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Grammatical Structure of the English Language




§ 1. Languages may be synthetic and analytical according to their grammatical structure.

In synthetic languages, such as for instance Russian, the gram­matical relations between words are expressed by means of inflections: e. g. крыша дома.

In analytical languages, such as English, the grammatical relations between words are expressed by means of form words and word order: e. g .the roof of the house.

§ 2. Analytical forms are mostly proper to verbs. An analytical verb- form consists of one or more form words, which have no lexical meaning and only express one or more of the grammatical categories of person, number, tense, aspect, voice, mood, and one notional word, generally an infinitive or a participle: e. g. He has come, I am reading. The analytical forms are:

1. Tense and Aspect verb-forms (the Continuous form: lam writing, the Perfect form: I have written, the Perfect Continuous form: I have been writing, the Future Indefinite: I shall write, all the other forms of the Future; also the interrogative and the negative forms of the Present and Past Indefinite: Does he sing? He does not sing).

2. The Passive Voice: I was invited to the theatre.

3. The analytical form of the Subjunctive Mood: I should go there if I had time.

In all these analytical forms the form word is an auxiliary verb. (For detailed treatment see chapters on the verb.)

§ 3. However, the structure of a language is never purely synthetic or purely analytical. Accordingly in the English language there are:

1. Endings:

in the third person singular in the Present Indefinite: speaks; -s in the plural of nouns: tables; -s in the genitive case: my brother's book; -ed in the Past Indefinite of regular verbs: smoked.

2. Inner flexions: man — men; speak — spoke.

3. The synthetic forms of the Subjunctive Mood: were, be, have, etc.

 

 

§ 4. Owing to the scarcity of synthetic forms the order of words, which is fixed in English, acquires extreme importance: The fisherman caught a fish.

A deviation from the general principle of word order is possible only in special cases.

(For detailed treatment see Chapter XVI, Word Order.)

§ 5. One of the marked features of the English language is the extensive use of substitutes. A word substitute saves the repetition of a word in certain conditions. Here belong one, that, do.

One replaces class nouns in the singular and in the plural:

Thanks for the compliment, if it isone.

The hours he spent with Ruth were the only happyones he had, and they were not all happy. (London)

That generally substitutes nouns, especially abstract nouns and nouns of material followed by an attribute, mostly introduced by the preposition of.

He (Martin) watched the easy walk of the other in front of him, and for the first time realized that his walk was different fromthatof other men. (London)

Almost every day thereafter Mrs. Skelton would go for a ride in her own car orthat of Castleman. (Dreiser)

Do substitutes verbs:

You know your law better than Ido. (Galsworthy) Forgive me for speaking with brutal frankness, I onlydo so be­cause I care. (Alexander)

 

Part I

Accidence

 







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