton. The
same s certany true of the deveopmenta course of anguage, when frst acqured by chdren
(see survey n Gvn, 1979a, ch. 5; see aso Schntzer, 1989). The grammatca code s thus a rea-
tvey ate adaptaton, both ontogenetcay and phyogenetcay. The harnessng of some por-
tons of the grammatca code to perform expressve and soca-nteractona functons shoud be
rghty vewed as asecondary adaptation, of a resource that was deveoped ntay for another
functon (communcaton). Such secondary adaptatons are common esewhere n boogca
3.1.1. Scope
In ths chapter we survey the structure of smpe verba causes (or
'smpe sentences'). As noted earer, the smpe cause serves as reference
pont for the descrpton of a other cause-types n grammar. It s the
theme that undergoes dfferent knds of varatons to yed compex causes.
Descrbng the varous types of smpe causes s tantamount to descrbng
the verb types of the anguage. Ths s so because verbs make up the seman-
tic core of causes, ther propostional frame. Therefore, the type of verb
that occupes the semantc core of the cause defnes the clause type.
Because of the strong correaton between meanng and form, by descrbng
the semantc types of verbs, one wnds up aso descrbng the syntactc types
of smpe causes.
Every verb, n ts capacty as the core of a cause, s defned semant-
cay n terms of the semantic roles of the partcpants ('arguments') n the
state or event coded by the cause. Wthn the cause, these partcpants
occupy the grammatical roles of, most commony, sub|ect, drect ob|ect,
ndrect ob|ect, adverb
or predcate. These grammatca roes are marked
n Engsh by a combnaton of morphoogy and word-order. But they aso
have other, more subte, grammatca-behavora propertes, such as var-
ous constrants on ther dstrbuton n grammatca envronments.
In descrbng the types of smpe causes and ther structure, we w
descrbe smutaneousy:
(a) The semantc types of verbs
(b) The syntactc types of smpe causes
(c) The partcpants' semantc roes
(d) Grammatca roes and ther markng, ncudng:
() Word-order
() Morphoogy
() Other propertes.
3.1.2. States, events, and actions
A proposton may stand for a state (or quality), .e.' an exstng cond-
ton that nvoves no change over time. Such a state may be ether tempo-
rary, .e. of mted duraton, or permanent, .e. of reatvey ong duraton,
or of some ntermedate duraton.
A proposton may aso stand for an event, whch nvoves change of
state over tme. Such a change may be fast and bounded, .e. construed as
a change from a dstnct nta state to a dstnct termna state. Or t may be
sow and unbounded, .e. construed as an ongong process wthout frm
Some events are deliberately initiated by an actve partcpant, an
agent. Such events are caed actions. Typca exampes of states, events
and actons are:
(1) a. Temporary state: She was angry.
b. Permanent state: He was ta.
_ Unintended event: The ba roed off the fed.
d. Bounded action: She kcked the ba off the fed.
e. Unbounded action: They worked steady.
3.1.3. Semantic roles
As noted above, causes are dvded nto types accordng to the type of
the verb that occupes ther semantc (and syntactc) core. Verbs, n turn,
are dvded nto semantc types accordng to the knd of nvovement of the
participants n the state or event coded by the cause. That s, the semantc
type of the verb and thus of the cause s defned by the semantic roles
of the partcpants n the state or event. The array of semantc roes typ-
cay assocated wth each verb defnes the propositional frame of the verb
and thus the semantc type of the verba cause.
Before gong on to characterze the ma|or semantc roes, one must
entertan a few words of cauton concernng the use and mts of defntons:
(a) The defntons gven beow are of the major semantic
roles. But n prncpe, each type may have fner and fner
sub-types, ad infinitum.
(b) The dstncton between a 'ma|or' type and a 'mnor' sub-
type s not a prncped one, but rather a matter of prag-
matc |udgement. Most commony, a ma|or semantc type
s one that has more extensve grammatical consequences.
(c) In defnng each semantc roe, we ony defne a pro-
totype. The ma|orty of the members of a natura cass
tend to conform, more or ess, to the cass's prototype.
But every natura popuaton aso has ess prototypca
members that ft the prototype defnton ess we. Fortu-
natey, such ess prototypca members are by defnton
a mnorty.
In prncpe, f one probes deep enough, each verb defnes ts own unque
propostona frame, thus ts own dosyncratc array of semantc roes.
The ma|or semantc roes n the cause are:
a. agent = 'the partcpant, typcay human, who acts deb-
eratey to ntate the event' (AGT)
b. patient = 'the partcpant, typcay ether human or non-
human, that ether s n a state, or regsters a
change-of-state as a resut of the event' (PAT)
c. dative = 'a conscous partcpant n the event, typcay
human, but not the deberate ntator' (DAT)
d. instrument = 'a partcpant, typcay nanmate, used by the
agent to perform the acton' (INST)
e. benefactive = 'the partcpant, typcay human, for whose
beneft the acton s performed' (BEN)
f. locative = 'the pace, typcay concrete and nanmate,
where the state s, where the event occurs, or
toward whch or away from whch some partc-
pant s movng' (LOC)
g. associative = 'a partcpant that s an assocate of the agent,
patent or datve of the event, whose roe n the
event s smar, but who s not as centra or
mportant' (ASSOC)
Typca exampes of these semantc roes n smpe causes are:
(2) a. Agent: Mary kcked | ohn.
b. Patient: Mary kcked John.
Dative: John heard Mary.
d. Instrument: She chopped frewood with an axe.
e. Benefactive: He fxed the roof for his mother.
f. Locative: She went to the store.
g. Associative: She worked with her father.
3.1.4. Grammatical roles Overview
The partcpants n states or events, n whatever semantc roe, may
occupy one of four dstnct grammatical roles n the cause:
a. sub|ect (SUB| )
b. drect ob|ect (OB| )
_ ndrect ob|ect (IO)
d. nomna predcate (PRED)
Grammatca case-roes n Engsh are defned by the foowng structura
(a) word-order
(b) morphoogy
(c) grammatca constrants
In addton, one dscourse-pragmatc feature s aso mportant for defnng
grammatca case-roes:
(d) topcaty n dscourse
As a bref ustraton of the four ma|or grammatca roes n smpe causes,
(3) a. The woman gave a book to the chd
b. Mary s a teacher
The semantic roles of partcpants n smpe causes do not dstrbute
freey and equay n a the grammatical roles. Rather, strong restrctons
govern ther dstrbuton:
(4) Range of distribution of semantic roles in grammatical
roles in simple clauses:
a. An agent can ony be the subject of a smpe cause.
b. A patient can be ether the subject, direct object or indi-
rect object of a smpe cause.
A dative can be ether the subject, direct object or indi-
rect object n a smpe cause.
d. The others benefactive, instrumental, associative
and locative are found mosty as indirect objects of
smpe causes.
Further, the foowng rues of competition for subjecthood seem to
appy n smpe causes wth more than one partcpant:
(5) Competition for subjecthood in the simple clause:
a. If a smpe cause has an agent partcpant, t w
occupy the sub|ect poston.
b. If a smpe cause has no agent but has a dative partc-
pant, that datve w occupy the sub|ect poston.
_ If a smpe cause has nether a datve nor an agent but
has a patient partcpant, that patent w occupy the
sub|ect poston.
The facts of the competton to sub|ecthood gven n (5) may be sum-
marzed n the foowng hierarchy of access:
(6) Access to subjecthood in the simple clause:
Part of the observed rues-of-access n (5),(6) s due to the defnton of
what s a smpe cause. To ustrate ths brefy, consder the foowng two
(7) a. Active: The woman bought the book.
b. Passive: The book was bought by the woman.
Both causes (7a) and (7b) have the same partcpants occupyng the same
semantc roes 'the woman' as agent, 'the book' as patent. In the actve
cause (7a), the agent s the sub|ect. In the passve cause (7b), the patent
s the sub|ect. Passve causes ndeed aow patents to occupy the sub|ect
grammatca roe. But by defnton, passves are complex rather than sm-
pe causes. In the actve-smpe cause, as ong as an agent s nvoved, t
has a preemptve cam to the sub|ect grammatca roe.
Smary, consder:
(8) a. Active: Mary heard | oe's voce.
b. Passive: | oe's voce was heard by Mary.
Mary' n (8a,b) s a conscous dative partcpant, exertng nether ntent nor
contro nor acton n the depcted event. No agent s nvoved n the event
n (8a,b) n addton to the datve partcpant, ony a patient '| oe's voce'.
In the competton for sub|ecthood n the actve smpe cause (8a),
the datve wns over the patent. Ony n the passve compex cause
(8b) can the patent dspace the datve as sub|ect.
Fnay, consder:
(9) The bread was n the oven.
The state depcted n cause (9) has nether an agent nor a datve partc-
pant, ony a patient ('the bread') and a locative ('n the oven'). Under such
condtons, the patent preempts the sub|ect poston, competng success-
fuy wth the ocatve.
5 The grammatical subject
The grammatca sub|ect n Engsh smpe causes precedes the verb,
s morphoogcay unmarked (.e. appears wthout a preposton), and
requres grammatical agreement wth the verb, at east to the mted extent
that exsts n Engsh, as n:
(10) a. The woman is ta ('s' =3rd pers sg of 'be')
b. They are ta ('are' =p of 'be')
_ I am ta ('am' = 1st pers sg of 'be')
d. You are ta ('are' 2nd pers sg of 'be')
e. That man sngs we (s = 3rd pers sg verb agreement)
f. Some men sng we
From a dscourse-pragmatc perspectve, the sub|ect s the primary topic of
the cause. It s the most mportant partcpant of the dscourse at the point
when the clause is processed. Ths roe of the sub|ect can be demonstrated
ndependenty of grammar, but aso expans many of the grammatca
propertes of sub|ects.
SIMPLE VERBAL CLAUSES 95 The grammatical (direct) object
The drect ob|ect n Engsh smpe causes foows the verb, s mor-
phoogcay unmarked (.e. appears wthout a preposton), and does not
requre grammatca agreement wth the verb. In dscourse pragmatc
terms, the drect ob|ect tends to be the secondary topic of the cause. That
s, t tends to be ess mportant ('topca') n the dscourse than the sub|ect,
but more mportant than the ndrect ob|ect (f present). As noted earer,
the drect ob|ect poston may be occuped by varous semantc roes, as n:
(11) a. They cut the meat (DO = patent)
b. He used the knife (DO = nstrument)
_ She nsuted him (DO = datve)
d. He heped her (DO = benefactve) The indirect object
Indrect ob|ects n Engsh smpe causes foow the verb, as we as the
drect ob|ect (f present). They are morphoogcay marked by a preposi-
tion, one that most typcay marks the semantc roe of the partcpant
occupyng the ndrect ob|ect grammatca roe. Put another way, prepos-
tons n Engsh have a strong semantc roe. In dscourse-pragmatc terms,
the ndrect ob|ect s non-topical.
Typca ndrect ob|ects are:
(12) a. She went to the store (LOC, drecton toward)
b. They brought her from town (LOC, drecton away)
c. He waked on the beach (LOC, ocaton on)
d. Mary ves in a big house (LOC, ocaton nsde)
e. | ohn came home with his brother (ASSOC)
f. He tod the story to his wife (DAT)
g. She dd t for her father (BEN)
. He cut the meat with a knife (INSTR) Nominal predicate
Nomna predcates n Engsh foow copuar verbs such as 'be', are
morphoogcay unmarked (take no preposton), and are pragmatcay
non-topca. As ustratons, consder:
(13) a. She s a teacher
b. | ohn s my brother
3.1.5. Basic word-order of English
Engsh s a subject-verb-object S-V-O anguage. That s, n Eng-
sh smpe causes the sub|ect (S) precedes the verb (V) and the ob|ect (O)
foows. Further, Engsh s an S-V-O-IO anguage, where f both types of
ob|ect are present, the drect ob|ect (O) precedes the ndrect ob|ect (I O).
For the purpose of defnng the basc word-order n Engsh, a nomna
predcate (PRED) whch foows the verb 'be' may be consdered the 'ob-
|ect' of that verb (V).
In ths secton we recaptuate brefy the dscusson of our man forma
too for descrbng the syntactc structure of smpe causes (see Chapter 1,
secton 1.5.). A cause s not made out of a mere near sequence of the verb
and partcpants. It has a more compex, herarchc constituent structure.
That s, the cause s dvded nto ma|or parts, whch n turn are sub-dvded
nto ther own sub-parts. The depth of ths herarchc structure depends on
the degree of compexty of the cause. It aso depends on how many
optional constituents each part has n addton to ts obligatory con-
The dfference between optona and obgatory consttuents s roughy
as foows: Obgatory consttuents are absoutey ndspensbe for the
semantc defnton of the verb, thus the propostona frame of the cause.
Optona consttuents, on the other hand, are added for varous semantc,
grammatca or pragmatc reasons, but are not ndspensabe for defnng
the basc propostona frame. A few exampes w ustrate ths; they w
aso ustrate our technque of parsing the cause nto ts consttuent parts,
and the use of tree diagrams.
Consder the smpe cause wth ony two consttuents, a sub|ect (here
a proper name) and a verba predcate (here a verb):
(14) Mary sept
We may parse cause (14) ntay as the tree-dagram n (15):
In exampe (14/15) both the sub|ect and the verba predcate are snge
words. But both may aso be arger phrases, each wth ts own optonay-
added sub-consttuents, as n:
(16) The ta woman was sleeping peacefuy
The sub|ect of cause (16) now contans an artce ('the'), a modfyng
ad|ectve ('ta') and the head noun ('woman'), combned together nto a
noun phrase. The verba predcate of cause (16) now contans an auxiliary
('be'), the verb tsef ('seepng'), and a manner adverb ('peacefuy'), com-
bned together nto the verb phrase. Cause (16) may be now dagrammed
And n turn, cause (14) must be now rendered more precsey as:
Our parsng conventons defne a noun modifiers as parts of the noun
phrase. Auxares, manner adverbs, drect ob|ects and ndrect ob|ects are
defned as parts of the verb phrase. The core of the noun phrase s ts head
noun, whch may stand aone wthout any modfers. But the entre noun
phrase may aso consst of ether a name or a pronoun. The core of the verb
phrase s the verb. To ustrate the expanson of the verb phrase to ncude
drect and ndrect ob|ects, consder (19a,b,c) beow:
(19) a. Mary read the book (OB| )
b. Mary taked to John (IO)
c. Mary gave the book to John (OB| , IO)
The tree dagrams correspondng to (19a,b,c) are gven n (20), (21) and
(22) beow; respectvey:
3.3.1. Transitivity Semantic definition
Smpe causes and verbs are ether transitive or intransitive.
Transtvty s a compex phenomenon nvovng semantc, pragmatc and
syntactc components. One may defne t frst n terms of ts three man
semantc features. Each one of these features focuses on the semantc prop-
ertes of ether the sub|ect, the ob|ect or the verb n the cause. Taken
together, the three defned the prototype of the semantically transitive
(23) Semantic definition of the prototype transitive clause:
a. Agentivity: The sub|ect of a prototypca transtve
cause s a deliberately acting agent.
b. Affectedness: The drect ob|ect of a prototypca
transtve cause s a concrete, visibly
affected patient.
c. Perfectivity: The prototypca transtve verb codes a
bounded, terminated, fast-changing event
that took pace n real time.
As one can see, severa of these features are a matter of degree, so that
semantc transtvty s at east n prncpe scaar. Syntactic definition
The semantc defnton of the prototype transtve cause w fgure
promnenty n subsequent dscusson. The syntactc defnton of transtve
causes and thus transtve verbs s much more smpe n Engsh:
(24) Syntactic definition of the transitive clause:
Verbs (and causes) that have a direct object w be con-
sdered transitive; verbs (and causes) that don't have a
drect ob|ect w be consdered intransitive.
Whe the two defntons of transtve cause semantc n (23), syntactc
n (24) seem ndependent of each other, n fact there s a consderabe
statstca overap between the popuatons of causes they defne. That s,
the ma|orty of causes n Engsh text that abde by the semantc defnton
(23) turn out to aso abde by the syntactc defnton (24), and vce versa.
But however arge, the overap s far from absoute.
3.3.2. Dummy-subject verbs
Verbs n ths cass code states or events nvovng natura condtons or
weather phenomena. They are ntranstve and take no ob|ect. Most com-
mony, ther sub|ect s the pronoun t'. However, unke other uses of ths
pronoun, n causes wth dummy-sub|ect verbs 't' does not refer to any par-
tcuar entty. It s thus a dummy subject of the cause, fng a syntactc sot
but havng tte or no semantc consequences.
Syntactcay, the verb phrase n dummy-sub|ect causes may be ether
adjectival (codng a state) or verbal (codng an event). As ustratons, con-
(25) Dummy-subject adjectives:
a. It's hot (n here)
b. It was cod (ast summer)
_ It's so nce (here)
d. It was terrbe (there)
(26) Dummy-subject verbs:
a. It raned (a over the county)
b. It froze (ast week)
c. It was hang (rea hard)
A tree dagram ustratng the dummy-sub|ect cause (26c) above, excud-
ng the optona tme adverb, s gven n (27) beow:
3.3.3. Copular verbs The stative copula 'be'
The prototype copuar verb or copula n Engsh s 'be'. It s
semantcay a rather mpovershed verb, carryng tte f any meanng. The
buk of the nformaton n copuar verb phrases wth 'be' s furnshed by the
predicate that foows the copua. The copuar cause as a whoe codes a
state, and the sub|ect of the cause s ether a patient or a dative, but not an
The predcate foowng the copua may be adjectival, contanng an
ad|ectve that conveys ether an inherent quality or a temporary state. As
ustratons, consder:
(28) Inherent quality:
a. He is tall/Irish/smart (SUB| = PAT)
b. The tree s tall/green/bushy (SUBJ =PAT)
She is clever (SUB| = PAT)
(29) Temporary state:
a. She is angry/sad/busy (SUB| = DAT)
b. The door s broken (SUB| = PAT)
c. They were lost (SUB| = PAT)
The syntactc structure of the copuar-verb causes such as (28) and (29)
may be gven by the tree dagram n (30) beow, representng (29a):
The predcate of copuar causes may aso be nominal, .e. consst of a
noun phrase. In such cases, the sub|ect can ony be a patient. A nomna
predcate may further be ether a referring (REF) or a non-referring (NON-
REF) noun phrase.
As ustratons, consder:
(31) Nominal predicates of inherent quality (non-referring):
a. He s a teacher
b. She s an American
_ These are houses
(32) Nominal predicates of identity (referring) :
a. He s my teacher
b. She s an American I met last week
_ Ths s the house we live in
The syntactc structure of nomna copuar causes such as those n (31)
and (32) may be gven by the tree dagram (33) beow, representng cause
(33) The process copula 'get'
The copua 'get' dffers from 'be' n a number of respects. Frst, causes
wth 'get' typcay code a process, i.e. a change of state, but not an nherent
quaty. Second, the predcate of 'get' coud ony code temporary states, but
neither nherent quates nor dentty (reference). Thrd, the predcate of
'get' can ony be adjectival, not nomna. Ths s predctabe from the fact
that nomna predcates code ether nherent quaty or nherent dentty,
both of whch are ncompatbe wth 'get', whch codes changes. Lke 'be',
the sub|ect of the copua 'get' may be ether a patient or dative, but not an
agent. As ustratons of typca causes wth the copuar 'get', consder:
(34) a. He got angry/sad/busy
b. She got tall/skinny/lost
_ The room got (rea) hot
d. *She got a teacher (*nomna, non-referrng)
e. *It got a real house (*nomna, non-referrng)
f. *She got my teacher (*nomna, referrng)
g. *He got Irish (*ad|ectva, nherent quaty)
The syntactc structure of causes wth the copua 'get' s dentca to
the one gven for the copuar 'be' n (30) above, wth the excepton that the
verb tsef s 'get' rather than 'be'. The process copula 'become'
Lke 'get', the copuar verb 'become
codes a change of state. In a
other respects, however, 'become' shares the propertes of 'be'. That s, the
sub|ect of 'become' can not be an agent; the event coded by t can not be an
acton; and the predcate that foows t can be ether ad|ectva nherent
or temporary, or nomna referrng or non-referrng. As ustraton con-
(35) a. She became a teacher (nomna, non-referrng)
b. He became our teacher (nomna, referrng)
c. She became tall (ad|ectva, nherent quaty)
d. He became angry (ad|ectva, temporary state) The stative copulas 'seem' and 'appear'
Lke 'be', the copuar verbs 'seem' and 'appear' may code ether tem-
porary states or nherent quates, and ther sub|ect may be ether datve or
patent. Unke 'be', they seem to re|ect nomna predcates. As ustra-
tons, consder:
(36) a. She seemed tall (nherent quaty)
b. They seemed angry (temporary state)
c. __ appears rather subdued (temporary state)
d. The house appeared deserted (temporary state)
e. *She seems a teacher (*nomna, non-referrng)
g. *He appears my friend (*nomna, referrng)
In some more expanded, compex constructons, wth an expct verbal
complement nvovng the copua 'be',
the copuas 'seem' or 'appear' can
take a nomna predcate. As ustratons, consder:
(37) a. He appears to be my friend
b. She seems to be a woman of substance
Causes such as (37) are syntactcay more compex than (36); ther nom-
na predcate s not a predcate of the man verb 'seem or 'appear', but
rather of the copua 'be' n the compement. The process copula 'turn (into)'
The copuar verb 'turn' codes a change of state. Its sub|ect s typcay
a patient, and ts predcates most typcay an adjective connotng a tempo-
rary state. Further, the ad|ectva predcate of 'turn' seems to code typcay
perceptually accessible external physical conditions, but not nterna menta
states. Ths ast observaton further underscores the fact that the sub|ect of
'turn' here s semantcay a patent, rather than a datve. As ustratons,
(38) a. He turned livid wth rage
b. The trees turned bright green n the summer
c. A of a sudden the room turned cold
d. Suddeny the water turned yellow
e. *Then she turned angry/happy (*menta state)
f. *She turned tall/good/smart (* nherent quaty)
g. *She turned a teacher (*nomna predcate)
h. *He turned my friend (*nomna predcate)
The varant copua 'turn nto', n contrast, cannot take ad|ectva pred-
cates, but ony nomna ones. Further, ts predcate seems to be restrcted
to, typcay, non-referrng nomnas. As ustratons, consder:
(39) a. He turned nto a frog (nomna, non-referrng)
b. ?She turned nto the wife (?nomna, referrng)
of our next-door neighbor
c. *They turned nto red (*ad|ectva)
d. *He turned nto angry (*ad|ectva)
3.3.4. Simple intransitive verbs
Verbs n ths cass may code ether states, events or actons. Ther sub-
|ect may thus be ether an agent, patient or dative. Typca exampes are:
(40) Agent subject, action verb:
a. He worked (hard)
b. She sang (for an hour)
_ They dance (we together)
d. She paused (for a mnute)
e. He moved (about restessy)
f. They spoke (n a oud voce)
g. He urinated (on the sand)
h. She breathed (hard)
(41) Dative subject, mental-state verb:
a. She meditated (on the porch)
b. He suffered (quety)
_ They agonized (for a whoe year)
d. She dreamed (on and on)
(42) Patient-of-state subject, state verb:
a. He slept (for two hours)
b. She (|ust) sat (there)
(43) Patient-of-change subject, process verb:
a. She fell/slipped
b. It grew/broke/dried up
c. She died (n her seep)
d. The water (fnay) heated up
e. The eaves rustled (genty)
f. She coughed (n her seep)
The syntactc structure of smpe ntranstve causes s gven n the tree
dagram (44) beow, representng (43a):
3.3.5. Transitive verbs
As noted earer above, we defne transtve verbs syntactically as verbs
that requre a sub|ect and a drect ob|ect. They may then be further sub-
dvded accordng to semantic crtera, chefy the semantc roes of the par-
tcpants that occupy the sub|ect and drect ob|ect grammatca sot. Prototypical transitive verbs
The prototype transtve cause thus aso the prototype transtve
verb s characterzed by three man features:
(45) The transitive prototype:
a. Subject:
The sub|ect of the prototype transtve verb s a voli-
tional, acting agent.
b. Object:
The ob|ect of the prototype transtve verb s a concrete
patient that regsters the physical effects of the agent's
_ Verb:
The event coded by the transtve verb s a bounded,
fast-changing action.
Some prototype transtve verbs nvove the physca creation of an ob|ect
where none had exsted before, as n:
(46) a. He built a house
b. She painted a pcture
c. He made a coffee tabe
d. She drew a sketch of the brdge
Others nvove the physca destruction of an exstng ob|ect, as n:
(47) a. They demolished the house
b. She smashed the gass
c. He carefuy evaporated the sovent
d. She gobbled up her breakfast
Others nvove a consderabe change n the ob|ect's physca state, as n:
(48) a. She cracked the pot
b. He enlarged the vng-room
_ They chopped wood
d. He baled the hay
e. She cut her har
f. They bent the front bumper
g. He twisted hs anke
h. They killed two prsoners
Some transtve verbs may aso nvove a change n the ob|ect's physca
location, as n:
(49) a. They moved the barn
b. She shifted her eg
Others nvove changes n the surface conditions of the ob|ect, as n:
(50) a. He washed hs shrt
b. She bleached her har
c. They painted the was
d. He sanded the foors
Whe others yet nvove changes n some ess vsbe internal properties of
the ob|ects, as n:
(51) a. He heated up a cup of soup
b. She chilled the gaspacho
Some prototypca transtve verbs, n addton to the change that may
affect the patent ob|ect, aso nvove the ncorporaton of a manner adverb
or an instrument nto ther meanng, as n:
(52) a. She murdered hm (k deliberately)
b. He smashed the gass (break completely)
c. They shredded the documents (tear into small pieces)
d. He wolfed hs dnner (eat ravenously)
e. She knifed hm (stab with a knife)
f. They hooked a huge trout (catch with a hook)
g. He elbowed the guy ahead (ht with the elbow)
The syntactc structure of transtve verbs wth a sub|ect and drect
ob|ect may be gven as the tree dagram n (53), representng (48h):
(53) Less prototypical transitive verbs Preamble
Many transtve verbs n Engsh, whe conformng to the syntactc
structure (53), are semantcay ess prototypca. That s, n varous ways
they devate from the transtve prototype (45). Ther devaton may be due
to ether one of the three causes of the prototype's defnton: (a) Ther
sub|ect may not be a prototypca agent. (b) Ther ob|ect may not be a pro-
totypca patient. Or (c) the event coded by the verb may not be a compact,
bounded, fast changng event.
Oute often, downgradng the agent-reated component of the trans-
tve prototype opens the door to concomtant downgradng of the patent-
reated component, and vce versa. And owerng transtvty n terms of
ether the agent or patent prototype tends to ower transtvty n terms of
the verb-coded event.
The assgnment of a transtve syntactc structure to verbs that are
semantcay non-prototypca may be vewed as a metaphoric extension of
ether the prototype 'agent' or the prototype 'patent'. Ths tendency s very
strkng n Engsh, and s ether an ndcaton, a cause or a resut of a con-
spcuous feature of Engsh grammar: The noton 'transtve' s much more
syntactc, much ess semantc.
In ths secton we survey some of the most common sub-types of non-
prototypca transtve verbs. The dscusson aso serves to ustrate our
noton of prototype as apped to grammar. Dative subjects
The agent-sub|ect of the prototype transtve verb s both conscious
(havng voton) and active (ntatng the event). Datve sub|ects, on the
other hand, are typcay conscous of the event, but nether ntend t nor
actvey ntate t. By makng a datve partcpant the sub|ect of a syntact-
cay-transtve verb, one makes t appear as f t s somehow "more actve",
"more nvoved" or "more responsbe". In other words, t s made to
resembe, metaphorcay, an agent. Typca transtve verbs wth a datve
sub|ect are:
(54) a. He saw her
b. She felt no remorse
_ They heard the musc
d. She understood the probem
e. They know the answer
f. He wanted two oranges
The effect of such a seemngy nnocent metaphorc extenson can be shown
n usages of such verbs, where the sub|ect n fact seems to be responsbe
for ntatng acton. Thus, consder the foowng expressons, a couched
n frames whch suggest that the datve-sub|ect somehow has control or
choice, ke a rea agent:
(55) a. You better see her frst thng n the mornng!
b. Feel the energy radatng through you!
_ She better hear what I have to say!
d. You must understand ths!
e. You better know the answer before you get there!
f. You have to want t rea hard to reay get t!
A concomtant of such datve-sub|ect verbs as n (54)/(55) s that the
ob|ect s aso a ess-than-prototypca patient. It s not physcay affected; t
s often abstract (cf. 'musc', 'probem', 'answer', 'remorse'). Downgradng
one aspect of the transtve prototype seems to nvte or at east concde
wth tamperng wth the others. Dative objects
The ob|ect of the transtve prototype, typcay a concrete and visibly
affected patent, may aso be metaphorcay extended. A common exten-
son s toward a dative partcpant, whose prototypca nvovement n
events s nterna, menta. Pacng a datve n the drect-ob|ect syntactc
poston somehow makes t appear more strongly affected, and thus
metaphorcay more patent-ke. As ustratons, consder:
(56) a. They insulted her
(>producng vsbe agtaton)
b. She spoils hm rotten (wth expensve gfts)
(>hs overt behavor shows t)
c. __ amused them
(>and they roared n aughter)
d. She entertained the crowd
(>and got a round of appause) Patient-subject as cause
The very same verbs as n (56) above, wth datve drect-ob|ects, may
be used to further extend the transtve-sub|ect prototype. In (56), the sub-
|ect s a human agent, a deberate causer of the menta effect regstered by
the datve ob|ect. The human-causer sub|ect may now be extended to a
non-human cause. The non-human cause s now a patient sub|ect. Ths s
ustrated n:
(57) a. The dea amused hm
b. The spectace saddened her
c. The new reguatons angered everybody
d. The |oke entertained them for hours
e. The knowedge spoiled hs appette
The metaphorc extenson, from agent-causer to patent-cause, may
aso occur wth more prototypca transtve verbs, as n:
(58) a. The epdemc attacked the whoe vage
b. Curosty killed the cat
c. Hard work fnay broke hs back
d. Hs bad uck broke hs w to ve
e. The beer quenched her thrst
f. Her fath saved her
g. Deep forebodng took over hm
h. The dea struck hm ke a bot
. Panc drove them away
Once agan, the metaphorc extenson of the transtve-sub|ect prototype
from agent to patent tends to be accompaned by reaxaton of the tran-
stve-ob|ect prototype. So that many of the ob|ects n (58) are not prototyp-
ca patents. Instrument as patient-subject
A varant of the pattern seen drecty above nvoves the pacement of
an instrument at the sub|ect poston of prototypca transtve verbs. The
agent, user of the nstrument, s not mentoned but may be mped. As
ustratons, consder:
(59) a. The hammer smashed the wndow
(>She smashed the wndow with the hammer)
b. Her fst hit hm fu force
(>She ht hm fu force with her fist)
_. Pencn fnay cured them
(>They fnay cured themwith penicillin)
d. The bomb killed seventeen cvans
(>They ked seventeen cvans with the bomb)
The effect, ntended or nadvertent, of pacng the nstrument n the sub|ect
poston s to remove responsbty from the unspecfed agent. By vrtue of
a subte nference, the nstrument that s made sub|ect of a prototypca
transtve verb acqures the semantc aura of the prototypca sub|ect of
such a verb. That s, t becomes more agent-like, thus somehow responsible
for the event. Locative direct-objects
Some syntactcay-transtve verbs dspay the extenson of the patent-
ob|ect prototype to a locative partcpant, one that ordnary s coded as an
ndrect ob|ect. By subte nference, the ocatve drect-ob|ect thus becomes
patent-ke, so that t appears more affected by the event. As ustratons
(60) a. She approached the house
(>She moved toward the house)
b. She swam the channe
(>She swamacross the channe)
_ They entered the house
(>They went into the house)
d. He rode the horse
(>He rode on the horse)
e. They breached the permeter
(>They moved through the permeter)
f. They penetrated the fort
(>They moved into the fort
g. She escaped hm
(>She escaped from hm)
Exampes (60d,e,f) are partcuary strkng. When one rdes a horse, the
horse s controed, domnated, affected. When one rdes on a horse, the
horse s merey a ocaton. Breachng a permeter punctures t n the face of
resstance. Merey movng through a permeter carres no such nference.
By penetratng a fort, one seemngy voates t aganst resstance. The mere
movement into a fort as ocaton carres no such nference. Cognate objects
In some verbs, the patent-ob|ect prototype s extended to an abstract
product, activity or mental event. By nference, such an ob|ect s metaphor-
cay endowed wth the propertes of a physcay-created patent. Ob|ects
of ths genera type are caed cognate objects.
As ustratons, consder
frst the foowng performance events:
(61) a. She sang a song
(>She sang; her sngng =a song)
b. They danced the rumba
(>They danced; ther dancng =the rumba)
c. He gave a bref speech
(>He spoke; hs speakng =hs speech)
d. She uttered a sharp cry
(>She cred; her cryng =a cry)
e. They gave a great performance
(>They performed; ther performng =
a performance)
f. She gave a brant ecture
(>She ectured; her ecturng =her ecture)
By ob|ectvzng the actvty tsef, one somehow endows t wth patent-ke
propertes, vewng t as product of the event. In the process, 'song',
'dance', 'speech', 'cry', 'performance', 'ecture' etc. may be captured on
paper, tape or fm, and then vewed as created patients.
The actvty that s ob|ectvzed may aso nvove a transtory spatial
motion, as n:
(62) a. They made a eft turn
(>They turned; ther turnng =a turn)
b. She took a eap
(>She eaped; her eapng = a eap)
c. __ made a crce around them
(>He crced around them; hs crcng = a crce)
In other cases, the event s argey mental, and the ob|ectvzed actvty
rather abstract, as n:
(63) a. I made an error
(I erred; my errng =an error)
b. She made a suggeston that...
(>She suggested that...; her suggestng =
a suggeston)
_ I had an dea
(>I thought; my thnkng =an dea)
d. He made a ast-dtch attempt
(>He tred; hs tryng =an attempt)
f. She took a cacuated rsk
(>She rsked...; her rskng =a rsk)
g. They made me a promse
(>They promsed; ther promsng =a promse)
h. She gave t a quck thought
(>She thought about t; her thnkng =a thought)
. He tendered hs resgnaton
(>He resgned; hs resgnng =hs resgnaton)
| . They took a break
(>They broke; ther breakng =a break)
k. She never gave a hnt
(She never hnted; her hntng =a hnt)
What seems common n transtve causes wth cognate ob|ects s that the
verb tsef s semantcay vacuous. A sma group of verbs 'gve', 'take',
'make', 'have' seem to recur n such patterns. It s the ob|ect tsef that
carres the buk of the verb-semantc nformaton. Ths s consonant wth
the fact that the ob|ect n such causes tends to be a nominalized verb tsef. Incorporated patients
Some non-prototypca transtve verbs nvove an implied patient
whose sense s somehow 'ncorporated' nto the meanng of the verb. The
overt drect ob|ect n such cases s often the location reatve to whch the
mped patent moves. In the process, the non-prototypca ob|ect s some-
how endowed, metaphorcay, wth patent-ke affectedness. As ustra-
tons, consder:
(64) a. He fed the cows
(>He gave food to the cows)
b. She stoked the furnace
(>She put wood nto the furnace)
_ They irrigated the orchard
(>They brought water to the orchard)
d. They harvested the fed
(>They removed the crop from the fed)
e. She dusted the tabe
(>She removed the dust from tabe)
f. He watered the geranum
(>He gave water to the geranum)
g. They robbed her
(>They took something from her)
h. He painted the wa
(>He spread paint on the wa) Associative direct objects
Some non-prototypca transtve verbs nvove the extenson of trans-
tve-ob|ect prototype to an associative partcpant, .e. to a co-agent of what
s, strcty speakng, a reciprocal event. The semantc effect of such exten-
son s to downgrade the ob|ect from beng co-agent to beng somehow
more ke an affected patient. In the process, the agent partcpant s
upgraded too, from beng a mere co-partcpant to beng the sole respons-
be agent. As ustraton, consder:
(65) a. He met Syva (n the garden)
(vs. He met with her, and she with hm)
b. She fought hm (to a draw)
(vs. She fought with hm, and he with her)
c. __ joined her (for unch)
(vs. He |oned with her, and she with hm) Transitive verbs of possession
One conspcuous case of a ess prototypca verb beng coded syntact-
cay as transtve nvoves Engsh verbs of possession, such as 'have', 'have
got' or the cooqua 'got'. These verbs code a state rather than an event.
Ther sub|ect may be ether a patient or a dative; and ther patent-ob|ect s
often abstract and most commony unaffected. As ustratons, consder:
(66) a. She has a bg house
b. I've got no money
_ They had a beautfu reatonshp
d. I got somethng (to te you)
e. He had a date (wth Destny)
f. I got an dea
g. The house's got three bedrooms
h. Ths probem has no easy souton Transitivity and unspecified objects
As seen above, many verbs that have no patent semantcay can
nevertheess be coded syntactcay as transtve. That s, they can take a
drect ob|ect that s semantcay not a patent. Engsh s ndeed rather
toerant of metaphorc transtve expressons nvovng ess-transtve verbs.
But the converse process aso occurs. That s, many semantcay-transtve
verbs that typcay take a patent drect-ob|ect can aso be used n some
dscourse contexts wthout ther ob|ect. They thus appear syntactcay as
ntranstve verbs. In most cases of ths knd, the ob|ect s n some sense
mped. However, t s ether stereotypical, habitual, predictable, non-refer-
ring or smpy unimportant. As ustratons, consder:
(67) a. They ate (eary)
(> OB| = food)
b. She drinks (ke a fsh)
(>OB| = quor)
_ They hunted (for two weeks)
(>OB| = game anmas)
d. He traps (n the wnter)
(>OB| = anmas)
e. She drove (too fast)
(>OB| =her car)
f. He plowed a day
( OB| = fed)
g. He used to teach at the oca hghschoo
(>OB| =some sub|ect matter)
(>IO =to the students)
h. She preached to the converted
(>OB| =the Gospe)
. We gave at the offce
(>OB| = money)
(>I O =to some charty)
These ob|ectess causes usng semantcay-transtve verbs n contexts
when the ob|ect s predctabe, stereotypca or unmportant, are one type
of the so-caed antipassive constructon n Engsh.
3.3.6. Intransitive verbs with an indirect object
The verbs n ths group have a sub|ect and an ndrect ob|ect; that s,
an ob|ect marked by a preposton. These verbs are further dvded nto a
number of semantc sub-types.
SIMPLE VERBAL CLAUSES 117 The prototype: Verbs with a locative indirect-object
Verbs n ths sub-group are n some sense the prototype of ntranstve
verbs wth an ndrect ob|ect. Ther sub|ect s ether an agent or a patient,
and the ndrect-ob|ect s a locative. These verbs code, frst, events of
motion, whereby the sub|ect moves toward or away from the ocatve
ob|ect. They may aso code states of being-in-location, whereby the sub|ect
s at, on, in, under, in front of or behind the ocatve ob|ect. The ocatve
ob|ect may thus be vewed as the spatial reference point wth respect to
whch the sub|ect ether moves or s ocated.
Syntactcay, the preposton (P) pus the ob|ect noun-phrase (NP)
combne to form a prepositional phrase (PP). Exampes of typca verbs n
ths sub-group are:
(68) a. | ohn remained in the house
b. She walked into the yard
_ The book is on the tabe
d. The cat is behind the couch
e. Mary came from Buffao
f. | oe went to the market
g. The horse jumped over the fence
h. They ran across the street
. The boat floated on the rver
| . They sat on the couch
k. She lay on the foor
The syntactc structure of causes such as (68) s gven n (69) beow,
representng (68f):
118 ENGLISH GRAMMAR Verbs with dative or patient indirect-object
Verbs n ths sub-group take an ndrect ob|ect, and thus ft the syntac-
tc frame of (69) above. Semantcay, however, they dverge from the oca-
ton or moton prototype. Agan, ther semantc dvergence from the pro-
totype may be vewed as metaphorc extenson. Many verbs n ths sub-
group nvove menta actvty, wth the sub|ect beng ether an agent or a
dative, and the ob|ect ether dative or patient. Markng such ob|ects wth a
locative preposton somehow makes t possbe to construe the event
metaphorcay as spatial, nvovng moton vs-a-vs the ob|ect. However,
what "moves" here s not the physca sub|ect tsef, but rather the sub|ect's
voce, vson, attenton, feengs or thoughts. As ustratons, consder:
(70) a. Mary looked at | ohn
b. | ohn listened to Mary/the musc
_ Mary thought/knew about | ohn
d. | ohn was angry
at Mary
e. I'mdisappointed at you
f. She shouted at hm
g. He talked to her
h. I'll attend to ths rght away
When the preposton used s 'from', the mpct moton seems to be from
the ob|ect to the sub|ect, as n:
(71) She never heard from hm (agan)
The metaphorc sense of moton nvoved n constructons such as (70)
can be shown by contrastng two pars of semantcay rather smar verbs,
(72) a. She saw hm
b. She looked at hm
She heard hm
d. She listened to hm
The verbs 'see' and 'hear' are statve; ther sub|ect s a conscous datve, not
an agent. Whatever moves ght, sounds moves from the ob|ect to the
sub|ect. In contrast, the verbs 'ook at' and 'sten to' are actve; ther sub-
|ect s an agent. And whatever moves vsua or audtory attenton now
seems to be construed as movng from the agent-sub|ect to the ob|ect.
SIMPLE VERBAL CLAUSES 119 Reciprocal verbs with an associative indirect-object
Some syntactcay ntranstve verbs code a reciprocal event, where the
sub|ect s an agent and the ndrect ob|ect an associative co-agent. Oute
often, these verbs have two other patterns: (a) a transtve cause pattern
wth the assocatve co-agent marked as drect ob|ect; and (b) a coord-
nate-sub|ect recproca pattern. As ustratons, consder:
(73) a. Intransitive: Mary fought with her mother
b. Transitive: Mary fought her mother
Coordinated: Mary and her mother fought
(74) a. Intransitive: B met with John
b. Transitive: B met John
Coordinated: B and John met
For some recproca verbs, one of the patterns s ess key or marg-
na. Consder for exampe the verbs 'embrace' and 'kss':
(75) a. Intransitive: ?Mary embraced with John
b. Transitive: Mary embraced John
Coordinated: Mary and John embraced
(76) a. Intransitive: *Mary kssed with John
b. Transitive: Mary kssed John
Coordinated: Mary and John kssed
Whe a three syntactc patterns n (73)-(76) are possbe, each affects a
dfferent shade of meanng. When coded as drect ob|ect, as n the (b) exam-
pes above, the co-agent s somehow ess endowed wth agent-ke proper-
tes such as voton and ntatve. It s thus metaphorcay downgraded,
and s now construed as a patent, wth ess contro over the event. When
coded as a coordnate sub|ect, as n the (c) exampes, the co-agent s con-
strued as beng much more of an equa n the recproca event, on a par wth
the sub|ect-agent. Pacng the co-agent n the poston of a co-sub|ect aso
makes t pragmatcay more topca. Fnay, n the ntranstve pattern as n
exampes (a), the co-agent escapes the semantc downgradng to mere
patenthood; but t s not pragmatc upgraded to co-sub|ecthood.
3.3.7. Bi-transitive verbs Preamble
B-transtve verbs are verbs that take two ob|ects. Ther sub|ect s
amost aways an agent, and one of the ob|ects s amost aways a patient.
The buk of these verbs are thus hghy transtve verbs. But n addton to
ther agent and patent, they aso take an indirect ob|ect. That ndrect
ob|ect may occupy a varety of semantc roes. B-transtve verbs can thus
be sub-dvded accordng to the semantc roe of ther ndrect ob|ect. We
w agan proceed by descrbng frst the prototype for the group. The bi-transitive prototype: Locative indirect object
Verbs n ths sub-group code events n whch a deberate agent (the
sub|ect) causes the motion of the patent (drect ob|ect) reatve to some
location (ndrect ob|ect). Typca exampes are:
(77) a. | ohn put the book on the tabe
b. Mary sent the merchandse to the store
_ The cerk took the book off the shef
d. They removed hmfrom the premses
e. They brought the horse into the barn
f. She poured the water out of the cup
g. He carries the word on hs shouders
h. They planted t in the ground
The syntactc structure of b-transtve causes as n (77) s gven n the
tree dagram (78) beow, representng (77a):
SIMPLE VERBAL CLAUSES 121 Dative-Benefactive indirect object
Ths group of b-transtve verbs code events n whch the ndrect
ob|ect s a datve or a benefactve. The event tsef s often a more abstract
transacton, where the agent causes a non-prototypca, often abstract, "pa-
tent" to metaphorcay "move" to or from the ndrect ob|ect. The atter s
thus metaphorcay a 'ocaton", and as such not prototypca, snce t s
most commony a human partcpant.
Most verbs n ths sub-group have an aternatve syntactc pattern,
whereby the datve-benefactve ob|ect s "promoted" to the grammatca
roe of drect ob|ect, whe the patent s "demoted" and paced at the end of
the cause. In exampes (79) beow, ths aternatve pattern s gven n
(79) a. She gave the book to hm
(She gave him the book)
b. He told the story to hs son
(He tod his son a story)
c. She showed the house to hm
(She showed him the house)
d. She taught French to her chdren
(She taught them French)
e. They sent ther ove to hm
(They sent him ther ove)
f. He promised the car to her
(He promsed her a car)
g. She did a favor for hm
(She dd him a favor)
h. They asked a queston of hm
(They asked him a queston)
The syntactc pattern of the verbs n (79) may be vewed as a
metaphorc extenson of the ocatve b-transtve prototype. In some of
them, such as 'gve', 'send' or 'brng', the sense of physca moton remans
ntact. In others, such as 'promse', 'show', 'te', 'teach', the metaphorc
shft s more apparent. But even the more concrete verbs n ths sub-group,
such as 'gve', 'brng' and 'send', are prone to further metaphorc stretch-
ng. Thus compare:
(80) a. Gve her my ove
b. She sent hmher best wishes
_ It brngs bad luck The instrumental-locative alternation
Members of ths b-transtve sub-group have one ob|ect that s seman-
tcay a ocatve, and another that s semantcay an nstrumenta. These
verbs are commony pared, so that one typcay takes the nstrumenta as
ts ndrect ob|ect and the ocatve as drect; whe the other shows the
reverse pattern, wth the ocatve as ndrect ob|ect and the nstrumenta as
drect ob|ect. As ustratons, consder:
(81) ocatve IO nstrumenta IO
a. put/pour x into _ f _ with x
b. take x out of _ empty _ of x
c. spread x on y cover _ with x
d. take x from rob/deprve _ of x
e. gve x to _ suppy _ with x
f. wrap/te x around _ wrap/te _ with x
g. pace x around y surround y with x
h. stck x into y stab y with x
. spray x on y spray y with x
Ths aternaton acheves, both semantcay and pragmatcay, a change n
perspectve.The ob|ect that s vewed as beng semantcay more affected s
made the drect ob|ect a poston prototypcay occuped by a patent. In
the same ven, the ob|ect that s vewed as pragmatcay more topical s
made the drect ob|ect a poston typcay occuped by the more topca
of the two ob|ects. To ustrate the semantc effect assocated wth ths
aternaton, consder (81), recaptuate n fu n (82) beow:
(82) a. She sprayed the paint on the wa
b. She sprayed the wall with pant
Cause (82a) mpes that all the pant was used up, but not that the entre
wa got panted. The drect ob|ect 'pant' s thus construed as beng more
thoroughy affected, thus more patent-ke. In contrast, cause (82b)
mpes that the entire wa was panted, but not necessary a the pant
used up. The drect ob|ect 'wa s now construed as more affected, thus
more patent-ke.
Pragmatcay, a partcpant coded as drect ob|ect sot s more topical
than one coded as ndrect ob|ect. Ths may be ustrated by addng a pre-
cedng context to exampes (82a,b), topcazng ether 'pant' or 'wa':
(83) a. Context: What dd you do wth the paint?
() I sprayed it on the wa.
() ?I sprayed the wa with it.
b. Context: What dd you do to the wall?
() I sprayed it wth pant.
() ?I sprayed the pant on it.
Strcty speakng, there s nothng 'ungrammatca' about varants () of
(83a,b). But varants () seem more natura, more coherent, more key. In
other words, the ob|ect that s topcazed n the precedng context s
rendered more naturay as the drect ob|ect. Three-object verbs
Verbs of ths group code exchange transactions. They thus nvove, at
east mpcty, three (or even four) ob|ects: A patient drect ob|ect that s
beng transferred to a recpent; a dative-benefactive ndrect ob|ect that s
the recpent; and an exchange commodity, another ndrect ob|ect, that s
beng transferred to the agent n return. Occasonay, even the source from
whch the patent was obtaned may be coded, as a thrd ndrect ob|ect.
Verbs n ths group aso aow the aternatve pattern seen n (79)
above. That s, the datve-benefactve may be "promoted" to drect ob|ect.
The foowng are typca exampes of exchange verbs (wth the aternatve
pattern gven n parentheses):
(84) a. He bought the book for | mfrom Mary for fve doars
(He bought Jim a book from Mary for fve doars)
b. She traded her od Honda to | oe for hs Chevy
(She traded Joe her od Honda for hs Chevy)
_ They sold the house to | ane for peanuts
(They sod Jane a house for peanuts)
In actua text, exchange verbs most commony appear wth ony one of
ther semantcay-possbe ndrect ob|ects. That s, as b-transtve verbs
wth one drect and one ndrect ob|ect:
(85) a. She bought a book for five dollars
b. She bought a book from her son
_ She bought a book for her daughter Extending the verbal frame with optional indirect objects
Many transtve and ntranstve verbs of varous types can take, n
addton to ther obgatory partcpants, aso some optona ndrect
ob|ects. Most commony, such added partcpants are ether a benefactive,
instrument, associative, manner, location or time. When an ob|ectess
ntranstve verb takes such an optona partcpant, the resut s an ntran-
stve cause wth an ndrect ob|ect, syntactcay akn to the structure
descrbed n (69), above. As ustratons, consder:
(86) a. Benefactive: | ohn works for the city
b. Instrument: They fght with bows and arrows
c. Associative: He works with his brother
d. Manner: She ate like a pig
e. Location: He worked in the warehouse
f. Time: She doesn't work on Tuesdays
When an optona ndrect ob|ect s added to a prototypca transtve
verb, the resut s a b-transtve cause, syntactcay akn to the structure
descrbed n (78) above. As ustratons of ths, consder:
(87) a. Benefactive: He washed two shrts for her
b. Instrument: She cut the wood with an axe
Associative: She managed the ranch with her sister
d. Manner: She fnshed supper in a hurry
e. Location: They ked hmin the barn
f. Time: He met her at noon
There are some grounds for suspectng that at east some optona nd-
rect ob|ects shoud not be consdered part of the verb phrase.
For the pur-
pose of the dscusson here, we w consder the syntactc structure of the
causes n (86) akn to that of ntranstve verbs wth an obligatory ndrect
ob|ect, .e. tree dagram (69). In the same ven, we w consder the syntac-
tc structure of the causes n (87) akn to that of b-transtve verbs, .e.
tree dagram (78).
SIMPLE VERBAL CLAUSES 125 Verbs with two direct objects
Verbs n ths group seem to be syntactcay transtve. That s, they
have a drect ob|ect. However, semantcay ther drect ob|ect s far from
the patent drect ob|ect prototype of transtve causes. Further, the verb
tsef tends to code an abstract, menta or soca event that s aso remote
from the prototype transtve verb. Often, the event may occur n the mnd
of the sub|ect-agent and nvove an unaware, thus unaffected, patent. In
addton, another partcpant seems to appear n the cause, coded as a se-
cond direct object. But here agan, that second drect ob|ect s not a patent,
and s so unke the transtve drect ob|ect prototype that t s most com-
mony non-referrng. The semantc roe of ths second ob|ect turns out to be
more ke that of a nominal predicate. Ths s apparent from the para-
phrases gven n parentheses n (88) beow:
(88) a. They eected hmpresident
(>They eected hmto be presdent)
b. They apponted her judge
(>They apponted her to be a |udge)
_ We consder themmembers
(>We consder that they are members)
d. They |udge hma good man
(>They |udge that he is a good man)
e. She deemed ther marrage a fiasco
(>She deemed that ther marrage was a fasco)
Severa verbs n ths group may take an ad|ectve rather than a noun
phrase as ther "second ob|ect". Ths further underscores the semantc
connecton of the "second ob|ect" to a copuar-predcate constructon. As
ustraton of such cases, consder:
(89) a. We consder hmuseless
(>We consder hmto be useess)
b. They |udged hminsane
(>They |udged hmto be nsane)
_ She deemed t inappropriate
(>She deemed t to be napproprate)
What the paraphrases n parentheses n both (88) and (89) suggest s
that both types are exampes of complex clauses, wth the seemng "second
ob|ect" dervng from a verbal complement.
The tree dagrams represent-
ng the meanng of such compex structures are gven n (90) and (91)
beow, representng respectvey (88a) and (89a):
3.3.8. Verbs with verbal complements Preamble
The structure and meanng of compex causes wth verba compe-
ments w be covered n consderabe deta n chapter 7. At ths |uncture,
we w ntroduce the verb-types that fa nto ths group, dvde them nto
ther man syntactc patterns, and dscuss ther more genera semantc sub-
dvsons. Verbs with clausal subjects
A number of predcate types n Engsh, ncudng both transtve verbs
and ad|ectves, may take a proposition as ther sub|ect. That sub|ect may
appear as a fu-fedged cause, ether n the characterstc pre-verba sub-
|ect poston, or n the characterstc post-verba poston of ob|ects or ver-
bal complements. When ths aternatve pattern appears, the empty
('dummy') pronoun 't' occupes the syntactc sub|ect poston.
Semantcay, transtve verbs n ths group tend to have a dative drect
ob|ect, one that s mentally affected by the state or event coded n the
causa sub|ect. As an ustraton of ths pattern wth transtve verbs, con-
(92) a. Clausal subject:
That she did it shocked hm
b. Dummy pronoun subject:
It shocked hmthat she did it
(93) a. Clausal subject:
Her leaving so suddenly astonshed hm
b. Dummy pronoun subject:
It astonshed hmthat she left so suddenly
The syntactc structure of the two aternatve patterns n (92) and (93) s
gven as n (94) and (95) beow, representng respectvey (92a) and (92b):
When the man cause n ths pattern nvoves an ad|ectva predcate,
the ad|ectve s typcay evaluative vs-a-vs the proposton that occupes
the sub|ect sot. The evauaton may be epistemic, .e. pertan to the propo-
ston's truth or certanty. It may aso pertan to the desirability of the state/
event. Or t may assess the reatve difficulty of performng the event. As
ustratons, consder:
(96) a. Epistemic: That he did it s true
(>It s true that he did it)
b. Desirability: That she flunked the exam s terrbe
(>It s terrbe that she flunked the exam)
_. Difficulty: To do this s dffcut
(>It s dffcut to do this)
The syntactc structure of exampes such as (96) s gven n the tree
dagrams (97) and (98) beow, representng the two patterns n (96b).
(98) Modality verbs
Modaty verbs form a coherent group, both n terms of the range of
meanngs they cover and ther syntactc structure. Semantcay, the group
as a whoe may be characterzed as foows:
(99) Semantic definition of modality verbs
a. The compement cause s semantcay a proposton,
codng a state or event.
b. The sub|ect of the man cause s co-referent .e.
refers to the same dscourse entty as the sub|ect of
the compement cause.
_. The man verb codes ether ncepton, termnaton,
persstence, success, faure, attempt, ntent, obgaton
or abty by the sub|ect of the man cause to per-
form the acton or be n the state that s depcted n the
compement cause.
Syntactcay, modaty verbs may be characterzed as foows:
(100) Syntactic definition of modality verbs
a. The co-referent sub|ect of the compement cause s
eft unexpressed.
b. The compement-cause verb appears n an infinitive
(or 'nomna') form, ackng any tense, aspect, moda-
ty or verb-agreement morphoogy.
c. The compement cause tends to appear n the charac-
terstc post-verba drect ob|ect poston, and s
normay packed under the same ntonaton contour
wth the man cause.
As an exampe of a prototypca modaty verb, consder 'want', as n:
(101) Mary wanted to eave
The compex syntactc structure of the man-pus-compement constructon
n (101) s gven n the tree dagram n (102):
Modaty verbs may be further dvded nto a number of semantc sub-
groups. In the man, the semantc dstnctons here nvove the attitude of
the man-cause sub|ect vs-a-vs the state or event coded n the compe-
ment. The frst sub-group, that of intentional verbs, code volition, attempt
or ability. Typca exampes of verbs n ths group are:
(103) a. She wanted to eave
b. Mary tried to see | oe
_ | oe can see Mary
Other verbs n ths sub-group are intend, plan, decide, agree, strive, think
of, be able. Some of them may code negative intent or in-ability, as n:
(104) a. | ohn refused to take the |ob
b. Mary declined to be nterrogated
_ She was reluctant to admt t
d. He was unable to return her ca
A second sub-group of modaty verbs code success or accomplishment
of acts, as n:
(105) a. Mary managed to escape
b. | ohn remembered to pck up the aundry
_ She succeeded n reversng the verdct
The negatve verbs n ths sub-group code failure, as n:
(106) a. He forgot to wash the dshes
b. She failed to understand hm
c. __ escaped payng the fne
d. She avoided meetng hs eyes
A thrd sub-group of modaty verbs code varous aspectual propertes
of the compement-cause event, such as inception, termination, repetition
or continuation. Thus consder:
(107) a. Mary started to move out
b. | ohn finished washng the dshes
_ | ohn began to understand
d. She continued to pursue her pan
e. He stopped ovng her
f. She kept nsstng
132 ENGLISH GRAMMAR Manipulative verbs
Manpuatve verbs may be defned semantcay as foows:
(108) Semantic definition of manipulative verbs
a. The man cause has a human agent that manpuates
the behavor of another human, the manipulee.
b. The agent of the compement cause s co-referential
wth the manpuee of the man cause.
c. The compement cause codes the target event to be
performed by the manpuee.
Syntactcay, manpuatve verbs may be characterzed as foows:
(109) Syntactic definition of manipulative verbs
a. The agent of the man cause s ts subject.
b. The manpuee of the man cause s ts
direct object.
_ The manpuee s aso the sub|ect of the compement
cause, but s eft unexpressed.
d. The compement-cause verb appears n an infinitive
(or 'nomna') form, ackng any tense, aspect, moda-
ty or verb-agreement morphoogy.
A typca use of a manpuatve verb may be seen n (110) beow, nvovng
the verb 'te':
(110) Mary told | ohn to eave
A tree dagram of the syntactc structure of compex causes wth a man-
puatve verb s gven n (111) beow, correspondng to (110) above:
Manpuatve verbs may be further sub-dvded accordng to ther
semantc propertes. Some manpuatve verbs code a successful manipula-
tion. That s, f the man-cause proposton s true, the compement propo-
ston s aso true, as n:
(112) Mary made | oe do the dshes
(>| oe dd the dshes)
Common successfu manpuatve verbs n Engsh are force, cause,
let, help, have, trick, enable.
Some manpuatve verbs code a successfu prevention, wth the sub-
|ect of the man cause successfuy manpuatng the ob|ect toward non-per-
formance of the compement-cause event. In such cases, f the man-cause
proposton s true, the compement proposton s false, as n:
(113) She prevented hm from seng the house
(>He dd not se the house)
Other successfu preventve verbs are: stop, dissuade, talk out of, scare
away from.
Some manpuatve verbs code an attempted manipulation, wthout
necessary mpyng success, as n:
(114) | oe asked Mary to eave the house
Other verbs of ths sub-type are: tell, beg, want, allow, permit, expect,
order, tempt, encourage.
Fnay, some manpuatve verbs code an attempted dissuasion, wth-
out necessary mpyng success. An exampe of ths s:
(115) She forbade hm to eave Perception-cognition-utterance (PCU) verbs
The sub|ect of verbs n ths mportant group ether perceives or cog-
nizes a state or event, or utters a proposton concernng a state or event.
That proposton s then coded n the compement cause. The compement
cause thus functons, n a way, as the ob|ect of the menta or verba actvty
depcted n the man cause.
The semantc characterzaton of PCU verbs may be gven as foows:
(116) Semantic definition of PCU verbs
a. The man-cause verb codes ether the percepton, cog-
nton, or verba utterance by the dative or agent sub-
b. The compement cause codes the state or event that s
the ob|ect of the menta or verba actvty by the man-
cause sub|ect.
The syntactc characterzaton of PCU verbs may be gven as:
(117) Syntactic definition of PCU verbs
a. No co-reference restrctons hod between the sub|ect
or ob|ect of the man and the subordnate cause.
b. The subordnate cause appears ke a fu-fedged man
cause, wth no mssng sub|ect.
_ The subordnate cause may be preceded by the subor-
dnator morpheme that, or n some cases by if
Typca exampes of PCU verbs are 'see', 'know' and 'say', as n:
(118) a. She saw that he was eavng
b. He knew that Marge had eft town
_ They say she's gong to recover
The syntactc structure of PCU verbs s gven n the tree dagram (119)
beow, representng (118b):
PCU verbs may be further sub-dvded accordng to a number of
semantc crtera. Some code preference or aversion vs-a-vs the event or
state coded n the compement, as n:
(120) a. Preference: She wished (that) he woud do t
b. Aversion: He was afraid (that) she'd be ate
Other verbs of ths sub-type are: hope, prefer, would rather.
Other PCU verbs code epistemic attitude reatve certanty vs-a-
vs the reaty of the state or event n the compement, as n:
(121) He thought (that) she wasn't there
Other verbs of ths sub-type are: believe, suspect, guess, suppose, decide,
assume, be sure, feel, doubt, and others.
When a PCU verb of epstemc atttude codes ow or negatve cer-
tanty, the compement cause s often preceded by the subordnators 'f or
'whether', as n:
(122) a. She wondered //they were st there
b. He doubted whether there was any gn eft
Other PCU verbs code varous knds of sensory perception, as n:
(123) a. He saw that she was gong out wthout hm
b. She heard that ther house was on fre
Many PCU verbs of hgh epstemc certanty are characterzed as pre-
suppositional or factive. That means, roughy, that the speaker consders
the proposton n the compement cause to be true regardless of the truth
vaue of the man-cause proposton. As ustraton of ths, consder:
(124) a. Mary knew that | ohn oved her
(>| ohn oved her)
b. Mary didn't know that | ohn oved her
(>| ohn oved her)
Other factve verbs are: understand, remember, forget, see, hear, perceive,
learn, find out, discover, regret, be sorry, be aware.
A sma group of PCU verbs, such as pretend and lie, are sad to be
negative factive. That s, roughy, the speaker consders the proposton n
the compement to be false, regardess of the truth-vaue of the man-cause
proposton. As an ustraton, consder:
(125) a. Mary pretended that | ohn was there
(>| ohn wasn't there)
b. Mary didn't pretend that | ohn was there
(>| ohn wasn't there)
Fnay, some PCU verbs are utterance verbs, such as say, announce,
ask, explain, propose, disclose and others. Ths means, roughy, that the
proposton n the compement s verbay expressed by the sub|ect of the
man verb. The speaker s thus quoting the man-verb sub|ect. The quota-
ton may be ether direct or indirect, yedng two dstnct compement
(126) a. Indirect quote:
She sad (that) she wasn't sure.
b. Direct quote:
She sad: "I'm not sure".
Predctaby, drect quote compements, as n (126b) are a more ver-
batim rendton of the quoted speech, wth the speaker-quoter takng more
responsbty and ega cupabty for the exact form of the quoted
speech, often ncudng mmcry and gestures. Somewhat paradoxcay,
whe takng responsbty for the exact form, the speaker aso disclaims
responsbty for the contents of the drect-quoted nformaton. In contrast,
ndrect quotes such as (126a) are more heavy edted by the speaker,
and thus are not meant to represent the exact form of the quoted speech.
They thus dspay much more of the quoter's nterpretaton of the quoted
nformaton. Whe not strvng for exact reproducton of the form, the nd-
rect quoter takes more responsbty for the nformaton tsef. Information verbs
A number of verbs n Engsh, such as tell, inform, ask, convince, per-
suade, lie to, or announce to, can take both a datve drect ob|ect and a ver-
ba compement of the type taken by PCU verbs. As an exampe, consder:
(127) She told hm (that) she was eavng
The syntactc structure of compex causes such as (127) s gven n the tree
dagram (128):
Oute a few verbs n Engsh can beong to more than one syntactc
thus aso semantc verb-cass. Such mutpe membershp s often sys-
tematc, n the sense that many verbs may revea the same mutpe mem-
bershp pattern. Thus, a verb ke 't_1' or 'ask' may be ether a smpe tran-
stve verb (ke 'k'), a manpuatve verb (ke 'force'), or an nformaton
verb as n (127). That s:
(129) a. Transitive: She tod hma story
b. Manipulative: She tod hmto bug off
c. Informative: She tod hm
that his timing was a bit off
Smary, a verb such as 'know' or 'say' may be ether a smpe transtve or
a PCU verb, as n:
(130) a. Transitive: He sad his prayers
b. Utterance: He sad that there was no juice left
In the same ven, a verb such as 'forget' or 'remember' may ether be a sm-
pe transtve verb, an ntranstve wth an ndrect ob|ect, a modaty verb,
or a PCU verb. That s, respectvey:
(131) a. Transitive: She forgot her husband
b. Intransitive: She forgot about dinner
Modality: She forgot to cook dinner
d. Cognition: She forgot
that he hadn't cooked dinner
And smary, a verb such as 'want' can be ether a smpe transtve verb,
a modaty verb, or a manpuatve verb. That s, respectvey:
(132) a. Transitive: He wanted a new car
b. Modality: He wanted to leave
_ Manipulative: He wanted her to leave
Sense varaton n the case of some verbs s more subte, so that ts
syntactc consequences are correspondngy more subte. Thus, for exam-
pe, modaty verbs such as 'forget', 'remember', 'earn' or 'pan' can take
two varant equi-subject compements, yedng two dfferent senses of the
man verb, one nvovng performance, the other know-how. That s,
(133) a. Performance:
She forgot to solve the probem
(>She coud, but ddn't)
b. Know-how:
She forgot how to solve the probem
(>She coudn't, and ddn't)
(134) a. Performance:
She remembered to go home
(>She remembered and dd)
b. Know-how:
She remembered how to go home
(>She remembered the way,
but may not have gone home)
Semantc and syntactc characterzaton s thus not assgned to the verb as a
sequence of sounds, but rather to each partcuar sense of the verb.
One of the most baffng facts of Engsh grammar, often defyng both
descrpton and earnng, s the use of prepostons to augment the exca
meanng of verbs. Ths has been and st remans an ongong hstorca pro-
cess n Germanc anguages. The evdence of Romance-derved verbs n
Engsh suggests that a smar process must have occurred earer n Latn.
As a resut of ths hstorca process, Engsh prepostons as a cass are
stranded somewhere between the grammar and the excon. The Engsh
verba excon s thus systematcay enrched wth new senses of exstng
verbs, as they are combned wth varous prepostons.
Prepostons used n ths capacty often resembe, to the naked eye,
ther 'grammatca' counterparts used n markng the varous types of nd-
rect ob|ects. However, more carefu nspecton reveas that the two uses are
rather dfferent, both semantcay and syntactcay.
The dstncton between the grammatca and exca use of prepos-
tons s easer to ustrate wth smpe ntranstve verbs, ones that normay
take nether drect nor ndrect ob|ects. As ustratons, consder:
(135) a. The wndow broke
b. The meetng broke up (eary)
c. Her car broke down (on the freeway)
d. Her skn broke out (n a rash)
(136) a. He turned (and eft)
b. (So fnay) he turns up (n Las Vegas)
c. They turned n (for the nght)
d. It turned out (that she was rght)
(137) a. She worked (hard)
b. It worked out (|ust fne)
c. They worked out (n the gym)
d. He worked up a sweat
A smar varaton can be shown wth smpe transtve verbs that, typ-
cay, take a drect ob|ect. Thus, compare:
(138) a. They broke the furnture
b. She broke up wth hm
c. They broke hm n (graduay)
d. He broke t down (for them nto sma peces)
(139) a. He turned the key
b. He turned the key over (to her)
c. They turned her down (for the |ob)
d. She turned n her report (and went home)
(140) a. They shut the door
b. She shut hm up
_ They shut the pant down
d. We shut themout competey (ten to nothng!)
e. He shut the water off.
(141) a. He cut the og
b. They cut hm n for a pece of the acton
_ Cut t out, w ya?
d. Cut the sound down a bt.
e. They cut t up n tte peces
(142) a. They ocked the house
b. They ocked hm up
(143) a. They et hm (go nsde)
b. They et hmdown
(144) a. They worked hm (hard)
b. They worked hmover (rea sow)
_ You work t out (for yoursef)
(145) a. He used the back stars
b. He used up a hs credt
(146) a. They tracked t (carefuy)
b. They tracked hmdown
(147) a. She fxed the door
b. They fxed hm up rea good
_ She fxed hm up wth her sster
(148) a. They found hm
b. They found hmout
c. They found out a about t
The dstncton between the grammatca .e. 'predctabe' and
exca use of the preposton s more subte when the verb s one that typ-
cay takes an ndrect prepostona ob|ect. Thus consder:
(149) a. She ran to the store (ndrect ob|ect)
b. She ran out on hm
_ They ran out of gas
d. They ran up a huge b
e. Run ths address down for me, w _a?
(150) a. He went out of the house (ndrect ob|ect)
b. The fre went out
(151) a. He turned toward her (ndrect ob|ect)
b. He turned over a new eaf
_ They turned n for the nght
d. So one day she turns up there and...
e. It turned out rea bad
(152) a. She ooked at hm (ndrect ob|ect)
b. She ooked hm up
_ She ooked hmover
d. She ooked over the entre st
e. He ooks out for number one
f. She ooked out (but ddn't see the car comng)
Many b-transtve verbs aso revea ths enrchment of ther exca
meanng, as n:
(153) a. She gave the book to hm (ndrect ob|ect)
b. They gave up and eft
c. She gave up on hm
d. They gave in to our demands
e. They gave out everythng they owned
(154) a. He took the book to schoo (ndrect ob|ect)
b. He took up poetry
_ She took over hs busness
(155) a. He put the cup on the tabe (ndrect ob|ect)
b. She coudn't put up wth hm
_ She's ony puttng hmon
d. Hs behavor reay put themoff
(156) a. He brought the wne to her (ndrect ob|ect)
b. She brought t up the next meetng
c. __ brought down the house
d. I don't thnk they can brng t about.
As noted above, the use of hghy specfc verb-preposton combna-
tons to yed hghy specfc new senses of verbs has been a protracted hs-
torca process n Engsh. It began at dfferent tmes for dfferent verbs, has
progressed at dfferent rates, and has arrved at dfferent end-ponts. Con-
sequenty, the semantc correaton between the oder meanng of a propo-
ston and ts verb-ncorporated exca use may be anywhere from transpar-
ent to obscure. Lke other exca processes, t s a matter for case-by-case
examnaton. Certan reguartes have been noted,
but they are far from
beng totay predctabe across the verba excon. It s ony natura, there-
fore, that non-natve speakers of Engsh fnd ths area of Engsh grammar
partcuary opaque. And there s enough evdence to suggest that natve
speakers earn these verb-proposton combnatons as unitary lexical items
by memorzng them, rather than by dervng them through rues.
It s aso natura that a consderabe amount of syntactc rreguarty
shoud accompany the semantc compexty of verb-proposton combna-
tons. For exampe, many transitive verbs aow the preposton to come
ether drecty after the verb, or foowng the drect ob|ect. Thus compare:
(157) a. They ocked out the entre cass
b. They ocked hmout of the house
_ They covered up the entre affar
d. They covered t up
The factors that contro the choce between the two varants are both syn-
tactc and pragmatc. Syntactcay, f the drect ob|ect s a long noun
phrase, the verb-augmentng preposton tends to be paced rght after the
verb, as n (157a,c). Pragmatcay, f the drect ob|ect s more topical n
whch case t aso tends to be shorter, often ony a pronoun then the ten-
dency s to pace t drecty after the verb, as n (157b,d). The preposton s
thus eft dangng at the end of the cause.
The structure of smpe causes n Engsh s summarzed n (158)
beow, usng the node-abes we have ntroduced for the tree dagram
method of descrbng syntactc structure. The summary s smar to the for-
masm of Phrase Structure Rules,
but s ntended ony as a notatona
convenence, coapsng the varous types of tree dagrams we have used
above to represent the syntactc structure of the varous smpe-cause types
of Engsh. To make the dfference between copuar and verba causes
more apparent, two addtona ntermedate categores are ntroduced n
(158c) 'copuar' and 'verba'. Smary, the category, ADV, standng for
an optona adverb wthn the verb phrase, has aso been ntroduced n
(158c). The category MODI F, standng for 'modfer', has been ntroduced
n (158k), to represent nformay noun modfers wthn the noun
phrase. A more extensve treatment of the structure of noun phrases s
found n chapter 6.
A consttuent paced wthn the parentheses ( ) s optional. When two
(or more) consttuents are paced wthn the cury brackets { }, a disjunctive
choice of ony one of them s meant. The sgn = means "The category on
the eft sde has the consttuents on the rght sde, n the same near order".
(158) Summary of the phrase-structure of simple clauses
(obligatory participants only)
a. S = SUBJ VP
b. SUBJ =
c. VP =
e. PRED =
f. VERBAL =V ( OBJ )
g. COMP = S
h. I O = PP
i. PP = NP
j . OBJ = NP
k. NP =
1) We noted earer that many adverbs are structuray prepositional phrases, thus to some
extent overappng at east structuray wth indirect objects. At the eve of anayss we are
concerned wth here, we w more or ess gnore the grammatca tests that dstngush between
a prepostona phrase that s an 'ndrect ob|ect' and one that s an 'adverb'.
2) The buk of these grammatca constrants w be deat wth n ater chapters, snce they
tend to nvove the behavor of compex causes; that s, the behavor of causes n more compex
3) What s sad here about the mts of strct defntons of semantc roes aso appes to
grammatca roes, athough to a esser degree. Gven the more abstract, structura nature of
grammatca case-roes, they tend to exhbt a hgher eve of categoraty (or 'grammatcaza-
4) For the purpose of the dscusson here, we w gnore the roe of 'adverb'. Its status as a
purey grammatical roe n Engsh s somewhat hazy. As noted n chapter 2, the morphoogca
form and syntactc poston of adverbs are both rather varabe. More subte grammatca tests
go a onger way toward dfferentatng adverbs from ndrect ob|ects. But at ths pont such tests
cannot be dscussed.
5) 'Locatve' here stands n for a others' n (6).
6) In severa compex cause-types, such as questons (chapter 12) or contrastve topcs
(chapters 10, 11), the sub|ect may be swtched to other postons n the cause.
7) Or at east less topical than the drect ob|ect.
8) It may be argued that by addng more optona consttuents, one ncreases the compexty
of the cause.
9) Severa other aspects of transtvty w be dscussed n chapters 7 and 8. For an extensve
dscusson of transtvty n anguage, see Hopper and Thompson (1980); Gvn (1984a, chapters
4,5.8); Gvn (1990, chapters 13, 14).
10) It s aso key that the probabty of the overap between semantc and syntactc tran-
stvty n Engsh s not the same n both drectons. Thus, whe a arge ma|orty of semantcay-
transtve causes are aso syntactcay transtve, probaby a smaller ma|orty of syntactcay-
transtve causes are aso semantcay transtve.
11) Whe 't' does not exacty 'refer' to anythng n such causes, t does have some semantc
consequences. For exampe, t ceary stands for nether a mae nor a femae entty, but rather
an inanimate or non-human one. And t certany s more of a 'snguar' than a 'pura'.
12) The reference propertes of noun phrases are dscussed n consderabe deta n chapter
13) For a detaed dscusson of verba compements, see chapter 7.
14) Engsh s not necessary a typca anguage n ths respect. In most anguages transtvty
s more constraned semantcay, though to varyng degrees.
15) The term 'cognate' audes to the fact that many such ob|ects are n fact nomnazed
forms of the actvty-verb nvoved ('sng'/'song', 'dance'/'dance', 'tak'/'tak', 'ecture'/'ecture',
'promse'/'promse', etc.). Most of the others are aso nomnazed verbs, but they foow an unre-
ated transtve verb (see (63) beow).
16) Whe semantcay ths may be vewed as 'downgradng', pragmatcay the drect ob|ect
poston codes more topical, important partcpants than the ndrect ob|ect.
17) One may as we note that as a hstorca semantc extenson of the transtve prototype,
an earer sense of 'have' was the more concrete meanng of 'hod', 'seze', 'grab'. The semantc
extenson nvoved the 'beachng out' of the sense of concrete action, to eave ony the sense of
resulting possession, eventuay not even physca possesson. The same process s currenty
gong on wth 'get', whch aso retans ts earer sense of 'obtan'.
18) For dscusson of the antpassve voce, see chapter 8.
19) Whe 'be angry at', 'be mad at', 'be dsapponted at' etc. ft semantcay n ths group,
they are syntactcay ad|ectva predcate constructons, and as such nvove the copuar verb
20) The dscourse-pragmatc functon of ths varant pattern, aso caed dative shifting, w be
dscussed n chapter 11.
21) The arguments hnge on varous grammatca-behavor crtera by whch t s possbe to
cassfy these optona prepostona phrases as adverbs, ones that are drect consttuents of the
cause (S) rather than of the verb phrase (VP).
22) See secton 3.3.8. drecty beow.
23) Or 's deeted under dentty'. In a transformatona format of syntactc descrpton, where
the surface structure of a compex cause s 'derved' from the deep syntactc structure of ts com-
ponent smpe causes, the zero expresson of a co-referent NP s nterpreted as 'deeton' of that
24) Both 'reuctant' and 'unabe' are ad|ectves. In terms of ther semantc and syntactc
reaton to the compement cause, however, they foow the genera pattern of modaty verbs.
25) Or 'deeted under dentty'; see footnote 23.
26) A number of compement-takng ad|ectves fa nto the genera syntactc pattern of PCU
verbs as descrbed here. Such ad|ectves are 'be afrad', 'be aware', 'be sure', 'be certan', 'be
hopefu' and others.
27) Severa factve predcates are ad|ectves n Engsh, such as 'be sad', 'be happy', 'be ds-
gusted', 'be encouraged', 'be dsapponted' and others. For an extensve dscusson of the
semantcs of factve predcates, see Kparsky and Kparsky (1968).
28) Incorporated prepostons n Latn-derved Romance verbs arepre-verba, as n 'm-bbe',
'ex-pe', 'sub-|ect', 'sur-prse', 'per-form', 'pre-tend', 'ab-sorp', ac-cept', 're-ceve', 'de-ceve',
'ob-tan', etc. The same pre-verba pattern of ncorporatng prepostons s found n German.
29) An extensve dscusson of these reguartes can be found n Lndner (1982). A dscusson
of ths exca extenson pattern as metaphoric extension of the meanng of ocatve prepostons
can be found n Lakoff and | ohnson (1980).
30) An account of the pragmatcs factors controng ths varaton may be found n Chen
31) In standard transformatona formats, ths summary caed Phrase-Structure Rules s
consdered a descrpton of the 'competence' of the grammar user, and s thus gven a much
more promnent theoretca status. See Chomsky (1965).
The grammar of verba nfectons s often the most compex part of the
grammar n any anguage. In terms of functon, t spans over a three we-
coded functona reams of anguage: Lexca meanng, propostona nforma-
ton, and dscourse coherence. In terms of morpho-syntactc structure, t
often nvoves a mx of dachroncay oder bound morphemes and da-
chroncay younger verb-ke auxares, wth the atter havng not ony
morphoogca but aso syntactc status.
The verba nfectons of Engsh represent successve generatons of
hstorca deveopment, and often bear the footprnts of ther protracted
hstory. Ths s true n terms of the poston of verba nfectons both
auxares and bound affxes reatve to the verb, as we as n terms
of the rues that govern ther grammatca behavor. What s more, the hs-
tory of the tense-aspect-moda system of Engsh s far from over. New
operators are st beng ntroduced nto the system; and both those and the
system as a whoe are n the process of beng re-shaped.
We w begn our survey by consderng the three man functona
domans that undere the system:
(a) Tense
(b) Aspect
(c) Modaty
After surveyng the syntactc behavor of these three, we w dscuss the
fourth category
(d) Negaton
4.2. TENSE
4.2.1. Preliminaries
The category tense codes the reaton between two ponts aong the
ordered near dmenson of time the time of speech and event time. The
tme of speech serves as the unversa reference-pont for event tme. The
reaton between the two may be represented dagrammatcay as foows:
(1) Tense and time
One may dstngush four tenses n Engsh:
(a) Past: An event (or state) whose event-tme preceded the
tme of speech
(b) Future: An event (or state) whose event-tme follows the
tme of speech
(c) Present: An event (or state) whose event-tme s right at the
tme of speech
(d) Habitual:
An event (or state) that ether occurs always, or s
timeless, or whose event-tme s eft unspecified
4.2.2. Past
The past tense n Engsh s marked most commony by the suffx -ed.
For a group of rreguar verbs, the form s unpredctabe, and nvoves
nterna changes n the form of the verb-stem tsef. Some of these verbs
(2) irregular past-tense forms
base form past tense form
sng sang
see saw
brng brought
know knew
be was/were
come came
stand stood
st sat
eave eft
have had
run ran
begn began
fnd found
teach taught
hang hung
put put
cast cast
4.2.3. Future
The future tense n Engsh s marked by three aternatve forms:
(a) the moda auxary 'w'
(b) the compex auxary 'be gong to'
(or the contracted 'be gonna')
(c) the progressve auxary 'be...-ing'
Exampes of the three are, respectvey:
(3) a. The modal auxiliary 'will':
She will eave at mdnght
b. The complex auxiliary 'be going to':
She's going to eave rght away
(She's gonna eave rght away)
c. The progressive auxiliary 'be':
She is eavng tomorrow
The dfference n functon between the three optons for markng the
future tense s not easy to characterze, but at east three dstnct dmen-
sons seem to be nvoved.
() Formality of genre:
The use of 'w' may be more forma; the other two may be more co-
() Time distance:
The use of 'w' probaby sgnas a more dstant future, whe the other two
may sgna a more mmedate future.
() Degree of certainty:
Both 'w' and the progressve 'be' seem to sgna hgher certanty; the use
of 'gong to' or 'gonna' seems to sgna ower certanty.
4.2.4. Present
The present tense s not specfcay marked n Engsh. Rather, n the
absence of expct markng of any other tense, the progressive aspect,
marked by the suffx -ing, s nterpreted as a present progressive, as n:
(4) He is choppng wood
Stative verbs, ones that code a state rather than an event, typcay
don't take the progressve aspect. The 'present' meanng of such verbs s
sgnaed by the habitual form, whch s then ambguous; t sgnas ether the
habtua or the present tense. As ustraton of ths, compare (5) and (6)
(5) Active (event) verb:
a. Past: He chopp-ed wood
b. Present-progressive: He is choppng wood
_ Habitual: He (aways) chops wood
(6) Stative (state) verb:
a. Past: He knew the answer
b. Progressive: *He is knowing the answer
_ Habitual: He (aways) knows the answer
d. Present: (Rght now) he knows the answer
Other statve verbs are 'see', 'hear, 'be', 'have', 'want' and many others.
The reason for the restrcton w become more obvous when we ds-
cuss the progressve aspect (secton 4.3.2. beow). Brefy, the progressve
converts a compact event nto a state. But statve verbs aready sgna a
state through ther nherent exca meanng. It thus makes no sense to con-
vert them nto what they aready are.
One must note that t s not the progressve form of the verb that
exhbts the restrcton, but rather the partcuar sense assocated wth that
form. To ustrate ths, consder the behavor of the progressve form wth
the verb 'see':
(7) a. I see her now
b. *I am seeing her now
I am seeing her frst thng tomorrow mornng
d. He's seeing the delegation rght now
When the progressve form s nterpreted as a present-progressve, as n
(7b), t s ncompatbe wth 'see'. When t s nterpreted as a future, as n
(7c), 'see' s compatbe wth t. The acceptabty of both (7c) and (7d),
fnay, s due to a subte change n the exca meanng of the verb from
the statve 'see' to the actve 'meet'.
The acceptabty of (7d) above underscores the fact that t s not the
verb stem-form that s responsbe for the restrcton, but rather a specfc
(statve) sense of the verb. To ustrate ths agan, consder the behavor of
two statve verbs par excellence 'be' and 'have':
(8) a. | oe was ta
b. *| oe was beng ta
c. | oe was being obnoxous
Beng ta s an nvountary state over whch the sub|ect exercses no con-
tro. Beng obnoxous, n contrast, may aso be an activity, and t s that
sense that s captured n (8c). Smary:
(9) a. Mary had bond har
b. *Mary was havng bond har
c. Mary was havng steak for dnner
(>She was eating steak)
d. Mary was havng her baby on the ktchen foor
(>She was giving birth)
e. Mary was havng a good tme n Hawa
(>She was enjoying herself)
The purey statve sense of 'have', as n (9a,b), s ncompatbe wth the pro-
gressve aspect. But the senses of 'have' n (9c,d,e) are a actve eventive
senses; hence ther compatbty wth the progressve aspect.
4.2.5. Habitual
The smpe unmarked form of the Engsh verb s often abeed,
mstakeny, the 'present'. Ths s the verb-form that requres thrd-person-
snguar sub|ect agreement, coded by the suffx -s. Thus compare:
(10) number
person singular plural
first I fa we fa
second you fa you/y'a fa
third he/she/t fas they fa
As noted above, ony wth statve verbs, ones that cannot take the progres-
sve aspect, does the unmarked form doube up as both the habtua and
present. As we sha see beow, t aso doubes up as a speca form of the
4. 3. ASPECT
4.3.1. Preliminaries
Aspect n Engsh, as esewhere, encompasses a group of heterogenous
semantc and pragmatc categores.
Some nvove temporal propertes of
the event, such as boundedness, sequentiality or temporal gapping. Others
nvove purey pragmatc notons such as relevance. Others yet nvove
more subte facets of the perspective taken by the speaker. Whe aspects
are dstngushed from tenses, they often combne wth varous tenses.
What s more, n such combnatons aspects often dspay dstnct patterns
of assocaton wth partcuar tenses. But even grantng that the separaton
between 'tense' and 'aspect' s not absoute, t s st usefu to treat the two
notons separatey.
4.3.2. The progressive Unboundedness (vs. compactness)
The progressve aspect converts a temporay compact, bounded, ter-
minated event, one that has sharp tempora boundares, nto a temporay
diffuse, unbounded, ongoing process, whch thus resembes a state.
Engsh progressve s marked by the auxary 'be' before the verb and the
suffx -ing on the verb. When the progressve combnes wth the three man
tenses, the auxary 'be' uness preceded by another auxary behaves
ke the man verb and carres the tense markng:
(11) a. Present progressive: She is working
b. Future progressive: She w be workng
_ Past progressive: She was workng
The progressve aspect represents a statve semantc perspectve on an
otherwse non-statve event. Its use does not mpy that the event per se was
unbounded or dffuse, but rather that from the perspectve of the speaker,
the event s descrbed n the mdde of happenng, wth ts boundares dsre-
garded and ts tempora span accentuated. A spata metaphor may hep
carfy our noton of 'perspectve' here. Compare the very same 'ob|ectve'
event, descrbed frst n the smpe bounded past, then as progressive past:
(12) a. Bounded past: She cut the og
b. Progressive past: She was cutting the og
The bounded-past perspectve n (12a) may be kened to a narrow camera-
ange say a fsh-eye ens vew. The event s observed from cose prox-
mty, takng up the entre frame, so that t s vewed as a protracted ob|ect
progressve-past perspectve n (12b) may be kened to a wde camera-
ange say a fsh-eye ens vew. The event s observed from cose pro-
xmty, takng up the entre frame, so that t s vewed as a protracted ob|ect
whose boundares are not ncuded n the frame. The two perspectves may
be represented dagrammatcay as:
(13) Bounded (narrow-angle) perspective:
(14) Progressive (wide-angle) perspective:
The nterpretaton of the progressve aspect vares a tte when the
verb s super-compact, .e. of a very short duraton, as n 'kck', 'bnk', 'ht'
or 'shoot'. Wth such verbs, the progressve typcay assumes an iterative
nterpretaton, .e. a progresson of repeated acts. As ustratons, con-
(15) a. He was kckng the couch
b. She was bnkng her eyes rapdy
c. __ was httng the door wth both hands
d. They were shootng at the house Proximity (vs. remoteness)
One consequence of the metaphor of narrow vs. wde camera-ange
perspectve on the event s of partcuar nterest. In the vsua constructon
of space, a wde ens-ange represents ether a arge or a nearby object.
From the progressve perspectve then, an on-gong event s thus scrutnzed
from cose proxmty, wth a detas vsbe. It s as f the observer s paced
rght at the scene. In contrast, from a bounded, narrow-ange perspectve
the event s vewed from a remote vantage point. The observer s removed
from the scene and ts mnute detas.
The strong, near automatc assocaton of the progressve wth the pre-
sent absent expcty marked tense s ndeed a cogntve refecton of
the metaphorc extenson from spata to tempora proxmty. Proxmty
whether spata or tempora has smar cogntve consequences.
4 Simultaneity (vs. sequentiality)
The progressve perspectve on an event s often estabshed through
brngng the observer onto the scene in the middle of the event, when t s
aready gong on. Ths s most commony accompshed by depctng n an
ad|acent cause the entry of a wtness onto the scene. Thus compare (15)
above wth (16):
(16) a. When I came in, he was kckng the couch
b. When he looked up, she was bnkng her eyes rapdy
_ They saw that he was httng the door wth both hands
d. The police caught them shootng at the house
Ths |uxtaposton of two event-causes, the one compact and representng
the observer's entry or perspectve, the other the depcted event-n-prog-
ress, ndeed nvoves a pragmatc dmenson of the progressve aspect. The
feature of simultaneity to contrast wth sequentiality of two causes s
'pragmatc' n the sense that t cannot be defned wthout reference to
another cause, .e. to the dscourse context. As a more expct ustraton
of ths, compare the two hghghted causes n (17a,b) beow, representng
the same 'ob|ectve' events:
(17) a. Bounded past:
After she came home, he cooked dinner,
and they ate and went to bed.
b. Progressive past:
When she came home, he was cooking dinner.
Then they ate and went to bed.
One coud further suggest that the pragmatc feature of 'smutanety
s mpct even n the snge-cause use of the progressve. That s, a smu-
taneous pont-of-reference s aways mpct n the dscourse context of a
progressve-coded cause. Consder, for exampe, the typca ectaton of
progressve-coded snge-cause responses:
(18) a. Question (context):
What s he dong (now, as we are talking)?
b. Response:
He's eatng supper.
_ Question (context):
What was he dong (then, when you entered the room)?
d. Response:
He was eatng supper.
The dscourse contexts 'now' (18a) and 'when you entered the room' (18c)
estabsh the tempora reference-pont that s smutaneous wth the on-
gong event n the responses (18b) and (18d), respectvey. Granted, not a
contexts for progressve-marked causes are as expct as (18a,c). Neverthe-
ess, t s possbe that the seemng absence of the pragmatc feature of
'smutanety' n soated progressve-marked causes s the mere conse-
quence of dsregardng the natura dscourse context.
In connected dscourse, the bounded ('perfectve') past as n (17a)
s typcay used to code events that are temporay sequential, often vs-
a-vs both the precedng and foowng event-causes. In contrast, the pro-
gressve ('mperfectve') aspect as n (17b) s typcay used to depct
events that are simultaneous to a contguous event-cause.
In narratve text, the sequenta past-perfectve aspect s much more
frequent than the smutaneous progressve. Ths s due to the fact that nar-
ratve tends to be acton orented, so that ts coherence structure most com-
mony nvoves chans of sequentay-ordered events. These past/perfectve-
marked events foow each other n tempora order, and are typcay pack-
aged n main causes. Wthn these chans, the smutaneous-progressve
aspect s nterspersed more sparsey, qute often n dependent causes. As
ustratons of the use of both aspects n narratve, consder the foowng
fcton passage:
(19) "...Wthn the mouth of the draw he drew rens agan.
Wth hs frst gance he recognized the body for what t
was, but ony when he was qute sure that he was aone did
he approach t. He circled t as wary as a wof, studying
t from a anges, and when he fnay stopped, wthn a
dozen feet of the dead man, he knew much of..."
The smutaneous progressve n narratve can aso contrast wth the
habitual tense-aspect, whch then codes the more sequenta nformaton
much ke the past-perfectve dd n (19). As ustraton of ths, consder:
(20) ''...Movement attracts the eye, draws the attenton, ren-
ders vsbe. A motoness ob|ect that blends wth the sur-
roundngs can ong reman nvsbe even when cose by,
and Shaako was not moving..."
Whe the habtua-marked causes n (20) do not nvove, strcty speakng,
actua events that took pace at temporay-ordered ponts n tme, the
'attracts the eye' > 'draws attenton' > 'renders vsbe'
'bends wth the surroundngs' > 'can reman nvsbe'
are nonetheess we ordered, whe the progressve-coded 'was not movng'
s ceary outsde the sequence. The habitual progressive
The smpe progressve form, whe most often nterpreted as the pre-
sent progressve, can aso sgna a habitual progressive. Ths may be hgh-
ghted by the use of specfc tme adverbs:
(21) a. Present progressive:
She is watchng TV (right now).
b. Habitual progressive:
(Whenever I come over), she's (always) watchng TV
The habtua-progressve n (21b) s ceary the progressve aspect n
the habtua tense, .e. wthout a specific tme reference. It may aso be con-
trasted wth the smpe habtua, as n:
(22) a. Simple habitual:
OUESTI ON: What does he do for a vng?
RESPONSE: He works at a gas staton.
b. Progressive habitual:
OUESTI ON: What's he dong nowadays?
RESPONSE: Working at a gas staton.
In a cear sense though, the smpe habtua n (22a) characterzes a
"more habtua" stuaton, wth a ess specfc tme-reference and a wder
temporal scope. In contrast, the progressve-habtua n (22b) characterzes
a "ess habtua" stuaton, wth a much narrower tempora scope. Obv-
ousy, habts requre tme to estabsh, so that the progressve habtua n
(22b) s ceary a ess prototypca habtua.
4.3.3. Other progressive aspectuals Continuous-repetitive aspectuals
Severa aspectua auxares n Engsh ceary nvove the progressve,
n that they depct events as ongong and unbounded. However, they ds-
pay subte dfferences when compared to the 'be'-marked progressve. We
w consder frst the copuar auxary 'keep'.
Syntactcay, 'keep' patterns very much ke 'be', n that t foows the
auxary 'have', f present, and mposes the progressve suffx -ing on the
foowng man verb. Thus compare:
(23) a. She is workng
b. She keeps workng
c. She was workng
d. She kept workng
e. She has been workng
f. She has kept workng
One cear semantc dfference between 'be' and 'keep' s that 'keep'
mparts a sense of continuation, wth an mpct sense that the actvty was
gong on for some tme before. Another dfference s that 'keep' may aso
code repetition and habitual action. Ths s more apparent when the man
verb s temporay compact. Thus contrast:
(24) a. Less compact verb:
She kept suckng her thumb.
(>She sucked on an on)
b. More compact verb:
She kept breakng her eg.
(>She broke t again and again)
The verb 'suck' codes, prototypcay, a more protracted actvty; hence the
more natura continuous nterpretaton on (24a). The verb 'break' tends to
code more a compact event; hence the more natura repetitive nterpreta-
ton of (24b).
Cosey reated to 'keep' n meanng s the aspectua or modaty-
verb 'contnue'. Unke 'keep', t s foowed by a man verb marked by
ether progressve -ing or the nfntve to. Formay, then, ony the varant
of 'contnue' that s foowed by an -ing-marked verb can be caed 'aspec-
As ustratons, consder:
(25) a. Progressive aspectual:
She continued deang out cards.
b. Modality verb:
She continued to dea out cards.
The progressve varant (25a) thus foows the syntactc pattern of the copu-
ar auxares 'be' and 'keep'.
The aspectua use of 'go on' s smar to 'contnue'. Agan, the pro-
gressve sense s obtaned ony wth the -ing suffx. Thus compare:
(26) a. Progressive aspectual:
She went on httng the wa
(>she was httng t before)
b. Modality verb:
She went on to ht the wa
(>she was dong somethng ese before)
The non-progressve sense of 'go on' (26b) s much coser to the moton-
verb sense of 'go'. However, the verb seems to have undergone a
metaphorc shft from moton n physical space to moton n event time.
Such a shft s characterstc of the gradua change from moton verb to
tense-aspect marker. Inceptive-progressive aspectuals
Three modaty verbs, 'start', 'begn' and 'resume', aso pattern as
inceptive aspectua markers. When foowed by a verb wth the progres-
sve suffx -ing, they mpart a progressve aspectua sense. Ther progressve
use may be contrasted wth ther non-progressve, perhaps habtua, sense.
The atter s obtaned when the foowng verb s marked by the nfntve to.
Thus compare:
(27) a. She started deang out cards
b. She started to dea out cards
c. She began eatng her saad (voracousy)
d. She began to eat her saad (reguary)
e. She resumed workng on her book
f. *She resumed to work on her book
The contrast between the progressve and non-progressve usage s
further sharpened wth verbs that typcay code a super-compact event.
Thus compare:
(28) a. She started kckng the ba, then stopped
(>she kcked t severa tmes before stoppng)
b. She started to kck the ba, then stopped
(>she started, but changed her mnd and ddn't)
The sense of the -ing-marked (28a) s that of repeated kckng, as one woud
expect wth the progressve. In contrast, (28b) may aso depct the ncepton
of a snge act. Terminative-progressive aspectuals
An oft-unrecognzed Engsh aspect s sgnaed by the aspectua aux-
ares 'stop', 'qut' and 'fnsh'. A three fa nto the same syntactc sot
and morphoogca form as 'be' and 'keep'. 'Stop' can sgna the termination
of ether a progressive or a repetitive event. As ustratons, consder:
(29) a. Progressive:
He stopped readng hs book and stened
(>He was reading, then stopped)
b. Repetitive:
He stopped readng comc books
(>He used to read them, then qut)
'Fnsh' seems to mpart a more progressve, ess repettve, sense, at east
when the verb s not super-compact. Thus consder:
(30) a. She finished readng her book
(>she was reading t, then she fnshed)
b. She finished readng comc books
(>she was reading some, then she fnshed)
(*>she used to read them, then qut)
The ess-natura habtua sense of (30b) may be perhaps rendered wth the
aspectua 'be through (wth)', as n:
(31) She was through (wth) readng comc books
4.3.4. The habitual past
The auxary 'used to' cooquay contracted to usta s empoyed
to sgna the past-habtua or past-repettve aspect, as n:
(32) a. She used to tak more often
b. He used to vst reguary
Unke progressve aspectua auxares, 'used to' cannot be preceded by
other auxares or foowed by an -ing-marked man verb. Thus compare:
(33) a. She may keep going on and on
b. *She may use(d) to go on and on
c. *She used (to) gong on and on
d. She has kept workng
e. *She has use(d) to work
As noted above, many of the progressve aspectuas can aso code a
habtua sense. Thus, when n the past tense, they aso code the habtua
The moda auxary 'woud' can aso be used to render the habtua
past. Ths usage s probaby more cooqua:
(34) a. One would come n and ook around and...
b. She would eat two oaves a day...
_ They'd work rea hard for an hour, then qut and...
There s a subte semantc dfference between 'used to' and 'woud', n
that the former mpes termination of the past habt, whe the atter does
not. As ustraton of ths, consder:
(35) a. She used to sng n the shower
(>but she no onger does)
b. She would sng n the shower
(>she may st do)
4.3.5. The perfect Preliminaries
The perfect, marked by the auxary 'have' and the perfect suffxa
form of the man verb, s functonay the most compex aspect n Engsh.
It nvoves a custer of features, some more semantc, others more pragma-
tc. And whe the assocaton of these features together wth the same form
s both common and natura, t woud be best to descrbe them separatey.
162 ENGLISH GRAMMAR Anteriority
The perfect bears a strong but not bndng assocaton wth 'past'. The
fact that the assocaton s not absoute can be seen from the fact that the
perfect can be used wth three dstnct tempora reference ponts: (a) Tme
of speech, (b) Past, and (c) Future. Wth respect to each one, the perfect
codes an event that ether occurred or was ntated prior to the tempora
reference pont. Ths may be ustrated n:
(36) a. Present perfect:
(Speakng now,) She has (aready) fnshed
b. Past perfect:
(When he arrved,) She had (aready) fnshed
_ Future perfect:
(When he arrves,) She will have (aready) fnshed
These three confguratons may be represented dagrammatcay as,
(37) Present perfect:
(38) Past perfect:
(39) Future perfect:
The perfect may be used to sgna an event that has been terminated or
accomplished before the reference tme. As an exampe consder the
(40) A: -Why don't you go and wash your hands?
B: -I've aready washed them. Counter-sequentiality
One of the more pragmatc features of the perfect nvoves ts use n
sgnang that the event stands out of temporal sequence n the narratve.
Here the perfect agan contrasts wth the smpe sequenta past,
whch codes events that are recounted in proper temporal sequence. As
ustraton, compare (41) and (42) beow:
(41) Simple past:
a. She came back nto the room,
b. ooked around,
_ spotted the buffet
d. and went to get a sandwch....
(42) Perfect past:
a. She came back nto the room
b. and ooked around.
_ She had spotted the buffet earer,
d. So she went to get a sandwch...
In narratve (41), the events are a recounted n the same order n whch
they occurred, wth a verba causes marked wth the smpe-sequenta
past. In narratve (42) of the very same chan of events, event (42c) s
recounted after (42b), though n fact t occurred before (42b). The verb n
(42c) the off-sequence nk n the chan s therefore marked
wth the perfect aspect. Further, the counter-sequenta pacement of (42c)
precptates a thematic break n the dscourse, sgnaed by a period punctu-
aton n (42b).
The dfference between the sequenta ('perfectve') aspect and the
perfect may be ustrated dagrammatcay as foows:
(43) a. Order of events:
b. Order of narration in the simple past:
Order of narration with the perfect:
In (43b), narrated n the smpe past, a four events A,B,C,D are n
the natura sequenta order as they occurred n (43a). In (43c), events
A,C,D reman n ther natura sequence as n (43a), and are st marked
wth the smpe past. But event _ s displaced, t s out of sequence, and so
marked wth the perfect.
Dspaced, off-sequence chunks of the narratve can encompass more
than one event. When that occurs, the off-sequence events may be them-
seves recounted n the natura sequenta order. As a group though, they
reman off-sequence reatve to the precedng sequenta events. As an us-
traton of ths, consder the foowng passage of fcton:
(44) "...He crced t wary as a wof, studyng t from a ang-
es, and when fnay he stopped wthn a dozen feet of the
dead man, he knew much of what had happened at ths
The dead man had rdden a freshy shod horse nto
the playa from the north, and when shot he had tumbed
from the sadde and the horse had gaoped away. Severa
rders on unshod pones had then approached the body
and one had dsmounted to coect the weapons..."
In the second paragraph n (44), the man sequence of events an eabora-
ton of the precedng perfect-marked "what had happened" s recounted
n the natura sequence n whch they occur. Snce they are off-sequence
reatve to the events n the precedng paragraph, they are marked wth the
perfect. Relevance
A ma|or pragmatc feature assocated wth the perfect nvoves the
|udgement of relevance of the nformaton n the perfect-marked cause.
Here agan t s most nstructve to contrast frst the perfect-past wth the
smpe sequenta past, as n:
(45) a. Simple past:
(She came n, and) he went to seep.
b. Perfect past:
(When she came n,) he had aready gone to seep.
When marked wth the smpe past as n (45a), the event s construed as re-
evant at event time. By markng the event wth the perfect one shfts ts ree-
vance perspectve: It s now reevant at some subsequent reference time.
And snce the narratve chan s gven n the past tense, the reference pont
for reevance naturay precedes the tme of speech. The contrast between
the smpe past (45a) and the perfect past (45b) may be gven dagrammat-
cay as, respectvey:
(46) Simple past perspective:
(47) Past perfect perspective:
The tempora reference pont reatve to whch reevance s |udged need
not be anchored n the past, but may aso be fxed ether n the present or
future, as n:
(48) a. Present perfect:
(She s comng n, and) he has aready gone to seep
b. Future perfect:
(When she eaves,) he will have aready gone to seep
The confguraton of speech-tme, event-tme and reevance-tme n (48a,b)
are gven dagrammatcay n (49) and (50) beow. Respectvey:
(49) Present perfect perspective:
(50) Future perfect perspective:
There s a predctabe dfference between the semantc nterpretaton
of states and events n the perfect. Wth events, the tendency s to have a
temporal gap between the competon-tme of the event and the reevance-
tme reference pont. Wth states, the tendency s for the state tsef to
nger a the way to the reference pont. To ustrate ths, compare:
(51) a. Event: She has read ths book (aready)
(>she fnshed sometme ago)
b. State: She has been a cub member (for a ong tme)
(>she st s a member)
In order to obtan an nterpretaton such as (51b) wth an event verb, one
must convert t frst nto a state, e.g. wth the progressve. Thus compare:
(52) She has been readng ths book (for a ong tme)
(>she st s readng t)
4.3.6. The immediate aspect
The smpe form of the verb n Engsh, the one that codes the habitual
(and aso the present for statve verbs), may be used as another varant of
the sequenta ('perfectve') past. Ths usage, n both the spoken and wrt-
ten anguage, renders the events somehow more vivid or immediate. Ths
nvoves a manpuaton of the pragmatc perspectve of the dscourse, as f
the narrator nvtes the hearer to be present on the scene, observe the
acton from cose quarters, be more emotionally involved.
The mmedate aspect contrasts wth the smpe past, whch codes a
more remote perspectve on the event. As an ustraton of ths contrast,
compare the same 'ob|ectve' seres of events, rendered beow n both
(53) a. Remote:
...So I gave hm hs nstructons, and I told hm to go
ahead and do t. And he said he would. Y'know, I reay
trusted the guy, I had known hm for a ong tme.
Pus, he was takng notes a aong. So I figured...
We, what the heck, t a happened such a ong tme
b. Immediate:
...So I give hm hs nstructons, and I tell hm I say
go ahead and do t. And he says he will. Hey, I reay
trust the guy, I've known hm for such a ong tme.
Pus he's takng notes and a. So I figure...
I te you, I'm st so pssed I coud...
There s obvousy a certan correaton between the aspectua contrast
immediate vs. remote and the genre contrast ora vs. wrtten dscourse. The
mmedate aspect s probaby used much more frequenty n ora narratve.
But terary usage has borrowed the contrast, to the pont where whoe
stores, essays or noves may be wrtten n the mmedate aspect. As an
exampe of a hghy terary usage, consder the foowng passage from
Donad Bartheme's short story 'The Emperor":
(54) "...Hs gfts this mornng include two whte |ade tgers, at
fu scae, carved by the artst Leh Y, and the Emperor
hmsef takes brush n hand to pant ther eyes wth dark
acquer; responsbe offcas have suggested that sx
thousand terra-cotta soders and two thousand terra-cotta
horses, a fu scae, be bured, for the defense of hs
tomb; the Emperor n hs rage orders that three thousand
convcts cut down a the trees on Mt. Hsang, eavng t
bare, bad, so that responsbe offcas may understand
what is possbe; the Emperor commands the court poets
to wrte poems about mmortas, pure bengs, and nobe
sprts who by ther own abor change nght to day, and
these sung to hm; everyone knows that executons shoud
not be carred out n the sprng, even a chd knows t, but
n certan cases..."
The frst ne of narratve above aso exhbts a common assocated feature
of the mmedate aspect: Grammatca markers that dentfy a referent vs-
a-vs ether the ocaton of the speaker or tme of speech tend to be proxi-
mate 'ths' (rather than 'that'), 'here' (rather than 'there') and 'now'
(rather than 'then').
As ustraton of the use of the 'mmedate' aspect n a more cooqua
wrtten genre, consder the foowng exampe of drect-quoted uneducated
(55) "...See, what happened... This's at the tme I'm gettng
'Freaks' ready for producton. I've got a scrpt, but t
needs work, get rd of some of the more expensve speca
effects. So I go see my wrter and we discuss revsons.
Murray's good, he's been wth me, he wrote a my
'Grotesque' pctures, some of the others. He's done I
don't know how many TV scrpts, hundreds. He's done
stcoms, westerns, sc-f, did a few 'Twght Zone's...
Ony now he can't get any TV work 'cause he's around my
age and the networks don't ke to hre any wrters over
forty. Murray has knd of a drnkng probem, too, that
doesn't hep. Likes the sauce, smokes four packs a day...
We're takng get back to what I want to te you he
happens to menton a scrpt he wrote years ago when he
was startng out and never sold. I ask hm what t's about.
He tells me. It sounds pretty good, so I take the scrpt
home and read t." Harry paused. "I read t agan, |ust to
be sure. My experence, my nstnct, my gut, tells me I
have a property here, that wth the rght actor n the star-
rng roe, I can take to any studo n town and practcay
wrte my own dea. Ths one, I know, is gonna take on
heat fast. The next day I call Murray, tell hmI'm wng
to opton the scrpt..."
In addton to the use of the proxmate 'ths' (vs. 'that'), one aso fnds n
ths passage the use of the proxmate 'now' (rather than 'then'). In addton,
another feature of the nforma, cooqua, ess-educated speech-stye s
aso found here: The off-sequence perfect aspect s now spt; the present
perfect ('has done') codes mnor off-sequence dgressons from the strct
tempora sequence but not from the thematic line of the narratve. Whe
the simple past ('wrote', 'sod', 'was') repaces the past-perfect n markng
dgressons that go back to much earer tmes and events. Ths ncudes the
openng ne 'See what happened' that s by defnton off-sequence,
we as the dgresson back to the author's voce ('Harry paused').
4.4.1. Propositional modalities
The propostona modaty assocated wth a cause may be kened to
a she that encases t but does not tamper wth the kerne nsde. The prop-
ositional frame of causes partcpant roes, verb-type, transtvty as
we as the actua exca tems that f the varous sots n the frame, reman
argey unaffected by the modaty wrapped around t. Rather, the modaty
codes the speaker's attitude toward the proposton. By 'atttude' we mean
here prmary two types of judgement made by the speaker concernng the
propostona nformaton carred n the cause:
(a) Epistemic |udgements of truth, probability, certainty, belief or
(b) Evaluative |udgements of desirability, preference, intent, ability,
obligation or manipulation.
In prncpe, both the epstemc and evauatve mega-modates dspay
shadng and gradaton, wthn as we as across categores.
But the range
of we-coded modates n any specfc anguage s more mted. So that n
our dscusson of modaty n Engsh, we w be guded by the search for
grammatcay we-coded moda categores. Athough n at east one ma|or
area, that of the irrealis modaty, the epstemc and evauatve modes over-
ap to qute a degree, and often share ther grammatca codng.
4.4.2. Epistemic modalities
Four ma|or epstemc modates dspay the strongest grammatca
consequences n human anguage. They are:
(a) Presupposition:
The proposton s assumed to be true, ether by definition, by pror
agreement, by genera cuturay-shared conventions, by beng obvious
to a present at the speech situation, or by havng been uttered by the
speaker and eft unchallenged by the hearer.
(b) Realis assertion:
The proposton s strongly asserted as true; but challenge from the
hearer s deemed approprate, athough the speaker has evidence or
other grounds to defend hs/her strong beef.
(c) Irrealis assertion:
The proposton s weakly asserted as ether possible or likely (or neces-
sary or desired, n the convergng evauatve case); but the speaker s not
ready to back t up wth evdence or other strong grounds; and chal-
lenge from the hearer s ready entertaned or even expcty socted.
(d) Negative assertion:
The proposton s strongly asserted as false, most commony n con-
tradiction to the hearer's expct or assumed beefs; challenge from the
hearer s antcpated, and the speaker has evidence or other grounds to
back up hs/her strong beef.
In the foowng sectons we w dea prmary wth the contrast
between the realis (b) and Irrealis (_) modates, begnnng wth a survey of
the dstrbuton of modaty n the varous categores of grammar. The
evauatve aspects of rreas w be covered wthn the dscusson of modal
auxiliaries and rreas-marked adverbs. Negaton w be dscussed n a sep-
arate secton further beow. Presupposton s the modaty wth the east
grammatca markng (athough many other grammatca consequences) n
Engsh, and w receve ony mted dscusson n ths chapter.
4.4.3. The grammatical distribution of modality
There s no unform codng of reas, rreas and presupposton n
Engsh grammar. Rather, ther treatment nteracts wth severa other
domans of grammar. Ths nteracton s far from arbtrary, but rather s
hghy predctabe. In ths secton we dea wth the dstrbuton of modaty
n the varous grammatca envronments. The buk of our attenton w be
drected to the predctabe assocaton between varous grammatca con-
text and irrealis. The predctabe assocaton of presupposition wth some
grammatca envronments w aso be dscussed. As far as the modaty of
realis, ts dstrbuton s the east constraned, ether n grammar or n ds-
course. So that one may assume that t can appear n a grammatca con-
texts, except for the few that are expcty proscrbed. Tense-aspect
The foowng correatons between tense-aspect and epstemc moda-
ty are hghy predctabe:
Past ===> R-asserton (or presupposton)
Perfect ===> R-asserton (or presupposton)
Present ===> R-asserton
Future ===> IRR-asserton
Habitual ===> IRR-asserton
The realis effect of 'past', 'perfect' and 'present' hods ony f no other
rreas-nducng operator ntervenes. In forma terms, one may consder
realis as the 'unmarked' category, automatcay prevang uness some
other modaty ntervenes.
Ths means, n terms of our dscusson beow,
that we w descrbe more expcty the grammatca envronments that
correate wth irrealis and presupposition, assumng then that realis s freey
dstrbuted 'esewhere', n a other envronments.
The status of the habitual tense-aspect as an rreas modaty needs
to be somewhat quafed. A other thngs beng equa, a habitual-coded
cause s |ust as strongly asserted as a realis-coded and thus shares an
mportant pragmatc feature of realis.
However, the most mportant fea-
ture of reas s that of occurrence at some specific time. Thus, whe a
habtua asserton may be founded as a generazaton on many events
that may have ndeed occurred at specfc tmes, t does not assert the
occurrence of any specfc event at any specfc tme. Irrealis-inducing adverbs
Epistemic adverbs, such as 'maybe', 'probaby', 'possby, 'key',
'supposedy', 'presumaby', 'surey' or 'undoubtedy', create an rreas
scope over the proposton n whch they are odged. The same s aso true
of evaluative adverbs such as 'preferaby', 'hopefuy' or 'deay'. The pre-
sence of such an rreas operator wthn a cause overrdes the otherwse
reas vaue of past, present or perfect.
For exampe:
(56) a. Maybe she eft.
b. He s probably readng n the brary.
c. She has undoubtedly fnshed by now.
d. Hopefully, he s restng at home.
Some evauatve adverbs are strcty future-pro|ectng, and thus ncompat-
be wth past tense. Thus compare:
(57) a. She shoud do t preferably tomorrow.
b. *She dd t preferably yesterday.
c. *She s preferably dong t rght now. Modals and irrealis
Engsh modas are a rreas operators par excellence. Beyond the
shared modaty of rreas, a moda may nvove ether an epstemc sense
of lower certainty or lower probability, or varous evauatve aso caed
'deontc' senses of ether ability, intent, preference, obligation, necessity
or permission.
It s key, further, that evauatve modates aways nvove an
rreducbe core sense of epistemic uncertainty (but not vce versa). That s,
that the reaton between the epstemc and evauatve sub-modes of irrealis
s a one-way condtona:
(58) 'If evaluative, then epistemic' (but not vce versa)
'f preference, then uncertainty' (but not vce versa)
Ths asymmetrc reaton s presumaby due to the fact that ntenton, ab-
ty, preference, permsson and obgaton are a future projecting, and that
the future s by defnton an irrealis mode. One may thus suggest, tenta-
tvey, that the epstemc aspect of rreas s ts common denomnator, and
that the evauatve-deontc aspect may be added to t. Ths common
denomnator of irrealis may hep expan the common occurrence of shared
grammatca markng of the two sub-modates of rreas. The sharng of
the grammatca code between the epstemc sub-modaty of low certainty
and the evauatve sub-modaty of preference s most strkng n the gram-
mar of Engsh modas.
Most Engsh modas code more than one rreas sub-modaty. Both
'can' and 'may', for exampe, can yed three senses. Thus consder:
(59) a. Ability: If he tres hard, he can do t
(>he has the abty to do t)
b. Probability: The guy who dd t could be nsane
(>t s key that he s nsane)
c. Permission: If he pays the fee, he can |on
(>he s permtted to |on)
Other modas, such as 'shoud' and 'must', can sgna ether obgaton or
(60) a. Obligation: She should stop wastng her tme on t
(>she better stop)
b. Probability: He should be there by now
(>t s key that he s)
(61) a. Obligation: You must do t rght away
(>you better)
b. Probability: She must be there by now
(>she s probaby there)
The nteracton between 'past' and modas s aso of some nterest.
When the auxary 'have' s combned wth modas, t then most commony
sgnas the past (rather than the perfect). Ths may be due to the fact that
unke the auxares 'be' and 'have', modas n Engsh cannot be marked
for past. Ths s a consequence of fary recent hstorca deveopments,
some of them st ongong, whereby the past form of the moda had been
re-anayzed as another moda wth a dfferent epstemc or deontc sense.
The oder present-past parngs of these re-anayzed modas are:
(62) present form past form
can coud
sha shoud
w woud
may mght
Currenty, the parng of modas wth the auxary 'have' mparts a sense of
present form
She could do t
past form
present form
She could do t She coud have done t
b. She may do t She may have done t
. She must do t She must have done t
d. She might do t She mght have done t
. She will do t She w have done t
f. She would do t She woud have done t
She should do t She shoud have done t
Ony for the parng of 'can' vs. 'coud' s the oder dstncton of pre-
sent vs. past preserved to some extent. Ths s perhaps the reason why 'can'
unke 'coud' s ncompatbe wth the perfect/past auxary 'have'.
That s:
(64) a. She can do t
b. *She can have done t
But snce the od past form 'coud' s used ncreasngy n non-past senses,
ts past sense of 'coud' s beng suppanted by the past form of 'be abe', as
(65) She was able to do t
Another noteworthy fact concernng the use of the auxary 'have' to
render the past tense of modas s that such usage precptates a shft n the
semantc range of the moda. The exact drecton of the shft cannot aways
be predcted. Thus, for exampe, ether 'coud' or 'may' can by tsef be
used to sgna any of the three moda senses abty, permsson, and
(66) a. Ability:
If she reay tres, maybe she could/may do t
b. Permission:
If he behave hmsef, he could/may be renstated
_ Probability:
We, t could/may be true, rght?
In contrast, 'coud have' retans ony two of the moda senses abty and
probabty. Thus, compare (66) above wth, respectvey:
(67) a. Ability:
If she had tred hard, she could have done t
b. *Permission:
If he had behaved hmsef,
he could have been renstated
c. Probability:
We, t could have been true, rght?
There s nothng ungrammatca about (67b), but t does not convey a sense
of permsson, ony of ether probability or ability.
In the same ven, 'may have' retans ony the epstemc probability
sense of 'may', but nether ts abty nor ts permsson sense. Thus,
compare (66) above wth:
(68) a. *Ability:
*If she had reay tred, she may have done t
b. *Permission:
*If he had behaved hmsef,
he may have been renstated
_ Probability:
We, t may have been true, rght?
The oss of the deontc sub-modaty of permsson n the past may be
due to the fact that the use of 'can' and 'may' n that capacty n the present
probaby nvoves the actua performance of the speech act of permsson.
One of the most saent aspects of performed speech-acts s that they ony
retan the performative force n the face-to-face communcatve stuaton,
.e. the here-and-now present.
Wth four of the modas 'mght', 'coud', 'woud' and 'shoud' the
combnaton wth 'have' mparts not ony the sense of past, but aso a nega-
tve or counter-fact sense. That s:
(69) a. She
(>But she ddn't)
At east hstorcay, these modas are the past-tense forms of 'can', 'sha',
'w' and 'may', respectvey. The counter-fact sense of ther combnaton
wth 'have' may be predctabe from ths hstorca fact.
176 ENGLISH GRAMMAR Irrealis in verb complements
Some verbs create an rreas modal scope over ther entre verb
phrase; so that f they have a verba/causa compement, that compement
cause automatcay fas under an rreas moda scope. Ths s true even
when the verb tsef s marked by the present or past tense, .e. by a realis
Non-mpcatve modality verbs, .e. those that do not mpy that the
event n ther compement has taken pace,
cast such an rreas moda
scope over ther compement, as n:
(70) a. She wanted to go to Paris
b. He panned to build a new house
_ She decded to quit her job
In the same ven, non-mpcatve manipulation verbs
cast an rreas scope
over ther compements, as n:
(71) a. She wanted hmto quit his job
b. He asked her to write his boss
_ She tod hmto look for a house
And smary, non-factve perception-cognition-utterance verbs, .e. those
that do not presuppose ther compements,
cast an rreas scope over ther
compements, as n:
(72) a. He thought that she loved him
b. She magned that he loved her
c. __ sad that the letter had arrived late Irrealis and non-declarative speech-acts
Two non-decaratve cause types manpuatve causes and yes-no
questons are strongy assocated wth irrealis. Manpuatves such as
command, request, exhortaton etc. are assocated wth irrealis because,
ke modas, modaty-verbs and manpuaton-verbs above, they are future
projecting. That s, they dea wth events that have not yet occurred. In
addton, manpuatve speech-acts are assocated wth the evaluative aspect
of rreas, .e. the sub-modaty of preference. The strong assocaton of
yes-no questons wth irrealis s due to ther low epistemic certainty. As
ustratons of irrealis-connected non-decaratve causes, consder:
(73) a. Command:
Turn off the ght!
b. Request:
Coud you pease turn off the ght?
c. Exhortation:
Let's turn off the ght.
d. Yes-no question:
Dd you turn off the ght? Grammatical environments associated with presupposition
Severa adverbial clauses,
when marked wth realis tense-aspects such
as past, perfect or present, fa under the scope of presupposition, as n:
(74) a. Because | oe has gone away,...
b. When Mary eft,...
_ In spite of the fact that she ddn't ove hm,...
d. Although he s here,...
e. Since she had dsappeared,...
f. While he's dong the dshes,...
That s, the proposton coded by such causes s not asserted, but rather s
taken for granted as one the hearer woud accept wthout a chaenge.
In a smar ven, participial adverbial clauses, especay when preced-
ng the man cause,
tend to fa under the scope of presupposton, as n:
(75) a. Having finished reading, he then...
b. Stopping first to fill up her tank, she then...
Propostons coded n relative clauses,
and focus
aso tend to fa under the scope of presupposton, as n:
(76) a. REL-clause:
The man I saw yesterday s a crook.
b. WH-question:
Who did you see there?
It was | oe that I saw there, not Mary.
Propostons coded n the compements of factive percepton-cognton
aso tend to fa under presupposton scope, as n:
(77) a. She knew that he was in Boston
b. He regretted that she was away
c. He saw that the house was locked up
Fnay, nominalized clauses,
occupyng ether the sub|ect or ob|ect
poston of at east some verbs, aso tend to fa under presupposton scope,
as n:
(78) a. His coming late surprsed nobody.
b. Her breaking the mirror was a bad omen.
c. Were appaed at her refusal to cooperate.
d. She observed his retreat from the top wth trepdaton.
4.5.1. Markedness
The bnary contrasts found n the tense-aspect-moda system exhbt a
certan asymmetry that s characterstc of both ngustc and cogntve
bnary contrasts: One member of the par acts as the unmarked case, the
absence of the category, the genera norm. Whe the other member acts as
the marked case, the presence of the category, the counter-norm. The facts
that support such a dstncton n anguage come from three areas of
(79) Criteria for markedness:
(a) Structural complexity:
The marked case s more compex
(b) Discourse distribution:
The marked case s ess frequent
(c) Cognitive complexity:
The marked category s harder to process
In the space beow we w dea prmary wth the dscourse dstrbuton of
tense-aspect-modaty, and wth what t mpes about the communcatve
and cogntve correates of tense-aspect-modaty. The fact that the three
crtera for markedness (79a,b,c) tend to correate n a systematc fashon s
of consderabe theoretca nterest but w not concern us here.
The markedness status of the bnary dstnctons that undere tense-
aspect-modaty s summarzed n (80) beow:
(80) Markedness of tense-aspect-modal categories:
category unmarked marked
(a) Modality realis irrealis
(b) Perfectivity perfective imperfective
() Competon competed ncompetve
() Boundedness bounded unbounded
() Compactness compact duratve
(c) Perfectness simple past perfect
() Sequentaty n-sequence off-sequence
() Reevance event-anchored speech-anchored
4.5.2. Frequency distribution in text
The genera consderatons n support of the markedness scheme n
(80) have been dscussed n consderabe deta n Hopper and Thompson
(1980) and esewhere. Brefy, the reas, termnated, compact, competve,
n-sequence verb-form tends to be more frequent n human dscourse. Ths
dstrbutona norm s to some extent genre-dependent, and s most charac-
terstc of human orented, acton-focused, spoken narratve or conversa-
ton. In ths dscourse genre, whch n some sense s prototypical, peope
tend to tak more about:
(a) events and actons
(rather than states)
(b) rea events n rea tme
(rather than magnary ones)
(c) accompshed events
(rather than pendng ones)
(d) events reevant at the tme of ther occurrence
(rather than at a ater tme)
(e) events n the natura sequence n whch they occurred
(rather than n a scrambed order)
Dfferent dscourse genres may show dfferent dstrbutona charac-
terstcs. For exampe, both academc and procedura dscourse tend to be
orented toward the habitual tense, whch s a sub-category of both irrealis
and durative. And ora conversaton tends to have a hgher rato of irrealis
than ora narratve. As an ustraton of these genre dfferences, consder
the dstrbuton of verba modates n acton-orented ow-brow fcton,
and n academc wrtng, summarzed n (81) beow. The fcton text
ncuded both narratve and drect-quoted daogue. Whe wrtten, t
nevertheess remans fary cose to the ora genre.
(81) The distribution of tense-aspect-modality in low-brow fic-
tion and academic text in English
4.5.3. Cognitive considerations Modality
The status of realis as the unmarked category of modaty may be due
to both cogntve and soco-cutura factors. Events that dd occur n rea
tme, or are occurrng at the tme of speech, are cogntvey more salient,
.e. more vvd and accessbe n the mnd, than events that dd not occur, or
mght occur at some future date. Drecty-experenced states or events are
presumaby more memorabe than unexperenced ones. Informaton stored
n episodic memory about rea events whether due to direct experience
or the account of a direct witness s more saent, better stored, and s
retreved faster than nformaton about potenta, hypothetca, future
events. The unmarked status of realis may be aso due to ts hgher rele-
vance: Events that dd happen, or are happenng, are key to affect one's
fe more than possbe, hypothetca, future events. Perfectivity
Sharpy-bounded, compact, fast-changng events are more salient both
perceptuay and cogntvey. They are thus key to be better attended to,
memorzed and retreved.
academic fiction
category N % N %
past/reas 2 2% 74 56%
rreas 18 20% 8 6%
habtua 62 70% / /
progressve/reas / / 43 32%
perfect/reas 7 8% 8 6%
tota: 89 100% 133 100%
VERBAL INFLECTIONS 181 Sequentiality
It s presumaby easer to encode, store n epsodc memory and
retreve a chan of events that are narrated n a coherent sequence, as com-
pared to an ncoherent sequence. The strong preference n human com-
muncaton toward sequenta order n communcatng events s most vs-
be n the case of temporal coherence and causal coherence. The strong pref-
erence n text producton and text nterpretaton s toward:
(82) a. Temporal sequence: earer before ater
b. Causal sequence: cause before effect
There s, n addton, an nherent temporal bias n compex, coherent
human acton. Acton sequences tend to come n routnzed, cuturay-
shared scripts or schemata. These schemata, as we as the genera prnc-
pes used n constructng them, are part of our permanenty-stored, com-
munay-shared knowedge of the physca and cutura unverse. Event
sequences that voate these schemata are harder to nterpret, encode, store
and retreve. Such schemata are so ubqutous, and permeate our fe to
such an extent, that we tend to gnore them as we do a presupposed
background information. Consder, for exampe, the normatve scrpt of
"fryng bacon and makng a BLT sandwch". The scrpt s tod frst n the
normatve order (83a), then n a scrambed counter-normatve order (83b):
(83) a. He took the bacon out of the frdge, cut t, put t n a
pan, ghted the stove, put the pan on the stove, fred
the bacon to a dark crsp, draned t on a paper towe,
and made hmsef a BLT sandwch.
b. ?He fred the bacon to a dark crsp, ghted the stove,
put the bacon n a pan, cut t, made hmsef a BLT
sandwch, took the bacon out of the frdge, draned t
on a paper towe, and put the pan on the stove.
Cuturay-shared scrpts consttute an ever-present constrant on the coher-
ence of text. Relevance
There s a strong preference n dscourse producton toward recountng
events n an order that untes ther relevance-time and occurrence-time.
Ths preference s the human communcatve norm, as can be seen from the
ow frequency of the counter-sequence perfect n both genres n tabe (81)
6%-8%. The reatvey few events that are deemed reevant at some
other tme say speech-time ('present perfect') or some tme after the
event ('past perfect') are counter normatve, thus a 'marked' case.
It may we be that detachng the event's reevance-tme from ts occur-
rence-tme consttutes an added cogntve burden on the speech recever. In
processng an event that occurred earer at ts natural script-point but
s recounted off-sequence, the speech recever may face a more costy
speech-processng task. The costness of ths task s perhaps due to the fact
that n the processng of off-sequence events, two separate but equay-vad
aspects of text coherence come nto sharp confct:
(a) The current relevance-point of the event
(b) The natural script-coherence of the event
In the vast ma|orty of norma ('unmarked') cases, these two aspects of text
coherence go hand n hand. That s, an event s deemed reevant and s
thus recounted at ts natura scrpt-pont (as n (83a) above). But a nar-
rator may decde that an event s more currenty-reevant at some off-
sequence pont, one that dverges from the event's natura scrpt-ocaton.
When such an opton s exercsed, the two aspects of text coherence are
brought nto sharp confct. Such a confct presumaby ncurs added cogn-
tve costs.
4.6.1. Combinations and ordering rules
Tense-aspect-modaty n Engsh s coded by a combnaton of pre-ver-
ba auxares and verb suffxes. The genera orderng rue has been gven
tradtonay as:
(84) a. VP = (AUX) V (...)
Rue (84a) states that a Verb Phrase (VP) may begn, optonay, wth some
eement of the auxary (AUX); t aways has a man verb (V); and t may
aso have other eements foowng the verb. Rue (84b) states that the var-
ous eements n the auxary 'past', 'moda', 'have' and 'be' are a
optona. But f more than one occurs, ther reatve order s rgd; so that a
moda can ony precede 'have' or 'be' but never foow ether; and 'have'
can ony precede 'be' but never foow t.
A speca provson must be made for 'past', snce t s not an ndepen-
dent auxary word, but rather a suffx. Pacng 'past' as the frst eement of
the auxary s a mere notatona conventon that aows us to formuate the
rues for the morphoogy of tense-aspect n Engsh n the most genera
(85) "The past tense must attach tsef as suffx to the frst VP
eement that foows t, be t an auxary (AUX) or the
man verb (V)".
In order to nterpret rues (84b)/(85) wthout exceptons, one must
assume that the modas 'coud', 'shoud', 'woud' and 'mght' are past forms
of, respectvey, 'can', 'sha', 'w' and 'may'. Whe ths was ndeed the
hstorca fact, t s not true any more. These so-caed 'past' forms have
dverged n ther meanngs, so that ther use need not connote any past
tense. Often, the use of the od past form seems to connote a ower degree
of epstemc certanty.
Thus contrast:
(86) a. He may come tomorrow (more certan)
b. He might come tomorrow (more dubous)
c. __ can st do t
(>and may yet)
d. He could st do t
(>though I doubt t)
In other cases, as n 'w'/'woud' and 'sha'/'shoud', the semantc
dvergence between the two forms s even more advanced. Further, for
some pars both members may combne wth 'have' to yed a past-reated
epstemc sense, wth the same epstemc gradaton as n (86) above. That
(87) a. He may have done t (ess doubtfu)
b. He might have done t (more doubtfu)
In other cases, the combnaton wth 'have' yeds a dfferent meanng
atogether, as n:
(88) a. He would have done t (>past counter-fact)
b. He will have done t (>future-perfect)
In other cases yet, one member of the hstorca par cannot take 'have' at
a, as n:
(89) a. She should have done t
b. *She shall have done t
c. He could have come
d. *He can have come
Fnay, the moda 'must' has no correspondng oder past form, but can
combne wth 'have'. But whe the present form tends to connote an
evauatve modaty of obligation, the combnaton wth 'have' connotes an
epistemic modaty:
(90) a. She must fnsh on tme.
b. She must have fnshed on tme.
The facts surveyed above suggest that rue (84b)/(85) s not a reastc
descrpton of current Engsh grammar. It nether predcts the possbe
forms nor ther functona dstrbuton. Rather, the current stuaton s bet-
ter descrbed by rue (91):
(91) AUX = (HAVE) (BE)
Rue (91) s nterpreted as foows:
(92) "The past tense w attach to the frst eement of the verb
phrase, be t an auxary or the man verb, but ony n the
absence of a moda. In the presence of a moda, the past
tense cannot be used".
The appcaton of rue (91)/(92) may be ustrated as foows. If ony
one auxary eement s chosen, ts morphoogca effects on the man verb
may be gven as:
(93) a. Modal: Mary may work (no effect)
b. Past: Mary work-ed
_ Have: Mary has work-ed
d. Be: Mary s work-ng
Three combnatons of two auxares are possbe, frst wthout 'past':
(94) a. Modal-perfect: Mary may have work-ed
b. Modal-progressive: Mary might be work-ng
c. Perfect-progressive: Mary has been workng
Snce 'moda' s ncompatbe wth 'past' (cf. rue (92)), ony one two-aux-
ary combnaton wth 'past' s possbe:
(95) Perfect-progressive: Mary ha-d be-en work-ng
Fnay, ony one three-auxary combnaton wth a moda and thus
wthout 'past' s possbe:
(96) Mary should have been working
4.6.2. Some recent developments in the grammar
of tense-aspect-modality
We have noted earer that the Engsh tense-aspect-moda system s
st n the process of beng enrched by the addton of new auxares.
Thus, for exampe, the progressve auxares 'keep', 'start', 'fnsh', 'stop'
and 'contnue' may occupy the same sot as 'be', nduce the same -ing suffx
on the foowng man verb, and regster the approprate suffx n the pres-
ence of 'past', 'perfect' or 'moda':
(97) a. Past+progressive: She kept avod-ng hm
b. Perfect+progressive: He has started workng
Modal+progressive: She will stop pack-ng
Other recent deveopments are ess ntegrated nto the current aux-
ary rue (91b)/(92). Thus, for exampe, whe the future moda 'w' can
combne wth 'have' and 'be', the future marker 'gong to' (or 'gonna'
n the cooqua) cannot combne wth the perfect 'have', but ony wth pro-
gressve 'be':
(98) a. She will have work-ed
b. *She's gonna (to) have work-ed
She will be work-ng
d. She's gonna be work-ng
Smary, the use of the present-progressve to render 'future' aows ne-
ther 'have' nor 'be':
(99) a. She is leav-ng tomorrow
b. *She is hav-ing lef-t tomorrow
c. *She is be-ing eav-ng tomorrow
, '(have) got' and 'need' can be used to sgna the evaluative
modaty of necessty or obgaton. Semantcay, they thus ft the same sot
as the Engsh modas. Syntactcay, however, these three new moda
auxares st behave ke man modality verbs such as 'want'. Thus com-
(100) Modality verbs:
a. She wants to rest
b. She has to rest
_ She's got to rest
d. She needs to rest
(101) True modals:
a. She can rest
b. She must rest
_ She should rest
Much ke 'want', 'have' (but not 'need' or 'have got') can combne
wth the perfect auxary 'have', as n:
(102) a. She has want-ed to rest
b. She has ha-d to rest
c. *She has need-ed to rest
The reduced cooqua nvarant form 'got' can of course combne wth
'have', but that smpy reterates ts hstorca pont of orgn, whch how-
ever has no equvaent smpe-present form:
(103) a. She has got to rest
b. *She get(s) to rest
Lke 'want' and severa other statve modaty verbs, 'need', 'have' and
'(have) got' cannot combne wth the progressve auxary 'be':
(104) a. *He s want-ing to eave
b. ?He s hav-ing to eave
c. *He s need-ing to eave
d. *He s got-ing to eave
Lke 'want', both 'have' and 'need' (but not '(have) got') can com-
bne wth moda auxares:
(105) a. She may want to eave
b. She may need to eave
_ She may have to eave eary
d. *She may (have) got to eave eary
This contrasts with the normal restriction in standard written English
against combining two modals in the same verb phrase. That is:
(106) a. *She will can do it
(>She will be able to do it)
b. *She must can do it
(>She must be able to do it)
The restriction in (106) is disregarded in many, perhaps most, non-standard
spoken dialects of English, which allow more than one modal per verb
phrase. Samples of such usage even find their way on occasion into literary
works. The following example is taken from a short story by Ursula K.
(107) "...Waking up made her sleepy. She yawned again.
"Excuse me! He said, oh, he said something might
would open up in J une..." [emphases added]
The English tense-aspect-modal system thus remains in considerable flux,
with erstwhile verbs being added as new auxiliaries. The grammatical
behavior of such new auxiliaries often lags behind their new semantic
status, with the result that even our revised rules (91b)/(92) do not account
for the more recent innovations.
4.7.1. Negation and logic
Among the four main propositional modalities, the status of NEG-
assertion is somewhat muddled. Logicians have traditionally considered
negation only in terms of truth value; that is, as an operator that 'reverses
the truth-value of a proposition', This may be captured in the strict rules of
(108) a. NOT(NOT-P) =
b. If is true, then NOT-P is not true
(and vice versa)
Rule (108a) allows for the NEG-operator to cancel itself without any
effect on the proposition (P) under its scope. Rule (108b) is the celebrated
law of the excluded middle that bars logical contradictions.
The logical properties of negation are indeed reflected in language, but
ony up to a pont. Logc captures ony a sma porton of what negaton
does n anguage. To ustrate ths, consder:
(109) a. I am happy
b. I amnot happy
c. I am unhappy
d. I amnot unhappy
Accordng to the ogc of (108a,b), expressons (109a) and (109d) are
synonymous, as are (109c) and (109d). In fact, however, (109d) sgnas an
ntermedate state of happness, somewhere between (109a) and (109b) or
(109c). And (109b) and (109c), whe both negatons of (109a), are not
dentca n meanng. Obvousy, more than |ust ogc must be nvoved.
4.7.2. Negation and the strength of assertion
Among the four propostona modes, both negation and realis nvove
strong assertion. They thus contrast wth both presupposition (where a
proposton s not asserted but rather taken for granted) and irrealis, where
a proposton s ony weaky asserted. Ths s mportant to remember when
the dscusson turns to the soca, nteractona or affectve correates of
negaton. As we sha see further beow, negaton s a confrontatona, cha-
engng speech-act. Beng both a confrontatona speech-act and a strong
asserton, t often yeds probematc soca consequences.
4.7.3. Negation and presupposition
Consder the two possbe responses to a queston of nformaton, one
affrmatve (110), the other negatve (111):
(110) A: -What's new?
B: -The presdent ded.
A: -Oh, when? How?
(111) A: -What's new?
B: -The Presdent didn't de.
A: -Was he supposed to?
The negatve asserton n (111) s somehow bzarre, t ects a baffed
response, one that ndcates that somethng was amss n the presupposed
background. What was mssng s, of course, the assumpton as
background of the corresponding affirmative proposton 'The Presdent
ded'. A negatve asserton s ndeed made on the tact assumpton that the
hearer ether has heard about, beeves n, s key to take for granted, or
s at east famar wth the correspondng affrmatve proposton.
The correspondng affrmatve may be estabshed expcty n the pre-
cedng dscourse as background for a NEG-asserton, as n:
(112) Background: | oe tod me that he won ten grand n the
NEG-asserton: ...tho ater I found out he didn't
In (112), t s the speaker who sets up the expectaton of the correspondng
affrmatve, then contradcts t wth the negatve. But the background
expectatons may be contrbuted by the nterocutor, as n:
(113) Background: A: I understand you're eavng tomorrow.
NEG-asserton: B: No, I'mnot. Who tod you that?
The speaker may aso rey, n assumng background expectatons, on
specfc knowedge about the hearer's state of affars or state of mnd. To
ustrate ths, consder the fecty of the three responses to the NEG-asser-
ton beow:
(114) A: So you didn't eave after a.
B: (): No, t turned out to be unnecessary.
(): Who sad I was gong to eave?
(): How dd you know I was gong to?
B's response (114) suggests that the _ ('hearer') s gong aong wth A's
('speaker's') presupposton of the correspondng affrmatve as shared
nformaton. Response (114), on the other hand, suggests that _ beeves
A must have been msed. Fnay, n response (114) _ regsters surprse
at how the nformaton eaked out to A, by nference thus concedng that A
ndeed had t rght.
The background expectatons assocated wth a NEG-asserton can
aso be traced to generc cuturay-shared nformaton. Consder:
(115) a. There was once a man who didn't have a head
b. ?There was once a man who had a head
_ ?There was once a man who didn't ook ke a frog
d. There was once a man who ooked ke a frog
The reason why the negatve n (115a) s pragmatcay fectous s because
t reports a break from the norm. The reason why (115b) s pragmatcay
odd s because t merey echoes that norm, and s thus a tautology. Con-
versey, the negatve n (115c) s a tautoogy that re-phrases the norm, and
s thus pragmatcay odd; whe the affrmatve (115d) breaks the norm,
and s thus pragmatcay fectous. Now, f we ved n a unverse where
men had no heads, or where they most commony resembed frogs, both
fecty contrasts n (115) woud have been reversed.
4.7.4. Negation as a speech-act
The contrast between the background assumptons of affrmatve and
negatve assertons may be gven as foows:
AFF-assertion: The hearer does not know,
the speaker knows.
NEG-assertion: The hearer knows wrong,
the speaker knows better.
NEG-asserton s thus a dfferent type of speech-act, one of denial. In usng
a NEG-asserton, the speaker s not n the busness of communcatng new
nformaton to the hearer. Rather, he/she s n the busness of correcting the
hearer's mistaken beliefs.
4.7.5. Negation in discourse Preamble: Change vs. stasis
From a cogntve perspectve, events are changes n an otherwse nert
unverse. It s a aw of physcs of inertia that motvates the assgnment
of postve vs. negatve status to events n our construed experence. The
dstrbuton of the two s strongy skewed: Change, .e. events, s the ess
frequent counter-norm. Stasis, .e. NEG-events, s the more frequent
background norm. An event s thus cogntvey the saent figure; events
stand out aganst the ground of stass.
The frequency skewng of events vs.
non-events n our construed experence thus guarantees that events, the
saent fgure, are more informative than non-events. The defnton of
nformaton n terms of frequency and thus predictability s the cornerstone
of nformaton theory.
Negaton may be vewed as a pun, a pay upon the norm. It s used
when more rarey n communcaton one estabshes the event rather
than nerta as ground. On such a background, the non-event becomes
temporary, ocay more saent, thus more nformatve.
Negatve causes are ndeed nfrequent n dscourse. Ths s ustrated
n the foowng tabe, comparng the frequency dstrbuton of negatve and
affrmatve causes n two Engsh texts, one fcton, the other non-fcton.
( 116) Frequency distribution of affirmative and
negative clauses in English narrative
cause type
affirmative negat ive total
text N % N % N %
101 100%
162 100%
The hgher frequency of NEG-causes n the fcton text n (116) may be sg-
nfcant. It may have to do wth the fact that fcton contans conversatona
nteracton, n whch the perspectve of severa speakers aternates. The
shft of perspectve s a natura venue for vauatve conflict and epstemc
disagreement. In contrast, non-fcton s wrtten from the perspectve of a
snge speaker, whose goa and knowedge-base are key to be more
unform. The ontology of negative events
The pay of norm vs. counter-norm n the use of negaton may be us-
trated wth a number of smpe exampes. Consder frst:
(117) a. A man came nto my offce yesterday and sad...
b. *A man didn't come nto my offce yesterday and sad...
c. ?Nobody came nto my offce yesterday and sad...
The non-event (117b) s pragmatcay and ndeed grammatcay the
oddest. Ths must be so because f an event dd not occur at all, why shoud
one bother to tak about a specfc ndvdua who 'partcpated' n that non-
Whe more acceptabe, (117c) s st pragmatcay ess key. Ths s
so because the norm of one's everyday routne s not 'a peope vst my
offce at a tmes', but rather 'most peope don't ever vst my offce'. Vsts
to one's offce are thus much more rare than non-vsts. Ths s what makes
vsts (events) more saent than non-vsts (non-events). On the background
norm of non-events, the event reported n (117a) s ndeed pragmatcay
more fectous.
Consder next:
(118) a. The man you met yesterday s a crook.
b. ?The man you didn't meet yesterday s a crook.
Normay, one meets a mted number of men n a gven day. So, to den-
tfy a person by an event coded n the reatve cause n (118a)
ndeed nformatve, saent, an apt way of dstngushng hm from the z-
on men you dd not meet that day. Gven the norm, (118b) s ndeed prag-
matcay odd. Uness the fgure-ground reatons are reversed, as n, for
(119) You were supposed to meet four men yesterday.
Three showed up, the ast one never dd.
Aganst the background of (119), the non-event n (118b) now becomes
saent, .e. pragmatcay fectous.
Next, consder:
(120) a. Where dd you eave the keys?
b. ?Where didn't you eave the keys?
In genera, WH-questons such as (120) are presuppostona.
That s, the
entre cause, exceptng the WH-pronoun, s taken to be background nfor-
maton. The affrmatve (120a) s pragmatcay fectous because normay
there are a zon possbe paces where your keys have not been eft, but
ony one pace (at a tme) where they have been eft. For that very reason,
the negatve (120b) s pragmatcay bzarre. Even supposng that the
background expectatons were somehow reversed, say wth (121):
(121) I ddn't eave my keys anywhere
Oueston (120b) woud st reman odd. Ths s so because, gven that a
potentay nfnte number of paces woud quafy for the correct answer,
the purpose of askng to ect a specfc ocaton response cannot be
fufed. Indeed, (120b) s ony pragmatcay fectous as an echo question.
Negatve echo questons are used roughy n the foowng context: One
heard a NEG-asserton, a dena, but has somehow mssed a component of
that asserton. In such a context, (120b) may be fectous.
Fnay, consder:
(122) a. When | ohn comes, I' eave.
b. ?When | ohn doesn't come, I'll eave
The affrmatve (122a) s fectous because the tme when | ohn comes, on
a partcuar occason, can be specfed. But the zons of tmes when | ohn
doesn't come are not exacty denumerabe. For that reason, the negatve
(122b) s odd uness one modfes the background, as n:
(123) I wated and wated there. Fnay,
when | ohn didn't come, I eft.
What makes the negatve ADV-cause 'when | ohn ddn't come' n (123)
fectous s that t estabshes a unque reference pont n tme, by whch
| ohn had not come. Once such a pont s specfabe, the use of the negatve
n the tme-adverb cause becomes fectous.
4.7.6. Negation and social interaction
As noted above, NEG-asserton s a contrary, denyng speech act. One
woud thus expect ts use to be extremey senstve to the reatve soca
poston of the nterocutors. Ths s ndeed the case, for exampe when
one's nterocutor s perceved to be of hgher status or power. A speaker
paced at the ower end of the power gradent woud tend to tone down
ther dsagreement, and couch ther contrary opnon n a varety of 'soften-
ng' devces. Many of these devces are sub-varetes of irrealis. Some exam-
pes of those are:
(124) a. Oute, qute.
b. Yes, I see.
_ I see what you mean.
d. I suppose you got a pont there.
e. Perhaps not qute so.
f. Perhaps you may wsh to consder an aternatve.
g. We, I'm not sure about that, maybe...
h. Now f t were up to me, I woud suggest...
In a more tradtona socety, such as sma town Amerca, overt NEG-
assertons are consdered rude, and seem to be ess frequent than n an
academc envronment. In a cose, ntmate communty, open dsagreement
and contrarness s a dsruptve soca force, and varous ndrect means are
used to avod drect NEG-assertons. To ustrate ths, consder the foow-
ng passage from a nove depctng sma-town fe. The passage nvoves a
dsagreement about facts, and a subsequent negotaton, between two
frends, Mrs. Phillip J. King and Momma. The substantve ssue that s
beng negotated s marked beow n bodface. The use of varous rreas
devces rather than negaton s gven n tacs.
"...Mrs. Php | . Kng sad he had been dashing, but Momma woud
not go aong wth dashng and sad to her mind he had been not unattrac-
tive, but Mrs. Php | . Kng coudn't see ft to drop a the way from dash-
ng to not unattractve, so her and Momma negotated a descrpton and
arrved at reasonably good looking, whch was mutuay agreeabe though t
seemed for a mnute or two that Mrs. Php | . Kng mght hod out to have
the reasonaby struck from the offca verson. But Momma went on to te
her how she thought his nose had a fanciful bend to it whch dstracted Mrs.
Php | . Kng away from the reasonaby because, as she tod Momma
back, she had always thought hs nose had a fancfu bend to t hersef. Mrs.
Php | . Kng caed t a Roman nose and she sad there wasn't anythng
uppty or snotty about t but t was purey a sign of nobility. And Momma
sad he certainly carred hmsef like a Roman, whch sparked Mrs. Php
| . Kng to wonder if maybe he hadn't come from Romans, if maybe that
wasn't why he was a Republican. But Momma sad she recalled he was a
notable Democrat. And Mrs. Php | . Kng sad, "Maybe he was". And
Momma sad she believed so. And Mrs. Php | . Kng sad "Maybe he was"
agan...I was not present when Mrs. Php | . Kng decded she coudn't et
reasonably good looking rest peacefuy and resurrected the whoe busness
wth the argument that a moustache under that fancifully bent nose would
have most certainly made for dashing. But Momma coud not see cear to
aow for a moustache snce there had not been one actuay; however, Mrs.
Php | . Kng insisted that if Momma could just imagine a finely manicured
and dignified Douglas Fairbanks-style moustache under that Roman nose
then a of the rest of the features would surely come together and pretty
much scream Dashing at her. But even wth a moustache thrown n
Momma could not st st for any degree of dashing though Mrs. Php | .
Kng campagned rather fercey for Considerably Dashing and then Some-
what Dashing and then A Touch Dashing, so Momma for her part felt
obliged to retreat some from reasonably good looking and her and Mrs.
Php | . Kng setted on passably handsome wth Mrs. Php | . Kng sup-
pyng the handsome and Momma of course suppyng the passably..."
Somewhat paradoxcay, negaton can tsef be used as a softenng
operator n the face of perceved hgher authorty. Ths tonng-down func-
ton of negaton seems to appy to both epstemc and manpuatve mo-
dates. Thus consder:
(125) a. Won't you come n pease?
(>Do come n)
b. I suppose he isn't done yet.
(>I wonder f he's done)
_ I don't suppose he's done yet?
(>I wonder f he's done)
d. Wouldn't t be better f...
(>It woud be better f...)
e. I suppose you couldn't spare a fver...
(>I wsh you coud)
f. Couldn't I possibly nterest you n buyng one?
(>I woud ke you to buy one)
Negaton as a tonng-down devce s most commony couped wth some
irrealis operator, such as moda, sub|unctve, condtona, yes/no queston
or rreas adverba. The two exampes of overt negaton used n the truth-
negotaton n the fcton passage above were both of ths type:
(126) " wonder if maybe he hadn't come from Romans,
if maybe that wasn't why he was a Republican..."
4.7.7. Presupposition and the scope of negation
When a proposton packaged as a cause s negated, ts ogca
truth vaue s reversed, so that rather than beng asserted true t s now
asserted fase. The effect of negaton on propostons n anguage s often
more compex. Most typcay, ony a porton of a negatve proposton fas
under the scope of the NEG-modaty. The rest remans sheded from the
negaton. The porton of the cause that s sheded from the scope of nega-
ton may be vewed as ts presupposed part. To ustrate ths, consder frst
exampes (127), (128) and (129) beow. In each case, the man cause s
affected by negaton, but the subordnate cause, beng presupposed, s not.
In (127b), the proposton coded n the reatve cause s sheded from the
truth-reversng effect of negaton:
(127) She saw the man who stood in the corner
(>He stood n the corner, and she saw hm)
b. She didn't see the man who stood in the corner
(>He stood n the corner, but she ddn't see hm)
In (128b) the proposton coded n the verb compement s sheded:
(128) a. I'm sorry he's sick
(>He's sck, and I'm sorry about t)
b. I'mnot sorry he's sick
(>He's sck, but I'm not sorry about t)
Smary, the subordnate adverba cause n (129b) s aso sheded from
the scope of negaton:
(129) a. Running out of gas, she stopped
(>She was runnng out of gas, and she stopped)
b. Running out of gas, she didn't stop
(>She was runnng out of gas, but she ddn't stop)
The most common varant of negaton, the one we have deat wth thus
far, s verb phrase negation. In ths type of negaton, the sub|ect s most typ-
cay excuded from the scope of negaton. One may thus wsh to consder
the sub|ect as a presupposed part of the cause. To ustrate ths, consder:
(130) The Kng of France did not eat hs dnner
Logcans used to nsst that the negatve (130) has two nterpretatons:
(131) a. Narrow (subject excluding) interpretation:
There s a kng of France,
and he didn't eat hs dnner.
b. Wide (subject including) interpretation:
There is no kng of France,
therefore t makes no sense to say that
he ddn't eat hs dnner.
Most speakers of Engsh (as we as of other anguages) woud fnd t
hard to attach nterpretaton (131b) to the negatve cause (130), more so
because there are much more natura aternatve forms that code such an
nterpretaton, such as:
(132) a. There is no kng of France
b. No kng of France ate hs dnner
_ Nobody ate ther dnner
The varous noun-phrase negation forms used n (132) above w be dscuss-
ed further beow.
The ntuton that VP-negaton, as n (130), s not nterpreted as the
sub|ect-NP negaton n (131b) and (132), s corroborated by the frequency
dstrbuton of negaton forms n Engsh text. A the negatve causes n a
narratve text were coected and dvded nto three categores:
(a) VP-negaton excudng the sub|ect from NEG-scope
(b) VP-negaton ncudng the sub|ect under NEG-scope
(c) NP-negaton forms.
The frequency dstrbuton of these three categores s reported n (133)
(133) Distribution of negative forms (and interpretations)
in an English narrative text
VP negation
SUBJ excluded
VP negation
SUBJ included SUBJ-NP negation total
% N % N % N %
60 89% / / 7 11% 67 100%
The figures recorded in (133) suggest that none of the instances of VP-nega-
tion allowed the inclusion of the subject under the scope of negation.
Rather, to place the subject under negative scope, only the NP-negation
form was used.
In addition to typically excluding the subject, VP-negation is often
used to further narrow down the portion of the clause that is being negated.
The most common way of doing this in English is by focused negation.
Focused negation involves placing contrastive stress
on one element in the
clause. That element is then the only one falling under NEG-scope. The
rest of the clause is presupposed.
As noted above, VP-negation typically excludes the subject, and thus
applies only to the verb phrase ('predicate'). Such negation may be consid-
ered the most wide-scoped; it can be now contrasted with the various exam-
pes of the more narrow-scoped focused negaton. As ustratons, con-
(134) a. Neutral VP-negation:
| ohn ddn't k the goat
(>He dd not kill the goat)
b. Subject focus:
John ddn't k the goat
(>Someone ked t, but not John)
c. Object focus:
| ohn ddn't k the goat
(>He ked somethng, but not the goat)
d. Verb focus:
| ohn ddn't kill the goat
(>He dd somethng to the goat, but not kill t)
The same focused negaton can be affected by combnng contrastve
stress wth a constructon caed cleft:
(135) a. Neutral VP-negation:
| ohn ddn't k the goat
(>He dd not kill the goat)
b. Subject focus:
It's not John who ked the goat
(>Someone ked t, but not John)
_. Object focus:
It's not the goat that | ohn ked
(>He ked somethng, but not the goat)
d. Verb focus:
?It's not killing that | ohn dd to the goat
(>He dd somethng to the goat, but not kill t)
When optona partcpants, ncudng adverbs, are present n the
cause, they tend to attract the focus of negation to themseves, eavng the
rest of the cause to be presupposed. As ustratons, consder:
(136) a. Optional benefactive:
She ddn't wrte the book for her father
(>She wrote t, but not for him)
b. Optional associative:
She ddn't wrte the book with her sister
(>She wrote t, but not with her sister)
c. Optional instrumental:
She ddn't shoot hmwith the gun
(>She shot hm, but not with the gun)
d. Optional purpose ADV:
She ddn't funk on purpose
(>She funked, but not on purpose)
e. Optional time ADV:
She ddn't come Saturday
(>She came, but not on Saturday)
f. Optional frequency ADV:
She doesn't vst often
(>She vsts, but not often)
g. Optional locative ADV:
She ddn't kck the ba out of the park
(>She kcked t, but not out of the park)
The nferences n (136a-g) are pragmatc and normatve, rather than ogca
and absoute. A change n the ntonaton pattern of the cause may yed
other nferences.
The reason why optona consttuents attract the focus of negaton s,
probaby, because they are key to consttute the focus of the assertion
tsef, even wthout negaton. The norma pragmatc nference concernng
the use of optona causa consttuents thus seems to be:
(137) "If an optona eement s chosen, chances are t
s the focus of the asserted nformaton".
4.7.8. The morpho-syntax of English negation
The morpho-syntax of negaton n Engsh s cosey ted to the struc-
ture of the auxary and the tense-aspect-moda system. To accommodate
negaton, a sghty modfed verson of our auxary rue (91)/(92) must be
gven, one that s appcabe only n the case of negaton:
(138) AUX =NEG
Rue (138) ony appes to the most common type of negaton, VP-nega-
ton. The rue s to be nterpreted as foows:
(139) a. "If no auxary eement exsts, the auxary 'do' s
b. The NEG morpheme s attached to the auxary that
drecty foows t, be that a MODAL, HAVE, or BE;
or, n the absence of those, DO.
_ A MODAL cannot take the PAST morpheme".
The varous optons arsng from rue (139) are ustrated n (140) beow:
(140) a. Modal: Mary can-n't work
b. Have: Mary has-n't work-ed
_ Have-past: Mary had-n't work-ed
d. Be: Mary s-n't work-ng
e. Be-past: Mary was-n't work-ng
f. Do: Mary does-n't work
g. Do-past: Mary did-n't work
The negaton rue (138)/(139) s st sub|ect to one excepton, desgned
to accommodate the fact that, for the purpose of negaton, the man copu-
ar verb 'be' n Engsh behaves ke the auxary 'be'. That s, the man
verb 'be' requres no 'do' auxary, but rather takes the NEG suffx
drecty. As ustraton of ths, consder:
(141) a. Mary sn't ta
b. Mary s-n't a teacher
_ Mary s-n't here
d. Mary was-n't seen there
e. It s-n't Mary who eft
In at east some varants of Brtsh Engsh, the man verb 'have'
exhbts a smar behavor. Thus compare:
(142) a. British: I have-n't a cue what ths s about
b. American: I do-n't have a cue what ths s about
The Brtsh pattern (142a) represents an oder, more conservatve state of
Engsh grammar. The pattern n (141) aso represents the survva of the
oder hstorca pattern of Engsh negaton.
4.7.9. Further topics in the syntax of negation Negation in main vs. complement clauses
When two propostons are |oned together n a compex construc-
ton, as n man pus compement cause, the whoe s not merey the sum of
the parts. Here agan, anguage voates some strct predctons of ogc.
One of the best ustratons for ths s the nteracton between negaton of
the man cause and negaton of the compement cause. Consder frst the
non-factve verb 'thnk':
(143) a. I don't thnk (that) she came
b. I thnk (that) she didn't come
_ It s not true that I thnk (that) she came
d. I thnk that t s not true (that) she came
By ogc aone, (143a) shoud mean (143c), and (143b) shoud mean (143d).
In fact, under some condtons (143a) and (143b) have a smar though
perhaps not dentca meanng, wth (143a) tppng toward a sghty
stronger beef n the compement proposton 'She came', and (143b)
toward a sghty weaker beef n that proposton. Further, both (143a)
and (143b) tend to be rather cose to the meanng of (143d), but equay
remote from the meanng of (143c).
The same weak equvaency can be seen wth non-mpcatve modaty
or manpuaton verbs such as 'want':
(144) a. She didn't want (hm) to eave
b. She wanted (hm) not to eave
Somehow the meanng of (144a) and (144b) s amost the same, but perhaps
agan wth a certan gradaton n strength of preference regardng the com-
pement proposton.
Wth other compement-takng verbs, the senses of the two negaton
patterns of man and compement cause are rather dstnct and con-
form better to the predctons of ogc:
(145) a. She didn't know (that) he was there
(>It sn't true that she knew he was there)
b. She knew that he wasn't there
(>She knew that t wasn't true he was there)
c. didn't ask her to eave
(>It sn't true that he asked her to eave)
d. He asked her not to eave
(>It s true that he asked her not to eave)
e. She didn't contnue workng
(>It sn't true that she contnued workng)
f. She contnued not workng
(>It s true that she contnued not workng) Syntactic, morphological and inherent negation
The VP-negaton we have dscussed above, the one that s most wde-
spread, s a syntactic negation pattern. Another negaton pattern s aso
found n Engsh, that of morphological negation. In addton, there are
aso some inherently negative verbs or ad|ectves. As ustraton of the
three forms, compare:
(146) a. Contracted syntactic negation:
I thnk she s-n't happy
b. Syntactic negation:
I thnk she s not happy
c. Morphological negative:
I thnk she's un-happy
d. Inherent negative:
I thnk she's sad
The syntactc patterns (146a,b) are appcabe to a ad|ectves. The nher-
ent and morphoogca patterns (146c,d), on the other hand, are more
dosyncratc, appyng to ony some ad|ectves.
Smary, compare:
(147) a. Contracted syntactic negation:
I do-n't beeve her story
b. Syntactic negation:
I do not beeve her story
_ Morphological negation:
I ds-beeve her story
d. Inherent negative:
I doubt her story
Agan, whe the syntactc patterns (147a,b) are appcabe to a verbs, the
morphoogca and nherent patterns (147c,d) are more seectve, appyng
to ony some verbs. Negative polarity and levels of negation
Some pared grammatca operators seem to dstrbute n a mutuay-
excusve way: One member of the par specazes n negatve causes,
the other affrmatve causes. Ths phenomenon s caed negative polarity.
Some common exampes are:
(148) a. Negative:
Mary wasn't happy, and | ack wasn't happy
b. Affirmative:
Mary was happy, and | ack was happy
_ Negative:
| ack hasn't eft
d. Affirmative:
| ack has eft
e. Negative:
Mary sn't home,
f. Affirmative:
Mary s home,
Negatve poarty operators such as those n (148) are senstve to the
presence or absence of negaton, but ony f t s syntactic negation. To us-
trate ths bas of negatve poarty operators, compare ther behavor n syn-
tactc negaton wth ther behavor n morphoogca and nherent-exca
(149) a. Affirmative:
Mary was happy, and | ack was
b. Syntactic negation:
Mary wasn't happy, and | ack wasn't
c. Morphological negation:
Mary was unhappy, and | ack was
d. Inherent-lexical negation:
Mary was sad, and | ack was
The dstrbuton of the NEG-poarty operators 'too' and 'ether' n both
the morphoogca negatve (149c) and the nherent-exca negatve (149d)
foows that of the affrmatve cause (149a), rather than the syntactc-nega-
tve cause (149b). In the same ven:
(150) a. Affirmative:
| ack was present
b. Syntactic negation:
| ack wasn't present
c. Inherent-lexical negation:
| ack was absent
Logcay, 'present' and 'absent' are exact antonyms, seemngy abdng by
the excuson-of-the-mdde rue:
(151) present <===> not absent
absent <===> not present
As noted earer above, the syntactc source of negaton, n terms of
man vs. compement cause, sometmes makes an mportant semantc df-
ference, one that was not predctabe from the mere ogc of negaton.
What exampes such as (149) and (150) suggest s that even when a snge
cause s nvoved, the grammatca organzaton of causes, n ths case the
syntactc source of negaton, makes a dfference n meanng that s not pre-
dcted from the ogc of negaton. Constituent negation and emphatic denial
The syntactc negaton we have dscussed a aong s VP negation. In
ths type of negaton, the NEG-marker s grammatcay part of the aux-
ary compex, whch n turn s part of the verb phrase n Engsh. Ths s
ndeed the most common devce for expressng the negatve speech-act n
Engsh. But as noted earer, Engsh aso has another, ess common type
of syntactc negaton, whereby the NEG-marker attaches tsef to one of the
non-verba consttuents of the cause, such as the sub|ect, drect ob|ect,
ndrect ob|ect, nomna predcate or adverb. In most cases, that consttuent
turns out to be a noun phrase, so that we w refer to ths negaton pattern
as NP negation. As ustratons, consder:
(152) a. Affirmative frame:
The woman gave the book to the boy
b. VP negation:
The woman didn't gve the book to the boy
c. Subject-NP negation:
No woman gave the book to the boy
d. Direct object-NP negation:
The woman gave no book to the boy
e. Indirect object-NP negation.
The woman gave the book to no boy
(153) a. Time adverb negation:
The woman never gave the book to the boy
b. Place negation:
The boy s nowhere to be seen
c. Predicate-NP negation:
She's no fool
d. Possessive-NP negation:
She's nobody's foo
In the more common VP negaton, as n (152b), the propostona
event-frame of the correspondng affrmatve (cf. (152a)) s taken for
granted as the presupposed background for negaton. It s that background
proposton that s then dened. Consttuent (NP) negaton seems to attack
the presuppostona foundaton of the hearer's contrary beef more
emphatcay, and zero n on the ob|ect of dena more specfcay: Not ony
dd the event not occur wth the sted partcpants, but one of the partc-
pants was not even involved. As a speech-act, emphatc dena of ths type
s even more contrary than the norma VP negaton. And the semantc
effect of such negaton on the noun phrase n queston s to render t non-
That s, the dena s carred further not ony wasn't ths
specific partcpant nvoved, but not even a member of ts type.
The emphatc dena of the hearer's event-frame beef s pressed
further home by the use of non-referrng negative pronouns, such as 'no-
body', 'no one' and 'nothng', 'never', 'nowhere' or 'no way'. Thus compare
(154) beow wth (152):
(154) a. Subject NEG-pronoun:
Nobody gave the book to the boy
(>et aone the woman)
b. Direct object NEG-pronoun:
The woman gave nothing to the boy
(>et aone a book)
_ Indirect object NEG-pronoun:
The woman gave the book to no one
(>et aone to the boy)
There s n fact a contnuum of negaton patterns between cear VP
negaton and cear NP negaton n Engsh, aowng for graded escaaton
of emphatc dena. As ustratons, compare the varous possbe patterns
wth a non-human drect ob|ect:
(155) a. Syntactic VP negation:
The woman didn't read the book
b. VP negation plus emphasis:
The woman didn't read any book
c. VP negation plus NEG-pronoun:
The woman didn't read anything
d. NP negation:
The woman read no book
e. NP negation plus NEG-pronoun:
The woman read nothing
And smary for a human drect ob|ect:
(156) a. Syntactic VP negation:
She didn't see the boy
b. VP negation plus emphasis:
She didn't see any boy
c. VP negation plus NEG pronoun:
She ddn't see anybody
d. NP negation:
She saw no boy
e. NP negation plus NEG pronoun:
She saw no one
For adverbs of tme, pace or manner, some ponts aong ths gradaton may
be ess natura, for reasons that have to do wth reference.
Thus compare:
(157) a. Syntactic VP negation:
She didn't work yesterday
b. VP negation plus emphasis:
?She didn't work any time
c. VP negation plus NEG pronoun:
She didn't ever work
d. NP negation:
?She worked no time
e. NP negation plus NEG pronoun:
She never worked
Emphatc consttuent negaton s probaby at the bottom of the nfa-
mous double negation, commony found n the spoken regster, as n:
(158) a. I didn't see nothin'
b. I don't ove nobody
I didn't go nowhere
d. I don't never drnk
These are the cooqua equvaents of emphatc VP negaton (cf. (155c),
(156c), (157c) above) n the wrtten standard, respectvey:
(159) a. I didn't see anything
b. I don't ove anybody
I didn't go anywhere
d. I don't ever drnk
Hybrd emphatc negaton forms cose n sprt to the 'doube negaton'
pattern (158) st urk about even n more standard usage, as n:
(160) a. She saw nothing, not a thing
b. She oves nobody, not a soul
She didn't eat a thing
d. She doesn't ove a soul
And one must remember that the proper negaton pattern of current-day
wrtten Engsh dd arse from the earer pattern of emphatc doube nega-
ton n Od Engsh. The transton nvoved two consecutve cyces of de-
emphaszng an emphatc VP negaton pattern, roughy aong the ne of
(161) a. Emphatic VP negation:
I ne see ne-ought (ought = 'thing')
(' don't see no-thing')
b. Emphatic NP negation:
I see nought (no-ought = 'nothing')
('I see nothing')
c. De-emphasized VP negation:
I see not (contraction)
('I don't see')
d. New emphatic VP negation:
I do not see (introduction of 'do' AUX)
('I do not see!')
e. De-emphasized VP negation:
I don't see (contraction)
The use of the auxiliary 'do' to carry the NEG-marker, as in (161d), signal-
led originally a new cycle of emphatic negation. Only later on was this pat-
tern de-emphasized and assumed the current value of standard VP negation
(161e). The old emphatic use of 'do' still survives in the affirmative, as in
the contrast:
(162) a. She saw him
b. She did see him
The pattern of emphatic negation for subject NPs is not quite as full as
the one for object. Thus, compare (163) below with (155), (156) above:
(163) a. Syntactic VP negation:
The woman didn't read the book
b. VP negation plus emphasis:
*Any woman didn't read the book
c. VP negation plus NEG-pronoun:
*Nobody didn't read the book
d. NP negation:
No woman read the book
e. NP negation plus NEG-pronoun:
Nobody read the book
The absence of patterns (163b,c) is probably due to the fact, noted earlier
above, that the clausal subject is excluded from the scope of VP negation,
while objects and adverbs do fall under the scope of negation.
1) Some peope treat the 'habtua' as an aspect rather than atense. Ths preference s mot-
vated frst by the fact that the habtua can dstrbute n both the "present" and the "past" tense,
as n the contrast between:
Present: Shesings every day.
Past: Then she would sng every day.
It s aso motvated by the semantc groupng of the 'habtua' wth the 'duratve' and 'teratve'
under the super-category of imperfective or unbounded. The probem wth the dstrbutona
argument s that the 'habtua' can aso dstrbute n two aspects "smpe" and "duratve", as
n the contrast between:
Simple: He works at a gas staton.
(>What does he do for a vng?)
Durative: He is working at a gas staton.
(>What's he dong wth hmsef nowadays?)
The truth of the matter s that the 'habtua' n Engsh s a swing category, party tense and
party aspect. As we sha see ater on, the habtua s aso a swng category n terms of modaty.
2) Gven that aspect markers n Engsh are aways attached to the verb phrase of aparticu-
lar cause, we w consder the functon or any sub-functon of an aspect to be 'semantc'
f ts defnton requres no reference to enttes (be they functona or structura) outsde the
cause. In contrast, the defnton of a 'pragmatc' functon of an aspect requres reference to
enttes outsde the cause.
3) The contrast between bounded and unbounded s aso referred to by the tradtona terms
of 'perfectve' vs. 'mperfectve', respectvey.
4) In the hstorca deveopment of tense-aspect markers from verbs (the most common
source), many f not most tense-aspect markers arse from verbs of spata moton ('go', 'come',
'arrve', 'eave') or spata presence ('be', 'st', 'stand', 'stay', 'e', 'seep', 've-at'). For the roe
of space-to-tme metaphorc extenson n the evouton of tense-aspect markers, see Hene et al
(1991). For the systematc use of space-to-tme metaphors n Engsh, see Lakoff and | ohnson
5) L'Amour (1962, p. 7).
6) L'Amour (1962, p. 2).
7) Aternatvey, one may wsh to argue that the progressve-habtua represents a wdenng
of the tempora scope of the progressve, from 'rght now' to 'nowadays'. So that one way or
another, the combnaton progressve-cum-habtua produces an intermediate perspectve on the
tempora scope of the event. As | ohn Haman (n persona communcaton) has suggested, ths
woud pace the progressve and habtua on a contnuum of a sngeaspectual dmenson (rather
than one beng an aspect and the other a tense).
8) The hstorca rse of auxares out of modaty verbs s st an ongong deveopment n
Engsh, so that severa modaty verbs can be characterzed synchroncay as "aspectuas", wth
ntermedate syntactc propertes (Garca, 1967).
9) I am ndebted to | ohn Haman (n persona communcaton) for ths suggeston.
10) L'Amour (1962, p. 7).
11) In The New Yorker, | anuary 26, 1981 (p. 32).
12) From Leonard (1990, pp. 86-87).
13) In many anguages that have ony one sequential-perfective past marker, the perfect s
used n precsey the same narratve-nta context as the smpe past here. Ths s as true of the
Engsh-based Creoe Kro as t s of Eary Bbca Hebrew (see Gvn, 1984a, chapter 8). The
tendency to merge the past-perfect wth the smpe past n cooqua styes often eads to the oss
of the smpe past form and ts repacement by the perfect whch then codes both aspectua
functons (cf. spoken French, Modern Hebrew, aso many spoken German daects).
14) For a study of the semantc dversty of propostona modates, see Ransom (1986). A
more Engsh-specfc descrpton may be found n Pamer (1979).
15) These grounds are ony the most common. In prncpe, telepathy as we as any other
grounds by whch the speaker may deem that the hearer s not key to chaenge a proposton
may serve as grounds for presupposton. See dscusson n my Mind, Code and Context (1989,
chapter 4).
16) The unmarked category s more common n actua communcaton (.e. text), contrastng
wth the marked category whch s the ess common, exceptona case. See dstrbutona tabes
further beow.
17) The more pragmatic features of a modaty have to do wth the nteracton between the
speaker and hearer, .e. expectatons of chaenge, optons of deang wth chaenge, mutua
knowedge, respectve motvatons etc. Both the speaker and the hearer are part of the cause-
externa context. In contrast, the moresemantic features of a modaty make no reference to the
speaker-hearer nteracton, .e. to enttes outsde the cause. Whether such features ndeed exst
n natura anguage remans to be shown. The purey ogca moda noton of 'truth' un-refer-
enced to speaker or hearer s probaby unattested n anguage. Its cosest equvaents n an-
guage are 'beef or 'sub|ectve certanty'.
18) Ths agan suggests that rreas s the marked category and reas the unmarked one, .e.
the absence of rreas markng.
19) In other anguages, ths cross-modaty sharng of code s most strkng n the grammar of
thesubjunctive mood, whch spans over the epstemc and evauatve sub-modates.
20) For some detas of the hstorca process, see | espersen (1938, p. 193) or Vsser (1973),
as we as Feschman (1989) and Bybee (1992).
21) For a genera dscusson of non-decaratve speech-acts, see chapter 12.
22) The grammatca markng of counter-fact s commony obtaned by combnng some
rreas operator wth ether the past or the perfect. For counter-fact condtona ADV-causes,
see chapter 13.
23) Such verbs may aso be caed 'future-pro|ectng'; see chapter 3, secton
24) See chapter 3, secton
25) See chapter 3, secton
26) The man dscusson of non-decaratve causes, and speech-acts, can be found n chapter
27) For adverba subordnate causes, see chapter 13.
28) See chapter 13.
29) See chapter 9.
30) See chapter 12.
31) See chapter 10.
32) See chapter 3, secton
33) See chapter 3, secton; aso chapter 6, secton 6.6.3.
34) For an extensve dscusson of ths see Gvn (1991a).
35) The academc text was Haman (1985, pp. 21-23). The fcton text was L'Amour (1962,
pp. 83-85).
36) Foowng Chomsky (1957).
37) The assocaton of an rreas modaty wth the past or perfect to code ower epstemc
certanty s most conspcuous n the subjunctive category n many anguages, ncudng Engsh.
Thus compare:
If you do ths, you'll be rewarded.
(>you are key to do t)
If you did ths, you'd reay be rewarded
(>you are ess key to do t)
38) FromThe New Yorker, 9-28-87 (p. 35).
39) One may as we note that breakng the norm of nerta requres more energy. The
counter-norm status of events conforms n ths way the broad sweep of the aw of nerta n
physcs: "Thngs w tend to stay at ther present state of ether moton or stass uness more
energy s pumped nto the system to change the current state".
40) The academc text s Haman (1985, pp. 119-120). The fcton text s McMurtry (1963, pp.
41) For reatve causes, see chapter 9.
42) For WH-questons, see chapter 12.
43) | ohn Haman (n persona communcaton) suggests that the reason may be dfferent:
When n (124) s nterpreted as 'snce', .e. 'gven that' or 'because'.
44) From Pearson, (1985, pp. 191-192).
45) See Keenan (1969).
46) The text used was MacDonad (1974, pp. 49-70).
47) For contrastve stress and focus constructons n genera, see chapter 10.
48) For ceft-focus see chapter 10.
49) Verb ceftng n Engsh s ether unacceptabe or margna; see chapter 10.
50) For referrng and non-referrng NPs, see chapter 5.
51) Unke sub|ects and ob|ects, adverba partcpants tend to be ether non-referrng, or ese
the range of referrng enttes subsumed under them s drastcay reduced, so that often ony
hghy generic nouns such as 'tme', 'pace' or 'manner' are nvoved. The dena of a exca-
specfc adverba noun ('no day', 'no month', 'no week', 'no Saturday' or even 'no tme') s thus
redundant n emphatc negaton of adverbs. Whe the use of the strcty non-referrng NEG-
pronouns ('never', 'nowhere', 'no way' etc.) become the norm.
52) See Vsser (1973).
53) The strong nteracton between non-fact modates such as negaton and rreas, and the
reference propertes of NPs under ther scope, s dscussed n chapter 5.
Up to ths pont, we have deat wth noun phrases rather nformay
when gvng exampes of sub|ects and ob|ects, sometmes usng pronouns,
sometmes names, sometmes nouns modfed by varous artces. In ths
chapter we descrbe more systematcay two centra features of the gram-
mar of noun phrases, features that most commony contro the use of var-
ous determiners that modfy the noun. The functona doman assocated
wth ths area of the grammar s that of topic identification, aso caed
referential coherence. Ths doman of grammar ncudes consderaby
more than what we cover n ths chapter. And n a number of subsequent
chapters we w dea wth other grammatca constructons that ether
beong to or ntersect wth ths doman.
The two areas of referenta coherence we w dea wth here are refer-
ence and definiteness. The grammatca devces most commony used to
code these sub-domans n the Engsh noun phrase are:
(a) Indefnte artces
(b) Defnte artces
(c) Pronouns
(d) Zero anaphora
(e) Demonstratves
(f) Names
5.2.1. Existence vs. reference
There s a ong ogca tradton n the treatment of reference, hodng
that reference (aso caed denotation or extension) s a mappng reaton
between ngustc terms (such as noun phrases) and enttes whch exist n
the Real World.
In ths tradton, a noun phrase ether refers to an entty
n the Rea Word, or does not refer. To ustrate ths approach, consder
(1) a. The Queen of England s bad
b. The King of France s bad
In the ogca tradton, the sub|ect of (a) truy refers, snce t maps onto an
entty that truy exsts n the Rea Word. In contrast, the sub|ect of (b)
does not refer, snce t maps onto an entty that does not exst. Smary,
the ob|ect of (2a) beow can, at east n prncpe, refer to an exstng entty,
whe that of (2b) presumaby cannot:
(2) a. I rode a horse yesterday
b. I rode a unicorn yesterday
What s of course remarkabe s that the grammar of Engsh (and
other anguages) tends to code the two sub|ect noun phrases n (a,b), and
smary the ob|ect noun phrases n (2a,b), wth the very same grammatca
devces, and s thus seemngy obvous to whether ther respectve refer-
ents do or don't exst n the Rea Word. What the grammar seems to be
senstve to s, rather, whether enttes we refer to by such noun phrases
have been verbally established n the universe of discourse. Once an entty
has been estabshed n the unverse of dscourse, t s treated as referring,
regardess of what ts status may be n the Rea Word.
A dscourse-partcpant s ntroduced nto the unverse of dscourse,
and once ntroduced, t may be referred to by varous grammatca devces.
The rues that govern both the initial introduction and subsequent reference
have tte to do wth rea-word exstence. Thus, the two aternatve refer-
ents ntroduced ntay n (3a) beow woud be subsequenty referred to
wth the same grammatca devces n (3b,c,d,e,f), regardess of the fact
that one of them presumaby cannot refer to an entty n the Rea Word:
(3) a. There was once
b. who ved n the forest.
c. __ ved a by himself
d. and |0| was very oney.
e. One day he met a frog near a pond.
f. sad...
5.2.2. Referential intent
Snce defnte NPs, by defnton, amost aways refer to some entty n
the unverse of dscourse, we w ntroduce the contrast between referrng
and non-referrng NPs by usng ndefnte NPs. We w defer the dscusson
of the contrast between defnte and ndefnte to a subsequent secton.
Consder frst:
(4) | ohn marred a rich woman,
a. ...though he ddn't know her we.
b. ...?though he ddn't know any we.
The speaker utterng (4) s commtted, n terms of referential intent, to the
exstence n the unverse of dscourse of some rch woman that | ohn mar-
red. That s, the condtona mpcaton seems to hod that:
(5) If | ohn marred one,
then that particular one must have exsted.
Referrng to that woman wth the pronoun 'her' n (4a) s therefore per-
fecty approprate. But usng the non-referrng pronoun 'any' n the same
frame s a bt odd.
Consder now, by comparson:
(6) | ohn wanted to marry a rich woman,
a. ...though he ddn't know her we.
b. ...though he ddn't know any (we).
The speaker utterng (6) may or may not be commtted to dentfyng a par-
tcuar woman n the unverse of dscourse. That s, two nterpretatons of 'a
rch woman' n (6) are possbe, correspondng to the two possbe contnu-
atons, (6a) and (6b). Respectvey:
(7) a. Referring interpretation:
| ohn and thus the speaker had a particular
woman n mnd; | ohn wshed to marry her, though he
ddn't know her we.
b. Non-referring interpretation:
| ohn and thus the speaker has no partcuar
woman n mnd; | ohn wshed to marry someone of that
type, he ddn't know (we) any of that type.
5.2.3. Reference and propositional modalities
As s obvous from exampes (4) and (6) above, the mere presence of
the ndefnte artce a(n) n Engsh does not guarantee ether a referrng or
non-referrng nterpretaton of the noun phrase. The ndefnte artce s
ndeed rreevant to ths feature of meanng. Another ndefnte artce,
any, can be used f one wants to mark NPs as non-referrng. In contrast, f
'woman' n ether (4) or (6) were marked by the defnte artce the, her
status as 'referrng' woud have been guaranteed. Ths s obvous from the
fact that a non-referrng nterpretaton of the equvaent of (6), and thus the
use of 'any' n subsequent reference, becomes unacceptabe f the referent
s ntroduced wth the defnte artce 'the':
(8) | ohn wanted to marry the rich woman he met on a cruse,
though he ddn't ove
The reference status of an ndefnte noun s predctabe, at east up to
a pont, from the propositional modality under whose scope the noun fas.
To predct the reaton between propostona modates and the reference
propertes of nouns, one must group the four modates dscussed n chap-
ter 4 presupposton, R-asserton, IRR-asserton and NEG-asserton
nto two meta-modates, fact and non-fact:
(9) a. Fact: Presupposton
b. Non-fact: IRR-asserton
The predctabe reaton between modaty and reference may be now
stated as foows:
(10) Propositional modality and reference:
a. Under the scope of fact modates, noun phrases can
only be nterpreted as referring.
b. Under the scope of non-fact modates, noun phrases
may be nterpreted as either referring or non-referring.
Let us ustrate the appcabty of rue (10) wth a number of smpe
exampes. Consder frst the nterpretaton of ndefnte NPs under the
scope of fact:
(11) a. Presupposition:
I know she met a man at the bar
b. R-assertion:
She met a man at the bar
In utterng ether (11a) or (11b), the speaker s commtted to the exstence,
n the unverse of dscourse, of a specific man, the one she met at the bar.
Consder, on the other hand, the nterpretaton of the same ndefnte
noun under the scope of non-fact:
(12) IRR-assertion:
She will meet a man at the bar;
a. ...he's been tod to wat for her there.
b. ...she aways pcks up someone.
(13) NEG-assertion:
She didn't meet a man at the bar.
(>She met no man there)
In utterng (12), wth an rreas modaty, the speaker may have n mnd
ether the referrng nterpretaton (12a) or the non-referrng nterpretaton
(12b). The grammar w toerate ether, athough rea-word knowedge or
specfc nformaton may tp the scae toward one or the other. In utterng
(13), the range of nterpretaton s more restrcted; ony the non-referrng
nterpretaton of the ndefnte NP s aowed. We w return to ths pecu-
arty of NEG-asserton further beow.
The partcuar rreas marker used n (12) above was the future moda-
auxary 'w'. But an ndefnte NP can be nterpreted as non-referrng
under the scope of any rreas operator n Engsh. Thus consder:
(14) a. Conditional:
//she meets a man there...
b. Yes/no question:
Did she meet a man there?
_ Command:
Go meet a man!
d. Epistemic adverb:
Maybe she met a man there.
e. Modals:
She may meet a man there.
f. Scope of non-implicative modality verb:
She wanted to meet a man there.
g. Scope of non-implicative manipulation verb:
They told her to meet a man there.
h. Scope of non-factive cognition-utterance verb:
They thought that she met a man there.
Two other grammatca envronments behave ke a non-fact modaty
n aowng a non-referrng nterpretaton of NPs under ther scope. The
frst s the habitual tense-aspect, as n:
(15) Habitual:
Every Tuesday | ohn meets a woman at the pub.
a. Referring: ...She aways wats for hm there.
b. Non-referring: ...Some woman aways turns up.
The second s nominal predicate, as n:
(16) Nominal predicate:
a. Non-referring:
| ohn s a teacher.
(>What does | ohn do for a vng?)
b. Referring:
| ohn s a teacher I used to know.
(>Who's ths | ohn you tod me about?)
The common denomnator of rreas, negaton, habtua and nomna
predcaton s probaby ths: None of these modes depcts the occurrence
of a particular event at a particular time. Ths s, presumaby, the rreduc-
be core of 'non-fact'.
Some verbs carry the rreas thus non-fact modaty wth them, n
ther semantc structure. For exampe, 'date' n (17a) beow does not carry
the rreas modaty, but 'ook for' n (17b) does. Smary, 'eat' (17c) does
not, but 'crave' (17d) does:
(17) a. She was dating a rch man
b. She was looking for a rch man
c. She ate an appe
d. She craved an appe
Most transtve verbs resembe 'date' and 'eat' n that they do not carry
an nherent rreas modaty. They are thus consdered implicative: If one s
commtted to the truth of the verb-coded event, one s commtted to the
reference of the ob|ect. Verbs that carry the rreas modaty, such as 'ook
for' and 'crave', are non-implicative (or 'word-creatng'). They thus resem-
be the non-mpcatve verbs n (14f,g), or the non-factve verb n (14h). Such
verbs do not mpy that a specfc event ndeed took pace n the unverse of
dscourse; nor do they mpy that an NP refers to a particular entty n that
5.2.4. The indefinite determiners 'any', 'no' and 'some'
So far, we have deat prmary wth ndefntes marked by the artce
a(n); we noted that NPs marked by a(n) may take, at east n prncpe,
ether a referrng or a non-referrng nterpretaton. But Engsh has three
other ndefnte artces, two of whch seem to aow ony a non-referrng
nterpretaton of the NP any, no and some. The non-referring article 'any'
The fact that 'any' marks ony non-referrng nouns s apparent from ts
ncompatbty wth fact modates:
(18) a. Presupposition: *I know that she saw any man
b. R-assertion: *She saw any man
In contrast, a noun marked by 'any' s rather compatbe wth many
though not a non-fact contexts. Thus compare:
(19) a. Future: She' see any man
b. Modal: She can see any man
Conditional: If she sees any man,...
d. Yes/no question: Dd she see any man?
e. Command: Go see any man!
f. Scope of non-implicative modality verb:
She wanted to see any man (who woud be there)
g. Scope of non-implicative manipulation verb:
They tod her to see any man (who woud be there)
h. Habitual:
She'd see any man (who woud be there)
. NEG-assertion:
She ddn't see any man
The ony non-fact context that does not accommodate 'any' s that of
predcate nomna. Thus compare:
(20) a. She s a teacher
b. *She s any teacher
220 ENGLISH GRAMMAR The non-referring article 'no'
The other specfcay non-referrng ndefnte artce s the negaton
marker 'no'. As noted n chapter 4, above, ths marker s used to code con-
sttuent negaton, a restrcted sub-type of the NEG-asserton modaty. The
dstrbuton of ths marker s thus restrcted to causes under the scope of
ths sub-type of negaton, as n:
(21) a. No one came to see her
b. She saw no woman there The indefinite article 'some'
The ndefnte artce 'some' may code both referrng and non-referrng
nouns. In ths way t shares some of the propertes of 'a(n)'. However,
'some' s more key to be nterpreted as non-referrng. So that n some
sense, t occupes an ntermedate poston between 'a(n)' and 'any'.
Lke 'a(n)', 'some' s senstve to the modaty under whose scope t
fas. So that under the scope of fact modates, NPs marked by 'some' can
ony be nterpreted as referring. Consder frst:
(22) a. Presupposition:
I know she met some man there,
(and that she tod him that...)
b. R-assertion:
She met some man there,
(and she tod him that...)
At east superfcay, 'some' seems to aow both a referrng and non-
referrng nterpretaton under the scope of irrealis. Thus consder:
(23) Future: She'// see some man there.
a. Referring:
...?He's been tod to expect her.
b. Non-referring:
...And whoever it turns out to be w know what to do.
There s nothng ungrammatca per se about (23a). There s, however, a
strong sense that 'he' n (23a) must st be nterpreted as non-referrng. If
(23a) were meant as referrng, the artce 'some' seems napproprate,
and (23) shoud be rendered as:
(24) She7/ see a man there;
he's aready been tod to expect her.
The same bas seems to crop up under the scope of modas, as n:
(25) Modal: She may see some man there.
a. Referring:
...?He's been tod to expect her.
b. Non-referring:
...And whoever it turns out to be w know what to do.
Agan, (25a) s probaby better rendered as:
(26) She may see a man there.
He's been tod to expect her.
The reuctance to nterpret a noun wth 'some' referentay seems even
stronger under the rreas scope of a conditional adverba cause, as n:
(27) Conditional: If she sees some man there, so be t.
a. Referring:
...?He's been tod to expect her.
b. Non-referring:
...Whoever it turns out to be w know what to do.
And the bas s even stronger under the scope of a yes/no question, as n:
(28) Yes/no question: Dd she see some man there?
a. Referring:
...?He's been tod to expect her.
b. Non-referring:
...Whoever was supposed to meet her must have been ate.
The bas aganst the use of 'some' s absoute under the scope of nega-
ton. Thus consder:
(29) Negation:
a. *She ddn't see some man there.
b. She ddn't see a man there.
_ She ddn't see any man there.
Under the scope of habitual, the use of NPs marked by 'some' seems to
veer back toward aowng both nterpretatons, as n:
(30) Habituai: She always meets some man there.
a. Referring:
...He's an old friend of hers.
b. Non-referring:
...Never the same one twice.
Still, the referring interpretation in (30a) is better expressed with 'a' than
with 'some'. 'Any', 'no' and 'some' as pronouns
All three indefinite articles, 'any', 'no' and 'some', can be also used as
pronouns. In such usage, 'any' and 'some' may appear either by themselves
or augmented with 'one', 'body' or 'thing'. '', on the other hand,
requires such augmentation and may not appear as a pronoun by itself. The
reference properties of these indefinite pronouns are roughly the same as
those they have as articles, although minor differences may still exist.
In general, 'some' and 'any' are used as pronouns by themselves in
contexts where the lexical identity of the head noun is recoverable from the
immediately preceding anaphoric context. As illustrations consider:
(31) a. Context: She's looking for books on Chaos Theory.
b. IRR-assertion: So if you have , please...
c. NEG-assertion: But she can't find
The three indefinite pronouns are augmented with '-one' or '-body' in
contexts where the noun they refer to is human, or with '-thing' when it is
non-human. In the use of these augmented pronouns, previous mention of
the referent in the preceding (anaphoric) context is not necessary. When no
such previous mention occurs, the pronouns may be un-stressed and un-
emphatic, as in:
(32) IRR-assertion:
a. Human: If shows up, tell them...
b. Non-human: If happens, _ 1 be...
The augmented forms of ndefnte pronouns may aso be stressed and
emphatic. As such, they tend to occur n contexts where ther referent had
been mentoned n the precedng anaphorc dscourse. In emphatc
realis assertons, ony the augmented form of the potentay referrng
'some' can be used, as n:
(33) a. Someone dd t!
b. Somebody dd t!
Something happened to her!
d. *Anybody dd t!
e. *Anything happened to her!
Both augmented 'some' and 'any' may be used n emphatc Irrealis asser-
tons, as n:
(34) a. Someone can do t!
b. Somebody can do t!
Something can happen!
d. Anybody can do t!
e. Anything can happen!
In emphatc NEG-assertons nvovng syntactc (VP) negaton, the
standard educated regster of Amercan Engsh aows the augmented form
of ony 'any', as n:
(35) I haven't seen there.
Fnay, the augmented form of 'no' s restrcted to NEG-assertons wth
NP-negaton (see chapter 4, secton, as n:
(36) I saw there.
5.2.5. Reference under the scope of negation
As noted earer above, the modaty of NEG-asserton s somewhat
unque among non-fact modates, n that t restrcts the nterpretaton of
NPs under ts scope. Such NPs may be ether non-referring or referring-defi-
nite, but not ref erring-indefinite. Ths pecuarty of NEG-assertons s us-
trated n:
(37) *Referring indefinite:
He ddn't see an eagle
(*>There exsted an eagle, but he ddn't see it)
(38) Non-referring indefinite:
a. He ddn't see an eagle
(>There exsted no eagle that he saw)
b. He ddn't see any eagle
c. saw no eagle
(39) Referring definite:
He ddn't see the eagle
Put another way, f a referrng noun fas under the scope of negaton, t
must be defnte.
The expanaton of ths restrcton derves from what we sad earer
(chapter 4) concernng the presuppostona status of NEG-assertons. In
makng a NEG-asserton, the speaker presupposes the hearer's beef n, or
at east famarty wth, the correspondng affrmatve proposton. The
restrcton barrng referrng ndefntes from the scope of negaton may be
thus formuated as the foowng probabstc nference:
(40) "If the hearer s famar wth an event, and f a partcpant
n that event s referred to, the speaker may assume that
the hearer can dentfy that partcpant. Hence the partc-
pant s defnte".
We thus assume that 'defnte' means 'dentfabe to the hearer'. We w
return to ths ssue n secton 5.3., further beow.
5.2.6. Gradation of indefinite reference
So far we have taken for granted that a noun may be ether referrng or
non-referrng. But a range of facts suggest that there exsts, at east n prn-
cpe, a contnuum of referential intent, and that the grammar of Engsh
uses systematc means for codng shades and gradatons aong that con-
tnuum. To ustrate ths, consder:
(41) a. Dd you see anything there?
b. Dd you see anybody there?
c. Dd you see any man there?
d. Dd you see some man there?
e. Dd you see a man there?
f. Dd you see a tall man there?
g. Dd you see a tall man wearing a blue shirt there?
h. Dd you see a tall man there wearing a blue shirt and sitting
on a red barrel and twirling a silver baton in his left hand?
There seems to be a cear gradaton from (41a) through (41h), one that pro-
ceeds aong a psychoogca or probabstc dmenson:
(a) Psychological (speaker's perspective):
"How strongy does the speaker ntend to suggest that
they are referrng to a partcuar ndvdua?"
(b) Probabilistic (hearer's perspective):
"What s the probabty that the ndvdua that the
speaker referred to s a specfc ndvdua?"
Whatever the underyng dmenson, a contnuum s ceary nvoved.
grammar of Engsh seems to code ths contnuum by combnng three
grammatca devces:
(42) Coding gradation of reference:
grammatical likelihood of specific reference
device more likely less likely
indefinite a > some > any
restrictive more modfcaton > ess modfcaton
lexical noun specfc noun > person > thng
5.2.7. Plurality and reference
Another devce used extensvey n the grammar of reference n Eng-
sh s the plural form of nouns. Consder the effect of the puraty of the
nterpretaton of ndefnte nouns under the scope of Irrealis (non-fact):
(43) a. | ohn was pannng to se a house
b. | ohn was pannng to se houses
_ | ohn aways meets a girl for unch
d. | ohn aways meets girls for unch
e. He was ookng for a book
f. He was ookng for books
In (43a,c,e), where the ndefnte ob|ect s snguar, there seems to be a
hgher probabty of a referrng nterpretaton of the ob|ect noun. That s,
the speaker coud easy use these expressons ntendng a particular refer-
ent. In (43b,d,f), on the other hand, the probabty of such a referenta
ntent seems much ower.
The effect of puraty as downgradng referenta ntent seems to be
preserved even under the scope of the fact modaty:
(44) Context: -What dd she do on the tran?
a. -She read a book.
b. -She read books.
(45) Context: -What dd he do ast year?
a. -He sod a house.
b. -He sod houses.
In both (44a) and (45a), the snguar ndefnte noun s nterpreted as refer-
rng. In contrast, the puras n both (44b) and (45b) somehow seem to beg
a non-referrng nterpretaton.
There s of course somethng rather pecuar about the suggeston that
an entty under the scope of fact s nterpreted as non-referrng. The sense
of 'non-referrng' here coud not possby be the strct ogca sense. From a
ogca-semantc perspectve, f an event did occur n the unverse of ds-
course, the partcpant enttes, however arge a group, must have exsted n
that unverse. The pura ob|ects n (44b), (45b) are therefore not non-
referrng n the strct logical-semantic sense. Rather, they are non-referrng
n another pragmatic sense. That s, ther specfc dentty doesn't mat-
ter. We w return to ths pragmatc noton of reference further beow.
5.2.8. Pragmatic effects on possible reference
We noted earer that under the scope of irrealis, ndefnte snguar
nouns marked wth a(n) can be nterpreted as ether referrng or non-refer-
rng. Ths s ndeed the genera rue. In many specfc stuatons, however,
rea-word pragmatc knowedge may tp the scaes toward ether one
nterpretaton or the other. Consder:
(46) Context: -What dd she ca you for?
a. -She wanted to buy a house.
b. -She wanted to se a house.
If 'she' s a prvate ndvdua, chances are that when she s n the market to
buy a house, she w consder severa houses before zerong n on any par-
tcuar house. Ths pragmatc nference tps the scaes toward nterpretng 'a
house' n (46a) as non-referrng. On the other hand, most prvate ndvdu-
as n ths cuture own ony one house. Chances are that f they want to sell
'a house', as n (46b), t s a specific one, so that 'a house' n (46b) s
ntended as a referrng expresson.
The pragmatc nferences that govern the probabty of referrng vs.
non-referrng nterpretatons n (46) woud of course change f 'she' were a
hgh-powered rea-estate deaer. In that case, the probabty of a non-refer-
rng nterpretaton of 'a house' n (46b) w ncrease, snce rea-estate dea-
ers tend to have severa houses for sae. In the same ven, the probabty of
a referrng nterpretaton of (46a) w aso ncrease. A hgh-powered deaer
may ndeed buy houses for resae, but they tend to fnd bargan houses one
at a time rather than n arge ots.
Consder next the foowng contrast, under the scope of fact:
(47) a. On the way home he bought a newspaper
b. On the way home he bought a book
A copes of a newspaper n the pe, and often a newspapers prnted n
the same town on the same date, are nterchangeabe. Ther ndvdua den-
tty does not matter. For ths pragmatc reason, 'a newspaper' n (47a) s
more key to have been ntended as non-referrng, the scope of fact not-
wthstandng. In contrast, books tend to be put on the shef |udcousy, as
ndvduas. Ther specfc dentty presumaby matters. Chances then are
hgher that 'a book' n (47b) was ntended as referrng.
Consder fnay:
(48) I'm gong to bed to read a book now
If I heard (48) announced by my od rancher frend, who keeps a pe of
dog-eared paperback westerns on the foor next to hs bed, chances are I
woud nterpret 'a book' as non-referrng. On the other hand, f I heard (48)
announced by my frend the phosopher, who chooses hs readng matera
rather deberatey, chances are I woud have nterpreted 'a book' as refer-
5.2.9. The non-referring use of anaphoric pronouns Gender and non-referring and pronouns
Unstressed anaphoric pronouns such as 'he', 'she', 't' and 'they' n
Engsh are part and parce of the grammar of referenta coherence n ds-
course. As such, they fa wthn the arge doman of dscourse pragmatcs.
Semantcay, such pronouns tend to be predomnanty referrng. At east at
one pont, however, these anaphorc pronouns nteract wth the semantc
contrast of referrng vs. non-referrng.
As we w see further beow, unstressed anaphorc pronouns are used
most commony n contexts where the antecedent referent s readily accessi-
ble n the mmedatey precedng dscourse context most typcay n the
drecty-precedng cause. When that antecedent s tsef non-referrng, an
anaphorc pronoun can be used, and ts sense may be then ether referrng
or non-referrng. In ths secton we survey some of the optons avaabe n
Engsh n such dscourse contexts.
Consder frst the context where the non-referrng antecedent gves no
cue as to gender:
(49) a. If you see anybody there, te
b. Anybody who thnks can do t s...
Oder prescrptve Engsh grammars woud nsst on 'hm' n (49a) and 'he'
n (49b). Cooqua Amercan Engsh, at the very east, has deveoped a
vabe and eegant aternatve, the non-referrng use of the pura pro-
noun 'they'/'them'.
The use of ether 'he'/'hm' or 'she'/'her' becomes more vabe f the
non-referrng antecedent s specfed for gender. Thus consder:
(50) a. If you see any man there, te
b. Any woman who thnks can do t s...
A smar use of anaphorc pronouns s found n contexts where the
antecedent s ogcay referrng but excay unspecfed, .e. 'somebody',
'someone' or 'somethng':
(51) a. I bumped nto somebody n the street and
b. Someone came n and sad that
c. If something bothers you, gnore it.
Agan, f 'some' s foowed by a more specfc noun, the snguar pronouns
'he', 'she' or 't' are more key to be used. That s:
(52) a. I bumped nto some man n the street and he...
b. Some woman came n and sad that she... Semantic reference vs. specific individuation
It s of course true that anaphorc pronouns are most commony used
to code referrng-defnte nouns. But they can be used to code non-refer-
rng nouns, as n (49) and (50) above. Ths doube capacty of anaphorc
pronouns s even cearer when used n a context where the semantc refer-
ence status of the antecedent noun s potentay ambguous, as s the case
under the scope of many rreas operators. Consder frst:
(53) | ohn wanted to marry a rich girl,
a. Non-referring: ...but she aso had to be pretty.
b. DEF-referring: ...though she wasn't pretty.
The anaphorc pronoun 'she' s used n both (53a,b) regardess of reference
The more genera rue that governs the use of pronouns both
anaphorc-defnte and ndefnte may be now seen. The rue s best us-
trated n the context where the antecedent s a fuy specfed ndefnte
noun under the scope of rreas. In such a context, a fu four-way contrast
n the use of pronouns can be observed:
(54) | ohn was pannng to marry a rich girl,
a. Referring-DEF: ...but she re|ected hm.
b. Non-referring-DEF: ...provded she was aso smart.
c. Referring-INDEF: ...and he fnay found one.
d. Non-referring-INDEF: ...he kept ookng for one.
When the antecedent 'a rch gr' n (54) s ntended as specfc or nd-
vduated, as n (54a,b), the anaphorc-defnte pronoun 'she' s used. In
(54a), the antecedent of 'she' s meant as referrng; n (54b) t s meant as
non-referrng. The semantc contrast of referrng vs. non-referrng s thus
shown to be rreevant to the choce of pronoun.
In the same way, n both (54c) and (54d) 'a rch gr' must have not
been meant as specfc-ndvduated referent. The ndefnte pronoun 'one'
s used regardess of reference status. In (54c) 'one' s ndeed used as a
referrng ndefnte pronoun, n (54d) as a non-referrng pronoun. The pronoun 'one' in definite expressions
The pronoun 'one' can aso be used n combnaton wth a defnte art-
ce. But such a use automatcay pro|ects a referring sense. Thus consder:
(55) | ohn was ookng for a white horse,
a. ...we were a ookng for the same one.
b. ...he ddn't ke the one he had,
() ...he kes this one better.
() ...he' sette for that one.
_ ...and when he fnds one he kes,...
As noted earer above, 'a horse' under the scope of rreas, as n (55), can
be nterpreted as non-referrng, as n (55c). The use of 'one' n combnaton
wth a defnte determner, however, narrows down the possbe nterpreta-
ton; so that n (55a,b) above 'one' whether coreferent wth the anteced-
ent as n (55a) or not, as n (55b) must be nterpreted as referrng to a
specfc, ndvdua horse.
5.2.10. Semantic reference vs. pragmatic importance
Up to now, we have deat wth the reference of noun phrases prmary
as a semantic mappng reaton, nvovng the speaker's ntent to ether refer
or not refer to a specfc entty n the unverse of dscourse. Other features
of the dscourse context were reatvey mmatera to ths dstncton. But
there are some ndcatons that the grammar of ndefnte reference, n Eng-
sh as we as n anguage n genera, s more senstve to the pragmatics of
reference. In ths nstance, what we mean by 'pragmatcs' bos down to the
queston of whether the referent that s ntroduced nto the dscourse, n the
case of ndefntes for the frst tme, s gong to be important n the sub-
sequent dscourse. In other words, we dea here wth the cataphoric topical-
ity of the ndefnte referent.
Ths pragmatc aspect of reference s easer to demonstrate n nforma
spoken Engsh, where the unstressed demonstratve 'ths' s used con-
trastng wth the ndefnte artce 'a(n)' to mark mportant referents
when they enter nto the dscourse for the frst tme. As ustraton, con-
sder the foowng etter to Dear Abby, one of the few venues where ths
cooqua usage can be found n prnt:
(56) "Dear Abby: There's this guy I've been gong wth for
near three years. We, the probem s that he hts me. He
started ast year. He has done t ony four or fve tmes,
but each tme t was worse than before. Every tme he hts
me t was because he thought I was frtng (I wasn't). Last
tme he accused me of comng on to a friend of hs. Frst
he caed me a ot of drty names, then he punched my face
so bad t eft me wth a back eye and back-and-bue
bruses over haf of my face. It was very notceabe, so I
tod my foks that the car I was rdng n stopped suddeny
and my face ht the wndshed. Abby, he's 19 and I'm 17,
and aready I fee ke an old married lady who ets her
husband push her around. I haven't spoken to hm snce
ths happened. He keeps buggng me to gve hm one more
chance. I thnk I've gven hm enough chances. Shoud I
keep avodng hm or what?
Back and Bue".
The foowng features n the use of the unstressed 'ths' vs. 'a(n)' n (56)
are strkng:
(a) The referrng-ndefnte partcpant ntroduced by 'ths' recurs through-
out the text and s obvousy the most mportant partcpant (after T).
(b) The referrng-ndefnte partcpant ntroduced by 'a(n)' never recurs;
hs specfc dentty s obvousy ncdenta to the story.
(c) The ony other ndefnte ntroduced by 'a(n)' s a non-referrng,
attrbutve noun.
5.3.1. Definite reference and the communicative contract
As noted above, the contrast between 'referrng' and 'non-referrng'
NPs, whether semantc or dscourse-pragmatc, nvoved prmary the
speaker's intent. In usng the varous grammatca devces avaabe to code
reference n Engsh, the speaker cues the hearer as to whether the NP s or
s not semantically referring, or whether t s gong to be pragmatically
important n the subsequent dscourse. Defnteness aso nvoves the
speaker's own mnd. But n addton t aso nvoves the speaker's assump-
tons about what goes on n the mnd of the hearer. More specfcay, def-
nteness pertans to a certan cause n the communicative contract between
speaker and hearer.
The cause n the communcatve contract that concerns defnteness
has to do wth the grounds on whch the speaker may normatvey assume
that a referent s mentally accessible or identifiable to the hearer. If the
speaker |udges that the referent s ndeed accessbe to the hearer, the refer-
ent (NP) s coded as definite. If not, t s coded as indefinite.
5.3.2. Grounds for referential accessibility
There are three man grounds on whch the speaker may assume that
the referent s accessbe to the hearer and s thus defnte. One may vew
those grounds as sub-causes n the communcatve contract, specfyng the
three man sources of definiteness:
(a) The shared current speech stuaton
(b) The cuturay-shared unverse
(c) The shared current dscourse
We w dscuss them n order.
5.3.3. Situation-based ('deictic') definites
The communcatve contract specfes that enttes wthn the current
speech situation are assumed by the speaker to be accessbe to the hearer,
and can thus be coded as defnte. Typca stuaton-based defntes are:
(57) a. The interlocutors (speaker, hearer):
I tod you I'd rather we met some other tme.
b. Demonstratives:
This house s taer than that one,
but that one over there s taest.
c. Adverbs of time:
He s not n now, but he was then and may be later.
She came yesterday, and w eave today or tomorrow.
d. Adverbs of place:
Here but not there.
For each one of these stuaton-based defnte expressons, the proxmty
ether to the speaker's location or the time of speech s the bass for fner
dentfcaton of the referent. In present-day Engsh, the most common
organzaton of stuaton-based defnteness nvoves the bnary contrast
between near the speaker and away from the speaker. Ths contrast ranks
the expressons n (57) as foows, respectvey:
(58) near the speaker away from the speaker
a. I, we you, y'a
b. ths, these that, those
. now then
d. here there
5.3.4. Culturally-based definites
The communcatve contract aso specfes that some enttes are dent-
fabe to a members of the speech community; that s, to a who ve n the
same physical universe and subscrbe to the same cultural world-view. Ths
sub-cause governng shared reference may of course be further restrcted
to the approprate sub-cuture or sub-group wthn the speech communty,
f the speech communty s arge and compex. Generc, cuturay-shared
defntes may be accessbe per se, wthout resort to other sub-causes of the
communcatve contract. Typca exampes of these are unque mundane or
cutura enttes such as:
(59) Generically-shared definites:
a. The sun came out a of a sudden
b. The president fred hs chef-of-staff
_ They went to the cemetery
d. The river ddn't thaw that year t May
e. So they tod me to ca the sheriff
f. The Gods must be angry
Shared cutura knowedge s herarchcay organzed n frames and
sub-frames; so that smaer sub-frames ft nto arger frames, etc. When a
partcuar cutura frame s referred to, automatcay the varous sub-
frames governed by t are aso actvated .e. become accessbe and may
be referred to. Ths gves rse to the most common use of cuturay-shared
nformaton for reference n dscourse frame-based reference. Under ths
mxed access system, cuturay-shared access to referents nteracts wth
text-based access (see beow). Typcay, a text-based referent s estabshed
frst; t then trggers access to a related referent va conventons of frame-
based defnteness. Ths mxed system may be ustrated wth the foowng
(60) Mixed frame-based definites:
a. My boy mssed school today,
he was ate for the bus.
b. He showed us this gorgeous house,
but the living room was too sma.
_ She went nto a restaurant
and asked the waiter for the menu.
d. He sad that his father was .
In (60a), the text-based referent 'schoo' presupposes and thus automat-
cay makes accessbe the frame-based knowedge of the defnte refer-
ent 'the bus', even f the bus tsef has never been mentoned before. In
(60b), the text-based referent 'ths gorgeous house' presupposes, and thus
automatcay makes accessbe, the frame-based defnte referent 'the v-
ng room'. In (60c), the text-based referent 'a restaurant' presupposes, and
thus automatcay makes accessbe, both 'the water' and 'the menu'. And
n (60d) the text-based referent 'he' presupposes, and thus automatcay
makes accessbe, the frame-based defnte referent 'hs father'. In natura
communcaton, the roe of frame-based access to defnte reference s as
mmense as t s ubqutous.
5.3.5. Text-based ('anaphoric') definites
Much of the grammar of defnte reference nvoves the trackng of
referents that have been ntroduced verbay, expcty, n the precedng
anaphoric dscourse. Once ntroduced, such referents reman at east
potentay 'avaabe' for defnte reference. The partcuar grammatca
devce used for subsequent defnte reference depends on the discourse con-
text of re-ntroducng (or 're-actvatng') the referent. In the foowng sec-
tons we w survey the most common devces used n Engsh to code text-
based defnte referents. Zero anaphora, anaphoric pronouns, and definite NPs
A defnte anaphorc referent may be ether continuous or discontinu-
ous. For a referent to be contnuous usuay means that t s aready men-
tally activated n the precedng cause. Most typcay when a referent s
aready actvated n the precedng cause, t s coded n the current cause by
ether zero anaphora or an unstressed anaphoric pronoun. Such usage can
be seen n (61c,d,e,f,h) beow.
When, on the other hand, a referent s dscontnuous, and s beng
reinstated after a consderabe gap of absence, t s typcay coded as a full
definite NP, wth a defnte artce, another defnte determner, or some
other defnte devce. Such usage can be seen n (61a,b,g) beow:
(61) a. .. .After the queen sad that,
b. the king went nto a roya suk.
c. He retred nto the throne chamber,
d. 0 ay on the foor,
e. 0 qut eatng
f. and 0 refused to tak.
g. Fnay the queen had had enough,
h. so she gave him a pece of her mnd... Stressed vs. unstressed pronouns
Engsh pronouns are dvded accordng to three grammatca case-
(62) Pronouns
category subject object possessive
1st person SG I me my/mne
2nd person SG you you your/yours
3rd person SG/M he hm hs
3rd person SG/F she her her/hers
3rd person SG/N t t ts
1st person PL we us our/ours
2nd person PL you you your/yours
3rd person PL they them ther/ther
What the wrtten forms of the pronouns do not revea s that n fact these
are two dstnct sets of pronouns stressed and unstressed. Unstressed
('anaphoric') pronouns, as n (61c,h) above, are used under the foowng
combned condtons:
(a) The referent s continuous; and
(b) the dentfcaton s unproblematic.
The dentcay-wrtten stressed ('contrastive') pronouns are used n the
context where:
(a) The referent s ndeed continuous; but
(b) dentfcaton s problematic.
To ustrate the dfference between the use of unstressed ('anaphorc')
and stressed ('contrastve') pronouns, consder:
(63) a. Unstressed:
Mary tod Suzy, then she tod Say.
b. Stressed:
Mary tod Suzy, then SHE tod Say.
Two referents n the frst ('precedng') cause coud be referred to by a pro-
noun 'Mary' and 'Suzy'. In both (63a) and (63b) the condton of con-
tinuous reference s equay satsfed. But when the unstressed 'she' s used,
as n (63a), 'she' coud ony be nterpreted as coreferent wth 'Mary', whch
s the subject of the precedng cause. When the stressed pronoun 'SHE' s
used n (63b), t must be coreferent wth 'Suzy', whch was the object of the
precedng cause. The stressed pronoun n (63b) thus affects a switch-of-
The tact assumpton assocated wth the use of stressed pronouns to
swtch the sub|ect, as n (63b) above, s that subject continuity s the more
common norm, whereby referenta dentfcaton s unprobematc. Switch-
of-subject s then the counter-norm, whereby referenta dentfcaton s
more probematc.
Stressed pronouns are requred for sub|ect swtch even when the two
referents n the precedng cause are we dfferentated by gender. Con-
sder, for exampe:
(64) a. Continuing subject:
BilI was there, but he eft before I coud...
b. Failed switch-of-subject:
Bill and Mary were there, but eft before I ...
_ Proper switch-of-subject:
Bill and Mary were there, but eft before I...
Two separate ssues concernng the proper use of pronouns are ustrated
n (64). Frst, the swtch from a con|oned-NP sub|ect to a snge sub|ect,
even when the snge referent was a member of that con|oned NP, s con-
sdered a swtch-of-sub|ect. Second, to affect a swtch-of-sub|ect success-
fuy, a stressed pronoun, as n (64c), must be used. An unstressed pro-
noun, as n (64b), s not enough.
The use of the two pronoun forms unstressed for unprobematc
sub|ect contnuty, stressed for more probematc contnuaton s further
ustrated n (65), (66). The context s a bt more compex here:
(65) Unproblematic continuing subject:
Bill came n; he ooked rea tred.
a. He's an actor and works ate.
b. *HE s an actor and works ate.
(66) Contrastive continuing subject:
Bill came n frst; he ooked rea tred.
Mary came n next.
a. SHE ddn't.
b. *She ddn't.
In (65) above, sub|ect contnuty s unprobematc. Ony one referent coud
be the antecedent of 'he', so that the unstressed pronoun s propery used n
(65a), and the stressed pronoun n (65b) s napproprate. In (66), one refer-
ent s ntroduced frst and then referred to, appropratey, wth the unstress-
ed pronoun. The second referent s then ntroduced, and s then the sole
sub|ect. What s more, the two referents are fuy dfferentated by gen-
der, so that the use of the unstressed pronoun 'she' n (66b) ought to suf-
fce. Nevertheess, (66b) s an odd use; and (66a), wth the stressed pro-
noun, s preferabe.
What s most key nvoved n (66) s thematic contrast. Whe 'Mary'
s ndeed the contnung sub|ect, the context drecty precedng her entry
nto the dscourse had another actve sub|ect referent, 'B'. Further,
a thematic parallel s evdent n dscussng the same predcaton 'be tred'
nvovng both 'B' and 'Mary'. Ths s enough to suggest that the two
referents are ndeed in contrast. And ony the stressed contrastve
pronoun, as n (66b), can be used appropratey.
Smar contrasts may be seen n contexts when one of the partcpants
was the sub|ect of the precedng cause, the other ts ob|ect. Thus consder:
(67) Mary brought B over and we taked.
a. I gave the book, she thanked me and they eft.
b. I gave the book, he thanked me and they eft.
_ To I gave a book; to I gave nothng.
The ntroductory context n (67) makes ether 'Mary' or 'B' potentay of
equa actve-topc status. The contnuaton n ether (67a) or (67b) resoves
the potenta confct n favor of |ust one of them. Wth no contrast, ony
the unstressed pronoun s used appropratey. In (67c), the two referents
are ptted aganst each other. A speca contrastve constructon s then
used, whereby the ob|ect s fronted. And now ony a stressed pronoun can
be used.
5 Demonstratives and text-based definite reference
As noted earer above, demonstrative determiners are typcay used
to mark situation-based defnte referents. But the very same demonstra-
tves are aso used to mark text-based defnte referents. Consder frst the
contrast between the use of 'that' and 'ths' n the foowng passage:
(68) a. Preceding context:
...And so she went and dd a of t n one day, and t
sure took some dong, she worked as hard as she ever
had n her fe. But she got t done, a of t.
b. Definite reference with 'that':
And that's what reay happened, f you want to know.
c. Definite reference with 'this':
Now, this s what she dd afterwards...
Both 'that' n (68b) and 'ths' n (68c) refer to large chunks of text: 'That'
refers to such a text-chunk backward, .e. anaphorcay. 'Ths' refers to
such a chunk forward, .e. cataphorcay. Presumaby, the anaphoric refer-
ence wth 'that' ponts to a text-chunk that has aready been stored n mem-
ory. Whe the cataphoric reference wth 'ths' ponts to a text-chunk that s
yet to be devered.
A somewhat smar contrast s made n the foowng conventonazed
newsroom formua:
(69) ...And that was the news, Wednesday, | anuary 19th.
This s Water Cronkte, bddng you goodnght...
Here the dsta demonstratve 'that' refers backward to a chunk of text,
whe the proxmate 'ths' s used very much n ts capacty of stuaton-based
reference, to pont to the speaker hmsef.
The use of both 'ths'/'these' and 'that'/'those' can nvove references to
contrastng chunks of the preceding anaphorc text. The subtety
of such reference s not aways easy to expan. As ustraton, consder the
foowng two passages from | espersen (1938):
(70) "...I t s ony when we compare the entre ngustc struc-
ture of some remote perod wth the structure n modern
tmes that we observe that the gan n cearness and
smpcty has reay been enormous.
This grammatca deveopment and smpfcaton has
taken pace not suddeny and from one cause, but gradu-
ay and from a varety of causes, most of these the same
that have worked and are workng smar changes n other
anguages..." (1938, p. 169)
(71 ) "... Chef among the genera causes of the decay of the Od
Engsh apparatus of decensons and con|ugatons must
be reckoned the manfod ncongrutes of the system: If
the same vowe dd not everywhere denote the same shade
of meanng, speakers woud naturay tend to nduge n
the unversa ncnaton to pronounce weak syabes
ndstncty... But besde this genera cause we must n
each separate case nqure nto those speca causes that
may have been at work..." (1938, pp. 169-170)
In (70), both proxmate demonstratves 'ths' and 'these' refer backwards
anaphorcay to dfferent chunks of the precedng text. The snguar-
pura contrast, of course, makes the dentfcaton of the dfferent referents
that much easer. In (71), the proxmate 'ths' ndeed refers backwards, and
to a reatvey we-defned chunk of the precedng text. The dsta
demonstratve 'those', on the other hand, refers to a chunk of text that s
not yet ceary defned. The ssues may have ndeed been rased n the pre-
cedng dscourse, and n that sense the referent of 'those' s anaphorc. But,
gven that the referent s yet to be fuy defned, one may argue that t s less
The orgna spata use of the demonstratves s n a sense beng
extended n exampes such as (70) and (71), but wth the orgna confgura-
ton seemngy preserved:
(72) 'ths'/'these' = 'near' ==> more accessbe
'that'/'those' = 'far' ==> ess accessbe Names and text-based definite reference
An mportant grammatca devce used n text-based defnte reference
are names ('proper nouns'). A name s used to mark an mportant referent,
one that s not ony locally important at a partcuar pont n the text, but
globally important for the entre current dscourse. For the purpose of usng
names, one's persona fe s consdered 'a current dscourse' that |ust hap-
pens to ast one's fetme. In gong aong wth the conventon of reference by
name, one tacty agrees to have access to the dentty of the named referent
at any pont durng the current text. Most commony, names are gven to
unque mportant persons, locations, or temporal entities. Typca names of
ths type are:
(73) name referent type current text
a. Doran Grey person a nove
b. George Washngton person US hstory
. | ohn person one's fe
d. Lma, Per ocaton word geography
. The Cv War tme US hstory
Some names requre a compex referenta access. For ther referent to
be defned unquey, t must be relationally anchored. Such anchorng
depends heavy on generc, cuturay-shared, conventona knowedge.
Typca exampes are:
(74) name text convention
a. Mom, Dad one's fe a person has ony
one Mom and Dad
b. home one's fe a person has ony
one home at a tme
_ Tuesday each week each week has ony
one Tuesday
d. | anuary each year each year has ony
one | anuary
e. Chrstmas each year each year has ony
one Chrstmas
In dscourse, names are used n the same contexts where otherwse a
fu defnte NP woud have been used; that s, to ntroduce or re-ntroduce
a partcpant nto the dscourse after a consderabe gap of absence. How-
ever, whe the access to fu defnte NPs n memory-stored (anaphorc)
text s reatvey oca, names do not depend for ther dentfcaton on pror
menton n the oca anaphorc context. Rather, once estabshed, they are
globally accessible for the duraton of the current text.
The dfference n referent accessbty between reatonay-anchored
(74) and non-reatona (73) names s roughy as foows: A non-reatona
smpe name must be frst estabshed n the text. Once estabshed, t
s accessbe for the duraton of the text. A reatonay-anchored name s
accessbe once ts anchor s made accessbe. To ustrate the dfference,
(75) a. Dad was born n 1913.
b. Mary was born n 1913.
_ Mary's dad was born n 1913.
The anchor of 'Dad' n (75a) s the speaker (T), accessbe from the shared
speech stuaton. 'Dad' s automatcay accessbe by the stuatona access-
bty of T, couped wth the cuturay-shared conventon of 'fatherhood'.
For 'Mary' to be accessbe n (75b), on the other hand, she must be frst
ntroduced n the precedng text. Fnay, n (75c) 'Mary' s accessbe by
vrtue of havng been ntroduced n the pror text, whe 'dad' s accessbe
by vrtue of Mary's accessbty, couped wth the cuturay-shared conven-
ton of 'fatherhood'.
Generc noun phrases refer to the type, species or genus, rather than to
a partcuar ndvdua (or a group). In that sense, ogcans have tended to
consder them a sub-type of non-referrng nouns. In Engsh, generc NPs
typcay appear n four dstnct grammatca forms, at east when occupyng
the sub|ect poston n the cause:
(76) a. Definite: The lion s a dangerous fene.
b. Plural: Lions are dangerous.
_ Quantified plural: All lions are dangerous.
Many lions are dangerous.
Some lions are dangerous.
d. Indefinite: A lion s a dangerous fene.
There are grounds for suspectng that, from a dscourse-pragmatc
perspectve, generc sub|ects such as those n (76) are |ust as 'referrng' as
any other sub|ect NP. Thus, for exampe, both snguar sub|ects n (76a)
and (76d) may be referred to n subsequent dscourse wth the anaphorc
pronoun 't' or zero, as n (77a) beow. Further, both pura sub|ects n
(76b) and (76c) may be referred to kewse by the anaphorc pronoun 'they'
or zero, as n (77b):
(77) a. s a dangerous fene.
It ves n the open veld n Afrca,
0 hunts anmas, and sometmes 0 attacks peope.
b. (All) lions are dangerous;
they ve n the open veld n Afrca,
0 hunt anmas, and sometmes 0 attack peope.
Whe not referrng to ndvdua tokens wthn the unverse of tokens,
generc sub|ects seem to refer to types wthn the unverse of types. Ths
s a reatvey superfca dstncton; once one ad|usts the unverse wthn
whch reference takes pace, generc sub|ects seem to refer n very much the
same way as other sub|ects do. What s more, the grammar of referenta
coherence n dscourse seems to treat generc sub|ects as norma referrng
expressons, regardess of ther seemngy pecuar ogca status.
Non-referrng ob|ects, on the other hand, show a three-way contrast n
terms of ther reference status. Two of these we have aready seen n sec-
ton 5.2. above reference to a token and non-reference. The thrd poss-
bty s reference to a type, much ke generc sub|ects. Thus contrast:
(78) a. Token reference:
He tred to trap a Hon that ked two of hs cows.
b. Non-reference:
He wanted to trap a lion to mount as a trophy.
c. Generic:
He thought about The Lion, and how ma|estc t was.
Unke generc sub|ects, generc ob|ects can be coded by ony two of the
four forms that coded generc sub|ects. Thus compare:
(79) a. Definite:
He thought about The Lion, and how ma|estc t was.
b. Plural.
He thought about lions, and how ma|estc they were.
c. Quantified plural:
*He thought about all lions, and how ma|estc they were.
d. Indefinite:
*He thought about a lion, and how ma|estc t was.
Sentence (79d) may be grammatca, but ony under a referring nterpreta-
One may vew nomna referents, coded as sub|ects or ob|ects of
causes, as the file labels attached to the storage unts of text-memory
('epsodc memory'). Each storage unt s somethng ke a clause chain or
paragraph through whch the same topical referent perssts. That persstent
topc s the important topic of the chan. It tends to partcpate as sub|ect
or ob|ect n most of the causes n the chan, most commony as sub|ect.
In text-memory, a number of causes n sequence consttute a chan,
a number of chans n sequence make up a paragraph, a number of para-
graphs make up an epsode, etc. The structure of text-memory s thus
both sequential and hierarchic. Wthn ths herarchc structure, each chan
can be vewed as a text-node. Incomng nformaton, packaged n successve
causes, can be fed ony under one node at a tme. In other words, ony
one node or ts fe-abe can be active at any gven tme. Activat-
ing a referent thus means activating a text-node; that s, fng a sub-
sequent ncomng nformaton under the text-node abeed by the referent.
The varous devces that partake n the grammar of reference and def-
nteness .e. n the grammar of referenta coherence may be thus vew-
ed as processing cues that gude the text-nterpreter n performng varous
menta operatons, n partcuar those nvovng attentional activation and
memory searches. The man grammar-cued menta operatons reevant to
referenta coherence may be gven as foows:
(80) Main grammar-cued mental operations:
(a) Retan the actvaton of the currenty-actve text-
node (and ts fe-abe).
(b) Termnate the actvaton of the currenty-actve text-
node (and ts fe-abe).
(c) Actvate a currenty-nactve new text-node (and ts
(d) Search n text-memory to dentfy a referent that has
been stored there prevousy.
(e) Retreve a prevousy-stored referent from text-
memory and attach t as fe-abe of a newy-act-
vated text-node.
The reaton between the man grammatca operators responsbe for
markng referenta coherence, and these ma|or menta operatons, s sum-
marzed n chart (81) beow.
(81) Major grammar-coded cognitive operations
in the grammar of referential coherence:
~ ~
[U] [M]
[anaphoric PRO]
[zero anaphora]
[stressed PRO]
[ word -order]
------- ---------
[U] = unmarked
[M] = marked
1) See n partcuar chapter 8 (de-transtve voce), chapter 9 (reatve causes), chapter 10
(contrastve focus), chapter 11 (marked topc constructons), and chapter 13 (ntercausa con-
2) Representatve exponents of ths vew are Russe (1905) and Carnap (1959), inter alia.
3) Ths contnuum s of course another ndcaton that the dscrete dstncton of 'ob|ectve
reference" vs. "ack of ob|ectve reference" s ncapabe of characterzng reference n natura
anguage, where referenta intent seems to be nvoved.
4) By most accounts, ths usage penetrated Amercan Engsh sometme after Word War II.
For a quantfed text-based study of the contrast between 'a' and 'ths' as ndefnte artces, see
Wrght and Gvn (1987).
5) For ths and other contrastve devces, see Chapter 10.
6) To the extent, however, that the referent of 'those' n (71) depends for ts fna carfca-
ton on yet to come dscourse, ts use has some quaty of forward cataphorc reference.
7) | ohn Haman (n persona communcaton) suggests that sentences ke:
Mary oves (most) lions.
I despse (all) drug addicts
Arc counter-exampes here.
8) Many other grammatca devces that partake n the grammar of referenta coherence w
be dscussed n subsequent chapters. For more detas of ths cogntve overvew, see Gvn
(1990, chapter 20).
We have seen how noun phrases of dfferent types occupy the charac-
terstc syntactc postons and case-roes of nouns. These syntactc
postons are most typcay those of sub|ect, drect ob|ect, ndrect ob|ect
and nomna predcate. If a noun, a name or pronoun can occur n such a
poston, chances are a arger noun phrase (NP) can aso occur.
Pronouns and names make up the smaest noun phrases, snce they
typcay come by themseves, wth nether determiners nor any other mod-
ifiers. Ths s so because modfers functon, n varous ways, to restrct the
doman of possbe reference of a noun; and both pronouns and names refer
to unque enttes that requre no further specfcaton. A noun phrase that
s nether a name nor a pronoun s then made out of an obgatory head
noun pus, optonay, some modifier(s).
In the grammar of noun phrases, modfers perform a varety of com-
muncatve functons, and are accorded, correspondngy, a varety of syn-
tactc treatments. The range of functons performed by the varous types of
modfers ncude:
(a) Lexical-semantics: the creaton of new exca tems.
(b) Phrasal-semantics: varous operators, such as puras, case-roe
markers and some quantfers, that take under ther scope the
entre noun phrase.
(c) Discourse-pragmatics: varous operators, such as determners
and ad|ectves, that are nvoved n the grammar of referenta
coherence n dscourse.
Many perhaps most modfers perform more than one of these func-
The head noun s the core of the noun phrase t determnes ts ex-
ca-semantc type.
Modfers may ndeed add varous types of nformaton
to the head noun, but typically do not change its inherent lexical type. The
central role of the head noun in the noun phrase may be expressed by the
following rule of semantic amalgamation of the noun phrase:
(1) The NP semantic amalgamation principle:
"Whatever semantic features belong to the head noun
also belong to the entire noun phrase".
The utility of principle (1) will become apparent when we examine the var-
ious grammatical means by which the noun phrases are structurally unified,
or 'made to look like a noun'.
6.2.1. Preliminaries
English exhibits a fairly rigid order of elements within the noun phrase.
Some modifiers can only precede the noun; we call those pre-nominal mod-
ifiers. Others can only follow the head noun; we call those post-nominal
modifiers. Further, modifiers either in front or behind the noun are rigidly
ordered relative to each other. In order to express these constraints as an
explicit rule, one must first give the more general division of NP types into
pronouns, names and noun-based NPs:
(2) Types of noun phrases:
NP =
Rule (2) states that an English noun phrase can be either a pronoun (PRO),
a name (NAME) or a full noun phrase (NP!). The general rule that orders
the various optional modifiers relative to the head noun as well as vis-a-vis
each other may now be given as:
(3) Rigid order within the NP:
NP! =(QUANT) (DET) (AP) (*) N (PL)
Rule (3) states that modifiers that precede the head noun are, in order,
quantifiers (QUANT), determiners (DET), adjectival phrases (AP) or
modifying nouns (N). Modifiers that follow the head noun are the plural
marker (PL), relative clauses (REL), possessor noun phrases (POSS-NP)
or noun complements (N-COMP). The parentheses ( ) around a consttuent
n rue (3) ndcate that t s optona. The cury brackets {} encosng a co-
umn of two or more consttuents ndcate that ony one of the bracketed
eements may occupy the desgnated poston. In ths partcuar case, ths
disjunction rue s not absoute n Engsh, where at east n prncpe more
than one post-nomna modfer may occur n the same noun phrase, and at
east n prncpe two post-nomna modfers may be of dfferent types.
The most common voaton of ths rue nvoves mutpe reatve causes
(REL*). The astersk thus stands for a recursion opton, as t aso does n
the case of modfyng nouns (N*).
6.2.2. Pre-nominal modifiers Quantifiers
Ouantfers (OUANT) appear n Engsh n two dstnct postons pre-
cedng the noun, frst as partitive definite quantifiers, and second as indefi-
nite quantifiers-determiners. We w dscuss the two n order, then note
brefy a thrd stuaton, where quantfers appear n postons outsde the
noun phrase. Partitive definite quantifiers
The parttve quantfer s foowed by the possessve 'of' and by a def-
nte determner, as n:
(4) a. some of the peope
b. all of that nonsense
c. none of my frends
d. any of those peope
e. most of ths work
f. lots of ther suggestons
g. one of the men
h. two of the men
. a number of these books
An ndefnte head noun, whether referrng or non-referrng, s ncompat-
be wth these parttve quantfers, as s evdent from the unacceptabty of:
(5) a. *none of a man
b. *severa of some friends
c. *a of women
d. *ots of any cows
One quantfer, 'ony', cannot appear wth the possessve marker 'of'.
Another, 'a', may appear ether wth or wthout 'of'. Thus consder:
(6) a. only the woman
b. *only of the woman
_ all the men
d. all of the women Indefinite quantifiers-determiners
The ndefnte quantfers appear wth nether 'of' nor a determner.
These quantfers n fact occupy the determner (DET) sot n the noun
phrase, and some of them when de-stressed ndeed functon as indefi-
nite determiners.
Ouantfers n ths group are, typcay:
(7) a. some women
b. one man
_ two men
d. another day
e. only men
f. all soders
many fowers
h. every person
. much unhappness
| .
little uck
k. a little hep
1. any suggeston
m . no response
Engsh numerals can appear n both quantfer sots: As defnte parttve
quantfers (4g,h), and as ndefnte quantfers-determners (7b,c).
One quantfer that s superfcay n ths group, 'ony' (7e), turns out
not to be an ndefnte quantfer by tsef, but can combne wth an ndef-
nte noun. When that ndefnte noun s referring, an ndefnte determner/
artce must be used, as n (8a,b) beow. When the ndefnte s non-refer-
ring or generic, no artce s needed, as n (7e) and (8c,d):
(8) a. Only some chdren came
b. Only an od man was there
_ Only chdren came
d. Only od men were there
Fnay, the quantfer 'a' s aso probematc. Uness used wth a def-
nte determner (see (4), (6) above), t s nherenty generic, or non-refer-
ring. Thus compare:
(9) a. Generic subject:
All humans are created morta.
b. Referring indefinite subject:
*A11 some humans are morta.
_ Generic object:
She oves all men.
d. Referring indefinite object:
*She oves all some men. Quantifier scope Quantifier scope within the clause
A sma group of quantfers n Engsh, most conspcuousy 'ony',
'even' and '|ust', seem to exhbt a reatvey free poston wthn the cause.
These quantfers are nvaraby contrastive. That s, n one way or another
they are used n contexts where the speaker goes aganst what he/she
assumes to be the hearer's expectatons. We w ustrate ths phenomenon
wth 'ony'. Consder the foowng sx pacement varants n (10), wth the
stress ndcated by tacs:
(10) a. Only she coud have sad ths
(>but not anybody else)
b. She only coud have sad ths
(>but not anybody else)
c. She only could have sad ths
(>but n fact she didn't)
d. *She could only have sad ths
e. *She coud only have sad ths
f. She coud have only said ths
(>but not reay meant t)
g. She coud have sad only this
(>rather than something else)
h. She coud have sad this only
(>rather than something else)
Wth the proper ntonaton, n partcuar the pacement of contrastive
stress, most of the patterns (10a-h) can be made both grammatca and
meanngfu n spoken Engsh. The ony consstent restrcton seems to be
aganst the auxary 'have' (10e).
However, of a possbe postons of 'ony'
n (10), ony the ones drecty ad|acent to the stressed sub|ect or ob|ect
(10a,b) and (10g,h), respectvey can be nterpreted as quantfers wthn
the NP. In the other cases (10c,f) the restrctng contrastive scope of
'ony' fas on eements that are outsde the sub|ect or ob|ect NP.
A quantfer coud aso be totay non-ad|acent to the NP t quantfes
and st beong to t n terms of semantc scope. In such cases, t seems that
a quantfer of the object can 'foat' toward the sub|ect NP, but not vce
versa. That s:
(11) a. She only coud have sad this
(>rather than something else)
b. *She coud have sad only ths.
(*>rather than someone else sayng t)
The contrastve nature of 'ony' heps expan ts nteracton wth stress:
The contrast here pertans to the numerical scope of the referent NP: The
speaker assumes that the hearer expects that scope to be wder, and to
counter such expectatons, the speaker s mtng that scope.
To demonstrate the cose nteracton between the nterpretaton of
'ony' and the pacement of contrastve stress, consder agan (10a) above.
When the stress s paced on any consttuent other than 'she' or when no
stress s paced on 'she' the cause-nta pacement of 'ony' seems
(12) a. Only she coud have sad ths.
b. *Only she coud have sad ths.
c. *Only she could have sad ths
d. *Only she coud have sad ths
e. *Only she coud have said ths
f. *Only she coud have sad this
A smar case s found wth (10b); athough as noted n (11) above, the
'foatng' of the ob|ect's quantfer toward the sub|ect NP s permssbe:
(13) a. She only coud have sad ths
b. ?She only coud have sad ths
c. *She only could have sad ths
d. ?She only coud have said ths
e. She only coud have sad this
The scope of 'ony' n (13) s agan competey determned by stress pace-
ment. But here both eements precedng and foowng 'ony' can attract
that scope. What s more, wth the proper ntonaton, t seems that the fna
eement n the cause, an ob|ect NP, can aso be stressed, and thus attract
the contrastve scope of 'ony'. Mere ad|acency, t seems, s not an absoute
Fnay, when two eements n a cause wth 'ony
are stressed, ony
one of them s under the scope of 'ony':
(14) a. She could have only said ths
(>'t s possbe that she only said
t but ddn't reay mean t')
b. She could have only sad this
(>'t s possible that she sad
only this but nothing else)
In attemptng to summarze the varous constrants on the pacement of
'ony', the use of contrastve stress and the semantc scope of the quantfer,
one must admt the reevance of at east the foowng factors:
(15) Factors affecting contrastive quantifiers:
a. Stress: Ony a stressed eement can come under the contras-
tve scope of 'ony'.
b. Adjacency: A other thngs beng equa, some effect of ad|a-
cency can be observed, most strongy at the two
extreme postons of sub|ect and ob|ect.
_ Left-right: A weak preference can be observed for the scope
of 'ony' to fa on the eement to ts rght (suc-
ceedng) rather than on the one to ts eft (pre-
d. Object over subject: An ob|ect-scope quantfer seems to be
easer to 'foat' toward the sub|ect NP
than vce versa.
e. Morphemic status: Lexca morphemes are more key to
take contrastve stress than grammatca
A suggeston mpct n the rather restrcted case of 'foated' quantfer (cf.
(11a), (15d)) s that such a quantfer orgnay 'beonged to' or 'started n'
the ob|ect NP and somehow 'got dspaced' and wound up n the sub|ect
It s worth notng, fnay, that the 'foatng' of 'ony' from a post-ver-
ba eement toward a more forward poston n the cause s not mted to
drect ob|ects, but may nvove other post-verba phrases. Ths may be us-
trated wth optona manner adverbs, as n:
(16) a. She only coud have sad ths aloud.
b. She coud only have sad ths aloud.
_. She coud have only sad ths aloud.
d. *She coud have sad only ths aloud.
e. She coud have sad ths only aloud.
f. ?She coud have sad ths aloud only
It seems that the ony competton for 'ony' that the adverb suffers s when
'ony' s paced drecty before the object (16d). Quantifier scope within the noun phrase
So far, we have consdered the scope and even 'foatng' of con-
trastve quantfers wthn the entre cause. Wthn the noun phrase tsef,
the poston of contrastve quantfers s rgdy constraned, so that ther
contrastve scope f varabe s determned by the pacement of con-
trastve stress. As ustratons, consder:
(17) a. Only the red book on the foor |got wet|
(>but not the blue one)
b. Only the red book on the foor |got wet|
(>but not the red pad)
_. Only the red book on the floor |got wet|
(>but not the red one on the couch) The scope of 'only' in the written register
So far, our dscusson of the dspaced 'ony' has pertaned prmary to
spoken Engsh. The stuaton s a bt more compex n the wrtten regster,
where contrastve stress though n prncpe reproducbe va italics or
bold-facing s often eft unmarked. Ths s ndeed one consequence of
havng a wrtten medum, where many ntonatona cues that are systemat-
c and vta n ora communcaton tend to be eft out. In ths context,
more conservatve guardans of our ngustc tradton often nvegh aganst
pacng 'ony' anywhere except adjacent to and n fact preceding the
contrasted eement. As an exampe of typca edtora wrath on ths thorny
sub|ect, consder (18) through (22) beow. We gve both the cted offensve
passage and ther desgnated correct aternatve. In the offendng orgna
passage, we suppy the stress that woud have rendered the usage unam-
bguous n the spoken verson:
(18) Cited: "...has only been carred ve every day by CNN and
Corrected: "...has been carred ve every day only by CNN and
(19) Cited: "...sad they woud only accept payroll checks from
Eastern Arnes..."
Corrected: "...woud accept only payro checks from Eastern
(20) Cited: "...Sabatn only hed her own servce once..."
Corrected: "...Sabatn hed her own servce only once..."
(21) Cited: "...The Kremn so far only seems to be stoking the
popuar sprt..."
Corrected: "...So far the Kremn seems only to be stokng..."
(22) Cited: "...that force shoud only be used to liberate Kuwait
and not to destroy Iraq..."
Corrected: "...that force shoud be used only to berate
There are two thngs to be noted n these exampes. Frst, n the absence of
marked stress n the wrtten text, postonng of 'ony' drecty before the
ntended contrastve consttuent (cf. (15c)) ndeed acheves unambguous
nterpretaton. And second, n many of these exampes, knowedge of the
sub|ect matter and/or common sense woud have rescued an unambguous
nterpretaton of the ntended contrast. The most conspcuous case s of
course (22), where the aternatve assumpton "destroy Iraq", s supped
overty n the text. Determiners
We have aready deat, n chapter 5, wth Engsh determners and
ther use n the grammar of referenta coherence. These determners
ncude the definite article 'the'; the demonstratives 'ths', 'that', 'these',
'those'; the indefinite articles 'a(n)', 'some', and the unstressed 'ths' and
'these' (for nforma spoken Engsh ony); and the non-referring articles
'any' and 'no'. In addton, pre-nomna possessive modfers, ether pro-
nouns or fu NPs, aso functon as determners. Ths s true n two respects:
Frst, possessves occupy the same sot as other determners n the NP. And
second, they are used as part of the grammar of referenta coherence.
Exampes of the varous types of determners are:
(23) a. Definite article: the woman
b. Demonstrative: that horse
this chd
Indefinite article: a gr
some chdren
d. Non-referring article: any mk
no troube
e. Possessive determiners : my boy
John's work
the woman's son
The best evdence that a these determners beong to the same syntactc
cass s the fact that ony one of them at a tme can occupy the determner
sot. Thus consder:
(24) a. the my house
b. *my some chdren
_ *the that house
d. *this her room
e. *his that book
f. *no a souton Adjectives
The ad|ectve phrase (AP) foows the determner but precedes the
noun n Engsh. It may nvove more than one ad|ectve, as we as a mod-
fyng adverb. The rue for an expanded AP sot may be gven as:
(25) Adjective phrase (AP):
AP = (ADV) (AD| *) AD|
The optona consttuent (AD| *) sgnfes that more than one ad|ectve
can appear n the ad|ectva phrase. When ths opton s exercsed, the
order of the ad|ectves precedng the head noun s often rgd, athough
rgdty may nteract wth the use of stress on one of the ad|ectves. To
ustrate ths rgdty, consder frst:
(26) a. a bg red ba
?a red bg ba
b. a tny tte mouse
?a tte tny mouse
c. a arge Afrcan eephant
*an Afrcan arge eephant
d. a dsgustng new rue
?a new dsgustng rue
The consderatons that govern the rgd order of modfyng ad|ectves
n Engsh are compex, nvovng the foowng factors (foowng Gruber,
(27) Relative order of adjectives:
"An ad|ectve w be paced closer to the noun stem f t s:
(a) more central to the meanng of the noun;
(b) a more inherent, durable quaty of the noun;
(c) more generic (rather than specfc) nformaton;
(d) more given (rather than new) nformaton;
(e) a non-restrictive (rather than restrctve) modfer".
The generazatons n (27) can be ustrated by the foowng exam-
(28) Centrality to the noun meaning:
a. A arge national monument
b. ?A natona large monument
It s more cogent to say that natona monuments come n varous szes, and
ess cogent to say that arge monuments come for dfferent purposes.
Consder next:
(29) Inherent/durable quality:
a. A arge African elephant
b. ?An Afrcan large elephant
The concept of 'Afrcan eephant' s somehow more nherent as a untary
concept than the concept 'arge eephant'. It s thus more cogent to say that
Afrcan eephants come n varous szes, and ess cogent to say that arge
eephants come from dfferent paces.
Consder next:
(30) Generic information:
a. A dumb four-legged animal
b. ?A four-egged dumb animal
The concept 'four-egged anma' s somehow more of a generc entty than
the concept 'dumb anma'. It s thus more cogent to say that four-egged
anmas may vary n the eve of ther ntegence than to say that dumb an-
mas may exhbt varyng numbers of egs.
Consder next:
(31 ) Given information :
a. A traned miniature dachshund
b. ?A mnature trained dachshund
The concept 'mnature dachshund', n fact the name of a breed, s some-
how more key to be a untary pece of gven nformaton than 'traned
dachshund'. So that t s more cogent to say that mnature dachshunds may
vary n ther degree of tranng than to say that traned dachshunds may
vary n ther sze.
The fna exampe nvoves one ad|ectve and one modfyng noun that
has |oned wth the head noun to form a noun compound:
(32) Non-restrictive :
A good bird-dog
*A brd good dog
The stress pattern on such compounds exca stress on 'brd
, wth 'dog
gong unstressed
aready suggests that the modfyng noun s not an
ndependent modfer, but s rather fused wth the head noun to form a un-
tary concept. Such modfyng nouns are dscussed drecty beow. Compounding: Nouns as modifiers
The ast modfer sot precedng the head noun s that of modifying
nouns. A noun or severa nouns may be used n Engsh to modfy a
head noun. Such a constructon qute often yeds a noun compound; that
s, over tme the modfer and head become fused or co-lexicalized, formng
a new exca noun. As ustratons of ths pattern as a syntactic modifier
pattern, consder:
(33) Non-compound noun modifiers:
a. the Panama invasion surprise decson
b. the federal bank inspection fasco
c. the university president selection commttee
In exampes (33), each modfyng noun carres ts own prmary exca
stress, and thus retans ts ndependence as a exca word. But a noun and
ts modfyng noun may aso fuse to yed a untary noun compound, as n:
(34) Compound noun-noun constructons:
a. brd-house ("a house where brds ve")
b. shoe-posh ("gooey stuff wth whch one poshes shoes")
_ rdng-horse ("horse on whch one rdes
d. buffao-gun ("a gun used to shoot buffao
e. wheat-fed ("a fed where one grows wheat")
f. appe-core ("the core nsde the appe")
maman ("a person who devers the ma")
Noun-noun compounds n Engsh have a characterstc stress pattern: The
prmary word-stress s nvaraby paced on the frst noun n the compound.
That s:
(35) a. BIRD-house
b. *brd-HOUSE
c. MAIL-man
d. *ma-MAN
Compounds are not formed ony wth modfyng nouns, but aso wth
modfyng ad|ectves. In such cases, the characterstc compound stress-pat-
tern tes the dfference between a compoundng and a modfyng use of the
(36) a. a back brd (= any brd that s back)
b. a back-brd (= a speces of brds)
_ a ong house (=any house that s ong)
d. a ong-house (=a speca house-type)
e. a whte house (=a house that s whte)
f. the Whte House (=the Presdent's resdence)
Once an ad|ectve s paced n a compound, the meanng of the com-
bned NP s not aways the predctabe sum of ts parts. That s, havng
become a fused exca tem, the meanng of the whoe may change gradu-
ay as a snge word.
As can be seen from exampe (32) above, modfyng nouns whether
n compounds or not cannot be separated from the head noun by an
ad|ectve. That s, they must be paced cosest to the head noun. Ths
s a refecton of ther codng, typcay, more nherent, generc, durabe
quates of the head noun. Further exampes of ths orderng constrant
(37) a. Noun compound:
a arge brd-house
*a brd arge house
b. Modifying noun:
a whte shnge roof
*a shnge whte roof
c. Compounding adjective:
a sma black-board
*a back sma board
a beautfu ong-house
*a ong beautfu house
These orderng constrants most key refect our genera rue (27). The
fact that nouns so often form compounds wth the head noun s a drect con-
sequence of two factors:
(a) Nouns tend to code more nherent meanngs; and
(b) nouns tend to be paced next to the head noun.
Noun-noun compounds can aso arse fromnominalized verb phrases.
Such a process commony yeds ether action nouns or an actor noun, as n:
(38) Action nouns:
Compound source verb phrase
a. garbage-dsposa ('dsposng of garbage')
b. trout-fshng ('fshng (for) trout')
. fy-fshng ('fshng wth a fy')
d. deer-huntng ('huntng deer')
. bow-&-arrow-season ('season for huntng wth
f. ma-devery ('deverng the ma')
home-devery ('deverng to one's home')
h. crop-dustng ('spreadng dust on the crops')
i. foor-dustng ('removng dust from the foor')
(39) Actor/agent noun:
compound source verb phrase
a. beaver-trapper ('he traps beavers
b. garbage-coector ('he coects the garbage')
c. wnter-trapper ('he traps n the wnter')
d. nose-maker ('he/t makes nose')
As one may have notced, the compound order n (38) and (39)
paces the ob|ect, adverb or nstrument in front of the verb, .e. n an OV
order, whe n the source verb phrase the norma VO order of Engsh s
observed. The OV order n nomnazed VPs n Engsh s ndeed an od
pattern that harkens back to Ango-Saxon (Od Engsh), n whch OV was
the domnant order n the verb phrase. Sometme after the anguage changed
to the VO order, n the Mdde Engsh perod, an attempt seems to have
been made to brng new nomnazed-VP compounds n ne wth the new
VO order. The process never became domnant, and the few VO com-
pounds that survve to ths day are ether archac or got fused nto persona
names. Some exampes of those are:
(40) te-tae (somethng that tes a tae)
cut-throat (one who cuts throats)
scoff-aw (one who scoffs at the aw)
turn-coat (one who turned hs coat)
turn-ste (a gate where one turns a ste)
spend-thrft (one who spends one's savngs)
hear-say (somethng that one hears someone say)
Catch-poe (one who gathers taxes)
Gather-coe (one who gathers charcoa)
Shake-speare (one who weds a spear)
More recenty, a few VO compounds seem to have entered the anguage, as
(41) a. He's a take-charge knd of a guy
b. She's a do-gooder
a carry-all bag Adverbs within the Adjectival Phrase
As suggested n rue (25) above, an ad|ectve phrase (AP) may ncude
a manner adverb. Such adverbs act ke quantifiers of the extent of the qua-
ty coded by the ad|ectve. Typca adverbs n ths sot are 'very', 'not very',
ess than', 'reay', 'rather', 'unusuay', 'ncredby', 'unbeevaby' and
others. As ustratons, consder:
(42) a. a very bg house
b. a rather arge audence
_ a not very beautfu garden
d. a really fne performance
e. a less than candd response
f. an unusually hgh rate
g. an incredibly ta man
h. an unbelievably ugy pcture
Some adverbs, such as 'too', seem to be more approprate as modfers
of predcate ad|ectves than of modfyng ad|ectves, athough an aterna-
tve order seems to accommodate them. Thus compare:
(43) a. The ecture was too ong
b. ?a too ong ecture
c. The task was too hard
d. ?a too hard task
e. a task too hard
f. The brdge s too far
g. ?a too far brdge
h. a brdge too far
Adverbs that modfy modfyng ad|ectves n the noun phrase often
arse through nominalizations of fu causes, wthn whch the verb was
modfed by an adverb. Some exampes of such constructons are:
(44) nominalized NP full clause
a. a properly dressed ady The ady dressed properly
b. a vastly exaggerated satre The satre was vastly exaggerated
c. a largely negected area The area was largely negected
d. the rapidly dranng poo The poo draned rapidly
6.2.3. Post-nominal modifiers
Post-nomna modfers n Engsh are arge n sze, phrasa rather
than snge words. Further, they tend to bear a systematc syntactc or
semantc reaton to fu verba causes. The syntactc aspect of that reaton
s most obvous wth reatve causes, ess obvous wth noun compements,
and s purey semantc wth possessve phrases. We w dea wth the three
types n order. Relative clauses
The grammar and functon of reatve causes w be dscussed n con-
sderabe deta n chapter 9. Some exampes of reatve causes occupyng
the post-nomna modfer poston are:
(45) a. The man who came to dinner
(>A man came to dnner)
b. The woman I met yesterday
(>I met a woman yesterday)
_ The boy she gave the book to
(>She gave the book to some boy)
d. The boy sitting there
(>A boy s sttng there)
e. The fdder on the roof
(>A fdder s on the roof) Noun complements
Noun compements, and ther connecton to nomnazaton, are ds-
cussed n more deta n secton 6.6.3., further beow. Some exampes of
noun compements n the post-nomna modfer poston are:
(46) a. the suggeston that we quit
(>Someone suggested that we qut)
b. her perodc attempts to find a job
(>She perodcay attempted to fnd a |ob)
_ knowng what went on there
(>Someone knew what went on there)
d. her mastery of algebra
(>She mastered agebra)
e. workng in a factory
(>Someone works n a factory)
f. hs retreat into solitude
(>He retreated nto sotude)
As s fary transparent, these post-nomna modfers are ether verba com-
pements or ob|ects of fu causes. When the fu cause s nomnazed
.e. made nto a noun phrase whatever foowed the verb now foows the
de-verba head noun as ts noun compement. Possessive phrases
Post-nomna possessve modfers have the form of a prepostona
phrase (PP), marked wth the preposton 'of. Whe semantcay some-
tme reated to a fu proposton, the possesson reaton s constraned nether
semantcay nor syntactcay. Some possessve modfers ndeed nvove
possesson, but amost any other reaton between two NPs can be coded,
under the approprate crcumstances, as an "NP of NP" constructon.
Indeed, the possessive or genitive grammatca case-roe typcay codes a
grab-bag of reatons. Some exampes are:
(47) a. a botte of wine
(>The botte s fu of wne)
b. parts of his body
(>Hs body has varous parts)
_ a house of ill repute
(>The house has a bad reputaton)
d. the headquarters of the oil company
(>The o company has ts headquarters there)
e. her knowedge of mathematics
(>She knew mathematcs)
f. the march of time
(>Tme marched)
g. the dogs of war
(>The dogs' behavor resembed that of soders)
h. the Unversty of Oregon
(>The unversty s funded by the state of Oregon)
. the Presdent of the US
(>He presdes over the Unted States)
| . the baance of payments
(>ncomng payments baance aganst outgong ones)
k. a bouquet of roses
(>The bouquet s made of roses) Pseudo-possessives: Complex locatives
Occasonay, what was hstorcay a possessve "NP-of-NP" construc-
ton, and st ooks so superfcay, turns out to have the exact opposte
head-modfer reaton. To ustrate ths dscrepancy between surface form
and semantc-grammatca reaty, compare the two uses of 'top' and 'front'
(48) a. True possessive:
He surveyed the top of the house.
It was made of od cedar beams.
(>t =the top)
b. Pseudo-possessive:
He cmbed on top of the house.
It was made of od cedar beams.
(>t =the house)
_ True possessive:
He measured the front of the house.
It was 30 feet wde.
(>t =the front)
d. Pseudo-possessive:
He stood n front of the house.
It was 30 feet wde.
(>t =the house)
In (48a) and (48c) above, 't' refers ony to the top and front of the
house, respectvey. In both cases, 'top' and 'front' are the head nouns mod-
fed by 'of the house'. In (48b) and (48d), on the other hand, 't' refers to
the entre house; and 'of the house' s not a coherent semantc entty, nor s
t a coherent syntactc consttuent modfyng ether 'top' or 'front'.
What the contrast n (48) reveas s that a semantc and grammatca
historical re-analysis has taken pace n expressons such as (48b,d). The re-
anayss pertaned to whch noun s the head of the NP and whch one s the
modfer. In exampes (48a,c), the orgna possessve modfer constructon
ndeed retans ts orgna semantc status. In (48b,d), hstorca re-anayss
has conspred to enrch the nventory of ocatve prepostons n Engsh,
gvng rse to new complex prepositions such as:
(49) a. out (of) the wndow
b. inside the house
_ behind the barn
d. at the bottom of the ocean
e. in the middle of the game
f. at the back of hs mnd
Some non-ocatve prepostons have aso been derved va such re-
anayss, as n:
(50) a. instead of eavng
b. in spite of her anger
_ because of | ohn
d. for the benefit of her audence
e. for the sake of her chdren
Some compex prepostons, such as 'nsde' (49b) and 'behnd' (49c),
have been smpfed, osng both 'of and 'the'. Others, as n (49d,e,f), st
retan both 'of and 'the'. Others yet, such as 'out (of)' n (49a), dspay a
subte varaton between the presence and absence of 'of':
(51) a. She threw hmout of the house
b. *She threw hmout the house
_ She ooked out the wndow
d. ?She ooked out of the wndow
The grammatca dfference between the orgna post-nomna posses-
sve constructon and the re-anayzed compex preposton may be gven by
the two tree dagrams beow. Of the two, (52) corresponds to the orgna
modfer constructon, and (53) to the re-anayzed compex preposton.
(52) True possessive modifier:
(53) Re-analyzed complex preposition:
Two other types of pseudo-possessve constructons have undergone a
smar re-anayss, athough wth dfferent motvatons. Consder frst:
(54) a. a hell of a fght
b. a tiger of a woman
Expressons such as 'a he of a' and 'a tger of a' have become frozen mod-
fers, semantcay specfc but syntactcay opaque, thus idiomatic. The
second group nvoves compex quantfers such as:
(55) a. some of the men
b. a bunch of bu
c. a dozen (of) roses
d. a pound of fesh
We have dscussed some quantfers of ths type earer above under the
headng of partitive indefinite quantifiers.
A more extensve dscusson of the contrast between restrictive and
non-restrictive modfcaton w be deferred t chapter 9. At ths pont, we
w broach the sub|ect ony brefy, n connecton wth pre-nomna mod-
Some pre-nomna modfers are nherenty restrctve. That s, they
are used prmary to narrow the range of searchng for the exact referenta
dentty of the head noun. Demonstratves are typcay used n ths func-
ton, as n:
(56) a. This book (>rather than that)
b. That char (>rather than this)
Ordinal adjectives smary are used prmary as restrctve modfers,
as n:
(57) a. The first one to come n
(>rather than the second or third)
b. The fifth case
(>rather than any other n order)
Possessive determiners are used as restrctve modfers when they are
stressed, and as non-restrctve modfers when they are un-stressed. To
ustrate the contrast, consder:
(58) a. Restrictive:
I found HIS etter. HER etter I must have ost.
b. Non-restrictive:
I caed | ohn but his ne was busy.
The use of restrctve modfers s ndeed qute often assocated wth con-
trastive stress. So that when a modfer s contrastve, as n (58a), t must be
Ad|ectves, ke possessve determners, may be used as ether restrc-
tve or non-restrctve modfers. Non-restrctve ad|ectves cannot be stress-
ed. Restrctve ones can, and often are, stressed. As ustraton of ths pos-
sbe contrast, consder:
(59) a. Non-restrictive:
The industrious Chinese came to Caforna
n the ate 1800s.
b. The INDUSTRIOUS Chnese made t,
the other Chnese ddn't.
In (59a), the unstressed 'ndustrous' s used non-restrctvey, sgnfyng the
generc quaty of all Chnese. In (59b), the ad|ectve s stressed, and the
ndustrous Chnese are contrasted wth the non-ndustrous ones. Non-
restrctve modfers n a sense enter nto a compound relation wth ther
head noun. That s, they create a untary concept, thus potentay a new
exca tem.
When the ad|ectve phrase has severa ad|ectves separated by comma
ntonaton, most commony they are a nterpreted as non-restrctve.
When no ntonatona separaton occurs, the ad|ectves are more key to
be nterpreted as a progresson of restrctve modfers. To ustrate ths,
(60) a. Non-restrictive:
The thick, red, leather-bound book sat on the shef,
b. Restrictive:
Brng me the skinny red book on the top shelf.
(>not any other book)
Names, standng for unque enttes, are suffcenty restrcted n ther
reference, so that they requre no further restrctve modfcaton. When
ad|ectves modfy them, they tend to be strcty non-restrctve, and thus
become n a sense part of the name, as n:
(61) a. Aexander the Great
b. Gay Pars
_ Beautiful downtown Burbank
d. The ubiquitous | oe Bow
For ths reason, names tend to be ncompatbe wth strcty-restrctve mod-
fers. Thus compare:
(62) a. ?This Aexander
b. ?That Pars
c. ?The first downtown Burbank
d. ?The second | oe Bow
Severa knds of noun modfers can be used as pronouns .e. stand
for the Noun Phrase wthout the head noun. Unke norma anaphorc pro-
nouns, such as 'he', 'she', 't' or 'they', modfers used as pronouns do not
get de-stressed:
(63) a. Demonstrative:
That dea w not do ===> that w not do
b. Adjective:
The poor 'peope suffer ===>The poor suffer
_ Numeral:
Two women came ===> two came
d. Quantifier:
All canddates wthdrew ===> all wthdrew
e. Possessive:
His book ddn't se ===> his ddn't se
f. Ordinal:
The first woman eft ===>The first eft
In another pattern, the head noun s repaced by the unstressed pro-
noun 'one' (for snguar) or 'ones' (for pura):
(64) a. that one w not do
b. The poor ones suffer
c. *two ones came
d. *all ones wthdrew
e. *his one ddn't se
f. The first one eft
In wrtten Engsh, there s a strong tendency to keep a eements of
the noun phrase contguous, .e. next to each other rather than scattered.
That s:
(65) a. My red horse |umped over the back fence
b. *My |umped over red the back fence horse
St, some scatterng of members of the noun phrase s aowed. Under cer-
tan condtons, for exampe, reatve causes can be extraposed .e.
moved from ther head noun a the way to the end of the cause, as n:
(66) a. He gave a lecture to hs coeagues that was ill prepared
b. I sent a book to Say that appeared last week
She saw a woman there with no shoes on
Exampes such as (66) are rather restrcted n wrtten Engsh. They are
more common n the spoken anguage.
Whether common or not, extraposton s often probematc. Thus
compare (66) above wth (67):
(67) a. ?He gave a lecture to a cass that was ill prepared
b. ?I sent a book to a woman that appeared last week
c. ?She saw a woman n the group with no shoes on
In (66), extraposton was unprobematc. In (67) t creates probems of
nterpretaton, snce the reatve cause coud aso be nterpreted as modfy-
ng the ndrect ob|ect that drecty precedes t.
The 'scatterng' of noun phrases often nvoves parenthetical added
nformaton, whereby the noun phrase nsde the cause s semantcay
under-specfed, and a parenthetca noun phrase adds more nformaton at
the end of the cause. Typca exampes are:
(68) a. Mine was faster, the old Chevy
b. This one w do, the sheep-dog
c. I'd ke to see that one f you pease,
the little red book on the top shelf
d. One was qute nce, a Tudor mansion
e. Some fe behnd, perennial stragglers
f. The short skinny one was strange, the Frenchman
g. All came across together, enlisted men and officers
Cause-fna parenthetca constructons such as those n (68) abde by
the same constrants of semantc confuson as do extraposed reatve
causes. As ustraton of ths, consder:
(69) a. That one bt my frend, the poodle
b. That one bt my friend, the artist
c. ?That one bt the femae, the poodle
In (69a), the ow kehood of 'my frend' beng 'the poode' aows the
unque dentfcaton of 'that one' wth 'the poode'. In (69b) kewse, the
ow kehood of 'artst' beng the sub|ect of 'bt' aows the unque dentf-
caton of 'my frend' wth 'the artst'. In (69c), however, 'the poode' can be
dentfed equay we wth ether 'that one' or 'the femae'. Smary:
(70) a. One dsappeared ast year, an art professor
b. ?I ntroduced one to Gina, an art professor
_ I gave one to Gna, a real antique
d. I gave one to Gina, an art professor
Compex noun phrases may arse through a varety of processes. We
have aready noted brefy three types of compex noun phrases, those that
nvove post-nomna modfers. In ths secton we touch ony brefy upon
noun phrases wth modfyng ad|ectves. We then turn two other sources of
noun phrase compexty con|uncton and nomnazaton.
6.6.1. Modifying adjectives and their 'semantic source'
We noted earer that arge post-nomna modfers, n partcuar rea-
tve causes and verb compements, have a systematc syntactc and seman-
tc reaton to fu causes. Some grammatca tradtons aso hod that pre-
nomna ad|ectves have such a reaton.
Ths reaton s sad to hod
between modifying ad|ectves and predicate ad|ectves n fu causes, as n:
(71) a. I read an old book
(>The book was old)
b. The wide rver was foodng
(>The rver was wide)
It has been noted (Bonger, 1967) that many modfyng ad|ectves do
not exhbt such a reaton to transparent predcate-ad|ectve sources. Con-
sder, for exampe:
(72) a. The main house was there > *The house was main
b. The chief reason was... > *The reason was chief
_ The first book was good > *The book was first
d. He was a total stranger > *The stranger was total
e. He was a true poet > *The poet was true
f. The regular champon > *The champon was regular
g. Hs former wfe ded > *Hs wfe was former
h. She was a poor ar > *The ar was poor
i. her present predcament > *Her predcament s present
| . a criminal awyer > *The awyer s criminal
k. an electrical worker > *The worker was electrical
1. the daily newspaper > *The newspaper s daily
m. her personal manager > *Her manager was personal
Many of the modfyng ad|ectves n (72) have some semantc connecton to
an adverb wthn a fu-fedged verba cause. Respectvey:
(73) a. -----
b. -----
c. He read the book first
d. He was totally a stranger
e. He was truly a poet
f. He was regularly the champon
g. She was formerly hs wfe
h. She ed poorly
i. It was presently her predcament
| . The awyer defended criminals
k. He worked for an electric company
1. The newspaper appeared daily
m. He personally managed someone
The suggested reatonshp between the ad|ectves n (72) and the adverbs n
(73), even when semantcay pausbe, s unconstraned ether semantcay
or syntactcay. Most often, the reatonshp depends heavy on rea-word
cutura-pragmatc knowedge. Whether one woud want to express that
reatonshp as a syntactc dervaton remans an open ssue.
6.6.2. Conjoined noun phrases Joint participation in a single event
The tradtona ngustc anayss of conjoined NPs took ts ma|or
premses from ogca treatments of con|unctons, where the foowng two-
way mpcaton hods:
(74) F(x)&F(y) <===> F(x & y)
"If somethng s true of (x) and aso true of (y),
then that thng s true of (x and y); and vce versa".
Indeed, as ong as one deas wth tmeess predcates connotng nherent
quates, and wth propostons removed from dscourse context, rue (74)
seems to hod for Engsh as we:
(75) a. Mary s ta and | ohn s ta <===>
| ohn and Mary are ta
b. | ohn s a ngust and Mary s a ngust <===>
| ohn and Mary are ngusts
c. Mary s here and | ohn s here <===>
Mary and | ohn are here
The neat ogc of (74) and (75) begns to break down when the exam-
pes are a tte more reastc, and n partcuar when they nvove verb-
coded events. Consder, for exampe:
(76) a. | ohn and Mary eft together? <===>
*| ohn eft together and Mary eft together
b. | ohn and Mary eft in a Cadillac? <===>
| ohn eft in a Cadillac and Mary eft in a Cadillac
c. I saw | ohn and Mary after lunch? <===>
I saw | ohn after lunch and I saw Mary after lunch
d. I saw | ohn and Mary kissing ?<===>
I saw | ohn kissing and I saw Mary kissing
e. She wed her house to Joe and Sally ?<===>
She wed t to Joe and she wed t to Sally
What exampes (76a-e) suggest, n varous ways, s that the cean ogc of
rue (74) s |ust one part of the story of NP con|uncton n natura anguage.
And further, that the ogc of NP con|uncton, taken by tsef, may ead to
absurd nterpretatons n natura anguage.
It may we turn out that the most mportant facets of NP con|uncton
n natura anguage are those that voate the ogc of rue (74). Ths has to
do wth the fact that, partcuary when events are nvoved, NP con|uncton
s not, prmary, an economy-motvated syntactc devce for renderng two
causes about two separate events nto a shorter snge cause. Rather, NP
con|uncton n natura anguage s a devce for descrbng a single event n
whch two (or more) partcpants shared a similar role. Ony n such con-
texts does rue (74) appy. Otherwse, somethng ke generazaton (77)
beow seems to be coser to the truth:
(77) |EVENT(x) & EVENT(y)| *<===> EVENT(x & y)
"If event A nvoved partcpant X and a smar but
separate event _ nvoved partcpant Y, then one
cannot descrbe the two as a snge event (A&B)
nvovng co-partcpants X&Y".
Sentences wth con|oned NPs may on occason be ambguous, nter-
preted ether as two separate one-partcpant events or a snge two-partc-
pant event. Thus compare:
(78) a. | ohn and Mary got marred
b. Both | ohn and Mary got marred
Sentence (78a) w be most commony nterpreted as a snge event, wth
| ohn and Mary marryng each other.
On the other hand, the presence of
'both' n (78b) mmedatey suggests two separate, non-recproca events.
What we have n (78b) s ndeed a pay on the norm of NP con|uncton.
The normatve way of codng a snge, recproca event of 'X & Y gettng
marred' s (78a). By ntroducng 'both', we sgna that the norm for "X and
Y gettng marred" s voated, and the aternatve two separate non-
recproca events must be the case.
In genera, the behavor of con|oned NPs n natura anguage s mot-
vated by a somewhat transparent iconicity prncpe:
(79) NP conjunction and separateness of events:
"Separate events w tend to be coded as separate causes;
compex snge events w tend to be coded as compex
snge causes".
Prncpe (79) w reappear perodcay as we dscuss compex syntactc
structures. It s a sub-case of a more genera prncpe concernng the
isomorphism between conceptua proxmty and code proxmty.
22 The relative order of conjoined NPs
There s another aspect to NP con|uncton where the ogca tradton
fas to characterze the facts of natura anguage. Ths concerns the foow-
ng ogca rue:
(80) A & _ <===> _ & A
"If A and _ s true, then _ and A s aso true;
and vce versa".
Rue (80) woud cam the fu ogca equvaence of (81a) and (81b) beow,
so that f one s true, the other must aso be true:
(81) a. We vsted John and Mary
b. We vsted Mary and John
There s ndeed nothng fase n the cam rue (80) makes concernng the
ogca equvaence of (81a,b). But ogca vaue s ony part of the message
that s coded and communcated n natura anguage. And natura anguage
s far from neutra wth regard to sera order. The renderng of two partc-
pant NPs n one tempora order rather than the other s a deberate com-
muncatve choce, usuay refectng a |udgement about ther relative
importance. It has been shown n text-based studes that more mportant
more topca NPs n the cause are more key to be fronted.
And the
same has been suggested n expermenta studes of anguage processng,
where the frst of two NPs s both attended to faster and remembered bet-
In Engsh as we as n other anguages, strong cuture-governed pref-
erences exst for some con|oned-NP orders over others. The foowng
generazatons have been noted by Cooper and Ross (1975) n ther study
of frozen con|oned expressons n Engsh:
(82) preferred order less-preferred order
a. Near >far:
now and then *then and now
here and there *there and here
ths and that *that and ths
b. Adult > young:
father and son *son and father
mother and daughter *daughter and mother
. Male > female:
man and wfe *wfe and man
d. Male > female > young:
men, women and chdren *chdren, women and men
. Singular > plural:
one and a *a and one
ham and eggs *eggs and ham
cheese and crackers *crackers and cheese
f. Large > small:
arge and sma *sma and arge
Singular/large > plural/small:
hammer and nas *nas and hammer
h. Animate > inanimate:
fe and death
Human > non-human:
*death and fe
a man and a dog *a dog and a man
Agent/large > patient/small:
cat and mouse *mouse and cat
Whole/one > part/many:
hand and fnger(s) *fnger(s) and hand
whoe and parts
Salient > non-salient:
*parts and whoe
day and nght *nght and day
m . Whole/visible > part/invisible:
body and sou *sou and body
. Possessor > possessed:
J ohn and his brother *his brother and J ohn
. Positive > negative:
more or ess *ess or more
pus or mnus *mnus or pus
good and bad *bad and good
There s nothng nherenty ogca about the ess-preferred con|unc-
ton orders on the rght-hand sde n (82). Nevertheess, there s a cear bas
n Engsh ether n absoute terms or n terms of text-frequency
toward a partcuar order. Ths strong preference refects ether cogntvey-
based or cuturay-medated bases concernng the degree of topic-worthi-
ness of semantcay-reated phenomena that are coded n our vocabuary.
The fact that many of these bases freeze nto rgdy-ordered doms s sm-
py a refecton of ther hgh frequency n actua communcaton.
Whe the orderng preferences n (82) are to qute an extent generic
and thus are often fxed, the genera tendency s to pace the more mpor-
tant, more topca partcpant before the ess topca one n a con|oned
NP. Thus, compare:
(83) a. Speakng of | oe, came over ast nght
b. Speakng of Sue, came over ast nght
The cause-nta frame "Speakng of..." estabshes the more topca par-
tcpant, and that s refected n the preferred order n the foowng two-NP
con|uncton. The morphological unification of conjoined NPs Case-role integration
There s a strong constrant on con|oned NPs, that they share the same
case-role. Ths constrant serves to prevent confuson of case-roes n NP
con|uncton. In Engsh, an open opton then remans, whether the entre
con|uncton s marked by a snge preposton, or whether each NP wthn
the con|uncton s marked separatey by ts own preposton. Ths opton
often yeds a usefu semantc dstncton. Consder, for exampe:
(84) a. They gave the prze to | oe and Say
b. They gave the prze to | oe and to Say
c. She vsted with her mother and father
d. She vsted with her mother and with her father
There s a strong tendency to nterpret (84a) as a |ont award for a |ont
work, .e. as a single event. In contrast, there s a stronger tendency to
nterpret (84b) as two separate awards gven for separate works, though
perhaps rewarded on the same occason; .e. as two separate sub-events.
Smary, the tendency s strong to nterpret (84c) as a snge |ont vst, and
(84d) as two separate vsts, perhaps made at contguous tmes. One may
say then that an NP con|uncton wth a snge thus totay unfed
preposton s used when the two events are maximally integrated. Whe
markng each of the con|oned NPs wth ts own separate preposton repre-
sents an event that s ony partially integrated. A natura mpcaton of ths
s that we may conceve of varyng degrees of event integration, and repre-
sent them through grammar as varyng degrees of clause integration. In the
case of (84a,b) then, the fu range woud be:
(85) a. Separate events:
They gave the prze to | oe, they aso gave one to Say.
b. Semi-integrated:
They gave the prze to | oe and to Say.
_ Fully integrated:
They gave the prze to | oe and Say.
The two eves of cause ntegraton, (85b) and (85c), may be gven as the
two tree dagrams (86) and (87) beow, representng the con|oned ndrect
ob|ects. Respectvey:
(86) Semi-integrated:
(87) Fully integrated:
When the con|oned NPs are marked each by a separate preposton,
the ncompete ntegraton of the two events s further underscored when
two dfferent prepostons are used. However, such two-preposton comb-
natons are rgdy constraned. Frst, they must be constraned by the
semantc frame of the verb. Ths rues out semantcay ncompatbe comb-
natons such as:
(88) a. *She went to the store and with a hammer
b. *He sept in the house and for hs brother
c. *They argued with hm and into the house
The con|unctons n (88a,b,c) are unacceptabe because the verbs 'go',
'seep' and 'argue' normay cannot appear wth the second NP n a smpe
cause. That s:
(89) a. *She went with a hammer
b. *He sept for hs brother
c. *They argued into the house
But the two con|oned partcpants may be ndvduay compatbe wth the
verb and st not be compatbe n combnaton as cosey-reated sub-
events. Thus compare:
(90) a. *She went to the store and with her sster
b. *He sept in the house and for a ong tme
c. *They argued with hm and into the nght
Ony when the con|uncton makes sense as cosey-reated sub-events can
dfferent prepostons be used. That s, for exampe:
(91) a. She went into the store and down the escaator.
b. He sept in cear conscence and for a ong tme.
_ They argued for hm and against her.
The restrctons n (90), and ther absence n (91), do not seem to nvove the
semantcs of the verb frames. Rather, they nvove the rea-word pragmat-
cs that govern the coherent combination of partay-ntegrated sub-
events, .e. cuturay recognzed scripts or frames. Determiner integration
Strong restrctons aso seem to govern the reference, defnteness or
topcaty status of con|oned NPs. Consder defnteness frst:
(92) a. We saw a man and a woman there
b. We saw the man and the woman there
c. ?We saw the man and a woman there
d. *We saw a man and the woman there
Whe (92c) s margnay 'grammatca', t s pragmatcay odd and proba-
by nfrequent n spontaneous text. The dffcuty of processng ether (92c)
or (92d) s n a kehood pragmatc-cogntve, and may be tentatvey out-
ned as foows:
(a) When one con|ons two equ-roe NPs n a snge cause, one ntends
such a cause to code a snge, maxmay ntegrated compex event.
(b) Wthn such an event, the two con|oned NPs have roughy the same
topicality status. That s, the two referents must be of equa anaphoric
accessibility and cataphoric importance.
(c) Not ony are the two con|oned NPs of equa topcaty, but they must
be |onty a single topic.
(d) In con|onng a defnte wth an ndefnte NP, one creates a cognitive
clash n terms of both aspects of topcaty, n addton to destroyng
the unty of what s normay nterpreted as a snge topc.
The snge-topc status of con|oned NPs s supported by the use of
stressed vs. unstressed pronouns. As noted n chapter 5, stressed pronouns
are used n sub|ect/topc swtchng. If each of the con|oned NPs s an nde-
pendent topc, then swtchng from the con|unct to a snge member of the
con|unct, as n (93b) beow, woud not requre the use of a stressed pro-
noun. But n fact t does:
(93) a. | ohn and Mary came by, then they eft.
b. | ohn and Mary came by,
When one contnues wth the con|unct, as n (93a), the pronoun s unstressed.
As wth prepostons, one can observe three degrees of syntactc
cause-ntegraton n con|unctons nvovng smar artces:
(94) a. Un-integrated:
The boys are payng n the yard,
and the grs are (aso) payng n the yard.
b. Semi-integrated:
The boys and the grs are payng n the yard.
_ Fully integrated:
The boys and grs are payng n the yard.
(95) a. Un-integrated:
I saw your father,
and I saw your mother (too).
b. Semi-integrated:
I saw your father and your mother.
Fully integrated:
I saw your father and mother.
The maxmay-ntegrated structures n (94c) and (95c) seem to be
further constraned by the semantic relatedness of the con|oned nouns.
Thus compare:
(96) a. I saw your father and your dog.
b. ?I saw your father and dog.
c. The boys and the dogs ran away.
d. ?The boys and dogs ran away.
The syntactc dfference between the sem-ntegrated con|uncton
(95b) and the fuy ntegrated con|uncton (95c) s gven n the tree da-
grams (97) and (98) beow, respectvey:
(97) Semi-integrated :
(98) Fully integrated:
A structure such as (98) suggests that when fu cause-ntegraton
occurs, the two con|uncts are not NPs but rather nouns. The requrement of
semantc smarty or high semantic coherence noted n (96) above s
compatbe wth such an nterpretaton. Indeed, we entrenched, habt-
uated, fxed-order con|unctons such as (98) have a hgh potenta for
becomng compex but untary exca nouns. Exampes of such cases are:
(99) a. Come to our wine-and-cheese party.
b. She eats ony bread-and-butter.
_ Coud you pass me the salt-and-pepper pease?
d. I' need some oil-and-vinegar.
e. There was no give-and-take.
f. It was touch-and-go.
g. She charged them for room-and-board.
h. The traveed by horse-and-buggy.
. They nvted ots of boys-and-girls. Number integration
Fu cause-ntegraton aso nvoves the feature of number. To us-
trate ths, consder the freedom of sem-ntegrated con|uncton of snguar
and pura NPs that retan ther separate artces:
(100) a. We saw some boys and some grs
b. We saw a boy and a gr
c. We saw some boys and a gr
d. We saw a gr and some boys
When ony a snge artce s retaned n fuy-ntegrated NP con|uncton,
however, constrants begn to appear:
(101) a. We saw some boys and grs
b. *We saw some boys and gr
_ *We saw a boy and gr
d. *We saw some boy and gr
The unacceptabHty of (101c) s ready understood f one assumes that fuy
ntegrated con|oned snguar NPs, such as 'boy and gr', have n fact
become a non-singular noun, thus ncompatbe wth the snguar artce
But snce 'some' s a pura artce, one woud have expected (101b)
and (101d) to be acceptabe. The fact that they are not suggests that 'some'
can ony be used when both con|oned NPs are ndependenty pura, .e.
compatbe n ther number. Adjective integration
A remnscent gradaton n the degree of syntactc ntegraton of NP
con|uncton can be shown wth modfyng ad|ectves. Thus compare:
(102) a. Un-integrated:
They were ookng for tall boys,
and they were (aso) ookng for tall grs.
b. Semi-integrated:
They were ookng for tall boys and tall grs.
_ Fully integrated:
They were ookng for tall boys and grs.
Once agan, one woud suspect that the sem-ntegrated NP n (102b) repre-
sents a con|uncton of two NPs, whe the fuy ntegrated (102c) represents
a con|uncton of two nouns. The two are thus represented by the respectve
tree dagrams:
(103) Semi-integrated:
(104) Fully integrated:
Constrants on number can be shown here as we. Thus compare:
(105) They were ookng for...
a. ta boys and ta grs.
b. *ta boy and grs.
c. *ta boys and gr.
d. *ta boy and gr. Multiple conjunction, disjunction, and event integration
Most commony when more than two NPs are con|oned, ony one con-
|uncton word 'and' s used, precedng the ast NP n the sequence, as
(106) They saw | oe, B and Say.
A ess common opton s aso avaabe, however, of nsertng the con|unc-
ton word between a NPs n the sequence. Ths opton seems to be more
natura wth the disjunctions 'or' and 'nor', where one can see a contrast
between the use of a snge con|uncton, as n (106), and mutpe con|unc-
tons. Much ke n the case of prepostons, determners and modfyng
ad|ectves, the mutpe use of the con|uncton (or ds|uncton) word tends
to sgna a ower degree of event ntegraton; whe the use of a snge con-
|uncton (or ds|uncton) word tends to sgna maxma event ntegraton.
Thus compare:
(107) a. Semi-integrated:
Ether | ohn or Mary or Pau w come.
b. Fully integrated:
Ether | ohn, Mary or Pau w come.
(108) a. Semi-integrated:
Nether ha nor snow nor hgh water w stop them.
b. Fully integrated:
Nether ha, snow or hgh water w stop them.
By separatng the NPs more ceary at the code eve, the use of mutpe
con|uncton words thus underscores the separateness of those NPs and of
the sub-events assocated wth them.
Separateness f of course more nherent n the ogca meanng of ex-
clusive disjunction, whch sgnas that two or more events wth two or more
ds|oned NPs are excusve of each other, and thus coud not have both
But a smar effect may be shown wth the con|uncton 'and'.
When ony two NPs are con|oned, the cause-nta 'both' creates the same
effect of ower event-ntegraton as s created by 'ether' or 'nether' n the
case of ds|uncton 'or'. Thus compare:
(109) a. Fully integrated:
Mary and | ohn w come.
(>more key together)
b. Semi-integrated:
Both Mary and | ohn w come.
(>more key separatey)
(110) a. Fully integrated:
You can have tea or coffee.
(>possby both, .e. inclusive)
b. Semi-integrated:
You can have either tea or coffee.
(>you must choose, .e. exclusive)
(111) a. Fully integrated:
He s comng for two or three weeks
b. Semi-integrated:
He s comng for either two or three weeks
In the fuy ntegrated (111a), 'two-or-three' s a untary compound. In the
sem-ntegrated (111b), 'two' and 'three' are more ceary excusve of each
When more than two NPs are con|oned wth 'and', 'both' cannot be
used any more, snce t s semantcay restrcted to 'two'. But the same
effect of sem-ntegraton can be acheved by the mutpe use of 'and'. Thus
(112) a. Fully integrated:
I saw | ohn, B and Mary.
(>more key as a group)
b. I saw | ohn and B and Mary.
(>more key ndvduay)
The mutpe use of con|uncton words ustrate a genera prncpe
that we w meet repeatedy throughout our survey:
(113) The isomorphism of code-separation and meaning-separation:
"The more separate two events are from each other
semantcay, the more w they be separated syntact-
cay, by pauses or ntervenng morphemes". Plurality, verb agreement and group nouns
One mportant devce used to code the degree of ntegraton of
events wth shared equ-roe thus con|oned partcpants s number
agreement on the verb. We have aready noted above that con|oned NPs,
even n sem-ntegrated con|unctons, are by defnton pura. We aso
noted earer that the verb n Engsh, n the thrd person n the habitual
tense-aspect, must agree wth the number of ts sub|ect NP. The norm s
then that con|oned sub|ect NPs dspay the agreement pattern of pura
sub|ects. That s:
(114) a. Singular subject:
Mary work-s.
b. Plural subject:
The women work.
_ Conjoined subjects:
Mary and | oe work.
But ths generazaton s sub|ect to certan refnements whch concern inher-
ently plural nouns such as 'team', 'crowd', 'audence', 'group', etc. Such
group nouns can be vewed from two dstnct perspectves: Frst, as a coec-
ton of ndvduas. Or second, as a snge unfed group. Ths dstncton s
coded as a varaton n ther number agreement. Typca exampes of ths
(115) a. The ma|orty are aganst t, each one of them w say so.
b. The ma|orty is aganst t, and ntends to mpose its w.
(116) a. The teamare bckerng; they hate each other.
b. The teamis wnnng, it's n good shape.
(117) a. The crowd were a runnng n dfferent drectons,
they were screamng.
b. The crowd was n an ugy mood; it was ready to expode.
(118) a. The facuty were never consuted,
they were a smpy gnored.
b. The facuty was never consuted,
it never is around here.
Group nouns can aso be created va NP con|uncton, and then dspay
the very same dstncton, as n:
(119) a. Say and | oe are a perfect team.
b. Say and | oe is the wnnng team.
(120) a. Peter, Pau and Mary are tryng to get back together,
they've been spt snce 1963.
b. 'Peter Pau and Mary' is a fok group
that was rea bg n the '60s.
6.6.3. Complex NPs arising through nominalization Preamble
One dstnct type of compex noun phrase arses through the process of
nominalization. As a syntactc (rather than exca) process, nomnazaton
may be defned as foows:
(121) Syntactic nominalization:
Nomnazaton s the process va whch a prototypca
verba cause, ether a compete one (ncudng the sub-
|ect) or a verb phrase (excudng the sub|ect), s converted
nto a noun phrase.
Most commony, a verba cause s nomnazed when t occupes a pro-
totypca nomna noun, NP poston wthn another cause. The most
prototypca nomna postons n the cause are those of sub|ect, drect
ob|ect, and ndrect ob|ect.
Noun phrases arsng through nomnazaton are often compex. Ther
compexty refects, by and arge, the compexty of the causes from whch
they arse. Wthn the nomnazed NP, the erstwhe verb nvaraby
occupes the head noun poston. In the narrower exca sense, the
nomnazaton may be defned as:
(122) Lexical nominalization:
Nomnazaton s a process whereby a verb or ad|ectve s
converted nto a noun.
Whe the verb becomes the head noun n the nomnazed NP, the varous
other eements of the erstwhe cause sub|ect, ob|ect, ndrect ob|ect,
adverbs or verba compements become varous noun modfers. The finite-clause prototype
In a typca smpe cause n Engsh, the sub|ect and drect ob|ect roes
are not marked morphoogcay, but rather are marked by ther poston
reatve to the verb S-V-O. Indrect ob|ects are marked by prepostons,
and the verb s marked by tense-aspect-modaty markers and varous
auxares. Ths stuaton may be consdered the prototype of the finite
clause. In terms of ts grammatca structure, the fnte cause s the norm
for ndependent smpe verba causes.
The process of syntactc nomnazaton may be vewed as the varous
ad|ustments n the grammatca structure of the fnte cause, ad|ustments
that transform the cause toward another we-known prototype, that of the
noun phrase. Typca noun phrases are marked by varous determners and
modfers. When a verba cause s ad|usted toward the NP prototype va
nomnazaton, t becomes a non-finite clause, or at east a less-finite one.
Ths ad|ustment s sedom compete, especay when the orgna fnte
cause was tsef compex. From the finite toward the non-finite prototype
The ma|or structura ad|ustments assocated wth convertng a fnte
verba cause nto a non-fnte nomnazed cause are:
(123) Structural adjustments of a finite verbal clause toward a
non-finite nominalized clause:
a. From verb to head noun:
The erstwhe verb becomes the head noun of the
nomnazed cause.
b. From verbal to nominal morphology:
The erstwhe verb oses ts verba nfectons (tense-
aspect-modaty, verb agreement) and nstead acqures
noun-ke morphoogy (determners, modfers).
_ Nominal case marking:
The case-markng of the sub|ect and drect ob|ect s
often modfed, most commony toward genitive (pos-
sessve) case.
d. Determiners.
Both the sub|ect and ob|ect may be converted nto pos-
sessive determiners, .e. modfers wthn the NP. In
addton, the whoe nomnazed NP may acqure a
defnte or an ndefnte artce.
e. From adverbs to adjectives:
Manner adverbs n the fnte cause are converted nto
correspondng ad|ectves that now modfy the head
noun n the nomnazed NP.
We w dscuss these ad|ustments n order. From verbal to nominal morphology
Nomna forms of Engsh verbs come n a arge varety. The varety,
however, s far from chaotc. Rather, the varous types seem to fa nto a
coherent scale of finiteness. Near the top of the scae are two semi-finite
forms, the perfect-participle and the progressive participle. Both retan
some tense-aspect markng whe dspensng wth verb agreement. Further
beow are the two infinitive forms, one marked wth the preposton to, the
other wth the suffx -ing. Fnay, at the east-fnte bottom of the scae are
lexical nominalizations. As ustraton of the fnteness scae, consder:
(124) The fniteness scale:
a. Finite verb form:
She knew hm
b. Perfect participle:
Havng known hm (for years, she was worred).
_ Progressive participle:
Knowing hm (, she decded to skp t).
d. to-infinitive:
To know hm (s to ke hm).
(She wanted) to know hm (better).
e. -ing-infinitive:
Her knowing hm (wasn't much hep ether).
(She ended up) knowing hm (better).
f. Lexical nominal:
Her knowledge of hm (was rather skmpy).
The ess-fnte forms n (124b-e) are unform for a Engsh verbs. The
exca-nomna form (124f), on the other hand, s hghy dosyncratc and
unpredctabe. Severa nomnazng suffxes can appy ony to Romance-
derved or more abstract verbs. Typca exampes of those are:
(125) a. her refusal to eave
b. hs rejection of the |ob offer
_ the detention of potca prsoners
d. her knowledge of the sub|ect
e. some adjustment n cost of vng
f. hs grmintent to succeed
For other Engsh verbs, the exca-nomna form s morphoogcay
unmarked. That s, t resembes the bare-stem form of the verb. Typca
exampes of ths are:
(126) a. B's murder (>Someone murdered B)
b. the search for ther mother (>They searched for ther mother)
c. some interest n the sub|ect (>X was nterested n t)
d. a turn to the rght (>X turned to the rght)
e. a change for the better (>Thngs changed)
As noted earer above, the nomnazed predcate may be an ad|ectve
rather than a verb, as n:
(127) a. her illness (> She was )
b. hs civility to empoyees (>He was cv to empoyees)
_ the length of our vacaton (> Our vacaton s ong)
d. ther absence from the meetng (>They were absent)
Fnay, the exca-nomna form of many Engsh verbs s marked by
the same -ing suffx that aso marks the progressve-partcpes and -ing-
nfntve forms. Thus compare:
(128) a. Progressive participle:
Breaking hs fa, he crashed through the canopy
b. -ing infinitive:
He ked breaking the rues
c. -ing lexical nominal:
Hs breaking of a rues was egendary
The more fnte partcpe form n (128a) gves the sense of both smu-
tanety and the progressve aspect. Nether are mped by the nfntve n
(128b). They are not mped ether by the exca-nomna (128c), n whch
both sub|ect and ob|ect are coded as gentve modfers.
NOUN PHRASES 291 Subject and object case-marking
In the east-fnte most nomna causes, such as (124f) above,
both the sub|ect and drect ob|ect are coded as genitive ('possessve'). They
are thus transformed nto, respectvey, a pre-nomna genitive determiner
and a post-nomna genitive modifier of the de-verba head noun. Ths s
obvousy a strong devaton from the norma case-markng strategy of Eng-
sh, where the sub|ect and ob|ect are morphoogcay unmarked. And such
a devaton has the potenta of creatng communcatve probems n the
nterpretaton of case-roes. Ths potenta s countered n Engsh by the
double-genitive strategy n nomnazed transtve causes. In foowng ths
strategy, the sub|ect-agent of the transtve cause cams the pre-nomna
Germanc gentve determner roe, whe the ob|ect-patent cams the
post-nomna Norman gentve modfer roe. As ustratons, con-
(129) a. The enemy's destructon of the city
b. Her knowedge of math
Saddam's occupaton of Kuwait
When a semantcay-transtve verb has an unexpressed sub|ect-agent,
three dstnct nomnazaton strateges are possbe. Frst, the ob|ect may
retan a post-nominal genitive modfer poston, as n:
(130) a. The destructon of the city
b. Knowedge of math
_ The occupaton of Kuwait
Aternatvey, the transtve sub|ect-agent may be expressed as agent of
marked wth the preposton 'by', as n:
(131) a. The destructon of the city by the enemy
b. The occupaton of Kuwait by Saddam
Fnay, the patent-ob|ect may take the pre-nominal genitive poston, wth
the transtve sub|ect-agent agan optonay expressed as agent-of-passve,
as n:
(132) a. The city's destructon (by the enemy)
b. Kuwait's occupaton (by Saddam)
_ His admsson nto the Bar (by the governng Board)
d. Their defeat (by the Kurds)
When the nomnazed cause codes a generc event wth a generc sub-
|ect and non-referrng ob|ect, the patent cannot cam the pre-nomna
gentve poston, but ony the post-nomna poston. Thus compare:
(133) a. Knowedge of math (by the canddate) s requred.
b. *Math's knowedge (by the canddate) s requred.
_ The shootng of prisoners (by guards) s prohbted.
d. *Prisoners' shootng (by guards) s prohbted.
e. The burnng of coal (by authorzed personne) may proceed.
f. *CoaI's burnng (by authorzed personne) may proceed.
When the nomnazed cause s ntranstve and thus acks a drect
ob|ect, the sub|ect may occupy ether the pre-nomna or post-nomna
gentve poston. Thus consder:
(134) a. the city's growth
b. the growth of the city
Paul's escape to Mata
d. the escape of Paul to Mata
But whe theoretcay possbe, the post-nomna pacement of ntranstve
sub|ects n nomnazed causes s severey constraned. For exampe, sub-
|ect pronouns can occupy ony the pre-nomna gentve poston:
(135) a. its growth (>It grew)
b. *the growth of it
_ her work wth Water (>She worked wth Water)
d. *the work of her wth Water
e. his comng home (>He came home)
f. *the comng of his home
Not a morphoogca types of nomnahzaton n Engsh yed the
same case-markng of sub|ect and ob|ect. In the more fnte nomnahzaton
wth -ing, the sub|ect (f expressed) s ndeed marked as gentve deter-
mner, but the ob|ect retans ts fnte-cause ob|ect form, as n:
(136) a. His destroyng the city (was a shock)
b. Her eavng him for Harvey (was unexpected)
_ His havng eft the house (created qute a str)
d. Sackng the city (, they then departed)
e. Havng sacked the city (, they returned home)
And, n the even more fnte to-nfntve nomnazaton, nether the sub-
|ect nor the ob|ect can take a gentve form. The ob|ect retans ts norma
ob|ect form of fnte transtve cause. And the sub|ect (f present) s
marked wth the preposton 'for', as n:
(137) a. (They wanted) to bud the house.
b. (She tod hm) to bud the house.
c. For him to bud the house (was a mstake).
d. (A she wanted was) for him to bud the house. Indirect objects in nominalized clauses
Indrect ob|ects n nomnazed causes tend to retan ther orgna
case-markng and post-verba poston. Thus consder:
(138) a. hs ob|ecton to the proposa
(>He ob|ected to the proposa)
b. her departure from the unversty
(>She departed from the unversty
_ throwng hminto the water
(>She threw hminto the water)
d. success through ntmdaton
(>They succeed through ntmdaton)
e. trappng coyotes with meta traps
(>They trap coyotes with meta traps)
A speca restrcton appes to non-patents that occupy the drect-
ob|ect roe. Such ob|ects seem to re|ect atogether partcpaton n any type
of nomnazaton that woud mark them as post-nomna genitive. In the
man cause, such ob|ects may take ether the drect or ndrect ob|ect roe,
as n:
(139) Finite main clause:
a. Patient as direct object:
They gave money to many charities.
b. Dative as direct object:
They gave many charities money
In nomnazed causes, when the patent s coded as drect ob|ect, t can be
marked as gentve, as n:
(140) Nominalized clause:
a. Patient marked as object:
Gvng money to charty (s encouraged).
b. Patient marked as genitive:
The gvng of money to charty (s encouraged).
The non-patent ('datve', 'recpent'), on the other hand, cannot take the
gentve form n nomnazed causes:
(141) Nominalized clause:
a. Dative marked as object:
Gvng charities a that money (was a mstake).
b. *Dative marked as genitive:
*The gvng of charity money s encouraged
And smary:
(142) Nominalized clause:
a. Patient marked as object:
Showng exhibits to speca customers (s OK).
b. Patient marked as genitive:
The showng of exhibits to speca customers (s OK).
c. Dative marked as object:
Showng special customers the exhbt (s OK).
d. *Dative marked as genitive:
*The showng of special customers the exhbt (s OK).
One may ook at ths restrcton as a remeda strategy desgned to pre-
vent semantc roe confuson. The of-gentve form can ony mark a patent
drect-ob|ect. Non-patent ob|ects may occupy the drect-ob|ect grammat-
ca roe n both man-fnte and nomnazed causes. The of-gentve form
n nomnazed causes, however, s reserved for patent ob|ects.
30 Determiners in nominalized clauses
As noted earer above, one strong morphoogca characterstc of pro-
totype NPs s the presence of determners, of the knd that mark dstnc-
tons of reference, defnteness and topcaty. One of the cearest ndca-
tons of the hghest degree of non-fnteness or nomnaty of a
nomnazed cause woud then be the appearance of varous determners
before the de-verba head noun. When the sub|ect-agent s present n the
east-fnte nomnazed cause, t cams the pre-nomna genitive deter-
miner poston. But when the transtve sub|ect-agent s unexpressed, or
when t s expressed as a post-nomna of-gentve, a hghy nomnazed
cause may dspay varous other determners.
Takng the presence or absence of determners as an ndcator, at east
three eves of non-fnteness or nomnaty can be observed n
nomnazed causes n Engsh:
(143) to-infinitive:
a. For hmto arrve eary (woud be a mstake).
b. To arrve eary (woud be a mstake).
(144) -ing infinitive:
a. Arriving eary (was not what she had n mnd).
b. Arriving eary (, she took a seat and wated).
(145) Lexical nominalizations:
a. Her eary arrva (was unexpected).
b. The arrva of the Argonauts (was unexpected).
_ This eary arrva of hs (s unexpected).
d. Eary arrva of guests (s antcpated).
e. An eary arrva (woud embarrass them).
f. An eary arrva (was ther one mstake).
g. Some eary arrvas (are antcpated).
The range of determners found n the east-fnte exca nomnazatons n
(145) ncudes referrng defnte determners n (145a,b,c), a generc zero
determner n (145d), the non-referrng ndefnte 'an' n (145e), the refer-
rng ndefnte 'an' n (145f), and a non-referrng pura ndefnte 'some' n
(145g). The appearance of pura markers on the de-verba head noun
(145g) and of a pura determners s another ndcaton of a hgh degree of
nomnaty of exca-nomna causes. Adverbs as adjectives in nominalized clauses
Another systematc ad|ustment n transformng the fnte cause nto a
nomnazed cause nvoves the fate of manner adverbs. In Engsh, wth ts
consderabe array of dervatona morphoogy, these adverbs become mod-
ifying adjectives n the nomnazed cause. Typca exampes of ths are:
(146) a. The enemy rapidly destroyed the cty ===>
The enemy's rapid destructon of the cty
b. She quickly departed ===>
Her quick departure
c. He formerly worked on the docks ===>
Hs former work on the docks
d. She rendered the song faithfully = = = >
Her faithful rendton of the song
e. They were totally defeated ===>
Ther total defeat
Many types of adverbs have no correspondng ad|ectves n Engsh.
Such adverbs often retan ther adverba form and ther syntactc pos-
ton n the nomnazed cause. However, they can ony appear n ess-
nomna causes, such as -ing-nfntves. Thus compare:
(147) a. He w arrve tomorrow ===>
hs arrvng tomorrow
*hs tomorrow arrva
b. He arrved on time ===>
hs arrvng on time
*hs on time arrva
_ She knew the country well ===>
her knowng the country (so) well
*her (so) well knowedge of the country
d. He grnned like a maniac ===>
hs grnnng like a maniac
*hs like a maniac grn
Whenever a semantcay equvaent ad|ectve form can be found,
however, exca nomnazaton s unprobematc. Thus compare:
(148) a. her good knowedge of the country
(*her well knowedge of the country
_ hs maniacal grn
(*hs like a maniac grn)
d. ther feline moton
(*ther like a cat moton)
e. hs leonine grow
(*hs like a lion grow)
As noted earer, many verbs n Engsh use the -ing-marked form to
code the verb n both partcpe-nfntve and exca-nomna causes. The
two forms can be easy dfferentated by the form and poston of the
adverb-ad|ectve, as we as by the of-gentve markng of the ob|ect. Thus
(149) They accidentally shot two reporters ===>
a. Infinitive:
ther accidentally shootng two reporters
b. Nominal:
the accidental shootng of two reporters
(150) They surrendered voluntarily = = = >
a. Infinitive:
ther surrenderng voluntarily
b. Nominal:
ther voluntary surrender
(151) They shot Prnce | ohn in cold blood = = = >
a. Infinitive:
ther shootng Prnce | ohn in cold blood
b. Nominal:
the cold-blooded shootng of Prnce | ohn
The transformaton of the syntactc structure of causes va nomnaza-
ton, from a prototype fnte verba cause nto a prototype non-fnte nom-
na phrase, s represented n the two tree dagrams beow.
(152) Finite verbal clause:
(153) Non-finite nominal phrase:
The exstence of a systematc gradaton n degree of finiteness among the
varous types of nomnazed causes can aso be seen n the grammar of ver-
ba compements (chapter 7) and adverba causes (chapter 13).
6.6.4. Noun complements
So far, we have ony deat wth smpe nomnazed causes .e. causes
whose partcpants were ether sub|ects, drect ob|ects, ndrect ob|ects or
adverbs. Such causes are reatvey easy to transform syntactcay nto
noun phrases, by:
(a) Makng the verb nto head noun.
(b) Markng the sub|ect and ob|ect as possessve determners
or modfers.
(c) Lettng the ndrect ob|ect retan ts morphoogy and syn-
tactc poston.
(d) Changng verb-modfyng adverbs nto noun-modfyng
(e) Introducng determners and pura markers when appro-
Even so, nomnazaton ntroduces nto the noun phrase some eements
that are ess-than-prototypcay nomna. Drect ob|ects n ess-fnte
nomnazatons, and ndrect ob|ects nvaraby, retan ther orgna
form and syntactc poston. As NPs or PPs foowng the head noun, ne-
ther are prototypca features of a noun phrase.
When the man verb n the nomnazed cause s of a type that requres
a verba causa compement, that compement accompanes the verb
through the nomnahzaton wth very tte structura change, much ke an
ndrect ob|ect. A verba compement thus becomes another non-prototyp-
ca eement n the de-verba noun phrase, a potentay arge post-nomna
modfer, now re-chrstened as noun complement. As ustraton of some
such noun compements and ther fnte-cause sources, consder:
(154) a. He wanted to leave home ===>
hs wantng to leave home
b. He et go of the knife ===>
hs ettng go of the knife
_ They attempted to cross back ===>
ther attempt to cross back
d. She made hmwash the floor ===>
her makng hmwash the floor
e. She tod hmto shape up ===>
her teng hmto shape up
f. She dd t to save Joe ===>
her dong t to save Joe
g. She wshed that he would come back ===>
her wsh that he would come back
h. He dscovered that she was blind ===>
hs dscovery that she was blind
. He shouted: "Watch out!" ===>
Hs shoutng: "Watch out!"
To understand the pecuar grammatca behavor of most post-nom-
na modfers, one must understand ther reatonshp to fnte verba
causes. In the case of post-nomna possessve phrases, we have seen how
some of them arse va nomnahzaton from sub|ects and ob|ects of fnte
causes. In the same ven, a noun compements arse fromverbal comple-
ments of fnte causes, a sub|ect that w be dscussed n consderabe deta
n chapter 7.
1) We count zero anaphors as pronouns.
2) As noted n chapter 5, when pronouns and names are used, they depend for ther seman-
tic contents (.e. whether they are anmate, human, concrete etc.) on an antecedent noun n the
precedng dscourse, or on some other prevous knowedge-base that guarantees ther dentfa-
3) In prncpe, severa REL-causes may modfy the same head noun, as n e.g. The guest
who came ate who was wearng a trench-coat'. Logcay, such doube modfcaton makes sense
f () more than one guest came ate but () ony one of the ate guests was wearng a trench-
coat. Whe ogcay possbe, t s not cear that such a compex strategy s used to any sgnf-
cant degree n natura communcaton, where ess-compex aternatves that can accompsh the
same communcatve goa are ready avaabe. For further dscusson see chapter 9.
4) Currenty, of ths group the de-stressed 'some' s a pura ndefnte artce. But a de-
stressed 'one' was the hstorca source of the ndefnte artce 'a(n)'.
5) Whe the moda 'coud' carres some semantic contents, the perfect auxary 'have' s
purey grammatical, and t may be that restrctng t wth 'ony' serves no semantc purpose. It s
true, however, that wthout 'ony' have can certany carry contrastve stress, as n: 'I HAVE
done t!' (>rather than what you suggest, that I HAVENT yet).
6) | ohn Haman (n persona communcaton) notes that (12c,e,f) ndeed a have acceptabe
nterpretatons. Those correspond roughy to the contractons:
(12) _ (The) only (thng s), she could have sad ths.
e. (The) only (thng s), she coud have said ths.
f. (The) only (thng s), she coud have sad this.
It s not cear, however, whether 'ony
n ether the contracted or fu-fedged (12c,e,f)
takes the stressed consttuents under ts scope at all.
7) Cted from a coumn by | ames Kpatrck, "Perhaps these sentences have drven you ony
crazy", n The Register-Guard, Eugene, OR (2-24-91, p. 6F).
8) Often both orders are possbe, provded the combnaton s construed from the opposte
perspectve. Further, the constrants on rgd orderng of pre-nomna ad|ectves are ess strn-
gent when the ad|ectves are non-restrictive (see further beow). Non-restrctve modfcaton s
characterstcay ndcated by comma ntonaton breaks between the ad|ectves, as n:
a. a arge, red brd
b. a red, arge brd
_ a whte, shnged roof
d. a shnged, whte roof
e. a beautfu, ong house
f. a ong, beautfu house
9) Strcty speakng, 'dog' n 'brd-dog' carres asecondary stress. Engsh vowes can carry
one of three sgnfcant degrees of stress prmary, secondary, and no stress.
10) As noted n chapter 2, compoundng s a ma|or exca dervaton pattern n Engsh. The
transton, for each compound, from the status of a modifier-noun constructon wth both
words stressed to the status of compound noun (wth ony the frst word stressed) s a gradua,
cuturay-dependent hstorca process.
11) The femae back-brd s actuay brown.
12) A ong-house s a type of communa dweng used by severa Amerndan peopes n the
Pacfc North-West, as we as by many ndgenous peopes n the Papuan-Meanesan cutura
13) For nomnazatons, see secton 6.6.3., beow.
14) For nomnazatons, see secton 6.6.3., beow.
15) These 'of-NP' possessve modfers arse va nomnazaton, cf. (47d) above; see aso sec-
ton 6.6.3. further beow.
16) At east for some speakers, the rue here s roughy ths: Use 'out of when a whoe body
physcay exts. Use 'out' when a more abstract entty 'vson', 'attenton' moves n an out-
ward drecton.
17) The we-known counter-exampes a nvove contexts where the name s n some way not
unque, as n:
'Oh, I don't mean this | oe, I meant that one'.
'That Pars you used to know was so dfferent from
the Pars we know now'.
18) Exampes of ths knd are heard n young chdren's speech, no doubt representng
attempts to extend the pattern by anaogy.
19) Ths anayss s characterstc of eary Transformatona Grammar, see Chomsky (1957).
20) See Gvn (1970).
21) For recproca constructons, see chapter 8.
22) See chapter 7.
23) See Gvn (1988).
24) See Gernsbacher et al (1989).
25) The non-snguar status of con|oned NPs s aso supported by ther sub|ect agreement,
see secton, beow.
26) Ds|uncton n ogc s typcay inclusive, so that f both "P" and "O" are true, not ony s
"P and O" true, but aso "P or O". The use of a more ncusve 'or' s aso found n Engsh, as
n expressons such as "Woud you ke tea, coffee or mk?"
27) In other contexts, ths prncpe s known as theproximity principle; see chapter 7.
28) See Ross (1972, 1973).
29) See chapter 8.
30) A more theoretca mpcaton here s, of course, that the assgnment of the grammatical
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abty 172, 173, 174
abstract 55, 56
access (to sub|ecthood) 93
accompshment 131
acton(s) 90
acton verb 105
actvaton 244
actve 93, 94
actve cause(s) 27
actve verb(s) 150
ad|ectva phrase 248, 256, 261
ad|ectve(s) 55, 62, 76, 256, 257, 295
ad|ectves, derved 64
ad|ectves, reatve order of 257
ad|ectve ntegraton 283
adverb(s)51,76, 261 272,295
adverba cause(s) 177
aesthetc functons 21
affected 122
affectedness 100, 114
affrmatve (cause) 27
affx(es) 48, 50
age 9
agent 90, 91,92,93, 105
agent of passve 291
agentvty 100
anaphorc pronoun(s) 228, 235, 236,
anaphorc reference 239
Ango-Saxon 45
anmate 56
anterorty 162
antpassve 116
antonymc pars 64, 65
arbtrary code 25
Arstote 2, 85
artce(s) 60, 80
aspect 68, 147, 152
aspectua (verbs) 131
aspectuaty (adverbs) 74
aspectuas (progressve) 158
assocatve 91, 92, 93, 115, 119, 124
atttude, speaker's 169
attended processng 4
automated processng 4
auxares 81
auxary 97, 149, 150
averson verbs 134
background nformaton 181
behavora program, cosed 4
behavora program, open 4
benefactve 91, 92, 93, 121, 124
b-transtve verbs 120
Bonner, | .T. 12
Bopp, F. 5
bound morphemes 48, 50, 58
bounded (aspect) 90, 153, 154
bounded past 153, 155
Bybee, | . 210
Carnap, R. 246
case-markng 291
case-roe ntegraton 277
cataphorc reference 239
category abes 29, 31
cause 110
certanty 172
change of state 90, 103
Chomsky, N. 38, 39, 84, 145, 301
cass sze 48
cassfers (semantc) 60
causa sub|ect(s) 127
cause(s) 21, 89
cause ntegraton 278
cause type 89
cause chan 244
co-referent 129
co-sub|ecthood 119
code transparency 8
codng devces 26
cognate ob|ects 112
cognton (verbs) 133, 176
cognton-utterance verb(s) 218
cogntve 244
cogntve compexty 178
cogntve operatons 244, 245
coherence 21, 41, 156
coherent communcaton 6, 22
coherent dscourse 36
coherent text 22
command 177, 217
communcaton 36
communcatve code 25
communcatve compromse 31
communcatve contract 232
communcatve functon(s) 5
communcatve strateges 3
compact (aspect) 153
comparatve 66
competton 26, 30
competton (sub|ecthood) 93
compement (verba) 104
compex cause(s) 26, 35
compex ocatve(s) 264
compex noun phrase(s) 271, 287
compex preposton(s) 265, 267
compoundng 62, 258
compoundng ad|ectve(s) 260
concept(s) 22, 41
conceptua excon 43
concrete(ness) 55, 56
condtona (cause) 217
con|oned noun phrases 273, 277
con|unctons 78
connectves (nter-causa) 78
consttuency 29
consttuent negaton 204
constuent structure 96
context(s) 3, 13
contnuous (aspect) 158
contrastve quantfer(s) 253
contrastve scope 252
contrastve stress 197, 251
copua 101, 103
copuar verb(s) 101
count (nouns) 57
countabty 56, 57
counter-fact (modaty) 175
counter-norm 178
counter-sequentaty 163
cutura unverse 22
cutura word-vew 44, 45, 232
datve 91, 92, 93, 101, 105, 118, 121
datve ob|ect(s) 110
datve sub|ect(s) 109
decaratve (cause) 27
deep structure 30, 32, 34, 35, 232
defnte(s) 80
defnte(s), cuturay-based 233
defnte(s), frame-based 234
defnte(s), genercay-shared 234
defnte(s), stuaton-based 232
defnte(s), text-based 234
defnte artce(s) 255
defnte noun phrases 235
defnte quantfers 249
defnteness 213, 242, 244, 232
defnteness, sources of 232
demonstratve(s) 80, 238, 255
denotaton 213
dependent (cause) 28
dervatona morphoogy 60, 67, 70
dervatona morphemes 47, 58
descrptve grammar 5, 7
determner(s) 29, 80, 247, 248, 255, 294
determner ntegraton 279
dachronc 9
daect(s) 19
dffcuty 128
dffuse (aspect) 153
drect ob|ect 58, 95, 112, 115, 125, 132
drect quote 136
dscourse 21, 23, 41, 92
dscourse coherence 23, 25
dscourse context 27, 36, 155
dscourse dstrbuton 178
dscourse pragmatcs 26, 247
dscourse-pragmatc functon 27
ds|uncton 284
dssuason (verbs) 133
dversty, cross-anguage 4
doube gentve 291
doube negaton 207
dummy pronoun 127
dummy-sub|ect verbs 100, 101
dummy-sub|ect ad|ectves 101
economy (of processng) 8
educated grammar 15
emphatc dena 204
enttes 22
epstemc 128
epstemc adverb(s) 74, 135, 171
epstemc atttude 135, 169
epstemc certanty 176
epstemc modates 169
ethnc mnortes 18
evauatve 128, 176
evauatve ad|ectves 63
evauatve adverbs 75, 171
evauatve atttude 169
event(s) 22, 54, 90
event ntegraton 278, 284
excess structure 37
exchange verbs 123
excusve ds|uncton 284
exhortaton 177
exstence 213
expressve power 8
extenson 213
externa word 22
fact (modaty) 216
factve 135
fnte cause(s) 288
fnte man cause(s) 293
Feschman, S. 210
focus causes 177
focused negaton 197, 198
foregn tak 19
forma regster 17
frames 279
frames (contextua) 26
free morpheme(s) 51
Frege, G. 85
French 45
frequency adverbs 73
frequency dstrbuton 13, 53, 179, 180
frcton 26
Frsan 45
functon 1, 30
functona reassgnment 3
functons (of anguage) 21
future 148, 149, 171
future perfect 162, 165, 166
future progressve 153
Garca, E. 209
generaty 57
generc sub|ects 242
gentve 264, 291
gentve determner 291
gentve modfer 291
geographc daects 19
Germanc 45, 49
Gernsbacher, M. 301
gobay accessbe 241
gobay mportant 240
grammar 1, 43, 45
grammaran(s) 1
grammatca constrants 92
grammatca change 49
grammatca morpheme(s) 47, 58, 59
grammatca morphoogy 59, 66, 68
grammatca ob|ect 95
grammatca roe(s) 57, 89, 92
grammatca strateges 4
grammatca sub|ect 94
grammatca vocabuary 46
grammatcazaton 144
group nouns 286
habtua (aspect, tense) 150, 151, 152,
habtua, smpe 157
habtua past 161
habtua progressve 157
Haman, | . 209
Harrs, Z. 38
head noun(s) 58, 97, 247
Hene, B. 209
hstorc tme 8
hstorca orgn 49
Hopper, P. 84, 144
human 56
dentty 102
domatc 267
mmedate (aspect) 166, 167
nanmate 56
nceptve (aspect) 159
ncorporated patents 114
ndefnte 80
ndefnte artce(s) 220, 255
ndefnte determner(s) 219
ndefnte quantfer(s) 250
ndrect ob|ect(s) 58, 92, 95, 116, 117,
118, 119, 121,293
ndrect quote 136
ndvdua stye 20
ndvduaton 56, 57
nfntve 289, 295
nfntve verb 132
nfecton(s) 147
nforma regster 17
nformaton 21, 22, 41
nformaton verbs 136
nherent quaty 101, 102
nstrument 91, 92, 93, 111, 124
nstrumenta 122
ntent 172
ntentona 131
nter-persona functons 21
nter|ecton(s) 81
nterna word 22
ntranstve 119
ntranstve verb(s) 105, 116
ntranstve cause(s) 100
rreas (modaty) 170, 172, 176, 216,
rreas asserton 170, 216, 217, 219
rreguar past-tense 149
| espersen 52, 210
| ohnson, Dr. S. 10
Kant 38
Kparsk, C. 145
Kparsk, P. 145
Lakoff, G. 145
anguage acquston 46
Latn 45
aw of the excuded mdde 187
exca semantcs 247
exca vocabuary 46
exca words 46
excon 43
Lndner, S. 145
near order 29
ocay mportant 240
ocaton 124
ocatve 91, 92, 93, 112, 117, 122
ogc 187
man cause 27
manpuaton, attempted 133
manpuaton, successfu 133
manpuaton verb(s) 132, 176, 218
manner 124
manner adverb(s) 254, 71
Marchand, H. 85
marked 178
markedness 179
mass (nouns) 56, 57
meanng 21, 22, 30, 40
memory search 244
meta-functona requrements 37
metaphorc 118
metaphorc extenson 109
Mdde Engsh 8
moda(s) 172, 173, 174 217
moda auxares 76, 149, 150
modaty 68, 147, 169
modaty, cogntve 180
modaty, grammatca dstrbuton of
modaty verb(s) 129, 130, 176, 217
Modern Engsh 9
modfer(s) 58, 247
modfyng ad|ectve(s) 272
morphemes 41
morphemc status 50
morphoogca crtera 51
morphoogy 92
moton 120
Mer, M. 11
mutpe con|uncton 284
mutpe membershp (of verbs) 137
name(s) 29, 98, 240, 248, 269
natura casses 52
necessty 172
negaton 68, 147, 187, 188
negaton, and soca nteracton 193
negaton, as speech-act 190
negaton, n dscourse 190
negaton, nherent 202
negaton, eves of 203
negaton, morphoogca 202
negaton, morpho-syntax of 199
negaton, scope of 195
negaton, syntactc 203, 204, 206
negaton, syntax of 201
negatve asserton 170, 216, 217, 219
negatve cause(s) 28
negatve events 191
negatve factve 135
negatve poarty 203
negatve pronouns 206
nomna morphoogy 288, 289
nomna predcate 92, 95, 102, 125
nomnazaton 287, 298
nomnazaton, exca 287, 289
nomnazaton, syntactc 287
nomnazed causes 178, 293, 294, 295
non-decaratve, cause 28
non-decaratve, speech-acts 176
non-fact (modaty) 216
non-factve 218
non-fnte (cause) 288
non-human 56
non-mpcatve 217, 218
non-exca morphemes 48
non-referrng 80, 102, 215, 216
non-referrng, anaphorc prnouns 228
non-referrng, artces 255
non-referrng, determners 218, 220
non-restrctve, modfers 267, 268, 269
norm 178
noun(s)29, 51,54, 55, 247
noun compement(s) 249, 298
noun compound(s) 258
noun modfer(s) 98
noun phrase(s) 58, 97, 102, 247, 248,
noun-phrase con|uncton 275
noun-phrase negaton 197, 205
number ntegraton 282
numera(s) 81,250
numerca scope 252
ob|ect 29, 35, 92, 106
ob|ect pronoun 79
Obligation 76, 172, 173,
obligatory constituent(s) 96
Old English 8, 45
ontology (of negation) 191
optional constituent(s) 96
optional direct object 124
oral language 13
ordinal(s) 81
ordinal adjective(s) 268
organism, biological 2

Palmer, F. 210
paragraph 244
paraphrase 34
parenthetical 271
parsing 28, 96
participant(s) 90
participial (clauses) 177
partitive 249
parts of speech 41
passive 93, 94
passive clause 28
passive morphology 68
past 148, 151, 171
past perfect 162, 163, 165
past progressive 153
patient 91, 92, 93, 101, 118
patient of change 106
patient of state 105
patient subject 110, 111
patienthood 119
Peirce 38
perception verbs 133, 135, 176
perfect (aspect) 161, 162, 171
perfectivity 100, 163, 180
performative force 175
permission 172, 173, 174
phrasal semantics 247
phrase(s) 97
phrase structure (rules) 142
pidgin (language) 46
plural 59, 248
plurality 286
polarity of adjectives 64
population, mean 53
possession, verbs of 115
possessive 264
possessive construction(s) 77
possessive determiner(s) 268
possessive modifier 266
possessive phrase(s) 264
possessor 60, 248
possessor pronoun 79, 81
post-moninal (modifiers) 248
power 17
pragmatic importance 230, 231
pragmatist 38
pre-nominal genitive 291
pre-nominal modifiers 248, 249
predicate 101
predicate noun 58
preference 172, 176
preference verbs 134
prefix(es) 48, 51
prepositional phrase(s) 72, 117
preposition(s) 59, 77
prepositions, incorporated in verbs 138
prescriptive grammar 5
present (tense) 148, 150, 151, 171
present perfect 162, 165, 166
present progressive 153, 157
prestige 17
presupposed background 188
presupposed information 181
presupposition 170, 177, 195, 216, 217,
prevention verbs 133
primary word-stress 259
probability 172, 173, 174
process 103
process copula 104
process verb 106
progressive (aspect) 150, 151, 153, 154
progressive auxiliary 149, 150
pronoun(s) 60, 79, 98, 248
pronouns, indefinite 222
pronouns, non-referring 222
proposition(s) 22, 23, 41
propositional frame 89, 90, 169
propositional information 25
propositional meaning 30, 36
propostona modates 23
prototype(s) 52, 53, 91, 99, 100, 106,
117, 120 288
proxmty 154
pseudo-possessve(s) 264
quates 22
quaty 90
quantfer(s) 81, 248, 249,261
queston(s) (WH) 177
queston(s) (yes-no) 177
Ransom, E. 210
Rea Word 213, 214
reas (modaty) 170
reas asserton 216, 217, 219
recproca (verbs) 115, 119
reference 57, 213, 216, 242, 244
reference, contnuous 236
reference, frame-based 234
reference, gradaton 224
reference, negatve scope 224
reference, puraty 225
reference, pragmatcs of 226, 230, 231
reference, text-based 234, 235
reference, swtch 236
referenta accessbty 232
referenta coherence 213
referenta ntent 215
referrng 102,215,216,218
regona daects 19
reaton(s) 22, 30
reatve cause(s) 177, 248
reatve mportance 275
reevance 164, 181, 182
remote (aspect) 167
remoteness 154
repettve (aspect) 158
request 177
restrctve modfers 267, 268, 269
Romance 46
Ross, | .R. 301
rues of grammar 2, 3, 52
Russe B. 246
Sapr 53
scattered noun phrases 270
schoary |argon 15
scope, of quantfers 251, 254
scrpt(s) 279
semantc amagamaton 247
semantc ambguty 31
semantc crtera 51
semantc features 43
semantc feds 43
semantc reference 230
semantc rgdty 25
semantc roes 90, 91
semantc structure 30
sentence 29
sequenta 156
sequentaty 155, 181
smpe cause(s) 26, 27, 89
smpe causes, cassfcaton 99
smpe causes, structure 143
smpe past 163, 165
smutanety 155
smutaneous 156
soca status 17
socety of ntmates 13
socety of strangers 13
soco-cutura functon(s) 21
sounds 25
speaker's ntent 231
speech communty 7, 44, 233
speech-act(s) 175
spoken anguage 13
state(s) 22, 54, 90, 101
statve copua 104
statve verb(s) 150, 151
status 17
stems 50
stress 48
stressed pronouns 235, 236
structura compexty 178
structure 1, 30
sub|ect 29, 58, 92, 105, 106
sub|ect agreement 68
sub|ect contnuty 236, 237
sub|ect pronoun 79
subject switch 236, 237
subjecthood 93
subordinate (clause) 28
subordinator(s) 78
success 131
suffix(es) 48, 51
superlative 66
surface structure 30, 32, 34
synchronic 9
syntactic criteria 51
syntactic description 27
syntactic position 57
syntax 25, 26

tautology 190
temporal 55, 56
temporary state 101, 102, 103
tense 68, 147, 148
tense-aspect 171
tense-aspect-modality, cognitive aspects
of 178
tense-aspect-modality, communicative
aspects of 178
tense-aspect-modality, syntax of 182,
183, 184, 185
terminative (aspect) 160
text-node 244, 245
thematic break 163
thematic contrast 238
thematic parallel 238
theme (and variations) 27
Thompson, S. 84, 144
time 124, 148
time adverbs 73
tokens (reference) 243
topic identification 213
topic worthiness 277
topical 122
topical referent 244
topicality 92
transformational grammar 27
transformations 38
transitive 119
transitive clause(s) 99, 100
transitive verb(s) 106, 108
transitivity 115
tree diagrams 28, 96
truth 42
types (reference) 243
unbounded (aspect) 90, 153
uneducated grammar 15
unindividuated 56
universe of discourse 214
unmarked 178
unstressed pronouns 235, 236
utterance verbs 133, 176
verb(s)29, 51,55,68, 97, 98, 106
verb agreement 286
verb(s), classification 99
verb(al) complements 126, 127,176, 299
verb phrase 29, 97, 98
verb-phrase negation 196, 198
verb types 89
verbal clauses 89
verbal frame 124
verbal inflection(s) 147
vestigial organ 3
Visser 210, 212
vocabulary 41
Wallace, A.F.C. 84
Wittgenstein 38, 44, 84
word class(es) 51
word classe(s), minor 77
word-order 89, 92, 96
word size 4
written language 13
written register 15, 254
yes/no question 217

zero anaphora 235