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Articles and the Category. Adjectives, pronoun, verbs

Articles Category
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1) Grammar as a Part of Language as a Linguistic Discipline.
2) Immediate Constituents Analysis.
3) Parts of Speech. Principles of Classification of the Parts of Speech.
4) Noun. General Classification.

√ Lexical meaning and grammatical form.

√ Articles.
√ The definite article.
√ The omission of articles.
√ Adjectives.
√ Determiners vs qualifiers vs quantifiers.
√ Pronouns.
√ The numerals.
√ The Verb.
√ Regular and irregular.
√ Transitive and intransitive verbs.

Lexical meaning and grammatical form.

Some linguists think that article is a word because it has lexical meaning & grammatical form, written separately, we can insert other words between article & noun. Present Continuous, Present Indefenite. Prepositions, texts for readingand understanding, exercises. If it's true than article + noun should be a phrase but some scholars suppose that it is a morpheme:


it can't be used without nouns; the meaning of article is contextual & modified. If we believe that article is a morpheme than article + noun should be an analytical form of a noun.

According to Gordon-Krylova "articles are structural words that specify the noun". They can specify not only separate words but substantivised phrase as well (the we -to-doV The general meaning of the article is definite vs. indefinite, m linguistics there is a special theory according to which articles are only a small part which represents the general meaning of definiteness / indefiniteness (category of article determination), the position of the article may be occupied by other words (demonstrative, possessive pronouns). Words, which have a distribution including the article position are called determiners.

The role, of determiners is to specify the range of reference of the noun by definite or indefinite. Meaningful absence of the article (zero article) presupposes generalization, hidiscussing the use of articles it is also essential to distinguish between definite (particular) reference & generic reference (see Randolph Quirk).

The telephone is broken, (particular) * The telephone is useful, (general) The distinctions which are important for countable nouns with specific reference disappear with generic reference : A telephone is useful. Telephones are useful. The telephone is useful The article plays an important role in structuring information. It is one of the means of distinguishing between facts already known"(the theme) & new information (rheme).

The definite article.

The definite article is the marker of the theme , the indefinite article is the marker of the rheme. Certain determiners (articles, demonstrative pronouns) can be used to show that a noun phrase is referentially equivalent to a previous noun phrase. Students are free to select optional courses.

The options are popular. In such cases the article expresses coreference which is one of the means of sentence connection. Some linguists even state that articles entirely 'text things"(Tur). There are languages which have no articles, many European have two, they say English has three. But it is wrong to mix the zero article with the omission of article because it's always definite or indefinite article which are omitted but they can be restored.

The omission of articles

The omission of articles can be stylistic device or it can be due to genre peculiarities. Every word in a sentence has a specific article meaning. Articles express in their own way the relation of a concrete object to the whole set of objects. In contrast zero article is used when the object is put out of the line with other objects. The use of articles as well as their absence falls under definite rules which can be grammatical, traditional or text-bound.


Adjectives It is notional part of speech denoting attributes of substances. The main syntactic function is that of attribute & predicative. English adjectives have no gender, no number, The absence of number in English distinguishes English language from any other Germanic languages.

The only problem to be discussed here - the problem of degrees of comparison of adjectives. Usually we divide adjectives into qualitative (size, shape, quality which an object can posses in various degrees) & relative adjectives (which express qualities characterizing the objects through their relations to other objects, usually they have no degrees of comparison of adjectives).

But between them there is no hard bordering line : any relative adjective may become qualitative if used metaphorically. There is also a_problem_of the number degrees Some linguists single out positive, comparative & superlative degree of adjectives. Others object, saying that there are only two degrees - the first form is just the basic form for comparison of adjectives.

Professor Smimitskiy points out that the idea of comparison of of adjectives which we find in comparative & superlative degrees of adjectives is expressed there relatively. My granny is younger than yours. It doesn't mean that my granny is young. According to

Smimitskiy we have positive & relative degree ,the latter can be subdivided into comparative & superlative of adjectives. In the reative degree we have synthetical & analytical degrees. In old good times the writers didn't pay much attention to the length of the adjectives.

Now we seem to have a rulse : adjectives consisting of more than two syllables form the degrees of comprison of adjectives analytically. But it's not a strict rule. Do we have the grammatical category of degrees of comparison of adjectives? People who doubt it say : II. "more" is not an empty word III. many adjectives don't have degrees of comparison but express the idea lexically IV. some adjectives have irregular forms of comparison Some. English adjectives have two forms of comparison but their meaning is different. The difference .is more lexical than grammatical. Sometimes the superlative forms of adjectives may have quite a Miscellaneous.

Place Of the articles. Generally - before nouns, but after the particles "so, as, too, however, how": So beautiful a girl she is. The place of indefinite article is optional if the adjectives preceded by "quite" & "rather": Quite a fundamental idea. (A) rather (a) long story. Indefinite article is used after "such" & "what": 

What a story! The definite article usually follows the word "both". "Both" is the only , dual form in the English language. This usage is optional: Both'(the) boys Both the definite & indefinite articles follow the words "half & "twice". There are words that resemble articles but which are not articles : 1 He has gone a hunting.

Some linguists say it is a contraction from preposition "at": He has gone a drinking. In the syntactic pattern "the higher ... the better" "the" is considered to be not an article but part of a compound adverb. This view is shared by Soviet linguist Raikhel. He states that we can definitely say that "the" is an article only in case when it really singles out the noun it refers to. In all other cases it is not an article (the sun, the moon, the Thames).

Determiners vs qualifiers vs quantifiers.

They are all prepositive adjuncts. All adjectives are qualifiers. Articles, demonstrative pronouns make up a group of determiners. Quantifiers are words which show in this or that way the quantity of things & individuals, denoted by the nouns they refer to. Here belong all the numerals, such pronouns as "each, either, neither, much, little, many, several, few"; conjunctions, such expressions as " a number of, couple of ,a lot of, a handful of, etc.". It is purely syntactic classification.

Problem of pronoun. It is a very peculiar part of speech because there is no uniformity in its morphological, syntactic & even semantic characteristics. Some scholars reckon that it should be distributed among other parts of speech.

Thus, academician Scherba states that they are all either nouns or adjectives :* this room, I want this. Morphological properties of pronouns are quite peculiar.Personal pronouns resemble nouns but they can't be modified by adjactives,' can't be connected with articles & can't be modified by prepositional phrase.

This traditional view is that a pronoun is a substitute for a' noun or a group of nouns. But question arises - what does the pronoun "nobody" substitute?


Pronouns point out things or qualities without naming or describing them. Their meaning is always very general & it is relative. It means their meaning depends on the situation they are used in. The same person is called different pronouns in different situations. All nouns do not depend on the speaker but all pronouns do. Some pronouns have case & number forms( somebody, anybody, somebody's, anybody's).

"Personal рrоnoun & interrogative pronoun "who" have nominal & objectiv cases,(whom) but most of pronouns have no cases at all. Nowadays we can use objective case predicatively. It should be "It's I, oh, Lord.", " It's me, oh,* Lord". The nominative forms are restricted to the form of subjects. The case difference between "who" .& "whom" is slowly disappearing.

The general tendency is towards disappearance of difference between the nominative & objective cases. Category number with pronouns. Some pronouns can express number, some cannot. Many' pronouns have one form tor both singular & plural. The idea of number in personal pronouns is not a grammatical idea: Apple, apples = apple + apple + apple + ... I, we =I + I+I +... We = I + somebody else.

Usually we- classify the pronouns into personal, possessive, reflexive," reciprocal, define negative, demonstrative, interrogative, conjunctive, indefinite, relative. Some points of this classification are not grammatical at all. One & the same pronoun may belong to more than one group at the same time.

There are also words which have some pronominal features but are not full pronouns. Such words as "some, many, several, few, much" may be called hybrids - something between pronouns & , adjectives.

 The numerals.

It is even more difficult to keep the strict grammatical approach with numerals. There is no grammatical category of number in numerals because the difference is lexical - not grammatical. Numerals don't have the category of case either.

They are invariable. Usually they function as attributes, but they can also be used as subject, predicative & object. All the cardinal numerals may be called nouns & being nouns they can have plural endings. They can also be modified by the definite article (The two came back soon.).

"Million" is the only numeral that can take the plural form when another numeral precedes it. In this case it's a noun & usually is followed by the preposition "of ( five million books - five millions of books).

The Verb.

   It is a notional part of speech which expresses an action , state or process. The three basic forms of the English verbs are infinitive, participle II & past indefinite. All the verbs in Modern English can be divided into regular & irregular.

Regular and irregular verbs.

The group of irregular verbs comprises a little bit more than 200 verbs. According to their syntactic function the verbs are traditionally divided into notional , seminotional & form-verbs.

Notional is a verb which has an independent meaning & an independent function in the sentence. Sometimes a notional verb can be used as a link verb at the same time preserving its semantic independence: She blushed red.

The seminotonal verbs are those which take part in building a compound' verbal predicate preserving at the same time their lexical meaning: they are modal verbs & the verbs of the type "remain, continue, begin.

According to their meaning they introduce either modal or aspective relations. All form-verbs can be divided into auxiliary, link-verbs, intensive verbs & prop verbs.

The verbs are considered to be auxiliary when they are utterly devoid of their lexical meaning. They have purely grammatical meaning of person, number, tense, aspect, mood. Usually they take part in building analytical forms of notional verbs "be, have, shall, will, should, would, do, did".

The function of a link-verb is to connect two parts: nominal parts of the subject & the predicate. In the function of a prop-verb we use the verbs of the type "be, do, shall, will He'll say better than I shall She likes it more than I do. The only verb having intensifying function is the verb "do": Do be nice to her, please.

Lexico-grammatical classification affects only notional verbs, it is the division of them into transitive & intransitive verbs.

Transitive & intransitive verbs.

This division is connected with the ability of the verb to take or not to take the direct object. In English there are extremely few purely transitive verbs : to lie - to lay, to rise - to raise. But it's common knowledge that ver
y often transitivity/intransitivity depends on context & one of the meanings can be primary & the other - secondary: to stand but he stood the rifle against the tree. Such verbs as "to sleep, to die, to fly, to swim, to run, to sail" can all have secondary transitive meaning.

Verbs in this meaning often appear in phraseological combinations with the so-called "cognate object":

to talk scandal
to talk nonsense
to speak the truth
to speak volumes
to speak English.

Some verbs expressing emotions can also have direct objects: to talk shop.

He smiled the girl in.
He frowned the girl to go away.

The line of difference between transitive/intransitive verbs not fixed - it is relative.

The difference is mainly lexical but it is closely connected, with the grammatical problem that of the category of voice. We know that English has developed the feature uncommon for all Germanic languages; i.e., mainly certain types of the intransitive verbs can be used in the passive constructions; The finite forms of the English verbs express the following categories number, person, aspect, tense, mood, time correlation and voice.
Some of these categories have only synthetic form of expression. Here belong person and number. The forms of all other categories mentioned are built both synthetically and analytically.
There are two sets of forms of the English verb which are contrasted oh the principle of use or non-use of the pattern "to be + participle!” ask - - , asking , asked - was asking. These forms show usually an action proceeding continuously at a definite ' time. The forms without "to be + participle I" denote actions either ' occurring repeatedly or everlasting.
Two aspect forms were given special names: continuous (progressive) and common. The difference between them is not temporal (time indication being the same). However not all the scholars agree with it. Professor Ivanova states that "-ing" forms are tense-aspect forms while the forms without "-ing" are purely tense-forms
1. There are no categories expressed by only one form and we should logically treat the difference between "asks" and "is asking" as the I difference between the marked and unmarked members in the opposition.
 The grammatical problem of aspect is also closely connected with certain lexicological problem - namely the difference between termiriative and durative verbs.
A terminative verb expresses an action which has a certain aim in view, a certain limit beyond which it cannot proceed. Durative verbs have no such limit that is why with durative verbs it , ' makes no difference from the lexical point of view which aspect is used

When I came out into a garden she sat reading a book

When I came out into a garden she was sitting in the armchair reading a book.

But in :
He brought her some flowers.
He was bringing her some flowers;

we may state that different aspect forms of terminative verbs signal different lexical meanings using new terminology we state that the difference between common and continuous forms with durative verbs can be neutralized while the lexical difference with terminative verbs cannot be neutralized. The problem with English is that most English verbs can be terminative and durative. It all depends again on the context:
I stood at the head of the stairs watching beautiful scenery.
I came up to them a stood by the window.
Dutch linguist Kruzinger considers the verb “to sit” as belonging to the common aspect and the verb «to sit down”- to the terminative aspect. The difference between them is purely semantical. George Curm in his “Grammar of the English Language” singles out the following four classes of aspect meanings:

1) Durative class. It represents an action as continuous. They employ special verbs here such as “to keep (on), go on, remain and contain”.

2) Point action-aspect meaning. Attention is paid not to an act as a whole but only to one point either the beginning or the final point:
He awoke at 4 p.m.
He knocked out the opponent in the second round.

3) Terminative aspect Action is indicated as a whole:
He misunderstood me.

4) Iterative [ˈɪtərətɪv] многократный, повторяющийся aspect which indicates a succession of similar acts.
In all this classification we pay attention mainly not to the grammatical means of expression but to the contents expressed by different means. They say that some verbs can’t be used in the continuous aspect e.g.:

- Certain link verbs
- Verbs of mental and physical perception “see, hear, etc.”
- Verbs to drop, to pick, to shot”

School exercises of continuous are very misleading. On the other hand we have to explain to our students that sentences of the type:
I am thinking you are right.
I am liking your work.

What are you wanting now? Are perfectly correct, the English jamcollection. Some of this usage has become stereotyped:
We are leaving on Friday.
We are discussing the case on Monday.

This usage allows the speaker to state separately the preparation for the event and its accomplishment and the accomplishment may not be the result:
I'm going to leave the lecture-room now.

You are going to break your chair if you are not careful.
I’m going to cough in a moment.

English and Russian Aspects Compared.
Russian has two aspects : perfective - imperfective. But it’s difficult to compare

Совершенный вид

Несовершенный вид

Common Continuous

‘Вода кипит” would correspond to “Water boils at 100°C. or Water is, boiling” at the same time.
He wrote a letter. a) Он писал письмо.
                         b) Он написал письмо.

The Category Of Tense.

Tense and time are different things. Our language is very misleading in this respect. The grammatical category of tense expresses the relations between the time of the action and the time of the utterance.

It’s common knowledge that time indications are not necessarily connected with verbal forms. Time may be indicated much more precisely by lexical means of expression. There are languages which use only lexical ways to express time. They have no grammatical categoiy of tense.

Even m English there are verbs which stand outside the grammatical category of tense (modal verbs must, have, etc.). The chief divisions of time are into PRESENT, PAST and FUTURE. Usually we picture it as arranged on a straight line running from past to future Past/Present/future

But it is not obligatory for tenses to correspond directly to the division of time. We know that in Old English we had two tenses - Past and Present. To prove the existence of tense as a category we are to oppose at least two grammatical forms. The opposition of Presept and Past (ask - asked) constitutes the category of tense.

Both these forms are synthetical and they are justified by history. These forms differ from the future tense forms. The latter are analytical forms and modal verbs do not possess it. The principle difference here lies in the fact that future is not yet realized - it exists only in potential , that is why it is almost always connected with modality.

Thus, Otto Jesperson doubts the existence of the grammatical future tense in English. He states that “will” retains original traces of its lexical, meaning volition as well as “shall” preserves traces of obligation.

If “shall” and “will” preserve lexical meaning than they are modal phrases but not analytical grammar forms. This argument sounded true 20-30 years ago but recent development in the language shows that future tense exists in English. We can give two reasons for that:

1) “will” is used irrespective of the person
2) more and more often today they use contracted form “ ‘12 “ which seems to be absolutely formal grammatical element

There is a problem with the present tense too. What is present? Theoretically it is a point with no dimensions. In other words “it is an everfleeting boundary between the past


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