You are on page 1of 15



OUTLINE: Words and


Form classes and structure classes;

Examples of four form classes:
Basic components of noun phrases
Core Structure in all sentences: SubjectPredicate relationship
5. Prepositional phrase: Use and Structure;
6. In-class exercises

Word Classes
Traditional Grammarians
classified words into categories
called parts of speech.
Modern Linguists now classify
words according to their form
and function in the sentence.

Form words
The large, open classes of words that provide
the lexical content of the language: nouns,
verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Each has
characteristic derivational and inflectional
morphemes that distinguish its forms (354355).
These four groups constitute 99% of our
They can be identified by their forms: each can
have particular suffixes, i.e. endings.

Form words
Noun (N): a word that names a thing, a person,
place or thing and can be made plural or
Verb (V): a word that refers to an action and
can show tense;
Adjectives (ADJ): words that act as modifiers
of nouns; and can be inflected for comparative
and superlative degree;
Adverbs (ADV): words that act as modifiers of
verbs, contributing information of time, place,
reason, and manner.

Structure/function Classes
The small, closed classes of words
that explain the grammatical or
structural relationships of the
form classes.
They convey little content yet they
are very important for the sense they
contribute to sentences.
Examples: determiners, qualifiers,
and prepositions.

Structure/function Classes
Determiners: a word that marks nouns
(articles; possessive nouns &
pronouns; demonstrative pronouns;
indefinite pronouns);
Qualifiers: a word that marks, qualifies
or intensifies adjectives and adverbs:
rather slowly; very rare.
Prepositions: a word that combines with
a noun phrase to produce an adverbial
or adjectival modifier: of, for, by

Noun Phrase (NP)

Phrase: a word or group of words that
functions as a unit within the sentence;
Noun Phrase (NP):
Determiner + Headword (N + ADJ)
The wonderful house
Determiners include articles (a, an, the);
demonstrative pronouns (this, that, these,
those); possessive nouns (Ahmeds);
indefinite pronouns (some, any, each every)

Core Verb Phrase (VP)

Verb Phrase (VP): Headword (V +
Sentence: NP (Subject) + VP

Prepositional Phrase
Prepositional Phrase (Prep.P):
Preposition + Object (NP)
in + the concert
about + the civil war
adjectives or modifiers of nouns: Adjectivals
Adverbs or modifiers of verbs: Adverbials
telling when, where, how, why and how often.

Movability is a major difference

between the two functions:
My sister has developed some
strange allergies in recent years.
In recent years, my sister has
developed some strange allergies.
I saw the man with the camera.
* With the camera I saw the man

More Exercises
Exercise 2.3 and 2.4