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UNIT 15

THE EXPRESSION OF MANNER, MEANS AND


INSTRUMENT
OUTLINE

1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.

2. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE NOTIONS OF MANNER, MEANS AND


INSTRUMENT.
2.1. Linguistic levels involved in the notions of manner, means and instrument.
2.2. On defining manner, means and instrument: what and how.
2.3. Grammar categories: open vs. closed classes.

3. THE EXPRESSION OF MANNER, MEANS, AND INSTRUMENT: AN INTRODUCTION.


3.1. Adverbs: main features.
3.2. Manner, means and instrument in terms of other grammatical categories.
3.3. A classification of adverbs: main functions.
3.2.1. The morphological function.
3.2.1.1. Simple adverbs.
3.2.1.2. Adverb formation by means of affixation.
3.2.1.3. Adverb formation by means of compounding.
3.2.1.4. Adverb formation by means of other constructions.
3.2.1.5. Spelling and pronunciation changes.
3.2.2. The syntactic function.
3.2.2.1. The notion of adverbial phrase.
3.2.2.2. Types of grammatical functions.
3.2.2.2.1. Disjuncts.
3.2.2.2.2. Conjuncts.
3.2.2.2.3. Subjuncts.
3.2.2.2.4. Adjuncts.
3.2.2.2.4.1. Predication adjuncts.
3.2.2.2.4.2. Clause adjuncts.
3.2.2.3. Adverbs and word order.
3.2.2.3.1. General considerations.
3.2.2.3.2. Particular cases.
3.2.3. The semantic function.
3.2.3.1. Disjuncts.
3.2.3.1.1. Style disjuncts: manner and modality, and respect.
3.2.3.1.2. Content disjuncts: certainty and evaluation.
3.2.3.2. Conjuncts.

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3.2.3.3. Subjuncts.
3.2.3.3.1. Wide orientation subjuncts: viewpoint and courtesy.
3.2.3.3.2. Narrow orientation subjuncts: item, intensifier, focus.
3.2.3.4. Adjuncts.
3.2.3.4.1. Space.
3.2.3.4.2. Time.
3.2.3.4.3. Degree.
3.2.3.4.4. Interrogative.
3.2.3.4.6. Modality.
3.2.3.4.7. Others.
3.2.3.4.8. Process: manner, means and instrument.

4. THE EXPRESSION OF MANNER.


4.1. By means of adverbs and adverbial phrases.
4.2. By means of other adjuncts.
4.3. By means of prepositional phrases.
4.4. By means of noun phrases.
4.5. By means of clause structures.

5. THE EXPRESSION OF MEANS.


5.1. By means of adverbs and adverbial phrases.
5.2. By means of prepositional phrases.
5.3. By means of noun phrases.

6. THE EXPRESSION OF INSTRUMENT.

7. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.

8. CONCLUSION.

9. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

Unit 15 is primarily aimed to examine the different ways of expressing manner, means, and
instrument in English, namely achieved by means of adverbs, and also by means of prepositions,
noun phrases and other grammatical structures. In doing so, the study will be divided into eight
main chapters. Thus, Chapter 2 provides a theoretical framework for the notions of manner, means
and instrument, and in particular, of those grammatical categories which are involved in it.
Moreover, within the field of grammar linguistic theory, some key terminology is defined in
syntactic terms so as to prepare the reader for the descriptive account on the expression of manner,
means and instrument in subsequent chapters.

Chapter 3, then, presents and defines the notion of manner, means and instrument mainly regarding
adverbs and other grammatic al categories involved in it, such as prepositions, and other means.
Moreover, adverbs are classified according to their three main functions: morphological, in terms of
adverb formation processes (one-word phrase, affixation and compounding); syntactic, which is
introduced by the notion of adverbial phrase, and moves on to examine adverbs as functioning as
disjuncts, conjuncts, subjuncts, and adjuncts; and finally, semantic, in terms of different types of
adverbs (place,time, degree, and others).

This syntactic and semantic classification allows us to frame the notions of manner, means and
instrument within the label of process adjuncts. Once established within the linguistic framework,
we are ready to examine them individually. Therefore, Chapter 4 offers a descriptive account of the
expression of manner by means of adverbs or adverbial phrases, other adjuncts, prepositional
phrases, noun phrases and other types of phrase structures. Similarly, Chapter 5 does the same on
the expression of means, and Chapter 6 on the expression of instrument.

Chapter 7, then, provides an educational framework for the expression of manner, means and
instrument within our current school curriculum, and Chapter 8 draws a conclusion from all the
points involved in this study. Finally, in Chapter 9, bibliography will be listed in alphabetical order.

1.2. Notes on bibliography.

In order to offer an insightful analysis and survey on the expression of manner, means, and
instrument in English, we shall deal with the most relevant works in the field, both old and current,
and in particular, influential grammar books which have assisted for years students of English as a
foreign language in their study of grammar. For instance, a theoretical framework for the expression
of manner, means, and instrument is namely drawn from the field of sentence analysis, that is, from
the work of Flor Aarts and Jan Aarts (University of Nijmegen, Holland) in English Syntactic
Structures (1988), whose material has been tested in the classroom and developed over a number of

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years; also, another essential work is that of Rodney Huddleston, English Grammar, An Outline
(1988).

Other classic references which offer an account of the most important and central grammatical
constructions and categories in English regarding the expression of manner, means, and instrument,
are Quirk & Greenbaum, A University Grammar of English (1973); Thomson & Martinet, A
Practical English Grammar (1986); and Greenbaum & Quirk, A Students Grammar of the English
Language (1990).

More current approaches to notional grammar are David Bolton and Noel Goodey, Grammar
Practice in Context (1997); John Eastwood, Oxford Practice in Grammar (1999); Sidney
Greenbaum, The Oxford Reference Grammar (2000); Gerald Nelson, English: An Essential
Grammar (2001); Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of the
English Language (2002); and. Angela Downing and Philip Locke, A University Course in English
Grammar (2002).

2. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE NOTION OF MANNER, MEANS, AND


INSTRUMENT.

Before describing in detail the different ways of expressing manner, means, and instrument in
English, it is relevant to establish first a theoretical framework for these notions, since they must be
described in grammatical terms. In fact, this introductory chapter aims at answering questions such
as where these notions are to be found within the linguistic level, what they describe and how and
which grammar categories are involved in their description at a functional level. Let us examine,
then, in which linguistic level these notions are found.

2.1. Linguistic levels involved in the notions of manner, means, and instrument.

In order to offer a linguistic description of the notion of manner, means, and instrument, we must
confine it to particular levels of analysis so as to focus our attention on this particular aspect of
language. Yet, although there is no consensus of opinion on the number of levels to be
distinguished, the usual description of a language comprises four major components: phonology,
grammar, lexicon, and semantics, out of which we get five major levels: phonological,
morphological and syntactic, lexical, and semantic (Huddleston, 1988).

First, the phonology describes the sound level, that is, consonants, vowels, stress, intonation, and so
on. Secondly, since the two most basic units of grammar are the word and the sentence, the
component of grammar involves the morphological level (i.e. the internal structure of words) and
the syntactic level (i.e. the way words are placed in th e sentence). Third, the lexicon, or lexical
level, lists vocabulary items, specifying how they are pronounced, how they behave grammatically,

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and what they mean. Finally, another dimension between the study of linguistic form and the study
of meaning is semantics, or the semantic level, to which all four of the major components are
related. We must not forget that a linguistic description which ignores meaning is obviously
incomplete, and in particular, when dealing with the notions of manner, means, and instrument.

Therefore, we must point out that each of the linguistic levels discussed above has a corresponding
component when analysing these notions. Thus, phonology deals with pronunciation of adverbs (i.e.
usually, ever; late-later-the latest); morphology deals with comparative and superlative markers
(i.e. er, -est) or the addition of suffixes to form adverbs (i.e. -ly, -wise, -wards); and syntax deals
with which combinations of words constitute grammatical strings and which do not (i.e. She wants
to come also vs. She wants to come, too).

On the other hand, lexis deals with the expression of manner, means, and instrument regarding the
choice between adverbial phrases or prepositional phrases (i.e. He drives carefully vs. He drives in a
careful manner), lexical choices regarding different types of adverbs (i.e. source, goal, agency,
modality, degree, and so on), the use of specific adverbs (i.e. intensifiers: decreasing or
increasing), or other means such as other formal realizations of these notions (i.e. a noun phrase, a
verbless clause, a finite clause, etc); and finally, semantics deals with meaning where syntactic and
morphological levels do not tell the difference (i.e. He was lying in the room- But where? This,
that, here, or there?).

2.2. On defining manner, means, and instrument: what and how.

On defining the terms manner, means, and instrument, we must link these notions (what they are)
to the grammar categories which express them (how they are showed). Actually, the terms manner,
means, and instrument are intended to add information about how a situation has happened, by
describing in detail in which manner, by which means and with which instruments an event
took place. We must point out that this function is mainly carried out by adverbs, but other
grammatical categories can also function like an adverb, thus prepositional phrases, adjectival
phrases, noun phrases or other grammatical expressions (to be developed further on).

Following Traditional Grammar guidelines, adverbs are classified according to their main semantic
roles: space (position, direction, goal, source, distance), time (position, forward and backward
position, relationship in time), respect, contingency (cause, reason, purpose, result, condition,
concession), modality (emphasis, approximation, restriction), degree (or quantity) (emphasizers,
amplifiers, downtoners), sentence (affirmative, negative, interrogative), doubt (relative adverbs:
where, when, why) and finally, for our purposes, the notion of process which includes the
expression of manner, means, instrument, and agency.

Moreover, these notions are also classified according to their syntactic function (conjuncts,
disjuncts, adjuncts), among which we shall deal with the category of process adjuncts, whose
function is to denote the process of the verb by describing manner, means, and instrument. These

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adverbs, then, answer to questions such as How did he react to your proposal?: with great courtesy
(manner), by means of a bribe (means), and with a gun pointing at me (instrument).Note that the
expression of manner, means, and instrument is mainly achieved by means of adverbial,
prepositional, adjectival and noun phrases (Quirk & Greenbaum, 1973).

2.3. Grammar categories: open vs. closed classes.

In order to confine the notion of manner, means, and instrument to particular grammatical
categories, we must review first the difference between open and closed classes. Yet, grammar
categories in English can be divided into two major sets called open and closed classes. The open
classes are verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs, and are said to be unrestricted since they allow the
addition of new members to their membership, whereas the closed classes are the rest: prepositions,
conjunctions, articles (definite and indefinite), numerals, pronouns, quantifiers and interjections,
which belong to a restricted class since they do not allow the creation of new members.

Then, as we can see, when expressing manner, means, and instrument we are mainly dealing with
adverbs that, when taken to phrase and sentence level, may be substituted by other grammatical
categories, in particular, prepositional phrases, noun phrases and specific syntactic structures. The
classification of phrases reflects an established syntactic order which is found for all four of the
open word classes (i.e. verb, noun, adjective, and adverb) where it is very often possible to replace
open classes by an equivalent expression of another class (i.e. noun, adjective, preposition or
another adverb), and also closed classes (i.e. prepositions, conjunctions, quantifiers) as we shall see
later.

3. THE EXPRESSION OF MANNER, MEANS, AND INSTRUMENT: AN INTRODUCTION.

As stated before, the expression of manner, means, and instrument will be first examined through
the category of adverbs, and then we shall offer a descriptive approach through other grammatical
categories related to it, such as prepositions, adjectives, nouns and other grammatical structures like
periphrastic phrases, idiomatic expressions or verbless sentences as possible answers to the question
of How ...?

Moreover, before we continue, we must note that, although adverbs are mainly classified in two
groups following syntactic and semantic rules, as stated before, our study will be primarily based on
the notion of process adjuncts since it is this category that is constituent or a clause or sentence and
will lead us to the expression of manner, means, and instrument further on.

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In the following chapters, then, we shall examine the main issues that will provide the base for the
whole unit. Thus, (1) main features of adverbs; (2) the expression of manner, means, and instrument
in terms of other grammatical categories, (3) a classification of adverbs according to their main
functions, thus morphological, syntactic, and semantic. First, within the morphological function, we
shall examine the formation of adverbs. Second, within the syntactic function, we shall examine the
different types of syntactic organization. And finally, within the semantic function, we sha ll
examine the main issue of this unit.

3.1. Adverbs: main features.

First of all, in order to understand the main features of adverbs, we must trace back to the origin of
the word. From Latin adverbium, this word means ad + verbum, that is, next to the verb. In other
words, an adverb is the invariable part of the sentence which modifies verbs, adjectives, nouns, and
also other adverbs in order to change their meanings (Larousse, 2000). Adverbs in general are
intended to give information about the way something is done by someone by offering a description
or identification of the situation with a wide range of details which answer to the question How...?,
thus in which manner, by which means, and with which instruments something happened.

According to Huddleston (1988), adverbs have the following properties: (1) first, they modify
verbs, adjectives and other adverbs 1 (i.e. He ate yesterday, extremely unpolite, and really fast); (2)
second, adverbs commonly express manner, degree, time, place, and so on according to their
semantic role (i.e. very, no, last year, here, more, rather well); (3) Third, it is commonly the case
that many members, especially those belonging to the manner subclass, are morphologically derived
from adjectives (i.e. quick-quickly; usual-usually); and (4) finally, their syntactic similarity with
prepositional phrases, sharing the same function and essentially the same meaning (i.e. carefully vs.
with care/in a careful way; soon vs. in a short while, usually, on most occasions).

3.2. Manner, means, and instrument in terms of other grammatical categories.

Adverbs denoting manner, means, and instrument, then, play their role within a larger linguistic
structure in order to modify verbs, adjectives, nouns, or other adverbs by means of other categories
as well. For instance, the answer to How did you get out of that hole? may be drawn not only from
the grammatical category of verbs (i.e. crawling), but also from other categories, such as adjectives
(i.e. extraordinarily nervous), other adverbs (i.e. rather well), or other grammatical structures (i.e.
wishing to see the light again ). Therefore, the functions of the adverbial are also realized by:

1
Note that in languages which distinguish between adjectives and adverbs the primary difference is that adjectives modify
nouns while adverbs modify verbs. The modifiers of verbs, in turn, can to a large degree, also modify adjectives and
adverbs, so that we then extend the definition of adverb to cover modifiers of all three open classes other than nouns
(Huddleston, 1988).

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(1) Another major kind of expression which can function like an adverb, that is, prepos itions, which
belong to the closed-class category and which connect two units in a sentence, specifying a
relationship between them (i.e. Adverbial: I dont like to drink out of a cracked glass; Adjective
complement: I was very grateful for your help ; and manner: the woman in the red dress).

(2) Adverbialisation (Huddleston, 1988) is also realized by means of noun phrases, although it is
not common (i.e. He came last week). However, time reference is not included in our study as a
main issue.

(3) Another kind of syntactic structure involves clause subordination, where we find two types.
Thus (a) the non-finite verb clauses (or infinitival clauses) which function as modifier of the verbal
phrase, and in which the verb is (i) an infinitive, as in He left at nine to catch the nine-thirty bus,
(ii) present participle ing, as in Hoping to see him as soon as possible, and (iii) past participle
ed, as in If urged by you, well stay in. Secondly, (b) we may find the finite content clause as
modifier of an adjectival phrase, as in I was so broke that I couldnt buy any food or The child
was playing although he was very tired.

(4) And finally, we may find another type of syntactic structure realized by verbless clauses, as in
She was shopping, unaware of the time.

Then, as we can see, all these items have the same function but belong to different grammatical
categories or class (i.e. noun, adjective, finite clauses, and so on ). We may observe that the degree
of adverbialisation is significantly less than in prepositional phrases in that although such
subordinate clauses have broadly the same function as adverbs, we do not normally find anything
like the close semantic equivalence to adverbs illustrated above for prepositional phrases.

Then, since both function and word class are relevant for our present purposes, we must examine
the expression of manner, means, and instrument through them. These expressions can be grouped
together into word classes (also called parts of speech) following morphological, syntactic, and
semantic rules but bearing in mind the phonological one when pronouncing adverbs or other
periphrastic expressions (i.e. in th e air).

3.3. A classification of adverbs: main functions.

Adverbs can also be classified according to their main functions whereby we may find three main
types: (1) the morphological function, by which adverbs are formed by means of affixation and
compounding processes; (2) the syntactic function, which is related to the structure and position of
adverbial phrases at the sentence level; and finally, (3) the semantic function, which is related to
intrinsic aspects of adverbs. We shall follow five main figures in this field in order to develop this
section, thus Quirk & Greenbaum (1973), Thomson & Martinet (1986), Huddleston (1988), Aarts
(1988), and Greenbaum & Quirk (1990).

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3.2.1. The morphological function.

The adverb class is, then, the most common repository for the expression of process (manner,
means and instrument) together with prepositional phrases. As seen before, adverbs may be primary
words which do not derive from any other (i.e. ever, just, only, yet, already, etc) or may be derived
from other words (i.e. adjectives, other adverbs, verbs) by certain morphological processes.
However, there are far fewer affixes forming adverbs than there are forming nouns or adjectives.

In fact, similar features of adjectives apply to adverbs, which can be inflected (i.e. hard-harder-
hardest), and also, many of them are derived from adjectives, adding the suffix -ly to the adjective
base (i.e. nice-nicely, coward-cowardly) although not all of them allow this derivational process
(i.e. NOT: old -oldly).

Huddleston (1988) uses the term adverbialisation for this variety of grammatical processes that
create adverbs or expressions that bear significant resemblances to adverbs or adverbial phrases
among which we namely distinguish between morphological processes yielding words actually
belonging to the adverb class (simple words and affixation) and syntactic processes yielding
expressions which are merely functionally similar to adverbs (compounding and periphrastical
constructions with prepositional phrases).

Thus, affixation and compounding are the most straightforward type of creating an adverb by
morphological processes, apart from those adverbs which are not related to any other word (simple
adverbs). Then, the classification is stated as follows: (1) simple adverbs, (2) adverb formation by
means of affixation, (3) adverb formation by means of compounding, and (4) adverb formation by
means of other constructions. Finally, (5) we shall examine spelling and pronunciation changes.

3.2.1.1. Simple adverbs.

Simple adverbs are a great number of adverbs which occur as one-word adverb phrase only,
resisting both pre- and postmodification (Aarts, 1988). These adverbs can be roughly classified into
the following groups:

(1) Adverbs of place (i.e. in, out, indoors, outdoors, abroad, ashore, hereabouts, home, underfoot,
underground, underwater). However, it is worth noting that Huddleston (1988) recognizes some of
these simple adverbs as the result of a derivational process of the prefix a-, as in ashore, abroad.

(2) Adverbs of time (i.e. already, beforehand, ever, forthwith, henceforth, hitherto, meanwhile, now,
nowadays, still, then, today, tomorrow, tonight, yesterday, and so on).

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(3) Interrogative adverbs (i.e. how, whither, when, whence, where, why, and so on). Aarts (1988)
points out that these adverbs are occasionally modified by intensifying postmodifiers such as on
earth and by the adverb ever.

(4) Intensifying adverbs and adverbs of degree (i.e. almost, altogether, enough, even, most, only,
quite, rather, somewhat, too, very, and so on ).

(5) Conjuncts (i.e. again, also, besides, furthermore, however, moreover, nevertheless, next,
therefore, yet, and so on).

(6) And finally, Aarts (1988) mentions other adverbs (i.e. askance, just, needs, part-time, perhaps,
piecemeal, pointblack, somehow, thus, twofold, and so on).

3.2.1.2. Adverb formation by means of affixation.

Many adverbs can be identified on the basis of affixation, that is, typical derivational suffixes
whereby some adverbs inflect for comparison. It is worth remembering that some authors, and in
particular Huddleston (1988), recognize the process of affixation by means of prefixes (i.e.
derivational prefix a-, as in abroad, ashore) although in traditional grammar prefixation is not
included in adverb derivational processes since the prefix a- also forms adjectives (i.e. asleep,
ablaze).

Then, typical derivational suffixes for adverbs are: (a) the suffix ly, by means of which new
adverbs are created from adjectives (including participial adjectives) to indicate manner, as in odd-
oddly, interesting-interestingly, full-fully, wise-wisely, and so on. Yet, although ly is the most
productive of all suffixes, it should be borne in mind that not all words ending in ly are adverbs
(i.e. beastly, lonely, and friendly, which belong to the class of adjectives).

Moreover, other derivational suffixes are: (b) the suffix ward(s), added to a few
adverbs/prepositions, as in backwards, northward(s), homewards, outwards, upward(s), and so on.
Note that some simple adverbs may be added to this list, such as afterwards among others; (c) the
suffix wise, forming manner adverbs, such as clockwise, or adverbs in peripheral dependent
function, such as healthwise; (d) the suffixes -fashion and style indicate new trends (i.e. schoolboy-
fashion, cowboy style); and (e) the suffix ways, which indicates direction (i.e. sideways).

3.2.1.3. Adverb formation by means of compounding.

Compound adverbs are usually formed by an adverb + a preposition/relative pronoun/noun (i.e.


herein, somewhat, indoors). The most common compoundings are realized by the adverbs here,
there, where + preposition (Snchez Benedito, 1975). According to him, they are quite old-

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fashioned but still used in legal documents, official reports, and similar writings. Therefore we
distinguish three main types:

(a) here + preposition (i.e. hitherto, herein, hereto, heretofore, herewith, hereby, hereafter); (b)
there + preposition (i.e. therefrom, therein, thereto, therewith, thereby, thereof, thereafter); and (c)
where + preposition (i.e. wherein, whereof, wherefore,whereon, whereby, whereupon). Also, we
may find compounds of some + how, where, what, and so on (i.e. somehow, somewhere, somewhat,
etc).

3.2.1.4. Adverb formation by means of other constructions.

As seen before, adverb formation may be realized by other constructions such as prepositional
phrases, which keep the same properties as adverbs (i.e. microscopically vs. with a microscope). In
general, prepositional phrases only allow a modest amount of modification, less than open classes
do, and obviously then cannot function in all occasions as adverbs, as in Who is the guy with the
funny hat on? where we cannot substitute the preposition by an adverb.

Other type of constructions, already mentioned, are verbless clauses, finite and non-finite clauses,
noun phrases, and so on.

3.2.1.5. Spelling and pronunciation changes.

It is worth remembering that, when adding these suffixes to the corresponding adjectives, we may
find first, spelling changes and second, phonological modification of the stem.

Regarding (a) changes in spelling, there are some special spelling rules for the addition of ly to the
base form of the adjective:

(1) The general rule to follow is to add the suffix ly to the positive form of the adjective (i.e. slow-
slowly; calm-camly).

(2) When adjectives end in e/-ee, they retain the same ending and are only added the suffix ly (i.e.
extreme-extremely, brave-bravely). However, there are some exceptions, such as true vs. truly, due
vs. duly, and whole vs. wholly .

(2) When adjectives end in able/-ible, they drop the final e and add y (i.e. capable vs. capably,
sensible vs. sensibly).

(3) When adjectives end in y, it is changed to i (i.e. happy happily; easy-easily).

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(4) Adjectives which end in a vowel + single consonant letter l, they double the final consonant
(i.e. final-finally ; beautiful-beautifully ).

(b) Regarding phonological changes, it is worth remembering that, suffixation (the addition of ly, -
wise, -wards) is not only accompanied of changes in spelling but also in pronunciation. For
instance, we may observe the following changes:

(1) First, the stop consonant /k/, usually pronounced in final position (i.e. clock ), is silent when
added the suffix wise to that word (i.e clockwise).

(2) And second, the lateral consonant /l/, usually pronounced as dark l in the positive degree, turns
into clear l when suffixes are added (i.e. final-finally; beautiful-beautifully ).

3.2.2. The syntactic function.

Regarding the syntactic function, adverbs, as seen, play their role within a larger linguistic structure
in order to modify verbs, adjectives, and nouns by means of other categories as well. For instance,
the answer to How did you manage to buy it? may be drawn not only from the grammatical
category of verbs (i.e. saving money), but also from other categories, such as prepositional phrases
(i.e. with real enthusiasm), or other adverbs (i.e. really fast). As we can see, all these items have the
same function although they belong to different grammatical categories or class.

Consequently, both function and word class are relevant for our present purposes since we must
examine the expression of manner, means and instrument through them. In doing so, we may assign
words to the same class which implies they share a number of properties but are placed differently
within the sentence structure. Then, following Greenbaum & Quirk (1990), in terms of their
grammatical functions, adverbs fall into four main categories: disjuncts, conjuncts, subjuncts and
adjuncts.

3.2.2.1. The notion of adverbial phrase.

However, before classifying and defining adverbs according to their syntactic function, we must
address the notion of adverbial phrase since it is an essential element in syntactic analysis. An
adverbial phrase is a constituent which can be identified on the basis of the word class membership
of adverbs, in this particular case, the relationship it holds among its immediate constituents is
referred to as sentence level.

Following traditional nomenclature, in the structure of the adverb phrase we can distinguish two
functions: head and modifier. The head of an adverb phrase is realized by an adverb, and the

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function modifier may be realized by a constituent preceding the head (premodifier), by a
constituent following the head (postmodifier) and by an interrupted constituent on either side of
the head (discontinuous modifier). It should be noted that adverb phrases with postmodification
only are rare. On the other hand, heads as adverb phrases are regularly modified by discontinuous
modifiers, just like adjectival heads (Aarts, 1988).

(a) The premodifiers of the adverb phrase head can only be realized by intensifying adverb phrases
(i.e. very seldom, perfectly well, too optimistically, much more carefully, quite soon, etc ). On the
other hand, (b) postmodifiers, although rare, may be realized by (i) the adverb enough and (ii) a
finite clause (after comparative adverbs in er).

(i) First, adverbial heads can be postmodified by the adverb enough, which, as in the case of
adjectival postmodification, can be followed by an infinitive clause (i.e. well enough, intelligently
enough to win). Secondly, comparative adverbs in er can be postmodified by finite clauses
introduced by than (i.e. They worked harder than we had expected ).

(c) The last type, discontinuous modifiers may modify adverbial heads. Again we distinguish four
cases: (i) so + adverb + that-clause/as to -clause (i.e. They worked so hard that they finished before
we expected); (ii) as + adverb + as + (reduced) comparative clause or noun phrase (i.e. She loves
her husband as much as she did 25 years ago); (iii) more/less + adverb + than + (reduced)
comparative clause or noun phrase (i.e. The boys participated more actively than we expected); (iv)
and finally, the structure too + adverb + infinitive clause (i.e. We are travelling too slowly to get
there by nine).

It is worth noting that there are a great number of adverbs which occur as one-word adverb phrases
only (simple adverbs), as seen before, which resist both pre- and postmodification, and which are
classified into different groups. Thus, adverbs of place (i.e. abroad, ashore); time (i.e. lately,
eventually, presently, already); interrogative adverbs (i.e. when, how, where); intensifying and
degree adverbs (i.e. almost, hardly, even, mostly, practically, really); conjuncts (i.e. again,
consequently, firstly, secondly, etc ); and other adverbs (i.e. just=simply, perhaps, somehow, thus).

3.2.2.2. Types of grammatical functions.

Following Greenbaum & Quirk (1990), in terms of their grammatical functions, adverbs fall into
four main categories: disjuncts, conjuncts, subjuncts and adjuncts, which later on will lead us to the
semantic classification of process adjuncts. Briefly, we can make a further distinction among them,
in which disjuncts and conjuncts have a peripheral relation in the sentence vs. subjuncts and
adjuncts which are relatively more integrated within the structure of the clause.

Thus, disjuncts usually function as comment words (i.e. frankly, briefly); conjuncts function as
connecting links in at a sentence level (i.e. however, because, though); subjuncts work at the
sentence level, expressing viewpoint (i.e. in my view), courtesy (i.e. please), and so on; and finally,

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adjuncts function as constituents of a clause or sentence (i.e. Sheila dances beautifully) answering
to the question How...?

3.2.2.2.1. Disjuncts.

Syntactically, disjuncts have a peripheral relation in the sentence, being somewhat detached from
and superordinate to the rest of the sentence. We identify them because most of them are
prepositional phrases or clauses which express the speakers authority for, or comment on, the
accompanying clause (i.e. Honestly , I want to go home; From my point of view, you should not go).

3.2.2.2.2. Conjuncts.

Syntactically, conjuncts have a peripheral relation in the sentence, being somewhat detached from
and superordinate to the rest of the sentence. We identify them because they serve to conjoin two
utterances or parts of an utterance, and they do so by expressing at the same time the semantic
relationship obtaining between them (listing, result, contrast, etc). Moreover, conjuncts from
different sets can appear in the same sentence (i.e. Moreover, he had in addition a headache).

3.2.2.2.3. Subjuncts.

Syntactically, as stated before, subjuncts (together with adjuncts) are integrated within the structure
of the sentence rather than being a peripheral element. However, subjuncts have a subordinate and
parenthetic role in comparison with adjuncts since they lack the grammatical parity with other
sentence elements.

3.2.2.2.4. Adjuncts.

And finally, as seen before, adjuncts function as constituents of a clause or sentence (i.e. Sheila
dances beautifully ) since they are totally integrated in it when answering to the question How...?.
They will lead us to the further classification of process adjuncts in order to develop our unit.
Adjuncts, more than other adverbials, have grammatical properties resembling the sentence
elements subject, complement and object and as such, can be the focus of a cleft sentence (i.e. It was
because of the fine that he got so furious; Who helped Sarah?).

This means that irrespective of their word order position, adjuncts function like other post-operator
elements in coming within the scope of predication ellipsis or pro-forms (i.e. He became a fireman
(complement) in 1996 (adjunct) and her wife also became a firewoman (c) in 1996 (a) vs. In 1996,
he became a fireman and so did her wife). As we can see, functioning as pro-forms or being
ellipted does not change the meaning of adjuncts.

In fact, there are four main syntactic features of adjuncts (Quirk & Greenbaum, 1973): First, they
can come within the scope of predication pro-forms or predication ellipsis, as seen above. Second,

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they can be the focus of limiter adverbials such as only (i.e. They only want the car for an hour= for
an hour and not for longer). Third, they can be the focus of additive adverbials such as also (i.e.
They will also meet afterwards = afterwards in addition to some other time ). And fourth, they can
be the focus of a cleft sentence (i.e. It was when we stayed in Miami that we saw Julio Iglesias).

Yet, while these characteristics hold generally for all adjuncts, Greembaum & Quirk (1990)
distinguish three subcategories ranging in centrality from the obligatory predication adjunct
(functioning as an object in being both indispensable and fixed in position) to the clause adjunct
whose position is more variable and whose presence is always optional. In many cases, it is worth
seeing predication adjuncts as obje ct-related and clause adjuncts as subject-related. Hence, we
divide adjuncts in (1) predication adjuncts and (2) clause (or sentence) adjuncts.

3.2.2.2.4.1. Predication adjuncts.

As their name implies, predication adjuncts are mainly integrated within the predication, the post-
operator section, and since they function as objects, they become indispensable and fixed in position
(normally placed at the end of the sentence it is modifying). Compare then He put the keys on the
table (obligatory, impossible omission) vs. He found the keys on the table (optional, acceptable
omission).

3.2.2.2.4.2. Clause adjuncts.

On the other hand, clause adjuncts may be more variable and their presence is optional, since the
information they add to the sentence is not essential, as in He kissed me on the cheek/at the front
door/yesterday, etc. However, when we have position reference, they may be naturally placed at
the front of the sentence, as in At the front door, he kissed me.

3.2.2.3. Adverbs and word order.

Before we move on to a semantic classification of adverbs, we shall examine adverb position in the
sentence since in our study it is relevant to know where to place the expression of manner, means
and instrument in the sentence. As we have seen, both syntactic and semantic classification will be
addressed for the placement of adverbs. Therefore, we may distinguish two different types of
considerations with respect to syntactic and semantic terms: (1) general considerations and (2)
particular cases.

3.2.2.3.1. General considerations.

Generally, we observe that English adverbs do not have so much freedom as Spanish ones to be
placed within the sentence, for instance, adverbs such as always, yet, already,and just among others,

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have their fixed positio n within the sentence structure (i.e. I will always love you; I have just
sneezed; he hasnt appeared yet) whereas some English adverbs, such as now and sometimes are
free-positioned. However, it is worth pointing out that it is not sensible to establish strict rules
regarding adverb position but general considerations as follows:

(1) Following Eastwood (1999), there are three main positions in the sentence where an adverb can
go. They are called initial/front position (at the beginning of a sentence), mid position (in the middle
of the sentence) and end/final position (at the end of the sentence). We shall see many different
types of adverbs in different positions depending on syntanctic and semantic guidelines (i.e.
syntactic: I am always happy; semantic: He is playing in the garden).

Word order is normally determined by the adverb syntactic function, that is, depending on the
grammatical element it modifies. Thus, on modifying a verb, it is placed after it (i.e. they worked
very hard; he shaved really fa st); on modifying an adjective/adverb, it is placed before (i.e.
extremely good; very well), except with enough, when it is placed after it (i.e. intelligent enough;
quick enough); on modifying a sentence by means of an adverbial/prepositional phrase, it has final
position (i.e. They will go to Murcia tomorrow/in the morning ), although when found in initial
position, it implies emphasis (i.e. Tomorrow they will go to Murcia ).

(2) The most common position is the mid one, that is, when adverbs are placed close to the verb
(i.e. just, always, often, definitely, really, probably, etc). They are applied in different positions as
follows:

(a) when there is a first auxiliary (i.e. is, are, has, dont, etc), the adverbs goes after it (i.e. The
visitors are just leaving; He should never cry).

(b) If there is no auxiliary, then the adverb comes before the main verb (i.e. She always tells you the
same; they never go home on Saturdays). This position is the usual one for adverbs of frequency
(i.e. often, always, nor mally, etc) although phrases like every day, once a week or most evenings go
in initial or final position (i.e. Every day we go swimming; Theres a news summary every hour).

(c) Note that this rule is also applied in questions (i.e. Has he always hated Jenny?; Do you usually
go for a walk?).

(d) When we are dealing with the verb to be or modal verbs, the adverbs usually comes after them
(i.e. Your boss is always angry; he must certainly sleep just a few hours).

(e) When there is stress or emphasis on the main verb to be or on the auxiliary, then the adverb
usually comes before it (i.e. You certainly are right; she really has a bad day ).

(3) Final position is restricted to certain grammatical categories, such as adverbial and prepositional
phrases, and semantically, with non-essential information since emphasis places adverbs in initial

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position. In addition, note that there can be more than one adverb or adverbial phrase in end
position (i.e. He turned up at the door entrance(place) in a wet T-shirt (manner) last night (time)).

(a) Usually a single -word adverb (i.e. hard) usually comes before a phrase (i.e. It has been a hard
day for me).

(b) Moreover, when there is a close link in meaning between a verb and an adverb, the adverb goes
next to the verb, especially with verbs of movement (i.e. come, go, move, jump, turn, etc), as in My
children go to school every day ). It is worth noting that a phrase of place comes before time (i.e.
She came here (place) last night (time)). But often two adverbial phrases can go in either order (i.e.
The concert was held at the stadium two weeks ago or two weeks ago at the stadium).

3.2.2.3.2. Particular cases.

When dealing with particular cases, we shall deal with the placement of the expression of manner,
means and instrument although details will be further develop in subsequent sections. Now we shall
examine them briefly.

(a) First of all, when dealing with verb + object, an adverb does not usually go between the verb
and the direct object, so we place it in final position, after the object (i.e. He ate his breakfast very
quickly ; she likes rock music very much). Sometimes we may find a long object, and then, we place
the adverb before the object (i.e. Tell me quickly everything you know about it; the police examined
carefully the accident site).

(b) Secondly, when the adverb is to be placed next to a phrasal verb (i.e. sit down), we must avoid
placing the adverb in between the verb and its particle (i.e. NOT: she sat impatiently down at the
waiting room but She sat down impatiently at the waiting room). The adverb is to be placed after or
before the verb, except for degree adverbs (i.e. right and well) which are placed before the particle
since they modify it directly (i.e. He knocked him right out).

(c) Thirdly, adverbs are placed differently depending on their semantic classification. For instance,
(i) adverbs of manner usually go in final position since they tell us additional information about
how something happens in predicative position (i.e. We asked permission politely ). However, when
adverb end in ly, they can sometimes go in middle position (i.e. We politely asked permission).

(ii) Adverbs of place and time usually go in final positions as well (i.e. Is there a cinema nearby?;
We shall meet at the entrance), although sometimes they can go in front position (i.e. Last week we
had nothing to do). Moreover, some short adverbs of time can also go in middle position (i.e. He
will soon find out the truth; Your cousin is now looking at us ).

(iii) Adverbs of frequency, as stated before, usually go in middle position (i.e. Mark is often
disappointed with us; I sometimes feel depressed). However, certain adverbs can also go in front or

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final position (i.e. normally, sometimes) and certain phrases like every day, twice a month or every
evening go in front or final position.

(d) Sentence adverbs, which are a word or phrase like certainly, probably, of course, fortunately,
etc, can go in initial, middle or final position. Sometimes we put a comma after or before the
adverb, especially in front or final position (i.e. Fortunately, the weather is fine today; Michael is
late, of course). In a negative sentence, probably and certainly come before auxiliaries (i.e. We
probably wont get there until midnight). Furthermore, the additive adverb also usually goes in
initial or middle position (i.e. Also, she wants to come; she also wants to come) whereas too and
well go in final position (i.e. She loves cats too/as well).

3.2.3. The semantic function.

Following Aarts (1988), the syntactic classification brings about the semantic function, in which
disjuncts usually function as comment words (i.e. frankly, briefly); conjuncts function as
connecting links in at a sentence level (i.e. however, because, though); subjuncts work at the
sentence level, expressing viewpoint (i.e. in my view), courtesy (i.e. please), and so on; and finally,
adjuncts function as constituents of a clause or sentence (i.e. Sheila dances beautifully) answering
to the question How...? by adding information to the action about the process, place, time, and
other nuances.

3.2.3.1. Disjuncts.

As stated before, semantically, disjuncts express an evaluation of what is being said either with
respect to the form of the communication or to its meanin g. They usually function as comment
words, whereby they provide the speakers comment on the content or form of the utterance (i.e.
Frankly, unfortunately, wisely).

There are two main types of disjuncts, each with subtypes. First, we have the relatively small class
of (1) style disjuncts, conveying the speakers comment on the style and form of what is being said
and defining in some way the conditions under which authority is being assumed for the
statement, which can be subdivided into (a) the expression of manner and modality, and (b) respect.
Secondly, (2) we find content disjuncts, which may relate to the expression of (a) certainty and (b)
evaluation.

3.2.3.1.1. Style disjuncts: manner and modality, and respect.

Following Greenbaum & Quirk (1990), many style disjuncts can be seen as abbreviated clauses in
which the adverbial has the role of manner adjunct. For instance, Frankly, I am tired meaning I
tell you frankly that I am tired. Sometimes, the disjunct may be realized by a clause, as in If I may

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say so, I think your house looks awful. More often, it may be realized by other type of
constructions, such as that of non-finite clauses (i.e. to be frank, considered candidly ).

Semantically speaking, the semantic roles of disjuncts fall under two main headings: manner and
modality, and respect. Regarding (1) manner and modality, we find disjuncts such as crudely,
frankly, honestly, seriously, personally, strictly speaking, to be honest, to be precise, to put it
briefly, in all honesty, and so on. Regarding (2) respect, they often appear in metalinguistic
comments. For instance, strictly, generally, from what he said, in a word, in other words, and so on.

3.2.3.1.2. Contenct disjuncts: certainty and evaluation.

Content disjuncts may be of two kinds, first, expressing certainty, and second, expressing
evaluation in declarative clauses. Regarding (1) certainty, these disjuncts comment on the truth
value of what is said, firmly endorsing it, expressing doubt, or posing contingencies such as
condit ions or reasons, as in undoubtedly, apparently, perhaps, obviously, of course, to be sure,
which is not surprising, and so on.

Regarding (2) evaluation, these disjuncts express an attitude to an utterance by way of evaluation,
expressing a judgment on the utterance as a whole, including its subject, as in correctly, foolishly,
rightly, stupidly, certainly, unquestionably, possible, presumably, theoretically, technically,
hopefully, wrongly, wisely, and so on.

3.2.3.2. Conjuncts.

As stated before, conjuncts function as the connecting link between the sentence in which they
occur and the preceding context. Semantically, they may express listing (in the first place, secondly;
furthermore, moreover), summative (therefore, in sum, to sum up), appositive (for example, that is,
i.e., specifically, in particular), resultive (as a result, in consequence), inferential (in that case,
then), contrastive (better; on the contrary, on the other hand; however, nevertheless, yet), and
transitional references (by the way, now; meanwhile, eventually). As we can see manner, means and
instrument are not reflected in them.

3.2.3.3. Subjuncts.

In semantic terms, subjuncts work at the sentence level answering to the question How...? by
expressing viewpoint (i.e. in my view) and courtesy (i.e. please), among others. Hence, they show
their subjunct character by trying to establish a link with the rest of the sentence through a particular
relationship with one of the clause elements, especially the subject. Thus, there are two main types
of relationship: wide and narrow orientation (Greenbaum & Quirk, 1990). (1) Wide orientation
adverbs refer to (a) viewpoint and (b) courtesy; on the other hand, (2) narrow orientation adverbs

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refer to (a) items (subject and predication), (b) intensifiers and emphasizers, and (c) focusing
subjuncts.

3.2.3.3.1. Wide orientation subjuncts: viewpoint and courtesy.

Wide orientation subjuncts express either a viewpoint or a courtesy formulaic tone of politeness.
Both of them may involve the semantic category of manner but are quite distinct from manner
adjuncts. Thus, within the first one, (a) viewpoint, manner is expressed by non gradable adverb
phrases (i.e. from a personal point of view, looked at politically, etc ), and also by adverbs ending in
wise (i.e Weatherwise, healthwise, etc ), as in Weatherwise, the outlook is dismal.

Within the second one, (b) courtesy, a small number of adverbs in ly, along with please, serve to
convey a tone of politeness (i.e. You are cordially invited; Would you please check it?). Again,
courtesy subjuncts obviously involve the semantic category of manner but differ strongly from
manner adjuncts, as in He kindly invited me for dinner (subjunct meaning: He was so kind to
invite me for dinner) vs. He invited me for dinner kindly (adjunct meaning: He invited me for
dinner in a kind manner). In this case, it is adverb word order which tells us the difference.

3.2.3.3.2. Narrow orientation subjuncts: item, intensifiers, focus.

Narrow orientation subjuncts inclu des items, intensifiers and focusing ones. Within the firt class, (a)
item subjuncts, the commonest item to be associated to subjuncts is the subject of a clause, with the
subjunct operating in the semantic area of manner but distinguished from the corresponding manner
adjunct by being placed at initial and medial position, as in They have repeatedly rejected my
proposal (Greenbaum & Quirk, 1990).

Regarding (b) intensifiers, they mainly deal with the semantic category of degree (i.e. amplifiers:
fully, completely, badly, very much, etc; downtoners: practically, rather, sort of, only, in the least,
etc) whereas emphasizers mainly deal with the semantic category of modality (i.e. just, really,
simply, always, well, etc), so they shall not be considered in our study.

Finally, regarding (c) focusing subjuncts, special attention may be called to place them in close
proximity to the part required (i.e merely, only, also, not, even, etc). The usual position is
immediately before the part to be focused (i.e. I merely wanted to know her name).

3.2.3.4. Adjuncts.

Semantically, adjuncts add extra information to the action or process by means of descriptions
about place (at the station), time (yesterday morning), manner (with patience/in jeans), means (by

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bike), or instrument (with a fork ) among others. Since our study will focus on manner, means and
instrument, we shall review them in depth whereas the rest of the classification will be briefly
examined.

Following Greenbaum & Quirk (1990), we may classify adjuncts according to: (1) place (or space)
adjuncts; (2) time adjuncts, including time-position, duration and span, time-frequency, and time -
relationship adjuncts; (3) degree (intensifiers, emphasizers); (4) interrogative; (5) other adjuncts;
and finally, (6) process adjuncts, including manner, means, instrument, and agency, respect, and
contingency.

3.2.3.4.1. Place adjuncts.

Place adjuncts are mainly realized by means of prepositional phrases (i.e. in the park, out of my
house, etc) since these roles can be clearly and conveniently specified through the respective
prepositional meaning (i.e. in-out, from-to, up-down, through, onto, etc) although sometimes we
need noun phrases to amplify meaning (i.e. a very long way, several miles away).

Place adjuncts mainly refer to position (where?), direction (where?), source (where from?), and
distance (how far?) with stative or dynamic verbs. For instance, position and distance use stative
verbs (live, stay) whereas direction and source use dynamic verbs (go to, come fro m).

3.2.3.4.2. Time adjuncts.

Time adjuncts refer to figurative spacial dimensions which are mainly realized by means of
prepositional phrases, with figurative adaptation of the prepositional meaning, for instance, the
music stopped at midnight or on the following day, we decided to set out at two. Time
expressions make reference to time-position (some hours ago; at 14.15), duration and span (for
several years, for three weeks, until five oclock; since we arrived), time-frequency (twice, daily,
usually, continually), and time-relationship (previously, again, once more).

3.2.3.4.3. Degree adjuncts

Degree adjuncts include the use of intensifiers to measure the action (i.e. definitely, kind of, etc).
They are divided into three main types: emphasizers (definitely, actuallly, clearly, obviously,
plainly, and so on); amplifiers (completely, absolutely, entirely, fully, quite, etc), and downtoners
(partly, hardly, almost, slightly, in part, to some extent, etc). Note that some of them indicate
manner, and how the action takes place: completely, quite, fully, slightly, and so on.

3.2.3.4.4. Interrogative adjuncts.

Interrogative adjuncts are those which state the question to the action. For our purposes, the most
relevant interrogative adjunct is How...? since manner, means and instrument answer to this

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question. Other interrogative particles are How far...? (distance), How long...?(duration),
When...? (time), Why ...?(purpose), and so on.

3.2.3.4.5. Other adjuncts.

Snchez Benedito (1975) distinguishes other types of semantic classification, such as (a) quantity
(i.e. little, much, once); probability (i.e. maybe, perhaps, possibly, probably); and affirmative and
negative adjuncts (i.e. affirmative: certainly, indeed, naturally, of course, surely, yes, and negative:
never, no, not, not at all). Note that some of these adverbs have been previously classified according
to Greenbaum & Quirk (1990) in syntactic terms.

3.2.3.4.6. Process adjuncts.

And finally, process adjuncts are those which define in some way the process denoted by the verb.
They are mainly realized by adverbs or adverbial phrases, by like-phrases, as-clauses, and by
prepositional or noun phrases involving such nouns as way and manner. Common pro-forms for
process adjuncts answering to the question How...? are in that way, that way (informal), and like
that.

Process adjuncts are divided into the semantic subclasses of (a) manner, (b) means, instrument and
agency, (c) respect, and (d) contingency, but we shall only focus on the expression of manner,
means and instrument in our study. Following Quirk & Greenbaum (1973), we may mention the
general features for all of them:

(1) They co-occur with dynamic verbs, but not with stative verbs (i.e. He ran away awkwardly
but NOT he liked them awkwardly).
(2) They favour final position, since they usually receive the information focus. Indeed, no
other position is likely if the process adjunct is obligatory for the verb (i.e. They live
frugally but not they frugally live).
(3) Since the passive is often used when the need is felt to focus attention on the verb, process
adjuncts are commonly placed in middle position rather than finally when the verb is in the
passive (i.e. Tear gas was indiscriminately sprayed on the protesters).
(4) Process adjuncts realize d by units other than adverb phrases often occur initially, that
position being preferred if the focus of information is required on another part of the
sentence (i.e. By pressing this button you can stop the coffee machine).
(5) Co-occurrence of process adjuncts is by no means unusual (i.e. She was accidentally
(manner) wounded with a racket (instrument) by her partner (agent)).

Once we have examined the very origin of the expression of manner, means and instrument, that is,
process adjuncts, we are ready for analysing them individually.

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4. THE EXPRESSION OF MANNER.

As stated before, the expression of manner may be mainly realized by adverbs, adverbial phrases,
and prepositional phrases but also by other semantic types of adjuncts, noun phrases, or clauses (i.e.
like phrases, as-clauses, etc ). They are usually placed in mid position (i.e. She was accidentally
struck because of the emphasis on how the action took place). We must bear in mind that thus
associated with the greatest rhetorical weight in a clause, there is no simple interrogative device for
eliciting them. In this section we shall provide a general overview on all types of manner
expression.

4.1. By means of adverbs and adverbial phrases.

First of all, we shall deal with the expression of manner in terms of adverb or adverbial phrases (i.e.
She always drive carefully/in a careful manner). An adverb manner adjunct can usually be
paraphrased by in a ... manner or in a ... way with its adjective base in the vacant position.
Where an adverb form exists, it is usually preferred over a corresponding prepositional phrase with
manner or way. Hence, She always drives carefully is more usual than She drives in a careful
manner.

Adverbs as heads of manner phrase adjuncts are an open class. The main method of forming
manner adverbs is by adding a ly suffix to an adjective. Three minor methods are also used by
adding wise, -style, or fashion to a noun (i.e. snake-wise, clown-style, peasant-fashion ). With
these forms the prepositional paraphrase would include postmodification: in the manner of a snake,
in the style of clowns, in the fashion of peasants.

4.2. By means of other adjuncts.

Manner may also be expressed by other type of adjuncts, such as manner with result and
intensification (i.e. The soldiers wounded him badly=to such extent that it resulted in his being in a
bad condition); manner with time expressing duration (i.e. He was walking slowly = in such a way
that each step took a long time); manner with time when (i.e. Put it together again=in the way
that it was before).

Semantically speaking, not only disjuncts may express manner, such as crudely, frankly, honestly,
seriously, personally, strictly speaking, to be honest, to be precise, to put it briefly, in all honesty,
and so on. Moreover, also subjuncts may express manner through narrow and wide orientation
types. Narrow orientation subjuncts operate in the semantic area of manner by being placed at
initial and medial position, as in They have repeatedly rejected my proposal (Greenbaum & Quirk,
1990).

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Wide orientation subjuncts also involve the semantic category of manner by non gradable adverb
phrases (i.e. from a personal point of view, looked at politically, etc ), and also by adverbs ending in
wise (i.e Weatherwise, healthwise, etc), as in Weatherwise, the outlook is dismal: Moreover,
courtesy subjuncts obviously involve the semantic category of manner but differ strongly from
manner adjuncts, as in He kindly invited me for dinner (subjunct meaning: He was so kind to
invite me for dinner) vs. He invited me for dinner kindly (adjunct meaning: He invited me for
dinner in a kind manner).

4.3. By means of prepositional phrases.

Another major kind of expression which can function like an adverb, that is, prepositions, which
belong to the closed-class category and which connect two units in a sentence, specifying a
relationship between them (i.e. Adverbial: I dont like to drink out of a cracked glass; Adjective
complement: I was very grateful for your help ; and manner: th e woman in the red dress).

Similarly to adverbs, prepositional phrases may be morphologically simple (i.e. on) or complex (i.e.
onto); syntactically, they may function as complement of an open class item (i.e. grateful for your
help; The house that you bough relative pronoun-) or a whole sentence (i.e. In my view, you
shouldnt do it); and semantically, they also refer to a wide-range of meaning (i.e. place, time,
degree, and so on), among which we highlight the reference to manner (i.e. microscopically vs. with
a microscope; there vs. to/at that place); means (i.e. by train, by looking at her); and instrument
(i.e. with a pen; without her husband).

Greenbaum & Quirk (1990) claims that deferred prepositions, that is, prepositions which cannot
precede their complements due to certain circumstances (i.e. passive: we have paid for the car vs.
the car has been paid for; thematization: It is unpleasant to work with that woman vs. that woman
is unpleasant to work with), are superficially resembling preposit ional adverbs. Although these
adverbs are identical in form with the corresponding prepositions, they are never unstressed (i.e.
You must stay in the house vs. You must stay in).

Moreover, prepositional phrases can also function like adjectives since the sharp distinction
between adjectives and adverbs is not retained in the process of adjectivalisation/adverbialisation by
means of prepositions (i.e. Compare a patient woman vs. a woman with a lot of patience). However,
not all prepositional phrases may function as an adverb (i.e. with temporal prepositions: before,
after, because, since, and so on).

Note the case of adjuncts of manner that can be gradable, for instance in microscopic detail =
microscopically, we may find (quite) microscopically.

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4.4. By means of noun phrases.

Following Huddleston (1988), adverbialisation is also realized by means of noun phrases, although
it is not common (i.e. He came last week). However, time reference is not included in our study as
a main issue.

4.5. By means of clause structures.

Another kind of syntactic structure involves clause subordination, where we find two types. Thus
(a) the non-finite verb clauses (or infinitival clauses) which function as modifier of the verbal
phrase, and in which the verb is (i) an infinitive, as in He left at nine to catch the nine-thirty bus,
(ii) present participle ing, as in Hoping to see him as soon as possible, and (iii) past participle
ed, as in If urged by you, well stay in. Secondly, (b) we may find the finite content clause as
modifier of an adjectival phrase, as in I was so broke that I couldnt buy any food or The child
was playing although he was very tired. Also, we may find another type of syntactic structure
realized by verbless clauses, as in She was shopping, unaware of the time.

5. THE EXPRESSION OF MEANS.

According to Greenbaum & Quirk (1990), there are close semantic similarities between means,
instrument and agency, which respectively respond to the question How...?(except for agency)
with by used for means, by used for agency and with/without for instrument. There is also
considerable overlap in realization since the means and the agent are both expressed with by-
phrases, although the latter is grammatically distinct in correlating with the passive, and hence,
corresponding to a transitive clause (i.e. He was caught by his father = His father caught him).
However, a manner adjunct can easily occur in a transitive clause (i.e. She influenced me by her
behaviour).

But let us concentrate on the expression of means, which apart from being realized with by-phrases,
it is often realized with ly suffixes or the words by means of ... (i.e. He decided to treat her
surgically=by means of surgery, My father goes to work by tube=by means of transport or He
entered the mob by means of a bribe).

Also, the expression of means is elicited by how-questions, as in How are you travelling to Italy?
By air/By Iberia whose answers are prepositional phrases but some are adverb phrases and others
are noun phrases without an article. With means of transport, on + article implies means and not
locative (i.e. I often go to work on the 7.30 bus). In general, the expression of means is realized:

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5.1. By means of adverbs or adverbial phrases.

Means adjuncts are mainly realized by adverbs taking the ly suffixes, but often share realizations
with instrument adjuncts, thus means in They decided to treat him surgically = by means of
surgery.

5.2. By means of prepositional phrases.

As stated before, prepositiona l phrases are quite useful in the expression of means, especially when
substituting adverbs (i.e. microscopically = by means of a microscope or with a microscope).

5.3. By means of noun phrases.

Also, we may find realizations by means of noun phrases, which are related to prepositional phrases
(i.e. He sent it by air mail; Fly with/by Iberia; He travelled (by) first class).

6. THE EXPRESSION OF INSTRUMENT.

The expression of instrument differ from both means and agent adjuncts in generally being realized
by with-phrases (i.e. He was shot with a Magnum Parallelum) when answering again to the
question How...?

They may be answered by adverbs or adverbial phrases (i.e. microscopically/with a microscope), in


which case instrument adjuncts can share realizations with manner adjuncts, as in She examined
the species microscopically = with a microscope. Other realizations emerge from prepositional
phrases (i.e. with that knife, with a rifle), which coincide with noun phrases (i.e. with my horse).

It is worth pointing out that means and instrument adjuncts cannot be modified. Hence,
microscopically in very microscopically can only be a manner adjunct when premodified by an
intensifier very. Without the premodifier it can be a means or instrument adjunct.

7. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.

The various aspects of the expression of manner, means and instrument dealt with in this study is
relevant to the learning of the vocabulary of a foreign language since differences between the
vocabulary of the learner's native language (L1) and that of the foreign language (L2) may lead to

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several problems, such as the incorrect use of process adjuncts expressions, especially because of
the syntactic, morphological, and semantic processes implied in these categories.

This study has looked at the expression of process adjuncts within lexical semantics, morphology
and syntax in order to establish a relative similarity between the two languages that Spanish-
speaking students would find it useful for learning English if these connections were brought to
their attention, especially when different categories may be overlapped (means and instrument).

It has been suggested that a methodology grounded in part in the application of explicit linguistic
knowledge enhances the second language learning process. In the Spanish curriculum (B.O.E.
2002), the expression of manner, means and instrument is envisaged from earlier stages of ESO in
terms of simple descriptions of people, things, and places, up to higher stages of Bachillerato,
towards more complex descriptions of people, things, and situations, asking teenagers for detailed
descriptions.

The expression of manner, means and instrument that is, describing items, has been considered an
important element of language teaching becaus e of its high-frequency in speech. We must not
forget that the expression of process adjuncts is mainly drawn from closed class categories, such as
adverbs, adjectives, and nouns, and open class categories such as prepositions which have a high
frequency of use when speaking or writing.

Hence, the importance of how to handle these expressions cannot be understated since you cannot
communicate without it. Current communicative methods foster the teaching of this kind of
specific linguistic information to help students recognize new L2 words. Learners cannot do it all on
their own. Language learners, even 2nd year Bachillerato students, do not automatically recognize
similiarities which seem obvious to teachers; learners need to have these associations brought to
their attention.

So far, we have attempted in this discussion to provide a broad account of the expression of manner,
means and instrument in order to set it up within the linguistic theory, going through the
localization of process adjuncts in syntactic structures, and finally, once correctly framed, a brief
presentation of the three main process adjuncts under study. We hope students are able to
understand the relevance of handling correctly the expression of process adjuncts in everyday life
communication.

8. CONCLUSION

Although the questions How did you go home yesterday? may appear simple and straightforward,
they imply a broad description of the manner, means and instrument that make an appropriate
answer suitable for students and teachers, which may be so simple if we are dealing with ESO
students, using simple grammatical structures and basic vocabulary, or so complex if we are dealing

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with Bachillerato students, who must be able to describe people, places, and things using more
complex vocabulary and grammatical structures.

So far, in this study we have attempted to take a fairly broad view of the expression of manner,
means and instrument since we are also assuming that there is an intrinsic connexion between its
learning and successful communication. Yet, we have provided a descriptive account of Unit 15,
untitled The Expression of Manner, Means, and Instrument whose main aim was to introduce the
student to the different ways of expressing process in English by means of description.

In doing so, the study provided a broad account the notion of manner, means and instrument,
starting by a theoretical framework in order to get some key terminology on the issue, and further
developed within a grammar linguistic theory, described in syntactic terms as we were dealing with
syntactic structures. Once presented, we discussed how adverbs, prepositions and other syntactic
constructions reflected this notion.

In fact, lexical items and vocabulary, and therefore, the expresin of process adjuncts, is currently
considered to be a central element in communicative competence and in the acquisition of a second
language since students must be able to describe people, things, and places in their everyday life in
many different situations and in detail. As stated before, the teaching of process expressions
comprises four major components in our educational curriculum: phonology, grammar, lexicon, and
semantics, out of which we get five major levels: phonological, morphological and syntactic,
lexical, and semantic.

In fact, for our students to express process properly, they must have a good knowledge at all those
levels. First, on phonology which describes the sound level. Secondly, since the two most basic
units of grammar are the word and the sentence, they must have good grammatical knowledge,
which invoves the morphological level (i.e. the internal structure of adverb formation) and the
syntactic level (i.e. where adverbs are placed: frequency, place, time, etc ).

Third, the lexicon, or lexical level, lists vocabulary items, that is, different adverbs (frequency, time,
place, etc), and other expressions to denote manner, means and instrument, specifying how they are
pronounced, how they behave grammatically, and what they mean. Finally, another dimension
between the study of linguistic form and the study of meaning is semantics, or the semantic level, in
which students must understand when we are dealing with means or agency, for instance.

Therefore, it is a fact that students must be able to handle the four levels in communicative
competence in order to be effectively and highly communicative in the classroom and in real life
situations. The expression of quality proves highly frequent in our everyday speech, and
consequently, we must encourage our stude nts to have a good managing of it.

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9. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

- Aarts, F., and J. Aarts. 1988. English Syntactic Structures. Functions & Categories in Sentence
Analysis. Prentice Hall Europe.

- B.O.E. RD N 112/2002, de 13 de septiembre por el que se estable ce el currculo de la Educacin


Secundaria Obligatoria/Bachillerato en la Comunidad Autnoma de la Regin de Murcia.

- Bolton, D. And N. Goodey. 1997. Grammar Practice in Context. Richmond Publishing.

- Council of Europe (1998) Modern Languages: Learnin g, Teaching, Assessment. A Common


European Framework of reference.

- Downing, A. and P. Locke. 2002. A University Course in English Grammar. London: Routledge.

- Eastwood, J. 1999. Oxford Practice in Grammar. Oxford University Press.

- Greenbaum, S. and R. Quirk. 1990. A Students Grammar of the English Language. Longman
Group UK Limited.

- Greenbaum, S. 2000. The Oxford Reference Grammar. Edited by Edmund Weiner. Oxford
University Press.

- Hymes, D. 1972. On communicative competence. In J. B. Pride and J. Holmes (eds.),


Sociolinguistics, pp. 269-93. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

- Huddleston, R. 1988. English Grammar, An Outline. Cambridge University Press.

- Huddleston, R. and G.K. Pullum. 2002. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language.
Cambridge University Press.

- Nelson, G. 2001. English: An Essential Grammar. London. Routledge.

- Quirk, R & S. Greenbaum. 1973. A University Grammar of English. Longman.

- Snchez Benedito, F. 1975. Gramtica Inglesa. Editorial Alhambra.

- Thomson, A.J. and A.V. Martinet. 1986. A Practical English Grammar. Oxford University Press .

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UNIT 16

THE EXPRESSION OF POSSESSION


OUTLINE

1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.

2. A HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF THE EXPRESSION OF POSSESSION.


2.1. Changes from Old English to Middle English.
2.1.1. The phonological change: from a synthetic to an analytic system.
2.1.2. The morphological change: genitive case formation.
2.1.3. The syntactic change: the function of genitive case.
2.2. Changes from Middle English to Modern English.

3. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE EXPRESSION OF POSSESSION.


3.1. Linguistic levels involved in the notion of possession.
3.2. On defining possession: what and how.
3.3. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.

4. THE EXPRESSION OF POSSESSION.


4.1. Morphology and possession.
4.1.1. Nouns.
4.1.2. Verbs.
4.1.3. Adjectives.
4.1.4. Pronouns.
4.1.5. Prepositions.
4.2. Phonology and possession.
4.3. Syntax and possession.
4.3.1. Main syntactic structures.
4.3.1.1. Saxon genitive structure.
4.3.1.2. Of-phrase structure.
4.3.2. Other syntactic structures.
4.3.2.1. The genitive with ellipsis.
4.3.2.2. The double genitive.
4.3.2.3. The group genitive.
4.3.2.4. Idiomatic expressions.
4.4. Semantics and possession.
4.4.1. Possessive genitive.
4.4.2. Appositive genitive.
4.4.3. Subjective genitive.
4.4.4. Objective genitive.
4.4.5. Descriptive genitive.
4.4.6. Partitive genitive.
4.4.7. Genitive of measure.

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4.4.8. Genitive of origin.

5. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.

6. CONCLUSION.

7. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

Unit 16 is primarily aimed to examine in English the different ways of expressing possession,
namely achieved by means of nouns, and also by verbs, adjectives, pronouns, prepositions and other
types of clause structures. In doing so, the study will be divided into six main chapters.

Thus, Chapter 2 provides a historical account of the expression of possession from its very origins
up to the present situation in order to ease the subsequent analysis of it. So, the expression of
possession is addressed from two main periods in ancient times: first, the period from Old English
(OE) to Middle English (ME) and, second, the period from Middle English to Modern English
(ModE).

Within the first period, (1) from OE to ME, we shall approach those changes which, as a chain
reaction, shaped the expression of ownership into what we know today. These changes were due,
first, to phonological reasons which emerged from the change from a synthetic to an analytic
system; second, to morphological changes which gave way to the genitive case formation; and
finally, to syntactic changes where the function of genitive case was established. Within the second
period, (2) from ME to ModE, we shall approach the changes which finally shaped the notion of
possession into what we know it today, with little difference in shape.

Chapter 3 then provides a theoretical framework for the notion of possession, first, by examining
the linguistic levels involved; second, by introducing the notion of possession in terms of how it is
achieved and what it is; and finally, by presenting the grammatical categories involved in it. Once
this key terminology is defined in syntactic terms, the reader is prepared for the descriptive account
on the expression of possession in subsequent chapters.

Chapter 4 presents and defines the notion of possession with respect to four relevant fields:
morphology, phonology, syntax and semantics in order to get further details about it. Thus, in the
first place, we examine morphology and possession by reviewing the formation of nouns, verbs,
adjectives, pronouns and prepositions involved and, secondly, from the phonological field, we
examine the phonological features of these grammatical categories when pronounced.

Third, the expression of possession is analysed according to syntactic terms, and thus divided into
two types of structures: first, the two main syntactic structures (the saxon genitive and the of-phrase
structure) and second, other syntactic structures among which we may mention, first, the genitive
with ellipsis; second, the double genitive; third, the group genitive; and fourth, specific idiomatic
expressions. And finally, the notion of possession is classified in semantic terms by means of which
we distinguish eight main types of genitive structures: thus, possessive, appositive, subjective,
objective, descriptive, partitive, genitive of measure and, finally, genitive of origin.

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Once the notion of possession is established within the historical and linguistic framework, Chapter
5, then, provides an educational framework for the expression of possession within our current
school curriculum, followed by Chapter 6 which shall draw a conclusive summary of all the points
involved in this study. Finally, in Chapter 7 , bibliography will be listed in alphabetical order.

1.2. Notes on bibliography.

In order to offer an insightful analysis and survey on the expression of possession in English, we
shall deal with the most relevant works in the field, both old and current, and in particular,
influential books which have assisted for years students of English as a foreign language in their
study of this issue. For instance, a historical introduction is mainly given by Baugh, A. & Cable, A
History of the English Language (1993) and Conde Silvestre & Hernndez Campoy, An
Introduction to the History of the English Language II: Middle and Modern English (1998).

Furthermore, a theoretical framework for the expression of possession is namely drawn from the
field of sentence analysis, that is, from the work of Flor Aarts and Jan Aarts (University of
Nijmegen, Holland) in English Syntactic Structures (1988), whose material has been tested in the
classroom and developed over a number of years; also, another essential work is that of Rodney
Huddleston, English Grammar, An Outline (1988).

Other classic references which offer an account of the most important and central grammatical
constructions and categories in English regarding the expression of possession, are Quirk &
Greenbaum, A University Grammar of English (1973); Snchez Benedito, Gramtica Inglesa
(19759; Thomson & Martinet, A Practical English Grammar (1986); and Greenbaum & Quirk, A
Students Grammar of the English Language (1990).

More current approaches to notional grammar are David Bolton and Noel Goodey, Grammar
Practice in Context (1997); John Eastwood, Oxford Practice in Grammar (1999); Sidney
Greenbaum, The Oxford Reference Grammar (2000); Gerald Nelson, English: An Essential
Grammar (2001); Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of the
English Languag e (2002); and. Angela Downing and Philip Locke, A University Course in English
Grammar (2002).

2. A HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF THE EXPRESSION OF POSSESSION.

In this section, we shall provide a historical account of the expression of possession in order to fully
understand the current expression of possession in Modern English (ModE). In doing so, we shall
divide our historical account into two parts: first, we shall trace back to the historical period from

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Old English (OE) to Middle English (ME) where relevant changes in morphology and syntax took
place; and second, the period from ME to Modern English (ModE) where those changes in ME
morphology and syntax made the expression of possession change and develop towards the
paradigm we know today: the paradigm of the genitive case and the of-phrase, together with other
structures.

2.1. Changes from Old English to Middle English.

Therefore, in order to historically review the expression of possession, we shall offer first a brief
account of those changes from Old English to Middle English which took place as a chain reaction:
first, (1) phonological changes which favoured the development from a synthetic system into an
analytic one; second, (2) general changes in ME morphology which affected case formation; and
third, (3) general changes in ME syntax which affected the function of cases, and especially, the
genitive case.

2.1.1. The phonological change: from a synthetic to an analytic system.

First of all, several phonological changes gave way to the transformation of an originally synthetic
system (inflectional endings) into an analytic one (word order to indicate case). In other words, the
levelling of all OE unstressed vowels to schwa during the period from OE to ME and their eventual
loss led to a systematic reduction of OE noun declensions.

The effect of the phonological erasing of unstressed vowels in final syllables meant that the
language could not simply rely on case endings (synthetic means) in order to mark the function of
words in the sentence but needed to take account of analytic means, like the use of prepositions and
a relatively fixed word order. It is worth noting that, in general, the OE synthetic genitive coexists
in ME with the analytic of-phrase.

2.1.2. The morphological change: genitive case formation.

Therefore, the effect of the phonological erasing of unstressed vowels in final syllables was the
basic reason for the new pattern of genitive case formation, which in ME was mainly realized by
noun morphology. Consequently, once grammatical gender was broken down, there was no longer a
necessity to keep so many noun patterns and the most dominant noun declensions, that is, those of
the formerly OE masculine/neuter a stem declension.

Generally, the new endings marking the case and number in ME nouns were analogically levelled to
common endings. For instance, -es for all cases in the plural: nominative, accusative, genitive and
dative (i.e. from OE domas (nom), domas (acc), doma (gen) domun (dat) to ME doomes in all
cases); and in singular es (for the genitive) and e or no ending for the rest of cases (i.e. from OE

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dom (nom), dom (acc), domes (gen), dome (dat) to ME doom (nom), doom (acc), doomes (gen),
domme (dat)).

Thus, for those marking genitive, ME nouns reduced the original OE endings e, -an, -a in singular
and a, -an, -ena in plural, to schwa and then to a complete loss. Instead, the prominent
masculine/neuter ending es was analogically extended to the singular genitive case, and also to the
plural genitive case, possibly due to its coincidence with the nominative, accusative and dative
plural regular ending es (from OE as). For instance, OE domes (singular) and doma (plural) to
ME doomes (singular and plural), meaning of the house(s).

However, we find some exceptions to this general rule. Thus, in singular, rests of early OE
declensions may be traced back in the existence of current feminine s less genitive (i.e. Lady day).
Another exception to the regular ending es is the lack of genitive ending with proper names (i.e.
Bush army ), nouns of family relationship (i.e. my brother wife) or when the following word starts
with a sibilant consonant (i.e Charles book).

Regarding plural nouns, despite the fact that the ending es already appears in Northern dialects in
the late twelfth century, in the south, another genitive case ending (OE an, ME en) resisted until
the fourteenth century (i.e. Englene lande=the land of the Angles).

2.1.3. The syntactic change: the function of genitive case.

Yet, the decay of inflectional endings also had an influence on syntax. So long as OE inflections
served to indicate the cases of nouns, these were quite often accompanied by prepositions so as to
express function with greater clarity. In fact, word order was comparatively unimportant in OE, but
when ME nominative and accusative cases turned out to be identical in form, a fixed word order
was necessary to make clear the relevant distinction of cases at the sentence level.

This new syntactic pattern led to a general paradigm in singular and plural nouns and to the
reorganization of the whole OE system on the basis of noun morphology. Thus, regarding singular
nouns, in nominative cases the OE endings e (i.e. sunne=sun) and u (i.e. lufu=love) disappeared,
except for a few cases which kept the spelling e (i.e. ME love ) as well as accusative and dative
cases (OE a, -e, -an) which were also lost in ME. Therefore, the functions previously associated to
these cases are then expressed either by fixed word order or by means of prepositions, use which
became even more marked in the modern English period (Brook, 1958).

2.2. Changes from Middle English to Modern English.

Moreover, we shall review the changes which took place from Middle English to Modern English
so as to understand the current expression of possession in English. Notice that the changes in this

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period are the result of those changes mentioned above, such as the erasing of unstressed vowels in
final syllables and consequently, the new shape of noun morphology. These changes did not appear
all of a sudden and developed into the patterns we know today, that is, in syntactic terms, the
genitive case in its different ways of expression.

Following Baugh & Cable (1993), this period witnessed particular developments regarding the
genitive case, such as the his-genitive. In fact, in ME the es of the genitive, being unaccented, was
frequently written and pronounced is, -ys, which became often identical to the pronoun his when
unstressed. Therefore, since there was no difference in pronunciation between the forms stonis
and stone is (his), as early as the thirteenth century the ending started to be written separately as
though the possessive case were a contraction of a noun and the pronoun his.

However, although this notion was long prevalent in the eighteenth century, people were still
troubled by the illogical consequences of this usage (i.e. my sister her watch) when referring to the
contraction of his in expressions with feminine nouns (i.e. a womans beauty, a virgins delicacy).
Yet, it was a fact that the true source was the Old English genitive, but the error was detected to be
the use of the apostrophe (s), which we still retain as a graphic convenience to mark the possessive.

3. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE EXPRESSION OF POSSESSION.

Before describing in detail the different ways of expressing possession in English, it is relevant to
establish first a theoretical framework for this notion, since it must be described in grammatical
terms. In fact, this introductory chapter aims at answering questions such as, first, where this notion
is to be found within the linguistic level; second, what it describes and how and, third, which
grammar categories are involved in its description at a functional level.

3.1. Linguistic levels involved in the notion of possession.

In order to offer a linguistic description of the notion of possession, we must confine it to particular
levels of analysis so as to focus our attention on this particular aspect of language. Yet, although
there is no consensus of opin ion on the number of levels to be distinguished, the usual description
of a language comprises four major components: phonology, grammar, lexicon, and semantics, out
of which we get five major levels: phonological, morphological and syntactic, lexical, and semantic
(Huddleston, 1988).

First, the phonology describes the sound level, that is, how to pronounce the genitive case in
particular instances (i.e. Charless car). Secondly, since the two most basic units of grammar are
the word and the sentence, the component of grammar involves the morphological level (i.e.
genitive case and of-phrase formation) and the syntactic level (i.e. word order in the sentence).

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Third, the lexicon, or lexical level, lists vocabulary items which belong to different grammatical
categories but have in common the expression of possession.

Finally, another dimension between the study of linguistic form and the study of meaning is
semantics, or the semantic level, to which all four of the major components are related. We must not
forget that a linguistic description which ignores meaning is obviously incomplete, and in
particular, when dealing with the notion of expression, since it shall indicate us whether we are
referring to people (by means of saxon genitive) or things (by means of of-phrases).

Therefore, we must point out that each of the linguistic levels discussed above has a corresponding
component when analysing the notion under study. Thus, phonology deals with pronunciation of the
genitive case when using s (i.e. Williams, Jacks); morphology deals with the genitive case
formation (i.e. the addition of s); and syntax deals with which combinations of words constitute
grammatical strings and which do not (i.e. NOT: the Bettys car BUT Bettys car).

On the other hand, lexis deals with the expression of possession regarding the choice between
different types of grammatical categories (i.e. verbs: I possess this house; possessive pronouns:
this house is mine; possessive adjectives: this is my house, etc ), and other means such as other
specific realizations of these notions (i.e. a friend of my fathers) or idiomatic expressions (i.e. a ten
minutes walk, at a stones throw, for heavens sake); and finally, semantics deals with meaning
where syntactic and morphological levels do not tell the difference (i.e. genitive case so as to refer
to people (Janes brother, Janes car) vs. of -phrase structure so as to refer to inanimate things (the
roof of the house, the Houses of Parliament)).

2.2. On defining possession: what and how.

On defining the term possession we must link this notion (what it is) to the grammar categories
which express it (how it is showed). Actually, in English the term possession is intended to answer
to such questions as Whose is this?, What do you possess? and What are your personal
possessions? so as to indicate ownership or something possessed, as the things someone or
something possesses, that is, possessions, property, state (such as land, buildings, a business),
personal effects or belongings (movable possessions: a video game, a mobile phone), family
relationships (my mothers cousin ) and abstract relationships (Jims patience is amazing).

Actually, the idea of possession is defined as the fact and action of having or possessing
something, which may be either physical, referring to people (a brother, two sisters), animals (a
dog, five horses) and things (money, a nice house); or abstract (greed, soul). This idea of possession
is world widespread since all languages express it though in different ways, for instance, using of-
phrase structures and adding the genitive case ending s in English and the use of preposition de
in Spanish.

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Moreover, the notion of possession is, psychologically speaking, one of the most primitive instincts
of human beings and, therefore, historically present in many events, as for instance, the biblical case
of Salomon, the third Hebrew king (970-931 BC) when deciding, on two mothers who claimed for
the same baby as their son, who the baby belonged to; the longing for possessing new territories in
America by Cristobal Columbus in 1492; or more recently, the buying of our personal belongings
nowadays.

Regarding how possession is expressed in English, it is mainly drawn by two devices: the saxon
genitive and the of-phrase structure (to be developed in detail in subsequent chapters) which work
at the level of the grammatical category of nouns since the notion of possession namely implies the
mention of people, things and animals. Moreover, there are other lexically specific grammatical
categories involved, such as possessive pronouns, possessive adjectives, verbs and prepositions as
well as other specific idiomatic expressions and phrase structures in order to convey the meaning of
ownership.

2.3. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.

So far, in order to confine the notion of possession to particular grammatical categories, we must
review first the difference between open and closed classes since possession cues involve both. Yet,
grammar categories in English can be divided into two major sets called open and closed classes.
The open classes are verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs, and are said to be unrestricted since they
allow the addition of new members to their membership, whereas the closed classes are the rest:
prepositions, conjunctions, articles (definite and indefinite ), numerals, pronouns, quantifiers and
interjections, which belong to a restricted class since they do not allow the creation of new
members.

Then, as we can see, when taking possessive relations to phrase and sentence level, we are dealing
with both classes. Thus open word classes, such as nouns since we are mainly dealing with common
nouns referring to things or animals (as possessed things), and also with proper nouns: Mikes
house, Mikes brother (as possessors); verbs since they refer to the fact of possession; and
adjectives, since they refer to possessive relations at the phrase level (i.e. my timetable).

Moreover, it is very often possible to repla ce open classes by an equivalent expression of closed
classes, as for instance, possessive pronouns and prepositions. For instance, regarding prepositions,
we may refer to the preposition of which expresses possession in of-phrases as well as to the rest
of prepositions which take part in idiomatic expressions (i.e. for Gods sake, in two years time).

Finally, it is worth noting that apart from grammatical categories, we may find other specific clause
structures, such as expressions used in poetry (i.e. For goodness sake) and idiomatic expressions
which may indicate time reference (i.e. yesterdays meeting, a weeks holiday) or everyday
expressions (i.e. For heavens sake).

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4. THE EXPRESSION OF POSSESSION.

Once we have established a theoretical framework for the notion of possession within a linguistic,
notional and lexical level, the expression of ownership comes into force in this section as a
descriptive approach to the notion of possession regarding morphological, phonological, syntactic
and, mainly, semantic fields.

In the following sections, then, we shall examine the main issues that will provide the base for the
whole unit. Thus, (1) possession in terms of morphology, which shall review the genitive case
formation regarding different grammatic al categories; (2) possession in terms of phonology, which
shall examine pronunciation of possessive cases; (3) possession in terms of syntax, which shall
place the genitive case formation at sentence level, focusing on the two main genitive structures:
saxon genitive and of-phrase structure; and finally (4) possession in terms of semantics, which shall
clarify different types of possessive relationships.

4.1. Morphology and possession.

As stated before, possession is expressed by both open or closed classes, thus by means of nouns
(common and proper), verbs, adjectives, pronouns, prepositions and also by means of specific
clause structures and idiomatic expressions. Hence, in this section we shall briefly establish a link
between the morphology of these grammatical categories and the expression of possession so as to
provide a more relevant framework for our study.

4.1.1. Nouns.

In this section we shall examine first, how to express possession by means of nouns and, second, the
form of the possessive inflection in the genitive form when dealing with nouns. Yet, we must bear
in mind that the plural formation rules have a close relationship with the structure of the saxon
genitive since an s must be added to the end of the noun.

First of all, nouns can make a direct reference to possession when they are semantically explicit
forms, for instance, owner, master, keeper, slave, ruler, property, belongings, etc which convey
the meaning of ownership to some extent. Moreover, we can add the well-known nouns , all over
mentioned in this study, such as possessor, possessed, possession.

Secondly, when dealing with the formation of the possessive case, we must distinguish two cases:
first, (1) when we find only one possessor or second, (2) when we find several possessors.

(1) First, when we are dealing with only one possessor, the structure is as follows: possessor + s
+ the person or thing possessed (i.e. Marys sister). Note that when the possessive case is used, the

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article before the person or thing possessed disappears (i.e. the daughter of the President=the
Presidents daughter; the poetry of Lord Byron=Lord Byrons poetry). Moreover, there are some
general considerations to follow when we add the possessive s (Thomson & Martinet, 1986). For
instance:

(a) the s is used with singular nouns and plural nouns not ending in s (i.e. a mans job, mens
work; a girls voice, womens clothes).
(b) However, we just use a simple apostrophe () with plural nouns, usually common ones,
already ending in s (i.e. the eagles nest, the students exam) as well as with classical
names (i.e. Hercules labours, Sophocles plays) However, sometimes, following Snchez
Benedito (1975), other names ending in s can take s or the apostrophe alone (i.e.
Charless shirt or Charles shirt; Yeatss poems or Yeats poems).

(2) Second, when dealing with several possessors or compounds, the structure is as follows:
possessors (the plural form ending must be s) + the apostrophe + the person or thing possessed
(i.e. My sisters house; my friends party). However, if the noun is an irregular plural, not ending in
s, we apply the structure for only one possessor (i.e. the childrens toys; the sheeps dog ).
Moreover, there are some general considerations to follow:

(a) when names consist of several words, only the last word takes the s (i.e. my mother-in-
laws will; the Prince of Waless helicopter).
(b) Similarly, when more than two possessors are joined by the conjunction and, only the last
word takes the possessive s (i.e. Peter and Susannes house). If not, compare: Peter and
Susannes house (the house belong to both of them) vs. Peters and Susannes house (each
one has a house).
(c) Finally, note that the possessive s can also be used after initials (i.e. the PMs secretary;
the VIPs escort).

4.1.2. Verbs.

Verbs can also indicate possession in a more direct way since they do not need any other
grammatical category to express ownership, especially in imperative forms (i.e. Hold it!). Within
this grammatical category we can distinguish, first, between those verbs which are strictly
possessive, semantically speaking, among which we may differenciate between transitive and
intransitive verbs; and second, those verbs which are not strictly possessive but their meaning
relates somehow to the notion of possession.

First, among those verbs whose meaning is strictly possessive we find: have or have got, own,
possess, keep, obtain and belong (to). For instance, I have a new mobile phone, Shes got many
friends, He owns an incredible castle on the mountain, They possess enterprises all over the
world, Could you keep my personal staff for some days?, He obtained the money he claimed

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for, This watch belongs to Cristine. Note that all of them are transitive verbs (i.e. have (got), own,
possess, keep, obtain) except for belong to.

Second, among those verbs whose meaning is not strictly possessive but conveys the meaning of
possession somehow, we shall mention: hold, grip, seize, monopolize, boast, enjoy, and
so on. For instance, Mark Starvik holds several diamond companies in Switzerland, The
frightened child gripped his mothers hand, The government seized Bobs goods for payment of
debt, Arabia monopolizes petrol companies around the world, He boa sts that he is the best
tennis player in the town, My father-in-law enjoys a good income (He has a benefit).

4.1.3. Adjectives.

The notion of possession is also expressed by means of adjectives. This open- class grammatical
category functions within the framework of noun-phrases, but we must distinguish between two
types of adjectives in terms of their grammatical function. For instance, first, adjectives which
qualify nouns, which is not our present concern; and second, adjectives which function as
determiners of nouns, and on which we shall focus in this section.

Possessive adjectives are to be found within a further distinction of adjectives as determiners, since
they are divided into: possessive, demonstrative, numerals, interrogative and indefinite adjectives.
As a general rule, possessive adjectives are: my, your, his, her, its, our, your, their, and they agree
with the possessor but not with the person or thing possessed (i.e. her mother=Anas mother but
NOT Tims mother).

Hence, we find in English three forms for the third person singular: his (masculine reference), her
(feminine reference) and its (animal or thing reference) whereas the rest of possessive adjectives are
invariable for masculine/feminine or singular/plural (i.e. our house=Anas house, Charles house,
Mary and Marks house). Note that the form your is used both for the second person singular and
the second person plural.

The use of possessive adjectives in English differ to the use of possessive adjectives in Spanish in
that, first, they are invariable for singular and plural whereas in Spanish they are not (i.e. My
house(s) vs. mi casa, mis casas); second, in English they distinguish three different forms for the
third person singular, thus masculine, feminine and things/animals whereas in Spanish we do not
have that distinction (i.e. Her/his/its birthday vs. su cumpleaos); third, at the usage level, in
English possessive adjectives are used where Spanish use the article the (i.e. She washed her
hands vs. Ella se lav las manos).

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4.1.4. Pronouns.

Pronouns are to be found, as opposed to the above grammatical categories, under the classification
of closed-class grammatical category together with prepositions (next section). However, possessive
pronouns share many similarities and some differences with possessive adjectives, so this is the
reason why their description will be quite similar.

First of all, the main difference between both categories is to be found in the grammatical function
they perform at the sentence level. Thus, whereas possessive adjectives function as determiners of
nouns, possessive pronouns function as substitutes of nouns, that is, they substitute a whole noun-
phrase and keeps the same meaning with similar form (i.e. This is my book vs. This book is mine).

Possessive pronouns, as such, are to be found in the general classification of pronouns: possessive,
demonstrative, personal, reflexive, interrogative and relative pronouns. As a general rule, possessive
pronouns are: mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, yours, theirs and we can observe the outstanding
similarity with possessive adjectives, since some of them add a final s to the base form. As for
possessive adjectives, they agree with the possessor but not with the person or thing possessed,
that is, they agree in number and person with the possessor but not with the thing possessed (i.e.
This is Janes hat=This hat is hers).

Hence, we find in English three forms for the third person singular: his (masculine reference), hers
(feminine reference) and its (animal or thing reference) whereas the rest of possessive pronouns are
invariable for masculine/feminine or singular/plural (i.e. our house=ours). Note that the form
yours is also used both for the second person singular and the second person plural.

Similarly to possessive adjectives, the use of possessive pronouns in English differ to the use of
possessive pronouns in Spanish in that, first, some of them are invariable for singular and plural,
masculine or feminine whereas in Spanish they are not (i.e. It is mine=es mo/ma; This house is
yours=esta casa es tuya o vuestra); second, in English they distinguish three different forms for the
third person singular, thus masculine, feminine and things/animals whereas in Spanish we do not
have that distinction (i.e. This is hers/his/its vs. Esto es de ella/l/ello ).

Finally, it is relevant to mention some specific cases which are worth remembering. For instance,
(1) possessive pronouns do not admit the definite article the as in Spanish (i.e. el mo=mine); (2)
there are some special structures, such as the sequence of + possessive pronoun (i.e. This is a good
friend of mine) vs. the sequence of + possessive adjective + noun (i.e. This is one of my friends);
(3) note that the form ones is the possessive adjective of the pronoun one (i.e. Its disappointing
to have ones word doubted=One may be disappointed when someone doubts about you); (4)
sometimes we use own with the possessive adjective, and not with the pronoun, to emphasize a
fact (i.e. Have you a car of your own?). However, (5) when the emphatic very own follows a
possessive, there is no difference between the adjective and the pronoun (i.e. That is my very own
car vs. That car is my very own).

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4.1.5. Prepositions.

Again, prepositions are to be found under the classification of closed-class grammatical category
together with possessive pronous. Prepositions may express possession by direct means, such as
the preposition of or when related to other grammatical categories which express ownership,
such as verbs (i.e. belong to). Moreover, idiomatic expressions and specific structures also need of
prepositions to indicate possession (i.e. on my own; a friend of mine).

Actually, in subsequent sections, we shall examine ni depth the role of the preposition of within
the of-phrase structure, as opposed to the genitive case (or saxon genitive), where the choice of
paraphrasing the expression of possession or not with the preposition of denotes the semantic
reference to people (saxon genitive) or things/animals (of-phrase structure).

4.2. Phonology and possession.

As stated before, the notion of possession is namely conveyed in English by means of nouns (both
common and proper names) and therefore, subjected to spelling rules similar to those of plural
formation since English nouns have only two cases, the unmarked common case (Jane/boy) with
singular and plural forms, and the marked genitive (Janes/boys). This genitive form is called the
possessive by reason of one of the main functions of the case indicating belonging to.

The s genitive of regular nouns is realized in speech only in the singular since it takes one of the
following forms: /iz/, /z/, /s/ according to the rules for plural formation in nouns. However, in
writing, the inflection of regular nouns is realized in the singular by s and in the plural by putting
an apostrophe after the plural s-. As a result, the spoken form spy /spai/ may be pronounced in
different ways: The spies /spaiz/ were arrested (plural) vs. The spys /spaiz/ companion was
arrested (genitive) vs. The spies /spaiz or spaiziz/ companion were arrested (plural; genitive).

Actually, this genitive inflection is phonologically identical with the regular plural inflection with a
consequent neutralization of the case distinction in the plural. In being phonologically identical with
the plural, the regular genitive plural is sometimes called the zero genitive. Such a zero genitive is
common with:

(a) names that end in /z/, especially if they are foreign names: Moses /-ziz/ laws, Cervantes
works, and especially Greek names of more than one syllable: Socrates /-ti:z/ doctrines,
Euripides /-diz/ plays.
(b) older English names:, Guy Fawkes Day.
(c) with fixed expressions on the form for ... sake as in for goodness sake /s/, for conscience
sake /s/.

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(d) with many other names ending in /z/ where, in speech, zero is a variant of the regular /iz/
genitive. There is a vacillation both in the pronunciation and spelling of these names, but
most commonly the pronunciation is the /iz/ form and the spelling an apostrophe only. Note
the double pronunciation in: Dickens novels which may be pronounced /dikinz/ or
/dikinziz/ and in Mr Burns /z/ or Mr Burnss /ziz/.

To sum up, as well as with pronunciation rules for plural formation in nouns, the pronunciation of
the possessive s depends on the sound which precedes it. For instance:
(1) if the genitive s is preceded by voiceless sounds as in pops, Pats, Quirks, wifes,
mouths, it is pronounced /s/;
(2) if the genitive s is preceded by voiced sounds as in Bobs, dads, baths, bags
loves, mobiles, Pams, pins strings, roars, it is pronounced /z/.
(3) Finally, if the genitive s is preceded by sibilant sounds as in chess, horses,
Georges, smash, stretchs, televisions, it is pronounced /iz/.

4.3. Syntax and possession.

In English, the expression of possession is mainly drawn by two syntactic devices: first, by means
of the genitive case and second, by means of the of-phrase structure. In this section, we shall review
these two devices as well as other syntactic structures which would include specific clause
structures and idiomatic expressions. We must remember at this point that all these particular
structures will broadly review the different grammatical status of the genitive (both s genitive and
of-phrase) at a sentence level.

Thus, they shall mainly function as (a) determiners within noun phrases (i.e. my friends new
computer) or when the genitive itself is a phrase noun incorporating its own determiner ((i.e. my
good-looking friends new computer); (b) modifiers, where they have a classifying role (i.e. an olds
shepherds hut); (c) independent constructions, such as omission of s genitive (i.e. His car is like
his fathers) or the of-construction (i.e. The flats of New York are more difficult to buy than those of
Spain ); and finally, postposition genitives with a partitive role (i.e. One of Peters houses will be
sold this week).

4.3.1. Main syntactic structures.

So, regarding the main syntactic structures, we shall state that, first, generally, genitives function
exactly like central definite determiners within noun phrases (compare: a new car, the new car, this
new car, Mikes new car) whereas of-phrases function as postmodifiers. However, in many
instances there is such an overlap between function and semantic identity, that is, between a noun in
the genitive case and the same noun as head of a prepositional phrase with of, that we make use of
prepositional phrases.

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We refer to the s genitive for the inflection and to the of-genitive for the prepositional form
(compare: What is the ships name? vs. What is the name of the ship?). Secondly, another factor
which may influence on their optional use is the information focus, where the s enables us to give
end-focus to one noun and the of-genitive to another. Compare: the girls success vs. the success
of the girls.

4.3.1.1. The s genitive.

The s genitive is not used with all nouns equally but tends to be namely associated with those of
animate gender, especially with those having personal and nonpersonal reference and, to a lesser
degree, with inanimate nouns, such as things, geographical names and temporal nouns. But before
examining each type, let us remember the complex pattern of gender classes, with sometimes some
overlapping, within the category of animate and inanimate nouns.

(1) Animate nouns include both personal and nonpersonal nouns. (a) First, nouns with
personal reference are commonly in male (i.e. boy) or female (i.e. girl) pairs, but
many personal nouns can be regarded as having dual gender, since they can be male
or female in reference as required (i.e. friend, guest, parent, lover, person ). Note
that most of these are nouns of agency (i.e. doctor, teacher, singer, student, writer),
and that countries and ships, although inanimate, are often treated as female:
Italy is decreasing her exports, The Tytanic sank when she struck an iceberg.

Other types deal with nouns where the sex of the people concerned is irrelevant, for
instance, first, common gender which applies to neuter nouns such as baby, infant,
child, adult, which though referring to male and female gender are addressed to
using the neuter pronoun it (i.e. The child lost its toys); and second, collective
nouns where, like the common gender nouns, the sex of the people is expressed by
the use of it and which (i.e. family, army, party, company, firm, police,
government, crew, team, jury, committee, etc).

Moreover, we may use it with the indefinite pronouns which represent people (i.e.
someone, somebody, nobody, anybody, etc ) and even with names of institutions,
countries, states, cities or activities related to people, as in Japans economic
boom, the countrys population, Californias immigrants, the citys museums,
and so on.

(b) Second, nouns with nonpersonal reference mainly include animals and, to a
lesser degree, things (since these are classified as inanimate). Among animals, there
is a further classification: familiar and less familiar animals. The former type
include those animals in which human society takes a special interest, and which
significantly has to do with familiar experience (farming, domestic pets). For
instance, birds, dogs, cats, bulls, cows, etc.

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As for nouns with personal reference, many of the nonpersonal nouns are
commonly in male (i.e. bull, horse) or female (i.e. cow, mare ) pairs. However,
many these nonpersonal nouns can be also regarded as having dual gender although
they have already their counterpart (i.e. dog vs. bitch, ram vs. ewe, etc). They can be
male or female in reference as required (i.e. horse, dog, cat, sheep, bird ), using he
or she to denote gender (i.e. This dog is two years old, isnt she beautiful?).

On the other hand, less familiar animals include most of creatures in the animate
world, and which do not take part in familiar experience as farming or pets. For
instance, squirrels, bears, starlings, snakes, spiders and moths may be also referred
to as neuter nouns, where the sex of the animal is irrelevant and, therefore, be
addressed to as he or she (i.e. Have you seen any spider in this room?- Yes, its
hanging from the lamp ). Note that they are often treated as inanimate nouns.

(2) Inanimate nouns, then, are those which do not refer to people or animals, that is,
things and objects (i.e. window, door, car, spoon, candle, etc). It is worth noting
however, that sometimes inanimate objects such as ships or boats are treated with
personal reference when dealing with human experiences or habits (i.e. the ships
bell, the yachts mast) as well as with countries (i.e. Greece is a beutiful place to
visit. Her tourism rate is increasing).

Therefore, we shall use the possessive genitive case to refer to the following eight cases. First, we
use the genitive case in any of the following four animate noun classes:

(1) personal names (i.e. Salamancas pupils, Beethovens house);


(2) personal nouns (i.e. the boys new computer, my little sisters doll);
(3) collective nouns (i.e. the polices meeting, the nations social security);
(4) and higher animals when not specifying gender (i.e. the horses tail, the lions prey).

Moreover, the inflected genitive is also used with certain kinds of inanimate nouns, such as

(5) geographical and institutional names (i.e. Asias future, Spains democratic party, the
museums workers, Londons monuments);
(6) temporal nouns (i.e. a moments thought, the circus seasons first big event, a weeks
holidays, todays lunch);
(7) measurement expressions of time (i.e. in two years time, ten minutes break, two hours
dela y) and distance (i.e. at a stones throw, at arms length );
(8) and nouns of special interest to human activity (i.e. the brains total weight, the minds
linguistic development, the films story, sciences influence).

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4.3.1.2. The of- genitive.

The of- genitive is namely used with nouns of inanimate gender, especially with those having object
reference (i.e. the last page of the book, the interior of the building) and, to a lesser degree, with
animate nouns, especially those with nonpersonal reference when emphasis is required, since they
often overlap (i.e. the tail of the dog). Note that sometimes, an s genitive would be also acceptable,
but in many instances this is not so, as in the hub of the wheel or the window of the houses.
However, the corresponding personal pronouns would normally have the inflected genitive: its
hub, their windows.

Therefore, we shall use the of-phrase construction in the following five cases:

(1) with inanimate possessors. However, since it oftens overlap with the s genitive, it is
possible to replace the sequence noun + of + noun (i.e. the walls of the room, the roof of the
shop, they keys of the car) by the sequence noun + noun (i.e. the room walls, the shop roof,
the car keys). It is worth noting that in this combination, the first noun becomes a sort of
adjective and is not made plural (i.e. the roofs of the shops = the shop roofs). Unfortunately,
according to Thomson & Martinet (1986), the sequence noun + of + noun combinations
cannot always be replaced in this way and the student is advised to use of when in doubt.

(2) when the possessor noun is followed by a phrase or clause (i.e. The children ran away,
obeying the directions of a man with a whistle; I took the advice of a couple I met in the
street);

(3) in certain expressions, such as those of measure, partition and apposition. First, (a)
regarding measure expressions, the of-genitive is the usual device (i.e. the height of the
tower, the length of the road, three kilos of tomatoes, five yards of cloth ) except for the
measure of time (i.e. two days journey) and distance (i.e. at arms length).

Measure expressions are directly related to (b) partitive expressions, since both count and
noncount nouns can enter constructions denoting part of a whole. Such partitive
constructions may relate to both (i) quantity and (ii) quality, and in either case the partition
may be singular (i.e. a piece of) or plural (i.e. two pieces of) followed by an of-phrase (i.e.
two pieces of cake). Note that partition may be expressed by treating the noun itself as
though it expressed a quantity or quality (i.e. two coffees=two cups of coffee).

Regarding (i) quantity, partition is expressed by, first, general noncount means (i.e. an item
of clothing, a bit of ), where some partitives occur with specific nouns (i.e. a blade of grass,
some specks of dust, two loaves of bread, five slices of cake); second, by plural count nouns
where partitives relate to specific sets of nouns (i.e. a series of meetings, a flock of sheep, a
bunch of rose s); and finally, by sin gular count nouns (i.e. a page of a book, two acts of a

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play, a piece of clothing). It is worth noting that quantity partitives may also express precise
measure by means of fractional partition (i.e. He drank a quarter/half of beer).

Regarding (ii) quality, partition is namely expressed with the items kind and sort and
even with type, variety and, especially with such materials as coffee, drinks and tobacco,
blend. For instance, with count nouns in singular (i.e. a new kind/type/sort of computer)
and plural (i.e. some kinds/types/sorts of computer(s)), and also with noncount nouns, in
singular (i.e. a delicious kind of meat, a fashionable sort of stamp) and in plural (i.e. some
delicious kinds of meat, several fashionable sorts of stamps).

Moreover, according to Greenbaum & Quirk (1990), since there is no necessary connection
between countability and referential meaning, many English nouns can simulate the plural
only by partitive constructions where their translation equivalents in some other languages
are count nouns with singular and plural forms. For instance, the English words news and
information (i.e. some information, some news) which indicate plural by the expression
pieces of (i.e. some pieces of information/news)

Finally, regarding (c) apposition expressions, they are intended to express a definite
genitive with a determiner role in the sentence by means of a partitive of-construction. For
instance, compare the sentences York is a city vs. the city of York, Annes sister is
coming tonight vs. One of Annes sisters is coming tonight vs. A sister of Annes is
coming tonight. It is worth noting that the latter example is called the post-genitive (or
double-genitive).

(4) Moreover, it is usual to find the of-construction in newspaper headlines, but often, perhaps
for reasons of space economy, it is substituted by the inflected form of s genitive. For
instance, the headline Camila Parker: Prince Charles new love might begin like:
Camila Parker: the new love of Prince Charles.

(5) Finally, we find a special of-construction use when the noun following the genitive is
ellipted if the reference is contextually clear, and is substituted by the demonstrative
adjectives that or those. For instance, The lifestyle of Switzerla nd is more fashionable
than that of Spain.

4.3.2. Other syntactic structures.

Having examined the two main syntactic structures to express possession in English, we must
examine as well other syntactic structures which, although not so outstanding like the preceding
ones, are equally relevant when expressing ownership because of their own particular way of
construction. For instance, the ellipsis of the genitive case, which is commonly known as the
independent genitive; the double genitive construction, also called post-genitive; the group genitive;

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and finally, everyday idiomatic expressions, among which we highlight expressions related to
money and measurements.

4.3.2.1. The genitive with ellipsis.

First, the genitive with ellipsis, called later on the independent genitive by Greenbaum & Quirk
(1990) deals with cases in which the noun that is modified by the s genitive, may be omitted if the
context makes its identity clear. We may distinguish two cases: first, the ellipsis of the noun when
its reference is contextually clear and, second, when the unexpressed item refers to homes or
businesses, usually known as local genitive.

First of all, regarding those cases in which it is common to ellipt the noun following the genitive,
we find examples with the possessive genitive, for instance, He has a car like Johns (than Johns
car) or Cristines is the only face I know here (Cristines face); and also, by contrast, with the of-
construction in similar contexts, where a pronoun is normally necessary. For instance, the pronouns
that or those usually replace the corresponding items in the following examples: The population
of New York is greater than that of Chicago and The cars of Italy are more expensive than those
of Greece.

Secondly, ellipsis is especially noteworthy in the local genitive, that is, expressions relating to
homes, businesses and establishments. For instance, You can find me at Toms tonight (where
Tom lives); When we arrived at Spikes, a new jazz group was playing (a well-known pub); Anne
went to the dentists this afternoon (the dentists professional establishment). Note that when
referring to local genitives, one could not specify uniquely the unexpressed item because it would
sound artificial in a fuller phrase (i.e. My bakers shop stays open late on Mondays).

Moreover, the same applies to proper names where these refer to commercial firms. This usage is
normal in relation to small one-man businesses (i.e. I buy fresh fruit at Smiths everyday).
However, when we deal with the names of major firms, what begins as a local genitive develops
into a plural, often so spelled and observing plural concord (i.e. Harrods is a famous department
store=Harrods is having a lot of sales). Furthermore, conflict between plurality and the idea of a
business as a collective unity results in variation in concord (i.e. Harrods is/are quite good on
sales).

4.3.2.2. The double genitive.

The double genitive, also known as the post-genitive (Greenbaum & Quirk, 1990), refers to an of-
phrase which can be combined with an s genitive construction (i.e. One of my best friends sisters).
Since the s genitive has a determiner role, this must be definite and personal (i.e. An opera of
Verdis BUT NOT: an opera of a violinists).

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It is worth mentioning that there are two main conditions which also affect the noun preceding the
of-phrase. Thus, first, it cannot be a proper noun (i.e. NOT: Mrs Whites Mary or Mary of Mrs
Browns); and second, this noun must have indefinite reference, that is, it must be seen as one of an
unspecified number of items attributed to the postmodifier (i.e. A friend of the doctors has arrived
BUT NOT: the daughter of the doctors has arrived).

The double genitive thus involves a partitive as one of its main components, as in one of the
doctors friends), which implies that he has more than one. Yet we are able, in apparent defiance of
this statement, to use demonstratives as follows (i.e. that friend of mine; this song of U2 ).

4.3.2.3. The group genitive.

According to Quirk & Greenbaum (1973), the group genitive refers to those cases in which, in some
postmodified noun phrases it is possible to use an s genitive by affixing the inflection to the final
part of the postmodification rather than to the head of the noun itself. Thus, the teachers book vs.
the teacher of Historys book. Hence, the noun phrase is constituted by premodifier (the teacher of
History) + s + the head (book).

This group genitive is regularly used with such postmodifications as in someone elses car, the
lawyer apparents life as well as prepositional phrases (i.e. after a two days journey). Other
examples involve coordinations, as in an hour and a halfs discussion, a week or sos sunshine.
Note that the group genitive is not normally acceptable following a clause due to syntactic reasons,
though in colloquial use one sometimes hears examples like A man I knows son has just won the
lotto, that old man what-do-you-call-hims house has been sold. Finally, remember that in normal
use, and writing in particular, -s genitives are replaced by of-genitives (i.e. The son of a man I know
has just won the lotto).

4.3.2.4. Idiomatic expressions.

Finally, idiomatic expressions mainly involve those referring to money, time and measurements.
Thus, we find expressions of money + worth (i.e. three pounds worth of ice-cream, five euros
worth of stamps); time (i.e. a weeks holiday, in two years time, todays paper, ten minutes break,
tomorrows weather, two hours delay); and specific expressions of measurement, such spatial
reference, distance, weight, etc. For instance, a months rest, ten minutes walk, two days journey,
at a stones throw, the journeys end, the waters edge, and so on.

Moreover, we also find some expressions related to everyday life and poetry by means of nouns,
verbs and specific constructions, as we mentioned at the beginning of the study. For instance, I
know the owner of this old house, the children have made the house of their own today, She has
nothing she can call her own, This room is for my brothers own use, they numbered a collection

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of diamonds among his possessions, for heavens sake and for goodness sake; and possessive
of-phrase constructions, such as a friend of mine.

4.4. Semantics and possession.

Actually, there are usually strong arguments for preferring one or other construction in a given case
(noun phrase with s genitive vs. prepositional phrase with of-phrase), and numerous environments
in which only one construction is grammatically appropiate. In fact, a relevant fac tor influencing the
choice of genitive emerges from the syntactic field with the information focus, where the s
genitive enables us to give end-focus to one noun and the of-genitive to another.

Thus, compare the following The explosion damaged the cars door vs. Having looked at the car,
he considered the most damaged part was the door of the car. This principle is congruent again
with the preference for the of-genitive with partitives and appositives where an s genitive would
result in undesirable or absurd final prominence: the problems part.

However, the degree of similarity and overlap has led grammarians to regard the two constructions
in semantic terms as variant forms of the genitive expressing different nuances. Actually, in many
instances there is such an overlap between syntactic function and semantic identity, that is, between
a noun in the genitive case and the same noun as head of a prepositional phrase with of, that we
need of semantic devices to make the appropriate choice.

The distinction between them will depend much on gender and on contextual viewpoint, far from
being syntactically explained. In general, the choice can be more securely related to the gender
classes represented by the noun which is to be genitive, thus the s genitive is favoured by the
expression of literal possession within the classes that are highest on the gender scale: animate
nouns, in particular people and animals with personal gender characteristics (i.e. Peters age, My
grandfathers cottage, but NOT the hat of John). However, the partitive genitive with of is
more suitable when attribution and partition are regarded.

Note that the relevance of gender is shown also in the fact that the indefinite pronouns with personal
reference (i.e. someones problem, everybodys enemy, etc) admit the s genitive while those with
non-personal reference do not (i.e. somethings problem, everythings enemy). The semantic
classification is part arbitrary. For instance, we could claim that cows milk is not a genitive of
origin but a descriptive genitive (the kind of milk obtained from a cow) or even a subjective genitive
(the cow provided the milk ). For this reason, meanings and sentential analogues can provide only
inconclusive help in choosing between s and of-genitive use.

All in all, we shall offer a semantic classification of genitive meanings following similar criteria
from Quirk & Greenbaum (1973), Snchez Benedito (1975) and Greenbaum & Quirk (1990),
which, in most cases, can be paraphrased (where possible) and are classified as follows: possessive

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genitive, subjective genitive, objective genitive, genitive of origin, descriptive genitive, genitive of
measure and partitive genitive, and finally, appositive genitive.

4.4.1. Possessive genitive.

The possessive genitive expresses the genitive meaning in itself and, therefore, it is named as such.
One of its main features is that it is normally placed in often paraphrased with the verbs have,
own, and so on. For instance, Janes summer house (Jane owns a summer house), my sisters
mobile (my sister has a mobile); also, we find of-phrase structures, as in the chimney of my house
(my house has a chimney).

4.4.2. Appositive genitive.

The appositive genitive (Quirk & Greenbaum, 1973) which was later on called genitive of
attribution (Greenbaum & Quirk, 1990) is to be enclosed within the syntactic definition of
apposition structures, in other words, postmodification involving explanatory paraphrase by means
of prepositional phrases, primary verbs (be, have, do), that-clauses and nonfinite clauses (-ing and
infinitive clauses).

Since this type of genitive deals with the prepositional use, we shall deal with certain constructions
such as of-phrases (the outstanding courage of the fireman) which would involve the notions of
characterized and characterization, that is, the noun fireman would be the characterized item
with personal reference, and the outstanding courage, the characterization with nonpersonal
reference regarding in the paraphrased sentence the fireman was very courageous.

The appositive genitive namely finds its expression through the of-genitive, which in fact resembles
a sentence with primary verbs (be, have). It is worth remembering that it is with have sentences
that we find the most relevant resemblance of the commonest prepositional postmodification with
of-phrases (i.e. a woman of courage=the woman has courage). For instance, observe the
paraphrasing in the courage of the fireman: the fireman is corageous, the fireman has courage.

Moreover, we may find nonappositive or appositive prepositional phrases which, in turn, may thus
be restrictive and nonrestrictive. So, we may find ambiguous phrases like the issue of student
grants, which is appositive and restrictive (with no commas); and also the issue, of student
grants,... which is appositive and nonrestrictive (with commas). However, the structure the
issue(,) of student grants(,) presents a nonappositive meaning in nonrestrictive function which is
similar to the objective of, meaning someone issued student grants. Yet, this function would be
rare and unnatural.

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4.4.3. Subjective genitive.

The subjective genitive has a specific syntactic structure, where the noun of the genitive is actually
the subject and is often paraphrased in predicative position with intransitive verbs. For instance, the
boys application form (the boy applied), the economys unexpected increase (the economy
increased unexpectedly), the leaves fall (the leaves fell down), the girls screams (the girl
screamed); and also, note the use in of-phrase constructions, as in the rise of the sun (the sun rose).

4.4.4. Objective genitive.

The objective genitive also has a particular syntactic structure, where the noun of the genitive is
actually the object of the sentence and, unlike the subjective genitive, is often paraphrased in
predicative position with transitive verbs. For instance, the friendss support (someone supports the
friends), the criminals release from prison (someone released the criminal from prison); and also,
note the use in of-phrases, as in a report of the news (someone reported the news).

4.4.5. Descriptive genitive.

The descriptive genitive involves, as its name indicates, a description of the noun following the
genitive, and therefore, it is often paraphrased with modifiers, that is, appositive clauses or
prepositions. For instance, attributive clauses are used on paraphrasing in a lawyers job (the job is
as a lawyer), a doctors degree (the degree is a doctorate), childrens sport clothes (sport clothes are
especially designed for children), and also, prepositions are used in a womens college (a college for
women) and a winters day (a day in winter).

4.4.6. Partitive genitive.

The partitive genitive is usually expressed by the of-construction since it is far from denoting literal
possession (expressed by the possessive genitive) and can be also paraphrased by transitive verbs.
As its name indicates, this type of genitive denotes partition as parts of a whole, where the noun
preceding the genitive indicates the whole part and the noun after it indicates the specific part of the
division (i.e. the brains two hemispheres).

In those cases where both genitive and of-phrases are grammatically possible, the choice often turns
on the syntactic field addressing the principle of end-focus or end-weight. Thus, observe the
following examples, an absence of three years/a three years absence (the absence lasted three
years), part of the inheritance (the inheritance is divisible into parts).

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4.4.7. Genitive of measure.

The genitive of measure usually overlaps with the partitive genitive since they share similar
characteristics. Thus, also expressed by the of-construction, the genitive of measure can be also
paraphrased by transitive verbs. As its name indicates, this type of genitive indicates measure
regarding time, height, weight, distance, value, etc, as in the height of the tower (the tower is of a
certain height), the length of the river (the river is of a certain length). Note that it also denotes
partition as parts of a whole on specifying part of a division, as in a fraction of a second (a second
is divided into parts), the parts of a day (a day is divided into parts), and so on.

Again, in those cases where both genitive and of-phrases are grammatically possible, the choice
often turns on the syntactic field addressing the principle of end-focus or end-weight. Thus, observe
the following examples, a delay of five hours vs. a five hours delay (the delay lasted five hours).

4.4.8. Genitive of origin.

The genitive of origin , as its names indicates, addresses directly to the origin or source of the noun
preceding the genitive, as in your grandmothers letter, Italys pizza,, Englands cheeses, the boys
story, and so on. As we can observe, the description of the noun preceding the genitive (your
grandmothers letter/Italys pizza/etc) is often paraphrased with modifiers, in predicative clauses
(the letter has been sent by your grandmother/the pizza has its origins in Italy/etc) or with
prepositions (the letter from your grandmother/the pizza from Italy /etc). Note that the same is
applied to the of-constructions (i.e. the wines of France=France produced the wines).

5. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.

The main issue of this study, how to express possession in English, proves relevant to the learning
of a foreign language since differences between the vocabulary of the learner's native language (L1)
and that of the foreign language (L2) may lead to several problems, such as the incorrect use of
possession expressions, especially because of the syntactic, morphological, phonological and
semantic processes implied in these categories.

This study has looked at the expression of possession within lexical semantics, morphology,
phonology and syntax in order to establish a relative similarity between the two languages that
Spanish-speaking students would find it useful for learning English if these connections were
brought to their attention, especially when different structures may overlap, for instance, of-phrase
constructions and possessiv e genitive (i.e. the name of the dog/the dogs name).

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According to Thomson & Martinet (1986), a European student (for our purposes a Spanish student)
may find especially troublesome the use of these two structures, and in particular that of the saxon
genitive structure since, when communicating in English, first, he has to know in which
construction the saxon genitive is required or not and, second, which construction to use when a
certain possessive relationship is presented (i.e. people, things, places, etc).

This choice becomes problematic for our Spanish students when they try to find in his own
language a certain construction similar to the English one with the saxon genitive structure. For
instance, the most common mistake for Spanish students, both at ESO and Bachillerato level, with a
sentence like La casa de Sarah, is to express possession as in Spanish, by means of the preposition
of = de (i.e. NOT: The Sarahs house/The house of Sarah) and, often, it does not correspond
literally to the translation the students make. However, since there is certain similarity with of-
phrases, students find it easier with this type of construction.

In the Spanish curriculum (B.O.E. 2002), the expression of possession is envisaged from earlier
stages of ESO in terms of grammar (possessive adjectives and pronouns, interrogative pronouns
related to possession: whose), phonology (pronunciation of saxon genitive s), morphology (when
adding apostrophe and s), simple descriptions of possession relationships, written or oral, related
to family (i.e. my mothers sister is my aunt), personal items (i.e. This is Antonios mobile/This is
Antonios) and everyday events (i.e. It is Charless birthday). At the higher stages of Bachillerato,
we move towards more complex descriptions of possession and a more accurate use of it,
addressing not only to the two main structures (possessive genitive and of-phrase ) but also to other
syntactic structures such as the group genitive (i.e. This is one of Martins sisters), ellipsis of
genitive marker (i.e. Your skirt is like Marias), and idiomatic expressions (i.e. two hours delay, in
ten days time).

The expression of possession has been considered a relevant element of any language teaching
curriculum because of its high-frequency in speech. We must not forget that the expression of
possession, drawn by a wide range of grammatical categories (nouns, adjectives, verbs,
prepositions, etc) is constantly present in our everyday lives and, therefore, in our students as well.
For instance, note its presence in clothes trade marks (i.e. Levis, Burberrys, Pepes), shops (i.e.
Toysrus, Harrods), fast food restaurants (i.e. McDonalds, Pacos pizza, etc ), and so on.

Hence, the importance of how to handle these expressions cannot be understated since students
must distinguish what type of relationship is to be established in order to use the appropriate
structure or grammar category. For instance, if we are dealing with people, the saxon genitive
proves relevant (i.e. Markus car) and when using possessive adjectives or pronouns, they must take
into account the differences in gender in the third person singular (masculine, feminine, neuter) as
in This is Markus car. Its his car. His car is his. However, learners cannot do it all on their own.
Language learners, even 2nd year Bachillerato students, do not automatically recognize differences
which seem obvious to teachers, and need to have these associations brought to their attention.

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So far, in this discussion we have attempted to provide a broad account of the expression of
possession within the educational field in order to set it up within the linguistic theory, going from
the localization of different types of possession structures and the correct choice of them to a broad
presentation of the main grammatical categories involved in it. We hope students are able to
understand the relevance of handling correctly the expression of possession in everyday life
communication.

6. CONCLUSION

Although the questions Whose is this? or What do you possess? may appear simple and
straightforward, they imply a broad description of the expression of possession from different
fields. The appropriate answer suitable for students and teachers, may be so simple if we are dealing
with ESO students, using simple grammatical structures or so complex if we are dealing with
Bachillerato students, who must be able to describe things addressing to a higher degree of
correction and appropriateness.

So far, in this study we have attempted to take a fairly broad view of the expression of possession
from its very beginnings up to present days, since we assume that there is an intrinsic connexion
between its sources and the current learning and everyday communication. Yet, we have provided a
descriptive account of Unit 16 dealing with The expression of possession, whose main aim was to
introduce the student to the different ways of expressing possession relationships in English.

In doing so, this study has attempted to provide a broad account of the expression of possession,
starting by a historical setting, which helped us enclose the notion of possession within time, theory
and development up to present days; second, a more current theoretical framework establishes this
notion within a grammar linguistic theory, where the notion is presented and defined. Then, a
proper descriptive chapter describes it in detail in terms of morphology, phonology, syntax and
semantics. Once presented, we go on a further educational discussion which encloses the notion of
expression in a classroom setting and school curriculum treatment.

In fact, the expression of possession through a variety of means, is currently considered to be a


central element in communicative competence and in the acquisition of a second language since
students must be able to use different ways of expressing possession relationships in their everyday
life and in many different situations. In fact, our students must have a good knowledge of the four
levels analysed above. First, on phonology, to pronounce correctly; secondly, since the two most
basic units of grammar are the word and the sentence, they must have good grammatical
knowledge, which involves the morphological level (i.e. how to add the s) and the syntactic level
(i.e. how to construct the specific structures).

Third, the lexicon, or lexical level, from which our students shall make the right choice when
deciding on how to express possession, that is, by means of nouns, adjectives, verbs, prepositions,

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or other syntactic structures like possessive genitive or of-phrases. Finally, another dimension
between the study of linguistic form and the study of meaning is semantics, or the semantic level, in
which students must be able to distinguish the overlapping of semantic fields within the same
notion (i.e. the name of the ship/the ships name), and so on.

To sum up, it is a fact that students must be able to handle the four levels in communicative
competence in order to be effectively and highly communicative in the classroom and in real life
situations when expressing possession relationships. The expression of possession proves highly
frequent in our everyday speech, and consequently, we must encourage our students to have a good
managing of it.

7. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

- Aarts, F., and J. Aarts. 1988. English Syntactic Structures. Functions & Categories in Sentence Analysis.
Prentice Hall Europe.

- Baugh, A. & Cable, T. 1993. A History of the English Language . Prentice-Hall Editions.

- B.O.E. RD N 112/2002, de 13 de septiembre por el que se establece el currculo de la Educacin


Secundaria Obligatoria/Bachillerato en la Comunidad Autnoma de la Regin de Murcia.

- Bolton, D. And N. Goodey. 1997. Grammar Practice in Context. Richmond Publishing.

- Brook, G.L. 1958. A History of the English Language. London: A. Deutsch.

- Downing, A. and P. Locke. 2002. A University Course in English Grammar. London: Routledge.

- Eastwood, J. 1999. Oxford Practice in Grammar. Oxford University Press.

- Greenbaum, S. and R. Quirk. 1990. A Students Grammar of the English Language. Longman Group UK
Limited.

- Greenbaum, S. 2000. The Oxford Reference Grammar. Edited by Edmund Weiner. Oxford University Press.

- Hymes, D. 1972. On communicative competence. In J. B. Pride and J. Holmes (eds.), Sociolinguistics, pp.
269-93. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

- Huddleston, R. 1988. English Grammar, An Outline. Cambridge University Press.

- Huddleston, R. and G.K. Pullum. 2002. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge
University Press.

- Nelson, G. 2001. English: An Essential Grammar. London. Routledge.

- Quirk, R & S. Greenbaum. 1973. A University Grammar of English. Longman.

- Snchez Benedito, F. 1975. Gramtica Inglesa . Editorial Alhambra.

- Thomson, A.J. and A.V. Martinet. 1986. A Practical English Grammar. Oxford University Press.

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UNIT 17

SPATIAL REFERENCE: POSITION, DIRECTION AND


DISTANCE.

OUTLINE

1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.

2. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE NOTIONS OF SPATIAL REFERENCE.


2.1. Linguistic levels involved in the notion of spatial reference.
2.2. On defining spatial reference: what and how.
2.3. Grammar categories: open vs. closed classes.

3. THE EXPRESSION OF SPATIAL REFERENCE: AN INTRODUCTION.


3.1. Prepositions: main features.
3.2. Spatial reference in terms of other grammatical categories.
3.3. A classification of prepositions: main functions.
3.2.1. The morphological function.
3.2.1.1. Simple prepositions.
3.2.1.2. Complex prepositions.
3.2.2. The syntactic function.
3.2.2.1. The structure of prepositional phrase.
3.2.2.2. Adposition vs. postposition types.
3.2.2.3. Main syntactic functions.
3.2.2.4. Spatial reference at sentence level.
3.2.3. The semantic function.
3.2.3.1. The spatial reference.
3.2.3.2. Basic spatial dimensions.
3.2.3.3. The notions of position, direction and distance.

4. THE EXPRESSION OF POSITION.


4.1. The notion of simple position.
4.1.1. At-type prepositions.
4.1.2. In-type prepositions.
4.1.3. On-type prepositions.
4.2. The notion of relative position.
4.3. Position and direction.
4.4. The expression of place by other means.

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5. THE EXPRESSION OF DIRECTION.
5.1. The notion of direction in relation to position.
5.2. Main types of directional prepositions.
5.2.1. Direction.
5.2.2. Passage.
5.2.3. Relative destination.
5.3. The notion of resultative meaning.
5.4. The placing of direction at sentence level.
5.5. The expression of direction by other means.

6. THE EXPRESSION OF DISTANCE.


6.1. The notion of distance.
6.2. Main type of prepositions.
6.3. The expression of distance by other means.

7. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.

8. CONCLUSION.

9. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

10. APPENDIX.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

Unit 17 is primarily aimed to examine in English the different ways of expressing spatial reference
in terms of place, direction and distance, namely achieved by means of prepositions, and also by
means of prepositional complements drawn from adverbs, adjectives, noun phrases and other clause
structures. In doing so, the study will be divided into nine main chapters. Thus, Chapter 2 provides
a theoretical framework for the notion of spatial reference, and in particular, of those grammatical
categories which are involved in it. Moreover, within the field of grammar linguistic theory, some
key terminology is defined in syntactic terms so as to prepare the reader for the descriptive account
on the expression of space localisation in subsequent chapters.

Chapter 3, then, presents and defines the notion of spatial reference mainly regarding prepositions,
adverbs and other grammatical categories involved. Moreover, prepositions are classified according
to their three main functions: morphological, in terms of formation processes (simple and complex
prepositions); syntactic, which introduces the notion of prepositional phrase, adposition and
postposition types, main syntactic functions, and their placing at sentence level; and finally, the
semantic function, in terms of different types of prepositions, among which we shall focus on those
referring to space localisation in terms of position, direction, and distance.

Once the notion of spatial reference is established within the linguistic framework, we are ready to
examine the notion of space types individually. Therefore, Chapter 4 offers a descriptive account of
the expression of place position by analysing, first, the notion of simple position (or absolute), in
which we distinguish three types: at, in and on-type prepositions; second, we review the notion of
relative position; third, the relationship between position and direction; and finally, the expression
of place by other means.

Similarly, Chapter 5 does the same on the expression of direction by examining the notion of
direction in relation to position, main types of directional prepositions, among which we review
direction, passage and relative destination; then, we examine the notion of resultative meaning, the
placing of direction at sentence level, and finally, how the expression of direction is carried out by
other means.

Chapter 6 on the expression of distance starts by examining first, the notion of distance; second, the
main type of prepositions; and finally, how other means rather than prepositions may also express
distance. Chapter 7, then, provides an educational framework for the expression of space
localisation within our current school curriculum, and Chapter 8 draws a conclusion from all the
points involved in this study. Finally, in Chapter 9, bibliography will be listed in alphabetical order
and in Chapter 10, readers are referred to an explanatory chart on a specific section.

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1.2. Notes on bibliography.

In order to offer an insightful analysis and survey on the expression of spatial reference in English,
we shall deal with the most relevant works in the field, both old and current, and in particular,
influential grammar books which have assisted for years students of English as a foreign language
in their study of grammar. For instance, a theoretical framework for the expression of space
localisation is namely drawn from the field of sentence analysis, that is, from the work of Flor Aarts
and Jan Aarts (University of Nijmegen, Holland) in English Syntactic Structures (1988), whose
material has been tested in the classroom and developed over a number of years; also, another
essential work is that of Rodney Huddleston, English Grammar, An Outline (1988).

Other classic references which offer an account of the most important and central grammatical
constructions and categories in English regarding the expression of space localisation, are Quirk &
Greenbaum, A University Grammar of English (1973); Thomson & Martinet, A Practical English
Grammar (1986); and Greenbaum & Quirk, A Students Grammar of the English Language (1990).

More current approaches to notional grammar are David Bolton and Noel Goodey, Grammar
Practice in Context (1997); John Eastwood, Oxford Practice in Grammar (1999); Sidney
Greenbaum, The Oxford Reference Grammar (2000); Gerald Nelson, English: An Essential
Grammar (2001); Rodney Huddle ston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of the
English Language (2002); and. Angela Downing and Philip Locke, A University Course in English
Grammar (2002).

2. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE NOTION OF SPATIAL REFERENCE.

Before describing in detail the different ways of expressing spatial reference in English, it is
relevant to establish first a theoretical framework for this notion, since it must be described in
grammatical terms. In fact, this introductory chapter aims at answering questions such as where this
notion is to be found within the linguistic level, what it describes and how and which grammar
categories are involved in its description at a functional level. Let us examine, then, in which
linguistic level it is found.

2.1. Linguistic le vels involved in the notion of spatial reference.

In order to offer a linguistic description of the notion of spatial reference, we must confine it to
particular levels of analysis so as to focus our attention on this particular aspect of language. Yet,
although there is no consensus of opinion on the number of levels to be distinguished, the usual
description of a language comprises four major components: phonology, grammar, lexicon, and

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semantics, out of which we get five major levels: phonological, morphological and syntactic,
lexical, and semantic (Huddleston, 1988).

First, the phonology describes the sound level, that is, consonants, vowels, stress, intonation, and so
on. Secondly, since the two most basic units of grammar are the word and the sentence, the
component of grammar involves the morphological level (i.e. simple and complex prepositions) and
the syntactic level (i.e. word order in the sentence ). Third, the lexicon, or lexical level, lists
vocabulary items, specifying how they are pronounced, how they behave grammatically, and what
they mean. Finally, another dimension between the study of linguistic form and the study of
meaning is semantics, or the semantic level, to which all four of the major components are related.
We must not forget that a linguistic description which ignores meaning is obviously incomplete,
and in particular, when dealing with the notions of space localisation.

Therefore, we must point out that each of the linguistic levels discussed above has a corresponding
component when analysing the notion under study. Thus, phonology deals with pronunciation of
prepositions (i.e. out, onto, forward, through, behind, etc) and help distinguish prepositions from
adverbs since prepositions normally unstressed are accented when they are prepositional adverbs
(i.e. He stayed in the house vs. He stayed in); morphology deals with compound words (i.e. into,
onto, etc); and syntax deals with which combinations of words constitute grammatical strings and
which do not (i.e. NOT: she goes at school in bike BUT she goes to school by bike).

On the other hand, lexis deals with the expression of spatial reference regarding the choice between
prepositional phrases or adverbial phrases (i.e. He works here vs. He drives in this bank), lexical
choices regarding different types of prepositions (i.e. on vs. above vs. over; opposite vs. in front of,
and so on), the use of specific prepositions (i.e. upwards, onto, inside, etc), and other means such as
other formal realizations of these notions (i.e. a noun phrase, a verbless clause, a finite clause, etc);
and finally, semantics deals with meaning where syntactic and morphological levels do not tell the
difference (i.e. He left the keys on the table = on the surface and not inside a drawer).

2.2. On defining spatial reference: what and how.

On defining the term spatial reference, we must link this notion (what they are) to the grammar
categories which express it (how it is showed). Actually, the term spatial reference is intended to
add information about where a situation has happened, by providing details about place,
direction and distance in order to fully describe the action.

On making the appropriate choice of prepositions, following Greenbaum & Quirk (1990), we may
refer to a point in space (i.e. in, on, at, etc ), a line of passage (i.e. across, over, along, etc ), a surface
(i.e. on, through, onto, etc), an area (i.e. inside, outside, in, out, etc), and a volume (i.e. through,
under, behind, etc). We must point out that this function is mainly carried out by prepositions, but
also by other grammatical categories which function as complements in prepositional phrases, such
as adverbs or adverbial phrases (i.e. over here, over there), noun phrases (i.e. three kilometres

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away) and other clause structures like idiomatic expressions (i.e. so far, as far as I am concerned, in
my view, etc).

Following Traditional Grammar guidelines, prepositions are classified according to their main
semantic roles: space (position, direction, passage), time (position, duration), cause and purpose,
means and stimulus, accompaniment, concession, and other relations, from which we shall mainly
deal with those referring to spatial reference. Moreover, these notions are also classified according
to their morphological and syntactic function which is mainly predicative.

2.3. Grammar categories: open vs. closed classes.

In order to confine the notion of spatial relations to particular grammatical categories, we must
review first the difference between open and closed classes. Yet, grammar categories in English can
be divided into two major sets called open and closed classes. The open classes are verbs, nouns,
adjectives and adverbs, and are said to be unrestricted since they allow the addition of new
members to their membership, whereas the closed classes are the rest: prepositions, conjunctions,
articles (definite and indefinite), numerals, pronouns, quantifiers and interjections, which belong to
a restricted class since they do not allow the creation of new members.

Then, as we can see, when expressing spatial relations, we are mainly dealing with prepositions
that, when taken to phrase and sentence level, may be substituted by other grammatical categories,
in particular, adverbial phrases, noun phrases and specific clause structures. The classification of
phrases reflects an established syntactic order which is found for all four of the open word classes
(i.e. verb, noun, adjective, and adverb) where it is very often possible to replace open classes by an
equivalent expression of another class (i.e. noun, adjective, preposition or another adverb), and also
closed classes (i.e. prepositions, conjunctions, quantifiers) as we shall see later.

3. THE EXPRESSION OF SPATIAL REFERENCE: AN INTRODUCTION.

In this introductory section, the expression of spatial reference will be first examined through the
category of prepositions, and then we shall offer a descriptive approach through other grammatical
categories related to it, which function as complements in prepositional structures, such as adverbs,
nouns and other grammatical structures like finite and non-finite clauses, idiomatic expressions or
verbless sentences as possible answers to the question of Where ...?

Moreover, before we continue, we must note that, although prepos itions are mainly classified
following morphological and syntactic rules, our study will be primarily based on the semantic
field, since it is here where we find the notion of prepositions of place, and therefore, it will lead us
to the analysis of spatial reference in terms of position, direction and distance.

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In the following chapters, then, we shall examine the main issues that will provide the base for the
whole unit. Thus, (1) main features of prepositions; (2) the expression of spatial reference in terms
of other grammatical categories, (3) a classification of prepositions according to their main
functions, thus morphological, syntactic, and semantic, in order to fully develop the latter one for
our purposes.

First, within the morphological function, we shall examine the formation of prepositions (simple
and complex). Second, within the syntactic function, we shall examine the notion of prepositional
phrase and the different types of syntactic organization (adposition vs. postposition), together with
the main syntactic functions, and the placing of spatial reference at sentence level. And finally,
within the semantic function, we shall examine, first, the notion of spatial reference; second, basic
spatial dimensions; and finally, the different types of prepositions, from which we shall draw the
main issue of this unit: the expression of position, direction and distance.

3.1. Prepositions: main features.

Following Greenbaum & Quirk (1990), prepositions belong to the closed class items which first, are
formally invariable and second, connect two units in a sentence, specifying a relationship between
them (i.e. place, time, instrument, cause, etc). The former of these two units is often a noun,
adjective or verb, and the former, normally represented by a prepositional complement, is a noun or
any other phrase similar to it, such as pronouns (This is a present for him), nominalized adjectives
(He fought against the most intelligent), nominalized adverbs (We observed him from here),
infinitives (He ran to win), and noun phrases (A man in the front row).

According to Huddleston (1988), at the general level the preposition is one type of adposition, the
other type being the postposition. Compare the order in the sentence: Does he live in this house?
vs. Where does he live in?, to be discussed in subsequent sections. The adposition may then be
defined as a grammatically distinct closed class of words with the following properties:

(1) First, they include, among the most central members of the class, words expressing such
spatial relations as at, in, on, under, over, to, from, etc. Very often they also
include words serving to show the semantic role or grammatical function in the clause of
their noun phrase complement; for instance, in English by marks the agent phrase in
passive clauses (i.e. He was arrested by the police); to marks the recipient role with such
verbs as give, send, talk, listen, etc (i.e. Listen to me); from marks the source with verbs
such as be, come, emerge (i.e. He is from California ) and adjectives such as different (i.e.
You car is different from mine ).

(2) Second, they usually show no inflectional marks (i.e. in preposition- vs. inner adverb-).
Although not to enter into inflectional contrasts is a negative property, it helps differenciate
prepositions from verbs, adjectives and nouns, which prototypically do inflect. However,

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prepositions allow only a modest amount of modification by expressions of temporal or
spatial extent, as in three hours after the start, far below the surface. Also, degree
modification with very much (not very alone) tends to occur with metaphorical rather than
literal meanings of prepositions, as in You are very much against the idea.

(3) Third, the second unit in a prepositional structure, which is a prepositional complement,
may be linked to a verb (i.e. He is drinking out of a dirty glass), to an adjective phrase (i.e.
He is afraid of spiders), and to a noun phrase (i.e. The man in blue jeans is looking at you ).
In these cases, the dependents of verbs can be either noun phrases (out of a dirty glass) or
prepositional phrases (in the kitchen); the dependents of noun phrases will tend to occupy
the more nuclear functions of subject (a man in the queue ) and object (She believes in God);
and prepositional phrases will function as adverbials, that is, adjuncts (In a few minutes,
well know the results/Well know the results in a few minutes).

(4) Finally, they prototypically take a noun phrase complement which, as stated before, is
realized by pronouns (This is a present for him), nominalized adjectives (He fought against
the most intelligent), nominalized adverbs (We observed him from here), infinitives (He ran
to win ), and noun phrases (A man in the front row).

3.2. Spatial reference in terms of other grammatical categories.

Prepositions denoting spatial reference, then, may be represented by means of other categories
within a larger linguistic structure in order to modify verbs, adjectives and nouns. For instance, the
answer to Where is the book? may be mainly drawn from the closed category of adverbs and
adverbial phrases (i.e. As adjunct: On the shelf would be the best place; or disjunct: From my point
of view, it would be placed on the shelf) or linked as complement to other closed categories, such as
verbs (i.e. I put it in the box), prepositional verbs (verb + preposition), as in account for, looking for,
and so on; adjectives (i.e. It is ready for recycling it) or other grammatical structures, such as
infinitives (i.e. Andrew took it to read it).

We must bear in mind that prepositions function as head in a prepositional phrase structure, and that
prepositional phrases in turn have a variety of functions related to other grammatical categories, for
instance, within the structure of a verbal phrase, noun phrase, adjectival phrase, adverbial phrase, a
larger prepositional phrase, or at sentence level, functioning as a connector (disjuncts: however,
although, because, due to, etc).

This is not to say that all prepositions are found in all of these functions, far from it, but virtually all
can occur as head in phrases functioning as adjuncts, that is, modifiers in verbal phrases (i.e. in the
morning) or peripheral dependent in a sentence (i.e. In my view, you are right). In this respect they
are like adverbs but they differ most sharply from adverbs in their complementation and in the fact
that many of them do also occur in other constructions. So far, let us briefly examine the expression
of spatial reference in terms of other grammatical categories.

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(1) First, let us examine the duality between prepositions and prepositional adverbs. As stated
before, another major kind of expression which can function like a prepositional phrase is an adverb
or an adverbial phrase, which belong to the closed-class category, and which behaves like a
preposition with ellipted complement. Note A car drove past the door where past is a
preposition vs. A car drove past where past is a prepositional adverb meaning something or
someone identified in the context.

Moreover, it must be borne in mind that an adverbial phrase may also function as adjunct or
modifier, as in Despite the fine weather, we stayed in all day (place adjunct) or postmodifier or
connector, as in The day before , I had seen him in the town centre (time adjunct). Note that three
prepositions not found in the adjunct construction are than, except and but while of although
overall the most frequent preposition, is here more or less restricted to idiomatic expressions like of
course, of his own free will, and so on.

So far, many words can be used as either prepositions or adverbs, for instance compare: He got off
the bus at the corner (preposition) vs. He got off at the corner (adverb). The most important
words of this type are above, about, across, along, before, bhind, below, besides, by, down, in, near,
off, on, over, past, round, since, through, under, up. As we may note, most of them refer to spatial
positions: Peter is behind us (preposition) vs. Hes a long way behind (adverb); She climbed
over the wall (preposition) vs. Youll have to climb over too (adverb), and so on.

It is worth mentioning at this point the contrast phrasal verbs (verb + adverb) vs. prepositional verbs
(verb + preposition). Following Aarts (1988), they differ from phrasal verbs in that, as a rule, the
adverb in phrasal verbs (call up) is stressed (i.e. They have called up all applicants for an
interview) whereas in prepositional verbs the stress falls on the verb, the preposition being
unstressed (i.e. Just look at him/It is better not to call on him).

Another variant regarding phrasal verbs is that of phrasal-prepositional verbs, which are
combinations of a verb + an adverb + a preposition. However, the majority of them are non-
transitive verbs (i.e. I am afraid I do not feel up to the job; We do no get on well with our
neighbours; Do you go in for squash?).

(2) Another kind of syntactic structure involves clause subordination, where we find different types
regarding verbs. Thus (a) the more nuclear dependents of the verb, subject in clause structure and
complement in verbal structure, which are prototypically filled by noun phrases (i.e. in the street,
after two hours); (b) prepositional phrases are mainly either of place (i.e. at home ), direction (i.e. to
school) or time (i.e. at night).

We also distinguish (c) complements to prepositional verbs, where the verb selects from a handful
of short prepositions (i.e. ask for, consist of, depend on, hope for). In this type, verbs are usually
monotransitive complement verbs, or in other words, the constituent that follows them function as
direct object (i.e. long for, refer to, rely on, succeed in, think of/about, wait for, wish for, and so on).

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Moreover, we find (d) non-finite verb clauses (or infinitival clauses) which function as modifier of
the verbal phrase, and in which the verb is (i) an infinitive, as in I was surprised to hear her
opinion, and (ii) a present participle ing, as in I was surprised at her saying this. Furthermore,
(e) we may find the finite content clause as modifier of an adjectival phrase, as in I was so
surprised that I couldnt say anything. Also, we may find (f) a noun phrase (i.e. I was surprised at
the financial estimates) or (g) a wh- phrase (i.e. I was surprised at what she said).

Furthermore, (h) we must not forget that we also find place conjuncts (Quirk, 1973), which denote
stqatic position and also direction, movement, and passage under the general term direction. Place
adjuncts are mainly realized by means of prepositional phrases (i.e. in the park, out of my house,
etc) since these roles can be clearly and conveniently specified through the respective prepositional
meaning (i.e. in-out, from-to, up-down, through, onto, etc ) although sometimes we need noun
phrases to amplify meaning (i.e. a very long way, several miles away).

Most placed adjuncts are prepositional phrases (i.e. in a small village, a long way from here, past
the sentry, wherever he went, from the desk, etc) which evoke responses to a where question, such
as to position (where?), direction (where?), source (where from?), and distance (how far?) with
stative or dynamic verbs. For instance, position and distance use stative verbs (live, stay) whereas
direction and source use dynamic verbs (go to, come from).

And finally, (i) we must not forget that idioms constitute that free process of forming lexical
lexemes which permit grammatical contrasts (i.e. What about...?/Its up to you/Its over/Eat it
up/etc). This process is known by Huddleston (1988) as lexicalization, that is, the process of
forming lexical items or single unit of vocabulary which can be larger than usual. Yet, idioms may
cause conflict instead of the usual congruence between what counts as a unit from a lexical point of
view and what counts as a unit from a grammatical point of view.

Thus, in the sentence They are pulling Daniels leg, the lexical unit is pull + the possessive
component + leg, but this is clearly not a grammatical constituent. Such a mismatch between
lexicon and grammar is found in the prepositional sequences of idioms. Lexicalisation, then, leads
to large-scale reduction in the range of permitted grammatical contrasts, contrasts in inflectional
number for the noun (by virtues of), in choice of the determiner (for this sake of the premier) or in
presence or absence of modifiers (in immediate front of), among many others.

In the sequence verb + noun + preposition idioms, the noun cannot be modified nor can it become
the subject of a passive sentence. Consider then the following sentences in We caught sight of the
plane vs. We caught sudden sight of the plane. For these reasons we look upon such idioms as
invisible units having the function of predicator in the structure of the sentence. These multi-word
verbs are always monotransitive (Aarts, 1988). Other sequences are make allowance for, make fun
of, pay attention to, take advantage of, take care of, take notice of , and so on.

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Then, as we can see, all these items have the same function but belong to different grammatical
categories or class (i.e. noun, adjective, finite clauses, and so on). We may observe that although
such subordinate clauses have broadly the same function as adverbs, we do not normally find
anything like the close semantic equivalence to adverbs illustrated above for prepositional phrases.

Then, once we have seen how both function and word class are relevant for our present purposes,
we are ready to examine the expression of spatial reference, and especially, position, direction and
distance through them. These expressions can be grouped together into word classes (also called
parts of speech) following morphological, syntactic, and semantic rules, bearing in mind the
phonological one when pronouncing prepositions or other periphrastic expressions (i.e. in the air).

3.3. A classification of prepositions: main functions.

Prepositions are classified according to their main functions, which correspond to three main types:
(1) the morphological function, by which prepositions are simple or complex; (2) the syntactic
function, which is related to the structure of prepositional phrases and word order of prepositional
phrases at the sentence level; and finally, (3) the semantic function, which is related to intrinsic
aspects of prepositions , in particular for our purposes, how to express position, direction and
distance.

We shall follow then five main figures in this field in order to develop this section, thus Quirk &
Greenbaum (1973), Snchez Benedito (1975), Thomson & Martinet (1986), Huddleston (1988),
Aarts (1988), Greenbaum & Quirk (1990), Eastwood (1999) and Nelson (2001).

3.2.1. The morphological function.

The open class preposition is, then, the most common repository for the expression of spatial
reference (i.e. position: in, on, at, above, under; direction: to, from, along, up, down; and distance:
near, next to, away from, after 2 km) together with adverbial phrases (i.e. towards, on the top of,
etc).

As seen before, prepositions are basically invariable although they may allow a modest amount of
modification in the expressions of temporal and spatial extent. Yet, morphologically speaking, we
may distinguish two types of prepositions: simple, which consist of one word (i.e. at, between, by,
from, in, on, up) and complex, which are multi-word combinations (i.e. in front of, next to, out of).

3.2.1.1. Simple prepositions.

With respect to simple prepositions, we must note that most of the common English prepositions are
monosyllabic items, such as at, in, on, to, from, typically unstressed and often with reduced vowel

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except when deferred. It is worth pointing out that deferred prepositions is a term coined by
Greenbaum & Quirk (1990) which refers to those prepositions which do not precede their
complements but are placed after them (i.e. Where are you from?).

3.2.1.2. Complex prepositions.

With respect to complex prepositions, we must say that these polysyllabic prepositions are also
popular, and that some of these compounds were formed historically from the monosyllabic ones
(i.e. inside, outside, within, into, onto, etc ) or derived from participles (i.e. during, concerning,
granted) or adopted from other languages (i.e. despite, except, etc). Regarding prepositions of
foreign origin, not all of them are thoroughly adapted in general use, as in que, re, vis--vis,
propos. Thus although prepositions are a closed class in comparison with truly open classes like
nouns, they are less literally a closed class than determiners or pronouns (Greenbaum & Quirk,
1990).

The number of prepositions has been increased by mainly combining prepositions with other words
to form complex prepositions, among which we find three main categories: (a) first, a simple
preposition preceded by an adverb or preposition (adverb/preposition + preposition), as in through
along, away from, out of, up to, etc; (b) second, a simple preposition preceded by a participle
(verb), adjective, or conjunction (participle/adjective/conjunction + preposition), as in owing to,
due to, because of); and finally, (c) a simple preposition followed by a noun and then a further
simple preposition (prep + noun + prep), as in by means of, in front of, with respect to, on behalf of,
etc. This type is by far the most numerous category, where the noun in some complex prepositions
is preceded by a definite or indefinite article (i.e. on the top of).

Finally, there are some comments worth mentioning, for instance, firstly, regarding phonology,
polysyllabic prepositions are normally stressed, and in complex prepositions, the stress falls on the
word (adverb, noun, etc), preceding the final preposition; and secondly, regarding items of quasi-
preposition status, we must include those which admit comparison, such as near (to), as well as
than and as which can also be conjunctions. For instance, Your car is further than my car
(conjunction), Your car is further than it (conjunction with ellipsis, rather formal), and Your car
is further than mine (preposition).

3.2.2. The syntactic function.

Regarding the syntactic function, prepositions, as seen, play their role within a larger linguistic
structure in order to modify verbs, adjectives, and nouns by means of other categories.
Consequently, in order to examine the expression of spatial reference through them we shall review
first the notion of prepositional phrase and then, the different types of syntactic organization
(adposition vs. postposition ) by means of which word order is established within the structure of the
prepositional phrase.

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3.2.2.1. The structure of prepositional phrase.

The structure of prepositional phrase, as seen before, is that of preposition + prepositional


complement (i.e. at + the bus stop, from + what she said, by + cleaning the window) which is
characteristically a noun phrase or a wh- clause or present participle (-ing) clause. Their head
phrases usually function as dependents of verbs, nouns and adjectives and, therefore, this is why
this sequence is known as a prepositional phrase.

This structure is determined, according to Aarts (1988), by its two functions: prepositional and
prepositional complement. This means the constituent realizing the former (in) governs the one
realizing the latter (in Paris). Both functions are obligatory and they usually occur immediately
after each other, as in At the end of the alley you will find the old black cat At five oclock we had
run that distance or The oak behind the pond seems to be dying They are selling their
inheritance at exceedingly low prices.

3.2.2.2. Adposition vs. postposition types.

The immediate constituents of prepositional phrases that function on clause or sentence level may,
under certain conditions, be found in different places in the clause or sentence. So far, normally a
preposition must be followed by its complement, but there are some circumstances in which this
does not happen. We shall review these two cases under the heading of adposition and postposition
as different types of word order in the sentence. Thus,

(1) adposition, that is, prepositions preceeding their complements, are usually placed after the
predicate or in final position when expressing spatial relations (i.e. at, in, on, under, opposite, from,
through + the car),. Note that at the sentence level, when ocurring next to time reference, spatial
prepositions preceed it (i.e. I saw you in the bank yesterday morning).

Spatial relations often occur in initial position but for the sake of emphasis (i.e. To which town are
you travelling to?), which denotes a formal style, although sometimes it may be postposed, being
considered then, informal English according to Quirk (1973; 1990) and Thomson & Martinet
(1986), as in Which town are you travelling to?

(2) The other type is postposition, that is, when prepositions are placed after their complement,
either because the complement has to take first position in the clause, or because it is absent. In this
case, the prepositional complement occurring in initial position and the prepositional after the
predicate or in final position is possible in informal English. It is worth noting that postposition is
referred to as deferred prepositions by Quirk (1990), and also compared superficially to
prepositional adverbs, identical in form with the corresponding prepositions except that, unlike
them, they are never unstressed (i.e. I should have parked the car opposite the house and not in
front).

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This detachment of the two immediate constituents of a prepositional phrase may take place in the
following cases, which are optional since they depend chiefly on stylistic preference:

(a) in WH- questions, where WH- interrogative pronouns function as constituents


(prepositional complements) of sentences. When the sentence is simple, it is either
interrogative (i.e. Where are you travelling to?) or exclamatory (i.e. What a beautiful place
you are travelling to!). Note that questions beginning with a preposition +
what/which/whom/whose/where/etc are used to be thought ungrammatical but it is now
accepted as a colloquial form. Compare To whom are you talking? (formal) vs. Who are
you talking to? (informal).

Yet, with some simple prepositions (i.e. through) and most complex ones (i.e. in front of,
through along,), postposition is not allowed.

(b) in WH- clauses, where WH- clauses with postposed prepositions can fulfil most of the
major sentence functions. These nominal relative clauses are always introduced by a wh-
element functioning as subject (i.e. Where he is travelling is a touristic place), object
complement (i.e. You can go whatever place you want), or prepositional complement (i.e.
Decide on whatever place you like), that is, they may be finite (i.e. Where they are staying
in is not cheap ) as well as non-finite (i.e. I do not know where to go to).

(c) Similarly in relative clauses, a preposition placed before which/whom (i.e. the friend with
which I travelled to Ireland) can be moved to the end of the sentence, but the relative
pronoun is often omitted (i.e. The friend I travelled with). Note that in the former case, it is
considered to be formal style whereas in the latter, it is rather informal.

(d) However, not all cases are optional, for instance, passive constructions, where the subject
of a passive construction corresponds to the prepositional complement in the active
analogue; thus They have paid for the meal vs. The meal has been paid for.

(e) Also, where the prepositional complement is thematized in finite and non-finite clauses 1 ,
that is, functioning respectively as postmodifier in sentences with noun and adjective
phrases, or sentences with infinitives or ing clauses. Thus, on finite clauses with noun
phrases: Marbella, a nice place to go to, is crowded now and The house where we stayed
in is Andreas ; on adjective phrases: She was not sure who to ask for.

1
Following Aarts (1988), finite verb phrases contain a finite verbal form which is morphologically marked for the
category of tense and which may, in addition, be marked for the categories of mood and concord (i.e. he writes). However,
non-finite verbal forms are not morphollogically marked, and make reference to infinitive forms and participles, both
present (-ing) and past (-ed), as in writing or written.

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On the other hand, regarding non-finite clauses, here you are the following examples with
infinitive: It is uncomfortable to sit on that sofa or That sofa is uncomfortable to sit on;
and with ing clauses: It is not worth talking to her now or She is not worth talking to.

(f) Finally, Thomson & Martinet points out one more case of adposition, that of phrasal verbs,
where the preposition/adverb remains after its verb, so the formal type of construction is not
possible. Compare: The children I was looking after was Chinese vs. The children I was
looking was Chinese for.

3.2.2.3. Main syntactic functions.

We shall briefly review now, following Quirk (1973), the main syntactic functions of prepositional
phrases regarding spatial reference, as described before. Thus:

(1) as adjuncts (i.e. The children were playing in the swimming pool);
(2) as attitudinal disjuncts (i.e. in view of);
(3) as conjuncts (i.e. As far as I am concerned, this report is excellent);
(4) as postmodifier in a noun phrase (i.e. The boys on the bus were singing);
(5) as complements of a verb (i.e. It depends on you);
(6) as complements of an adjective (i.e. Anne is so different from her sister).
(7) other functions as the nominal one, functioning as subject of a sentence (i.e. Between ten
and eleven will suit me).

3.2.2.4. Spatial reference at sentence level.

Before we move on to a semantic classification of space prepositions, we shall examine the position
of spatial reference at the sentence level since in our study it is relevant to know where to place it.
Similar to Spanish ones, it is worth pointing out that it is not sensible to establish strict rules
regarding spatial reference position since it may be submitted to changes under the influence of
emphasis, question structures, and old/new information. Yet, we may distinguish two different types
of considerations: (1) general and (2) particular cases.

3.2.2.4.1. General considerations.

The placing of prepositions may vary depending on specific syntactic and semantic guidelines but
generally, word order is normally determined by the syntactic function, that is, depending on the
grammatical element it complements. Thus, on complenting a verb, it is placed after it (i.e. they
worked in the field all day); on complementing an adjective/adverb, it is placed after (i.e. worried
about you); and finally, on complementing a sentence by means of an adverbial/prepositional
phrase, it has final position (i.e. They will go to Murcia tomorrow).

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So, we observe that in English spatial reference is said to have a fixed position within the sentence
structure (i.e. He came here when she left home; David is at school), usually in predicative
positions, middle or final. In fact, following Snchez Benedito (1975), prepositions are normally
placed before their complements (i.e. in the air, on the beach, for you) and the most common
position is the final one, that is, at the end of the sentence, as in Love is in the air, lets go to the
beach , I have a present for you.

Moreover, final position is restricted to certain grammatical categories, such as adverbial and
prepositiona l phrases, and semantically, with non-essential information since emphasis places
prepositions in initial position (i.e. At home there is someone waiting for you). In addition, note that
there can be more than one prepositional or adverbial phrase in end position (i.e. He turned up at
the door entrance(place) in a wet T-shirt (manner) last night (time)).

Furthermore, when there is a close link in meaning between a verb and a preposition, the
preposition goes next to the verb, especially with verbs of movement (i.e. come, go, move, jump,
turn, etc), as in My children go to school every day). It is worth noting that a phrase of place comes
before time (i.e. She came here (place) last night (time)). But often two adverbial phrases can go in
either order (i.e. The concert was held at the stadium two weeks ago or two weeks ago at the
stadium).

3.2.2.4.2. Particular cases.

Following Snchez Benedito (1975), when dealing with particular cases, we mainly deal with
prepositions in initial or final position due to specific syntactic changes at the sentence level. Thus,
we distinguish three main cases:

(1) First of all, prepositions can go in front position in WH- questions and exclamations, where WH-
interrogative pronouns function as constituents (prepositional complements) of sentences (i.e.
Where are you travelling to?) or exclamatory (i.e. What a beautiful place you are travelling to!).
Note that questions beginning with a preposition + where/what/etc are used to be thought
ungrammatical but it is now accepted as a colloquial form. Compare To whom are you talking ?
(formal) vs. Who are you talking to? (informal).

(2) Secondly, in relative clauses, where the preposition placed before which/whom (i.e. the friend
with which I travelled to Ireland) can be moved to the end of the sentence. In these cases, the
relative pronoun is often omitted (i.e. The friend I travelled with). Note that in the former case, it is
considered to be formal style whereas in the latter, it is rather informal.

(3) Finally, where the prepositional complement is thematized in finite clauses that is, functioning
respectively as postmodifier of noun, pronoun, or adjective phrases. Thus, on finite clauses with

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noun phrases: It was a very nice house to live in; with pronouns : There is nowhere to go to ; and
finally, with adjective phrases: Cristine is impossible to talk to.

3.2.3. The semantic function.

Semantically speaking, there are various types of relational meanings among which place and time
(here and now) are said to be the most prominent ones and easy to identify. Other relationships such
as those of instrument (with paper and ink) and cause (by the fact that) are also easy to recognize
but it is not so easy to describe their prepositional meanings.

3.2.3.1. The spatial reference.

Yet, for our purposes we shall concentrate on the spatial reference and the expression of it. As seen,
the term spatial reference may provide details about position, direction and distance by
addressing a wide range of prepositions with reference to points in space (i.e. in, on, at, etc), lines of
passage (i.e. across, over, along, etc), surface (i.e. on, through, onto, etc ), area (i.e. inside, outside,
in, out, etc ), volume (i.e. through, under, behind, etc ), direction (i.e. to, from, towards, etc),
movement (i.e. through, past, across, etc ), among others.

Most of these details about an action are either spatial or figuratively derived from notions of
physical space, which often overlap different semantic ideas (i.e. at home/at five oclock). Thus, the
preposition in may have different meanings depending on the context: in this room (place) vs. in
the present month (time). Also, compare in danger (adverbial) vs. in all seriousness (manner).
Moreover, we also find idiomatic expressions, such as I ran across him today; over and over
again; to put up with something; theyre about to go; time is up and so on.

3.2.3.2. Basic spatial dimensions.

We must therefore begin by understanding the ways in which prepositions refer to some of the basic
spatial dimensions, which according to Quirk (1990) show three different types of distinctions as
represented in an imaginary chart. Thus, on the horizontal axis, prepositions are classified, first, (1)
as positive and negative (in vs. out; to vs. from), and second, (2) as destination or direction
types (Quirk, 1973) which refer to movement with respect to a static location , in contrast with
position types, which refer to static locations (see Appendix 1).

Thirdly, on the vertical axis (3) we distinguish three dimension types. Thus, the first type (type 0),
refers to point, which is a dimensionless location with no reference to length, width or height. It
ignores the dimensional reference by treating location as a point even if in reality it is a continent
(i.e. He walked to the bar or she is at the cottage). This type is linked to at-type prepositions, such
as to, away, away from, etc).

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The second type (type 1 or 2) refers to line and surface, which embrace what is in real space either
one-dimensional or two-dimensional. In other words, with a preposition like on or on-types (onto,
off, across, over, along), we may refer either to (a) one -dimensional object (i.e. Sign on this
line!/You can walk along the river/across the frontier) making reference to length, but not height,
width or depth, or (b) two-dimensional objects in terms of surface, that is, lenght and width, but not
height, where the surface is often the top of some object but not necessarily horizontal. In this type,
the bar or the cottage, previously mentioned, become dimensional places, covered by a roof.
Other examples are: fall on to the ground, take something off the wall, look through the window,
go across the field, and so on.

The third type (type 2 or 3) refers to area or volume, that is, two actual dimensions embracing two-
dimensional or three-dimensional space. Thus, (a) if the place is regarded as two-dimensional or as
an area, this suggests that a piece of ground or territory is enclosed by boundaries. The preposition
in and the like (i.e. inside,within, into, through, out, etc) is capable of being used with objects
which are essentially two-dimensional, as in The horse is in the field since the field is thought of
as an enclosed space. Compare: on the beach which is regarded as open space.

We may also achieve (b) a three-dimensional space by using the preposition in (also into, out of,
inside, indoors, through, etc) as volume making reference to length, width and height, which
suggests the actual three-dimensional object which in reality it is, as in in the cottage or in the
bar.

3.2.3.3. The notions of position, direction and distance.

So far, once we have examined the very origin of the expression of spatial reference, and set out the
dimensional orientation of the chief prepositions of place (at, on, in) regaring mere position,
line/surface, and area/volume, we are ready for analysing position, direction and distance
individually.

But before, it is worth mentioning that the notions of position and direction, that is, directional
movement and static position share a cause-and-effect relation which applies equally to positive or
negative prepositions. Thus, Jack ran to the corner vs. from the corner, Leave the book on the top
shelf vs. Leave it off the table, or She walked into vs. out of the office. And now, let us examine
the main issue of this study.

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4. THE EXPRESSION OF POSITION.

The expression of position (Greenbaum & Quirk, 1990), traditionally named place is main ly
realized by prepositions, simple (i.e. at, on, in, onto, into, inside, etc) and complex (i.e. all around,
apart from, as far as, all through, all over, etc) and prepositional phrases (i.e. on top of, next to, out
of, etc) but also by other grammatical types, such as adverbs (towards, outdoors, indoors), adverbial
phrases (conjuncts: as far as I know), noun phrases (in the house), or even idioms (over and over
again ), as stated before.

The expression of position is usually placed in final position (i.e. She came to my room last night)
but normally before the expression of time. In this section we shall provide a general overview on
this notion, as we shall review: (1) the notion of simple position and its main prepositions: at, in, on,
(2) the notion of relative position, (3) the relationship between position and direction, and (4) the
expression of place by other means rather than prepositions.

4.1. The notion of simple position.

The notion of simple position is brought about by the main prepositions whic h establish the spatial
dimensions, that is, at, in and on since position and dimension-types 0, 1/2 and 2/3 are related.
The notion of simple position, called absolute by Quirk (1990), refers to static location, as in
Mike was at the door/on the floor/in the water, where places are regarded as points on a route or
as institutions to which one is attached (i.e. at Lincolns street, at Harvard University). A
prepositional phrase of position can accompany any verb, although the meaning is usually static,
as with the verbs to be, stay, study, work, etc.

So far, in general usage, we distinguish three main types of prepositions regarding position or place,
which are also named dimension-type prepositions. Therefore, we find (1) at-type prepositions, (2)
in-type prepositions and (3) on-type prepositions.

4.1.1. At-type prepositions.

At-type prepositions are applied when we refer to a small area such as a square, a street, a room, a
field meaning at this point rather than inside, since it is usually compared to the preposition to,
since at expresses position (i.e. She was at the doctors) and to expresses movement (i.e. She
went to the doctors). It is related to dimension-type 0, for instance, we can be at a building, which
means that we are inside, in the grounds or just outside vs. in a building that means inside only.
Similarly, if someone is at the station, he may be in the street outside, or in the ticket
office/waiting room/restaurant or on the platform. Moreover, if we are at the sea, we are
near/beside the sea, but note that at sea means on a ship.

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In general, we use at (a) when we talk about a particular point (i.e. at the bus stop, at the end of
the street); (b) with a building when we are talking about what normally happens there, and not the
building itself (i.e. She works at the bank=working everyday; I was at the cinema=watching a film;
We were at the pub=having a drink ); (c) with social activities refering to an event (i.e. We met at a
party, I saw him at the football match ); (d) in specific expressions (i.e. at home, at school, at work,
etc); (e) with addresses if we give the house number (i.e. They live at 65, Shirley Road); and finally,
(f) at a place on a journey (i.e. Does the train stop at London?)

4.1.2. In-type prepositions.

In-type prepositions (also into, inside, etc), as shown above, normally indicate position as well as
movement (i.e. Position: He was in the office vs. Movement: He came in the office), and usually
opposed to on since they refer to volume and surface respectively (i.e. in the table=inside vs. on
the table=on the surface). In refers to places, such as a country, a town, a village, a square, a
street, a room, a forest, a wood, a field, a desert or any place which has boundaries or is enclosed. If
we are in a building, we are inside it, and similarly, in the water means actually inside the
water.

In may be used with the verb put, either in or into (i.e. He put his hands in/into his pockets).
Also, in may be an adverb (i.e. Come in! = enter; Get in the car= into the car). Remember that
the negative character of these prepositions is shown by paraphrasing (i.e. off=not on; out of=not in,
and so on). It is worth noting that place prepositions often overlap semantically with other types,
such as time (i.e. in December), adverbial (He came in time), and so on.

So far, we use in (a) when we talk about an enclosed space that is surrounded on all sides (i.e.
There were forty people in the room; He got a mouse in his hand); (b) with buildings and areas
surrounded by walls (i.e. in a big house, in the park ); (c) with larger areas like cities, states,
countries, continents (i.e. in New York, in California, in Germany, in Europe); (d) with words that
describe the relative pos ition of something (i.e. in the corner of the square, in the middle of the
room, in the east of Spain); (e) with common expressions (i.e. in hospital, in church), though note
that if we add the article the (i.e. in the hospital) we are not talking about that place about what
normally happens there but something unusual (i.e. visiting, delivering flowers, etc); and (f) with
newspapers and magazines (i.e. in the Daily Mail, in the New York Times).

4.1.3. On-type prepositions.

The third type, on prepositions (also onto), is used for both position and movement, as in He was
sitting on his chair or The cat jumped on(to) the roof. As we may observe, onto is used with
people or animals when a change of level is implied (i.e. We lifted her onto the table). On can also
be an adverb, as in Go on! or Come on! It is worth noting again that place prepositions often

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overlap semantically with other types, such as time (i.e. on my birthday), adverbial (depending on
me), and so on.

In general, on is used (a) when we talk about a horizontal or vertical surface (i.e. on the car) in
opposition to in that indicates volume (i.e. in the car); (b) with any kind of line (i.e. on the border,
on the road to Paris, on the coast, etc); (c) with machines (i.e. on the radio, on TV, on the phone);
(d) with directions, specially with right and left (i.e. Turn on the right/left).

4.2. The notion of relative position.

Apart from simple or absolute position, certain prepositions may express relative position of two
objects or groups of objects, that is, indicate the position of something in relation to the position of
something else, often by means of contrastive pairs, such as above vs. below; in front of vs. behind;
beneath vs. underneath; on top of vs. above; by, with, beside; between vs. among; around vs. about,
and opposite. For instance, He was standing by his wife (=at the side of) or I left the keys with my
bag (=in the same place as).

Thus, above and below are over vs. under respectively, though the al tter is said to mean
directly above and directly below. Note that over and above usually have the same meaning
(i.e. higher than) and imply not touching the surface (i.e. Above/over the door there as a sign
saying Non-Smoking). With on top of we combine the sense of above with abutment
(=touching). However, over can also mean covering, as in She put a scarf over her shoulders.

Similarly, in front of vs. behind are before vs. after, although the latter pair implies relative
precedence rather than physical position. Like under are the less common beneath (somewhat
formal) and underneath. Abutment or contact is also normally implied with the prepositions by,
beside, and with (i.e She left her bag by/beside/with her lipstick) whereas close to and near (to)
generally exclude actual contact; these prepositions are unique in admitting comparative inflection
(i.e. closer to, nearer to the door).

With between, we positionally relate two objects or groups of objects, whereas with among (also
amid(st), more formally) we are dealing with a more general plurality, and we do not see things or
people separately (i.e. She left the red dress among her dirty clothes ). The opposite of between
and among is to some extent expressed by around (AmE) and round (BrE), as in There were
some crocodiles around the river vs. There was a crocodile among the bushes.

4.3. Position and direction.

As stated before, the notions of position and direction, static and movable respectively, have a
cause-and-effect relation which applies equally to both positive and negative prepositions (i.e. in vs.

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out, to vs. from, and so on). Therefore, where places are regarded as points of route or institutions to
one is attached, we use dimension-type 0 (i.e. at the traffic lights, at Oxford University).

However, following Quirk (1990), the places which are thought of in terms of residence, require the
dimension-type 2/3, as in She has never lived in Paris or London. Similarly, if the referent is
considered as a surface, dimension-type 1/2 is appropriate (i.e They were swimming on Lake
Victoria ) whereas if it is considered as necessarily enclosing, then dimension-type 2/3 comes into
play (i.e. They were swimming in Lake Victoria ).

We may observe that the contrast between o n (surface, dimension-type 1/2) and in (area,
dimension-type 2/3) has various implications according to the context, as the following examples
show. Note on the window (as a glass surface) vs. in the window (as a framed area); also, on the
island (as an uninhabited island) vs. in the island (an institutional identity).

Moreover, in addition to the prepositions mentioned, against, about, and around are commonly used
as prepositions of simple position or destination: against in the sense touching the side surface
of (i.e. Shes leaning against the wall); about and around in the sense of in the vicinity of (i.e.
Shes been wandering about/around the place all day). Also, two additional meanings of on as a
preposition of position are attached to (i.e. the lemons on the tree) and on top of (i.e. She sat on
the wall for a while).

It is worth mentioning that the use of at, in, on is often idiomatic; thus on earth but in the
world. The sentence She is doing well at school is often preferred in BrE while She is doing well
in school is general in AmE. Similarly, on land, at sea, and in the air.

4.4. The expression of place by other means.

Apart from prepositions, we have seen in previous sections how to express spatial reference by
other means. In fact, we shall review some of them in this section, such as by means of:

(1) adverbs (i.e. Madonna is here ; the appartmet above, and so on) and adverbial phrases (i.e.
As adjunct: On the shelf would be the best place; disjunct: From my point of view, it would
be placed on the shelf; or conjunct: As far as I know).
(2) linking as complement to other closed categories, such as verbs (i.e. I put it in the box),
prepositional verbs (verb + preposition), as in come from, travel to, listen to, and so on.
(3) noun phrases (i.e. in the street, after two hours), where prepositional phrases are mainly
either of place (i.e. at home), direction (i.e. to school) or distance (i.e. away from me).
(4) we also find place conjuncts (Quirk, 1973), which denote static position and also direction,
movement, and passage under the general term direction. Place adjuncts are mainly
realized by means of prepositional phrases (i.e. in the park, out of my house, etc) since these
roles can be clearly and convenie ntly specified through the respective prepositional

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meaning (i.e. in-out, from-to, up-down, through, onto, etc) although sometimes we need
noun phrases to amplify meaning (i.e. a very long way, several miles away ).
(5) And finally, by means of idiomatic expressions, where prepositions are used but not with
their literal meaning, as in What about...?, its up to you, its over, what are you up to?,
time is up, hes well off, I came across an old book, over and over again, and shes by
herself.

5. THE EXPRESSION OF DIRECTION.

In this section we shall provide a general overview on the notion of direction, as we shall review:
(1) the notion of direction in relation to position; (2) its main types and prepositions, where we
examine the expression of direction, passage and relative destination, (3) the notion of resultative
meaning, (4) the placing of direction at sentence level, and (5) the expression of direction by other
means rather than prepositions.

5.1. The notion of direction in relation to position.

According to Greenbaum & Quirk (1990), the notion of direction (Greenbaum & Quirk, 1990),
traditionally named movement (Eastwood, 1999) is mainly realized by almost all those
prepositions regarding position since the notions of directional movement and static position have a
cause-and-effect relation, from where something is (position) to where it is going (destination). This
applies equally to positive and negative prepositions (i.e. to vs. from, inside vs. outside, up vs. down,
etc). Thus, observe the example: Jane ran to the front door and then stood at the front door in
which the former verb is one of movement whereas the latter, is of static position.

Directional prepositions may be simple (i.e. in, into, above, down, up, etc) and complex (i.e. all
along, around, all through, right across, etc ), and the expression of direction is not only carried out
by prepositions or prepositional phrases (i.e. above, under, out of, up in the hill, etc), but also by
other grammatical types, such as adverbs both for position and direction (i.e. away, back, below,
elsewhere, near, here, over, past, through, under, up, within), and adverbs which denote direction
only (i.e. aside, backwards, forwards, sideways, upwards, etc.), adverbial phrases (i.e. from my
window), noun phrases (i.e. ten kilometres), or even idioms (i.e. Here we go, here you are, there you
are, over here over there).

Directional expressions are used only with verbs of motion or with other dynamic verbs that allow a
directional meaning, as in He jumped over the fence or Michael was whispering into the
microphone . However, some directional adverbial phrases are also used with the verb to be, but
with a resultative meaning, indicating the state of having reached the destination (i.e. He dived in

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the water). Note that in many cases, especially in colloquial English, on and in may be used for
both position and destination, as in He fell on the floor, He is wandering around all day.

5.2. Main types of directional prepositions.

The notion of direction is directly brought about by the main types of directional prepositions which
establish the spatial movements (i.e. by, over, under, across, through, past, up, down, along,
around, beyond). Here, dimension-type prepositions 0, 1/2 and 2/3 are related since they may
accompany any verb, static (i.e. to be, stay, study, work, etc) or movement verbs (i.e. come, go,
jump, fell, wander, etc). Note that some of these prepositions, such as over, around and
through have a pervasive meaning, especially when preceded by all and right (i.e. Crowds
were cheering (all) along the route or There were police (right) round the house).

So far, direction is expressed by a group of prepositions which convey the meaning of movement
with reference to different types of motion. In general usage, we distinguish several types of
directional prepositions regarding movement or destination with respect to (1) direction, (2)
passage, and (3) relative destination.

5.2.1. Direction.

Direction, together with the notion of passage, is frequently related to conceptual axes, which have
to do with a real or fancied point from which spatial relations are often expressed by orientation to
the speaker (i.e. up, down, along, across, past, from...to, towards, etc ). In fact, the preposition
towards indicate this category on its own, meaning in the direction of. For instance, up the hill
depends on where the speaker is situated since it implies up somewhere further down from where I
am speaking or further up from the place I am speaking about.

In other words, direction implies an orientation point from the place the speaker is situated. Note
that difference between (coming) up the road and (going) down the road may have more to do
with personal orientation rather than with relative elevation. Just as verbs like come and go may
strongly imply personal orientation, so others are congruent with prepositional meaning, even to the
extent of enabling the preposition to be omitted, as in climb (up), jump (over), flee (from), pass
(by), and so on.

Then, these orientation points indicating direction shall be set out in an imaginary axis or directional
line, with a vertical and a horizontal axis. On the horizontal axis, we would find those prepositions
which indicate, on the one hand, the notion of from one end towards the other, such as from ... to,
along, past, towards, etc, as in His car is past the post office; and on the other hand, crossing the
horizontal line, those prepositions which mean from one side to another, such as across, around,

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through, etc, as in The dwarfs went across the moors. Note that around implies a directional
path in an angle or curve, such as a corner or a centre, as in The chemists is just round the corner .

Secondly, on the vertical axis, we would find the notion of vertical direction, and therefore,
prepositions indicating a relative elevation, increasing or decreasing, like up and down, as in
There is someone walking up and down the road. However, note that up and down are also
used idiomatically in reference to a horizontal axis, as in Anxiously, she walked up and down the
platform. Here, up and down also express the notion of along, and need not have any vertical
implications.

5.2.2. Passage.

As stated above, the notion of passage, together with that of direction, is frequently related to
conceptual axes, which have to do with a real or fancied point from which spatial relations are often
expressed by orientation to the speaker (i.e. on, in, along, across, through, etc). The sense of
passage is the primary locative meaning attached to prepositions of dimension-type 0 (in, on ),
dimension-type 1/2 (across) and dimension type 2/3 (through, past, by).

The notion of passage combines prepositions of position and motion, for instance, on the grass
(position) vs. across the grass (motion), but disregards prepositions of destination (i.e. He was
moving behind the door or She loves walking through woods in spring). Other prepositions
commonly used for passage are by, over, under, across, and past. It is worth noting the parallel
between positional on and in on the one hand and across and through on the other.

However, spatial relations regarding passage have more to do with motion at a horizontal level,
depending on where the speaker is situated since it implies somewhere from where I am speaking
or from the place I am speaking about. For instance, the pair on the grass vs. across the grass
treat the grass as a surface, and therefore suggest short grass. On the other hand, the other pair in
the grass vs. through the grass suggest that the grass has height as well as length and breadth, that
is, that by treating the grass as a volume, we understand that it is long.

5.2.3. Relative destination.

As well as relative posit ion (Quirk, 1973), the following prepositions: by, over, under, etc. except
for above and below, can express relative destination since most prepositions of relative position
can also be used of relative direction and destination; for example, The fox scampered under a
bush and disappeared. Here, under has a distinct use from that denoting passage, as in He
walked under the bridge.

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5.3. The notion of resultative meaning.

As stated before, directional expressions are used only with verbs of motion or with other dynamic
verbs that allow a directional meaning of motion or direction, as in He jumped over the fence
or Michael was whispering into the microphone. However, some directional adverbial phrases are
also used with the verb to be, but with a resultative meaning, indicating the state of having
reached the destination (i.e. He dived in the water). Note that in many cases, especially in colloquial
English, on and in may be used for both position and destination, as in He fell on the floor, He
is wandering around all day.

5.4. The placing of direction at sentence level.

Regarding the placing of directional expressions at sentence level, they are normally placed in final
position (i.e. Ill meet you downstairs, we are moving all the furniture into our new house next
week) and normally, before the expression of time. Moreover, directional expressions usually
accord with the interpretation of the verb. For instance, the verb come concerns arrival, and
therefore the destination (to Edinburgh) is normally mentioned before the point of departure (from
Rome ), whereas go concerns departure before the arrival, which would be placed after it.

When position and directional prepositional phrases co-occur in the sentence, position normally
follow directional expressions in final position. For instance, The children are running around
(direction) upstairs (position). Moreover, position can be moved to initial position to avoid giving
it end focus: Upstairs the children are running around. However, when directional expressions
are juxtaposed in the sentence, their order depends on the verb meaning described above. For
instance, They drove down the road to the city centre.

Initial position is more unusual, but happens in certain situa tions. Thus, similarly with actions, the
earlier event would be placed in intial position, as in And then from Venice the party proceeded to
Rome. Yet, some directional expressions are put initially to convey a dramatic impact, and
normally co-occur with a verb in the simple present (i.e. Away she goes) or simple past (i.e. On they
marched). If the subject is not a pronoun but a noun, subject-verb inversion is normal in initial
position (i.e. Away goes the bride).

Moreover, directional expressions are put in initial position virtually only in literary English and in
childrens literature. Just a few exceptions occur in informal speech, mainly with go, come, and
get in either the imperative with the retained subject you in the simple present. For instance, In
the bath you go; over the fence you jump; under the bridge you get; round you go; Here he comes,
Here I/we go, and so on.

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5.5. The expression of direction by other means.

Apart from prepositions, we have seen in previous sections how to express spatial reference by
other means. In fact, we shall review how to express direction in this section, by means of:

(1) adverbs and adverbial phrases. In fact, place adjuncts denote direction, movement, and
passage under the general term direction. Most place adjuncts are prepositional phrases
(i.e. past the sentry), but we also find adverbs, common for position and direction (i.e.
above, along, around, away, back, down, here, in, near, off, out, over, past, and so on), as
in Madonna is here ; the appartmet above , and so on ); and a few adverbs denoting direction
only (i.e. aside, backwards, downwards, forwards, inwards, left, outwards, right, sideways,
upwards). Regarding adverbial phrases, we find adjuncts: On the shelf would be the best
place; disjuncts: From my point of view, it would be placed on the shelf; or conjuncts: As
far as I know).
(2) the sequence verb + preposition, where the directional prepositions functions as a
complement to the verb (i.e. I lift it up/He comes from Ireland/She goes to school). Note
that, as seen previously, just as verbs like come and go imply different orientation
depending on the preposition following (i.e. come up, come down), we find certain verbs
where the preposition is likely to be omitted, as in climb (up), jump (over), flee (from),
pass (by) and so on.
(3) noun phrases (i.e. ten yards, eight kilometres), where prepositional phrases are mainly
either of direction (i.e. to school), passage (i.e. past the church ), or distance (i.e. away from
me).
(4) And finally, by means of idiomatic expressions, where prepositions are used but not with
their literal meaning, as in Here you are meaning This is for you; Here we are
meaning someone has arrived at the expected place; There you are meaning that supports
or proves what someone has said; Here we go meaning that someone is just about to start
moving, and so on.

6. THE EXPRESSION OF DISTANCE.

In this section, we shall approach the notion of distance by examining (a) the notion of distance, (b)
the main type of prepos itions, and (c) the expression of distance by other means.

6.1. The notion of distance.

The notion of distance differs from the notions of position and direction in that it answers to the
question How far...? instead of Where? The expression of distance then is brought about by the

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notion of measure since we shall answer in terms of amount of yards, miles, kilometres, inches,
centimetres and also by other grammatical expressions, such as a long way away or after two
kilometres.

6.2. Main type of prepositions.

The notion of distance also differ from both position and direction in generally being realized by
just a few prepositions (i.e. away from, outside, next to, near, from) which correspond to
dimensional types 1 /2 and 2/3. They generally refer to the notion of orientation, as the following
prepositions show: beyond, over, past, away from, and so on.

As stated before, most prepositions indicating direction can be used in a static sense of orientation
(i.e. up, down, along, across). This brings in a third factor apart from the two things being spatially
related, that is, a point of orientation, at which in reality or imagination, the speaker is
standing. This means that three points of reference are established, first, the one from which the
speaker is talking, second, the point at which we make reference in the distance, and the third
element refers to the personal measure the speaker makes of the distance between the two points
(i.e. I think the post office is two yards away=He is not sure, it may be two yards and a half).

Thus, we may say He lives across the river (=from here) or The village past the next bus-stop
(=from where we are now). Moreover, the prepositions up, down, along, across, and around are
used orientationa lly with reference to an axis and subjected to paraphrasing, for instance, The shop
down the road (=towards the bottom end of the street); His office is up the stairs (=towards the
top of the flat); There is a restaurant across the road (=on the other side of the road); and finally,
He lives round the corner (=just on the other street).

6.3. The expression of distance by other means.

The expression of distance may be answered not only by prepositions or prepositional phrases (i.e.
along the street) but also by other means, such as:

(1) adverbs and adverbial phrases (i.e. away; extremely far away), in which case the notion of
distance can share realizations with position (i.e. near, in the corner of, etc ) and direction
(i.e. three kilometres from here).
(2) the sequence verb + preposition, where the directional prepositions functions as a
complement to the verb (i.e. North Europe is far from here).
(3) noun phrases (i.e. ten yards, eight kilometres, several miles), where prepositional phrases
are mainly either of direction (i.e. to school), passage (i.e. past the church), or distance (i.e.
away from me ). Note that prepositional phrases coincide with noun phrases (i.e. two miles
away).

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7. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.

The various aspects of the expression of spatial reference, that is, position, direction and distance
dealt with in this study is relevant to the learning of the vocabulary of a foreign language since
differences between the vocabulary of the learner's native language (L1) and that of the foreign
language (L2) may lead to several problems, such as the incorrect use of place adjuncts expressions,
especially because of the syntactic, morphological, and semantic processes implied in these
categories.

This study has looked at the expression of place prepositions within lexical semantics, morphology
and syntax in order to establish a relative similarity between the two languages that Spanish-
speaking students would find it useful for learning English if these connections were brought to
their attention, especially when different categories may overlap (position and direction
prepositions: in).

According to Thomson & Martinet (1986), a European student may find especially troublesome the
use of prepositions when communicating in English since, first, he has to know whether in any
construction a preposition is required or not (i.e. He helped the old lady to carry the bags, and
NOT: He helped to the old lady to carry the bags) and, second, which preposition to use when one
is required (i.e. The plane was flying above/on/over the field ).

This choice becomes problematic for our Spanish students when they try to find a certain
construction in his own language which requires a preposition whereas a similar one in English
does not. For instance, the most common mistake for Spanish students, both at ESO and
Bachillerato level, is to express purpose as in Spanish, that is, preposition + infinitive (i.e. para
comer = for eat) whereas in English it is expressed by the infinitive only (i.e. to eat).

It has been suggested that a methodology grounded in part in the application of explicit linguistic
knowledge enhances the second language learning process. In the Spanish curriculum (B.O.E.
2002), the expression of place by means of prepositions is envisaged from earlier stages of ESO in
terms of simple descriptions of places, such as describing the items in a bedroom, up to higher
stages of Bachillerato, towards more complex descriptions of places, asking for directions,
describing a room, a city, people and things.

The expression of spatial reference implying the use of the discussed prepositions has been
considered an important element of language teaching because of its high-frequency in speech. We
must not forget that the expression of place adjuncts is mainly drawn from open class categories,
such as prepositions, and closed class categories, such as adverbs, adjectives, and nouns.

Hence, the importance of how to handle these expressions cannot be understated since you cannot
communicate without it. Current communic ative methods foster the teaching of this kind of
specific linguistic information to help students recognize new L2 words. Learners cannot do it all on

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their own. Language learners, even 2nd year Bachillerato students, do not automatically recognize
similiarities which seem obvious to teachers; learners need to have these associations brought to
their attention.

So far, we have attempted in this discussion to provide a broad account of the expression of spatial
reference in order to set it up within the linguistic theory, going through the localization of place
adjuncts in syntactic structures, and finally, once correctly framed, a brief presentation of the main
prepositions under study. We hope students are able to understand the relevance of handling
correctly the expression of place adjuncts in everyday life communication.

8. CONCLUSION

Although the questions Where are you going tonight? may appear simple and straightforward, they
imply a broad description of the place you are going to. The appropriate answer suitable for
students and teachers, may be so simple if we are dealing with ESO students, using simple
grammatical structures and basic vocabulary, or so complex if we are dealing with Bachillerato
students, who must be able to describe things within a spatial frame using the appropriate
prepositions according to their dimensional characteristics.

So far, in this study we have attempted to take a fairly broad view of the expression of place since
we are also assuming that there is an intrinsic connexion between its learning and successful
communication. Yet, we have provided a descriptive account of Unit 17 dealing with Spatial
reference, whose main aim was to introduce the student to the different ways of expressing position,
direction and distance in English.

In doing so, the study provided a broad account the notion of spatial reference, starting by a
theoretical framework in order to get some key terminology on the issue, and further developed
within a grammar linguistic theory, described in morphological, syntactic and semantic terms. Once
presented, we discussed how prepositions, adverbs and other syntactic constructions also reflected
this notion.

In fact, lexical items and vocabulary, and therefore, the expression of place prepositions, is
currently considered to be a central element in communicative competence and in the acquisition of
a second language since students must be able to use these prepositions in their everyday life in
many different situations. As stated before, the teaching of place expressions comprises four major
components in our educational curriculum: phonology, grammar, lexicon, and semantics, out of
which we get five major levels: phonological, morphological and syntactic, lexical, and semantic.

In fact, for our students to express spatial reference properly, they must have a good knowledge at
all those five levels. First, on phonology which describes the sound level. Secondly, since the two

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most basic units of grammar are the word and the sentence, they must have good grammatical
knowledge, which involves the morphological level (i.e. simple and complex prepositions) and the
syntactic level (i.e. where prepositions of place are placed at sentence level).

Third, the lexicon, or lexical level, lists vocabulary items, that is, different prepositions (direction,
position, distance), and other expressions to denote place, specifying how they are pronounced, how
they behave grammatically, and what they mean. Finally, another dimension between the study of
linguistic form and the study of meaning is semantics, or the semantic level, in which students must
be able to distinguish the overlapping of semantic fields within the same preposition (in, for place
and time), and so on.

Therefore, it is a fact that students must be able to handle the four levels in communicative
competence in order to be effectively and highly communicative in the classroom and in real life
situations. The expression of spatial reference proves highly frequent in our everyday speech, and
consequently, we must encourage our students to have a good managing of it.

9. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

- Aarts, F., and J. Aarts. 1988. English Syntactic Structures. Functions & Categories in Sentence
Analysis. Prentice Hall Europe.

- B.O.E. RD N 112/2002, de 13 de septiembre por el que se establece el currculo de la Educacin


Secundaria Obligatoria/Bachillerato en la Comunidad Autnoma de la Regin de Murcia.

- Bolton, D. And N. Goodey. 1997. Grammar Practice in Context. Richmond Publishing.

- Council of Europe (1998) Modern Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. A Common


European Framework of reference.

- Downing, A. and P. Locke. 2002. A University Course in English Grammar. London: Routledge.

- Eastwood, J. 1999. Oxford Practice in Grammar. Oxford University Press.

- Greenbaum, S. and R. Quirk. 1990. A Students Grammar of the English Language. Longman
Group UK Limited.

- Greenbaum, S. 2000. The Oxford Reference Grammar. Edited by Edmund Weiner. Oxford
University Press.

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- Hymes, D. 1972. On communicative competence. In J. B. Pride and J. Holmes (eds.),
Sociolinguistics, pp. 269-93. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

- Huddleston, R. 1988. English Grammar, An Outline. Cambridge University Press.

- Huddleston, R. and G.K. Pullum. 2002. The Cambridge Grammar of th e English Language.
Cambridge University Press.

- Nelson, G. 2001. English: An Essential Grammar. London. Routledge.

- Quirk, R & S. Greenbaum. 1973. A University Grammar of English. Longman.

- Snchez Benedito, F. 1975. Gramtica Inglesa. Editorial Alhambra.

- Thomson, A.J. and A.V. Martinet. 1986. A Practical English Grammar. Oxford University Press.

10. APPENDIX.

Appendix 1. Spatial dimensions of prepositions (Greenbaum & Quirk, 1990).

Spatial Positive Negative


Dimensions Destination Position Destination Position
Dimension-type 0
POINT to at (away) from away from

Dimension-type 1
or 2 on (to) on off off
LINE or
SURFACE
Dimension-type 2
or 3 in (to) in out of out of
AREA or
VOLUME

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UNIT 18

TIME REFERENCE:
TEMPORAL RELATIONSHIP AND FREQUENCY.

OUTLINE

1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.

2. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE NOTION OF TIME REFERENCE.


2.1. Linguistic levels involved in the notion of time reference.
2.2. On defin ing time reference: what and how.
2.3. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.

3. THE EXPRESSION OF TIME REFERENCE.


3.1. Morphology and time reference.
3.1.1. Verbs.
3.1.2. Nouns.
3.1.3. Adjectives.
3.1.4. Adverbs.
3.1.5. Prepositions.
3.1.6. Conjunctions.
3.1.7. Specific clause structures.
3.2. Syntax and time reference.
3.2.1. Main syntactic structures.
3.2.2. Word order at sentence level.
3.3. Semantics and time reference.
3.3.1. When-temporal relations: time position.
3.3.2. Duration and span.
3.3.3. Time frequency.
3.3.4. Other time-relationships.

4. WHEN-TEMPORAL RELATIONSHIP.
4.1. When temporal dimension: verbal tenses.
4.1.1. Tense.
4.1.1.1. Present tense.
4.1.1.2. Past tense.
4.1.2. Aspect.
4.1.2.1. Progressive be.
4.1.2.2. Perfect have.
4.1.3. Modality and mood.
4.1.3.1. The modal operators.
4.1.3.2. Modality in relation to time and tense.

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4.2. When time adjuncts: time position.
4.2.1. Time position: a point of time.
4.2.2. Time position: a boundary of time.

5. DURATION AND SPAN.


5.1. Duration and span: verbal tenses.
5.1.1. Backward span: since and the perfect tense.
5.1.2. Forward span: until and till.
5.2. Duration and span: time adjuncts.

6. TIME FREQUENCY.
6.1. Definite frequency: How many times...?
6.2. Indefinite frequency: How often...?

7. OTHER TIME RELATIONSHIPS.


7.1. Two-time relationships.
7.2. Similar time duration adjuncts: yet, already, still.

8. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.

9. CONCLUSION.

10. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

Unit 18 is primarily aimed to examine in English the different ways of expressing time reference in
terms of temporal relationship and frequency, namely achieved by means of prepositions, and also
by adverbs, adjectives, noun phrases and other clause structures. In doing so, the study will be
divided into nine chapters.

Thus, Chapter 2 provides a theoretical framework for the notion of time reference, first, by
examining the linguistic levels involved; second, by introducing the notion of time reference in
terms of how it is achieved and what it is; and finally, by presenting the grammatical categories
involved in it. Once this key terminology is defined in syntactic terms, the reader is prepared for the
descriptive account on the expression of time localisation in subsequent chapters.

Chapter 3, then, presents and defines the notion of time reference with respect to three relevant
fields: morphology, syntax and semantics in order to provide a framework for the notions of
temporal relationship and frequency. Thus, in the first place, we examine morphology and time
reference by reviewing the formation of verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions,
conjunctions and specific clause structures and idiomatic expressions involved.

Secondly, the expression of temporal dimension is classified according to syntactic terms, thus main
syntactic structures and word order at sentence level; and finally, we shall review the semantic
function, whose classification includes different temporal dimensions, among which we shall point
out: when-temporal relations, duration and span, and frequency.

Once the notion of time reference is established within the linguistic framework, we are ready to
examine the notion of temporal dimensions individually. Therefore, Chapter 4 offers a descriptive
account of the expression of when-temporal relationships by means of, first, verbal tenses through
tense, aspect and mood; and second, by means of when time adjuncts, regarding a point of time and
a boundary of time.

Similarly, Chapter 5 introduces the expression of duration and span by examining the expression of
verbal tenses and time adjuncts. And finally, Chapter 6 does the same on the expression of
frequency by examining first, definite frequency, through the question How many times...?; and
second, indefinite frequency, through the question How often...? Finally, Chapter 7, then,
provides an account of other time relationships under the heading of first, two-time relationships,
and second, similar time duration adjuncts (yet, already, still).

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Chapter 8, then, provides an educational framework for the expression of time localisation within
our current school curriculum, and Chapter 9 draws a conclusive summary of all the points
involved in this study. Finally, in Chapter 10, bibliography will be listed in alphabetical order.

1.2. Notes on bibliography.

In order to offer an insightful analysis and survey on the expression of time reference in English, we
shall deal with the most relevant works in the field, both old and current, and in particula r,
influential grammar books which have assisted for years students of English as a foreign language
in their study of grammar. For instance, a theoretical framework for the expression of time
localisation is namely drawn from the field of sentence analysis, that is, from the work of Flor Aarts
and Jan Aarts (University of Nijmegen, Holland) in English Syntactic Structures (1988), whose
material has been tested in the classroom and developed over a number of years; also, another
essential work is that of Rodney Huddleston, English Grammar, An Outline (1988).

Other classic references which offer an account of the most important and central grammatical
constructions and categories in English regarding the expression of time localisation, are Quirk &
Greenbaum, A University Grammar of English (1973); Snchez Benedito, Gramtica Inglesa
(19759; Thomson & Martinet, A Practical English Grammar (1986); and Greenbaum & Quirk, A
Students Grammar of the English Language (1990).

More current approaches to notional grammar are David Bolton and Noel Goodey, Grammar
Practice in Context (1997); John Eastwood, Oxford Practice in Grammar (1999); Sidney
Greenbaum, The Oxford Reference Grammar (2000); Gerald Nelson, English: An Essential
Grammar (2001); Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of the
English Language (2002); and. Angela Downing and Philip Locke, A University Course in English
Grammar (2002).

2. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE NOTION OF TIME REFERENCE.

Before describing in detail the different ways of expressing time reference in English, it is relevant
to establish first a theoretical framework for this notion, since it must be described in grammatical
terms. In fact, this introductory chapter aims at answering questions such as, first, where this notion
is to be found within the linguistic level; second, what it describes and how and, third, which
grammar categories are involved in its description at a functional level.

2.1. Linguistic levels involved in the notion of time reference.

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In order to offer a linguistic description of the notion of time reference, we must confine it to
particular levels of analysis so as to focus our attention on this particular aspect of language. Yet,
although there is no consensus of opinion on the number of levels to be distinguished, the usual
description of a language comprises four major components: phonology, grammar, lexicon, and
semantics, out of which we get five major levels: phonological, morphological and syntactic,
lexical, and semantic (Huddleston, 1988).

First, the phonology describes the sound level, that is, consonants, vowels, stress, intonation, and so
on. Secondly, since the two most basic units of grammar are the word and the sentence, the
component of grammar involves the morphological level (i.e. simple and complex prepositions,
adverb formation) and the syntactic level (i.e. word order in the sentence). Third, the lexicon, or
lexical level, lists vocabulary items, specifying how they are pronounced, how they behave
grammatically, and what they mean.

Finally, another dimension between the study of linguistic form and the study of meaning is
semantics, or the semantic level, to which all four of the major components are related. We must not
forget that a linguistic description which ignores meaning is obviously incomplete, and in
particular, when dealing with the notions of time localisation, since they often overlap with those of
place and manner.

Therefore, we must point out that each of the linguistic levels discussed above has a corresponding
component when analysing the notion under study. Thus, phonology deals with pronunciation of
prepositions (i.e. throughout, in the evening, etc) and help distinguish those cases in which they are
emphasized (i.e. He stayed from five to six in the house vs. He stayed from five to six in the
house ); morphology deals with compound words (i.e. throughout; until/till, etc); and syntax deals
with which combinations of words constitute grammatical strings and which do not (i.e. NOT: she
came at summer BUT in summer).

On the other hand, lexis deals with the expression of time reference regarding the choice between
different types of prepositions (i.e. in vs. on vs. at; since vs. for, and so on), the use of specific
prepositions (i.e. for or during?), and other means such as other formal realizations of these notions
(i.e. a noun phrase, a verbless clause, a finite clause, etc ); and finally, semantics deals with
meaning where syntactic and morphological levels do not tell the difference (i.e. He came on time
=exactly at the right time vs. He came in time=before the time arranged).

2.2. On defining time reference: what and how.

On defining the term time reference, we must link this notion (what it is) to the grammar
categories which express it (how it is showed).

Actually, on answering What is it?, the term time reference is intended to add information about
When?, How long? and How often? a situation has happened in order to locate time by means

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of temporal dimensions (i.e present, past, future). In fact, the given answers would provide,
respectively, details about the exact point of time, duration and frequency of the action by
delimiting exactly what type of time we are referring to. These expressions would reflect then a
concept of time that, as analogous to space, is enclosed in terms of dimensions.

Regarding how time dimension is expressed, we must address to lexically specific and labelled
areas and locations which are known as time relators, in other words, different grammatical
categories which have in this field an institutionalized and hence quasi-grammatical use. Like
space, time units are conceived as elements in clause structure which provide clear lexical meaning
in the constant process of keeping track of when actions took place.

2.3. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.

So far, in order to confine the notion of time relations to particular grammatical categories, we must
review first the difference between open and closed classes since time cues involve both. Yet,
grammar categories in English can be divided into two major sets called open and closed classes.
The open classes are verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs, and are said to be unrestricted since they
allow the addition of new members to their membership, whereas the closed classes are the rest:
prepositions, conjunctions, articles (definite and indefinite ), numerals, pronouns, quantifiers and
interjections, which belong to a restricted class since they do not allow the creation of new
members.

Then, as we can see, when taking time relations to phrase and sentence level, we are dealing with
both classes. Thus open word classes, such as verbs since they refer to present and past actions and
modal auxiliaries to express future; along with open-class nouns, some of them, like places, are
treated as proper nouns: year, century, decade, 1978, week, day, Monday, morning, night, etc;
regarding adjectives, they refer to temporal ordering in terms of previous, simultaneous and
subsequent time reference: former, simultaneous, next. Similarly, adverbs refer to the same time
reference: earlier, meanwhile, afterwards.

Moreover, it is very often possible to replace open classes by an equivalent expression of closed
classes: prepositions and conjunctions among others. Thus, regarding prepositions, they are
classified depending on the time cue they answer, for instance, position time (in, at, on), duration
(from...to ) or frequency (in the mornings); regarding conjunctions, which belong to the category of
adverbial conjuncts, they express order from the beginning of a set, middle terms and final markers
(first/firstly/in first place; second/secondly/next/then/later/afterwards; finally/lastly/eventually ).

Finally, it is worth noting that apart from gramma tical categories, we may find other specific clause
structures, such as wh- clauses (i.e. I was studying when she came ) and idiomatic expressions which
also indicate time reference (i.e. Once upon a time..., once in a while, once in a lifetime, for a
while, for ages, etc).

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3. THE EXPRESSION OF TIME REFERENCE.

Once we have established a theoretical framework for the notion of time reference within a
linguistic, notional and lexical level, the expression of time comes into force in this section as a
descriptive approach of the localisation of time regarding morphological, syntactic and, mainly,
semantic fields since they shall lead us to the expressions of temporal relationships and frequency
as spacial dimensions.

In the following sections, then, we shall examine the main issues that will provide the base for the
whole unit. Thus, (1) time reference in terms of morphology; (2) time reference in terms of syntax,
and (3) time reference in terms of semantics.

3.1. Morphology and time reference.

As stated before, time reference is expressed by both open or closed classes, thus by means of
verbs, modal auxiliaries, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, specific clause
structures and also idiomatic expressions. Hence, in this section we shall briefly establish a link
between the morphology of these grammatical categories and time reference so as to provide a more
relevant framework for our study.

3.1.1. Verbs.

Regarding verbs, they generally add four inflexional morphemes to the base (Aarts, 1988) in order
to form the main verbal forms (present and past tenses) and their uses. Thus, present tense: base + -
s/-es for the 3rd person singular present tense indicative (i.e. He lives in London); and past tense:
base + -ed for past tense (i.e. regular verbs: He lived in London). Other verbal forms, such as
progressive tenses are formed by base + ing present participle for progressive aspect (i.e. He is
living in London); and base + -ed past participle, for perfect tenses (i.e. He has stayed in my house
for two days).

It is worth pointing out that future tenses are not included in the above classification, but considered
to belong to the class of modal auxiliaries (can, may, must, shall, will) since they cannot stand on
their own and must be followed by a lexical verb, except when the latter is understood. For instance,
Harry will come tonight, wont he?

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3.1.2. Nouns.

Along with open-class nouns referring to time reference, some of them, like places, are treated as
proper nouns: year, century, decade, 1978, week, day, Monday, morning, night, etc, and therefore,
subjected to spelling rules when dealing with plural formation. Thus, we find one year vs. for two
years, in 1978 or in the 1970s, that night vs. those nights, and so on.

It is worth noting that the addition of the plural morpheme may affect the meaning of time
expressions. For instance, compare I saw her on Monday (=last Monday) vs. I saw her on
Mondays (=regularly, every Monday). Also, nouns of more general meaning are still more firmly
harnessed for grammatical use or idiomatic expressions: Ive been studying a long time, Cristine
is going abroad for a while or I havent seen Tom for ages.

3.1.3. Adjectives.

Regarding adjectives, it must be borne in mind that this open-class category is invariable (i.e. the
previous day, a simultaneous meeting, the following year) when dealing with time expressions.
However, we may find some exceptions when the definite article the precedes the adjective in
order to form nouns. Compare The former group arrived five minutes before the other cyclists vs.
The formers arrived five minutes before the other cyclists.

Note that in subsequent temporal ordering, the ordinals constitute a temporal series of adjectives
(i.e. first, second, third ...) with next as a substitute for any of the middle terms when moving up the
series, and final or last as a substitute for the term marking the end of the series (i.e. First, ...
Second, ... Next... Last).

3.1.4. Adverbs.

Regarding adverbs, they share similarities with adjectives in terms of temporal ordering since they
have the same time reference: previous, simultaneous and subsequent one: earlier, meanwhile,
afterwards. Moreover, affixation and compounding are the most straightforward type of creating
an adverb by morphological processes, apart from those adverbs which are not related to any other
word (simple adverbs).

Then we may distinguish different types of time adverbs: (1) simple adverbs (i.e. already, yet, ever,
now, still, then, today, tomorrow, tonight, yesterday, never, often); (2) adverb formation by means
of affixation, either by the derivational suffixes, -ly (i.e. finally, eventually, presently) and wards
(i.e. forwards, backwards); (3) adverb formation by means of compounding: here + preposition (i.e.
hitherto ), beforehand, forthwith, henceforth, nowadays); and (4) adverb formation by means of
other constructions, such as prepositional phrases, which keep the same properties as adverbs. For

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instance, meanwhile (adverb) meaning the same as from the time specified up to the present
(prepositional phrase).

It is in this open-class category that we distinguish a specific type of adverbs called adjuncts, and
in particular, those adjuncts which refer to time, used when referring to spatial dimensions
figuratively. It is worth noting that adjuncts of time are predominantly realized by prepositional
phrases, with figurative adaptations of the prepositional meanings. For instance, compare: At
midnight, the party started (adverbial phrase) vs. The party started at midnight(prepositional
phrase).

3.1.5. Prepositions.

As stated above, reference to time is predominantly realized by the closed-class of prepositions,


which are classified depending on the time dimension they describe: position time (in, at, on ),
duration (from...to) or frequency (in the mornings). Morphologically speaking, we may distinguish
two main types of prepositions: first, simple, which consist of one word (i.e. at 10 oclock, between
5 and 6, by the end of the day, from 6 to 8, in the morning, on Saturday, etc ); and second, complex,
which are multi-word combinations, historically formed from the monosyllabic ones (i.e.
throughout, meanwhile) or derived from participles (i.e. during).

The number of prepositions has been increased by mainly combining prepositions with other words
to form complex prepositions, and from those combinations, we have found one referring to the
expression of time: (a) first, a simple preposition preceded by an adverb or preposition
(adverb/preposition + preposition), as in up to, within.

3.1.6. Conjunctions.

Following Greenbaum & Quirk (1990), conjunctions belong to the category of adverbial conjuncts,
whose function is that of providing peripheral information in the sentence, just as a connecting link
(i.e. First of all, later on, then, to continue with ). Morphologically speaking, conjuncts may be
simple (i.e. So far=Up to now), follow affixation rules (i.e. final-finally ), be set out in prepositional
phrases (i.e. on the one hand, on the other hand) or specific clause structures, such as non-finite
clauses (i.e. to end up with, to start with) and ing clauses (i.e. By starting with ...) in order to
express order from the beginning of a set, middle terms and final markers (first/firstly/in first place;
second/secondly/next/then/later/afterwards; finally/lastly/eventually).

3.1.7. Specific clause structures.

Moreover, time reference may also be drawn from other means rather than open and closed-class
categories. Therefore, it is worth noting that we may also find specific clause structures, such as wh-

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clauses (i.e. I was studying when she came), idiomatic expressions (i.e. Once upon a time..., once
in a while, once in a lifetime, for a while, for ages, etc) and non-finite clauses, such as
subjectless ing clauses (i.e. since leaving school) so as to indicate time reference.

3.2. Syntax and time reference.

With respect to the relationship between syntax and time reference, we shall mainly deal with the
notions of phrase structure since, as stated above, the expression of time is predominantly realized
by prepositional and adverbial phrases when using the language of spatial dimensions figuratively.
Therefore, in this section we shall review: (1) main syntactic structures and (2) word order at
sentence level.

3.2.1. Main syntactic structures.

As stated before, the main syntactic structures related to time reference are mainly given by: (a)
prepositional phrases (i.e. in the morning, for three years, at night),which share similarities with (b)
adverbial phrases (i.e. until five oclock, since last summer). Yet, we may distinguish two syntactic
types within adverbial phrases, thus first, closed-class adverb phrases, enclosed in the sentence (i.e.
She always comes home at the same time) and open-class adverb phrases, functioning as conjuncts
either in initial or final position (i.e. He told me about it quite recently).

In addition, a wider range of structures are available for time than for any other type of adjunct. For
instance, (c) noun phrases (i.e. two centuries, every month, last night); (d) finite verb clauses
introduced by such subordinators as after, before, since, until, when (i.e. Stay in bed until your
temperature goes down); moreover, (e) infinitive clauses of outcome may be placed among
temporal clauses (i.e. She awoke one morning to find her husband was not there).

Furthermore, (f) non-finite clauses (i.e. Wandering around the city, I missed the last train), where
we distinguish three main types. First, the ing clause which is introduced by after, before, since,
until, when(ever), and while (i.e. He wrote his novel while walking along the river); second, -ed
clauses by once, until, when(ever), and while (i.e. Once published, he disappeared); and third,
verbless clauses introduced by as soon as, as often as, once, whe(ever), and while (i.e. She visits me
as often as possible).

In addition, -ing clauses without a subject are also used to express time relationship, as in Nearing
the entrance, I shook hands with him meaning When/As I neared the entrance... and in The
postman, having delivered the parcel, went away meaning After he had delivered the parcel.

3.2.2. Word order at sentence level.

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When dealing with the expression of time at sentence level, it is relevant to review the placing of it
within the whole structure. For instance, adverbial clauses, like adverbials in general, are capable of
occurring in a final, initial, or medial position within the main clause (generally in that order of
frequency, medial position being rare). It is worth noting that where adjuncts cluster in final
position, the normal order is first, process, second, place, and finally, time (i.e. He was working with
his tools (process) in the workshop (place) until late at night (time).

Three other general principles apply to relative order whether within a class or between classes.
However, attention must be drawn to modifications of this general statement. Thus, (1) the normal
relative order can be changed to suit the desire for end focus (i.e. In 1969 she was born ); (2) a
clause normally comes after other structures, since otherwise these would be interpreted as adjuncts
of the clause (i.e. She stood talking for a long time where the fire had been); and (3) longer adjuncts
thend to follow shorter adjuncts (i.e. Charles was studying earlier in the university library).

Adjuncts that can occur initially are often put in that position for reasons of information focus, but
also to avoid having too many adjuncts in final position. We might, therefore, have moved the time
adjunct in any of the examples to initial position for the sake of emphasis. It is not usual for more
than one adjunct to be in initial position, but time and place adjuncts sometimes co-occur there, as
in In London, after the war, many people travelled abroad. Also, other adjuncts, such as those of
viewpoint, may co-occur with those of time (i.e. Economically, in this century, our country has
suffered many crises).

But why do we focus on adjuncts and not on conjuncts or verbs? Adjuncts, more than other
adverbials, have grammatical properties resembling the sentence elements subject, complement and
object and as such, can be the focus of a cleft sentence, irrespectively of their word order position.
This means that adjuncts function like other post-operator elements in coming within the scope of
predication ellipsis or pro-forms. Compare: He arrived in Spain in 1996 vs. In 1996 he arrived in
Spain. As we can see, functioning as pro-forms does not change the meaning of adjuncts.

In fact, there are four main syntactic features of adjuncts (Quirk & Greenbaum, 1973): First, they
can come within the scope of predication pro-forms or predication ellipsis, as seen above. Second,
they can be the focus of limiter adverbials such as only (i.e. They only want the car for an hour= for
an hour and not for longer). Third, they can be the focus of additive adverbials such as also (i.e.
They will also meet afterwards = afterwards in addition to some other time ). And fourth, they can
be the focus of a cleft sentence (i.e. It was when we stayed in Miami that we saw Julio Iglesias).

3.3. Semantics and time reference.

As we may see, morphological and syntactic levels offer important information for the analysis of
temporal relations, but in fact, the relationship between semantics and time reference is the most
relevant for an appropriate classification of figurative spacial dimensions. Mainly based on the

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category of verbs, adverbs, nouns and prepositional phrases, time reference will be classified
according to four main semantic classes: first, when temporal relations referring to time position;
second, duration and span; third, time-frequency; and finally, other time -relationships.

3.3.1. When-temporal relations: time position.

When temporal relations refer to the so-called time-position(Quirk, 1990), which answers to the
question When? by means of specific points of time (in 1965, at half past two) and also boundary of
time (afterwards, now). Therefore, When-temporal relations shall be analysed by means of, first,
verbal tenses, and second, time adjuncts since it is directly related to the open-class category of
verbs, nouns, adverbs and prepositions, known as time adjuncts.

It is worth noting that only When-dimension shall be approach from the category of verbs, not being
the case of the rest of the semantic classification, which will be mainly analysed by means of other
grammatical categories.

3.3.2. Duration and span.

Duration and span shall be analysed in terms of duration spatial dimensions, such as length of time
(briefly, shortly, broadly ), and from some preceding point in time (since, from).

3.3.3. Time frequency.

When analysing frequency, we shall approach this spatial dimension in terms of definite and
indefinite periods. First, definite frequency will cover periods of time (daily, yearly) and number
(once, twice, three times); second, indefinite frequency will examine frequency from the highest
level to the lowest one, thus (a) usual occurrence (usually, normally ), (b) continuous frequency
(always, very often), (c) high frequency (often), (d) low or zero frequency (never, seldom).

3.3.4. Other time relationships.

Other spatial dimension analysed by means of other relationships include adverb phrases which
normally appear in middle position and other phrases in final position, such as afterwards,
eventually, finally, first, and so on. Moreover, another group includes adjuncts similar to those of
time duration adjuncts in assertive (already, still), non-assertive (yet, any more) and negative forms
(no more, no longer).

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So far, once time reference has been framed within a linguistic, notional, lexical, morphological,
syntactic, and the most relevant of all, semantic field, we are ready to examine the spatial
dimensions of temporal relationship and frequency in depth, together with those of duration and
other relationships.

4. WHEN-TEMPORAL RELATIONSHIP.

As stated before, When-temporal relationship will be addressed from two main perspectives: first,
When temporal relations mainly expressed by verbal tenses, and second, When-temporal relations
mainly expressed by time adjuncts, referring to time position, thus specific points of time (in 1965,
at half past two) and boundary of time (afterwards, now ).

Note how both temporal dimensions answer to the question When? but by means of two different
grammatical categories. Therefore, When-temporal relations shall be analysed by means of, first,
verbal tenses, which belong to the open-class category of lexical verbs (go, come, drink, listen) for
present and past tenses (inflectional), and modal operators (shall, will) for the future (pro-forms);
and second, time adjuncts, which include both the open-class category of adverbs and nouns, and
the closed-class category of prepositions, together with other type of cla uses.

4.1. When temporal dimension: verbal tenses.

According to Huddleston (1988), the expression of When-temporal relationship may be drawn from
verbal tenses, since the field of semantics will approach this dimension in terms of tense inflections
and of certain aspectual and modal catenatives. In addition we will consider, in the light of this
semantic discussion the nature of tense, aspect and mood/modality as general linguistic categories.

4.1.1. Tense.

It is worth mentioning before starting that we must distinguish clearly between the grammatical
category of tense and the semantic category of time, since the fairly complex relation between
them shows the importance of distinguishing between language particular and general definitions.
The general terms past and present tense have been labelled on the basis of their primary use.

Huddleston states that a language has tense if it has a set of systematically contrasting verb
inflections where the primary semantic function is to relate the time of the situation to the time of
the utterance. Tense thus involves the grammaticalisation of time relations when situation is
understood as a general term covering states, actions, processes or whatever is described in the
clause by means of the inflectional category of tense. Therefore, we shall examine in turn the
various uses of the present and past tenses in English.

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4.1.1.1. Present tense.

Within the inflectional category of present tense, the following uses may be distinguished: (1)
present time situations, (2) present time schedules of future situations, (3) and futurity in
subordinate clauses.

(1) Regarding present time situations, the primary use of the present tense is, according to
Huddleston (1988), to locate the situation in present time, where the term situation must be
understood as the time of the utterance describing states, actions, processes or any other situation in
the clause. The mentioned situations may be classified as either static or dynamic. Thus:

(a) Static situations refer to states of affairs which continue over periods of time
with a non-defined beginning or end (i.e. He is an architect) or relations (i.e.
She is married). Static situations shall be understood to extend beyond the
moment of utterance, as in Kims living in Berlin which, in this case, has
much more duration than Kims washing her hair. In this type, habitual
actions are to be included since they are understood as a state of affairs
characterised by the repeated or habitual behaviour, and again this state of
affairs etends beyond the time of utterance, just like the more obviously static
situation (i.e. Kim washes her hair with Clarins shampoo ).
(b) or dynamic situations, referring to actions or events happening as a single
occurrence with a definite beginning and end (i.e. Nicole Kidman is on a new
project at the moment). This type of situations are by contrast understood to be
effectively simultaneous with the utterance. The use of the present tense for
dynamic situations is fairly restricted: it is found mainly in running
commentaries, demonstrations (i.e. I add a pinch of sugar in a cookery
demonstration) and for certain kinds of act performed precisely by virtue of
uttering a sentence that describes the act (i.e. I promise to be back before ten).

(2) Regarding present time schedules of future situations, in a sentence like The match starts
tomorrow, a dynamic situation is presented in future time, not present time. There is nevertheless a
present time element in the meaning, in that we are concerned with what is presently arranged.

(3) Finally, regarding futurity in subordinate clauses, we find it when a present tense verb refers to a
future situation (i.e. I want to arrive before the baby wakes up). This use of present tense occurs
most often after such temporal expressions as after, before, until, and conditional expressions like if,
unless, provided. It is thus a temporal interpretation of the main clause (i.e. the baby wakes up).

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4.1.1.2. Past tense.

The past tense, according to Huddleston (1988) has the following uses: (1) past time situations, (2)
past time schedule of future situations, (3) factual remoteness, and (4) backshifting. Thus:

(1) Regarding past time situations, compare the sentences: Kim lived in Frankfurt, Kim played
defensively forward, and Kim used to eat spaguetti carbonara. The past tense serves
straightforwardly to locate the situation in past time. Static situations may again extend beyond the
time at which they are said to obtain (first sentence) whereas dynamic situations will be wholly in
the past, although the past can accommodate longer situations than the present (second sentence),
and can be as salient as the habitual situations (third sentence).

(2) Past time schedule of future situations, where there is no change in the time of the starting: what
has changed is the time at which the arrangement/schedule is said to hold (i.e.The party started
tomorrow). This use of the past tense is vastly less frequent than the corresponding use of the
present tense.

(3) Factual remoteness is given by conditional sentences where we find present verbs (i.e. If Ed
comes tomorrow, we can play bridge vs. If Ed came tomorrow, we could play bridge). When we
have past tenses, both actions are still future and present respectively. The tense difference thus
signals a difference not in time, but in the speakers assessment of the likelihood of the conditions
being fulfilled: the past tense presents it as a relatively remote possibility, the present tense as an
open possibility.

Past vs. present tenses have a contrast between unreal vs. real conditional constructions. An unreal
conditional has a past tense in the subordiante clause with this factual remoteness meaning and a
modal operator in the main clause. A past tense in the subordinate clause of a real condition, by
contrast, will serve to locate the state or event in past time in the usual way: If Edward was at
yesterdays meeting, he will have seen her.

The factual remoteness meaning of the past tense is not restricted to unreal conditional
constructions. It is also found in subordinate clauses after wish or it + be time (i.e. I wish/It is time
they were here). In main clauses it occurs only with modal operators.

(4) Backshifting is what is known as indirect reported speech, indirect in that one gives only the
content expressed, not the actual words used. Compare Jane said that James had two cats vs. Jane

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said that James has two cats. In the first sentence, we have a past tense instead of the original
present tense: this shift from present tense to past tense is known as backshifting.

In the second sentence, by contrast, there no backshifting. The difference is then taht in the first
sentence the state of Jamess having two cats is temporally related to a point in the past whereas in
the second sentence, it is temporally related to a point in the present, the time of ones utterance.
The term indirect reported speech is actually too narrow, for backshifting occurs equally in the
report of feelings, beliefs, knowledge, etc.

4.1.2. Aspect.

Following Huddleston (1988), the terminological distinction between tense and time has no well-
established analogue in the domain of aspect. The term aspect as we know it, refers to the manner
in which a situation is experienced, that is, as a completed action or in progress. The term aspect
then is widely used both for a grammatical category of the verb (present, past, present perfect) and
for the type of meaning characteristically expressed by that category (action in progress vs.
completed action). This is what Huddleston defines it as the grammatical and semantic aspect:
progressive and perfect.

In English there are quite a number of items that express the aspectual meanings of progressive.
Most of them are catenative verbs, that is, lexical verbs which express beginning or end such as
begin, finish, commence, start, stop, cease, use, start, continue, be, have, carry on and keep on.
Aspectual meaning involves not the temporal location of the situation, but rather its temporal flow
or segmentation, in other words, focusing in the initial and final segments: beginning (begin ) and
end (stop).With some other verbs indicate the situation is presented as ongoing, usually with
repetition (keep, be, carry on, keep on, etc).

According to Huddleston (1988), English does not have grammatical aspect since, for a language to
have grammatical aspect, it must have a system of the verb, marked inflectionally or by such
analytic devices as auxiliaries, where the primary semantic contrast between the terms is a matter of
aspectual meaning. We can talk of aspectual verbs but they do not form a grammatically distinct
class and are not dependents of the verbs with which they enter into construction. We talk about the
two most frequent and difficult ones: progressive be and perfect have.

4.1.2.1. Progressive be.

Progressive be, in its aspectual use, takes a present-participial complement when it is catenative (i.e.
writing a letter: she is writing a letter ), by means of the structure of progressive construction be +
present participle inflection (-ing). Progressive be is so called because its basic meaning is that it
presents the situation as being in progress. This implies that it is conceived of as taking place, thus

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as having a more or less dynamic character, rather than being wholly static. The situation is seen not
in its temporal totality, but at some point or period within it.

However, we find special cases when, although the verb is non-progressive, as in rain (i.e. It
rained ), it denotes a dynamic situation and is presented in its totality, as an event. On the other
hand, presents it as in progress at some intermediate point or period, as in It was raining when I
woke up. A different type of special cases appears in the sentences Kate is living in Paris vs.
Kate lives in Paris.

Here, the progressive suggests a situation of limited duration, something relatively temporary
whereas wiht the present tense the dynamic situation has to be short enough to be effectively
simultaneous with the utterance. However, in the exa mples they denote a basically static situation
and would thus neutrally occur in the non-progressive, noting that in the non-progressive the
present tense is less readily used for dynamic situations located in present time than the past tense.

Finally, we should note that certain verbs denoting clearly static situation are virtually excluded
from heading the complement of progressive be, such as belong, consist, contain, possess, etc. Thus
while It belongs to me is perfectly natural, It is belonging to me is not, and so on.

4.1.2.2. Perfect have.

Regarding the aspectual meaning of perfect have, we must point out that the verb have enters
into a variety of catenative constructions, under the perfect construction of the single complement
(have/has/had) + the form of a past-participial clause (-ed/written). such as She had written the
letter, She had to write the letter, She had her daughter write the letter, She had her daughter
writing the letter, She had the letter written by her daughter.

We need to distinguish two cases of the perfect construction: the present perfect where have
carries a present tense inflection (has gone, have gone, etc) and the non-present perfect, where
have either carries the past tense inflection or else is non-tensed (i.e. had gone, to have gone, may
have gone, having gone, etc). Like the past tense in its primary use, the present perfect locates the
situation in past time but with a certain connection to the present. Compare Kate is ill vs. Kate
was ill vs. Kate has been ill.

The difference is that the past non-perfect involves a point or period in the past that is exclusive of
the present, whereas the present perfect involves a period that is inclusive of the present as well as
as the past. This is why certain types of temporal expressions cannot occur with one or other of
them. For instance, yesterday, last night, four weeks ago and the like indicate times that are entirely
in the past and are hence incompatible with the present perfect, which is complemented by at
present, as yet, so far, since my birthday.

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Because the present perfect involves a past inclusive of the present it is well suited to situations
beginning in the past and lasting through to the present (i.e. Markus has lived in Madrid since 1980
= He is still living there). Here, the situation of Markus covers the period from 1980 to the present.
But this explanation is not restricted to such cases but many others. For instance, in the sentence I
have lost my key, the loosing took place in the past but the sentence refers to a present state of
affairs resulting from it. Also, we use it to refer to past events related to the present by their recency
and current news value (i.e. The euro has been devalued by 30% this year).

One final point should make reference to the perfect have in that it cannot head the complement of
various other aspectual verbs, such as begin, stop, progressive be, etc. Thus we cannot reverse the
direction of dependency in She has begun/stopped/been reading the letter.

4.1.3. Modality and mood.

Following Huddleston (1988), as we must distinguish between tense, a category of grammatical


form, and time, a category of meaning, it is relevant as well to distinguish grammatical mood from
semantic modality. Modality is expressed by a variety of linguistic devices, lexical, grammatical
and prosodic. In this section we shall review these devices, among which we find the modal
operators, and then, we shall review the relationship between modality and time and tense.

4.1.3.1. The modal operators.

Yet, there are a considerable number of lexical items with modal meanings, among which we
include the class of modal operators: may, must, can, will, shall, should, ought, need, and also be
and have in some of their uses (i.e. You are to be back by ten or Youll have to work harder). These
modal operators are used to convey a considerable range and variety of meanings which will
provide a basis for the general semantic category of modality.

Modal operators are to be grouped under three headings although we must bear in mind that in the
three uses, lots of sentences out of context, allow more than one interpretation: (1) epistemic uses,
(2) deontic uses and (3) subject-oriented uses.

First, regarding (1) the term epistemic, it derives from the Greek word knowledge and therefore,
its use involves implications concerning the speakers knowledge of the situation in question:
possibility (He may come tonight), certainty (She must be his girlfriend) and prediction (He will
have finished by ten).

(2) The term deontic derives from the Greek word for binding, and in these uses we are
concerned with obligation (must, have to), prohibition (mustnt, dont have to), permission (can)
and the like. Thus, those most typically used to give permission are can/may (i.e. You can have a

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chocolate); we have must to impose an obligation (i.e. You must be in bed before midnight); and
we have shall to put oneself under an obligation (i.e. You shall have your money back).

(3) Subject-oriented uses involve some property, disposition or the like on the part of whoever or
whatever is referred to by the subject, as in She can run faster than me , concerning her physical
capabilities, and She wouldnt lend me the money I need, concerning her willingness.

4.1.3.2. Modality in relation to time and tense.

It should be borne in mind that in the relationship of time and tense regarding modality, we are
dealing with just two tenses in English: past and present: unlike such languages as French and
Latin, English has no future tense. This means that in English there is no verbal category so as to
locate any situation in future time. Yet, futurity is of course very often indicated by the modal
operator will (i.e. He will see her tomorrow).

It is worth mentioning that the will construction, however, does not satisfy the conditions for
analysis as a future tense. Grammatically will is a catenative, not an auxiliary, hence not the marker
of a verbal category. Moreover, will would belong grammatically to the category of modal
operators, which would be mood markers. Like them, it has no non-tensed forms and shows no
person-number agreement with the subject, but carries either the past tense inflection (would) or the
present (will).

And finally, from a semantic point of view, will involves ele ments of both futurity and modality,
and has the sense of remoteness from the present, thus not immediately accesible. This association
is reflected in the use of the past tense to indicate factual remoteness as well as past time.

4.2. When time adjuncts: time position.

Once we have examined When-temporal relationship from the perspective of verbal tenses, we shall
focus on the When-temporal relations by means of time adjuncts, which express temporal relations
by referring to time position, by means of, first, specific points of time (in 1965, at half past two)
and second, boundary of time (afterwards, now). These temporal dimensions answer to the question
When? by means of the open-class category of adverbs, nouns, the closed-class category of
prepositions and other clauses.

Semantically, time adjuncts play a part in specifying the time reference of the verb phrase when this
is not stated (i.e. He is singing, present or future?) . Thus, now determines that the reference in
He is singing now is present, and tomorrow that it is future in He is playing tomorrow. Some
time adjuncts cannot co-occur with particular forms of the verb phrase, as for instance He played

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tomorrow, except in an apparent exception such as those verbs of saying, arranging, expecting or
wanting whose object has future reference (i.e. She wanted the book tomorrow).

These figurative spacial dimensions are mainly realized by means of adverbial, noun, prepositional
and specific phrases, with figurative adaptation of the prepositional meaning. Time adjuncts
expressing time position generally add extra information to the action or process by means of
descriptions about time (yesterday morning ), on specifying first, (1) points of time (in 1965, at half
past two) and second, (2) boundary of time (afterwards, now).

4.2.1. Time position: a point of time.

First, we shall deal with time position in terms of denoting a point of time. This time expression is
mainly drawn from adverbs, prepositions, nouns and specific phrases. Thus:

(1) Common time position adverbs, are: again (on another occasion), just (at this very moment),
late (at a late time), now (at this time), nowadays (at the present time), presently (at the present
time), then (at that time), and today. Most of them normally occur in fina l position, but there are
some exceptions. Thus, just is restricted to middle position (i.e. He has just come), nowadays
and presently are common in initial position (i.e. Presently, many teenagers have long hair).

(2) Regarding time position prepos itions, we find three of them, at, on, and in, which are used in
expressions answering the question When? They reflect a concept of time as analogous to space
although in the time sphere there are only two dimension-types (point and period of time) whereas
in space there are three (position, surface, and volume).

Therefore, (a) at is used for points of time, chiefly clock time (at five oclock, at 7.20 pm, at
noon), when time is conceived as dimensionless (i.e. The concert starts at 10 oclock). However, it
is not only instants that can be considered, but other points of time regarded as idiomatic
expressions for holiday periods (i.e. at the weekend, at Christmas, at Easter) and for other phrases
(i.e. at night, at that time). Note that in at night we may also view it as a period and then, we use
in the night.

In expressions referring to days, the preposition is (b) on (i.e. on Monday, on any other day, on
August the third). Also, with an interval that is specifically part of a day (i.e. on Sunday afternoon,
on Friday night). Note that this is an exceptional use of on with a complement referring to a part
of a day, rather than the whole day. But with phrases like early morning, late afternoon, it is
normal to use in the late afternoon.

Where time is regarded as a period, the usual preposition is (c) in, reflecting analogy with two- or
three-dimensional space, as in In the afternoon, I listened to my new CDs, I visited her in
March/in 1998/in the following year. Note that future expressions like in five days, it may

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indicate either duration (i.e. Ill do it in five days) or a point of time five days hece (i.e. Hell take
five days to do it).

In addition, (3) noun phrases are closely related to the category of prepositions of time, since nouns
stand alone in the prepositional phrase, due to absence of prepositions, when adjuncts include, first,
the deictic words last, next, this and that; the quantifying words some and every; and nouns which
have last, next, this as an element of their meaning (yesterday/today/tomorrow), for instance: I saw
him last Saturday or Ill mention it next time.

Normally, the preposition is usually optional with deictic phrases referring to times at more than
one remove from the present, such as (on) Tuesday week, (in) the March before last, (on) the day
after tomorrow. Also, with phrases which identify a time before or after a given time in the past or
future: (in) the previous spring, (at) the following week, (on) the next day. We also find informal
types of omission, such as Ill see you Monday where the preposition precedes a day of the week
or is in initial position preceding a plural noun phrase: Saturdays we go to the beach.

Yet, time position is also drawn from (4) specific type of clauses which are usually found in initial
position. Thus, finite adverbial clauses introduced by such subordinators as after, before, since,
until, when (i.e. When I saw you last time you looked older); -ing clauses, introduced by after,
before, since, until, whenever and while (i.e. When in difficulty, call me); subjectless ing clauses
(i.e. Nearing his old house, he started to cry); -ed clauses, introduced by once, as often as, as soon
as, whenever and while (i.e. Once he confessed, he went to prison ).

4.2.2. Time position: a boundary of time.

When answering to the time position question When? in terms of boundary of time, we must
consider mainly prepositions (i.e. before, after, since, until, till), adverbs (afterwards, beforehand,
previously, until then, afterward s, subsequently, after that) and wh- clauses (i.e. When you finish,
we will leave).

(1) Prepositions are to be regarded first since these occur almost exclusively to locate a
boundary of time as prepositions of time followed by temporal noun phrases (i.e. before
next week, until summer, after the party ); non-finite clauses and noun phrases with a
deverbal noun or any other noun phrase interpreted as equivalent to a clause (i.e. until the
fall of Rome=until Rome fell, after the party=after the party finished, and so on); and
finally, subjectless ing clauses (i.e. since leaving school).

Note that the preposition until establishes a certain boundary of time by which the initial
point has a negative sense whereas the terminal point has positive implications (i.e. We
could not sleep until midnight=negative at the beginning but positive in the end ).

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Moreover, there are other group of prepositions of time which indicate boundary of time
(i.e. between, from ... to, by, up to ), as in Well pick you up between ten and eleven oclock
and Up to last week, I hadnt received your e-mail. Note how the preposition by
specifies a starting point (i.e. By the time you had arrived, he got asleep ). This means that
by-phrases do no co-occur with verbs of durative meaning (i.e. He lay there by midnight,
but until midnight).

(2) Adverbs also indicate a boundary of time by referring to temporal ordering previous to a
given time reference (i.e. before, earlier, first, formerly ), simultaneous (i.e. at this point,
concurrently, simultaneously), and subsequent (i.e. after, afterwards, finally, immediately,
later, next, then). Also, by means of adverbial phrases, such as before then, by then, in the
meantime, after this, on the morrow.

(3) And finally, wh- clauses, which establish a boundary by setting a given point in time (i.e.
When the film finishes, well go and have a pizza).

5. DURATION AND SPAN.

The temporal dimension of duration (i.e. for several years) answers the question How long...? and
more specifically, Till when...? and Since when...? in terms of time adjuncts, where duration is
defined in terms of forward span (i.e. for three weeks, until five oclock ) and backward span (i.e.
since we arrived ).

Time adjuncts are mainly realized by means of prepositional phrases and some adverbial phrases. In
fact, the temporal dimension of duration and span is given by prepositions like since, until and till.
Yet, span may be also specified by others, such as from, up to, over, by, before, and by noun
phrases like this past (month), these last (years), this next year.

Again, as with When-temporal relationship, we shall address this temporal dimension from two
main perspectives: first, duration and span mainly expressed by verbal tenses; second, duration and
span expressed by time adjuncts, that is, prepositional and adverbial phrases.

5.1. Duration and span: verbal tenses.

According to Huddleston (1988), the expression of duration and span temporal relationships may be
drawn from verbal tenses (past, present, future, present perfect) since the field of semantics will
approach this dimension in terms of tense inflections, aspect and modality. In addition we will

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consider, in the light of this semantic discussion the nature of tense, aspect and mood/modality as
general linguistic categories so as to clarify this point.

In order to precise duration, backwards or forwards, we need to relate the beginning or end of the
periods mentioned to the speakers now, that is, to a fixed point of orientation which, in our case,
would be the present tense. From this point, we distinguish two main movements, thus backward
span, which is particularly associated with since and the perfect aspect (i.e. She has been in her
office since seven oclock ) and forward span, which is particularly associated with till and until (i.e.
She will be in her office until five oclock).

5.1.1. Backward span: since and the perfect tense.

Following Greenbaum & Quirk (1990), a temporal since-clause generally requires the present
perfect in the matrix clause when the whole construction refers to a stretch of time up to the present
(i.e. I have lost my keys and I havent found them yet) or the simple past when the since-clause
refers to a point of time marking the beginning of a situation (i.e. She has been swimming since she
was four years old).

But there are other uses, as when the present perfect is used in both clauses because the since-clause
refers to a period of time lasting to the present (i.e. Since he has arrived, he has not said a word ).
Also, when the whole period is set in past time, the past perfect or the simple past is used in both
clauses (i.e. Since he has gone to university, he has become more independent). However, note that
especially informally, and in particular in American English, where the main clause refers to the
present, backward span can be expressed without the perfect (i.e.Things are much better since you
left).

5.1.2. Forward span: until and till.

On the other hand, forward span is drawn by the prepositions until and till. For instance, in a
sentence like Nina will be in her office until six oclock, the beginning of the time span is fixed in
relation to the speakers orientation point, but its ending is as indicated by the adjunct only if the
clause is positive (i.e. He waited until she finished ).

By contrast, in the sentence He did not wait until she finished, we realize that with negative
clauses and verbs of momentary meaning, on the other hand, the span indicated by the adjunct
marks the extent of the nonoccurrence of the momentary action (i.e. He did not arrive at home until
she returned).

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5.2. Duration and span: time adjuncts.

As seen above, the temporal dimensions of duration and span are mainly expressed by time
adjuncts, that is, mainly by prepositions such as since, until and till, and also by before, by, from,
after, up to when specifying only a starting point or a terminal point (i.e.She will be there by
Friday night/before Friday night/from nine oclock onwards, after eight oclock or since eight
oclock). However, span may be also specified by other prepositions, such as for, during,
throughout, from...to, and between when expressing emphasis on the duration.

First, the preposition for expresses duration (i.e. We rented an appartment for the summer). The
same meaning, with some emphasis on the duration, can be expressed with throughout and all
through. By contrast, during indicates a stretch of time within which a more specific duration can
be indicated (i.e. During the summer, we rented an appartment for a month ). Here, for a month
means at some time during the summer.

Duration expressions with over carry the implication of a period containing some division or
fences (i.e. overnight, over the weekend, over the Easter period). Note that in these cases, first,
over normally accompanies noun phrases denoting special occasions, such as holidays or festivals,
and second, refers to a shorter period of time than all through and throughout.

Duration can also be specified by reference to the beginning and ending by means of from ... to
(i.e. They play tennis from Monday to Wednesday ). It is worth noting that while from...to
corresponds to for (i.e. They play tennis for three days), between...and can be used in the more
general sense of during (i.e. They play tennis between Monday and Wednesday = for a period
within the stretch specified). Finally, note certain idiomatic expressions, such as for ever and for
good.

Just remember that when referring to position of time adjuncts at sentence level, generally, although
like other adjuncts, time adjuncts occur most frequently in initial position (i.e. In 2002, the economy
started to recover; For many years, I was wrong; Even after this, I feel happy), but middle position
is also common for time adjuncts, especially those realized by adverbs (i.e. She has just arrived; we
may not often travel under this weather).

Where time adjuncts co-occur in the same sentence, time duration tends to be most central, time
postion most peripheral, so that if the three main types all occurred at final position, they would
most likely be ordered as duration +frequency+position (i.e. She was there for a long time every day
or so last year).

6. TIME FREQUENCY.

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Most time frequency adjuncts are addressed by the questions How often...? which refers to the
frequency of period within which occasions take place (i.e. always, never, sometimes) and How
many times...? referring to the frequency of occasion (once, twice, three times, everyday). The
former (How often...?) refers to indefinite frequency and is mainly expressed by predication
adjuncts; the latter (How many times...?) refer to indefinite frequency, mainly expressed by
sentence adjuncts.

At sentence level, both are placed in the more peripheral position, usually in initial or final, and in
some cases, as with frequency adverbs, they take middle position. So far, the given answers then are
mainly drawn from adverbial phrases (which correspond to the category of frequency adverbs:
always, never, often, etc) and noun phrases (three times, every day). Yet, the temporal dimension of
frequency will be examined semantically from its two major subclasses: definite and indefinite
frequency.

6.1. Definite frequency: How many times...?

Definite frequency is addressed from the question How many times...? which makes reference to the
frequency of occasion, that is, definite frequency periods which can be measured. This notion is
answered by sentence adjuncts, which are usually placed in peripheral positions in the sentence,
initial or final (i. e. Veronica came to see me twice ).

The main definite frequency occasions are classified in two types: first, (1) period frequency , which
is mainly expressed by adverbs (i.e. weekly, hourly, daily, monthly, annually) and less often by
prepositional phrases (i.e. per week, per month); and secondly (2), number frequency, usually
expressed by noun phrases (i.e. once, twice, three times, etc; every day/year/week; each year;
again ) or prepositional phrases (i.e. on five occasions).

6.2. Indefinite frequency: How often...?

On the other hand, indefinite frequency is addressed from the question How often...? which makes
reference to the frequency of period, that is, indefinite frequency periods which cannot be measured
unless we establish a ranking of occurrence, from the most usual to low frequency (i.e. from always
to never). This notion is to be answered by predication adjuncts, which are usually placed in
peripheral positions in the sentence, initial or final (i.e. Veronica came to see me daily).

The main indefinite frequency periods are classified on both semantic and grammatical grounds,
distinguishing four main subsets, which range from usual occurrence to low frequency, thus usual
occurrence, continuous frequency, high frequency and low or zero frequency.

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(1) Usual occurrence is expressed by the following adverbs: normally, generally, ordinarily,
commonly, invariably, usually; and some prepositional phrases (i.e. as usual, as a rule),
being normally placed in middle position (i.e. They normally play hockey in the
afternoons).
However, since one can speak of something normally not occurring, it is a characteristic of
these adjuncts to be sentential and to be capable of preceding a clausal negative, being
placed in initial position (i.e. Usually, Jenny does not get the bus on time).

(2) Continuous occurrence or universal frequency is expressed by the following adverbs:


always, continually, constantly, continuously, permanently, incesantly (i.e. She always
cleans her house early in the morning).

(3) High frequency is expressed by the following adverbs: often, regularly, repeteadly,
frequently, many times, time and again (i.e. He often plays video games ) and some
prepositional phrases (i.e. on several occasions, at all times, now and again).

(4) Low or zero frequency is expressed by the following adverbs: occasionally, rarely, seldom,
sometimes, never, ever, infrequently, hardly ever, scarcely (i.e. We never walk alone at
night).

7. OTHER TIME RELATIONSHIPS.

And finally, we shall deal with other time relationships by means of time adjuncts again, which
express some relationship in time other than in those specified before. We shall distinguish two
main groups:

7.1. Two-time relationships.

First, one group consists of adjuncts concerned with the sequence within the clause of two time
relationships, and they co-occur with When time adjuncts. Many of the same items are also used as
correlatives to denote temporal sequence between clauses or between sentences. Common adverbs
in this group include afterwards, eventually, previously, finally, first, later, once more, next,
originally, subsequently, then.

These adverb phrases normally appear in middle position (i.e. He was finally introduced to her),
though other phrases are placed in final position (i.e. I did not know what to do later).

7.2. Similar time duration adjuncts: yet, already, still.

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The second group consists of adjuncts that are similar to time duration adjuncts in that they express
duration up to or before a given or implied time (i.e. He is still here). They are rela ted by assertive
and non-assertive contrasts. For instance, assertive forms include already, still, by now; non-
assertive forms include yet, any more, any longer; and negative forms include no more and no
longer. Note that most of these adjuncts occur either in middle position (i.e. He has already found
her car key) or finally (i.e. She has not arrived yet).

Within this group, we must highlight three items which are particularly related to each other: yet,
already, and still. In contrast to non-assertive yet, already and still cannot lie within the scope of
clause negation except in questions. Still, unlike already, can precede negation. We therefore may
classify them into the following classes: (1) declarative positive, (2) declarative negative (adverb +
negation), (3) declarative negative (negation + adverb), (3) interrogative positive and (4)
interrogative negative.

(1) Declarative positive class includes already and still, but not yet. Compare I already
like him and I still like him to I yet like him (wrong).
(2) Declarative negative class, with the adverb preceding the negation, includes still but not
already and yet. Compare the wrong sentences I already havent spoken to him and I
yet havent spoken to him to I still havent spoken to him meaning I havent spoken to
him so far.
(3) Declarative negative class, with the adverb following negation, includes yet but not
already and still. Compare the wrong sentences He cant already drive and He cant
still drive to He cant drive yet meaning He cant drive up to this time.
(4) Interrogative positive class includes the three of them still, already and yet. Observe the
right usage of the following sentences Have you already seen him?, Have you sseen him
yet? and Do you still see him?
(5) And finally, the interrogative negative class includes again the three items. Note: Havent
you seen him already?, Havent you seen him yet? and Dont you still see him?.

8. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.

The two aspects of the expression of time reference, that is, temporal relationship and the
expression of frequency dealt with in this study is relevant to the learning of the vocabulary of a
foreign language since differences between the vocabulary of the learner's native language (L1) and
that of the foreign language (L2) may lead to several problems, such as the incorrect use of place
adjuncts expressions, especially because of the syntactic, morphological, and semantic processes
implied in these categories.

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This study has looked at the expression of time adverbs, prepositions, and nouns within lexical
semantics, morphology and syntax in order to establish a relative similarity between the two
languages that Spanish-speaking students would find it useful for learning English if these
connections were brought to their attention, especially when different categories may overlap
(in/at/on as both time and place prepositions).

According to Thomson & Martinet (1986), a European student may find especially troublesome the
use of prepositions when communicating in English since, first, he has to know whether in any
construction a preposition is required or not (i.e. He came Monday or on Monday?) and, second,
which preposition to use when one is required (i.e. He arrived on/in time).

This choice becomes problematic for our Spanish students when they try to find a certain
construction in his own language which requires a preposition whereas a similar one in English
does not. For instance, the most common mistake for Spanish students, both at ESO and
Bachillerato level, is to express time position reference in English (i.e. in the afternoon, at night, at
two oclock ) since in Spanish it is expressed by means of other prepositions (i.e. por la tarde, por la
noche ) and do not correspond literally to the translation the students make.

It has been suggested that a methodology grounded in part in the application of explicit linguistic
knowledge enhances the second language learning process. In the Spanish curriculum (B.O.E.
2002), the expression of time by means of prepositions is envisaged from earlier stages of ESO in
terms of simple descriptions of temporal situations and frequency of habitual actions, such as
describing what they do in a normal day, up to higher stages of Bachillerato, towards more complex
descriptions of temporal situations, addressing not only to prepositions but also to the use of
adverbial, noun, and non-finite clauses (i.e. preposition + -ing clauses).

The expression of time reference implying the use of the discussed prepositions has been considered
an important element of language teaching because of its high-frequency in speech. We must not
forget that the expression of time adjuncts is drawn from a wide range of grammatical categories,
from open class categories, such as prepositions, to closed class categories, such as adverbs,
adjectives, nouns, and other specific clause structures.

Hence, the importance of how to handle these expressions cannot be understated since you cannot
communicate without it. Current communicative methods foster the teaching of this kind of
specific linguistic information to help students recognize new L2 words. Learners cannot do it all on
their own. Language learners, even 2nd year Bachillerato students, do not automatically recognize
similiarities which seem obvious to teachers; learners need to have these associations brought to
their attention.

So far, we have attempted in this discussion to provide a broad account of the expression of time
reference in order to set it up within the linguistic theory, going through the localization of time
adjuncts in syntactic structures, to a broad presentation of the main grammatical categories involved

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in it. We hope students are able to understand the relevance of handling correctly the expression of
time adjuncts in everyday life communication.

9. CONCLUSION

Although the questions When are you going tonight? or How often do you go out? may appear
simple and straightforward, they imply a broad description of the time and occasions you are going
out. The appropriate answer suitable for students and teachers, may be so simple if we are dealing
with ESO students, using simple grammatical structures and basic vocabulary, or so complex if we
are dealing with Bachillerato students, who must be able to describe things within a temporal frame
using the appropriate prepositions according to their dimensional characteristics.

So far, in this study we have attempted to take a fairly broad view of the expression of time since
we are also assuming that there is an intrinsic connexion between its learning and successful
communication. Yet, we have provided a descriptive account of Unit 18 dealing with Time
reference, whose main aim was to introduce the student to the different ways of expressing
temporal relationship and frequency in English.

In doing so, the study provided a broad account the notion of time reference, starting by a
theoretical framework in order to get some key terminology on the issue, and further developed
within a grammar linguistic theory, described in morphological, syntactic and semantic terms. Once
presented, we discussed how adverbs, prepositions, and other syntactic constructions also reflected
this notion.

In fact, lexical items and vocabulary, and therefore, the expression of time preposit ions, is currently
considered to be a central element in communicative competence and in the acquisition of a second
language since students must be able to use these prepositions in their everyday life in many
different situations. As stated before, the teaching of time expressions comprises four major
components in our educational curriculum: phonology, grammar, lexicon, and semantics, out of
which we get five major levels: phonological, morphological and syntactic, lexical, and semantic.

In fact, for our students to express time reference properly, they must have a good knowledge at all
those five levels. First, on phonology which describes the sound level. Secondly, since the two most
basic units of grammar are the word and the sentence, they must have good grammatical
knowledge, which involves the morphological level (i.e. simple and complex prepositions, adverb
formation, etc ) and the syntactic level (i.e. where prepositions of time are placed at sentence level).

Third, the lexicon, or lexical level, lists vocabulary items, that is, different prepositions (temporal
relationship and frequency), and other expressions to denote time, specifying how they are
pronounced, how they behave grammatically, and what they mean. Finally, another dimension

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between the study of linguistic form and the study of meaning is semantics, or the semantic level, in
which students must be able to distinguish the overlapping of semantic fields within the same
preposition (in/on/at for time and place), and so on.

Therefore, it is a fact that students must be able to handle the four levels in communicative
competence in order to be effectively and highly communicative in the classroom and in real life
situations. The expression of time reference proves highly frequent in our everyday speech, and
consequently, we must encourage our students to have a good managing of it.

10. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

- Aarts, F., and J. Aarts. 1988. English Syntactic Structures. Functions & Categories in Sentence
Analysis. Prentice Hall Europe.

- B.O.E. RD N 112/2002, de 13 de septiembre por el que se establece el currculo de la Educacin


Secundaria Obligatoria/Bachillerato en la Comunidad Autnoma de la Regin de Murcia.

- Bolton, D. And N. Goodey. 1997. Grammar Practice in Context. Richmond Pub lishing.

- Council of Europe (1998) Modern Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. A Common


European Framework of reference.

- Downing, A. and P. Locke. 2002. A University Course in English Grammar. London: Routledge.

- Eastwood, J. 1999. Oxford Prac tice in Grammar. Oxford University Press.

- Greenbaum, S. and R. Quirk. 1990. A Students Grammar of the English Language. Longman
Group UK Limited.

- Greenbaum, S. 2000. The Oxford Reference Grammar. Edited by Edmund Weiner. Oxford
University Press.

- Hymes, D. 1972. On communicative competence. In J. B. Pride and J. Holmes (eds.),


Sociolinguistics, pp. 269-93. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

- Huddleston, R. 1988. English Grammar, An Outline. Cambridge University Press.

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- Huddleston, R. and G.K. Pullum. 2002. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language.
Cambridge University Press.

- Nelson, G. 2001. English: An Essential Grammar. London. Routledge.

- Quirk, R & S. Greenbaum. 1973. A University Grammar of English. Longman.

- Snchez Benedito, F. 1975. Gramtica Inglesa. Editorial Alhambra.

- Thomson, A.J. and A.V. Martinet. 1986. A Practical English Grammar. Oxford University Press.

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UNIT 19

THE VERB PHRASE SEMANTICS:


REAL TIME AND VERBAL TENSE. ASPECT AND MOOD.

OUTLINE

1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.

2. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE VERB PHRASE SEMANTICS.


2.1. Linguistic levels involved in the notion of verb phrase semantics.
2.2. On defining verb phrase semantics: what and how.
2.3. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.

3. AN INTRODUCTION TO VERB PHRASE SEMANTICS: TIME, TENSE, ASPECT AND MOOD.


3.1. On defining verb and verb phrase.
3.2. Major verb classes: lexical vs. auxiliary verbs.
3.3. Lexical verbs: main morphological verb forms.
3.4. The functions of verb forms: finite vs. nonfinite.
3.5. Finite vs. nonfinite verb phrase: structural features.
3.6. Major contrasts expressed in verb phrases.
3.7. The relevance of semantics: interrelated contrasts.

4. THE VERB PHRASE SEMANTICS: TIME, TENSE AND THE VERB.


4.1. Real time vs. verbal tense.
4.2. The present tense.
4.2.1. Definition.
4.2.2. Main types and uses.
4.2.2.1. For present situations.
4.2.2.2. For past situations.
4.2.2.3. For future situations.
4.2.3. Spelling, phonology and syntax.
4.3. The past tense.
4.3.1. Definition.
4.3.2. Main types and uses.
4.3.2.1. For past situations.
4.3.2.2. Special uses.
4.3.3. Spelling, phonology and syntax.
4.4. The future time.
4.4.1. Main types and uses.

5. THE VERB PHRASE SEMANTICS: ASPECT.


5.1. Definition.

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5.2. Main types and uses.
5.2.1. The perfect aspect and have.
5.2.1.1. The present perfect.
5.2.1.2. The past perfect.
5.2.2. The progressive aspect and be.
5.2.2.1. Static vs. dynamic verb senses.
5.2.2.2. The present and past continuous.
5.3. Spelling, phonology and syntax.

6. THE VERB PHRASE SEMANTICS: MOOD.


6.1. Definition: mood vs. modality.
6.2. Mood: the grammatical view.
6.2.1. The indicative mood.
6.2.2. The subjunctive mood.
6.2.3. The imperative mood.
6.3. Modality: the semantic view.
6.3.1. The modal operators.
6.4. Spelling, phonology and syntax.

7. THE VERBAL FEATURE OF VOICE.

8. THE RELEVANCE OF SEMANTIC COOCURRENCE PATTERNS.

9. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.

10. CONCLUSION.

11. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

12. APPENDIX.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

Unit 19 is primarily aimed to examine in English the verb phrase semantics in terms of real time,
verbal tenses, aspect, mood and another relevant verbal feature, voice, namely achieved by means
of verbs, adverbs and other clause structures. In doing so, the study will be divided into eleven
chapters.

Thus, Chapter 2 provides a theoretical framework for the notion of verb phrase semantics, first, by
examining the linguistic levels involved; second, by introducing the notion in terms of how it is
achieved and what it is; and finally, by presenting the grammatical categories involved in it. Once
this key terminology is defined in syntactic terms, the reader is prepared for the descriptive account
in subsequent chapters.

Chapter 3, then, is presented as an introductory chapter for the notion of verb phrase semantics,
which include a review of (1) the definitions of verb and verb phrase ; (2) the major verb classes:
lexical vs. auxiliary verbs; (3) within le xical verbs we shall examine the main morphological verb
forms; and consequently, (4) the functions of verb forms: finite vs. nonfinite. Then, (5) we shall
present finite and nonfinite verb phrases in terms of structural features in order to introduce (6) the
major contrasts expressed in verb phrases out of which the relevance of semantics will be stated in
relation to the interrelated contrasts of our study: time, tense, aspect and mood, and also that of
voice.

Then, Chapters 4, 5 and 6 will offer a descriptive account of the expression of verb phrase
semantics through the paradigms of time, tense, aspect and mood, respectively. So, Chapter 4
presents, first, the distinction between real time vs. verbal tense and then, we shall offer a typology
of the different tenses, that is, (2) present tense and (3) past tense as inflectional tenses, and (4) the
future time as part of the concept of time by other means rather than the simple and past tenses and
aspect. This analysis of tenses includes, namely for the inflectional tenses, definition, types, use and
morphological, phonological and syntactic comments in all of them.

Similarly, Chapter 5 introduces the expression of verb phrase semantics with reference to aspect. In
doing so, we must introduce first (1) a definition of aspect; (2) the different types of aspects, which
be further classified into (a) the perfect aspect, (b) the progressive aspect and (c) a mix of both, the
perfect progressive aspect, which will be examine d in relation to the two types of tenses, the present
tense and the past tense. This analysis of aspect also includes morphological, phonological and
syntactic comments when necessary.

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And Chapter 6 does the same on the expression of verb phrase semantics with reference to mood. In
doing so, we must introduce first (1) a definition of mood in contrast to modality; (2) mood
approached from two different perspectives: (a) the grammatical view and (b) the semantic view,
called respectively mood and modality. This analysis of aspect includes morphological,
phonological and syntactic comments when necessary.

Chapter 7, then, provides an account of the verbal feature of voice as the final verb phrase semantic
element, which offers the distinction between active and passive voice. This verbal paradigm may
be combined with the verbal features of tense, aspect and mood in order to complement the whole
number of verbal form constructions.

Chapter 8 presents the main coocurrence patterns of varying degrees of complexity at lexical level
depending on the semantic feature we intend to express, that is, tense (verbal tense), aspect
(progressive or perfect) or mood (indicative, subjunctive, imperative). Hence, thanks to the
combination of all these paradigms, we get all the verbal forms we know today.

Chapter 9, then, provides an educational framework for the expression of verb phrase semantics
within our current school curriculum, and Chapter 10 draws on a summary of all the points
involved in this study. In Chapter 11 bibliography will be listed in alphabetical order and, finally, in
Chapter 12, the only appendix of this study is presented.

1.2. Notes on bibliography.

In order to offer an insightful analysis and survey on the expression of time reference in English, we
shall deal with the most relevant works in the field, both old and current, and in particular,
influential grammar books which have assisted for years students of English as a foreign language
in their study of grammar. For instance, a theoretical framework for the expression of time
localisation is namely drawn from the field of sentence analysis, that is, from the work of Flor Aarts
and Jan Aarts (University of Nijmegen, Holland) in English Syntactic Structures (1988), whose
material has been tested in the classroom and developed over a number of years; also, another
essential work is that of Rodney Huddleston, English Grammar, An Outline (1988).

Other classic references which offer an account of the most important and central grammatical
constructions and categories in English regarding the expression of time localisation, are Quirk &
Greenbaum, A University Grammar of English (1973); Snchez Benedito, Gramtica Inglesa
(19759; Thomson & Martinet, A Practical English Grammar (1986); and Greenbaum & Quirk, A
Students Grammar of the English Language (1990).

More current approaches to notional grammar are David Bolton and Noel Goodey, Grammar
Practice in Context (1997); John Eastwood, Oxford Practice in Grammar (1999); Sidney
Greenbaum, The Oxford Reference Grammar (2000); Gerald Nelson, English: An Essential
Grammar (2001); Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of the

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English Language (2002); and. Angela Downing and Philip Locke, A University Course in English
Grammar (2002).

2. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE VERB PHRASE SEMANTICS.

Before examining in detail the notion of verb phrase semantics in English, that is, time, tense,
aspect and mood, it is relevant to establish first a theoretical framework for this notion, since it must
be described in grammatical terms. In fact, this theoretical chapter aims at answering questions such
as, first, where this notion is to be found within the linguistic level; second, what it describes and
how and, third, which grammar categories are involved in its description at a functional level.

2.1. Linguistic levels involved in the notion of verb phrase semantics.

In order to offer a linguistic description of the notion of verb phrase semantics, we must confine it
to particular levels of analysis so as to focus our attention on this particular aspect of language. Yet,
although there is no consensus of opinion on the number of levels to be distinguished, the usual
description of a language comprises four major components: phonology, grammar, lexicon, and
semantics, out of which we get five major levels: phonological, morphological and syntactic,
lexical, and semantic (Huddleston, 1988).

First, the phonology describes the sound level, that is, how to pronounced the present and past verb
inflections (i.e. -s/-es third person singular and ed past simple) and so on. Secondly, the
morphological level (i.e. verbal tense formation ) and the syntactic level (i.e. how to place verbal
tenses in a sentence). Third, the lexicon, or lexical level, deals with lists of vocabulary items which,
for our purposes, are different types of verbs: lexical (also called full or ordinary), primary and
modal verbs.

Finally, another dimension between the study of linguistic form and the study of meaning is
semantics, or the semantic level, to which all four of the major components are related in this study.
We must not forget that a linguistic description which ignores meaning is obviously incomplete,
and in particular, when dealing with the notion of verb phrase semantics, since it is from this
linguistic field that we get the core of our study, the expression of time, tense, aspect and mood.

Therefore, we must point out that each of the linguistic levels discussed above has a corresponding
component when analysing the notion under study. Thus, phonology deals with pronunciation of
present and past tenses (i.e. -s/-es third person singular and ed past simple); morphology deals
with verbal tense formation (i.e. s third person singular for present simple; -ed for regular past
simple tenses); and syntax deals with which combinations of words constitute grammatical strings
and which do not (i.e. NOT: Went she to the doctors ).

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On the other hand, lexis deals with the notion of verb phrase semantics regarding the choice
between different types of verbal aspects (i.e. present vs. past forms, finite vs. nonfinite forms,
progressive vs. nonprogressive aspect, etc), and other means such as other formal realizations of
these notions (i.e. a noun phrase, a verbless clause, a finite clause, etc); and finally, semantics deals
with meaning where syntactic and morphological levels do not tell the difference (i.e. He is coming
tomorrow: present continuous with future sense).

2.2. On defining verb phrase semantics: what and how.

On defining the term verb phrase semantics, we must link this notion (what it is) to the grammar
categories which express it (how it is showed). Actually, on answering What is it?, the term verb
phrase semantics is intended to add information about When? a situation has happened in order to
locate it
(1) in real time, common to all mankind and independent from language, which is represented
by one straight line in terms of temporal dimensions (past, present, future );
(2) in the appropriate verbal tense so as to indicate the way grammar marks the time at which
the action takes place (present with future meaning; simple past);
(3) with respect to aspect, it refers to the duration or type of temporal activity denoted by the
verb, thus progressive (continuous) or nonprogressive (perfect/perfective), that is, indicating
whether an action is in progress or is already completed;
(4) and finally, the situation is located in terms of mood, which refers to a set of syntactic and
semantic contrasts signalled by certain paradigms of the verbs such as indicative,
subjunctive, imperative. They follow a theoretical and descriptive study of sentence types,
and in particular, of verbs. Semantically, they convey a wide range of attitudes on the part
of the speaker and syntactically,these contrasts are conveyed by alternative and inflectional
focus of verbs, that is, by using auxiliaries or different verbal inflections.

In fact, the given answers would provide, respectively, details about the exact point of real time in
which the situation happens; grammatically, the appropriate verbal tense form; details about the
duration of the action, that is, in progress or completed; and finally, semantic details about the
attitude of the speakers in their speech together with different ways of expressing these attitudes
syntactically.

Regarding how this type of semantics is expressed, there is no doubt that we shall deal namely with
verbs in order to realize real time and verbal tenses. However, we shall also be helped by lexically
specific and labelled areas and locations which shall indicate when those actions are taking
place, such as noun phrases (i.e. last year, next week ); adjectives which refer to temporal ordering in
terms of previous, simultaneous and subsequent time reference (i.e. former, latter, simultaneous,
next); time adverbs (i.e. yesterday, usually, just, etc); and prepositional phrases (i.e. in the morning,
at night). Moreover, we must not forget specific clause structures, textual markers (conjunctions)
and idiomatic expressions which sha ll indicate temporal dimension as well (i.e. While I was
working, he fainted; First, he gets up and then, he has breakfast; for ages).

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2.3. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.

So far, as stated above, in order to confine the notion of verb phrase semantics to particular
grammatical categories, we must review first the difference between open and closed classes since
time, tense, aspect and mood cues involve both. Yet, grammar categories in English can be divided
into two major sets called open and closed classes. The open classes are verbs, nouns, adjectives
and adverbs, and are said to be unrestricted since they allow the addition of new members to their
membership, whereas the closed classes are the rest: prepositions, conjunctions , articles (definite
and indefinite), numerals, pronouns, quantifiers and interjections, which belong to a restricted class
since they do not allow the creation of new members.

Then, as we can see, when taking verb phrase semantics to sentence level, we are dealing with both
classes. Thus open word classes, such as verbs since they refer to present and past actions; along
with open-class nouns, in noun phrase structures (i.e. this century, last decade, in 1978, next week,
tonight, the previous Monday, the following morning, etc); regarding adjectives, they refer to
temporal ordering in terms of previous, simultaneous and subsequent time reference: former,
simultaneous, next. Similarly, adverbs refer to the same time reference: earlier, meanwhile,
afterwards.

Moreover, we also find closed classes such as prepositions and conjunctions among others. Thus,
regarding prepositions, they are classified depending on the time cue they answer, for instance,
position time (in 1950, at midday, on Monday), duration (from five to six, for two hours) or
frequency (in the mornings); regarding conjunctions, which belong to the category of adverbial
conjuncts, they express order from the beginning of a set, middle terms and final markers
(first/firstly/in first place; second/secondly/next/then/later/afterwards; finally/lastly/eventually ).

Finally, it is worth noting that apart from grammatical categories, we may find other specific clause
structures, such as wh- clauses (i.e. I was studying when she came/While I was study ing, she was
cooking); finite forms and which shall establish semantic differences regarding real time and verbal
tense when keeping track of when actions took place (i.e. I forgot closing the door (past reference)
vs. I cant forget to close the door (future reference); textual markers (adverbial conjuncts) such as
First, second, then, later, finally, as I said before, presently, etc which keep coherence and
cohesion within any text; and idiomatic expressions among others, which also indicate time
refere nce (i.e. Once upon a time..., once in a while, once in a lifetime, for a while, for ages,
etc).

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3. AN INTRODUCTION TO VERB PHRASE SEMANTICS: TIME, TENSE, ASPECT AND
MOOD.

This descriptive section will be devoted to an introduction to verb phrase semantics where we shall
approach key notions involved in the study of time, tense, aspect and mood, from the four main
linguistic levels: morphology, phonology, syntax and namely semantics in order to offer a wider
view on this issue. In fact, we shall particularly focus on the latter one since it is this field that
examines the relationship between time, tense, aspect and mood within verbal forms, and the one
which shall offer us the core of our study with an individual analysis of each verbal feature.

Yet, it should be borne in mind that all the key notions to be presented below are particularly
relevant to the study of time, tense, aspect and mood since they explain where these verbal elements
come from, that is, from the verb and verb phrase as main sources to the influence of semantics on
them. Moreover, these four elements, though examined separately in subsequent sections are
closely interrelated in order to form all the verbal forms we know today.

Therefore, we shall start by (1) defining the notion of verb and verb phrase in order to understand
how verbs are combined at sentence level; (2) we shall approach the major types of verb classes
(lexical and auxiliary ) since the reference to time, tense, aspect and mood is mainly drawn from
their interrelationship. Then, (3) we shall examine the main morphological forms of lexical verbs,
followed by (4) an analysis of their syntactic functions, regarding finite and nonfinite forms.

After that, (5) we shall examine the distinction between finite and nonfinite verb phrases regarding
their structural features since time, tense, aspect and mood are drawn from finite forms; and then,
(6) we shall offer the major contrasts expressed in verb phrases among which we find the ones we
need for our analysis: tense, aspect, mood and also, voice. Finally, in (7) we shall relate the
relevance of semantics to the verb phrase in order to conclude our introductory chapter as a link to
next section.

3.1. On defining verb and verb phrase .

Since the main means to express time, tense, aspect and mood are verbs, we shall start by defining
the notion of verb and verb phrase in order to understand how verbs are combined at sentence level
in relation to the subsequent analysis of verb phrase semantics.

First of all, Quirk and Greenbaum (1990) define a verb as a member of a word class, like a noun
and an adjective, which is one of the elements in clause structure, like the subject and the object.

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Regarding the verb main features, Huddleston (1988) states that, in general terms, the notion of
verb is applied to a grammatically distinct word class in a language having two main properties:
first, that (1) they are morphologically simplest words denoting actions, processes or events which
in clause structure are placed in predicative position and, when functioning as head of the predicate,
will normally belong to the class we call verb; and second, and relevant for our study, that (2) the
members of this class carry inflections of tense, aspect and mood if the language has these as
inflectional categories.

Secondly, Aarts (1988) states that the verb phrase consists of verbal forms only, except in the case
of multi-word verbs (i.e. turn on, look at, etc). Moreover, the verbal phrase may be constituted by a
sequence of one or more verbs where the maximum number of verbal forms is five, that is,
maximum four auxiliaries + a lexical verb (i.e. the e-mail was sent, someone was sending it, anyone
can send it, it may be sent, it has been being sent, it may have been being sent -this latter is rare-)
depending on the semantic feature we intend to express, that is, tense (verbal tense), aspect
(progressive or perfect) or mood (indicative, subjunctive, imperative).

3.2. Major verb classes: lexical vs. auxiliary verbs.

According to Greenbaum and Quirk (1973) and Aarts (1988), we may distinguish two major types
of verb classes according to their function within the verb phrase1 : first, lexical verbs (also called
full or ordinary verbs) and second, auxiliary verbs, the former constitute an open class, the latter a
closed class. The latter category, auxiliary verbs, fall into a further distinction: primary auxiliaries
and modal auxiliaries. This distinction in verb class categories is relevant for our study since the
reference to time, tense, aspect and mood is mainly drawn from the three of them (see Appendix 1).

First of all, (1) lexical verbs constitute the principal part of the verb phrase (i.e. come, believe, think,
go, speak, sing, etc). They can be accompanied by auxiliaries (i.e. Sarah may come next week /
Sarah may be coming next week ), but they can also occur in verb phrases that do not contain any
other verbal forms (i.e. Sarah came last week ). There are two ways of classifying lexical verbs: the
first is based on complementatio n (verbs which do not require a complement are intransitive, and
verbs that do are transitive); and the second involves the distinction between one-word and multi-
word verbs (i.e. put vs. put on; look vs. look into).

Secondly, as a rule an (2) auxiliary verb cannot stand on its own since it must be followed by a
lexical verb, except in cases where the lexical verb (sometimes with other sentence constituents) is
understood, as in Can Anthony come? Yes, he can (come). The first subclassification, (a) modal
auxiliaries comprises the following items: can, may, must, shall, and will. Other marginal members
are dare, need, ought (to) and used (to) because they can be used both as auxiliaries and as lexical
verbs (i.e. He needs to be careful vs. He neednt be careful), and also because unlike the other
1
More recently, Quirk and Greenbaum (1990) substituted the category of auxiliary verbs for the very small closed classes
of primary verbs and modal auxiliary verbs since they both belong to the same class and, therefore, they namely
distinguished three main types (full, primary and modal auxiliary verbs).

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auxiliaries ought and used are followed by a to-infinitive. However, used may co-occur with
do in negative and interrogative sentences (i.e. Did he use(d) to drive a car?)

The second subclassification, (b) primary auxiliaries comprises the items: do, have and be. First,
do differs from have and be in that it usually co-occurs with lexical verbs only. This means that
verb phrases with do contain only two verb forms, since verb phrases cannot have more than one
lexical verb (i.e. Do you believe him?/ Do come, John!). Moreover, it is used as an auxiliary of
periphrasis (i.e. He does not realize what he is doing/Who did he see?/ Only then did he realize his
position) and of emphasis (i.e. He DOES know what he is saying/ I DID lock the door).

On the other hand, have and be co-occur not only with lexical verbs but also with modal
auxiliaries, always following the latter (i.e. He may have escaped). Both function as auxiliaries of
aspect. Thus, have is auxiliary of the perfective aspect when followed by the ed participle of
another verb (i.e. He has written a new article), and be is auxiliary of the progressive aspect when
it combines with the ing participle of another verb (i.e. He is writing a new article ). Moreover,
be is also used as auxiliary of the passive voice when followed by the ed participle of a transitive
(lexical) verb as in The theatre was built in 1909.

Yet, the further distinction of modal auxiliaries and primary auxiliaries (i.e. have, be, do) show
important differences as follows:

1. the former are always finite (when the verb phrase show tense, mood, aspect and voice)
whereas the latter have and be have finite as well as non-finite forms (an infinitive, an
ing participle or an ed participle);
2. the former invariably occur as the first element of the verb phrase (i.e. John will travel to
Paris) whereas the second and may occur in initial as well as in medial position in the verb
phrase (i.e. She has travelled / Has she travelled?);
3. moreover, in English modal auxiliaries are mutually exclusive (i.e. I shall come BUT NOT:
I shall can come) whereas primary auxiliaries are not (i.e. She has been playing).
4. finally, it is worth distinguishing the primary auxiliary do from the primary auxiliaries
have and be since it always occurs initially (i.e. Do you dare to do it?), is invariably
finite, does not generally co-occur with other auxiliaries (i.e. She does her homework ) and
finally, it is used for emphasis (i.e. She does write) and periphrasis (i.e. Do you smoke?)

3.3. Lexical verbs: main morphological verb forms.

In this section, we shall namely focus on lexical verbs since it is from them that we get the four
main morphological verb forms so as to express the semantics of tense, aspect and mood, and in
next section, be able to examine how these inflexional morphemes function at sentence level in
finite and nonfinite verb phrases.

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First of all, we shall follow Aarts (1988) and Quirk and Greenbaums (1973) classification, whereby
we distinguish five morphological forms, among which four are inflexional morphemes: thus (1) the
base form, (2) the s form, (3) the ed past tense, (4) the ed past participle and (5) the -ing
participle. Yet, other authors like Greenbaum and Quirk (1990) later on, reduced the number of
morphological forms to four (i.e. base form, -s form, -ing participle and ed form).

3.4. The functions of verb forms: finite vs. nonfinite.

Once we have stated the main inflexional morphemes dealing with tense, aspect and mood, we must
examine the different syntactic functions of these verb forms at sentence level, that is, in finite vs.
nonfinite phrases. In general, the s form and the past form are always finite whereas the ing
participle and the ed participle are always nonfinite. The base form, which has no inflection, is
sometimes finite (i.e. You go to school everyday) when it takes first position in predication, and
sometimes nonfinite (i.e. You have gone to school twice today) when it takes second position.

Thus, the syntactic functions of the verb forms in finite and nonfinite verb phrases are as follows.
First, (1) the base form (i.e. live) is a finite verb in: (a) the present tense in all persons and numbers
except third person singular (i.e. I/you/we/they live in Leeds), (b) the imperative (i.e. Call him now!)
and (c) the present subjunctive (i.e. Long live the Queen/They demanded that she called and see
them). However, it is a nonfinite verb in (a) the bare infinitive (i.e. He may arrive tonight) and (b)
the to-infinitive (i.e. We want him to arrive soon).

(2) The the base form + s form (i.e. lives) is a finite verb in the third person singular present tense
(i.e. He/she/it lives in the forest); (3) the ing participle (i.e. living) is a nonfinite verb in (a) the
progressive aspect following be (i.e. He is living in California) and (b) in ing participle clauses
(i.e. Calling early, I found her in her office ); (4) the ed past form (i.e. lived/drove) is a finite verb
in the past tense (i.e. He arrived yesterday); and finally, (5) the ed participle (i.e. lived/driven) is a
nonfinite verb in (a) the present perfect aspect following have (i.e. He has lived in Madrid for ten
years), (b) the passive voice following be (i.e. Her sister is called Angie ) and (c) ed participle
clauses (i.e. Called early, he took a hot bath ).

It is worth noting that regular lexical verbs have the same ed inflection for both the past tense and
the ed participle (i.e. He called / He was called). However, irregular verb forms may vary in this
respect, from three forms (i.e. put, puts, putting) to eight (i.e. be, am, is, are, was, were, being,
been). Note that some irregular verbs (i.e. drive; tell) have two ed forms (past and participle) with
distinct syntactic functions (i.e. He drove carefully vs. He has driven carefully/He told the truth/He
has told the truth ). Moreover, the modal auxiliaries are defective in not having infinitive (NOT: to
can), -ing participle (NOT: canning), -ed participle (NOT: canned ), or imperative (NOT: Can!).

3.5. Finite vs. nonfinite verb phrases: main features.

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So, from a structural point of view the verb forms operate in finite and nonfinite verb phrases from
which we shall examine their main structural features, following semantic, morphological and
syntactic guidelines. Thus:

First of all, (1) a nonfinite verb phrase contains a non-finite verb form: an infinitive (speak or to
speak ), an ing participle (speaking) or an ed participle (spoken/called). Yet, any phrase in which
one of these verb forms is the first or only word (disregarding the infinitive marker to) is a
nonfinite verb phrase. Alike finite verb phrases, nonfinite phrases do not normally occur as the verb
phrase of an independent clause. For instance, To dance like that deserves an award, I found him
dancing like crazy or Having been insulted before, he was more sensitive than ever.

Secondly, (2) a finite verb phrase is a verb phrase which contains a finite verbal form, usually
formed by an only word which is able to show tense, mood, aspect and voice (i.e. He always laughs
with me). If this verb is not first in a sequence of more verbs, this would be nonfinite (i.e. He is
always laughing ). The finite verbal forms are morphologically marked for the category of tense and
which may, in addition, be marked for the categories of mood and concord. The form he drives,
for example, is marked for all three categories. It is marked for tense becuase it contrasts with he
drove, for mood because it contrasts with he drive, and for concord because it contrasts with
I/you/we/they write. A form like may, however, is marked for tense only since it merely shows a
morphological contrast with might. Yet, the finite verb phrase features are as follows:

(1) finite verb phrases can occur as the verb phrase of independent clauses;
(2) finite verb phrases have tense distinction (i.e. present: He studies vs. past: He
studied);
(3) as well as mood, which indicates the factual, nonfactual, or counterfactual status of
the predication. We may distinguish between the unmarked indicative mood and
the marked forms of the imperative (commands and directive speech acts) and
subjunctive (wish, recommendation, etc).
(4) generally, there is person concord and number concord between the subject of a
clause and the finite verb phrase. In most lexical verbs, concord is restricted to a
contrast between the third person singular present and other persons or plural
number (i.e. You go/He goes), but particularly clear with the present tense of be
(i.e. I am, you are, he/she/it is, we are, they are). However, there is no overt
concord at all with modal auxiliaries (i.e. You may go/He may go).

But, let us focus on some syntactic features of simple and complex finite verb phrases since this will
be the core of our study. The simple finite verb phrase consists of only one word without ellipsis
whereas the complex one consists of two or more words. When dealing with verb phrase semantics,
we deal with the modal, perfective, progressive and passive auxiliaries which follow a strict order in
the complex verb phrase.

For instance, (a) modal verbs are always followed by an infinitive (i.e. He might go); (b) perfective
forms with the auxiliary have are always followed by an ed form (i.e. He has gone, he must have

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gone); (c) progressive forms with the verb be are always followed by an ing participle (i.e. He
was talking too loud/He would have been visiting us now); and (d) passive forms with the verb be
again are always followed by an ed participle (i.e. He was visited/He must have been being
visited ). However, although the above order is strictly followed, we find some exceptions, such as
with (a) modal + progressive (i.e. may be visiting ); (b) perfect + passive (i.e. has been built); and (c)
modal + passive (i.e. may be visited).

3.6. Major constrasts expressed in verb phrases.

As seen, it is relevant to briefly list in this section all the contrasts which play an important role in
the verb phrase since they will lead us to the core analysis of our study, that is, the semantics of the
verb phrase regarding tense, aspect and mood among others. Hence, eight major contrasts are
distinguished by Greenbaum and Quirk (1990). Thus:

(1) Tense. This contrast requires a choice between present and past in the first or only verb in a
finite verb phrase (i.e. She cooks/She cooked).
(2) Aspect. It establishes the distinctions perfect vs. nonperfect and progressive vs.
nonprogressive.
(3) Mood requires a choice between the indicative, imperative, and subjunctive, (i.e. He
looks/Look at me!/I demand that he look at me, respectively).
(4) Voice, which involves the active-passive relation (i.e. He will read a magazine vs. a
magazine will be read by him) .
(5) Finiteness which requires the choice between the finite and nonfinite forms (i.e. She likes
video games vs. Playing video games is fun).
(6) Questions, which generally require an inversion of subject-operator or the use of an
auxiliary as operator (i.e. He can drive/Can he drive; He drives/Does he drive?).
(7) Negation, which makes a similar use of operators (i.e. I should go with you/I should not go
with you; John escaped/John did not escape).
(8) And finally, emphasis, which is carried out by an operator, usually an auxiliary like do or
a modal auxiliary (i.e. He MUST sing/He DOES sing).

3.7. The relevance of semantics: interrelated contrasts.

As we can see, all these contrasts show the relevance of semantics in the verb phrase since they are
closely interrelated so as to create all the verbal forms we know today in a combination of tense,
aspect and mood as the title indicates. In fact, for our study we shall focus on tense which shows
the correspondence between the form of the verb and our concept of time; aspect which concerns
the manner in which the verbal action is experienced or regarded (completed or in progress)
whereas mood relates the verbal action to such conditions as certainty, necessity, possibility,
ability, obligation and so on. So, to a great extent we can observe how these three categories overlap

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each other and how, for example, the expression of time present and past cannot be considered
separately from aspect, and the expression of the future is closely bound up with mood.

However, according to Aarts (1988), we must include in our study another verb feature which is not
found in any other phrase type, that of voice. Of these, as stated before, tense and mood are typical
features of finite verb phrases only whereas aspect and voice can occur in finite as well as non finite
verb phrases. Another feature of the finite verb phrase is that ti often exhibits concord, that is,
agreement in person and/or number between the verb phrase and the subject.

As seen, morphological and syntactic levels offer important information for the analysis of relations
in a time line, but in fact, the relationship between semantics and time reference is the most relevant
for an appropriate classification of figurative time dimensions. Mainly based on the category of
verbs, according to Huddleston (1988), the semantic time reference may be drawn from verbal
tenses, since the field of semantics will approach this dimension in terms of tense inflections and of
certain aspectual and modal catenatives.

In addition we will consider, in the light of this semantic discussion not only the nature of tense,
aspect and mood/modality as general linguistic categories, but also that of voice. So, in next
sections, we shall discuss the contrasts of these verb phrase paradigms and, in doing so, we shall
start by reviewing the difference between real time and verbal tense, and then we shall examine
mood, aspect, and voice.

4. THE VERB PHRASE SEMANTICS: TIME, TENSE AND THE VERB.

In this section, then, we shall analyse the verb phrase semantics with reference to time, tense and
the verb. In doing so, we must establish first (1) a distinction between real time and verbal tense;
second, we shall offer a typology of the different tenses, that is, (2) present tense and (3) past tense
as inflectional tenses, and (4) the future time as part of the concept of time by other means rather
than the simple and past tenses and aspect. This analysis of tenses includes, namely for the
inflectional tenses, definition, types, use and morphological, phonological and syntactic comments
in all of them.

4.1. Real time vs. verbal tense.

Although both temporal dimensions, real time and verbal tense answer to the questions When? or
How long...? they show important differences and just a low percent of similarities. First of all, they
are similar in that they are expressed by means of verbal tenses, which belong to the open-class
category of lexical verbs (i.e. go, come, drink, listen) for present and past tenses (inflectional), and
modal operators (shall, will) for the future (pro-forms). Secondly, we must distinguish clearly

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between the grammatical category of tense and the semantic category of time, since the fairly
complex relation between them shows the importance of distinguishing between real time as a time
line and, second, time as a grammatical category, which is then called tense.

Real time is thought of as a universal abstraction from any given language with three temporal
divisions: past, present and future. This non-linguistic concept is conceived as a line on which the
present moment is located as a continuously moving point from which anything behind of that
present moment is in the past, and anything ahead is the future. It is when we relate this semantic
view of time to the grammatical field that we reformulate it and then, we talk about present, past
and future in terms of tenses.

Then, by verbal tense we understand the corresponding tenses regarding our concept of time, for
instance, the term present moment becomes the present time (including now); the past becomes
the past time (in relation to the preceding now); and the future becomes the future time (in
relation to the following now). Hence, tense, in opposition to time, is considered to be a
grammatical category that is realized by verb inflection.

Huddleston (1988) states that a language has tense if it has a set of systematically contrasting verb
inflections where the primary semantic function is to relate the time of the situation to the time of
the utterance. Tense thus involves the grammaticalisation of time relations when situation is
understood as a general term covering states, actions, processes or whatever is described in the
clause by means of the inflectional category of tense. Following Greenbaum & Quirk (1990), since
English has no future inflected form of the verb, the threefold semantic opposition is reduced to two
tenses: the present tense and the past tense, which typically refer to present and past time
respectively 2 .

Tense is particularly relevant when we address to its functional role. For instance, Palmer (1981)
distinguishes three main functions. First, as a purely marker for temporal relations of past and
present time (i.e. My dad left home early; I like cats); secondly, as a marker of reported speech (i.e.
from Daniel is writing a novel to He said that Daniel is writing a novel / He said that Daniel
was writing a novel, meaning respectively the statement is still valid or is just a deictic tense);
and finally, as a marker of unreality, especially in conditional clauses to express wishes (i.e. I wish
you had luck/If I were you...).

Therefore, we shall examine in turn the various uses of the present and past tenses in English only
as simple inflectional form since the complex forms (perfect and progressive) are to be analysed
within the analysis of aspect and mood. Moreover, the analysis of future time will be enclosed as a
part of our concept of time in opposition to tenses, though some aspects are included in the present
tense with future meaning. Yet, it will be fully included in the analysis of mood.

2
We must bear in mind, however, that future meaning may be conveyed by various means, including the present tense
(i.e. Tomorrow is Wednesday).

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4.2. The present tense.

The present tense is usually introduced together with the contrast of aspect since the contrast of
tense usually show simple forms (i.e. I speak ) in opposition to aspect which shows complex
forms (i.e. I am speaking/I have spoken, corresponding to progressive and perfective, respectively).
However, as stated before, in this section we shall only approach simple forms. So, we shall start
(1) by defining the present tense; second, (2) by analysing the main types and uses of the present
tense for (a) present, (b) past and (c) future situations; and third, (3) by offering some comments on
spelling, phonology and syntax.

4.2.1. Definition.

The present tense refers to present time situations, where the primary use of the present tense is,
according to Huddleston (1988), to locate the situation in present time, where the term situation
must be understood as the time of the utterance describing states, actions, processes or any other
situation in the clause, that is, simple or progressive.

4.2.2. Main types and uses.

Within the inflectional category of present tense, the following uses may be distinguished: (1)
simple present tense for present time situations, (2) simple present tense for past situations and (3)
simple present tense for future situations.

4.2.2.1. For present situations.

Regarding the simple present tense for present time situations, the primary use of the present tense
is, according to Huddleston (1988), to locate the situation in present time, where the term
situation must be understood as the time of the utterance describing states, actions, processes or
any other situation in the clause. The mentioned situations may be classified as either static or
dynamic. Thus:

(1) Static situations (or according to Greenbaum & Quirk (1990), the state present) refer to states
of affairs which continue over periods of time with a non-defined beginning or end, that is, with no
definite time reference (i.e. He is an architect/She is tall/This soup tastes delicious) or relations (i.e.
She is married).

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In this type, habitual actions, that is, actions that are regularly repeated and indicate routine (i.e. He
always works at night/My dog barks a lot) are to be included 3 since they are understood as a state of
affairs characterised by the repeated or habitual behaviour, and again this state of affairs extends
beyond the time of utterance, just like the more obviously static situation (i.e. Kim washes her hair
with Clarins shampoo). This type of present tense is often used with adverbs or adverb phrases,
referring to time and frequency (i.e. always, never, occasionally, often, sometimes, usually, every
week, on Sundays, twice a year, as a rule, etc ) and also with time clauses (i.e. Whenever it rains the
roof leaks/When you open the door a light goes on).

Moreover, following Eastwood (1999), this type also includes references to thoughts and feelings
which cannot be expressed with the present continuous (i.e. I think so, I like it, I believe it, I see,
etc) and universal statements, that is, facts and things that are true for a long time (i.e. Dogs hate
dogs/Whales are mammals) and which usually refer to scientific facts (i.e. Water boils at 100C/The
sun sets in the west).

(2) On the other hand, dynamic situations (or according to Greenbaum & Quirk (1990), the
instantaneous present) refer to actions or events happening as a single occurrence with a definite
beginning and end (i.e. Nicole Kidman is on a new project at the moment). This type of situations
are by contrast understood to be effectively simultaneous with the utterance.

Its use is fairly restricted to dramatic narrative when describing a single event with little or no
duration that occurs at the time of speaking or writing, for instance, the action of an opera, play or
any sport (football, tennis, basketball). For instance, in running commentaries on a play (i.e. When
the curtains rise, Cristine is walking in the forest and suddenly, ...) and particulary in radio
commentaries at sports events or public functions (i.e. ...and now, Ronaldo passes the ball to
Figo...), demonstrations (i.e. I add a pinch of sugar in a cookery demonstration) and for certain
kinds of act performed precisely by virtue of uttering a sentence that describes the act (i.e. I promise
to be back before ten) or performative declarations (i.e. I name this ship Cocoa).

4.2.2.2. For past situations.

Regarding the simple present tense for past time situations, the primary use of the present tense is,
to locate the situation in past time , where the term situation must be understood as the time of the
utterance describing states, actions, processes or any other situation in the clause. Following
Greenbaum & Quirk (1990), there are two main types of situations in the past with present
reference: the historic present and the reference to past with verbs of communication.

3
Huddleston (1988) classifies the present tense for present situation into two types (static and dynamic)
which, according to the classification proposed by Greenbaum & Quirk (1990) would be the state present
and the instantaneous present respectively. However, Greenbaum & Quirk (1990) distinguish a further third
type called the habitual presentwhich is included into Huddlestons static type.

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(1) First of all, the historic present refers to past time, and is characteristic of popular narrative
style. It conveys the dramatic immediacy of an event happening at the time of the narration (i.e. Just
as we arrived, up comes Sarah and says hello as if nothing has happened). This type is namely used
in fictional narrative as a stylistic marker device for imaginary events in the past (i.e. Everybody
waits at the city gate, excitement grows, and suddenly, the hero appears on a black horse with seven
knights following him...).

(2) Secondly, the simple present tense is optionally used to refer to the past with verbs of
communication or reception of communication to suggest that the information commun icated is still
valid (i.e. The French Prime Minister states that ...). Moreover, it is used namely with the verb say
in order to ask about or quote from books, notices or letters (i.e. What does she say in her
letter?/Hamlet says, To be or not to be, thats the question) and also, with other verbs of
communication (i.e. Spanish Health Care Authorities advise not to swim in Atlantic waters) and in
newspaper headlines (i.e. Mass murderer escapes/The Prestige finally sinks in the Atlantic Ocean).

4.2.2. 3. For future situations.

Regarding the simple present tense for future time situations , the primary use of the present tense is,
to locate the situation in future time, where the term situation must be understood as the time of
the utterance describing states, actions, processes or any other situation in the clause. Following
Greenbaum & Quirk (1990) future situations are related to time-position adverbials and subordinate
clauses which, in Huddlestons words (1988), would be expressed by present time schedules of
future situations and futurity in subordinate clauses, respectively.

(1) Regarding present time for future time situations, they express (a) a planned future action or
series of actions, particularly when they refer to a journey (i.e. The train leaves at 10.00 in two
hours time ) and (b) present time schedules of future situations (i.e. The match starts tomorrow)
where a dynamic situation is presented in future time, not present time. There is nevertheless a
present time element in the meaning, in that we are concerned with what is presently arranged.
Moreover, in main clauses like the ones above, the simple present typically occurs with time -
position adverbials (i.e. in two hours time, tomorrow) to suggest that the future event is certain to
take place.

(2) Regarding futurity in subordinate clauses, we find it when a present tense verb refers to a future
situation (i.e. I want to arrive before the baby wakes up). This use of present tense occurs most
often after such temporal expressions as after, before, until, etc (a) when there is an idea of routine
(i.e. She always takes the boy to school before she goes to work ); (b) when the main verb is in a
future form (i.e. I will stop raining soon. Then well set out); and (c) with conditional expressions
like if, unless, provided, etc (i.e. They will buy you a bike if you pass your exam).

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4.2.3. Spelling, phonology and syntax.

We shall make some comments on spelling, phonology and syntax related to the simple present
tense.

Thus, first of all, regarding morphology, the regular spelling of the present tense suffix is s or es.
The latter spelling is found in: (a) verbs ending in s (his-s-es), -ss (kiss-es), -ch (watch-es), -sh
(fish-es) and -x (tax-es) in order to form the third person singular; (b) verbs ending in a consonant
symbol + o (echoes, goes, vetoes); and (c) verbs ending in a consonant symbol + -y, by means of
which y changes into i (cries, fancies, tries).

On the one hand, the corresponding phonological realizations of the present tense morpheme s are
regularly realized in two ways: first, /s/ after bases ending in voiceless sounds except sibilants (i.e.
walks, coughs, stops, prints) and second, /z/ after bases ending in voiced sounds except sibilants
(i.e. frees, mars, chews, purrs, snores, destroys, dries, pays, glows, rubs, begs, clims, grins, settles,
breathes).

On the other hand, the corresponding phonological realization of the present tense morpheme es is
regularly realized by /iz/ after bases ending in a sibilant /s/ (i.e. mixes, promises, tosses), /z/ (i.e.
freezes, loses, seizes), the voiceless palato alveolar fricative (i.e. fishes, rushes, washes ), the voiced
palato alveolar fricative (i.e. camouflages, rouges), the voiceless palato alveolar affricate (i.e.
catches, screeches, touches), and the voiced palato alveolar affricate (i.e. alleges, budges, lodges).

Yet, similar spelling but different phonetic realization is given with those verbs ending in a
consonant symbol + o, for instance, note the pronounciation of does /d^z/ and goes /schwa+u/.

4.3. The past tense.

Similarly to the present tense, the past tense is usually introduced together with the contrast of
aspect since the contrast of tense usually show simple forms (i.e. I spoke) in opposition to
aspect which shows complex forms (i.e. I was speaking/I have spoken, corresponding to
progressive and perfective, respectively). Again, as stated before, in this section we shall only
approach simple forms since complex forms shall be addressed in the analysis of aspect. So, we
shall start (1) by defining the past tense; second, (2) by analysing the main types and uses of the
past tense as (a) simple past tense for past time situations and (b) special uses of the simple past
tense; and third, (3) by offering some comments on spelling, phonology and syntax.

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4.3.1. Definition.

The past tense refers to past time situations, where the primary use of the past tense is, according to
Huddleston (1988), to locate the situation in past time, where the term situation must be
understood as the time of the utterance describing states, actions, processes or any other situation in
the clause, that is, simple or progressive.

4.3.2. Main types and uses.

Within the inflectional category of past tense, the following uses may be distinguished: (1) simple
past tense for present time situations, (2) simple past tense for past situations, (3) simple past tense
for future situations and (4) special cases.

4.3.2.1. For present situations.

As seen above, the historic past refers to past time with present tense forms and it is fairly common
in vivid narrative (i.e. At that moment, in comes a doctor and orders to examine the wounded man ).
However, it has no journalistic overtones with verbs of communicating (i.e. John tells me that there
was a robbery in the neighbourhood last night).

4.3.2.2. For past situations.

Regarding the simple past tense for past time situations, compare the sentences: Kim lived in
Frankfurt, Kim played defensively forward, and Kim used to eat spaguetti carbonara. The past
tense serves straightforwardly to locate the situation in past time. Static situations may again extend
beyond the time at which they are said to obtain (first sentence) whereas dynamic situations will be
wholly in the past, although the past can accommodate longer situations than the present (second
sentence), and can be as salient as the habitual situations (third sentence).

Yet, we must distinguish between actions which were completed in the past at a definite time (i.e.
Pasteur died in 1895 ) and those where the time of the action is not given (i.e. Pasteur helped
medicine improve). With this duality in mind between a definite and indefinite time setting, we
move on to present the three main types of situations in the past with past reference following
Greenbaum & Quirk (1973, 1990): the event past, the habitual past and the state past.

(1) First of all, the event past is used with dynamic verb senses to refer to a single definite
event in the past. This means that the action was completed in the past (a) at a definite time ,
that is, when the time is given (i.e. The first Viking raid took place in Kent in 787 A.D.); (b)
over an extended period (i.e. The Vikings invaded England in the eighth century ) or (c)

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when the action clearly took place at a definite time even though this time is not mentioned
(i.e. How did they manage to invade England?).

(2) Secondly, the habitual past is used with actions which refer to past events that repeatedly
occur at a certain moment in the past as habitual or routinary activities (i.e. He always
arrived on time), but since, unlike the simple present, this is not implied without a suitable
adverb, used to or less commonly would may be needed to bring out this sense by
paraphrasing (i.e. He used to/would arrive on time). We may find (a) actions whose time is
not given but which occupied a period of time now terminated (i.e. He worked in a bank for
ten years) and (b) actions whose time occurred at a moment in a period of time now
terminated (i.e. She lived in New York for a long time).

(3) Finally, the state past is used with stative verb senses to refer to a single unbroken state of
affairs in the past (i.e. I once wrote a novel). Here we may also convey the meaning of the
past by paraphrasing with used to (i.e. Once I used to write novels).

4.3.2.3. For future situations.

The primary use of the past tense is to locate the situation in future time where there is no change in
the time of the starting: what has changed is the time at which the arrangement/schedule is said to
hold (i.e. The party started tomorrow). This use of the past tense is vastly less frequent than the
corresponding use of the present tense. Yet, most of the future constructions describe something
which is in the future when seen from a viewpoint in the past (i.e. He said he was going to give me
his address) by means of five different structures, for instance: modal verbs, be going to +
infinitive, past progressive, be to + infinitive and finally, be about to + infinitive.

(1) Modal verb constructions include the use of would, which is quite rare and only used in
literary narrative style (i.e. We knew that sooner or later he would come back).
(2) Be going to + infinitive constructions often have the sense of unfulfilled intentions (i.e.
He said he was going to give me his address but he didnt).
(3) The past progressive indicates a plan which was arranged in the past (i.e. Laura was
meeting her husband in York the next day ).
(4) Be to + infinitive is a quite formal construction which indicates either was unavoidable to
happen or arrangement (i.e. We were meant to meet each other/The party was to be held
on Saturday, respectively).
(5) And finally, the be about to + infinitive construction, which conveys the meaning of on
the point of, often with the sense of an unfulfilled intention (i.e. He was just about to fall
down).

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4.3.2.4. Special uses.

Greenbaum & Quirk (1990) distinguish three special uses of the simple past: (1) backshifting in
indirect reported speech, (2) the attitudinal past and (3) factual remoteness with the hypothetical
past.

(1) First of all, backshifting is what is known as indirect reported speech, indirect in that one
gives only the content expressed, not the actual words used. Compare Jane said that James
had two cats vs. Jane said that James has two cats. In the first sentence, we have a past
tense instead of the original present tense: this shift from present tense to past tense is
known as backshifting.

In the second sentence, by contrast, there no backshifting. The difference is then that in the
first sentence the state of Jamess having two cats is temporally related to a point in the past
whereas in the second sentence, it is temporally related to a point in the present, the time of
ones utterance. The term indirect reported speech is actually too narrow, for backshifting
occurs equally in the report of feelings, beliefs, knowledge, etc.

(2) Secondly the attitudinal past is optionally used to refer more politely to a present state of
mind (i.e. Did you mind to talk to me?).

(3) And finally, the hypothetic al past (or actual remoteness according to Huddleston) which
makes reference to subordinate clauses, especially conditional clauses (second type)
introduced by if, as if, as though, it is time, if only, wish, would sooner/rather, etc so as to
convey the idea of an unreal past and the opposite to the belief, expectation or wish of the
speaker (i.e. If you knew him, you would be surprised/I wish I had more money).

The tense difference thus signals a difference not in time, but in the speakers assessment of
the likelihood of the conditions being fulfilled: the past tense presents it as a relatively
remote possibility in contrast with the present tense which shows an open possibility, that
is, past vs. present tenses have a contrast between unreal vs. real conditional constructions.
The factual remoteness meaning of the past tense is not restricted to unreal conditional
constructions. It is also found in subordinate clauses after wish or it + be time (i.e. I wish/It
is time they were here). In main clauses it occurs only with modal operators.

4.3.3. Spelling, phonology and syntax.

We shall make some comments on spelling, phonology and syntax related to the simple past tense.
Thus, first of all, regarding morphology, the regular spelling of the past tense and ed participle
suffixes is ed or d. The latter spelling is found when the verb ends in mute e (i.e. bake-d, love-d,
move-d).

22/ 43
In four cases the spelling of the base is affected before the ending ed, for instance, (1) in verbs
ending in a consonant symbol + y, where y changes into i (i.e. denied, fancied, pitied, tried); (2) in
verbs ending in a consonant symbol preceded by a single vowel symbol. Then, the final consonant
symbol is doubled if the verb is monosyllabic or ends in a stressed syllable (i.e. hugged, nodded,
rubbed, stopped, admitted, occurred, preferred, regretted) Note the following exceptions to this rule
(i.e. humbugged, handicapped, kidnapped, worshipped); (3) in verbs ending in l, preceded by a
single vowel symbol, l is doubled (i.e. cancelled, travelled, quarrelled, rebelled, signalled); and
(4) the final c is changed into ck (i.e. trafficked, bivouacked, picnicked).

Only in three verbs final y is changed into i before the ending d (i.e. lay-laid, pay-paid, say-said).
Note that the latter one (say-said) does not follow the same pronunciation rules that the preceding
forms, thus said /sed/.

Regarding pronunciation, the past tense morpheme ed of regular verbs are realized in three ways:
first, /t/ after bases ending in voiceless sounds except /t/ (i.e. walked, stopped, kissed); second, /d/
after bases ending in voiced sounds except /d/ (i.e. played, sinned, loved); and /id/ after bases
ending in /t/ or /d/ (i.e. demanded, parted, decided).

4.4. The future time.

The analysis of future time will not be examined as the previous paradigms since there is no
obvious future tense in English corresponding to the time and tense relation for present and past.
Instead we find several possibilities to express future, for instance, by means of futurity (with such
constructions as be going to + infinitive, be about to + infinitive and be about to + infinitive),
modality (by means of modal verbs) and aspect, which are closely related, by means of modal
auxiliaries or semi-auxiliaries (be, have, do), or by the simple or progressive forms, as already seen
in the simple present and past tense in future situations.

4.4.1. Main types and uses.

Having seen the future time within the simple present and past tense and, very soon reviewed by
the paradigm of aspect, we shall briefly present how future time is expressed by means of modal
verbs (since other structures have been already presented in the past tense with future meaning) in
order to close the complete the time line (present, past, future) in the discussion time vs. tense.

Within the category of future time , the most common way of expressing futurity is the construction
of will/shall + infinitive. On the one hand, will (or ll) with the infinitive to express futurity in the
long run (i.e. They will be here in one hour/Hell be my husband) and, on the other hand, with
shall with the infinitive (i.e. No doubt that I shall fulfill all my wishes). This latter option is

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sometimes used with the infinitive (especially in Southern Britain) to indicate futurity with a first
person subject (i.e. No doubt I shall see you next week).

Note that these constructions are the closest approximations to a colourless, neutral future which
cover a range of modal meanings, for instance, possibility in the future (i.e. You may pass your
driving test), obligation (i.e. You will have to talk to her as soon as she comes), permission (i.e. You
will be able to enter this room next time) and so on.

We may also distinguish four types of future, one within simple constructions regarding tense, that
is, Future Simple (i.e. I will go) and two within the complex constructions regarding the perfect
aspect: (a) the Future Perfect (i.e. I will have done it) and (b) the Future Perfect Continuous (i.e. I
will be studying by then), the latter one has to do with the perfect and progressive aspects since it is
a combination of both. Moreover, when dealing with the verbal feature of voice, we find other
combinations, such as those of the passive voice: simple future tense in the passive (i.e. The
building will be finished by the year 2005), the progressive future (i.e. The children will be being
taught by the best teacher) and the Perfect Future in the passive (i.e. The children will have been
taught).

All these possible combinations are coocurrence verbal patterns which, in combination with all the
forms we shall approach in this study, will complete our study on the verb phrase semantics.

5. THE VERB PHRASE SEMANTICS: ASPECT.

In this section, then, we shall analyse the verb phrase semantics with reference to aspect. In doing
so, we must introduce first (1) a definition of aspect; (2) the different types of aspects, which be
further classified into (a) the perfect aspect, (b) the progressive aspect and (c) a mix of both, the
perfect progressive aspect, which will be examined in relation to the two types of tenses, the present
tense and the past tense. This analysis of aspect includes morphological, phonological and syntactic
comments when necessary.

5.1. Definition.

The term aspect is defined as a grammatical category that reflects the way in which the meaning
of a verb is viewed with respect to time (Greenbaum & Quirk, 1990). Yet, since the terminological
distinction between tense and time has no well-established analogue in the domain of aspect, the
term aspect as we know it, refers to the manner in which a situation is experienced, that is, as a
completed action or in progress.

24/ 43
The term aspect then is widely used both for a grammatical category of the verb (present, past,
present perfect) and for the type of meaning characteristically expressed by that category (action in
progress vs. completed action). We recognize two aspects in English, the perfect and the
progressive, which This is what Huddleston defines it as the grammatical and semantic aspect:
progressive and perfect aspects,

5.2. Main types and uses.

We namely recognize two aspects in English, the perfect and the progressive, which may combine
in a complex verb phrase, and are marked for present or past tense4 and which are realized
respectively, by the perfect have, the progressive be and a combination of both. Therefore, we
shall examine the perfect and the progressive aspects in relation to the two types of tenses, the
present tense and the past tense.

According to Huddleston (1988), English does not have grammatical aspect since, for a language to
have grammatical aspect, it must have a system of the verb, marked inflectionally or by such
analytic devices as auxiliaries, where the primary semantic contrast between the terms is a matter of
aspectual meaning. We can talk of aspectual verbs but they do not form a grammatically distinct
class and are not dependents of the verbs with which they enter into construction. We talk about the
two most frequent and diffic ult ones: progressive be and perfect have.

5.2.1. The perfect aspect and have.

Regarding the aspectual meaning of perfect have, we must point out that the verb have enters
into a variety of catenative constructions, under the perfect construction of the single complement
(have/has/had) + the form of a past-participial clause (-ed/written). such as She had written the
letter, She had to write the letter, She had her daughter write the letter, She had her daughter
writing the letter, She had the letter written by her daughter. As we shall see, it cannot head the
complement of various other aspectual verbs, such as begin, stop, progressive be, etc. Thus we
cannot reverse the direction of dependency in She has begun/stopped/been reading the letter.

We need to distinguish two cases of the perfect construction: the present perfect where have
carries a present tense inflection (has gone, have gone, etc ) and the non-present perfect, that is, the
past perfect, where have either carries the past tense inflection or else is non-tensed (i.e. had
gone, to have gone, may have gone, having gone, etc).

4
Perfective and progressive forms are presented in complex verb phrases in present and past tenses, for
instance, present perfect (has seen) vs. past perfect (had seen); present progressive (is working) vs. past
progressive (was working); and present perfect progressive (has been working) vs. past perfect progressive
(had been working ).

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5.2.1.1. The present perfect.

Like the past tense in its primary use, the present perfect locates the situation in past time but with a
certain connection to the present, that is, it refers to a situation set at some indefinite time within a
period beginning in the past and leading up to the present. Compare Kate is ill vs. Kate was ill
vs. Kate has been ill. The difference is that the simple past involves a point or period in the past
that is exclusive of the present, whereas the present perfect involves a period that is inclusive of the
present as well as as the past.

This is why certain types of temporal expressions cannot occur with one or other of them. For
instance, yesterday, last night, four weeks ago and the like indicate times that are entirely in the past
and are hence incompatible with the present perfect, which is complemented by at present, as yet,
so far, since my birthday. Some adverbials cooccur with the present perfect and not with the simple
past. They include the adverb since (I havent seen her since 1989 ); prepositional phrases and
clauses introduced by since (since Monday; since I met you ); and the phrases till/up to now and so
far.

Greenbaum & Quirk distinguish three main types of present perfect uses: first, the state present
perfect, second, the event present perfect and third, the habitual present perfect.

(1) First of all, the state present is related to stative verb senses which, often, have no
definite time reference (i.e. Ive always liked Jane) but lasts throughout an incomplete
period by means of time expressions such as for, since, all day/night/week, all my life,
all the time, always, lately, never, recently. It involves a past inclusive of the present
which is well suited to situations beginning in the past and lasting through to the present
(i.e. Markus has lived in Madrid since 1980 = He is still living there ). Moreover, these
actions usually continue past the time of speaking in the present (i.e. He has lived here
all his life=and is likely to continue living).

But this explanation is not restricted to such cases but many others. For instance, recent
actions in the present perfect often have results in the present (i.e. Tom has had an
accident=Hes probably in the hospital). Thus, in the sentences I have lost my car
keys and The lift has broken down the loosing of the keys and the lift failure took
place in the past but the sentence refers to a present state of affairs resulting from it, that
is, someone is still looking for the car keys and other people have to use the stairs.

However, note that sometimes the action finishes at the time of speaking. For instance,
on meeting someone: Hi, Ann! - Hi, Lenna! I havent seen you for ages (=but I see
you now).

(2) The event present perfect is related to dynamic verb senses to refer to one or more
events that have occurred at some time within the period leading up to the present, that
is, actions occurring in an incomplete period of time (i.e. today, this morning, this year,

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lately, recently, etc) which imply that the action happened or didnt happen at some
undefined time during this period (i.e. Have you seen him today?=at any time today).
Two main cases are distinguished:

(a) first, when the implicit time period (occurred at some more remote time in the
past) leads the events up to the present (i.e. She has never eaten oysters/Have
you ever seen any live concert?). Similarly, we may also convey the same
meaning by using always, occasionally, often, several times, since + a point in
time (i.e. since 1978), since + clause (i.e. since I was born), or since as adverb
(i.e. I havent seen her since).
(b) Second, when the events are reported as news, usually when they have occurred
shortly before the present time (i.e. The Democrats have won the elections=
recently). These past events are related to the present by their recency and
current news value (i.e. The euro has been devalued by 30%). However, in
most cases the time is not mentioned ( i.e. this year).

(3) The habitual present perfect is also used with dynamic verb senses and refer to past
events that repeatedly occur up to and including the present. This type of present perfect
refers to actions which occur further back in the past, provided the connexion with the
present is still maintained, that is that the action could be repeated in the present, for
instance My grandfather has seen wolves in the forest (=He used to see wolves there
and it is still possible to see the m), Ive been reading only horror novels (=till now),
The magazine has been published every two weeks (=since a specific point in time).

Unlike the simple past, the present perfect does not normally cooccur with adverbials
that indicate a specific point or period of time in the past. Compare John wrote a novel
last year (right) vs. John has written a novel last year (wrong).

5.2.1.2. The past perfect.

The past perfect (or also know as pluperfect) is defined as the past equivalent of the present
perfect which represents the past of the simple past, and refers to a time earlier than that indicated
by the simple past (i.e. They had arrived before we realized it was too late). In general, we
distinguish three main general uses:

(1) First, the past perfect can be used similarly for an action which began before the time of
speaking in the past, and (a) was still continuing at that time (i.e. Ann had worked in that
factory for sixty years); (b) stopped at that time or just before it (i.e. Ann, who had worked
in that factory for sixty years, suddenly disappeared); and (c) for an action which stopped
some time before the time of speaking (i.e. She had studied Law in Salamanca for ten years
and then she retired and married).

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(2) Second, the past perfect is also the past equivalent of the simple past tense, and is used
when the narrator or subject looks back on earlier action from a certain point in the past
(Thomson & Martinet, 1986), as in Sarah was eighteen when our story begins. Her father
had served in the army for twenty years and her mother had died two years before and
since then she had lived alone. Note that if we merely give the events in the order in which
they occurred, no past perfect is necessary (i.e. Sarahs father served in the army and her
mother died two years ago) as well as if if the time relationship between the given
situations is clear (the simple past and the past perfect) in such cases, as in the previous
example.

(3) Yet, there is another special use analogous to that of the simple past: when the past perfect
also represents the past of the present perfect, for instance, compare She has lived in
London since she was born vs. She had lived in London since she was born. Note that
whereas the former sentence implies that she still lives in London, the latter entails that she

Moreover, Greenbaum & Quirk (1990) distinguish three special uses of the past perfect: (1)
backshifting in indirect reported speech, (2) the attitudinal past perfect and (3) the hypothetical past
perfect:

(4) Next, the use of past perfect in backshifting within indirect speech constructions which
gives only the content expressed, not the actual words used. Compare Jane said: James
had two cats vs. Jane said that James had had two cats where it indicates a backshift into
the more remote past.

(5) Then, the attitudinal past perfect refers more politely than the simple past to a present state
of mind (i.e. I had wondered who you are ). And finally, the hypotheticl past makes
reference to subordinate clauses, especially conditio nal clauses (second type) introduced by
if, as if, as though, it is time, if only, wish, would sooner/rather, etc so as to convey the idea
of an unreal past and the opposite to the belief, expectation or wish of the speaker (i.e. If
you knew him, you would be surprised/I wish I had more money).

(6) The hypothetical past (or actual remoteness according to Huddleston) is given by
conditional sentences where we find past perfect tenses (third conditional) to imply that the
situation did not occur (i.e. If I had been there, you would not have left).

5.2.2. The progressive aspect and be.

Regarding the aspectual meaning of progressive be, we must point out that the verb be takes a
present-participial complement when it is catenative (i.e. writing a letter: she is writing a letter), by
means of the structure of progressive construction be + present participle inflection (-ing).
According to Quirk & Greenbaums classification of present tense types (1973), the progressive

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aspect is to be presented in opposition to the present simple as a limited present tense which
indicates that the action is viewed as in progress and has a limited duration (i.e. He is singing now/
at the moment/ today).

Progressive be is so called because its basic meaning is that it presents the situation as being in
progress at a particular time. This implies that it is conceived of as taking place, thus as having a
more or less dynamic character, rather than being wholly static. The situation is seen not in its
temporal totality, but at some point or period within it, that is, that the situation has limited duration,
and that it is not necessarily complete.

Following Huddleston (1988), in English there are quite a number of items that express the
aspectual meanings of progressive which, unlike the perfect aspect of have, can head the
complement of various other aspectual verbs, such as begin, stop, etc. Most of them are catenative
verbs, that is, lexical verbs which express beginning or end such as begin, finish, commence, start,
stop, cease, use, start, continue, be, have, carry on and keep on. Aspectual meaning involves not the
temporal location of the situation, but rather its temporal flow or segmentation, in other words,
focusing in the initial and final segments: beginning (begin) and end (stop). With some other verbs
indicate the situation is presented as ongoing, usually with repetition (keep, be, carry on, keep on,
etc).

Now let us move on to an analysis of the progressive aspect regarding the present and past tenses.
This analysis will be carried out simultaneously since the two constructions only differ, first, in
using different tense inflections (present: am, is, are, being; past: was being, were being) and,
secondly, in their semantic meaning, that is, referring to present and past actions which are taking
place at the moment of speaking. But before, we shall review an important point, the verb senses in
relation to the progressive aspect.

5.2.2.1. Static vs. dynamic verb senses.

This static or dynamic character is found in special cases which are related to verb senses and the
progressive aspect by means of which verbs are namely classified into stative, dynamic and stance
senses, being the latter a mix of the two former ones. Thus,

(a) we should note that certain verbs denoting clearly static situation are virtually
excluded from heading the complement of progressive be, such as belong, consist,
contain, possess, etc. Thus while It belongs to me is perfectly natural, It is
belonging to me is not, and so on.

So, stative verbs refer to (i) states of being and having (i.e. be, contain, have,
resemble, etc); (ii) intellectual states (i.e. know, realize, think, understand, believe,
etc); (iii) states of emotion or attitude (i.e. disagree, dislike, like, want, etc ); (iv)

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states of perception (i.e. taste, see, smell, hear, feel); and (v) states of bodily
sensation (i.e. feel sick, ache, hurt, itch, etc).

(b) Secondly, dynamic verbs are classified into two main types: durative and punctual.
On the one hand, (1) dynamic durative verbs are usually taking place over a period
of time as in (i) activities performed by inanimate forces (i.e. wind:blow,
engine:run, rain:fall down, etc); or (ii) by animate agents (i.e. sing, dance, eat,
drink, play, etc); (iii) processes denoting change of state which are taking place
over a period (i.e. change, widen, grow, etc ); and (iv) accomplishments as actions
or activities that have the goal or endpoint (i.e. finish a book, read the newspaper,
write an essay, etc).

On the other hand, (2) dynamic punctual verbs have little or no duration in (i)
momentary events and acts (i.e. jump, knock, tap, nod, etc) which indicate repetition
when expressed by the progressive aspect (i.e. He was nodding); and (ii)
transitional events an acts (i.e. land, leave, stop , arrive, etc) which, again, when
expressed in the progressive, refer to a period leading up to the change of state (i.e.
the bus is arriving at the station).

(c) Third, stance verbs may be used with either the progressive or the nonprogressive
forms, often with little to choose between the variants (i.e. lie, live, sit, stand, etc).
When used with the nonprogressive (i.e. He lives in Oslo ) it expresses a permanent
state whereas when used with the progressive (i.e. He is living in Oslo), it denotes a
temporary state.

(d) And finally, just mention some special cases. Note that certain verbs, although the
verb is non-progressive, as in rain (i.e. It rained), denote a dynamic situation and
is presented in its totality, as an event.

5.2.2.2. The present and past continuous.

Since the past tense can be used as a past equivalent of the present continuous in order to describe
actions which continued or continues for some time, we shall analyse them following the general
classification of progressive aspect that Greenbaum & Quirk (1990) propose. Then, we shall
distinguish three main types of progressive: the event progressive and the habitual progressive, and
stative verbs which become dynamic in the progressive since the stative sense does not occur (i.e. I
am/was liking your brother).

(1) First of all, we shall refer to those verbs which are normally stative but become
dynamic when used in the progressive. They may indicate a type of behaviour with
limited duration (i.e. They were being quite rude). Note that verb expressing emotion or

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attitude, which are ordinarily stative, denote tentativeness when they occur in the
progressive (i.e. I am/was wondering whether you would come).
(2) The event progressive is related to dynamic verb senses to refer to events or situations
that have duration and are not completed (i.e. I am/was dancing like cracy last night).
Whereas the simple past cannot replace the past progressive (danced-was dancing)
because they are not compatible in meaning, the present progressive is more commonly
used than the simple present for situations in present time, because present events are
usually considered to have some duration (i.e. What is he doing? He is writing an e-
mail).
(3) The habitual progressive is also used with dynamic verb senses and refer to events that
repeatedly occur and take place over a limited period of time (i.e. My grandma is/was
telling some ghost stories ) in contrast with the simple present and past tenses (i.e. My
grandma tells/told some ghost stories). Again, whereas the progressive implies
temporariness, the simple tense implies permanence.

5.3. The perfect progressive aspect.

The perfect progressive aspect is namely drawn by the combination, in the same verb phrase of the
perfect and progressive aspects (i.e. He has been working) and, at the same time, the features of
meaning features associated with each aspect are also combined in order to refer to a temporary
situation leading up to the present when the perfect auxiliary is present tense has or have (i.e.
She has been studying up to now-). This combination also conveys the sense of a situation in
progress with limited duration (i.e. I have been listening to music with my cousin) in contrast to
those which have nonprogressive sense (i.e. I have listened to music with my cousin ).

If the perfect progressive sense is combined with accomplishment predications or process


predications, that is, actions or activities that have an endpoint, then the verb phrase conveys the
possibility of incompleteness (i.e. I have been cleaning my car=the job may not be finished) in
contrast to the present perfect simple (i.e. I have cleaned my car=completed action near the
present).

Moreover, the present perfect progressive may be used with dynamic verb senses to refer to a
temporary habit up to the present, occurring repeatedly and with possible continuity into the future
(i.e. Ronaldo has been scoring many goals=this season, but he will probably score more).

Note the possibility for the perfect progressive to combine with the past tense and with modals.
When combined wigh the past tense (i.e. The children had been swimming for over a week ), the
temporary event leads up to some point in the past. However, when combined with modals (i.e. By
Sunday, we will have been dancing for three days at the danc e contest), the temporary state is
earlier than the time in the future indicated by Sunday. It is important to note that these
combinations need not presupose an earlier time, and it can therefore be acompanied by an
adverbial of position (i.e. He had been dancing last Sunday).

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5.4. Spelling, phonology and syntax.

First, with respect to (1) the progressive aspect in the constructions of progressive forms, both
present and past, the most relevant comments on spelling are for the ing participle morpheme
which is always realized as /i+nasal n/ (i.e. playing, nodding, kissing). Moreover, before the ending
ing, the base undergoes the following changes: (1) doubling of final consonant (i.e. hugging,
nodding, admitting); (2) doubling of final l (i.e. travelling, quarrelling, , expelling); and (3) the
final c is changed into ck (i.e. trafficking, bivouacking, picnicking).

In addition, the spelling of the base is affected in the following cases: (1) when mute e is dropped
in final position (i.e. change -changing, have-having, take-taking). In this case we must bear in mind
the following exceptions: age-ageing, dye-dyeing, hoe-hoeing, singe-singeing; and (2) when the
final ie changes into y (i.e. die-dying, lie-lying, tie -tying, vie -vying).

Regarding pronunciation, we must pay special attention to contracted forms, for instance, is and
are which become isnt /iznt/ and arent /a:nt/, this latter one causing pronunciation problems
especially for Spanish students, who tend to pronounce the r as well.

On the other hand, with respect to (2) the perfect aspect in the constructions of perfect forms, both
present and past, the most relevant comments on spelling are analogous to those made on the simple
past tense since we have the construction has/have/had + participle forms (either regular, -ed, or
irregular). Thus, first of all, regarding morphology, the regular spelling of the past tense and ed
participle suffixes is ed or d, the latter spelling being found when the verb ends in mute e (i.e.
bake-d, love-d, move-d).

Again, in four cases the spelling of the base is affected before the ending ed, for instance, (a) in
verbs ending in a consonant symbol + y, where y changes into i (i.e. denied, fancied, pitied, tried);
(b) in verbs ending in a consonant symbol preceded by a single vowel symbol. Then, the final
consonant symbol is doubled if the verb is monosyllabic or ends in a stressed syllable (i.e. hugged,
nodded, rubbed, stopped, admitted, occurred, preferred, regretted) Note the following exceptions to
this rule (i.e. humbugged, handicapped, kidnapped, worshipped); (c) in verbs ending in l, preceded
by a single vowel symbol, l is doubled (i.e. cancelled, travelled, quarrelled, rebelled, signalled);
and (d) the final c is changed into ck (i.e. trafficked, bivouacked, picnicked ).

Only in three verbs final y is changed into i before the ending d (i.e. lay-laid, pay-paid, say-said).
Note that the latter one (say-said) does not follow the same pronunciation rules that the preceding
forms, thus said /sed/.

Regarding pronunciation, the past tense morpheme ed of regular verbs are realized in three ways:
first, /t/ after bases ending in voiceless sounds except /t/ (i.e. walked, stopped, kissed); second, /d/
after bases ending in voiced sounds except /d/ (i.e. played, sinned, loved); and /id/ after bases
ending in /t/ or /d/ (i.e. demanded, parted, decided).

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Moreover, and similar to the comments on the progressive forms, we must pay special attention to
contracted forms of has, have, had which become almost inaudible in colloquial speech (i.e. Hes
driven too fast/Youve got a headache/Youd better stop). This feature is not especially problematic
for Spanish students when producing oral speech, but when detecting it in others oral speech.

6. THE VERB PHRASE SEMANTICS: MOOD.

In this section, then, we shall analyse the verb phrase semantics with reference to mood. In doing
so, we must introduce first (1) a definition of mood in contrast to modality; (2) mood approached
from two different perspectives: (a) the grammatical view and (b) the semantic view, called
respectively mood and modality. This analysis of aspect includes morphological, phonological and
syntactic comments when necessary.

6.1. Definition: mood vs. modality.

Following Huddle ston (1988), as we must distinguish between tense, a category of grammatical
form, and time, a category of meaning, it is relevant as well to distinguish grammatical mood from
semantic modality . Mood is defined as the grammatical term used to denote the forms that a verb
takes to show the manner in which the action is thought by the speaker, that is, as ordinary
statements or questions (the indicative mood as factual predication), as wishes or recommendations
(the subjunctive mood as nonfactual predication) and finally, as commands and other directive
speech acts (the imperative mood as counterfactual predication).

Mood will approach the speakers attitudes from a grammatical point of vie w which, undoubtely,
needs of a semantic feature in order to amplify the forms that a verb can take to show the manner in
which an action is conceived in terms of attitudes, that is, it needs of a variety of linguistic devices,
lexical, grammatical and prosodic , which are the modal operators. Then, we shall approach the
notion of mood from a grammatical and a semantic point of view in order to review the relationship
between mood and time, tense and aspect.

6.2. Mood: the grammatical view.

As stated before, mood is a verbal paradigm represented by the oppositions indicative vs.
subjunctive vs. imperative within finite verb phrases. Since finite verb phrases have mood to
indicate the speakers attitude in his speech, for instance, facts, wishes or commands, we distinguish
three main moods: indicative, subjunctive and imperative, respectively. Whereas the indicative
mood is defined as unmarked, the imperative and subjunctive mood are defined as marked.

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These three moods are not so clear-cut in English as they are in other languages such as Spanish,
French or Italian. For instance, in English the indicative and the subjunctive forms in the present
share the same spelling (i.e. It is true vs. I hope it is true, respectively) whereas in the past forms,
only the verb be has distinct forms for the indicative and the subjunctive (i.e. He was a sensible
man vs. He would not go if he were a sensible man), although this trend has recently changed into
the duality of usage between was and were. But let us examine the three types of mood.

6.2.1. The indicative mood.

The indic ative mood indicates facts and states concerned with the truth-value of the speakerss
speech, that is, with their attitude . It is mainly conveyed by factual verbs which express the action
as a real fact (i.e. admit, agree, answer, believe, declare, deny, expect, hope, insist, know, report,
say, see, suggest, suppose, think, and understand among others).

The indicative mood can be distinguished by the following features: (1) it can occur as the verb
phrase of independent clauses (i.e. She will cook if he washes up ); (2) it has tense contrast, that is,
distinction between present and past tenses (i.e. He is a doctor vs. He was a doctor); (3) it shows
person and number concord between the subject of a clause and the finite verb phrase, especially
with the third person singular in the present tense (i.e. I/You love but he/she/it loves). Note that
concord is particularly clear with the present tense of be (i.e. I am, you/we/they are, he/she/it is)
and no concord at all with modal auxiliaries (i.e. I/You/He can swim).

6.2.2. The subjunctive mood.

The subjunctive mood is used to express the actions from as subjective point of view, not as a real
fact but as volition or wish and, hence, it is common to find it in subordinate clauses. Traditionally,
we find two forms of the subjunctive mood: the present and past subjunctive, although the
distinction relates more to mood than to tense.

The present subjunctive is namely expressed by the base form of the verb, for instance, be in
contrast to the indicative forms am, is, are. For other verbs, the subjunctive is distinctive only in
the third person singular, for instance, I insist that we talk about it (indicative or subjunctive) vs. I
insist that Ann talk about it. On the other hand, the past subjunctive (or were-subjunctive) survives
nowadays in the forms was and were, so it is not distinguishable from the indicative form any
more (Nelson, 2001).

Greenbaum & Quirk (1990) distinguish two main types of subjunctive: the present and the past
subjunctive. First, (1) the present subjunctive expresses a necessity, plan or intention in the future
and is classified into two main types: the mandative subjunctive and the formulaic subjunctive: (a)
The former one is namely used in that-clauses after expressions denoting demand, recommendation,

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proposal, intention and so on (i.e. I prefer/recommend/propose/it is desirable/etc). Note that this use
is more characteristic of American English than British English. Secondly, (b) the formulaic (or
optative) subjunctive mood is used in certain expressions such as God save the Queen, Long live the
King, Come what may,...;Heaven forbid that, Be that as it may,...; Suffice it to say that... and so on.

On the other hand, (2) the past subjunctive is used in formal style and is hypothetical in meaning. It
is namely used in conditional and concessive clauses and in subordinate clauses after wish ,
suppose and imagine (i.e. If I were rich, I would.../I wish you were here/Just suppose everybody
were rich for one day). In nonformal styles, the hypothetical past (second conditional) replaces
subjunctive were (i.e. I wish she was not married).

6.2.3. The imperative mood.

The imperative mood is the last element in finite verb clauses which expresses commands, orders
and requests. The imperative verb, however, is restricted as to tense, aspect, voice, and modality.
There is no tense distinction or perfect aspect, and only very rarely does the progressive form occur
(i.e. Be preparing lunch when he comes in). Similarly, a passive is quite rare (i.e. Get washed). Note
that modal auxiliaries do not occur at all in imperative sentences.

One of its main characteristic is that it appears in sentences which have no overt grammatical
subject (i.e. Call Tom for dinner!) but makes implic it reference to the second singular and plural
person (you, we). Another relevant feature is that commands may sound abrupt unless toned down
by markers of politeness such as please (i.e. Please, sign here). Even this achieves a minimum
degree of ceremony or a more tactful form of request (i.e. I wonder if you would kindly sign here).

Quirk & Greenbaum (1973) distinguish five main types of commands: (a) commands without a
subject, (b) with subject, (c) commands with let, (d) negative commands and (e) persuasive
imperatives. First, (a) commands without a subject is the most common category of imperatives (i.e.
Come here!); (b) commands with a subject are confirmed when the second person pronoun you,
usually omitted, appears as a tag-question (i.e. Be quiet, will you? ).

(c) Moreover, commands with let are formed by let + us/me/you + bare infinitive to indicate an
objective point of view (i.e. Let us examine this point); (d) negative commands are used to negate
the second and third person imperatives, simply adding Dont (i.e. Open your book vs. Dont open
your book); and finally, (e) the persuasive imperative, which is created to express persuasion or
insistence by the addition of do (with a nuclear tone) before the main verb (i.e. Do lets go to the
cinema ).

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6.3. Modality: the semantic view.

It should be borne in mind that in the relationship of time and tense regarding modality, we are
dealing with just two tenses in English: past and present by means of modal operators. Note that
unlike such languages as French and Latin, English has no future tense. This means that in English
there is no verbal category so as to locate any situation in future time. Yet, futurity is of course very
often indicated by the modal operator will (i.e. He will see her tomorrow).

It is worth mentioning that the will construction, however, does not satisfy the conditions for
analysis as a future tense. Grammatically will is a catenative, not an auxiliary, hence not the marker
of a verbal category. Moreover, will would belong grammatically to the category of modal
operators, which would be mood markers. Like them, it has no non-tensed forms and shows no
person-number agreement with the subject, but carries either the past tense inflection (would) or the
present (will).

And finally, from a semantic point of view, will involves elements of both futurity and modality,
and has the sense of remoteness from the present, thus not immediately accesible. This association
is reflected in the use of the past tense to indicate factual remoteness as well as past time. Now lets
move on to examine the main means to express modality, the modal operators and their main
features.

6.3.1. The modal operators.

Yet, there are a considerable number of lexical items with modal meanings, among which we
include the class of modal operators: may, must, can, will, shall, should, ought, need, and also be
and have in some of their uses (i.e. You are to be back by ten or Youll have to work harder). These
modal operators are used to convey a considerable range and variety of meanings which will
provide a basis for the general semantic category of modality and the grammatical category of
mood.

Modal operators are to be grouped under three headings although we must bear in mind that in the
three uses, lots of sentences out of context, allow more than one interpretation: (1) epistemic uses,
(2) deontic uses and (3) subject-oriented uses:

(1) First, regarding the term epistemic, it derives from the Greek word knowledge and
therefore, its use involves implications concerning the speakers knowledge of the situation
in question: possibility (He may come tonight), certainty (She must be his girlfriend) and
prediction (He will have finished by ten).

(2) The term deontic derives from the Greek word for binding, and in these uses we are
concerned with obligation (must, have to ), prohibition (mustnt, dont have to), permission
(can) and the like. Thus, those most typically used to give permission are can/may (i.e.

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You can have a chocolate); we have must to impose an obligation (i.e. You must be in bed
before midnight); and we have shall to put oneself under an obligation (i.e. You shall have
your money back).

(3) Subject-oriented uses involve some property, disposition or the like on the part of whoever
or whatever is referred to by the subject, as in She can run faster than me , concerning her
physical capabilities, and She wouldnt lend me the money I need, concerning her
willingness.

6.4. Spelling, phonology and syntax.

We shall point out the most relevant features of the three types of mood. (1) First, regarding
morphological features, the indicative mood shows specific morphological markers such as the
distinction between present and past tenses, person and number concord between the subject of a
clause and the finite verb phrase, especially with the third person singular in the present tense and
no concord at all with modal auxiliarie s. The subjunctive mood shares similar features with the
indicative mood except in certain clauses where the s third person singular is omitted. Finally, the
imperative mood shows an absence of subject, except in tag-questions.

(2) Secondly, regarding pronunciation, the indicative mood presents special rules when
pronouncing the third person singular in the simple present tense. With respect to the subjunctive
form, no special mention is done and finally, take into account the pronunciation of the imperative
forms which, for instance, in the persuasive type, do is pronounced with a nuclear tone before the
main verb. Another relevant feature is that commands may sound abrupt unless toned down by
markers of politeness such as please (i.e. Please, sign here).

(3) Regarding syntax, we must point out certain specific structures in the formulaic subjunctive in
certain expressions such as God save the Queen, Long live the King and so on. Moreover, one of the
most relevant syntactic characteristic of the imperative form is that it appears in sentences which
have no overt grammatical subject (i.e. Call Tom for dinner!) and this achieves a minimum degree
of ceremony and a more tactful form of request (i.e. I wonder if you would kindly sign here).

7. THE VERBAL FEATURE OF VOICE.

The verbal feature of voice makes reference to the final verb phrase semantics element, the
distinction between active and passive voice, only applied to sentences whose verb is transitive. The
main difference between the active voice and the passive voice involves both the verb phrase and
the clause as a whole. This verbal paradigm may be combined with the verbal features of tense,
aspect and mood in order to complement the whole number of verbal form constructions.

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In the verb phrase, the passive follows the structure auxiliary be + the ed participle of the main
verb (i.e. takes-is taken, has taken-has been taken, may be taking -may be being taken). At a clause
level, changing from active to passive has the following results: first, the active subject becomes the
passive agent; second, the active object becomes the passive subject; and finally, the preposition
by is to be placed before the agent (i.e. Picasso painted the Guernica=the Guernica was painted
by Picasso).

Note that this prepositional phrase (agent by-phrase) is an optional element and is commonly
omitted when it is an indefinite pronoun (somebody), personal pronouns (I, you, he) or general
nouns (people, everybody). Moreover, sometimes the agent is implicitly understood in the verb
(arrest=the police; correct=the teacher; report=a journalist, etc).

Moreover, in sentences where there is a choice between active and passive, speakers or writers use
the passive for the following reasons: (1) they do not know the identity of the agent of the action
(i.e. A nice advert was launched yesterday); (2) they want to avoid identifying the agent because
they do not want to assign or accept responsability (i.e. The TV has been broken this morning); (3)
they feel that there is no reason for mentioning the agent since the identification is unimportant or
obvious from the context (i.e. The murderer was arrested); and (4) in scientific and technical
writing so as to avoid constant repetition of the subject I and we, and to put emphasis on
processes and experimental procedures (i.e. The report was folded and placed on the table ). Other
uses are (5) to put emphasis on the agent of the action; and finally (6) to avoid a long active subject;
(7) to retain the same subject in later parts of teh sentence.

8. THE RELEVANCE OF SEMANTIC COOCURRENCE PATTERNS.

So, as we have seen, the principal part of the verb phrase is the lexical or main verb. Since the
lexical verb can occur on its own, but it may also co-occur with auxiliary verbs in patterns of
varying degrees of complexity depending on the semantic feature we intend to express, that is, tense
(verbal tense), aspect (progressive or perfect) or mood (indicative, subjunctive, imperative). Hence,
thanks to the combination of all these paradigms, we get all the verbal forms we know today.

We may find two co-occurrence patterns in the English verb phrase, thus a lexical verb + one or a
lexical verb + two or more auxiliaries, out of which many grammarians distinguish a high number
of tenses when grammatically examined (up to thirty two tenses). Thus, the possibility lexical verb
+ one auxiliary mainly depends on the meaning of the second element and from which we may find
six main possibilities. For instance, it may be (a) a modal auxiliary (i.e. John can swim); (b) an

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auxiliary with do 5 which may convey periphrasis (i.e. Does John swim?) or (c) an auxiliary with
do which conveys emphasis (i.e. John does swim); (d) the auxiliary have for the perfective
aspect (i.e. John has swum); (e) the auxiliary be for the progressive aspect (i.e. John is swimming);
and again (f) the auxiliary be for the use of passive voice (i.e. A car was bought by John).

Regarding the second possibility, a lexical verb + two or more auxiliaries, it can range in
complexity from three to maximally five verbal forms, including the lexical verb. Thus, with two
auxiliaries (i.e. may have bought, may be buying, may be bought, has been buying, has been
bought, is being bought); with three auxiliaries (i.e. may have been buying, may have been bought,
may be being bought, has been being bought); and finally, with four auxiliaries + lexical verb (i.e.
may have been being bought) although this type is quite rare.

In those verb phrases which contain a combination of these categories, the suffix is invariably
attached to the verb immediately following the auxiliary which, together with the suffix, realizes the
category in question. It is worth remembering at this point that if there is only one verb in the verb
phrase, it is the main verb (i.e. He believes in ghosts). On the other hand, if there is more than one
verb, the final one is the main verb, and the one or more verbs that come before it are auxiliaries
(i.e. The e-mail has been being (auxiliaries) written (main verb)).

9. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.

The different verbal paradigms dealt with in this study are so relevant to the learning of a foreign
language since differences between the vocabulary of the learner's native language (L1) and that of
the foreign language (L2) may lead to several problems, such as the incorrect use of verbal tenses,
especially because of the syntactic, morphological, and semantic processes implied in these
categories.

This study has looked at the expression of the main verb phrase semantics: time, tense, aspect and
mood, and also to another verbal feature which complements the previous ones, voice, within
lexical semantics, morphology, phonology and syntax in order to help Spanish-speaking students
establish a relative similarity between the two languages that would find it useful for learning
English.

According to Thomson & Martinet (1986), a European student may find especially troublesome the
use of verbal tenses when communicating in English since, first, he has to know whether in any
construction a verb is required or not (i.e. I saw him two days ago I have seen him recently) and,

5
This structure with do cannot contain a modal auxiliary nor an auxiliary of the perfective aspect, the progressive aspect
or the passive voice. However, negative imperatives are an exception (i.e. Dont be taken in).

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second, whic h verbal form to use when certain time adverbs are nearby (i.e. He hasnt arrived/has
been arriving yet).

This choice becomes problematic for our Spanish students when they deal with the wide range of
verbal forms which verb phrase semantics offer. For instance, the most common mistake for
Spanish students, both at ESO and Bachillerato level, is to construct a certain verbal form in English
(i.e. She was studying when I arrived) with serious grammatical mistakes (i.e. Does she be studying
when I arrived?) or sometimes by omitting certain elements (i.e. She working at the office). Often,
they do not correspond literally to the translation the students make.

It has been suggested that a methodology grounded in part in the application of explicit linguistic
knowledge enhances the second language learning process. In the Spanish curriculum (B.O.E.
2002), the expression of time by means of verbal forms is envisaged from earlier stages of ESO in
the use of simple tenses (simple present, present continuous, past simple, past continuous) to talk
about their everyday life or any specific topic, up to higher stages of Bachillerato, towards more
complex verbal forms, such as present perfect progressive, the three types of conditional, modal
verbs and nonfinite constructions (infinitive, -ing forms), and above all, idiomatic expressions in
certain verbal forms (If I were you, I wish I was..., It is said that..., etc).

So, the importance of how to handle these verbal forms cannot be understated since you can
communicate but not successfully, for instance, the intonation in imperative forms may sound rude
if not well toned. Current communicative methods foster the teaching of this kind of specific
linguistic information to help students recognize the main differences with the L2 words. Learners
cannot do it all on their own. Language learners, even 2nd year Bachillerato students, do not
automatically recognize similiarities which seem obvious to teachers; learners need to have these
associations brought to their attention.

So far, we have attempted in this discussion to provide a broad account of the expression of time by
means of verbal forms within verb phrase semantics in order to set it up within the linguistic theory,
going through the localization of verbal forms in syntactic structures, to a broad presentation of the
main grammatical categories involved in it. We hope students are able to understand the relevance
of handling correctly the expression of verbal time, tense, aspect, mood and voice successfully in
everyday life communication.

9. CONCLUSION .

All in all, although the question What is a verbal form? may appear simple and straightforward, it
implies a broad description of the verb phrase in terms of semantics so as to get to the paradigms of
time, tense, aspect, mood and voice which, combined, give way to the whole set of verbal forms we

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know. The appropriate answer suitable for students and teachers, may be so simple if we are dealing
with ESO students, using simple grammatical verb structures or so complex if we are dealing with
Bachillerato students, who must be able to handle more complex verb structures.

So far, in this study we have attempted to take a fairly broad view of verb phrase semantics since
we are also assuming that there is an intrinsic connexion between its learning and successful
communication. Yet, we have provided a descriptive account of Unit 19 dealing with The verb
phrase semantics, whose main aim was to introduce the student to the different paradigms that
shape the whole set of verbal forms in English.

In doing so, the study provided a broad account these notions, starting by a theoretical framework in
order to get some key terminology on the issue, and further developed within a grammar linguistic
theory, described in morphological, syntactic and semantic terms. Once presented, we discussed
each paradigm individually but always in relation to each other not to lose track of it.

In fact, the correct expression of verbal forms, is currently considered to be a central element in
communicative competence and in the acquisition of a second language since students must be able
to use these forms in their everyday life in many different situations. As stated before, the teaching
of them comprises four major components in our educational curriculum: phonology, grammar,
lexicon, and semantics, out of which we get five major levels: phonological, morphological and
syntactic, lexical, and semantic.

In fact, for our students to use the verbal forms properly, they must have a good know ledge at all
those five levels. First, on phonology which describes the sound level. Secondly, since the two most
basic units of grammar are the word and the sentence, they must have good grammatical
knowledge, which involves the morphological level (i.e. the third person singular s/-es,,
inflectional morphemes of past forms ed or progressive aspect -ing, etc) and the syntactic level
(i.e. where time adverbs are placed at sentence level). Third, the lexicon, or lexical level, lists
vocabulary items, that is, different verbs (static, dynamic). Finally, another dimension between the
study of linguistic form and the study of meaning is semantics, or the semantic level, in which
students must be able to distinguish the differences in use of the different verbal forms.

Therefore, it is a fact that students must be able to handle the four levels in communicative
competence in order to be effectively and highly communicative in the classroom and in real life
situations. The expression of these verbal paradigms in form and function, proves highly frequent in
our everyday speech, and consequently, we must encourage our students to have a good managing
of it.

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10. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

- Aarts, F., and J. Aarts. 1988. English Syntactic Structures. Functions & Categories in Sentence
Analysis. Prentice Hall Europe.

- B.O.E. RD N 112/2002, de 13 de septiembre por el que se establece el currculo de la Educacin


Secundaria Obligatoria/Bachillerato en la Comunidad Autnoma de la Regin de Murcia.

- Bolton, D. And N. Goodey. 1997. Grammar Practice in Context. Richmond Publishing.

- Council of Europe (1998) Modern Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. A Common


European Framework of reference.

- Downing, A. and P. Locke. 2002. A University Course in English Grammar. London: Routledge.

- Eastwood, J. 1999. Oxford Practice in Grammar. Oxford University Press.

- Greenbaum, S. and R. Quirk. 1990. A Students Grammar of the English Language. Longman
Group UK Limited.

- Greenbaum, S. 2000. The Oxford Reference Grammar. Edited by Edmund Weiner. Oxford
University Press.

- Hymes, D. 1972. On communicative competence. In J. B. Pride and J. Holmes (eds.),


Sociolinguistics, pp. 269-93. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

- Huddleston, R. 1988. English Grammar, An Outline. Cambridge University Press.

- Huddleston, R. and G.K. Pullum. 2002. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language.
Cambridge University Press.

- Nelson, G. 2001. English: An Essential Grammar. London. Routledge.

- Palmer, Frank R. 1981. Semantics: A New Outline, 2nd edn. New York: Cambridge University
Press. (1st edn, 1976).

- Quirk, R & S. Greenbaum. 1973. A University Grammar of English. Longman.

- Snchez Benedito, F. 1975. Gramtica Inglesa. Editorial Alhambra.

- Thomson, A.J. and A.V. Martinet. 1986. A Prac tical English Grammar. Oxford University Press.

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12.APPENDIX

Appendix 1. Major verb classes: lexical vs. auxiliary verbs.

LEXICAL VERBS Those verbs which constitute the principal part of the verb
phrase: read, think, consider, play, jump, sleep, hear, etc

Modal Auxiliaries CAN, MAY, MUST, SHALL, WILL


DARE, NEED, OUGHT (TO), USED
(TO)
auxiliary of
periphrasis
DO and
AUXILIARY auxiliary of
VERBS Primary emphasis
Auxiliaries auxiliary of the
HAVE perfective aspect

Auxiliary of the
BE progressive aspect
and
auxiliary of the
passive voice

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UNIT 20

AUXILIARY AND MODAL VERBS: FORM AND


FUNCTION.
OUTLINE

1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.

2. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR AUXILIARY VERBS.


2.1. Linguistic levels involved.
2.2. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.
2.3. Major verb classes involved: lexical vs. auxiliary verbs.
2.4. The closed class of auxiliary verbs: what and how.

3. A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO AUXILIARY VERBS: PRIMARY AND MODAL.


3.1. The historical source of auxiliary verbs.
3.1.1. Phonological and morphological changes.
3.1.2. Syntactic tendencies in ME verb phrases.
3.2. A classification of auxiliary verbs.
3.2.1. Primary auxiliaries.
3.2.2. Modal auxiliaries.
3.2.3. Semi -auxiliaries.
3.2.4. Catenative verbs.
3.2.5. Modal idioms.
3.3. Modal vs. primary auxiliaries: main differences.

4. MAIN STRUCTURAL FEATURES OF AUXILIARY VERBS: FORM AND FUNCTION.


4.1. On form: morphological features.
4.1.1. Modal auxiliaries.
4.1.2. Primary auxiliaries.
4.2. On pronunciation: phonological features.
4.2.1. Modal auxiliaries.
4.2.2. Primary auxiliaries.
4.3. On function: syntactic features.
4.3.1. Main syntactic constructions.
4.3.2. Simple and complex verb phrases.
4.3.3. General features of auxiliary verbs as operators.
4.3.4. General features of auxiliary verbs as lexical verbs.
4.3.5. Other specific types of verbs: syntactic function.
4.4. On semantics: meaning .
4.4.1. Modal auxiliaries.
4.4.1.1. Ability: can, could, be able to.
4.4.1.2. Permission: can, may, could, be allowed to.
4.4.1.3. Possibility: may, might, can, could.
4.4.1.4. Impossibility, certainty and deduction: cant, must.
4.4.1.5. Necessity: must, have to, neednt.
4.4.1.6. Obligation: must, have to, need.

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4.4.1.7. Advice: ought to, should, had better, be supposed to.
4.4.1.8. Suggestions, offers and invitations: can, could, shall, will, would.
4.4.1.9. Predictions: will, would.
4.4.2. Marginal auxiliaries.
4.4.3. Primary auxiliaries.
4.4.4. Other types of auxiliaries.
4.5. On use: everyday usage and idiomatic expressions.

5. THE RELEVANCE OF CO-OCCURRENCE PATTERNS.


6. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.
7. CONCLUSION.
8. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

Unit 20 is primarily aimed to examine in English auxiliary and modal verbs in terms of form
and function, namely achieved by means of verbs and other specific structures. It is relevant to
mention at this point that the title may lead us to a misunderstanding since the category of
auxiliary verbs (in opposition to lexical/ordinary/full verbs) encloses a further classification into
primary auxiliary verbs and modal auxiliary verbs. Hence the former are commonly known as
auxiliaries and the latter, as modal verbs as in the title. Then, when primary and modal
auxiliaries are mentioned as a whole, we shall refer to them as auxiliary verbs.

Then, the study will be divided into seven chapters. Thus, Chapter 2 provides a theoretical
framework for this verb class, first, by answering questions such as, first, which linguistic levels
are involved; second, which grammar categories are involved in its description at a functional
level regarding open and closed classes; third, what major verb classes are involved regarding
lexical vs. auxiliary verbs; and finally, what the closed class of auxiliary verb describes and
how. Once this key terminology is defined, the reader is prepared for the descriptive account in
subsequent chapters.

Once we have set up the linguistic framework, we shall offer a general introduction to auxiliary
verbs in Chapter 3 regarding primary and modal auxiliary verbs by reviewing (1) the historical
origin of auxiliary verbs regarding phonological, morphological and syntactic changes; (2) a
classification of auxiliary verbs into primary, modal, semi-auxiliaries, catenative and modal
idioms; and finally, we shall present (3) the main differences between modal and primary
auxiliary verbs.

Chapters 4 will offer a descriptive account of the main structural features of auxiliary verb in
terms of form and function. With respect to the main structural features of auxiliary verbs, we
shall analyse them in terms of form and function namely following morphological,
phonological, syntactic and semantic guidelines. Thus we shall examine form regarding
morphology (verbal structures) and phonology (pronunciation) whereas function will be
approached in terms of syntax (verb phrase structure) and semantics (differences in meaning) in
order to get an overall view of this type of verbs working at the sentence level in assertive and
nonassertive contexts (affirmative, negative and interrogative forms). Moreover, we shall
analyze how auxiliaries work at the level of everyday use regarding everyday speech and
idiomatic expressions.

Chapter 5 presents some general considerations about the relevance of coocurrence patterns of
auxiliary and lexical verbs at the syntactic and semantic level since thanks to the combination of
all these paradigms, we get all the verbal forms we know today. Then Chapter 6 provides an
educational framework for the structural features of modal and auxiliary verbs within our
current school curriculum, and Chapter 7 draws on a summary of all the points involved in this
study. Finally, in Chapter 8 bibliography will be listed in alphabetical order.

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1.2. Notes on bibliography.

In order to offer an insightful analysis and survey on auxiliary and modal verbs in English, we
shall deal with the most relevant works in the field, both old and current, and in particular,
influential grammar books which have assisted for years students of English as a foreign
language in their study of grammar. For instance, a theoretical framework for this type of verbs
is namely drawn from the field of sentence analysis, that is, from the work of Flor Aarts and Jan
Aarts (University of Nijmegen, Holland) in English Syntactic Structures (1988), whose material
has been tested in the classroom and developed over a number of years; Thomson & Martinet, A
Practical English Grammar (1986); and also, another essential work is that of Rodney
Huddleston, English Grammar, An Outline (1988).

Other classic references which offer an account of the most important and central grammatical
constructions and categories in English regarding auxiliary and modal verbs, are Quirk &
Greenbaum, A University Grammar of English (1973); Snchez Benedito, Gramtica Inglesa
(19759; and Greenbaum & Quirk, A Students Grammar of the English Language (1990).

More current approaches to notional grammar are David Bolton and Noel Goodey, Grammar
Practice in Context (1997); John Eastwood, Oxford Practice in Grammar (1999); Sidney
Greenbaum, The Oxford Reference Grammar (2000); Gerald Nelson, English: An Essential
Grammar (2001); Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of
the English Language (2002); and. Angela Downing and Philip Locke, A University Course in
English Grammar (2002).

2. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR AUXILIARY VERBS.

Before examining in detail auxiliary verbs (primary and modal) in English in terms of form and
function, it is relevant to establish first a theoretical framework for this verb class in order to
fully understand the descriptive chapters about them. In fact, this theoretical chapter aims at
answering questions such as, first, which linguistic levels are involved; second, which grammar
categories are involved in its description at a functional level regarding open and closed classes;
third, what major verb classes are involved regarding lexical vs. auxiliary verbs; and finally,
what the closed class of auxiliary verb describes and how. Once this key terminology is defined,
the reader is prepared for the descriptive account in subsequent chapters.

2.1. Linguistic levels involved.

In order to offer a linguistic description of the main auxiliary verbs, we must confine it to
particular levels of analysis so as to focus our attention on this particular aspect of language.
Yet, although there is no consensus of opinion on the number of levels to be distinguished, the

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usual description of a language comprises four major components: phonology, grammar,
lexicon, and semantics, out of which we get five major levels: phonological, morphological and
syntactic, lexical, and semantic (Huddleston, 1988).

First, the phonology describes the sound level, that is, how to pronounce this type of verbs (i.e.
weak and strong forms). Secondly, the morphological level describes how this type of verbs are
formed (i.e. can, could, be able to) and the syntactic level (i.e. how to place auxiliary and modal
verbs in a sentence). Third, the lexicon, or lexical level, deals with lists of vocabulary items
which, for our purposes, are different types of auxiliary verbs: primary and modal verbs.

Finally, another dimension between the study of linguistic form and the study of meaning is
semantics, or the semantic level, to which all four of the major components are related in this
study. We must not forget that a linguistic description which ignores meaning is obviously
incomplete, and in particular, when dealing with the auxiliary and modal verb semantics, since
it is from this linguistic field that we get the major differences among them (i.e. I can swim =I
have the ability to do it vs. I may swim = I am likely to do it).

2.2. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.

So far, in order to confine the auxiliary verbs to particular grammatical categories, we must
review first the difference between open and closed classes. Traditionally, the open classes are
verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs, and are said to be unrestricted since they allow the
addition of new members to their membership, whereas the closed classes are the rest:
prepositions, conjunctions, articles (definite and indefinite), numerals, pronouns, quantifiers and
interjections, which belong to a restricted class since they do not allow the creation of new
members.

However, following Quirk and Greenbaum (1973) and Aarts (1988), the two major types of
verb classes, lexical and auxiliary verbs, belong to two different grammatical categories, for
instance, the former constitute an open class where the latter constitute a closed class.
Moreover, since auxiliary verbs fall into the further distinction of primary auxiliaries and modal
auxiliaries, both subclassifications also belong to the small closed class, according to Quirk and
Greenbaum (1990).

Therefore, when dealing with auxiliary verbs at sentence level, we shall namely deal with
closed word classes within two specific types: primary auxiliary verbs (be, have, do) and modal
auxiliary verbs (can, could, may, might, shall, will, could, ...). Moreover, we also find closed
classes such as prepositions since certain auxiliary and modal verb constructions need of
periphrastic forms to be realized (i.e. He is going to record a CD; you have to clean your car). It
is worth noting that apart from grammatical categories, we may find other specific clause
structures, such as Youd better go now or I am used to getting up early.

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2.3. Major verb classes involved: lexical vs. auxiliary verbs.

Then, the two major verb classes, lexical and auxiliary verbs, are said to work together at
sentence level. First of all, lexical verbs constitute the principal part of the verb phrase (i.e.
come, believe, think, go, speak, sing, etc) which can be accompanied by auxiliaries (i.e. Sarah
may come next week/Sarah may be coming next week) or not (i.e. Sarah came last week ) since
they can also occur in verb phrases that do not contain any other verbal forms.

As we will see, auxiliary verbs may be subclassified first in modal auxiliaries, which namely
comprise the following items: can, may, must, shall, and will. Other marginal members such as
dare, need, ought (to) and used (to) are also included because they can be used both as
auxiliaries and as lexical verbs (i.e. He needs to be careful vs. He neednt be careful), and also
because unlike the other auxiliaries ought and used are followed by a to-infinitive. However,
used may co-occur with do in negative and interrogative sentences (i.e. Did he use(d) to
drive a car?).

2.4. The closed class of auxiliary verbs: what and how.

On defining the closed class category of auxiliary verbs, we must link this notion (what it is) to
the grammar categories which express it (how it is showed). Then, on examining this type of
verbs, it is relevant to consider the ordinary verb class (lexical verbs) since most of its tenses are
formed with auxiliaries, hence the name. Actually, on answering What is it? auxiliaries are
defined as those closed class verbal items which help ordinary verbs form a tense or an
expression, for instance, by combining with present or past participles or with infinitives (i.e.
She is singing; they have listened; we didnt see you, respectively).

An ordinary verb then is defined as a grammatically distinct word class in a language having
two main properties, for instance, first, that (1) they are morphologically simplest words
denoting actions, processes or events which are usually in predicative position and may be
transitive or intransitive, and that (2) the members of this class carry inflections of tense, aspect
and mood if the language has these as inflectional categories. Similarly, it must be borne in
mind that all primary and not all modal auxiliary verbs have inflectional forms (be, have, do;
can, must, might, could , except have to: He has to pay for his meal) (Huddleston, 1988).

Regarding how this type of verbs is expressed, we shall namely deal with two types: primary
and modal auxiliaries which, on showing specific morphological, phonological, syntactic and
semantic features, will be broadly examined in next sections.

3. A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO AUXILIARY VERBS: PRIMARY AND MODAL.

Once we have set up the linguistic framework, we shall offer a general introduction to auxiliary
verbs, that is, primary and modal auxiliary verbs, regarding (1) the historical origin of auxiliary
verbs regarding phonological, morphological and syntactic changes; (2) a classification of

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auxiliary verbs into primary, modal, semi-auxiliaries, catenative and modal idioms; and finally,
we shall present (3) the main differences between modal and primary auxiliary verbs.

3.1. The historical source of auxiliary verbs.

In order to introduce the historical background of auxiliary verbs, we must trace back to the
period from Old English (OE) to Middle English (ME) in which certain changes taking place in
verb morphology affected the paradigms of weak and strong verbs 1 and, therefore, auxiliary
verbs. We refer to (1) phonological and morphological changes; and (2) general syntactic
tendencies in ME verb phrases regarding (a) the function of tenses and moods, (b) the
development of periphrastic or compound tenses and (c) the auxiliarization of preterit-present
and modal verbs.

3.1.1. Main phonological and morphological changes.

The main phonological and, therefore, morphological changes were: first, the levelling of final
unstressed vowels to schwa and the adoption of the dental suffix ed in order to avoid ambiguity
in the distinction of present and preterit tenses; and in the second place, the unstable quality of
inflectional /-n/ in infinitive forms (i.e. knowen) which favoured the general tendency of grade
reduction (i.e. know) by, first, levelling the singular preterit under the vowel of the 1st /3rd person
singular; and second, by eliminating the number opposition within the past2 .

So, as a result, many ME strong verbs became weak due to the analogical adoption of the
distinctive dental suffix for the preterit and past participle, typical of the weak paradigm (i.e.
help(en), helped, helped, helped) while others escaped the process of analogical le velling due to
their high occurrence in everyday speech (i.e. know(en), knew/knew(en), knowen). Yet, in late
ME all remaining strong verbs were affected by grade reduction and the original correlation of
four vowels and four grades was reduced to three (infinitive/present, preterit system, past
participle).

As a result, with this background in mind, we shall find the origin of our two main types of
verbs: first, the preterit-present verbs (modern modal auxiliary verbs) and second, anomalous or
suppletive verbs (primary auxiliary verbs). So, first of all, we find a few Old English verbs that
were originally strong but whose strong preterit came to be used in a present-time sense.
Consequently, they had to form new weak preterits which, still today, retain a dental suffix (i.e.
coude, schoulde).

1
Old English verbs were either weak, adding a d or t to form their preterits and past participles (as in modern love,
loved), or strong, changing their stressed vowel for the same purpose (as in modern sing, sang). Note that the vowel
change in strong verbs is called gradation or Grimms ablaut (i.e. drifan, draf, drifon, gedrifen; infinitive, preterit
singular, preterit plural, and past participle respectively), perhaps due to Indo-European variations in pitch and
stress, which must not be confused with mutation (umlaut) which is the approximation of a vowel in a stressed
syllable to another vowel in a following syllable (i.e. Mann-Mnner in German, and man-men in English).
2
It must be borne in mind that, originally, the usual correlation of a verb corresponds to four vowels and four grades
(infinitive/present, preterit singular, preterit plural and past participle).

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This special group of verbs are to be called preterit-present verbs or, in other words, the main
source for the group of some modal verbs in Modern English which survive in their infinitive,
present and preterit forms (i.e. agan owe, ah, ahte (ought); cunnan know how, cann (can),
cude (could); magan be able, maeg (may), meahte (might); motan be allowed, mot, moste
(must); sculan be obliged, sceal (shall), sceolde (should).3

On the other hand, another group of commonly used verbs developed irregularities and
presented to some extent a mix of alternative present indicative forms from several different
roots (i.e. I am/was, you are/were, he is/was, they are/were). This group of verbs was known as
anomalous or suppletive verbs since they combined historically unrelated forms and included
verbs such as to be (OE beon), go (OE gan), do (OE don) and willen (will, want). For
instance, the Old English verb for be, like its Modern English counterpart, combined forms of
what originally were four different verbs (be, am, are, was).

3.1.2. Syntactic tendencies in ME verb phrases.

Regarding general syntactic tendencies in ME verb phrases which affect to our current auxiliary
verbs, we shall deal with the development from OE to ME syntax which was characterized by
the tranformation of an originally synthetic system into an analytic one, that is, that the language
could not simply rely on case endings (synthetic means) but needed of prepositions or a fixed
word order in the sentence (analytic means).

Therefore, as far as verb phrases are concerned, we must highlight (1) the function of tenses and
moods which underwent the reorganization of historical categories (weak and strong verbs) into
new regular and irregula r classes as well as the reduction of tenses into three (present/infinitive,
preterit, past participle) in the indicative, subjunctive and imperative moods; (b) the
development of periphrastic or compound tenses involving modal and auxiliary verbs in order to
express the perfect and progressive aspects together with the increasing use of prepositions, and
eventually, the development and establishment of passive progressive constructions as the
alternative to the active voice up to present days.

And finally, (c) the auxiliarization of preterit-present and modal verbs together with the
development of auxiliaries, such as the verb to do, which was considered as an auxiliary verb
empty of meaning in the 15th and 16th centuries. Yet, it was not untio the late 17th and 18th
centuries that the use of do became compulsory in negative and interrogative sentences,
particularly when there were no other auxiliaries in the sentence. Other uses of do were its
causative function (to cause, to make someone do somethin g) and the emphatic function (do +
infinitive).

3
The verb willan (wish, want) and its preterit wolde (the Modern English will and would) also became a part
of the present -day modal system although they did not belong to the mentioned group in Old English.

8/33
3.2. A classification of auxiliary verbs.

As seen before, according to Greenbaum and Quirk (1973) and Aarts (1988), we may
distinguish two major types of verb classes according to their function within the verb phrase:
lexical verbs (also called full or ordinary verbs) and auxiliary verbs, the latter category falling
into a further distinction: primary auxiliarie s and modal auxiliaries (see Appendix 1). Note that
in this section we shall also distinguish three more subclassifications, semi-auxiliaries, modal
idioms and catenative verbs (Quirk & Greenbaum, 1990) which are intermediate between
auxiliaries and main verbs on expressing modal or aspectual meaning.

3.2.1. Primary auxiliaries.

The first subclassification, primary auxiliaries, comprises the items: do, have and be, where
do differs from have and be in that it usually co-occurs with lexical verbs only 4 . This
means that verb phrases with do contain only two verb forms, since verb phrases cannot have
more than one lexical verb (i.e. Do you believe him?/ Do come, John!). Moreover, it is used as
an auxiliary of periphrasis (i.e. He does not realize what he is doing/Who did he see?/ Only then
did he realize his position) and of emphasis (i.e. He DOES know what he is saying/ I DID lock
the door).

On the other hand, have and be co-occur not only with lexical verbs but also with modal
auxiliaries, always following the latter (i.e. He may have escaped; you must be crazy). Both
function as auxiliaries of aspect. Thus, have is auxiliary of the perfective aspect when
followed by the ed participle of another verb (i.e. He has written a new article ), and be is
auxiliary of the progressive aspect when it combines with the ing participle of another verb
(i.e. He is writing a new article ). Moreover, be is also used as auxiliary of the passive voice
when followed by the ed participle of a transitive (lexical) verb as in The theatre was built in
1909.

3.2.2. Modal auxiliaries.

The second subclassification of auxiliary verbs, modal auxiliaries, comprises the following
items: can, could, may, might, must, shall, should and will. Other marginal members (or semi-
modals according to Thomson & Martinet, 1986) are dare, need, ought (to) and used (to)
because they can be used both as auxiliaries and as lexical verbs (i.e. He needs to be careful vs.
He neednt be careful), and also because unlike the other auxiliaries ought and used are
followed by a to-infinitive. However, used may co-occur with do in negative and
interrogative sentences (i.e. Did he use(d) to drive a car?).

4
It must be borne in mind that when be, have and do behave as lexical or ordinary verbs, they may
be seen as transitive verbs because of their syntactic features. Thus, be would function as a copulative
verb with an attributive complement (i.e. He is a teacher) whereas have and do would function as
transitive verbs (i.e. I have some birds; He does his homework).

9/33
3.2.3. Semi-auxiliaries.

Thirdly, semi-auxiliaries are said to be a set of verb idioms which are introduced by one of the
primary verbs have and be (Greenbaum & Quirk, 1990). This type of auxiliary verbs has
nonfinite forms ( bare infinitive) and consequently can occur in combination with preceding
auxiliaries or in sequence. For instance, be able to, be about to, be due to, be bound to,
be going to, be likely to, be supposed to and have to.

3.2.4. Catenative verbs.

Moreover, catenative verbs, like auxiliaries, have meanings similar to those for the aspectual
and modal auxiliaries (perfect and progressive tenses) and comprise the following items:
appear to, seem to and happen to. Note that some catenatives are followed by the nonfinite
forms ing or ed participles rather than by infinitives, for instance, start (working), go on
(talking), keep (on) (smoking), get (dressed).

3.2.5. Modal idioms.

And finally, modal idioms are defined by Greenbaum & Quirk (1990) as a combination of
auxiliary and infinitive or adverb. Their main characteristic is that none of them have nonfinite
forms and as a result, they are always the first verb in the verb phrase, for instance, had better,
would rather, have got to, and be to.

3.3. Modal vs. primary auxiliaries: main differences.

Yet, the further distinction of modal auxiliaries (i.e. can, could, may, might, will, would, shall,
should ) and primary auxiliaries (i.e. have, be, do) show important differences as follows:

1. the former are always finite (showing tense, mood, aspect and voice) whereas the latter
have and be have finite as well as non-finite forms (an infinitive, an ing participle
or an ed participle);
2. the former invariably occur as the first element of the verb phrase (i.e. John will travel
to Paris) whereas the second and may occur in initial as well as in medial position in
the verb phrase (i.e. She has travelled / Has she travelled?);
3. moreover, in English modal auxiliaries are mutually exclusive, that is, they cannot be
combined with other auxiliaries (i.e. I shall come BUT NOT: I shall can come) whereas
primary auxiliaries are not exclusive and can be mixed (i.e. She has been playing).
4. finally, it is worth distinguishing the primary auxiliary do from the primary auxiliaries
have and be since it always occurs initially (i.e. Do you dare to do it? ), is invariably
finite, does not generally co-occur with other auxiliaries (i.e. She does her homework)
and finally, it is used for emphasis (i.e. She does write ) and periphrasis (i.e. Do you
smoke?).

10/ 33
4. MAIN STRUCTURAL FEATURES OF AUXILIARY VERBS: FORM AND FUNCTION.

With respect to the main structural features of auxiliary verbs, we shall analyse them in terms of
form and function namely following morphological, phonological, syntactic and semantic
guidelines. Thus we shall examine form regarding morphology (verbal structures) and
phonology (pronunciation) whereas function will be approached in terms of syntax (verb phrase
structure) and semantics (differences in meaning and use) in order to get an overall view of this
type of verbs working at the sentence level in assertive and nonassertive contexts (affirmative,
negative and interrogative forms). Moreover, we shall analyze how auxiliaries work at the level
of everyday use regarding everyday speech and idiomatic expressions.

4.1. On form: morphological features.

Generally, from a structural point of view, the verb forms operate in finite and nonfinite verb
phrases. Yet, it should be borne in mind that modal auxiliaries (will, shall, can, might) are
always finite whereas primary auxiliaries (have, be) have fin ite as well as non-finite forms.
Then, let us briefly review some of the finite and nonfinite verbal characteristics in order to
better understand modal and primary auxiliaries main features.

Thus, finite verb phrases are characterized because (1) they can occur as the verb phrase of
independent clauses; (2) have tense distinction; (3) as well as mood, which indicates the factual,
nonfactual, or counterfactual status of the predication (indicative, subjunctive, imperative); and
(4) generally, there is person concord and number concord between the subject of a cla use and
the finite verb phrase.

On the other hand, nonfinite verb phrases are characterized because (1) they contain a non-
finite form: an infinitive (speak or to speak), an ing participle (speaking) or an ed participle
(spoken/called); (2) they appear as the first or only verb in the verb phrase (disregarding the
infinitive marker to); and (3) because alike finite verb phrases, nonfinite phrases do not
normally occur as the verb phrase of an in dependent clause (i.e. To dance like that deserves an
award, I found him dancing like crazy or Having been insulted before, he was more sensitive
than ever).

4.1.1. Modal auxiliaries.

So, with respect to the morphological characteristics which are specifically applied to finite
forms and in particular to modal auxiliaries, we can namely distinguish three: (1) first, that
modal auxiliaries are morphologically marked for the categories of tense, aspect and mood but
not concord (no s form for the 3rd person singular of the present tense); and (2) second, modal
verbs are always followed by an infinitive without a preceding to (i.e. He might go/I will buy
it).

Hence, the form he can is marked by the category of tense because it contrasts with he could
(present vs. past tense). The rest of tenses are usually to be found in semi-auxiliary verbs, which

11/ 33
paraphrase the base form, for instance, he can, he could vs. he is able to or he has been
able to. They may, in addition, be marked for the categories of mood in contrast with I dont
think he can (indicative vs. subjunctive), and aspect in contrast with She could have lifted it
(simple vs. perfect).

However, concord is not included since in most lexical verbs, concord is restricted to a contrast
between the third person singular present and other persons or plural number (i.e. You go/He
goes), but not at all with modal auxiliaries (i.e. You may go/He may go). Moreover, it would be
incorrect to apply nonfinite forms to modal auxiliaries, either following the base form of the
verb to say He can to walk nor preceding it since the verb form can cannot be preceded by
to.

4.1.2. Primary auxiliaries.

Similarly, primary auxiliaries also take finite verbal features and therefore, share some of them
with modal auxiliaries but not all of them. For instance, they can occur as the verb phrase of
independent clauses (i.e. When he came, I ran out); have tense distinction (i.e. He is vs. He was;
He has vs. He had; He does vs. He did); as well as mood and aspect but in their case, there is
person concord and number concord between the subject of a cla use and the finite verb phrase,
that is, between the third person singular present and other persons or plural number (i.e. You
do/He does), but particularly clear with the present tense of be (i.e. I am, you are, he/she/it is,
we are, they are).

Thus, the form he drives, for example, is marked for all three categories. It is marked for tense
because it contrasts with he drove, for mood because it contrasts with he drive, for aspect
because it constrasts with he has driven or he is driving and for concord because it contrasts
with I/you/we/they write. As we can see, one of the main characteristics of primary auxiliaries
is that they may combine in order to construct perfective and progressive forms (i.e. He has
gone, He was talking too loud).

4.2. On pronunciation: phonological features.

When dealing with pronunciation of modal and auxiliary verbs, the notions of phonological
reduction (weak and strong forms) and that of contracted forms (short and long forms) must be
addressed. As we shall see, they are closely related to each other since short forms are
pronounced differently from long forms, that is, by means of weak and strong forms
respectively. We must not forget that morphological features such as contractions in both speech
and writing (i.e. I am vs. Im) give way to phonological changes in the same word or chain of
words.

Moreover, it must be borne in mind that (1) short vs. long forms correspond respectively to
institutionalized simplified forms and full forms both in speech and writing and (2) weak vs.
strong forms are respectively used in the speech chain when pronounced at high speed and when

12/ 33
pronounced clearly and separately. Yet, these notions shall be examined in affirmative, negative
and interrogative sentences in contracted and uncontracted versions.

4.2.1. Modal auxiliaries.

With respect to the pronunciation of primary auxiliaries in affirmative (or assertive) sentences,
we shall deal with both dualit ies, that is, short vs. long forms and weak vs. strong forms 5 . Thus
the verbal forms can /kaen, k6n/, could /kud, k6d/, shall /Sael, S6l/, should /Sud, S6d/ and
must /m^st, m6st/ present double pronunciation for weak and strong forms but cannot be
contracted; similarly, may /mei/ and might /mait/ cannot be contracted either but only have
strong pronunciation. On the other hand, will /wil/ and would /wud/ can be contracted as in
ll /6l/ and d /6d/ and also present weak and strong forms. Note that the contraction d may
represent either had or would.

We must bear in mind that agreements with affirmative remarks are made with yes/so/of course
+ affirmative modal auxiliary, for instance, There may be a party- Yes, there may. Similarly,
agreements with negative remarks are made with no + negative modal auxiliary, for instance, I
havent paid you yet. No, you havent. Moreover, additions to remarks can be made by
subject + auxiliary + too/also (i.e. Bill could do it and Cristine could too) or by so + auxiliary
+ subject (i.e. Bill would enjoy it and Cristine would so). When both remarks are made by the
same person, both subjects are usually stressed whilel when made by different people, the
second subject is much more stressed than the first.

Moreover, negative (or non-assertive) forms are formed when the enclitic particle nt is attached
to most operators as a contraction of the negative word not and therefore we may find
uncontracted and contracted forms which sometimes show differences in pronunciation. Note
that the final /t/ in the negative contractions is commonly not sounded. For instance, can
not/cannot vs. BrE cant /ka:nt/ and AmE /kaent/; could not vs. couldnt /kudnt/; may not vs.
maynt6 /meint/; might not vs. mihtnt /maitnt/; shall not vs. shant /Sa:nt/; should not vs.
shouldnt /Sudnt or S6dnt/; will not/ll not vs. wont /w6unt/; would not/d not vs. wouldnt
/wudnt/; and must not vs. mustnt /m^snt/.

And finally, regarding interrogative (and also exclamative) forms, we must address to the
syntactic functions of question tags or additions to remarks, since in this environment modals
are presented in their full forms and pronounced as strong forms, for instance, You can do it,
cant you? or If the girls can cheat, so can I! Note that when question tags are said with
falling intonation as statements because the speaker merely expects agreement. However, if the
speaker does want information, the question tag is said with a rising intonation.

5
Since the symbol for schwa is not available in this computer writing, we shall use number six 6 instead
from now on.
6
According to Greenbaum & Quirk (1990), we find nonexistent forms of maynt and shant in AmE while in BrE
both forms are becoming rare.

13/ 33
4.2.2. Primary auxiliaries.

With respect to the pronunciation of modal auxiliaries in affirmative (or assertive) sentences, we
shall deal again with both dualities, that is, short vs. long forms and weak vs. strong forms7 in
their finite and nonfinite forms. Thus the verbal forms of be are: (a) for present, full and short
forms in first person singular: am /aem/ and /6m/ or m /m/; second person singular: are /a:/
or re /6/; and third person singular: is /iz/ or s /z/, /s/. (b) for past forms: first and third person
singular: was /woz/ or /w6z/; and were /we:/ or /w6/ for second person singular and first and
third person plural; (c) for nonfinite forms, such as the base infinitive be /bi:/ and /bi/; the ing
form being /bi:in/; and the ed participle been /bi:n/ or /bin/.

Similarly, we find the verb have and do. For instance, (a) the finite forms of have for the
present tense, such as the full forms has /haez/ or /h6z/ and have /haev/ or /h6v/, and their
respective contracted forms s /z/ or /s/ and ve /v/ or /f/; and for the past tense had /haed/,
/h6d/ or /d/. Moreover, we also find (b) the nonfinite forms such as the base infinitive have,
the ing fomr having /haevin/ and the ed participle had /haed/ and /h6d/. Note that the
contraction s may represent either is or has.

With respect to the verbal forms of do, we also find (a) finite forms for present tenses do
/du:/ and /d6/ and for third person singular does /d^z/, /d6z/, /z/ or /s/; and for past tenses: did
/did/. Moreover, we find (b) nonfinite forms, such as the base form do, the ing form doing
/du:in/ and the ed participle done /d^n/. As we may note, does can be informally
pronounced /z/ as in When does the show start? or /s/ What does it mean?.

We must bear in mind that agreements with affirmative remarks are made with yes/so/of course
+ affirmative primary auxiliary, for instance, There is a party- Yes, there is. Similarly,
agreements with negative remarks are made with no + negative primary auxiliary, for instance,
I didnt pay you. No, you didnt. Moreover, additions to remarks can be made by subject +
auxiliary + too/also (i.e. Bill had it and Cristine had it too) or by so + auxiliary + subject (i.e.
Bill was here and Cristine was so). When both remarks are made by the same person, both
subjects are usually stressed while when made by different people, the second subject is much
more stressed than the first.

Moreover, negative (or non-assertive) forms are formed when the enclitic particle nt is attached
to most operators as a contraction of the negative word not and therefore we may find
uncontracted and contracted forms which sometimes show differences in pronunciation 8 . Note
that the final /t/ in the negative contractions is commonly not sounded. For instance, am not/m
not; are not/re not vs. arent /a:nt/; is not/s not vs. isnt /iznt/; was not vs. wasnt /woznt/;
were not vs. werent /we:nt/; have not/ve not vs. havent /haevnt/; has not/s not vs. hasnt
/haeznt/; had not/d not vs. hadnt /haednt/; do not vs. dont /d6unt/; does not vs. doesnt /d^znt/;
did not vs. didnt /didnt/.

7
Since the symbol for schwa is not available in this computer writing, we shall use number six 6 instead
from now on.
8
We may also find nonstandard contractions in some of these forms, especially in AmE. For instance,
Aint instead of am not, is not, are not, has not and have not, and the special use of arent as the standard
contraction for am not in questions (i.e. Arent I tired?).

14/ 33
And finally, regarding interrogative (and also exclamative) forms, we must address to the
syntactic functions of question tags or additions to remarks, since in this environment modals
are presented in their full forms and pronounced as strong forms, for instance, You are doing it
again, arent you? or The girls cheated and so did you! Note that when question tags are said
with falling intonation as statements because the speaker merely expects agreement. However, if
the speaker does want information, the question tag is said with a rising intonation.

4.3. On function: syntactic features.

When dealing with the syntactic function, we shall address the main syntactic features of
auxiliary verbs by reviewing (1) the ir main syntactic constructions; (2) the difference between
simple and complex clauses regarding their finite and nonfinite verbal forms; (3) general
features of auxiliary verbs when functioning as operators; and other (4) specific features for
both types of auxiliaries when functioning as lexical verbs; finally, we shall review (5) the
syntactic function of some specific types of verbs such as marginal modal auxiliaries, semi-
auxiliaries, catenative verbs and modal idioms.

4.3.1. Main syntactic constructions.

As a rule an auxiliary verb cannot stand on its own since it must be followed by a lexical verb
(i.e. He may come tonight), except in cases where the lexical verb is understood, as it is the case
of other sentence constituents such as question tags in Can Anthony come? Yes, he can
(come). Moreover, regarding present syntactic features, Aarts (1988) states that the verbal
phrase may be constituted by a sequence of one or more verbs where the maximum number of
verbal forms is five.

Note that this type of construction is achieved by means of maximum four auxiliaries + a lexical
verb (i.e. the e-mail was sent, someone was sending it, anyone can send it, it may be sent, it has
been being sent, it may have been being sent -this latter is rare-) depending on the semantic
feature we intend to express, that is, tense (verbal tense), aspect (progressive or perfect) or mood
(indicative, subjunctive, imperative).

In fact, the given answers would provide, respectively, details about the exact point of time in
which the situation happens (i.e. He can do it: present vs. He could do it: past); grammatically,
the appropriate verbal tense form; details about the duration of the action, that is, in progress or
completed (i.e. He is writing vs. He has written); and finally, semantic details about the
speakers attitude in their speech, such as advice, obligation, ability, possibility, etc (i.e. You
should go and see her = advice vs. You have to go and see her = obligation).

15/ 33
4.3.2. Simple and complex verb phrases.

But, let us focus on some syntactic features of simple and complex verb phrases. For instance,
the simple finite verb phrase consists of only one word without ellipsis whereas the complex
one consists of two or more words. When dealing with verb phrase, we deal with finite and
nonfinite verbal forms, that is, combining together to form the modal, perfective, progressive
and passive auxiliaries which follow a strict order in the complex verb phrase.

It should be borne in mind that, while modal auxiliary verbs (or modals) only have a unique set
of finite forms in the auxiliary function, the primary verbs be, have and do have both finite and
nonfinite verbal forms and, therefore, they may function as lexical and auxiliary verbs, having
then other auxiliary functions such as (1) perfective forms with the auxiliary have (i.e. He has
gone, he must have gone); (2) progressive forms with the verb be (i.e. He is talking too loud)
and (3) passive forms with the verb be (i.e. He was visited).

However, although the above order is strictly followed, we find some exceptions, such as with
(4) modal + progressive (i.e. may be visiting); (5) perfect + passive (i.e. has been built); and (6)
modal + passive (i.e. may be visited).

4.3.3. General features of auxiliary verbs as operators.

With respect to the general features of both types of auxiliary verbs (modal and primary
auxiliaries) we must say that they share certain functions in a verb clause at the level of
affirmative, negative and interrogative sentences when functioning as operators. For instance,

(1) in affirmative sentences, they become operators when they occur as the first verb of a
finite verb phrase (i.e. You can lift that heavy box; you are able to do it).
(2) in negative sentences, the negative adverb not (or tis enclitic form nt) is added
immediately after the operator as in He may swim vs. He may not swim and She is tall
vs. She is not/isnt tall. Note that can has a special negative form since not is not
separated from the operator (i.e. cannot).
(3) in interrogative sentences, we find an inversion of subject and operator, that is, the
operator is placed in front of the subject (i.e. They will tell us the truth vs. Will they tell
us the truth?). This inversion construction also occurs in sentences with introductory
negatives or semi-negatives, as in Had I know, I would have gone, At no time was the
seat free.
(4) in elliptical clauses, the role of operators is present when the rest of the predication is
omitted, as in the case of short answers (i.e. Did you like the play?-Yes, I did), question
tags (i.e. She is joining us, isnt she?) or additions to remarks (i.e. We enjoyed the film
and so did they).
(5) regarding phonology, the operator will function as an emphatic form in finite positive
clauses (rather than negative) by means of nuclear stress in order to deny a negative
which has been stated before (i.e. Wont you give it back?- Yes, I will do it). Moreover,
note that when there is no operator in an assertive sentence, the primary verb do is
introduced as a substitute of the lexical verb in any other kind of clause (i.e. You drive a

16/ 33
car=Do you drive a car?) or as an emphatic element (i.e. You never listen to me but you
do listen to your tutor).
(6) No imperative forms are realized in this type of function since they are not lexical
verbs, for instance, we cannot say Can! or Be! (Thomson & Martinet, 1986).

4.3.4. Specific features of auxiliary verbs as lexical verbs.

However, these general rules are quite different when we deal with auxiliary verbs functioning
as lexical verbs since clause patterns change. In this section, we shall namely deal with the
primary verbs be, have and do which are the ones that may change at this point from the
general rule s stated above whereas modal auxiliaries do not change their syntactic function
since they always form their affirmative, negative and interrogative according to the pattern
stated above (i.e. You must, you mustnt, must you?).

The primary verbs be, have and do, when used as auxiliaries, require a participle or
infinitive in order to have full meaning. However, when used as ordinary verbs they are the only
verb in the sentence, be keeps its auxiliary pattern (i.e. He is nice; he isnt nice; is he nice?)
whereas do takes auxiliaries for negative and interrogative (i.e. You dont do it properly/Do
you do it properly?) and have may be conjugated in either way (i.e. You havent a house/You
dont have a house/Have you (got) a house?/Do you have a house?).

Thus, as an auxiliary, be has two functions : first, to form the progressive aspect and second,
the passive. On the other hand, as a lexical verb, it also has two functions: first, as a copular
verb (i.e. She is a nurse) and second, as an intransitive verb (i.e. She is in the office). Similarly,
have functions both as an auxiliary and as a main verb. As the former, it helps form the perfect
aspect in combination with an ed participle in complex verb phrases (i.e. I have studied/You
must have done it very quickly) and as the latter, it normally takes a direct object (i.e. He has no
idea).

And finally, do, like be and have can be both an auxiliary and a main verb. As an auxiliary,
do has no nonfinite forms, but only present and past forms whereas as a main verb, it can
function as a pro-predicate (i.e. Why are you doing that?) and as a transitive verb, especially in
informal speech (i.e. Lets do the washing up!).

4.3.5. Other specific types of verbs: syntactic function.

In this section, we shall also examine the syntactic function of other specific types of verbs
which are said to share all the features of modal auxiliaries but which are often functioning as
ordinary verbs, such as marginal modal auxiliaries, semi-auxiliaries, catenative verbs and
modal idioms. Yet, assertive contexts (affirmative sentences) usually share the same forms for
both types whereas nonassertive contexts (negative and affirmative sentences) differ in sentence
patterns.

17/ 33
Thus, (1) the first type, marginal modal auxiliary verbs (need, dare, used to, ought to) can be
both auxiliary and ordinary verbs. For instance, need as an auxiliary is a semi-modal with the
corresponding sentence patterns 9 (i.e. He need go/He neednt go, need he go?/neednt he go?)
but as an ordinary verb, the negative and interrogative forms change, taking the full infinitive
(i.e. He needs to go/He doesnt need to go/Does he need to go?). As an ordinary verb, it is
considered to be transitive (i.e. They need a new car).

Similarly, dare is also a semi-modal and it can take both auxilia ry and ordinary forms, though
the ordinary verb construction is more commonly used. Note that in the affirmative dare is
conjugated like an ordinary verb both for ordinary or auxiliary verbs (i.e. You dare/he dares/he
dared). while in the negative and interrogative it can be conjugated either like an ordinary verb
or like an auxiliary (i.e. You do not dare/he does not dare vs. You dare not/He dares not; Do
you dare?/Does he dare? Vs. Dare you?/ Dare he?). Dare is also an ordinary transitive verb
followed by object + full infinitive (i.e. He dared me to jump from a plane).

As seen, dare and need can be used either as modal auxiliaries (with bare infinitive and
without the inflected forms) or as main verbs (with to-infinitive and with inflected s, -ing, and
past forms). The modal construction is restricted to nonassertive contexts (namely negative and
interrogative sentences) whereas the main verb construction can always be used, and is more
common.

Similarly, used to is used in both auxiliary and ordinary sentence patterns. As the past tense of
a defective verb, used has no present tense and it always takes the to-infinitive. The
affirmative forms take used for all persons whereas in nonassertive contexts, it may function
as both auxiliary and ordinary verb. For instance, in the negative, we may find He used
not/usednt to play chess or He didnt use(d) to play chess and in the interrogative Did he use
to play everyday?/He used to play, didnt he?.

Surprisingly, ought to does not follow the general pattern in nonassertive contexts and applies
the auxiliary pattern to all its forms. It is also considered to be a semi-modal which normally
takes the to-infinitive although it is optional in elliptical cases (i.e. Yes, I think he ought (to)).

Secondly, (2) the semi-auxiliaries such as be able to, be about to, be due to, be bound to,
be going to, be likely to, be supposed to and have to are said to be under the pattern of the
primary verbs be and have whereas (3) catenative verbs such as appear to, seem to,
happen to and also start (working), go on (talking), keep (on) (smoking) and get
(dressed) shall follow the sentence patterns for ordinary verbs. Finally, (4) modal idioms such
as had better, would rather, have got to, and be to function under the scope of auxiliary
verb patterns.

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4.4. On semantics: meaning.

In this section we shall examine the function of semantics within the auxiliary verbs, that is, the
different meanings they have and their use in everyday speech. It must be borne in mind that
meaning and use are closely interrelated to syntax since they are used in the English language to
form complex structures such as perfective, progressive and passive forms as well as the future
and conditional tense. Moreover, as stated before, they are used to construct negative and
interrogative sentences, short answers, question tags, elliptical phrases and even, emphatic
answers.

However, we shall analyse the meaning of modal auxiliaries and primary auxiliaries separately
since, despite of the fact that they share many morphological, phonological and syntactic
features, they show relevant differences in significance, and in particular modal auxiliaries when
dealing with peoples attitude or personal point of view about events or facts. Moreover, other
types of auxiliaries will be analyzed, such as marginal auxiliaries, semi-auxiliaries, catenative
verbs and modal idioms.

4.4.1. Modal auxiliaries.

Following Snchez Benedito (1975), modal auxiliaries, are traditionally defined as auxiliaries of
lexical (or main) verbs which express different modalities in meaning and therefore, use
(possibility, ability, permission, etc) by means of a reduced group of auxiliary verbs and other
marginal verbs. Within the field of semantics, modals are said to show peoples attitude and
intention towards other people or events through a wide range of ideas, nuances and concepts
within different contexts of formality or informality.

For instance, the meaning and therefore the usage of different modal auxiliaries in order to
express someones attitude or intention depends to a great extent on three main factors: (1) the
relationship speaker and listener has, that is, the level of acquaintance with each other (just
introduced, friends, family, educational links (student-teacher) or any other such as criminal-
lawyer, shop-assistant-customer, etc); (2) the speakers intention towards other people or
actions, that is, the intention to suggest, invite, advise, order, etc when dealing with people or on
the other hand, the intention to express a variety of circumstances when dealing with situations,
for instance, deduction, probability, certainty, truth/falsehood, internal or external obligation,
moral or legal pr inciples, and so on; and finally, (3) the context of the situation, that is, formal or
informal (i.e. Can/May/Could I open the window, please?).

As we can see, modals are included as part of the verbal form system in order to express those
concepts that verbal tenses are unable to express since the sentence meaning is not clear enough.
Therefore, modal verbs will show people s attitude in terms of ability; permission; possibility;
impossibility, certainty and deduction (positive and negative); necessity; obligation (absence or
presence); advice; suggestions, offers and invitations; and predictions (Snchez Benedito, 1975;
Thomson & Martinet, 1986; Eastwood, 1999).
9
Note that as a modal, need takes the forms need or need not/neednt for all persons in the pres ent

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4.4.1.1. Ability: can, could , be able to.

Ability is namely expressed by can, could and be able to when we say that something is
possible in terms of ability or inability (i.e. Cristine can/cant swim) or opportunity (i.e. Cristine
can go to the concert). In the present tense, be able to is a little more formal and less usual
than can (i.e. Anne is quite good at computering and she can/is able to work on
programming). Note that we always use be able to and not can in the context of certain
structures such as to-infinitive (i.e. Its good to be able to talk to you again); after a modal verb
(i.e. She must be able to accept it); and with present perfect (i.e. In the end Ihave been able to
buy my favourite book ). Also, note that for the future and conditional sentences, we also use be
able to (i.e. You will be able to forgive her/I wouldnt be able to do it). Moreover, in order to
suggest a possible future action, we normally use can (i.e. Lets go to the theatre tonight. We
can go together).

On the other hand, in order to express ability or opportunity in the past, we use could and
was/were able to (i.e. She could/was able to play the violin). When meaning that the ability or
opportunity resulted in a particular action, something that really happened, or implying some
kind of difficulty, we use be able to but not could (i.e. He could swim when he was three vs.
He was able to swim 200 km in the competition). In nonassertive contexts, we can use either
form (i.e. It was snowing so the aeroplane couldnt/wasnt able to take off). Moreover, we
normally use could and not be able to with verbs of senses (seeing, hearing, etc) and with
verbs of thinking (i.e. She could see the film/she could smell gas/she could hear everything/and
so on).

4.4.1.2. Permission: can, may, could, be allowed to .

In general, talking about permission is namely expressed by can, may, could and be allowed to
in order to convey the meaning of (1) giving and refusing permission and (2) asking for and
about permission in present and past situations.

First of all, (1) to give permission in the present we normally use can, may or could (i.e.
You can/may/could sit here) and even, some authors (Thomson & Martinet, 1986) include
might as an indicator of permission (i.e. He might go in) although it is not very common in
normal speech but indirect speech and indicates hesitation. Note that may is the most formal
and is often used in impersonal statements concerning authority and permission (i.e. A police
officer may arrest you). Both can and could are used in colloquial speech as an informal
alternative to may but note that can implies the idea of having permission whereas could
implies the idea of condition (i.e. You could use my phone if you need it).

Generally, for permission in the past, we use could and be allowed to (i.e. When I was a
child I could/was allowed to spoil things). However, when a particular action was permitted and
performed we use was/were allowed to instead of could (i.e. I had my passport so I was
allowed to cross the frontier). On the other hand, to refuse permission in the present, we use

and future and in indirect speech (Thomson & Martinet, 1986).

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cant or may not (i.e. Im afraid you cant/may not sit here) but not couldnt which is used
in the past (i.e. We couldnt bring our dog into the pub). It is worth noting that sometimes we
can also use must not (i.e. Dogs must not be brought into this pub).

Secondly, when talking about permission, we sometimes talk about rules made by someone else,
and then we need (2) to ask for permission and ask about permission by means of requests.
Following Thomson & Martinet (1986), to ask for permission, we can use can I?, could I?, may
I? and might I? as possible requests for permission in the present and future. For instance, can I?
is the commonest and most informal of the four; could I? and may I? are the most useful as
they can express both formal and informal requests. However, the latter (may I?) is a little more
formal than the previous one (could I?); might I? is more diffident than may I? and indicates
greater uncertainty about the answer.

The negative interrogative forms cant I? and couldnt I? show the speakers hope for an
affirmative answer (i.e. Couldnt I pay by credit card?- (Yes, of course you can)) but when the
answer is negative, we replace a direct negative by a milder expression (i.e. Id rather you
didnt/Im afraid not). On the other hand, with respect to questions about permission, these are
expressed by can or am/is/are allowed to (i.e. Can he take a photo of you? = Is he allowed to
take a photo of you?)

4.4.1.3. Possibility: may, might, can, could .

We use may, might, can, could to express possibility in general and in this section we will
approach the slight differences among them. Thus, regarding the first pair, although may and
might normally express possibility, the latter slightly increases the doubt. Again, although
both of them are used for present and future (i.e. She may/might tell her husband), might must
be used in the conditional when the expression is introduced by a verb in the past tense (i.e. If
you invited them they might come) and in indirect speech (i.e. He said he might visit us).

Moreover, may and might can be used in conditional sentences instead of will and would
just to indicate the possibility or certainty of a result (i.e. If they see you they will smile at
you=certainty vs. If they see you they may smile at you=possibility). When we say that
something was possible in the past, we can use either may/might + perfect infinitive (i.e.
Where is Tom? He may/might have gone already). Could + perfect infinitive can also mean
that something was possible but didnt happen (i.e. The police could have caught him = but they
didnt catch him yet).

As we can see, may and might present no problems in the affirmative and negative form, but
they do with the interrogative forms since we must use the constructions be + likely (infinite
form) or think, which are more usual than may and might (i.e. Do you think/Is it likely that
the plane will land on time?). Moreover, this pair can be used in speculations about past actions
using the structure may/might + perfect infinitive (i.e. They may/might have been here).

Secondly, regarding could we can say it is an alternative to may and might (i.e. She
may/might/could be at the bank=Perhaps she is at the bank ) in the affirmative form. In the

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negative, though, there a difference of meaning between may/might and could since the
former express possibility whereas the latter expresses negative deduction. For instance,
observe: He may/might not eat that sandwich meaning that perhaps he is not hungry any more
vs. He couldnt eat that sandwich meaning that perhaps it is impossible for him to eat it
because of its size, taste, or whatever reason. In the interrogative we can use either could or
might (i.e. Could/Might she be studying?= Do you think/Is it likely that she is studying?).

Note that in the past, we use the construction could + perfect infinitive to express that
something was totally impossible (i.e. He couldnt have eaten that sandwich). Moreover, we
often use the continuous form may/might/could + have been + -ing to talk about a past
possibility (i.e. He didnt come to the party. He may/might/could have been sleeping).

Finally, can is also used to express general possibility in the present and past only, and chiefly
in the affirmative. Can makes reference to something that it is possible because circumstances
permit it in opposition to the kind of possibility expressed by may (i.e. You can go sailing = It
is sunny, the sea is calm and therefore, it is safe). Moreover, can can also express occasional
possibility (i.e. Oysters can be quite dangerous = when eating them out of date ). Could would
be then used in the past (i.e. They could be quite understanding).

4.4.1.4. Impossibility, certainty and deduction: cant, must.

In the present, we normally use cant when we realize that something is impossible (i.e.
Patrick cant be in Greece now. I saw him at work this morning) and must when we realize
that something is certainly true or we make deductions (i.e. Nobody answered the phone. They
must be out). Note the short anwers, for instance, Do you dare to jump?- Do not insist. She
cant do it and Is she in? She must be. Note that in both cases we increase the notions of
impossibility or certainty by stressing cant and must.

Similarly, in the past we may also use cant + perfect infinitive when we think something was
impossible (i.e. Someone took my money from the drawer. Nicky cant have done it) and must
+ perfect infinitive when we feel certa in something was true in the past (i.e. The window was
broken. Children must have done it when playing).

4.4.1.5. Necessity: must, have to , neednt.

The notion of something being necessary or not being necessary is namely expressed in
English by the affirmative forms must and have to and the negative form neednt. Note that the
absence of necessity is also expressed by the negative form dont have to (both in present and
past forms), though usually discussed under the notion of absence of obligation as we shall see
later. Note that the use of need is not as common as the other two verbs since it may be both
an auxiliary and ordinary verb.

Yet, the verb need as an auxiliary verb, far from denoting necessity, it implies obligation
and is seldom used in the affirmative except when a negative or interrogative sentence is

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preceded by an expression which changes the negative or interrogative verb into an affirmative
(i.e. I dont suppose I need wear a coat = I neednt wear a coat). It is however sometimes used
in fairly formal English with the frequency adverbs hardly, scarcely, only (i.e. You need only
touch one bottom to start watching the video). However, need actually means require as an
ordinary verb and takes the normal regular forms, but no continuous tense. Moreover it is
usually used with an infinitive (i.e. You need to know the exact size to buy him a shirt)
(Eastwood, 1999).

Similarly and meaning but not in form, must and have to also indicate that something is
necessary (i.e. Shell finish school soon so she must think about her future / Were very busy at
the shop. We have to work on Sunday morning too). When we use the past, or the future with
will, we need a form of have to (i.e. Agatha will have to/had to do a lot of work) and also in
other structures such as to-infinitive (i.e. She doesnt want to have to wait for such a long time);
after a modal verb (i.e. He has a sore throat. He may have to go to the doctors); and with
present perfect (i.e. Stephen has had to drive all the way up to North Spain alone).

However, when used in the negative form, we find differences in meaning. For instance,
mustnt means that something is a bad idea (i.e. You mustnt drop the soup) whereas neednt
indicates that something is not necessary (i.e. You neednt apologize for being late). Similarly,
dont have to and dont need to indicate that something is not necessary (i.e. You dont have
to/dont need to do the washing up tonight). Moreover, compare with must not when it
expresses a negative obligation imposed by the speaker or very emphatic advice (i.e. You
mustnt say this to anyone) (Thomson & Martinet, 1986).

The form neednt can be used for present and future. It has the same for all persons. As stated
before, need not far from expressing absence of necessity, it expresses absence of obligation
or the notion of not being necessary. That means the speaker gives permission for an action
not to be performed or sometimes merely states that an action is not necessary (i.e. You neednt
make so many copies. One will do/ You neednt change your colour hair. I like you just the way
you are).

In the past, we use the structure neednt + perfect infinitive to express an unnecessary action
which was nevertheless performed (i.e. You neednt have given me so many presents = thus
spending so much money). If we compare this structure with those of didnt have/need (to do)
we observe that the latter express no obligation, and therefore no action (i.e. I didnt have to
translate that difficult passage from Latin to English).

So when neednt + perfect infinitive is compared with other forms, we find (1) neednt + perfect
infinitive vs. didnt need to and (2) neednt + perfect infinitive vs. could/should + perfect
infinitive. Regarding the former, didnt need to refers to something that was not necessary and
therefore, no action took place (i.e. We didnt need to hurry. We had lots of time) although
sometimes the action did take place even though it was not necessary (i.e. We didnt need to
hurry, but we drove at high speed). However, neednt + perfect infinitive indicates something
we did which we now know was not necessary (i.e. We neednt have hurried because anyway
we arrived late).

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Secondly, when compared with could/should + perfect infinitive there is also a difference in
meaning. For instance, when we use could/should + perfect infinitive we imply criticism (i.e.
You shouldnt have gone to that concert = It was wrong, foolish or dangerous) whereas with
neednt + perfect infinitive we do not (i.e. You neednt have gone to that concert).

4.4.1.6. Obligation: must, have to , need.

As stated before, apart from denoting necessity, the forms must, have to and need also express
the notion of obligation in their affirmative (i.e. I must/have to/need go to the doctors) and,
more specifically , in their interrogative forms (i.e. Must I/do I have to/Need I go to the
doctors?). Note that their negative forms have different meanings, for instance, mustnt means
something is prohibited, dont have to means absence of obligation and finally, neednt
means absence of necessity.

Following Snchez Benedito (1975), the subtle difference in meaning between must and have
to is so insignificant that in everyday speech it is never taken into account and both forms are
used indistinctively (i.e. You must/have to come at six oclock tomorrow). However, Thomson
& Martinet (1986) and some more grammarians claim that both verbs show relevant differences
depending on the person who speaks, that is, first, second or third person singular and the rest of
persons in affirmative sentences.

Thus, (1) the general dichotomy must vs. have to in first person examples shows that the
difference is almost insignificant and very often either for m is possible (i.e. I must/have to buy
some butter). Generally, must expresses obligation imposed by the speaker (i.e. A boy says: I
must tidy up my room) whereas have to expresses external obligation (i.e. Mother to boy: You
have to tidy up your room). Yet, we must take into account that have to is more used for habits
(i.e. I have to do exercise three times a week ) whereas must is better when the obligations are
urgent or seem important to the speaker (i.e. I must tell you a secret).

(2) In second person examples, must shows the speakers authority drawn from family,
professional or any other kind of relationship (i.e. Mother to daughter: You must wear a black
dress tonight=you cant go in jeans to that party/Teacher to student:You must use a dictionary
to do this exercise=you cant do it alone/Doctor to patient: You must eat less fat=or youll get
obesity) whereas have to indicates external authority as fixed and well-known rules to follow
(i.e. You must wear a black dress tonight=at the Presidents party/You must use this
moisturizing cream at night=you will see greater effects in 10 days/You have to arrive in time to
an important job interview).

(3) Furthermore, third person examples show that must is namely used in written orders or
instructions (i.e. Passengers must check in two hours before at the airport/A car must have two
extra rear lamps) whereas we use have to just to state or comment on another persons
obligations (i.e. In this office even the senior staff have to be working by 8.00 am/Theyll have to
send an inspector to investigate the case).

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(4) Other cases include all persons in a wide range of different situations. For instance, casual
invitations (i.e. You must come and see us in Madrid); strong authority (i.e. This mess must stop
now!); suggestions (i.e. You must write to Anthony and thank him for his present); notices or
advertisements (i.e. Everything must go!=Closing down sale ); and so on.

Similarly, for affirmative obligations in the past, we use had to and in this case, the distinction
between the speakers authority and external authority cannot be expressed and there is only one
form (i.e. I had to borrow some money from Chris). With other tenses, we use have to, for
instance, the future with will(i.e. Anne will have to work tonight) and also in other structures
such as to-infinitive (i.e. She didnt have to cook); after a modal verb (i.e. He may have to go to
London); and with present perfect (i.e. Sarah has had to travel alone).

In the interrogative form, both need and must imply that the person addressed is the authority
concerned, that is, when asking for authority (i.e. Need/Must I go?) in opposition to Do I have
to go or Have I got to go? which implies external authority. Moreover, need also implies
that the speaker is hoping for a negative answer (i.e. Need I really go? No, you mustnt).

Other specific verbs referring to obligation are those under examination in next part, that is,
ought to and should. These verbs, apart from denoting advice, can also express the
subjects obligation or duty as in You must/have to/should practise at least three hours a day
or to indicate a correct or sensible action as in This T-shirt is too small. There must/should be
another. One more similarity is that they all can be used in formal notices and on information
sheets (i.e. Candidates must/have to/should be prepared to answer questions on Science).

However, note that there are relevant differences in use, such as that they do not show neither
the speakers authority as with must or external authority as with have to but a matter of
conscience or good sense. Another difference between ought to/should vs. must/have to is that
with must and have to we have the general impression that the obligation is being fulfilled or
that it will be soon whereas with ought/should it is the opposite. This often happens with the
first person but quite often applies to the other persons too (i.e. I ought/should go slowly here
=but he is not going to go slowly vs. I must/have to go slowly here =he is really intended to go
slowly).

4.4.1.7. Advice: ought to, should, had better, be supposed to.

Generally, we use ought to, should, had better and be supposed to to express advice,
convenience or supposit ion although, as seen above, ought to and should may express
obligation sometimes. First of all, should and ought to imply advice and are used to say
what is the best thing or the right thing to do with no difference in meaning (i.e. You look pale.
Perhaps you should/ought to see a doctor). However, they are often compared but the only
relevant difference we find is drawn from their syntactic structure and everyday use, for
instance, first, ought is followed by to-infinitive whereas should is not and secondly, ought
to is less frequent in everyday speech than should.

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Should, apart from denoting advice has another important use, such as being a conditional
auxiliary (i.e. Id like a cup of tea=I should like/I would like). Among other less frequent uses,
we find the subjunctive tense (i.e. It is unnecessary that he should get worried) which is turned
into another structure in everyday speech, thus Its unnecessary for him to get worried;
casuality (i.e. If you should see her, tell her she is wrong); formal instructions (i.e. This bread
should be heated in the oven); suppositions (i.e. He should be here by now, I think); rethoric
questions (i.e. How should I know?); and direct and indirect speech (i.e. Shall I go?- He asked if
he should go).

On the other hand, had better + bare infinitive indicates convenience and is used to say what
is the best thing to do in a situation (i.e. Its cold. You had better wear a coat). Actually, we
could also use should and ought to in this example but had better has a stronger reference
to convenient decisions. In addition, be supposed to indicates supposition and is used when
we are talking about the normal or correct way of doing things (i.e. How am I supposed to live
without you?).

4.4.1.8. Suggestions, offers and invitations: can, could, shall, will, would .

In English, suggestions, offers and invitations are namely expressed by can, could, shall, will
and would. First of all, suggestions are generally given by can, could and more specifically
by shall , for instance, to ask for a suggestion we may use can and shall (i.e. What can/shall
I get Tom for his birthday?) and even should (i.e. Ill tell you how you should do it). Similarly,
we may use could (i.e. We could invite a few friends for our party on Saturday) but the most
usual way of making a suggestion is by means of Shall I + infinitive?(=Lets + infinitive) for
first person suggestions (i.e. Shall I close the window? ) and Shall we+infinitive?(=Why dont
we...?) for second person suggestions (i.e. Shall we go to the theatre tonight?).

Offers are on the other hand expressed by will or can to offer to do something 10 (i.e. Ill take
your luggage/We can take it home). Also, we can use question forms with shall or can (i.e.
Shall we give you the presents now?/Can we give you our presents now?). Moreover, to offer
food or drink, we use would like (i.e. Would you like a drink?) or Will/Wont you have...?
(i.e. Will you have a spare pen?). Note that in informal speech we can use the imperative (i.e.
Have a taste Oh, thanks). On the contrary, if we want to refuse the offer, we would use
wont as a way of strong refusal (i.e. I wont listen to you any more).

Finally, invitations are namely expressed by would and similar verbs used in offers of food
and drink, as seen above. For instance, Would you like to have dinner with us tonight? Or Will
you join us tonight? Similarly, we may use the imperative mood to invite someone in informal
speech, for instance, Come and see us soon or Please, take a sit.

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4.4.1.9. Predictions: will, would.

Predictions are mainly expressed by will and would, for instance, we use will for future
predictions (i.e. I guess she will be tired tomorrow. We have been running for two hours)
whereas we use would for a past prediction (i.e. It was so late and Sarah was still working.
She would be really tired the following day) or a prediction about a possible situation (i.e. Will
you join us on Saturday? That would be nice). Note that we can use shall instead of will
and should instead of would, but only in the first person, after I and we (i.e. I will/shall be
thirty on January/We would/should like to meet your husband). Both forms, shall and should
would be considered to be more formal than will and would.

4.4.2. Marginal auxiliaries.

As we know, apart from modal auxiliarie s (i.e. can, could, may, might, must, shall, should and
will) we may find other modals which are considered to be marginal members (dare, need,
ought (to) and used (to)) because they can be used both as auxiliaries and as lexical verbs (i.e.
He needs some friends vs. He neednt be loved), functioning respectively as intransitive or
transitive verbs.

Semantically speaking, when they function as auxiliary verbs, dare namely expresses
indignation (i.e. How dare you?), need expresses obligation (i.e. Need I go to the library?),
ought to expresses obligation or advice (i.e. You ought to go now/You ought to take care of
you), and finally used to expresses a discontinuous habit or a past situation in contrast with
the present (i.e. He used to smoke so much but now he has given up smoking).

On the contrary, when they function as ordinary verbs, they have different meanin gs or in some
cases subtle differences. Thus, dare as an ordinary transitive verb is followed by object + full
infinitive and means challenge but only to deeds requiring courage (i.e. This competitor dared
me to run faster); dare may have idiomatic uses but we shall see in next section. Moreover,
need means require (i.e. I need a computer); ought to stands for the formal way of saying
should (i.e. You ought to start studying soon); and used to is used to express a past routine or
pattern by describing someones routine during a certain period (i.e. Every morning Tom used to
read the newspaper while having breakfast).

Note that is is often used to describe a succession of actions where used to is replaceable by
would but would cannot replace used to for a discontinued habit, as above. We must
remember that used has no present form so we use the present simple for present habits and
routines (i.e. He often reads the newspaper in the morning). In addition, used may function as
an adjective in the structures to be/become/get used to + gerund with the meaning of
accustomed (i.e. I am used to noise/I am used to working in a noisy place) referring to a
psychological statement. Note in the first, used is an adjective and to is a preposition
whereas in the second, used is a verb and to is part of the following verbal form. To finish
10
We must take into account that will may be also used to express instant decisions (i.e. (The phone is

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with, we must not confuse these forms with the regular verb to use meaning employ (i.e. I
use my computer to work).

4.4.3. Primary verbs.

When dealing with the semantics of primary verbs, we must address directly to the meaning
they have as ordinary verbs since, as stated before, they are meaningless in their auxiliary
function because they require a participle or infinitive in order to have full meaning. Thus,
following Thomson & Martinet (1986) the main uses of be as an ordinary verb are:

(1) To give personal information about people or things (i.e. I am an architect/New York is
exciting).
(2) to express physical or mental condition (i.e. Tom is being foolish/The children are quiet
today) by means of a wide range of paired adjectives: quiet/noisy, good/bad,
cheap/expensive, generous/mean and so on;
(3) to denote age (i.e. How old is this Scottish castle? Its 600 years old ).
(4) To denote weight and size (i.e. I am 74 kilos and I am 1.76 metres).
(5) To indicate prices (i.e. This car is 60.000 euros).
(6) To be mixed with other constructions such as There is/There are to indicate existence
as an indefinite person or thing (i.e. There is a fireman in the building/There is a fire).
This structure is likely to be confused with that of It is. However, the former is
followed by a noun (singular or plural) (i.e. There is much sun) whereas the latter is
followed by an adjective (i.e. It is sunny).

On the other hand, have as an ordinary verb may mean possess (i.e. My grandma has a
diamond necklace); take (food) (i.e. He always has a cup of coffee at five); and give (a party,
a speech) (i.e. He is having a party next week). Moreover, do namely means perform at the
very moment of speaking (i.e. What are you doing?), as a near future (i.e. What are you doing
tonight?), as a habit (i.e. What does she do at weekends?) or in the past (i.e. What did Markus do
last Friday?). We must not forget that these verbs, as ordinary verbs, may may transitive within
the sentence structure.

Yet, we must highlight their use as idiomatic expressions which are part of our everyday speech.
For instance, be can be used as be + infinitive construction to state a rather impersonal way
of giving instructions and is chiefly used with the third person. This structure is extremely
important to convey orders or instructions (i.e. No one is to leave this room=no one must leave).
Yet, note that it disappears in indirect speech when there is a clause in front of the imperative
(i.e. He told us to wait here).

ringing) Ill answer it) as a way of expressing an offer (i.e. Ill wait for you if you dont mind).

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4.4.4. Other types of auxiliaries.

When dealing with the semantics of other types of auxiliary verbs , we shall namely deal with
semi-auxiliaries (be able to, be about to, be due to, and so on), catenative verbs (go on
(talking), keep (on) (smoking), and so on) and modal idioms (had better, would rather, and
so on). Because of their specific syntactic features, their meaning is more related to everyday
use than to merely the semantic field, so we shall analyse them in the following section on
everyday usage.

4.5. On use: everyday usage and idiomatic expressions.

When dealing with modal and auxiliary verbs in everyday use, we cover the field of specific
structures used in everyday speech and idiomatic expressions as fixed sentences in
informal/formal speech. For instance, the idiomatic meaning of Shall I take your bags? as an
offer instead of referring to future; Would you like something to eat? as and invitation and not a
conditional verbal form; May I come in? as a way of asking for permission rather than
possibility; or asking for information Could you tell me the way to the airport, please?.

Yet, everyday usage is clearly expressed by certain types of auxiliaries, such as semi-auxiliaries,
and catenative verbs whereas idiomatic expressions are particularly drawn by modal idioms
because of their specific syntactic structures. Thus, semi-auxiliaries are defined as a set of verb
idioms, for instance, be able to meaning capable of doing anything (i.e. I am able to run 20
kilometres in an hour); be about to meaning close to doing something (i.e. I was just about to
get asleep in the meeting); be going to meaning the intention of doing something soon (i.e. I
was going to call you but you called before); be likely to meaning it is probable that (i.e. She
is likely to win next Olympic Games), and so on.

On the other hand, catenative verbs have meanings similar to those for the aspectual and modal
auxiliaries through such items as appear to, seem to and happen to. Note that some
catenatives are followed by the nonfinite forms ing or ed participles rather than by infinitives,
for instance, start (working), go on (talking), keep (on) (smoking), get (dressed).

And finally, modal idioms are those that comprise a long list of idiomatic expressions which
have no literal translation but idiomatic use. Thus, had better meaning It is better for you to...
(i.e. Youd better go now or he will get angrier); would rather meaning prefer (i.e. He would
rather drink wine than beer=He prefers wine to beer); have got to meaning obligation (i.e.
Hes got to sit two exams in one week); and be to which was explained above, as a means to
convey orders or instructions (i.e. No one is to leave this room=no one must leave).

Moreover, marginal verbs may also have idiomatic meanings, for instance, dare with the
expressions I daresay or I dare say. It presents two different meanings: first, as I suppose (i.e.
I daresay you are pregnant) or second, as I accept what you say (i.e. In England we drive on
the left. Yes, I daresay you do, but in Spain we drive on the right).

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5. THE RELEVANCE OF SEMANTIC COOCURRENCE PATTERNS.

So, as we have seen, the principal part of the verb phrase is the lexical or main verb. Since the
lexical verb can occur on its own, but it may also co-occur with auxiliary verbs in patterns of
varying degrees of complexity depending on the semantic feature we intend to express, that is,
tense (verbal tense), aspect (progressive or perfect) or mood (indicative, subjunctive,
imperative). Hence, thanks to the combination of all these paradigms, we get all the verbal
forms we know today.

We may find two co-occurrence patterns in the English verb phrase, thus a lexical verb + one or
a lexical verb + two or more auxiliaries, out of which many grammarians distinguish a high
number of tenses when grammatically examined (up to thirty two tenses). Thus, the possibility
lexical verb + one auxiliary mainly depends on the meaning of the second element and from
which we may find six main possibilities. For instance, it may be (a) a modal auxiliary (i.e. John
can swim); (b) an auxiliary with do 11 which may convey periphrasis (i.e. Does John swim?) or
(c) an auxiliary with do which conveys emphasis (i.e. John does swim); (d) the auxiliary
have for the perfective aspect (i.e. John has swum); (e) the auxiliary be for the progressive
aspect (i.e. John is swimming); and again (f) the auxilia ry be for the use of passive voice (i.e. A
car was bought by John).

Regarding the second possibility, a lexical verb + two or more auxiliaries, it can range in
complexity from three to maximally five verbal forms, including the lexical verb. Thus, with
two auxiliaries (i.e. may have bought, may be buying, may be bought, has been buying, has been
bought, is being bought); with three auxiliaries (i.e. may have been buying, may have been
bought, may be being bought, has been being bought); and finally, with four auxiliaries +
lexical verb (i.e. may have been being bought) although this type is quite rare.

In those verb phrases which contain a combination of these categories, the suffix is invariably
attached to the verb immediately following the auxiliary which, together with the suffix, realizes
the category in question. It is worth remembering at this point that if there is only one verb in
the verb phrase, it is the main verb (i.e. He believes in ghosts). On the other hand, if there is
more than one verb, the final one is the main verb, and the one or more verbs that come before it
are auxiliaries (i.e. The e-mail has been being (auxiliaries) written (main verb)).

6. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.

The different verbal paradigms dealt with in this study are so relevant to the learning of a
foreign language since differences between the vocabulary related to modal verbs of the
learner's native language (L1) and that of the foreign language (L2) may lead to several
problems, such as the incorrect use of verbal tenses, especially because of the syntactic,
morphological, and semantic processes implied in these categories.

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This study has looked at the structure of the auxiliary verb phrase in terms of form and function,
that is, regarding morphological and phonological forms and syntactic and semantic functions,
all those related by the relevance of usage in everyday speech. This study is mainly intended for
teachers to help Spanish-speaking students establish a relative similarity between the two
languages that would find it useful for communicating in the European framework we are living
in nowadays.

According to Thomson & Martinet (1986), a European student may find especially troublesome
the use of verbal tenses, and particularly modal and auxiliary verbs, when communicating in
English since, first, he has to know the specific constructions a verb needs or not (i.e. I must go /
I musnt go / He must have gone) and, second, which modal verb to use when certain situations
are given depending on the context (possibility, deduction, advice, obligation, and so on) and on
top of that, how to place adverbs in this type of structures (i.e. He can often play chess).

This choice becomes problematic for our Spanish students when they deal with the wide range
of modal and auxiliary verbs and their semantic offer. For instance, the most common mistakes
for Spanish students, both at ESO and Bachillerato level, is to construct the negative and
interrogative forms of English modal verbs as the ordinary verbs do (i.e. Does she be able to
pay her debts?) or to place adverbs within the sentence with a nearby modal verb (i.e. He never
must come alone) or sometimes by omitting certain elements (i.e. She is used to sing in
contests). Often, they make serious grammatical mistakes.

It has been suggested that a methodology grounded in part in the application of explicit
linguistic knowledge enhances the second language learning process. In the Spanish curriculum
(B.O.E. 2002), the use of modal and auxiliary verbs is envisaged from earlier stages of ESO in
the use of simple modal verbs (can, must, should) to talk about their everyday life or any
specific topic, up to higher stages of Bachillerato, towards more complex verbal forms, such as
modal verbs + perfective infinitive for deductio ns (i.e. He must have gone out. No one answers
the phone at home) , past habits (i.e. He got used to + gerund) and above all, idiomatic
expressions in certain modal idioms (i.e. Id rather stay with you tonight).

So, the importance of how to handle these modal verbs cannot be understated since you can
communicate but not successfully because of the relevant distinction of meaning between can
and may or the way of asking for things. We must not forget that Spanish students are likely to
use the imperative form to ask for things rather than using structures such as Can I use the
phone?, Could you tell me the way to the gym?, Shall I copy this? and so on.

Current communicative methods foster the teaching of this kind of specific linguistic
information to help students recognize the main differences with the L2 words. Learners cannot
do it all on their own. Language learners, even 2nd year Bachillerato students, do not
automatically recognize similiarities which seem obvious to teachers; learners need to have
these associations brought to their attention.

11
This structure with do cannot contain a modal auxiliary nor an auxiliary of the perfective aspect, the progressive

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So far, we have attempted in this discussion to provide a broad account of modal and auxiliary
verbs by means of form, function and use within verb phrase morphology, phonology, syntax,
semantics and usage in order to set it up within the linguistic theory, going through the
localization of modal verbs in syntactic structures, to a broad presentation of the main
grammatical categories involved in it. We hope students are able to understand the rele vance of
handling correctly the expression of modal verbs to successfully communicate in everyday life.

7. CONCLUSION.

All in all, although the question What is an auxiliary verb? may appear simple and
straightforward, it implies a broad description of the modal verb structure in terms of form,
function and use so as to get to the paradigms of morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics and
use which, combined, give way to the study we have presented here. The appropriate answer
suitable for students and teachers, may be so simple if we are dealing with ESO students, using
simple modal verbs or so complex if we are dealing with Bachillerato students, who must be
able to handle more complex verb structures.

So far, in this study we have attempted to take a fairly broad view of auxiliary verbs since we
are also assuming that there is an intrinsic connexion between its learning and successful
communication. Yet, we have provided a descriptive account of Unit 20 dealing with Auxiliary
and modal verbs whose main aim was to introduce the student to the different paradigms that
shape the whole set of verbal forms in English regarding their form and function.

In doing so, the study provided a broad account these notions, starting by a theoretical
framework in order to get some key terminology on the issue, and further developed within a
grammar linguistic theory, described in morphological, phonological, syntactic, semantic and
usage terms. Once presented, we discussed each paradigm individually but always in relation to
each other not to lose track of it.

In fact, the correct expression of auxiliary verbs (modal and primary), is currently considered to
be a central element in communicative competence and in the acquisition of a second language
since students must be able to use and distinguish these forms in their everyday life in many
different situations. As stated before, the teaching of them comprises four major components in
our educational curriculum: phonology, grammar, lexicon, and semantics, out of which we get
five major levels: phonological, morphological and syntactic, lexical, and semantic.

Therefore, it is a fact that students must be able to handle the four levels in communicative
competence in order to be effectively and highly communicative in the classroom and in real
life situations , now we are part of the European Union. The expression of these verbal
paradigms in form and function, proves highly frequent in our everyday speech, and
consequently, we must encourage our students to have a good managing of it.

aspect or the passive voice. However, negative imperatives are an exception (i.e. Dont be taken in).

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8. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

- Aarts, F., and J. Aarts. 1988. English Syntactic Structures. Functions & Categories in Sentence Analysis.
Prentice Hall Europe.

- B.O.E. RD N 112/2002, de 13 de septiembre por el que se establece el currculo de la Educacin


Secundaria Obligatoria/Bachillerato en la Comunidad Autnoma de la Regin de Murcia.

- Bolton, D. And N. Goodey. 1997. Grammar Practice in Context. Richmond Publishing.

- Council of Europe (1998) Modern Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. A Common European
Framework of reference.

- Eastwood, J. 1999. Oxford Practice in Grammar. Oxford University Press.

- Greenbaum, S. and R. Quirk. 1990. A Students Grammar of the English Language. Longman Group
UK Limited.

- Greenbaum, S. 2000. The Oxford Reference Grammar. Edited by Edmund Weiner. Oxford University
Press.

- Huddleston, R. 1988. English Grammar, An Outline. Cambridge University Press.

- Huddleston, R. and G.K. Pullum. 2002. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge
University Press.

- Nelson, G. 2001. English: An Essential Grammar. London. Routledge.

- Quirk, R & S. Greenbaum. 1973. A University Grammar of English. Longman.

- Snchez Benedito, F. 1975. Gramtica Inglesa. Editorial Alhambra.

- Thomson, A.J. and A.V. Martinet. 1986. A Practical English Grammar. Oxford University Press.

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UNIT 21

NON-FINITE FORMS: THE INFINITIVE AND THE ING


FORM. MAIN STRUCTURAL FEATURES: FORM, MAIN
USES AND FUNCTIONS.
OUTLINE

1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.

2. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE INFINITIVE AND THE -ING FORM.


2.1. Linguistic levels involved.
2.2. Phrase, sentence and clause structure.
2.2.1. The phrase structure.
2.2.2. Sentence vs. clause structure.
2.3. The clause structure: finite vs. non-finite forms.
2.4. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.

3. MAIN STRUCTURAL FEATURES: FORM, MAIN USES AND FUNCTIONS.


3.1. THE INFINITIVE.
3.1.1. The infinitive: main forms.
3.1.1.1. The infinitive with to.
3.1.1.2. The infinitive without to.
3.1.2. The infinitive: main uses.
3.1.2.1. The infinitive with to
3.1.2.2. The infinitive without to.
3.1.3. The infinitive: main functions.
3.1.3.1. The infinitive with to.
3.1.3.2. The infinitive without to.
3.2. THE ING FORM.
3.2.1. Gerund vs. Present participle.
3.2.2. The ing: form.
3.2.3. The ing: main uses.
3.2.3.1. As an adjective.
3.2.3.2. As a verb.
3.2.3.3. As a noun.
3.2.4. The ing: main functions.
3.2.4.1. As subject.
3.2.4.2. As predicate.
3.2.4.3. As verb complement.
3.2.4.4. After prepositions.
3.2.4.5. As relative clauses.
3.2.4.6. As adverbial clauses.
3.2.4.7. As idiomatic expressions.

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3.3. THE INFINITIVE VS. THE ING FORM.
4. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.
5. CONCLUSION.
6. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

Unit 21 is primarily aimed to examine in English two of the three non-finite forms: the infinitive and
the ing form in terms of their main structural features regarding form, function and uses in order to
provide a relevant and detailed account of this issue despite the fact it is not stated in the original
title.

Then, the study will be divided into seven chapters. Thus, Chapter 2 provides a theoretical
framework for the infinitive and the ing form by answering questions such as, first, (1) which
linguistic levels are involved so as to know where these notions are to be found within linguistic
studies; second, (2) what is a phrase, sentence and clause structure in terms of linguistic units or
constituents of small or larger syntactic structures; (3) third, within the clause structure, which are
finite vs. non-finite forms ; and finally (4) which grammar categories are involved in their
description at a categorial level in clause structure: finite vs. non-finite forms. Once this key
terminology is defined, the reader is prepared for the descriptive account in subsequent chapters.

Once we have set up the linguistic framework, in Chapter 3 we shall offer a general introduction to
these two non-finite forms with respect to their main structural features. The two forms will be
analysed in terms of form, main uses and functions, namely following morphological, phonological,
syntactic, semantic and pragmatic guidelines. Thus first of all, we shall examine the infinitive main
forms (the full infinitive and the bare infinitive) through their uses and functions. Similarly, we do
the same with the ing form, but by introducing the issue with the distinction between gerund and
present participle in order to examine their main uses and functions. Once both of them are stated,
we move on to analyse the main differences between the infinitive and the ing form.

Chapter 4 provides an educational framework for the teaching of the infinitive and the ing form
within our current school curriculum, and Chapter 5 draws on a summary of all the points involved
in this study. Finally, in Chapter 6 bibliography will be listed in alphabetical order.

1.2. Notes on bibliography.

In order to offer an insightful analysis and survey on the form, function and use of the infinitive and
the ing non-finite forms in English, we shall deal with the most relevant works in the field, both
old and current, and in particular, influential grammar books which have assisted for years students
of English as a foreign language in their study of grammar. For instance, a theoretical framework
for this type of verbs is namely drawn from the field of sentence analysis, that is, from the work of
Thomson & Martinet in A Practical English Grammar (1986) and Flor Aarts and Jan Aarts
(University of Nijmegen, Holland) in English Syntactic Structures (1988), whose material has been
tested in the classroom and developed over a number of years; also, another essential work is that of
Rodney Huddleston, English Grammar, An Outline (1988).

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Other classic references which offer an account of the most important and central grammatical
constructions and categories in English regarding non-finite forms, are Quirk & Greenbaum, A
University Grammar of English (1973); Snchez Benedito, Gramtica Inglesa (1975); Greenbaum
& Quirk, A Students Grammar of the English Language (1990).

More current approaches to notional grammar are David Bolton and Noel Goodey, Grammar
Practice in Context (1997); John Eastwood, Oxford Practice in Grammar (1999); Sidney
Greenbaum, The Oxford Reference Grammar (2000); Gerald Nelson, English: An Essential
Grammar (2001); Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of the
English Language (2002); and. Angela Downing and Philip Locke, A University Course in English
Grammar (2002).

2. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE INFINITIVE AND THE ING FORM.

Before examining in detail the infinitive and the ing form in English in terms of form, main
functions and uses, it is relevant to establish first a theoretical framework for these two non-finite
forms in order to fully understand the following chapters since they must be described in
grammatical terms.

In fact, this theoretical chapter aims at answering questions such as, first, (1) which linguistic levels
are involved so as to know where these notions are to be found within linguistic studies; second, (2)
what functions they have in phrase, sentence and clause structure in terms of linguistic units or
constituents of small or larger syntactic structures; (3) and third, which grammar categories are
involved in their description at a categorial level in claus e structure: finite vs. non-finite forms.
Once this key terminology is defined, the reader is prepared for the descriptive account in
subsequent chapters.

2.1. Linguistic levels involved.

In order to offer a linguistic description of the infinitive and ing forms, we must confine them to
particular levels of analysis so as to focus our attention on this particular aspect of language. Yet,
although there is no consensus of opinion on the number of levels to be distinguished, the usual
description of a language comprises four major components: phonology, grammar, lexicon, and
semantics, out of which we get five major levels: phonological, morphological and syntactic,
lexical, and semantic (Huddleston, 1988).

These five levels will offer us a linguistic approach to the infinitive and the ing form in terms of
form and function. However, we must not forget the linguistic fields of pragmatics and
sociolinguistics in order to make us understand the main uses of this type of structures in everyday

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speech. For instance, the former by studying the use of signs and the relationship between signs and
their users and the second, by studying the interaction of language and social organization in real
communicative situations. As we shall see later, both of them are so closely related to the field of
semantics when we have to set up some rules about the placing of infinitive or ing after certain
verbs.

Thus, first, the phonology describes the sound level, that is, how to pronounce the to of the
infinitive and the ing forms (i.e. the weak form of to in You have to go or strong in To go on
holidays is fantastic/the suffix ing in skiing) and so on. Secondly, the morphological level (i.e.
infinitive formation) and the syntactic level (i.e. where to place these two forms in a sentence).

Third, the lexicon, or lexical level, deals with lists of vocabulary items which, for our purposes, are
lists of verbs (i.e. infinitives and present participles). Moreover, lexis deals with the notion of verb
phrase semantics regarding the choice between different types of verbal aspects (i.e. finite vs.
nonfinite forms, progressive vs. nonprogressive aspect, etc), and other means such as other formal
realizations of these notions (i.e. a noun phrase, a verbless clause, a finite clause, etc).

Finally, another dimension between the study of linguistic form and the study of meaning is
semantics, or the semantic level, to which all four of the major components are related in this study.
We must not forget that a linguistic description which ignores meaning is obviously incomplete,
and in particular, when dealing with these two non-finite forms. In fact, it is the field of semantics
which establishes the differences between the use of infinitive and the use of the -ing present
participle after certain verbs where syntactic and morphological levels do not tell the difference (i.e.
Do you remember seeing this man before?= action which occurred beforehand vs. Remember to
switch off the lights before you leave = action which comes afterwards ).

2.2. Phrase, sentence and clause structure.

The distinction between phrase, sentence and clause structure at a functional level is relevant for our
study since both the infinitive and the ing forms will be related to them as constituents, that is, as
elements or grammatical categories into which a sentence can be segmented and which actually
play a role in large syntactic structures (phrases, sentences and clauses).

Then, they will function first, in terms of single units of syntactic description within the structure of
the phrase (noun phrase, adjective phrase, verb phrase, etc) and second, in terms of larger units as
part of the structure of the sentence (subject and predicate) or embedded in the sentence structure,
that is, clauses (subordinate). Following Aarts (1988), these larger structures are, apart form the
morpheme and the word, two major units of grammatical description. But let us examine their
main differences.

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2.2.1. The phrase structure.

The phrase structure is defined as a constituent which can be identified on the basis of the word
class membership of at least one of its constituent words which is called the head of the phrase
(i.e. a noun phrase is a phrase which has a noun as its most important constituent and similarly with
an adjective or adverbial phrase). Note that the other elements show a relation of dependency or
subordination to the head (in noun phrases we find: determiners which are divided into pre-central-
post determiners and modifiers: pre or post modifiers).

However, the factors which determine which of the words of a phrase constitutes its principal part
are not the same for all five phrase types. Thus, in three types, the noun, adjective and adverb
phrase, the dominant element is that which can replace the whole phrase wit hout affecting the
structure of the sentence (i.e. We like medieval stories = we like stories). However, a fourth type of
phrase, the verb phrase, differs from the former in that the essential element, mainly taken from
semantic considerations, cannot replace the whole phrase without causing serious harm to syntactic
structure (i.e. John has phoned Cristine vs. John phoned Cristine).

On the other hand, the fifth type of phrase, the prepositional phrase, differs from the rest in that the
element that gives its name to the phrase cannot be called its head since it cannot replace the whole
phrase. In addition, only one of its constituents is a preposition and therefore, its relation is not one
of subordination but one of government.

Yet, regarding the partic ipation of infinitive and ing forms in phrase structures, we namely find
them in (1) noun phrases as premodifiers although they are fully adjectival in character (i.e. a
sweeping statement; a passing car; moving shadows; barking dogs) as well as postmodifiers (i.e.
We have something to do ); and (2) in adjective phrases when the adjective is followed by an
infinitive clause (i.e. a man easy to persuade; a theory too difficult to explain). Note that they
appear sometimes obligatorily in certain structures, such as too difficult to..., eager enough to...,
and so on. Moreover, in (3) adverb phrases (i.e. He behaved so strangely as to frighten everybody);
and (4) prepositional phrases (i.e. He is very good at playing cards).

Moreover, three types of non-finite clauses can occur in postmodification: infinitive clauses in noun
phrases (i.e. He is the woman to talk to; Our hope to reach the semi-finals was unfounded ),
adjective phrases (i.e. I am glad to be here) , -ing participle clauses (i.e. The gold was discovered by
two men digging a shaft; He received a letter asking him to return to Germany) and ed participle
clauses (i.e. Soldiers found guilty of looting will be prosecuted; the techniques used by the research
team are sound). As the examples show, some infinitive clauses are reduced relative or appositive
clauses (i.e. We have no indication where to look; This is the hotel at which to stay tonight). Ing
participle and ed participle clauses are reduced relative clauses as well.

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2.2.2. Sentence vs. clause structure.

In order to clarify the difference between sentence and clause syntactic differences, we must review
the hierarchy of units of linguistic description when dealing with this duality. For instance, we
observe that morphemes function as constituents of words, words function as constitutents of
phrases and phrases as constituents of sentences. But then, what is the difference between sentence
and clause structure? Arent they the same?

The sentence is actually identifiable on the basis of the relations holding among its immediate
constituents (subject, predicate, direct/indirect object, complement, adverbial, and so on). Yet, the
sentence is placed at the other extreme of the rank scale and regarded as the largest unit of
grammatical description since it does not function in the structure of a unit higher than itself
(Aarts, 1988:79). Moreover, to treat the sentence as the highest unit implies that we do not take
into account larger stretches of language such as paragraphs and texts because this is the domain of
text grammar or discourse analysis.

Once we have assumed that the sentence is the largest unit of grammatical description and that it
does not function in the structure of a unit higher than itself, we are ready to understand the duality
sentence vs. clause by means of two further possibilities. First, when a sentence functions in the
structure of another sentence of the same rank (i.e. I believe that he is quite loyal; what she says is
false); and secondly, when a sentence functions in the structure of a phrase, that is in the structure of
a unit lower than itself (i.e. as postmodifier: the man that came yesterday was a politician; she is
afraid of what may happen here).

Hence, when sentences are embedded in the structure of other sentences or in the structure of
phrases we call them clauses, which usually corresponds to the notions of subordination (or
embedding) and coordination. Note that clauses can have other clauses embedded in them, as in
That she is rich is obvious or The problem is that they have no money left.

Up to this point, we must establish the difference between simple and complex sentences since the
former are sentences in which none of the functions are realized by a clause, that is, a simple
sentence is always an independent sentence which does not contain an embedded (or subordinate)
sentence as realization of one of its functions (i.e. John is a bachelor vs. that John is a bachelor).
On the other hand, sentences involving subordination are called complex and those involving
coordination are called compound (i.e. The conclusion we came to was brilliant vs. Your conclusion
is brilliant but mine is excellent).

Within this context, clauses can be classified in two ways. From a structural point of view we can
distinguish three types: first, finite clauses; second, non-finite clauses; and finally, verbless clauses.
Once we have set up the notions of phrase, sentence and clause within a linguistic framework, we
can continue with our analysis on sentence and clause structures by specifying (1) the functions that
their constituents have in sentence structure by reviewing the difference between finite vs. non-

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finite forms (since it is the latter we shall deal with throughout our study), and secondly, (2) the
categories to which their constituents belong (examined in the subsequent section).

2.3. The clause structure: finite vs. non-finite forms.

In order to examine the clause structure at sentence level, that is, finite vs. nonfinite clauses, we
must examine their main differences in terms of morphology and main syntactic functions.

On the one hand, their main structural features follow morphological and syntactic guidelines. For
instance, first of all, (1) in morphological terms, finite clauses contain a finite verb phrase whic h is
formed by an only word capable of showing tense, mood, aspect and voice (i.e. He always tells me
frightening stories about ghosts=tense: simple present; mood: third person singular indicative;
aspect: simple; voice:active). If this verb is not first in a sequence of more verbs, this would be
nonfinite (i.e. He is always laughing).

Therefore, non-finite clauses contain a non-finite verb phrase realized by an infinitive, with or
without to (speak or to speak), an ing participle (speaking) or an ed participle (spoken/called ).
Yet, any clause in which one of these verb forms is the first or only word (disregarding the
infinitive marker to) is a non-finite form. Alike finite verb clauses, nonfinite forms do not
normally occur as the verb phrase of an independent clause. For instance, To dance like that
deserves an award, I found him dancing like crazy or Having been insulted before, he was more
sensitive than ever.

(2) In general, regarding their main syntactic functions, which is the core of our study, their main
differences are, first, that finite verb forms can occur as the verb phrase of independent clauses
because they always contain a subject and predicate, except in the case of commands and ellipsis
whereas non-finite forms cannot, since they may be constructed without a subject, and usually are.
Note that the base form, which has no inflection, is sometimes finite (i.e. You go to school
everyday) when it takes first position in predication, and sometimes nonfinite (i.e. You have gone to
school twice today) when it takes second position.

Thus, the four classes of non-finite verb phrase serve to distinguish four classes of non-finite
clauses, for instance, (1) the bare infinitive (i.e. He may arrive tonight); (2) the to-infinitive (i.e. We
want him to arrive soon); (3) the ing participle (i.e. living ) as a nonfinite verb in (a) the
progressive aspect following be (i.e. He is living in California) and (b) in ing participle clauses
(i.e. Calling early, I found her in her office); and (4) the ed participle (i.e. lived/driven) as a
nonfinite verb in (a) the present perfect aspect following have (i.e. He has lived in Madrid for ten
years), (b) the passive voice following be (i.e. Her sister is called Angie ) and (c) ed participle
clauses (i.e. Called early, he took a hot bath ).

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2.4. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.

So far, in order to confine the non-finite forms to particular grammatical categories, we must review
first the difference between open and closed classes. Traditionally, the open classes are verbs,
nouns, adjectives and adverbs, and are said to be unrestricted since they allow the addition of new
members to their membership, whereas the closed classes are the rest: prepositions, conjunctions,
articles (definite and indefinite), numerals, pronouns, quantifiers and interjections, which belong to
a restricted class since they do not allow the creation of new members.

Then, as we can see, when taking non-finite forms to sentence level, we are namely dealing with
open word classes, since we are dealing with lists of verbs in the bare infinitive and ing participle
in noun phrase structures (i.e. The driving was no good at all) and adjectival structures (i.e. That
terrifying accident happened yesterday ) and in adverb phrases as modifiers. Moreover, we also find
closed classes such as prepositions when dealing with prepositional phrases although non-finite
forms are not the head of the phrase but part of it.

3. MAIN STRUCTURAL FEATURES: FORM, MAIN USES AND FUNCTIONS.

With respect to the main structural features of the two non-finite forms under study, that is, the
infinitive and the ing form, both of them will be analysed in terms of form, main uses and
functions, namely following morphological, phonological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic
guidelines. Thus we shall examine their form regarding morphology (verbal structures) and
phonology (pronunciation) whereas function will be approached in terms of syntax (verb phrase
structure) and semantics (noun and verbal meanings/differences and therefore, use) in order to get
an overall view of these two forms. Note that the notions of meaning and use (or semantics and
pragmatics) will go hand in hand since it is the everyday usage that gives us the clue to distinguish
them.

3.1. THE INFINITIVE.

3.1.1. The infinitive: main forms .

As stated above, the infinitive may take two main forms: the infinitive with to (more commonly
known as the full infinitive) as in He has decided to go now and the infinitive without to (or bare
infinitive) as in He may leave tonight. Moreover, different types of infinitives will be examined in
next sections when its main uses and functions are addressed.

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3.1.1.1. The infinitive with to.

First of all, the infinitive with to or full infinitive is formed by the preposition (or sometimes
called proclitic particle) to + the base form of the verb (i.e. He decided to leave tonight). Other
frequent structures are so as/in order + to. These structures are used to state the verb in assertive
contexts (to be/so as to be/in order to be) whereas in non-assertive contexts the structure is not +
full infinitive (not to be/so as not to be/in order not to be), hence Hamlets popular statement To be
or not to be. The full infinitive is usually pronounced with the weak form /t + schwa/ within the
speech chain but if pronounced separately and slowly, as in short answers (i.e. Do you ski? No, but I
used to) we find the strong form /tu:/.

The infinitive form, as well as other grammatical elements like nouns may be classified into simple
infinitive and complex infinitive (Snchez Benedito, 1975). It is within the various types of full
infinitive forms with to that we find the presence of finite forms features like aspect (present or
progressive) and voice (active or passive). Thus, the simple infinitive includes present infinitive
(to write), present continuous infinitive (to be writing), present infinitive passive (to be written)
and present continuous passive (to be being written). On the other hand, the complex infinitive
includes all the perfect forms, for instance, the perfect infinitive (to have written), the perfect
continuous infinitive (to have been writing), the perfect infinitive passive (to have been written)
and the perfect continuous passive (to have been being written).

In addition, the full infinitive may appear with or without a subject, where the latter is the most
common one since no elements are introduced between to and the bare infinitive (i.e. The best
thing is to tell him right now). However, despite that fact that it is not normally advisable to put any
elements between to and the verb, we often find the full infinitive with a subject in between within
the structure: for + subject (usually object pronouns) + full infinitive (i.e. The best thing would be
for her to tell him right now). Moreover, we find other constructions such as split infinitives where
emphatic elements (usually degree adverbs) are placed after the to in colloquial English (i.e. It
would take ages to really solve this mystery; shes asking you to simply tell the truth ).

3.1.1.2. The infinitive without to.

Alike the infinitive with to, the infinitive without to or also known as bare infinitive (Jespersen,
1933,1970;Thomson & Martinet, 1986) and plain infinitive (Zandvoort, 1973) is namely
represented by the base form of the verb. Because of its simple structure, it is often connected
syntactically with certain elements in order to form a complete unit, for instance, with auxiliary
verbs, both primary (be, have, do) and modals (can, could, may, etc), idiomatic expressions (had
better, would rather) and certain constructions (make/let + pronoun + bare infinitive).

In addition, it is relevant to mention that the bare infinitive and these structures also form a unit in
phonological terms, that is, regarding accent, stress and intonation within the speech chain (i.e.

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Youd better go; she must buy it), particularly when emphasis falls on the bare infinitive for the sake
of clarity or detail (i.e. I said you must read it, not write it).

3.1.2. The infinitive: main uses.

As mentioned in the second chapter, the infinitive main be used in different contexts depending on
its syntactic sentence structure, but it is namely us ed in certain contexts where meaning has much to
say where form and function cannot tell the difference, for instance, these two sentences: I like
getting unexpected invitations and I like to get unexpected invitations. There is a subtle
difference of meaning that probably a foreign student of English at the beginners level may not
grasp at once, for instance, the former means I enjoy unexpected invitations whereas the latter
means I want/wish unexpected invitations. Therefore, let us examine the different uses that the full
infinitive and the bare infinitive take in everyday speech.

3.1.2.1. The infinitive with to.

The infinitive with to is frequently found in everyday speech with nominal features rather than
verbal implying different meanings in different contexts. We must bear in mind though, due to its
nominal features, it will be used in the contexts of noun, adjective, and in less degree, adverb
phrases. So, the infinitive with to is namely used (Thomson & Martinet, 1986):

(1) as a noun:
at the beginning of a sentence functioning as a subject (i.e. To stop smoking is almost
impossible) or in exclamatory sentences (i.e. Wow! To be on holidays again!);
as the object or part of the object of a verb in predicative position (i.e. He wants to
drink a cola);
as the complement of a verb in predicative position, usually afterbe, become, seem
(i.e. His main goal is to pass the exam);
after interrogative pronouns functioning as a subordinate noun phrase (i.e.
how/where/when, etc + to know) as in I know where to find her;
(2) as a modifier:
after certain nouns or indefinite pronouns (i.e. a book to read, shoes to mend; something
to eat);
after certain adjectives (i.e. easy to understand, glad to see you, willing to finish). In
case the verb is formed with a particle, this is placed at the end of the phrase (i.e. It was
nice to look at);
(3) to express:
purpose or result as predicator complement in adverbial clauses (i.e. He drove so
fast to show off; to speak franklly, I dont like him);
to express commands or instructions (i.e. No one is to leave this building);

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to express purpose (i.e. Ive come to stay). In this case, it may be substituted by
other frequent constructions such as so as/in order + (not) to. Note that when the
infinitive does not express purpose, it is necessary the use of other elements such as
only (i.e. I came at six, only to find you gone);
(4) to join two clauses (i.e. He hurried to my house only to find that it was empty);
(5) to replace relative clauses (i.e. He is always the first to come);
(6) after certain verbs:
as stated before, afterbe, become, seem (i.e. He seems to be tired
after some semi-auxiliaries (i.e. be able to, be about to, be due to, be bound to,
be going to, be likely to, be supposed to and have to);
some catenative verbs (i.e. start/finish + working/to work);
some modal idioms (i.e. have got to, and be to);
and finally, after a set of verbs which express volition, cognition, perception, and so on.
They must be followed by the full infinitive and not the gerund (i.e. afford, aim, allow,
arrange, decide, expect, hope, manage, swear, tend, promise, volunteer, and so on).
(7) within certain constructions such as:
too/enough + adjective/adverb + full infinitive (i.e. It is too dark to see/He is mature
enough to understand the situation);
verb + accusative noun/pronoun + full infinitive (i.e. I want him to come back),
which are subordinated to another part of the sentence, usually a preceding verb;
(8) and finally, as part of idiomatic expressions (i.e. To tell you the truth; He is said to be a
criminal; to be honest, I do not agree with you);

3.1.2.2. The infinitive without to.

Although the full infinitive is the most common form, the bare infinitive is also found in certain
constructions in everyday speech entailing different meanings but this time with more verbal
features than noun ones. Therefore, the bare infinitive is namely used (Thomson & Martinet, 1986):

(1) in certain type of sentences:


subject attributive sentences where the subject is a whole sentence (i.e. What youve done is
(to) spoil everything);
some interrogative sentences which express surprise or doubt (i.e. Help them? Never in my
life; Barbar marry you? Dont be silly!);
in interrogative sentences which begin with why or why not (i.e. Why wait for them?;
Why not go now?);
in answers to questions (i.e. What shall we do if you dont come on time? Begin without
me). Note that in any other case we shall use the to-infinitive as expressing purpose (i.e.
Why did you come so early? To watch the match).

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(2) after certain verbs:
after auxiliary modal verbs (i.e. can, could, may, might, will, shall, should, ought to1 , must)
and semi-auxiliaries (i.e. have to);
with verbs of perception such as hear, see, watch, feel and so on (i.e. I saw him enter)
when the action is done and completed (in opposition to I saw him walking where the
action was taking place). However, note that in the passive voice these verbs are used with
to-infinitive constructions (i.e. He was seen to enter);
the modal idioms (had better/would rather); and modal auxiliary marginal verbs (i.e.
can/need/dare/could/might/may/etc). However, note that in the passive, they take the to-
infinitive (i.e. He was dared to fight);
with some other verbs and expressions that take the bare infinitive, for instance, verb +
noun/pronoun + bare infinitive (i.e. make/let);
and with the verb help (i.e. I helped him cut the grass) although sometimes it takes the to-
infinitive (i.e. He helped me to do my homework);

3.1.3. The infinitive: main functions.

As mentioned in the second chapter, the infinitive main functions are closely related to the functions
of clauses since non-finite forms may only be embedded in the syntactic structure of the sentence by
means of clauses. We must bear in mind that the functions of subject and predicate are two
obligatory parts of the sentence, where both the to-infinitive and the bare infinitive may work (i.e.
To smoke [subject] can kill [predicate]). Then, both the infinitive with to or without to will
depend heavily on the type of clause they represent syntactically and also, to the main uses they
express from a semantic point of view.

Clauses, then, are classified in terms of the functions they can play in the structure of the sentence
where we can namely distinguish the following types: subject clauses, direct object clauses, indirect
object clauses , benefactive object clauses, subject attribute clauses, object attribute clauses,
predicator complement clauses and adverbial clauses (Aarts, 1988).

With respect to the functions that infinitive forms may carry out, Aarts (1988) states that with the
exception of the indirect object and the benefactive object (a type of indirect object), sentence
functions can be realized by both finite and non-finite clauses in which the infinitive forms are
included. So let us examine the main functions that both the full infinitive and the bare infinitive
can take: (1) the infinitive as subject, (2) the infinitive as direct object, (3) the infinitive as a verb
complement, (4) the infinitive after verb + object, (5) the infinitive with subject, (6) the split
infinitive, (7) the infinitive as a connective link and (8) the infinitive as an adverbial clause.

1
It must be borne in mind that the forms have to and ought to are full forms where the to particle is part
of the verb and it is not considered as a part of the full infinitive.

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3.1.3.1. The infinitive as subject.

The infinitive or the infinitive phrase may take the function of subject of a clause when

(1) it is placed at the beginning of a sentence with the verbs appear, be, seem (i.e. To
have breakfast in bed is nice);
(2) or when it is at the end of the sentence as an attributive subject (i.e. To know her is
to love her). We must bear in mind that the infinitive forms have nominal character
so they may function as nouns (To behave like this would be madness). Note that
the ing participle may be also used as the subject of a sentence when the action is
being considered in a general sense (i.e. Saving money seems impossible).
(3) We use the it construction because it is more usual to place the pronoun it first.
Then the infinitive is moved to the end of the sentence (i.e. It was easy to do it).
Usually infinitive constructions of this type consist of it + be + adjective +
infinitive (i.e. It would be a crime not to buy it).
(4) It is preceded by verbs of cognition, such as believe, consider, discover, expect,
find, think and wonder (if) (i.e. He thought it would be a crime not to tell him).
Moreover, note its use with interrogatives (i.e. Would it be safe to camp here?).
(5) Within this construction the verbs cost and take are also used (i.e. It takes half
an hour to get to the castle).
(6) Finally, the perfect infinitive can also be used as the subject of a sentence (i.e. To
have told me a lie is unforgettable) and similarly we may use it first (i.e. It is
better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all).

3.1.3.2. The infinitive as direct object.

The infinitive or the infinitive phrase may take the function of direct object of a clause when

(1) it is placed after certain verbs, such as agree, aim, appear, arrange, ask, attempt, bother, care
(negative), choose, claim, condescend, consent, decide, decline, demand, determine, fail, forget,
happen, hesitate, hope, learn, long, manage, neglect, offer, plan, prepare, proceed, refuse,
remember, resolve, swear, threaten, try, and vow among others (Thomson & Martinet, 1986); for
instance, He determined/decided/learnt + to leave the city).

(2) Other verbs or expressions can also be used with a that-clause (i.e. I promise to tell you = I
promise that I will tell you) and some of them require an introductory it (i.e. It
occurred/happened/appeared/seemed/turn out to me that he was concealing something).

(3) However, sometimes a verb + full infinitive does not have the same meaning as the same verb
used with a that-clause, for instance, the verbs learn, forget and remember (i.e. He learnt to swim
vs. He learnt (was told) that it would be difficult to swim). This construction is also possible in the
continuous infinitive with the verbs agree, arrange, decide, determine, hope, manage, plan and the

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auxiliary verbs (i.e. He decided to be following them). The perfect infinitive is also possible (i.e.
He would have liked to see it).

(4) It is within this function as direct object that we find the structure verb +
how/what/when/where/which/why + full infinitive. In it the most frequently used verbs are ask,
decide, discover, find out, forget, know, learn, remember, see, show, think, understand, want to
know and wonder among others (i.e. I dont know what to do; I showed her how to do it). Also,
whether + full infinitive is also used (i.e. I wonder whether to write or phone).

3.1.3.3. The infinitive as a verb complement.

The infinitive may also function as a verb complement and, in particular, after certain verbs or
expressions. For instance:
(1) the bare infinitive after the auxiliary verbs be, can, dare, do, have, may, must, need, ought,
shall, will, used (i.e. He need leave the city now);
(2) the full infinitive after verbs expressing likes and dislikes (i.e. care, hate, like, love and prefer)
although they can be also function with the gerund form;
(3) after verbs of knowing and thinking, such as assume, believe, consider, feel, know, suppose,
understand, think, estimate and presume) as in I consider him to be the best candidate;
(4) after certain phrases that can also be followed by an infinitive, such as be about, be able +
afford, do ones best, do what one can, make an effort, make up ones mind, set out, and turn out
among others (i.e. We cant afford to live in the centre; she is just about to leave).

3.1.3.4. The infinitive after verb + object.

The infinitive may function as a direct object or as an infinitive with accusative, thas is, within the
structure verb + object + infinitive (with or without to), whose translation corresponds to que +
subjunctive in Spanish (i.e. I would like him to sing in public). We shall sum up the main cases
referring to the infinitive with to and also to the bare infinitive.

(1) We find the full infinitive (and also the bare infinitive) after:
(a) verbs of knowing and thinking (mentioned above): advise, allow, command, consider,
enable, encourage, implere, invite, judge, know, let, make, oblige, order, persuade, remind,
show, tell how, train, urge, warn and watch among others (i.e. He allowed his son to go out
late); and in particular whe n the passive voice is used (i.e. He is
thought/invited/commanded to go). Note that the infinitive with accusative is particularly
found when the verb complement is the verb to be(i.e. He is thought to be older);
(b) after verbs expressing volition, such as want, request, force, cause (i.e. I wanted him to
tell me the truth);
(c) after verbs of command or request in indirect speech (i.e. order, tell, request, ask) as in I
told/ordered/asked him to stay;

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(d) ) after verbs of perception, we may find the full or the bare infinitive (and sometimes the
gerund). For instance, with the verbs feel, hear, see and watch we usually find the bare
infinitive in active forms (i.e. I heard him lock the door) and the full infinitive in the passive
form (i.e. He was seen to enter the office). Note that these verbs are frequently used with
present participles (i.e. He was seen entering the office) when they describe a progressive
action;
(2) after certain structures, such as:
(a) with the verbs let and make + object. In the active they take the bare infinitive (i.e.
He made him cry) whereas in the passive they take the full infinitive (i.e. He was made to
cry);
(b) would rather/sooner, rather/sooner than (i.e. Id rather wait until tomorrow);
(c) had better (i.e. You had better finish at once),
(d) help (i.e. He help you (to) carry those heavy bags).

3.1.3.5. The infinitive with subject.

As stated before, the full infinitive may appear with or without a subject, where the latter is the most
common one since no elements are introduced between to and the bare infinitive (i.e. The best
thing is to tell him right now). However, we often find the full infinitive with a subject in between
within the structure: for + subject (usually object pronouns) + full infinitive (i.e. The best thing
would be for her to tell him right now).

3.1.3.6. The split infinitive.

Moreover, we find other constructions such as split infinitives where emphatic elements (usually
degree adverbs) are placed after the to in colloquial English (i.e. It would take ages to really solve
this mystery; shes asking you to simply tell the truth ). This type of infinitive stands for
conventional sentences such as to cover the floor completely vs. to completely cover the floor.

3.1.3.7. The infinitive as a connective link.

The infinitive may also function as a connective link after the adverb only to express a
disappointing sequel (i.e. He hurried to the shop only to find it was closed). However, we may omit
the adverb only without the idea of misfortune (i.e. He returned home to find Sally had bought
what he needed) but this use is mainly confined to such verbs as find, hear, learn, see, be told
among others.

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3.1.3.8. The infinitive as an adverbial clause.

The infinitive as an adverbial clause refers to certain infinitive phrases that can be placed at the
beginning or sometimes at the end of a sentence. These idiomatic expressions work as introductory
sentences with are similar to introductory sentence adverbs, for instance, To be perfectly frank; to
be honest; to be fair; to cut a long story short; to tell you the truth; among others.

3.2. THE ING FORM.

In this section we shall examine the ing form, together with their main uses and functions. But
before we shall address an important distinction which will be present in our study of the ing form
regarding its structure, uses and functions, that is, the distinction between the definitions of gerund
and present participle .

3.2.1. Gerund vs. Present participle.

Following Snchez Benedito (1975), we must distinguish between the ing form as gerund and
present participle mainly because the verbal form -ing has two main different functions: (1) as a
verbal adjective or participle, hence the definition present partic iple, which implies adjectival and
verbal features. This form corresponds in Spanish to a gerund (She is working) or an adjective (a
smiling boy).

Secondly, (2) the ing form may be realized as a verbal noun, hence the definition gerund, which
implies noun and verbal features. Note that in Spanish the gerund refers to an infinitive (I like
playing tennis) or to a noun (The reading of the play will take place tonight). We shall not include
here the nouns which end in ing already, such as ceiling, stocking, and so on which have nothing
to do with the ing participle.

Therefore, depending on their adjective or noun features, we will be dealing with present
participles or gerunds. Yet, we shall translate them into Spanish: (1) as a gerund (i.e. they are
reading); (2) as adjectives which indicate actions (i.e. the crying girl=the girl that is crying); (3) as
an infinitive (i.e. before going to bed); (4) as a noun (i.e. Fishing is my favourite sport); (5) as a
whole sentence (i.e. I didnt like him saying that); and (6) to form compound nou ns (i.e. a washing-
machine). Therefore, we are ready now to analyse separately the main forms, uses and functions of
the ing forms as present participle and gerund.

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3.2.2. The ing: form.

Alike the infinitive, there is only one way to construct the ing form, that is, the base form of the
verb + -ing. In order to add the suffix ing to the base form, we must pay attention to certain
spelling rules, such as the omission of final e when adding -ing (i.e. come vs. coming); the
addition of a double final consonant (i.e. sit vs. sitting); and the addition of ing to final y (i.e.
study vs. studying).

Regarding word formation, the ing form will show different features depending on its adjectival,
verbal or noun features. Thus, when considered as an adjective (present particicple), it has both
adjectival and verbal features, and it is shown in active and passive forms. Thus, in the active, we
find present (doing) and perfect forms (having done); in the passive, we find again present (being
done) and perfect forms, usually to refer to past tenses (having been done).

However, it will be when used as a noun that we shall find more changes in the way it is formed
since it will undergo the same word-formation rules as for nouns (plural, genit ive, addition of
articles, etc) as we shall see in the next section under the heading of the ing main uses.

3.2.3. The ing: main uses.

The main uses of the ing form depend heavily on its adjectival, verbal or noun features and
therefore, the ing form can be used in different contexts as adjectives, verbs and nouns do. Yet, the
ing form may be used:

3.2.3.1. As an adjective.

As an adjective (present particicple), which has both adjectival and verbal features, it is used in
attributive and predicative position. Thus, first, in attributive position (a burning candle) it functions
as an adjective, so we find no addition of plural markers or articles to define it. Note that the present
participle in adjectival function must be accented together with the noun it is defining (a burning
candle) as it is done in the formation of compound nouns; secondly, in predicative position (The
girl is playing with her friends) it functions as part of a verb in order to show the progressive aspect.
Note that this ing form is equivalent to the Spanish gerund (i.e. jugando).

3.2.3.2. As a verb.

When the ing form has verbal features (present participle), the ing form enjoys the status of a
verb and may take, first, a direct object (i.e. He likes drinking wine) and second, it may be modified
by an adverb (i.e. He likes eating slowly). Moreover, it may even take its own subject when the
subject of the ing form and the subject of the sentence are the same (i.e. The last bus having gone,

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we had to wait for a taxi). In addition, it may function as an adverbial subordinate sentence (i.e.
Being the only man at the party, he had a great success with women) or predicator complement after
prepositions (i.e. After visiting me, he went home).

3.2.3.3. As a noun.

And finally, since the ing form or gerund may function as a verb or a noun, we find on the one
hand, noun formation features such as plural formation, addition of articles, genitive construction
and so on. Thus, it may add a plural (i.e. His talkin gs are so boring); an article (i.e. Your travelling
was successful); a genitive (i.e. I cant stand my mothers complainings); the addition of
prepositions (i.e. The sinking of the Titanic); noun compound (i.e. washing-up liquid) or
coordination with other nouns (i.e. Diet or jogging is what she has to do); and finally, the functions
a noun can take: subject (i.e. Smoking is bad for your health); object (i.e. She loves horse-riding);
predicator complement (i.e. This is working hard), or prepositional complement (i.e. He usually
gives me a surprise by preparing dinner with candles).

3.2.4. The ing: main functions.

The main functions, as stated above, of the ing form depend heavily on its adjectival, verbal or
noun features as seen above, and therefore, the ing form can function in different contexts as
adjectives, verbs and nouns do. Yet, the ing form may function in the following cases: (1) as
subject of a sentence (i.e. Dancing is really funny); (2) as the predicate of a sentence (i.e. Seeing is
believing); (3) as complement or direct object of certain verbs (i.e. His hobby is fishing; He loves
dancing); (4) after prepositions when used as a verb complement (i.e. He was interested in
painting); (5) as relative clauses (i.e. The children playing in the garden did not hear her mum); ( 6)
as an adverbial subordinate clause (i.e. Seeing that he was upset, they apologized for being late); (7)
as idiomatic expressions.

3.2.4.1. As subject.

As stated before, the gerund may function as the subject of a sentence (when used as a noun) when
an action is being considered in a general sense (i.e. Reading German is easier than speaking it)
whereas the to-infinitive is used when referring to a specific time (i.e. I would like to read German
rather than speaking it). Note the difference between the two sentences where the former means
always or in general and the latter means now or at a specific time.

The gerund, then, can be the subject of a clause placed after certain verbs of knowing and thinking
(cognition) such as believe, consider, discover, expect, find, think, and so on (i.e. He thought that
parking in the city was so difficult). In addition, the gerund is used in short prohibitions, such as

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No smoking, No parking, No swimming, and so on, although these cannot be followed by an
object since prohibitions involve an object which is often expressed by the imperative form (i.e. Do
not smoke cigarettes here).

3.2.4.2. As predicate.

The gerund may also function as the predicate of a sentence, as in Seeing is believing. This
function is usually related to the verbs be, seem, become.

3.2.4.3. As a verb complement.

The gerund may also function as a verb complement or direct object, as in I hate fishing. This
function is usually related to certain transitive verbs, such as admit, anticipate, avoid, consider,
deny, detest, dislike, enjoy, excuse, fancy, keep, mean, mind, miss, postpone, recollect, resist, save,
suggest, and understand among others.

It is also related to certain verbs making reference to likes, dislikes, such as care, like, love, hate,
detest and wish (i.e. They like/detest dancing); preference (i.e. I prefer running to jogging);
volition when we are not thinking of a particular action but are considering the subjects tastes
generally (i.e. She would like riding if she could ride better); and continuity shown by verbs such
as start, go on, continue, keep on, finish, end (i.e. He kept on talking all night long).

There is a specific construction with this type of verbs, which can take the previous construction or
that of verb + a possessive adjective or pronoun + gerund. If a verb or verb + preposition is
followed directly by the gerund, the gerund refers then to the subject of the verb (i.e. Tom insisted
on working=Tom worked). But if we put a possessive adjective or pronoun before the gerund, the
gerund refers to the person denoted by the possessive adjective or pronoun (i.e. He insisted on
my/me working=I had to work) (Thomson & Martinet, 1986).

3.2.4.4. After prepositions.

When a preposition is followed by a verb, the ing form must be used, except for the preposition
to. To can cause confusion as it can be either a part of an infinitive or a preposition. Thus, after
the auxiliary verbs be, have, ought, used and after be going, it is part of the following verb and is
only added to remind us that the preceding verb takes the infinitive. Also, to is often placed after
certain verbs which are usually followed by gerund, for instance hate, hope, intend, love, mean,
plan, etc and some others, but then they have different meanings (i.e. I love dancing vs. I love to
dance).

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However, to may not always indicate a to-infinitive. For instance, it is used in certain expressions,
such as look forward to, take to, be accostumed to, get used to, be used to, in addition to, devoted
to + gerund (i.e. I am looking forward to seeing you). Following Thomson & Martinet (1986), a
good way of finding out whether a to is a preposition or a part of an infinitive is to see if it is
possible to put a noun/pronoun after it. For instance, I am used to listening to the radio/it every
morning = preposition).

In addition, there is a number of verb + preposition or adverb combinations, more commonly


known as phrasal verbs which take the gerund. The most common are be for/against, care for, give
up, go on, keep on, leave off, look forward to, put off, see about, take to, and so on (i.e. He kept on
saying the same thing; he took to ringing us at midnight).

3.2.4.5. As relative clauses.

Given the adjectival character of the ing form, it may also function as a relative sentence by
substituting the relative pronouns which, who, that. For instance, The man who is coming towards
us is my uncle may be realized by the sentence The man coming towards us is my uncle.

3.2.4.7. As adverbial clauses.

The ing form may also function as an adverbial clause in absolute construction. Note that this
construction is considered to be informal or little literary and therefore, in colloquial English it is
usual to introduce the subordinate clause by a conjunction, for instance, Being the best candidate,
he won the elections vs. As he was the best candidate, he won the elections.

3.2.4.8. As idiomatic expressions.

In colloquial English we usually find the ing form functioning in everyday usage in constructions
such as it is no good/use, theres no point in, whats the point of, feel like, cannot stand, cannot
help, its worth, to be fond of, what/how about...? + gerund among many others. In addition, we
find some idiomatic expressions, such as Generally speaking, I think it is a mistake, Considering
the circumstances, ..., Bearing in mind the reports, ..., etc.

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3.3. THE INFINITIVE VS. THE ING FORM.

As mentioned in the second chapter, the infinitive and the ing form may be used in different
contexts depending on their syntactic sentence structure, but they are namely used indistinctively in
certain contexts where form and function cannot tell the difference, and therefore we can only rely
on meaning. For instance, these two sentences: I like getting unexpected invitations and I like to
get unexpected invitations. There is a subtle difference of meaning that probably a foreign student
of English at the beginners level may not grasp at once, for instance, the former means I enjoy
unexpected invitations whereas the latter means I want/wish unexpected invitations.

We shall distinguish two types of verbs when both forms are used indistinctively, first, those which
do not have any changes in meaning; and second, those which undergo semantic changes.
Therefore, let us examine the different uses that the full infinitive and the bare infinitive take in
everyday speech.

First of all, there is a group of verbs which do not change in meaning when they are followed by a
full infinitive or a gerund. This group of verbs includes verbs of start, continuity and end (i.e. start,
begin, continue, keep on, go on, finish, end (i.e. I started to play/playing chess). However, one of
these verbs, stop will undergo relevant changes which will be examined next. In addition, verbs
indicating likes and dislikes may also take the full infinitive or gerund with slight differences of
meaning.

Secondly, we find a reduced group of ve rbs which undergo relevant changes in meaning. For
instance, remember and forget; regret and dread; like, love, hate and prefer; try; mean; need and
want; go on; and stop. Thus, (1) remember and forget take the gerund when they refer to an action
which occurred beforehand (i.e. Do you remember taking this bus?/Ill never forget arriving in
Rome) whereas they take an infinitive when they refer to an action which comes afterwards (i.e.
Remember to take the car keys/Im afraid you will forget to take the car keys).

(2) Verbs regret and dread take the gerund when they refer to the past or likely future (i.e. Do
you regret not having studied?/Im dreading going to the dentist). However, dread takes the
infinitive to think and regret takes the infinit ives to say, to tell and to inform to talk about
the future (i.e. I dread to think what might have happened if youd stopped insulting me/I regret to
tell you that you are not pregnant).

(3) Verbs like, love, hate and prefer may take either a gerund or an infinitive when they mean
enjoy or take pleasure in (i.e. I simply love cooking/Do you prefer typing or writing by hand?)
but in negative sentences they usually take the gerund (i.e. I dont like cooking). Yet, when they
mean want or wish, they take the infinitive (i.e. Would you like to have a tea?) and when
prefer is used in a comparison, the gerund is always used (i.e. He prefers skating to
snowboarding).

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(4) When the verb try takes the gerund (i.e. Try climbing that wall. Maybe you can see the old
house from up there), the meaning is experiment meaning that youll have no difficulty in
climbing the wall but the action may or may not be successful in enabling you to jump. However,
when the infinitive is used, the meaning is attempt, where you may be or not be successful in
climbing the wall (i.e. Try to climb that wall).

(5) When the verb mean is used with the gerund (i.e. The job means moving to another area), the
verb means involve but when it is used with the infinitive (i.e. We are meant to be together), it
means intend.

(6) Verbs need and want mean be in need of when used with the gerund (i.e. The hedge needs
trimming) whereas with the infinitive need means have a need (i.e. Well need to take a bus
tomorrow) while want means should/ought to or wish (i.e. You want to ask John. Hes the
expert).

(7) The verb go on means continue an action with the gerund (i.e. He went on describing his
house) whereas it means introduce a new action with the infinitive (i.e. After describing his
mansion, he went on to describe his castle).

(8) And finally, the verb stop means cease with a gerund (i.e. He stopped smoking) whereas it
means to interrupt one action in order to perform another with the infinitive (i.e He stopped to
smoke).

4. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.

The relevant difference between the two non-finite forms dealt with in this study are so important to
the learning of a foreign language since differences between the vocabulary related to non-finite
forms of the learner's native language (L1) and that of the foreign language (L2) may lead to several
problems, such as the incorrect use of each of them, especially because of the syntactic,
morphological, pragmatic and semantic processes implied in these categories.

This study has looked at the structure of the infinite and the ing form in terms of form, main uses
and functions, that is, regarding morphological and phonological forms, and syntactic, semantic and
pragmatic functions, all those related by the relevance of usage in everyday speech. This study is
mainly intended for teachers to help Spanish-speaking students establish a relative similarity
between the two languages that would find it useful for communicating in the European framework
we are living in nowadays.

According to Thomson & Martinet (1986), a European student may find especially troublesome the
use of the infinitive and the ing form , and particularly when there are subtle difference between

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their uses. Then, when communicating in English he has to know first the specific constructions in
which both forms are embedded (i.e. I am looking forward to + gerund) and, second, which non-
finite form to use when certain situations are given depending on the context (i.e. He stopped
crying/to cry: cease or interrupt?) and on top of that, learn long lists of verbs related to each type
of non-finite form (i.e. He likes/avoid/prefer playing chess).

This choice becomes problematic for our Spanish students when they deal with the two non-finite
forms and their semantic offer. For instance, the most common mistakes for Spanish students, both
at ESO and Bachillerato level, is to write incorrectly the infinitive of purpose (i.e. He came home
yesterday to have dinner); to learn that prepositions are followed by the ing form (i.e. He insisted
on having dinner) or sometimes by omitting certain elements (i.e. She is used to singing in
contests). Often, they make serious grammatical mistakes.

It has been suggested that a methodology grounded in part in the application of explicit linguistic
knowledge enhances the second language learning process. In the Spanish curriculum (B.O.E.
2002), the use of non-finite forms is envisaged from earlier stages of ESO in the use of verbs
regarding likes and dislikes (like, love, hate, prefer) to talk about their everyday life and, usually
in the context of hobbies, up to higher stages of Bachillerato, towards more complex verbal forms,
such as verbs followed by infinitive or gerund, or certain constructions (i.e. Its worth studying all
night/I am looking forward to seeing you) , past habits (i.e. He was/got used to + gerund) and above
all, idiomatic expressions in certain modal idioms (i.e. Generally speaking, .../Seeing is believing,
etc).

So, the importance of how to handle non-finite forms cannot be understated since you can
communicate but not successfully because of the relevant distinction of meaning between the use of
both, especially when we may use indistinctively infinite or ing forms. We must not for get that
Spanish students are likely to write the infinitive of purpose incorrectly (i.e. He came for to talk to
me) or not to write the ing form after prepositions (i.e. He is interested in dance), and so on.

Current communicative methods foster the teaching of this kind of specific linguistic information
to help students recognize the main differences with the L2 words. Learners cannot do it all on their
own. Language learners, even 2nd year Bachillerato students, do not automatically recognize
similiarities which seem obvious to teachers; learners need to have these associations brought to
their attention.

So far, we have attempted in this discussion to provide a broad account of the infinitive and the ing
form by means of form, main functions and uses within verb phrase morphology, phonology,
syntax, semantics and usage in order to set it up within the linguistic theory, going through the
localization of non-finite forms in syntactic structures, to a broad presentation of the main
grammatical categories involved in it. We hope students are able to understand the relevance of
handling correctly the expression of both forms to successfully communicate in everyday life.

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5. CONCLUSION.

All in all, although the question What is an infinitive or gerund? may appear simple and
straightforward, it implies a broad description of non-finite forms in terms of form, function and use
so as to get to the paradigms of morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics and use which,
combined, give way to the study we have presented here. The appropriate answer suitable for
students and teachers, may be so simple if we are dealing with ESO students, using simple
structures (hobbies: gerunds) or so complex if we are dealing with Bachillerato students, who must
be able to handle more complex verb structures (to be used to + gerund).

So far, in this study we have attempted to take a fairly broad view of non-finite forms since we are
also assuming that there is an intrinsic connexion between its learning and successful
communication. Yet, we have provided a descriptive account of Unit 21 dealing with The infinitive
and the ing form whose main aim was to introduce the student to the different paradigms that
shape the whole set of verbal forms in English regarding their form, main uses and functions.

In fact, the correct expression of these two non-finite forms is currently considered to be a central
element in communicative competence and in the acquisition of a second language since students
must be able to use and distinguish these forms in their everyday life to avoid embarrassing
situations. As stated before, the teaching of them comprises four major components in our
educational curriculum: phonology, grammar, lexicon, and semantics, out of which we get five
major levels: phonological, morphological and syntactic, lexical, and semantic.

Therefore, it is a fact that students must be able to handle the four levels in communicative
competence in order to be effectively and highly communicative in the classroom and in real life
situations, now we are part of the European Union. The expression of the se verbal paradigms in
form, use and function, proves highly frequent in our everyday speech, and consequently, we must
encourage our students to have a good managing of it.

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6. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

- Aarts, F., and J. Aarts. 1988. English Syntactic Structures. Functions & Categories in Sentence
Analysis. Prentice Hall Europe.

- B.O.E. RD N 112/2002, de 13 de septiembre por el que se establece el currculo de la Educacin


Secundaria Obligatoria/Bachillerato en la Comunidad Autnoma de la Regin de Murcia.

- Bolton, D. And N. Goodey. 1997. Grammar Practice in Context. Richmond Publishing.

- Council of Europe (1998) Modern Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. A Common


European Framework of reference.

- Eastwood, J. 1999. Oxford Practice in Grammar. Oxford University Press.

- Greenbaum, S. and R. Quirk. 1990. A Students Grammar of the English Language. Longman
Group UK Limited.

- Greenbaum, S. 2000. The Oxford Reference Grammar. Edited by Edmund Weiner. Oxford
University Press.

- Huddleston, R. 1988. English Grammar, An Outline. Cambridge University Press.

- Huddleston, R. and G.K. Pullum. 2002. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language.
Cambridge University Press.

- Nelson, G. 2001. English: An Essential Grammar. London. Routledge.

- Quirk, R & S. Greenbaum. 1973. A University Grammar of English. Longman.

- Snchez Benedito, F. 1975. Gramtica Inglesa. Editorial Alhambra.

- Thomson, A.J. and A.V. Martinet. 1986. A Practical English Grammar. Oxford University Press.

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UNIT 22

MULTI-WORD VERBS

OUTLINE

1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.

2. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR MULTI-WORD VERBS.


2.1. Linguistic levels involved in the notion of time reference.
2.2. On defining time reference: what and how.
2.3. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.

3. A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO MULTI-WORD VERBS.


3.1.On defining the term multi- word verbs.
3.2.A classification of multi- word verbs.

4. PHRASAL VERBS.

5. PREPOSITIONAL VERBS.

6. PHRASAL-PREPOSITIONAL VERBS.

7. SPECIFIC IDIOMATIC CONSTRUCTIONS.

8. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.

9. CONCLUSION.

10. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

Unit 22 is primarily aimed to examine in English the notion of multi-word verbs. However,
we shall also include in the study of these forms an analysis of their main structural features
in terms of form and function in order to provide a relevant and detailed account of this
issue despite the fact it is not stated in the original title.

Then, the study will be divided into eight chapters. Thus, Chapter 2 provides a theoretical
framework for multi- word verb, first, by answering questions such as, first, which linguistic
levels are involved in the notion of time reference; second, what it describes and how; and
third, which grammar categories are involved in its description at a functional level.

Once we have set up the linguistic framework, we shall offer a general introduction to
multi-word verb in Chapter 3 which shall include (1) a definition of multi-word verbs and
(2) a classification of multi-word verbs, to be fully described in the subsequent chapters.
Therefore, Chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7 will offer a descriptive account of the main structural
features of multi-word verbs in terms of form and function at the level of everyday use
regarding colloquial and formal speech and idiomatic expressions. Therefore, we shall
namely follow morphological, phonological, syntactic and semantic guidelines.

Chapter 8 provides an educational framework for the structural features of multi-word


verbs within our current school curriculum; Chapter 9 draws on a summary of all the points
involved in this study; and finally, bibliography will be listed in alphabetical order.

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1.2. Notes on bibliography.

In order to offer an insightful analysis and survey on multi- word verbs in English, we shall
deal with the most relevant works in the field, both old and current, and in particular,
influential grammar books which have assisted for years students of English as a foreign
language in their study of grammar. For instance, a theoretical framework for this type of
verbs is namely drawn from the field of sentence structures, that is, from the work of Flor
Aarts and Jan Aarts (University of Nijmegen, Holland) in English Syntactic Structures
(1988), whose material has been tested in the classroom and developed over a number of
years; and that of Thomson & Martinet, A Practical English Grammar (1986).

Other classic references which offer an account of the most important and central
grammatical constructions and categories in English regarding multi-word verbs, are Quirk
& Greenbaum, A University Grammar of English (1973); Snchez Benedito, Gramtica
Inglesa (1975); and Quirk et al., A comprehensive grammar of the English language
(1985). More current approaches to notional grammar on multi-word verbs are Sidney
Greenbaum, The Oxford Reference Grammar (2000); Angela Downing and Philip Locke, A
University Course in English Grammar (2002).

2. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR MULTI-WORD VERBS.

Before describing in detail the notion of multi- word verbs in English, it is relevant to
establish first a theoretical framework for this type of verbs, since they must be described in
grammatical terms. In fact, this introductory chapter aims at answering questions such as,
first, which linguistic levels are involved in the notion of multi-word verbs; second, what it
describes and how; and third, which grammar categories are involved in its description at a
functional level.

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2.1. Linguistic levels involved in the notion of multi-word verbs.

In order to offer a linguistic description of the notion of multi-word verbs, we must confine
it to particular levels of analysis so as to focus our attention on this particular aspect of
language. Yet, although there is no consensus of opinion on the number of levels to be
distinguished, the usual description of a language comprises four major components:
phonology, grammar, lexicon, and semantics, out of which we get five major levels:
phonological, morphological and syntactic, lexical, and semantic (Huddleston, 1988).

First, the phonology describes the sound level, that is, consonants, vowels, stress,
intonation, and so on. Secondly, since the two most basic units of grammar are the word
and the sentence, the component of grammar involves the morphological level (i.e. one-
word vs. multi-word verbs) and the syntactic level (i.e. word order in the sentence). Third,
the lexicon, or lexical level, lists vocabulary items, specifying how they are pronounced,
how they behave grammatically, and what they mean.

Finally, another dimens ion between the study of linguistic form and the study of meaning is
semantics, or the semantic level, to which all four of the major components are related. We
must not forget that a linguistic description which ignores meaning is obviously
incomplete, and in particular, when dealing with the notions of multi- word verbs or more
commonly known as phrasal verbs where semantics plays a very important role at the time
of distinguish them.

Therefore, we must point out that each of the linguistic levels discussed above has a
corresponding component when analysing the notion under study. Thus, phonology deals
with the accent, rhythm and intonation on verbs, prepositions and adverbs (i.e. Im looking
for a T-shirt); morphology deals with the verb structure (i.e. one-word vs. multi-word
verbs); and syntax deals with which combinations of words constitute grammatical strings
and which do not (i.e. NOT: Can I try on it? BUT Can I try it on?).

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On the other hand, lexis deals with the expression of time reference regarding the choice
between different types of prepositions (i.e. look at/after/into/like/for) or adverbs (i.e. look
forward to) and the use of specific prepositions with certain structures (i.e. get on with
somebody/run out of petrol); and finally, semantics deals with meaning where syntactic and
morphological levels do not tell the difference (i.e. I cant put up with racism = I cant
tolerate racism).

2.2. On defining multi- word verbs: what and how.

On defining multi-word verbs, we must link this notion (what it is) to the grammar
categories which express it (how it is showed). Actually, on answering What is it?, the term
multi-word verb is defined in opposition to the term one-word verb. In fact, both terms
are drawn from the classification of lexical verbs into two types, where one-word verbs
consist of one single lexical item and multi-word verbs of at least two. It is from the latter
that we get the notions that constitute the core of our study: phrasal verbs, prepositional
verbs, phrasal- prepositional verbs and verb +noun+preposition/verb + adjective idioms.
Regarding how multi- word verbs are realized, we must examine the grammar categories
related to them, that is, open vs. closed classes which are fully examined in next section.

2.3. Grammar c ategories involved: open vs. closed classes.

So far, in order to confine the notion of multi- word verbs to particular grammatical
categories, we must review first the difference between open and closed classes since multi-
word verbs involve both. Yet, grammar categories in English can be divided into two major
sets called open and closed classes. The open classes are verbs, nouns, adjectives and
adverbs, and are said to be unrestricted since they allow the addition of new members to
their membership, whereas the closed classes are the rest: prepositions, conjunctions,
articles (definite and indefinite), numerals, pronouns, quantifiers and interjections, which
belong to a restricted class since they do not allow the creation of new members.

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Then, as we can see, when taking multi-word verbs to phrase and sentence level, we are
dealing with both classes, for instance, open word classes, which mainly involve lexical
verbs, along with open-class nouns, adjectives, and adverbs; and also with the category of
closed classes, such as prepositions. Finally, it is worth noting that apart from grammatical
categories, we may find other specific phrase structures, such as idiomatic expressions
which are part of everyday speech (i.e. They turned up an hour later =arrived/She made the
story up=invented)

3. A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO MULTI-WORD VERBS.

Therefore, we shall define multi-word verbs and then we shall establish a classification of
multi- word verbs taking into account the internal and external features which shape them.
For instance, the notions of transitivity vs. intransitivity, the possibility of pronoun/noun
insertion, passivity, pronominal questions and adverbial questions. On defining the
termmulti-word verbs.

3.1. On defining multi- word verbs.

Multi-word verbs are defined as a large group of verbs which consist of a basic verb + one
or more particles, which can be prepositions (i.e. look after) or adverbs (i.e. look up). Other
possible combinations are verb + adverb + preposition (i.e. look forward to) and a
combination with nouns (i.e. take care of) and adjectives (i.e. set free). It is important to
bear in mind that a multi-word verb (also called two-word verb or compound verb) is still a
verb (i.e. get vs. get up), whose meaning may have little or no connection with the
individual units that make it possible.

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The possible combinations may have literal meaning, that is, can be predicted on the
meaning of each element (i.e. apply for, break off, consent to, fill out, find out, live on,
refer to) even if we do not take into account the preposition after it, whereas other
combinations cannot be predicted because of each element (i.e. come down with, face up
to, keep up with, look forward to, put up with, run away with) . On the contrary, they have
fixed comb inations and have to be learnt as individual vocabulary items.

It is also important to distinguish whether a multi- word verb is transitive or intransitive, and
this is achieved by means of the choice between adverb and preposition. For instance, look
at is transitive since an object is required after it (i.e. He was looking at his wife) whereas
look out is intransitive since it cannot have an object after it (i.e. Look out! A cat is
crossing the road!). Hence, the preposition is followed by an object whereas the adverb is
not. However, we may find some instances where the same multi- word verb may function
as transitive and intransitive at the same time (i.e. take off: Take off your shoes vs. The
helicopter took off at midnight).

3.2. A classification of multi-word verbs.

Following Quirk et al. (1985), multi-word verb combinations are realized by four main
combination types: first, phrasal verbs (verb + adverb); second, prepositional verbs (verb +
preposition); third, phrasal prepositional verbs (verb + adverb + preposition); and fourth,
verb + noun + preposition or verb + adjective (+preposition). Each type will be fully
described in next chapters individually, from the linguistic paradigms of form and function,
that is, regarding morphological and phonological features (form) and syntactic and
semantic features (function).

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4. PHRASAL VERBS.

Phrasal verbs are formed by the structure verb + adverb, that is, combinations of a verb
and a member of a closed set of adverbs, such as about, across, along, around, aside, away,
back, by, down, forht, in, off, on, out, over and up, where the word stress is placed on the
adverb and not on the verb (i.e. Chris called up the seller (phrasal verb) vs. Chris called
on the seller (prepositional verb), even if it is in final position (i.e. He call him up).

With respect to this last example, we must address the syntactic function of multi-word
verbs, whereby we must take into account the question of pronoun/noun insertion within
the concepts of transitivity and intransitivity since phrasal verbs can be both. First of all,
we shall point out that intransitive phrasal verbs do not take a direct object after them and,
therefore, do not allow other elements in between (i.e. break down, come
in/out/up/down/back, get up).

On the other hand, transitive phrasal verbs take a direct object after the particle and,
therefore, they have the possibility of inserting nouns in between the verb and the particle,
that is, pronouns to substitute nouns in object function (i.e. bring up, fill in/out, find out, put
off, put on, ring up, among others). Following Quirk & Greenbaum (1973), with most
transitive phrasal verbs, the particle can either precede or follow the direct object (i.e. They
turned on the light vs. They turned the light on) although it cannot precede personal
pronouns (i.e. They turned it on but NOT: They turned on it). As we can see, the particle
tends to precede the object if the object is long or if the intention is that the object should
receive end - focus.

Phrasal verbs are generally defined as non- literal since their meaning cannot be deduced
by defining its individual parts (i.e. The enemy gave up/She took in her parents/They called
off the meeting). However, some phrasal verbs have literal meaning and can be easily
deduced from the sum of its individual parts (i.e. The guests came in/She went out/They
found out the truth).

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5. PREPOSITIONAL VERBS.

Prepositional verbs are formed by the structure verb + preposition and are combinations
of a verb + prepositions such as at, in, on, for, about, etc (i.e. ask for, believe in, care for,
deal with, live on, long for, object to, part with, refer to, write about among others). They
are usually monotransitive and can take direct objects (i.e. He did not enlarge on this
subject/Arent you listening to my advice?). As a rule the stress falls on the verb and the
preposition is unstressed (i.e. Why are you looking up that word in the dictionary
(phrasal verb) vs. Dont look at me! (prepositional verb).

Regarding their syntactic function, it is again necessary to remember that they can be
transitive or intransitive verbs and therefore, they allow other elements in between (i.e. take
after, look like, go up, go down, get over). For instance, the preposition in a prepositional
verb must precede its complement. Hence, we can contrast the prepositional verb call on
(visit) with the phrasal verb call up (summon). On the other hand, the prepositional verb
allows an inserted adverb after the verb and a relative pronoun after the preposition (i.e.
They called early on the man BUT NOT: They called early up the man/ The man on whom
they called BUT NOT: The man up whom they called) (Quirk & Greenbaum, 1973:349).

In general, prepositional verbs, such as call on or look at + their prepositional


complements differ from single-word verbs + prepositional phrases, as in They called at
the hotel and They called after lunch, in that they allow pronominal questions (with
who for personal noun phrases and what for non-personal) but do not allow adverbial
questions for the whole prepositional phrase.

He adds that many prepositional verbs allow the noun phrases to become the subject of a
passive transformation of the sentence (i.e. They called on the man = The man was called
on). However, other prepositional verbs do not occur in the passive freely, but will do so
under certain conditions, su as the presence of a particular modal (i.e. Visitors cant walk
over the lawn =The lawn cant be walked over (by visitors).

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The main semantic feature to be mentioned here is that meaning can be deduced from the
sum of its individual parts (i.e. His son asked for pocket money)where the preposition may
have an emphatic function on the verb (i.e. He objected to do that word). It is relevant to
remember that some prepositional verbs may be highly idiomatic, for instance, You must
go into the problem; She has taken to drinking; and so on.

6. PHRASAL-PREPOSITIONAL VERBS.

Phrasal-prepositional verbs are formed by the structure verb + adverb + preposition, that
are combinations of a verb + adverb + preposition. Note that the majority of them are non-
transitive verbs (i.e. We do not get on with our neighbours; Do you go in for squash?).
Alike prepositional verbs the stress falls on the adverb or the preposition, the verb being
unstressed (i.e. I cant put up with racism).

Regarding the syntactic functions of phrasal- prepositional,we can analyse them as transitive
verbs with the following noun phrase as direct object as with prepositional verbs (i.e. put up
with (your behaviour), cut down on (cigarettes), look forward to (the summer holidays), run
away with (you), turn out for (a meeting). They may be transitive and intransitive but they
do not allow other elements in between the verb and the particles in specific constructions.
They can occur in the passive (i.e. Bad manners cant be put up with for long) and may
allow pronominal questions (i.e. What cant they put up with?) but not adverbial questions.

Regarding their semantic features, we must say that like phrasal and prepositional verbs,
these multi-word verbs vary in their idiomaticity. Some, like stay away from (=avoid), are
easily understood from their individual elemtns, though often with figurative meaning (i.e.
stand up for =support). Others are fused combinations, and it is difficult or impossible to
assign meaning to any of the parts (i.e. put up with=tolerate). There are still others where
there is a fusion of the verb with the first particle or where one or more of the elements may

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seem to retain some individual meaning. For instance, put up with also means stay with,
and in that sense put up constitutes a unit by itself.

However, they may vary in their idiomaticity since verbs such as stay away from my
children or I face up to everyday problems are easily understood from their individual
elements whereas verbs such as You always stand up for my ideas and look forward to
seeing you again have figurative or idiomatic meaning. Often, in other combinations it is
difficult or impossible to assign meaning to any of the parts (i.e. She cant put up with her
husband manias).

7. SPECIFIC IDIOMATIC CONSTRUCTIONS.

Specific idiomatic constructions are drawn from the structures verb + noun + preposition
(i.e. catch sight of, keep track of) or verb + adjective (i.e. cut short, wash clean, work
loose) which cannot be modified nor can they become the subject of a passive sentence.
Consider: We caught sight of the plane vs. We caught sudden sight of the plane where
the former is the correct sentence because of its idiomaticity. Regarding the phonological
features in specific idiomatic expressions, the stress falls on the noun after the verb, for
instance, You can take advantage of your economic position).

Regarding the syntactic functions of these specific idiomatic constructions, they are
considered to be transitive verbs with the following noun phrase as direct object as with
prepositional verbs. Since they do not allow other elements in between the verb and the
particles in specific constructions, they cannot occur in the passive (i.e. Active: They kept
track of all his movements; Passive: Track was kept of all his movements - NOT).

Semantically speaking, they are considered then as indivisible units ha ving the function of
predicator in the structure of the sentence being this the main reason for multi-word verbs

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to be monotransitive (i.e. catch sight of, keep track of, take notice of, take advantage of,
etc) but other similar verbs + noun + preposition sequences resemble them in that the
constituent that follows them can become the subject of a passive sentence (i.e. His illness
should have been made allowance for, He was last caught sight of disappearing in the
river).

8. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.

The different multi- word verbs dealt with in this study are so relevant to the learning of a
foreign language since differences between the vocabulary related to multi-word verbs of
the learner's native language (L1) and that of the foreign language (L2) may lead to several
problems, such as the incorrect use of their structures and that foreign learners seldom
master them under current teaching conditions.

For instance, the most common mistakes for Spanish students, both at ESO and
Bachillerato level, is to use incorrectly some phrasal verbs (i.e. When does he lunch?
instead of When does he have lunch?). Often, they make serious grammatical mistakes. In
the Spanish curriculum (B.O.E. 2002), the use of multi-word verbs is envisaged at all
levels. For instance, in earlier stages of ESO the use of simple verbs is reflected in the use
of everyday life or any other specific topic. (get up, have breakfast/lunch/dinner, get
dressed, be good at, have fun, etc).

Up to higher stages of Bachillerato, we are dealing with more complex verbal forms, such
as the co-occurrence of patterns, whereby idiomatic phrasal verbs may be substituted by
synonyms (i.e. die out=disappear, bring up=educate, turn down=refuse, etc;
prepositional verbs (i.e. depend on, believe in, speak to, agree with, etc); verb + noun+
preposition (i.e. take care of, give advice on, catch sight of, have control of, etc);verb +

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adjective (i.e. get asleep, get married, go blind); and above all, idiomatic expressions in
certain multi-word verbs (i.e. to be fed up with, to get on with, to give on to, etc).

So, the importance of how to handle these multi-word verbs cannot be understated since it
may cause important misunderstandings because of the relevant distinction of meaning
between the different types and their structures. We must not forget that Spanish students
are likely to use one-word verb rather than using multi- word verb structures (i.e. He
stopped smoking vs. He gave up smoking), especially when they are idiomatic phrasal
verbs and they do not handle their meaning.

Current communicative methods foster the teaching of this kind of specific linguistic
information to help students recognize the main differences with the L2 words. Learners
cannot do it all on their own. Language learners, even 2nd year Bachillerato students, do
not automatically recognize similiarities which seem obvious to teachers; learners need to
have these associations brought to their attention.

Therefore, this study is mainly intended for teachers to help Spanish-speaking students
establish a relative similarity between the two languages that would find it useful for
communicating in the European framework we are living in nowadays. We hope students
are able to understand the relevance of handling correctly the expressio n of multi-word
verbs to successfully communicate in everyday life.

9. CONCLUSION.

All in all, although the question What is an multi-word verb? may appear simple and
straightforward, it implies a broad description of the multi- word verb structure in terms of
morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics and use which, combined, give way to the study
we have presented here. The appropriate answer suitable for students and teachers, may be

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so simple if we are dealing with ESO students, using simple multi-word verbs or so
complex if we are dealing with Bachillerato students, who must be able to handle more
complex verb structures.

So far, in this study we have attempted to take a fairly broad view of multi-word verbs
since we are also assuming that there is an intrinsic connexion between its learning and
successful communication because of the importance of using them in colloquial speech.
Yet, we have provided a descriptive account of Unit 22 dealing with Multi-word verbs
whose main aim was to introduce the student to the different paradigms that shape the
whole set of this specific type of verbal combinations in the English language.

In fact, the correct expression of multi-word verbs is currently considered to be a central


element in communicative competence and in the acquisition of a second language since
students must be able to use and distinguish these forms in their everyday life in many
different situations.Therefore, it is a fact that students must be able to handle the four levels
in communicative competence in order to be effectively and highly communicative in the
classroom and in real life situations, now we are part of the European Union.

To sum up, we have attempted in this discussion to provide a broad account of multi-word
verbs by means of form, function and use within verb phrase morphology, phonology,
syntax, semantics and usage in order to set it up within the linguistic theory, going through
the localization of multi-word verbs in syntactic structures, to a broad presentation of the
main grammatical categories involved in its expression.

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10. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

- Aarts, F., and J. Aarts. 1988. English Syntactic Structures. Functions & Categories in
Sentence Analysis. Prentice Hall Europe.

- B.O.E. RD N 112/2002, de 13 de septiembre por el que se establece el currculo de la


Educacin Secundaria Obligatoria/Bachillerato en la Comunidad Autnoma de la Regin
de Murcia.

- Council of Europe (1998) Modern Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. A


Common European Framework of reference.

- Greenbaum, S. 2000. The Oxford Reference Grammar. Edited by Edmund Weiner.


Oxford University Press.

- Quirk, R., Greenbaum, S., Leach, G., and J Svartvik. 1985. A comprehensive grammar of
the English language. Longman.

- Snchez Benedito, F. 1975. Gramtica Inglesa. Editorial Alhambra.

- Thomson, A.J. and A.V. Martinet. 1986. A Practical English Grammar. Oxford
University Press.

- Wyss, R. 2002. Teaching English multi-word verbs is not a lost cause afterall. Article 90,
March 2002. The weekly column.

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UNIT 23

THE STRUCTURE OF THE SENTENCE: POSITIVE AND


NEGATIVE STATEMENTS, QUESTIONS AND
EXCLAMATIONS.

OUTLINE

1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.

2. A LINGUISTIC FRAMEWORK FOR SENTENCE STRUCTURES.


2.1. Linguistic levels involved in the notion of sentence structure.
2.2. On defining the notion of sentence: what and how.
2.3. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.

3. A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE STRUCTURE OF SENTENCES.


3.1. The structure of the sentence: categorial vs. functional description.
3.1.1. Categorial description: main sentence constituents.
3.1.2. Functional description : main syntactic functions.
3.2. Phrase, sentence and clause structure.
3.2.1. The phrase structure.
3.2.2. Sentence vs. clause structure.
3.3. Simple, complex and compound sentences.
3.3.1. Simple sentences.
3.3.2. Complex sentences.
3.3.3. Compound sentences.
3.4. The notion of collocation: sentence word order.
3.5. Main types of sentence structure.
3.5.1. Sentences and their grammatical form.
3.5.2. Sentences and their main functions in communication.
3.6. Main structural features of sentence types: form, function and use.

4. STATEMENTS.
4.1. Statements: morphology and syntax.
4.2. Statements: phonology and semantics.

5. QUESTIONS.
5.1. Questions: morphology and syntax.
5.2. Questions: phonology and semantics.

6. COMMANDS.
6.1. Commands: morphology and syntax.
6.2. Commands: phonology and semantics.

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7. EXCLAMATIONS.
7.1. Commands: morphology and syntax.
7.2. Commands: phonology and semantics.

8. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.

9. CONCLUSION.

10. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

Unit 23 is primarily aimed to examine the English the structure of the sentence regarding positive
and negative statements, questions , commands and exclamations in terms of their main structural
features regarding form, function and main uses in order to provide a relevant and detailed account
of this issue. However, we have dared to include the analysis of commands, though not stated in the
title , because it is included in the traditional classification of sentence structures:

Then, the study will be divided into nine chapters. Thus, Chapter 2 provides a linguistic framework
for sentence structures, by answering questions such as, first, which linguistic levels are involved in
the notion of sentence structure; second, what it describes and how; and third, which grammar
categories are involved in its description at a functional level.

Once we have set up sentence structures within a linguistic framework, we shall continue on
offering the reader in Chapter 3 a general introduction to the structure of sentences regarding some
previous considerations which are closely related to the notion of sentence structure and which
prove to be relevant in our analysis in subsequent chapters. Thus, we shall start by revising some
important notions which are closely related to the description of sentence structures: for instance,
(1) the basis to analyse the structure of the sentence: functional vs. categorial description; and
therefore, (2) the difference between phrase, clause and sentence since these three notions may lead
us to misunderstandings; (3) the difference between simple, comp lex and compound sentences; (4)
the sentence structure in terms of word order; (5) a brief typology of sentence structures following
the main grammatical forms and functions in communication; and finally, we shall offer (6) the
main structural features of sentence types regarding form, function and uses. The latter will be fully
described in the subsequent chapters.

Chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7 will offer a descriptive account of the main structural features of the four
sentence structures under study in terms of form, function and uses, namely following
morphological, phonological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic guidelines. Thus we shall examine
the structure of statements, questions, commands and exclamations regarding their form regarding
morphology (subject-verb structures) and phonology (pronunciation) whereas function will be
approached in terms of syntax (sentence structure) and semantics (different meanings = different
uses).

Chapter 8 provides an educational framework for the structural features of sentence structure within
our current school curriculum, and Chapter 9 draws on a summary of all the points involved in this
study. Finally, in Chapter 10 bibliography will be listed in alphabetical order.

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1.2. Notes on bibliography.

In order to offer an insightful analysis and survey on the sentence structure in English regarding
positive and negative statements, questions and exclamations, we shall deal with the most relevant
works in the field, both old and current, and in particular, influential grammar books which have
assisted for years students of English as a foreign language in their study of grammar. For instance,
a theoretical framework for this type of verbs is namely drawn from the field of sentence analysis,
that is, from the work of Thomson & Martinet in A Practical English Grammar (1986); Flor Aarts
and Jan Aarts (University of Nijmegen, Holland) in English Syntactic Structures (1988); and also,
Rodney Huddleston with his book entitled English Grammar, An Outline (1988).

Other classic references which offer an account of the most important and central grammatical
constructions and categories in English regarding sentence structure, are Quirk & Greenbaum, A
University Grammar of English (1973); Snchez Benedito, Gramtica Inglesa (1975); Greenbaum
& Quirk, A Students Grammar of the English Language (1990). More current approaches to
notional grammar are taken from Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, The Cambridge
Grammar of the English Language (2002); and Angela Downing and Philip Locke, A University
Course in English Grammar (2002)

2. A LINGUISTIC FRAMEWORK FOR SENTENCE STRUCTURES.

Before examining in detail the notion of sentence structure in English in terms of form, main
functions and uses, it is relevant to establish first a theoretical framework in order to fully
understand the subsequent chapters on the main types of sentence structure regarding positive and
negative statements, questions, commands and exclamations since they must be described in
grammatical terms. In fact, this introductory chapter aims at answering questions such as, first,
which linguistic levels are involved in the notion of sentence structure; second, what it describes
and how; and third, which grammar categories are involved in its description at a functional level.

2.1. Linguistic levels involved in the notion of sentence structure.

In order to offer a linguistic description of the notion of sentence structure, we must confine it to
particular levels of analysis so as to focus our attention on this particular aspect of language. Yet,
although there is no consensus of opinion on the number of levels to be distinguished, the usual
description of a language comprises four major components: phonology, grammar, lexicon, and
semantics, out of which we get five major levels: phonological, morphological and syntactic,
lexical, and semantic (Huddleston, 1988).

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First, the phonology describes the sound level, that is, the pronunciation, stress and intonation
within the sentence structure. Secondly, since the two most basic units of grammar are the word and
the sentence, the component of grammar involves the morphological level (i.e. third person
singular in positive statements) and the syntactic level (i.e. word order in the sentence). Third, the
lexicon, or lexical level, lists vocabulary items, specifying how they are pronounced, how they
behave grammatically, and what they mean.

Finally, another dimension between the study of linguistic form and the study of meaning is
semantics, or the semantic level, to which all four of the major components are related. We must not
forget that a linguistic description which ignores meaning is obviously incomplete, and in
particular, when dealing with the notion of sentence structure where semantics plays a very
important role in order to express the speakers attitude.

Therefore, we must point out that each of the linguistic levels discussed above has a corresponding
component when analysing the notion under study. Thus, phonology deals with the accent, rhythm
and intonation on statements, questions, commands and exclamations (i.e. You are studying tonight
/Are you studying tonight?/Study tonight!/Pity you are studying tonight!); morphology deals with
certain morphological features in the formation of statements either positive (i.e. third person
singular in positive statements) or negative (i.e. the auxiliary doesnt), interrogative (i.e. Does he
usually cook?) and so on; and syntax deals with those combinations of words which constitute
grammatical strings and those which do not (i.e. NOT: the dog she for a walk takes always BUT
She always takes the dog for a walk ).

On the other hand, lexis deals with the wide range of grammatical categories involved in sentence
structure (i.e. verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and so on ); and finally, semantics
deals with meaning where syntactic and morphological levels do not tell the difference (i.e. Would
you like some coffee?=where a positive answer is expected).

2.2. On defining the notion of sentence: what and how.

On defin ing the notion of sentence structure, we must link this notion (what it is) to the grammar
categories which express it (how it is showed). Traditionally, on answering What is a sentence?,
we would define it as the largest unit of grammatical description since it does not function in the
structure of a unit higher than itself, that is, on treating the sentence as the highest unit implies that
we do not take into account larger stretches of language such as paragraphs and texts since this is
the domain of text grammar or discourse analysis.

Regarding how multi-word verbs are realized, we must examine the grammar categories related to
them, that is, open vs. closed classes which are fully examined in next section.

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2.3. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.

So far, in order to confine the notion of sentence structure to particular grammatical categories, we
must review first the difference between open and closed classes since the structure of the sentence
involve both. Yet, grammar categories in English can be divided into two major sets called open
and closed classes. The open classes are verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs, and are said to be
unrestricted since they allow the addition of new members to their membership, whereas the closed
classes are the rest: prepositions, conjunctions, articles (definite and indefinite ), numerals,
pronouns, quantifiers and interjections, which belong to a restricted class since they do not allow
the creation of new members. Yet, as we shall see, sente nce structures shall deal with both classes.

3. A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE STRUCTURE OF SENTENCES.

Once we have set up sentence structures within a linguistic framework, we shall continue on
offering the reader a general introduction to the structure of sentences regarding some previous
considerations which are closely related to the notion of sentence structure and which prove to be
relevant in our analysis in subsequent chapters.

Thus, we shall start by revising some important notions which are closely related to the description
of sentence structures: for instance, (1) the basis to analyse the structure of the sentence: functional
vs. categorial description; and therefore, (2) the difference between phrase, clause and sentence
since these three notions may lead us to misunderstandings; (3) the difference between simple,
comple x and compound sentences; (4) the sentence structure in terms of word order; (5) a brief
typology of sentence structures following the main grammatical forms and functions in
communication; and finally, we shall offer (6) the main structural features of sentence types
regarding form, function and uses. The latter will be fully described in the subsequent chapters.

3.1. The structure of the sentence: categorial vs. functional description.

Generally, linguistic units are considered to be constituents of larger structures within the rankscale
(sounds-morpheme-word-phrase-sentence-text) and also linguistic objects in their own right.
According to Aarts (1988), with the exception of the sentence, every unit, at every level of analysis
can be considered either as an element that plays a role in a larger structure, or as something that
has its own individual characteristics.

Hence, if we view a linguistic unit as an element that plays its role in a larger linguistic structure,
we are concerned with its function. On the contrary, if we view it as something that has individual

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characteristics which it shares with other units of the same kind, we are concerned with the category
or class to which it belongs , and sometimes, with the type of phrase it is embedded in (noun phrase,
verb phrase, etc).

In other words, when we assign some sort of meaning to each word in a sentence individually, we
have to do it in order to make sense of the sequence as a whole. We shall therefore say that, if a
sequence of words is to constitute a sentence, it must be meaningful. Apart from being internally
coherent, these groups also stand in a certain relation to each other. We refer respectively to the
main constituents in a sentence and their syntactic functions in it, that is, the sentence word order.

This duality (function-category) is relevant in our study since sentences are best described in
functional and categorial terms at the same time, and the notions of phrase and clause (examined in
next section) come into force regarding categorial description. This description specifies not only
the category of the constituents of which the sentence is composed (i.e. noun phrase, verbal phrase,
adjectival phrase, prepositional phrase) but also it shows what function these constituents have (i.e.
subject, predicator, complement, etc).

Therefore, for our purposes, sentences shall be described in two ways: first, in terms of functional
description and second, in terms of categorial description, where we shall review both the sentence
constituents (categorial) and their word order within the sentence structure (functional).

3.1.1. Categorial description: main sentence constituents.

Regarding a categorial description we shall provide information about the categories to which their
constituents belong since sentences can also be described in terms of the phrases of which they are
made up (i.e. function: object =category: noun/noun phrase). The main constituents we find in a
sentence structure are (1) subject (2) predicate (i.e. The moon rose), and (3) adverbial constituents
(i.e. The moon rose at midnight). These three elements are function-labels denoting the relation
between the constituents bearing these labels and the sentence as a whole. In other words they are
function-labels for immediate constituents of the sentence.

Further on, within the predicate we find (a) predicator and (b) complement. Moreover, within the
latter one, we find different elements:

1. direct object (i.e. Many students enjoyed the concert=NP-VP-NP); the direct object may be
a noun (i.e. I like fruit) or a noun phrase (i.e. Theyve sold their car); a bare infinitive (i.e.
He dared not speak to her) or a to-infinitive (i.e. He didnt want to die); an ing form (i.e.
I like swimming); or a subordinate clause (i.e. I saw him do it).
2. indirect object (i.e. The firm has sent him an e-mail=NP-VP-NP-NP); the indirect object
may be a pronoun (i.e. He gave him a book); a noun (i.e. He gave Peter a book); or a noun
phrase (i.e. He gave my brother a book).

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3. benefactive object (i.e. My boss has bought his daughter a flat=NP-VP-NP-NP); this type
of object is similar to the indirect object.
4. subject attribute (i.e. That solutions seems easy=NP-VP-Adj.P ); with verbs such as to be,
appear, lie, look, feel, remain, seem, smell, taste, sound, stay, stand, and so on or become,
fall, get, go, grow, turn, we may add: a noun or noun phrase (i.e. He became a lawyer;
shes a very good nurse); an adverb or adverbial phrase (i.e. Shes there; she is in Berlin); a
subordinate nominal clause (i.e. It seems that we are wrong; the truth is that nobody likes
you).
5. object attribute (i.e. Susanne will make her husband very happy=NP-VP-NP-Adj.P); the
object attribute may be: an adjective (i.e. Youll make me angry; they left it empty; serve
me the beer cold) or a participle (i.e. I had the car repaired; I got dressed); or a noun (i.e.
They elected him Minister) or a noun phrase (i.e. He was appointed Foreign Minister).
6. and predicator complement (i.e. This street reminds me of New York =NP-VP-NP-Prep.P ).
Some verb s such as say, ask, explain, cost, buy, cook, get, give, and so on may be formed
with certain prepositions when accompanying the indirect object at the end of the sentence
(i.e. I said it to him; I bought a present for him).

3.1.2. Functional description: main syntactic functions and word order.

We also need a functional description because a description of a sentence in terms of its constitutent
phrases is obviously inadequate because many constructions consist of identical strings of phrases
(NP-VP-NP-NP) as it is the case of these two sentences My boss bought her lover a flat and The
firm has offered me a job, being the former a Subject-Predicate -Benefactive Object-Direct Object
type, and the latter a Subject-Predicate-Indirect Object + Direct Object type, respectively.

So we shall specify the functions of the different constituents we find in a sentence structure in a
similar way to categorial description (i.e. subject + predicate (predicator; complement direct
object, indirect object, subject attribute, object attribute, etc) + adverbial) where subject and
predicate are the two obligatory parts of the sentence. Thus:

1. The function of subject: it may be attributed to a constituent of a sentence on the basis


of the following criteria: (a) position (precedes the verb phrase in statements and
questions, and follows the first word of the verb phrase in yes/no questions, questions
introduced by when, where, why, how and their compounds in ever and in questions
introduced by who(m), whose, what, which and their compound in ever; (b) concord
(it is associated with that constituent which accounts for the presence of a sibilant suffix
in the verb phrase (i.e. Peter hates me) or with plural constituents (i.e. Boys love
adventure); (c) passivization, since in passive sentences it occurs in the by-phrase (i.e.
The pope excommunicated the Cardinal vs. The Cardinal was excommunicated by the
pope); (d) repetition in tag-questions, where the subject is pronominalized (i.e. Peter
hates cats, doesnt he?).

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2. The function of predicate is the other obligatory part of the sentence. It consists of two
internal parts: predicator or complement, where the former is obligatory and the second
is optional (i.e. Birds sing vs. Birds sing at night). Let us concentrate on complements,
which can be segmented into six types (already mentioned above): (1) direct object
which follows immediately a verb phrase; the indirect object, which may be substituted
by a to-phrase following the direct object; benefactive object, which resembles the
direct object and precedes immediately the direct object; the subject attribute after
certain verbs such as copula verbs; the object attribute, formed by two noun phrases
(indirect + direct object); and predicator complement, which makes reference to those
constituents that obligatorily complement the verb.
3. The adverbial function is associated with a constituent which occupies a position on the
same level as the subject and predicate constituents (prepositions, noun phrases,
adverbs). They have two main features: they are optional and they are movable.

With the exception of the function predicator, which is invariably realized by a verb phrase,
sentence functions can be realized in a variety of ways. Thus the functions subject and direct object
can be realized by noun phrases (John; last week) but also, for example, by finite and non-finite
clauses, as in That the men are unwilling to compromise is obvious and I regret being unable to
come tonight (Aarts, 1988).

3.2. Phrase, sentence and clause structure.

So far we have assumed that the sentence, being the largest unit of grammatical description, does
not function in the structure of a unit higher than itself. Units are not alw ays consistently composed
of units of the next lowest rank. Quite frequently, a unit of a given rank functions as a constituent of
a unit of the same rank or even of a unit which is one step lower down the rankscale. We refer to
two further possibilities within sentence formation: first, when a sentence can function in the
structure of another sentence, that is in the structure of a unit of the same rank; and secondly, when
a sentence can function in the structure of a phrase, that is in the structure of a unit lower than
itself (Aarts, 1988).

We refer to the distinction between phrase, sentence and clause structure at a functional level where
they will function first, in terms of single units of syntactic description within the structure of the
phrase (noun phrase, adjective phrase, verb phrase, etc) and second, in terms of larger units as part
of the structure of the sentence (subject and predicate) or embedded in the sentence structure, that is,
clauses (subordinate). Following Aarts (1988), these larger structures are, apart form the morpheme
and the word, two major units of grammatical description. But let us examine their main
differences.

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3.2.1. The phrase structure.

The phrase structure is defined as a constituent which can be identified on the basis of the word
class membership of at least one of its constituent words which is called the head of the phrase
(i.e. a noun phrase is a phrase which has a noun as its most important constituent and similarly with
an adjective or adverbial phrase). Note tha t the other elements show a relation of dependency or
subordination to the head (in noun phrases we find: determiners which are divided into pre-central-
post determiners and modifiers: pre or post modifiers).

However, the factors which determine which of the words of a phrase constitutes its principal part
are not the same for all five phrase types. Thus, in three types, the noun, adjective and adverb
phrase, the dominant element is that which can replace the whole phrase without affecting the
structure of the sentence (i.e. We like medieval stories = we like stories). However, a fourth type of
phrase, the verb phrase, differs from the former in that the essential element, mainly taken from
semantic considerations, cannot replace the whole phrase without causing serious harm to syntactic
structure (i.e. John has phoned Cristine vs. John phoned Cristine).

On the other hand, the fifth type of phrase, the prepositional phrase, differs from the rest in that the
element that gives its name to the phrase cannot be called its head since it cannot replace the whole
phrase. In addition, only one of its constituents is a preposition and therefore, its relation is not one
of subordination but one of government.

3.2.2. Sentence vs. clause structure.

In order to clarify the difference between sentence and clause syntactic differences, we must review
the hierarchy of units of linguistic description when dealing with this duality. For instance, we
observe that morphemes function as constituents of words, words function as constitutents of
phrases and phrases as constituents of sentences. But then, what is the difference between sentence
and clause structure? Arent they the same?

The sentence is actually identifiable on the basis of the relations holding among its immediate
constituents (subject, predicate, direct/indirect object, complement, adverbial, and so on). Yet, the
sentence is placed at the other extreme of the rank scale and regarded as the largest unit of
grammatical description since it does not function in the structure of a unit higher than itself
(Aarts, 1988:79).

Once we have assumed that the sentence is the largest unit of grammatical description and that it
does not function in the structure of a unit higher than itself, we are ready to understand the duality
sentence vs. clause by means of two further possibilities. First, when a sentence functions in the
structure of another sentence of the same rank (i.e. I believe that he is quite loyal; what she says is
false); and secondly, when a sentence functions in the structure of a phrase, that is in the structure of

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a unit lower than itself (i.e. as postmodifier: the man that came yesterday was a politician; she is
afraid of what may happen here).

Hence, when sentences are embedded in the structure of other sentences or in the structure of
phrases we call them clauses, which usually corresponds to the notions of subordination (or
embedding) and coordination. Note that clauses can have other clauses embedded in them, as in
That she is rich is obvious or The problem is that they have no money left.

3.3. Simple, complex and compound sentences.

Up to this point, we shall approach the notion of sentence regarding the established typology
between simple, complex and coumpound sentences since quite often, the sentence has been
described as an indeterminate unit in the sense that it is difficult to establish where one sentence
ends and another begins. Some grammarians (Jesperson, Allerton, Huddleston, Aarts) affirm that a
sentence is a unit capable of occuring itself as long as there is no change in prosodic patterns
(accent, intonation) in spoken English (i.e. I told him. I won the lottery vs. I told him (that) I won the
lottery) and that it may be formed by one or more words (i.e. Stop! =. Can you stop, please?).

3.3.1. Simple sentences.

Simple sentences can be defined as a sentence in which none of the functions are realized by a
clause (Aarts, 1988), that is, a simple sentence does not contain an embedded (or subordinate)
sentence as realization of one of its functions (i.e. He likes science fiction films). In addition, a
simple sentence is always an independent sentence which can occur on its own (i.e. John is a
bachelor vs. He says that John is a bachelor ).

3.3.2. Complex sentences.

On the other hand, the complex sentence is defined as those sentences in which one or more
sentence functions are realized by a clause (finite or non-finite) (Aarts, 1988). Then a complex
sentence (or a clause) may contain one or more clauses in a relationship of coordination (i.e. I
believe that she is English) or subordination (i.e. I wonder if you would tell me where my keys are).
As sentences show, clauses can, in turn, contain more deeply embedded clauses (i.e. She was angry
because he went away).

Hence clauses can be classified in two ways. First, from a structural point of view by distinguishing
three types: finite clauses (i.e. We discovered who sent the e-mail); non-finite clauses (i.e. I dont
remember saying that); and verbless clauses (i.e. A staunch liberal, George did not believe in state
ownership). Secondly, in terms of the functions they play in the structure of the sentence: subject

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clauses (i.e. Having a hot shower is rather nice), direct object clauses (i.e. He didnt know what to
say), indirect object clauses (i.e. She gave whoever came in an angry look), benefactive object
clauses (i.e. She bought whoever came in a drink), subject attribute clauses (i.e. My feeling is that
she doesnt want to study), object attribute clauses (i.e. I call that killing two birds with one stone),
predicator complement clauses (i.e. I promised to come back) and adverbial clauses (i.e. To speak
frankly, I dont like this soup).

3.3.3. Compound sentences.

Following Aarts (1988), compound sentences are defined as a sentence in which two or more
sentences (called conjoins) have been coordinated. Note that each of the conjoins is independents
since there is no question of embedding. Coordination may be then asyndetic, in which case it is not
marked overtly (i.e. She was an odd woman, her life was always a mystery); or syndetic (quite
frequent) where at least two sentences are involved, being indicated by means of one the
coordinators and, or, for, but (i.e. He got up at six oclock but he still missed the bus).

To sum up, a com pound sentence may consist of (1) two (or more) simple sentences (i.e.Oil is now
more expensive and that will affect our economy); (2) a combination of simple and complex
sentences (i.e. If he believes that, he must be mad); and (3) two (or more) complex sentences (i.e.
He must believe what I say about the case and that is what matters now.

3.4. Word order and sentence structure.

Word order is closely related to the way verbs and particles are combined and therefore, to the
notion of sentence structure.. However, word order is not the only factor that determines, but the
way words co-occur together and their varying degrees of exclusivity. We refer to the tendency of
two or more words to co-occur in discourse (Schmidt, 2000:76). These degrees of exclusivity refer
to specific types of collocations which, in our case, refer to the way sentence elements may be
combined, for instance, obligatory or optional elements.

Following Quirk et al. (1973) the order in which the elements appear is common but by no means
fixed. It is a principle of sentence organization that what is contextually familiar or given
information comes relatively early, while the part which needs to be stressed or which seems to
convey the greatest information is given the special prominence of end-focus. Therefore, they
suggest the following word order: subject + predicator + complement (OI+OD) + adverbials
(process-place-time).

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3.5. Main types of sentence structure.

Once we saw that in terms of their structural complexity sentences can be divided into three types:
simple, complex and compound, this sections will deal with the main types of sentence structures
based on their grammatical form and their function in communication (also called the illocutionary
force), that is, from their syntactic structures and their association with one particular function in
speech situations.

Therefore, concerning the sentence grammatical form, the classification comprises four types:
declarative sentences, interrogative sentences, imperative sentences and exclamatory sentences
whereas the classification concerning their function in communication shows that declarative
sentences are chiefly used to make statements, interrogative sentences to ask questions, imperative
sentences to give commands and exclamatory sentences to make exclamations, depending on the
way speakers express their attitude through phonological, syntactic and semantic cues.

Within this classification, the first four types are named under the grammatical category of
adjectives: declarative, interrogative, imperative and exclamatory sentences whereas the
communicative functions are named under the grammatical category of nouns (i.e. statement,
question, command and exclamation, respectively). Yet, the grammatical form of sentences shall
establish the main morphological and syntactic features under the scope of simple sentences , whose
use correlates with dif ferent communicative functions.

It must be borne in mind that there is no one-to-one correspondence between the grammatical form
of a sentence and its function in communication. This means that sentences with the same
grammatical properties need not have the same illocutionary force and, conversely, that
grammatically different sentences can have the same illocutionary force. Thus, the following
request to have a pizza can be expressed in a variety of ways: Lets have a pizza, Shall we have a
pizza?; Why dont we have a pizza?; Would you like to have a pizza?

3.5.1. Sentences and their grammatical form.

The main grammatical forms of declarative, interrogative, imperative and exclamatory sentences
are as follows:

(1) Declarative sentences always have a subject, which precedes the verb (i.e. Madrid is the capital
of Spain; in 1954 my parents emigrated to France) and usually correlates with the communicative
function of stating facts either positive or negative. Hence, the verb, as an obligatory element, may
appear in positive or negative form (i.e. London is not the capital of Spain; in 1954 my parents did
not emigrate to France).

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(2) Interrogative sentences make reference to the communicative function of asking for
information or questions. They contain a subject and can open the sentence with an auxiliary verb
or a WH- word depending on the type of answer we expect. Then, they can be divided into three
major classes. For instance, (a) yes-no questions, where the operator is in front of the subject (i.e.
Will you come? / Does he live in Bristol?), included question-tags; (b) Wh-questions, where they
open with a WH- word and this is positioned initially (i.e. Where do you live?); (c) alternative
questions (i.e. Are you going to have milk or coffee?), which are similar to the structure of yes/no
questions;

In addition, there are other minor types of questions, such as questions (i.e. You go to the cinema?);
exclamation questions (i.e. Wasnt it amazing?); rhetorical questions (i.e. Can anyone avoid loving
this woman?); and echo questions (i.e. Have a look at this!- Have a look at what?).

(3) Imperative sentences contain a verb in the imperative mood. If a subject is present it is usually
you, but as a rule the subject is lacking (i.e. Shut that door, please/You go in first). This type of
sentences are known as commands in their communicative function.

(4) Finally, in exclamatory sentences the subject precedes the verb. They are introduced by phrases
opening with the words how + adjective or what + a(n) + (adjective) + noun (i.e. How beautiful
she is! / What a wonderful day!). Their communicative function is namely to emphasize how much
somebody likes something or appreciates a situation/thing/person/animal/etc.

3.5.2. Sentences and their main functions in communication.

When we deal with sentences and their main functions in communication, we refer to their
respective discourse function in the sentence, for instance, statements are namely used to convey
information in an assertive or non-assertive way; questions are used to ask for information,
sometimes yes/no answers and sometimes specific data; commands are namely used to order
somebody to do something; and exclamations are primarily used to express emphasis on the part of
the speaker.

Again, we insist on the fact that there is no fix correspondence between their grammatical form and
their communicative function. The speaker moves on morphological, phonological, syntactic and
semantic guidelines in order to state the difference, for instance, a sentence like She turned down
my invitation is at first sight a declarative sentence (morphologically and syntactically speaking).
However, if the speaker deals with phonological and semantic features, suddenly this sentence may
turn into a question, both phonologically and semantically speaking (i.e. She turned down my
invitation?).

Then, different types of sentence structures presented above are going to be examined more in detail
in the subsequent chapters, which shall analyse each type in order to express the speakers attitude
in speech.

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3.6. Main structural features of sentence types: form, function and use.

With respect to the main structural features of the four sentence structures under study, they will be
analysed in terms of form, function and uses, namely following morphological, phonological,
syntactic, semantic and pragmatic guidelines. Thus we shall examine the structure of statements,
questions, commands and exclamations regarding their form regarding morphology (subject-verb
structures) and phonology (pronunciation) whereas function will be approached in terms of syntax
(sentence structure) and semantics (different meanings = different uses).

4. STATEMENTS.

4.1. Statements: morphology and syntax.

As stated above, statements can be positive or negative, that is, assertive or non-assertive. Hence, in
case we want to construct a declarative sentence in the negative form, we may do it by: (a) adding
the negative particle not to: (i) auxiliary verbs be, have, shall, will, etc (i.e. He is not; You are
not), with the possibility of contratect forms (isnt; arent); (ii) modal auxiliary verbs must, can,
could, may, etc (i.e. You must not=you mustnt); (iii) the first person plural of the imperative form
(i.e. Let us play=Lets play); (b) with (i) the primary auxiliary verb do + not and does + not (i.e.
I dont like it/He doesnt like it); (ii) with the second person singular or plural of the imperative (i.e.
Dont speak); (iii) by using did + not = didnt when talking in the past tense; (c) with the verb
to fail (i.e. I fail to understand your ideas); (d) with any negative particle, such as never, nobody,
none, etc. We must bear in mind that we cannot use a negative particle when the verb is in the
negative form (i.e. NOT: There isnt nobody at home BUT: There isnt anybody at home / There is
nobody at home).

4.2. Statements: phonology and semantics.

Statements can convey messages in a variety of ways, for instance, by asserting or not (i.e. He
is/isnt my brother); by making predictions (i.e. I am going to have a baby); by offering apologies
(i.e. I am sorry about being late); by stating facts (i.e. Unemployment is said to have decreased this
year); opinions (i.e. I think you are right); etc. Declarative sentences may convey the meaning of (1)
statements (i.e. I will be 32 in January); commands (i.e. You have to leave this room now); requests
(i.e. I would love a martini); and warning (i.e. That plate is really hot).

Within each type, one of the most important syntactic devices that play a role in the representation
of a message is the focusing of information. Yet, English sentences normally have end-focus, which
means that the last open-class item in the sentence is often the most prominent (i.e. Robert is
driving to LONDON), usually marked by accent in speech. However, if the context requires this, it

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is possible to depart from the normal patter by shifting the focus to other words where again,
pronunciation, will play an important role (i.e. Robert is driving TO London = and not FROM
London). This is called the contrastive focus. Note how this syntactic device is so closely related to
the phonological one.

As Gimson (1980:274) states, The grammatical and attitudinal function of intonation, in addition
to its function of providing a means of accentuation, may also serve to distinguish sentence types
(i.e. statement vs. question) and to indicate the emotional attitude of the speaker. Such functions
apply equally to utterances consisting of more thatn one word and to those of a single word. In these
cases, it is not so much the situation of the nucleus which is of importance, but rather the type of
nucleus employed, for instance, whether a fall, rise-fall, rise, or fall-rise is used.

Thus, for our purposes, a statement form of words may be made into a question if a rise is used
instead of a fall, for instance, He is not here (statement) vs. He is ,not there? (question). In
addition, Palmer (1960) mentions a case in the sentence He doesnt lend his books to anybody
which may have two meanings according to whether anybody is said with a falling nucleus (i.e. he
lends them to nobody) or with a falling-rising nucleus (i.e. he does lend them to some people). This
semantic function also applies to the rest of sentence types as we shall see in subsequent sections.

5. QUESTIONS.

5.1. Questions: morphology and syntax.

As stated above, questions are ma inly used to ask for information, but depending on the answer we
expect on the part of the speaker, they can be divided into three major classes. For instance, (a) yes-
no questions, where the operator is in front of the subject (i.e. Will you come? / Does he live in
Bristol?); (b) Wh-questions, where they open with a WH- word and this is positioned initially (i.e.
Where do you live?). Question-tags are included in this type as a minor type of questions; and (c)
alternative questions (i.e. Are you going to have milk or coffee?), which are similar to the structure
of yes/no questions.

5.2. Questions: phonology and semantics.

As Gimson (1980:274) stated above, the grammatical and attitudinal function of intonation may
serve to distinguish statement vs. question sentence types and to indicate the emotional attitude of
the speaker when asking for information (low-falling nuclei: curt, impatient, testy, insistence, etc;
rising nuclei: politeness, pleading, suspicion, etc; falling-rising: forceful, encouraging, propting;
rising intonation). In these cases, it is not so much the situation of the nucleus which is of

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importance, but rather the type of nucleus employed, for instance, whether a fall, rise-fall, rise, or
fall-rise is used.

Questions, as statements, can convey messages in a variety of ways, for instance, questions (i.e.
Who is the President of Spain?); requests (i.e. Can you sing us a nice song?); exclamations (i.e.
Isnt that wonderful?); and commands (i.e. What are you laughing at?). The structures in which they
are embedded in are:

(1) yes/no questions (which are usually formed by placing the verb before the subject or by
auxiliary + subject + verb) expect an assertive or non-assertive answer (i.e. Have you seen this
film?) by using the rising intonation. On the one hand, yes/no questions expecting positive answers
are generally neutral, but if they have positive items in between (i.e. Would you like some ice-
cream?/Do you really want to leave now?) they lead us to positive answers in fact. On the other
hand, yes/no questions with negative items in between will lead us to negative answers (i.e. Dont
you believe me? = Of course, I dont believe you). A further and minor type of yes/no questions are
question-tags, which can convey the meaning of presuposing agreement calmly (i.e. It is lovely,
isnt it?) when pronounced with low-falling nucleus or demanding agreement when pronounced
with high-falling nucleus (i.e. She doesnt believe me, does she?).

(2) Secondly, when questions are open with Wh-pronouns (What, When, Where, Why, How, Who,
etc) or nouns sometimes (i.e. What kind of.../What time.../How often...), these Wh-items are
positioned initially (i.e. What did you do?) and they are called Wh-questions. They expect a wide
range of answers according to the different meanings of Wh-items (place, manner, time, action,
duration,...). Unlike yes/no questions, they are pronounced with falling intonation (i.e How did you
do it?).

(3) Thirdly, alternative questions (i.e. Are you going to have milk or coffee?), which are similar to
the structure of yes/no questions, may expect both assertive and non-assertive answers, one out of
two options (i.e. Which car is yours, the red or the blue one?). However, unlike yes/no questions,
this type of questions do not carry a rising intonation but a falling one.

(4) In addition, there are other minor types of questions, such as declarative questions (i.e. You go
to the cinema?) which have the syntactic construction of a declarative sentence but have a question
intonation, that is, a final rising intonation (i.e. Youve got the keys); exclamation questions (i.e.
Wasnt it amazing?), which are interrogative in structure but has the illocutionary force of an
assertive exclamation, within a final falling intonation (i.e. Hasnt she said I am wrong?); rhetorical
questions (i.e. Can anyone avoid loving this woman?), which have a normal rising intonation of a
yes/no question, but combine the interrogative structure and the assertive declarative (i.e. Is that a
reason for leaving now?). Finally, we find echo questions, whose main communicative function is
to repeat part of the previous question in order to get confirmation of it (i.e. The Smiths are moving
tonight?- Tonight?).

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6. COMMANDS.

6.1. Morphology and syntax.

As stated before, commands are embedded in the structure of imperative sentences, which contain a
verb in the imperative mood, that is, a bare infinitive in initial position (if assertive) and the
operator Dont + bare infinitive in initial position (if non-assertive). If a subject is present it is
usually you, but as a rule the subject is lacking (i.e. Shut that door, please/You go in first). They
differ from declarative sentences or statements in that they have no subject and are placed in initial
position.

6.2. Phonology and semantics.

This type of sentences are known as commands in their communicative function because they are
namely used to order somebody to do something. If we want to convey the meaning of calm or
detachment, we use it with falling intonation (i.e. Count them. Get it then). However, if we want to
express gentle command or request, we shall use the rising intonation (i.e. Wait. Hold it).
Sometimes, this type of sentence structure is embedded within the exclamation type, but Aarts
(1988) and Quirk et al. (1973) are in favour of examining it separately.

7. EXCLAMATIONS.

7.1. Morphology and syntax.

As mentioned above, in exclamatory sentences the subject precedes the verb. They are introduced
by phrases opening with the words how + adjective/adverb/statement (i.e. How beautiful she is!/
How fast you drive!/How I used to like chocolate!) or what + a(n) + (adjective) + noun/noun
phrase (i.e. What a wonderful day!/What a wonderful day we have had today!). The syntactic order
is therefore changed to the extent that the wh- item (who or what) may be taken from its usual
position (i.e. statements) to initial prominence to express emphasis. Another structure is such/so +
(adjective) + noun (i.e. He is such a good student!; they are so nic e to me!).

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7.2. Phonology and semantics.

Their communicative function is namely to emphasize how much somebody likes something,
appreciates a situation/thing/person/animal/etc. or to express how impressed the speaker is by
something. These expressions are quite common in everyday usage and we can find them in many
different patterns, both formal and informal ones. For instance, the formal ones, How quickly you
run! or What a nice time we had today!, when pronounced with falling intonation, they may
convey the meaning of boredom, unconcerned, or even sarcastic (i.e. How annoying the film is!).
Often used in ordinary colloquial speech, they may convey the meaning of strong surprise or
indignation (i.e. What a surprise!). On the other hand, informal ways of exclamations in colloquial
speech are Really!; Damn!; Bloody dog!; Oh, my God!; Good heavens!; Shit!; and so on.

8. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.

The different verbal paradigms dealt with in this study are so relevant to the learning of a foreign
language since differences between sentence structures related to different patterns in the learner's
native language (L1) and that of the foreign language (L2) may lead to several problems, such as
the incorrect use of verbal structures, especially because of the syntactic, morphological, and
semantic processes implied in these categories.

This study has looked at the structure of the sentence structure in terms of form and function, that is,
regarding morphological and phonological forms and syntactic and semantic functions, all those
related by the relevance of usage in everyday speech. This study is mainly intended for teachers to
help Spanish-speaking students establish a relative similarity between the two languages that would
find it useful for communicating in the European framework we are living in nowadays.

According to Thomson & Martinet (1986), a European student may find especially troublesome the
use of sentence structure, and particularly those which have double pattern, that is, declarative
sentences which are interrogative. In fact, when communicating in English our students must know
the specific constructions a verb needs or not in affirmative, interrogative, imperative or
exclamatory structure (i.e. Is he a student?/Does he go to school? ) and, second, which sentence
structure to use when certain situations are given depending on the speakers attitude (command,
questions, surprise, incredulity, and so on) and on top of that, how to place noun, adverbs,
adjectives in this type of structures (i.e. He is such a good swimmer).

This choice becomes problematic for our Spanish students when they deal with the wide range of
sentence structures and their semantic offer. For instance, the most common mistakes for Spanish
students, both at ESO and Bachillerato level, is to construct the negative and interrogative forms of
English modal verbs as the ordinary verbs do (i.e. Does she be able to pay her debts?) or to use

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incorrectly question-tags (i.e. He never comes alone, does he?) or sometimes by omitting certain
elements (i.e. He lives in New York?). Often, they make serious grammatical mistakes.

It has been suggested that a methodology grounded in part in the application of explicit linguistic
knowledge enhances the second language learning process. In the Spanish curriculum (B.O.E.
2002), the use of different sentence structures is envisaged from earlier stages of ESO in the use of
simple structures (subject + predicate + complement) to talk about their everyday life or any
specific topic, up to higher stages of Bachillerato, towards more complex sentence structures, such
as exclamations to express emphasis (subject + predicator + object + complement + etc (i.e. My
mum is such a good friend that I cant help loving her as crazy).

So, the importance of how to handle these sentence structures cannot be understated since you can
communicate but not successfully because of the relevant distinction of meaning between them to
express different nuances: asking for things , showing surprise, stating your likes, etc. We must not
forget that Spanish students are likely to use the imperative form to ask for things rather than using
structures such as Can I use the phone?, Could you tell me the way to the gym?, Shall I copy
this? and so on.

Current communicative methods foster the teaching of this kind of specific linguistic information
to help students recognize the main differences with the L2 words. Learners cannot do it all on their
own. Language learners, even 2nd year Bachillerato students, do not automatically recognize
similiarities which seem obvious to teachers; learners need to have these associations brought to
their attention.

So far, we have attempted in this discussion to provide a broad account of sentence structures by
means of form, function and use within verb phrase morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics and
usage in order to set it up within the linguistic theory, going through the localization of sentence
structures at the core of syntax studies, to a broad presentation of the main grammatical categories
involved in it. We hope students are able to understand the relevance of handling correctly the
different sentence structure to successfully communicate in everyday life.

9. CONCLUSION.

The notion of sentence structure implies a broad description of the structure of the sentence in
terms of form, function and use so as to get to the paradigms of morphology, phonology, syntax,
semantics and use which, combined, give way to the study we have presented here. The appropriate
answer suitable for students and teachers, may be so simple if we are dealing with ESO students,
using simple sentence structures or more complex if we are dealing with Bachillerato students, who
must be able to handle with high-level structures.

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So far, in this study we have attempted to take a fairly broad view of sentence structures since we
are also assuming that there is an intrinsic connexion between its learning and successful
communication. Yet, we have provided a descriptive account of Unit 23 dealing with Sentence
structure: posititive and negative statements, questions, commands and exclamations whose main
aim was to introduce the student to the different paradigms that shape the whole set of sentence
structures in English regarding their form and function.

In fact, the correct construction of sentence structures (simple, complex or compound), is currently
considered to be a central element in communicative competence and in the acquisition of a second
language since students must be able to use and distinguish these forms in their everyday life in
many different situations. As stated before, the teaching of them comprises four major components
in our educational curriculum: phonology, grammar, lexicon, and semantics, out of which we get
five major le vels: phonological, morphological and syntactic, lexical, and semantic.

Therefore, it is a fact that students must be able to handle the four levels in communicative
competence in order to be effectively and highly communicative in the classroom and in real life
situations, now we are part of the European Union. The expression of these verbal paradigms in
form and function, proves highly frequent in our everyday speech, and consequently, we must
encourage our students to have a good managing of it.

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10. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

- Aarts, F., and J. Aarts. 1988. English Syntactic Structures. Functions & Categories in Sentence Analysis.
Prentice Hall Europe.

- B.O.E. RD N 112/2002, de 13 de septiembre por el que se establece el currculo de la Educacin


Secundaria Obligatoria/Bachillerato en la Comunidad Autnoma de la Regin de Murcia.

- Downing, A. and P. Locke. 2002. A University Course in English Grammar. London: Routledge.

- Greenbaum, S. and R. Quirk. 1990. A Students Grammar of the English Language. Longman Group UK
Limited.

- Huddleston, R. 1988. English Grammar, An Outline. Cambridge University Press.

- Huddleston, R. and G.K. Pullum. 2002. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge
University Press.

- Quirk, R & S. Greenbaum. 1973. A University Grammar of English. Longman.

- Snchez Benedito, F. 1975. Gramtica Inglesa . Editorial Alhambra.

- Thomson, A.J. and A.V. Martinet. 1986. A Practical English Grammar. Oxford University Press.

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UNIT 24

THE EXPRESSION OF ASSERTION, EMPHASIS AND


DISAGREEMENT.
1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.
2. A LINGUISTIC FRAMEWORK FOR THE NOTIONS OF ASSERTION, EMPHASIS AND
DISAGREEMENT.
2.1. Linguistic levels involved.
2.2. On defin ing assertion, emphasis and disagreement: what and how.
2.3. Grammar categories: open vs. closed classes.

3. A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE EXPRESSION OF ASSERTION, EMPHASIS AND


DISAGREEMENT.
3.1. Verbal vs. non-verbal communication.
3.2. The relevance of Pragmatics.
3.3. The Speech Act Theory.
3.3.1. Main types of speech acts.
3.3.2. Locutionary, illocutionary, perlocutionary acts.
3.3.3. Illocutionary acts: performative verbs.
3.4. Syntactic constructions and the illocutionary force.

4. THE EXPRESSION OF ASSERTION.


4.1. Definition: assertion vs. non-assertion.
4.2. Linguistic vs. Non-linguistic means.
4.3. Linguistic means of expressing assertion.
4.3.1. Main syntactic structures.
4.3.2. Main grammatical categories.

5. THE EXPRESSION OF EMPHASIS.


5.1. Definition: the notion of emphasis.
5.2. Linguistic vs. Non-linguistic means.
5.3. Linguistic means of expressing emphasis.
5.3.1. Main syntactic structures.
5.3.2. Main grammatical categories.

6. THE EXPRESSION OF DISAGREEMENT.


6.1. Definition: agreement vs. disagreement.
6.2. Linguistic vs. Non-linguistic means.
6.3. Linguistic means of expressing disagreement.
6.3.1. Main syntactic structures.
6.3.2. Main grammatical categories.

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7. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.
8. CONCLUSION.
9. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

Unit 24 is primarily aimed to examine the English the expression of assertion, emphasis and
disagreement in terms of their main structural features regarding form, function and main uses in
order to provide a relevant and detailed account of this issue. Therefore, the study will be divided
into nine chapters.

Thus, Chapter 2 provides an analysis of the notions of assertion, emphasis and disagreement in
English in terms of form, main functions and uses. In fact, this introductory chapter aims at
answering questions such as, first, which linguistic levels are involved in the notions of assertion,
emphasis and disagreement; second, what they describe and how; and third, which grammar
categories are involved in their description at a functional level.

Once we have set up these notions within a linguistic framework, , we shall continue on offering the
reader in Chapter 3 a general introduction to the expression of assertion, emphasis and
disagreement regarding key concepts and theories which are closely related to them and which
prove to be essential in our analysis of all the three notions so as to get a relevant and overall view
of the whole unit. Thus, we shall start by revising some important concepts which are closely
related to the description of assertion, emphasis and disagreement: for instance, (1) their expression
within verbal vs. non-verbal communication; (2) the relevance of the field of pragmatics within
their study; and therefore (3) an analysis of the Speech Act Theory following the main explorations
of Austin (1975) and Searle (1969) on reviewing (a) types of speech acts, (b) the notions of
locutionary, illocutionary and perlocutionary acts and (c) performative verbs as part of the
illocutionary act; and finally, (4) the relevant relationship between syntactic constructions and the
illocutionary force. Once we have reviewed all these points, we are ready to examine individually
the expression of assertion, emphasis and disagreement in the subsequent chapters.

Chapters 4, 5 and 6 will offer an individual analysis of each item regarding (1) definition of the
term; (2) the difference between the linguistic vs. non-linguistic means; (3) within the linguistic
means, an analysis of the main ways of expressing each item through (a) major syntactic
constructions and (b) main grammatical categories, namely by making comments on their structural
features, that is, morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics.

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Chapter 7 provides an educational framework for the structural features of sentence structure within
our current school curriculum, and Chapter 8 draws on a summary of all the points involved in this
study. Finally, in Chapter 9 bibliography will be listed in alphabetical order.

1.1. Notes on bibliography.

In order to offer an insightful analysis and survey on the expression of assertion, emphasis and
disagreement in English regarding respectively sentence typology and ways of expressing emphasis
and disagreement, we shall deal with the most relevant works in the field, both old and current, and
in particular, influential grammar books which have assisted for years students of English as a
foreign language in their study of grammar. For instance, a theoretical framework for this type of
verbs is namely drawn from the fields of, first, sentence analysis, that is, from the work of Thomson
& Martinet in A Practical English Grammar (1986); Flor Aarts and Jan Aarts (University of
Nijmegen, Holland) in English Syntactic Structures (1988); and also, Rodney Huddleston with his
book entitled English Grammar, An Outline (1988); and secondly, from the field of pragmatics, that
is find authors related to pragmatics.

Other classic references which offer an account of the most important and central grammatical
constructions and categories in English regarding the expression of assertion, emphasis and
disagreement, are Quirk & Greenbaum, A University Grammar of English (1973); Snchez
Benedito, Gram tica Inglesa (1975); Greenbaum & Quirk, A Students Grammar of the English
Language (1990); and Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of
the English Language (2002). Main approaches to notional grammar and pragmatics are taken from
Searle, Speech Acts (1969), Austin, How to Do Things With Words (1962); van Ek, J.A.; and J.L.M.
Trim, Vantage (2001).

2. A LINGUISTIC FRAMEWORK FOR THE EXPRESSION OF ASSERTION, EMPHASIS


AND DISAGREEMENT.

Before examining in detail the notions of assertion, emphasis and disagreement in English in terms
of form, main functions and uses, it is relevant to establish first a linguistic framework in order to

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fully understand this issue. In fact, this introductory chapter aims at answering questions such as,
first, which linguistic levels are involved in the notions of assertion, emphasis and disagreement;
second, what they describe and how; and third, which grammar categories are involved in their
description at a functional level.

2.1. Linguistic levels involved.

In order to offer a linguistic description of the notions under study , we must confine them to
particular levels of analysis so as to focus our attention on this particular aspect of language. Yet,
although there is no consensus of opinion on the number of levels to be distinguished, the usual
description of a language comprises four major components: phonology, grammar, lexicon, and
semantics, out of which we get five major levels: phonological, morphological and syntactic,
lexical, and semantic (Huddle ston, 1988). However, due to the relevance of the speakers attitude
with respect to the expression of assertion, emphasis and disagreement, we shall include here the
field of pragmatics within our analysis since it is a central element so as to fully understand the
items to be described.

First, the phonology describes the sound level, that is, the pronunciation (stress, rhythm, tone and
intonation) within the sentence structure. Secondly, since the two most basic units of grammar are
the word and the sentence, the component of grammar involves the morphological level (i.e. third
person singular in positive statements) and the syntactic level (i.e. grammatical typology of
sentences statements, questions, commands and exclamations). Third, the lexicon, or lexical level,
lists vocabulary items which are closely related to the expression of assertion, emphasis and
disagreement (verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, etc).

Another dimension is the study of meaning , that is, semantics, or the semantic level, to which all
four of the major components are related regarding. We must not forget that a linguistic description
which ignores meaning is obviously incomplete, and in particular for our purposes, where semantics
plays a very important role in order to express what the speaker wants to say. Similarly, from a
functional approach, we must bear in mind the prominence of pragmatics in speech acts when
dealing with how to say things in English, that is, taking into account the speakers attitude and
the context where the sentence is uttered, where meaning and the speakers attitude are essential
elements in communicative exchanges (oral, written, paralinguistic).

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2.2. On defining assertion, emphasis and disagreement: what, how and why.

On defining these notions, we must link their linguistic description, that is, what they represent
(speech acts) to (1) how they are represented, both grammatically (different grammatical categories:
verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc) and syntactically (the types of sentences in which they are embedded);
and (3) to their function and why they are used in the speech act, that is, to explain the speakers
attitude. Traditionally, these notions have been defined as speech acts (assertion, questions, orders
and requests) which take place within certain types of sentences (declaratives, interrogative,
imperative) with a particular function (convey information true or false-; elicit information;
commands which cause others to behave in certain ways).

Since they are defined on the basis of sentence analysis, they are closely related to the domain of
text grammar and discourse analysis because of their syntactic structures and the different
illocutionary acts they may represent. In general, they work with a wide range of grammatical
constructions, from the simplest ones like the word to the largest unit of grammatical description
like the sentence. Both extremes will be taken into account when embedded in larger stretches of
langua ge such as paragraphs and texts (discourse analysis).

Before examining them in detail, we shall provide a bried definition of each concept. First, the
notion of assertion is to be found within the study of acts of communication and, in particular,
within Searles theory of Speech Acts (1969) where he distinguishes five types: representatives,
commissives, directives, declarations, expressives and verdicatives. Searles theory states that
assertions are to be found within a representative speech act which stands for some state of
affairs; and similarly, emphasis and disagreement are to be framed within the expressive
speech act that indicates the speaker's psychological state or mental attitude: on emphasizing the
prominence of a fact/person/thing on the part of the speaker or on denying, showing opposition and
contradicting other statements/ideas/facts/etc, respectively.

2.3. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.

So far, in order to confine these three notions to particular grammatical categories, we must review
first the difference between open and closed classes since the structure of the sentence involve both.
Yet, grammar categories in English can be divided into two major sets called open and closed

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classes. The open classes are verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs, and are said to be unrestricted
since they allow the addition of new members to their membership, whereas the closed classes are
the rest: prepositions, conjunctions, articles (definite and indefinite), numerals, pronouns,
quantifiers and interjections, which belong to a restricted class since they do not allow the creation
of new members. Yet, as we shall see, our three main concepts shall deal with both classes since
they will be represented by a wide range of grammatical categories (verbs, noun, adjectives,
adverbs, etc) and also by non-grammatical categories such as gestures!

3. A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE EXPRESSION OF ASSERTION, EMPHASIS


AND DISAGREEMENT.

Once we have set up these notions within a linguistic framework, we shall continue on offering the
reader a general introduction to the expression of assertion, emphasis and disagreement regarding
key concepts and theories which are closely related to them and which prove to be essential in our
analysis of all the three notions so as to get a relevant and overall view of the whole unit.

Thus, we shall start by revising some important concepts which are closely related to the description
of assertion, emphasis and disagreement: for instance, (1) their expression within verbal vs. non-
verbal communication; (2) the relevance of the field of pragmatics within their study; and therefore
(3) an analysis of the Speech Act Theory following the main explorations of Austin (1975) and
Searle (1969) on reviewing (a) types of speech acts, (b) the notions of locutionary, illocutionary and
perlocutionary acts and (c) performative verbs as part of the illocutionary act; and finally, (4) the
relevant relationship between syntactic constructions and the illocutionary force. Once we have
reviewed all these points, we are ready to examine individually the expression of assertion,
emphasis and disagreement in the subsequent chapters .

3.1. Verbal vs. non-verbal communication.

When dealing with interaction and speech act, the dimension of communication is essential in terms
of how we understand each other. Often, this act of communication is related to speaking and

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writing but, for our purposes, we hightlight the importance of body movement and gestures in an
attempt at expanding the 'narrow conception of natural language pragmatics'. Up to this point, it is
relevant to establish the difference betwen verbal and non-verbal communication in order to show
how relevant are both in the interaction process.

The importance of non-verbal communication within the human interface proves highly significant
for natural language pragmatics and the design of interactive systems based upon them. Body
moves create what we call 'contact', defined as a space of engagement among people who can
move in a rhythm of bodily take-turn. Several studies (Streeck, 1993, McNeill et al. 1994) show that
gesture and speech are co-ordinated activities which play a vital role in enhancing speech
perception and production, and even suggesting that this relationship is essential for effective
communication.

The limitations of language pragmatics have consequences for the success of systems and their
effects on users, because natural language pragmatics cannot handle multi-modal human-computer
interfaces. Rhythmic body movements have been used for the learning of foreign languages
whereby the rhythmic intonational structure represents a facilitative condition for learning,
providing more humane grounds for cognition and human orientated technology.

We suggest the idea of a dialogue act being applied to body language. Specifically, where body
movements are occurring in response to each other, whether this is related to a verbal utterance or
independent of it. Such moves are distinguished from representational or iconic gestures of the
verbal utterance which serve primarily to illustrate it. Thus, in conversation, assertion may be
represented by nodding or lifting up your hand; emphasis would be shown by gestures with face and
hands; and disagreement may be represented by frowning or moving your head to both sides.

As we can see then, non-verbal communication can also convey information about the conversation
situation. Body moves comes under the category of cueing facts, as extra linguistic factors and
under cued information as they are also about conversation organisation. It is from this perspective
that body moves constitute a kind of information flow.

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3.2. The relevance of P ragmatics.

Pragmatics was defined by the philosopher J.L. Austin as the study of "how to do things with
words" or perhaps "how people do things with words" in descriptive terms. But how does
pragmatics deal with our three main notions? The field of pragmatics is based on the observation of
how people use language to accomplish certain kinds of acts, broadly known as speech acts, and
distinct from physical or mental acts like drinking a cup of coffee, thinking about holidays, etc.
Speech acts include asking for a cup of coffee, promising to book a holiday, threatening to cancel
the booking , ordering a room, and so on. However, as stated before, most of these should be called
"communicative acts", since speech and even language are not strictly required to speaking and
writing but also to pointing to a pitcher and miming the act of drinking.

But let us start by defining what a speech act is following the philosophers Austin (1962, 1975) and
Searle (1969, 1985) and then, let us examine the different types of speech acts and what a speech
act consists of, that is, the different types of speech acts in order to locate the expression of
assertion, emphasis and disagreement.

3.3. The Speech Act Theory.

The Speech Act Theory was inspired by the work of the British philosopher J.L. Austin whose
postumously published lectures How to do things with words (1975) influenced a number of
students of language including the philosopher John Searle (1969), who established speech act
theory as a major framework for the study of human communication. In contrast to the assumptions
of structuralism where langue is seen as a system over parole concerning the speech act, speech
act theory holds that the investigation of structure always presupposes something about meanings,
language use, and extralinguistic functions.

The theory of speech acts aims to do justice to the fact that even though words (and therefore,
phrases and sentences) encode information, people do more things with words than convey
information, and that when people do convey information, they often convey more than their words
encode. Although the focus of speech act theory has been on utterances, especially those made in

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conversational and other face-to-face situations, the phrase 'speech act' should be taken as a generic
term for any sort of language use, oral or otherwise.

3.3.1. Main types of speech acts.

Searle (1969) summarizes Austins speech acts into five main categories: representatives,
directives, commissives, expressives, and declarations. Thus,

(1) firstly, representatives (also assertives) refer to some state of affairs by means of assertions,
claims and descriptions, that is, to tell people how things are by stating;

(2) secondly, directives, which are speech acts whose intention is to get the addressee to carry
out some action by means of commands, requests, dares or entreaties;

(3) thirdly, commissives, which are speech acts that commit the speaker to some future course
of action by means of promises, threats and vows;

(4) fourthly, expressives, which are speech acts that indicate the speaker's psychological state
or mental attitude by means of greeting, congratulating, thanking or apologising in order to
express the speaker's feelings and attitudes by thinking, forgiving, or blaming;

(5) and finally, declaratives, which are speech acts that themselves bring about a state of affairs
by means of marrying, naming, blessing or arresting. For instance, they bring about changes
through our utterances by means of bringing about correspondence between the
propositional content and reality, through baptizing, naming, appointing or sacking.

Although these speech acts are abstract notions and do not necessarily or uniquely correspond to
particular English verbs, Searle (like Austin before him) lists a number of English verbs as
examples of the different types of speech acts . In examining what people say to one another, we
can use Searle's classification in trying to understand what people are doing with language. In a
speech act we may find greetings, questions or requests for information, assertions or responses and
assessments. Hence, assertions are to be found within representatives whereas emphasis and
disagreement are to be found in the expressive type.

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3.3.2. Locutionary, illocutionary, perlocutionary acts.

The British philosopher Austin (1962) and the American Searle (1969) conceptualized speech acts
as comprising three components. First, the locutionary act (the act of saying something), which is
the actual form of an utterance; second, the illocutionary act, which is the communicative force of
the utterance; and third, the perlocutionary act, which is depicted as the communicative effect of the
utterance upon the feelings, thoughts, or actions of the audience, of the speaker, or of other persons.
In other words, a locutionary act has meaning; it produces an understandable utterance. An
illocutionary act has force; it is informed with a certain tone, attitude, feeling, motive, or intention,
and a perlocutionary act has consequence; it has an effect upon the addressee.

Let us suppose, for example, that a spokeman utters the words, 'The meeting will start in five
minutes,' reported by means of direct quotation. He is thereby performing the locutionary act of
saying that the meeting (i.e., the one he is tending) will start in five minutes (from the time of
utterance), and what is said is reported by indirect quotation (notice that what the spokeman is
saying, the conte nt of his locutionary act, is not fully determined by the words he is using, for they
do not specify the meeting in question or the time of the utterance). In saying this, the spokeman is
performing the illocutionary act of informing the participants of the meetings imminent start and
perhaps also the act of urging them to order a last drink. Whereas the aim of these illocutionary acts
is understanding on the part of the audience, perlocutionary acts are performed with the intention of
producing a further effect, for instance, getting one's audience to believe that one actually possesses
the attitude one is expressing is not an illocutionary but a perlocutionary act. Therefore, the
spokeman is performing all these speech acts, at all three levels, just by uttering certain words.

3.3.3. Illocutionary acts: performative verbs.

In How to Do Things with Words, Austin (1962) starts by enunciating a distinction between
constative and performative utterances. According to him, an utterance, which originally is a spoken
word or string of spoken words with no particular forethought or intention to communicate a
meaning, becomes constative if it describes some state of affairs whose correspondence with the
facts is either true or false. Performatives, on the other hand, do not describe, report or constate
anything as true or false. It is worth mentioning here that the attitude of the person performing the
linguistic act, his thoughts, feelings, or intentions is of great relevance at this distinction.

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But let us concentrate on the illocutionary acts and possible performative verbs for our purposes. It
has been claimed that statements, requests, promises and apologies are examples of the four major
categories of communicative illocutionary acts: constatives, directives, commissives and
acknowledgments, respectively, where each type of illocutionary act is individuated by the type of
attitude expressed. There is no generally accepted terminology here but the borrowed terms
'constative' and 'commissive' from Austin and 'directive' from Searle. The term 'acknowledgment'
has been adopted over Austin's 'behabitive' and Searle's 'expressive', for apologies, greetings,
congratulations etc., which express an attitude regarding the hearer that is occasioned by some event
that is thereby being acknowledged, often in satisfaction of a social expectation.

Here we are some assorted examples of each type: (1) Constatives: affirming, alleging, announcing,
answering, attributing, claiming, classifying, concurring, confirming, conjecturing, denying,
disagreeing, disclosing, disputing, identifying, informing, insisting, predicting, ranking, reporting,
stating, stipulating; (2) directives: advising, admonishing, asking, begging, dismissing, excusing,
forbidding, instructing, ordering, permitting, requesting, requiring, suggesting, urging, warning; (3)
commissives: agreeing, guaranteeing, inviting, offering, promising, swearing, volunteering; (4)
acknowledgments: apologizing, condoling, congratulating, greeting, thanking, accepting
(acknowledging an acknowledgment).

3.4. Syntactic constructions and the illocutionary force.

It is worth remembering that in terms of their structural complexity sentences can be divided into
three types: simple, complex and compound. For our purposes this analysis w ill deal with the main
types of sentence structures based on their grammatical form (syntactic constructions) and their
function in communication (the illocutionary force) that is, from their syntactic structures and their
association with one particular function in speech acts.

Therefore, concerning the sentence grammatical form, the classification comprises four types:
declarative sentences, interrogative sentences, imperative sentences and exclamatory sentences
whereas the classification concerning their function in communication shows that declarative
sentences are chiefly used to make statements, interrogative sentences to ask questions, imperative

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sentences to give commands and exclamatory sentences to make exclamations, depending on the
way speakers express their attitude through phonological, syntactic and semantic cues.

Within this classification, the first four types are named under the grammatical category of
adjectives: declarative, interrogative, imperative and exclamatory sentences whereas the
communicative functions are named under the grammatical category of nouns (i.e. statement,
question, command and exclamation, respectively). Yet, the grammatical form of sentences shall
establish the main morphological and syntactic features under the scope of simple sentences, whose
use correlates with different communicative functions (expressing assertion, emphasis and
disagreement).

It must be borne in mind that there is no one-to-one correspondence between the grammatical form
of a sentence and its function in communication. This means that sentences with the same
grammatical properties need not have the same illocutionary force and, conversely, that
grammatically different sentences can have the same illocutionary force. Thus, the following
request to have a pizza can be expressed in a variety of ways: Lets have a pizza, Shall we have a
pizza?; Why dont we have a pizza?; Would you like to have a pizza?

4. THE EXPRESSION OF ASSERTION.

The expression of assertion will be namely approached by (1) defining the term assertion in
opposition to the one of non-assertion; (2) the difference between the linguistic vs. non-linguistic
means of asserting; (3) within the linguistic means, we shall examine the main ways of expressing
assertion through (a) major syntactic constructions and (b) main grammatical categories, by
making comments on their structural features, that is, morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics
and pragmatics.

4.1. Definition: assertion vs. non-asssertion .

In order to define the notion of assertion, we shall follow J. L. Austin who complains at the
beginning of his book How to Do Things with Words (1975), that the business of a [sentence] can

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only be to describe some state of affairs, or to state some fact, which it must do either truly or
falsely. Similarly, the notion of assertion has been defined as a matter of stating with conviction
of emphasis (Wilkins, 1976) or as assertive sentences which are included in the major category of
statements (Quirk et al., 1975).

Traditionally, the term assertion has always been defined in opposition to the term non-
assertion with respect to certain types of sentences (as seen above) in terms of their grammatical
form (syntactic constructions) and their function in communication (the illocutionary force), that is,
in terms of the relationship between their syntactic structures and their association with one
particular function in speech acts. Accordingly, there will be certain grammatical items which will
be syntactically related to them according to their function in the sentence. Hence we get assertive
vs. non-assertive items such as the partitives some vs. any; the particles neither vs. either; the
indefinite pronouns someone vs. anyone and so on.

Austin reminds us that we perform all sorts of 'speech acts' besides making statements, and that
there are other ways for them to go wrong, that is, what he called explicit performative utterances
by means of explicit performative verbs (i.e. I nominate, You're dismissed, The assistant was
fired and so on to perform acts of the very sort named by the verb, such as nominating, dismissing
or firing).

Hence, the notion of assertion is related, grammatically speaking (in terms of grammatical
categories and syntax) to the no tions of positive and declarative sentences, but with respect to
their function in communication (their illocutionary force) it is chiefly used to make statements,
by means of performative verbs (also called constatives), such as: affirming, alleging, announcing,
answering, attributing, claiming, classifying, concurring, confirming, conjecturing, denying,
disagreeing, disclosing, disputing, identifying, informing, insisting, predicting, ranking, reporting,
stating, stipulating.

On the contrary, the notion of non-assertion is related, grammatically speaking (in terms of
grammatical categories and syntax) to the notions of (negative) statements and interrogative
sentences, but with respect to their function in communication (their illocutionary force) it is chiefly
used to make negative statements, by means of constative verbs again (i.e. denying, disagreeing,
disclosing, disputing, identifying, informing, insisting, predicting, ranking, reporting, stating,
stipulating (negatively)) and directive verbs (i.e. asking, begging, dismissing, excusing, ordering,
permitting, requesting, requiring, suggesting, urging, warning).

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4.2. Linguistic vs. non-linguistic means.

It is quite relevant to bear in mind that we may approach the notions of assertion or non-
assertion both in linguistic and non-linguistic terms, that is, through linguistic constructions (oral
and written grammatical constructions ) and also in terms of non-linguistic ways of asserting/non-
asserting, such as body movements (i.e. nodding, vs. moving your head to both side; smile vs.
frown; an assertive look vs. an enquiring look); physical contact (i.e. hand-shaking, kissing,
touching, etc as a signal of assertion vs. pushing someone away, spitting, shrugging your shoulders
as a signal of non-assertion); and significant roles of gestures and mimes (i.e. your hand closed with
thumbs up or down; eyes wide open).

Following van Ek & Trim (2001), we come across the notion of politeness conventions which is
closely related to linguistic and non-linguistic paradigms. Based on some universal considerations,
these conventions go beyond the simple and direct way of using the foreign language in conversing
with people who share the same mother tongue and social background as the speaker. Yet, it is
possible for the foreign learner (who is unaware of the conventions of the foreign country) to be
misinterpreted and give unintentional offence to partners who are themselves unaware that the
conventions they follow are not shared by the whole world. For instance, many foreigners try to
compensate in this respect by smiling, making eye contact and generally showing goodwill through
body language.

Unfortunately, according to van Ek & Trim, the conventions of body language also vary
considerably from one culture to another and smiles and eye contact can be misunderstood as
intrusive in one and their absence misunderstood as rejection in another. It is therefore increasingly
important for learners, particularly as their linguistic and pragmatic command of a language
improves and arouses higher expectations in their interlocutors, to be aware of the main features of
politeness in speech so as to recognise them in the speech of others and respond appropriately.

They add that the twin principles of concern and respect for the partner lead to two kinds of
politeness: positive and negative. Positive politeness is shown by expressing interest in partners
interests, activities, opinions, beliefs, etc., congratulating, praising , etc but also sympathising with
their troubles. This may go together with physical closeness and contact, prolonged eye contact and
sharing of emotional signals.

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On the contrary, positive politeness constrasts with negative politeness in which the speaker tries
to avoid embarrassment, distress or displeasure by showing an awareness of the demands made on
the partner. This implies imparting factual information and expressing attitudes by qualifying
simple declarative sentences which, for our purposes, will be examined in the following section
under the heading of linguistic means: main structural features.

4.3. Linguistic means of expressing assertion.

We shall carry out the analysis of the main linguistic means of expressing assertion in terms of
functional and grammatical approach, that is, we shall approach this issue by reviewing, first, major
syntactic constructions (functioning at sentence level) and second, those grammatical categories
(working at word/phrase level), such as assertive vs. non-assertive items.

4.3.1. Main syntactic constructions.

The main syntactic constructions in order to express assertion or non-assertion are related to the
structure of the simple sentence, being declarative (positive or negative statement) or interrogative
(questions). Therefore, we may find (1) positive statements realized by constative verbs; (2)
negative statements realized by constative verbs; (3) statements realized by question form; (4)
statements realized by the combination of questions and question-tags; (5) statements realized by
the form of rethorical questions; (6) statements realized by exclamatory form; and (7) statements
realized by negative form.

(1) Positive statements by means of simple declarative sentences may be classified by groups
of functional categories, for instance:
Imparting and seeking information, by means of (a) stating and reporting (i.e. My
sister has left); (b) identifying things/people/role (i.e. This is my house/father/job);
(c) the use of think, believe, expect, etc as introducers or as tags. If they are
unstressed, their use does not indicate uncertainty or lack of confidence (i.e. I think
his mother is French. She comes from Paris, I believe).
Moreover, we find the use of you know, of course, to imply that the partner is not
ignorant (i.e. Of course, his mother is French, you know).

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To express degrees of certainty in confident and tentative assertion. Thus, confident
assertion in (a) declarative sentences by means of adverbs certainly, definitely,
beyond any doubt, etc (i.e. She is certainly pregnant); (b) complement + clause
(i.e. I am quite sure that he died); (c) declarative sentences with stressed do, be or
auxiliary (i.e. I most certainly did post the letter); or tentative assertion by means
of (a) noun phrases + to seem/appear/look + (to be) (i.e. The essay seems to be
brilliant); (b) it looks as if/as though + statement (i.e. It looks as if she is coming);
(c) declarative sentence + I think, with low rising intonation (i.e. Hes French, I
think).
To correct a positive or a negative statement by means of short answers. For
instance, in a sentence like She is in Italy, the short answer would be No + tag,
with falling-rising intonation (i.e. No, it isnt) whereas when correcting a negative
statement in a sentence like We didnt go to York, the answer would be Yes +
tag with falling-rising intonation (i.e. Yes, you did).
(2) We may also express negative statements by means of non-assertive declarative sentences,
for instance:
By denying positive statements (i.e. You have passed your driving test. I cant
believe it/Thats quite untrue), using the structure No + negative tag (i.e. No, I
wasnt) or by stating simple negative statements (i.e. I didnt drive fast).
When implying correction by telling the partner that a mistake has been made.
Offence can be avoided by apologising for (a) correcting (i.e. Im sorry, but the
party isnt tonight. Its on Saturday); (b) presenting the correction as a different
opinion (i.e. Forty-one? I thought he was thirty).
When expressing reluctance (i.e. I dont want to complain but I have to do it) or
seeking the partners understanding (i.e. I hope you dont mind my saying so, but
you must leave now).
When apologising or expressing regret (i.e. Im sorry, but your work is not good
enough). This is especially frequent with prohibitions and withholding permission
(i.e. Im sorry, but you cant go out tonight).
In addition, we use this type to assert ignorance (i.e. Ive no idea; I havent a clue; I
dont know); to express remembering or forgetting persons, things, facts and
actions (i.e. I cant remember; I forgot why I came here).
When denying the ability to do something (i.e. I cant speak Spanish fluently).

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(3) Positive statements may also appear under the form of questions when demanding
confirmation or denial and the meaning will be conveyed by intonation. For instance,
A sentence like You saw him then? with rising intonation is functioning as a
question. If the sentence has an assertive structure, we expect a positive answer; on
the contrary, if the sentence has a non-asssertive structure, we shall expect a
negative answer You didnt see him then?.
(4) In addition, we may find the combination of questions + questions tags. Then, if we expect
positive confirmation, we shall make a positive statement (with falling intonation) + a
negative tag (with rising intonation) (i.e. You talked to him, didnt you?) whereas if we
expect a negative answer, we shall make a negative statement (with falling intonation) + a
positive tag (with rising intonation) (i.e. You didnt see him, did you?).
(5) We may also find statements realized by the form of rethorical questions, that is, they are
interrogative in structure but function as strong assertions (i.e. Isnt it sad enough to
cry?/Are you sure I have no reasons to be upset?). As we can observe, the negative
rethorical question functions as a strong positive assertion whereas the second, a positive
rethorical question, functions as a strong negative assertion. It is worth noting they expect
no answers; thats why they are called rethorical.
(6) Moreover, we can find statements realized by exclamatory form, that is, they belong to the
exclamatory type with interrogative form since their elements are inverted. They have the
yes/no question structure with a final falling tone which asks for confirmation on the part of
the listener about the speakers comment. Note that they are usually conveyed with a
positive sense (i.e. Isnt she beautiful!/Wasnt it an exciting evening!).

4.3.2. Main grammatical categories.

Regarding the main grammatical categories that may express assertion, we must address certain
assertive and non-assertive items which are to be drawn from a wide variety of grammatical
categories. For instance:

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(1) From the open classes, we find verbs (performative and constative verbs) which may be
assertive (i.e. affirm, claim, state, agree, answer, confirm, inform, report, etc) or non-
assertive (i.e. deny, disagree, disclose, refuse, etc); nouns derived from the previous verbs
(i.e. affirmation vs. negation, acceptance vs. refusal; agreement vs. disagreement, etc);
adjectives (i.e. affirmative vs. negative, accepted vs. refused, full vs. empty, allowed vs.
prohibited, etc) and adverbs (i.e. already vs. yet, always vs. never, often vs. hardly ever,
sometimes vs. ever, certainly vs. uncertainly, etc).
(2) From the closed classes, we may mention prepositions with a certain assertive and non-
assertive meaning (i.e. in vs. out, on vs. off, with vs. without, etc); conjunctions (i.e. or vs.
nor; and (addition) vs. but (opposition), moreover vs. however, etc); indefinite articles (i.e.
some vs. any); indefinite pronouns (i.e. somebody vs. nobody, something vs. nothing, etc);
non-count pronouns (i.e. all vs. none, each vs. neither); quantifiers (i.e. many vs. a few, a
little vs. none); and numerals (i.e. zero vs. one).
(3) Within idiomatic expressions, we may mention the opposites (assertive vs. non-assertive
respectively) forever and ever vs. any longer; Would you like some coffee? (where the
use of the assertive some within a non-assertive context means we expect a positive
answer); of course vs. by no means; whatever vs. at all; We didnt see a soul ; etc.

5. THE EXPRESSION OF EMPHASIS.

The expression of emphasis will be namely approached by (1) defining the term emphasis; (2) the
difference between the linguistic vs. non-linguistic means of emphasizing; (3) within the linguistic
means, we shall examine the main ways of expressing emphasis through (a) major syntactic
constructions and (b) main grammatical categories, by making comments on their structural
features, that is, morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics.

5.1. Definition: the notion of emphasis.

The term emphasis is defined as the force or stress laid on a word or words to make the
significance clear, or to show the importance or special value of something (people, things, actions,

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statements). The notion of emphasis is to be found within the classification of the expressive
function by means of which speech acts indicate the speaker's psychological state or mental attitude
by means of exclaiming, greeting or congratulating in order to express the speaker's feelings and
attitudes by emphasizing relevant information through oral and/or written devices.

When we make a statement with conviction of emphasis, we are highlighting a piece of information
in our speech to give it a special prominence or a special value, so the notion is related then,
grammatically speaking (in terms of grammatical categories and syntax) to the notions of
declarative sentences, imperative sentences and exclamatory sentences. However, with respect to
their function in communication (their illocutionary force) it is chiefly realized by statements,
commands and exclamations depending on the way speakers express their attitude through
phonological, syntactic and semantic cues.

It must be borne in mind again that there is no one-to-one correspondence between the grammatical
form of a sentence and its function in communication. This means that sentences with the same
grammatical properties need not have the same illocutionary force and, conversely, that
grammatically different sentences can have the same illocutionary force. Thus, the following
statement may convey different meaning depending on where the stress is placed, for instance,
Cristine gave me a new CD yesterday (i.e. It was Cristine, and not Betty; she gave it to me and not
borrowed; it was to me and not to you; it was a new CD and not old, and so on).

5.2. Linguistic vs. non-linguistic means.

It is quite relevant to bear in mind again that we may approach the notions of emphasis both in
linguistic and non-linguistic terms, that is, through linguistic constructions (oral and written
grammatical constructions) and also in terms of non-linguistic ways, such as body movements (i.e.
jumping, clapping, pointing with your finger, etc); physical contact (i.e. hugging, holding someone
in your arms tightly, kissing repeatedly, etc); and significant roles of gestures and mimes (i.e.
victory signal, mouth wide open, non-stop smiling, etc).

5.3. Linguistic means of expressing assertion.

We shall carry out the analysis of the main linguistic means of expressing emphasis in terms of
functional and grammatical approach, that is, we shall approach this issue by reviewing, first, major

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syntactic constructions (functioning at sentence level) on the basis of declarative sentences and
second, those grammatical categories involved in its description (working at word/phrase level).

5.3.1. Main syntactic constructions.

The main syntactic constructions in order to express emphasis may be given in oral and written
contexts. Therefore, we may find (1) emphasis within the oral context regarding main changes in
pronunciation; (2) emphasis within the written context; (3) parenthetic expressions; (4)
interjections; (5) emphasis through word order; (6) through repetition; (7) through reinforcement
tags; (8) statements realized by the form of rethorical questions; (9) exclamatory specific structures;
and finally, (10) swear words as idiomatic expressions.

(1) Emphasis may be realized in speech in declarative sentences by means of:


end-focus, which means that the last open-class item in the sentence is often the
most prominent (i.e. Robert is living in LONDON). However, if the context
requires this, it is possible to depart from the normal pattern by shifting the focus to
other words. This is called contrastive focus, for instance, Robert is LIVING in
London (not working/driving/having lunch), ROBERT is living in London (not
Jack/Philip/Charles) and so on (Aarts, 1988).
Stress, rhythm, tone and intonation in declarative sentences (i.e. His mother is a
doctor). Those words to be highlighted because of their relevance in content are to
be stressed and therefore, pronounced louder than normal.
Note that vowels may become longer and will be pronounced after a pause,
especially primary auxiliary and modal auxiliary verbs. In this case, those words
which usually have weak pronounciation in the speech chain (schwa reduction) will
be pronounced in their strong forms.
Moreover, we shall use strong stress (i.e. This man is dangerous); high falling
nucleus on the prominent word (i.e. Its really great); fall-rise intonation in
subordinate groups (i.e. Studying is ok. Exams are hell).
(2) In written contexts, emphasis is realized by:
punctuation marks, such as full points, colon, semicolon, dash, commas,
parentheses (also brackets), quotation marks, question marks, exclamation marks,
hyphen, apostrophe and abbreviations.

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Moreover, we can use emphasis in printed or word-processed texts by the use of
special devices such as italics, use of bolding, use of capitals, underlining, special
fonts, colours, etc.
(3) Closely related to punctuation are parenthetic expressions, which are marked by intonation
in speech and punctuation in writing. Their function in the sentence is to highlight the
previous or following sentence element. For instance, Leave me alone, he said.
(4) Similarly, interjections are separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma (in writing)
and a pause (in speech), for instance, Oh, so thats what he wanted , Oh, no! I cant
believe it!.
(5) As we can see, sentences can express emphasis in a variety of ways. Another option is to
highlight important information through word order in the sentence. For instance, word
order involves a change in the linear order in which the words normally appear, that is,
certain parts of the sentence are given emphasis by moving them to front-position.
Compare: He lost his watch at the beach/His watch he lost at the beach/At the
beach he lost his watch.
Other parts undergo inversion, that is, part of the sentence (or phrase structure) is
moved before the subject. We may find two types: subject verb inversion (i.e. Here
are your books!; Off we go) in which inversion will not take place if the subject is a
personal pronoun (i.e. Here he is! And not Here is he); the other type is subject
operator inversion, which is almost compulsory in most questions (i.e. Is he at
home? Are you going to have dinner at Queens tonight?), certain grammatical
structures (i.e. Hardly had I finish writing the letter he left; Seldom have I felt
worse) and specific idiomatic expressions (i.e. Not a word did he say; under no
circumstances must you leave, etc).
By means of cleft sentences and pseudo-clef sentences. The formes are a
construction which makes it possible to put special emphasis on a particular
constituent. This is done by cleaving the sentence into two parts in such a way
that the resulting sentence is of the pattern: It + be + emphasized constituent +
who/that ... (i.e. It was this e-mail that Peter sent last week). The emphasized
constituents may function as subject, direct object and adverbials. Other
constituents such as indirect object, object attribute and predicator are less
frequently emphasized in this way, but we do find sentences like: It was John I
lent my camera to; This was the lecture that Peter did in Beirut, etc. Note that in

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certain contexts it is possible to leave out the that-clause (i.e. It was because he was
abroad; Its just that he is a fool).
On the other hand, pseudo-cleft sentences, like cleft sentences, are used to give
special emphasis to a particular part of the sentence, and can be described as
subject-predicator-subject attribute sentences, in which the subject is realized by a
what-clause, the predicator by a form of be and the subject attribute by a noun
phrase, an infinitive or an ing participle (i.e. What killed him was alcohol/What
they are doing is spoiling their children) (Aarts, 1988). This type of sentence can
be in initial or middle position (i.e. I didnt know what to do).
(6) Also, we can use the device of repetition (also reinforcement, reiteration), which is a
stylistic device mainly used in colloquial speech which, for purposes of emphasis, repeats
some sentence elements for the sake of emphasis, focus or thematic arrangement (i.e. You
look much, much younger than ten years ago! You bad, bad girl!).
(7) On the other hand, we can also use reinforcement tags, which are placed in initial or final
position in the sentence in order to reinforce the idea presented in the main sentence (i.e.
Shes a generous woman, she is; Getting late, he is; Hates the alarm clock, Peter does).
(8) Another device is that of rethorical questions. Similarly to the expression of emphasis,
these statements are realized by an exclamatory structure but have interrogative form since
their elements are inverted. They have the yes/no question structure with a final emphatic
falling tone which asks for confirmation on the part of the listener about the speakers
comment. Note that they are usually conveyed with a positive sense (i.e. Isnt she
beautiful!/Wasnt it an exciting evening!). Note that when they are stated in the positive
form (i.e. Has she said her first words! / Am I stupid!) they are pronounced with stress on
the operator and subject.
(9) By means of exclamatory specific structures, where the subject precedes the verb such as.
They are introduced by phrases opening with the words how + adjective/adverb/statement
(i.e. How beautiful she is!/ How fast you drive!/How I used to like chocolate!) or what +
a(n) + (adjective) + noun/noun phrase (i.e. What a wonderful day!/What a wonderful day
we have had today!). The syntactic order is therefore changed to the extent that the wh-
item (who or what) may be taken from its usual position (i.e. statements) to initial
prominence to express emphasis. Another structure is such/so + (adjective) + noun (i.e. He
is such a good student!; they are so nice to me!).

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These expressions are quite common in everyday usage and we can find them in many
different patterns, both formal and informal ones. For instance, the formal ones, How
quickly you run! or What a nice time we had today!, when pronounced with falling
intonation, they may convey the meaning of boredom, unconcerned, or even sarcastic (i.e.
How annoying the film is!). Often used in ordinary colloquial speech, they may convey the
meaning of strong surprise or indignation (i.e. What a surprise!).

(10) On the other hand, informal ways of exclamations in colloquial speech are swear words,
which are considered to be idiomatic expressions, for instance, Really!; Damn!; Bloody dog!;
Oh, my God!; Good heavens!; Shit!; and so on.

5.3.2. Main grammatical categories.

Regarding the main grammatical categories that may express emphasis, we must address certain
emphatic items which are to be drawn from a wide variety of grammatical categories. For instance:

(1) From the open classes, we find


verbs (performative and constative verbs) which convey the meaning of emphasize
an action as in a gradual scale (i.e. like, love, fancy, to be crazy for, go wild).
Other verbs are of the type of underline, highlight, emphasize, point out, etc;
within this type, we may mention the relevant role of modal auxiliary and primary
auxliary verbs on the expression of emphasis. For instance, modal auxiliary verbs
give more emotional force to the whole sentence when stressed and pronounced
with strong pronunciation since they convey the meaning of contrast, that is,
probability vs. certainty, present vs. future, necessity vs. obligation, etc (i.e.
might vs. must; is vs. was vs. will be; need vs. must, etc); note that the position of
some adverbs (certainly, really, etc) is different from normal placing. Compare
You have certainly taken the right decision (normal) vs. You certainly have taken
the right decision (emphatic);
On the other hand, the primary verb do has a very important role in sentences
which have no modal auxiliary verbs. For instance, it may convey the meaning of
emotion (i.e. You did look gorgeous last night); persuasion (i.e. Do be quiet!);

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contrast (i.e. Why didnt you tell me?- I did tell you, dont you remember?); and
an expected result (i.e. Finally, the player scored the decisive goal).
Also nouns derived from the previous verbs (i.e. underlining, highlighting,
emphasis, etc) play an important role when emphasizing;
adjectives (i.e. underlined, emphasized, pointed out, etc) may also have an
emphasizing function when referring to extreme adjectives, for instance, compare
excited vs. thrilled, little vs. tiny, big vs. huge, afraid vs. frightened, etc.
adverbs (i.e. certainly, really, definitely, etc) can take a special position in the
sentence before the verb, since it is the first part of the verb (modal or primary
auxiliary) which carries the stress (i.e. I really do like terror films).
(2) From the closed classes, we may mention prepositions with a certain emphatic meaning
(i.e. onto, inside, outside, etc); conjunctions (i.e. moreover, furthermore, in addition, on top
of that, and even, etc); emphatic reflexive pronouns (i.e. myself, yourself, himself, herself,
etc) as in She fixed the alarm clock by herself; quantifiers (i.e. very, quite, rather, a few,
many, a little, really, such a + (adjective) + noun, so, so much/many, too much/many, etc).
(3) Within idiomatic expressions (all over the world; he is such a good swimmer!, etc),
including swear words (i.e. I cant record the bloody song!, I damn well hope it stops
raining!, etc).

6. THE EXPRESSION OF DISAGREEMENT.

The expression of disagreement will be namely approached by (1) defining the term
disagreement in opposition to that of agreement; (2) the difference between the linguistic vs.
non-linguistic means of disagreeing; (3) within the linguistic means, we shall examine the main
ways of expressing disagreement through (a) major syntactic constructions and (b) main
grammatical categories, by making comments on their structural features, that is, morphology,
phonology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics.

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6.1. Definition: agreement vs. disagreement.

The term disagreement is defined as the way of expressing a different view or different opinions
in a speech act. Traditionally, the term disagreement has always been defined in opposition to
the term agreement with respect to certain types of sentences in terms of their grammatical form
(syntactic constructions) and their function in communication (the illocutionary force), that is, in
terms of the relationship between their syntactic structures and their association with one particular
function in speech acts.

The notion of disagreement is to be found within the classification of the expressive function by
means of which speech acts indicate the speaker's psychological state or mental attitude by means
of disagreeing in order to express the speaker's feelings and attitudes towards other opinions or
views through oral and/or written devices. Hence we get items which show disagreement. such as
verbs (disagree, refuse other views, etc), expressions such as Im sorry but..., and so on.

When we make a statement with absence of agreement, we relate it grammatically speaking (in
terms of grammatical categories and syntax) to the notions of declarative sentences, imperative
sentences and exclamatory sentences. However, with respect to their function in communication
(their illocutionary force) it is chiefly realized by statements, commands and exclamations
depending on the way speakers express their attitude through phonological, syntactic and semantic
cues.

Once more it must be borne in mind that there is no one-to-one correspondence between the
grammatical form of a sentence and its function in communication. This means that sentences with
the same grammatical properties need not have the same illocutionary force and, conversely, that
grammatically different sentences can have the same illocutionary force. Thus, the following
statement may convey the same meaning I dont think so and Rubbish!.

Hence, the notion of disagreement is related, grammatically speaking (in terms of grammatical
categories and syntax) to the notions of positive and declarative sentences, but with respect to
their function in communication (their illocutionary force) it is chiefly used to make statements,
by means of performative verbs (also called constatives), such as: alleging, conjecturing, denying,
disagreeing, stipulating, and so on. Similarly, the expression of agreement by means of the verbs
agreeing, supporting, providing, etc.

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6.2. Linguistic vs. non-linguistic means.

We may approach the notions of disagreement or agreement both in linguistic and non-
linguistic terms, that is, through linguistic constructions (oral and written grammatical
constructions) and also in terms of non-linguistic ways of asserting/non-asserting, such as body
movements (i.e. (agreement) nodding, smile, an assertive look vs. (disagreement) moving your head
to both side , frown, an angry look); physical contact (i.e. hand-shaking, kissing, touching, showing
the palm of your hand, etc) and significant roles of gestures and mimes (i.e. your hand closed with
thumbs up or down; not looking straight into someones eyes).

As stated in the previous section, the notions of politeness conventions are closely related to
linguistic and non-linguistic paradigms regarding disagreement. Based on some universal
considerations, it is possible for the foreign learner to give unintentional offence to partners who are
themselves unaware that the conventions they follow are not shared by the whole world. For
instance, many foreigners try to compensate in this respect by smiling, making eye contact and
generally showing goodwill through body language.

Unfortunately, according to van Ek & Trim, the conventions of body language also vary
considerably from one culture to another and smiles and eye contact can be misunderstood as
intrusive in one and their absence misunderstood as rejection in another. It is therefore increasingly
important for learners, particularly as their linguistic and pragmatic command of a language
improves and arouses higher expectations in their interlocutors, to be aware of the main features of
politeness in speech so as to recognise them in the speech of others and respond appropriately.
6.3. Linguistic means of expressing disagreeement.

We shall carry out the analysis of the main linguistic means of expressing disagreement in terms
of functional and grammatical approach, that is, we shall approach this issue by reviewing, first,
major syntactic constructions (functioning at sentence level) on the basis of declarative sentences
and second, those grammatical categories involved in its description (working at word/phrase level).

6.3.1. Main syntactic constructions.

The main syntactic constructions in order to express disagreement may be given in oral and written
contexts. People usually avoid expressing disagreement bluntly so they try to soften the expressions

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so as not to express strong contradictory points of view. Traditionally, there is a three-fold
classification into simple disagreement, tactful disagreement and strong disagreement. We shall
follow for our purposes van Ek & Trims classification (2001) where we shall examine (1)
disagreement by means of statements regarding main changes in pronunciation; (2) weak
disagreement (tactful); and (3) strong disagreement by means of idiomatic expressions and swear
words .

(1) The expression of disagreement may be realized when we try to avoid blunt disagreement,
for instance,
in positive statements such as I dont agree with you; Thats not right; Youre
wrong about that; Im afraid you are not right and so on. As we can see they are
polite expressions.
in negative statements, observe: Tomorrow isnt Wednesday (Oh) yes, it is or
I think + positive statement (I think its Wednesday tomorrow) with contrastive
stress.
by short answers, such as No, it isnt; Not so; Certainly not; I dont think so and
so on.
We may also enquiry about disagreement (or agreement) by means of questions
(i.e. Do you agree; What do you think?; statement + question tag with rising
intonation: She is French, isnt she?).
Another option is to invite disgreement with a statement by using the construction:
Surely you dont think + that clause (i.e. Surely you dont think its cold?).

(2) We can also convey the meaning of weak or tacful disagreement by using gentle
grammatical constructions which stand for apologies or adjustments to the speakers point
of view, for instance,
by introducing the conjunction but, as in the sentences English is said to be a
difficult language to learn but I think thats not true, Thats true, but
pronunciation is easier, Do you think so? Actually, I find it quite difficult.
When disagreement is explicit, we express it in gent le terms (i.e. Im not sure; I
wonder if you...; I beg to differ; I cant agree; Id rather disagree with you, I am
against war, etc);

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sometimes we must infer the meaning as the expressions is too polite (i.e. I must
say I am not sure your saying is true; I think rather different; If you dont mind me
telling you, there are some mistakes in your essay).
(3) Finally, when expressing strong disagreement we must be careful not to offend someone:
by uttering a straightforward answer with falling intonation (Thats quite late No,
it isn t; Im sorry but you have failed your exam; I cant stand your perfume ).
by including more formal expressions (i.e. I cant go along with that; I would take
issue with that; I wholly and fully disagree, etc).
by including the structure with respect... in colloquial speech to make our
disagreeement more polite (i.e. With respect, you should be studying; We should
ask him now, shouldnt we?).
by expressing strong disagreement with idiomatic expressions and swear words (i.e.
Absolute nonsense!; Rubbish!; I couldnt agree less; No way!; How can you say
that/such a thing!; Come off it!; Thats ridiculous!, etc).

6.3.2. Main grammatical categories.

Regarding the main grammatical categories that may express emphasis, we must address certain
emphatic items which are to be drawn from a wide variety of grammatical categories. For instance:

(1) From the open classes, we find


verbs (performative and constative verbs) which convey the meaning of
contradicting an opinion (i.e. disagree, differ, deny, stipulate, etc).
Also nouns derived from the previous verbs (i.e. disagreement, difference, denial,
etc) play an important role;
adjectives (i.e. different (point of view), separate (views), distant, etc);
adverbs (i.e. actually, wholly, fully , etc) can take a special position in the sentence
before the verb either at the beginning (i.e. Actually, I think...) or in the middle (i.e.
I wholy and fully disagree).
(2) From the closed classes, we may mention prepositions with a certain emphatic meaning
(i.e. Come off it, go along with, etc); conjunctions (i.e. but); and quantifiers (i.e. rather,
really, such a + (adjective) + noun, etc).

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(3) Within idiomatic expressions (i.e. Dont talk rubbish!, Come off it; Nonsense!, etc),
including swear words (i.e. Rubbish!, Fuck you!, etc).

7. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.

The various aspects of the expression of assertion, emphasis and disagreement dealt with in this
study is relevant to the learning of the vocabulary of a foreign language since differences between
the vocabulary of the learner's native language (L1) and that of the foreign language (L2) may lead
to several problems, such as the incorrect use of grammatical or idiomatic expressions, especially
because of the syntactic, morphological, and semantic processes implied in these categories.

This study has looked at the expression of assertion, emphasis and disagreement within lexical
semantics, morphology and syntax in order to establish a relative similarity between the two
languages that Spanish-speaking stu dents would find it useful for learning English if these
connections were brought to their attention, especially when different categories may be overlapped
(assertion, emphasis and disagreement through statements).

It has been suggested that a methodology grounded in part in the application of explicit linguistic
knowledge enhances the second language learning process. In the Spanish curriculum (B.O.E.
2002), the expression of assertion, emphasis and disagreement is envisaged from earlier stages of
ESO in terms of stating their opinions about hobbies, people, things (asserting, emphasizing or
disagreeing) up to higher stages of Bachillerato, towards more complex constructions, such as those
of emphasis (i.e. He is such a good swimmer; What a nice day!; How good it is to be here!, etc).

The expression of assertion, emphasis and disagreement has been considered an important element
of language teaching because of its high-frequency in speech. We must not forget that the
expression of these items is mainly drawn from both closed class categories, such as adverbs,
adjectives, and nouns, and open class categories such as prepositions which have a high frequency
of use when speaking or writing, and even when miming or using body language.

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Hence, the importance of how to handle these expressions cannot be understated since you cannot
communicate without it. Current communicative methods foster the teaching of this kind of
specific linguistic information to help students recognize new L2 words. Learners cannot do it all on
their own. Language learners, even 2nd year Bachillerato students, do not automatically recognize
similiarities which seem obvious to teachers; learners need to have these associations brought to
their attention.

So far, we have attempted in this discussion to provide a broad account of the expression of
assertion, emphasis and disagreement in order to set it up within the linguistic theory, going through
the localization of their main syntactic structures, and finally, once correctly framed, a brief
presentation of the three main items under study. We hope students are able to understand the
relevance of handling correctly the way of asserting, emphasizing and disagreeing in everyday life
communication.

8. CONCLUSION.

How language represents the world has long been, and still is, a major concern of philosophers of
language. It is worth noting that although assertions, questions and orders are fairly universal, and
most of the world's languages have separate syntactic constructions that distin guish them, other
speech acts do not have a syntactic construction that is specific to them. For instance, an utterance
like If you leave now, I'll never talk to you again! may be identified as a threat by most English
speakers.

However, English has no special sentence form for threats. The if-construction used here is not
specific to the speech act of threatening and even, such a construction might also express a promise
or simply a cause and effect relationship between the two physical events uttered by the speaker.
Moreover, almost any speech act is really the performance of several acts at once, distinguished by
different aspects of the speaker's intention: there is the act of saying something, what one does in
saying it, such as requesting or promising, and how one is trying to affect one's audience.

Making a statement may be the paradigmatic use of language, but there are all sorts of other things
we can do with words. We can make requests, ask questions, give orders, make promises, give

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thanks, offer apologies, expressing emphasis and disagreeing.. In general, speech acts are acts of
communication. To communicate is to express a certain attitude, and the type of speech act being
performed corresponds to the type of attitude being expressed. For example, a statement expresses a
belief, a request expresses a desire, and an apology expresses a regret.

As an act of communication, a speech act succeeds if the audience identifies, in accordance with the
speaker's intention, the attitude being expressed. In next sections, we shall address the expression of
assertion, emphasis and disagreeement through different grammatical categories and different
syntactic constructions which will make relevant these previous considerations already presented.
Throughout this unit we have shown the correlation between types of illocutionary act and types of
expressed attitude. In many cases, such as asserting, emphasizing and disagreeing, as well as all
types of acknowledgment, the act and the attitude it expresses presuppose a specific conversational
or other social circumstance.

Pretheoretically, we think of an act of communication, linguistic or otherwise, as an act of


expressing oneself. This rather vague idea can be made more precise if we get more specific about
what is being expressed. Communicative success is achieved if the speaker chooses his words in
such a way that the hearer will, under the circumstances of utterance, recognize his communicative
intention. So, for example, if you spill some beer on someone and say 'Oops' in the right way, your
utterance will be taken as an apology for what you did.

So far, in this study we have attempted to take a fairly broad view of the expression of assertion,
emphasis and disagreement since we are also assuming that there is an intrinsic connexion between
its learning and successful communication. Yet, we have provided a descriptive account of Unit 24,
untitled The expression of assertion, emphasis and disagreement whose main aim was to
introduce the student to the different ways of expressing these acts of speech. In doing so, the study
provided first a linguistic framework for our three items in order to get some key terminology on
the issue, and further developed within a grammar linguistic theory, described in syntactic terms as
we were dealing with syntactic structures.

In fact, asserting, emphasizing and disagreeing are speech acts which are a central element in
communicative competence and in the acquisition of a second language since students must be able
to express their thoughts, opinions and emotions in their everyday life in many different situations
and in detail. As stated before, the teaching of these expressions comprises four major components

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in our educational curriculum: phonology, grammar, lexicon, and semantics, out of which we get
five major levels: phonological, morphological and syntactic, lexical, and semantic plus that of
pragmatics, which offers us the social context in which we must use them.

In fact, our students must have a good knowledge at all those levels. First, on phonology which
describes the sound level. Secondly, since the two most basic units of grammar are the word and the
sentence, they must have good grammatical knowledge, which invoves the morphological level and
the syntactic level. Third, the lexicon, or lexical level, lists vocabulary items, that is, different
constative verbs and other expressions to denote assertion, emphasis and disagreement, specifying
how they are pronounced, how they behave grammatically, and what they mean. Finally, another
dimension between the study of linguistic form and the study of meaning is semantics and that of
pragmatics.

Therefore, it is a fact that students must be able to handle the four levels in communicative
competence in order to be effectively and highly communicative in the classroom and in real life
situations. Our three current expressions prove highly frequent in our everyday speech, and
consequently, we must encourage our students to have a good managing of them.

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9. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

- Aarts, F., and J. Aarts. 1988. English Syntactic Structures. Functions & Categories in Sentence
Analysis. Prentice Hall Europe.

- B.O.E. RD N 112/2002, de 13 de septiembre por el que se establece el currculo de la Educacin


Secundaria Obligatoria/Bachillerato en la Comunidad Autnoma de la Regin de Murcia.

- Bolton, D. And N. Goodey. 1997. Grammar Practice in Context. Richmond Publishing.

- Council of Europe (1998) Modern Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. A Common


European Framework of reference.

- Eastwood, J. 1999. Oxford Practice in Grammar. Oxford University Press.

- Greenbaum, S. and R. Quirk. 1990. A Students Grammar of the English Language. Longman
Group UK Limited.

- Greenbaum, S. 2000. The Oxford Reference Grammar. Edited by Edmund Weiner. Oxford
University Press.

- Hymes, D. 1972. On communicative competence. In J. B. Pride and J. Holmes (eds.),


Sociolinguistics, pp. 269-93. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

- Huddleston, R. 1988. English Grammar, An Outline. Cambridge University Press.

- Huddleston, R. and G.K. Pullum. 2002. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language.
Cambridge University Press.

- Nelson, G. 2001. English: An Essential Grammar. London. Routledge.

- Quirk, R & S. Greenbaum. 1973. A University Grammar of English. Longman.

- Snchez Benedito, F. 1975. Gramtica Inglesa. Editorial Alhambra.

- Searle, J. 1969. Speech Acts. Cambridge University Press.

- Thomson, A.J. and A.V. Martinet. 1986. A Practical English Grammar. Oxford University Press.

- Van Ek, J.A., and J.L.M. Trim, 2001. Vantage. Council of Europe. Cambridge University Press.

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UNIT 25
LOGICAL RELATIONS OF CAUSE, CONSEQUENCE AND
PURPOSE AT SENTENCE LEVEL.

OUTLINE

1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.

2. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE NOTIONS OF CAUSE, CONSEQUENCE


AND PURPOSE.
2.1. Linguistic levels involved.
2.2. On defining cause, consequence and purpose: what, how and why.
2.3. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.

3. A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE NOTIONS OF CAUSE, CONSEQUENCE AND


PURPOSE.
3.1. Phrase, sentence and clause structure.
3.2. Simple, complex and compound sentence.
3.3. Adverbial clauses: main types.
3.3.1. By means of other grammatical categories.
3.3.2. Syntactic classification.
3.3.3. Semantic classification.
3.4. Logical relations between clauses: main types.

4. CAUSAL CLAUSES.
4.1. Definition.
4.2. Main structural features.
5. CONSECUTIVE CLAUSES.
5.1. Definition.
5.2. Result clauses vs. purpose clauses.
5.3. Main structural features.
6. FINAL CLAUSES.
6.1. Definition.
6.2. Purpose clauses vs. result clauses.
6.3. Main structural features.

7. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.
8. CONCLUSION.
9. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

Unit 25 is primarily aimed to examine the English logical relations of cause, consequence and
purpose at sentence level in terms of their main structural features regarding form, function and
main uses in order to provide a relevant and detailed account of this issue. In doing so, the study
will be divided into eight main chapters.

Thus, Chapter 2 provides a linguistic framework for the notions of cause, consequence and purpose
(namely achieved by means of adverbs, and also by means of prepositions, noun phrases and other
grammatical structures) by answering questions such as, first, which linguistic levels are involved in
their description within sentence structure; second, what they describe and how; and third, which
grammar categories are involved in its description at a functional level.

Once we have set up these notions within a linguistic framework, we shall continue on offering the
reader in Chapter 3 a general introduction to the notions of cause, consequence and purpose within
the framework of sentence structure regarding key concepts and theories which are closely related
to them and which prove to be essential in our analysis so as to get a relevant and overall view of
the whole unit.

Thus, we shall start by revising some important notions which are closely related to the description
of sentence structures: for instance, (1) the difference between phrase, clause and sentence and (2)
the difference between simple, complex and compound sentences since the present three notions are
drawn from adverbial clauses which may be complex or compound; (3) a brief typology of adverbs
in terms of grammar, syntax and semantics which shall lead us to the syntactic classification of
adverbial phrases (disjuncts, conjuncts, subjuncts and adjuncts) and semantic types of adverbs
(place,time, cause, purpose and others) out of which we shall obtain the three main notions under
consideration; and (4) the main types of logical relations between clauses in order to introduce the
subsequent chapters.

Chapters 4, 5 and 6 will offer an individual analysis of each item regarding (1) definition of the
term; (2) within the linguistic means, an analysis of the main ways of expressing each item through

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(a) major syntactic constructions and (b) main grammatical categories, namely by making
comments on their structural features, that is, morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics and
pragmatics. Chapter 7 provides then an educational framework for their main structural features
within our current school curriculum and Chapter 8 draws on a summary of all the points involved
in this study. Finally, in Chapter 9 bibliography will be listed in alphabetical order.

1.2. Notes on bibliography.

In order to offer an insightful analysis and survey on the logical relations of cause, consequence and
purpose at sentence level in English, we shall deal with the most relevant works in the field, both
old and current, and in particular, influential grammar books which have assisted for years students
of English as a foreign language in their study of grammar. For instance, a theoretical framework is
namely drawn from the field of sentence analysis, that is, from the work of Flor Aarts and Jan Aarts
(University of Nijmegen, Holland) in English Syntactic Structures (1988), whose material has been
tested in the classroom and developed over a number of years; also, another essential work is that of
Rodney Huddleston, English Grammar, An Outline (1988).

Other classic references which offer an account of the most important and central grammatical
constructions and categories in English regarding the logical relations of cause, consequence and
purpose at sentence level, are Quirk & Greenbaum, A University Grammar of English (1973);
Thomson & Martinet, A Practical English Grammar (1986); and Greenbaum & Quirk, A Students
Grammar of the English Language (1990).

More current approaches to notional grammar are David Bolton and Noel Goodey, Grammar
Practice in Context (1997); John Eastwood, Oxford Practice in Grammar (1999); Sidney
Greenbaum, The Oxford Reference Grammar (2000); Gerald Nelson, English: An Essential
Grammar (2001); Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of the
English Language (2002); and. Angela Downing and Philip Locke, A University Course in English
Grammar (2002).

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2. A LINGUISTIC FRAMEWORK FOR THE NOTIONS OF CAUSE, CONSEQUENCE AND
PURPOSE.

Before describing in detail the logical relations of cause, consequence and purpose at sentence level
in English, it is relevant to establish first a linguistic framework for these notions, since they must
be described in grammatical terms. In fact, this introductory chapter aims at answering questions
such as (1) where these notions are to be found within the linguistic level, (2) what they describe,
how and why; and (3) which grammar categories are involved in their description at a functional
level. Let us examine, then, in which linguistic level these notions are found.

2.1. Linguistic levels involved.

In order to offer a linguistic description of the logical relations of cause, consequence and purpose
at sentence level, we must confine it to particular levels of analysis so as to focus our attention on
this particular aspect of language. Yet, although there is no consensus of opinion on the number of
levels to be distinguished, the usua l description of a language comprises four major components:
phonology, grammar, lexicon, and semantics, out of which we get five major levels: phonological,
morphological and syntactic, lexical, and semantic (Huddleston, 1988). However, we shall include
here the field of pragmatics within our analysis since it is a central element so as to fully understand
the items to be described.

First, the phonology describes the sound level, that is, consonants, vowels, stress, intonation, and so
on. First, the phonology describes the sound level, that is, the pronunciation (stress, rhythm, tone
and intonation) within the sentence structure, where a pause (a comma in syntactic terms) may help
distinguish between a purpose clause (i.e. Ill help you so that you can go home earlier) or a result
(i.e. He helped me, so that (and so) I was able to go home earlier).

Secondly, since the two most basic units of grammar are the word and the sentence, the component
of grammar involves the morphological level where we can express cause, consequence and
purpose by means of different choices within grammatical constructions (i.e. so that (purpose) vs.
so + adjective + that (consequence)).

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Thirdly , the lexicon, or lexical level, lists vocabulary items depending on our choice of different
grammatical categories, for instance, nouns (i.e. this is the result of your coming earlier),
prepositional phrases (i.e. I bought you a present so as to/in order to surprise you); conjunctions (i.e.
because, as, since, etc) and so on. Therefore, lexis deals with the expression of cause, consequence
and purpose regarding the choice between noun phrases or adverbial phrases (i.e. The reason why I
stayed in is that it was raining vs. I stayed in because it was raining=cause) or other means such as
other formal realizations of these notions (i.e. a noun phrase, a verbless clause, a finite clause, etc).

Next, semantics deals with the semantic roles of an adverbial element in clause structure apart from
their syntactic roles as subject, verb, object or complement, where syntactic and morphological
levels do not tell the difference (i.e. because, which may be used to express cause and
consequence). The expression of cause, consequence and purpose are embedded in the semantic
role of contingency which may include: cause, reason, purpose, result, condition and concession
(Quirk et al. 1990). We must not forget that a linguistic description which ignores meaning is
obviously incomplete.

Similarly, from a functional approach, we must bear in mind the prominence of pragmatics in
speech acts when dealing with how to say things in English, that is, taking into account the
speakers attitude and the context where the sentence is uttered, where meaning and the speakers
attitude are essential elements in communicative exchanges (oral, written, paralinguistic). For our
purposes, it is an essential level since the speakers attitude may convey cause, consequence or
purpose.

Finally, the syntactic level describes the way words are placed in the sentence and shall help us
locate the notions under study by (1) specifying the difference between phrase, sentence and clause;
(2) establishing a grammatical typology of sentences (simple, complex and compound) since
adverbial clauses are namely found in the two latter ones; and therefore (3) by classifying clauses
into the adverbial type (disjuncts, conjuncts, subjuncts and adjuncts).

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2.2. On defining cause, consequence and purpose: what, how and why.

On defining these notions, we must establish internal links between (1) their linguistic description,
that is, what they represent in terms of morphology, phonology and lexis and how they are
represented, both grammatically (different grammatical categories: adverbs, nouns, prepositions,
etc) and syntactically (the types of sentences in which they are embedded) (2) and their function
within the sentence at a semantic and pragmatic level, that is, why they are used by the speaker and
what kind of logical relations are to be conveyed in the speech act.

When answering the question of what they represent in linguistic terms, we deal with the
morphology and phonology of their elements within the phrase structure at sentence level (i.e.
pauses, stress and intonation in nouns, adverbs or prepositions) whereas the how they are
represented refers to the different grammatical categories (i.e. conjunctions, nouns, prepositions,
adverbs) and syntactic types of sentences (or clauses) in which they are embedded.

Following Traditional Grammar guidelines, the expression of cause, consequence and purpose is
namely given by the grammatical category of adverbs, and therefore, adverbial phrases which are
classified according to their main semantic roles: space (position, direction, goal, source, distance),
time (position, forward an d backward position, relationship in time ), respect, process (manner,
means, instrument, and agency), modality, degree (or quantity) (emphasizers, amplifiers,
downtoners), sentence (affirmative, negative, interrogative), doubt (relative adverbs: where, whe n,
why) and finally, for our purposes, the notion of contingency where we find the relations of cause,
reason, purpose, result, condition and concession.

Moreover, these notions are also classified according to their syntactic function in causal,
consecutive and final clauses whose function is to denote the of the verb by asking Why, What for
and Which result and which are embedded respectively under the category of contingency clauses
as conjuncts, disjuncts and adjuncts. Note that the expression of cause, consequence or purpose is
mainly achieved by means of adverbial, prepositional and noun phrases (Quirk & Greenbaum,
1973).

The three notions are syntactically realized by causal, consecutive and final clauses respectively,
and at a pragmatic level, their combinations describe different situations, such as in view of the fact
that to express cause (i.e. Since you are not very talkative, I will phone Anne) or by asking Why;

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similarly, we can establish a logical relation of consequence or result tow ards certain situations
conveying the meaning of in the end this is what happened (i.e. He arrived so late that he found no
free seats); and finally, when conveying a relation of purpose between two sentences, the meaning
conveyed answers to the question What for and not Why.

2.3. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.

In order to confine the notions of cause, consequence and purpose to particular grammatical
categories, we must review first the difference between open and closed cla sses. Yet, grammar
categories in English can be divided into two major sets called open and closed classes. The open
classes are verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs, and are said to be unrestricted since they allow the
addition of new members to their membership, whereas the closed classes are the rest: prepositions,
conjunctions, articles (definite and indefinite), numerals, pronouns, quantifiers and interjections,
which belong to a restricted class since they do not allow the creation of new members.

Then, as we can see, when expressing cause, consequence and purpose we are mainly dealing with
adverbs that, when taken to phrase and sentence level, may be substituted by other grammatical
categories, in particular, prepositional phrases, noun phrases and specific syntactic structures. The
classification of phrases reflects an established syntactic order which is found for all four of the
open word classes (i.e. verb, noun, adjective, and adverb) where it is very often possible to replace
open classes by an equivalent expression of another class (i.e. noun, adjective, preposition or
another adverb), and also closed classes (i.e. prepositions, conjunctions, quantifiers) as we shall see
later. Yet, as we shall see, these three notions shall deal with both classes.

3. A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE NOTIONS OF CAUSE, CONSEQUENCE AND


PURPOSE.

Once we have set up a linguistic framework, we shall continue on offering the reader a general
introduction to these three notions regarding some previous considerations which prove to be
relevant in our analysis in subsequent chapters. Thus, we shall start by revising some important
notions which are closely related to the description of sentence structures: for instance, (1) the

7/24
difference between phrase, clause and sentence since these three notions may lead us to
misunderstandings; (2) the difference between simple, complex and compound sentences; and (3) a
brief typology of adverbs following syntactic and semantic guidelines within adverbial clauses in
order to locate the notions of cause, consequence and purpose, which will be fully described in the
subsequent chapters.

3.1. Phrase, sentence and clause structure.

We refer to the distinction between phrase, sentence and clause structure at a functional level where
they will fu nction first, in terms of single units of syntactic description within the structure of the
phrase (noun phrase, adjective phrase, verb phrase, etc) and second, in terms of larger units as part
of the structure of the sentence (subject and predicate) or embedded in the sentence structure, that is,
clauses (subordinate). Following Aarts (1988), these larger structures are, apart form the morpheme
and the word, two major units of grammatical description. But let us examine their main
differences.

First, the phrase structure is defined as a constituent which can be identified on the basis of the
word class membership of at least one of its constituent words which is called the head of the
phrase (i.e. adverbial phrase). Note that the other elements show a relation of dependency or
subordination to the head (in noun phrases we find: determiners which are divided into pre-central-
post determiners and modifiers: pre or post modifiers).

Second, the sentence is actually identifiable on the basis of the relations holding among its
immediate constituents (subject, predicate, direct/indirect object, complement, adverbial, and so
on). It is the largest unit of grammatical description and that it does not function in the structure of a
unit higher than itself, we are ready to understand the duality sentence vs. clause by means of two
further possibilities.

Hence, when sentences are embedded in the structure of other sentences or in the structure of
phrases we call them clauses, which usually corresponds to the notions of subordination (or
embedding) and coordination. Note that clauses can have other clauses embedded in them, as in
That she is rich is obvious or The problem is that they have no money left.

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3.2. Simple, complex and compound sentences.

Up to this point, we shall approach the notion of sentence regarding the established typology
between simple, complex and coumpound sentences since quite often, the sentence has been
described as an indeterminate unit in the sense that it is difficult to establish where one sentence
ends and another begins.

Simple sentences can be defined as a sentence in which none of the functions are realized by a
clause (Aarts, 1988), that is, a simple sentence does not contain an embedded (or subordinate)
sentence as realization of one of its functions (i.e. He likes science fiction films). In addition, a
simple sentence is always an independent sentence which can occur on its own (i.e. John is a
bachelor vs. He says that John is a bachelor ).

On the other hand, the complex sentence is defined as those sentences in which one or more
sentence functions are realized by a clause (finite or non-finite) (Aarts, 1988). Then a complex
sentence (or a clause) may contain one or more clauses in a relationship of subordination (i.e. I
wonder if you would tell me where my keys are). This type of clauses can, in turn, contain more
deeply embedded clauses (i.e. She was angry because he went away).

Hence clauses can be classified in two ways. First, from a structural point of view by disting uishing
three types: finite clauses (i.e. We discovered who sent the e-mail); non-finite clauses (i.e. I dont
remember saying that); and verbless clauses (i.e. A staunch liberal, George did not believe in state
ownership). Secondly, in terms of the functions they play in the structure of the sentence, for our
purposes, as predicator complement clauses (i.e. I promised to come back) and adverbial clauses
(i.e. To speak frankly, I dont like this soup).

Finally, following Aarts (1988), compound sentences are defined as a sentence in which two or
more sentences (called conjoins) have been coordinated. Note that each of the conjoins is
independents since there is no question of embedding. Thus, a compound sentence may consist of
(1) two (or more) simple sentences (i.e.Oil is now more expensive and that will affect our
economy); (2) a combination of simple and complex sentences (i.e. If he believes that, he must be
mad); and (3) two (or more) complex sentences (i.e. He must believe what I say about the case and
that is what matters now. As we can see we shall namely deal with complex sentences.

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3.3. Adverbial clauses: main types.

Since the expression of cause, consequence and purpose is to be realized by means of adverbs, we
have to deal first with the different types of adverbs and therefore, the typology of adverbial phrases
and clauses which are derived from this grammatical category. Moreover, we must bear in mind
that these three notions under study are also drawn from other grammatical categories related to it,
such as prepositions, adjectives, nouns and other grammatical structures like periphrastic phrases,
idiomatic expressions or verbless sentences, although we shall namely deal with contingency
adverbs.

3.3.1. By means of other grammatical categories.

In terms of other grammatical categories, we shall deal with adverbs, prepositions and nouns
namely apart from other structures such as finite and non finite clauses, and so on. Thus, by means
of noun phrases, although it is not common (i.e. This is the reason why I came so early). Another
kind of syntactic structure involves clause subordination, where we find two types. Thus (a) the
non-finite verb clauses (or infinitival clauses) which function as modifier of the verbal phrase, and
in which the verb is (i) an infinitive, as in He left at nine to catch the nine -thirty bus, (ii) present
participle ing, as in She cried because of her falling, and (iii) past participle ed, as in Since I
warned you, I feel no regrets now. Secondly, (b) we may find the finite content clause as in I was
so broke that I couldnt buy any food.

3.3.2. Syntactic classification.

Adverbs can also be classified according to their main functions whereby we may find for our
purposes two main types: (1) the syntactic function, which is related to the structure and position of
adverbial phrases at the sentence level; and (2) the semantic function, which is related to intrinsic
aspects of adverbs since the intended meaning is usually indicated by the introductory conjunct or
disjunct. We shall follow five main figures in this field in order to develop this section, thus Quirk
& Greenbaum (1973), Thomson & Martinet (1986), Huddleston (1988), Aarts (1988), and Quirk et
al. (1990).

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Regarding the syntactic function, adverbs, as seen, play their role within a larger linguistic structure
in order to modify verbs, adjectives, and nouns by means of other categories as well. Consequently,
both function and word class are relevant for our present purposes and we shall examine the
expression of cause, consequence and purpose through the notion of adverbial phrase, an essential
element in syntactic analysis.

An adverbial phrase is a constituent which can be identified on the basis of the word class
membership of adverbs, in this particular case, the relationship it holds among its immediate
constituents is referred to as sentence level. Following Quirk et al. (1990), in terms of their
grammatical functions, adverbs fall into four main categories: disjuncts, conjuncts, subjuncts and
adjuncts, which later on will lead us to the semantic classification of process adjuncts.

Briefly, we can make a further distinction among them, in which disjuncts and conjuncts have a
peripheral relation in the sentence vs. subjuncts and adjuncts which are relatively more integrated
within the structure of the clause. Note that although subjuncts have a subordinate and parenthetic
role in comparison with adjuncts, they lack the grammatical parity with other sentence elements and
therefore we shall not include them in our study.

Thus, syntactically, disjuncts have a peripheral relation in the sentence, being somewhat detached
from and superordinate to the rest of the sentence. We identify them because most of them are
prepositional phrases or clauses which express the speakers authority for, or comment on, the
accompanying clause (i.e. Honestly , I want to go home; From my point of view, you should not go ).
They usually function as comment words and are used to express consequence (i.e. frankly,
briefly , consequently, as a result);

Conjuncts have a peripheral relation in the sentence, being somewhat detached from and
superordinate to the rest of the sentence. We identify them because they serve to conjoin two
utterances or parts of an utterance, and they do so by expressing at the same time the semantic
relationship obtaining between them (cause, result, contrast, etc ). They are commonly introduced
by the conjunctions because, as or since as in I lent him the money because he needed it or
Since Jane was the youngest, she was spoilt by everyone. These different positonal tendencies
reflect a different syntactic status, thus because clauses are considered to be adjuncts whereas
as and since clauses are considered to be disjuncts.

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And finally, adjuncts function as constituents of a clause or sentence and, for our purposes, will
answer to the question What for...? by means of finite and non finite clauses. Adjuncts, more than
other adverbials, have grammatical properties resembling the sentence elements subject,
complement and object and as such, can be the focus of a cleft sentence (i.e. It was because of the
fine that he got so furious; Who helped Sarah?).

3.3.3. Semantic classification.

Following Aarts (1988), the syntactic classification brings about the semantic function. As stated
before, conjuncts function as the connecting link between the sentence in which they occur and the
preceding context. Semantically, they may express listing (in the first place, secondly; furthermore,
moreover), summative (therefore, in sum, to sum up), appositive (for example, that is, i.e.,
specifically, in particular), resultive (as a result, in consequence), inferential (in that case, then ),
contrastive (better; on the contrary, on the other hand; however, nevertheless, yet), and transitional
references (by the way, now; meanwhile, eventually).

Disjuncts express an evaluation of what is being said either with respect to the form of the
communication or to its meaning. They usually function as comment words, whereby they provide
the speakers comment on the content or form of the utterance (i.e. Frankly, unfortunately, wisely,
consequently, as a result). Semantically speaking, the semantic roles of disjuncts fall under two
main headings: manner and modality , and respect. Regarding (1) manner and modality, we find
disjuncts such as crudely, frankly, honestly, seriously, personally, strictly speaking, to be honest, to
be precise, to put it briefly, in all honesty, and so on. Regarding (2) respect, they often appear in
metalinguistic comments. For instance, strictly, generally, from what he said, in a word, in other
words, and so on.

On the other hand, adjuncts add extra information to the action by means of descriptions about
place (at the station), time (yesterday morning), manner (with patience/in jeans), means (by bike),
instrument (with a fork ) or contingency (to see you) among others.

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3.4. Logical relations between clauses: main types.

The terms cause, consequence and purpose give account of the logical relations between the main
clause and the subordinate clauses they represent within the framework of compound sentences (i.e.
She went out alone because he got asleep). It must be borne in mind that there is no clear-cut
distinction between them and they may interrelate between each other by exchanging adverbial
conjuncts or disjuntcs (i.e. clauses of reason and result-cause introduced by as or because = We
camped here as/because it was too dark).

The three notions (cause, consequence and purpose) are syntactically realized by causal,
consecutive and final subordinate clauses which represent semantically reason, result and purpose.
They respectively express (1) the cause of the action which took place in the main clause (i.e. He
was late (main clause) because he couldnt find a taxi (cause-reason)) and answers the question of
Why was he late?; (2) consecutive subordinate clauses express the result of the action which took
place in the main clause (i.e. He was working very hard (main clause), so he got asleep soon
(consequence-result); and (3) final subordinate clauses express the purpose of what it is said in the
main clause (i.e. I worked late (main clause) in order to clear up my papers (finality-purpose)).

As stated before, at a pragmatic level, their combinations describe different situations, such as in
view of the fact that to express cause (i.e. Since you are not very talkative, I will phone Anne) or
by asking Why; similarly, we can establish a logical relation of consequence or result towards
certain situations conveying the meaning of in the end this is what happened (i.e. He arrived so
late that he found no free seats); and finally, when conveying a relation of purpose between two
sentences, the meaning conveyed answers to the question What for and not Why.

Once we have set up a general introduction on these notions and we have locate them in the
linguistic field, we are ready to analyse them in more detail in subsequent chapters. We shall
approach these notions in terms of (1) definition and (2) their main structural features, regarding
form, function and main uses.

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4. CAUSAL CLAUSES.

4.1. Definition.

Causal clauses are also called clauses of cause or clauses of reason. The term cause give s
account of the logical relation between the main clause and the subordinate clause it represents
within the framework of a compound sentence (i.e. She went on a trip because she was on holiday).
This notion is syntactically realized by causal clauses which semantically represent the reason
why..., and in particular, the cause of the action which took place in the main clause (i.e. He was
late (main clause) because he couldnt find a taxi (cause-reason)) by answering the question of
Why?

4.2. Main structural features.

Regarding its main structural features, we shall start by reviewing the logical relation of cause in
terms of function and use, that is, from the field of semantics and pragmatics. Therefore, we shall
examine the different types of relations that a clause of reason establishes with its main clause,
which sometimes are not clear-cut and overlap other meanings such as circumstances, conditions,
effect, motivation and so on. Thus we find direct and indirect relations , the former being semantic
relations and the latter being syntactic ones.

(1) With respect to direct relations, following Quirk et al. (1990), reason clauses convey a
direct relationship with the matrix clause in four different ways.

First, the relationship of cause and effect (i.e. He looks thinner because he has been
on a strict diet), that is, when the effect in the main clause (He looks thinner) has an
outstanding objective connection with the cause in the subordinate clause (because
he has been on a strict diet). We can also convey this meaning by asking Why
does he look thinner?

Secondly, the relationship of reason and consequence (i.e. She tidied up her
bedroom because it was completely messed up), that is, when the consequence in
the main clause (She tidied up her bedroom) is inferred by the speaker as an

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outstanding subjective connection with the reason in the subordinate clause (it the
room- was completely messed up). Note that we can also convey this meaning by
asking Why did she tidy up her room?

Thirdly, in the relationship of motivation and result (i.e. I am going to tell you a
secret because you are my best friend), the main clause expresses a result (I am
going to tell you a secret) whose come out is expressed in the subordinate clause,
making reference to the intention of the speaker, usually the motivation of an
animate being (because you are my best friend). Note that the motivation is also
drawn from the question Why is he going to tell him a secret?

Finally, in the relationship of circumstance and consequence (i.e. Since the bride is
ill, the wedding will be put off), the reason (Since the bride is ill) is combined with
a condition that is to be filled (in our case) or about to be filled (the wedding will
be put off).

(2) Similarly, with respect to indirect relations, Quirk et al. (1990) stated that reason clauses
may express an indirect reason. The reason is not related to the situation in the matrix
clause but is a motivation for the implicit speech act of the utterance (i.e. As you are in
charge, where are the files on the new project?). As we shall see, the indirect relationship is
conveyed with the matrix clause by (1) introducing subordination elements such as
because and since and other subordinators include as, as long as, why, now that,
for (somewhat formal); and (2) non-finite and verbless clauses without conjunction, by
using seeing (that) or considering (that) with circumstancial clauses (i.e. Being a witty
man, he soon mended the engine).

A syntactic analysis of these constructions will shed light on the different positional tendencies of
the respective conjunctions and subordinators within this type of clauses. Yet, they reflect a
different syntactic status, for instance, because-clauses are adjuncts, whereas as- and since-clauses
are disjuncts. Informally, however, a final because-clause sometimes functions as a disjunct of
reason (i.e. Theyve burning old papers, because I can see the smoke from here).

The different positional tendencies are fronting and final positions. For instance, those clauses
introduced by because are usually in final position (i.e. He cant be here because he is on

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holidays). On the contrary, those clauses introduced by since, as, now that and those
expressing circumstances (seeing that, considering that or other non-finite forms, such as writing
hurriedly, Tired as he was) are usually fronted (As it was raining, we stayed at home/Since you
insist, Ill tell you the truth/Now that youve come, you need new clothes).

Other special cases are , for instance, the subordinator for which is not very common as a causal
conjunct in colloquial speech and it is not used to answer the question Why? However, if it
appears, a for-clause must be in final position (i.e. I asked him to stop, for I had something
important to te ll him). Moreover, the conjunct that may be a circumstancial subordinator when the
subject complement is obligatorily fronted (i.e. Clumsy idiot that he was, Michael spoilt our
romantic dinner).

As we have seen, morphologically speaking, the notion of cause is namely introduced by the
grammatical category of conjunctions, also called conjuncts (because, as, since, for somewhat
formal-) or non-finite and verbless clauses with no conjunctions and with a circumstancial meaning
(seeing that= Seeing that is is about to rain, well take an umbrella ). Regarding intonation, the main
clause is usually taken with rising intonation and the subordinate causal clause is taken with falling
intonation.

5. CONSECUTIVE CLAUSES.

5.1. Definition.

Consecutive clauses are also called clauses of consequence or clauses of result. The term
consequence or result gives account of the logical relation between the main clause and the
subordinate clause it represents within the framework of a compound sentence, that is, a subordinate
sentence (i.e. We paid him immediately, so he left quite happy). This notion is syntactically realized
by result or consecutive clauses which semantically represent the result of the action which took
place in the main clause (i.e. We paid him immediately (main clause), so he left quite happy

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(consequence-result) eliciting the answer by asking What was the result of paying him
immediately?

5.2. Result clauses vs. purpose clauses.

Since the relations of consequence or result are sometimes overlapped with the uses of purpose, we
shall establish first the difference between result clauses and purpose clauses in semantic and
syntactic terms. First of all, regarding semantic similarities or meaning, we shall state that result
clauses have factual meaning, that is, the result is achieved, whereas purpose clauses have putative
meaning, that is, the purpose is to be achieved. Hence, we may establish our second distinction
following syntactic guidelines, that is, finite clauses of result do not need a modal auxiliary in their
construction (i.e. We paid him immediately, so that he left happy) whereas purpose clauses do (i.e.
We paid him immediately so that he could leave happy).

5.3. Main structural features.

Regarding its main structural features, we have seen already the logical relations of consequence or
result at sentence level in terms of function and use, that is, from the field of semantics and
pragmatics by means of subordinate elements such as so and so that and equivalent constructions
when overlapped with the uses of purpose. On the other hand, a syntactic analysis of these
constructions will shed more light on this type of clauses when overlapped with purpose clauses and
causal clauses.

1. Yet, regarding purpose vs. consequence, we refer to a different syntactic status, for instance,
result clauses are realized by disjuncts (i.e. so, so that, so + adjective + that), whereas purpose
clauses are realized by adjuncts (usually infinitival, non-finite forms). So may be ambiguous
when and is inserted before it , so it may convey coordination rather than subordination (i.e.
We paid him immediately, and so he left happy).

Moreover, this distinction is also present by punctuation since in consecutive clauses we


introduce a comma before so that, whereas in purpose clauses we do not (i.e. Ill help you so

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that you can finish early (purpose) vs. Ill help you, so that you can finish early (result)). We
shall highlight two main points here: first, that purpose clauses require a modal auxiliary within
their construction and second, the important role of intonation within this distiction, where we
do mark the consecutive clause by pausing in the middle of the sentence and finish with falling
intonation.

2. Secondly, the dichotomy result vs. cause have a close semantic relation since they both reflect
the result of the action of the main clause thus, result clauses reflect the result itself of the
main clause action whereas causal clauses reflect the same idea but with the nuance of the
reason why the action took place in the main clause. But they are realized and therefore,
distinguished, by different positions in the sentence, thus a causal clause like He couldnt buy
the new U2 single because he had no money (action+cause) may be turned into a result clause
just by reversing the main and subordinate clause and by adding a comma before so (i.e. He
had no money, so he couldnt buy the new U2 single action + result). As we can see result
clauses (disjuncts) are placed in final position in the sentence rather than fronting.

Other special syntactic cases are those constructions equivalent to the use of so and so that. For
instance, other structures such as
such + a(n) + (adjective) + noun + that ... (i.e. He is such a good student that he
never fails an exam!)
so + a(n) + (adjective) + noun + that ... (i.e. His grandfather was so rich that he even
had a McDonalds at home!)
so much/many + noun + that ... (i.e. He ate so many oysters that he had a stomache
afterwards)
so + adjective + verb + noun (i.e. So happy was Thomas that he bought a new car to
his son).
So + adjective/adverb + as + to-infinitive (i.e. She was so naive as to believe what
he told that night).
For + accusative + to-infinitive (i.e. This house is too expensive for you to buy it).
We use this construction when the subject of the sentence and the accusative of the
infinitive do not refer to the same person.

As we have seen, morphologically speaking, the notion of result is namely introduced by the
grammatical category of disjuncts (so, so that) and equivalent constructions. Regarding intonation,

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the most important mention to be done is to a pause before the disjuncts so or so that to indicate
the distinction between causal and result clauses, ma rked by a comma in punctuation; and the
falling intonation in result clauses.

6. FINAL CLAUSES.

6.1. Definition.

Final clauses are also called clauses of purpose. The term purpose gives account of the logical
relation between the main clause and the subordinate clause it represents within the framework of a
compound sentence, that is, a subordinate sentence (i.e. They trained hard to play the match). This
notion is syntactically realized by final clauses which semantically represent the purpose of what
it is said in the main clause (i.e. I worked late (main clause) in order to clear up my papers (finality-
purpose)) eliciting the answer by asking What for? and not Why? (i.e. What did you work late
for? To clear up my papers).

6.2. Purpose clauses vs. result clauses.

Since the relations of consequence and result are sometimes overlapped with the uses of purpose,
we shall establish first the difference between these two clauses in semantic and syntactic terms.
First of all, regarding semantic similarities or meaning, we shall state that purpose clauses have
putative meaning, that is, the purpose is to be achieved (i.e. They hit him so that he would tell the
truth) whereas result clauses have factual meaning, that is, the result is achieved (i.e. They hit him,
so that he told the truth), whereas Hence, in syntactic terms, finite clauses of result do not need a
modal auxiliary in their construction whereas purpose clauses do.

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6.3. Main structural features.

Regarding its main structural features, we shall see the logical relations of purpose at sentence level
in terms of function and use, that is, from the field of semantics and pragmatics by means of
subordinate elements such as the non-finite form to + verb (the most usual adjunct-Ive come to
see her) and other conjuncts such as in order to, so as to, so that, lest, for fear of, in case,
so (informal) vs. in order that (formal) , that(arcaic use) and equivalent constructions when
overlapped with the uses of result (for+noun+to-infinitive).

On the other hand, a syntactic analysis of these constructions will shed more light on the specific
constructions of this type of clauses. As stated above, when referring to the distinction purpose vs.
consequence, we refer to a different syntactic status, for instance, result clauses are realized by
disjuncts (i.e. so, so that, so + adjective + that), whereas purpose clauses are realized by adjuncts
(usually infinitival, non-finite forms).

Moreover, this distinction is also present by punctuation since in consecutive clauses we introduce a
comma before so that, whereas in purpose clauses we do not (i.e. Ill help you so that you can
finish early (purpose) vs. Ill help you, so that you can finish early (result)). We shall highlight two
main points here: first, that purpose clauses require a modal auxiliary within their construction and
second, the important role of intonation within this distiction, where we do mark the consecutive
clause by pausing in the middle of the sentence and finish with falling intonation.

Syntactic ally, purpose clauses are realized by a wide range of means, from non-finite forms to
prepositional phrases. Hence, we may distinguish several constructions , for instance
Adjuncts in non-finite forms is the most common way of expressing positive
purpose, usually introduced by the infinitival forms of to-infinitive (informal) as
in She came to see you vs. in order to and so as to (formal) in affirmative
sentences. In order to express negative purpose, we shall introduce the particle not
before the proclitic to (not to see her/in order not to see her/so as not to see her).
Positive purpose is also realized by the constructions so that and so (informal)
vs. in order that (formal) as in He visited Bristol in order that/so that he could see
his doctor, and also the archaic that. In this type of clauses, we find the putative
meaning, which means the introduction of modal auxiliaries, such as may for

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present and future time; might for past time; can, could and should in
colloquial style (i.e. Ill phone him so that he can get ready on time).
Also, in case (i.e. Ive brought my umbrella in case it rains).
Negative purpose is expressed by introducing lest (an archaic and very formal
conjunction) and shall for present time (i.e. I broke his lents lest he should buy a
pair of new ones); should for past time (i.e. He arrived late on purpose so that he
should not take the exam); and also for fear of (i.e. They left early for fear they
would meet him).
Other equivalent construction is for + accusative + to-infinitive (i.e. It is too early
for you to start smoking). We use this construction when the subject of the sentence
and the accusative of the infinitive do not refer to the same person.

As we have seen, morphologically speaking, the notion of purpose is namely introduced by the
grammatical category of adjuncts (non-finite forms) and other equivalent constructions. Regarding
intonation, the most important mention to be done is the stress on the particle to and the falling
intonation in purpose clauses since they are usually placed in final position in the sentence.

7. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS.

The logical relations between the notions of cause, consequence and purpose dealt with in this study
is relevant to the learning of the vocabulary of a foreign language since differences between the
vocabulary of the learner's native language (L1) and that of the foreign language (L2) may lead to
several problems, such as the incorrect use of the expressions of cause, consequence and purpose
expressions, especially because of the syntactic, morphological, and semantic processes implied in
these notions. Moreover, these connections are brought to their attention, especially when they
overlapped (cause, consequence, purpose).

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It has been suggested that a methodology grounded in part in the application of explicit linguistic
knowledge enhances the second language learning process. In the Spanish curriculum (B.O.E.
2002), the notions of cause, consequence and purpose is envisaged from earlier stages of ESO, thus
(i.e. People need English to communicate; I eat brown bread because it is good for me), results (i.e.
He ran 30 km so he is tired now), up to higher stages of Bachillerato, towards more complex
constructions, such as so that, for+accusative+to-infinitive (i.e. This is too difficult for me to
learn) and processes of fronting when expressing reason (i.e. Since yoou are sorry, Ill forgive you)
and so on.

The notions of cause, consequence and purpose have been considered an important element of
language teaching because of its high-frequency in speech. Hence, the importance of how to handle
these expressions cannot be understated since you cannot communicate without it. Learners are
expected to be able to recognise and produce all the above clause types, and to use them as
appropriate in the functions set out in the previous chapters. However, al nguage learners do not
automatically recognize similiarities which seem obvious to teachers; learners need to have these
associations brought to their attention.

So far, we have attempted in this discussion to provide a broad account of the notions of cause,
consequence and purpose in order to set it up within the linguistic theory, going through the
localization of adjuncts, disjuncts and conjuncts in syntactic structures, and finally, once correctly
framed, a brief presentation of the three main notions under study. We hope students are able to
understand the relevance of handling correctly the expression of these logical relations in everyday
life communication.

8. CONCLUSION

So far, in this study we have attempted to take a fairly broad view of the notions of cause,
consequence and purpose since we are also assuming that there is an intrinsic connexion between its
learning and successful communication. Yet, we have provided a descriptive account of Unit 25,
untitled Logical relations of cause, consequence and purpose at sentence level whose main aim was

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to introduce the student to the different ways of expressing these relations in English in terms of
their main structures features.

In doing so, the study provided a broad account the notions of cause, consequence and purpose,
starting by a lingistic framework in order to get some key terminology on the issue, and further
developed within a grammar linguistic theory, described in syntactic terms as we were dealing with
syntactic structures. Once presented, we discussed how adverbs, prepositions and other syntactic
constructions reflected these notions.

In fact, they are currently considered to be a central element in communicative competence and in
the acquisition of a second language since students must be able to convey the meaning of cause,
consequence and purpose in their everyday life in many different situations. As stated before, the
teaching of these expressions comprises five major components in our educational curriculum:
phonology, grammar, lexicon, semantics and pragmatics, out of which we get five major levels:
phonological, morphological and syntactic, lexical, semantic and the extra field of use.

In fact, our students are expected to be able to understand and produce simple, compound and
complex sentences within the limits of specifications of cause, consequence and purpose logical
relations. In speech, they can produce compound sentences, limited to one or two subordinate
clauses of relatively simple structure with a main clause frame of a basic character by handling
properly a good knowledge at all the linguistic levels examined in this study.

Therefore, it is a fact that students must be able to handle the four levels in communicative
competence in order to be effectively and highly communicative in the classroom and in real life
situations. The expression of quality proves highly frequent in our everyday speech, and
consequently, we must encourage our students to have a good managing of it.

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9. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

- Aarts, F., and J. Aarts. 1988. English Syntactic Structures. Functions & Categories in Sentence
Analysis. Prentice Hall Europe.

- B.O.E. RD N 112/2002, de 13 de septiembre por el que se establece el currculo de la Educacin


Secundaria Obligatoria/Bachillerato en la Comunidad Autnoma de la Regin de Murcia.

- Bolton, D. And N. Goodey. 1997. Grammar Practice in Context. Richmond Pub lishing.

- Council of Europe (1998) Modern Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. A Common


European Framework of reference.

- Downing, A. and P. Locke. 2002. A University Course in English Grammar. London: Routledge.

- Eastwood, J. 1999. Oxford Prac tice in Grammar. Oxford University Press.

- Greenbaum, S. and R. Quirk. 1990. A Students Grammar of the English Language. Longman
Group UK Limited.

- Greenbaum, S. 2000. The Oxford Reference Grammar. Edited by Edmund Weiner. Oxford
University Press.

- Hymes, D. 1972. On communicative competence. In J. B. Pride and J. Holmes (eds.),


Sociolinguistics, pp. 269-93. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

- Huddleston, R. 1988. English Grammar, An Outline. Cambridge University Press.

- Huddleston, R. and G.K. Pullum. 2002. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language.
Cambridge University Press.

- Nelson, G. 2001. English: An Essential Grammar. London. Routledge.

- Quirk, R & S. Greenbaum. 1973. A University Grammar of English. Longman.

- Snchez Benedito, F. 1975. Gramtica Inglesa. Editorial Alhambra.

- Thomson, A.J. and A.V. Martinet. 1986. A Practical English Grammar. Oxford University Press .

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UNIT 26
THE EXPRESSION OF DOUBT, CONDITION, HYPOTHESIS
AND CONTRAST.

OUTLINE

1. INTRODUCTION.
1.1. Aims of the unit.
1.2. Notes on bibliography.

2. A LINGUISTIC FRAMEWORK FOR THE NOTIONS OF DOUBT, CONDITION, HYPOTHESIS


AND CONTRAST.
2.1. Linguistic levels involved.
2.2. On defin ing doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast: what, how and why.
2.3. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.

3. A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE NOTIONS OF DOUBT, CONDITION, HYPOTHESIS AND


CONTRAST.
3.1. Phrase, sentence and clause structure.
3.2. Simple, comp lex and compound sentence.
3.3. Adverbial clauses: main types.
3.3.1. Syntactic classification.
3.3.2. Semantic classification.

4. THE EXPRESSION OF DOUBT.


4.1. Definition.
4.2. Main grammatical categories involved.
4.2.1. Verbs.
4.2.1.1. Lexical verbs.
4.2.1.2. Auxiliary verbs.
4.2.2. Nouns.
4.2.3. Adjectives.
4.2.4. Adverbs.
4.3. Specific syntactic constructions.
5. THE EXPRESSION OF CONDITION AND HYPOTHESIS.
5.1. Definition: direct vs. indirect conditions.
5.2. Main types of conditionals.
5.2.1. Common points to remember.
5.2.2. The first type: open conditional.
5.2.3. The second type: hypothetical conditional.
5.2.4. The third type: past hypothetical conditional.
5.3. Other conditional types.
6. THE EXPRESSION OF CONTRAST .
6.1. Definition.
6.2. Main grammatical categories involved.
6.2.1. Verbs.
6.2.2. Nouns.
6.2.3. Adjectives.
6.2.4. Adverbs.
6.2.5. Conjunctions.
6.2.6. Prepositions.

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6.3. Specific syntactic constructions.

7. EDUCATIONAL IM PLICATIONS.
8. CONCLUSION.
9. BIBLIOGRAPHY.

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1. INTRODUCTION.

1.1. Aims of the unit.

Unit 26 is primarily aimed to examine in English the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and
contrast in terms of their main structural features regarding form, function and main uses in order to
provide a relevant and detailed account of this issue. In doing so, the study will be divided into eight
main chapters.

Thus, Chapter 2 provides a linguistic framework for the notions of the expression of doubt,
condition, hypothesis and contrast (namely achieved by means of adverbial clauses and other
grammatical structures) by answering questions such as, first, which linguistic levels are involved in
their description within sentence structure; second, what they describe and how; and third, which
grammar categories are involved in its description at a functional level.

Once we have set up these notions within a linguistic framework, we shall continue on offering the
reader in Chapter 3 a general introduction to the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and
contrast pose within the framework of sentence structure regarding key concepts which are closely
related to them and which prove to be essential in our analysis so as to get a relevant and overall
view of the whole unit.

Thus, we shall start by revising some important notions which are closely related to the description
of sentence structures: for instance, (1) the difference between phrase, clause and sentence and (2)
the difference between simple, complex and compound sentences since the present four notions are
drawn from adverbial clauses which may be complex or compound; and (3) a brief typology of
adverbs in terms of grammar, syntax and semantics which shall lead us to the syntactic
classification of adverbial phrases (disjuncts, conjuncts, subjuncts and adjuncts) and semantic types
of adverbs (in particular, contingency and modality.) out of which we shall obtain the four main
notions under consideration (modality: doubt; contingency: condition, hypothesis, contrast).

Chapters 4, 5 and 6 will offer an individual analysis of each item regarding (1) definit ion of the
term; (2) a typology (if necessary); (3) a linguistic analysis on their structural features, that is,
offering an account of the main grammatical categories and other means which express these
notions, making comments on morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. Chapter

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7 provides then an educational framework for their main structural features within our current
school curriculum and Chapter 8 draws on a summary of all the points involved in this study.
Finally, in Chapter 9 bibliography will be listed in alphabetical order.

1.2. Notes on bibliography.

In order to offer an insightful analysis and survey on the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis
and contrast at sentence level in English, we shall deal with the most relevant works in the field,
both old and current, and in particular, influential grammar books which have assisted for years
students of English as a foreign language in the ir study of grammar. For instance, a theoretical
framework is namely drawn from the field of sentence analysis, that is, from the work of Flor Aarts
and Jan Aarts (University of Nijmegen, Holland) in English Syntactic Structures (1988), whose
material has been tested in the classroom and developed over a number of years; also, another
essential work is that of Rodney Huddleston, English Grammar, An Outline (1988).

Other classic references which offer an account of the most important and central grammatical
constructions and categories in English regarding the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and
contrast at sentence level, are Quirk & Greenbaum, A University Grammar of English (1973);
Thomson & Martinet, A Practical English Grammar (1986); and Greenbaum & Quirk, A Students
Grammar of the English Language (1990).

More current approaches to notional grammar are David Bolton and Noel Goodey, Grammar
Practice in Context (1997); John Eastwood, Oxford Practice in Grammar (1999); Sidney
Greenbaum, The Oxford Reference Grammar (2000); Gerald Nelson, English: An Essential
Grammar (2001); Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of the
English Language (2002); and. Angela Downing and Philip Locke, A University Course in English
Grammar (2002).

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2. A LINGUISTIC FRAMEWORK FOR THE NOTIONS OF DOUBT, CONDITION,
HYPOTHESIS AND CONTRAST.

Before describing in detail the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast at sentence
level in English, it is relevant to establish first a linguistic framework for these notions, since they
must be described in grammatical terms. In fact, this introductory chapter aims at answering
questions such as (1) where these notions are to be found within the linguistic level, (2) what they
describe, how and why; and (3) which grammar categories are involved in their description at a
functional level.

2.1. Linguistic levels involved.

In order to offer a linguistic description of the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and
contrast at sentence level, we must confine it to particular levels of analysis so as to focus our
attention on this particular aspect of language. Yet, although there is no consensus of opinion on the
number of levels to be distinguished, the usual description of a language comprises four major
components: phonology, grammar, lexicon, and semantics, out of which we get five major levels:
phonological, morphological and syntactic, lexical, and semantic (Huddleston, 1988). However, we
shall include here the field of pragmatics within our analysis since it is a central element so as to
fully understand the items to be described.

First, the phonology describes the sound level, that is, consonants, vowels, stress, intonation, and so
on. For our purposes, the sound level is described in terms of stress, rhythm, tone, pauses and
intonation within the sentence structure may help distinguish between the different clauses under
study, for instance, the stress on particular subordinators (i.e. provided that, although, probably,
may, etc).

Secondly, since the two most basic units of grammar are the word and the sentence, the component
of grammar involves the morphological level where we can express doubt, condition, hypothesis
and contrast by means of different choices within grammatical constructions (i.e. probably (adverb),
supposing/given that... (non-finite forms), without (preposition), on condition that/in case
(prepositional phrases based on nouns), and even the choice between two similar forms (i.e. If I

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were/was rich, I would buy a car), the use of modal auxiliary verbs (i.e. If you phone him, he may
come) and even the use of punctuation, among many others (commas, exclamation marks).

Thirdly , the lexicon or lexical level is closely related to morphology since both list vocabulary items
depending on our choice of different grammatical categories, for instance, nouns (i.e. in case, on
condition that, prepositional phrases (i.e. in spite of, as long as); conjunctions (i.e. but, although,
unless) and so on. Therefore, lexis deals with the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and
contrast through the use of adverbial phrases or other means such as other formal realizations of
these notions (i.e. a noun phrase, a verbless clause, a finite clause, etc).

Next, semantics deals with the semantic roles of an adverbial element in clause structure apart from
their syntactic roles as subject, verb, object or complement, where syntactic and morphological
levels do not tell the difference (i.e. alternative conditional-concessive clauses: Whether Martin
apologizes or not, I wont invite him again where the conditional meaning of if is combined with
the disjunctive meaning of either...or). The expression of doubt is to be namely found within the
category of full and auxiliary verbs (primary and modal) and other grammatical realizations;
condition and contrast are embedded in the semantic role of contingency which may include:
cause, reason, purpose, result, condition and concession (Quirk et al. 1990). The notion of
hypothesis is to be included within that of condition, since it is part of it.

Similarly, from a functional approach, we must bear in mind the prominence of pragmatics in
speech acts when dealing with how to say things in English, that is, taking into account the
speakers attitude and the context where the sentence is uttered, where meaning and the speakers
attitude are essential elements in communicative exchanges (oral, written, paralinguistic). For our
purposes, it is an essential level since the speakers attitude may convey doubt, condition,
hypothesis and contrast.

Finally, the syntactic level describes the way words are placed in the sentence and shall help us locate the
notions under study by (1) specifying the difference between phrase, sentence and clause; (2) establishing a
grammatical typology of sentences (simple, complex and compound) since adverbial clauses are namely
found in the last one; and therefore (3) by classifying clauses according to their realizations into other
grammatical categories, syntactic (disjuncts, conjuncts, subjuncts and adjuncts) and semantic types (on
expressing uncertainty and probability, real/unreal/impossible conditions and contrastive relations).

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2.2. On defining doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast: what, how and why.

On defining these notions, we must establish internal links between (1) their linguistic description,
that is, what they represent in terms of morphology, phonology and lexis and how they are
represented, both grammatically (different grammatical categories: adverbs, nouns, prepositions,
etc) and syntactically (the types of sentences in which they are embedded) (2) and their function
within the sentence at a semantic and pragmatic level, that is, why they are used by the speaker and
what kind of relations are established between two clauses.

When answering the question of what they represent in linguistic terms, we deal with the
morphology and phonology of their elements within the phrase structure at sentence level (i.e.
pauses, stress, rhythm, tone and intonation in nouns, adverbs or prepositions ) whereas the how they
are represented refers to the different grammatical categories (i.e. conjunctions, nouns, prepositions,
adverbs) and syntactic types of sentences (or clauses) in which they are embedded.

Following Traditional Grammar guidelines, the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and
contrast is namely given by the grammatical category of adverbs, and therefore, adverbial phrases
which are classified according to their main semantic roles: space (position, direction, goal, source,
distance), time (position, forward and backward position, relationship in time), process (manner,
means, instrument, and agency), respect, degree (or quantity) (emphasizers, amplifiers,
downtoners), doubt (relative adverbs: where, when, why) and finally, for our purposes, the notions
of (1) contingency where we find the relations of cause, reason, purpose, result, condition and
concession and (2) modality, by means of which the truth value of a sentence can be changed by the
use of adverbials or modal auxiliaries (may not). The hypothesis expression is conveyed within the
conditional guidelines, since it is part of it (third conditional: hypothetical situations).

Moreover, the former three notions are also classified according to their syntactic function in
conditional, hypothetical, and concessive clauses, which are embedded under the category of
contingency clauses as conjuncts, disjuncts and adjuncts whereas the expression of doubt is mainly
achieved by means of modal auxiliaries (Quirk & Greenbaum, 1973). Hence at a pragmatic level,
their combinations describe different situations, such as uncertain statements (He may not be at
home by now); conditions put forward by the speaker which refer to facts, scientific statements or
true events (i.e. Water boils 100C/Dogs hate cats); hypothesis on certain conditions (i.e. If I had

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been here on time, nothing would have happened); and finally, contrasts or opposite views
between ideas, facts or situations (i.e. He is so kind whereas his brother is really mean).

2.3. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.

In order to confine the notions of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast to particular
grammatical categories, we must review first the difference between open and closed classes. Yet,
grammar categories in English can be divided into two major sets called open and closed classes.
The open classes are verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs, and are said to be unrestricted since they
allow the addition of new members to their membership, whereas the closed classes are the rest:
prepositions, conjunctions, articles (definite and indefinite ), numerals, pronouns, quantifiers and
interjections, which belong to a restricted class since they do not allow the creation of new
members.

Then, as we can see, when expressing doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast we mainly deal wth
adverbs (and therefore, adverbial clauses) which, taken to sentence level, may be substituted by
other grammatical categories, in particular, prepositional phrases, conjunctions, noun phrases and
specific syntactic structures. The classification of phrases reflects an established syntactic order
which is found for all four of the open word classes (i.e. verb, noun, adjective, and adverb) where it
is very often possible to replace open classes by an equivalent expression of another class (i.e. noun,
adjective, preposition or another adverb), and also closed classes (i.e. prepositions, conjunctions,
quantifiers) as we shall see later. Yet, as we shall see, these four notions shall deal with both
classes.

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3. A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE NOTIONS OF DOUBT, CONDITION,
HYPOTHESIS AND CONTRAST.

Once we have set up a linguistic framework, we shall continue on offering the reader a general
introduction to these four notions regarding some previous considerations which prove to be
relevant in our analysis in subsequent chapters. Thus, we shall start by revising some important
notions which are closely related to the description of sentence structures: for instance, (1) the
difference between phrase, clause and sentence since these three notions may lead us to
misunderstandings; (2) the difference between simple, complex and compound sentences; and (3) a
brief typology of adverbs following syntactic and semantic guidelines within adverbial clauses in
order to locate the notions of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast, which will be fully
described in the subsequent chapters.

3.1. Phrase, sentence and clause structure.

We refer to the distinction between phrase, sentence and clause structure at a functional level where
they will function first, in terms of single units of syntactic description within the structure of the
phrase (noun phrase, adjective phrase, verb phrase, etc) and second, in terms of larger units as part
of the structure of the sentence (subject and predicate) or embedded in the sentence structure, that is,
clauses (subordinate). Following Aarts (1988), these larger structures are, apart form the morpheme
and the word, two ma jor units of grammatical description. But let us examine their main
differences.

First, the phrase structure is defined as a constituent which can be identified on the basis of the
word class membership of at least one of its constituent words which is called the head of the
phrase (i.e. adverbial phrase). Note that the other elements show a relation of dependency or
subordination to the head (in noun phrases we find: determiners which are divided into pre-central-
post determiners and modifiers: pre or post modifiers) and usually determine the type of clause they
are introducing by their own meaning (although: concessive; in case: conditional, etc).

Second, the sentence is actually identifiable on the basis of the relations holding among its
immediate constituents (subject, predicate, direct/indirect object, complement, adverbial, and so
on). It is the largest unit of grammatical description and that it does not function in the structure of a

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unit higher than itself, we are ready to understand the duality sentence vs. clause by means of two
further possibilities.

Hence, when sentences are embedded in the structure of other sentences or in the structure of
phrases we call them clauses, which usually corresponds to the notions of subordination (or
embedding) and coordination. Note that clauses can have other clauses embedded in them, as in
That she is rich is obvious or The problem is that they have no money left.

3.2. Simple, complex and compound sentences.

Up to this point, we shall approach the notion of sentence regarding the established typology
between simple, complex and coumpound sentences since quite often, the sentence has been
described as an indeterminate unit in the sense that it is difficult to establish where one sentence
ends and another begins.

Simple sentences can be defined as a sentence in which none of the functions are realized by a
clause (Aarts, 1988), that is, a simple sentence does not contain an embedded (or subordinate)
sentence as realization of one of its functions (i.e. He likes science fiction films). In addition, a
simple sentence is always an independent sentence which can occur on its own (i.e. John is a
bachelor vs. He says that John is a bachelor ).

On the other hand, the complex sentence is defined as those sentences in which one or more
sentence functions are realized by a clause (finite or non-finite) (Aarts, 1988). Then a complex
sentence (or a clause) may contain one or more clauses in a relationship of subordination (i.e. I
wonder if you would tell me where my keys are). This type of clauses can, in turn, contain more
deeply embedded clauses (i.e. He went out although I begged him not to leave).

Hence clauses can be classified in two ways. First, from a structural point of view by distinguishing
three types: finite clauses (i.e. If we go, well phone you); non-finite clauses (i.e. Supposing that
you want to go, just phone us); and verbless clauses (i.e. A heavy smoker, David did not give up
smoking). Secondly, in terms of the functions they play in the structure of the sentence, for our
purposes, as adverbial clauses (i.e. Without the support of my Department, it would have been
impossible to do it). As we shall see later, we shall namely deal with this type for our study.

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Finally, following Aarts (1988), compound sentences are defined as a sentence in which two or
more sentences (called conjoin ts) have been coordinated. Note that each of the conjoins is
independents since there is no question of embedding. Thus, a compound sentence may consist of
(1) two (or more) simple sentences (i.e.Oil is now more expensive and that will affect our
economy); (2) a combination of simple and complex sentences (i.e. If he believes that, he must be
mad); and (3) two (or more) complex sentences (i.e. He must believe what I say about the case and
that is what matters now).

3.3. Adverbial clauses: main types.

Since the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast is to be realized by means of
adverbs, we have to deal first with the different types of adverbs and therefore, the typology of
adverbial phrases and clauses which are derived from this grammatical category. Moreover, we
must bear in mind that these four notions under study are also drawn from other grammatical
categories related to it, such as prepositions, adjectives, nouns and other grammatical structures like
periphrastic phrases, idiomatic expressions or verbless sentences, for instance, adverbs (probably;
despite; on condition that; while), prepositions (without, but for) and nouns (believe, may,
condition, case) apart from other structures such as fin ite, non finite clauses, inversion processes
and so on.

Adverbs can also be classified according to their main functions whereby we may find for our
purposes two main types: (1) the syntactic function, which is related to the structure and position of
adverbial phrases at the sentence level; and (2) the semantic function, which is related to intrinsic
aspects of adverbs since the intended meaning is usually indicated by the introductory adjunct,
conjunct or disjunct. We shall follow five main figures in this field in order to develop this section,
thus Quirk & Greenbaum (1973), Thomson & Martinet (1986), Huddleston (1988), Aarts (1988),
and Quirk et al. (1990).

3.3.1. Syntactic classification.

Regarding the syntactic function, adverbs, as seen, play their role within a larger linguistic structure
in order to modify verbs, adjectives, and nouns by means of other categories as well. Consequently,

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both function and word class are relevant for our present purposes and we shall examine the
expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast through the notion of adverbial phrase, an
essential element in syntactic analysis.

An adverbial phrase is a constituent which can be identified on the basis of the word class
membership of adverbs, in this particular case, the relationship it holds among its immediate
constituents is referred to as sentence level. Following Quirk et al. (1990), in terms of their
grammatical functions, adverbs fall into four main categories: disjuncts, conjuncts, subjuncts and
adjuncts, which later on will lead us to the semantic classification of adjuncts.

Briefly, we can make a further distinction among them, in which disjuncts and conjuncts have a
peripheral relation in the sentence vs. subjuncts and adjuncts which are relatively more integrated
within the structure of the clause. Note that although subjuncts have a subordinate and parenthetic
role in comparison with adjuncts, they lack the grammatical parity with other sentence elements and
therefore we shall not include them in our study.

Thus, syntactically, disjuncts have a peripheral relation in the sentence, being somewhat detached
from and superordinate to the rest of the sentence. We identify them because most of them are
prepositional phrases or clauses which express the speakers authority for, or comment on, the
accompanying clause since they function as comment words and are used to express consequence
(i.e. If I may say so without giving you offence, I think your writing is immature).

Conjuncts have a peripheral relation in the sentence, being somewhat detached from and
superordinate to the rest of the sentence. We identify them because they serve to conjoin two
utterances or parts of an utterance, and they do so by expressing at the same time the semantic
rela tionship obtaining between them, for instance, contrastive (reformulatory in other words -;
antithetic instead-; concessive still-). Our four notions are commonly introduced by the
conjunctions (or subordinators) although, if/unless or still+comma as in My age is against
me: still, its worth a try or Although I look older, its worth a try.

And finally, adjuncts function as constituents of a clause or sentence by means of finite and non
finite claus es. Adjuncts, more than other adverbials, have grammatical properties resembling the
sentence elements subject, complement and object and as such, can be the focus of a cleft sentence
(i.e. Supposing your car breaks down at midnight, can you mend it yourself?).

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3.3.3. Semantic classification.

Following Aarts (1988), the syntactic classification brings about the semantic function. As stated
before, conjuncts function as the connecting link between the sentence in which they occur and the
preceding context. Semantically, they may express listing (in the first place, secondly; furthermore,
moreover), summative (therefore, in sum, to sum up), appositive (for example, that is, i.e.,
specifically, in particular), resultive (as a result, in consequence), inferential (in that case, then ),
transitional references (by the way, now; meanwhile, eventually ); and, for our purposes, contrastive
(better; on the contrary, on the other hand; however, nevertheless, yet),

Disjuncts express an evaluation of what is being said either with respect to the form of the
communication or to its meaning. They usually function as comment words, whereby they provide
the speakers comment on the content or form of the utterance (i.e. If I may say so you do not look
good today). Semantically speaking, the semantic roles of disjuncts fall under two main headings:
manner and modality, and respect. Regarding modality, we find the nuances of emphasis, restriction
and approximation. It is the latter one which brings about the notion of probabity or uncertainty
(as well as modal auxiliaries), for instance, They are probably going to emigrate.

On the other hand, adjuncts add extra information to the action by means of descriptions about
place (at the station), time (yesterday morning), manner (with patience/in jeans), means (by bike),
instrument (with a fork ) or, for our purposes, contingency, with respect to condition (i.e. If he trains
everyday, he will get fit very soon) and concession (i.e. Though he trains everyday, he doesnt get
fit).

Once we have set up a general introduction on these notions and we have locate them in the
linguistic field, we are ready to analyse them in more detail in subsequent chapters. So, in general,
we shall approach these notions in terms of (1) definition, (2) grammar categories involved, (3) use
of specific constructions, and (4) typology (if necessary) by providing an insightful analysis of their
main structural features, regarding form, function and main uses.

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4. THE EXPRESSION OF DOUBT.

4.1. Definition.

The expression of doubt implies the notions of uncertainty of mind, that is, doubts about
something that we are not certain about because we hesitate to believe in its existence (physical or
theoretical). By expressing doubt, we make statements less assertive since we hesitate to believe in
the information conveyed. In English we can convey different degrees of doubt by using different
grammatical categories, for instance, an assertive sentence like Mark is at home may convey
doubt by using adverbs, nouns (noun phrases), modal auxiliary verbs or specific constructions, thus
I doubt that he is at home, He may be at home, He is probably at home, He might be at
home, Its possible that he is at home, Its possible for him to be at home, He is believed to
be at home or There is a possibility that he is at home. Therefore, we shall approach the
expression of doubt in terms of grammatical categories and specific syntactic constructions.

4.2. Main grammatical categories.

The expression of doubt may be conveyed by means of grammatical categories, both open and
closed classes, that is, through verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs (open) and also, through
prepositions and auxiliary verbs (close) among others.

4.2.1. Verbs.

First of all, we must establish a relevant distinction regarding this open class category. Following
Quirk and Greenbaum (1973) and Aarts (1988), the two major types of verbs are lexical and
auxiliary, both belonging to two different grammatical categories, for instance, the former
constitute an open class where the latter constitute a closed class. Moreover, since auxiliary verbs
fall into the further distinction of primary auxiliaries and modal auxiliaries, both subclassifications
also belong to the small closed class (Quirk et al. 1990).

Therefore, when dealing with doubt, we shall focus on both lexical (or full verbs) and on those
modal auxiliary verbs which convey the meaning under study (can, could, may, might, shall, will,

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could , ...) Moreover, we shall also find primary auxiliary verbs in combination with the closed
classes of prepositions since certain verb constructions need of periphrastic forms to be realized (i.e.
He is thought to be at home ).

4.2.1.1. Lexical verbs.

Then, within the category of lexical verbs, we may find those which convey a certain amount of
escepticism towards the information referred to and have a kind of negative meaning, such as
doubt, disbelieve, question, review and so on. Moreover, we may find some verbs which
express doubt in a degree scale, such as think-imagine-claim (i.e. I think/imagine/claim he is at
home). Also, these verbs may be used in their negative forms just to call into question the validity
of a preceding utterance (i.e. I dont believe it/I dont think so).

4.2.1.2. Auxiliary verbs.

In this section we shall examine the auxiliary verbs within their semantic function, that is, the
different meanings they have with respect to the expression of doubt and their use in everyday
speech. It must be borne in mind that meaning establishes relevant differences in use and
significance, and in particular when dealing with peoples attitude or personal point of view about
events or facts, as for our purposes, doubt. Within the field of semantics, modals are said to show
peoples attitude and intention towards other people or events through a wide range of ideas,
nuances and concepts within different contexts, for instance, to express a variety of circumstances
when dealing with uncertainty and possibility.

We use may, might, can, could to express possibility in general and in this section we will approach
the slight differences among them. Thus, regarding the first pair, although may and might
normally express possibility, the latter slightly increases the doubt. Again, although both of them
are used for present and future (i.e. She may/might tell her husband), might must be used in the
conditional when the expression is introduced by a verb in the past tense (i.e. If you invited them
they might come ) and in indirect speech (i.e. He said he might visit us).

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Moreover, may and might can be used in conditional sentences instead of will and would just
to indicate the possibility or certainty of a result (i.e. If they see you they will smile at
you=certainty vs. If they see you they may smile at you=possibility ). When we say that something
was possible in the past, we can use either may/might + perfect infinitive (i.e. Where is Tom? He
may/might have gone already). Could + perfect infinitive can also mean that something was
possible but didnt happen (i.e. The police could have caught him = but they didnt catch him yet).

As we can see, may and might present no problems in the affirmative and negative form, but
they do with the interrogative forms since we must use the constructions be + likely (infinite form)
or think, which are more usual than may and might (i.e. Do you think/Is it likely that the plane
will land on time?). Moreover, this pair can be used in speculations about past actions using the
structure may/might + perfect infinitive (i.e. They may/might have been here).

Secondly, regarding could we can say it is an alternative to may and might (i.e. She
may/might/could be at the bank=Perhaps she is at the bank) in the affirmative form. In the
negative, though, there a difference of meaning between may/might and could since the former
express possibility whereas the latter expresses negative deduction. For instance, observe: He
may/might not eat that sandwich meaning that perhaps he is not hungry any more vs. He couldnt
eat that sandwich meaning that perhaps it is impossible for him to eat it because of its size, taste, or
whatever reason. In the interrogative we can use either could or might (i.e. Could/Might she be
studying?= Do you think/Is it likely that she is studying?).

Note that in the past, we use the construction could + perfect infinitive to express that something
was totally impossible (i.e. He couldnt have eaten that sandwich). Moreover, we often use the
continuous form may/might/could + have been + -ing to talk about a past possibility (i.e. He
didnt come to the party. He may/might/could have been sleeping).

Finally, can is also used to express general possibility in the present and past only , and chiefly in
the affirmative. Can makes reference to something that it is possible because circumstances permit
it in opposition to the kind of possibility expressed by may (i.e. You can go sailing = It is sunny,
the sea is calm and therefore, it is safe). Moreover, can can also express occasional possibility
(i.e. Oysters can be quite dangerous = when eating them out of date). Could would be then used
in the past (i.e. They could be quite understanding ).

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Moreover, we must establish another relevant distinction between the notions of certainty and
deduction by means of cant and must, since we normally use cant when we realize that
something is impossible (i.e. Patrick cant be in Greece now. I saw him at work this morning) and
must when we realize that something is certainly true or we make deductions (i.e. Nobody
answered the phone. They must be out). Note the short anwers, for instance, Do you dare to jump?-
Do not insist. She cant do it and Is she in? She must be. Note that in both cases we increase the
notions of impossibility or certainty by stressing cant and must.

Similarly, in the past we may also use cant + perfect infinitive when we think something was
impossible (i.e. Someone took my money from the drawer. Nicky cant have done it) and must +
perfect infinitive when we feel certain something was true in the past (i.e. The window was broken.
Children must have done it when playing).

4.2.2. Nouns.

Following Huddleston (1988), the expression of doubt is also realized by means of nouns or noun
phrases, although it is not so common as with auxiliary verbs or adverbs. For instance, we find the
nouns doubt (i.e. I have serious doubts about your inner thoughts), possibility (i.e. There is a
possibility of doing it correctly) , probability (i.e. There is a high probability for you to win the
lottery), likelyhood (i.e. Is there any likelihood of his leaving?), chance (i.e. Youve got no
chance to pull her tonight), uncertainty (i.e. The uncertainties of a future job), hesitation (i.e. His
doubts and hesitations were tiresome), disbelief (i.e. Its your disbelief that makes you so
stubborn), among many more.

4.2.3. Adjectives.

On expressing doubt we can also use adjectives which are drawn from other open categories, for
instance, the most common ones are possible (i.e. Do you think it is possible for him to arrive on
time?), probable (i.e. It is probable that ghosts exist), doubtful (i.e. Your words are doubtful),
uncertain (i.e. We have to face an uncertain future), likely (i.e. It is likely that she will have a
baby soon), and so on. It is relevant to mention at this point that the adjective likely is to be found

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within specific syntactic constructions (i.e. He is likely to fail his driving test) and its opposite
unlikely increases the degree of doubt considerably (i.e. He is unlikely to fail his driving test),
though both of them express a lack of certainty.

4.2.4. Adverbs.

Adverbs also express doubt , likelihood and chance by means of probaly, uncertainly, possibly
among others (i.e. Shell probably prepare dinner). Yet, following Quirk et al. (1990), there are
certain disjuncts which make comments on the content of an utterance, especially when relating to
certainty or uncertainty. These disjuncts actually comment on the truth value of what is said,
espressing doubts or posing contingencies such as conditions or reasons. For instance, by means of
presumably, reportedly, allegedly undoubtely, apparently, theoretically in a sentence like The
play was (adverb) written by Francis Romaire. However, there is no doubt that the most common
adverbs are maybe and perhaps, which are frequently used on their own (i.e. Perhaps she is still
at work / Maybe Im wrong).

4.3. Specific syntactic structures.

It is worth noting that apart from grammatical categories, we may find other specific clause
structures, such as It is possible (adjective) for him to be at home, Do you think + future time?
(i.e. Do you think the Earth will be de stroyed by an asteroid?) or I am + likely + to -infinitive (i.e.
I am likely to faint). It must be borne in mind that an adverb adjunct can usually be paraphrased by
with its adjective base in the vacant position (i.e. I am not completely sure about your leaving).

5. THE EXPRESSION OF CONDITION AND HYPOTHESIS.

The expression of condition will be examined together with that of hypothesis since both of them
are part of the classification of direct conditions as open conditions and hypothetical
conditions. Therefore, we shall approach these two notions by (1) defining these concepts through
the opposite items direct vs. indirect condition. Then we shall examine (2) the different types of
conditional sentences in terms of their main structural features regarding form, function and use.

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5.1. Definition: direct vs. indirect condition.

The main difference between a direct condition and an indirect condition is that a direct condition is
related to the situation in the main clause whereas the indirect is not, for instance, If she arrives
late, she will miss the bus (direct) vs. His style is so old-fashioned, if I may so (indirect). As we
can see, in uttering the latter sentence, the speaker does not intend the truth of the assertion since the
condition is independent on the implicit speech act of the utterance. However, the former sentence
does depend on the main clause.

Then, the expression of condition will be examined in this section together with that of
hypothesis since we shall deal with direct conditions which are classified into open conditions or
hypothetical conditions (Quirk et al. 1990). Generally, direct conditional sentences show how a
result depends on a condition, and therefore, the condition may be (1) possible and probable, (2)
possible but improbable or unreal, or (3) impossible. Hence, the latter two classifications are
embedded under the label of hypothetical since they relate to imaginary situations in present time
or in the future and unreal situations in the past, and also convey the meaning of unreachable or not
fulfilled results (in present, past and future time).

On the one hand, open conditions (first type) are said to be neutral since they leave unresolved the
question of the fulfilment or nonfulfilment of the conditio n, and hence also the truth of the
proposition expressed by the matrix clause (i.e. If she is in Edinburgh, Ill find her). As seen, this
sentence leaves unresolved whether she is in Edinburgh, and hence it leaves unresolved whether he
will find her.

On the other hand, a hypothetical condition (second and third type), conveys the speakers belief
that the condition will not be fullfilled (for future conditions), is not fulfilled (for present
conditions), or was not fullfilled (for past conditions) and he nce the probable or certain falsity of the
proposition expressed by the matrix clause. Quirk et al. (1990) propose some sentences, for
instance, If he changed his options, hed be a more likeable person (conveying the implication that
he very probably wont change his opinions in a future situation); They would be here with us if
they had the time (conveying the meaning that they presumably dont have the time in a present
situation); and If you had listened to me, you wouldnt have made so many mistakes (conveying
the implication that you certainly didnt listen to me in a past situation). But let us examine each
type.

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5.2. Types of conditional sentences.

Traditionally, there are three main types of conditional sentences which have been classified as such
depending on the different results they show on a condition. In this section, we shall examine
closely each type in terms of their main structural features, that is, in terms of form and function
(morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics). Yet, we shall introduce first some
common syntactic features for all the three types

5.2.1. Common points to remember.

The order of clauses. As we shall see, conditional sentences have two parts: the if-clause
and the main clause. The if-clause may come first or second in a statement, depending on
which part is uppermost in the speakers mind (and therefore stressed). For instance, in a
sentence like If I go skiing, Ill tell you, If I go skiing is the if-clause (and therefore the
subordinate clause) and Ill tell you is the main clause.
Punctuation. From the example above, it can be seen that while a comma is necessary when
the if-clause comes first, no comma is needed when the order is reversed (i.e. Ill tell you if
I go skiing).
Differen t types, different tenses. Since there are three types of conditional sentences, each
kind contains a different pair of tenses and therefore, lexical and auxiliary verbs will be
used in order to convey the meaning required: probability, improbability or impossibility.
Expressions introducing conditional clauses. Conditional sentences are usually associated
with the conjunction if but there are several other expressions which may introduce this
type of sentences. For instance,
(1) even if as a synonym of even though conveys the meaning of contrast or
concession (i.e. You must leave tomorrow even if you are not ready).
(2) whether ... or or if ... or states a duality of choice between yes or no (i.e. Tell
me whether I am right or not). Note that we can also omit or (i.e. Tell me whether
I am right).
(3) when often substitutes if when the result of the condition is virtually inevitable
(i.e. When you put sugar in hot milk, it dissolves).
(4) unless, the negative counterpart of if, introduces a negative condition. The
unless-clause is usually roughly similar to a negative if-clause. With unless there is

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a greater focus on the condition as an exception (only if ... not). There are
therefore contexts in which the unless-clause cannot occur (i.e. I feel much happier
if he doesnt come with us BUT NOT: unless he comes with us).
(5) but for, meaning if it were not for or if it hadnt been for (i.e. My father pays
all my fees. But for that I wouldnt be living alone).
(6) otherwise means if this doesnt happen/didnt happen/hadnt happened (i.e. We
must go back before midnight; otherwise well be locked up).
(7) provided (that) can repalce if when there is a strong idea of limitation or
restriction and it is namely used with permission (i.e. You can park here provided
you have a special card).
(8) suppose or supposing (that) means what if ...? (i.e. Suppose nobody knows
it=What if nobody knows it?). It may also introduce suggestions (i.e. Suppose you