Book 7 (Lesson 7)

Packing of Information in Speech

Unifying the world thro' fluent English ...



Adult Faculties ™

1 st

& oldest flu~ncy course

PACKING OF INFORMATION IN SPEECH (Used. as Lesson 7 in Fluentzy: The Fluency Development Course). Copyright © 1982 K. E. V. Nair @ KevNair. First published 1982. 2001, 2002. This edition 2000. Reprinted,

The right of K. E. V. Nair @ KevNair to be identified as the author of this book has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright Act, 1957. All rights reserved. No part of this book shall be copied or reproduced or transmitted in any form or manner whatever, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except in the case of brief quotations or as allowed by the Copyright Act 1957. This book shall not be used for any purpose other than for self-study by the person to whom this is supplied by the Adult Faculties Council. All quotations from this book shall credit Mr. KevNair. Any person who buys this book as part of Fluentzy: The Fluency Development Course or otherwise, or acquires it in any other way, shall not circulate it. Any violation of these terms and conditions will invite civil and criminal proceedings and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Published in India by Mrs. Uma V. Nair.Adult Faculties Council, DP Lane, Elamakkara PO, Kochi-682 026. Printed in India by Ayodhya Printers Ltd., Elamakkara Kochi-682 026. Adult Faculties Council's website: www.fluentzy.com. Phone: (91)(0484) 538449, 536361. Fax: (91)(0484) 536361. E-mail: info@fluentzy.com. PO,


Packing of information, 5
Techniques of information-packing, 5 5 and fluency, 7 9 9

A. Subordination

and co-ordination,

Matrix clause first, 6 Nature of information-packing How to avoid dense packing, 1. Clause-connecting


Simple Subordinators (for finite subordinate clauses), 9 Complex Subordinators (for finite subordinate clauses), 10 Correlative subordinators (for finite subordinate clauses), 10 2. Clauses introduced Prepositional by wh-elements, 11

clauses, 12

3. Inversion of initial elements in a clause, 12 4. Special subordinate constructions, 13

4.1 Non-finite clauses, 13
(i) "to-infinitive" clauses, 13 (ii) Bare infinitive clauses, 14

(iii) "-ing participle" clauses, 14 (iv) "-en participle" clauses, 15 4.2 Verbless clauses, 16 5. Phrase-internal clauses, 16

(i) Finite Relative clauses, 16 (ii) Comparative clauses, 18

(iii) Non-finite relative clauses, 18 B. Complex phrases, 19 Noun phrases, 19 19 Pre-modification and Post-modification, Modification and complexity, 20



How to avoid modification, Exceptional cases, 22 1. Re-reference, 23 2. Classifying function, 23


'Adjective + noun' combinations 'Noun + Noun' combinations Post-modification, 28

- Pre-modification, 23 Pre-modification, 27

3. Conventional pre-modifiers, 28 4. Non-specific modification, 29 5. Intensifiers and downtoners, 29 Fluency and word-modification, Adjective phrases, 30 33 How to avoid modification, 1.Intensifiersl 33 2. Downtoners, 34 3. Adjunct adverbs, 35 4. Colour adjectives, 35 5. View-point adjuncts, 36 Adverb phrases, 36 Prepositional phrases, 38 30

How to avoid complexity, 39 Embedded noun-phrases, 40

C. Specific and non-specific words, 41 Composing speech and speaking at the same time, 42
Mental assessment and planning, 42 Control of speech delivery, 44 Inevitability of loose packing, 44 Speech composition features, 45 Listeners' point of view, 46 Looseness vs. conciseness, 47 A test, 48 Conclusion, 48


Packing of information
The extent of your fluency in spoken English depends on an important factor: The way you pack information in your speech. That is, the way you pack words within your idea units, as well as the way you pack idea units within your speech. If you pack information densely, you will find it difficult to be fluent. If you pack information loosely, you will find it easier to be fluent. This is the general principle of information-packing. Thi~ principle is of great importance for fluency-development. So we must take it up immediately. We'll only be able to get a clear idea of this principle if we do one thing: We must look at a basic point of difference between spoken English and written English. This allimportant difference is this: Wr'itten English normally packs information densely. But spontaneous spoken English always packs information loosely Sa here's a fundamental Never pack information writing. principle you should always remember.' in speech the way you pack information in

Techniques of irdormation.packing
Haw does written English pack information densely? How does spoken English pack information loosely? These things happen in the fallowing ways: A. Written English uses a tight syntax. But spoken English uses a loose syntax. ('Syntax' is the grammatical arrangement of wards). And so written English relies more on a 'hierarchical arrangement' of clauses called subordination than spa ken English does. Spoken English relies far less an sub ordination. What spoken English does is.to rely far more an an 'equal arrangement' of clauses called co-ordination than wr'rten English. B. Written English uses heavily-modified, complex phrases freely. Spa ken English does not. C. Written English goes in search of the 'right' wards and uses 'specific' and 'non-general' wards wherever possible. Spoken English does not do so. Spoken English prefers non-specific and general words.

A. Subordination and co·ordination
We can connect two clauses by orie of these methods:

Co-ordination; or



6 In co-ordination, we connect two clauses by the conjunctions and, and then, or; but, so, yet, nor, neither; either. .. or; and neither. .. nor. (Or, sometimes we just utter two independent clauses next to each other - without using a co-ordinator between the two). In subordination, we connect clauses by conjunctions like after, although, when, etc. (There are, of course, other methods of subordinating a clause, and we'll look at them later in this Lesson). You see, co-ordination is far more helpful than subordination in speech-production, The reason is this: If you connect two clauses by co-ordination, the clauses continue to remain structurally independent, and one clause does not become a burden on the other by becoming structurally dependent on it. This sort of 'equal arrangement' is not a tight arrangement (as subordination is), and so, it makes the speech-production process quite flexible.
Eg: I was corning from the office

+ and

I saw an elephant.

Here the clauses 'I was coming from the office' and 'I saw an elephant' are both independent clauses, because neither of them is a constituent element of the other. But if we connect the two clauses by subordination, the clause that has been subordinated becomes a constituent of the other clause, and becomes embedded in it - by becoming fixed there firmly and deeply. And the clause that has been subordinated loses its independent status. '
Eg: As I was coming from the office + I saw an elephant. elephant + as I was coming from the office).
(Or, I saw an

Here the clause that's been subordinated is: 'as I was coming from the office'. (It's been subordinated by making it start with the subordinator 'as'). This is not an independent clause, because it cannot stand alone as a sentence. The subordinating conjunction 'as' has forced it to become a constituent element of the matrix clause 'I saw an elephant'. Thus subordination has brought about an 'unequal' arrangement, and has created a hierarchical order - with the matrix clause having superior status (because it can stand alone as a sentence) and the subordinate clause having inferior status (because it cannot usually stand alone as a sentence). On the other hand, in co-ordination, the clauses that are linked together continue having equal status, because they continue to remain independent.

Matrix clause first
You see, the idea units in spontaneous speech are not made up before we start speaking. No. They're made up as we speak on and, that too,

7 under pressure of time. So speakers don't have the time to . hierarchically arrange their clauses into matrix clauses and subordinate clauses. What they normally find easier to do is this: Utter independent unit after independent unit, and leave them independent and of equal status - through co-ordination. But don't be under a wrong impression. In spontaneous speech, nobody can avoid subordination completely. No. This is because, in certain situations, grammar, usage or even common sense gives you no choice. Now suppose that a construction that occurs to you spontarieously is a subordinate-one and that it tends to become involved or complicated - making it difficult for you to keep up a flow of speech. Then you can avoid the problems of subordination in four ways: (i) Convert the subordinate construction into a co-ordinate one; (ii) Leave the subordinate clause half-finished, and start uttering a new independent clause in its place; (iii) Reconstruct the subordinate clause differently, by introducing it with a simple subordinator - rather than in any other way. (iv) Reconstruct your utterance, by uttering the matrix clause first and the subordinate clause next. The fourth point is very important. You see, written English often prefers the order 'subordinate clause first and matrix clause next'. Eg: As I was coming from the office + I saw an elephant. But spoken English prefers the order 'matrix clause first and the subordinate clause next'.
Eg: I saw an elephant

+ as I was

coming from the office.

This is the natural order. You know, you can avoid a lot of problems that subordination brings up by this simple trick Utter 'the matrix clause first and the subordinate clause next. .!
Note 1: In writing as well as in speech, co-ordination

is more frequent than subordination. But between writing and speech, you'll find the percentage of co-ordination far more in speech than in writing ..

Note 2: If the speech is formal, the percentage of subordination would be more than if it is informal. In fact, the less formal the speech becomes, the less the percentage of subordination and the more the percentage of co-ordination.

Nature of information-packing

and fluency

You see, when you connect one clause to the next by co-ordination, you feel a sense of completeness at the end of each clause. You have a feeling that there's no syntactic compulsion to continue in a rigidlyfixed direction. You do not feel under any syntactic pressure to .

8 construct the next c1ausein a particular way. No. In fact, you have a feeling of considerable syntactic freedom, and you feel free to construct it in a way that suits your convenience. But what happens in subordination
Eg: As I was coming from the office

is entirely different: + I saw an elephant.

Here the subordinate clause 'As I was coming from the office' has been placed first, and so this is a tight arrangementjf you followthis tight arrangement, you feel a sense 'of incompleteness at the end of the subordinate clause. And there's then in you a sense of restraint and a sense of being tied down to something. This is because your mind is burdened by a thought: "Now that I've uttered a subordinate clause, I'll have to utter a matrix clause too, and I'm bound to construct it in a way that the subordinate clause dictates, and not in a way that I find convenient". That is, after uttering 'As I was coming from the office', you don't feel that your responsibility for the utterance is over. There's a sense of syntactic compulsion weighing down on your mind, asking you to continue in a rigidly-fixed direction. You're nowunder considerable syntactic pressure to construct the next clause in a pre-determined way. And you don't have any syntactic choice - as when you use co-ordination. So at the end of the subordinate clause that's been placed first, you tend to lose your speech-composition balance, and you tend to falter, and you find it difficult to continue. In fact, subordination tends to make you lose not only your speech-composition balance, but also your speech-delivery balance. Mind you, when you utter the subordinate clause first, there's no sense of completeness at the end of that clause, So your organs of speech are in stretched (and uncomfortable) positions towards the end of the subordinate clause. And they try to complete the subordinate clause and to start the matrix clause from theit stretched and uncomfortable positions - and not from their normal or relaxed positions. Naturally, you find it difficult to speak with a flow. Your speech tends-to falter and comes to a stop. You see, this does not happen in co-ordination. That's why, if you employ subordination, it's generally better to' utter the matrix clause first, and the subordinate clause next. Do this as far as possible. You see, when you do that, a lot of the syntactic pressure on your mind gets relieved. This is because at the end of the matrix clause (which you utter first) ,you have several syntactic options for the next idea unit. Subordination then becomes just one of those several options. And when you follow this order, your subordinate arrangement becomes a lot similar to a co-ordinate arrangement, because the structure of the subordinate arrangement would then be:

9 Independent clause

+ Connector+ Independent


The only difference then between the two types of arrangement is this: In co-ordination, the connector is a co-ordinating conjunction, and in subordination, the connector is a subordinating conjunction. Now listen. Suppose that you happen to start your utterance with a subordinate clause (rather than with a matrix clause). And suppose that you run into speech-composition difficulties. Then 'you can get over the difficulties by leaving the subordinate clause unfinished. You see, this kind of unfinished units and incomplete structures are quite common in naturally-occurring speech. A main reason is}l1is: When your organs of speech are already in stretched positions, you'll find it necessary to relieve them of the pressure on them. So you give up the structure half-finished. Then your organs of speech would immediately come back to their normal positions, and they become relaxed and free of the pressure on them. The organs of speech can then start the next utterance from these~ relaxed positions . ..;

How to avoid dense packil1g
Now what makes a clause a subordinate clause? You see, a clause becomes a subordinate clause, if you do one of the following things to construct it:
1) Start a finite clause with a 'subordinator'. 2) Start a finite clause with a wh-word.

a finite clause with initial clause elements inverted. 4) Adopt a special subordinate construction. ' 5) Get a relative clause embedded in a noun phrase.
't" I'

3) Construct

1. Clause-connecting


This is the chief method of subordination that connects one clause with another. When a finite clause is introduced by one of the following subordinating conjunctions', that clause becomesa subordinate clause: Simple Subordinators (for finite subordinate clauses): ,after, although, as.Lecause, before, howevenif, once, since, that, 'though, till, unless, until, when, where/whereas (fo'rmal: avoid), while. , as far as, as/so long as, as soon as.ias if, as though, Gust) in case, rather than,so (that). Eg: • I phoned him +after you had left .• The boss do~s~'t like her + although she's a good worker .• He resigned


because he wanted to start

his own business .• I had shown the report to him + before the meeting started .• If she calls again + tell her I'm out of town .• All our problems will be over + once we get this contract .• I haven't seen him + since he retired .• He's been working there + since he was fifteen .• They didn't choose him + since he didn't have much experience .• I believe + (that) he's innocent .• I'm sure + (that) he's quite satisfied with your work .• I have a feeling + (that) things are going to be all right .• I didn't criticize his work + though I wasn't satisfied with it .• He had to wait outside + tilVuntil the meeting was over .• You won't be able to pass the exam + unless you study well .• Don't speak to him + when he's not in a good mood. • Some people want the government to take a tougher line with terrorists + where/whereas others feel that the government has been too harsh.> That's a large hotel + while this is a small house .• While he's a good worker + he often gets involved in quarrels .• While I was leaving + the phone started ringing .• He's still their managing director + as far as I know .• As long as you keep your car in good condition + it won't give you any trouble .• Ask him to give me a ring + as soon as he gets back. • The waiter acted + as if/as though he owned the place .• Carry an umbrella + in case it rains .• They'll have to store food + in case there's a shortage .• He decided to catch a plane + rather than miss the job interview .• Bring him along + so (that) he can meet everybody.

Complex Subordinators (for finite subordinate clauses):
• assuming (that), considering (that), even if/though, ever since, except (that), given (that), if ever, if only, the instant (that), the minute (that), the moment (that), not that, now (that), on condition that, only if, provided (that), seeing (that), supposing (that).
Eg: • We'll have to start work next month

+ assuming (that) we get the contract .• Our team did very well + considering (that) the opponents were world champions .• She wants to get married to him + even if her parents won't let her .• I've been waiting here + ever since he went in .• I don't remember anything + except that somebody shouted, 'Fire!'. • The performance of their firm is not too bad + given (that) they entered this field only last year. • If ever anybody has been arrogant + he is.• He'd meet them occasionally + if only to listen to their complaints .• He started running + the instant (tiuur/the minute (thail/the moment (that) he saw those policemen .• We don't want him as our cashier any longer + not (that) we don't trust him or anything .• We can give them some more money + now that they've completed a major part of the work .• We gave the contract to them + on condition (that) they must complete the work in two months .• I'll do it + only if/provided that you pay me in advance .• They started teasing her + seeing (that) she was very shy and nervous .• What'll happen + supposing (that) the boss comes to know about all this?
whether/if... or (whether/if...)

Correlative subordinators (for finite subordinate clauses):
• so ... (that),

il ,

Eg: • He was so angry + that he started shouting at us .• I don't know + whether lif he's going to stay + or whether lif he's going to leave .• They don't care + if he gets well or not .• Find out + if they're going today or tomorrow .• I don't know + if all this is going to be easy + or difficult. -. Whether he comes here + or whether he goes there + he's not going to get it .• Whether they like it or not _+ we're going ahead with the plan.

Important: As far as possible, avoid subordinators
in the lists mal.

that have not been given like the ones given below. They'd make your speech for-

excepting (that), granted (that), in that, in order that, the instant when, the minute when, the moment when, such that, the time that, the time when.

Note: Subordinate clauses introduced by the simple subordinator 'that' belong to a category of clauses called nominal ciauses.This is because such a clause can perform the same functions as a noun phrase within a clause. (For example, it can act as the Subject element). Subordinate clauses introduced by other simple and complex subordinators belong to a category of clauses called adverbial clauses. This is because these subordinate clauses can perform the same functions as an Adverbial element within a clause.

2. Clauses introduced

by w:h-elements

When a finite clause is introduced by a wh-element, that clause becomes a subordinate clause. Here are the common wh-elements: • how, what, whatever, when, whenever, where, wherever, which, whichever, who, whoever, whom (formal: avoid), whose, why.
Eg: (1) • That was + how it happened .• He told me + how he did it .• What caused him to resign + is still a mystery. • What he'll do + is another question .• -Tell me + what this is for .• She gave him + what money she had .• I'm not sure + when he's going to come .• I don't know + where his house is. • That's where he's hidden all that money .• Where he comes from + is Delhi .• Now's when you should act. • I didn't know + which to choose .• The problem is + who will make the arrangements .• I didn't know + who that was .• Let's find out + whose house it is .• He's not at all worried + why all this has happened .• Nobody knows + why he resigned. • Why he left the company + is still a mystery .• They can appoint + whoever they like. • Whoever rang the bell + was in a hurry .• You can pick out + whichever you like .• Whenever you want to do it + is fine with us .• Wherever he lives + is his home .• You can't imagine + how nice it was .• You don't know + what problems she had to face .• I can't begin to tell you + how beautifully she sang .• It's amazing + how much trust they have in him .• It's surprising + how he managed to win the election .• You should tell him + what an enormous crowd came to the show.

(4) • You can do it + however you like .• I couldn't convince them + however I tried .• We won't be able to get there before dark + however fast we drive .• Whatever I do + I can't control my thoughts .• You can come and meet us + whenever you like. • He enjoys himself + wherever he is.

Note 1: The wh-clauses in the examples at para (1) are nominal clauses - because they perform the same function as a noun phrase. The whclauses in the examples at para (2) are adverbial clauses- because they perform the same function as an Adverbial. Note 2: Never use the following wh-words to introduce your clauses (even in writing): howsoever, whatsoever, wheresoever, whom, whomsoever, whosoever. They'll make your speech (and writing) stilted. Note 3: The wh-words in this section have been called 'elements', because they function as clause-elements inside the 'wh-clause'. Thus.. for example, the wh-element 'what' is the Subject element in the whclause 'What caused him to resign'. You'll find the words when and , where listed separately as subordinators also, because those words often function not only as wh-elements, but also as subordinators. Prepositional clauses When 'a wh-clause occurs after a preposition, the combination, becomes a prepositional clause (= preposition + a noun clause).
Eg: • They haven't told you the whole story + of what actually happened there .• The boss wants a report + on how effective our new marketing strategy is.• I'm so happy + about what has happened .• There's no doubt + about who did it .• Don't spend the money + on whatever you like.

3. Inversion of initial elements in a Clause
Sometimes in very formal written English, the positions of the Subject element and the 'operator' are interchanged - in order to make the clause a conditional clause without using the subordinator if. When this Subject-operator inversion happens, that makes clause a subordinate clause.


Eg: • Had I seen him + I would have told him .• Were he your boss + you wouldn't have dared to do it .• Should you need any help' + get in touch with me.

Here's another type of inversion: Eg: • He's a mechanic + as is his brother .• He works with the XYZ company

+ as

does his brother.

Here's yet another type of inversion:
Eg: • Busy as I was + I attended the party .• Attractive that she was didn't like her .• Angry though he was + he didn't shout at them.




Avoid all these inversions. Yes. Avoid them.

4. Special subordinate constructions
They're of two types: Non-finite clauses and Verbless clauses.

4.1 Non.. inite clauses f
Non-finite clauses are of Jour types: (i) 'to-i'nfinitive' clauses; (ii) 'bare infinitive' clauses; (iii) '-ing participle' clauses; and (iv) '-en participle' clauses. Out of these four types, 'to-infinitive' clauses and '-ing participle' clauses are the most frequent ones. Of course, '-en participle' clauses are also not rare. But 'bare infinitive' clauses only occur rarely. Here's an important point about non-finite clauses in general: Whenever a co-ordinate alternative is available, you should avoid all types of non-finite clauses - whether they're introduced by a subordinator or not. If this is not possible, choose the natural order "Matrix clause first". ' (iJ "to-iatinitive" clauses: In to-infinitive clauses, the verb element is in a form that follows the word 'to'. In other words, these are clauses that start with the word 'to'. (a) Without subject:
Eg: The right thing would be Give it back


to give it back.

You can convert this into a co-ordinate


as follows: \

+ That

would be the right thing:

(b) With subject:
Eg: The right thing would be You give it back

+ for

you to give it back.

You can convert this into a co-ordinate


as follows:

+ That

would be the right thing.

(e) 54.nticipatory It' construction
Eg: It would be better for you You give it back

(With subject): arrangement as follows:


to give it back.

You can convert this into a co-ordinate

+ That

would be better.

In the word groups at (a), (b) and (c), the to-infinitive clause is 'to give it back'. In-certain circumstances, such a to-infinitive clause can be introduced by certain subordinators. For example, in the examples in (b) and (c) above, you can see that the subordinator 'for' introduces the 'to-infinitive clause' ('for you to give it back').

14 The subordinators that introduce to-infinitive clauses in this way are: • as if, as though, in order, whether. • for (you/me/us/him/her/them), with (you/me/us/him/her/them), without (you/me/us/him/her/them) .

(ii) Bare infinitive clauses
These are virtually to-infinitive clauses minus the word 'to'. (a) Without subject:
Eg: • What she did was + (to) slap him across his face .• What he's planning to do + is (to) resign .• All he did + was (to) ask her for a loan .• Rather than mail it to him + go and give it to him in person .• Sooner than wait for another day + let's start now.

Often you'll be able to convert these subordinate arrangements into co-ordinate arrangements (and convey the intended meaning by placing the accent on the appropriate word): • She slapped him + across his face .• He's planning + to resign .•
He asked her for a loan + and that was all he did .• Go and give it to him in person + and don't mail it to him .• Don't let's wait for another day + Let's start now.

(b) With subject:
Eg: Rather than you do it yourself


get somebody else to do it.

You can convert this into a co-ordinate
Don't get somebody else to do it


as follows:


Do it yourself.

Note this: Always avoid bare infinitive clauses.

(iii) ~~-ing participle"


These are clauses that start with an '-ing' word (like Being, Finding, Having, Looking, etc.). (a) Without subject:
Eg: Finding him there + she ran away.

You can convert this into a co-ordinate
She found him there


as follows:

+ and + it

she ran away.

(b) With subject:
Eg: Raju having come out was my turn to go in.

This is a very stilted kind of subordinate arrangement. vert this into a co-ordinate arrangement as follows:
Raju had come out

You can con-


and it was my turn to go in.

An -itig participle clause can be introduced

by certain subordinators.

Eg: • While going through it

+ she made some corrections.

Here the -ing clause is 'going through it'. The subordinator that introduces it is 'while'. This is a subordinate arrangement. You can convert this subordinate arrangement into a co-ordinate arrangement as follows: She was going through it + and she made some corrections. Here are two more examples of -ing participle clauses introduced by subordinators, and their co-ordinate equivalents: • With all of them distracting her + she couldn't read. [= They were all disturbing her + and she couldn't read) .• Without anything prompting him + he won't help them. [= Is there anything to prompt him? + Without that + he won't help them) .• We'll leave + after meeting him. l= We'll meet him + and leave) .• He was a bit aggressive + although trying to be polite at the same time. [= He was a bit aggressive + but he was trying to be polite at the same time). The subordinators that introduce -ing clauses are: • after, although, as if, as though, before, even if; if, on, once, since, though, through, unless, until, when, whenever, whether, while.

(iv) ~~-en participle" clauses:
These are clauses that start with a past participle. (Eg: 'given', 'taken' 'mistaken', 'granted', 'disgusted', 'kept', 'made', etc.). (a) Without subject: Eg: Disgusted with their behaviour + he left the place immediately. You can convert this into a co-ordinate arrangement as follows: He was disgusted with their behaviour + and he left the place immediately. (b) With subject:
Eg: Shaken by the accident + he couldn't even speak properly.

You can convert this into a co-ordinate


as follows:

He was shaken by the accident + and he couldn't even speak properly. An -en participle clause can be introduced by certain subordinators. Eg: When asked to explain what happened + she remained silent. Here the -en clause is 'asked to explain what happened'. The subordinator that introduces it is 'When'. This is a subordinate arrangement. You can convert this subordinate arrangement into a coordinate arrangement (depending on who asked her to explain what happened) as follows: He asked her to explain what happened + and she remained silent.

16 The subordinators that introduce -en clauses in this way are:

• although, as.ias if, as soon as,as though; even if, if, once, though, unless, until, when, whenever; where, wherever; whether; while.

4.2 Verbless clauses
A verbless clause is a clause that has no verb element - either finite or non-finite. Let's look at a few examples. In these examples, verbless clauses have been given in italics:
Eg:· Whether good or bad + I'm going to keep it .• Too anxious to do it + he started at once .• Bring them along + if possible .• There were about 100 people + many of them did men.

You can convert these into co-ordinate


as follows:

• It may be good or bad + but I'm going to keep it .• He was too anxious to do it + and he started at once .• Is it possible to bring them along? + Then bring them along .• There were about 100 people + and many of them were old men.

A verbless clause can be introduced by cerrainsubordinators. Eg: • Though a bit confused + he answered the questions properly •• With
everybody away


I was alone there.

Here the verbless clauses are 'a bit confused' and 'everybody away'. And the subordinators that introduces them are 'Though' and 'With'. These are subordinate arrangements. You can convert them into coordinate arrangements as follows: • He was a bit confused '+ but he answered the questions properly .
. • Everybody was away

+ and

I was alone there.

Here are the subordinators

that can introduce verbless clauses:

• although, as, as if, as soon as, as though, even if, if, once, though, unless, until, when, whenever; where, wherever; whether; while, with, without.

5. Phrase-internal


So far, we've been looking at subordinate clauses that function as a constituent element of a matrix clause. (That is, as a 'clause-withinclause' or as a sub-clause attached to a matrix clause). Let's now look at subordinate clauses that function not as a constituent element of a matrix clause, but as part ofa noun phrase within a matrix clause. (That is, as a 'clause-within-phrase'). ' (i) Finite Relative clauses You know, a relative clause doesn't directly get connected to a matrix clause, in the way other subordinate clauses (clauses introduced by

17 subordinators) do. Instead, it embeds itself deep inside a matrix clause - as a post -modifier within a noun phrase inside a matrix clause. (As you know, noun phrases occur within a clause as the Subject element or the Object element or the Describer Complement). Here are the various types of relative clauses: (a) Finite relative clauses with 'that', 'which' or 'who' as the Subject.
Eg: • They own [a factory that manufactures

cement] .• We'll have to help . [those who helped us] .• This is [the medicine which cured the injury]. helped us, the medicine that/which cured the injury.

Note that the word that can often take the place of which and who.
Eg: those that/who

(b) Finite relative clauses with that, which or who as the Object.
Eg: the house (which/that)

they've built, the person (who) we met there.

Note: The words 'which', 'that' and 'who' can normally be omitted from this type of a relative clause. Notice also the difference between (a) and (b). (c) Finite relative clauses with 'which' as the Meaning Completer. Eg: He's an expert + which I'm not. • I'm not an expert + which he is. (d) Finite relative clauses with a preposition 'who' as the Adverbial (= A).
Eg: • She's the girl (who/that)

plus 'which', 'that' and

he went out with. (A = with + who/that) .• All this happened + the day (that) we had our annual conference (on). (A = on + that) .• Let's not do it + the way (that/in which) they did. (A = that/in which) .

. Note: Note that you can normally omit the words within brackets. (e) Finite relative clauses can sometimes have 'whose + a noun' as the Subject, as the Object, or as part of the Adverbial (that is, as the meaning completer in a prepositional phrase).
Eg: • a man whose honesty (= S) is not in .doubt .• a man whose honesty t= 0) I don't doubt .• a' man with whose help (= A) we can carry out the project .• the person whose house we stayed in. (Here, in + whose = A).

CD Finite clauses with 'where', 'when' and 'that' as the Adverbial.
Eg: • the place where we used to work, the house where they live now .• the day (when/that) we met, the year (when/that) our son started school.

Note 1: Note that the word that ina relative clause functions differently from the subordinator that. The word that in a' relative clause relates a word to a clause, while the subordinator that connects a clause to another clause. Note 2: (i) Avoid all constructions Avoid 'whom'. using 'of which' and 'of whose'. (ii)

18 (Ii). Comparative clauses Here are the various types of common comparative clauses. They act as Meaning Completers within noun phrases, adjective phrases and adverb phrases occurring within clauses. (These are noun phrases occurring within clauses as the Subject element or the Object element or the Describer Complement, adjective phrases occurring within clauses as the Describer Complement and adverb phrases occurring within clauses as the Adverbial element). (a) Finite clauses introduced by 'than'.
Eg: • More people than I had expected + came to the meeting .• She's a better cook + than her sister (is) .• He's far more competent + than I imagined .• Don't give him more work + than he can handle .• He's less interested in these things + than Sheila (is) .• He's more seriously involved in the plot + than we thought. • She's healthier +. than her sister (is) .• That's a larger room + than this (is) .• Today we began work earlier + than we used to (do) .• She likes you more + than (she likes) Ani!. • That was a more detailed plan + than I thought (it would be) .• She could do it more easily + than others (could) .• He's more hardworking + than he's intelligent .• He's seen more movies + than you've read novels.

(b) Finite clauses introduced

by 'as'.

Eg: • She's as good a cook + as her sister (is) .• He isn't as/so competent + as I imagined .• He isn't as/so much interested in these things + as Sheila (is) .• He isn't as/so seriously involved in the plot + as we thought. • She's as healthy + as her sister (is) .• She likes you as much + as (she likes) Ani!. • That was as detailed a plan + as I thought (it would be) .• She could do it as easily + as others (could) .• He's as hard-working + as he's intelligent .• He's seen as many movies + as you've read novels .• Nobody has as/so many friends + as Sharon (has).

Note: Note that when the matrix clause is negative, you can replace 'as'
by 'so'.

(iii) Non-finite relative clauses
(a) to-infinitive relative clauses
Eg: • The best man to do the job is Ani!. • This is not the time to quarrel. • She was the first girl to come and the last girl to leave .• That's the best place (for you) to stay .• The time (for us) to act is now.· There's plenty to do.

(b) -itig participle relative clauses
Eg: • This is a job inv()lving a lot of work .• The man standing at the door is her father .• Who's that boy sitting next to her?

(c) -en participle relative clauses
Eg: • That was the first article written by him. • Some of the films produced by him have been huge successes.

19 Important: Don't be under the impression that you have to become
good at identifying a clause as a noun clause, adverbial clause, etc. or at composing examples 'clause-name-wise'. No, that's not necessary at all. No. All you need to do is to try and get a clear idea of the patterns that subordinate clauses take.

B. Complex phrases
Written English often uses heavily-modified noun phrases, adjective phrases, adverb phrases and embedded prepositional and noun phrases. But spoken English tends to avoid heavily-modified and embedded phrases.

Noun phrases
The structure of a noun phrase is as follows: (Determiners) + (Pre-modifiers) + Noun+ (Post-modifiers) or (Meaning completer) The elements Determiners, Pre-modifiers, Post-modifiers and Meaning completer have been given within brackets, because they mayor may not be present in a given noun phrase. They're optiotui! elements, and the speaker may choose to omit them from the phrase. Noun is the only obligatory element - the element that cannot be omitted from a noun phrase. Thus, a noun phrase can normally have the following nine patterns: 1. Noun: (Eg: members). 2. Pre-modifier(s) + Noun: (Eg: honorary members). 3. Determiner(s) + Noun: CEg:some members). 4. Determinerfs) + Pre-modifiers + Noun: CEg:some honorary members). 5. Noun + Post-modifierfs): CEg:members of our club). 6. Determiner(s) + Noun + Post-modifierts): CEg:some members of our club). 7. Pre-rnodifierfs) + Noun + Post-rnodifierfs): CEg:honorary members of our club). 8. Determinerfs) + Pre-modifier(s} + Noun + Post-modifier(s): (Eg: some honorary members of our club). 9. Determiner(s) + Pre-modifier(s) + Noun + Meaning completer: (Eg: a more active member than me)


and Post-modification

The pre-modifiers in a noun phrase are: (i) Adjective phrases (Eg: good players; extremely good players); or (ii) Nouns (Eg: tennis players). The post-modifiers in a noun phrase are: (i) Prepositional phrases CEg:a house in the village); or

(ii) Clauses: (a) Finite clauses, especially relative.clauses. (Eg: the man who spoke to you); (b) Non-finite clauses. (Eg: a man waiting to see you); or (iii) (Sometimes) (a) Adverb phrases (Eg: the room upstairs); (b) Postpositive adjectives, that is, adjectives that the speaker uses after a noun, rather than before it. (Eg: the heir apparent).

Occasionally, instead of a post-modifier, some nouns may have what is called a 'complementation element'. That is, they may need more words to complete their meaning. We'll call this group of extra words a meaning completer, and not a post-modifier, because modifiers are needed not to complete the meaning of the noun, but to modify (= limit or add to) that meaning.
Eg: • a better suggestion than that .• the best novel that I ever read .• his ability to do it .• his lack df confidence.

Modification and complexity Let's take a: noun 'girl', and use it in

two simple word groups:

• I saw [a girlJ .• [A girlJ opened the door.

Suppose that the girl was beautiful. Now these word groups can become:
• I saw [a beautiful girlJ. ,. [A beautiful girlJ opened the door,

Now 'girl' is a single-word phrase, and 'a girl' and 'a beautiful girl' are multi-word phrases. As for the phrase 'abeautiful girl', it's a modified phrase, because the word 'beautiful' modifies the noun 'girl'. Here the modifying word 'beautiful' comes before the noun 'girl', and so 'a beautiful girl' is a 'pre-modified' phrase. . Suppose that the girl was tall. Now the word groups can become:
• I s~w [a tall, beautiful girlJ .•

[A tall, beautiful girlJ opened the door.

Now suppose that the girl was shy.and was ten years old. Now we can rewrite the word groups in this way:
• I saw [a ten-year old, shy, tall, beautiful girlJ. • [A ten-year old, shy, tall, beautiful girlJ opened the door.

The words ten-year old, shy, tall and beautiful come before, and modifies, the noun girl The phrase 'a ten-year old, shy, tall, beautiful girl is a heavily pre-modified noun phrase,because the noun 'girl' has been modified heavily and all the' modifying words comes before 'girl'. Mind you, there are four units of modification in this phrase c- one unit is ten-year old, another unit is shy, another unit is tall, and another unit is beautiful. We'll call a phrase 'heavily-modified' if it has more than one unit of modification. Just as pre-modification, there can be post-modification also. In post-

modification, the modifying words come after the noun. Let us take the noun 'girl' again. The phrase 'a girl with long hair' is a post-modified phrase, because the modifier (= 'with long hair') comes after the word 'girl'. (Here the post-modifier is a prepositional phrase), This post-modified phrase becomes a heavily post-modified phrase in the following sentence:
•I saw [a girl with long hair parted in the middle]

The modification has become heavy, because we've added a second unit of modification 'parted in the middle' to the first unit of modification. In written English, you will come across noun phrases that are both pre-modified and post-modified. Here are three (extreme) examples:
• I saw [a ten-year old, shy, tall, beautiful girl with long hair paned in the middle] .• [A ten-year old, shy, tall; beautiful girl with long hair parted in the middle] opened the door .• [A very important thing that I want you to find out] is its price.

You see, 'a very important thing that I want you to find out' is a heavily-modified noun phrase. (Note that, here, the post-modifier is a clause). Here the noun 'thing' is the head of the phrase: A head is the one word in a phrase that you cannot dispense with. You can dispense with any other word, but not the head. If you dispense with the head, the phrase has no existence. In the earlier phrases 'a girl, 'a beautiful girl, ~ ten-year old, shy, tall, beautiful girl and 'an extremely beautiful girl with long hair parted in the middle', the head was the word 'girl'.

How to avoid modification
Now, this is what happens in spoken English: .In spoken English, heavily-modified noun phrases are normally not used. You'll rarely find heavily-modified phrases like 'A ten-year old, shy, tall, beautiful girl with long hair parted in the middle' or 'A very important thing that I want you to find out' in naturally-occurring speech. Mind you, they're quite a mouthful. In general, naturally-occurring speech does not favour even a single unit of modification. No. Native speakers of English tend to use noun phrases that are as short as possible. In fact, they tend to use singleword noun phrases as the Subject element in their clauses. That is, they tend to begin their clauses not with a multi-word noun phrase, but with a single-word noun phrase. With a long, heavily modified noun phrase as the Subject element, even a very fluent speaker would find it difficult to speak without faltering. So most often, native speakers of English use pronouns like I, We, He, She, It, You and They

22 as the Subject element in their clauses. If this is not possible in a particular speech context, they use an unmodified noun phrase as the Subject element. They only use a modified noun phrase as the Subject element if this is also not possible in the speech context. Even then, they tend to use a noun phrase that is post-modified rather than premodified. And they shorten their noun-phrase-Subject-element to the maximum extent possible. Here are three sentences with heavily-modified Subject elements: noun phrases as the

• [A ten-year old, shY, tall, beautiful gir/J opened the door .• [A ten-year old, shy, tall, beautiful girl with long hair parted in the middle] opened the door .• [A very important thing that I want you to find out] is its price.

You can shorten a noun phrase by omitting modifiers from the phrase and by retaining the 'head' alone. You can then use the modifiers separately elsewhere in the speech-stream. Thus, the head would first appear in a separate idea unit - without modification. And the modifying units would appear, one each, in separate idea units: One modifying word would appear in one idea unit - without modification. One or two modifying words would appear in another idea unit. In this way, the modifiers get distributed. For example, take the sentence "A very important thing that I want you to find out is its price". Here's one way of converting this into idea units:
I want you to find out one thing + Find out its - price + That's very important.

Now take the sentence "I saw [a ten-year old, shy, tall, beautiful girl with long hair parted in the middle]. Here's one way of converting this sentence into idea units:
I saw a girl + A beautiful girl+ She was tall, too + And ten years old, perhaps + And very shy + And she - she had long hair + And she had parted it + Parted it in the middle, you know.

You see, what a modifying unit does is to describe or classify something - or to add to or restrict the meaning of the head. What you should do is to utter each unit of description, each unit of classification and each unit of meaning-restriction as a separate idea unit. Yes, let there be a separate idea unit for each modifying unit like 'beautiful' or 'important' or 'long hair'.

Exceptional cases
As a rule, modified noun phrases are not used as a matter of course in naturally-occurring speech. But there are five exceptional cases, and


these exceptional cases allow modified noun phrases. Not heavilymodified ones, but simply-modified ones. Here are these exceptional cases:

1. Re-reference
You can use a modified noun phrase when you re-refer to a person or thing in speech. Suppose that you've already referred to a girl in your speech. You've already said that she was beautiful, that she had long hair and that she had parted her hair in the middle. But you do not know her name, and so can't refer to her by name. Suppose that you then introduce one or two more girls into your narrative. And suppose that you do not know their names, either. Now the narrative continues. Suppose that you now want to say something about the first girl again. You can now re-refer to her as 'the girl with long hair'. (You see, you cannot always refer to her as 'she', because your narrative includes more than one girl, and the word 'she' can refer to anyone of them). Now remember this: The phrase should be made as short as possible. If possible, don't let there be more than one unit of identification in the phrase.

2. Classifying function
Suppose that you want to refer to a person or thing in speech - but not by name. Now, everybody and everything can be put into some category or group for the purpose of identification. And so, one way of referring to anybody or anything in speech is this: Distinguish that person or thing from others belonging to that group. You can do this by adding a unit of pre-modification tion to the noun that refers to that person or thing. or post-modifica-

Let's first look at classification by pre-modification. A unit of premodification that classifies a noun would normally be a descriptive word, and this descriptive word would always be an adjective or another noun. In other words, you can refer to a person or thing by an 'adjective + noun' combination or by a 'noun + noun' combination.


+ noun' combinations - Pre-modification:
+ noun' combinations:

Here are a few examples of 'Adjective

Eg: a medical shop, dry fruits, solid food, a direct flight, an old lady, rough ground.

The words 'medical', 'dry', 'solid', 'direct', 'old' and 'rough' in the above phrases are descriptive (= defining) adjectives. That is, they

24 factually describe the headwords - by referring to a fact that helps you distinguish the people and things represented by the heads from others of their groups. Note that these adjectives refer to afact, and not to an opinion. Note this point carefully. The modifiers that you use in an 'adjective + noun' combination must, as far as possible, be words that factually describe people or things. They must not be words that make a comment on people or things or words that express your opinion about them. This is an important point. Here's a list of common classifying adjectives: • actual, agricultural, alternative, annual, available, canned, central, chemical, Civil, commercial, communist, conservative, cultural, daily, democratic, direct, domestic, double, east, eastern, economic, educational, electric, empty, external, female, financial, foreign, free, full, general, golden, historical, human, industrial, inevitable, intellectual, internal, international, legal, local, magic, male, medical, mental, military, modern, moral, national, natural, negative, north, northern, nuclear, official, open, original, personal, physical, political, possible, potential, private, professional, public, raw, religious, revolutionary, rich, royal, rural, scientific, separate, sexual, single, social, solid, south, southern, standard, straight, theoretical, traditional, urban, west, western, wooden.
Eg: her actual words, agricultural land, all' alternative plan, an annual event.

Exercise: Make up word groups like these, using the words in the list. Use your dictionary. This exercise would get you to have a deeper understanding of these words. It'd help you make these words become items that you can actively use, and thus they'll stop remaining as items that you just know. And it'd give you a deep awareness of the way words of different types work together to express your meaning. Objective and subjective adjectives: You see, adjectives are of two types. (But note this: The distinction we're going to make cannot always be very clear-cut, and you'll find that certain adjectives can appear to belong to both classes). Some adjectives define or describe a person or thing (that is, the head in a noun phrase). We can call them 'objective adjectives', because they give factual information, rather than information based on personal opinions or feelings. The words 'medical', 'dry', 'solid', 'direct', 'old' and 'rough' in the examples we saw above are 'objective adjectives'. Most adjectives that we looked at as classifying adjectives are also objective adjectives. Here are a few more adjectives that we can call as objective adjectives:

25 • armed, big, blocked, boiled, broad, broken, classified, cooked, dark, dead, deep, dried, dry, fat, furnished, fixed, flat, heavy, hidden, hard, hot, infected, licensed, large, light, loaded, long, loose, loud, muddy, narrow, old, paid, painted, pale, processed, reduced, rough, small, soft, sweet, tall, thick, thin, tight, torn, trained, tiny, warm, wet, young. Exercise: As above. But there are several adjectives that express ecomment on or opinion of a person or thing (= the head in a noun phrase). We can call them 'subjective adjectives', because what they express is based on personal opinions and feelings, rather than on facts. For example, take a look at the following 'adjective + noun' combinations:
an impatient advocate. teacher, an anxious mechanic, a polite doctor, an ignorant

Here the adjectives 'impatient', 'anxious', 'polite' and 'ignorant' are all mere opinion-words, and they do not give any factual description. So they're examples of 'subjective adjectives'. As they do not give any factual description, 'subjective adjectives' do not help you much in referring to the people or things represented by the heads. Rather, they only create confusion in the minds of your listeners and in your own mind about the identity of the people and things referred to - especially in a long narrative or a narrative that lasts even for a few seconds. What's more, a pre-modified nounphrase only becomes densely packed when a subjective adjective occurs before a noun. It does not become densely packed when an objective adjective occurs before a noun. So you must not normally use comment combinations like an impatient teacher, an anxious mechanic, a polite doctor or an ignorant advocate in speech. Comment adjectives: All this doesn't mean that you shouldn't include a comment or opinion in speech. All this only means that you shouldn't include it as a modifyingunit. If you want to adda comment or opinion, what you should do is this: Express each unit of comment or opinion in a separate idea unit. That is, you should assign the head and each comment word to separate idea units. That is, what you should do is to avoid using comment adjectives as modifying units - as far as possible. But this doesn't mean that all comment adjectives cause fluency problems when they occur as modifying units. Here's a list of common comment adjectives that you can use as premodifiers in noun phrases - especially when you use the noun

phrases not as the initial (== Subject) element in the clause, but as a later element. • abandoned, active, angry, anxious, attractive, bad, basic, beautiful, brief, bright, busy, calm, careful, cheap, clean, clear, close, closed, cold, comfortable, common, complex, concentrated, condemned, cool, correct, curious, dangerous, dear, determined, different, difficult, dirty, divided, easy, effective, efficient, established, expensive, fair, familiar, famous, fast, fine, firm, frank, fresh, friendly, frightened, funny, good, great, happy, haunted, high, ideal, important,improved, independent, integrated, interesting, kind, known, late, likely, lovely, low, lucky, nervous, new, nice, obvious, odd, patient, plain, pleasant, poor, popular, powerful, pretty, proper, proud, quick, quiet, rare, real, ready, reasonable, right, sad, safe, sensible, serious, sharp, shocked, short, sick, significant, silly, simple, slow, special, steady, strange, strong, stupid, successful, sufficient, suitable, sure, surprised, suspicious, terrible, tired, typical, understanding, united, useful, violent, weak, wide, wild, worried, wrong. Eg: • That was an abandoned car.• We had an active debate .• These are all angry letters .• We had an anxious time .• That's an attractive price. Exercise: As under classifying adjectives above. Comment adjectives as describer complements: Here's something you should note: You see, it's as modifiers that comment adjectives cause problems. But they can occur in two other positions without causing any fluency-problems: Thus, you can use them after link verbs and after 'objective case' pronouns. In these two positions, comment adjectives don't make an idea unit densely packed. Here are all the important link verbs: • be (= is, are, was, were), appear, feel, look, seem, smell, sound, taste, remain, keep, stay, become, come, end up, get, go, grow, prove, turn, turn out, wind up. Here's all the objective case pronouns: • me, us, you, him, her, it, them. And here's a list of adjectives that can occur (in serious conversations) as describer complements after linking verbs. Many of them can also occur after objective case pronouns. (They can also occur occasionally as pre-modifiers of nouns in that position). • alarmed, alarming, amazing, amused, amusing, annoying, antiquated, appalled, appalling, apparent, appropriate, astonished, astonishing, astounding, bewildering, bloated, bored, boring, concerned, confused, challenging, charming, compelling, confus-

27 ing, contended, convinced, convincing, delighted, demeaning, depressed, depressing, deprived, determined, devastating, disappointed, disappointing, disgusted, disgusting, disillusioned, distracting, distressed, distressing, disturbed, disturbing, doomed, elegant, embarrassed, embarrassing, enchanting, encouraging, entertaining, excited, exciting, frightened, frightening, guarded, harassing, hopeless, horrifying, humiliating, hurt, indebted, infuriating, inspiring, interested, interesting, intimidated, intimidating, intrigued, intriguing, involved, menacing, misleading, mocking, overwhelming, noted (for), pleased, pleasing, preoccupied, puzzled, refreshing, relaxed, relaxing, rewarding, satisfied, satisfying, scared, shocked, shocking, sickening, sophisticated, startling, strained, surprised, surprising, swollen, tempting, terrifying, threatening, thrilled, thrilling, tired, tiring, troubled, welcoming, worried, worrying.
Eg: • He heard the news and became alarmed .• He told her something, and it made her quite alarmed .• She had an qlarmed look on her face .• The press reports were most alarming .• Those stunts were amazing .• That was an amazing story .• I don't think she was amused by what you said.

Exercise: As under classifying adjectives above. Here's a list of adjectives that are normally not used as pre-modifiers, but as describer complements after link verbs: • afraid, alive, alone, apart, ashamed, asleep, attached, aware, content, due, glad, ill, likely, ready, safe, sorry, sure, touched, unable, unlikely, upset, well.
Eg: • I think she's afraid .• They thought he was dead, but he was still alive.

Exercise: As under classifying adjectives above. 'Noun + Noun' combinations - Pre-modification: So far we've been looking at 'adjective + noun' combinations. Now here are a few examples of 'noun + noun' combinations:
Eg: an Ahmedabad man, a board member, a bone doctor, business deals, the car door, car journey, careers guidance, city traffic, clay soil, clothes pegs, the corner table, a customs officer, dog food, an evening train, the film industry, a garden fence, a Gujarat town, a High Court advocate, an iron rod, her life story, a metal sheet, the morning sunlight, a night sky, the science teacher, a scooter mechanic, a surprise announcement, tennis players, tooth decay, town life.

Here the modifying units like 'science', 'scooter', 'bone' and 'High Court' give afactual description of the headwords 'teacher', 'mechanic', etc. - and not a comment or opinion. Remember that 'adjective + noun' combinations and 'noun + noun' combinations of the

28 descriptive type are quite common in speech. Yes, descriptive combinations, and not comment combinations.

So far, we've been looking mostly at pre-modification - that is, the kind of modification involved in "adjective + noun" combinations and "noun + noun combinations". But remember this: Pre-modification is not the only kind of modification that helps you describe or classify a person or thing. You can do this by post-modification also.
Eg: the girl with long hair, a boy in a blue shirt, the man you were speaking to.

Here too, be sure to use descriptive (= defining) words as units of modification - as far as possible. If you want to make comments or state opinions, present them as separate idea units, and not as units of modification. Here's an important point you should bear in mind: In naturallyoccurring speech, post-modifiers are more frequent than pre-modifiers. You see, post-modification doesn't affect the flow of your speech as much as pre-modification does.

3. Conventional pre-modifiers
There are certain adjectives that normally occur as pre-modifiers of nouns. So when these adjectives are used, the noun phrase becomes pre-modified. Here's a list of common adjectives of this type: • acting, additional, assorted, atomic, back, bottom, bridal, cardiac, certain, chief, concerted, countless, dashing, digital, educational, entire, existing, first, following, front, further, incoming, indoor, institutional, introductory, investigative, judicial, knotty, last, leading, left, lone, lower, main, maximum, middle, nationwide, neighbouring, next, occasional, only, opposite, orchestral, other, outdoor, outright, particular, passing, past, present, previous, principal, remaining, remedial, right, ruling, rural, same, specific, supplementary, thankless, underlying, upper, usual, utter, veiled, very. Here are a few adjectives that usually occur only as pre-modifiers: • commanding, detailed, enterprising, moral, ordinary, pointed, principled, punishing, salaried, scientific, tinned, woollen. Here are a few adjectives that frequently occur as pre-modifiers (though they also occur often as describer complements after link verbs): • absolute, academic, advanced, appetizing, complete, conscious,

cunning, promising, missing, dry, effective, emotional, escaped, extreme, mixed, modern, outgoing, outstanding, overbearing, perfect, positive, pure, real, religious, retired, revolutionary, rugged, scathing, secret, skilled, top, true, trying, upright, wasted.

Exercise: As under "2. Classifying function".

4. Non-specific modification
General (non-specific) words like 'good', 'bad', 'nice' etc. are not descriptive words, but comment words or opinion words. Yet these words frequently modify other general (non-specific) words like 'person', 'girl', 'thing', etc. and make up combinations like 'a good person', 'a bad girl', 'a nice thing', etc. Such combinations of general words are like 'pre-fabricated' or 'standardized' expressions in speech. And so, it is not worth trying to avoid them as units of modification or to shift them into separate idea units: So general comment combinations like 'a good person', 'a bad girl', etc. are quite common in everyday speech. Here are a few more examples of non-specific modification:
Eg: awful weather,

a big house, an excellent player, a famous writer, a fantastic match, a fine evening, a great achievement, a little baby, a lovely day, a main road, a nasty man, a neat room, a perfect copy, a super idea, a terrific time, a top scientist, a tremendous performance, a wonderful film.

Exercise: As under "2. Classifying function".

5. Intensifiers and downtoners
There are a few words in English that can come in front of an adjective (or adverb) and make the meaning of that adjective (or adverb) stronger. These words are called intensifiers. The most common among them are:
awfully, beautifully, completely, extremely, frightfully, horribly, marvelously, really, terribly, utterly, very, unusually.

Similarly, there are a few words in English that can come in front of an adjective (or adverb) and make the meaning of that adjective (or adverb) weaker. These words are called downtoners. The most common among them are: fairly, rather, somewhat. One such intensifier or downtoner may occur before an adjective used as a pre-modifier. That won't make a noun phrase heavily modified.
Eg: an awfully difficult problem,

a beautifully played match, an extremely funny story, (in) a frightfully sorry state, a horribly wrong thing.

Exercise: As under "2. Classifying function".

30 There are a number of other intensifiers and downtoners in English. We'll look at them while discussing the adjective phrase.

Fluency and word-modification
The crux of what I have been telling you about noun phrases is this: Don't modify nouns - as far as possible. In any case, avoid heavy modification. One reason why modified noun phrases cause fluency problems is this: A modified noun phrase is a mouthful, and it's difficult to utter. But there's a still more important reason. Mind you, the structure of a modified noun phrase is virtually the same as the structure of a sentence with a subordinate clause. A sentence with a subordinate clause contains a matrix clause and a subordinate clause, and the subordinate clause is not independent, but dependent on the matrix clause for its survival. Similarly; a modified noun phrase (whether pre-modified or post-modified) contains a main unit ('head') and a subordinate unit (modifier), and the subordinate unit is not independent, but dependent on the main unit ('head' ) for its survival. We saw that we could avoid a lot of problems that subordination of clauses brings by uttering the matrix clause first, and the subordinate clause next. In the same way, we can avoid a lot of problems that phrasal modification brings by uttering the phrase-headfirst, and the modifying units next - that is, by preferring post-modification to premodification. While going through the mechanics of subordination, we saw one thing: You can prevent loss of speech-composition balance and speech-delivery balance by avoiding subordination and by allowing idea units (= clauses) to remain independent. In the same way, here too, you can prevent the loss of speech-composition balance and speech-delivery balance by avoiding modification and by allowing idea units (= phrases) to remain independent. In other words, you must not pack more than one unit of information in a phrase, and you must avoid using modified (subordinated) phrases. Instead, you must put into a phrase only a single unit of information.

Adjective phrases
-An adjective is a word that modifies a noun. The word 'girl' is a noun. In 'a beautiful girl', the word 'beautiful' is an adjective. The structure of an adjective phrase is as follows: (Pre-modifiers) + Adjective + (Post-modifier) or (Meaning completer) So an adjective phrase can have the following patterns:

1. Adjective: (Eg: good). 2. Pre-modifier(s) + Adjective: (Eg: very good). 3. Adjective + Post-modifier: (Eg: good enough). 4. Premodifier(s) + Adjective + Post-modifier: (Eg: very good indeed). s. Premodifier(s) + Adjective + Meaning completer: (Eg: very good at mathematics) .

The pre-modifiers the post-modifiers

of adjective phrases are always adverb phrases. And are also adverbs.

Take the word group 'She's beautiful'. Here 'beautiful' is an unmodified adjective - a single-word adjective phrase. Now take the word group 'She is extremely beautiful'. Here 'extremely beautiful' is a multi-word adjective phrase - an adjective pre-modified by an adverb 'extremely'. The phrase 'extremely beautiful' is an adjective phrase, because the head 'beautiful' is an adjective. (As you know, the phrase-head is the one word in a phrase that you cannot dispense with). You see, 'extremely beautiful' is a pre-modified phrase, because the modifying word comes bejore the head. Here are a few more pre-modified adjective phrases: Eg: absolutely clear, quite right, really complicated, very reasonable. A phrase in which the modifier comes after the head is called a postmodified phrase. But you see, post-modified adjective phrases are not very common. There are only two adverbs in general use that can post-modify an adjective. They're enough and indeed. Eg: • happy enough, strong enough .• large indeed, very clear indeed. The adverb 'enough' can only do post-modification. But the adverb 'indeed'can do the post-modification as well as pre-modification. Eg: Their new house is indeed large. As far as the meaning completers are concerned, they're obligatory with some adjectives. With others, they're only optional. Here are some of the common adjectives that are always or usually followed by a Meaning Completer:
(i) Meaning

completion by a prepositional phrase: • afraid oj, alarmed at, allergic to, amused at, angry about, angry at, angry with, annoyed about, annoyed with, answerable to, ashamed of, aware oj, based on, bent on, brilliant at, bored with, burdened by/with, busy with, capable oj, certain of, clever at, close to, comfortable with, concerned with, connected to/with, conscious oj, content with, convinced oj, delighted about, delighted at, delighted with, depressed with, devoted to, different from, disappointed with, disgusted at, disgusted with, distant from, distressed With, drunk with, due to, empty oj, familiar with,

32 filled with, fond'oj, free from, friendly with, frightened about, full oj, furious with, glad about, glad oj, good at, happy about, happy with, hopeless at, impatient with, incapable oj, inclined to, intent on/upon, keen on, lacking in, liable to, mad about, occupied with, opposed to, overcome with, parallel to/with, pleased about, pleased at, pleased with, prepared to,prone to, proud oj, puzzled at, reasonable about, related to, remote from, satisfied with, scared oj, set on, severe on, short oj, sick with, similar to, subject to, terrible at, tired oj, uneasy With, worried about, worthy oj.
Eg: • She's allergic to cats .• They're not aware of these dangers .• This film is based on a true story .• He seems to be bent on revenge.

(ii) Meaning completion by a 'to-infinitive' clause: • able to, bound to, due to, fit to, liable to, likely to, prepared to, unable to, unwilling to, willing to.
Eg: • She wasn't able to complete the report in time .• These things are bound to happen .• He's due to retire next month .• This food isn't fit to be eaten. .

(iii) Meaning completion by a 'that-clause': • angry that, aware that, unaware that, upset that, worried that.
Eg: • He was angry that she was late .• She wasn't aware that he'd lost his job .• We were unaware that they had all those facilities there.

(iv) Meaning completion by a 'to-infinitive' clause or by a 'thatclause':
• afraid, anxious, certain, confident, frightened, 'pleased, proud, sad, sorry, sure, surprised. glad, happy,

Eg: • She's afraid to tell the truth .• He was afraid that the plan might fail. • He was anxious to please those people .• He was anxious that there should be no mistakes.

(v) Meaning completion by a 'wh-clause': • careful (about), doubtful (about), fuzzy (about), puzzled (about), not sure (oj), unaware (oj), uncertain (oj), unclear (about), undecided (about), unsure (oj). '
Eg: • Be careful (about) what you say.• He was doubtful (about) when they'd come.

(vi) Meaning completion by an '-ing participle clause':
• busy; pointless, useless, worth, worthwhile.
Eg: • He was busy completing a report .• It's poi';1tZesscomplaining to them.

Exercise: As under "2. Classifying function".

, II


How to avoid modification
Now refer back to what I told you about avoiding modification in noun phrases. Follow the same advice here, and avoid modification in adjective phrases, too. Essentially, the thing you should do is this: Use the head and the modifier in separate idea units - and not in one and the same idea unit. If this is not possible, either omit the modifier altogether - or use it in a separate idea unit along with the head, or express its meaning in a separate idea .unit in other words. Yes, in other words.' You see, in most adjective phrases, you can often omit the modifier. What is 'absurdly expensive' is 'expensive'; who is 'incredibly handsome' is 'handsome'; who is 'supremely confident' is 'confident'; what is 'extraordinarily difficult' is 'difficult'; what is 'disturbingly high' is 'high'; who's 'delightfully surprised' is 'surprised'. So, in most contexts, you can omit the adjectives 'absurdly', 'incredibly'.rsupremely', 'extraordinarily', 'disturbingly' and 'delightfully' from these phrases. But if you feel that you must intensify the meanings conveyed by the headwords, the general word 'very' can take the place of all the above modifying words: 'very expensive', 'very handsome'jvery confident', 'very difficult', 'very high', 'very surprised'. Or, you can use 'quite' or 'extremely'. Or, depending on contexts, you can go on like this:
• That's very expensive + Yes, absurdly so .• He's very handsome + Incredibly handsome, you can say .• She was very confident + Supremely confident, I would say .• That was very difficult + Extraordinarily difficult .• The birth rate-in our country is very high + And this is something that's quite disturbing .• We were very surprised + And we were quite delighted, too.

But from what I've told you so far, don't jump to the conclusion that you must never use' any pre-modifying unit at all in an adjective phrase. In fact, there an'; several words and word groups that you can safely use as pre-modifiers. Let me give you a list of these items: 1. Intensifiers Most often, the adverbs (and adverb-like word groups) that premodify an adjective belong to a category called intensifiers. (These are adverbs of degree). I've already introduced you to them while discussing the noun phrase. Here are the common intensifiers that can pre-modify your adjectives: • absolutely, an~ altogether, amazingly, awfully, badly, beautifully, certainly, completely, dangerously, downright, dreadfully, entirely, especially, exactly, extremely, fantastically, far, frankly, frightfully, fully, heavily, highly, hopelessly, horribly, just, largely, mainly,

34 marvellously; more and more, much, particularly; perfectly; purely; quite, really; seriously; severely; sharply; simply, so, strongly; suitably, terribly; thoroughly; too, totally, tremendously; unbelievably; unreasonably; unusually; utterly; very; wonderfully. • a good deal, a great deal, a lot, more than, most. Here's another list of 'advanced-level' intensifiers: • adequately; bitterly; considerably, critically, deeply, enormously, exceedingly, excessively, extraordinarily, greatly, immensely, impossibly, increasingly, incredibly, intensely, peculiarly, positively, remarkably, ruthlessly, significantly; splendidly; soundly; superbly, strangely, strikingly, surprisingly, truly, uncomfortably; unnaturally, violently; vitally, wholly, wildly.
Eg: absolutely beautiful, all (= completely) upset, altogether wrong, amazingly cheap, awfully nice, far simpler, a good/great deal better, adequately prepared, bitterly critical, considerably larger, critically ill, deeply depressed.

Exercise: As under "2. Classifying function".
Here's a guideline that'll help you avoid speech-production difficulties to a great extent: While using intensifiers, what you must normally do is this: You must first use the head (= adjective) by itself without any modification in a separate idea unit, and then use these intensifiers separately (with or without the adjective) in the following idea unit. Go through the five examples I gave you immediately before the sub-heading '1. Intensifiers' above. They'll give you a clear idea. And here are a few more examples:
Eg: • They were strangely calm. (= They were very calm + And I found it quite strange) .• He was violently aggressive. (= He was very aggressive + Violently aggressive, actually) .• Their Marketing Manager is ruthlesslyefficient. (= Their Marketing Manager is very efficient + Ruthlessly efficient).

2. Downtoners
There are a number of adverbs that tone down the effect of adjectives. These adverbs are called downtoners. I've already introduced you to them while discussing the noun phrase. You can use the common ones among these down toners to pre-modify your adjectives. Here they are: • all but, almost, as good as, barely, hardly; a bit, faintly; fairly; just, kind of, a little, little, mildly, moderately, more or less, nearly, partially; partly, practically, pretty, quite, rather, reasonably, relatively, scarcely, slightly, somewhat, sort of, sufficiently, virtually.

Eg: all but true, almost correct, as good as impossible, barely enough, hardly visible, a bit expensive, faintly (= slightly) surprised, fairly large.

Exercise: As under "2. Classifying function".

3. Adjunct adverbs
The primary role of adverbs is to give more information about the manner or circumstances in which something happens or about the time or place in which something happens. When they're performing this primary role, adverbs act more as adjuncts, rather than as intensifiers or downtoners. Such adjunct adverbs can occasionally be used to pre-modify an adjective. Here's a list of adjunct adverbs you can use in this way: (i) Manner adjuncts: • awkwardly, badly, brightly, cheaply, closely, comfortably, conveniently, delicately, distinctly, easily, economically, effectively, efficiently, evenly, explicitly, fiercely, finely, firmly, formally, freely, heavily, hurriedly, meticulously, naturally, neatly, openly, plainly, pleasantly, poorly, professionally, properly, .quietly; readily, richly, rigidly, securely, sensibly, sharply, simply, specially, steadily, systematically, tightly, urgently, vaguely, widely.
Eg: awkwardly long, badly managed, brightly coloured, cheaply furnished, pleasantly surprised, (Rules like these are always) rigidly applied, steadily worse.

Exercise: As under "2. Classifying function". Note: While using these adverbs, follow-the guideline given under 'l. Intensifiers' . (ii) Adjuncts of time: . • immediately, instantly, no longer, permanently.
Eg: immediately disabled. clear, instantly apparent, no longer free, permanently

(iii) Adjuncts of place: • globally, internationally,

universally, widely.
fainous, universally available, widely

Eg: globally known, internationally different.

4. Colour adjectives
As you know, the words for common colours are: black, blue, brown, cream, green, grey, maroon, orange, pink, purple, red, scarlet, violet, white, yellow. You can pre-modify these colour adjectives by the following words:

36 • bright, clear, dark, deep, light, pale.
Eg: bright pink, clear orange, dark red, deep blue, light brown, pale green.

Exercise: As under "2. Classifying function". 5. View-point adjuncts
There are looked at viewpoint are a few


some adverbs that help you indicate that something is to be from a particular point of view. These words are called adjuncts. You can use them to pre-modify an adjective. Here of them:

.• artistically, architecturally, economically, ethically, ethnically, financially, geographically, morally, politically, psychologically, scientifically, technically, theoretically.
Eg: artistically impressive, architecturally beautiful, economically weak, ethically correct, ethnically mixed, financially independent, geographically distinct, morally wrongvpolitically sensitive, psychologically important, scientifically advanced, technically skilled, theoretically possible.

One way of preventing viewpoint adverbs from making your speech getting packed tightly is this: Utter the viewpoint adverb separately as a distinct idea unit and avoid pre modification by it totally:
• Artistically + that painting is quite impressive .• Architecturally + that building is very beautiful. • Economically + that couritry is' a hit weak.

Another method is this: You can use the head (= adjective) without the viewpoint adverb in an idea: unit first, and then use the viewpoint adverb separately (with or without the adjective) in the following idea unit .
• That painting is quite impressive + Artistically impressive .• That building is very beautiful + Architecturally, I mean .• That country is a bit weak + Economically, you' know.


Adverb phrases
Adverbs normally modify verbs. They often modify adjectives, too. (A few adverbs even modify nouns and determiners). You can easily identify most of the adverbs, because the spellings of most of.them end in the suffix '-ly'. The structure of an adverb phrase is as follows:
(Pre-modifiers) + Adverb + (Post-modifier) or (M~aniri.g completer).

So an adverb phrase can have the following patterns:
1. Adverb: (Eg: easily). 2. Pre-modifier(s) + Adverb: (Eg: very easily). 3. Adverb+ Post-modifier: (Eg: easily enough). 4. Premodifier(s) + Adverb + Post-modifier: (Eg: very easily indeed). 5. Pre-


+ Adverb +

Meaning completer.

(Eg: as easily as possible),

Mind you, only intensifier-adverbs and downtoner-adverbs can premodify other adverbs. Here are two lists of common pre-modifiers: • absolutely, amazingly, awfully, completely, especially, extremely, fantastically, marvellously, most; particularly, perfectly, quite, really, so, surprisingly, that, thoroughly, tremendously, unbelievably, unusually, very, wonderfully. • almost, a bit, hardly, fairly, a little (bit), moderately, only, pretty, quite, rather, reasonably, relatively, scarcely, somewhat. And here's a list of common adverbs (= 'heads'): • accurately, angrily, anxiously, artificially, badly, beautifully, bitterly, boldly, briefly, brightly, calmly, cheerfully, clearly, closely, clumsily, confidently, convincingly, dearly, deeply, deliberately, desperately, easily, eagerly, effectively, efficiently, excitedly, fairly, far, fast, foolishly, frequently, furiously, generously, gladly, gloomily, gratefully, happily, hard, helplessly, highly, hopefully, hopelessly, hurriedly, impatiently, innocently, little, mechanically, miserably, naturally, nervously, often, openly, passionately, perfectly, proudly, quickly, quietly, rarely, recently, reluctantly, sadly, savagely, scientifically, secretly, seldom, severely, shortly, shyly, sincerely, slightly, slowly, soon, specially, superficially, sweetly, thickly, thinly, uncomfortably, uneasily, unexpectedly, happily, warmly, wearily, well.

The intensifier 'very' can pre-modify all these adverbs. Of course, other intensifiers and downtoners can also pre-modify several of them, depending on the contexts. But mind you; intensifiers and downtoners ending in '-ly' are not often used to pre-modify adverbs ending in '-ly' itself. No. For example, native speakers of Engfish don't use phrases like 'extremely clearly' too often. Phrases like these are only used when speakers want to give extra emphasis to a particular point. (You see, 'only rarely' and 'only recently' are exceptions and are, of course, quite common). But there are some adverbs that don't have the '-ly' suffix. (Eg: alone, ever,far, fast, hard, little, never, not, often, seldom, soon, weli). These are the adverbs that intensifiers and downtoners ending in '-ly' often modify: Eg: • absolutely not, amazingly well, (works) reasonably hard, completely

• almost never, a bit far, hardly ever, fairly well. Note: The adverbs 'alone', 'ever', 'never' and 'not' cannot be pre-modified by'very', and so have not been given in the list above. Exet-ciser As under "2. Classifying function".

38 Now just as there are pre-modified adverb phrases, there can be postmodified ones, too. But they're far less common than pre-modified ones, because there are only two adverbs that can post-modify other adverbs. These two post-modifiers are: enough and indeed. (These two words can act as post-modifiers in adjective phrases, too).
Eg: happily enough, oddly enough, strangely enough, surprisingly enough.

As far as 'indeed' is concerned, you should normally use it to postmodify an adverb only when that adverb has been pre-modified by the word 'very'.
Eg: very fairly indeed, very fast indeed, very well indeed.

Prepositional phrases
The structure of a prepositional

phrase is as follows: and (ii) (a) a clause what, (c) an-

+ Meaning completer.

Thus a prepositional phrase has two parts: (i) a preposition; a meaning completer. Mind you, both parts are obligatory.

The meaning completer in a prepositional phrase is normally noun phrase. But sometimes it may be (b) a nominal relative (= a finite clause introduced by a wh-element - typically, by whatever, where, wherever, which, whichever, who, whoever) or ing participle clause. So a prepositional phrase can have the following patterns:

1. Preposition + Noun phrase. (Eg: as a friend, by cheque, in the newspaper, of this city, opposite his house, towards the gate, under the bed, up the stairs). 2. Preposition + Nominal relative clause. (Eg: from what he told me). 3. Preposition + -ing participle clause. (Eg: after meeting him).

Here's a list of all the common one-word prepositions: • about, above, across, after, against, along, among, around, as, at, before, behind, below, beside, besides, between, beyond, but, by, down, during, except, for, from, in, inside, into, like, near (to),of, off, on, onto, opposite, out, outside, over, past, pending, round, since, than, through, throughout, till, to, towards, under, unlike, until, up, with, within, without. Here's a list of all the common multi-word prepositions: • according to, ahead of, all over, apart from (= aside from), as far as, as for, away from, because of, by way of, close to, contrary to, due to, except for, for (the) sake of, in charge of, in contact with, in front of, in line with, in place of, in spite of, in terms of, instead of, near to, nearer to, next to, on behalf of, on the part of, on the

39 strength of, on to, on top of, out of, together with, up against, up to.
Eg: about his boss, above their heads, across the room, according to reports, ahead of us, all over the place, apart from a glass of water, as far as Pune.

Exercise: As under "2. Classifying function".
Important: As far as possible, avoid prepositions that have not been given in the lists - especially the ones given below. They'd make your speech too formal. as of, as per, at the expense of, at the hands of, at variance with, but for, by dint of, by means of, by virtue of, d~void of, for/from want of, for (the) sake of, in accordance with, in addition to, in aid of, in back of, in behalf of, in case of, in common with, in compliance with, in comparison with, in conformity with, in consequence of, in exchange for, in (the) face of, in favour of, in lieu of, in (the) light of; in need of, in (the) process of, in quest of, in relation to, in respect of, in return for, in search of, in view of, on account of, on behalf of, on (the) ground(s) of, on the matter of, on pain of, on the part of, owing to, prior to, pursuant to, subsequent to, with the exception of, with/in reference to, with/in regard to, with/in respect to.

How to avoid complexity
Written English makes use of prepositional phrases to pack information densely. This happens in two ways:
(i) Written English often uses heavily-modified

noun-phrases after prepositions. But naturally-occurring speech avoids heavily-modified noun-phrases. Naturally-occurring speech normally uses only simple noun phrases (and simple clauses) after the prepositions - like those given above as examples. prepositional phrase to the end of the first prepositional phrase, a third prepositional phrase to the end of the second prepositional phrase, and extends the length of prepositional phrases in this way. This process is an example of what is known as 'embedding'. Mind you, as I've already told you in other contexts, naturally-occurring speech normally avoids embedding of all types.

(ii) What written English does is this: It tags on a second

About the first point, there isn't much to add. Under the heading 'noun phrases' above, we've already seen what to do to avoid heavy modification. About the second point, you must first understand what 'embedding' means. Take the word group 'at the shop'. This is a simple prepositional phrase: 'at' is the preposition and 'the shop', a simple noun phrase, without any modification. Now let's take a second preposi-

40 tional phrase 'opposite the tall building'. Let's tag this second prepositional phrase onto the end of the first prepositional phrase. Here's the resulting word group: [(at the shop) (opposite the tall building)] Now let us take a third prepositional phrase 'off the main road'. Let us tag this third prepositional phrase on to the end of the second prepositional phrase. Here's the resulting word group: [(at the shop) (opposite the tall building) (off the main road)] This is the process that is known as 'embedding'. Let us now look at a sentence containing this embedded prepositional group: All this happened [(at the shop) (opposite the tall building) (off the main road)] You won't normally find this kind of word 'group in spoken English; One way of converting this sentence into spoken English would be: There's a tall building + ehm- it's off the main road + and - and there's a shop there + opposite that building + mm... and all this - ~iIhis t happened there. ' r Here too, the principle is the same as we saw before: Break up the combination of information-bearing units. Give out each unit of information in a separate idea unit. Leave each idea unit syntactically independent.

Embedded noun-phrases
Sometimes, written English adopts the technique of 'prepositional embedding' for packing information densely in noun phrases. Here's an example of an embedded noun phrase:
Eg: [A man (from the office) (on the third floor) (of the building)].

Normally, naturally-occurring speech avoids embedded noun phrases like this -;- especially at the beginning of a clause. But you may often come across this sort of heavily embedded phrases in writing. Thus, here are two typical written English sentences containing heavily embedded phrases: • [A man (from the officer.Ion the third floor) (of that building)] came here yesterday. One way of converting these sentences into spoken English would be: • Yesterday + a man came here + He was from that - building + mm... there's an office there + on its - a: - third floor + He - you know +he was from there. All that has been done here is to break up the combination of information-units, and to assign each unit of information to individual idea units. '


c. Specific

and non-speclflc words

Written English packs information densely by avoiding non-specific (= general or vague) words as far as possible, and by using specific (= non-general words) instead. On the other hand, naturallyoccurring spoken English does not make any effort to avoid nonspecific words. Nor does it make any special effort to find and use specific words. In fact, naturally-occurring speech often avoids words that are too specific, and instead uses wordsthat are non-specific, general and vague. Yes, words that are non-specific, general and vague. A few examples would make this point clear: is a specific word. Spoken English prefers the general words 'went against' to 'violated', and the word group becomes: 'He went against the rules'. 2) Take the word group, 'He permitted her to do it'. Here, 'permitted' is a specific word. Spoken English often avoids specific words like·thfs. One way of avoiding 'permitted' is to say, 'He said she could do it'. Another way is to say, 'He let her do it', by using the general word 'let' instead of the specific word 'permitted'. 3) Take the word group, 'They charged us excessively'. Here, 'excessively' is a specific word. And spoken English prefers a general expression like 'too much' to 'excessively', and this word group becomes, "They charged us too much'. 4) Spoken English often avoids specific words like 'admirable' 'excellent', 'upright', 'authentic', 'agreeable' etc. and uses a general word like 'good' instead. Spoken English often avoids specific words like 'harmful', 'sinful', etc. and uses a general word like 'bad' instead. s-. 5) While describing a thing (for example, a machine), written English uses specific names for its various parts. But spoken English does not often use specific names. Instead, spoken English uses general phrases like 'the knob-like part', 'the starshaped bit', 'the bit that's pointed', 'the piece that sticks out', 'the round piece that looks like a coin', 'the lengthy part', 'the bit like a ring', 'the short tube-like thing', 'a sort of square thing' etc. But don't let the above examples give you a wrong idea. Don't jump to the conclusion that spoken English never uses 'specific' words - or that written English never uses non-specific words. You see, spoken English does use 'specific' words. But not to the same extent as written English. In spoken English, a major percentage of the words would be non-specific words - words that are general, vague. In the same way, written English does use 'non-specific' words,
1) Take the word group, 'He violated the rules'. Here, 'violated'

42 too. But their percentage would be very small. Yes, very small. In written English, a major percentage of the words used would be specific words - and not general, vague ones.

Composing speech and speaking at the same time
By now, you've seen the basic principles of information-packing. The crux of all the explanations that you saw so far in this Lesson is this: Spoken English is produced in short, bite-sized idea units, and each idea unit carries only one piece of information. And these idea units are strung together loosely. The idea units come out as short chunks or bursts of speech. In fact, by its very nature, naturally-occurring speech can only be loosely-packed, and cannot become densely-packed. Loose packing is inevitable in spoken English, because of the very manner of its production: It's composed and spoken at the same time. Genuine spoken English is not something that you learn by heart and reproduce in a parrot-like fashion. Genuine spoken English is made up off-hand, as you speak along - without referring to any written script. And so, in spontaneous speech, utterance sequences are made under pressure of time. You have to connect the idea unit you're uttering now to the idea unit that you have finished uttering. At the same time, you have to be thinking about and preparing what you're going to utter.

Mental assessment and planning
In a naturally-occurring spoken language, whatreally happens is this: The speaker utters an idea unit and, at the same time, he mentally assesses whether it conveys the meaning that he wants to convey. Then he utters another chunk. This idea unit will carry another piece of information, and this piece of information will make his message move forward. While uttering this chunk, the speaker would be mentally assessing whether his meaning is getting across the way he wants. The content and structure of his next idea unit depends on this mental assessment. If his assessment is that the message is getting across the way he wants, the next idea unit will have one particular group of words. If his mental assessment is that the message is not getting across the way he wants, the next idea unit will have another group of words. Thus the mental assessment results in mental planning, and it's this mental planning that determines three things:

43 • The structure that the speaker uses for an idea unit; • The words that he uses in that idea unit; and • The structure that he uses for organizing a group of idea units. This kind of simultaneous utterance and mental assessment often result in syntactic and grammatical errors, factual mistakes, accidental slips, half-finished structures and incomplete clauses and phrases. Understand that these errors, mistakes, etc. are an inevitable part of naturally-occurring spontaneous speech. What fluent speakers do is to edit them out orally to the extent possible - as they speak on. Another result of this kind of simultaneous utterance and mental assessment is this: Every now and then, the speaker comes up against hesitation pauses. Or he finds it necessary to deliberately make hesitation pauses. These hesitation-pauses occur in the middle of most idea units - and even at their end and beginning. Remember this: The speaker composes and speaks at the same time. So, every now and then, he hesitates to think and prepare what to say next. Sometimes, the mental planning may take up only a fraction of a second, and the result will be a 'short pause'. But sometimes a short pause may not be sufficient to complete the mental planning. Then the pause becomes lengthier. (In fact, a sizeable proportion of 'speaking time' would only be made up of 'silence'). If the planning needs more time, the speaker will not keep silent, but will fill the silence with filler-sounds or filler-words. (The filler-words may be special fillerwords like 'I mean', 'you know' and other filler-words that you saw in Lesson 5. Or they may be general filler-words like 'What I mean is', 'I mean to say', 'If you follow me' 'I'll tell you what'. 'Do you know what?', 'Guess what?'. 'How shall I put it', 'As you may know'. ~s you know', 'As you can imagine', 'Would you believe it?' etc.) Another result of the simultaneous composition and utterance is this: Very often what the speaker utters will only be trial-versions (or 'oral drafts') of what he wants to say, and so you can find him reformulating his idea units frequently. If you make out the transcript of any stretch of spontaneous speech by a native speaker of English, you can notice one thing: A major proportion of it would be trial-versions (that are discarded) - and reformulations of those trial versions. After the pause or pause and the filler-words, he utters another idea unit based on the mental assessment and planning. While uttering this idea unit also, the mental assessment process would be going on about the effectiveness of the present idea unit. And, on the basis of this assessment, simultaneous mental planning takes place about the nature of the next idea unit. As far as the next idea unit is concerned, it may contain a new piece of information, and so it may carry the

44 message forward. Or it may clarify or elaborate or correct or even contradict (yes, self-contradict) the information contained in the previous idea units. Or it may simply be an afterthought. So while carrying the message forward by uttering new pieces of information, the speaker also does certain things to the earlier pieces of information: He modifies and rearranges them. So you see, naturally-occurring spoken language is always a mixture of two things: Delivery of new information and 'backtracking'.

Control of speech-delivery
Now don't be under the impression that the addition of new pieces of information and the modifications and rearrangements take place in a haphazard way. Actually, these things don't take place in a haphazard way, but in a uniquely systematic way. Yes, there's an underlying order in this apparent disorder, and the cohesive force of this underlying order helps the speaker to make the id~a units fit the overall pattern that he wants them to fit. And the pattern that the speaker wants the idea units to fit is the overall meaning of the message. So when the speaker makes a mental assessment of the effect of each idea unit and each group of idea units, what he really does is to control the production and delivery of idea units - and to guide the idea units towards the overall meaning of his message.

Inevitability of loose-packing.
All this shows one thing: Genuine, naturally-occurring spoken English can only pack information loosely. It just can't pack information densely - because naturally-occurring speech is speech that we make up as we speak along, as we speak in the "here-and-now". Now if it's inevitable that naturally-occurring spoken English will be loosely-packed (and not densely-packed), why is it that most nonnative speakers of English are not able to produce loosely-packed speech? Why is it that their natural tendency is to pack information tightly? The answer is this: First of all, normally, only a non-fluent non-native speaker of English has this problem. A native speaker of English does not have such a problem - normally. Even highly-educated native speakers of English tend to pack information only loosely - except when the speaker is somebody immersed in written English and he's making a prepared speech or is speaking in a very formal situation or is speaking about a highly content-oriented subject (like a technical, scientific or a highly involved academic subject). In naturally-occurring speech, they never

45 pack information densely. (Remember this: We're not speaking here about 'prepared speech' - speech that is prepared and read or delivered. We're speaking about spontaneous, naturally-occurring speech). Secondly, non-fluent people don't realize that spoken English packs information only loosely, and not densely. The basis of their knowledge of English is written English, and not spoken English. So they adopt written English as their model, and try to speak (and to organize their speech) in the way they write. They stuff their speech with a lot of subordination, modification, nominalization and embedding. They're afraid of making pauses and of using filler-words and fillersounds. They're afraid of 'backtracking' and 'reformulation' processes. They don't edit their speech aloud. They're afraid of leaving a structure half-finished. They try to produce "ideal strings of complete and perfectly-formed sentences" - wrongly believing that spoken English is made up ofthat kind of sentences. And the result is this: They always try to pack information densely in their speech. And soon their speech breaks up. Why? Because they're trying to do the impossible. They're trying to do what is impossible even for a native speaker of English. They're trying to pack information in spoken English the way they pack information in written English. Mind you, nobody can pack information in spoken English in the way information is packed in written English - because spoken English is something that's composed and delivered at the same time, whereas written English is something that's composed, edited, revised, redrafted and fair-copied as often as required before it's presented to the reader.



Now listen. Editing takes place in written English as well as in spoken English. But there's one difference: In written English, the reader sees only the final version. He does not see the earlier versions ('written drafts') that are discarded. The final version that the reader sees does not show editorial efforts. It does not show the alterations, additions, deletions, reformulations and logical ordering of parts that the writer had to 'make in the earlier versions. Nor does it show the errors, omissions, slips and imperfections that happened in those earlier versions (written drafts). . But this is not so. in spoken English. In spoken English, the listener hears all the earlier versions (trial versions or 'oral drafts'). Though the speaker discards the earlier versions and reformulates them, he has already uttered them, _and so the listener can hear all the alterations, additions, deletions, reformulations and the ordering of parts that the speaker does in them (earlier oral versions). He can hear all

the false-starts, errors, slips and imperfections in the trial versions. He can notice the hesitation-pauses and hear the pause-fillers. These false-starts, errors, omissions, slips, imperfections, hesitations, pauses, pause-fillers, alterations, additions, deletions, reformulations and ordering of parts are nothing but steps in composing speech offhand. These are features that you cannot avoid, because if you avoid them, you won't be able to compose and speak at the same time. And so long as you're not able to compose and speak at the same time, you won't be able to speak spontaneously.

Listeners' point of view
Many people (who are not acquainted with genuine spoken English) try to avoid these features of speech-composition. When they make a false-start or an error or an omission or a slip, they get nervous. They don't make use of hesitations, pauses, pause-fillers, additions, deletions, reformulations and re-ordering of parts, because they're afraid that listeners would think that they do not 'know' English. The result is that they fail to go on composing speech on the spot (as they speak on), and they become tongue-tied. Actually, it's the presence of these features of speech-composition that gives the feeling of naturalness to speech. And so there's no question of listeners thinking that the speaker does not know English. But nonfluent speakers are not aware of this truth. In fact, the truth is that listeners won't even be conscious of the presence of these features in your speech. They'll only notice that your speech comes out fluently. In fact, so long as you're speaking with your words flowing out, listeners don't look for the 'literal' meaning of your utterance. What listeners look for is the 'intended' meaning of those words. Listeners don't pay attention to individual words - so long as your speech flows smoothly. Nor do they process or remember or keep track of everything that you say. Listeners always fail to listen to a sizeable proportion of what you say. And out of the things that they listen to, they fail to pay attention to a sizeable proportion. And out of the things that they pay attention to, they fail to understand or comprehend a sizeable proportion. From out of the things you say, listeners always select certain points that happen to capture their attention or interest, and pay attention mostly to those points. At the same time, they also miss several other crucial points. They construct a picture of what you're saying through a mental interpretation. Their background knowledge about you, about the topic, about the context and about the world around them and their presumptions help them come to a reasonable meaning of what you 'intended' to say.

So don't worry about what listeners would think about the presence of speech-composition-features in your speech. In fact, these features would only help them understand what you say better - by providing them with gaps of time in which to digest the meaningful content in between these features. It's when these features are absent that the listener would get a bad impression about you. Firstly, if these features are absent, your speech would sound artificial, pedantic and written-English-like. Secondly, if these features are absent, you'll not be able to speak on beyond just a few idea units. By then, you'll start faltering, and you'll not be able to go on. And if this happens, your listeners would think that you do not 'know' English. So never avoid speech-composition-features.

'Looseness' versus 'Conciseness'
From the way listeners listen to spoken language, there's one more lesson for you to learn: It's never necessary to speak in perfectlyformed and complete sentences or to avoid the speech-composition features. Perfectly-formed sentences and absence of speech-composition features will not help listeners in any way (but will only prevent them from properly grasping what you say). You see, listeners are concerned only about two things: (i) Does what you say make sense? (ii) Do you speak smoothly and continuously without faltering? An important effect of the speech-composition-features is this: Their presence gives spoken English a 'loose' look, and their absence gives written English a look of 'compactness'. Because of the absence of these features, written English is far more concise than spoken English. You know, to say the same thing, spoken English often needs more number of words than written English. Therefore, note this carefully: In spoken English, what you need is the 'loose' look and not the look of 'compactness'. What you must be after is 'looseness'. In spoken English, never aim to be compact or concise. I am not advising you to be verbose in your speech or to make your speech needlessly lengthy (by stuffing it with more words thai! are necessary to convey the meaning you have in mind). No. From the point of view of speech composition, the extra words that occur in speech in the form of fillers are not unnecessary words. No. They're essential words - words that are needed as supports for the speech composition process and so can't dispense with them. Mind you, if the speaker doesn't use them as fillers between bits of meaningful content, speech won't get composed at all. You see, speech becomes verbose and long-winded only when it contain too many words that

48 are unnecessary and when these unnecessary words have no rel- evance and when they make the speech boring, or annoying. The point is this: Say what you say by packing information 'loosely' and not densely. Never give up the techniques of loose-packing in order to be compact or concise. In fact, even while adopting the techniques of loose-packing, you can be concise and brief in speech - to the extent spoken medium would permit. Fluent speakers do this by cutting down the number of major points they cover during each speech turn, and not by cutting down the speech composition features. In other words, even when you try to be concise and brief, you must adopt the loose-packing techniques: Avoid subordination, modification, nominalization and embedding wherever you can. Adopt coordination as the chief linking device between idea units and groups of idea units. Take all help you need from speech-composition features. Pack only one piece of information in one idea unit. Use general (non-specific) words freely. And stop hunting around for 'precisely right' words and specific (non-general) words. So remember this: Be concise only to the extent that these loosepacking techniques allow you to be concise, Otherwise, never try to be concise in spoken English. If you do, you'll falter, and the flow of your speech will stop.

A test
When you hear someone speaking, you can easily tell whether he's speaking spontaneously or after preparation and rehearsals. If the speech shows the free use of speech-composition-features, he's speaking spontaneously. Otherwise, he's not.

From what we've seen so far, there are three things you must understand firmly: First of all, if you want to become fluent in spoken English, you must have a clear idea about how information is packed in spoken English. Secondly, you must never try to pack information in spoken English in the way information is packed in written English. Thirdly, compose your speech and deliver it at the same time - by making full use of the speech-composition features. So don't you see how important it's to have a good knowledge of the way information is packed in spoken English? That's why much time was spent in this Lesson on the topic of 'packing of information'. Learn this topic well. That's it for this week. Bye for now.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful