SLEZSKÁ UNIVERZITA V OPAVĚ

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Ústav cizích jazyků













English Parts of Speech

An E-learning Text in English Morphology





Aleš Svoboda
Karel Kučera


















Opava 2003














































© Prof. PhDr. Aleš Svoboda, DrSc.
Mgr. Karel Kučera

PREFACE



Since the present textbook is meant for students of English and prospective teachers
of English, its aim is to provide an account of English morphology which would be both
founded on theory and also applicable in practice. To meet both the academic and the
practical demands, we based our text on the systemic approach as offered by R. Quirk and S.
Greenbaum in their University Grammar of English, and supplemented it by drawing on less
academic, but more practical grammars by L. G. Alexander, A. J. Thomson and A. V.
Martinet, L. Dušková et al., C. E. Eckersley and J. M. Eckersley, and others, who put more
stress on the functional or the communicative aspect of the grammatical phenomena under
consideration. We are well aware of the fact that in English it is rather difficult to draw a
dividing line between morphology and syntax, nevertheless we are convinced that our
English Parts of Speech will give Czech students an opportunity to study a subsystem of the
English language in a way they are more familiar with than any other.
Recently two prominent English grammars have appeared: BIBER, D., S. JOHANSON,
G. LEECH, S. CONRAD and E. FINEGAN (1999): Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written
English, Harlow; and HUDDLESTON, R. AND G. K. PULLUM (2002): The Cambridge Grammar
of the English Language, Cambridge. Both the grammars are based on vast corpora of written
and spoken language and reveal new aspects of the use of English in everyday speech, in
mass media, in fiction, and in scholarly communication. However interesting these new
findings may be for a student of English, the authors of the present book have not been able
to incorporate them in the text, and for special issues they refer the reader to the above two
modern grammars reflecting the present stage of English.


Opava, March 2003
The Authors.
CONTENTS
VERBS 5
VERBAL FORMS AND THE VERB PHRASE....................................................................5
THE PRIMARY AUXILIARIES – DO, HAVE, BE...............................................................8
THE MODAL AUXILIARIES............................................................................................12
TENSE, ASPECT, MOOD, AND VOICE...........................................................................16
NOUNS 34
NUMBER ............................................................................................................................34
GENDER.............................................................................................................................39
CASE ...................................................................................................................................42
COUNTABILITY................................................................................................................44
ARTICLES 46
THE INDEFINITE ARTICLE ‘A/AN’ .................................................................................46
THE DEFINITE ARTICLE ‘THE’ ......................................................................................50
THE ZERO ARTICLE.........................................................................................................52
PRONOUNS 58
CHARACTERISTICS OF PRONOUNS.............................................................................58
SPECIFIC PRONOUNS......................................................................................................60
INDEFINITE PRONOUNS.................................................................................................67
ADJECTIVES 77
KINDS OF ADJECTIVES...................................................................................................77
COMPARISON OF ADJECTIVES.....................................................................................78
ADVERBS 86
KINDS OF ADVERBS, THEIR MEANING AND POSITION..........................................87
THE FORMATION OF ADVERBS....................................................................................91
COMPARISON OF ADVERBS..........................................................................................93
NUMERALS 97
CARDINAL NUMERALS..................................................................................................97
ORDINAL NUMERALS.....................................................................................................99
SPECIAL USES OF NUMERALS....................................................................................101
PREPOSITIONS 104
THE POSITION AND FORM...........................................................................................104
THE MEANING OF PREPOSITIONS..............................................................................105
CONJUNCTIONS 109
COORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS..............................................................................109
SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS............................................................................110
INTERJECTIONS 113
LIST OF IRREGULAR VERBS 115
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 122

4
VERBS
VERBAL FORMS AND THE VERB PHRASE
THE PRIMARY AUXILIARIES – DO, HAVE, BE
THE MODAL AUXILIARIES
TENSE, ASPECT, MOOD, AND VOICE

There are various ways in which verbs are classified. We begin with a classification that
distinguishes lexical (‘full-meaning’) verbs from auxiliary (‘helping’) verbs. The lexical
verbs (e.g. walk, write, play) form an open class, it means that new lexical verbs may be
formed and added to the already existing number of many thousands of verbs (e.g. robot -
robotize).

The auxiliary verbs represent a closed system, it means that their number is fixed and no new
auxiliary verbs can be added. The auxiliaries are subdivided into primary (do, have, be) and
modal (can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, would, must, ought to, used to, need,
dare).

VERBAL FORMS AND THE VERB PHRASE

Many English verbs have five forms:

the base: write
the -s form: writes
the past: wrote
the -ing participle: writing
the -ed participle: written

The following are some examples of these forms together with the indication of their
functions:

Form Example Functions
base call
drink
put
a) all the Present Tense except 3rd person sg.: We call every
day.
b) imperative: Call at once!
c) subjunctive: He demanded that she call and see him.
d) the bare infinitive: He may call., the to-infinitive: He wants
her to call.
-s form calls
drinks
puts
a) 3rd person sg. Present Tense: He calls every day.
past called
drank
put
(a) Past Tense: He called yesterday.

5
-ing participle calling
drinking
putting
a) progressive aspect (i.e. in progressive or continuous
tenses): He is calling in a moment.
b) in -ing participle clauses: Calling early, I found her at home.
(Protože jsem přišel brzy, zastihl jsem ji doma.)
-ed participle called
drunk
put
a) perfective aspect (perfect tenses): He has drunk the water.
b) passive voice: He is called Jack.
c) in -ed participle clauses: Called early, he had a quick
breakfast. (Protože přišel brzy, ještě se rychle nasnídal.)

Regular lexical verbs have the same -ed form for both the Past Tense and the -ed participle.
Irregular lexical verbs have from three forms (e.g. put, puts, putting) to eight forms (be, am,
is, are, was, were, being, been). The modal auxiliaries are defective in not having infinitive,
-ing participle, -ed participle or imperative.
The Morphology of Lexical Verbs
The -s form
has three spoken realizations: [izj, [zj, and [sj and two spellings, -s and -es.
1. It is pronounced [izj after bases ending in voiced or voiceless sibilants and it is spelled -es
unless the base already ends in -e:
catch – catches
buzz – buzzes
lose – loses [Iu:z - Iu:zizj

2. It is pronounced [zj and spelled -s after bases ending in other voiced sounds:
describe – describes
flow – flows

Note the four irregular -s forms:
do [du:j – does [d\zj
go [gcoj – goes [gcozj
say [scij – says [sczj
have [hævj – has [hæzj

3. It is pronounced [sj and spelled -s after bases ending in other voiceless sounds:
cut – cuts
want – wants
lock – locks
In bases ending in a consonant + -y, the -y changes into -i- and the ending is -es (-ies
altogether):
carry – carries, study – studies
but: play – plays
6
The past forms and the -ed participle forms
of regular verbs have three spoken realizations:
1. It is pronounced [idj after bases ending in [dj and [tj:
suggest – suggested, divide – divided
2. It is pronounced [dj after bases ending in voiced sounds other than [dj:
mention – mentioned, discover – discovered, die – died
3. It is pronounced [tj after bases ending in voiceless sounds other than [tj:
miss – missed, hope – hoped, pack – packed

The -ing form
is a straightforward addition to the base:
sleep – sleeping, push – pushing
divide – dividing (on the deletion of -e see later).
Further inflectional spelling rules
Doubling of consonant
Final base consonants are doubled before inflections -ed and -ing when the preceding vowel
is stressed and spelled with a single letter:
stop – stopped – stopping
permit – permitted – permitting
prefer – preferred – preferring
There is no doubling when the vowel is unstressed or written with two letters:
enter – entered – entering
develop – developed – developing
dread – dreaded – dreading
Note: BrE breaks the rule with respect to certain other consonants:
signal – signalled – signalling
travel – travelled – travelling
program(me) – programmed – programming
worship – worshipped – worshipping
AmE, however, keeps the single consonant:
signal – signaled – signaling
travel – traveled – traveling
program – programed – programing
worship – worshiped – worshiping
Most verbs ending in -p have the regular spelling in both British English and American
English:
develop – developed – developing
gallop – galloped – galloping

Treatment of -y
1. In bases ending in a consonant + -y, the following changes occur before -es and -ed
inflections:
carry – carries, carry – carried, (but carrying)
study – studies, study – studied, (but studying)
7
Note: The past of the following three verbs has a change of -y into -i- also after a vowel:
lay [Icij – laid [Icidj
pay [pcij – paid [pcidj
say [scij – said [scdj

2. In bases ending in -ie, the -ie is replaced by -y- before the -ing inflection:
die – dying
lie – lying

Deletion of –e
Final -e is regularly dropped before the -ing and -ed inflections:
shave – shaving – shaved
Verbs with bases in -ee, -ye, -oe, and often -ge are exceptions to this rule in that they do not
drop the -e before -ing; but they do drop it before -ed:
-ee: agree – agreeing – agreed
-ye: dye – dyeing – dyed
-oe: hoe – hoeing – hoed
-ge: singe – singeing – singed
Irregular Lexical Verbs
Irregular lexical verbs differ from regular verbs in the past form or in the -ed participle form
or in both these forms:
write – wrote – written

Some lexical verbs have both the regular and the irregular forms:
learn – learned – learned
or: learn – learnt – learnt

The list of irregular verbs can be found on page 115.

Back to Verbs

THE PRIMARY AUXILIARIES – DO, HAVE, BE
DO
The auxiliary do has the following forms:

non-negative uncontracted negative contracted negative
present do
does
do not
does not
don’t
doesn’t
past did did not didn’t

Do as lexical verb and as pro-verb
has the full range of forms, including the present participle doing and the past participle done.
(What have you been doing today? You said you would finish it. – I have done so.)
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The auxiliary do
has the following functions:
a) It assists in forming the negation of all the lexical verbs in the Present Simple and the Past
Simple Tense:
I understand it. – I do not/don’t understand it.
He understands it. – He does not/doesn’t understand it.
He saw me. – He did not/didn’t see me.

b) It assists in forming the question of all the lexical verbs in the above two tenses:
Do you understand? – Do you not/don’t you understand?
(Rozumíš? Chápeš to?) – (Cožpak nerozumíš? Copak to nechápeš?)
Does he understand? – Does he not/doesn’t he understand?
Did he see you? – Didn’t he see you?
Where do you live? What do you do here? When do you leave?
When did it happen? Where did you go? What did you do?

Note: The question is formed without do if the question word is the subject of the clause and
the clause is positive. Such questions are introduced by the interrogative pronouns who, what,
which, how many, how much, etc.:
Who saw you? (Kdo tě viděl?)
What causes this change? (Co tuto změnu způsobuje?)
How many people help you? (Kolik lidí ti pomáhá?)

But with question words as objects, do must be used:
Who did you see? (Kohos viděl?)
What does this change cause? (Co tato změna způsobuje?)
How many people do you help? (Kolika lidem pomáháš?)

c) In a positive non-interrogative clause, do can be used to emphasize or intensify the
meaning of the lexical verb:
Do sit down. (Tak si přece sedni!)
Why didn’t you tell him? – But I did tell him all. (Ale vždyť já jsem mu to všechno
řekl.)

d) Do – in the capacity of a prop-verb – stands for, or replaces lexical verbs in short answers:
Do you watch TV every day? – Yes, I do.
or is used to avoid the repetition of the same verb
He left school one year earlier than I did.
or replaces lexical verbs in tag questions
She works in a lab, doesn’t she? (..., že? ..., ne?)
She didn’t tell you anything, did she? (..., že? ..., že ne?)

Note: In tag questions, rising intonation represents a real question while falling intonation
presupposes an agreement.
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HAVE
Both as lexical verb and as auxiliary, have has the following forms:
non-negative uncontracted negative contracted negative
base have, ‘ve have not, ‘ve not haven’t
-s form has, ‘s has not, ‘s not hasn’t
past had, ‘d had not, ‘d not hadn’t
-ing form having not having
-ed participle had
The auxiliary have
is used in the Present Perfect (Pre-Present), the Past Perfect (Pre-Preterite), and the past
infinitive:
He has just come.
He admitted that he had not known about it.
You seem to have been misinformed.

In this case the negation is formed by adding not
He hasn’t come yet.
and the question is formed by means of inversion
Has he come already?
Hasn’t he come yet?
Have as lexical verb
The lexical meaning of have is that of possession:
I have two brothers and two sisters.
Have you any reasons for it?
I have not time now.

Have + to + infinitive means must:
I have to go.
We had to wait.
In everyday English, the lexical have is often replaced by the construction have got, haven’t
got in the present, and by had got in the past:
Have you got time now?
I haven’t got time now.
We’ve got to ask him.

The construction with got is used if have expresses a definite single state of things:
Have you got a headache? (= now, at this very moment)
(For a repeated state see below.)

Auxiliary do with have
The auxiliary do is used with the lexical have to form the question and the negation in the
following cases:
a) if it denotes habitual or repeated actions or states:
Do you often have headaches? (But Have you got a headache now?)
I don’t have my dinner at home on Fridays.
10
b) in the meaning of must:
Did you have to wait?
We did not have to stay till the end.
c) in the construction to have something done:
She didn’t have her hair cut. (Nedala si ...)
Did you have the watch repaired? (Nechals ... opravit?)
d) Often in the Past Tense:
I didn’t have enough money to pay the bill.
is more frequent than
I hadn’t enough money to pay the bill.

Note: In American English, do is used in questions and negations of the lexical have
everywhere:
Do you have a brother or a sister?
BE
The lexical and auxiliary verb be is unique among English verbs in having eight different
forms:
non-negative uncontracted negative contracted negative
base be
present am, ‘m
is, ‘s
are, ‘re
am not, ‘m not
is not, ‘s not
are not, ‘re not
(aren’t, ain’t)
isn’t
aren’t
past was
were
was not
were not
wasn’t
weren’t
-ing form being not being
-ed participle been

Note:1. The question is formed by means of inversion:
Is he at home?
2. The lexical verb be may have do-construction in persuasive imperative sentences and
regularly has it with negative imperatives:
Do be quiet! (Tak už buď ticho!)
Don’t be silly!
The uses of be
a) In its lexical meaning (to exist) the verb be is frequently used in there is, there are
constructions:
There are such people.
There is no other possibility.

b) The construction be + present infinitive expresses the modal meaning of an intended
(planned), necessary or possible action:
The conference was to be held in June. (Ta konference se měla konat v červnu.)
What am I to tell him? (Co mu mám říct?)
Such examples are to be found everywhere. (Takové příklady se najdou všude.)

c) The Past Tense of be + past infinitive expresses an intended action in the past which in fact
did not take place:
The conference was to have taken place in January. (Měla se konat, ale nekonala se.)
11
d) Be is used as copula in verbo-nominal predicates:
He is a dentist.
We are ready.

e) Be as auxiliary verb assists in forming the progressive aspect (in continuous tenses) and the
passive voice :
What are you laughing at?
One of the pictures was damaged.

Back to Verbs

THE MODAL AUXILIARIES
The modal auxiliaries represent a closed system of nine members:
non-negative uncontracted negative contracted negative
can
could
cannot, can not
could not
can’t [ko:ntj
couldn’t
may
might
may not
might not
mayn’t
mightn’t
shall
should
shall not
should not
shan’t [jo:ntj
shouldn’t
will, ‘ll
would, ‘d
will not, ‘ll not
would not, ‘d not
won’t [wcontj
wouldn’t
must must not
mustn’t [m\sntj
ought to ought not to oughtn’t to
used to [ju:stcj
used not to
usedn’t to [ju:sntcj
didn’t use to
need need not needn’t
dare dare not daren’t

The primary and the modal auxiliaries have the following morphological features in common:
1. The negation is formed by adding the negative particle not to the base:
You can’t do that!

2. The question is formed by means of inversion:
Can you do it?

3. These auxiliaries can stand for lexical verbs in short answers
Yes, I can.
short questions including tag questions
Oh, can you?
You can’t do it, can you?
and in repetitions
He can speak English and so can she.

4. They are followed by bare infinitives of lexical verbs, with exception of ought to and used
to:
Who can speak English?
12
The specific features that distinguish the modal auxiliaries from the primary auxiliaries are
the following:
a) The modals have the same form for all the persons in both singular and plural (no -s in the
3rd person singular).

b) They have no infinitive form with to.

Infinitives and other missing forms are expressed periphrastically:
can – be able to
may – be allowed to
must – have (got) to
be obliged to
be forced to
be compelled to
The Uses of the Modal Auxiliaries
Can (Present Tense) and Could (Present Conditional or Past Tense) express
1. Ability (umět):
He can speak English.
I never could play the banjo.
2. Permission (moct, smět):
Can (May) I smoke in here?
Could I smoke in here?
3. Possibility (moct):
Anybody can make mistakes.
We could go to the concert.
May (Present Tense) and Might (Present Conditional) express
1. Permission (smět, moct):
You may borrow my car if you like.
You may not/mustn’t borrow my car. (nesmíš)
Might I smoke in here? (rare!) (směl bych)
2. Possibility (moct ve významu možná):
The road may be blocked.
We might go to the concert.
Note: may can form a periphrastic subjunctive (expressing wish):
May he live long!

Shall and Should
Shall expresses
1. Intention of the speaker:
I shan’t be long. (Nebude mi to dlouho trvat.)
We shall overcome. (Vydržíme to.)
2. Insistence:
You shall do as I say. (Ty budeš dělat, ...)
He shall be punished. (Ten za to bude pykat.)
13
Should expresses
1. Obligation:
You should do as he says. (měl bys)
2. Distant Possibility:
If you should change your mind, please let us know. (Kdybyste si to SNAD
rozmysleli, ...)
3. 1st person Conditional (in BrE):
We should love to go abroad if we had the chance.
4. And is used after certain expressions:
It is odd that you should say this to me. (Je to zvláštní, že právě ty říkáš něco
takového mně.)
Will and Would
Will expresses
1. Willingness and Polite Requests:
He’ll help you if you ask him.
Will you open the window? (The real question is: Will you be opening the window?)
2 Future Tenses:
I’ll write as soon as I can.
She’ll have finished it by the end of the month.
3. Prediction about a present action by means of the construction will + be + -ing form
(Future Progressive):
John will still be reading his paper. (John asi pořád ještě čte)
4. Prediction about the result of a past action by means of will + past infinitive (Future
Perfect):
The guests will have arrived by now. (už asi přišli, už tu asi budou.)

Would expresses
1. Polite Requests:
Would you excuse me?
2. Characteristic activity in the past:
Every morning he would go for a long walk. (chodíval, chodívával)
3. Present Conditional:
He would smoke too much if I didn’t stop him.
4. Probability:
That would be his mother. (patrně bude)

Must
expresses
1. Obligation or Compulsion:
You must be back by 10 o’clock. (In the past: He had to be back by 10 o’clock.)
There are two negatives:
a) needn’t, don’t have to (nemuset)
You needn’t be back by 10.
You don’t have to be back by 10.
b) mustn’t (nesmět), a stronger equivalent of may not in everyday conversation
You mustn’t come after 10 o’clock.
2. Logical Necessity:
There must be a mistake. (Určitě je tam chyba.)
14

But: There can’t be a mistake. (Určitě tam není ...)

Note: I must go. (= I am obliged to go and I want to go.)
I have to go. (= I’d rather stay here but the outer circumstances force me to go.)
We didn’t have to go there. (= we’re not saying explicitly that we didn’t go)
(Nemuseli jsme tam jít.)
We needn’t have gone there. (= we went there in vain) (Taky jsme tam nemuseli
chodit.)
Ought to
expresses obligation or logical necessity:
You ought to start at once. (měl bys)
Note: In AmE ought has occasionally the bare infinitive in negative sentences and questions:
You oughtn’t smoke so much.
Ought you smoke so much?
Marginal Modal Auxiliaries
Used
always takes the to-infinitive and occurs only in the Past Tense. It may take the
do-construction, in which case the spellings didn’t used to and didn’t use to both occur. The
interrogative construction used he to is especially British English; did he used to is preferred
in both American English and British English.
Used to expresses a repeated action in the past:
He used to earn a lot of money. (vydělávával)
He usedn’t to earn so much as he does now.
He didn’t use to earn so much as he does now.
Did you use(d) to go there? (jezdívali, jezdívávali)
Dare and Need
can be constructed either as modal auxiliaries, with bare infinitive and with no inflected
-s form, or as lexical verbs (odvážit se and potřebovat), with to-infinitive and with the
inflected -s form:
She needn’t rewrite it, need she? (Nemusí ..., že ne?)
Need she rewrite it? (Musí to přepisovat?)
He daren’t ask. (Netroufá si zeptat se.)
Dare he ask? (On si troufá se ptát?)
But:
She doesn’t need (to buy) a new car. (nepotřebuje)
He doesn’t dare to ask. (neodvažuje se)
Note: Must you go there? (Musíš tam jít?)
Need you go there? (To tam musíš chodit?)
15
The Probability and the Modals
High Probability:
It must be raining over there. (určitě prší)
It must have rained over there. (určitě pršelo)

Low Probability:
It may be raining over there. (asi prší)
It may have rained over there. (asi pršelo)

Very Low Probability:
It might be raining over there. (mohlo by snad teď pršet)
It might have rained over there. (mohlo snad pršet)

High Improbability:
It can’t be raining over there. (určitě neprší)
It can’t have rained over there. (určitě nepršelo)

Back to Verbs

TENSE, ASPECT, MOOD, AND VOICE
‘Ti me is a universal, non-linguistic concept with three divisions: past, present, and future; by
t ense we understand the correspondence between the form of the verb and our concept of
time. Aspect concerns the manner in which the verbal action is experienced (for example as
completed or in progress), while mood relates the verbal action to such conditions as
certainty, obligation, necessity, possibility. In fact, however, to a great extent these three
categories are interrelated: in particular, 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.’ (Quirk and Greenbaum 1977:40.) Voi ce (active and passive) is, strictly speaking, a
syntactic phenomenon but since it relates to the verb-form, it will be briefly touched upon.
TENSE AND ASPECT

Time Simple Tenses Progressive
Tenses
Perfective Tenses Progressive
Perfective Tenses
Present write am writing
have written have been writing
Past wrote was writing
had written had been writing

As to the names of tenses, the terminology is, unfortunately, not quite unified:
Present Simple is just Present Simple or Present:
I write.
Present Progressive is often called Present Continuous:
I am writing.
Present Perfect is also known as Pre-Present:
I have written.
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Present Perfect Progressive is also Present Perfect Continuous or Pre-Present
Continuous:
I have been writing.
Past Tense (Simple) is also called Preterite:
I wrote.
Past Tense Progressive is Past Tense Continuous:
I was writing.
Past Perfect is also Plu-Perfect or Pre-Preterite:
I had written.
Past Perfect Progressive is also Past Perfect Continuous (or Plu-Perfect or Pre-Preterite
Progressive or Continuous):
I had been writing.

The Uses of Tenses
Present Simple
is used to express
1. habitual or repeated actions at present:
John smokes a lot.
He usually comes at half past eight.
Most evenings my parents stay at home and watch TV.
2. universal statements:
Summer follows spring.
The earth revolves round the sun.
The river Tweed separates England and Scotland.
3. a state or action in progress at the present moment:
(with verbs that do not usually form the progressive tense: to see, to hear, to understand, etc.)
I see what you mean.
I hear a knock at the door.
I don’t understand your remark.
4. ‘the present period’:
My father works in a bank.
Her sister wears glasses.
5. future, especially a fixed arrangement of things:
The train leaves at 7.30 tomorrow morning.
Wednesday, May 8th, marks our 5th wedding anniversary.
6. past actions to make them more vivid:
Napoleon leaves France at the head of a great army and crosses the frontier of
Russia.
7. observations and declarations in the course of conversation:
I hope/assume/suppose/promise everything will be all right.
I love you. I hate her.
We live in difficult times. – I agree.
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Present Progressive
is used to express
1. a momentary action in progress:
What are you looking for?
What are you doing? – I’m just tying up my shoe-laces.
He’s talking to his girlfriend on the phone.
2. a present action (in a broad sense) that is marked in one way or other (made topical,
emotional, etc.):
Are we eating the right kind of food?
3. temporary situations:
The river is flowing very fast after last night’s rain.
People are becoming less tolerant of smoking these days.
4. near future:
He is moving to London.
We are going to Paris on Friday; we are leaving from London Airport.
5. repeated actions:
She’s always helping people.
I’m always hearing strange stories about him.

Present tenses in typical contexts
1. The Present Simple and Present Progressive in commentaries:
In radio commentaries on sport, the Simple Present is used to describe rapid actions
completed at the moment of speaking and the progressive is used to describe longer-lasting
actions:
Moore passes to Charlton. Charlton makes a quick pass to Booth. Booth is away with
the ball, but he’s losing his advantage.
2. The Present Simple and Present Progressive in narration
When we are telling a story or describing things that have happened to us, we often use
present tenses (even though the events are in the past) in order to sound more interesting and
dramatic. The progressive is used for the ‘background’ and the simple tense for the main
events:
I’m driving along this country road and I’m completely lost. Then I see this old fellow.
He’s leaning against a gate. I stop the car and ask him the way.
3. The Present Simple in demonstrations and instructions (step-by-step instructions)
First (you) boil some water. Then (you) warm the teapot. Then (you) add three
teaspoons of tea. Next, (you) pour on boiling water ...
4. The Present Simple in synopses (e.g. reviews of books, films, etc.)
Kate Fox’s novel is an historical romance set in London in the 1880’s. The action
takes place over a period of 30 years ...
5. The Present Simple and Present Progressive in newspaper headlines and photographic
captions

The Present Simple is generally used to refer to past events:
FREAK SNOW STOPS TRAFFIC
The abbreviated progressive refers to the future:
CABINET MINISTER RESIGNING SOON
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Past Tense (Simple)
is used to express
1. an action that took place at a particular point in the past:
The train arrived at 3 o’clock.
I had a word with Julian this morning.
2. a series of actions in the past:
He took out his notebook, tore off a leaf, wrote his telephone number on it, and gave it
to me.
3. a habitual or repeated action in the past:
He usually saw his dentist twice a year.
She always made her own breakfast.
4. polite inquiries:
I wondered if you could give me a lift
is considered to be more tentative or more polite than
I wonder if you could give me a lift.

Note: Some adverbials like yesterday, last summer and combinations with ago (two years
ago, a long time ago) are used only with past tenses:
I saw Jane yesterday.
I met Robert many years ago in Prague.
When did you learn about it? – When I saw it in the papers.

Past Progressive
is used to express
1. actions in progress in the past:
Richard was working on his essay last night.
I was playing tennis all this afternoon.
2. a past action that was in progress while another past action took place:
We were having our breakfast when the clock struck nine.
We had our breakfast when the clock was striking nine.
We were having our breakfast when the clock was striking nine.
What is regarded as being in progress or being in any way marked depends on the attitude of
the speaker.
3. parallel actions:
While I was working in the garden, my husband was cooking dinner.
4. repeated actions:
When he worked here, Roger was always making mistakes.
5. a past action that was in progress between two time limits in the past:
Yesterday from five to seven I was learning French.
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Past tenses in typical contexts
The Simple Past combines with other past tenses, such as the Past Progressive and the Past
Perfect, when we are talking or writing about the past. The Past Progressive is used for scene-
setting. Past tenses of various kinds are common in story-telling, biography, autobiography,
reports, eye-witness accounts, etc.:
It was evening. The sun was setting. A gentle wind was blowing through the trees. In
the distance I noticed a Land Rover moving across the dusty plain. It stopped and two
men jumped out of it.

Present Perfect Tense
Present time and past time
The Present Perfect always suggests a relationship between present time and past time. In the
Present Perfect Tense, the time reference is sometimes undefined , often we are interested in
present results, or in the way something that happened in the past affects the present situation.
The Present Perfect can therefore be seen as a present tense which looks backwards into the
past (just as the Past Perfect is a past tense which looks backwards into an earlier past).
Compare the simple Past Tense, where the time reference is defined because we are
interested in past time or past results. The following pairs of sentences illustrate this
difference between present time and past time:
I haven’t seen him this morning. (i.e. up to the present time, it is still morning)
I didn’t see him this morning. (i.e. the morning has now passed)
Have you ever flown in Concorde? (i.e. up to the present time)
When did you fly in Concorde? (i.e. when, precisely, in the past).

Present Perfect
is used to express
1. an action that took place and was finished in the past, but its consequences are felt at
present:
Past Present



I have told him. (= I told him and now he knows all about it.)

2. an action (or state) that started in the past and has been in progress up to the present
moment:
Past Present



I’ve waited for you for two hours. (neutrální konstatování)
Kate and Ken have been married for 20 years. (= They are still married now.)
Note: Some adverbials are often connected with the Present Perfect: never, seldom, just:
I have never been to the U.S.A.
I have seldom seen him.
He has just left.
But: just now = a little while ago
I saw him just now. (Past Tense!)
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The Simple Present Perfect in typical contexts
The Present Perfect is never used in past narrative (e.g. stories told in the past, history books).
Apart from its common use in conversation, it is most often used in:
1. broadcast reports and newspaper reports:
Interest rates rose again today and the price of gold has fallen by $ 10 an ounce.
Industrial leaders have complained that high interest rates will make borrowing
expensive for industry.
2. newspaper headlines (implied):
VILLAGES DESTROYED IN EARTHQUAKE (= have been destroyed)
3. letters, postcards, etc.:
We’ve just arrived in Hong Kong, and though we haven’t had time to see much yet,
we’re sure we’re going to enjoy ourselves.

Past Perfect
What was said of the Present Perfect applies to the Past Perfect with the complication that the
point of current relevance is not the present moment but a point in the past:
Past Past (Present)


I had told him before she came.
Past (Present)



By seven o’clock all the guests had arrived.

Note: In some contexts the Simple Past and the Past Perfect are interchangeable:
I ate my lunch after Mary came/had come home from her shopping.
Here the conjunction after is sufficient specification of the sequence of actions.

Simple Past and Past Perfect in typical contexts
The Past Perfect combines with other past tenses (Simple Past, Past Progressive, Past Perfect
Progressive) when we are talking or writing about the past. It is used in story-telling,
biography, autobiography, reports, eye-witness accounts, etc., and is especially useful for
establishing the sequence of events:
When we returned from our holidays, we found our house in a mess. What had
happened while we had been away? A burglar had broken into the house and had
stolen a lot of our things. The burglar got in through the kitchen window. He had no
difficulty in forcing it open. Then he went into the living-room ...
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Present Perfect Progressive
is used to express
1. an action that started in the past, is still in progress at the present moment, and is likely to
continue in the future:
Present



I’ve been waiting for him for half an hour (since 10 o’clock, and he hasn’t come yet).
(emotivní vyjádření, = Už na něj čekám půl hodiny. Kde je?!?)
How long have you been sitting there?

2. an emotionally or otherwise coloured action in the past with consequences at the present
moment:

Past Present




He is tired because he has been working too hard.
Somebody has been using my car again!
I’ve been waiting for you for two hours!

Past Perfect Progressive
expresses the same types of past action as the above Present Perfect Progressive, but it does
so in relation to some other action in the past:
I had been waiting for him for half an hour when his wife came to tell me that he had
had an accident.
He was very tired because he had been working too hard.
Her eyes were red. It was obvious she had been crying.

The Present/Past Perfect and Progressive compared
The difference between an activity still in progress and one that has definitely been
completed is marked by context and by the verbs we use. Note that the simple and the
progressive forms are not interchangeable in the following situations:

I’ve been painting this room (the activity is uncompleted)
versus
I’ve painted this room (the job is definitely finished)
or
When I got home, I found that Jill had been paining her room.
When I got home, I found that Jill had painted her room.
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The Future (Tense)
According to Quirk and Greenbaum (1977;47), ‘there is no obvious future tense in English
corresponding to the time/tense relation for present and past. Instead there are several
possibilities for denoting future time. Futurity, modality, and aspect are closely related, and
future time is rendered by means of modal auxiliaries or semi-auxiliaries, or by simple
present forms or progressive forms’. There are also a few other constructions, e.g. to be going
to, to be about to, to be to, to be on the point of, to be due to.

Will and shall (the traditional Future Tense)
The constructions will or ‘ll + (bare) infinitive in all persons and shall + (bare) infinitive in
1st person sg. or pl. in British English are the closest approximation to a colourless, neutral
future:
I will/shall arrive tomorrow.
He’ll be here in half an hour.

Uses of the will/shall future
Will and shall is used
1. to predict events:
It will rain tomorrow.
Will house prices rise again next year?
2. to express hopes, expectations:
I’m sure you’ll enjoy the film if you go and see it.
I expect they’ll be here at around 10 o’clock tomorrow.

The future is often used after verbs and verb phrases like assume, be afraid, be sure, believe,
doubt, expect, hope, suppose, think, or with adverbs like perhaps, possibly, probably, surely:
Perhaps I’ll see you tomorrow.
Alex will probably phone me this evening.

Will in formal style
is used for scheduled events (particularly in written language):
The reception will be at the Anchor Hotel.
The wedding will take place at St Andrew’s on June 27th.

Note: ‘The pure future’ should be distinguished from many other uses of will and shall: e.g.
I’ll buy you a bicycle for your birthday. (promise)
Will you hold the door open for me please? (request)
Shall I get your coat for you? (offer)
Shall we go for a swim tomorrow? (suggestion)

Will (shall) + past infinitive (the traditional Future Perfect) is used to express
1. ‘the past’ in the future:
They will have finished their book by next year. (Do příštího roku tu knihu dokončí.)
By the end of this year they will have been working on the dictionary for five years.
(Na konci letošního roku to bude pět let, co na tom slovníku pracují.)
2. prediction about the result of a past action:
The guests will have arrived by now.
23
Will/shall + be +-ing form (Future Progressive) expresses
1. a ‘future-as-a-matter-of-course’ (without modal interpretations):
Compare: He’ll do his best. (future or volitional interpretation possible)
He’ll be doing his best. (future interpretation only)

This distinction is used in questions of the following type:
Will you open the window? (a polite request)
Will you be opening the window? (a real question)
2. prediction about a present action:
John will still be reading his paper.

Other ways of expressing the future
Present Progressive expresses near future and Present Simple expresses a fixed arrangement
in the future:
I’m expecting you on Sunday morning.
What are you doing next Saturday?
The conference starts on May 13th.
What time does he leave for Canada?

Be going to + infinitive
1. expresses the present intention in the future:
We are going to get married.
I’m going to practise the piano for two hours this evening.
2. suggests that the event is already ‘on the way’:
She’s going to have a baby.
I’m going to speak to him about it.

Be about to + infinitive
refers to the immediate future:
We are about to leave. (Právě se chystáme odejít.)
Look! The race is about to start.
(He was about to hit me. – ‘future’ intention in the past)

Be on the point of + gerund
conveys even greater immediacy:
Look! They’re on the point of starting!
They’re on the point of leaving. (na odchodu)

Note: The use of just with be about to and be on the point of increases the sense of
immediacy, as it does with the Present Progressive:
They’re just starting!

Be to + infinitive (see also the verb be)
is used to refer to the future when the actions are subject to human control. This construction
expresses:
1. formal arrangements or public duties:
You are to be back by 10 o’clock.
OPEC representatives are to meet in Geneva.
He was later to regret his decision.
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2. formal appointments or instructions:
You’re to deliver these flowers before 10.
Three tablets (are) to be taken twice a day.
3. prohibitions or public notices:
You’re not to tell him anything about our plans. (= you mustn’t)
Dogs are to be kept on lead.

Be due to
is used in connection with timetables and itineraries:
The BA 561 is due to arrive from Athens at 13.15.
The BA 561 is not due till 13.15.

A syntactic note:
In temporal and conditional clauses (but not in object clauses) pointing to the future, Present
Tenses are used instead of future forms:
I’ll give her a kiss when she comes.
I’ll give her a kiss if she comes.

The Sequence of Tenses
The sequence of tenses is a system of rules according to which two or more tenses are related
with regard to simultaneousness, priority or posteriority of the actions they express. In
various languages these rules may be governed by different principles. This is, in fact, the
case if Czech and English are compared: The following Czech sentences exemplify the use of
tenses in the indirect speech and the indirect questions with regard to posteriority,
simultaneousness, and priority:

že bude mít žízeň. (posteriority)
Říká že má žízeň. (simultaneousness)
(řekne, říkal), že měl žízeň. (priority)

jestli bude mít žízeň.
Ptá se jestli má žízeň.
(zeptá se, ptal se), jestli měl žízeň.

The leading principle governing the ‘sequence of tenses’ in the above Czech examples can be
formulated as follows:
Irrespective of the tense used in the principal (introductory) clause (říká, řekne, etc.)
a) the Present Tense indicates the simultaneousness of actions at any time (at present, in the
future, in the past)
b) the Future Tense indicates the posteriority of an action at any time
c) the Past Tense indicates the priority of an action at any time.
In English, however, the tense of the principal clause and the tense of the subordinate clause
are interrelated:
25
he will be thirsty. (posteriority)
He says he is thirsty. (simultaneousness)
he was thirsty. (priority)

he would be thirsty. (posteriority)
He said he was thirsty. (simultaneousness)
he had been thirsty. (priority)


The leading principle governing the sequence of tenses in the above English examples is the
following:
a) simultaneousness is indicated by the use of the same tenses
(he says he is ..., he said he was ...)

b) posteriority is indicated by the use of different tenses where the latter is posterior to the
former: the Future Tense is posterior to the Present (he says he will be ...) and the Future in
the Past is posterior to the Past (he said he would be ...)

c) priority is indicated by the use of different tenses where the latter is prior to the former (he
says he was ..., he said he had been ...)

The above principle holds good, not only for the indirect speech, but also for indirect
questions and object clauses in general:
He knew she was ill. (Věděl, že je nemocná.)

But when the eternal truths (or phenomena regarded as such) are under consideration, the
Present Tense is used irrespective of the other tense(s):
He knew that the Earth is round.

Note:
1. In temporal and conditional clauses (but not in object clauses) the Present Tense indicates
either the present or the future action because the Future Tense cannot be used (cf. p. 23).
Which kind of action has the speaker/writer in mind is determined by the tense in the
principal clause:
When it rains, we’ll stay at home. (Když bude pršet, zůstaneme doma.)
When it rains, we stay at home. (Když prší, býváme doma.)
If I’ve got money, I’ll buy this mirror. (Jestliže budu mít peníze, to zrcadlo si koupím.)
If I’ve got money, I always buy a bottle of wine. (Mám-li peníze, vždycky si kupuju
láhev vína.)

2. In English the Future Tense is not fully integrated item of the tense system. As has been
shown before (see pp. 13 - 14), the shall/will forms may – in a sense – be regarded as modal
auxiliaries modifying the Present. Seen in this light, the following sentences do not deviate
from the principle of the sequence of tenses as formulated above:

he’ll be thirsty. (posteriority)
He’ll say he is thirsty. (simultaneousness)
he was thirsty. (priority)
26
MOOD

Mood relates the verbal action to such conditions as cert ai nt y, obligat ion, necessit y,
and possi bil it y. We distinguish the i ndicat i ve, t he i mperat i ve, t he condi t i onal ,
and the subj uncti ve.

The Indicative
is the basic mood of finite verb forms in statements and questions. Most of our examples
illustrating the use of different tenses in English contained verbs in the indicative.
The Imperative
The imperative of the 2nd person singular and plural is the base of the verb:
Say it again!
The negation is formed by means of do not (don’t):
Don’t do it!

The imperative of the other persons is periphrastic: let + noun/pronoun in the object case +
(bare) infinitive
let me explain (in the 1st person – more or less the original meaning: dovolte, abych
vám to vysvětlil)
let him explain (ať to (on) vysvětlí)
let’s explain how to do it (vysvětleme, jak se to dělá)
let them explain (ať to oni vysvětlí)

There are two possible negations:
Don’t let’s go there.
Let’s not go there.
Note: The non-contracted form let us usually means allow us:
Let us go. (allow us to go = dovolte nám odejít, nechte nás jít)
But: Let’s go. (= Pojďme.)

The imperative is used for
1. direct commands, requests, suggestions:
Follow me.
Shut the door (please).
Don’t worry.
2. warnings:
Look out! There is a bus!
Don’t panic!
3. directions:
Take the second turning on the left and then turn right.
4. instructions:
Use a moderate oven and bake for 20 minutes.
5. prohibitions (e.g. in public notices):
Keep off the grass!
Do not feed the animals!
27
6. advice (especially after always and never):
Always answer when you’re spoken to!
Never speak to strangers!
7. invitations:
Come and have dinner with us soon.
Have a cigarette.
8. offers:
Help yourself. Have a biscuit.
9. expressing rudeness:
Shut up!
Push off!

The imperative with do
is used when we wish to emphasize what we are saying, e.g.:
a) when we wish to be polite:
Do have another cup of coffee. (= No tak si ještě vezměte…)
b) when we wish to express impatience:
Do stop talking! (= Přestaňte už přece mluvit!)
c) when we wish to persuade:
Do help me with this maths problem.

The imperative with pronouns
The imperative may be used together with the second person pronoun or with indefinite
pronouns to stress the adressee and to make the imperative clause more emotional:
You wait here for a moment!
You mind your own business!
Everyone keep quiet!
The degree of emotiveness is signalled by stress and intonation.

The imperative with question tags
Tags like will you?, won’t you?, can you?, can’t you?, could you? and would you? can often
be used after an imperative to change the command into a polite request:
Come in, will you/won’t you?
Don’t tell anyone I told you, will you?

Double imperatives joined by and
Go and buy yourself a new pair of shoes. (Not
*
Go to buy!)
Come and play a game of bridge with us. (Not
*
Come to play!)
Note: In American English go is sometimes followed directly by a bare infinitive:
Go fetch some water. (= Go and fetch)

The Conditional
We distinguish two temporal forms of the conditional:
1. The Present Conditional

would would
I should write (psal bych) we should write
you would write you would write
he would write they would write
28
Wherever possible, the contracted forms I’d, you’d, he’d, she’d, it’d, we’d, they’d and who’d
are used.

2. The Past Conditional

would
I should have written (byl bych psal)
You would have written
he would have written
etc.

The currently used contracted forms are the following:
I’d’ve written we’d’ve written
you’d’ve written they’d’ve written
he’d’ve written who’d’ve written
she’d’ve written

The conditional is used
1. in conditional sentences (see below)
2. in special uses of would and should (see pp. 13 and 14)
3. as a past equivalent of future tenses (see the sequence of tenses, p. 25 f.).
The use of the conditional in conditional sentences
Conditional sentences have two parts: the if-clause and the principal clause. Under normal
circumstances, the conditional is only used in the principal clause of such conditional
sentences as express the unreal condition either in the present:
If I lived near my office, I’d be in time for work.
(But I don’t live near my office at present.)
or in the past:
If I had known that you were coming, I’d’ve met you at the airport.
(But I didn’t know, so I didn’t come.)

The appropriate tense in the if-clause is
a) the Past Tense for the unreal condition in the present
(If I lived ... = Kdybych bydlel ...)
b) the Past Perfect for the unreal condition in the past
(If I had known ... = Kdybych byl věděl ...)

Exceptionally would + infinitive is used in the if-clause to indicate a polite request:
I would be very grateful if you would make the arrangements for me.
The use of should + infinitive in the if-clause indicates that the action, though possible, is not
very likely. It is usually combined with an imperative in the principle clause and expresses a
real condition pointing to the future:
If you should have any difficulty in getting spare parts, ring this number.
(= Kdybyste snad měli ...)
Note: In these cases should can be placed first and if omitted:
Should you have any difficulty in getting ...
For the use of tenses in conditional clauses, see also the sequence of tenses (p. 25) and the use
of subjunctives below.
29
The Subjunctive
The subjunctive expresses uncertainty or doubt. We distinguish the Present Subjunctive and
the Past Subjunctive. The Present Subjunctive is the base of the verb used in all the persons (I
inform, you inform, he inform, she inform, ...; I be, you be, he be, ...) and the Past
Subjunctive is the past form of the verb, which is identical with the indicative form except the
verb be, where the Past Subjunctive is were in all the persons (I were, you were, he were, she
were, ...).

The Present Subjunctive is used
a) in that-clauses of the type
It is necessary that every member inform himself of those rules.
(But less formally: It is necessary that every member should inform himself ...
It is necessary for every member to inform himself.)
It’s vital that an agreement be reached.
b) in certain formulas:
Come what may, we will go ahead. (= Ať se stane cokoli, budeme pokračovat.)
God save the Queen!
Be that as it may ... (= Ať je to jak chce, ...)
So be it. (Budiž tomu tak. (= Amen.))

The Past Subjunctive is used
a) to express a wish than cannot be fulfilled at present:
I wish I were dead. (In less formal style: I wish I was dead. = Kéž bych tu nebyl.)
If only I were miles away. (= Kéž bych byl na hony odtud.)

Note: Only were is acceptable in as it were (so to speak – jakoby, tak říkajíc) and is usual in
if I were you (kdybych byl(a) tebou).

b) to express hypothetical meaning in conditional and some other subordinate clauses:
If it were not for you, I’d never finish it. (= Kdyby nebylo tebe ...)
He spoke to me as if I were/was deaf. (= Mluvil se mnou, jako bych byla hluchá.)

Note: The Past Tense and the Past Perfect in clauses expressing the unreal condition (see p.
29) are in fact forms of the subjunctive that merged with the above two tenses. The only
difference can be seen in the possibility of
1. using were in all the persons:
If he were/was late, he would be fined.
2. using the inversion instead of if:
Had he been in time, he wouldn’t have been fined. (If he had been in time, ...)

VOICE

We distinguish the active and the passive voice of the verb. In the active, the subject of the
verb is the person or thing doing the action:
John cooked the food last night.
In the passive, the action is done to the subject:
The food was cooked last night.
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The formation of the passive
The passive of an active tense is formed by putting the verb be into the same tense as the
active verb and adding the past participle of the active verb:
We keep the butter here. – The butter is kept here.
They broke the window. – The window was broken.
People have seen wolves – Wolves have been seen
in the streets. in the streets.

The passive of progressive tenses is mostly restricted to the Present and the Past Tense:
He is being interviewed now.
He was being interviewed at ten.
Verbs like bring and give, which can have two objects (Tom gave me a pen), can have two
passive forms:
I was given a pen (by Tom).
A pen was given (to) me (by John).
The verbs followed by prepositional phrases, and the phrasal verbs can also be used in the
passive:
This bed has not been slept in.
The cigarette has not been put out.

The Use of the Passive
The passive is used:
1. When the doer of the action is backgrounded because he is
a) obvious: The streets are swept every day.
b) unknown: The minister was murdered.
c) general: He is suspected of receiving stolen goods.

2. When we are more interested in the action than the person who does it:
The house next door has been bought.

3. When we try to avoid an awkward sentence:
When their mother was ill, neighbours looked after the children
would be better expressed
When their mother was ill, the children were looked after by neighbours.

4. When the passive is preferred for psychological reasons (e.g., to disclaim responsibility for
disagreeable announcements):
Overtime rates are being reduced.

PHRASAL VERBS
One of the most common characteristics of the English verb is that it can combine with
prepositions and adverb particles. These combinations are called phrasal verbs. Sometimes
the combination is essential to the use of the verb (We spent the afternoon listening to
records), sometimes it is not essential but reinforces the meaning (Drink your milk. – Drink
up your milk! or Drink your milk up!).
31
Transitive and intransitive phrasal verbs
It is important to learn whether the combination is transitive (i.e. requires an object) or
intransitive (i.e. cannot have an object):
look for is transitive: I am looking for my transport.
look out is intransitive: Look out! This ice isn’t safe.

It is possible for a combination to have two or more different meanings, and to be transitive
in one/some of these and intransitive in others:
take off (remove): He took off his hat. (transitive)
take off (rise from the ground): The plane took off at ten o’clock. (intransitive)

The Formation of Phrasal Verbs
The most common phrasal verbs are formed from the shortest and simplest verbs in the
language: e.g. be, break, bring, come, do, fall, find, get, give, go, help, let, make, put, send,
stand, take, tear, throw, turn, which combine with words that often indicate position or
direction, such as along, down, in, off, out, on, over, under, up. Not only can a single verb
like put combine with a large number of prepositions or particles to form new verbs (put off,
put out, put up with), but even a single combination can have different meanings:
Put out your cigarette. (= extinguish)
I felt quite put out. (= annoyed)
We put out a request for volunteers. (= issued)
They are putting the programme out tomorrow. (= broadcast)
This stuff will put you out in no time. (= make you unconscious)
Martha’s put out her hip again. (= dislocated)

We can distinguish four types of combinations with different characteristics:
1. verb + preposition (transitive): get over (an illness)
2. verb + particle (transitive): bring up (the children)
3. verb + particle (intransitive): come about (= happen)
4. verb + particle + preposition (transitive): run out of (matches)
The Use of Phrasal Verbs
There is a strong tendency (especially in informal, idiomatic English) to use phrasal verbs
instead of their one-word equivalents. It would be very unusual, for instance, to say Enter!
instead of Come in! in response to a knock at the door. Similarly, blow up may be preferred to
explode, give in to surrender, etc. Moreover, new combinations (or new meanings for
existing ones) are constantly evolving:
Share prices bottomed out (= reached their lowest level) in 1974.
The book took off (= became successful) as soon as it appeared.

The position of the object in transitive combinations
Noun objects are usually placed at the end of phrasal-verb expressions:
I am looking for my glasses.

With some expressions, however, they can be placed either at the end or immediately after
the verb:
He took off his coat. or He took his coat off.
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Pronoun objects are sometimes placed at the end
I am looking for them.,
but they are more often placed immediately after the verb:
He took it off.

This position is usual before the following short words: up, down, in, out, away, off and on
(except when used in the expression call on = visit).

When phrasal-verb expressions are followed by a verb object, the -ing form of the verb is
used:
He kept on blowing his trumpet.

Some expressions are followed by the to-infinitive:
The lecturer set out to show that most illnesses are avoidable.

The appropriate constructions connected with a particular phrasal verb can be found in the
dictionary.

Back to Verbs

Back to Contents

33
NOUNS
NUMBER
GENDER
CASE
COUNTABILITY
NUMBER
The singular is that form of the noun which indicates either one object (a book, a boy) or an
indivisible whole (snow, friendship, foliage). The plural is that form of the noun which
denotes more than one object (books, boys). When nouns are used only in the plural, the form
of the plural has collective meaning (sweepings, belongings, tidings) or indicates composite
objects (scissors, eye-glasses, trousers).
Plurals
Regular plurals
1. The plural of a noun is formed by adding -s to the singular:
cat – cats, day – days, dog – dogs, tub – tubs

-s is pronounced in different ways:
[-sj after voiceless consonants other than sibilants:
caps, cliffs, hats, forks
[-zj after voiced consonants other than sibilants and after vowels:
arms, bags, bells, doors, eyes, lessons, verbs
Note that -e is not pronounced in the categories above when the plural ends in -es:
cakes, stones, tapes
[-izj after sibilants: bridges, horses, noses, pages

2. Nouns ending in -s, -ss, -x, -ch, -sh or -tch form their plural by adding -es. Nouns ending in
the following take an extra syllable pronounced [-izj:
bus – buses, glass – glasses, box – boxes, bench – benches, brush – brushes,
match – matches

Nouns ending in -o form their plural by adding -es:
echo – echoes, hero – heroes, tomato – tomatoes

But nouns of foreign origin or abbreviated words ending in -o add -s only:
auto – autos radio – radios
dynamo – dynamos zoo – zoos
piano – pianos kilo – kilos (for kilograms)
soprano – sopranos photo – photos (for photographs)
Eskimo – Eskimos Filipino – Filipinos
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There are a few nouns ending in -o which form the plural both in -s and -es:
buffalo – buffalos or buffaloes
cargo – cargos or cargoes
commando – commandos or commandoes
volcano – volcanos or volcanoes

3. Nouns ending in -y following a consonant letter form their plural by dropping the -y and
adding –ie:
baby – babies, country – countries, fly – flies, lady – ladies

Proper nouns ending in -y add -s in the plural:
Henry – Henrys, Mary – Marys, Kennedy – the Kennedys

If the final -y is preceded by a vowel letter the plural is formed by simply adding -s to the
singular:
boy – boys, day – days, guy – guys, key – keys
Irregular plurals
1. Some nouns which in the singular end in the voiceless fricatives spelled -th and -f have
voiced fricatives in the plural, followed by [zj. In one case the voiceless fricative is [sj and
the plural has [-zizj: house - houses.

a) Nouns in -th
There is no change in spelling. With a consonant before the -th, the plural is regular:
berth – berths, birth – births, month – months

With a vowel before the -th, the plural is again often regular, as with cloth – cloths, death –
deaths, myth – myths, but in a few cases the plural has voicing mouth, path, and in several
cases there are both regular and voiced plurals: bath, oath, sheath, truth, wreath, youth.

b) Nouns in -f(e)
Plurals with voicing are spelled -ves. Voiced plural only: calf – calves, elf – elves, half –
halves, knife – knives, leaf – leaves, life – lives, loaf – loaves, self – selves, sheaf – sheaves,
shelf – shelves, thief – thieves, wife – wives, wolf – wolves.

Regular plural only: belief, chief, cliff, proof, roof, safe
Both regular and voiced plurals: dwarf – dwarfs or dwarves, hoof – hoofs or hooves, scarf –
scarfs or scarves, wharf – wharfs or wharves.

2. Mutation
Mutation involves a change of vowel in the following seven nouns: foot – feet, goose – geese,
louse – lice, man – men, mouse – mice, tooth – teeth, woman – women.

Note:
With woman – women the pronunciation differs in both the first and the second syllable,
while postman – postmen, Englishman – Englishmen, etc. have no difference in
pronunciation at all between singular and plural.
35
3. The -en plural
This occurs in three nouns:
brother – brethren [brcðrcnj (= fellow members of a religious society); otherwise
regular brothers
child – children (with vowel change [aij → [ij)
ox – oxen

4. Zero plural
Some nouns have the same spoken and written form in both singular and plural. These
include:
a) Names of certain animals, birds and fish especially when they are used in a hunting
context: deer, grouse, mackerel, plaice, salmon, sheep, trout. Sportsmen who shoot duck,
partridge, pheasant, etc. use the same form for singular and plural. But other people
normally add -s for the plural: ducks, partridges, pheasants.

Where there are two plurals, the zero plural is the more common, e.g.:
We caught only a few fish,
whereas the regular plural is used to denote different individuals or species:
the fishes of the Mediterranean.

b) craft and aircraft/hovercraft/spacecraft:
The craft was sunk. All the craft were sunk.

c) Certain nouns describing nationalities, e.g.:
a Chinese – the Chinese, a Vietnamese – the Vietnamese

5. Foreign plurals
Some nouns borrowed from Greek and Latin have Greek and Latin plural endings:
basis – bases, crisis – crises, criterion – criteria, phenomenon – phenomena,
radius – radii, terminus – termini

But some follow the English rules:
album – albums, dogma – dogmas, gymnasium – gymnasiums

The tendency to use the foreign plural is still strong in the technical language of science, but
in fiction and colloquial English there is an evident inclination to give to certain words the
regular English plural forms in -s. Thus in some cases two plural forms are preserved:
formula – formulae/formulas; antenna – antennae/antennas

6. The usual plural of person is people (not persons).
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Plurals with different meanings
The plurals of some nouns have two or more meanings, one similar to the singular meaning,
the other different from it.
colours – 1. hues
2. regimental flags
compasses – 1. instruments for navigation
2. instruments for drawing circles
draughts – 1. a game
2. currents of air
grounds – 1.land (usually enclosed) round a house
2. reasons (‘grounds for complaint’)
3. dregs (‘coffee grounds’)
spirits – 1. souls
2. alcoholic liquors
3. mental or moral attitude
Double plural forms
In some cases the two plurals have different meanings:
index 1. indexes (= tables of contents)
2. indices (= algebraical signs)
die 1. dies (= metal stamps for making money)
2. dice (= small cubes of bone or wood used in games of chance)
cloth 1. cloths (= different pieces or kinds of cloth)
2. clothes (= articles of dress)
penny 1. pennies (= separate coins)
2. pence (= collective value)

Plural of compound nouns
Compounds form the plural in different ways.
1. Plural in last element
boy friends, break-ins, travel agents, merry-go-rounds, forget-me-nots, assistant
directors, spoonfuls , etc.

2. Plural in both first and last element
gentleman farmer – gentlemen farmers
manservant – menservants
woman doctor – women doctors
woman driver – women drivers

3. Plural in first element
editor-in-chief – editors-in-chief
brother-in-law – brothers-in-law
looker-on – lookers-on
hanger-on – hangers-on
runner-up – runners-up
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Nouns with a plural form + singular verb
The following nouns, though plural in form, are followed by a verb in the singular, except
where otherwise mentioned:
a) The noun news as in:
The news is bad today.

b) Some diseases: measles, mumps, rickets, shingles. Some speakers also accept a plural verb.
Mumps are (or is) fairly rare in adults.

c) Subject names in -ics (usually with singular verb): linguistics, mathematics, phonetics,
athletics:
Mathematics is a compulsory subject at school. (the reference is to an academic
subject)
But:
His mathematics are weak. (the reference is specific, the verb must be plural)

d) Some games: billiards, bowls, darts, dominoes, draughts:
Billiards is becomming more and more popular.

e) Some proper nouns: Algiers, Athens, Brussels, Marseilles, Wales; the United Nations and
the United States have a singular verb when considered as units.
Athens has grown rapidly in the past decade.

f) Nouns barracks, bellows, crossroads, gallows, gasworks, kennels, series, species and
works (= factory) can be regarded as a single unit (+ verb in the singular) or collective (+
verb in the plural):
This species of rose is very rare. (single unit)
There are thousands of species of butterflies. (more than one)
Nouns with a plural form + plural verb
Nouns with a plural form only (+ plural verb) are:
a) Names of garments consisting of two parts: breeches, knickers, pants, pyjamas, shorts,
trousers, etc.
My trousers are torn.

b) Names of tools and instruments consisting of two parts: binoculars, pliers, scissors,
spectacles, glasses, scales, shears, tongs. The word pair is generally used with these terms,
e.g. a pair of trousers, two pairs of scissors

c) A few words which occur only in the plural and are followed by a plural verb: belongings,
clothes, congratulations, earnings, goods, greens (= green vegetables), oats, outshirts, pains
(trouble, effort), remains, riches, stairs, surroundings, thanks, tropics, valuables:
All my belongings are in this bag.
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Collective noun + singular or plural verb
Some collective nouns such as audience, class, club, committee, company, council, crowd,
family, gang, government, group, jury, team and union can take a singular or plural verb;
singular if we consider the word to mean a single group or unit:
Our team is the best
or plural if we take it to mean a number of individuals:
Our team are wearing their new jerseys.

When a possessive pronoun is necessary, a plural verb with their is more usual than a
singular verb with its, though sometimes both are possible:
The jury is considering its verdict.
The jury are considering their verdict.
Collective noun + plural verb
Certain collective nouns do not have plural forms, but they must be followed by a plural verb:
cattle, the clergy, gentry, the military, people, the police/vermin:
The police have surrounded the building.
Some people are never satisfied.

Back to Nouns

GENDER
English makes very few gender distinctions. Where they are made, the connection between
the biological category ‘sex’ and the grammatical category ‘gender’ is very close, insofar as
natural sex distinctions determine English gender distinctions (Quirk and Greenbaum
1977:89). Some pronouns are gender-sensitive (personal pronouns he, she, it; possessive
adjectives his, her and its; and relative pronouns who and which).

Masculine: men, boys and male animals (pronoun he/they)
Feminine: women, girls and female animals (pronoun she/they)
Neuter: inanimate things, animals whose sex we don’t know (pronoun it/they)
Masculine/feminine nouns denoting people
Generally, when there is no wish to make a distinction of sex, the masculine form is used. In
other cases, however, a separate form will be used for the female. This form is of two types.

Type 1. is morphologically marked for gender; it is formed by changing the ending of the
masculine noun with the suffix -ess (sometimes with other slight changes):
actor – actress
author – authoress
prince – princess
steward – stewardess
39
Type 2. is morphologically unmarked for gender; the feminine form may be a different word:
bachelor – spinster
boy – girl
gentleman – lady
monk – nun
sir – madam
uncle – aunt

This distinction is becoming rarer so that words like author, instructor and manager are now
commonly used for both sexes. Some words, such as poetess, authoress, are falling into
disuse because they are considered disparaging by both sexes. There are a number of ‘foreign
feminines’:
czar – czarina
beau – belle
don – donna
Sultan – Sultana

Common gender
This is a large class including nouns which may be applied to both males and females. For
clarity, it is sometimes necessary to use a ‘gender marker’:
boy friend – girl friend
manservant – maidservant
man student – woman student

With many nouns we don’t know whether the person referred to is male or female until we
hear the pronoun:
My doctor says she is pleased with my progress.

This applies to nouns such as adult, artist, comrade, cook, cousin, darling, dear, doctor,
enemy, foreigner, friend, quest, journalist, musician, neighbour, owner, parent, passenger,
person, pupil, relative, scientist, singer, speaker, stranger, student, teacher, tourist, traveller,
visitor, writer.
With regard to words of common gender, it is interesting to note that occasionally for living
beings we have three words, one masculine, one feminine and one common gender, e.g.
boy – girl – child
son – daughter – child
father – mother – parent
king – queen – monarch, ruler
boar – sow – pig
cock – hen – bird, fowl

Gender of nouns denoting animals
All nouns denoting animals (birds, fishes, insects, reptiles) may be considered neuter
(referred to as it). In spoken language, however, there is a tendency to associate the names of
animals with the feminine or masculine gender:
1. When the noun indicates the sex of the animal it is generally spoken of as he or she:
lion – lioness
tiger – tigress
bull – cow
40
Sometimes he-/she- (stressed) is used as a prefix in e.g.:
he-bear – she-bear
he-goat – she-goat
he-wolf – she-wolf
Sometimes proper nouns are used with the names of animals to show the sex:
billy-goat – nanny-goat
jack-ass – jenny-ass
tom-cat – pussy-cat

2. When the sex of the animal is not indicated by the noun, nouns denoting the larger and
stronger animals are generally associated with the masculine gender, nouns denoting the
smaller and weaker with the feminine:
Masculine: elephant, dog, eagle
Feminine: cat, hare, parrot
The elephant lifted his mighty trunk.
The cat has upset her milk.
But: canary - he, fly - he
Gender of nouns denoting inanimate things and abstract notions (personification)
Sometimes inanimate things and abstract notions are personified and the nouns denoting them
are referred to as belonging to the masculine or feminine gender. Here are some traditional
associations:
1. The nouns moon and earth are referred to as feminine, sun as masculine:
The earth awoke from her winter sleep.
People need to rise early to see the sun in all his splendour, for his brightness seldom
lasts the day through.

2. Ships and cars and other vehicles when regarded with affection or respect are considered
feminine.
The ship struck an iceberg, which tore a huge hole in her side.

3. When abstract notions are personified, the masculine gender is given to nouns suggesting
such ideas as strength, fierceness, etc. while the feminine is associated with the idea of
gentleness, beauty, etc.
Masculine: anger, death, fear, war
Feminine: spring, peace, kindness, dawn

4. Names of countries have different gender depending on their use.
a) As geographical units they are treated as ‘inanimate’:
Looking at the map we see France here. It is one of the largest countries of Europe.
b) As political/economic units the names of countries are often feminine:
England is proud of her poets.
c) In sports, the teams representing countries can be referred to as personal collective nouns:
France have improved their chance of winning the cup.

Back to Nouns
41
CASE
The Genitive/Possessive
The only ‘case-form’ for nouns that exists in English is the genitive, sometimes called the
possessive case. The -es genitive ending of some classes of nouns in old English has survived
in the modern language as ‘s (apostrophe s) for some nouns in the singular and s’ (s
apostrophe) for some nouns in the plural, but with limited uses.
The possessive form of the noun is formed as follows:
1. ‘s is used with singular nouns, and plural nouns not ending in -s:
an actress’s career
the dog’s kennel
a child’s dream
children’s games
a man’s job
men’s work
Russia’s exports
women’s clothes
a waitress’s job

If two names are joined by and, we add ‘s to the second:
John and Mary’s bank balance
Scott and Amundsen’s race

2. A simple apostrophe (‘) is used with plural nouns ending in -s:
boys’ school
the students’ hostel
girls’ school
the Smiths’ car
the eagles’ nest
the soldiers’ horses

3. a) Classical names ending in s usually add only the apostrophe:
Archimedes’ Law, Pythagoras’ Theorem, Sophocles’ plays

b) Only the apostrophe is used with fixed expressions of the form for ... sake as in
for goodness’ sake
for conscience’ sake

4. Other names ending in -s can take ‘s or the apostrophe alone:
Charles’s address or Charles’ address
Mr Jones’s house or Mr Jones’ house
Doris’s party or Doris’ party

No matter how we write the genitive in such cases, we normally pronounce it as [-izj. With
some (especially famous) names ending in -s we normally add an apostrophe after the -s
(pronounced [-sj or [-izj): Keats’ works. We can show possession in the plural forms of
names ending in -s by adding an apostrophe at the end: the Joneses’ houses.
When the ‘possessor’ is represented by a compound noun, the possessive ending is added at
the end:
brother-in-law’s face
father-in-law’s house

The rule also applies to titles, as in:
Henry the Eighth’s marriages
the Secretary of State’s visit
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Two genitives are also possible, as in:
My brother’s neighbour’s sister is a nurse.
The pronunciation of ‘s and s’
The pronunciation of ‘s and s’ depends on the sound that precedes them, and follows the
same rules as for plural nouns:
[-sj: Jack’s job; a month’s salary; Pat’s handbag
[-zj: Ben’s opinion; Bob’s house; the workers’ club
[-izj: an actress’s career; the boss’s office; Mrs Page’s jam
The use of the possessive form with living things
We may use ‘s or s’ after:
Personal names: Jones’s car; John’s friend
Personal nouns: the doctor’s surgery; man’s future
Indefinite pronouns: anyone’s guess; someone’s responsibility
Collective nouns: the army’s advance; the committee’s decision
‘Higher animals’: the horse’s stable
Some ‘lower animals’: an ant’s nest; a bee’s sting
The use of the possessive form with non-living things
We may use ‘s/s’ or the of construction with the following:
Geographical reference: America’s policy; Hong Kong’s future
Institutional reference: the European Union’s exports
‘s or s’ are normally used with the following:
Churches and cathedrals: St Paul’s Church; St Stephen’s Cathedral
Time references: a day’s work; an hour’s delay; today’s TV; a year’s absence; a week or
two’s time; two days’ journey
‘Money’s worth’: twenty dollars’ worth of gasoline; a shilling’s worth
Fixed expressions: (keep someone) at arm’s lenght; (be) at death’s door; the earth’s surface;
for goodness’ sake; (to) one’s heart’s content; journey’s end; the water’s edge; a stone’s
throw
An ‘s is sometimes used with reference to cars, planes and ships: the car’s exhaust, the
plane’s engines, the ship’s propeller
Omission of the noun after ‘s and s’
The ‘s/s’ construction can be used on its own when we refer to:
a) where someone lives:
I’m staying at my aunt’s.
I’m a guest at the Watsons’.
b) shops and businesses: e.g. the butcher’s
Would you mind going to the chemist’s for me?
c) medical practitioners: e.g. the dentist’s, the doctor’s
I’ve got an appointment at the dentist’s.

When we refer to well-known restaurants by the name of the owner or founder (e.g.
Langan’s, Scott’s) ‘s is included. Churches and colleges (often named after saints) are
frequently referred to in the same way, always with ‘s:
They were married in St Bartholomew’s.
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The use of the ‘of-construction’
We normally use the of-construction when referring to:
a) Things: the look of the film; the shade of a tree
b) Parts of things: the bottom/top/side/inside of the box
c) Abstract reference: the cost of living; the price of success

We also use this construction when the noun in the of-phrase is modified by an additional
phrase or clause:
Can’t you look at the book of the boy behind you?

The of-construction cannot be used with ‘classifying genitives’, i.e. genitives that are
completely adjectival: He has a doctor’s degree.
It was a summer’s day.
The double genitive
An of-genitive can be combined with an -s genitive in a construction called the ‘double
genitive’. The noun with the -s genitive inflection must be both definite and personal:
a friend of my father’s (= one of my father’s friends)
a play of Shakespeare’s (= one of Shakespeare’s plays)
a criticism of Shaw’s (= opinions by Shaw)
an opera of Verdi’s

Back to Nouns

COUNTABILITY
Countable Nouns
Countable nouns are the names of separate objects, people , etc. which we can count.
If a noun is countable:
a) We can use a/an in front of it: a book, an envelope
b) It has a plural and can be used in the question How many?
How many stamps/envelopes? – Four stamps/envelopes
c) We can use numbers: one stamp, two stamps
Uncountable Nouns (also known as non-count nouns or mass nouns)
Uncountable nouns are the names of things which we do not see as separate, and which we
cannot count.
If a noun is uncountable
a) We do not normally use a/an in front of it:
Sugar is expensive.
b) It does not normally have a plural and it can be used in the question How much?
How much meat/oil? – A lot of meat/a little oil
c) We cannot normally use a number (one, two) in front of it.
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Uncountable nouns are:
abstract nouns: beauty, courage, death, help, hope, horror, knowledge, pity
names of materials: beer, coffee, glass, stone, water, wine, wood
some collective nouns: furniture, jewelry, hair, money

These nouns are often preceded by some, any, no, little, a little, etc. or by nouns such as bit,
item, piece, slice, etc. + of:
little water a little water
a bit of news a cake of soap
a drop of oil a grain of sand
a pane of glass a piece of advice
a pot of jam a sheet of paper

Sometimes material nouns and abstract nouns are used in the plural with emphatic force
sand the sands of the Sahara
water the waters of the Black sea

Some uncountable nouns are used in the plural, when they denote particular varieties.
This region produces some awful wines as well as good ones.
I go out in all weathers.

Some uncountable nouns in the plural change their meaning:
damage (škoda) damages (odškodné)
good (dobro) goods (zboží)
force (síla) forces (ozbrojené síly)
honour (čest) honours (vyznamenání)

Some of these nouns, e.g. glass, paper, stone, etc. can be ‘countable’ in one context and, with
a different meaning, ‘uncountable’ in another.

When we use such nouns as countables, we refer to a thing which is made of the material or
which we think of as being made of the material; when we use them as uncountables, we
refer only to the material.

countable (‘thing’) uncountable (‘material’)

I broke a glass this morning. Glass is made from sand.
Would you like an ice? Ice floats.
I’ve got a new iron. Steel is an alloy of iron.
What do the papers say? Paper is made from wood.


Back to Nouns

Back to Contents

45
ARTICLES
THE INDEFINITE ARTICLE ‘A/AN’
THE DEFINITE ARTICLE ‘THE’
THE ZERO ARTICLE

THE INDEFINITE ARTICLE ‘A/AN’
To classify or identify something, we can say:
It’s a book. (a/an + singular noun)
The plural of this is:
They’re books. (zero + plural noun)
To refer to quantity, we can say:
I’ve got a book. (a/an + singular noun)

In the plural, when the exact number is not important, we can use quantifiers like some, a few,
a lot of. Some/any are the commonest of these and can be said to be the plural of a/an when
we are referring to unspecified number:
I’ve got some books. (some + plural noun)
The pronunciation of ‘a’ and ‘an’
A (pronounced [cj in fluent speech) is used before consonant sounds (not just consonant
letters); an [cnj is used before vowel sounds (not just words beginning with the vowel letters
a, e, i, o, u).
This can be seen when we use a or an with the alphabet:
(This is) a B, C, D, G, J, K, P, Q, T, U, V, W, Y, Z.
(This is) an A, E, F, H, I, L, M, N, O, R, S, X.

Compare: a fire but an F
a house but an H
a sound but an S
an umbrella but a uniform
a year, a university but an understudy
a hall but an hour (h not pronounced)
a hot dinner but an honour

Some common abbreviations (depending in their first letter) are preceded by a or by an:
a B.A. (a Bachelor of Arts), an I.Q. (an Intelligence Quotient)

The pronunciation [cij instead of [cj for a is often used when we are speaking with special
emphasis, with or without a pause:
He still refers to his record-player as ‘a [cij gramophone’.
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Basic uses of ‘a/an’
There is no difference in meaning between a and an. When using a/an we must always bear in
mind two basic facts:
1. A/an has an indefinite meaning, (i.e. the person, animal or thing referred to may be not
known to the listener or reader, so a/an has the sense of any or I can’t/won’t tell you which, or
it doesn’t matter which).
2. A/an can combine only with a singular countable noun.

These two facts underlie all uses of a/an.

Classification: ‘a/an’ to mean ‘an example of that class’
When we say a rose is a flower, we mean that a rose is an example of a class of items we call
flowers. We use a/an in this way when we wish to classify people, animals or things. We can
classify them in two ways:

1. By means of general statements: General statements with a/an often take the form of
definitions:
A cat is a domestic animal. (Cats are domestic animals.)

Many uncountable nouns can be used after a/an when we are referring to ‘an example of that
class’
This is a very good coffee. Is it Brazilian?

2. By means of labels (a/an + noun after the verb be):
We often wish to classify people in terms of the work they do, where they come from, etc.
He’s a Frenchman/an American.
She’s a doctor./He’s an electrician.
She’s a Catholic./He’s an Anglican.
He’s a Socialist/a Republican.
You’re an angel/a saint/a wonder.
You’re a good girl/a real angel.

The plurals would be:
They’re Frenchmen/doctors, etc.

The ‘labels’ of things can render the meaning ‘a kind of’:
It’s a (kind of/sort of/type of) rose/beetle/bottle-opener.

The uses of ‘a/an’
1. to classify people, etc.
We can use He’s/it’s a + name for ‘tangible examples’:
He’s a Forsyte.
It’s a Picasso.

Other examples are:
a Brecht play
a Shakespeare sonnet
47
2 to refer to ‘a certain person’
A/an can be used before titles (Mr, Mrs, Miss, etc.) with the sense of ‘a certain person whom I
don’t know’:
A Mr. Wingate phoned and left a message for you.
A Mrs Tadley is waiting to see you.

The phrase a certain, to refer to people whose identity is not yet known, is common in fables
and folk stories:
Many years ago a certain merchant arrived in Baghdad.

3. to mean ‘only/just one’
The most common use of a/an is in the sense of ‘only/just one’ when we are not specifying
any particular person or thing:
I’d like an apple (i.e. only one; it doesn’t matter which)

When we express this in the plural, we use some or any:
I’d like some apples./I don’t want any apples.

4. to introduce an item ‘on the scene’
A/an is used before a countable noun mentioned for the first time:
I looked up and saw a plane. (mentioned for the first time)
but (the continuation may be):
The plane flew low over the trees.
The difference between ‘a/an’ and ‘one’
One and a/an cannot normally be used interchangeably. We use one when we are counting
(one apple, as opposed to two or three):
It was one coffee we ordered, not two.

But we could not use one to mean ‘any one’ (not specified):
A knife is no good. You need a screwdriver to do the job properly.

One is often used with day, morning, etc. in story-telling:
One day, many years later, I found out what had really happened.

A/an and one can be used interchangeably when we refer to:
Whole numbers: a (or one) hundred, thousand, million, etc.
Fractions: a (or one) quarter, third, half, etc.
Money: a (or one) pound/dollar, etc. We say: ‘One pound 50’
Weight/measure: a (or one) pound/kilo, foot/metre, etc.

Note: A/an is used when we refer to one unit of measurement in relation to another. If we
want to emphasize ‘each’, we use per instead of a/an:
80 p a/per kilo
40 km an/per hour
30 miles a/per gallon
twice a/per day
48
The use of ‘a/an’ after ‘what’ and ‘such’
A/an is used with countable nouns after What in exclamations:
What a surprise! What an interesting story!

A/an is used after such when we wish to emphasize degree:
That child is such a pest!
My boss is such an idiot!

What a lot...! is used for exclamations:
What a lot of flowers! What a lot of trouble!
The use of ‘a/an’ with pairs of nouns
Many nouns are ‘paired’, that is they are considered to accompany each other naturally, and
a/an is used before the first noun of a pair: a cup and saucer, a hat and coat, a knife and fork:
It’s cold outside. Take a hat and coat with you.
The use of ‘a/an’ (or zero) with reference to illnesses
The use of the indefinite and zero articles with illnesses can be defined in four categories:
1. Expressions where the use of the indefinite article is compulsory: e.g. a cold, a headache, a
sore throat:
I’ve got a headache/a cold.

2. Expressions where the use of the indefinite article is optional: e.g. catch (a) cold, have (a)
backache/stomach-ache/toothache, (an) earache:
I’ve had (a) toothache all night.

3. With illnesses which are plural in form (e.g. measles, mumps, shingles) no article is used:
My children are in bed with mumps.

4. With illnesses which are defined as ‘uncountable’ (e.g. flu, gout, hepatitis, etc.) no article is
used:
I was in bed with flu for ten days.

The will also combine with e.g. flu, measles and mumps:
He’s got the flu/the measles/the mumps.

The use of ‘a/an’ in a number of phrases
to be in a hurry
to be in a position
to be in a temper
to have a chance/opportunity to
to have a fancy for
to have a mind to
to take a dislike to
to take an interest
to take a pride in
at a discount/premium
on an average
a short time ago etc.

Back to Articles

49
THE DEFINITE ARTICLE ‘THE’
The pronunciation of ‘the’
The is pronounced [ðcj before consonant sounds: the day, the key, the house, the way.
The is pronounced [ðij before vowel sounds (i.e. words normally preceded by an): the end,
the hour, the inside, the outside, the ear, the eye, the umbrella.
When we wish to draw attention to the noun that follows, we use the pronunciation [ði:j (=
‘the one and only’ or ‘the main one’):
Do you mean the Richard Burton, the actor?
If you get into difficulties, Monica is the person to ask.
Mykonos has become the place for holidays in the Aegean.

Some common abbreviations are preceded by the:
the [ðcj BBC (the British Broadcasting Corporation)
the [ðij EU (the European Union)
Basic uses of ‘the’
When using the, we must always bear in mind two basic facts:
1. The normally has a definite reference (i.e. the person or thing referred to is assumed to be
known to the speaker or reader).
2. The combines with singular countable, plural countable, and uncountable nouns (which are
always singular).

These two facts underlie all uses of the.
The use of ‘the’ for classifying
The + singular is used to make a general statement:
The cobra is dangerous. (a certain class of snakes as distinct from other classes, such
as the grass snake)

Note: The other two ways of making general statements are the following: Zero + plural:
Cobras are dangerous. (= the whole class, i.e. all the creatures with the characteristics
of snakes called cobras)

A/an + singular:
A cobra is a very poisonous snake. (a cobra as an example of a class of reptile known
as snake)

The group as a whole: the + nationality adjective
Some nationality adjectives, particularly those ending in -ch, -sh and -ese are used after the
when we wish to refer to ‘the group as a whole’: e.g.
The British (= The British people in general)

Plural nationality nouns can be used with the or zero article to refer to the group as a whole:
the Americans or Americans; or with numbers or quantifiers like some and many to refer to
individuals: two Americans, some Americans:
The British and the Americans have been allies for a long time.
The Japanese admire the traditions of the Chinese.
50
The group as a whole: ‘the’ + plural names
The + plural name can refer to ‘the group as a whole’:
Families: The Price sisters have opened a boutique.
‘Races’: The Europeans are a long way from political unity.
Politics: The Liberals want electoral reform.

Names beginning with the are given to particular groups to emphasize their identity: e.g. the
Beatles, the Jesuits.

Specified groups: ‘the’ + collective noun or plural countable
This new increase in fares won’t please the public.
Getting the unions and the bosses to agree isn’t easy.
The use of ‘the’ for specifying
When we use the, the listener or reader can already identify what we are referring to, therefore
the shows that the noun has been specified by the context/situation or grammatically. For
example:
Singleton is a quiet village near Chichester. The village has a population of a few
hundred people.
The life of Napoleon was very stormy.
The letters on the shelf are for you.

The use of ‘the’ in time expressions
1. in time sequences e.g. the beginning, the middle, the end; the first/last; the following day;
the present, the past, the future:
In the past, people had fewer expectations.

2. with parts of the day e.g. in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, etc.:
We spent the day at home. In the evening, we went out.

Note that though many time references require the, many do not: e.g. next week, on Tuesday,
last year (for details see chapter Prepositions pp. 104).

3. with the seasons (the) spring/summer/autumn/winter, the is optional:
We get a good crop of apples in (the) autumn.

4. in dates
Ordinal numbers usually require the when they are spoken, but not when they are written:
I’ll see you on May 24th. (spoken as May the 24th)
On a letter: 24(th) May (spoken as the 24th of May)

5. in fixed time expressions: all the while, at the moment, for the time being, in the end, etc.:
I’m afraid Mr Jay can’t speak to you at the moment.
51
The use of ‘the’ with unique items other than place names
We often use the with ‘unique items’ (i.e. where there is only one of a kind).

− Institutions and organizations: the Boy Scouts, the United Nations
− Historical events: the French Revolution, the Victorian age
− Ships: the Canberra, the Discovery, the Titanic
− Documents and official titles: the Great Charter, the Queen
− Political parties: the Conservative Party, the Labour Party
− Public bodies: the Army, the Government, the Police
− The press (The is part of the title): The Economist, The New Yorker, The Spectator, The
Times
Note: the press, the radio, the television
Compare: What’s on (the) television? What’s on TV?
Items with zero: Life, Newsweek, Punch, Time
− Titles (books, films, etc.: The is part of the title): The Odyssey, The Graduate
Items with zero: Exiles, Jaws
− Supernatural beings: the angels, the Furies, the gods, the saints
Compare: God, Muhammed, etc. (proper nouns)
− Climate etc.: the climate, the temperature, the weather
− Species: the dinosaurs, the human race, the reptiles
Compare: Man developed earlier than people think.

Other references with ‘the’
Superlatives: It’s the worst play I’ve ever seen.
Musical instruments: Tom plays the piano/the flute/the violin.

The is often omitted in references to jazz and rock:
This is a 1979 recording with Ellison on bass guitar.

Constructions with the...the: the sooner the better.
Fixed expressions: do the shopping, make the beds.

Back to Articles

THE ZERO ARTICLE
Basic uses of the zero article
We use the zero article before three types of nouns:
1. Plural countable nouns: e.g. beans.
2. Uncountable nouns (always singular): e.g. water.
3. Proper nouns: e.g. John.

Note: The can occur in front of plural countables and (singular) uncountables to refer to
specific items:
The pens I gave you were free samples.
The water we drank last night had a lot of chlorine in it.
52
The can even occur in front of proper nouns if they are further specified:

The Chicago of the 1920s was a terrifying place.
Compare: Chicago is a well-run city today.

The class as a whole: zero article + countable/uncountable
Zero article + plural countable nouns:
− People: Women are fighting for their rights.
− Places: Museums are closed on Mondays.
− Food: Beans contain a lot fibre.
− Occupations: Doctors always support each other.
− Nationalities: Italians make delicious ice-cream.
− Animals: Cats do not like cold weather.
− Insects: Ants are found in all parts of the world.
− Products: Watches have become very accurate.

These can be modified by adjectives and other phrases: e.g. women all over the world, local
museums, broad beans, quartz watches.

Zero article + uncountable nouns (always singular):
− Food: Refined foods like sugar should be avoided.
− Drink: Water must be pure if it is to be drunk.
− Substances: Oil is essential for the manufacture of plastic.
− Collections: Money makes the world go round.
− Colours: Red is my favourite colour.
− Activities (-ing): Smoking is bad for the health.
− Other activities: Business has been improving steadily this year.
− Sports, games: Football is played all over the world.
− Abstract nouns: Life is short; art is long.
− Politics: Capitalism is a by-product of free enterprise.
− Philosophy: Determinism denies the existence of free will.
− Languages: English is a world language.

These can be modified by adjectives and other phrases: e.g. purified water, oil from the North
Sea, heavy smoking.
Unique items: zero article + proper nouns
Zero article + names of people:
Helen is my mother’s name.
These tools are made by Jackson and Son.
Elizabeth Brown works for this company.
J. Somers is the pseudonym of a famous author.

Zero article + titles (Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, Dr):
Mr and Mrs are always followed by a surname or first name + surname (not just a first name!)
Mr and Mrs Jackson are here to see you.
Miss is also followed by a surname:
Miss Jackson
53
Dr is usually followed by a surname and is abbreviated in writing:
This is Dr Brown.
Some other titles can be used with surnames or on their own: Captain, Colonel, Major,
Professor.
May I introduce you to Captain/Colonel/Major Rogers?
Yes, Captain/Colonel/Major!
Headmaster and Matron are not used with a name after them:
Thank you, Headmaster.
Yes, Matron.
Madam and Sir are used in BrE as a form of address (e.g. by shop-assistants):
Can I help you, Madam/Sir?

In formal letter-writing we use Dear Sir and Dear Madam as salutations to address people
whose names we do not know.
Typical uses of the zero article
The zero article is used with:
1. academic subjects and related topics: e.g. Art, Biology, Chemistry, Geography, History,
Physics, etc.
According to Henry Ford, ‘History is bunk’.
English is a difficult language to learn well.

Adjectival combinations: e.g. Renaissance Art, American History.

2. names representing an artist’s work
The names of artists can represent their work as a whole: e.g. Brahms, Keats, Leonardo,
Lorca, Rembrandt.
Bach gives me a lot of pleasure. (i.e. Bach’s music)
Chaucer is very entertaining. (i.e. Chaucer’s writing)

Adjectival combinations: early Beethoven, late Schubert, etc.

3. days, months, seasons and holidays
Mondays are always difficult. Monday is always a difficult day.
June is my favourite month. Spring is a lovely season.
Christmas is the time for family reunions.

4. times of the day and night
Combinations are common with at, by, after and before: at dawn/daybreak, at
sunrise/sunset/noon/midnight/dusk/night, by day/night, before morning, at/by/before/after 4
o’clock:
We got up at dawn to climb to the summit.

5. meals
breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner, supper:
Dinner is served. Michael’s at lunch. Let’s have breakfast.
54
The zero article is used after have, but note the use of the where a meal is specified:
The breakfast I ordered still hasn’t arrived.
and the use of a when classifying:
That was a very nice dinner.

6. nouns like ‘school’, ‘hospital’, etc.

The following nouns are used with the zero article when we refer to their ‘primary purpose’,
that is the activity associated with them: e.g. He’s in bed (for the purpose of sleeping): bed,
church, class, college, court, hospital, market, prison, school, sea, town, university, work.
They frequently combine with be in/at, have been/gone to:
He was sent to prison for four years.
The children went to school early this morning.

But note the use of the when the item is specified:
Your bag is under the bed.
There’s a meeting at the school at 6.

Words such as cathedral, factory, mosque, office, etc. are always used with a or the.

7. transport
by air, by bicycle, by bike, by boat, by bus, by car, by coach, by land, by plane, by sea, by
ship, by train, by tube, on foot:
We travelled all over Europe by bus.

By + noun is used in fixed expressions of this kind, but not where the means of transport is
specified:
I came here on the local bus.
You won’t go far on that old bike.

8. ‘pairs’ joined by ‘and’
e.g. day and night, father and son, husband and wife, light and dark, young and old, pen and
ink, sun and moon:
This business has been run by father and son for 20 years.

9. unspecified quantity
Sometimes we do not use some or any to refer to indefinite number or amount:
I have presents for the children. I have news for you.
Are there presents for me too? Is there news for me too?

10. fixed phrases
e.g. arm in arm, come to light, face to face, from top to bottom, hand in hand, keep in mind,
make friends, make fun of.

11. ‘what’ and ‘such’ in exclamations
The noun is stressed after What; such is stressed before the noun:
‘What’/’such’ + plural countable:
What fools they are!
We had such problems getting through Customs!
55
‘What’/’such’ + (singular) uncountable:
What freedom young people enjoy nowadays!
Young people enjoy such freedom nowadays!

12. place names (zero article or ‘the’)
Most place names are used with zero, but there is some variation. In particular, the is used
when a countable noun like one of the following appears in the title: bay, canal, channel, gulf,
kingdom, ocean, republic, river, sea, strait, union. The is often omitted on maps.

zero the
Continents Africa, Asia, Europe –
Geographical areas Central Asia, Inner London, Lower Egypt,
Outer Mongolia, Upper Austria
the Arctic, the Balkans, the Equator,
the Middle East, the North Pole, the West
Historical references Ancient Greece, Renaissance,
pre-war/post-war Germany,
Roman Britain
the Dark Ages, the Medieval Europe,
the Stone Age

Lakes Lake Constance, Lake Erie, Lake Geneva –
Oceans, seas, rivers – the Pacific (Ocean), the Caspian (Sea),
the Nile (or the River Nile),
the Mississippi (or the Mississippi River),
the Suez Canal
Mountains Everest, Mont Blanc the Jungfrau, the Matterhorn
Mountain ranges – the Alps, the Himalayas
Islands Christmas Island, Delos, Easter Island the Isle of Capri, the Isle of Man
Groups of islands – the Azores, the Bahamas
Deserts – the Gobi (Desert), the Kalahari (Desert),
the Sahara (Desert)
Countries Most countries: Finland, Germany, Turkey
etc.
Unions and associations:
the ARE (the Arab Republic of Egypt),
the UK (the United Kingdom),
the USA (the United States of America)
A few countries: the Argentine (or
Argentina), (the) Sudan, the Netherlands,
the Philippines, (the) Yemen
States Most states: Bavaria, Ohio, Surrey the Vatican
Cities Most cities: Denver, London, Lyons the City (of London), The Hague
Universities Cambridge University the University of Cambridge
Streets etc. Most streets: London Road, Madison
Avenue, Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus
the High Street, the Strand, The Drive
Note: the London road (= the road that
leads to London)
Parks Central Park, Hyde Park –
Addresses 49 Albert Place, 3 West Street,
2 Gordon Square
25 The Drive, 74 The Crescent
Buildings Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey the British Museum,
the Library of Congress
Other locations
Bridges London Bridge The Golden Gate Bridge
Cinemas – The Gaumont, The Odeon
Hospitals Guy’s (Hospital) The London Hospital
Hotels Brown’s Hotel The Hilton (Hotel)
‘Places’ Death Valley, Heaven, Hades The Everglades, The Underworld
Pubs – The White Horse
Restaurants Leoni’s (Restaurant) The Café Royal
Shops Selfridges, Marks and Spencers The Scotch House
Stations Victoria (Station), Waterloo (Station) –
Theatres Her Majesty’s (Theatre), Sadler’s Wells
(Theatre)
The Phoenix (Theatre),
The Coliseum (Theatre)

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(After Alexander, L.G.: Longman English Grammar, pp.55-71)

Back to Articles

Back to Contents
57
PRONOUNS
CHARACTERISTICS OF PRONOUNS
SPECIFIC PRONOUNS
INDEFINITE PRONOUNS

CHARACTERISTICS OF PRONOUNS
As their name implies, pronouns ‘replace’ nouns, or rather whole noun phrases, since they
cannot generally occur with determiners such as the definite article or premodification.
According to Quirk et al. (1976:204), the main differences between pronouns and nouns are
the following:

1. Pronouns constitute a closed system, whereas nouns form an open class. (For the ‘closed
system’ vs. ’open class’ distinction, see p. 7.)
2. Many pronouns have certain morphological characteristics that nouns do not have:
a) Case-contrast for subjective/objective case, e.g. I/me, he/him, who/whom.
b) Person-distinction: 1st/2nd/3rd person, as in I/you/he.
c) Gender-contrast: masculine/feminine/neuter in the 3rd person, as in he/she/it.
d) Morphologically unrelated number forms, as in I/we, he/they (compared with the typical
regularity of nouns: boy – boys, etc.).

Before dealing with the different subclasses of pronouns, we will discuss common
characteristics in relation to the categories of case, person, gender, and number.

Case
Nouns and most pronouns in English have only two cases: common case (children,
somebody) and genitive case (children’s, somebody’s). However, six pronouns have an
objective case, thus presenting a three-case system, where ‘common’ case is replaced by
subjective and objective case. There is identity between genitive and objective her and partial
overlap between subjective who and objective who. The genitives of personal pronouns are,
in accordance with grammatical tradition, called ‘possessive pronouns’.

subjective I we you he she they who
objective me us you him her them who(m)
genitive my our your his her their whose

Note: In literary or in formal English, when the pronoun comes after the verb be, the
nominative form of the pronoun is used, e.g.:
It was I (he, she, we, they) who did this.

In informal English, the objective form is frequently used:
That’s her (him, us, them).
It’s all right, it’s only me.
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Person
Personal, possessive, and reflexive pronouns have, unlike nouns, distinctions of person:
1st person = the speaker (singular I, plural we)
2nd person = the person(s) addressed (you)
3rd person = ‘the rest’, i.e. one or more persons or things mentioned (singular he/she/it, plural
they)

English makes no difference between singular and plural number in the 2nd person except for
reflexive pronouns:
Richard, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.
Children, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.
2nd person you is also used in the indefinite sense of ‘one’, and 3rd person plural they in the
sense of ‘people in general’:
You can never hear what he’s saying.
They’ve had no serious accidents this year.

Gender
In the 3rd person singular, the personal, reflexive, and possessive pronouns distinguish in
gender between:
masculine: he/him/himself/his
feminine: she/her/herself/hers
non-personal: it/itself/its

Relative and interrogative pronouns distinguish between personal (who/whom/whose) and
non-personal gender (which).

Number
Pronouns also express number: singular and plural. But with a few exceptions (one – ones,
other – others, yourself – yourselves) pronouns do not indicate the plural by the general plural
inflection of the noun -(e)s.
In personal pronouns number is expressed by different words:
I – we
he, she, it – they
The personal pronoun we does not denote I + I (+ I + I + ...) (cf. the boys = the boy + the
boy (+ the boy + ...)) but ‘I + one or more other’.
The demonstrative pronouns this and that have the plural forms these and those.
There are pronouns which are only singular in meaning (each, every, somebody, something,
much, little); others are only plural (many, few, both, several). Many pronouns have one form
for the singular and plural meaning (all, any, some, who, which).

CLASSIFICATION OF PRONOUNS
In a most general way pronouns can be divided into two classes: specific pronouns, i.e.
pronouns with a specific reference (e.g. I, you, this), and indefinite pronouns, i.e. pronouns
without a specific reference (e.g. all, someone, none). Each class of pronouns includes a
number of heterogeneous items, many of which do not share all the characteristic features.
Many pronouns have the double function of determiners (i.e. article-like items) and nominals.
It is, however, convenient to deal with all such closed-system items in one chapter.
59
In the following we shall use the subclassifications of pronouns as offered in Quirk and
Greenbaum (1977:101):

Personal
central Reflexive
Reciprocal
Specific Possessive
PRONOUNS Relative
Interrogative
Demonstrative
Universal
Indefinite Partitive
Quantifying

Back to Pronouns

SPECIFIC PRONOUNS

Among pronouns with a specific reference, personal, reflexive and possessive pronouns can
be regarded as ‘most central’ in the system, since they share those features we have
mentioned as characteristic of pronouns as compared with nouns; in particular, they manifest
person and gender contrast. Although these ‘central’ pronouns fill different syntactic
functions, they have obvious morphological characteristics in common. This is also the
reason why the possessives like my, you, etc. have been given in the table, although they are
determiners and cannot function alone instead of nouns, but only together with nouns.

PRONOUNS: PERSONAL REFLEXIVE POSSESSIVE
Person Number Gender Case Function
subjective objective

determiner nominal
1st singular
plural
I
we
me
us
myself
ourselves
my
our
mine
ours
2nd singular
plural
you
you
you
you
yourself
yourselves
your
your
yours
yours

singular
masculine
feminine
neutral
he
she
it
him
her
it
himself
herself
itself
his
her
its
his
hers
its
3rd
plural they them themselves their theirs
Personal Pronouns
The forms of personal pronouns used in modern English are shown in the table above. The
2nd person singular pronouns thou [ðaoj (nominative case) and thee [ði:j (objective case) are
archaic and rarely used in modern English except in poetry. They are, however, used in
quotations from the Bible and related expressions:
Thou shalt not kill. (Nezabiješ.)
I love thee.
Note: The 2nd person singular possessive and reflexive pronouns are: thy [ðaij, thine [ðainj,
thyself, e.g.:
Love thy neighbour. (Miluj bližního svého.)
The archaic 2nd person plural pronoun is ye [jij (nominative, sometimes objective case).
60
Notes:
a) I is always written with a capital letter, but me, we and us are not.
b) Formal Royal Proclamations use the ‘Royal we’, e.g.:
We, Elizabeth II, Queen of England ...
c) In colloquial English, us is sometimes used for me, especially after an imperative, e.g.:
Let’s have a look. (= let me have a look)
Tell us (= tell me) what he said.
Reflexive Pronouns
The ‘self pronouns’ are formed by adding -self (plural -selves) to the possessive pronouns
(determiners) of the 1st and 2nd person, and to the objective case form of the personal
pronouns of the 3rd person. Reflexive pronouns have two distinct uses: non-emphatic and
emphatic.

Non-emphatic use:
A reflexive pronoun indicates that the action expressed by the verb passes from the subject
back again to the subject and not to any other person or thing. In other words the person
denoted by the subject and the person denoted by the object are identical:
I am teaching myself Latin.
She saw herself in the mirror.
The visitors helped themselves to the cakes.

The reflexive pronoun can be:
a) a direct object:
He shaves himself.
b) an indirect object:
She bought herself a new hat.
He cooked himself a good meal.
c) part of the predicate of the verb be, in which case it always has a strong stress:
Ah, that’s better. You are yourself again.
d) used after a preposition:
I want a little time to myself.
She loves me for myself, not for my money.
Speak for yourself.
In variation with personal pronouns, reflexives often occur after as, like, but, except and in
coordinated phrases:
For somebody like me/myself this is a big surprise.
My brother and I/myself went sailing yesterday.
Note:
Reflexive pronouns always occur with obligatorily reflexive verbs, i.e. verbs which always
require reflexive object, such as absent oneself (from), avail oneself (of), betake oneself, pride
oneself (on):
She always prides herself on her academic background.
Also behave virtually belongs to this set since it can take no other than a reflexive object:
Behave (yourselves) now!
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Emphatic use:
Reflexive pronouns in emphatic use occur in apposition, have heavy stress and, unlike
reflexive pronouns in non-emphatic use, have greater positional mobility:
I wouldn’t kiss her myself.
I myself wouldn’t kiss her.
Myself, I wouldn’t kiss her.

Of course, reflexive pronouns in reflexive use can also have emphatic stress:
He thinks of himSELF but not of ME.
Reciprocal Pronouns
The group-pronouns each other and one another are called reciprocal pronouns.
They help each other means ‘A helps B and B helps A’.

Each other generally implies only two; one another, more than two:
He put all the books beside one another.
This distinction, however, is frequently not observed. The reciprocal pronouns can be freely
used in the genitive (possessive) case: each other’s, one another’s:
The students borrowed each other’s notes.

Note the position of the prepositions when used with each other and one another:
They gave presents to each other.
They are very fond of one another.

Possessive Pronouns
These consist traditionally of two series: the attributive (my, your, etc.) and the nominal
(mine, yours, etc.). In Quirk’s classification (cf. Quirk and Greenbaum 1977:62) the former
series belong to the determiners, since they are mutually exclusive with the articles. They
have been included in the above table for a convenient summary statement of related forms.
Compare the two types of possessives with the genitive of nouns which is identical in the two
functions:
Mary’s/my daughter’s/her book
the book is Mary’s/my daughter’s/hers
Unlike many other languages, English uses possessives to refer to parts of the body and
personal belongings, as well as in several other expressions:
He stood at the door with his hat in his hand.
Mary has broken her leg.
Don’t lose your balance!
They have changed their minds again!
The possessive pronoun its is very rarely used, but it could be used in such a sentence as:
The cherry tree gives its share of colour to the garden, and the lilac tree gives its.

Note:
1. The nominal possessive pronouns are used in the conventional ending to letters:
Yours sincerely/truly/faithfully, (+ name)
2. The construction noun + of + possessive pronoun requires a nominal possessive pronoun:
He is a friend of mine. (Not:
*
a friend of me)
It was no fault of yours that we mistook the way.
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Relative Pronouns
The relative pronouns are who, whom, whose, which, that, what and occasionally as and but.
They have the same forms for singular or plural masculine or feminine, but they keep the
distinction personal and non-personal, restrictive and non-restrictive as shown in the table
below:

restrictive and non-restrictive restrictive only
personal non-personal personal and non-personal
subjective case
who that
objective case
who/whom
which
that, zero
genitive case
whose of which
preposition + relative pronoun
prep + whom prep + which

relative pronoun ... prep
who(m)...prep which...prep that...prep
zero...prep

The relative pronouns who and which are pronounced with a weaker stress than the
interrogative pronouns who, which.

Who, whom, whose, which
Who, whom, whose are used of persons:
The man who spoke was my brother.
He is one of the men whom I feel I can trust.
He is a man whose word is as good as his bond.

Which as a relative pronoun is used of things or animals:
The current, which is very rapid, makes the river dangerous.
The dog which was lost has been found.

But if the animal is named, it is thought of as a ‘person’ and the pronoun who would be used:
Our dog Jock, who had been lost for two days, was found and brought home by a
policeman.

With collective nouns denoting persons, which is used if the noun is regarded as singular,
who(m) if it is regarded as plural:
The London team, which played so well last season, has done badly this season.
The team, who are just getting their tickets, will meet on the platform at 2.30.

Which is used when the antecedent (the grammatical item to which the relative pronoun
refers) is a whole sentence:
He invited us to dinner, which was very kind of him.

That
That as a relative pronoun is used for persons or things in restrictive relative clauses and is
always pronounced with the weak form [ðctj:
They live in a house that was built in 1600.
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Note: That (not who or which) is used:
1. after an adjective in the superlative (including first and last) and after most indefinite
pronouns:
Yesterday was one of the coldest days that I have ever known.
His book is the best that has ever been written on that subject.
There’s not much that can be done.
2. after the opening ‘It is ...’, ‘It was ...’, and the corresponding interrogative forms:
It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good. (Proverb)
What was it that he wanted?
Was it you that broke the window?
3. when the antecedent is both a person and a thing:
He talked brilliantly of the men and the books that interested him.

That cannot be used in non-restrictive clauses and it cannot be preceded by a preposition, as
which or whom can; the preposition must be at the end of the clause. Compare the sentences:
Here is the car about which I told you.
Here is the car that I told you about.

That can be used as a relative pronoun after the word same:
She wore the same dress that she wore at Mary’s wedding.
but the usual relative pronoun after same, and the one that is always used after such, is as:
I shall be surprised if he does this in the same way as I do.
I never heard such stories as he tells.

What
What is used when the antecedent is not expressed. It is a relative pronoun and an antecedent
in one word (= that which):
Tell me what you want to know.

Here, what has the general meaning of ‘the things (antecedent) which (relative pronoun)’.
What is also used when the antecedent is a sentence which follows what:
He is an interesting speaker, and, what is more important, he knows his subject
thoroughly.

Whichever, whatever, whoever are compound relative pronouns:
You can have whatever you want.
Take whichever you like.
She can marry whoever she chooses.
Interrogative Pronouns
The interrogative pronouns are who, whom, whose, which, what. They are used in forming
questions and they always precede the verb:
What is the matter?
Whose are these gloves?
Who broke that window?
Which do you prefer, dry sherry or sweet sherry?
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Who
is used only for persons. It has three case-forms: the nominative who, the objective whom and
the genitive (possessive) whose:
Who saw you? No one.
Who(m) did you see? I saw George.
To whom did you give the letter? (Who(m) did you give the letter to?)
Whose are these gloves and whose is this umbrella?

Whom is the ‘literary’ form and is preferred in writing. The objective whom in spoken
English is often replaced by who:
Who am I talking to?
Who are you speaking about?

What
is generally used for things. It has no case-forms:
What is his name?
What can stand for an activity, in which case the answer will be usually a verb in the -ing
form:
What are you doing? – I’m cleaning the car.
What is used also to ask for a person’s profession, character, etc.:
What was he? – A painter.
What is that man talking to your father? – He is a lawyer.
Note the difference between this and
Who is that man talking to your father? – He is Mr. Brown.
What is he like? – He is tall, dark and handsome.

Which
is used for things and persons, singular or plural, subject or object. It has no possessive case.
Which implies choice among a certain number of persons or things. As a nominal pronoun for
persons, which is often followed by an of-phrase (which of you):
Which do you prefer, tea or coffee?
Which of these children have been vaccinated?

Note the difference between:
Who is he (what is his name)?
What is he (what is his profession)?
Which is he (point him out in the group)?
The compound interrogatives with -ever are used for the sake of emphasis; they often express
surprise, indignation, etc.:
Whoever would have thought it?
Whichever can it be?

Note the following idiomatic expressions:
What about a cigarette? (= would you like; shall we have ...)
Oh! There’s Mr. What’s-his-name.
It’s a what-do-you-call-it ...
It was so dark I couldn’t tell who was who.
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Demonstrative Pronouns
Demonstrative pronouns have number contrast and both determiner and nominal function.
The general meanings of the two sets can be stated as ‘near’ and ‘distant’ reference:

singular plural
‘near’ reference this these
‘distant’ reference that those

This (these) is used for what is close by in space or time; that (those), for what is farther off:
I like these (pictures, which are near me) better than those (pictures, over there on
the far side).
That is what I thought last year, this is what I think now.

A demonstrative pronoun may be used with reference to a previously mentioned noun:
Compare these maps with those on the blackboard.

This (that) is used to point out a person or thing expressed in the sentence by a predicative
noun:
This is a pen. That is a pencil.
That is also used to refer to a whole preceding statement:
I had a severe cold; that was my reason for not coming.

Same and such are also demonstrative pronouns. Such means ‘of this (that) kind’:
From the day she left I was no longer the same.
Such is life!
I never saw such a beautiful colour on my mother’s face before.
Such as has the meaning ‘for example’:
They export a lot of fruit, such as oranges, lemons, etc.

Back to Pronouns

66
INDEFINITE PRONOUNS
The table below shows the subclassification of indefinite pronouns as offered in Quirk and
Greenbaum (1977:109):

Count
Personal Non-Personal
Non-Count

pronoun
everyone
everybody
each
everything
each
(place: everywhere)
it (...) all
singular
determiner every, each
pronoun (they (...)) all/both
(them) all/both



Universal

plural
predeterminer all/both
all
pronoun someone
somebody
something
(place: somewhere) singular
determiner a(n)
plural pronoun and determiner some
some
pronoun anyone
anybody
anything
(place: anywhere) singular
determiner either
any
plural pronoun and determiner either
any
any
no one
nobody
nothing
(place: nowhere) pronoun
none

singular
pronoun and determiner neither
pronoun none
none







Partitive
plural
determiner no

Quantifying

plural
many
few
several
enough
much (sing)
little (sing)
enough

Universal Pronouns

All
may refer to persons and things expressing unity or collectivness and can be used as pronoun
or as adjective in the singular or the plural. It is used in the singular:
1. as a pronoun with the meaning of ‘everything’:
All is lost.
All is not gold that glitters.
All’s well that ends well.

2. as an adjective with the meaning ‘the whole of’:
All the money is spent.
All England.
Take it all.
All plants.
He spent all last week in London.
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It is used in the plural as and adjective or as a pronoun:
All the pupils were present. (adjective)
All are welcome. (pronoun)

When the subject is a noun, all can precede it or follow it:
All the students agreed that the concert was good.
The students all agreed that the concert was good.

If the subject is a pronoun, all generally follows it:
They all (not
*
all they) agreed that the concert was good.

Note the following expressions with all:

above all především
after all koneckonců
all the better tím lépe
all but téměř
for all that přes to všechno
in all celkem
not at all vůbec ne; není zač
all at once najednou; znenadání
once for all navždy; jednou provždy
all the same ale stejně; ale přece jen

All and every
All often has the meaning of every. The constructions are:
all + plural verb; every + singular verb:
That’s the sort of job that all boys like doing.
That’s the sort of job that every boy likes doing.
The explosion broke all the windows in the street.
The explosion broke every window in the street.
All the people were cheering loudly.
Everybody was cheering loudly.

The distinction between all and every is that in a sentence like All the boys were present, we
consider the boys in a mass; in the sentence Every boy was present, we are thinking of the
many individual boys that make up the mass. In addition to being a pronoun and an adjective,
all is used adverbially in such expressions as:
His face was all covered with blood.
Did you catch your train all right?

Each, every, everyone, everybody, everything
If all refers to the members of a group collectively, every and each refer to the members
taken one by one. Each can be a pronoun or a determinative adjective. Every can only be an
adjective; its pronominal forms are everyone, everybody, everything. Each can be used when
the total number referred to is two or more; every can be used only when the total number
exceeds two.
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Each as a pronoun:
Each of the boys has done his work.
They each signed the paper.
Each must do his best.

Each as an adjective:
Each person signed the paper.
Each man must do his best.
He gave each boy two apples.

Every as an adjective:
Every person signed the paper.
Every man must do his best.

Pronominal forms of every:
Everyone knows that Rome is the capital of Italy.
He told everyone that he was a Lord.
Everybody was disappointed that you couldn’t come.
Everything he says is true.
Everything in the house was destroyed by fire.

Notice that each, every, everyone, everybody, everything take the singular verb.
Note: Observe the difference between everyone, which can be used only for persons, and
every one, which can be used also to speak of things:
She has kept every one of my letters.

Each and every compared
There are some differences in meaning and usage between each and every as adjectives. The
feeling of ‘distribution’ is stronger in each than in every. Every tends to gather the separate
items into a whole; each focusses attention on them individually and so tends to disperse the
unity. This can be seen if we consider the sentences:
I visited him every day while he was in hospital.
I visited him each day while he was in hospital.

Note, too, the following idiomatic uses of every:
He is every inch a gentleman.
You have every right to be angry.
There is every reason to think he is speaking the truth.

In none of these could each replace every. Nor could each be used in such phrases as:
every other day
every two days
every now and then

Note the two meanings of the phrase every other day, the difference being indicated by a
difference of intonation and stress:
I go there every other DAY (= on alternate days, e.g. Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
We have a lesson on Monday, but on every OTHER day there are no lessons. (=There
are no lessons on all the other days.)
69
Both
indicates that two objects (persons or things) are regarded in conjunction. It is used as a
pronoun or as an adjective. It is used only before plural nouns, and takes a plural verb.
Both as a pronoun:
I have two brothers; they are both engineers.
Which of the two girls is he in love with? Both!

Both as an adjective:
There are houses on both sides of the street.
Both (the) men were found guilty.

Both is used adverbially in such a sentence as:
The book is both useful and amusing.
Partitive Pronouns
The partitive pronouns are the following:
a) some and its compounds (somebody, someone, something)
b) any and its compounds (anybody, anyone, anything)
c) no and its compounds (nobody, no one, nothing, none)
d) other (the other, another, others, the others)
e) either and neither

Some grammarians (e.g. Dušková et al. 1988:121 ff) treat partitive pronouns as existential
and negative quantifiers, which they virtually are. Some, any, the other, another, either and
neither can have both determiner and nominal function, no has only determiner function, the
other partitive pronouns have only nominal function. Some, any, no and their compounds are
closely related to every and its compounds on the one hand, and to pronominal adverbs
(adverbial pronouns) of place and time on the other. This interrelation is shown in the table
below (cf. Dušková et al. 1971:105):

some any no every
person
-body
-one
somebody
someone
anybody
anyone
nobody
no one
none
everybody
everyone
thing
-thing
something anything nothing
none
everything
place
-where
somewhere anywhere nowhere everywhere
Time
-time(s)
sometimes (at) any time never always
every time

Some
has the following uses:
1. In its determiner or nominal function, it is used before, or to refer to, uncountable nouns
and plural nouns:
a) to express an indefinite quantity or number. In this case it is pronounced [scmj if it has
determiner function
He wants some money.
I’ve spilt some ink on the table.
There are some cows in the field.
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and [s\mj if it has nominal function
I didn’thave any cigarettes, so I went out to buy some.
If you have no money, I’ll lend you some.

b) to suggest contrast. In this case it is always pronounced [s\mj:
Some people hate cats; others dislike dogs.
I enjoy some music, but much of it bores me.
Some of us agree with that statement; some disagree.
Not all your answers were correct; some were, some were not.

2. In its determiner function, it is used before singular countable nouns with the meaning ‘a
particular, but unidentified person or thing’. With this meaning it is always pronounced
[s\mj:
Some fool had left the lawn-mower on the garden path, and in the dark I fell over it.

Note: Some (before a numeral) and something can have the meaning ‘approximately’:
It happened some twenty years ago.
It will take some three or four thousand pounds to rebuild the house.
I’ll whistle the tune for you; it goes something like this.

Any
has the following uses:
1 Any, used emphatically, has the general meaning ‘it doesn’t matter who, which or what’:
Come any day you like.
Get me some cigarettes, please; any kind will do.
Any student can answer the question.

2. Any, used unemphatically, has the same meaning as some in 1(a) above. For more detail,
see below.
Are there any cows in the field?

Note:
Any is used adverbially in such sentences as:
I am sorry to say he isn’t any better.
I couldn’t come any sooner.

Some and any (and their compounds) compared:
Some and its compounds are used:
1 In affirmative sentences:
Give me some bread, please.
There was a good chance somebody would come.
John will always manage to do something useful.

2. In interrogative sentences when we are offering something or when we expect a positive
reply:
Will you have some more tea?
Did somebody telephone last night?
71
Any and its compounds are used:
1. In negative sentences:
I haven’t got any matches.
There isn’t anyone in the room.
John will never manage to do anything useful.

2. In interrogative sentences, indirect questions and in conditional clauses:
Is there any tea left?
If there is any tea left, please give me some.
Did anybody telephone last night?
Ask him if he bought any apples.
Have you got anything to declare?

Note:
a) A negative meaning may be conveyed by words like never, without, seldom, hardly,
scarcely, etc., in which case any is used:
He never had any luck.
He worked hard but without any success.
Hardly anybody saw her in private.

b) If the question is really a request, an invitation or a command in the form of a question,
some is used:
Will you ask someone to carry this bag for me, please?
May I give you some more tea?
Won’t you try some of this cake?
Could you let me have some money, father?

No, nobody, no one, nothing, none
No has determiner function and frequently conveys the meaning ‘not any’ or ‘not a’:
There is no (there isn’t any) salt on the table, and no (there aren’t any) glasses.
He is no (he isn’t a) doctor.
No smoking allowed.
I gave him no present. (I didn’t give him any present.)

Nobody, no one and nothing have nominal function, are singular in number, and are used
with a singular verb:
Nobody/no one has come yet.
Nothing has happened yet.

Nobody (no one) can be replaced by not anybody (not anyone) and nothing by not anything
except when they are the (grammatical) subject of the affirmative sentence:
I saw nobody. – I didn’t see anybody.
There was nobody in the room. – There wasn’t anybody in the room.
I bought nothing. – I didn’t buy anything.
There was nothing (wasn’t anything) in the shop that I wanted to buy.
But:
Nobody/no one saw me. (Not
*
Not anybody saw me.)
Nothing was worth buying.
72
Nothing can take the of-construction:
Nothing of this has come about!

None (originally a compound: ne an = no one) has nominal function, refers to persons or
things, and is used with a singular or with a plural verb:
My colleagues promised to be here about two o’clock, but none has/have come yet.
I wanted some more coffee but there was none left.

None can also be followed by the of-construction:
None of the students has/have failed.
That’s none of your business!

Nobody, no one, nothing and none are frequently used in ‘short answers’. The difference
between nobody/no one/nothing and none is that the former might be the replies to questions
beginning Who? or What? whereas none might be the reply to one beginning How many? or
How much?:
Who is in the dining-room? Nobody. (No one.)
How many students have failed? None!
What’s on the table? Nothing.
How many books are on the table? None.
How much petrol is there in the car? None!

No, nothing, none can also be used adverbially:
He is no better and is still very ill.
He is none the better.
It is no faster to go there by train than by car.

Note the phrases:
He smokes no more. (= He doesn’t smoke any more.)
I can work no longer. (= I can’t work any longer.)
None of us has gone there.

Other
may be an adjective or a pronoun. As an adjective it is invariable; as a pronoun it is countable
and has the plural form others. When it is used with the indefinite article an, they are written
as one word another. The other (singular) and the other + singular noun convey the meaning
‘the second of two’:
One of my brothers is named Richard, the other is named Frederick.
Hand me the other book, please.

The others and the other + plural noun convey the meaning ‘the remaining ones’:
We got home by six o’clock, but the others didn’t get back until about eight.
My brother went home, but the other boys stayed on the spot.

Others and other + plural noun may simply mean ‘different, additional, remaining ones’:
Some like milk chocolate, others prefer plain chocolate.
There are other ways of doing this exercise.
A few other examples would be useful.
There are no other alternatives.
73
Another (some other, any other, no other + singular noun) means:
1. ‘an additional one’:
Mr. Brown already has two cars, and now he has bought another.
Will you have another cup of tea?
He may be another Edison.
Isn’t there any other way of doing it?
There is no other way of doing it.

2. ‘a different one’:
On one day he will say one thing and on another day something quite different.
I don’t like this book, lend me another, will you?

Either/neither
Either has two meanings:
1. ‘one or the other of two’:
Bring me a pen or a pencil; either will do.
Either method can be used.

2. ‘both’:
Good evidence may be cited in support of either view.
I haven’t seen either of them.

Neither means ‘not this and not the other’:
Neither of the two statements is correct.
He read two more books on the subject, but neither told him anything new.
Quantifying Pronouns
The quantifying pronouns are:
a) the ‘multal’ many and much
b) the ‘paucal’ few and little
c) several and enough
d) one
Their use in respect to countable and non-countable reference can be seen in the table below:


MULTAL PRONOUNS PAUCAL PRONOUNS
count non-count count non-count
singular
plural many
more pens
most
much
more ink
most

(the)
(a) few pens
fewer
(the) fewest
(the)
(a) little ink
less
(the) least



Many and few
are used with countable nouns and are plurals:
Have you many books? - Yes, I’ve got many.
Few leaves were left upon the trees.
Are there many chocolates in the box? - No, only few.
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Much and little
are used with uncountable nouns and are singulars:
We have not much time for sports.
Much has been said, and little done.
Little attention has been devoted to the problem.
Little remains to be said.

In spoken English we do not find many and much in affirmative sentences without some
adverbs such as very, too, so or rather. Instead of many and much in affirmative sentences we
use different expressions, such as a lot of, lots of, plenty of, a great (good) deal of, a great
number of:
a lot of trouble
plenty of time
That will help me a great deal.
Much and many, however, are used in interrogative and negative sentences:
I haven’t got much money with me.
Do you know many people here?

When few and little are used without the article, they have a ‘negative’ meaning:
Few books are written so clearly as this one.
Little attention has been devoted to the problem.

When they are used with the indefinite article, they have a ‘positive’ meaning:
It cost only a few crowns.
It requires a little care.

Notes:
1. Besides the regular fewer chances and less noise, less also occurs with plurals:
This roof has fewer/less leaks than our old one.
You have fewer/less marbles than me.

2. Only less is used in expressions denoting periods of time, sums, etc.:
less than two weeks
less than 1000 dollars

3. Much is also used adverbially:
I am much obliged to you.

Several and enough
Several and enough have both determiner and nominal function. They can take the of-
construction. Several occurs only with plural countable function:
John has made several mistakes in his essay.
I have seen several of them.

Enough is used with both countable and non-countable nouns, and as determiner, may have
either pre- or post-nominal position:
Have you got enough books/food?
Have you got books/food enough?
Yes, we have enough.
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One
One has several different uses:
1. Numerical one when used with animate and inanimate singular countable nouns is a
stressed variant of the indefinite article a(n) (which is unstressed and has only determiner
function):
Determiner function:
Yesterday, one boy disappeared.
The one boy that disappeared yesterday has been found.

Nominal function:
Yesterday, one of the boys disappeared.
(The) one is also in contrast with the other in the correlative construction: One went
this way, the other that way.
Note that there is an old-fashioned use of one meaning ‘a certain’ before personal proper
names:
I remember one Charlie Brown at school.

2. Replacive one is used as an anaphoric substitute for a singular or plural countable noun. It
has the singular form one and the plural ones. Replacive one can take determiners (the, this,
my, which, each, etc.) and modifiers (black, beautiful, etc.):
I am looking for a particular book on syntax. – Is this the one you mean?
Yes, I’d like a drink, but just a small one.
I thought you preferred large ones.

3. Indefinite one means ‘people in general’, in particular with reference to the speaker. This
use of one is chiefly formal and is often replaced by the more informal you:
One would/you’d think they would run a later bus than that!
Indefinite one has the genitive one’s and the reflexive oneself. In American English repetition
of co-referential one is formal, he or you being preferred instead:
One should always be careful in talking about one’s/his finances.
One can’t be too careful, can one/you?

Back to Pronouns

Back to Contents
76
ADJECTIVES
KINDS OF ADJECTIVES
COMPARISON OF ADJECTIVES

Adjecti ves in English are invariable for number, gender, person and case:
a good boy – good boys
a good girl – good girls
KINDS OF ADJECTIVES
Gradable and non-gradable adjectives
Adjectives can be divided into two classes: a large class of words which can be graded
(gradable adjectives) and a small class that cannot be graded (non-gradable adjectives).

An adjective is gradable when:
a) we can imagine degrees in the quality referred to and so can use it with words like very,
too and enough: very good, too good, less good, not good enough, etc.
b) we can form a comparative and superlative from it: (big), bigger, biggest; (good), better,
best, etc.

An adjective is non-gradable when:
a) we cannot modify it (i.e. we cannot use it with very, too, etc.)
b) we cannot make a comparative or superlative from it: e.g. atomic, daily, dead, medical,
unique, etc.
Attributive and predicative adjectives
The terms attributive and predicative refer to the position of an adjective in a phrase or
sentence. We say that an adjective is attributive or is used attributively when it comes before
a noun:
an old ticket, a rich man, a young girl

We say that an adjective is predicative or that it is used predicatively when it comes directly
after a verb such as:
a) be, become, seem
This ticket is old. Ann seems happy.

b) appear, feel, get/grow (= become), keep, look, make, smell, sound, taste, turn
Tom felt cold.
He got/grew impatient.
The idea sounds interesting.
He made me happy.

Adjectives can be subclassified according to whether they can function as:
1. both attributive and predicative, e.g.:
a hungry man – the man is hungry
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2. attributive only, e.g.: former, latter, outer, upper, utter
What you say is utter nonsense.

3. predicative only, e.g.: afloat, afraid, alight, alike, alive, ashamed, asleep, awake, content,
far, glad, near, pleased, sorry, unable
The children were asleep at 7, but now they’re awake.
I am very glad to meet you.
Your hotel is quite near here. It isn’t far from here.

The restrictions of adjectives to attributive or predicative use are not always absolute. Some
adjectives change their meaning when moved from one position to the other.
Your suitcase is very heavy. (i.e. in weight – predicative)
Paterson is a heavy smoker. (i.e. he smokes a lot – attributive)
You’re late again. (i.e. not on time – predicative)
My late uncle was a miner. (i.e. he’s dead now – attributive)
Agatha Withers is very old now. (i.e. in years – predicative)

Back to Adjectives

COMPARISON OF ADJECTIVES
There are three degrees of comparison:
− positive (or absolute): dark, young, useful
− comparative: darker, younger, more useful
− superlative: darkest, youngest, most useful
The comparative is used for a comparison between two, and the superlative where more than
two are involved.

Comparison is expressed by
1. the inflected forms in -er and -est,
2. their periphrastic equivalents in more and most,
3. the forms for equational, lesser and least degrees of comparison, notably as, less, least.

Too in the sense ‘more than enough’ might also be mentioned here, e.g.:
It’s too long. (= longer than it should be)

We can make the basis of comparison explicit. The most common ways of doing so include
correlative constructions introduced by than (correlative to more, less) and by as (correlative
to as), and prepositional phrases with of:
John is more/less stupid than Bob (is).
John is as stupid as Bob (is).
John is the stupider of the (two) boys.
John is the most stupid of the (three) boys.
The basis of comparison can also be shown by the noun which the adjective premodifies:
John is the more stupid boy. (formal, more commonly John is more stupid than the
other boy.)
John is the most stupid boy.
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Form of regular comparison of adjectives
Monosyllabic adjectives form their comparison by inflection. The inflectional suffixes are -er
for the comparative and -est for the superlative:

Positive Comparative Superlative
big – bigger – biggest
nice – nicer – nicest
tidy – tidier – tidiest
narrow – narrower – narrowest

The definite article the is used before a superlative in a phrase or sentence:
This is the cleanest/tidiest room in the house.
First class is the most expensive way to travel.
The regular inflections sometimes involve changes in spelling or pronunciation.
Changes in spelling
1. Final base consonants are doubled when the preceding vowel is stressed and spelled with a
single letter:
big – bigger – biggest
fat – fatter – fattest
sad – sadder – saddest
thin – thinner – thinnest

Compare adjectives like full, small, tall, etc. which end with a double consonant and form
their comparatives and superlatives like clean: tall, taller, tallest.

2. Final -e is dropped before the inflections:
brave – braver – bravest
free – freer – freest
large – larger – largest
strange – stranger – strangest

3. In bases ending in a consonant + -y, the final -y is changed to -i-:
busy – busier – busiest
dirty – dirtier – dirtiest
funny – funnier – funniest
early – earlier – earliest

(But note shy, shyer, shyest)

A few adjectives have a vowel before a -y ending, like gay, grey, fey, and these simply take
the endings -er and -est.

Many disyllabic adjectives can form their comparatives and superlatives regularly, though
like monosyllabic adjectives they have the alternative of the periphrastic forms:
My jokes are funnier/funniest.
more funny/most funny
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Common disyllabic adjectives that can take inflected forms are those ending in an unstressed
vowel, syllabic [Ij, or a mixed vowel:
a) -y: funny, noisy, wealthy, friendly
b) -ow: hollow, narrow, shallow
c) -le: gentle, feeble, noble
d) -er, -ure: clever, mature, obscure

Common adjectives outside these four categories that can take inflectional forms include:
common, handsome, polite, quiet, wicked.
The comparatives and superlatives of other disyllabic adjectives must always be with
more/less and most/least. These include all adjectives ending in -ful or -less: careful, careless,
useful, useless.

Other examples of adjectives which form comparisons in this way are: (un)certain,
(in)correct, (in)famous, foolish, (in)frequent, modern, (ab)normal
Changes in pronunciation
1. Syllabic [Ij ceases to be syllabic before inflections:
able – abler – ablest
simple – simpler – simplest
2. Final -r which was not sounded in the positive, is sounded in the comparative and
superlative:
near – nearer – nearest
poor – poorer – poorest
3. The sound [gj is added after [pj in words as:
long – longer – longest
strong – stronger – strongest
young – younger – youngest

Adjectives of three or more syllables combine with the quantifiers more/less to form their
comparatives and most/least to form their superlatives:
careful – more careful – most careful
less careful – least careful
expensive – more expensive – most expensive
less expensive – least expensive
bored/boring – more bored/boring – most bored/boring
less bored/boring – least bored/boring

This applies to most compound adjectives as well, such as quick-witted, waterproof, etc.
Adjectives ending in -ed and -ing such as amused/amusing, annoyed/annoying require
more/less and most/least to form their comparatives and superlatives.
Irregular comparative and superlative forms
A small group of highly frequent adjectives have their corresponding comparatives and
superlatives formed from different stems:
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Positive Comparative Superlative

good – better – best
bad – worse – worst
far – farther – farthest
– further – furthest
near – nearer – nearest
– next
old – older – oldest
– elder – eldest
late – later – latest
– latter – last
much/many – more – most
little – less – least
– lesser –

Note compounds with good, well and bad:
good-looking → better-looking (or more good-looking)
well-built → better-built (but more well-built is sometimes heard)
bad-tempered → worse-tempered (or more bad-tempered)

Points to notice about irregular comparative and superlative forms

1. Farther/farthest and further/furthest:
Both forms can be used of distances:
York is farther/further than Lincoln or Selby.
York is the farthest/furthest town.

Further can also be used, mainly with abstract nouns, to mean ‘additional/extra’:
Further discussion/debate would be pointless.
Furthest can be used similarly, with abstract nouns:
This was the furthest concession he would make.

2. Far (used for distance) and near:
In the positive form they have a limited use. Far and near are used chiefly with bank, end,
side, wall, etc.
the far bank (the bank on the other side)
the near bank (the bank on this side of the river)

3. Nearest refers to distance, next to order, e.g:
Where is the nearest post-office?
The next station is Oxford Circus.

4. Elder, eldest imply seniority rather than age. They are chiefly used for comparisons within
a family:
My elder brother is three years older than I.
But: elder is not used with than, so older is necessary here:
He is older than I am. (elder would not be possible)
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Older and oldest can be used of people or things:
Henry is older than David.
That is the oldest house in the city.

5. Late and later refer to time:
See you later.
The colonel was rather late.
Latter means the second of two and is contrasted with ‘former’, e.g.:
He studied French and German, the former language he speaks very well, but the
latter one only imperfectly.
Latest means ‘the most recent’, ‘the last up to the present’, e.g.:
Have you read John Scribbler’s latest book?
Last has the meaning ‘final’, e.g.:
The Tempest was probably the last play that Shakespeare wrote.
It also has the meaning ‘previous’, e.g.:
I think his recent book is better than his last one.
Constructions with comparisons
1. ‘as ... as’ to indicate the same degree
as ... as is used in the affirmative sentences to show that two people, things, etc. are similar:
Jane is as tall as/as intelligent as Peter.
He was as white as a sheet.

2. ‘not as ... as’; ‘not so ... as’ to indicate lower degree
These constructions are used in the negative sentences:
Soames is not as/not so suitable for the job as me/as I am.
Manslaughter is not as/so bad as murder.
Your coffee is not as/so good as the coffee my mother makes.
not such a/an (+ adjective) + noun is also possible:
He’s not such a hard worker as his brother.

3. ‘than’ after the comparative
Jane is taller than Peter.
Jane is more intelligent than Peter.
If two things of exactly the same kind are being compared, we can use the before a
comparative in formal style:
Which is (the) longer (of the two coats)?
The grey coat is (the) longer (of the two coats).
However, if we need to mention each item, then we must use than after the comparative.
He makes fewer mistakes than you (do).
I know him better than you.
He is stronger than I expected. (= I didn’t expect him to be so strong.)

4. ‘more than’, ‘less than’ and ‘worse than’ + adjective
‘More than’, ‘less than’ and ‘worse than’ can be used in front of a number of adjectives in
the following way:
I was more than pleased with my pay rise.
This foot-pump is worse than useless.
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5. Comparatives with ‘-er and -er’
Gradual increase or decrease is expressed by two comparatives (adjectives or adverbs) joined
by and:
The weather is getting colder and colder.
He became less and less interested.

6. ‘the’ + comparative ... ‘the’ + comparative
Parallel increase is expressed by the + comparative ... the + comparative:
The more money you make, the more you spend.
The more expensive petrol becomes, the less people drive.

7. Comparisons with ‘like’ and ‘alike’
Tom is very like Bill.
Bill and Tom are very alike.
Comparison of three or more people/things is expressed by the superlative with the ... in/of:
This is the oldest theatre in London.
The youngest of the family was the most successful.

Degrees of similarity
Degrees of similarity can be expressed by means of almost, exactly, just, nearly + as +
adjective:
Jeffrey is nearly as tall as his father now.
Almost, exactly, just, nearly and (not) quite will combine with the same:
Those two boys are exactly the same.
Completely, entirely and quite will combine with different:
Those two boys are completely different.
Modification of comparatives and superlatives
The positive of both adjectives and adverbs can themselves be premodified by amplifying
intensifiers and adverbs of degree like very, too and quite:
very tall, too cold, quite hot, etc.

However, we cannot use these intensifiers with the comparative. We must use a bit, (very)
much, far, even, hardly any, a lot, lots, a little, no, rather, somewhat, etc.:
Houses are much/far/a lot more expensive these days.
It’s much/far/a lot/a little colder today than it was yesterday.

The inflectional superlative may be premodified by very:
the very best
If very premodifies the superlative, a determiner is obligatory, as in:
She put on her very best dress.

Comparatives and superlatives can also be postmodified by intensifying phrases, the most
common of which is by far, e.g.:
He is funnier/funniest by far.
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Adjectives used as nouns
1. A few adjectives can be used as if they were nouns (e.g. after a/an) and can sometimes
have a plural. The listener mentally supplies the ‘missing’ noun:
Don’t be such a silly! (= a silly fool)
There’s something the matter with the electrics in my car. (= the electrical system)

Other words which are both adjectives and nouns are e.g.:
a black/blacks, a red/reds, a white/whites

2. ‘The’ + adjective: ‘the young’
a) Adjectives like the following are used after the to represent a group as a whole: the blind,
the deaf (‘a group of people who are all deaf’), the rich/the poor, the young/the old, the
unemployed.
Books for the young.
Fortune favours the brave.

These adjectives are followed by a plural verb:
You can always judge a society by the way the old are cared for.

b) The reference can be general or abstract: the supernatural, the unexpected, the unknown,
the unheard of, etc. These are followed by a singular verb:
The unknown is always something to be feared.
The good in him outweighs the bad.

c) Some nationality adjectives, particularly those ending in -ch, -sh and -ese are also used
after the:
the British (= the British people in general)

Plural nationality nouns as the Americans, the Japanese, the Chinese refer to the whole
nation:
The Japanese admire the traditions of the Chinese.
Nouns used as adjectives
Names of materials, substances, etc. (leather, nylon, plastic) resemble adjectives. So do some
nouns indicating use or purpose, e.g. kitchen chairs. Examples of such nouns are:
It’s a cotton dress (= it’s cotton/made of cotton)
It’s a summer dress. (= a dress to be worn in summer)

But note wooden and woollen:
It’s a wooden spoon./It’s made of wood.
It’s a woollen dress./It’s made of wool.

Here wooden and woollen are adjectives.

Some other names for materials have adjectival forms: gold, golden; lead, leaden; silk,
silken, silky; stone, stony; but the adjectival form generally has a metaphorical meaning
(‘like...’): So, for example, a gold watch is a ‘watch made of gold’, but a golden sunset is ‘a
sunset’ which is ‘like gold’.
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Compare:
a silvery voice
leaden steps
silky (or silken) hair

Back to Adjectives

Back to Contents
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ADVERBS
KINDS OF ADVERBS, THEIR MEANING AND POSITION
THE FORMATION OF ADVERBS
COMPARISON OF ADVERBS

The word adverb (ad-verb) suggests the idea of adding to the meaning of a verb. According
to Quirk and Greenbaum (1977:126b.), there are two types of syntactic function that
characterize adverbs, but an adverb need have only one of these:
1. adverbial
2. modifier of adjective and adverb.
In both cases the adverb functions directly in an adverb phrase of which it is head or sole
realization. Thus, in the adjective phrase far more easily intelligible, intelligible is modified
by the adverb phrase far more easily, easily is modified by the adverb phrase far more, and
more is modified by the adverb phrase far, this last case is an adverb phrase with an adverb as
sole realization.
Adverb as adverbial
An adverb may function as adverbial, a constituent distinct from subject, verb, object, and
complement.
There are three classes of adverbials: adjuncts, disjuncts, conjuncts.
Adj uncts are integrated within the structure of the clause to at least some extent, e.g.:
They are waiting outside.
I can now understand it.
He spoke to me about it briefly.

Di sj unct s and conjuncts, on the other hand, are not integrated within the clause.
Semantically, disjuncts express an evaluation of what is being said either with respect to the
form of the communication or to its content, e.g.:
Frankly, I am tired.
Fortunately, no one complained.
They are probably at home.

Semantically, conjuncts have a connective function. They indicate the connection between
what is being said and what was said before, e.g.:
I have not looked into his qualifications. He seems very intelligent, though.
If they open all the windows, then I’m leaving.
Adverb as modifier
An adverb may premodify an adjective:
It is very hot today.
She has a really beautiful face.
The adverb enough postmodifies adjectives, as in high enough. Most commonly, the
modifying adverb is an intensifier. The most frequently used intensifier is very. Other
intensifiers include so/pretty/rather/unusually/quite/unbelievably (tall).
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Many are restricted to a small set of lexical items, e.g.: deeply (anxious), highly (intelligent),
strikingly (handsome), sharply (critical)

Many intensifiers can modify:
a) other adverbs:
They are smoking very heavily.
I have seen so very many letters like that one.
b) prepositional phrases:
You’re entirely in the wrong.
His parents are dead against the trip.
c) indefinite pronouns, cardinal numerals:
Nearly everybody came to our party.
Over two hundred deaths were reported.
d) nouns:
The man over there is a doctor.
It was rather a mess.
He was quite some player.
e) verbs:
He ran quickly.
Come here.
Paganini played the violin beautifully.
f) complete sentences:
Strangely enough, I won first prize.

Sometimes adverbs are essential to complete a sentence:
1. after some intransitive verbs such as lie, sit, etc.
Lie down. Sit over there.
2. after some transitive verbs (e.g. lay, place, put) + object:
He puts his car in the garage.

KINDS OF ADVERBS, THEIR MEANING AND POSITION
Many adverbs can be thought of as answering questions, such as How? (manner); Where?
(place); When? (time); How often? (frequency); To what extent? (degree). Others ‘strengthen’
adjectives, other adverbs or verbs (intensifiers); focus attention (focus); reveal our attitudes,
or help us to present information in a coherent fashion (viewpoint adverbs and connectives).
1. Adverbs of manner
Adverbs of manner include:
a) Adverbs formed by adding -ly to adjectives: actively, boldly, calmly, carefully, distinctly,
easily, gladly, intentionally, promptly, simply, sincerely, suddenly, willingly, wisely, etc.
b) Adverbs formed by adding -fashion, -style, -wards, -ways, -wise to adjectives: (Indian)-
fashion, (American)-style, backwards, lenght-ways, clockwise, etc.
How do you manage taxwise?
c) Adverbs formed from nouns with prepositions and from phraseological units: by heart, by
chance, in turn (by turns), one by one, head over heels, etc.
You must learn this poem by heart.
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Position of adverbs of manner
a) after the object or after the verb
Sue watched the monkeys curiously.
Look at this photo carefully.
It snowed heavily last January.
She danced beautifully.

The important thing is not to put the adverb between the verb and its object. (Not
*
He speaks
well English but He speaks English well.)

b) between subject and verb
If we wish to emphasize the subject of the verb, we can say:
Gillian angrily slammed the door behind her.
(i.e. Gillian was angry when she slammed the door.)

However, well and badly, when used to evaluate an action, can only go at the end of a
sentence or clause:
Mr Gradgrind pays his staff very well/badly.

With some adverbs of manner, such as bravely, cleverly, cruelly, foolishly, generously, kindly,
secretly, simply, etc. a change of position results in a difference in emphasis. Compare the
following:
He foolishly locked himself out. (= It was foolish (of him) to ...)
He behaved foolishly at the party. (= in a foolish manner)
With others, such as badly, naturally, a change of position results in a change in meaning and
function.
You typed this letter very badly. (adverb of manner)
We badly need a new typewriter. (intensifier)
You should always speak naturally. (adverb of manner)
Naturally, I’ll accept the invitation.

c) beginning a sentence
In narrative writing sentences can begin with adverbs of manner, such as gently, quietly,
slowly, suddenly. We do this for dramatic effect, or to create suspense. Such adverbs are
followed by a comma:
O’Connor held his breath and stood quite still. Quietly, he moved forwards to get a
better view.
2 Adverbs of place
Adverbs of place include:
a) Words like: abroad, ahead, along, anywhere/everywhere, nowhere/somewhere, ashore,
away/back, backwards/forwards, here/there, left/right, north/south, upstairs/downstairs, etc.
b) Words like the following which can also function as prepositions: above, behind, below,
beneath, underneath, etc.
c) Two words combining to emphasize place, such as: down below, down/up there, far ahead,
far away, over here, over there, etc.
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Position of adverbs of place
Adverbs of place never go between subject and verb.
a) after manner but before time
When there is more than one kind of adverb in a sentence, the usual position of adverbs of
place is after manner, but before time (following a verb or verb + object):

manner place time
Barbara read quietly in the library all afternoon.

However, adverbs of direction can often come after movement verbs (come, drive, go) and
before other adverbials:
I went to London (direction) by train (manner) next day (time).

If there is more than one adverb of place, then ‘smaller places’ are mentioned before ‘bigger
places’ in ascending order:
She lives | in a small house | in a village | outside Reading | in Berkshire | England.

b) beginning a sentence
If we wish to emphasize location (e.g. for contrast), we may begin with an adverb of location,
especially in descriptive writing:
Indoors it was nice and warm.
Outside it was snowing heavily.
3. Adverbs of time
Adverbs of time include:
a) Words like: after(wards), already, before, eventually, lately, now, once, presently, recently,
soon, then, today, tomorrow, yesterday, etc.
b) Prepositional phrases with at, in or on: at Christmas, at present, in July, on November
20th, etc.

Position of adverbs of time
The most usual position is at the very beginning or at the very end of a sentence:
This morning I had a telephone call from Mary.
We checked in at the hotel on Monday/yesterday.
I recently went to Berlin.
I went to Berlin recently.

Still, referring to time, emphasizes continuity. It is mainly used in questions and affirmatives,
often with progressive tenses. Still is placed after the verb be but before other verbs:
Mrs Mason is still in hospital.
Tom still works for the British Council.
Yet generally comes at the end in questions and negatives:
Have the new petrol prices come into force yet?
The new petrol prices haven’t come into force yet.
Just, referring to time, is used with compound tenses:
I’m just coming.
I’ve just finished reading the paper. Would you like it?
I just saw Selina. She was going to the theatre.
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4. Adverbs of frequency
Adverbs of frequency include:
a) Words like: always, generally, frequently, hourly, fortnightly, normally, regularly,
occasionally, sometimes, usually, etc.
b) Phrases like: every day/week/month/year; every 3 years; every few days; on Mondays,
weekdays; hardly ever, scarcely ever; from time to time; now and again, etc.

Position of adverbs of frequency
a) affirmatives/questions: mid-position
The normal position of most adverbs of frequency is ‘after an auxiliary or before a full verb’.
This means:
- after be when it is the only verb in a sentence
I was never very good at maths.
- after the first auxiliary verb when there is more than one verb:
You can always contact me on 02134.
- before the main verb when there is only one verb:
Gerald often made unwise decisions.
These adverbs usually come before used to, have to and ought to :
We never used to import so many goods.
In questions, these adverbs usually come after the subject:
Do you usually have cream in your coffee?

b) end position
‘Affirmative adverbs’ can be used at the end of a sentence:
I get paid on Fridays usually.
We can use often at the end in questions and negatives:
Do you come here often? I don’t come here often.

c) beginning a sentence
Where special emphasis or contrast is required, the following can begin a sentence:
frequently, generally, normally, occasionally, ordinarily, sometimes and usually.
Sometimes we get a lot of rain in August.
Never borrow money!

Adverbs of frequency: ever and never
Ever, meaning ‘at any time’, is used in questions:
Have you ever thought of applying for a job abroad?
Does anyone ever visit them?
Ever can occur in affirmative if-sentences:
If you ever need any help, you know where to find me.
and after hardly, scarcely and barely:
Hardly/scarcely ever did they manage to meet unobserved.

Never is used in negative sentences and frequently replaces not when we wish to strengthen a
negative. Compare:
I don’t smoke
I never smoke
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5. Adverbs of degree
Adverbs of degree include words like: almost, altogether, barely, a bit, enough, fairly,
hardly, nearly, quite, rather, somewhat, too.
Most of these go before the words they modify: e.g.
- adjectives: quite good; The film was quite good.
- adverbs: fairly well; I know her fairly well.
- verbs: I quite like it.
- nouns (in a few instances): quite an experience

Back to Adverbs

THE FORMATION OF ADVERBS
The most common characteristic of the adverb is morphological: the majority of adverbs have
the derivational suffix -ly.
1. A great many adverbs, particularly those of manner, are formed from adjectives by the
addition of -ly, e.g.:
He is a careful driver. He drives carefully.
She is a quick worker. She works quickly.

Some adverbs of frequency are also formed in this way: e.g. usual, usually, as are a few
adverbs of degree: e.g. near, nearly. There are a few adverbs that have been formed from
nouns by the addition of a suffix or a prefix, e.g.:
a) With suffix -ly: daily, hourly, monthly, namely, partly, weekly
b) With suffix -fashion, -style, -ways, -wards, -wise: longways, backward(s), clockwise;
(Indian)-fashion, (American)-style
He went backwards/forwards/homewards.
The path was so narrow we had to walk sideways.
He sat with his legs crosswise.
c) With the prefix a-, e.g.: abroad, across, ahead, aloft, aloud, around, asleep, awake.

Rules of spelling of adverbs derived by adding the suffix -ly:
a) A final -y changes to -i-:
happy – happily
gay – gaily
pretty – prettily
but
sly – slyly
shy – shyly
dry – dryly/drily

b) A final -e is retained before -ly:
extreme – extremely
absolute – absolutely
complete – completely
sincere – sincerely
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Exceptions:
true – truly
due – duly
whole – wholly

c) Adjectives ending in a consonant + -le drop the -e and add -y:
gentle – gently
humble – humbly
noble – nobly
simple – simply
single – singly
terrible – terribly

d) Adjectives ending in -ll drop -l:
full – fully
dull – dully

e) Adjectives ending in -ic take -ally:
basic – basically
fantastic – fantastically
tragic – tragically
systematic – systematically

Exception:
public – publicly

Adverbs are not usually formed from adjectives that end in -ly, -ile that is from such
adjectives as manly, silly, fatherly, lively, brotherly, fertile, agile, hostile, etc. Instead of an
adverb, an adverbial phrase is used, e.g.
‘in a silly way’
‘in a fatherly manner’
‘with great agility’
‘in a hostile manner’

2. Many adverbs cannot be identified by their endings. These include adverbs of manner
which have the same form as adjectives, e.g. fast; adverbs of place (here, there); of time
(now, then); of frequency (often); viewpoint adverbs (perhaps) and connectives (however).

Adverbs and adjectives with the same form, same meaning
Some words can be used as adjectives or as adverbs of manner without adding -ly: fast, hard,
etc.
A fast (adjective) train is one that goes fast. (adverb)
I work hard (adverb) because I enjoy hard (adjective) work.
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Other examples like fast are:

Used as adjectives Used as adverbs
airmail: airmail letter send it airmail
all day: an all day match play all day
best: best clothes do your best
cheap: a cheap suit buy it cheap
free: a free ticket travel free
loud: a loud noise talk loud
sharp: sharp eyes look sharp
well: I am well do well
wide: a wide room open wide
yearly: a yearly visit go there yearly
Adverbs with two forms
Some adverbs have two forms which may have:
a) the same meaning: e.g. cheap
I bought this car cheap/cheaply.

Other examples: clean/cleanly, clear/clearly, close/closely, fair/fairly, fine/finely, firm/firmly,
first/firstly, loud/loudly, quick/quickly, quiet/quietly, slow/slowly, thin/thinly

b) different meanings: e.g. hard:
I work hard and play hard. I did hardly any work today.
Come near. My work is nearly finished.
Other examples:
deep/deeply: drink deep; deeply regret
easy/easily: go easy; win easily
flat/flatly: fall flat; flatly refuse free/freely: travel free; freely admit
last/lastly: arrive last; lastly, I think ...
sharp/sharply: 10 p.m. sharp; speak sharply
short/shortly: stop short; see you shortly
strong/strongly: going strong; strongly feel
wide/widely: open wide; widely believed

Adverbs differing in meaning from corresponding adjectives
Some adverbs differ in meaning from their corresponding adjectives: e.g. express/expressly,
ready/readily:
If it’s urgent, you should send it by express mail. (fast)
You were told expressly to be here by 7. (clearly/deliberately)

Back to Adverbs

COMPARISON OF ADVERBS
Form of comparison of adverbs
Comparison of adverbs is similar to comparison of adjectives. Only gradable adverbs can
have comparative and superlative forms. Comparison is not possible with adverbs such as
daily, extremely, only, really, then, there, uniquely, because they are not gradable.
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Gradable adverbs form comparatives and superlatives as follows:

Positive Comparative Superlative
monosyllabic adverbs fast faster fastest
two or more syllables early
easily
rarely
earlier
more easily
more rarely
earliest
most easily
most rarely

Notes on the comparison of adverbs
1. Adverbs that are identical in form with adjectives take inflections, following the same
spelling and phonetic rules as for adjectives, e.g. early, late, hard, slow, fast, quick, long.
Soon, which has no corresponding adjective, is frequently used in the comparative (sooner),
but is not common in the superlative (soonest).
2. As most adverbs of manner have two or more syllables, they form their comparatives and
superlatives with more/less and most/least.
Other examples: more/less/most/least briefly, clearly, quickly
3. Some adverbs of frequency form their comparative and superlative with more/less,
most/least (e.g. more seldom, most seldom); often has two comparative forms: more often and
(less common) oftener.
Irregular comparisons of adverbs
As with adjectives, there is a small group with comparatives and superlatives formed from
different stems:
Positive Comparative Superlative
Irregular adverbs well
badly
little
late
much
far
better
worse
less
later
more
farther
further
best
worst
least
last
most
farthest (of distance only)
furthest (used more widely)

1. Note the irregular adverb well (related to the adjective good) which means ‘in a pleasing or
satisfactory way’:
Jane Somers writes well.
2. Compare latest/last: both words can be adjectives:
I bought the latest (i.e. most recent) edition of today’s paper.
I bought the last (i.e. final) edition of today’s paper.
But normally only last is used as an adverb:
That was a difficult question, so we answered it last.
or before the main verb:
It last rained eight months ago. (= The last time it rained was ...)
3. Both farther and further can be used to refer to distance:
I drove ten miles farther/further than necessary.
Further can be used to mean ‘in addition’:
We learnt, further, that he wasn’t a qualified doctor.
4. More and most can be used fairly freely:
You should ride more.
I use this room most.
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But much, in the positive form, has a restricted use. Much meaning a lot can modify negative
verbs:
He doesn’t ride much nowadays.
In the interrogative much is chiefly used with how. In questions without how, much is possible
but a lot is more usual:
How much has he ridden?
Has he ridden a lot/much?
In the affirmative as/so/too + much is possible. Otherwise a lot/a good deal/a great deal is
preferable:
He shouts so much that …
I talk too much.
But
He rides a lot/a great deal.
Very much meaning greatly can be used more widely in the affirmative. We can use it with
blame, praise, thank and with a number of verbs concerned with feelings: admire, amuse,
approve, dislike, distress, enjoy, impress, like, object, shock, surprise, etc.:
Thank you very much.
They admired him very much.
She objects very much to the noise they make.

Much meaning a lot can modify comparative or superlative adjectives and adverbs:
much better
much the best
much more quickly
Most placed before an adjective or adverb can mean very. It is mainly used here with
adjectives/adverbs of two or more syllables:
He was most apologetic.
She behaved most generously.
Constructions with comparisons
1. ‘as ... as’ to indicate the same degree. Similar to adjectives, ‘as ... as’ is used in the
affirmative sentences:
John behaves as politely as Bob (does).
Sylvia sings as sweetly as her sister.

2. ‘not as ... as’; ‘not so ... as’ to indicate lower degree. These constructions are used in the
negative sentences:
John doesn’t behave as/so politely as Bob (does).
He doesn’t snore as/so loudly as you do.
It didn’t take as/so long as I expected.

3. ‘than’ after the comparative
The rain cleared more quickly than I expected.
He eats more quickly than I do/than me.

4. of + noun with comparatives/superlatives
In formal style, ‘the comparative or the superlative preceded by the’ can be combined with the
construction of + noun:
Of the (two) boys, John behaves the more politely.
Of the (three) boys, John behaves the most politely.
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Tim tries the hardest of all the boys in his class.
Magnus concentrated the hardest.

These constructions are not common in spoken language, and such sentences would normally
be expressed by a comparative + than ever/than anyone/than anything:
Magnus concentrated harder than ever/than anyone.

5. Comparisons with ‘like’ and ‘as’
In theory, like (preposition) is used only with nouns, pronouns or gerunds:
He swims like a fish.
You look like a ghost.
Be like Peter/him: go jogging.
The windows were all barred. It was like being in prison.
and as (conjunction) is used when there is a finite verb:
Do as Peter does: go jogging.
Why don’t you cycle to work as we do?
But in colloquial English like is often used here instead of as:
Cycle to work like we do.

Note: In the construction as + noun, as can be regarded as a quasi-preposition with the
meaning different from like:
He worked like a slave. (very hard indeed)
He worked as a slave. (He was a slave)
She used her umbrella as a weapon. (She struck him with it.)

Back to Adverbs

Back to Contents
96
NUMERALS
CARDINAL NUMERALS
ORDINAL NUMERALS
SPECIAL USES OF NUMERALS

CARDINAL NUMERALS

0 nought, zero
1 one
2 two
3 three
4 four
5 five
6 six
7 seven
8 eight
9 nine
10 ten
11 eleven
12 twelve
13 thirteen
14 fourteen
15 fifteen
16 sixteen
17 seventeen
18 eighteen
19 nineteen
20 twenty
21 twenty-one etc.
30 thirty
40 forty
50 fifty
60 sixty
70 seventy
80 eighty
90 ninety
100 one hundred
101 one hundred and one, etc.
200 two hundred
1,000 one thousand
1,001 one thousand and one, etc.
5,000 five thousand
100,000 one hundred thousand
260,127 two hundred and sixty thousand, one hundred and twenty-seven
1,000,000 one million
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Points to notice about cardinal numbers

1. 0/nought/zero
The spoken form of 0 is:
a) Nought (AmE zero) or oh. Oh is used especially when giving telephone numbers:
180 33 - one eight oh double three
b) When talking scientifically, e.g. when giving temperatures, 0 is pronounced zero:
- 20
o
= twenty degrees below zero
c) When giving the scores of most games, e.g. football, 0 is pronounced nil or nothing.
Manchester 6, Leeds 0 is said Manchester six, Leeds nil (or nothing).
When giving the scores of a few other games, e.g. tennis, we use love for 0:
Hewitt leads by two sets to love (2 – 0).

2. The -teen numerals have stress on the last syllable if they are not followed by a noun:
thirteen, fifteen;
when they are used with noun, the stress is on the first syllable:
thirteen books, fifteen pencils

3. When writing in words, or reading, a number composed of three or more figures we place
and before the word denoting tens or units:
713 seven hundred and thirteen
5,102 five thousand, one hundred and two
but
6,100 six thousand, one hundred (no tens or units)
and is used similarly with hundreds of thousands:
320,410 three hundred and twenty thousand, four hundred and ten
and hundreds of millions:
303,000,000 three hundred and three million

4. a is more usual than one before hundred, thousand, million, etc., when these numbers stand
alone or begin an expression:
100 a hundred
1,000 a thousand
100,000 a hundred thousand

We can also say a hundred and one, a hundred and two, etc. up to a hundred and ninety-nine
and a thousand and one, etc., up to a thousand and ninety-nine. Otherwise we use one, not a,
so:
1,040 a/one thousand and forty
but
1,140 one thousand, one hundred and forty

5. The words hundred, thousand, million and dozen (i.e. twelve), when used of a definite
number, are never made plural:
six hundred men
ten thousand pounds
two dozen eggs
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If however, these words are used loosely, merely to convey the idea of a large number, they
must be made plural:
hundreds of people
thousands of birds
dozens of times
Note also that in this case the preposition of is placed after hundreds, thousands, etc. Of is not
used with definite numbers except before the/them, these/those or possessives:
six of the blue ones
ten of these
four of Tom’s brothers
Uncertain numbers
The word odd may be used with round numbers over twenty to give an approximate figure:
It’s a hundred odd pounds.(i.e. about)
She’s sixty odd. (i.e. about 60 years old)
-ish, ... or so and or thereabouts can also be used when giving approximate numbers:
He’s sixtyish. I’ll meet you nineish.
It cost a hundred pounds or so.
He’s arriving on the seventh or thereabouts.

Decimals
Numbers composed of four or more figures are divided into groups of three as shown above.
Decimals are indicated by ‘.’, which is read ‘point’. We say each number after the decimal
point separately:
10.92 ten point nine two
45.987 forty five point nine eight seven
A zero after a decimal point is usually read ‘nought’, but ‘0’ and ‘zero’ would also be
possible:
8.04 eight point nought four
0.46 nought point four six

Back to Numerals

ORDINAL NUMERALS
1st first
2nd second
3rd third
4th fourth
5th fifth
6th sixth
7th seventh
8th eighth
9th ninth
10th tenth
11th eleventh
12th twelfth
13th thirteenth
14th fourteenth
99
15th fifteenth
16th sixteenth
17th seventeenth
18th eighteenth
19th nineteenth
20th twentieth
21st twenty-first
22nd twenty-second
23rd twenty-third
24th twenty-fourth
25th twenty-fifth
30th thirtieth
40th fortieth
50th fiftieth
60th sixtieth
70th seventieth
80th eightieth
90th ninetieth
100th one/the hundredth
101st one/the hundred and first
200th the two hundredth
1,000th one/the thousandth
1,001st one/the thousand and first, etc.
10,001st one/the ten thousand and first, etc.
100,000th one/the one hundred thousandth, etc.
1,000,000th one/the millionth
Points to notice about ordinal numerals
1. Notice the irregular spelling of fifth, eighth and twelfth

2. When ordinal numerals are expressed in figures the last two letters of the written word must
be added (except in dates):
first – 1st twenty-first – 21st
second – 2nd forty-second – 42nd
third – 3rd sixty-third – 63rd
fourth – 4th eightieth – 80th

3. In compound ordinal numerals the rule about and is the same as for compound cardinal
numerals:
101st = one hundred and first

4. The definite article normally precedes ordinal numerals:
the sixtieth day, the fortieth visitor, the second edition
The indefinite article may be used with first, second, third, etc.
a second voyage (= an additional voyage, one more)

5. Titles of kings etc. are written in Roman numerals:
Charles V James III Elizabeth II
100
In spoken English we use the ordinal numbers preceded by the:
Charles the Fifth, James the Third, Elizabeth the Second

Some rich American families do the same: Henry Ford II

Back to Numerals

SPECIAL USES OF NUMERALS
Dates
1. The year
When reading or speaking we use the term hundred but not thousand. The year 1987 would be
read as nineteen hundred and eighty-seven or nineteen eighty-seven. 1066: ten sixty-six. Years
ending in ‘00’ are said with ‘hundred’: 1900 nineteen hundred but note 2,000: the year two
thousand.
Years before the Christian era are followed by the letters B.C. (= Before Christ) and years
dating from the Christian era are occasionally preceded by the letters A.D. (= Anno Domini,
in the year of the Lord in Latin). A.D. is not usually necessary, except with the early centuries
to avoid possible confusion. B.C. is usually necessary.
Pompey died in 48 B.C.
Tiberius died in A.D. 37.

2. The date
We can write the date in different ways: e.g.
Day/month/year: 6th January, 1991 (or ‘91) – BrE
Month/day/year: January 6th, 1998 (or ‘98) – AmE

When we say the date we add the (and of):
January the sixth, or the sixth of January – BrE
January sixth – AmE
The date can also be written entirely in figures:
6.1.90, or 06.01.90
In BrE this means January 6, 1990.
In AmE it means June 1, 1990 since the number of the month is written before the day. In
letters often: 2/4/1941
10-5-1986
23.7.91
Fractions
When writing in words or reading fractions other than 1/2 (a half) and 1/4 (a quarter), we use
a combination of cardinal and ordinal numbers:
1/5 a/one fifth 1/10 a/one tenth (a is more usual than one)
3/5 three fifths 7/10 seven tenths
A whole number + a fraction can be followed directly by a plural noun:
2 1/4 miles = two and a quarter miles
3 3/4 miles = three and three quarters miles
101
Multiplicative Numerals
a) once jednou
twice dvakrát
three times třikrát thrice (archaic) třikrát
four times čtyřikrát
a hundred times
several times
many times
b) single, simple jednoduchý
double, twofold dvojitý
treble, threefold trojitý
c) for the first time poprvé
for the second time podruhé
d) first/ly: zaprvé
second/ly: zadruhé
third/ly: zatřetí

The Four Arithmetical Operations
1. Addition
How many are two and two?
2 + 2 = 4 could be spoken as:
two and two make/makes four
two plus two is/are/equal/equals four

2. Subtraction
What does three from nine leave?
What is the difference between 9 and 3?
9 - 3 = 6 could be spoken as:
9 minus 3 equals 6
9 take away 3 equals 6
3 from 9 equals/is/makes 6.

3. Multiplication
How many are nine times three?
9 x 3 = 27 could be spoken as:
9 multiplied by 3 equals 27
9 times 3 is/are/makes 27
Three nines (or nine threes) are 27.

4. Division
How many times does seven go into fifty-six?
How many times is seven contained in fifty-six?
Seven goes into fifty-six eights times.
9 : 3 = 3 could be spoken as:
9 divided by (or over) 3 equals 3
3 into nine is/goes 3.
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‘The Percentage Sign’ %
is usually said per cent
3 % = three per cent
3 1/2 % = three and a half per cent
3.5 % = three point five per cent
Weights
1 ounce (oz.) = 28.35 grams (gm)
1 pound (lb.) = 0.454 kilogram (kg)
1 stone (st.) = 6.356 kilogram/kilos

Plurals
ounce and pound can take -s in the plural when they are used as nouns, stone doesn’t take -s:
e.g. we say
six pound of sugar or six pounds of sugar
but ten stone of coal has no alternative.

kilo or kilogram usually take -s in the plural when used as nouns:
two kilos of apples or two kilograms of apples
Length
1 inch (in.) = 2.54 centimetres (cm)
1 foot (ft.) = 30.5 centimetres
1 yard (yd.) = 0.914 metres (m)
1 mile (statue) = 1.609 kilometres (km)

Plurals:
When there is more than one inch/mile/centimetre we normally use the plural form of these
words:
one inch – ten inches
one mile – four miles
one centimetre – five centimetres
When used in compound adjectives the above forms never take the plural form:
a two-mile walk
a six-inch ruler
Liquid Measure
1 pint (pt.) = 0.568 litre (l)
1 gallon (gal.) = 4.55 litres
Traditionally British measurements have been made in ounces, inches, pints, etc. but there is
now a gradual move towards the metric system.


Back to Numerals

Back to Contents
103
PREPOSITIONS
THE POSITION AND FORM
THE MEANING OF PREPOSITIONS

Prepositi ons are words used with nouns, noun phrases, pronouns or gerunds to express a
relationship between one person, thing, event, etc. and another:
preposition + noun: I gave the book to Charlie.
preposition + pronoun: I gave it to him.
preposition + gerund: Charlie devotes his time to reading.

THE POSITION AND FORM
The Position of Prepositions
Prepositions normally precede nouns, noun phrases, pronouns or gerunds; but there are some
circumstances in which the prepositions move to the end of the sentence:
1. In questions beginning with a preposition + whom/which/what/whose/where (in so called
wh-questions):
Who were you talking to? (informal)
To whom were you talking? (formal)
Which house did you leave it at? (informal)
At which house is he staying? (formal)

It used to be thought ungrammatical to end a sentence with a preposition, but it is now
regarded as fully acceptable.

2. In relative clauses, the relative pronoun is then often omitted:
The old house (which) I was telling you about is empty (informal)
The old house about which I was telling you is empty (formal)
the people I was travelling with (informal)
the people with whom I was travelling (formal)

3. In some exclamations,
What a mess he’s got into!
passive constructions
Everything he said was laughed at.
She was sought after by all the leading impresarios of the day.
and infinitive clauses
He’s impossible to work with.
In addition there are several idiomatic usages such as:
all the world over, all the year round, search the house through

Form and Stress of Prepositions
Most of the common English prepositions are simple, i.e. consist of one word: at, from, in, to,
into, etc., or complex, i.e. consist of more than one word. Most of these are in one of the
following categories:
104
adverb or prep. + prep.: along with, as for, away from, out of, up to, etc.
verb/adjective/conjunction/etc. + prep.: owing to, due to, because of, etc.
prep. + noun + prep.: by means of, in comparison with, in front of, etc.

Monosyllabic simple prepositions are normally unstressed.
There’s someone at the door. (No stress on at.)

Polysyllabic prepositions are normally stressed. In complex prepositions, the stress falls on
the word (adverb, noun, etc.) preceding the final preposition.
opposite the bank;
behind the wall

Back to Prepositions

THE MEANING OF PREPOSITIONS
Most prepositions are pol ysemanti c, comprising a variety of meanings. The meaning of the
preposition is determined
a) by the meaning of the noun before which the preposition stands
b) by the meaning of the word on which the prepositional phrase depends.
I saw him on Monday, in October, at seven o’clock.
So, prepositions indicate various relationships between words or phrases, the most usual
being those of time, space (position) and mental or emotional attitudes.

Position and Movement
Local relations are expressed by prepositional phrases denoting:
a) Position in a place
b) Movement (direction)
Between the notions of simple position and directions (movement with respect to a
destination) a cause-and-effect relationship obtains:

direction position
Tom went to the door as a result: Tom was at the door
Tom fell on(to) the floor as a result: Tom was on the floor

Place
The principal prepositions used to express place are: in, at, on, upon, by, beside, near, before,
in front of, behind, beyond, over, under, beneath, below, amidst, among, between, within,
without, out, outside, around, round, etc.
We can consider position in place in relation to:
a) a point (i.e. a place or an event):
at the cinema; at a party; to/from London
We stood at the door and waited. (i.e. at that point)
b) a line (i.e. a place we think of in terms of length):
across/along/on a border/river/road
There’s a letter box across the road. (i.e.across that line)
c) a surface (i.e. a place we think of as a flat area):
across/off/on a table/floor/wall/ceiling
I stared at a fly on the wall. (i.e. on that surface)
105
d) area or volume: (i.e. a place which can ‘enclose’):
in/into/out of/outside/within a room/ship/car/factory
We all sat in the car. (i.e. in that area)

A single place (e.g. river) can be viewed from different angles:

We went to the river. (a point)
Greenwich is down the river. (a line)
The paper boat floated on the river. (a surface)
We swam in the river. (an area or volume)

A preposition takes on the idea of movement (fly under) or lack of movement (position) (stop
under) from the verb in the sentence. Some prepositions combine either with ‘movement
verbs’, e.g. bring, drive, fly, get, move, pull, run, take, walk, or with ‘position verbs’, e.g. be,
live, keep, meet, stay, stop, work.

movement position
above
drove across were above
We flew along + object We live along + object
ran beside work beside
near, etc. near, etc.

Some prepositions, such as into, onto, out of, to, etc., normally combine only with ‘movement
verbs’:
A bird flew into my bedroom this morning.
I drove out of the car park.

Other prepositions, such as at, in, on, etc. normally combine only with ‘position verbs’:
The bird perched on the curtain rail.
I waited in the hotel lobby.

Verbs which describe ‘movement with an end’, e.g. lay, place, sit, stand do not combine with
prepositions like into, onto or to:
She laid the letter on the table.
She sat the baby on the table.

We can often use the verb be with prepositions that normally combine with ‘movement
verbs’ to convey the idea of ‘having reached a destination’ (real or metaphorical):
At last we were into/out of the forest (over the river).
At last we were out of/over our difficulties.

Direction
The following prepositions serve to express the idea of direction: to, towards, into, along,
through, across, on, by, before, over, round, under, out of, from.
Jim has gone to school.
Jim has gone from school.
I put the pen on(to) the table.
I have put the coin in(to) my pocket.
We ran out of the building.
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Time
Temporal relations are expressed by prepositional phrases denoting
a) A point or period of time; these prepositional phrases answer to the question When?
The following prepositions express those meanings: in, at, on, of, by, near, before, after, past,
over, beyond, between, within, during, for, through, etc.:
He became ill during the night.
I shall see him at four o’clock.
We camped there for the summer. (i.e. all through)
We camped there in the summer. (i.e. at some time during the summer)
I always eat my breakfast in ten minutes.
I finished the examination in/within an hour and a half.

b) The point of time at which the action starts or terminates: these prepositional phrases
answer to the question Since when? or Till what time? The following prepositions serve to
express those meanings: from, since, to (down to, up to), into, till, until, etc.
We slept until midnight. (= We stopped sleeping then)
We didn’t sleep until midnight. (= We started sleeping then)
Up to last week, I hadn’t received a reply.

The prepositions at, on and in refer not only to place, but also to time. We can refer to
approximate time with approximately, about, around, round or round about:
The accident happened at approximately 5.30.
The accident happened (at) about/around 5.30.

Time phrases with at
Exact time: at 10 o’clock; at 14 hundred hours
Meal times: at lunch time; at tea time; at dinner time
Other points of time: at dawn; at noon; at midnight; at night
Festivals: at Christmas; at Easter; at Christmas-time
Age: at the age of 27; at 14
+ time: at this time; at that time

At is often omitted in questions with What time...? and in short answers to such questions:
What time do you arrive? – Nine o’clock in the morning.
The full question and answer is formal:
At what time do you arrive? – At nine o’clock in the morning.

Time phrases with on
Days of the week: on Monday; on Fridays
Parts of the day: on Monday morning; on Friday evening
Dates: on June 1st; on 21st March
Day + date: on Monday, June 1
st
Particular occasions: on that day; on that evening
Anniversaries etc.: on your birthday; on your wedding day
Festivals: on Christmas Day; on New Year’s Day
107
In everyday speech on is often omitted:
I’ll see you Friday. See you June 21st.
Prepositions (and the definite article) must be omitted when we use last, next and this, that:
I saw him last/this April. I’ll see you next/this Friday.

Time phrases with in (= some time during)
Parts of the day: in the evening; in the morning
Months: in March; in September
Years: in 1900; in 1948; in 1998
Seasons: in (the) spring; in (the) winter
Centuries: in the 19th century, in the 20th century
Festivals: in Ramadan; in Easter week
Periods of time: in that time; in that age; in the holidays

Abstract Relations
Besides local and temporal meanings prepositional phrases may have a variety of more
abstract meanings such as:
a) Manner:
The army swept through the city like a pestilence.
The task was done in a workmanlike manner.
We were received with the utmost courtesy.

b) Means or instrument:
I usually go to work by bus/train/car.
Someone had broken the window with a stone.
He caught the ball with his left hand.

c) Accompaniment:
I’m so glad you’re coming with us.
They played all sorts of games with other children.

d) Purpose or cause:
Do it for your own sake.
He went in search of it.
He’ll do anything for money.
Because of the drought, the price of bread was high that year.
On account of his wide experience, he was made chairman.


Back to Prepositions

Back to Contents
108
CONJUNCTIONS
COORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS
SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS

Conjunctions are form-words; they have no independent meaning of their own, but serve to
connect words, groups of words, and sentences or clauses. This connection is brought about
either by way of co-ordination or by way of subordination.
Accordingly, conjunctions are classed as co-ordinative and subordinative.

COORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS
Coordinating (or co-ordinative) conjunctions connect homogeneous parts in a simple
sentence, independent sentences or coordinate clauses in a compound sentence.
There are four different kinds of coordinating conjunctions.
1. Copulative conjunctions
chiefly denote that one statement or fact is simply added to another, sometimes they are used
to express an opposition or an explanation: and, both ... and; not only ... but (too/as well); not
only ... but (also); and then; as well as, neither ... nor:
I make the payments and keep the accounts.
The fur coat was both soft and warm.
The fur coat was soft and also warm.
The fur coat was soft as well as warm.
He not only washed the car, but polished it (too/as well).
He can neither read nor write.
Not only men but also women were chosen.
2. Disjunctive conjunctions
denote separation: or, or else, else, either ... or, neither ... nor (‘not one of two’), not only ...
but also, etc.
Take this book or that one.
Either my answer or yours is wrong.
Neither your answer nor mine is right.
Not only is your answer wrong but mine is also.
3. Adversative conjunctions
suggest contrast: but, still (‘admitting that/nevertheless’), while, whereas, yet (‘in spite of
that/all the same, nevertheless’):
The coat was thin but warm.
He washed the car, but didn’t polish it.
The car was quite old; yet/still/however/nevertheless it was in excellent condition.
They are ugly and expensive; yet people buy them.
109
4. Causative-consecutive conjunctions
so, for, therefore, accordingly, thus, hence, consequently, etc.
Our cases were heavy, so we took a taxi.
He couldn’t find his pen, so he wrote in pencil. (The subject is usually repeated after
so.)
There is fog at Heathrow; the plane, therefore, has been diverted.
We rarely stay in hotels, for we can’t afford it.

For gives the reason for something that has already been stated. Unlike because, it cannot
begin a sentence. The subject must be repeated after for. This use of for is more usual in the
written language.

Some of the coordinating conjunctions are polysemantic. Thus the coordinating conjunction
and can serve a variety of purposes to express:

addition: We were talking and laughing (= in addition to)
result: He fell heavily and broke his arm. (= so)
condition: Weed the garden and I’ll pay you ! (= If...then)
sequence: He finished lunch and went shopping (= then)
contrast: Tom’s 15 and still sucks his thumb. (= despite this)

Back to Conjunctions

SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS
Subordinating (or subordinative) conjunctions are used to introduce
1. noun clauses (that, if, whether, lest)
He said that he would help us.
I will come if you want me.
She feared lest they should take her at her word.

2. adverbial clauses or phrases of every kind
Some conjunctions have more than one meaning and may introduce more than one type of
clause. For instance the that-clause can occur as:
subject: That she is still alive is a consolation.
direct object: I told him that he was wrong.
subject complement: The assumption is that things will improve.
appositive: Your assumption, that things will improve, is unfounded.
adjectival complement: I’m sure that things will improve.

When the that-clause is object or complement, the conjunction that is frequently omitted in
informal use:
I knew
I told him he was wrong.
I’m sure

When the clause is subject, that cannot be omitted and is usually expanded to the fact that,
except in very formal English:
(The fact) that she is still alive consoles me.
110
ADVERBIAL CLAUSES
Clauses of time
These clauses broadly answer the question When? and can be introduced by the following
conjunctions: when, after, as, as long as, as soon as, before, by the time, now, once, since,
until, when. We generally use a comma when the adverbial clause comes first:
When I last saw you, you lived in Washington.
We always have to wait till/until the last customer has left.
Buy your tickets as soon as you reach the station.

Clauses of place
These clauses answer the question Where? and can be introduced by the conjunctions where,
wherever, anywhere and everywhere.
Adverbial clauses of place normally come after the main clause:
You can’t camp where/wherever/anywhere you like these days.
They went wherever they could find work.

Clauses of manner
These clauses answer the question How? Clauses of manner are introduced by the
conjunctions (just) as, (exactly) as. Adverbial clauses of manner normally come after the
main clause:
Please do it (exactly) as I instructed. (‘in the way that...’)
Type this again as I showed you a moment ago. (‘in the way I showed you’)

Adverbial clauses of manner can also be introduced by the conjunctions as if and as though
after verbs be, act, appear, behave, feel, look, seem, smell, sound, taste:
I feel as if/as though I’m floating on air.
He looks as if he is going to be ill.

Clauses of condition and concession
Whereas conditional clauses state the dependence of one circumstance or set of
circumstances on another:
If you treat her kindly, (then) she’ll do anything for you,
concessive clauses imply a contrast between two circumstances, i.e. the main clause is
surprising in the light of the dependent one:
Although he hadn’t eaten for days, he (nevertheless) looked very fit.
Much as I’d like to help, there isn’t a lot I can do.

Clauses of condition are introduced by if (positive condition) and unless (negative condition).
He must be lying if he told you that.
Unless the strike has been called off, there will be no trains tomorrow.

Clauses of concession are introduced chiefly by though, although, while, whereas, even if,
much as ...

Clauses of reason or cause
These clauses broadly answer the question Why? and can be introduced by the following
conjunctions: because, as, and since.
As/Since Jane was the eldest, she looked after the others.
As/Because/Since there was very little support, the strike was not successful.
111
Clauses of purpose
These clauses answer the questions What for? and For what purpose? and can be introduced
by the following conjunctions: so that, in order (that), in case, lest and for fear (that).
They left the door open in order for me to hear the baby.
In the purpose clause the modal auxiliaries should, could, might or would are used:
I arrived early so that/in order that I should/could/might/would get a good view of
the procession.

Clauses of result
These clauses describe consequences. They can be introduced by that after so + adjective to
answer, e.g. the question How (quick)...?
His reactions are so quick that no one can match him.
and by that after so + adverb to answer, e.g. How (quickly)...?
He reacts so quickly that no one can match him.
They can also be introduced by that after such (a) + noun (or adjective + noun) to answer
questions like What’s (he) like?:
He is such a marvellous joker that you can’t help laughing.

Clauses of comparison
The essential feature of comparative constructions is that two ideas, one expressed by the
principal clause and one by the comparative clause, are compared with respect to something
they have in common:
He is as quick in answering as his sister (is).
He answers as quickly as his sister (does).
He is not as/so quick in answering as his sister (is).
His sister is quicker than he (is).
He moves more slowly than his sister (does).
The more you practise, the better you get.

The use of conjunctions in comparative constructions is illustrated in paragraphs dealing with
the comparison of adjectives (pp. 78) and the comparison of adverbs (pp. 93).

Back to Conjunctions

Back to Contents
112
INTERJECTIONS

An i nterjecti on is a word or sound used to express surprise, anger, pleasure, or some other
sudden feeling or emotion. It is important because of its high frequency in spoken language.
It represents the most primitive type of utterance.

According to their meaning interjections fall under two main groups:
1. Emotional interjections express the feelings of the speaker. The most usual are:
Ah! (expressing surprise or satisfaction) (= ah!, ach!)
Ah! is it you? Ah! what anguish!

Oh! (expressing pain or surprise) (= ach, á, jé)
Oh! were this day my last!
Oh, how cold it is!

Alas! (expressing sorrow, disappointment) (= běda! bohužel!, želbohu)
Alas, we must part!

2. Imperative interjections show the will of the speaker or his order or appeal to the hearer.
They are: here, hush, now, sh-sh, etc.
Hush! did you not hear the sound? (= pst! šš!)

Interjections may be primary and secondary:
1. Primary interjections are not derived from other parts of speech. Most of them are simple
words: ah, oh, eh, pooh, fie, hush. Only a few primary interjections are composite: heigh-ho!
hey-ho! holla-ho! gee-ho! [d¸i: hcoj vijé!

2. Secondary interjections are derived from other parts of speech. They are homonymous
with the words they are derived from. They are: well, now, here, there, come, why, dear me,
confound it, hang it, etc.
There, see that bird! (= hele…)
There, I told you so! (= no, inu…)
Why, you didn’t even see him! (= Vždyť vy jste ho přece ani neviděli!)
Why, how do you do! (= no tak, tak tedy…)

Among interjections are included imitations of sounds such as mew, cock-a-doodle-doo,
swish. These words do not name the sounds produced by animals or things but imitate them.
Toot-tootle-too, goes the horn.

The dividing line is thin between interjections and exclamations, in which an ordinary word
or group of words are used as interjections. Examples of exclamations are:
Good! Bravo! Shame! Nonsense! Stop! Shame on you!

Sometimes other parts of speech and even elliptical sentences are used as interjections; in this
case they lose their notional meaning and serve to express only some emotion or feeling:
Help! Come, come! Dear me! Hear! Look! Well! I say! All right! I see!
113
Interjections usually have no grammatical connection with the sentences in which they occur.
Hence they are classed among the ‘independent elements’ of a sentence or are treated as
exclamatory phrases. Sometimes, however, a noun is connected with an interjection by means
of a preposition:
Alas for my hopes!

Back to Interjections

Back to Contents
114
LIST OF IRREGULAR VERBS

The verbs in roman type are verbs which are not very common in modern English but may be
found in literature. When a verb has two possible forms and one is less usual than the other,
the less usual one will be printed in roman.
The bullet sign is attached to the verbs which cannot be found in Stručná mluvnice angličtiny
by Dušková, Bubeníková and Caha (see Selected Bibliography).
Compounds of irregular verbs form their past tenses and past participles in the same way as
the original verb:

come came come
overcome overcame overcome
set set set
upset upset upset

Present and infinitive Czech meaning Simple past Past participle
abide [c'baidj •
(do)držet, snášet
abode [c'bcodj abode [c'bcodj
arise [c'raizj
povstat, vzniknout
arose [c'rcozj arisen [c'riznj
awake [c'wcikj
probudit (se)
awoke [c'wcokj
awaked [c'wciktj
awoken [c'wcoknj
awaked [c'wciktj
be [bi:j
být
was [woz, wczj
were [wa:, wcj
been [bi:n, binj
bear [bccj
nést, rodit
bore [b5:j borne/born
*
[b5:nj
beat [bi:tj
bít, tlouci
beat [bi:tj beaten [bi:tnj
become [bi'k\mj
stát se
became [bi'kcimj become [bi'k\mj
befall [bi'I5:Ij •
přihodit se, udát se
befell [bi'IcIj befallen [bi'I5:Icnj
beget [bi'gctj •
plodit, vyvolávat
begot [bi'gotj begotten [bi'gotnj
begin [bi'ginj
začínat
began [bi'gænj begun [bi'g\nj
behold [bi'hcoIdj •
zřít, spatřit
beheld [bi'hcIdj beheld [bi'hcIdj
bend [bcndj
ohýbat (se)
bent [bcntj bent [bcntj
bereave [bi'ri:vj •
oloupit, připravit (o)
bereaved [bi'ri:vdj bereaved [bi'ri:vdj
bereft
*
[bi'rcItj
beseech [bi'si:tjj •
doprošovat se, snažně
prosit, naléhat
besought [bi's5:tj besought [bi's5:tj
bet [bctj •
vsadit se, sázet (se)
betted [bctidj
bet [bctj
betted [bctidj
bet [bctj
bid (= command)
[bidj
poroučet, rozkazovat
bade [bædj bidden [bidnj
bid (= offer) [bidj •
nabízet
bid [bidj bid [bidj
bind [baindj
vázat
bound [baondj bound [baondj


*
These past participles are not optional but carry different meanings and should be checked by the student in a
reliable dictionary.
115

bite [baitj
kousat
bit [bitj bitten [bitnj
bleed [bIi:dj
krvácet
bled [bIcdj bled [bIcdj
blend [bIcndj
míchat, mísit
blended [bIcndidj
blent [bIcntj
blended [bIcndidj
blent [bIcntj
blow [bIcoj
dout, vanout, foukat
blew [bIu:j blown [bIconj
break [brcikj
lámat, rozbíjet
broke [brcokj broken [brcoknj
breed [bri:dj
plodit, pěstovat
bred [brcdj bred [brcdj
bring [bripj
přinést
brought [br5:tj brought [br5:tj
broadcast [br5:dko:stj
vysílat
broadcast [br5:dko:stj broadcast [br5:dko:stj
build [biIdj
stavět, budovat
built [biItj built [biItj
burn [ba:nj
hořet, pálit
burned [ba:ndj
burnt [ba:ntj
burned [ba:ndj
burnt [ba:ntj
burst [ba:stj
puknout, prasknout
burst [ba:stj burst [ba:stj
buy [baij
kupovat
bought [b5:tj bought [b5:tj
can
+
[kænj
moci
could [kodj be able [bi: cibIj
cast [ko:stj
vrhat, odlévat
cast [ko:stj cast [ko:stj
catch [kætjj
chytat
caught [k5:tj caught [k5:tj
chide [tjaidj
hádat se, přít se
chid [tjidj chidden [tjidnj
choose [tju:zj
vybrat si, zvolit
chose [tjcozj chosen [tjcoznj
cleave [kIi:vj •
lpět, odštěpit, oddělit
clove [kIcovj
cleft [kIcItj
cloven [kIcovnj
cleft
*
[kIcItj
cling [kIipj
lpět, lnout
clung [kI\pj clung [kI\pj
clothe [kIcoðj •
obléci, ošatit, odít
clothed [kIcoðdj
clad [kI\dj
clothed [kIcoðdj
clad [kI\dj
come [k\mj
přijít
came [kcimj come [k\mj
cost [kostj
stát (o ceně)
cost [kostj cost [kostj
creep [kri:pj
lézt, plazit se
crept [krcptj crept [krcptj
crow [krcoj •
kokrhat, halekat
crowed [krcodj
crew
*
[kru:j
crowed [krcodj
cut [k\tj
řezat, krájet
cut [k\tj cut [k\tj
dare [dccj
odvážit se, troufat si
dared [dccdj
durst [da:stj
dared [dccdj
durst [da:stj
deal [di:Ij
jednat, obchodovat
dealt [dcItj dealt [dcItj
dig [digj
kopat
dug [d\gj dug [d\gj
do [du:j
dělat, činit, konat
did [didj done [d\nj
draw [dr5:j
táhnout, kreslit
drew [dru:j drawn [dr5:nj
dream [dri:mj
snít, mít sen
dreamed [dri:mdj
dreamt [drcmtj
dreamed [dri:mdj
dreamt [drcmtj

116

drink [dripkj
pít
drank [dræpkj drunk [dr\pkj
drunken [dr\pknj –
adj.
drive [draivj
hnát, pohánět, jet
drove [drcovj driven [drivnj
dwell [dwcIj
přebývat, trvat na čem
dwelled [dwcIdj
dwelt [dwcIdj
dwelled [dwcIdj
dwelt [dwcItj
eat [i:tj
jíst
ate [ct, citj eaten [i:tnj
fall [I5:Ij
padata
fell [IcIj fallen [I5:Icnj
feed [Ii:dj
živit, krmit
fed [Icdj fed [Icdj
feel [Ii:Ij
cítit (se)
felt [IcItj felt [IcItj
fight [Iaitj
bojovat, zápasit
fought [I5:tj fought [I5:tj
find [Iaindj
nalézt, shledat
found [Iaondj found [Iaondj
flee [IIi:j
prchat
fled [IIcdj fled [IIcdj
fling [IIipj
mrštit, házet
flung [II\pj flung [II\pj
fly [IIaij
létat
flew [IIu:j flown [IIconj
forbear [I5:'bccj •
zdržet se, odříci si
forbore [I5:'bo:j forborne [I5:'b5:nj
forbid [Ic'bidj
zakázat
forbade [Ic'bædj forbidden [Ic'bidnj
forget [Ic'gctj
zapomenout
forgot [Ic'gotj forgotten [Ic'gotnj
forgive [Ic'givj
odpustit
forgave [Ic'gcivj forgiven [Ic'givnj
forsake [Ic'scikj
opustit
forsook [Ic'sokj forsaken [Ic'sciknj
freeze [Iri:zj
mrznout
froze [Ircozj frozen [Ircoznj
get [gctj
dostat (se)
got [gotj got [gotj
gild [giIdj •
pozlatit, zkrášlit,
ozdobit
gilded [giIdidj
gilt [giItj
gilded [giIdidj
gilt [giItj
gird [ga:dj •
opásat, obtočit,
obklopit
girded [ga:didj
girt [ga:tj
girded [ga:didj
girt [ga:tj
give [givj
dát
gave [gcivj given [givnj
go [gcoj
jít
went [wcntj gone [gonj
grind [graindj
brousit, mlít
ground [graondj ground [graondj
grow [grcoj
růst
grew [gru:j grown [grconj
hang [hæpj
viset, věšet, oběsit
hanged [hæpdj
hung [h\pj
hanged [hæpdj
hung
*
[h\pj
have [hævj
mít
had [hædj had [hædj
hear [hicj
slyšet
heard [ha:dj heard [ha:dj
hew [hju:j •
tesat, pokácet,
vysekat
hewed [hju:dj hewed [hju:dj
hewn [hju:nj
hide [haidj
skrývat (se)
hid [hidj hidden [hidnj
hit [hitj
udeřit, zasáhnout
hit [hitj hit [hitj
hold [hcoIdj
držet
held [hcIdj held [hcIdj
hurt [ha:tj
ranit, ublížit
hurt [ha:tj hurt [ha:tj
117
keep [ki:pj
držet
kept [kcptj kept [kcptj
kneel [ni:Ij
klečet
knelt [ncItj knelt [ncItj
knit
*
[nitj •
spojit, stmelit
knit [nitj knit [nitj
know [ncoj
znát, vědět
knew [nju:j known [nconj
lay [Icij
položit
laid [Icidj laid [Icidj
lead [Ii:dj
vést
led [Icdj led [Icdj
lean [Ii:nj
vyklánět se, opírat se
leaned [Ii:ndj
leant [Icntj
leaned [Ii:ndj
leant [Icntj
leap [Ii:pj
skákat
leaped [Ii:ptj
leapt [Icptj
leaped [Ii:ptj
leapt [Icptj
learn [Ia:nj
učit se
learned [Ia:ndj
learnt [Ia:ntj
learned [Ia:ndj
learnt [Ia:ntj
leave [Ii:vj
opustit, odjet,
zanechat
left [IcItj left [IcItj
lend [Icndj
půjčit
lent [Icntj lent [Icntj
let [Ictj
nechat
let [Ictj let [Ictj
lie [Iaij
ležet
lay [Icij lain [Icinj
light [Iaitj
rozsvítit, zapálit
lighted [Iaitidj
lit [Iitj
lighted [Iaitidj
lit [Iitj
lose [Iu:zj
ztratit
lost [Iostj lost [Iostj
make [mcikj
dělat, vyrábět
made [mcidj made [mcidj
may
+
[mcij

might [maitj

mean [mi:nj
mínit, znamenat
meant [mcntj meant [mcntj
meet [mi:tj
potkat
met [mctj met [mctj
mow [mcoj •
sekat, žnout
mowed [mcodj mowed [mcodj
mown [mconj
must
+
[m\stj
muset
had to [hæd toj

ought
+
[5:tj
– – –
pay [pcij
platit
paid [pcidj paid [pcidj
put [potj
dát (něco někam)
put [potj put [potj
read [ri:dj
číst
read [rcdj read [rcdj
rend [rcndj •
trhnout, štípat, rvát
rent [rcntj rent [rcntj
rid [ridj •
zbavit, vyčistit
rid [ridj rid [ridj
ride [raidj
jet (např. na kole)
rode [rcodj ridden [ridnj
ring [ripj
zvonit
rang [ræpj rung [r\pj
rise [raizj
zvednout se, vstát,
stoupat
rose [rcozj risen [riznj
run [r\nj
běžet
ran [rænj run [r\nj
saw [s5:j •
řezat, přeříznout,
(pře)pilovat
sawed [s5:dj sawed [s5:dj
sawn [s5:nj
say [scij
říci, pravit
said [scdj said [scdj
118
see [si:j
vidět
saw [s5:j seen [si:nj
seek [si:kj
hledat, snažit se
sought [s5:tj sought [s5:tj
sell [scIj
prodávat
sold [scoIdj sold [scoIdj
send [scndj
poslat
sent [scntj sent [scntj
set [sctj
postavit, dát (něco
někam), posadit
set [sctj set [sctj
sew [scoj
šít
sewed [scodj sewed [scodj
sewn [sconj
shake [jcikj
třást (se)
shook [jokj shaken [jciknj
shave [jcivj
holit (se)
shaved [jcivdj shaved [jcivdj
shaven [jcivnj – adj.
shall
+
[jæIj

should [jodj

shear [jicj •
stříhat, zastřihovat
sheared [jicdj
shore [j5:j
sheared [jicdj
shorn [j5:nj
shed [jcdj
shazovat, pouštět,
zbavovat se
shed [jcdj shed [jcdj
shine [jainj
svítit, zářit
shone [jonj shone [jonj
shoe [ju:j •
obout, okovat
shoed [ju:dj
shod [jodj
shoed [ju:dj
shod [jodj
shoot [ju:tj
střílet
shot [jotj shot [jotj
show [jcoj
ukázat
showed [jcodj showed [jcodj
shown [jconj
shrink [jripkj
scvrknout se,
svrasknout se
shrank [jræpkj shrunk [jr\pkj
shut [j\tj
zavřít
shut [j\tj shut [j\tj
sing [sipj
zpívat
sang [sæpj sung [s\pj
sink [sipkj
klesnout
sank [sæpkj sunk [s\pkj
sit [sitj
sedět
sat [sætj sat [sætj
slay [sIcij •
zabít, pobít, vymítit
slew [sIu:j slain [sIcinj
sleep [sIi:pj
spát
slept [sIcptj slept [sIcptj
slide [sIaidj
klouzat (se)
slid [sIidj slid [sIidj
sling [sIipj
mrštit, házet
slung [sI\pj slung [sI\pj
slink [sIipkj
plížit se
slunk [sI\pkj slunk [sI\pkj
slit [sIitj
rozříznout, rozpárat,
rozstřihnout
slit [sIitj slit [sIitj
smell [smcIj
čichat, páchnout
smelled [smcIdj
smelt [smcItj
smelled [smcIdj
smelt [smcItj
smite [smaitj •
zasáhnout, postihnout
smote [smcotj smitten [smitnj
sow [scoj
sít, rozsévat
sowed [scodj sowed [scodj
sown [sconj
speak [spi:kj
mluvit
spoke [spcokj spoken [spcoknj
speed [spi:dj
spěchat
speeded [spi:didj speeded [spi:didj
119
sped [spcdj sped [spcdj
spell [spcIj
hláskovat
spelled [spcIdj
spelt [spcItj
spelled [spcIdj
spelt [spcItj
spend [spcndj
strávit, utratit
spent [spcntj spent [spcntj
spill [spiIj
rozlít
spilled [spiIdj
spilt [spiItj
spilled [spiIdj
spilt [spiItj
spin [spinj
příst
spun [sp\nj spun [sp\nj
spit [spitj
plivat
spat [spætj spat [spætj
split [spIitj
rozštípnout
split [spIitj split [spIitj
spread [sprcdj
prostřít, rozprostírat
se, šířit (se)
spread [sprcdj spread [sprcdj
spring [spripj
skákat
sprang [spræpj sprung [spr\pj
stand [stændj
stát
stood [stodj stood [stodj
steal [sti:Ij
krást
stole [stcoIj stolen [stcoIcnj
stick [stikj
vězet, nalepit
stuck [st\kj stuck [st\kj
sting [stipj
bodnout, uštknout
stung [st\pj stung [st\pj
stink [stipkj
zapáchat
stank [stæpkj
stunk [st\pkj
stunk [st\pkj
strew [stru:j
posypat
strewed [stru:dj strewed [stru:dj
strewn [stru:nj
stride [straidj
kráčet
strode [strcodj stridden [stridnj
strike [straikj
bít, tlouci
struck [str\kj struck [str\kj
string [stripj •

strung [str\pj strung [str\pj
strive [straivj
usilovat, snažit se
strove [strcovj striven [strivnj
swear [swccj
přísahat, klít
swore [sw5:j sworn [sw5:nj
sweep [swi:pj
mést
swept [swcptj swept [swcptj
swell [swcIj
otéci, nafouknout se
swelled [swcIdj swelled [swcIdj
swollen [swcoIcnj
swim [swimj
plavat
swam [swæmj swum [sw\mj
swing [swipj
houpat se
swung [sw\pj swung [sw\pj
take [tcikj
vzít, brát
took [tokj taken [tciknj
teach [ti:tjj
učit, vyučovat
taught [t5:tj taught [t5:tj
tear [tccj
trhat
tore [t5:j torn [t5:nj
tell [tcIj
říci, vyprávět
told [tcoIdj told [tcoIdj
think [Oipkj
myslit
thought [O5:tj thought [O5:tj
thrive [Oraivj
prospívat, prosperovat
thrived [Oraivdj
throve [Orcovj
thrived [Oraivdj
thriven [Orivnj
throw [Orcoj
házet
threw [Oru:j thrown [Orconj
thrust [Or\stj
(v)strčit, vrazit
thrust [Or\stj thrust [Or\stj
tread [tri:dj
šlápnout
trod [trodj trodden [trodnj
trod [trodj
120
understand
[\ndc'stændj
rozumět understood
[\ndc'stodj
understood
[\ndc'stodj
undertake
[\ndc'tcikj •
ujmout se, vykonat,
podniknout
undertook [\ndc'tokj
undertaken
[\ndc'tciknj
wake [wcikj
vzbudit (se)
waked [wciktj
woke [wcokj
waked [wciktj
woken [wcoknj
wear [wccj
nosit (na sobě)
wore [w5:j worn [w5:nj
weave [wi:vj
tkát
wove [wcovj woven [wcovnj
weep [wi:pj
plakat
wept [wcptj wept [wcptj
wet [wctj •
navlhčit
wetted [wctidj
wet [wctj
wetted [wctidj
wet [wctj
will
+
[wiIj

would [wodj

win [winj
vyhrát, získat
won [w\nj won [w\nj
wind [waindj
vinout, natáčet
wound [waondj wound [waondj
wring [ripj
ždímat
wrung [r\pj wrung [r\pj
write [raitj
psát
wrote [rcotj written [ritnj

Note:

knit = unite/draw together, knit (= make garments from wool) is a regular verb.
+
Present only

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121
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

ALEXANDER, L. G. (1988): Longman English Grammar, London and New York
ALLEN, W. S. (1947): Living English Structure (Practice Book for Foreign Students), London
ALEXANDER, L.G. and W. S. ALLEN, R. A. CLOSE, R. J. O’NEILL (1977): English Grammatical
Structure, London
AZAR, B. S. (1985): Fundamentals of English Grammar, New Jersey
BEAUMONT, D. and GRANGER, C. (1989): The Heinemann English Grammar, London
BIBER, D., S. JOHANSON, G. LEECH, S. CONRAD and E. FINEGAN (1999): Longman Grammar of
Spoken and Written English, Harlow
CURME, G. O. (1935): Parts of Speech and Accidence, A Grammar of the English Language
II, Boston
DUŠKOVÁ, L. et al. (1988): Mluvnice současné angličtiny na pozadí češtiny, Prague
DUŠKOVÁ, L., BUBENÍKOVÁ, K. and CAHA, J. (1971): Stručná mluvnice angličtiny, Prague
ECKERSLEY, C. E. and ECKERSLEY, J. M. (1969): A comprehensive English Grammar for
Foreign Students, London and Harlow
GANSHINA, M. A. and VASILEVSKAYA, N. M. (1964): English Grammar, Moscow
GREENBAUM, S. and R. QUIRK (1990): A Student’s Grammar of the English Language,
London
HAIS, K. (1975): Anglická mluvnice, Prague
HUDDLESTON, R. AND G. K. PULLUM (2002): The Cambridge Grammar of the English
Language. Cambridge
JESPERSEN, O. (1909-1949): A Modern English Grammar on Historical Principles I – VII,
Copenhagen – London
KÓNYA, S. and L. ORSZÁGH (1972): Rendszeres angol nyelvtan, Budapest
LEECH, G. and J. SVARTVIK (1975): A Communicative Grammar of English, London
LEECH, G. (1991): An A-Z of English Grammar and Usage, Edinburgh
PIŠTĚK, Z and V. PIŠTĚKOVÁ (1991): Stručný prehľad anglickej gramatiky – modelové vety,
Bratislava
QUIRK, R. and S. GREENBAUM (1977): A University Grammar of English, London
QUIRK, R., S. GREENBAUM, G. LEECH and J. SVARTVIK (1976): A Grammar of Contemporary
English, London
QUIRK, R., S. GREENBAUM, G. LEECH and J. SVARTVIK (1985): A Comprehensive Grammar of
the English Language, London
SINCLAIR, J. (ed.) et al. (1997): Collins Cobuild English Usage, London
SWAN, M. (1991): Pracitcal English Usage, Oxford
THOMSON, A. J. and MARTINET, A. V. (1990): A Practical English Grammar, Oxford

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122

©

Prof. PhDr. Aleš Svoboda, DrSc. Mgr. Karel Kučera

PREFACE

Since the present textbook is meant for students of English and prospective teachers of English, its aim is to provide an account of English morphology which would be both founded on theory and also applicable in practice. To meet both the academic and the practical demands, we based our text on the systemic approach as offered by R. Quirk and S. Greenbaum in their University Grammar of English, and supplemented it by drawing on less academic, but more practical grammars by L. G. Alexander, A. J. Thomson and A. V. Martinet, L. Dušková et al., C. E. Eckersley and J. M. Eckersley, and others, who put more stress on the functional or the communicative aspect of the grammatical phenomena under consideration. We are well aware of the fact that in English it is rather difficult to draw a dividing line between morphology and syntax, nevertheless we are convinced that our English Parts of Speech will give Czech students an opportunity to study a subsystem of the English language in a way they are more familiar with than any other. Recently two prominent English grammars have appeared: BIBER, D., S. JOHANSON, G. LEECH, S. CONRAD and E. FINEGAN (1999): Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English, Harlow; and HUDDLESTON, R. AND G. K. PULLUM (2002): The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, Cambridge. Both the grammars are based on vast corpora of written and spoken language and reveal new aspects of the use of English in everyday speech, in mass media, in fiction, and in scholarly communication. However interesting these new findings may be for a student of English, the authors of the present book have not been able to incorporate them in the text, and for special issues they refer the reader to the above two modern grammars reflecting the present stage of English.

Opava, March 2003 The Authors.

..................................................................16 NOUNS 34 NUMBER .......................93 NUMERALS 97 CARDINAL NUMERALS ................................. AND VOICE..............................................................................................50 THE ZERO ARTICLE.............CONTENTS VERBS 5 VERBAL FORMS AND THE VERB PHRASE.................................. MOOD................... ASPECT.............................................................5 THE PRIMARY AUXILIARIES – DO...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................12 TENSE...............................................97 ORDINAL NUMERALS.........99 SPECIAL USES OF NUMERALS .......................................110 INTERJECTIONS 113 LIST OF IRREGULAR VERBS 115 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 122 4 .................................................................................................8 THE MODAL AUXILIARIES .................................................34 GENDER ...109 SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS.....................................................................................101 PREPOSITIONS 104 THE POSITION AND FORM ..................................................................................................................104 THE MEANING OF PREPOSITIONS.................................105 CONJUNCTIONS 109 COORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS.............................................................................................................................................. HAVE...................................................44 ARTICLES 46 THE INDEFINITE ARTICLE ‘A/AN’ .....................................................................87 THE FORMATION OF ADVERBS................................................................77 COMPARISON OF ADJECTIVES.......................................................................39 CASE ...........................................................................42 COUNTABILITY......................................................................................................................................................................................................60 INDEFINITE PRONOUNS ...........................................................58 SPECIFIC PRONOUNS ...................................................................................................67 ADJECTIVES 77 KINDS OF ADJECTIVES...................... THEIR MEANING AND POSITION ............................91 COMPARISON OF ADVERBS...................................................... BE...................................................46 THE DEFINITE ARTICLE ‘THE’ ...........................................................................................78 ADVERBS 86 KINDS OF ADVERBS...........................................................................................52 PRONOUNS 58 CHARACTERISTICS OF PRONOUNS....................

b) imperative: Call at once! c) subjunctive: He demanded that she call and see him. Present Tense: He calls every day. walk. -s form past calls drinks puts called drank put 5 . be) and modal (can.VERBS VERBAL FORMS AND THE VERB PHRASE THE PRIMARY AUXILIARIES – DO. shall. BE THE MODAL AUXILIARIES TENSE. should. the to-infinitive: He wants her to call. might. robot robotize). The auxiliaries are subdivided into primary (do. could. it means that new lexical verbs may be formed and added to the already existing number of many thousands of verbs (e. have. it means that their number is fixed and no new auxiliary verbs can be added. d) the bare infinitive: He may call.: We call every day. will. write.. AND VOICE There are various ways in which verbs are classified.g. ASPECT. ought to. used to. play) form an open class. VERBAL FORMS AND THE VERB PHRASE Many English verbs have five forms: the base: the -s form: the past: the -ing participle: the -ed participle: write writes wrote writing written The following are some examples of these forms together with the indication of their functions: Form base Example call drink put Functions a) all the Present Tense except 3rd person sg. We begin with a classification that distinguishes lexical (‘full-meaning’) verbs from auxiliary (‘helping’) verbs. MOOD. (a) Past Tense: He called yesterday. HAVE. must. a) 3rd person sg. may. need. would. dare). The auxiliary verbs represent a closed system. The lexical verbs (e.g.

-ing participle calling drinking putting called drunk put a) progressive aspect (i. being.g. It is pronounced [z] after bases ending in voiced or voiceless sibilants and it is spelled -es unless the base already ends in -e: catch – catches buzz – buzzes lose – loses [luz . I found her at home. (Protože přišel brzy. zastihl jsem ji doma. put.luzz] 2. ještě se rychle nasnídal. are. b) in -ing participle clauses: Calling early. was.) a) perfective aspect (perfect tenses): He has drunk the water. It is pronounced [z] and spelled -s after bases ending in other voiced sounds: describe – describes flow – flows Note the four irregular -s forms: do [du] – does [dz] go [] – goes [z] say [se] – says [sez] have [hæv] – has [hæz] 3. puts. It is pronounced [s] and spelled -s after bases ending in other voiceless sounds: cut – cuts want – wants lock – locks In bases ending in a consonant + -y. c) in -ed participle clauses: Called early. -ed participle or imperative. The modal auxiliaries are defective in not having infinitive. been). 1.and the ending is -es (-ies altogether): carry – carries. -ing participle. am. Irregular lexical verbs have from three forms (e. he had a quick breakfast. in progressive or continuous tenses): He is calling in a moment. [z]. study – studies but: play – plays 6 . and [s] and two spellings.) -ed participle Regular lexical verbs have the same -ed form for both the Past Tense and the -ed participle. (Protože jsem přišel brzy. were. The Morphology of Lexical Verbs The -s form has three spoken realizations: [z]. b) passive voice: He is called Jack. -s and -es. putting) to eight forms (be. the -y changes into -i. is.e.

hope – hoped. (but carrying) study – studies. study – studied. die – died 3. pack – packed The -ing form is a straightforward addition to the base: sleep – sleeping. (but studying) 7 . In bases ending in a consonant + -y.The past forms and the -ed participle forms of regular verbs have three spoken realizations: 1. keeps the single consonant: signal – signaled – signaling travel – traveled – traveling program – programed – programing worship – worshiped – worshiping Most verbs ending in -p have the regular spelling in both British English and American English: develop – developed – developing gallop – galloped – galloping Treatment of -y 1. the following changes occur before -es and -ed inflections: carry – carries. carry – carried. discover – discovered. It is pronounced [d] after bases ending in [d] and [t]: suggest – suggested. push – pushing divide – dividing (on the deletion of -e see later). however. divide – divided 2. Further inflectional spelling rules Doubling of consonant Final base consonants are doubled before inflections -ed and -ing when the preceding vowel is stressed and spelled with a single letter: stop – stopped – stopping permit – permitted – permitting prefer – preferred – preferring There is no doubling when the vowel is unstressed or written with two letters: enter – entered – entering develop – developed – developing dread – dreaded – dreading Note: BrE breaks the rule with respect to certain other consonants: signal – signalled – signalling travel – travelled – travelling program(me) – programmed – programming worship – worshipped – worshipping AmE. It is pronounced [t] after bases ending in voiceless sounds other than [t]: miss – missed. It is pronounced [d] after bases ending in voiced sounds other than [d]: mention – mentioned.

also after a vowel: lay [le] – laid [led] pay [pe] – paid [ped] say [se] – said [sed] 2. HAVE. Back to Verbs THE PRIMARY AUXILIARIES – DO. and often -ge are exceptions to this rule in that they do not drop the -e before -ing.Note: The past of the following three verbs has a change of -y into -i. – I have done so.) 8 . (What have you been doing today? You said you would finish it. but they do drop it before -ed: -ee: agree – agreeing – agreed -ye: dye – dyeing – dyed -oe: hoe – hoeing – hoed -ge: singe – singeing – singed Irregular Lexical Verbs Irregular lexical verbs differ from regular verbs in the past form or in the -ed participle form or in both these forms: write – wrote – written Some lexical verbs have both the regular and the irregular forms: learn – learned – learned or: learn – learnt – learnt The list of irregular verbs can be found on page 115. In bases ending in -ie. -ye. BE DO The auxiliary do has the following forms: present past non-negative do does did uncontracted negative do not does not did not contracted negative don’t doesn’t didn’t Do as lexical verb and as pro-verb has the full range of forms. including the present participle doing and the past participle done.before the -ing inflection: die – dying lie – lying Deletion of –e Final -e is regularly dropped before the -ing and -ed inflections: shave – shaving – shaved Verbs with bases in -ee. the -ie is replaced by -y. -oe.

b) It assists in forming the question of all the lexical verbs in the above two tenses: Do you understand? – Do you not/don’t you understand? (Rozumíš? Chápeš to?) – (Cožpak nerozumíš? Copak to nechápeš?) Does he understand? – Does he not/doesn’t he understand? Did he see you? – Didn’t he see you? Where do you live? What do you do here? When do you leave? When did it happen? Where did you go? What did you do? Note: The question is formed without do if the question word is the subject of the clause and the clause is positive.) d) Do – in the capacity of a prop-verb – stands for.. did she? (.. – He did not/didn’t see me. že? . doesn’t she? (. do can be used to emphasize or intensify the meaning of the lexical verb: Do sit down.. He saw me. že ne?) Note: In tag questions. which.The auxiliary do has the following functions: a) It assists in forming the negation of all the lexical verbs in the Present Simple and the Past Simple Tense: I understand it.. (Ale vždyť já jsem mu to všechno řekl..... Such questions are introduced by the interrogative pronouns who.. how much. He understands it. (Tak si přece sedni!) Why didn’t you tell him? – But I did tell him all. – I do not/don’t understand it. or is used to avoid the repetition of the same verb He left school one year earlier than I did. I do.: Who saw you? (Kdo tě viděl?) What causes this change? (Co tuto změnu způsobuje?) How many people help you? (Kolik lidí ti pomáhá?) But with question words as objects. že? .. ne?) She didn’t tell you anything. what. or replaces lexical verbs in short answers: Do you watch TV every day? – Yes. etc. – He does not/doesn’t understand it. do must be used: Who did you see? (Kohos viděl?) What does this change cause? (Co tato změna způsobuje?) How many people do you help? (Kolika lidem pomáháš?) c) In a positive non-interrogative clause.. or replaces lexical verbs in tag questions She works in a lab. how many. rising intonation represents a real question while falling intonation presupposes an agreement. 9 ..

In this case the negation is formed by adding not He hasn’t come yet. ‘s not -s form had. ‘ve not base has. Have + to + infinitive means must: I have to go. ‘d had not. The construction with got is used if have expresses a definite single state of things: Have you got a headache? (= now. Have you any reasons for it? I have not time now. have has the following forms: non-negative uncontracted negative have. haven’t got in the present. the Past Perfect (Pre-Preterite). In everyday English. He admitted that he had not known about it. We’ve got to ask him. the lexical have is often replaced by the construction have got. at this very moment) (For a repeated state see below.HAVE Both as lexical verb and as auxiliary. and the question is formed by means of inversion Has he come already? Hasn’t he come yet? Have as lexical verb The lexical meaning of have is that of possession: I have two brothers and two sisters. ‘ve have not. 10 .) Auxiliary do with have The auxiliary do is used with the lexical have to form the question and the negation in the following cases: a) if it denotes habitual or repeated actions or states: Do you often have headaches? (But Have you got a headache now?) I don’t have my dinner at home on Fridays. and by had got in the past: Have you got time now? I haven’t got time now. and the past infinitive: He has just come. ‘d not past having not having -ing form -ed participle had contracted negative haven’t hasn’t hadn’t The auxiliary have is used in the Present Perfect (Pre-Present). You seem to have been misinformed. ‘s has not. We had to wait.

ain’t) isn’t aren’t wasn’t weren’t Note:1.. Note: In American English. ale nekonala se.) Did you have the watch repaired? (Nechals .) 11 . ‘re was was not past were were not being not being -ing form -ed participle been in having eight different contracted negative (aren’t. do is used in questions and negations of the lexical have everywhere: Do you have a brother or a sister? BE The lexical and auxiliary verb be is unique among English verbs forms: non-negative uncontracted negative be base am not. opravit?) d) Often in the Past Tense: I didn’t have enough money to pay the bill.b) in the meaning of must: Did you have to wait? We did not have to stay till the end. There is no other possibility. c) in the construction to have something done: She didn’t have her hair cut. The lexical verb be may have do-construction in persuasive imperative sentences and regularly has it with negative imperatives: Do be quiet! (Tak už buď ticho!) Don’t be silly! The uses of be a) In its lexical meaning (to exist) the verb be is frequently used in there is. The question is formed by means of inversion: Is he at home? 2. (Takové příklady se najdou všude.) What am I to tell him? (Co mu mám říct?) Such examples are to be found everywhere. ‘m present is not. ‘m not am. ‘re not are.. is more frequent than I hadn’t enough money to pay the bill.. ‘s are not. (Ta konference se měla konat v červnu. (Nedala si . necessary or possible action: The conference was to be held in June.) c) The Past Tense of be + past infinitive expresses an intended action in the past which in fact did not take place: The conference was to have taken place in January.. there are constructions: There are such people. ‘s not is. (Měla se konat. b) The construction be + present infinitive expresses the modal meaning of an intended (planned).

‘ll will not. I can. They are followed by bare infinitives of lexical verbs. ‘d not wouldn’t must must not mustn’t [msnt] ought to ought not to oughtn’t to used not to used to [just] usedn’t to [jusnt] didn’t use to need need not needn’t dare dare not daren’t The primary and the modal auxiliaries have the following morphological features in common: 1. We are ready. Back to Verbs THE MODAL AUXILIARIES The modal auxiliaries represent a closed system of nine members: non-negative uncontracted negative contracted negative can cannot. ‘d would not. The negation is formed by adding the negative particle not to the base: You can’t do that! 2. with exception of ought to and used to: Who can speak English? 12 . The question is formed by means of inversion: Can you do it? 3. can you? You can’t do it. 4. short questions including tag questions Oh. can you? and in repetitions He can speak English and so can she.d) Be is used as copula in verbo-nominal predicates: He is a dentist. ‘ll not won’t [wnt] would. These auxiliaries can stand for lexical verbs in short answers Yes. can not can’t [knt] could could not couldn’t may may not mayn’t might might not mightn’t shall shall not shan’t [nt] should should not shouldn’t will. e) Be as auxiliary verb assists in forming the progressive aspect (in continuous tenses) and the passive voice : What are you laughing at? One of the pictures was damaged.

(Ten za to bude pykat.. (nesmíš) Might I smoke in here? (rare!) (směl bych) 2. We could go to the concert.. We might go to the concert.) 13 . smět): Can (May) I smoke in here? Could I smoke in here? 3. Intention of the speaker: I shan’t be long. I never could play the banjo.) He shall be punished. Infinitives and other missing forms are expressed periphrastically: can – be able to may – be allowed to must – have (got) to be obliged to be forced to be compelled to The Uses of the Modal Auxiliaries Can (Present Tense) and Could (Present Conditional or Past Tense) express 1. b) They have no infinitive form with to. Permission (moct. You may not/mustn’t borrow my car. Possibility (moct): Anybody can make mistakes. (Ty budeš dělat.) We shall overcome. Insistence: You shall do as I say.The specific features that distinguish the modal auxiliaries from the primary auxiliaries are the following: a) The modals have the same form for all the persons in both singular and plural (no -s in the 3rd person singular). Ability (umět): He can speak English. Note: may can form a periphrastic subjunctive (expressing wish): May he live long! Shall and Should Shall expresses 1. moct): You may borrow my car if you like. Possibility (moct ve významu možná): The road may be blocked. 2. May (Present Tense) and Might (Present Conditional) express 1. (Vydržíme to. (Nebude mi to dlouho trvat.) 2. . Permission (smět.

Should expresses 1. Obligation: You should do as he says. (měl bys) 2. Distant Possibility: If you should change your mind, please let us know. (Kdybyste si to SNAD rozmysleli, ...) 3. 1st person Conditional (in BrE): We should love to go abroad if we had the chance. 4. And is used after certain expressions: It is odd that you should say this to me. (Je to zvláštní, že právě ty říkáš něco takového mně.) Will and Would Will expresses 1. Willingness and Polite Requests: He’ll help you if you ask him. Will you open the window? (The real question is: Will you be opening the window?) 2 Future Tenses: I’ll write as soon as I can. She’ll have finished it by the end of the month. 3. Prediction about a present action by means of the construction will + be + -ing form (Future Progressive): John will still be reading his paper. (John asi pořád ještě čte) 4. Prediction about the result of a past action by means of will + past infinitive (Future Perfect): The guests will have arrived by now. (už asi přišli, už tu asi budou.) Would expresses 1. Polite Requests: Would you excuse me? 2. Characteristic activity in the past: Every morning he would go for a long walk. (chodíval, chodívával) 3. Present Conditional: He would smoke too much if I didn’t stop him. 4. Probability: That would be his mother. (patrně bude) Must expresses 1. Obligation or Compulsion: You must be back by 10 o’clock. (In the past: He had to be back by 10 o’clock.) There are two negatives: a) needn’t, don’t have to (nemuset) You needn’t be back by 10. You don’t have to be back by 10. b) mustn’t (nesmět), a stronger equivalent of may not in everyday conversation You mustn’t come after 10 o’clock. 2. Logical Necessity: There must be a mistake. (Určitě je tam chyba.)

14

But: There can’t be a mistake. (Určitě tam není ...) Note: I must go. (= I am obliged to go and I want to go.) I have to go. (= I’d rather stay here but the outer circumstances force me to go.) We didn’t have to go there. (= we’re not saying explicitly that we didn’t go) (Nemuseli jsme tam jít.) We needn’t have gone there. (= we went there in vain) (Taky jsme tam nemuseli chodit.) Ought to expresses obligation or logical necessity: You ought to start at once. (měl bys) Note: In AmE ought has occasionally the bare infinitive in negative sentences and questions: You oughtn’t smoke so much. Ought you smoke so much? Marginal Modal Auxiliaries Used always takes the to-infinitive and occurs only in the Past Tense. It may take the do-construction, in which case the spellings didn’t used to and didn’t use to both occur. The interrogative construction used he to is especially British English; did he used to is preferred in both American English and British English. Used to expresses a repeated action in the past: He used to earn a lot of money. (vydělávával) He usedn’t to earn so much as he does now. He didn’t use to earn so much as he does now. Did you use(d) to go there? (jezdívali, jezdívávali) Dare and Need can be constructed either as modal auxiliaries, with bare infinitive and with no inflected -s form, or as lexical verbs (odvážit se and potřebovat), with to-infinitive and with the inflected -s form: She needn’t rewrite it, need she? (Nemusí ..., že ne?) Need she rewrite it? (Musí to přepisovat?) He daren’t ask. (Netroufá si zeptat se.) Dare he ask? (On si troufá se ptát?) But: She doesn’t need (to buy) a new car. (nepotřebuje) He doesn’t dare to ask. (neodvažuje se) Note: Must you go there? (Musíš tam jít?) Need you go there? (To tam musíš chodit?)

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The Probability and the Modals High Probability: It must be raining over there. (určitě prší) It must have rained over there. (určitě pršelo) Low Probability: It may be raining over there. (asi prší) It may have rained over there. (asi pršelo) Very Low Probability: It might be raining over there. (mohlo by snad teď pršet) It might have rained over there. (mohlo snad pršet) High Improbability: It can’t be raining over there. (určitě neprší) It can’t have rained over there. (určitě nepršelo) Back to Verbs TENSE, ASPECT, MOOD, AND VOICE ‘Time is a universal, non-linguistic concept with three divisions: past, present, and future; by tense we understand the correspondence between the form of the verb and our concept of time. Aspect concerns the manner in which the verbal action is experienced (for example as completed or in progress), while mood relates the verbal action to such conditions as certainty, obligation, necessity, possibility. In fact, however, to a great extent these three categories are interrelated: in particular, 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.’ (Quirk and Greenbaum 1977:40.) Voice (active and passive) is, strictly speaking, a syntactic phenomenon but since it relates to the verb-form, it will be briefly touched upon. TENSE AND ASPECT Time Present Past Simple Tenses write wrote Progressive Tenses am writing was writing had written had been writing Perfective Tenses Progressive Perfective Tenses have written have been writing

As to the names of tenses, the terminology is, unfortunately, not quite unified: Present Simple is just Present Simple or Present: I write. Present Progressive is often called Present Continuous: I am writing. Present Perfect is also known as Pre-Present: I have written.

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– I agree. The river Tweed separates England and Scotland. marks our 5th wedding anniversary. Most evenings my parents stay at home and watch TV. Past Perfect Progressive is also Past Perfect Continuous (or Plu-Perfect or Pre-Preterite Progressive or Continuous): I had been writing. I don’t understand your remark. I hate her. 3. a state or action in progress at the present moment: (with verbs that do not usually form the progressive tense: to see. Past Perfect is also Plu-Perfect or Pre-Preterite: I had written. 17 . May 8th.) I see what you mean. We live in difficult times. 2. habitual or repeated actions at present: John smokes a lot.30 tomorrow morning. He usually comes at half past eight. Her sister wears glasses. past actions to make them more vivid: Napoleon leaves France at the head of a great army and crosses the frontier of Russia. Past Tense Progressive is Past Tense Continuous: I was writing. etc. Past Tense (Simple) is also called Preterite: I wrote. The earth revolves round the sun. future.Present Perfect Progressive is also Present Perfect Continuous or Pre-Present Continuous: I have been writing. I love you. to understand. 5. especially a fixed arrangement of things: The train leaves at 7. universal statements: Summer follows spring. I hear a knock at the door. ‘the present period’: My father works in a bank. 6. Wednesday. observations and declarations in the course of conversation: I hope/assume/suppose/promise everything will be all right. to hear. 7. 4. The Uses of Tenses Present Simple is used to express 1.

we often use present tenses (even though the events are in the past) in order to sound more interesting and dramatic. 5. (you) pour on boiling water . 4. emotional.g. near future: He is moving to London. Booth is away with the ball. The Present Simple and Present Progressive in newspaper headlines and photographic captions The Present Simple is generally used to refer to past events: FREAK SNOW STOPS TRAFFIC The abbreviated progressive refers to the future: CABINET MINISTER RESIGNING SOON 18 . 4. repeated actions: She’s always helping people. The Present Simple and Present Progressive in narration When we are telling a story or describing things that have happened to us.): Are we eating the right kind of food? 3. temporary situations: The river is flowing very fast after last night’s rain. we are leaving from London Airport. Then (you) add three teaspoons of tea. etc. Then (you) warm the teapot.Present Progressive is used to express 1. Charlton makes a quick pass to Booth. The action takes place over a period of 30 years . reviews of books. a present action (in a broad sense) that is marked in one way or other (made topical. The Present Simple in demonstrations and instructions (step-by-step instructions) First (you) boil some water. films. People are becoming less tolerant of smoking these days. Then I see this old fellow.. the Simple Present is used to describe rapid actions completed at the moment of speaking and the progressive is used to describe longer-lasting actions: Moore passes to Charlton.. 2. etc. Present tenses in typical contexts 1. The Present Simple and Present Progressive in commentaries: In radio commentaries on sport. The progressive is used for the ‘background’ and the simple tense for the main events: I’m driving along this country road and I’m completely lost. but he’s losing his advantage. Next. a momentary action in progress: What are you looking for? What are you doing? – I’m just tying up my shoe-laces.. 3. 5.. He’s talking to his girlfriend on the phone. We are going to Paris on Friday. He’s leaning against a gate. 2. The Present Simple in synopses (e. I’m always hearing strange stories about him.) Kate Fox’s novel is an historical romance set in London in the 1880’s. I stop the car and ask him the way.

parallel actions: While I was working in the garden. I had a word with Julian this morning. Note: Some adverbials like yesterday. a series of actions in the past: He took out his notebook. a past action that was in progress between two time limits in the past: Yesterday from five to seven I was learning French. She always made her own breakfast. 3. We were having our breakfast when the clock was striking nine. wrote his telephone number on it. polite inquiries: I wondered if you could give me a lift is considered to be more tentative or more polite than I wonder if you could give me a lift. a past action that was in progress while another past action took place: We were having our breakfast when the clock struck nine. I met Robert many years ago in Prague. 2. my husband was cooking dinner. repeated actions: When he worked here. an action that took place at a particular point in the past: The train arrived at 3 o’clock. Roger was always making mistakes. What is regarded as being in progress or being in any way marked depends on the attitude of the speaker. tore off a leaf. 19 . a long time ago) are used only with past tenses: I saw Jane yesterday. 4. We had our breakfast when the clock was striking nine. last summer and combinations with ago (two years ago. Past Progressive is used to express 1. When did you learn about it? – When I saw it in the papers. I was playing tennis all this afternoon.Past Tense (Simple) is used to express 1. 4. 3. actions in progress in the past: Richard was working on his essay last night. 5. and gave it to me. a habitual or repeated action in the past: He usually saw his dentist twice a year. 2.

autobiography.e.e. or in the way something that happened in the past affects the present situation. The Past Progressive is used for scenesetting. etc. an action that took place and was finished in the past. up to the present time) When did you fly in Concorde? (i. The sun was setting. where the time reference is defined because we are interested in past time or past results. eye-witness accounts. it is still morning) I didn’t see him this morning.A. when. up to the present time.Past tenses in typical contexts The Simple Past combines with other past tenses. The Present Perfect can therefore be seen as a present tense which looks backwards into the past (just as the Past Perfect is a past tense which looks backwards into an earlier past). (Past Tense!) 20 . often we are interested in present results. such as the Past Progressive and the Past Perfect. Present Perfect Tense Present time and past time The Present Perfect always suggests a relationship between present time and past time.: It was evening. Compare the simple Past Tense. the morning has now passed) Have you ever flown in Concorde? (i.S. an action (or state) that started in the past and has been in progress up to the present moment: Past Present I’ve waited for you for two hours. Past tenses of various kinds are common in story-telling. He has just left. A gentle wind was blowing through the trees. when we are talking or writing about the past.e. In the distance I noticed a Land Rover moving across the dusty plain. seldom. (i. biography. But: just now = a little while ago I saw him just now. (neutrální konstatování) Kate and Ken have been married for 20 years. just: I have never been to the U. In the Present Perfect Tense. in the past). the time reference is sometimes undefined .) Note: Some adverbials are often connected with the Present Perfect: never. Present Perfect is used to express 1.e. precisely. reports. It stopped and two men jumped out of it. (= I told him and now he knows all about it. The following pairs of sentences illustrate this difference between present time and past time: I haven’t seen him this morning. but its consequences are felt at present: Past Present I have told him. I have seldom seen him. (= They are still married now.) 2. (i.

autobiography. reports. etc. and is especially useful for establishing the sequence of events: When we returned from our holidays..: We’ve just arrived in Hong Kong. Past (Present) By seven o’clock all the guests had arrived. Note: In some contexts the Simple Past and the Past Perfect are interchangeable: I ate my lunch after Mary came/had come home from her shopping.g. The burglar got in through the kitchen window. 21 . broadcast reports and newspaper reports: Interest rates rose again today and the price of gold has fallen by $ 10 an ounce. we’re sure we’re going to enjoy ourselves. stories told in the past.. Past Progressive. Past Perfect Progressive) when we are talking or writing about the past. 2. we found our house in a mess. letters. Apart from its common use in conversation. Then he went into the living-room . What had happened while we had been away? A burglar had broken into the house and had stolen a lot of our things.The Simple Present Perfect in typical contexts The Present Perfect is never used in past narrative (e. it is most often used in: 1.. Industrial leaders have complained that high interest rates will make borrowing expensive for industry. biography. Past Perfect What was said of the Present Perfect applies to the Past Perfect with the complication that the point of current relevance is not the present moment but a point in the past: Past Past (Present) I had told him before she came. history books). It is used in story-telling. He had no difficulty in forcing it open. postcards. newspaper headlines (implied): VILLAGES DESTROYED IN EARTHQUAKE (= have been destroyed) 3. eye-witness accounts. and though we haven’t had time to see much yet. etc. Here the conjunction after is sufficient specification of the sequence of actions. Simple Past and Past Perfect in typical contexts The Past Perfect combines with other past tenses (Simple Past.

and he hasn’t come yet). Note that the simple and the progressive forms are not interchangeable in the following situations: I’ve been painting this room (the activity is uncompleted) versus I’ve painted this room (the job is definitely finished) or When I got home. 22 . is still in progress at the present moment. but it does so in relation to some other action in the past: I had been waiting for him for half an hour when his wife came to tell me that he had had an accident. I found that Jill had painted her room. an emotionally or otherwise coloured action in the past with consequences at the present moment: Past Present He is tired because he has been working too hard. Kde je?!?) How long have you been sitting there? 2. When I got home. (emotivní vyjádření. an action that started in the past.Present Perfect Progressive is used to express 1. The Present/Past Perfect and Progressive compared The difference between an activity still in progress and one that has definitely been completed is marked by context and by the verbs we use. Somebody has been using my car again! I’ve been waiting for you for two hours! Past Perfect Progressive expresses the same types of past action as the above Present Perfect Progressive. He was very tired because he had been working too hard. I found that Jill had been paining her room. Her eyes were red. and is likely to continue in the future: Present I’ve been waiting for him for half an hour (since 10 o’clock. It was obvious she had been crying. = Už na něj čekám půl hodiny.

in British English are the closest approximation to a colourless.g. Will house prices rise again next year? 2. modality. surely: Perhaps I’ll see you tomorrow.) By the end of this year they will have been working on the dictionary for five years. The future is often used after verbs and verb phrases like assume. probably. There are also a few other constructions. to be to. prediction about the result of a past action: The guests will have arrived by now. Alex will probably phone me this evening. to express hopes. be afraid. 23 . Will and shall (the traditional Future Tense) The constructions will or ‘ll + (bare) infinitive in all persons and shall + (bare) infinitive in 1st person sg. (Do příštího roku tu knihu dokončí. doubt. expect. think. and future time is rendered by means of modal auxiliaries or semi-auxiliaries. to be about to. co na tom slovníku pracují. (promise) Will you hold the door open for me please? (request) Shall I get your coat for you? (offer) Shall we go for a swim tomorrow? (suggestion) Will (shall) + past infinitive (the traditional Future Perfect) is used to express 1. and aspect are closely related. I expect they’ll be here at around 10 o’clock tomorrow.g. neutral future: I will/shall arrive tomorrow.The Future (Tense) According to Quirk and Greenbaum (1977.47). to be on the point of. be sure. Futurity. possibly. to be going to. I’ll buy you a bicycle for your birthday. Uses of the will/shall future Will and shall is used 1. ‘there is no obvious future tense in English corresponding to the time/tense relation for present and past. suppose. to be due to. ‘the past’ in the future: They will have finished their book by next year. or by simple present forms or progressive forms’. Will in formal style is used for scheduled events (particularly in written language): The reception will be at the Anchor Hotel. or pl. believe. Instead there are several possibilities for denoting future time.) 2. Note: ‘The pure future’ should be distinguished from many other uses of will and shall: e. e. expectations: I’m sure you’ll enjoy the film if you go and see it. He’ll be here in half an hour. (Na konci letošního roku to bude pět let. to predict events: It will rain tomorrow. or with adverbs like perhaps. The wedding will take place at St Andrew’s on June 27th. hope.

24 . (Právě se chystáme odejít. What time does he leave for Canada? Be going to + infinitive 1. (na odchodu) Note: The use of just with be about to and be on the point of increases the sense of immediacy. I’m going to speak to him about it. expresses the present intention in the future: We are going to get married. (He was about to hit me. 2. What are you doing next Saturday? The conference starts on May 13th. (future interpretation only) This distinction is used in questions of the following type: Will you open the window? (a polite request) Will you be opening the window? (a real question) 2. a ‘future-as-a-matter-of-course’ (without modal interpretations): Compare: He’ll do his best. prediction about a present action: John will still be reading his paper. Other ways of expressing the future Present Progressive expresses near future and Present Simple expresses a fixed arrangement in the future: I’m expecting you on Sunday morning. formal arrangements or public duties: You are to be back by 10 o’clock. (future or volitional interpretation possible) He’ll be doing his best. I’m going to practise the piano for two hours this evening. This construction expresses: 1. OPEC representatives are to meet in Geneva. suggests that the event is already ‘on the way’: She’s going to have a baby. – ‘future’ intention in the past) Be on the point of + gerund conveys even greater immediacy: Look! They’re on the point of starting! They’re on the point of leaving. He was later to regret his decision. Be about to + infinitive refers to the immediate future: We are about to leave.) Look! The race is about to start.Will/shall + be +-ing form (Future Progressive) expresses 1. as it does with the Present Progressive: They’re just starting! Be to + infinitive (see also the verb be) is used to refer to the future when the actions are subject to human control.

(posteriority) že má žízeň. priority or posteriority of the actions they express. etc. Three tablets (are) to be taken twice a day. 3. Be due to is used in connection with timetables and itineraries: The BA 561 is due to arrive from Athens at 13. In various languages these rules may be governed by different principles. In English. This is. ptal se). formal appointments or instructions: You’re to deliver these flowers before 10. (simultaneousness) že měl žízeň. The leading principle governing the ‘sequence of tenses’ in the above Czech examples can be formulated as follows: Irrespective of the tense used in the principal (introductory) clause (říká. in fact. and priority: Říká (řekne. řekne. (= you mustn’t) Dogs are to be kept on lead. (priority) jestli bude mít žízeň.2. in the past) b) the Future Tense indicates the posteriority of an action at any time c) the Past Tense indicates the priority of an action at any time. A syntactic note: In temporal and conditional clauses (but not in object clauses) pointing to the future. however. the case if Czech and English are compared: The following Czech sentences exemplify the use of tenses in the indirect speech and the indirect questions with regard to posteriority. The Sequence of Tenses The sequence of tenses is a system of rules according to which two or more tenses are related with regard to simultaneousness. jestli má žízeň. říkal). The BA 561 is not due till 13.15. in the future. jestli měl žízeň. prohibitions or public notices: You’re not to tell him anything about our plans. simultaneousness. Ptá se (zeptá se. I’ll give her a kiss if she comes.) a) the Present Tense indicates the simultaneousness of actions at any time (at present.15. že bude mít žízeň. Present Tenses are used instead of future forms: I’ll give her a kiss when she comes. the tense of the principal clause and the tense of the subordinate clause are interrelated: 25 .

) b) posteriority is indicated by the use of different tenses where the latter is posterior to the former: the Future Tense is posterior to the Present (he says he will be . Seen in this light.. (Když bude pršet.) The above principle holds good. že je nemocná. 23).. vždycky si kupuju láhev vína.. he said he was . (priority) He said The leading principle governing the sequence of tenses in the above English examples is the following: a) simultaneousness is indicated by the use of the same tenses (he says he is . to zrcadlo si koupím. I’ll buy this mirror.) c) priority is indicated by the use of different tenses where the latter is prior to the former (he says he was ..He says he will be thirsty.. Note: 1. but also for indirect questions and object clauses in general: He knew she was ill. we stay at home. Which kind of action has the speaker/writer in mind is determined by the tense in the principal clause: When it rains.) But when the eternal truths (or phenomena regarded as such) are under consideration. (posteriority) he was thirsty.) If I’ve got money. (simultaneousness) he was thirsty. not only for the indirect speech..) When it rains. In English the Future Tense is not fully integrated item of the tense system.) 2. (Věděl. (Když prší.. In temporal and conditional clauses (but not in object clauses) the Present Tense indicates either the present or the future action because the Future Tense cannot be used (cf. 13 . we’ll stay at home.14). he said he had been . (simultaneousness) he was thirsty. the following sentences do not deviate from the principle of the sequence of tenses as formulated above: He’ll say he’ll be thirsty.. (simultaneousness) he had been thirsty.. I always buy a bottle of wine. (priority) 26 .. býváme doma. the Present Tense is used irrespective of the other tense(s): He knew that the Earth is round.) and the Future in the Past is posterior to the Past (he said he would be .. (Jestliže budu mít peníze. (posteriority) he is thirsty. (posteriority) he is thirsty.) If I’ve got money. p.. (Mám-li peníze.. As has been shown before (see pp.. (priority) he would be thirsty. zůstaneme doma. the shall/will forms may – in a sense – be regarded as modal auxiliaries modifying the Present.

The Imperative The imperative of the 2nd person singular and plural is the base of the verb: Say it again! The negation is formed by means of do not (don’t): Don’t do it! The imperative of the other persons is periphrastic: let + noun/pronoun in the object case + (bare) infinitive let me explain (in the 1st person – more or less the original meaning: dovolte. and the subjunctive. suggestions: Follow me. The Indicative is the basic mood of finite verb forms in statements and questions.MOOD Mood relates the verbal action to such conditions as certainty. Most of our examples illustrating the use of different tenses in English contained verbs in the indicative. Shut the door (please). and possibility. Note: The non-contracted form let us usually means allow us: Let us go.g. (allow us to go = dovolte nám odejít. necessity. jak se to dělá) let them explain (ať to oni vysvětlí) There are two possible negations: Don’t let’s go there. nechte nás jít) But: Let’s go. prohibitions (e. 2. Let’s not go there. directions: Take the second turning on the left and then turn right. 5. the imperative. We distinguish the indicative.) The imperative is used for 1. obligation. requests. 4. instructions: Use a moderate oven and bake for 20 minutes. in public notices): Keep off the grass! Do not feed the animals! 27 . (= Pojďme. the conditional. Don’t worry. abych vám to vysvětlil) let him explain (ať to (on) vysvětlí) let’s explain how to do it (vysvětleme. direct commands. warnings: Look out! There is a bus! Don’t panic! 3.

(= Go and fetch) The Conditional We distinguish two temporal forms of the conditional: 1. 9. offers: Help yourself. could you? and would you? can often be used after an imperative to change the command into a polite request: Come in. Have a cigarette. (Not *Go to buy!) Come and play a game of bridge with us. The imperative with question tags Tags like will you?. won’t you?. can’t you?. will you? Double imperatives joined by and Go and buy yourself a new pair of shoes.g. The imperative with pronouns The imperative may be used together with the second person pronoun or with indefinite pronouns to stress the adressee and to make the imperative clause more emotional: You wait here for a moment! You mind your own business! Everyone keep quiet! The degree of emotiveness is signalled by stress and intonation. will you/won’t you? Don’t tell anyone I told you. invitations: Come and have dinner with us soon. (Not *Come to play!) Note: In American English go is sometimes followed directly by a bare infinitive: Go fetch some water. can you?. expressing rudeness: Shut up! Push off! The imperative with do is used when we wish to emphasize what we are saying. (= No tak si ještě vezměte…) b) when we wish to express impatience: Do stop talking! (= Přestaňte už přece mluvit!) c) when we wish to persuade: Do help me with this maths problem.6. e. advice (especially after always and never): Always answer when you’re spoken to! Never speak to strangers! 7.: a) when we wish to be polite: Do have another cup of coffee. Have a biscuit. 8. The Present Conditional I you he would should would would write (psal bych) write write we you they would should would would write write write 28 .

25) and the use of subjunctives below.) b) the Past Perfect for the unreal condition in the past (If I had known . 2. = Kdybych bydlel . (But I didn’t know... The use of the conditional in conditional sentences Conditional sentences have two parts: the if-clause and the principal clause. so I didn’t come. he’d..) Exceptionally would + infinitive is used in the if-clause to indicate a polite request: I would be very grateful if you would make the arrangements for me. 29 . = Kdybych byl věděl . It is usually combined with an imperative in the principle clause and expresses a real condition pointing to the future: If you should have any difficulty in getting spare parts. the conditional is only used in the principal clause of such conditional sentences as express the unreal condition either in the present: If I lived near my office.. Under normal circumstances. The use of should + infinitive in the if-clause indicates that the action.) or in the past: If I had known that you were coming.. it’d.. in special uses of would and should (see pp. as a past equivalent of future tenses (see the sequence of tenses.. in conditional sentences (see below) 2. I’d’ve met you at the airport.. is not very likely. though possible. have written have written have written (byl bych psal) The currently used contracted forms are the following: I’d’ve written we’d’ve written you’d’ve written they’d’ve written he’d’ve written who’d’ve written she’d’ve written The conditional is used 1. 13 and 14) 3. you’d.).Wherever possible.. p. (= Kdybyste snad měli . (But I don’t live near my office at present. they’d and who’d are used.) The appropriate tense in the if-clause is a) the Past Tense for the unreal condition in the present (If I lived . ring this number. see also the sequence of tenses (p. we’d. For the use of tenses in conditional clauses.. I’d be in time for work.. the contracted forms I’d..) Note: In these cases should can be placed first and if omitted: Should you have any difficulty in getting . 25 f. The Past Conditional I You he would should would would etc. she’d.

The Subjunctive The subjunctive expresses uncertainty or doubt. We distinguish the Present Subjunctive and the Past Subjunctive. The Present Subjunctive is the base of the verb used in all the persons (I inform, you inform, he inform, she inform, ...; I be, you be, he be, ...) and the Past Subjunctive is the past form of the verb, which is identical with the indicative form except the verb be, where the Past Subjunctive is were in all the persons (I were, you were, he were, she were, ...). The Present Subjunctive is used a) in that-clauses of the type It is necessary that every member inform himself of those rules. (But less formally: It is necessary that every member should inform himself ... It is necessary for every member to inform himself.) It’s vital that an agreement be reached. b) in certain formulas: Come what may, we will go ahead. (= Ať se stane cokoli, budeme pokračovat.) God save the Queen! Be that as it may ... (= Ať je to jak chce, ...) So be it. (Budiž tomu tak. (= Amen.)) The Past Subjunctive is used a) to express a wish than cannot be fulfilled at present: I wish I were dead. (In less formal style: I wish I was dead. = Kéž bych tu nebyl.) If only I were miles away. (= Kéž bych byl na hony odtud.) Note: Only were is acceptable in as it were (so to speak – jakoby, tak říkajíc) and is usual in if I were you (kdybych byl(a) tebou). b) to express hypothetical meaning in conditional and some other subordinate clauses: If it were not for you, I’d never finish it. (= Kdyby nebylo tebe ...) He spoke to me as if I were/was deaf. (= Mluvil se mnou, jako bych byla hluchá.) Note: The Past Tense and the Past Perfect in clauses expressing the unreal condition (see p. 29) are in fact forms of the subjunctive that merged with the above two tenses. The only difference can be seen in the possibility of 1. using were in all the persons: If he were/was late, he would be fined. 2. using the inversion instead of if: Had he been in time, he wouldn’t have been fined. (If he had been in time, ...) VOICE We distinguish the active and the passive voice of the verb. In the active, the subject of the verb is the person or thing doing the action: John cooked the food last night. In the passive, the action is done to the subject: The food was cooked last night.

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The formation of the passive The passive of an active tense is formed by putting the verb be into the same tense as the active verb and adding the past participle of the active verb: We keep the butter here. – The butter is kept here. They broke the window. – The window was broken. People have seen wolves – Wolves have been seen in the streets. in the streets. The passive of progressive tenses is mostly restricted to the Present and the Past Tense: He is being interviewed now. He was being interviewed at ten. Verbs like bring and give, which can have two objects (Tom gave me a pen), can have two passive forms: I was given a pen (by Tom). A pen was given (to) me (by John). The verbs followed by prepositional phrases, and the phrasal verbs can also be used in the passive: This bed has not been slept in. The cigarette has not been put out. The Use of the Passive The passive is used: 1. When the doer of the action is backgrounded because he is a) obvious: The streets are swept every day. b) unknown: The minister was murdered. c) general: He is suspected of receiving stolen goods. 2. When we are more interested in the action than the person who does it: The house next door has been bought. 3. When we try to avoid an awkward sentence: When their mother was ill, neighbours looked after the children would be better expressed When their mother was ill, the children were looked after by neighbours. 4. When the passive is preferred for psychological reasons (e.g., to disclaim responsibility for disagreeable announcements): Overtime rates are being reduced. PHRASAL VERBS One of the most common characteristics of the English verb is that it can combine with prepositions and adverb particles. These combinations are called phrasal verbs. Sometimes the combination is essential to the use of the verb (We spent the afternoon listening to records), sometimes it is not essential but reinforces the meaning (Drink your milk. – Drink up your milk! or Drink your milk up!).

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Transitive and intransitive phrasal verbs It is important to learn whether the combination is transitive (i.e. requires an object) or intransitive (i.e. cannot have an object): look for is transitive: I am looking for my transport. look out is intransitive: Look out! This ice isn’t safe. It is possible for a combination to have two or more different meanings, and to be transitive in one/some of these and intransitive in others: take off (remove): He took off his hat. (transitive) take off (rise from the ground): The plane took off at ten o’clock. (intransitive)

The Formation of Phrasal Verbs The most common phrasal verbs are formed from the shortest and simplest verbs in the language: e.g. be, break, bring, come, do, fall, find, get, give, go, help, let, make, put, send, stand, take, tear, throw, turn, which combine with words that often indicate position or direction, such as along, down, in, off, out, on, over, under, up. Not only can a single verb like put combine with a large number of prepositions or particles to form new verbs (put off, put out, put up with), but even a single combination can have different meanings: Put out your cigarette. (= extinguish) I felt quite put out. (= annoyed) We put out a request for volunteers. (= issued) They are putting the programme out tomorrow. (= broadcast) This stuff will put you out in no time. (= make you unconscious) Martha’s put out her hip again. (= dislocated) We can distinguish four types of combinations with different characteristics: 1. verb + preposition (transitive): get over (an illness) 2. verb + particle (transitive): bring up (the children) 3. verb + particle (intransitive): come about (= happen) 4. verb + particle + preposition (transitive): run out of (matches) The Use of Phrasal Verbs There is a strong tendency (especially in informal, idiomatic English) to use phrasal verbs instead of their one-word equivalents. It would be very unusual, for instance, to say Enter! instead of Come in! in response to a knock at the door. Similarly, blow up may be preferred to explode, give in to surrender, etc. Moreover, new combinations (or new meanings for existing ones) are constantly evolving: Share prices bottomed out (= reached their lowest level) in 1974. The book took off (= became successful) as soon as it appeared. The position of the object in transitive combinations Noun objects are usually placed at the end of phrasal-verb expressions: I am looking for my glasses. With some expressions, however, they can be placed either at the end or immediately after the verb: He took off his coat. or He took his coat off.

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Back to Verbs Back to Contents 33 . This position is usual before the following short words: up. down.. out. Some expressions are followed by the to-infinitive: The lecturer set out to show that most illnesses are avoidable. away. the -ing form of the verb is used: He kept on blowing his trumpet. The appropriate constructions connected with a particular phrasal verb can be found in the dictionary. but they are more often placed immediately after the verb: He took it off. off and on (except when used in the expression call on = visit).Pronoun objects are sometimes placed at the end I am looking for them. When phrasal-verb expressions are followed by a verb object. in.

dog – dogs. bells. pages 2. cliffs. a boy) or an indivisible whole (snow. The plural of a noun is formed by adding -s to the singular: cat – cats. The plural is that form of the noun which denotes more than one object (books. friendship. stones. tub – tubs -s is pronounced in different ways: [-s] after voiceless consonants other than sibilants: caps. bench – benches. -ss. lessons. brush – brushes. eyes. foliage). horses. verbs Note that -e is not pronounced in the categories above when the plural ends in -es: cakes.NOUNS NUMBER GENDER CASE COUNTABILITY NUMBER The singular is that form of the noun which indicates either one object (a book. -x. tomato – tomatoes But nouns of foreign origin or abbreviated words ending in -o add -s only: auto – autos radio – radios dynamo – dynamos zoo – zoos piano – pianos kilo – kilos (for kilograms) soprano – sopranos photo – photos (for photographs) Eskimo – Eskimos Filipino – Filipinos 34 . hats. trousers). When nouns are used only in the plural. the form of the plural has collective meaning (sweepings. tapes [-z] after sibilants: bridges. noses. -sh or -tch form their plural by adding -es. eye-glasses. Plurals Regular plurals 1. match – matches Nouns ending in -o form their plural by adding -es: echo – echoes. doors. glass – glasses. box – boxes. day – days. tidings) or indicates composite objects (scissors. boys). belongings. -ch. Nouns ending in -s. forks [-z] after voiced consonants other than sibilants and after vowels: arms. hero – heroes. Nouns ending in the following take an extra syllable pronounced [-z]: bus – buses. bags.

death – deaths. Regular plural only: belief. Note: With woman – women the pronunciation differs in both the first and the second syllable. Mutation Mutation involves a change of vowel in the following seven nouns: foot – feet. half – halves. Englishman – Englishmen. sheath. wife – wives. life – lives. thief – thieves. wharf – wharfs or wharves. sheaf – sheaves. myth – myths. oath. followed by [z]. but in a few cases the plural has voicing mouth. self – selves. while postman – postmen. man – men. the plural is again often regular. etc. b) Nouns in -f(e) Plurals with voicing are spelled -ves. louse – lice. cliff. Nouns ending in -y following a consonant letter form their plural by dropping the -y and adding –ie: baby – babies. chief. roof.There are a few nouns ending in -o which form the plural both in -s and -es: buffalo – buffalos or buffaloes cargo – cargos or cargoes commando – commandos or commandoes volcano – volcanos or volcanoes 3. 35 . have no difference in pronunciation at all between singular and plural. and in several cases there are both regular and voiced plurals: bath. month – months With a vowel before the -th. In one case the voiceless fricative is [s] and the plural has [-zz]: house . country – countries. shelf – shelves. leaf – leaves. wreath. the plural is regular: berth – berths. fly – flies.houses. hoof – hoofs or hooves. goose – geese. loaf – loaves. Kennedy – the Kennedys If the final -y is preceded by a vowel letter the plural is formed by simply adding -s to the singular: boy – boys. elf – elves. a) Nouns in -th There is no change in spelling. safe Both regular and voiced plurals: dwarf – dwarfs or dwarves. lady – ladies Proper nouns ending in -y add -s in the plural: Henry – Henrys. day – days. With a consonant before the -th. path. mouse – mice. wolf – wolves. Voiced plural only: calf – calves. woman – women. guy – guys. knife – knives. 2. Some nouns which in the singular end in the voiceless fricatives spelled -th and -f have voiced fricatives in the plural. birth – births. scarf – scarfs or scarves. youth. Mary – Marys. truth. tooth – teeth. proof. as with cloth – cloths. key – keys Irregular plurals 1.

grouse. the zero plural is the more common. birds and fish especially when they are used in a hunting context: deer. partridges. Sportsmen who shoot duck. crisis – crises. pheasant.: We caught only a few fish. These include: a) Names of certain animals. 36 . criterion – criteria. b) craft and aircraft/hovercraft/spacecraft: The craft was sunk. e. antenna – antennae/antennas 6. gymnasium – gymnasiums The tendency to use the foreign plural is still strong in the technical language of science. a Vietnamese – the Vietnamese 5. radius – radii. Foreign plurals Some nouns borrowed from Greek and Latin have Greek and Latin plural endings: basis – bases. trout. The usual plural of person is people (not persons). use the same form for singular and plural. plaice. Where there are two plurals. partridge. e.g. All the craft were sunk. but in fiction and colloquial English there is an evident inclination to give to certain words the regular English plural forms in -s. sheep. otherwise regular brothers child – children (with vowel change [a] → []) ox – oxen 4. Zero plural Some nouns have the same spoken and written form in both singular and plural. pheasants. salmon. phenomenon – phenomena.: a Chinese – the Chinese. whereas the regular plural is used to denote different individuals or species: the fishes of the Mediterranean. dogma – dogmas. c) Certain nouns describing nationalities. The -en plural This occurs in three nouns: brother – brethren [brern] (= fellow members of a religious society).3.g. But other people normally add -s for the plural: ducks. mackerel. etc. terminus – termini But some follow the English rules: album – albums. Thus in some cases two plural forms are preserved: formula – formulae/formulas.

regimental flags compasses – 1. souls 2. reasons (‘grounds for complaint’) 3. instruments for drawing circles draughts – 1. cloths (= different pieces or kinds of cloth) 2.Plurals with different meanings The plurals of some nouns have two or more meanings. break-ins. pennies (= separate coins) 2. Plural in first element editor-in-chief brother-in-law looker-on hanger-on runner-up – – – – – editors-in-chief brothers-in-law lookers-on hangers-on runners-up 37 . a game 2. clothes (= articles of dress) penny 1. dies (= metal stamps for making money) 2. Plural in last element boy friends. currents of air grounds – 1. Plural in both first and last element gentleman farmer – gentlemen farmers manservant – menservants woman doctor – women doctors woman driver – women drivers 3. dice (= small cubes of bone or wood used in games of chance) cloth 1. travel agents. assistant directors. instruments for navigation 2. mental or moral attitude Double plural forms In some cases the two plurals have different meanings: index 1. hues 2. indexes (= tables of contents) 2. pence (= collective value) Plural of compound nouns Compounds form the plural in different ways. dregs (‘coffee grounds’) spirits – 1. etc. merry-go-rounds. 2. spoonfuls . colours – 1. 1. one similar to the singular meaning. the other different from it. alcoholic liquors 3. indices (= algebraical signs) die 1. forget-me-nots.land (usually enclosed) round a house 2.

bowls. The word pair is generally used with these terms. outshirts. crossroads. stairs. except where otherwise mentioned: a) The noun news as in: The news is bad today. Wales. surroundings. c) Subject names in -ics (usually with singular verb): linguistics. (the reference is specific. Athens.Nouns with a plural form + singular verb The following nouns.g. athletics: Mathematics is a compulsory subject at school. valuables: All my belongings are in this bag. knickers. 38 . the United Nations and the United States have a singular verb when considered as units. darts. Marseilles. rickets. clothes. b) Some diseases: measles. shorts. congratulations. etc. Mumps are (or is) fairly rare in adults. the verb must be plural) d) Some games: billiards. series. effort). My trousers are torn. shingles. two pairs of scissors c) A few words which occur only in the plural and are followed by a plural verb: belongings. though plural in form. e. thanks. scissors. spectacles. pains (trouble. earnings. dominoes. glasses. Some speakers also accept a plural verb. (single unit) There are thousands of species of butterflies. Athens has grown rapidly in the past decade. shears. Brussels. species and works (= factory) can be regarded as a single unit (+ verb in the singular) or collective (+ verb in the plural): This species of rose is very rare. greens (= green vegetables). e) Some proper nouns: Algiers. gallows. riches. phonetics. a pair of trousers. pants. scales. bellows. (the reference is to an academic subject) But: His mathematics are weak. gasworks. are followed by a verb in the singular. pyjamas. b) Names of tools and instruments consisting of two parts: binoculars. pliers. (more than one) Nouns with a plural form + plural verb Nouns with a plural form only (+ plural verb) are: a) Names of garments consisting of two parts: breeches. mumps. tropics. tongs. goods. trousers. f) Nouns barracks. remains. draughts: Billiards is becomming more and more popular. oats. kennels. mathematics.

jury. is morphologically marked for gender. people. the military. it is formed by changing the ending of the masculine noun with the suffix -ess (sometimes with other slight changes): actor – actress author – authoress prince – princess steward – stewardess 39 . This form is of two types. crowd. the masculine form is used. when there is no wish to make a distinction of sex. however. the clergy. girls and female animals (pronoun she/they) Neuter: inanimate things. Type 1. Masculine: men. Where they are made. company. the connection between the biological category ‘sex’ and the grammatical category ‘gender’ is very close. it. Some people are never satisfied. team and union can take a singular or plural verb. committee. group.Collective noun + singular or plural verb Some collective nouns such as audience. council. gentry. her and its. but they must be followed by a plural verb: cattle. possessive adjectives his. though sometimes both are possible: The jury is considering its verdict. In other cases. insofar as natural sex distinctions determine English gender distinctions (Quirk and Greenbaum 1977:89). the police/vermin: The police have surrounded the building. singular if we consider the word to mean a single group or unit: Our team is the best or plural if we take it to mean a number of individuals: Our team are wearing their new jerseys. Some pronouns are gender-sensitive (personal pronouns he. a separate form will be used for the female. family. Collective noun + plural verb Certain collective nouns do not have plural forms. and relative pronouns who and which). club. a plural verb with their is more usual than a singular verb with its. Back to Nouns GENDER English makes very few gender distinctions. The jury are considering their verdict. class. boys and male animals (pronoun he/they) Feminine: women. gang. When a possessive pronoun is necessary. animals whose sex we don’t know (pronoun it/they) Masculine/feminine nouns denoting people Generally. she. government.

journalist. dear. visitor. friend. singer. teacher. In spoken language. it is sometimes necessary to use a ‘gender marker’: boy friend – girl friend manservant – maidservant man student – woman student With many nouns we don’t know whether the person referred to is male or female until we hear the pronoun: My doctor says she is pleased with my progress. When the noun indicates the sex of the animal it is generally spoken of as he or she: lion – lioness tiger – tigress bull – cow 40 . such as poetess. speaker. relative. the feminine form may be a different word: bachelor – spinster boy – girl gentleman – lady monk – nun sir – madam uncle – aunt This distinction is becoming rarer so that words like author. it is interesting to note that occasionally for living beings we have three words.Type 2. cousin. comrade. passenger. authoress. one feminine and one common gender. boy – girl – child son – daughter – child father – mother – parent king – queen – monarch. quest. artist. fowl Gender of nouns denoting animals All nouns denoting animals (birds. darling. doctor. traveller. is morphologically unmarked for gender. instructor and manager are now commonly used for both sexes. one masculine. reptiles) may be considered neuter (referred to as it). enemy. neighbour. student. e. musician. Some words. however.g. parent. are falling into disuse because they are considered disparaging by both sexes. insects. writer. cook. person. ruler boar – sow – pig cock – hen – bird. stranger. There are a number of ‘foreign feminines’: czar – czarina beau – belle don – donna Sultan – Sultana Common gender This is a large class including nouns which may be applied to both males and females. tourist. foreigner. scientist. With regard to words of common gender. pupil. fishes. This applies to nouns such as adult. there is a tendency to associate the names of animals with the feminine or masculine gender: 1. For clarity. owner.

fierceness. The nouns moon and earth are referred to as feminine. The ship struck an iceberg. etc. beauty. etc. death.he Gender of nouns denoting inanimate things and abstract notions (personification) Sometimes inanimate things and abstract notions are personified and the nouns denoting them are referred to as belonging to the masculine or feminine gender. b) As political/economic units the names of countries are often feminine: England is proud of her poets. The cat has upset her milk. fear. kindness. Masculine: anger.he. 2. war Feminine: spring. parrot The elephant lifted his mighty trunk. When abstract notions are personified. the teams representing countries can be referred to as personal collective nouns: France have improved their chance of winning the cup. Names of countries have different gender depending on their use. peace. When the sex of the animal is not indicated by the noun. nouns denoting the smaller and weaker with the feminine: Masculine: elephant.(stressed) is used as a prefix in e. sun as masculine: The earth awoke from her winter sleep. It is one of the largest countries of Europe. 3. fly . the masculine gender is given to nouns suggesting such ideas as strength.g. hare. People need to rise early to see the sun in all his splendour. But: canary . a) As geographical units they are treated as ‘inanimate’: Looking at the map we see France here. c) In sports. while the feminine is associated with the idea of gentleness.Sometimes he-/she. dawn 4. Here are some traditional associations: 1. which tore a huge hole in her side. dog. eagle Feminine: cat.: he-bear – she-bear he-goat – she-goat he-wolf – she-wolf Sometimes proper nouns are used with the names of animals to show the sex: billy-goat – nanny-goat jack-ass – jenny-ass tom-cat – pussy-cat 2. Ships and cars and other vehicles when regarded with affection or respect are considered feminine. Back to Nouns 41 . nouns denoting the larger and stronger animals are generally associated with the masculine gender. for his brightness seldom lasts the day through.

sake as in for goodness’ sake for conscience’ sake 4. and plural nouns not ending in -s: men’s work an actress’s career Russia’s exports the dog’s kennel women’s clothes a child’s dream a waitress’s job children’s games a man’s job If two names are joined by and. We can show possession in the plural forms of names ending in -s by adding an apostrophe at the end: the Joneses’ houses. we add ‘s to the second: John and Mary’s bank balance Scott and Amundsen’s race 2. A simple apostrophe (‘) is used with plural nouns ending in -s: the Smiths’ car boys’ school the eagles’ nest the students’ hostel the soldiers’ horses girls’ school 3. the possessive ending is added at the end: brother-in-law’s face father-in-law’s house The rule also applies to titles. With some (especially famous) names ending in -s we normally add an apostrophe after the -s (pronounced [-s] or [-z]): Keats’ works. sometimes called the possessive case. we normally pronounce it as [-z]. When the ‘possessor’ is represented by a compound noun. Pythagoras’ Theorem. The possessive form of the noun is formed as follows: 1. The -es genitive ending of some classes of nouns in old English has survived in the modern language as ‘s (apostrophe s) for some nouns in the singular and s’ (s apostrophe) for some nouns in the plural. but with limited uses... a) Classical names ending in s usually add only the apostrophe: Archimedes’ Law. as in: Henry the Eighth’s marriages the Secretary of State’s visit 42 .CASE The Genitive/Possessive The only ‘case-form’ for nouns that exists in English is the genitive. Other names ending in -s can take ‘s or the apostrophe alone: Charles’s address or Charles’ address Mr Jones’s house or Mr Jones’ house Doris’s party or Doris’ party No matter how we write the genitive in such cases. Sophocles’ plays b) Only the apostrophe is used with fixed expressions of the form for . ‘s is used with singular nouns.

the workers’ club [-z]: an actress’s career. a month’s salary.g. always with ‘s: They were married in St Bartholomew’s. today’s TV. b) shops and businesses: e. Langan’s. The pronunciation of ‘s and s’ The pronunciation of ‘s and s’ depends on the sound that precedes them. a stone’s throw An ‘s is sometimes used with reference to cars. the ship’s propeller Omission of the noun after ‘s and s’ The ‘s/s’ construction can be used on its own when we refer to: a) where someone lives: I’m staying at my aunt’s. a shilling’s worth Fixed expressions: (keep someone) at arm’s lenght. and follows the same rules as for plural nouns: [-s]: Jack’s job. (be) at death’s door. 43 . Scott’s) ‘s is included.Two genitives are also possible. Churches and colleges (often named after saints) are frequently referred to in the same way. the dentist’s.g. for goodness’ sake. two days’ journey ‘Money’s worth’: twenty dollars’ worth of gasoline. an hour’s delay. When we refer to well-known restaurants by the name of the owner or founder (e. St Stephen’s Cathedral Time references: a day’s work. the committee’s decision ‘Higher animals’: the horse’s stable Some ‘lower animals’: an ant’s nest.g. someone’s responsibility Collective nouns: the army’s advance. man’s future Indefinite pronouns: anyone’s guess. a year’s absence. Pat’s handbag [-z]: Ben’s opinion. the water’s edge. Mrs Page’s jam The use of the possessive form with living things We may use ‘s or s’ after: Personal names: Jones’s car. Hong Kong’s future Institutional reference: the European Union’s exports ‘s or s’ are normally used with the following: Churches and cathedrals: St Paul’s Church. I’m a guest at the Watsons’. Bob’s house. the boss’s office. John’s friend Personal nouns: the doctor’s surgery. the doctor’s I’ve got an appointment at the dentist’s. planes and ships: the car’s exhaust. the earth’s surface. as in: My brother’s neighbour’s sister is a nurse. the plane’s engines. (to) one’s heart’s content. a week or two’s time. a bee’s sting The use of the possessive form with non-living things We may use ‘s/s’ or the of construction with the following: Geographical reference: America’s policy. journey’s end. the butcher’s Would you mind going to the chemist’s for me? c) medical practitioners: e.

and which we cannot count. the shade of a tree b) Parts of things: the bottom/top/side/inside of the box c) Abstract reference: the cost of living. genitives that are completely adjectival: He has a doctor’s degree. two stamps Uncountable Nouns (also known as non-count nouns or mass nouns) Uncountable nouns are the names of things which we do not see as separate. The noun with the -s genitive inflection must be both definite and personal: a friend of my father’s (= one of my father’s friends) a play of Shakespeare’s (= one of Shakespeare’s plays) a criticism of Shaw’s (= opinions by Shaw) an opera of Verdi’s Back to Nouns COUNTABILITY Countable Nouns Countable nouns are the names of separate objects. the price of success We also use this construction when the noun in the of-phrase is modified by an additional phrase or clause: Can’t you look at the book of the boy behind you? The of-construction cannot be used with ‘classifying genitives’. If a noun is uncountable a) We do not normally use a/an in front of it: Sugar is expensive. an envelope b) It has a plural and can be used in the question How many? How many stamps/envelopes? – Four stamps/envelopes c) We can use numbers: one stamp. etc. It was a summer’s day. 44 . which we can count. people . i.e. If a noun is countable: a) We can use a/an in front of it: a book.The use of the ‘of-construction’ We normally use the of-construction when referring to: a) Things: the look of the film. The double genitive An of-genitive can be combined with an -s genitive in a construction called the ‘double genitive’. two) in front of it. b) It does not normally have a plural and it can be used in the question How much? How much meat/oil? – A lot of meat/a little oil c) We cannot normally use a number (one.

Uncountable nouns are: abstract nouns: beauty. etc.g. with a different meaning. when we use them as uncountables. hair. + of: little water a little water a bit of news a cake of soap a drop of oil a grain of sand a pane of glass a piece of advice a pot of jam a sheet of paper Sometimes material nouns and abstract nouns are used in the plural with emphatic force sand the sands of the Sahara water the waters of the Black sea Some uncountable nouns are used in the plural. knowledge. Ice floats. Steel is an alloy of iron. Paper is made from wood. piece. paper. hope. can be ‘countable’ in one context and. a little. item. courage. little. This region produces some awful wines as well as good ones. pity names of materials: beer. When we use such nouns as countables. horror. we refer only to the material. any. ‘uncountable’ in another. jewelry. stone. What do the papers say? Back to Nouns Back to Contents uncountable (‘material’) Glass is made from sand. wood some collective nouns: furniture. coffee. or by nouns such as bit. when they denote particular varieties. e. help. slice. Would you like an ice? I’ve got a new iron. no. we refer to a thing which is made of the material or which we think of as being made of the material. I go out in all weathers. glass. glass. money These nouns are often preceded by some. wine. etc. countable (‘thing’) I broke a glass this morning. stone. water. Some uncountable nouns in the plural change their meaning: damage (škoda) damages (odškodné) good (dobro) goods (zboží) force (síla) forces (ozbrojené síly) honour (čest) honours (vyznamenání) Some of these nouns. etc. 45 . death.

46 . T. D. E. N. an [n] is used before vowel sounds (not just words beginning with the vowel letters a. U. P.ARTICLES THE INDEFINITE ARTICLE ‘A/AN’ THE DEFINITE ARTICLE ‘THE’ THE ZERO ARTICLE THE INDEFINITE ARTICLE ‘A/AN’ To classify or identify something. we can say: It’s a book. L. X. G. K. S. we can say: I’ve got a book. Q. (some + plural noun) The pronunciation of ‘a’ and ‘an’ A (pronounced [] in fluent speech) is used before consonant sounds (not just consonant letters). (an Intelligence Quotient) The pronunciation [e] instead of [] for a is often used when we are speaking with special emphasis. with or without a pause: He still refers to his record-player as ‘a [e] gramophone’. a university a hall a hot dinner but but but but but but but an F an H an S a uniform an understudy an hour (h not pronounced) an honour Some common abbreviations (depending in their first letter) are preceded by a or by an: a B. e. (This is) an A.A. when the exact number is not important. I. H. W. i. Compare: a fire a house a sound an umbrella a year. F. J. an I. o. (a Bachelor of Arts). we can use quantifiers like some. (a/an + singular noun) The plural of this is: They’re books. u). R. Y. M. a lot of.Q. This can be seen when we use a or an with the alphabet: (This is) a B. a few. (zero + plural noun) To refer to quantity. O. Z. C. (a/an + singular noun) In the plural. V. Some/any are the commonest of these and can be said to be the plural of a/an when we are referring to unspecified number: I’ve got some books.

We can use He’s/it’s a + name for ‘tangible examples’: He’s a Forsyte. The plurals would be: They’re Frenchmen/doctors. We can classify them in two ways: 1. Classification: ‘a/an’ to mean ‘an example of that class’ When we say a rose is a flower. (Cats are domestic animals. animal or thing referred to may be not known to the listener or reader. It’s a Picasso. By means of labels (a/an + noun after the verb be): We often wish to classify people in terms of the work they do. 2. A/an can combine only with a singular countable noun. so a/an has the sense of any or I can’t/won’t tell you which. etc. We use a/an in this way when we wish to classify people. (i. animals or things. When using a/an we must always bear in mind two basic facts: 1. etc. The uses of ‘a/an’ 1. A/an has an indefinite meaning. He’s a Frenchman/an American. These two facts underlie all uses of a/an.Basic uses of ‘a/an’ There is no difference in meaning between a and an. or it doesn’t matter which)./He’s an Anglican. the person. The ‘labels’ of things can render the meaning ‘a kind of’: It’s a (kind of/sort of/type of) rose/beetle/bottle-opener.) Many uncountable nouns can be used after a/an when we are referring to ‘an example of that class’ This is a very good coffee. we mean that a rose is an example of a class of items we call flowers. etc. By means of general statements: General statements with a/an often take the form of definitions: A cat is a domestic animal. You’re an angel/a saint/a wonder. She’s a Catholic. He’s a Socialist/a Republican. She’s a doctor. Is it Brazilian? 2. Other examples are: a Brecht play a Shakespeare sonnet 47 . to classify people./He’s an electrician.e. You’re a good girl/a real angel. where they come from.

You need a screwdriver to do the job properly. is common in fables and folk stories: Many years ago a certain merchant arrived in Baghdad. We use one when we are counting (one apple. many years later. in story-telling: One day. 4.) with the sense of ‘a certain person whom I don’t know’: A Mr. 3. etc. we use per instead of a/an: 80 p a/per kilo 40 km an/per hour 30 miles a/per gallon twice a/per day 48 . we use some or any: I’d like some apples. The difference between ‘a/an’ and ‘one’ One and a/an cannot normally be used interchangeably. etc. as opposed to two or three): It was one coffee we ordered.2 to refer to ‘a certain person’ A/an can be used before titles (Mr. But we could not use one to mean ‘any one’ (not specified): A knife is no good. etc. The phrase a certain. thousand. Money: a (or one) pound/dollar.e. morning. only one. etc. million. Fractions: a (or one) quarter. Note: A/an is used when we refer to one unit of measurement in relation to another. A/an and one can be used interchangeably when we refer to: Whole numbers: a (or one) hundred. One is often used with day. Mrs. etc. to refer to people whose identity is not yet known. foot/metre. to mean ‘only/just one’ The most common use of a/an is in the sense of ‘only/just one’ when we are not specifying any particular person or thing: I’d like an apple (i. not two. A Mrs Tadley is waiting to see you. etc. (mentioned for the first time) but (the continuation may be): The plane flew low over the trees. to introduce an item ‘on the scene’ A/an is used before a countable noun mentioned for the first time: I looked up and saw a plane. We say: ‘One pound 50’ Weight/measure: a (or one) pound/kilo. I found out what had really happened. it doesn’t matter which) When we express this in the plural. Wingate phoned and left a message for you. If we want to emphasize ‘each’. Miss. third./I don’t want any apples. half.

g. (an) earache: I’ve had (a) toothache all night. Expressions where the use of the indefinite article is optional: e.g. etc. The use of ‘a/an’ (or zero) with reference to illnesses The use of the indefinite and zero articles with illnesses can be defined in four categories: 1.g. and a/an is used before the first noun of a pair: a cup and saucer.. a hat and coat.The use of ‘a/an’ after ‘what’ and ‘such’ A/an is used with countable nouns after What in exclamations: What a surprise! What an interesting story! A/an is used after such when we wish to emphasize degree: That child is such a pest! My boss is such an idiot! What a lot. With illnesses which are plural in form (e. mumps. a cold.) no article is used: I was in bed with flu for ten days. 3.! is used for exclamations: What a lot of flowers! What a lot of trouble! The use of ‘a/an’ with pairs of nouns Many nouns are ‘paired’. 4. 49 . flu. The will also combine with e. have (a) backache/stomach-ache/toothache. a knife and fork: It’s cold outside. hepatitis. measles and mumps: He’s got the flu/the measles/the mumps. With illnesses which are defined as ‘uncountable’ (e.g. flu. gout. Take a hat and coat with you.. 2. shingles) no article is used: My children are in bed with mumps. a headache. The use of ‘a/an’ in a number of phrases to be in a hurry to be in a position to be in a temper to have a chance/opportunity to to have a fancy for to have a mind to Back to Articles to take a dislike to to take an interest to take a pride in at a discount/premium on an average a short time ago etc. Expressions where the use of the indefinite article is compulsory: e.g. that is they are considered to accompany each other naturally. measles. catch (a) cold. a sore throat: I’ve got a headache/a cold.

the house. (a certain class of snakes as distinct from other classes. and uncountable nouns (which are always singular). we must always bear in mind two basic facts: 1. the umbrella. particularly those ending in -ch. the inside. (= the whole class. The use of ‘the’ for classifying The + singular is used to make a general statement: The cobra is dangerous. Some common abbreviations are preceded by the: the [] BBC (the British Broadcasting Corporation) the [] EU (the European Union) Basic uses of ‘the’ When using the. i. we use the pronunciation [i] (= ‘the one and only’ or ‘the main one’): Do you mean the Richard Burton. some Americans: The British and the Americans have been allies for a long time. The British (= The British people in general) Plural nationality nouns can be used with the or zero article to refer to the group as a whole: the Americans or Americans.e. Monica is the person to ask. 50 . such as the grass snake) Note: The other two ways of making general statements are the following: Zero + plural: Cobras are dangerous.g.e. the key. or with numbers or quantifiers like some and many to refer to individuals: two Americans. the way. -sh and -ese are used after the when we wish to refer to ‘the group as a whole’: e. the ear. the hour. the actor? If you get into difficulties. Mykonos has become the place for holidays in the Aegean. The normally has a definite reference (i. These two facts underlie all uses of the. all the creatures with the characteristics of snakes called cobras) A/an + singular: A cobra is a very poisonous snake.THE DEFINITE ARTICLE ‘THE’ The pronunciation of ‘the’ The is pronounced [] before consonant sounds: the day. 2. When we wish to draw attention to the noun that follows. words normally preceded by an): the end. The is pronounced [] before vowel sounds (i. (a cobra as an example of a class of reptile known as snake) The group as a whole: the + nationality adjective Some nationality adjectives. The Japanese admire the traditions of the Chinese. plural countable. the eye. the outside. the person or thing referred to is assumed to be known to the speaker or reader). The combines with singular countable.e.

g. etc. the past. the is optional: We get a good crop of apples in (the) autumn. in the afternoon. the beginning. last year (for details see chapter Prepositions pp. in time sequences e. ‘Races’: The Europeans are a long way from political unity.: I’m afraid Mr Jay can’t speak to you at the moment. next week. the future: In the past. (spoken as May the 24th) On a letter: 24(th) May (spoken as the 24th of May) 5. in the evening. with the seasons (the) spring/summer/autumn/winter. Names beginning with the are given to particular groups to emphasize their identity: e. 51 .g.g. The life of Napoleon was very stormy. The use of ‘the’ for specifying When we use the. Specified groups: ‘the’ + collective noun or plural countable This new increase in fares won’t please the public. The letters on the shelf are for you. the end. the Beatles. the present. many do not: e. 3. in the end. etc. people had fewer expectations. at the moment.: We spent the day at home. in the morning. but not when they are written: I’ll see you on May 24th. we went out. Note that though many time references require the. The village has a population of a few hundred people. the listener or reader can already identify what we are referring to. therefore the shows that the noun has been specified by the context/situation or grammatically.The group as a whole: ‘the’ + plural names The + plural name can refer to ‘the group as a whole’: Families: The Price sisters have opened a boutique. for the time being. Politics: The Liberals want electoral reform. 4. the following day. the first/last. For example: Singleton is a quiet village near Chichester. the Jesuits. Getting the unions and the bosses to agree isn’t easy. in dates Ordinal numbers usually require the when they are spoken. in fixed time expressions: all the while. The use of ‘the’ in time expressions 1.g. In the evening. 2. on Tuesday. with parts of the day e. 104). the middle.

the human race. Punch. 52 . The New Yorker. water. the Discovery. beans.g. Constructions with the. − − − − Other references with ‘the’ Superlatives: It’s the worst play I’ve ever seen. Uncountable nouns (always singular): e. the Titanic Documents and official titles: the Great Charter. Newsweek. the Labour Party Public bodies: the Army.the: the sooner the better. the United Nations Historical events: the French Revolution. 2. The Times Note: the press. The Spectator. the radio. The water we drank last night had a lot of chlorine in it. etc. The is often omitted in references to jazz and rock: This is a 1979 recording with Ellison on bass guitar. the Furies. Time Titles (books. films.g.: The is part of the title): The Odyssey. Musical instruments: Tom plays the piano/the flute/the violin. the Government. Jaws Supernatural beings: the angels. make the beds. − − − − − − − Institutions and organizations: the Boy Scouts. 3.. Back to Articles THE ZERO ARTICLE Basic uses of the zero article We use the zero article before three types of nouns: 1. John.: the climate. Note: The can occur in front of plural countables and (singular) uncountables to refer to specific items: The pens I gave you were free samples. Fixed expressions: do the shopping.g. The Graduate Items with zero: Exiles. where there is only one of a kind). the television Compare: What’s on (the) television? What’s on TV? Items with zero: Life. the Queen Political parties: the Conservative Party. Proper nouns: e.. Muhammed. the temperature. the Police The press (The is part of the title): The Economist. the saints Compare: God. Plural countable nouns: e.The use of ‘the’ with unique items other than place names We often use the with ‘unique items’ (i. etc. (proper nouns) Climate etc. the gods. the reptiles Compare: Man developed earlier than people think.e. the Victorian age Ships: the Canberra. the weather Species: the dinosaurs.

These can be modified by adjectives and other phrases: e. Somers is the pseudonym of a famous author. − Places: Museums are closed on Mondays.g. These can be modified by adjectives and other phrases: e. oil from the North Sea. Ms. − Philosophy: Determinism denies the existence of free will. − Animals: Cats do not like cold weather. Unique items: zero article + proper nouns Zero article + names of people: Helen is my mother’s name. Zero article + uncountable nouns (always singular): − Food: Refined foods like sugar should be avoided. games: Football is played all over the world. − Substances: Oil is essential for the manufacture of plastic. − Products: Watches have become very accurate. − Activities (-ing): Smoking is bad for the health. Miss is also followed by a surname: Miss Jackson 53 . The class as a whole: zero article + countable/uncountable Zero article + plural countable nouns: − People: Women are fighting for their rights. − Nationalities: Italians make delicious ice-cream. quartz watches. art is long. Miss. J. − Sports. − Colours: Red is my favourite colour. − Languages: English is a world language. Mrs. women all over the world. − Collections: Money makes the world go round. − Insects: Ants are found in all parts of the world. − Other activities: Business has been improving steadily this year.The can even occur in front of proper nouns if they are further specified: The Chicago of the 1920s was a terrifying place. local museums. − Occupations: Doctors always support each other. purified water. − Drink: Water must be pure if it is to be drunk. − Food: Beans contain a lot fibre. These tools are made by Jackson and Son. broad beans. Elizabeth Brown works for this company.g. heavy smoking. Zero article + titles (Mr. − Politics: Capitalism is a by-product of free enterprise. Dr): Mr and Mrs are always followed by a surname or first name + surname (not just a first name!) Mr and Mrs Jackson are here to see you. − Abstract nouns: Life is short. Compare: Chicago is a well-run city today.

late Schubert.e. Spring is a lovely season. Art.g.e. before morning. etc. days. Let’s have breakfast. History. Geography. Yes. seasons and holidays Mondays are always difficult. 4. Colonel. May I introduce you to Captain/Colonel/Major Rogers? Yes. 3. after and before: at dawn/daybreak. Chaucer’s writing) Adjectival combinations: early Beethoven. names representing an artist’s work The names of artists can represent their work as a whole: e. Typical uses of the zero article The zero article is used with: 1. Bach gives me a lot of pleasure. Lorca. Chemistry.g. at sunrise/sunset/noon/midnight/dusk/night. Renaissance Art. According to Henry Ford. etc. Captain/Colonel/Major! Headmaster and Matron are not used with a name after them: Thank you. 54 . by day/night. Headmaster. Christmas is the time for family reunions. Physics. lunch. supper: Dinner is served. Brahms. (i. Bach’s music) Chaucer is very entertaining. June is my favourite month. by shop-assistants): Can I help you. Michael’s at lunch. Monday is always a difficult day. Rembrandt. (i. 2. Some other titles can be used with surnames or on their own: Captain. Professor. meals breakfast. Keats. Leonardo. by. dinner. Madam and Sir are used in BrE as a form of address (e.Dr is usually followed by a surname and is abbreviated in writing: This is Dr Brown. times of the day and night Combinations are common with at. Major. academic subjects and related topics: e. ‘History is bunk’. Matron. American History. months. Madam/Sir? In formal letter-writing we use Dear Sir and Dear Madam as salutations to address people whose names we do not know. Biology. tea. at/by/before/after 4 o’clock: We got up at dawn to climb to the summit. Adjectival combinations: e.g. 5.g. English is a difficult language to learn well.

g. etc. by car. by land. by plane. by sea. by boat. school. by tube. unspecified quantity Sometimes we do not use some or any to refer to indefinite number or amount: I have presents for the children. fixed phrases e. from top to bottom. hand in hand. arm in arm. Words such as cathedral. class. sea. by bike. He’s in bed (for the purpose of sleeping): bed. But note the use of the when the item is specified: Your bag is under the bed. factory.g. come to light. by coach. light and dark. ‘hospital’.The zero article is used after have. 11. 8. 7. make friends. sun and moon: This business has been run by father and son for 20 years. nouns like ‘school’. ‘what’ and ‘such’ in exclamations The noun is stressed after What. make fun of. by ship. court. 6. keep in mind. transport by air. father and son. that is the activity associated with them: e. such is stressed before the noun: ‘What’/’such’ + plural countable: What fools they are! We had such problems getting through Customs! 55 . You won’t go far on that old bike. prison. and the use of a when classifying: That was a very nice dinner. by bus. town. by bicycle. are always used with a or the. By + noun is used in fixed expressions of this kind. young and old. day and night. church. face to face.g. Are there presents for me too? Is there news for me too? 10. on foot: We travelled all over Europe by bus. I have news for you. by train. pen and ink. but note the use of the where a meal is specified: The breakfast I ordered still hasn’t arrived. ‘pairs’ joined by ‘and’ e. market. work. college. The children went to school early this morning. etc. 9. They frequently combine with be in/at. but not where the means of transport is specified: I came here on the local bus. husband and wife. university. have been/gone to: He was sent to prison for four years. office. hospital. There’s a meeting at the school at 6. mosque. The following nouns are used with the zero article when we refer to their ‘primary purpose’.

the Netherlands. Heaven. republic. the Sahara (Desert) Most countries: Finland. The Coliseum (Theatre) 56 . the Strand. the Mississippi (or the Mississippi River). The Hague Cambridge University the University of Cambridge Most streets: London Road. the Nile (or the River Nile). Easter Island the Isle of Capri. the Library of Congress London Bridge – Guy’s (Hospital) Brown’s Hotel Death Valley. river. the ARE (the Arab Republic of Egypt). Continents Geographical areas Historical references Lakes Oceans. the West the Dark Ages. Hades – Leoni’s (Restaurant) Selfridges. Renaissance. the North Pole. but there is some variation. the Equator. 74 The Crescent 2 Gordon Square Buckingham Palace. Waterloo (Station) Her Majesty’s (Theatre). the Philippines. Outer Mongolia. the Caspian (Sea). the Bahamas – the Gobi (Desert). Asia. Delos. Lake Geneva – the – the Arctic. Oxford Street. the USA (the United States of America) A few countries: the Argentine (or Argentina). strait. 3 West Street. canal. Surrey the Vatican Most cities: Denver. ocean. Madison the High Street. gulf. seas. Ohio. pre-war/post-war Germany. the Matterhorn – the Alps. (the) Sudan. the Stone Age Mountains Mountain ranges Islands Groups of islands Deserts Countries States Cities Universities Streets etc. Lower Egypt. channel. the is used when a countable noun like one of the following appears in the title: bay. the Suez Canal Everest. the Middle East. Parks Addresses Buildings Other locations Bridges Cinemas Hospitals Hotels ‘Places’ Pubs Restaurants Shops Stations Theatres – the Pacific (Ocean). union. sea. rivers zero Africa. the Kalahari (Desert). Hyde Park – 49 Albert Place. Marks and Spencers Victoria (Station). the Isle of Man – the Azores. the Balkans. The Drive Avenue. Mont Blanc the Jungfrau. Inner London. (the) Yemen Most states: Bavaria. the UK (the United Kingdom). Europe Central Asia. In particular. The Underworld The White Horse The Café Royal The Scotch House – The Phoenix (Theatre). the Himalayas Christmas Island. the Medieval Europe. Lake Erie. Turkey Unions and associations: etc. London. Piccadilly Circus Note: the London road (= the road that leads to London) Central Park. Upper Austria Ancient Greece. 25 The Drive. Germany. Westminster Abbey the British Museum. The Odeon The London Hospital The Hilton (Hotel) The Everglades. Roman Britain Lake Constance. The is often omitted on maps. place names (zero article or ‘the’) Most place names are used with zero.‘What’/’such’ + (singular) uncountable: What freedom young people enjoy nowadays! Young people enjoy such freedom nowadays! 12. Sadler’s Wells (Theatre) The Golden Gate Bridge The Gaumont. kingdom. Lyons the City (of London).

pp.G.: Longman English Grammar.(After Alexander. L.55-71) Back to Articles Back to Contents 57 .

b) Person-distinction: 1st/2nd/3rd person. person. he/him. who/whom. 58 . the main differences between pronouns and nouns are the following: 1. or rather whole noun phrases. It’s all right. The genitives of personal pronouns are. and number. (For the ‘closed system’ vs. somebody’s). as in he/she/it. see p. c) Gender-contrast: masculine/feminine/neuter in the 3rd person.) 2. somebody) and genitive case (children’s. we will discuss common characteristics in relation to the categories of case. ’open class’ distinction. etc.: It was I (he. 7. it’s only me. thus presenting a three-case system. we. them). (1976:204). pronouns ‘replace’ nouns. subjective objective genitive I me my we us our you you your he him his she her her they them their who who(m) whose Note: In literary or in formal English. Pronouns constitute a closed system.g. she. called ‘possessive pronouns’. Before dealing with the different subclasses of pronouns. six pronouns have an objective case. e. where ‘common’ case is replaced by subjective and objective case. us.g.). In informal English. whereas nouns form an open class. they) who did this. in accordance with grammatical tradition. Case Nouns and most pronouns in English have only two cases: common case (children. the nominative form of the pronoun is used. he/they (compared with the typical regularity of nouns: boy – boys. as in I/we. According to Quirk et al. e.PRONOUNS CHARACTERISTICS OF PRONOUNS SPECIFIC PRONOUNS INDEFINITE PRONOUNS CHARACTERISTICS OF PRONOUNS As their name implies. as in I/you/he. gender. Many pronouns have certain morphological characteristics that nouns do not have: a) Case-contrast for subjective/objective case. d) Morphologically unrelated number forms. since they cannot generally occur with determiners such as the definite article or premodification. I/me. the objective form is frequently used: That’s her (him. However. when the pronoun comes after the verb be. There is identity between genitive and objective her and partial overlap between subjective who and objective who.

one or more persons or things mentioned (singular he/she/it.g. CLASSIFICATION OF PRONOUNS In a most general way pronouns can be divided into two classes: specific pronouns. and possessive pronouns distinguish in gender between: masculine: he/him/himself/his feminine: she/her/herself/hers non-personal: it/itself/its Relative and interrogative pronouns distinguish between personal (who/whom/whose) and non-personal gender (which). all. article-like items) and nominals. every. It is. none). others are only plural (many. this). you ought to be ashamed of yourself.. the personal.) (cf. I. and reflexive pronouns have. somebody.e. pronouns without a specific reference (e. possessive. plural they) English makes no difference between singular and plural number in the 2nd person except for reflexive pronouns: Richard. something. 59 . much. Many pronouns have the double function of determiners (i. distinctions of person: 1st person = the speaker (singular I. yourself – yourselves) pronouns do not indicate the plural by the general plural inflection of the noun -(e)s. someone.e. There are pronouns which are only singular in meaning (each. pronouns with a specific reference (e. however. unlike nouns. other – others. she. both. many of which do not share all the characteristic features. Many pronouns have one form for the singular and plural meaning (all. which). little). reflexive. They’ve had no serious accidents this year. i.. The demonstrative pronouns this and that have the plural forms these and those. Gender In the 3rd person singular. you. Children. i.e.)) but ‘I + one or more other’. few. But with a few exceptions (one – ones.. any.e. several). and indefinite pronouns. it – they The personal pronoun we does not denote I + I (+ I + I + . In personal pronouns number is expressed by different words: I – we he. Each class of pronouns includes a number of heterogeneous items. Number Pronouns also express number: singular and plural. you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.g. and 3rd person plural they in the sense of ‘people in general’: You can never hear what he’s saying.Person Personal. plural we) 2nd person = the person(s) addressed (you) 3rd person = ‘the rest’. some. 2nd person you is also used in the indefinite sense of ‘one’. i. convenient to deal with all such closed-system items in one chapter.. the boys = the boy + the boy (+ the boy + . who.

they have obvious morphological characteristics in common. you. They are. however. thyself.In the following we shall use the subclassifications of pronouns as offered in Quirk and Greenbaum (1977:101): central Specific PRONOUNS Personal Reflexive Reciprocal Possessive Relative Interrogative Demonstrative Universal Partitive Quantifying Indefinite Back to Pronouns SPECIFIC PRONOUNS Among pronouns with a specific reference. in particular. e. Note: The 2nd person singular possessive and reflexive pronouns are: thy [a]. thine [an].) The archaic 2nd person plural pronoun is ye [j] (nominative. since they share those features we have mentioned as characteristic of pronouns as compared with nouns. (Miluj bližního svého. Although these ‘central’ pronouns fill different syntactic functions. reflexive and possessive pronouns can be regarded as ‘most central’ in the system.g. sometimes objective case). 60 . used in quotations from the Bible and related expressions: Thou shalt not kill. but only together with nouns.: Love thy neighbour. they manifest person and gender contrast. Person 1st 2nd 3rd singular plural PRONOUNS: Number Gender singular plural singular plural masculine feminine neutral PERSONAL Case subjective objective I me we us you you you you he him she her it it they them REFLEXIVE myself ourselves yourself yourselves himself herself itself themselves POSSESSIVE Function determiner nominal my mine our ours your yours your yours his his her hers its its their theirs Personal Pronouns The forms of personal pronouns used in modern English are shown in the table above. have been given in the table.) I love thee. This is also the reason why the possessives like my. The 2nd person singular pronouns thou [a] (nominative case) and thee [i] (objective case) are archaic and rarely used in modern English except in poetry. although they are determiners and cannot function alone instead of nouns. personal. (Nezabiješ. etc.

He cooked himself a good meal. except and in coordinated phrases: For somebody like me/myself this is a big surprise. especially after an imperative. c) In colloquial English. In other words the person denoted by the subject and the person denoted by the object are identical: I am teaching myself Latin. that’s better. c) part of the predicate of the verb be. b) an indirect object: She bought herself a new hat.. i. Non-emphatic use: A reflexive pronoun indicates that the action expressed by the verb passes from the subject back again to the subject and not to any other person or thing. The visitors helped themselves to the cakes. but.. (= let me have a look) Tell us (= tell me) what he said. betake oneself. we and us are not. and to the objective case form of the personal pronouns of the 3rd person.: We. e. The reflexive pronoun can be: a) a direct object: He shaves himself.Notes: a) I is always written with a capital letter. pride oneself (on): She always prides herself on her academic background.: Let’s have a look. Reflexive pronouns have two distinct uses: non-emphatic and emphatic. b) Formal Royal Proclamations use the ‘Royal we’. She saw herself in the mirror. avail oneself (of). She loves me for myself. Note: Reflexive pronouns always occur with obligatorily reflexive verbs. Queen of England . not for my money. verbs which always require reflexive object. us is sometimes used for me.g. like. In variation with personal pronouns.g. You are yourself again. Speak for yourself. Reflexive Pronouns The ‘self pronouns’ are formed by adding -self (plural -selves) to the possessive pronouns (determiners) of the 1st and 2nd person. My brother and I/myself went sailing yesterday. but me.e. such as absent oneself (from). Elizabeth II. Also behave virtually belongs to this set since it can take no other than a reflexive object: Behave (yourselves) now! 61 . reflexives often occur after as. d) used after a preposition: I want a little time to myself. e. in which case it always has a strong stress: Ah.

(Not: *a friend of me) It was no fault of yours that we mistook the way. In Quirk’s classification (cf. The construction noun + of + possessive pronoun requires a nominal possessive pronoun: He is a friend of mine. unlike reflexive pronouns in non-emphatic use. Don’t lose your balance! They have changed their minds again! The possessive pronoun its is very rarely used. etc. Mary has broken her leg. Possessive Pronouns These consist traditionally of two series: the attributive (my. (+ name) 2. is frequently not observed. more than two: He put all the books beside one another. yours. I myself wouldn’t kiss her. one another’s: The students borrowed each other’s notes. have greater positional mobility: I wouldn’t kiss her myself. Note: 1. etc.). have heavy stress and. Of course. Compare the two types of possessives with the genitive of nouns which is identical in the two functions: Mary’s/my daughter’s/her book the book is Mary’s/my daughter’s/hers Unlike many other languages.) and the nominal (mine. Each other generally implies only two. 62 . The reciprocal pronouns can be freely used in the genitive (possessive) case: each other’s. since they are mutually exclusive with the articles. as well as in several other expressions: He stood at the door with his hat in his hand. Note the position of the prepositions when used with each other and one another: They gave presents to each other. The nominal possessive pronouns are used in the conventional ending to letters: Yours sincerely/truly/faithfully. They are very fond of one another. reflexive pronouns in reflexive use can also have emphatic stress: He thinks of himSELF but not of ME. and the lilac tree gives its. Quirk and Greenbaum 1977:62) the former series belong to the determiners. They have been included in the above table for a convenient summary statement of related forms. English uses possessives to refer to parts of the body and personal belongings. I wouldn’t kiss her. Myself. Reciprocal Pronouns The group-pronouns each other and one another are called reciprocal pronouns. but it could be used in such a sentence as: The cherry tree gives its share of colour to the garden. however. They help each other means ‘A helps B and B helps A’.Emphatic use: Reflexive pronouns in emphatic use occur in apposition. your. one another. This distinction.

who are just getting their tickets.. who had been lost for two days. 63 . But if the animal is named. He is one of the men whom I feel I can trust.prep that that. prep restrictive only personal and non-personal who who/whom whose prep + whom who(m).. whose. He is a man whose word is as good as his bond.. has done badly this season. That That as a relative pronoun is used for persons or things in restrictive relative clauses and is always pronounced with the weak form [t]: They live in a house that was built in 1600. zero that. The team. whom. which. which is used if the noun is regarded as singular. which. which played so well last season. They have the same forms for singular or plural masculine or feminine. With collective nouns denoting persons..prep which of which prep + which which. it is thought of as a ‘person’ and the pronoun who would be used: Our dog Jock.Relative Pronouns The relative pronouns are who. restrictive and non-restrictive as shown in the table below: restrictive and non-restrictive personal non-personal subjective case objective case genitive case preposition + relative pronoun relative pronoun . Which is used when the antecedent (the grammatical item to which the relative pronoun refers) is a whole sentence: He invited us to dinner..prep The relative pronouns who and which are pronounced with a weaker stress than the interrogative pronouns who. whose. what and occasionally as and but. was found and brought home by a policeman.. The dog which was lost has been found. whom. which was very kind of him. who(m) if it is regarded as plural: The London team. whose are used of persons: The man who spoke was my brother. which is very rapid.. whom. will meet on the platform at 2.. makes the river dangerous. that. Who.prep zero. which Who. but they keep the distinction personal and non-personal.30... Which as a relative pronoun is used of things or animals: The current.

2.’. which. (Proverb) What was it that he wanted? Was it you that broke the window? 3. That can be used as a relative pronoun after the word same: She wore the same dress that she wore at Mary’s wedding.’. he knows his subject thoroughly. They are used in forming questions and they always precede the verb: What is the matter? Whose are these gloves? Who broke that window? Which do you prefer. when the antecedent is both a person and a thing: He talked brilliantly of the men and the books that interested him. His book is the best that has ever been written on that subject. Compare the sentences: Here is the car about which I told you. Here is the car that I told you about. as which or whom can.. It is a relative pronoun and an antecedent in one word (= that which): Tell me what you want to know. and. and the one that is always used after such. What What is used when the antecedent is not expressed.. Take whichever you like... Whichever. Here. is as: I shall be surprised if he does this in the same way as I do. after an adjective in the superlative (including first and last) and after most indefinite pronouns: Yesterday was one of the coldest days that I have ever known. What is also used when the antecedent is a sentence which follows what: He is an interesting speaker. the preposition must be at the end of the clause. whom. after the opening ‘It is . She can marry whoever she chooses. dry sherry or sweet sherry? 64 . whoever are compound relative pronouns: You can have whatever you want. whose. and the corresponding interrogative forms: It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good. what. Interrogative Pronouns The interrogative pronouns are who. That cannot be used in non-restrictive clauses and it cannot be preceded by a preposition. I never heard such stories as he tells. what has the general meaning of ‘the things (antecedent) which (relative pronoun)’.Note: That (not who or which) is used: 1. There’s not much that can be done. what is more important. whatever. but the usual relative pronoun after same. ‘It was .

etc. As a nominal pronoun for persons. Which is used for things and persons. It has no case-forms: What is his name? What can stand for an activity. Brown. It was so dark I couldn’t tell who was who. Which implies choice among a certain number of persons or things. dark and handsome. indignation..: What was he? – A painter.. Who(m) did you see? I saw George.Who is used only for persons. It has no possessive case. It has three case-forms: the nominative who. Note the difference between this and Who is that man talking to your father? – He is Mr. It’s a what-do-you-call-it . in which case the answer will be usually a verb in the -ing form: What are you doing? – I’m cleaning the car. singular or plural. they often express surprise.) Oh! There’s Mr. What is that man talking to your father? – He is a lawyer. character.: Whoever would have thought it? Whichever can it be? Note the following idiomatic expressions: What about a cigarette? (= would you like. shall we have . the objective whom and the genitive (possessive) whose: Who saw you? No one. tea or coffee? Which of these children have been vaccinated? Note the difference between: Who is he (what is his name)? What is he (what is his profession)? Which is he (point him out in the group)? The compound interrogatives with -ever are used for the sake of emphasis. What is used also to ask for a person’s profession. What’s-his-name.. The objective whom in spoken English is often replaced by who: Who am I talking to? Who are you speaking about? What is generally used for things. subject or object. What is he like? – He is tall. 65 . etc. which is often followed by an of-phrase (which of you): Which do you prefer. To whom did you give the letter? (Who(m) did you give the letter to?) Whose are these gloves and whose is this umbrella? Whom is the ‘literary’ form and is preferred in writing..

lemons. Such as has the meaning ‘for example’: They export a lot of fruit. that was my reason for not coming. That is also used to refer to a whole preceding statement: I had a severe cold. A demonstrative pronoun may be used with reference to a previously mentioned noun: Compare these maps with those on the blackboard. The general meanings of the two sets can be stated as ‘near’ and ‘distant’ reference: ‘near’ reference ‘distant’ reference singular this that plural these those This (these) is used for what is close by in space or time. for what is farther off: I like these (pictures. this is what I think now. Back to Pronouns 66 . such as oranges. This (that) is used to point out a person or thing expressed in the sentence by a predicative noun: This is a pen. etc. that (those). which are near me) better than those (pictures. over there on the far side).Demonstrative Pronouns Demonstrative pronouns have number contrast and both determiner and nominal function. Such means ‘of this (that) kind’: From the day she left I was no longer the same. Such is life! I never saw such a beautiful colour on my mother’s face before. Same and such are also demonstrative pronouns. That is what I thought last year. That is a pencil.

2. All is not gold that glitters.. All plants. as an adjective with the meaning ‘the whole of’: All the money is spent.) all all some any none singular pronoun plural Quantifying plural pronoun and determiner pronoun determiner much (sing) little (sing) enough Universal Pronouns All may refer to persons and things expressing unity or collectivness and can be used as pronoun or as adjective in the singular or the plural. It is used in the singular: 1. He spent all last week in London.)) all/both (them) all/both all/both someone something somebody (place: somewhere) a(n) some anyone anything anybody (place: anywhere) either any either any no one nothing nobody (place: nowhere) none neither none no many few several enough Non-Count it (.. each (they (. All’s well that ends well... 67 .INDEFINITE PRONOUNS The table below shows the subclassification of indefinite pronouns as offered in Quirk and Greenbaum (1977:109): Count singular pronoun Universal plural predeterminer pronoun singular plural singular Partitive plural determiner pronoun and determiner determiner pronoun and determiner pronoun determiner pronoun Personal everyone everybody each Non-Personal everything each (place: everywhere) every. as a pronoun with the meaning of ‘everything’: All is lost. Take it all. All England.

If the subject is a pronoun. The students all agreed that the concert was good. everybody. The distinction between all and every is that in a sentence like All the boys were present. every and each refer to the members taken one by one. Each can be a pronoun or a determinative adjective. Note the following expressions with all: above all after all all the better all but for all that in all not at all all at once once for all all the same především koneckonců tím lépe téměř přes to všechno celkem vůbec ne.It is used in the plural as and adjective or as a pronoun: All the pupils were present. (pronoun) When the subject is a noun. everyone. The explosion broke every window in the street. Each can be used when the total number referred to is two or more. in the sentence Every boy was present. every + singular verb: That’s the sort of job that all boys like doing. Did you catch your train all right? Each. every can be used only when the total number exceeds two. The constructions are: all + plural verb. everything If all refers to the members of a group collectively. Every can only be an adjective. everything. we consider the boys in a mass. That’s the sort of job that every boy likes doing. every. In addition to being a pronoun and an adjective. all generally follows it: They all (not *all they) agreed that the concert was good. we are thinking of the many individual boys that make up the mass. 68 . everybody. its pronominal forms are everyone. jednou provždy ale stejně. (adjective) All are welcome. all can precede it or follow it: All the students agreed that the concert was good. znenadání navždy. ale přece jen All and every All often has the meaning of every. All the people were cheering loudly. není zač najednou. The explosion broke all the windows in the street. Everybody was cheering loudly. all is used adverbially in such expressions as: His face was all covered with blood.

which can be used only for persons. the following idiomatic uses of every: He is every inch a gentleman. Nor could each be used in such phrases as: every other day every two days every now and then Note the two meanings of the phrase every other day.g. Every as an adjective: Every person signed the paper. e. Each and every compared There are some differences in meaning and usage between each and every as adjectives. Friday) We have a lesson on Monday.) 69 . everything take the singular verb. I visited him each day while he was in hospital. He gave each boy two apples. There is every reason to think he is speaking the truth. Monday. Wednesday. too. He told everyone that he was a Lord. (=There are no lessons on all the other days. You have every right to be angry. every. In none of these could each replace every. The feeling of ‘distribution’ is stronger in each than in every. the difference being indicated by a difference of intonation and stress: I go there every other DAY (= on alternate days. everyone. and every one. Every man must do his best.Each as a pronoun: Each of the boys has done his work. each focusses attention on them individually and so tends to disperse the unity. Every tends to gather the separate items into a whole. Each must do his best. This can be seen if we consider the sentences: I visited him every day while he was in hospital. Everybody was disappointed that you couldn’t come. Everything in the house was destroyed by fire. Everything he says is true. but on every OTHER day there are no lessons. Note. Note: Observe the difference between everyone. Each man must do his best. everybody. Each as an adjective: Each person signed the paper. which can be used also to speak of things: She has kept every one of my letters. They each signed the paper. Notice that each. Pronominal forms of every: Everyone knows that Rome is the capital of Italy.

There are some cows in the field. someone. In its determiner or nominal function. I’ve spilt some ink on the table. the other partitive pronouns have only nominal function. another. uncountable nouns and plural nouns: a) to express an indefinite quantity or number. which they virtually are.Both indicates that two objects (persons or things) are regarded in conjunction. It is used only before plural nouns. others. they are both engineers.g. Both (the) men were found guilty. Some. Both as a pronoun: I have two brothers. something) b) any and its compounds (anybody. another. anything) c) no and its compounds (nobody. no and their compounds are closely related to every and its compounds on the one hand. and to pronominal adverbs (adverbial pronouns) of place and time on the other. 1988:121 ff) treat partitive pronouns as existential and negative quantifiers. no one. This interrelation is shown in the table below (cf. 1971:105): person -body -one thing -thing place -where Time -time(s) some somebody someone something somewhere sometimes any anybody anyone anything anywhere (at) any time no nobody no one none nothing none nowhere never every everybody everyone everything everywhere always every time Some has the following uses: 1. the others) e) either and neither Some grammarians (e. Which of the two girls is he in love with? Both! Both as an adjective: There are houses on both sides of the street. the other. Dušková et al. Some. anyone. nothing. none) d) other (the other. any. no has only determiner function. 70 . Dušková et al. it is used before. Partitive Pronouns The partitive pronouns are the following: a) some and its compounds (somebody. Both is used adverbially in such a sentence as: The book is both useful and amusing. or to refer to. any. either and neither can have both determiner and nominal function. and takes a plural verb. It is used as a pronoun or as an adjective. In this case it is pronounced [sm] if it has determiner function He wants some money.

I’ll lend you some. others dislike dogs. see below. Some and any (and their compounds) compared: Some and its compounds are used: 1 In affirmative sentences: Give me some bread. I enjoy some music. 2. used emphatically. For more detail. b) to suggest contrast. it goes something like this. but unidentified person or thing’. In this case it is always pronounced [sm]: Some people hate cats. Any. some were. In interrogative sentences when we are offering something or when we expect a positive reply: Will you have some more tea? Did somebody telephone last night? 71 . Some of us agree with that statement. With this meaning it is always pronounced [sm]: Some fool had left the lawn-mower on the garden path. Are there any cows in the field? Note: Any is used adverbially in such sentences as: I am sorry to say he isn’t any better. Not all your answers were correct.and [sm] if it has nominal function I didn’thave any cigarettes. please. any kind will do. some disagree. but much of it bores me. which or what’: Come any day you like. please. It will take some three or four thousand pounds to rebuild the house. I’ll whistle the tune for you. has the general meaning ‘it doesn’t matter who. Any student can answer the question. has the same meaning as some in 1(a) above. John will always manage to do something useful. In its determiner function. If you have no money. and in the dark I fell over it. Note: Some (before a numeral) and something can have the meaning ‘approximately’: It happened some twenty years ago. 2. so I went out to buy some. I couldn’t come any sooner. some were not. used unemphatically. There was a good chance somebody would come. 2. Get me some cigarettes. Any has the following uses: 1 Any. it is used before singular countable nouns with the meaning ‘a particular.

. Nobody (no one) can be replaced by not anybody (not anyone) and nothing by not anything except when they are the (grammatical) subject of the affirmative sentence: I saw nobody. 2.) Nothing was worth buying. John will never manage to do anything useful. without. none No has determiner function and frequently conveys the meaning ‘not any’ or ‘not a’: There is no (there isn’t any) salt on the table. He worked hard but without any success. an invitation or a command in the form of a question. Have you got anything to declare? Note: a) A negative meaning may be conveyed by words like never. please give me some. etc. In interrogative sentences.) Nobody. Hardly anybody saw her in private. Nothing has happened yet. b) If the question is really a request. father? No. – I didn’t see anybody. nothing. No smoking allowed. hardly. seldom. (Not *Not anybody saw me. Did anybody telephone last night? Ask him if he bought any apples. There was nobody in the room. please? May I give you some more tea? Won’t you try some of this cake? Could you let me have some money. – There wasn’t anybody in the room. But: Nobody/no one saw me. no one and nothing have nominal function. I gave him no present.Any and its compounds are used: 1. I bought nothing. 72 . are singular in number. He is no (he isn’t a) doctor. – I didn’t buy anything. no one. There isn’t anyone in the room. (I didn’t give him any present. some is used: Will you ask someone to carry this bag for me. nobody. in which case any is used: He never had any luck. and are used with a singular verb: Nobody/no one has come yet. indirect questions and in conditional clauses: Is there any tea left? If there is any tea left. scarcely. In negative sentences: I haven’t got any matches. and no (there aren’t any) glasses. There was nothing (wasn’t anything) in the shop that I wanted to buy.

How much petrol is there in the car? None! No. The other (singular) and the other + singular noun convey the meaning ‘the second of two’: One of my brothers is named Richard. but none has/have come yet. nothing.) How many students have failed? None! What’s on the table? Nothing. There are no other alternatives. None can also be followed by the of-construction: None of the students has/have failed. (= I can’t work any longer. I wanted some more coffee but there was none left.) None of us has gone there. none can also be used adverbially: He is no better and is still very ill. the other is named Frederick. It is no faster to go there by train than by car. but the other boys stayed on the spot. please.) I can work no longer. and is used with a singular or with a plural verb: My colleagues promised to be here about two o’clock. remaining ones’: Some like milk chocolate. Note the phrases: He smokes no more.Nothing can take the of-construction: Nothing of this has come about! None (originally a compound: ne an = no one) has nominal function. Hand me the other book. As an adjective it is invariable. others prefer plain chocolate. Others and other + plural noun may simply mean ‘different. The others and the other + plural noun convey the meaning ‘the remaining ones’: We got home by six o’clock. but the others didn’t get back until about eight. (= He doesn’t smoke any more. There are other ways of doing this exercise. When it is used with the indefinite article an. no one. 73 . That’s none of your business! Nobody. A few other examples would be useful. as a pronoun it is countable and has the plural form others. My brother went home. they are written as one word another. nothing and none are frequently used in ‘short answers’. (No one. The difference between nobody/no one/nothing and none is that the former might be the replies to questions beginning Who? or What? whereas none might be the reply to one beginning How many? or How much?: Who is in the dining-room? Nobody. refers to persons or things. How many books are on the table? None. additional. He is none the better. Other may be an adjective or a pronoun.

but neither told him anything new. I’ve got many. Few leaves were left upon the trees. ‘both’: Good evidence may be cited in support of either view. ‘one or the other of two’: Bring me a pen or a pencil. will you? Either/neither Either has two meanings: 1. Isn’t there any other way of doing it? There is no other way of doing it. Are there many chocolates in the box? .Yes. 2. ‘a different one’: On one day he will say one thing and on another day something quite different. 74 . any other. Brown already has two cars. either will do. lend me another. He read two more books on the subject. Will you have another cup of tea? He may be another Edison. Quantifying Pronouns The quantifying pronouns are: a) the ‘multal’ many and much b) the ‘paucal’ few and little c) several and enough d) one Their use in respect to countable and non-countable reference can be seen in the table below: MULTAL PRONOUNS count non-count much more ink many more pens most most PAUCAL PRONOUNS count non-count (the) (a) little ink (the) (a) few pens less (the) least fewer (the) fewest singular plural Many and few are used with countable nouns and are plurals: Have you many books? . I don’t like this book. I haven’t seen either of them.Another (some other. 2. Neither means ‘not this and not the other’: Neither of the two statements is correct. and now he has bought another. Either method can be used. ‘an additional one’: Mr. no other + singular noun) means: 1.No. only few.

Much and many. however. such as a lot of.: less than two weeks less than 1000 dollars 3. Notes: 1. When they are used with the indefinite article. Only less is used in expressions denoting periods of time. Much is also used adverbially: I am much obliged to you. 75 . too. Little attention has been devoted to the problem. Several occurs only with plural countable function: John has made several mistakes in his essay. a great (good) deal of. less also occurs with plurals: This roof has fewer/less leaks than our old one. Do you know many people here? When few and little are used without the article. etc. so or rather. Enough is used with both countable and non-countable nouns. It requires a little care. a great number of: a lot of trouble plenty of time That will help me a great deal. Little attention has been devoted to the problem. may have either pre. I have seen several of them. They can take the ofconstruction. we have enough. In spoken English we do not find many and much in affirmative sentences without some adverbs such as very. Several and enough Several and enough have both determiner and nominal function. lots of. they have a ‘negative’ meaning: Few books are written so clearly as this one. Instead of many and much in affirmative sentences we use different expressions.or post-nominal position: Have you got enough books/food? Have you got books/food enough? Yes. Much has been said. Little remains to be said. and as determiner. they have a ‘positive’ meaning: It cost only a few crowns. and little done. Besides the regular fewer chances and less noise. You have fewer/less marbles than me.Much and little are used with uncountable nouns and are singulars: We have not much time for sports. are used in interrogative and negative sentences: I haven’t got much money with me. 2. plenty of. sums.

Numerical one when used with animate and inanimate singular countable nouns is a stressed variant of the indefinite article a(n) (which is unstressed and has only determiner function): Determiner function: Yesterday. (The) one is also in contrast with the other in the correlative construction: One went this way. one boy disappeared. Indefinite one means ‘people in general’. can one/you? Back to Pronouns Back to Contents 76 . 2. This use of one is chiefly formal and is often replaced by the more informal you: One would/you’d think they would run a later bus than that! Indefinite one has the genitive one’s and the reflexive oneself. this. I’d like a drink. each. my. one of the boys disappeared. It has the singular form one and the plural ones. etc. Note that there is an old-fashioned use of one meaning ‘a certain’ before personal proper names: I remember one Charlie Brown at school. 3. the other that way. – Is this the one you mean? Yes. In American English repetition of co-referential one is formal. The one boy that disappeared yesterday has been found.One One has several different uses: 1. Replacive one is used as an anaphoric substitute for a singular or plural countable noun. he or you being preferred instead: One should always be careful in talking about one’s/his finances. but just a small one. I thought you preferred large ones.): I am looking for a particular book on syntax.) and modifiers (black. One can’t be too careful. etc. which. Nominal function: Yesterday. in particular with reference to the speaker. beautiful. Replacive one can take determiners (the.

become. feel. make. The idea sounds interesting. An adjective is non-gradable when: a) we cannot modify it (i. An adjective is gradable when: a) we can imagine degrees in the quality referred to and so can use it with words like very. less good. He got/grew impatient.) b) we cannot make a comparative or superlative from it: e. b) appear. bigger. b) we can form a comparative and superlative from it: (big). better. etc. gender. a young girl We say that an adjective is predicative or that it is used predicatively when it comes directly after a verb such as: a) be.g. biggest. Ann seems happy. best. Adjectives can be subclassified according to whether they can function as: 1. turn Tom felt cold.: a hungry man – the man is hungry 77 . (good). person and case: a good boy – good boys a good girl – good girls KINDS OF ADJECTIVES Gradable and non-gradable adjectives Adjectives can be divided into two classes: a large class of words which can be graded (gradable adjectives) and a small class that cannot be graded (non-gradable adjectives). a rich man.e. We say that an adjective is attributive or is used attributively when it comes before a noun: an old ticket. we cannot use it with very. atomic.ADJECTIVES KINDS OF ADJECTIVES COMPARISON OF ADJECTIVES Adjectives in English are invariable for number. sound. etc. etc. both attributive and predicative. dead. too and enough: very good. too good. keep. medical. smell.g. not good enough. He made me happy. too. get/grow (= become). taste. etc. seem This ticket is old. daily. unique. Attributive and predicative adjectives The terms attributive and predicative refer to the position of an adjective in a phrase or sentence. e. look.

young. less) and by as (correlative to as). 3. alight. utter What you say is utter nonsense. not on time – predicative) My late uncle was a miner. e. in years – predicative) Back to Adjectives COMPARISON OF ADJECTIVES There are three degrees of comparison: − positive (or absolute): dark. predicative only. Comparison is expressed by 1.: former. The restrictions of adjectives to attributive or predicative use are not always absolute.2. he’s dead now – attributive) Agatha Withers is very old now. e.g. (i. asleep. Too in the sense ‘more than enough’ might also be mentioned here.e. sorry.g. (i. near. glad. least. The most common ways of doing so include correlative constructions introduced by than (correlative to more. The basis of comparison can also be shown by the noun which the adjective premodifies: John is the more stupid boy. 2. younger.e.) John is the most stupid boy. It isn’t far from here. (= longer than it should be) We can make the basis of comparison explicit. afraid. outer. most useful The comparative is used for a comparison between two. less. Your suitcase is very heavy.g. I am very glad to meet you. notably as. 3. and prepositional phrases with of: John is more/less stupid than Bob (is). John is the stupider of the (two) boys. unable The children were asleep at 7. more commonly John is more stupid than the other boy. John is as stupid as Bob (is). alive. useful − comparative: darker. John is the most stupid of the (three) boys. 78 . but now they’re awake. awake.: afloat. lesser and least degrees of comparison. upper. their periphrastic equivalents in more and most. Your hotel is quite near here.e. alike. latter. (formal.e. Some adjectives change their meaning when moved from one position to the other. youngest. the forms for equational. he smokes a lot – attributive) You’re late again. the inflected forms in -er and -est. content. e. (i.: It’s too long. more useful − superlative: darkest. and the superlative where more than two are involved. (i.e. in weight – predicative) Paterson is a heavy smoker. pleased. attributive only. far. ashamed. (i.

shyest) A few adjectives have a vowel before a -y ending. Changes in spelling 1. fey. grey. The inflectional suffixes are -er for the comparative and -est for the superlative: Positive big nice tidy narrow – – – – Comparative bigger – nicer – tidier – narrower – Superlative biggest nicest tidiest narrowest The definite article the is used before a superlative in a phrase or sentence: This is the cleanest/tidiest room in the house. In bases ending in a consonant + -y. tallest. tall. 2. shyer. the final -y is changed to -i-: busy – busier – busiest dirty – dirtier – dirtiest funny – funnier – funniest early – earlier – earliest (But note shy. Final base consonants are doubled when the preceding vowel is stressed and spelled with a single letter: big – bigger – biggest fat – fatter – fattest sad – sadder – saddest thin – thinner – thinnest Compare adjectives like full. First class is the most expensive way to travel. more funny/most funny 79 .Form of regular comparison of adjectives Monosyllabic adjectives form their comparison by inflection. which end with a double consonant and form their comparatives and superlatives like clean: tall. Many disyllabic adjectives can form their comparatives and superlatives regularly. etc. small. Final -e is dropped before the inflections: brave – braver – free – freer – large – larger – strange – stranger – bravest freest largest strangest 3. though like monosyllabic adjectives they have the alternative of the periphrastic forms: My jokes are funnier/funniest. like gay. The regular inflections sometimes involve changes in spelling or pronunciation. taller. and these simply take the endings -er and -est.

syllabic [l]. careless. Other examples of adjectives which form comparisons in this way are: (un)certain. annoyed/annoying require more/less and most/least to form their comparatives and superlatives. modern. obscure Common adjectives outside these four categories that can take inflectional forms include: common. useless.Common disyllabic adjectives that can take inflected forms are those ending in an unstressed vowel. waterproof. or a mixed vowel: a) -y: funny. shallow c) -le: gentle. noble d) -er. etc. Syllabic [l] ceases to be syllabic before inflections: able – abler – ablest simple – simpler – simplest 2. wealthy. Irregular comparative and superlative forms A small group of highly frequent adjectives have their corresponding comparatives and superlatives formed from different stems: 80 . (in)correct. (in)frequent. handsome. foolish. feeble. Final -r which was not sounded in the positive. The sound [] is added after [] in words as: long – longer – longest strong – stronger – strongest young – younger – youngest Adjectives of three or more syllables combine with the comparatives and most/least to form their superlatives: careful – more careful – less careful – expensive – more expensive – less expensive – bored/boring – more bored/boring – less bored/boring – quantifiers more/less to form their most careful least careful most expensive least expensive most bored/boring least bored/boring This applies to most compound adjectives as well. These include all adjectives ending in -ful or -less: careful. wicked. (ab)normal Changes in pronunciation 1. -ure: clever. noisy. quiet. The comparatives and superlatives of other disyllabic adjectives must always be with more/less and most/least. narrow. useful. is sounded in the comparative and superlative: near – nearer – nearest poor – poorer – poorest 3. (in)famous. such as quick-witted. polite. Adjectives ending in -ed and -ing such as amused/amusing. mature. friendly b) -ow: hollow.

They are chiefly used for comparisons within a family: My elder brother is three years older than I. wall. But: elder is not used with than. Further can also be used. the far bank (the bank on the other side) the near bank (the bank on this side of the river) 3. eldest imply seniority rather than age. 2. Nearest refers to distance. Elder. Far (used for distance) and near: In the positive form they have a limited use. side. end. with abstract nouns: This was the furthest concession he would make.Positive good bad far near old late much/many little – – – – – – – – – – – – Comparative better worse farther further nearer older elder later latter more less lesser – – – – – – – – – – – – – Superlative best worst farthest furthest nearest next oldest eldest latest last most least Note compounds with good. etc. next to order. e. to mean ‘additional/extra’: Further discussion/debate would be pointless. Farther/farthest and further/furthest: Both forms can be used of distances: York is farther/further than Lincoln or Selby. so older is necessary here: He is older than I am.g: Where is the nearest post-office? The next station is Oxford Circus. 4. (elder would not be possible) 81 . Furthest can be used similarly. mainly with abstract nouns. Far and near are used chiefly with bank. York is the farthest/furthest town. well and bad: good-looking → better-looking (or more good-looking) well-built → better-built (but more well-built is sometimes heard) bad-tempered → worse-tempered (or more bad-tempered) Points to notice about irregular comparative and superlative forms 1.

Latest means ‘the most recent’. The colonel was rather late. However. e..: Have you read John Scribbler’s latest book? Last has the meaning ‘final’... (= I didn’t expect him to be so strong.g. if we need to mention each item. as’.. Your coffee is not as/so good as the coffee my mother makes. the former language he speaks very well.: I think his recent book is better than his last one. are similar: Jane is as tall as/as intelligent as Peter. ‘less than’ and ‘worse than’ + adjective ‘More than’. 3.) 4. ‘less than’ and ‘worse than’ can be used in front of a number of adjectives in the following way: I was more than pleased with my pay rise. ‘the last up to the present’. e.g. He makes fewer mistakes than you (do). then we must use than after the comparative.g. e. This foot-pump is worse than useless... as is used in the affirmative sentences to show that two people. ‘not so . If two things of exactly the same kind are being compared. Constructions with comparisons 1. ‘than’ after the comparative Jane is taller than Peter.: The Tempest was probably the last play that Shakespeare wrote. ‘as . Manslaughter is not as/so bad as murder.Older and oldest can be used of people or things: Henry is older than David.g. ‘not as .. e. I know him better than you. 5. as’ to indicate lower degree These constructions are used in the negative sentences: Soames is not as/not so suitable for the job as me/as I am. Late and later refer to time: See you later. we can use the before a comparative in formal style: Which is (the) longer (of the two coats)? The grey coat is (the) longer (of the two coats). He is stronger than I expected.. It also has the meaning ‘previous’. things. not such a/an (+ adjective) + noun is also possible: He’s not such a hard worker as his brother. 2. ‘more than’. That is the oldest house in the city. Latter means the second of two and is contrasted with ‘former’. as’ to indicate the same degree as . 82 . etc. He was as white as a sheet. but the latter one only imperfectly.: He studied French and German. Jane is more intelligent than Peter.

83 .. no. However. rather. It’s much/far/a lot/a little colder today than it was yesterday.: He is funnier/funniest by far. in/of: This is the oldest theatre in London. the more you spend. a determiner is obligatory. the less people drive.. Comparatives and superlatives can also be postmodified by intensifying phrases. we cannot use these intensifiers with the comparative. as in: She put on her very best dress. Comparisons with ‘like’ and ‘alike’ Tom is very like Bill. quite hot. Comparatives with ‘-er and -er’ Gradual increase or decrease is expressed by two comparatives (adjectives or adverbs) joined by and: The weather is getting colder and colder. the + comparative: The more money you make.. Comparison of three or more people/things is expressed by the superlative with the . far. a little. The youngest of the family was the most successful. etc. Bill and Tom are very alike. somewhat. (very) much.5. e. nearly and (not) quite will combine with the same: Those two boys are exactly the same. We must use a bit. too cold. exactly.. entirely and quite will combine with different: Those two boys are completely different. Completely. hardly any. just. The inflectional superlative may be premodified by very: the very best If very premodifies the superlative. lots. the most common of which is by far.. a lot. Modification of comparatives and superlatives The positive of both adjectives and adverbs can themselves be premodified by amplifying intensifiers and adverbs of degree like very. just. exactly. 7. Degrees of similarity Degrees of similarity can be expressed by means of almost. even. 6. The more expensive petrol becomes. Almost. He became less and less interested.: Houses are much/far/a lot more expensive these days. etc. nearly + as + adjective: Jeffrey is nearly as tall as his father now. ‘the’ + comparative . ‘the’ + comparative Parallel increase is expressed by the + comparative .g.. too and quite: very tall.

So do some nouns indicating use or purpose. nylon. etc. Nouns used as adjectives Names of materials..g. The listener mentally supplies the ‘missing’ noun: Don’t be such a silly! (= a silly fool) There’s something the matter with the electrics in my car. a white/whites 2. These are followed by a singular verb: The unknown is always something to be feared. the unemployed. the unknown. substances. but the adjectival form generally has a metaphorical meaning (‘like. stone. plastic) resemble adjectives. Fortune favours the brave. after a/an) and can sometimes have a plural. lead. (= a dress to be worn in summer) But note wooden and woollen: It’s a wooden spoon. particularly those ending in -ch. the Japanese. c) Some nationality adjectives. the Chinese refer to the whole nation: The Japanese admire the traditions of the Chinese. It’s a woollen dress. ‘The’ + adjective: ‘the young’ a) Adjectives like the following are used after the to represent a group as a whole: the blind. kitchen chairs. (leather.: a black/blacks. the deaf (‘a group of people who are all deaf’). Books for the young. Here wooden and woollen are adjectives. silky. a red/reds. 84 . the rich/the poor. silk. Examples of such nouns are: It’s a cotton dress (= it’s cotton/made of cotton) It’s a summer dress./It’s made of wood. (= the electrical system) Other words which are both adjectives and nouns are e. a gold watch is a ‘watch made of gold’. the young/the old. golden. stony. the unexpected. silken. b) The reference can be general or abstract: the supernatural.g.g.’): So. A few adjectives can be used as if they were nouns (e.Adjectives used as nouns 1. e. Some other names for materials have adjectival forms: gold.. These adjectives are followed by a plural verb: You can always judge a society by the way the old are cared for. for example. leaden. -sh and -ese are also used after the: the British (= the British people in general) Plural nationality nouns as the Americans./It’s made of wool. but a golden sunset is ‘a sunset’ which is ‘like gold’. etc. the unheard of. The good in him outweighs the bad.

Compare: a silvery voice leaden steps silky (or silken) hair Back to Adjectives Back to Contents 85 .

: Frankly. object. as in high enough. There are three classes of adverbials: adjuncts. In both cases the adverb functions directly in an adverb phrase of which it is head or sole realization. there are two types of syntactic function that characterize adverbs. Adverb as adverbial An adverb may function as adverbial. easily is modified by the adverb phrase far more.ADVERBS KINDS OF ADVERBS. intelligible is modified by the adverb phrase far more easily. He spoke to me about it briefly. but an adverb need have only one of these: 1. He seems very intelligent. They are probably at home. and complement. Thus. According to Quirk and Greenbaum (1977:126b. adverbial 2. disjuncts express an evaluation of what is being said either with respect to the form of the communication or to its content. She has a really beautiful face. Disjuncts and conjuncts.: They are waiting outside. e. modifier of adjective and adverb.: I have not looked into his qualifications. a constituent distinct from subject. conjuncts have a connective function. Fortunately. the modifying adverb is an intensifier. 86 . If they open all the windows. then I’m leaving.g. e. They indicate the connection between what is being said and what was said before. The adverb enough postmodifies adjectives.). disjuncts. on the other hand. e. Adverb as modifier An adverb may premodify an adjective: It is very hot today. I am tired. Semantically. this last case is an adverb phrase with an adverb as sole realization. and more is modified by the adverb phrase far.g. Adjuncts are integrated within the structure of the clause to at least some extent. verb. THEIR MEANING AND POSITION THE FORMATION OF ADVERBS COMPARISON OF ADVERBS The word adverb (ad-verb) suggests the idea of adding to the meaning of a verb.g. I can now understand it. The most frequently used intensifier is very. no one complained. Most commonly. conjuncts. in the adjective phrase far more easily intelligible. though. Semantically. are not integrated within the clause. Other intensifiers include so/pretty/rather/unusually/quite/unbelievably (tall).

THEIR MEANING AND POSITION Many adverbs can be thought of as answering questions. head over heels. Come here. reveal our attitudes. lenght-ways. KINDS OF ADVERBS. focus attention (focus). carefully. after some transitive verbs (e. -wards. sincerely. calmly. lay. -wise to adjectives: (Indian)fashion. b) Adverbs formed by adding -fashion. f) complete sentences: Strangely enough. etc. highly (intelligent). in turn (by turns). It was rather a mess. How often? (frequency). b) prepositional phrases: You’re entirely in the wrong. gladly. e) verbs: He ran quickly. When? (time). You must learn this poem by heart. wisely. His parents are dead against the trip. -style. simply. d) nouns: The man over there is a doctor. Adverbs of manner Adverbs of manner include: a) Adverbs formed by adding -ly to adjectives: actively. sit.g. How do you manage taxwise? c) Adverbs formed from nouns with prepositions and from phraseological units: by heart. etc. such as How? (manner). etc. willingly. distinctly. by chance.Many are restricted to a small set of lexical items. Others ‘strengthen’ adjectives. (American)-style.g. -ways. etc.: deeply (anxious). Sometimes adverbs are essential to complete a sentence: 1. suddenly. put) + object: He puts his car in the garage. 87 . place. after some intransitive verbs such as lie. easily. Where? (place). sharply (critical) Many intensifiers can modify: a) other adverbs: They are smoking very heavily. or help us to present information in a coherent fashion (viewpoint adverbs and connectives). clockwise. I have seen so very many letters like that one. He was quite some player. e. backwards. c) indefinite pronouns. Sit over there. To what extent? (degree). strikingly (handsome). Over two hundred deaths were reported. I won first prize. 1. 2. boldly. Paganini played the violin beautifully. intentionally. promptly. other adverbs or verbs (intensifiers). Lie down. cardinal numerals: Nearly everybody came to our party. one by one.

. along. (= in a foolish manner) With others.) b) between subject and verb If we wish to emphasize the subject of the verb. 2 Adverbs of place Adverbs of place include: a) Words like: abroad. It snowed heavily last January. ahead.. a change of position results in a difference in emphasis. suddenly. such as gently. away/back. etc.Position of adverbs of manner a) after the object or after the verb Sue watched the monkeys curiously. Quietly. or to create suspense. cruelly. far ahead. She danced beautifully.) He behaved foolishly at the party. We do this for dramatic effect. over there. left/right. etc. we can say: Gillian angrily slammed the door behind her. (= It was foolish (of him) to . kindly. With some adverbs of manner. behind. here/there. Compare the following: He foolishly locked himself out. Look at this photo carefully. well and badly. such as badly. You typed this letter very badly. backwards/forwards. far away. secretly. simply. Such adverbs are followed by a comma: O’Connor held his breath and stood quite still. (i. cleverly. (adverb of manner) We badly need a new typewriter. 88 . Gillian was angry when she slammed the door. he moved forwards to get a better view. upstairs/downstairs. etc. (adverb of manner) Naturally. down/up there. generously. over here. anywhere/everywhere. c) Two words combining to emphasize place. c) beginning a sentence In narrative writing sentences can begin with adverbs of manner. (Not *He speaks well English but He speaks English well. nowhere/somewhere. below.) However. north/south. when used to evaluate an action. naturally. such as bravely. (intensifier) You should always speak naturally. I’ll accept the invitation. beneath. The important thing is not to put the adverb between the verb and its object. such as: down below. can only go at the end of a sentence or clause: Mr Gradgrind pays his staff very well/badly. ashore. b) Words like the following which can also function as prepositions: above. quietly. underneath. slowly.e. a change of position results in a change in meaning and function. etc. foolishly.

Position of adverbs of time The most usual position is at the very beginning or at the very end of a sentence: This morning I had a telephone call from Mary. referring to time. soon. I went to Berlin recently. I recently went to Berlin. eventually. referring to time. we may begin with an adverb of location. We checked in at the hotel on Monday/yesterday. etc.Position of adverbs of place Adverbs of place never go between subject and verb. today. in or on: at Christmas. Adverbs of time Adverbs of time include: a) Words like: after(wards). go) and before other adverbials: I went to London (direction) by train (manner) next day (time). Still. adverbs of direction can often come after movement verbs (come. then. already. presently. the usual position of adverbs of place is after manner. 3. tomorrow. then ‘smaller places’ are mentioned before ‘bigger places’ in ascending order: She lives | in a small house | in a village | outside Reading | in Berkshire | England. yesterday. Yet generally comes at the end in questions and negatives: Have the new petrol prices come into force yet? The new petrol prices haven’t come into force yet. However. Tom still works for the British Council. at present. etc. b) beginning a sentence If we wish to emphasize location (e. before. in July. especially in descriptive writing: Indoors it was nice and warm. now. often with progressive tenses. lately. is used with compound tenses: I’m just coming. a) after manner but before time When there is more than one kind of adverb in a sentence. It is mainly used in questions and affirmatives. emphasizes continuity. She was going to the theatre. Still is placed after the verb be but before other verbs: Mrs Mason is still in hospital. I’ve just finished reading the paper. Just. recently.g. If there is more than one adverb of place. 89 . Would you like it? I just saw Selina. drive. Outside it was snowing heavily. once. b) Prepositional phrases with at. for contrast). on November 20th. but before time (following a verb or verb + object): manner Barbara read quietly place in the library time all afternoon.

4. hardly ever. occasionally. generally. is used in questions: Have you ever thought of applying for a job abroad? Does anyone ever visit them? Ever can occur in affirmative if-sentences: If you ever need any help. b) Phrases like: every day/week/month/year. regularly. sometimes and usually. c) beginning a sentence Where special emphasis or contrast is required. Position of adverbs of frequency a) affirmatives/questions: mid-position The normal position of most adverbs of frequency is ‘after an auxiliary or before a full verb’.before the main verb when there is only one verb: Gerald often made unwise decisions. In questions. generally. on Mondays. This means: . now and again. ordinarily. and after hardly. Compare: I don’t smoke I never smoke 90 . these adverbs usually come after the subject: Do you usually have cream in your coffee? b) end position ‘Affirmative adverbs’ can be used at the end of a sentence: I get paid on Fridays usually. usually. the following can begin a sentence: frequently. . every few days. frequently. Sometimes we get a lot of rain in August. hourly. occasionally. . etc. every 3 years. weekdays. sometimes. normally. These adverbs usually come before used to. normally. Adverbs of frequency Adverbs of frequency include: a) Words like: always.after the first auxiliary verb when there is more than one verb: You can always contact me on 02134. scarcely and barely: Hardly/scarcely ever did they manage to meet unobserved. have to and ought to : We never used to import so many goods.after be when it is the only verb in a sentence I was never very good at maths. meaning ‘at any time’. from time to time. etc. Never borrow money! Adverbs of frequency: ever and never Ever. Never is used in negative sentences and frequently replaces not when we wish to strengthen a negative. scarcely ever. you know where to find me. We can use often at the end in questions and negatives: Do you come here often? I don’t come here often. fortnightly.

somewhat. a bit. partly. A great many adverbs. clockwise. ahead. -ways. hourly.: abroad. c) With the prefix a-.5. . weekly b) With suffix -fashion. I know her fairly well. barely.: a) With suffix -ly: daily. She is a quick worker. enough. Some adverbs of frequency are also formed in this way: e. namely. Rules of spelling of adverbs derived by adding the suffix -ly: a) A final -y changes to -i-: happy – happily gay – gaily pretty – prettily but sly – slyly shy – shyly dry – dryly/drily b) A final -e is retained before -ly: extreme – extremely absolute – absolutely complete – completely sincere – sincerely 91 . (Indian)-fashion. The film was quite good. monthly.g. nearly. She works quickly. are formed from adjectives by the addition of -ly. e. asleep.g. aloft. usually. -wards. .g. particularly those of manner.g. quite.verbs: I quite like it.g. as are a few adverbs of degree: e. across. aloud. He drives carefully. e. He sat with his legs crosswise. awake. rather. There are a few adverbs that have been formed from nouns by the addition of a suffix or a prefix. fairly.adjectives: quite good.adverbs: fairly well. backward(s). too. . The path was so narrow we had to walk sideways. around. altogether. nearly. Adverbs of degree Adverbs of degree include words like: almost. . near. Most of these go before the words they modify: e. 1.: He is a careful driver.nouns (in a few instances): quite an experience Back to Adverbs THE FORMATION OF ADVERBS The most common characteristic of the adverb is morphological: the majority of adverbs have the derivational suffix -ly. -style. hardly. e. -wise: longways.g. usual. (American)-style He went backwards/forwards/homewards.

fast. Many adverbs cannot be identified by their endings. of time (now. adverbs of place (here. of frequency (often). fatherly. an adverbial phrase is used. silly. hostile. ‘in a silly way’ ‘in a fatherly manner’ ‘with great agility’ ‘in a hostile manner’ 2. Instead of an adverb.Exceptions: true – truly due – duly whole – wholly c) Adjectives ending in a consonant + -le drop the -e and add -y: gentle – gently humble – humbly noble – nobly simple – simply single – singly terrible – terribly d) Adjectives ending in -ll drop -l: full – fully dull – dully e) Adjectives ending in -ic take -ally: basic – basically fantastic – fantastically tragic – tragically systematic – systematically Exception: public – publicly Adverbs are not usually formed from adjectives that end in -ly. 92 .g. e. e. hard. etc. agile. A fast (adjective) train is one that goes fast. (adverb) I work hard (adverb) because I enjoy hard (adjective) work. same meaning Some words can be used as adjectives or as adverbs of manner without adding -ly: fast. viewpoint adverbs (perhaps) and connectives (however). -ile that is from such adjectives as manly. Adverbs and adjectives with the same form. there).g. etc. brotherly. These include adverbs of manner which have the same form as adjectives. lively. fertile. then).

My work is nearly finished. only. first/firstly. sharp/sharply: 10 p. (clearly/deliberately) Back to Adverbs COMPARISON OF ADVERBS Form of comparison of adverbs Comparison of adverbs is similar to comparison of adjectives.g. I did hardly any work today. quick/quickly. see you shortly strong/strongly: going strong. ready/readily: If it’s urgent. firm/firmly. lastly. quiet/quietly. express/expressly. I think . sharp.g.. then. win easily flat/flatly: fall flat. freely admit last/lastly: arrive last. (fast) You were told expressly to be here by 7. there. uniquely. flatly refuse free/freely: travel free. Comparison is not possible with adverbs such as daily. hard: I work hard and play hard. thin/thinly b) different meanings: e. strongly feel wide/widely: open wide. Only gradable adverbs can have comparative and superlative forms. widely believed Adverbs differing in meaning from corresponding adjectives Some adverbs differ in meaning from their corresponding adjectives: e. slow/slowly. you should send it by express mail. fine/finely.m. clear/clearly..g. fair/fairly. really. close/closely. speak sharply short/shortly: stop short. 93 . Other examples: deep/deeply: drink deep. deeply regret easy/easily: go easy. because they are not gradable. loud/loudly. cheap I bought this car cheap/cheaply. Come near. extremely. Other examples: clean/cleanly.Other examples like fast are: airmail: all day: best: cheap: free: loud: sharp: well: wide: yearly: Used as adjectives airmail letter an all day match best clothes a cheap suit a free ticket a loud noise sharp eyes I am well a wide room a yearly visit Used as adverbs send it airmail play all day do your best buy it cheap travel free talk loud look sharp do well open wide go there yearly Adverbs with two forms Some adverbs have two forms which may have: a) the same meaning: e.

I bought the last (i. 4. More and most can be used fairly freely: You should ride more. I use this room most. (= The last time it rained was . slow. which has no corresponding adjective. so we answered it last. quick. 2. following the same spelling and phonetic rules as for adjectives. Further can be used to mean ‘in addition’: We learnt. late. most recent) edition of today’s paper. Irregular comparisons of adverbs As with adjectives. further. e. quickly 3. is frequently used in the comparative (sooner). they form their comparatives and superlatives with more/less and most/least. Some adverbs of frequency form their comparative and superlative with more/less. early. Compare latest/last: both words can be adjectives: I bought the latest (i..e. hard. Other examples: more/less/most/least briefly.g. or before the main verb: It last rained eight months ago. Note the irregular adverb well (related to the adjective good) which means ‘in a pleasing or satisfactory way’: Jane Somers writes well. clearly. long. more seldom. that he wasn’t a qualified doctor. fast. most/least (e.Gradable adverbs form comparatives and superlatives as follows: monosyllabic adverbs two or more syllables Positive fast early easily rarely Comparative faster earlier more easily more rarely Superlative fastest earliest most easily most rarely Notes on the comparison of adverbs 1.e. final) edition of today’s paper. 94 . often has two comparative forms: more often and (less common) oftener. But normally only last is used as an adverb: That was a difficult question. but is not common in the superlative (soonest).) 3. 2. Soon. As most adverbs of manner have two or more syllables.g. Both farther and further can be used to refer to distance: I drove ten miles farther/further than necessary. there is a small group with comparatives different stems: Positive Comparative better Irregular adverbs well worse badly less little later late more much farther far further and superlatives formed from Superlative best worst least last most farthest (of distance only) furthest (used more widely) 1.. Adverbs that are identical in form with adjectives take inflections. most seldom).

Constructions with comparisons 1. much is possible but a lot is more usual: How much has he ridden? Has he ridden a lot/much? In the affirmative as/so/too + much is possible. ‘as . In questions without how. We can use it with blame. ‘as . Sylvia sings as sweetly as her sister. object.: Thank you very much. impress. He doesn’t snore as/so loudly as you do. has a restricted use... Much meaning a lot can modify negative verbs: He doesn’t ride much nowadays. Very much meaning greatly can be used more widely in the affirmative.. In the interrogative much is chiefly used with how. Of the (three) boys. like. ‘the comparative or the superlative preceded by the’ can be combined with the construction of + noun: Of the (two) boys. Much meaning a lot can modify comparative or superlative adjectives and adverbs: much better much the best much more quickly Most placed before an adjective or adverb can mean very. approve. She behaved most generously. ‘not as . It didn’t take as/so long as I expected. It is mainly used here with adjectives/adverbs of two or more syllables: He was most apologetic. These constructions are used in the negative sentences: John doesn’t behave as/so politely as Bob (does). 95 . amuse. shock. praise.But much.. distress. ‘not so . They admired him very much. etc. as’ is used in the affirmative sentences: John behaves as politely as Bob (does)... as’.. But He rides a lot/a great deal. He eats more quickly than I do/than me. of + noun with comparatives/superlatives In formal style. enjoy. She objects very much to the noise they make. John behaves the more politely. John behaves the most politely. 4. Similar to adjectives. dislike.. ‘than’ after the comparative The rain cleared more quickly than I expected. 3. as’ to indicate lower degree. 2. thank and with a number of verbs concerned with feelings: admire. in the positive form. Otherwise a lot/a good deal/a great deal is preferable: He shouts so much that … I talk too much. surprise. as’ to indicate the same degree.

(very hard indeed) He worked as a slave. Magnus concentrated the hardest. You look like a ghost. and such sentences would normally be expressed by a comparative + than ever/than anyone/than anything: Magnus concentrated harder than ever/than anyone. Be like Peter/him: go jogging. Comparisons with ‘like’ and ‘as’ In theory. Why don’t you cycle to work as we do? But in colloquial English like is often used here instead of as: Cycle to work like we do.Tim tries the hardest of all the boys in his class.) Back to Adverbs Back to Contents 96 . These constructions are not common in spoken language. It was like being in prison. pronouns or gerunds: He swims like a fish. like (preposition) is used only with nouns. The windows were all barred. Note: In the construction as + noun. 5. (She struck him with it. as can be regarded as a quasi-preposition with the meaning different from like: He worked like a slave. (He was a slave) She used her umbrella as a weapon. and as (conjunction) is used when there is a finite verb: Do as Peter does: go jogging.

zero 1 one 2 two 3 three 4 four 5 five 6 six 7 seven 8 eight 9 nine 10 ten 11 eleven 12 twelve 13 thirteen 14 fourteen 15 fifteen 16 sixteen 17 seventeen 18 eighteen 19 nineteen 20 twenty 21 twenty-one etc.000.127 two hundred and sixty thousand.NUMERALS CARDINAL NUMERALS ORDINAL NUMERALS SPECIAL USES OF NUMERALS CARDINAL NUMERALS 0 nought.000 five thousand 100. etc.000 one million 97 . 200 two hundred 1.000 one hundred thousand 260. etc.000 one thousand 1.001 one thousand and one. 5. 30 thirty 40 forty 50 fifty 60 sixty 70 seventy 80 eighty 90 ninety 100 one hundred 101 one hundred and one. one hundred and twenty-seven 1.

000 three hundred and three million 4. The words hundred. million. not a. fifteen.000. so: 1. a number composed of three or more figures we place and before the word denoting tens or units: 713 seven hundred and thirteen 5.g.410 three hundred and twenty thousand.20o = twenty degrees below zero c) When giving the scores of most games. a hundred and two. 0 is pronounced zero: .one eight oh double three b) When talking scientifically. 2. Otherwise we use one. etc. etc. thousand. e. thousand.. Manchester 6. or reading. tennis.140 one thousand. a is more usual than one before hundred. when used of a definite number. 0/nought/zero The spoken form of 0 is: a) Nought (AmE zero) or oh. the stress is on the first syllable: thirteen books. up to a hundred and ninety-nine and a thousand and one. When giving the scores of a few other games. The -teen numerals have stress on the last syllable if they are not followed by a noun: thirteen. Oh is used especially when giving telephone numbers: 180 33 .e. Leeds nil (or nothing).000 a thousand 100. when giving temperatures.102 five thousand.. when these numbers stand alone or begin an expression: 100 a hundred 1.Points to notice about cardinal numbers 1.000 a hundred thousand We can also say a hundred and one. fifteen pencils 3. million and dozen (i. up to a thousand and ninety-nine. e. twelve).g.040 a/one thousand and forty but 1. one hundred (no tens or units) and is used similarly with hundreds of thousands: 320. e.100 six thousand. When writing in words. football. one hundred and forty 5. etc. we use love for 0: Hewitt leads by two sets to love (2 – 0). 0 is pronounced nil or nothing. one hundred and two but 6. are never made plural: six hundred men ten thousand pounds two dozen eggs 98 . Leeds 0 is said Manchester six. when they are used with noun.g. four hundred and ten and hundreds of millions: 303.

It cost a hundred pounds or so.04 eight point nought four 0. I’ll meet you nineish. these words are used loosely. they must be made plural: hundreds of people thousands of birds dozens of times Note also that in this case the preposition of is placed after hundreds. Decimals are indicated by ‘.e.. thousands. We say each number after the decimal point separately: 10. (i. Decimals Numbers composed of four or more figures are divided into groups of three as shown above. Of is not used with definite numbers except before the/them. or so and or thereabouts can also be used when giving approximate numbers: He’s sixtyish. about 60 years old) -ish. which is read ‘point’. . these/those or possessives: six of the blue ones ten of these four of Tom’s brothers Uncertain numbers The word odd may be used with round numbers over twenty to give an approximate figure: It’s a hundred odd pounds.. merely to convey the idea of a large number.’.987 forty five point nine eight seven A zero after a decimal point is usually read ‘nought’.92 ten point nine two 45.46 nought point four six Back to Numerals ORDINAL NUMERALS 1st first 2nd second 3rd third 4th fourth 5th fifth 6th sixth 7th seventh 8th eighth 9th ninth 10th tenth 11th eleventh 12th twelfth 13th thirteenth 14th fourteenth 99 .If however. but ‘0’ and ‘zero’ would also be possible: 8. He’s arriving on the seventh or thereabouts. etc. about) She’s sixty odd.e.(i.

1. Notice the irregular spelling of fifth.15th fifteenth 16th sixteenth 17th seventeenth 18th eighteenth 19th nineteenth 20th twentieth 21st twenty-first 22nd twenty-second 23rd twenty-third 24th twenty-fourth 25th twenty-fifth 30th thirtieth 40th fortieth 50th fiftieth 60th sixtieth 70th seventieth 80th eightieth 90th ninetieth 100th one/the hundredth 101st one/the hundred and first 200th the two hundredth 1. a second voyage (= an additional voyage.000th one/the thousandth 1. the fortieth visitor. second. are written in Roman numerals: Charles V James III Elizabeth II 100 . The definite article normally precedes ordinal numerals: the sixtieth day. etc.000th one/the millionth Points to notice about ordinal numerals 1. third. one more) 5.000th one/the one hundred thousandth.000. the second edition The indefinite article may be used with first. etc. etc. eighth and twelfth 2. 100. Titles of kings etc. etc.001st one/the ten thousand and first.001st one/the thousand and first. When ordinal numerals are expressed in figures the last two letters of the written word must be added (except in dates): first – 1st twenty-first – 21st second – 2nd forty-second – 42nd third – 3rd sixty-third – 63rd fourth – 4th eightieth – 80th 3. In compound ordinal numerals the rule about and is the same as for compound cardinal numerals: 101st = one hundred and first 4. 10.

Tiberius died in A. 37. 1998 (or ‘98) – AmE When we say the date we add the (and of): January the sixth.90 In BrE this means January 6.In spoken English we use the ordinal numbers preceded by the: Charles the Fifth. is not usually necessary.1.C. is usually necessary. or the sixth of January – BrE January sixth – AmE The date can also be written entirely in figures: 6. 2. The year When reading or speaking we use the term hundred but not thousand. The year 1987 would be read as nineteen hundred and eighty-seven or nineteen eighty-seven. Elizabeth the Second Some rich American families do the same: Henry Ford II Back to Numerals SPECIAL USES OF NUMERALS Dates 1. Years before the Christian era are followed by the letters B. Day/month/year: 6th January.91 Fractions When writing in words or reading fractions other than 1/2 (a half) and 1/4 (a quarter). Pompey died in 48 B.7.000: the year two thousand.C.90. A.D. In AmE it means June 1. Years ending in ‘00’ are said with ‘hundred’: 1900 nineteen hundred but note 2.D. we use a combination of cardinal and ordinal numbers: 1/5 a/one fifth 1/10 a/one tenth (a is more usual than one) 3/5 three fifths 7/10 seven tenths A whole number + a fraction can be followed directly by a plural noun: 2 1/4 miles = two and a quarter miles 3 3/4 miles = three and three quarters miles 101 . 1990 since the number of the month is written before the day.g. 1066: ten sixty-six. 1990.01. in the year of the Lord in Latin). (= Anno Domini. In letters often: 2/4/1941 10-5-1986 23.D. The date We can write the date in different ways: e.C. B. 1991 (or ‘91) – BrE Month/day/year: January 6th. (= Before Christ) and years dating from the Christian era are occasionally preceded by the letters A. James the Third. except with the early centuries to avoid possible confusion. or 06.

Subtraction What does three from nine leave? What is the difference between 9 and 3? 9 . 3.3 = 6 could be spoken as: 9 minus 3 equals 6 9 take away 3 equals 6 3 from 9 equals/is/makes 6. twofold dvojitý treble.Multiplicative Numerals a) once jednou twice dvakrát three times třikrát thrice (archaic) třikrát four times čtyřikrát a hundred times several times many times b) single. Multiplication How many are nine times three? 9 x 3 = 27 could be spoken as: 9 multiplied by 3 equals 27 9 times 3 is/are/makes 27 Three nines (or nine threes) are 27. Addition How many are two and two? 2 + 2 = 4 could be spoken as: two and two make/makes four two plus two is/are/equal/equals four 2. 4. 9 : 3 = 3 could be spoken as: 9 divided by (or over) 3 equals 3 3 into nine is/goes 3. Division How many times does seven go into fifty-six? How many times is seven contained in fifty-six? Seven goes into fifty-six eights times. 102 . simple jednoduchý double. threefold trojitý c) for the first time poprvé for the second time podruhé d) first/ly: zaprvé second/ly: zadruhé third/ly: zatřetí The Four Arithmetical Operations 1.

etc.914 metres (m) 1 mile (statue) = 1.) = 0.) = 4.) = 0. Back to Numerals Back to Contents 103 .) = 0.55 litres Traditionally British measurements have been made in ounces.g. stone doesn’t take -s: e.35 grams (gm) 1 pound (lb.609 kilometres (km) Plurals: When there is more than one inch/mile/centimetre we normally use the plural form of these words: one inch – ten inches one mile – four miles one centimetre – five centimetres When used in compound adjectives the above forms never take the plural form: a two-mile walk a six-inch ruler Liquid Measure 1 pint (pt.356 kilogram/kilos Plurals ounce and pound can take -s in the plural when they are used as nouns. inches.) = 6. pints.) = 2.5 centimetres 1 yard (yd.‘The Percentage Sign’ % is usually said per cent 3 % = three per cent 3 1/2 % = three and a half per cent 3.54 centimetres (cm) 1 foot (ft.) = 30. we say six pound of sugar or six pounds of sugar but ten stone of coal has no alternative.) = 28.5 % = three point five per cent Weights 1 ounce (oz. kilo or kilogram usually take -s in the plural when used as nouns: two kilos of apples or two kilograms of apples Length 1 inch (in.568 litre (l) 1 gallon (gal.454 kilogram (kg) 1 stone (st. but there is now a gradual move towards the metric system.

What a mess he’s got into! passive constructions Everything he said was laughed at. In some exclamations. to. all the year round. In relative clauses. 2. thing.PREPOSITIONS THE POSITION AND FORM THE MEANING OF PREPOSITIONS Prepositions are words used with nouns. i. consist of one word: at. from.e. noun phrases. She was sought after by all the leading impresarios of the day. preposition + pronoun: I gave it to him.e. search the house through Form and Stress of Prepositions Most of the common English prepositions are simple. the relative pronoun is then often omitted: The old house (which) I was telling you about is empty (informal) The old house about which I was telling you is empty (formal) the people I was travelling with (informal) the people with whom I was travelling (formal) 3. preposition + gerund: Charlie devotes his time to reading. In questions beginning with a preposition + whom/which/what/whose/where (in so called wh-questions): Who were you talking to? (informal) To whom were you talking? (formal) Which house did you leave it at? (informal) At which house is he staying? (formal) It used to be thought ungrammatical to end a sentence with a preposition. Most of these are in one of the following categories: 104 . but there are some circumstances in which the prepositions move to the end of the sentence: 1. i. etc. noun phrases.. pronouns or gerunds to express a relationship between one person. in. but it is now regarded as fully acceptable. and another: preposition + noun: I gave the book to Charlie. into. pronouns or gerunds. and infinitive clauses He’s impossible to work with. or complex. etc. THE POSITION AND FORM The Position of Prepositions Prepositions normally precede nouns. consist of more than one word. In addition there are several idiomatic usages such as: all the world over. event.

on. amidst. in October. due to. comprising a variety of meanings. (No stress on at. beside. round. The meaning of the preposition is determined a) by the meaning of the noun before which the preposition stands b) by the meaning of the word on which the prepositional phrase depends. outside.e. There’s someone at the door. the stress falls on the word (adverb. (i. We can consider position in place in relation to: a) a point (i. behind the wall Back to Prepositions THE MEANING OF PREPOSITIONS Most prepositions are polysemantic.: along with. among. over. out of.: owing to. etc.e. a place or an event): at the cinema. beneath. at a party. within.e. (i. space (position) and mental or emotional attitudes.e. opposite the bank. upon. etc. noun. below. on that surface) 105 . beyond. because of. a place we think of as a flat area): across/off/on a table/floor/wall/ceiling I stared at a fly on the wall.) preceding the final preposition.adverb or prep. between. + noun + prep. etc. In complex prepositions. etc. a place we think of in terms of length): across/along/on a border/river/road There’s a letter box across the road. around. by. away from. Position and Movement Local relations are expressed by prepositional phrases denoting: a) Position in a place b) Movement (direction) Between the notions of simple position and directions (movement with respect to a destination) a cause-and-effect relationship obtains: direction Tom went to the door Tom fell on(to) the floor as a result: as a result: position Tom was at the door Tom was on the floor Place The principal prepositions used to express place are: in. + prep. behind. + prep. So. verb/adjective/conjunction/etc. in front of. under. prep. I saw him on Monday. Monosyllabic simple prepositions are normally unstressed. in comparison with. at that point) b) a line (i. as for. at seven o’clock.e. up to. before. at. prepositions indicate various relationships between words or phrases. to/from London We stood at the door and waited. out. (i. without. the most usual being those of time.: by means of.) Polysyllabic prepositions are normally stressed.e. etc. near. in front of.across that line) c) a surface (i.

be. etc. river) can be viewed from different angles: We went to the river. keep. lay. bring.. Direction The following prepositions serve to express the idea of direction: to. under. move. + object We Some prepositions. meet. run.g. work. Jim has gone to school. movement above drove across flew along ran beside near. walk. pull. over. We ran out of the building. e. a place which can ‘enclose’): in/into/out of/outside/within a room/ship/car/factory We all sat in the car.g. onto. stand do not combine with prepositions like into. take. out of. along. such as into. from. Jim has gone from school. on. I waited in the hotel lobby. drive. normally combine only with ‘position verbs’: The bird perched on the curtain rail.g.e. or with ‘position verbs’. position + object We were live work above along beside near. on. in. such as at. in that area) A single place (e. live. fly. Verbs which describe ‘movement with an end’. We swam in the river. to. through. Some prepositions combine either with ‘movement verbs’. 106 . towards. across. into. I drove out of the car park. round. At last we were out of/over our difficulties. etc. The paper boat floated on the river. normally combine only with ‘movement verbs’: A bird flew into my bedroom this morning. stop. I have put the coin in(to) my pocket. stay. I put the pen on(to) the table. (i. She sat the baby on the table. get. etc. We can often use the verb be with prepositions that normally combine with ‘movement verbs’ to convey the idea of ‘having reached a destination’ (real or metaphorical): At last we were into/out of the forest (over the river). Greenwich is down the river. by. Other prepositions. etc. sit.g. out of. place. before.e. onto or to: She laid the letter on the table.d) area or volume: (i. e. e. (a point) (a line) (a surface) (an area or volume) A preposition takes on the idea of movement (fly under) or lack of movement (position) (stop under) from the verb in the sentence.

. on Friday evening on June 1st. these prepositional phrases answer to the question When? The following prepositions express those meanings: in. Time phrases with at Exact time: Meal times: Other points of time: Festivals: Age: + time: at 10 o’clock.: Festivals: on Monday. around. (i. of. up to). through. within. We camped there for the summer. after. on New Year’s Day 107 . during. (i. at Christmas-time at the age of 27. about.. at Easter. for. Time phrases with on Days of the week: Parts of the day: Dates: Day + date: Particular occasions: Anniversaries etc. at 14 hundred hours at lunch time. b) The point of time at which the action starts or terminates: these prepositional phrases answer to the question Since when? or Till what time? The following prepositions serve to express those meanings: from. at that time At is often omitted in questions with What time. We can refer to approximate time with approximately.e. on and in refer not only to place. The full question and answer is formal: At what time do you arrive? – At nine o’clock in the morning. on 21st March on Monday.Time Temporal relations are expressed by prepositional phrases denoting a) A point or period of time. near. We slept until midnight. etc. on your wedding day on Christmas Day. at dinner time at dawn.? and in short answers to such questions: What time do you arrive? – Nine o’clock in the morning. The accident happened (at) about/around 5. at. at some time during the summer) I always eat my breakfast in ten minutes. I shall see him at four o’clock. until.: He became ill during the night. June 1st on that day.30. past. at night at Christmas. (= We started sleeping then) Up to last week.30. round or round about: The accident happened at approximately 5. to (down to.e. at noon. at 14 at this time. till. on Fridays on Monday morning. at tea time. I hadn’t received a reply. at midnight. on. (= We stopped sleeping then) We didn’t sleep until midnight. between. since. etc. by. before. on that evening on your birthday. all through) We camped there in the summer. The prepositions at. into. beyond. but also to time. I finished the examination in/within an hour and a half. over.

See you June 21st. that: I saw him last/this April. Because of the drought. The task was done in a workmanlike manner. Time phrases with in (= some time during) Parts of the day: in the evening.In everyday speech on is often omitted: I’ll see you Friday. in the holidays Abstract Relations Besides local and temporal meanings prepositional phrases may have a variety of more abstract meanings such as: a) Manner: The army swept through the city like a pestilence. in that age. in 1998 Seasons: in (the) spring. Back to Prepositions Back to Contents 108 . in Easter week Periods of time: in that time. We were received with the utmost courtesy. b) Means or instrument: I usually go to work by bus/train/car. next and this. in the morning Months: in March. d) Purpose or cause: Do it for your own sake. in (the) winter Centuries: in the 19th century. He went in search of it. in the 20th century Festivals: in Ramadan. On account of his wide experience. he was made chairman. in September Years: in 1900. Someone had broken the window with a stone. in 1948. He’ll do anything for money. They played all sorts of games with other children. I’ll see you next/this Friday. the price of bread was high that year. Prepositions (and the definite article) must be omitted when we use last. He caught the ball with his left hand. c) Accompaniment: I’m so glad you’re coming with us.

CONJUNCTIONS COORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS Conjunctions are form-words. not only . groups of words. nor: I make the payments and keep the accounts. but serve to connect words... they have no independent meaning of their own. but (also). but polished it (too/as well). and then. They are ugly and expensive. independent sentences or coordinate clauses in a compound sentence. Copulative conjunctions chiefly denote that one statement or fact is simply added to another. and sentences or clauses. not only . This connection is brought about either by way of co-ordination or by way of subordination. etc. but didn’t polish it. both .. Not only men but also women were chosen.. The car was quite old. while.. 2.. The fur coat was soft and also warm. 109 .. conjunctions are classed as co-ordinative and subordinative. 1. He not only washed the car. but (too/as well). whereas. and. Either my answer or yours is wrong. Accordingly. The fur coat was both soft and warm. He can neither read nor write. Not only is your answer wrong but mine is also. or else. either . neither . Neither your answer nor mine is right. yet (‘in spite of that/all the same.. else. 3.. neither . not only . nevertheless’): The coat was thin but warm. COORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS Coordinating (or co-ordinative) conjunctions connect homogeneous parts in a simple sentence. He washed the car. sometimes they are used to express an opposition or an explanation: and. as well as... still (‘admitting that/nevertheless’). yet/still/however/nevertheless it was in excellent condition.. Adversative conjunctions suggest contrast: but. The fur coat was soft as well as warm. or.. There are four different kinds of coordinating conjunctions.. Take this book or that one. but also. yet people buy them. Disjunctive conjunctions denote separation: or. nor (‘not one of two’).

direct object: I told him that he was wrong. therefore. it cannot begin a sentence.. Some of the coordinating conjunctions are polysemantic.) There is fog at Heathrow. etc. lest) He said that he would help us. thus. adverbial clauses or phrases of every kind Some conjunctions have more than one meaning and may introduce more than one type of clause. that things will improve. adjectival complement: I’m sure that things will improve.4. Causative-consecutive conjunctions so. For gives the reason for something that has already been stated. She feared lest they should take her at her word. if. Our cases were heavy. therefore. that cannot be omitted and is usually expanded to the fact that. so he wrote in pencil. has been diverted. I’m sure When the clause is subject. consequently. so we took a taxi. The subject must be repeated after for. subject complement: The assumption is that things will improve. for. hence. This use of for is more usual in the written language. is unfounded. (The subject is usually repeated after so.then) sequence: He finished lunch and went shopping (= then) contrast: Tom’s 15 and still sucks his thumb. 110 . (= despite this) Back to Conjunctions SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS Subordinating (or subordinative) conjunctions are used to introduce 1. 2. for we can’t afford it. appositive: Your assumption. When the that-clause is object or complement. Unlike because. except in very formal English: (The fact) that she is still alive consoles me. accordingly. We rarely stay in hotels. the conjunction that is frequently omitted in informal use: I knew I told him he was wrong. (= so) condition: Weed the garden and I’ll pay you ! (= If. noun clauses (that. the plane. whether.. I will come if you want me. For instance the that-clause can occur as: subject: That she is still alive is a consolation. Thus the coordinating conjunction and can serve a variety of purposes to express: addition: We were talking and laughing (= in addition to) result: He fell heavily and broke his arm. He couldn’t find his pen.

behave. (‘in the way that. Clauses of manner These clauses answer the question How? Clauses of manner are introduced by the conjunctions (just) as. Clauses of place These clauses answer the question Where? and can be introduced by the conjunctions where. after. Much as I’d like to help. Clauses of condition and concession Whereas conditional clauses state the dependence of one circumstance or set of circumstances on another: If you treat her kindly. sound. there will be no trains tomorrow. while. Adverbial clauses of place normally come after the main clause: You can’t camp where/wherever/anywhere you like these days. much as .ADVERBIAL CLAUSES Clauses of time These clauses broadly answer the question When? and can be introduced by the following conjunctions: when. as soon as.. We always have to wait till/until the last customer has left. (exactly) as. They went wherever they could find work. he (nevertheless) looked very fit. even if. feel. Clauses of condition are introduced by if (positive condition) and unless (negative condition). appear. seem. Unless the strike has been called off. taste: I feel as if/as though I’m floating on air. once. He must be lying if he told you that.. (‘in the way I showed you’) Adverbial clauses of manner can also be introduced by the conjunctions as if and as though after verbs be. He looks as if he is going to be ill.. she looked after the others. wherever. Clauses of concession are introduced chiefly by though. there isn’t a lot I can do. although. now. as. as long as. by the time. 111 . Adverbial clauses of manner normally come after the main clause: Please do it (exactly) as I instructed. As/Because/Since there was very little support. anywhere and everywhere. since. i. until. the strike was not successful.. and since. (then) she’ll do anything for you.e. as. concessive clauses imply a contrast between two circumstances. before. Buy your tickets as soon as you reach the station. look. the main clause is surprising in the light of the dependent one: Although he hadn’t eaten for days. Clauses of reason or cause These clauses broadly answer the question Why? and can be introduced by the following conjunctions: because. you lived in Washington. We generally use a comma when the adverbial clause comes first: When I last saw you.’) Type this again as I showed you a moment ago. smell. As/Since Jane was the eldest. act. whereas. when.

one expressed by the principal clause and one by the comparative clause. 93).? He reacts so quickly that no one can match him. 78) and the comparison of adverbs (pp.? His reactions are so quick that no one can match him. in order (that). the question How (quick). e.. He answers as quickly as his sister (does). and by that after so + adverb to answer. They can be introduced by that after so + adjective to answer. lest and for fear (that).. The use of conjunctions in comparative constructions is illustrated in paragraphs dealing with the comparison of adjectives (pp. The more you practise. e. How (quickly). Clauses of result These clauses describe consequences. His sister is quicker than he (is). might or would are used: I arrived early so that/in order that I should/could/might/would get a good view of the procession. Clauses of comparison The essential feature of comparative constructions is that two ideas. They can also be introduced by that after such (a) + noun (or adjective + noun) to answer questions like What’s (he) like?: He is such a marvellous joker that you can’t help laughing.. the better you get.Clauses of purpose These clauses answer the questions What for? and For what purpose? and can be introduced by the following conjunctions: so that. He is not as/so quick in answering as his sister (is). are compared with respect to something they have in common: He is as quick in answering as his sister (is).g. They left the door open in order for me to hear the baby. In the purpose clause the modal auxiliaries should. in case. Back to Conjunctions Back to Contents 112 . He moves more slowly than his sister (does)..g. could.

there. Emotional interjections express the feelings of the speaker. According to their meaning interjections fall under two main groups: 1. hush. sh-sh. Examples of exclamations are: Good! Bravo! Shame! Nonsense! Stop! Shame on you! Sometimes other parts of speech and even elliptical sentences are used as interjections. dear me. swish. They are: well. how do you do! (= no tak. The dividing line is thin between interjections and exclamations. how cold it is! Alas! (expressing sorrow. anger. you didn’t even see him! (= Vždyť vy jste ho přece ani neviděli!) Why. see that bird! (= hele…) There. eh. Toot-tootle-too. Hush! did you not hear the sound? (= pst! šš!) Interjections may be primary and secondary: 1. come! Dear me! Hear! Look! Well! I say! All right! I see! 113 . pooh. There. želbohu) Alas. The most usual are: Ah! (expressing surprise or satisfaction) (= ah!. inu…) Why. I told you so! (= no. They are: here. tak tedy…) Among interjections are included imitations of sounds such as mew. These words do not name the sounds produced by animals or things but imitate them. oh. here. etc.INTERJECTIONS An interjection is a word or sound used to express surprise. fie. why. hang it. disappointment) (= běda! bohužel!. Imperative interjections show the will of the speaker or his order or appeal to the hearer. It represents the most primitive type of utterance. cock-a-doodle-doo. goes the horn. á. ach!) Ah! is it you? Ah! what anguish! Oh! (expressing pain or surprise) (= ach. now. etc. in which an ordinary word or group of words are used as interjections. hush. now. Most of them are simple words: ah. Only a few primary interjections are composite: heigh-ho! hey-ho! holla-ho! gee-ho! [di h] vijé! 2. It is important because of its high frequency in spoken language. in this case they lose their notional meaning and serve to express only some emotion or feeling: Help! Come. come. jé) Oh! were this day my last! Oh. Secondary interjections are derived from other parts of speech. we must part! 2. pleasure. Primary interjections are not derived from other parts of speech. They are homonymous with the words they are derived from. confound it. or some other sudden feeling or emotion.

Interjections usually have no grammatical connection with the sentences in which they occur. Sometimes. however. Hence they are classed among the ‘independent elements’ of a sentence or are treated as exclamatory phrases. a noun is connected with an interjection by means of a preposition: Alas for my hopes! Back to Interjections Back to Contents 114 .

LIST OF IRREGULAR VERBS
The verbs in roman type are verbs which are not very common in modern English but may be found in literature. When a verb has two possible forms and one is less usual than the other, the less usual one will be printed in roman. The bullet sign is attached to the verbs which cannot be found in Stručná mluvnice angličtiny by Dušková, Bubeníková and Caha (see Selected Bibliography). Compounds of irregular verbs form their past tenses and past participles in the same way as the original verb: come overcome set upset
Present and infinitive

came overcame set upset

come overcome set upset
Simple past Past participle

Czech meaning

abide [bad] • arise [raz] awake [wek] be [bi] bear [be] beat [bit] become [bkm] befall [bfl] • beget [bet] • begin [bn] behold [bhld] • bend [bend] bereave [briv] • beseech [bsit] • bet [bet] • bid (= command) [bd] bid (= offer) [bd] • bind [band]

(do)držet, snášet povstat, vzniknout probudit (se) být nést, rodit bít, tlouci stát se přihodit se, udát se plodit, vyvolávat začínat zřít, spatřit ohýbat (se) oloupit, připravit (o)

abode [bd] arose [rz] awoke [wk] awaked [wekt] was [wz, wz] were [w, w] bore [b] beat [bit] became [bkem] befell [bfel] begot [bt] began [bæn] beheld [bheld] bent [bent] bereaved [brivd]

abode [bd] arisen [rzn] awoken [wkn] awaked [wekt] been [bin, bn] borne/born* [bn] beaten [bitn] become [bkm] befallen [bfln] begotten [btn] begun [bn] beheld [bheld] bent [bent] bereaved [brivd] bereft* [breft] besought [bst] betted [betd] bet [bet] bidden [bdn] bid [bd] bound [band]

doprošovat se, snažně besought [bst] prosit, naléhat vsadit se, sázet (se) betted [betd] bet [bet] poroučet, rozkazovat bade [bæd] nabízet vázat bid [bd] bound [band]

These past participles are not optional but carry different meanings and should be checked by the student in a reliable dictionary.

*

115

bite [bat] bleed [blid] blend [blend] blow [bl] break [brek] breed [brid] bring [br] broadcast [brdkst] build [bld] burn [bn] burst [bst] buy [ba] can+ [kæn] cast [kst] catch [kæt] chide [tad] choose [tuz] cleave [kliv] • cling [kl] clothe [kl] • come [km] cost [kst] creep [krip] crow [kr] • cut [kt] dare [de] deal [dil] dig [d] do [du] draw [dr] dream [drim]

kousat krvácet míchat, mísit dout, vanout, foukat lámat, rozbíjet plodit, pěstovat přinést vysílat stavět, budovat hořet, pálit puknout, prasknout kupovat moci vrhat, odlévat chytat hádat se, přít se vybrat si, zvolit lpět, odštěpit, oddělit lpět, lnout obléci, ošatit, odít přijít stát (o ceně) lézt, plazit se kokrhat, halekat řezat, krájet odvážit se, troufat si jednat, obchodovat kopat dělat, činit, konat táhnout, kreslit snít, mít sen

bit [bt] bled [bled] blended [blendd] blent [blent] blew [blu] broke [brk] bred [bred] brought [brt] broadcast [brdkst] built [blt] burned [bnd] burnt [bnt] burst [bst] bought [bt] could [kd] cast [kst] caught [kt] chid [td] chose [tz] clove [klv] cleft [kleft] clung [kl] clothed [kld] clad [kld] came [kem] cost [kst] crept [krept] crowed [krd] crew* [kru] cut [kt] dared [ded] durst [dst] dealt [delt] dug [d] did [dd] drew [dru] dreamed [drimd] dreamt [dremt]

bitten [btn] bled [bled] blended [blendd] blent [blent] blown [bln] broken [brkn] bred [bred] brought [brt] broadcast [brdkst] built [blt] burned [bnd] burnt [bnt] burst [bst] bought [bt] be able [bi ebl] cast [kst] caught [kt] chidden [tdn] chosen [tzn] cloven [klvn] * cleft [kleft] clung [kl] clothed [kld] clad [kld] come [km] cost [kst] crept [krept] crowed [krd] cut [kt] dared [ded] durst [dst] dealt [delt] dug [d] done [dn] drawn [drn] dreamed [drimd] dreamt [dremt]

116

drink [drk]

pít

drank [dræk]

drive [drav] dwell [dwel] eat [it] fall [fl] feed [fid] feel [fil] fight [fat] find [fand] flee [fli] fling [fl] fly [fla] forbear [fbe] • forbid [fbd] forget [fet] forgive [fv] forsake [fsek] freeze [friz] get [et] gild [ld] • gird [d] • give [v] go [] grind [rand] grow [r] hang [hæ] have [hæv] hear [h] hew [hju] • hide [had] hit [ht] hold [hld] hurt [ht]

hnát, pohánět, jet drove [drv] přebývat, trvat na čem dwelled [dweld] dwelt [dweld] jíst ate [et, et] padata fell [fel] živit, krmit fed [fed] cítit (se) felt [felt] bojovat, zápasit fought [ft] nalézt, shledat found [fand] prchat fled [fled] mrštit, házet flung [fl] létat flew [flu] zdržet se, odříci si forbore [fbo] zakázat forbade [fbæd] zapomenout forgot [ft] odpustit forgave [fev] opustit forsook [fsk] mrznout froze [frz] dostat (se) got [t] pozlatit, zkrášlit, gilded [ldd] ozdobit gilt [lt] opásat, obtočit, girded [dd] obklopit girt [t] dát gave [ev] jít went [went] brousit, mlít ground [rand] růst grew [ru] viset, věšet, oběsit hanged [hæd] hung [h] mít had [hæd] slyšet heard [hd] tesat, pokácet, hewed [hjud] vysekat skrývat (se) udeřit, zasáhnout držet ranit, ublížit hid [hd] hit [ht] held [held] hurt [ht]

drunk [drk] drunken [drkn] – adj. driven [drvn] dwelled [dweld] dwelt [dwelt] eaten [itn] fallen [fln] fed [fed] felt [felt] fought [ft] found [fand] fled [fled] flung [fl] flown [fln] forborne [fbn] forbidden [fbdn] forgotten [ftn] forgiven [fvn] forsaken [fsekn] frozen [frzn] got [t] gilded [ldd] gilt [lt] girded [dd] girt [t] given [vn] gone [n] ground [rand] grown [rn] hanged [hæd] hung* [h] had [hæd] heard [hd] hewed [hjud] hewn [hjun] hidden [hdn] hit [ht] held [held] hurt [ht]

117

odjet. pravit kept [kept] knelt [nelt] knit [nt] knew [nju] laid [led] led [led] leaned [lind] leant [lent] leaped [lipt] leapt [lept] learned [lnd] learnt [lnt] left [left] lent [lent] let [let] lay [le] lighted [latd] lit [lt] lost [lst] made [med] might [mat] meant [ment] met [met] mowed [md] had to [hæd t] – paid [ped] put [pt] read [red] rent [rent] rid [rd] rode [rd] rang [ræ] rose [rz] ran [ræn] sawed [sd] said [sed] kept [kept] knelt [nelt] knit [nt] known [nn] laid [led] led [led] leaned [lind] leant [lent] leaped [lipt] leapt [lept] learned [lnd] learnt [lnt] left [left] lent [lent] let [let] lain [len] lighted [latd] lit [lt] lost [lst] made [med] – meant [ment] met [met] mowed [md] mown [mn] – – paid [ped] put [pt] read [red] rent [rent] rid [rd] ridden [rdn] rung [r] risen [rzn] run [rn] sawed [sd] sawn [sn] said [sed] 118 . vědět položit vést vyklánět se. opírat se skákat učit se opustit. vstát. přeříznout. žnout muset – platit dát (něco někam) číst trhnout. zapálit ztratit dělat. vyrábět mínit. zanechat půjčit nechat ležet rozsvítit. (pře)pilovat říci. stmelit znát. znamenat potkat sekat. na kole) zvonit zvednout se. stoupat běžet řezat. rvát zbavit. vyčistit jet (např. štípat.keep [kip] kneel [nil] knit* [nt] • know [n] lay [le] lead [lid] lean [lin] leap [lip] learn [ln] leave [liv] lend [lend] let [let] lie [la] light [lat] lose [luz] make [mek] may+ [me] mean [min] meet [mit] mow [m] • must+ [mst] ought+ [t] pay [pe] put [pt] read [rid] rend [rend] • rid [rd] • ride [rad] ring [r] rise [raz] run [rn] saw [s] • say [se] držet klečet spojit.

rozpárat. snažit se prodávat poslat postavit. pouštět. pobít. rozstřihnout čichat. postihnout smote [smt] sít. – sheared [d] shorn [n] shed [ed] shone [n] shoed [ud] shod [d] shot [t] showed [d] shown [n] shrunk [rk] shut [t] sung [s] sunk [sk] sat [sæt] slain [slen] slept [slept] slid [sld] slung [sl] slunk [slk] slit [slt] smelled [smeld] smelt [smelt] smitten [smtn] sowed [sd] sown [sn] spoken [spkn] speeded [spidd] smelled [smeld] smelt [smelt] zasáhnout. házet plížit se rozříznout. zbavovat se svítit. okovat střílet ukázat scvrknout se. zářit obout. dát (něco někam). svrasknout se zavřít zpívat klesnout sedět zabít.see [si] seek [sik] sell [sel] send [send] set [set] sew [s] shake [ek] shave [ev] shall+ [æl] shear [] • shed [ed] shine [an] shoe [u] • shoot [ut] show [] shrink [rk] shut [t] sing [s] sink [sk] sit [st] slay [sle] • sleep [slip] slide [slad] sling [sl] slink [slk] slit [slt] smell [smel] smite [smat] • sow [s] speak [spik] speed [spid] vidět hledat. vymítit spát klouzat (se) mrštit. páchnout saw [s] sought [st] sold [sld] sent [sent] set [set] sewed [sd] shook [k] shaved [evd] should [d] sheared [d] shore [] shed [ed] shone [n] shoed [ud] shod [d] shot [t] showed [d] shrank [ræk] shut [t] sang [sæ] sank [sæk] sat [sæt] slew [slu] slept [slept] slid [sld] slung [sl] slunk [slk] slit [slt] seen [sin] sought [st] sold [sld] sent [sent] set [set] sewed [sd] sewn [sn] shaken [ekn] shaved [evd] shaven [evn] – adj. zastřihovat shazovat. posadit šít třást (se) holit (se) – stříhat. rozsévat sowed [sd] mluvit spěchat spoke [spk] speeded [spidd] 119 .

nafouknout se plavat houpat se vzít. snažit se přísahat. šířit (se) skákat stát krást vězet. uštknout zapáchat posypat kráčet bít. brát učit. vrazit šlápnout sped [sped] spelled [speld] spelt [spelt] spent [spent] spilled [spld] spilt [splt] spun [spn] spat [spæt] split [splt] spread [spred] sprang [spræ] stood [std] stole [stl] stuck [stk] stung [st] stank [stæk] stunk [stk] strewed [strud] strode [strd] struck [strk] strung [str] strove [strv] swore [sw] swept [swept] swelled [sweld] swam [swæm] swung [sw] took [tk] taught [tt] tore [t] told [tld] thought [t] thrived [ravd] throve [rv] threw [ru] thrust [rst] trod [trd] sped [sped] spelled [speld] spelt [spelt] spent [spent] spilled [spld] spilt [splt] spun [spn] spat [spæt] split [splt] spread [spred] sprung [spr] stood [std] stolen [stln] stuck [stk] stung [st] stunk [stk] strewed [strud] strewn [strun] stridden [strdn] struck [strk] strung [str] striven [strvn] sworn [swn] swept [swept] swelled [sweld] swollen [swln] swum [swm] swung [sw] taken [tekn] taught [tt] torn [tn] told [tld] thought [t] thrived [ravd] thriven [rvn] thrown [rn] thrust [rst] trodden [trdn] trod [trd] 120 . nalepit bodnout. prosperovat házet (v)strčit. klít mést otéci. rozprostírat se. utratit rozlít příst plivat rozštípnout prostřít.spell [spel] spend [spend] spill [spl] spin [spn] spit [spt] split [splt] spread [spred] spring [spr] stand [stænd] steal [stil] stick [stk] sting [st] stink [stk] strew [stru] stride [strad] strike [strak] string [str] • strive [strav] swear [swe] sweep [swip] swell [swel] swim [swm] swing [sw] take [tek] teach [tit] tear [te] tell [tel] think [k] thrive [rav] throw [r] thrust [rst] tread [trid] hláskovat strávit. vyučovat trhat říci. tlouci usilovat. vyprávět myslit prospívat.

understand [ndstænd] undertake [ndtek] • wake [wek] wear [we] weave [wiv] weep [wip] wet [wet] • will+ [wl] win [wn] wind [wand] wring [r] write [rat] Note: rozumět ujmout se. získat vinout. knit (= make garments from wool) is a regular verb. natáčet ždímat psát understood [ndstd] undertook [ndtk] waked [wekt] woke [wk] wore [w] wove [wv] wept [wept] wetted [wetd] wet [wet] would [wd] won [wn] wound [wand] wrung [r] wrote [rt] understood [ndstd] undertaken [ndtekn] waked [wekt] woken [wkn] worn [wn] woven [wvn] wept [wept] wetted [wetd] wet [wet] – won [wn] wound [wand] wrung [r] written [rtn] knit = unite/draw together. + Present only Back to Contents 121 . vykonat. podniknout vzbudit (se) nosit (na sobě) tkát plakat navlhčit – vyhrát.

GREENBAUM.. and J. (1991): Pracitcal English Usage. W. R. London and New York ALLEN. R. G. Budapest LEECH. FINEGAN (1999): Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English. JOHANSON. LEECH and J. PULLUM (2002): The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. AND G. SVARTVIK (1976): A Grammar of Contemporary English. M. Copenhagen – London KÓNYA. London QUIRK. (1990): A Practical English Grammar. GREENBAUM (1977): A University Grammar of English. London AZAR. Z and V. London SINCLAIR. Edinburgh PIŠTĚK. A. London ALEXANDER. S. O. J. (1991): An A-Z of English Grammar and Usage.. R. London QUIRK. S. N. and GRANGER. C. and W. O’NEILL (1977): English Grammatical Structure. SVARTVIK (1985): A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. J. M. Prague DUŠKOVÁ.. and CAHA. K. R. ALLEN. and R. S. Harlow CURME. A Grammar of the English Language II. BUBENÍKOVÁ. A. (1988): Mluvnice současné angličtiny na pozadí češtiny. Oxford THOMSON. London SWAN. J. (1997): Collins Cobuild English Usage. S. LEECH. R. L. London HAIS. L. Moscow GREENBAUM. ORSZÁGH (1972): Rendszeres angol nyelvtan. V. (1969): A comprehensive English Grammar for Foreign Students. CONRAD and E. K. G. Prague HUDDLESTON. (1971): Stručná mluvnice angličtiny. SVARTVIK (1975): A Communicative Grammar of English. S. A. (1935): Parts of Speech and Accidence. London LEECH. and VASILEVSKAYA. (1975): Anglická mluvnice. Prague ECKERSLEY. QUIRK (1990): A Student’s Grammar of the English Language. L. M. (1947): Living English Structure (Practice Book for Foreign Students). and L. C. (1985): Fundamentals of English Grammar.. L. G. London BIBER. J. (1988): Longman English Grammar. B. E. G. S. (1964): English Grammar. K. J. London and Harlow GANSHINA. LEECH and J. A. S. (1989): The Heinemann English Grammar. D. O. GREENBAUM. S. and S. New Jersey BEAUMONT. S. and MARTINET. (ed. G. CLOSE. G. D. PIŠTĚKOVÁ (1991): Stručný prehľad anglickej gramatiky – modelové vety.) et al. (1909-1949): A Modern English Grammar on Historical Principles I – VII. R.G. Cambridge JESPERSEN. Boston DUŠKOVÁ. et al. Oxford Back to Contents 122 . G. Bratislava QUIRK. and ECKERSLEY.SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY ALEXANDER. M.

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