Engleza Sintaxa

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Engleza Sintaxa

Cursul de sintax urmrete nelegerea principiilor majore care stau la baza structurii propoziiei engleze. Abordarea analizei sintactice in prima parte a cursului predat studenilor, se axeaz pe sintaxa transformaional, n care fenomenele sintactice sunt descrise pornind de la regulile de structurare a locuiunilor verbale, substantivale, adjectivale, prepoziionale, adverbiale (Phrase Structure Rules), respectiv a propoziiilor (Sentence Rules). Aceste structuri de adncime (D-Structures) sunt secondate de structuri de suprafa (Inversion, Wh-Movement).

Aspectele teoretice abordate n cadrul cursului sunt urmate de exerciii aplicative, care constituie un suport real n contientizarea analizei sintactice la nivel de locuiune i propoziie realizat prin construirea de structuri arborescente (branching trees).

Cursul cuprinde i o terminologie de specialitate pentru a facilita accesul studenilor la nelegerea att de complexei analize sintactice abordat n stil modern, din perspectiva sintaxei transformaionale.




Before we take to sea we walk on land

Before we create we must understand.

LINGUISTICS is the discipline that studies the nature and use of language, i.e. its system of rules and categories. BRANCHES OF LINGUISTICS:

1. PHONETICS studies the sounds of language2. PHONOLOGY studies the function and patterning of sounds3. MORPHOLOGY deals with the analysis of word structure.4. SYNTAX deals with the analysis of sentence structure.5. SEMANTICS deals with the analysis of meaning. SYNTAX is a component of grammar that deals with the system of rules and categories that underlies sentence formation in human language, i.e. with the manner in which words are combined to form various types of sentences. The precise rules for sentence formation differ from language to language. However, the same general types of devices are used in the analysis of sentence formation. They are: syntactic categories

phrase structure rules


Transformational syntax is an approach to syntactic analysis in which syntactic phenomena are described in terms of phrase structure rules and transformations.

SYNTACTIC CATEGORIES show how words are grouped together into a relatively small number of classes (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, numerals, pronouns, interjections, and conjunctions). A words syntactic category can be determined according to:a) the type of meaning the word expresses;

b) the type of affixes that it takes, i.e. inflection;

c) the type of structures in which it can occur, also called distribution.

A potential source of confusion stems from the fact that some items can belong to more than one syntactic category:

e.g. The child stood near the fence. (preposition)

The runners neared the finishing line. (verb)

The end is nearer than you might think. (adjective)

a) according to meaning, a word is a:

noun: when it denotes entities and objects, e.g. Mark, desk

*abstract nouns, e.g. happiness, truth

verb: when it designates: - actions, e.g. run, jump

- sensations, e.g. feel, hurt

- states, e.g. have, remain

adjective: when it designates properties and attributes of the entities denoted by nouns, e.g. a high mountain

adverb: when it denotes properties and attributes of the actions, sensations and states denoted by verbs, e.g. Tom walked slowly.

b) according to affixes, i.e. inflection:

nouns: plural s, e.g. teacher-teachers *knowledge, news, advice, money, luggage, etc.

verbs: -ed, e.g. start-started -ing, e.g. feel-feeling

adjectives: comparative/superlative forms, e.g. taller, tallest adverbs: -ly, e.g. happily, slowly *hardly

c) according to structures, i.e. distribution:

nouns can typically appear with a determiner: a clerk

verbs can typically appear with an auxiliary: has left adjectives can typically appear with a degree word: very rich

PHRASE STRUCTURE RULES: Sentences are not formed by simply stringing words together like beads on a necklace. Rather, sentences have a hierarchical design in which words are grouped together into successively larger structural units. Such syntactic units can be built around nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and prepositions. They are called phrases. Consequently, there are:

(Noun Phrases (NP)(Verb Phrases (VP)

(Adjective Phrases (AP)

(Adverb Phrases (AdvP)

(Prepositional Phrases (PP)

Phrases are built around a Head, which is at the word level:(A noun for a NP(A verb for a VP(An adjective for an AP(An adverb for an AdvP(A preposition for a PP Phrases can consist of just one word, i.e. the head of the phrase:E.g. ((he likes) cats


((all cats) eatVP



((she is) sure


((he went) inPP



((he left) early



In addition to the head of the phrase, phrases can also include a second word, which is called specifier. Specifiers are placed before the head of the phrase. The syntactic category of specifiers (determiner, qualifier, degree word) differs depending on the category of the head of the phrase. Thus:

a) determiners are specifiers of nouns, e.g. a/an, the, this that, these, those, no, his, her, my, your, their, etc.

b) qualifiers are specifiers of verbs, e.g. never, ever, always, perhaps, also, etc.

c) degree words are specifiers of adjectives and some prepositions, e.g. very, quite, more, almost.

In more complex phrases the head of the phrase can be preceded by specifiers and followed by a third word, which is called complement. Complements are placed after the head of the phrase. They provide information about entities and locations whose existence is implied by the meaning of the head. They are also phrases. A verb can have one, two or more complements.E.g. NP the books about the war

VP never leave a friend AP quite certain about Mary PP almost in the house

AdvP early towards home

Complement options. The term subcategorization is used to refer to information about a words complement options (See Appendix) Thanks to subcategorization information, heads occur only in tree structures where they have compatible complement phrases.a) Transitive verbs must be followed by an object. The object is usually the thing or person affected by the action. We can use intransitive verbs without an object:

E.g. Dominic kicked the ball. When he fell flat on his back, I laughed.

b) We can use some verbs both transitively and intransitively, sometimes with different meanings:E.g.After the match, he went home and walked the dog.

He walked back from the penalty spot looking sheepish.

c) After transitive verbs we can use noun phrases or clauses:E.g. I like the topic.

S = NP + Infl + VP (V + NP)

I like what he is talking about. S = NP + Infl + VP (V + CP)

d) Some transitive verbs can have two objects (complements), the first of which is usually a personal object:E.g. Harry gave me a call.S = NP + Infl + VP (NP + NP)

e) With some verbs, we can use either two objects (i.e. complements) or an object + prepositional phrase:E.g. I sent you the package. S = NP + Infl + NP (NP + NP)

I sent the package to you. S = NP + Infl + NP (NP + PP)

f) We can follow some intransitive verbs with prepositional phrases or words referring to place or time:E.g. It occurs to me that my licence is due for renewal soon.

S = NP +Infl + VP (V + PP)

They are coming tomorrow.

S = NP + Infl + VP (V + QUAL)

g) We can follow link verbs, e.g. seem, sound, be, with adjectives and noun phrases:E.g. I am a little nervous about the concert.

S = NP + Infl + VP (V + AP + PP)

The whole thing seems a waste of time to me.

S = NP + Infl + VP (V + NP +PP)h) Prepositional phrases usually begin with a preposition which may not be connected with the preceding noun, verb or adjective:E.g. I arrived at the checkout out of breath.

S = NP + Infl + VP (V + PP + PP)

I find his arrogance beyond belief.

S = NP + Infl + VP (V NP + PP)

i) After some verbs we use as + NP:

E.g.He is going to stand down as President at the next election.

S = NP + Infl + VP (V + NP + PP)

To sum up what has been said so far, the phrase structure template shows as follows:


X = N, V, A, Adv, P.





We can see from the template above that the five different phrase types share structural properties.

THE SENTENCE (S) is the largest unit of syntactic analysis. Sentences are formed by combining a NP (often called the subject) with a VP (often called the predicate).

So the S RULE is:

S = NP+VPIf we compare the structure of a phrase with the structure of a sentence we can conclude the following:

The two structures (phrase and sentence) are similar in form:

NP = Specifier

VP = Complement

Head = Inflection (past or non-past)

The Head position being obligatory is taken at the level of the sentence by an abstract category, INFL (Inflection) which accounts for the fact that all sentences of English have tense (past /non-past). Auxiliaries (e.g. will, can, may), when present are used instead of the Infl category.

So the sentence can be shown like that : InflP = S S = NP + Infl + VP

Whole sentence-like constructions can function as complements:E.g. The doctor knows that his patient will recover.

S = NP + VP (V + S)

Words such as that, if, whether are known as complementizers (Cs). They introduce an S complement forming the CP (complemetizer phrase). In a CP, the complementizer (C) functions as the head, while the sentence (S) functions as the complement of the CP.

E.g.that his patient will recover:

S = CP = C + S

The doctor knows that his patient will recover:

S = NP + VP (V + CP)

In conclusion, the phrase structure rule (XP rule) determines the architecture of a sentences DEEP STRUCTURE. This structure can be visualised by assigning to sentences an appropriate tree structure. E.g. The man repaired the car.













the car

According to the syntactic analysis presented here the words that make up a sentence form intermediate structural units called phrases. Words are grouped together into phrases, called syntactic units or constituents (the man, repaired, the car). The existence of constituents within sentences can be verified with the help of 3 (three) special tests:1. The substitution test: NPs are syntactic units or constituents because they can be replaced by an element such as they, it, do so. It is the same for VPs, PPs, etc.E.g. The students left when they finished the classes.

NP = the students = they

E.g. The students will leave the hall if the teachers will do so.

VP = leave the hall = do so

E.g. They left for the mountains and we left there too. PP = for the mountains = there

2. The movement test: a constituent can be moved as a single unit to a different position within the sentence. E.g.For the mountains they left / They left for the mountains.

3. The co-ordination test: Patterns built around a conjunction (and, or, but) are called co-ordinate structures. Co-ordinate structures can link only structures of the same type: NP + NP; VP + VP; AP + AP; PP + PP. A group of words forms a constituent if it can be joined to another group of words by such a conjunction.E.g. Mary is keen on calculus but tired of chemistry.

AP + but + AP

COMPLEMENT CLAUSES = sentence-like constructions that are embedded within larger structures.

E.g. Tom told Mary that he loved her.

In the above example Tom told Mary that he loved her is called the matrix clause, while that he loved her is called a complement clause.

There is no limit on the number of embedded clauses that can occur in a sentence:

E.g. The teacher said that there was a student that another student reported that






NP Infl VP









The teacher said that there was a student that another student reported that

A CP may serve as a complement to a V, N, A, Adv, or a P:

E.g. He said that he was right

They lack proof (that) he was right

He was certain that he was right

They talked about whether he was right


























that he was right




certainthat he was right




(talk) about

whether he was right

TRANSFORMATIONS = a type of syntactic rule that can move an element from one position to another.

While phrase structure rules generate deep structures (D-structures), transformations generate surface structures (S-structures).

(There are two types of transformations:

A. Inversion (the sentence contains an auxiliary verb to the left of the sentence)

B. Wh-Movement (the sentence begins with a wh-word).

A. Inversion = a transformation that moves Aux from its position within the VP to a position to the left of the subject, formulated as: Move Aux to C.

Inversion in yes-no questions. Their syntactic analysis involves transformations in addition to the usual phrase structure rules.E.g. Can the boy jump over the fence?

Can = Infl (Aux)

the boy = NP (Det +N)

jump over the fence = VP (V + PP)


1. In order to determine the deep structure, we must return the auxiliary verb to its position under Infl. Thus, the usual XP rule is used to form a structure in which the auxiliary can occupies its normal position in Infl (head position), between the subject (its specifier) and the VP (its complement).













jump over the fence

2. In order to determine the surface structure (i.e. the question structure) a transformation known as inversion moves the auxiliary from the Infl position to a position to the left of the subject:

e.g. Will the boy ____ leave?



Inversion: Move Infl to the left of the subject NP

Since no position is available to the left of the subject for the auxiliary verb can we assume that sentences occur within larger CPs (complementizer phrases), whether they are embedded or not:




(head) (complement)

When embedded within a larger sentence, the CP can contain an overt complementizer such as that or whether. Elsewhere, the C position in the CP shell is present but is simply left empty (O):

E.g. I dont know whether she comes.

CP = whether she comes

C = whether

S = she comes












know whethershe comes

E.g. I know (that) she comes.











C NP Infl VP


know (that) she comes

RULE: Move Infl to C (empty position)








Det N



the boy e


Trace = the empty element, marked by the symbol e, that is left in syntactic structure after an element has been moved (from the head position within S)


a) a transformation can change only an elements position.

b) it does not change the categories of any words

c) it cannot eliminate any part of the structural configuration created by the phrase structure rules:

E.g. can retains its Infl label even though it is moved into the C position, and the position that it formerly occupied remains in the tree structure.

Do Insertion (to form questions corresponding to sentences that contain no auxiliary).E.g. The students attended the lecture.STAGES:

1. The usual XP rule gives the deep structure which contains no auxiliary verb in the Infl position.











V Det N

The students attended thelecture

Through transformation, the special interrogative auxiliary did is inserted into the empty Infl position.












Thestudentsdid attend(ed)



2. Inversion applies, moving interrogative did to the C position and giving the desired surface structure.














Didthe students e




B. 1. Wh-Movement = a transformation that moves a wh-phrase to the beginning of the sentence: Move a wh-phrase to the specifier position under CP.

E.g. Which book should he buy?

NOTE: who/which/what = simple nouns

Which = determiner

Wh-phrase = fulfil the complement function (of a verb or preposition) in the sentence.


1. Deep structure for the wh-question:

He should buy which book













Through transformation (Wh-movement) the wh-phrase is moved from its position in deep structure to a position at the beginning of the sentence.

Wh-Movement: Move the wh-phrase to the beginning of the sentence.

2. The desired question structure (S-structure) is formed by applying W-Movement and inversion to the deep structure.

Which book should he ----- buy -----?



NOTE: The wh-phrase is moved to the specifier position under C.













Which bookshould he




Wh-Movement in sentences where the wh-word is the subject.

E.g.Who called Tom? Since there is nothing for the subject wh-word to move over in such cases, there is no visible change in word order.

e.g. Who ------------- called Tom? Wh-Movement


E.g. A. Who called Tom? (subject)

B. Who did Tom call? (direct object)

Surface structure:

A. Who --------------called Tom?

Wh movement





NP Infl










B. Who did Tom ---------- call ----- ?


















1. Co-ordinate structures

2. Modifier constructions

3. Relative constructions

4. Passive structures

NOTE: 1, 2, and 3 are employed by practitioners of transformational syntax.

1. Co-ordinate structures

= a phrase that is formed by joining two (or more) categories of the same type with a conjunction such as and, or, but.

E.g. a man and a woman

Co-ordination = the operation that groups together two or more categories of the same type with the help of a conjunction:

Ns: the book and copy-book

Vs: repair and paint the house

Ps: up and down the stairs

As: beautiful and expensive dress

Advs: a beautifully and smartly-dressed woman

NPs: a man and a woman

VPs: go home and read a book

PPS: on the desk and under it

APs: quite beautiful and very expensive

AdvPs: very calmly and quite rapidly

Ss: The teacher entered the room and the students

stood up.

E.g. quite beautiful and very expensive













E.g. The teacher entered the room and the students stood up.















The teacher entered the roomand the students stood


The Co-ordinate Structure Constraint does not allow an element to be removed from a co-ordinate structure.

Island = a constituent that does not permit extraction of a component part:

E.g. Dave and Pam; a poem or a story.

The Co-ordination rule is the phrase structure rule that states the composition of a co-ordinate structure:

Xn(Xn* Con Xn

Xn = either an X or an XP can be co-ordinated

* = one or more categories can occur to the left of the conjunction

E.g. a book, a copy-book and a pencil

2. Modifier Constructions A modifier = an optional element that describes a property of a head.

E.g. that blue car

the book that Sue read

RULE: we will attach modifiers at the XP level of phrase structure:E.g. a famous writer






A famous


E.g. never listen attentively







listen attentively Types of modifiers that can modify Ns or Vs:A. (APs as modifiers of Ns:

E.g. a very high building






A very

high building

(APs as complements of Vs (become/seem)

E.g. She seemed quite happy.












seemed quite happy

B. AdvPs as modifiers of Vs:

E.g. She left early.












C. PPs as modifiers of Vs:E.g. He stayed for two days.













two days

So, the RULE is:

XP ((Spec) (Mod) X (Complement*) (Mod)

E.g. a happy couple

(Spec) X

always talk carefully

(Mod) X (Mod)

tell the news very rapidly X (Complement) (Mod)

3. Relative Clauses= a CP-sized modifier that provides information about the noun head to its left.

E.g. the man that Sue met.

Like other modifiers, relative clauses occur within the same phrase as the head that they modify.


















They resemble embedded wh-questions:a) They begin with a wh-word such as who/ which.b) There is an empty position within the sentence from which the wh-phrase has apparently been moved.

e.g. She may read the book which Tom bought.

















She may read the book which Tom


3. Passive Sentences= a sentence in which the NP bearing the theme role is encoded as subject.

E.g. The report was written by the students.

The transformational analysis of passives makes use of both deep structure and surface structure. In order to account for thematic role assignment, the NP that receives the theme role occurs as complement of the verb in deep structure while the NP that receives the agent role, if present occurs as complement of the special preposition by. A transformation then moves the NP bearing the theme role from its deep structure position to the subject position in surface structure, giving the correct final form of the sentence.

E.g. The report was written by the students. (the agent role is suppressed or appears as complement of the preposition by; the preposition by assigns its agent role to its complement the students):











written the students


* passive verb cannot assign agent role

In the surface structure, a NP movement takes place: Move NP (bearing the theme role) from the direct object position to the subject position when the latter is empty.












The thief

was arrested

eby the police

Thematic roles = the parts played by a particular entity in an event (agent, theme, source, goal, location)a) Agent = the thematic role of the doer of the action designated by the verb.E.g. the students (The report was written by the students)

b) Theme = the thematic role of the entity directly affected by the action designated by the verb.E.g. the report (The report was written by the students)

c) Source = the starting point for a movemente.g. from (He comes from India)

d) Goal = the end point for a movementE.g. to (He goes to India)

e) Location = the place where an action occursE.g. London (He learned at London)

It results that:

Thematic roles are associated with each NP in a sentence

Thematic roles are implied by their meanings:

E.g. hit ,



from (e.g. the prepositions to and from assign a thematic role to their complement NP, India).












Theme roles are assigned to the Vs complement:E.g. He bought the present.

Agent roles are assigned to the Vs subject:

E.g. He bought the present.

So we have:

He bought the present.

Verbs assign agent roles to their subject and theme roles to their complement:

e.g. He bought the present.

In a passive construction a passive V cannot assign agent role:

E.g. The present was given by him.

< th>














presentwasgiven e

by him

Thematic role assignment in a wh question:

E.g. What should the man bring?

The man should bring what

(role received by virtue of its position in Deep Structure, not Surface Structure, where it occurs at the beginning of the sentence)

It results that a NPs deep structure position determines its thematic role. The relevance of deep structure to the assignment of thematic roles is important for two reasons:

1. It shows that syntactic structure not only represents the way in which words are organised into phrases, but also is relevant to semantic interpretation.

2. The fact that a NPs position in deep structure determines its thematic role provides additional support for the existence of this underlying level of syntactic structure; there are at least two types of syntactic rules.




NPProvedThe professor proved (NP the theorem)

0VanishThe child vanish

APBecomeThe man became (AP very angry)

PPDashThe dog dashed (PP to the door)

NP NPHandWe handed (NP the man) (NP a map)

PP PPTalkI talked (PP to a doctor) (PP about Sue)



Complement options (Ns)Sample headsExample

PP PPPresentationthe presentation (PP of a medal) (PP to the winner)

Adjective complementsSample headsExample

OTallvery tall-

Preposition complementsSample headsExample

NPInin (NP the house)


1. Each of the following phrases consists of a specifier and a head. Draw the appropriate branching tree for each example:

a) the zoo

b) always try

c) so witty

d) perhaps pass

e) less bleak

f) this house

g) very competent

h) quite cheap

i) never surrender

j) those books

2. The following phrases include a head, a complement, and (in some cases) a specifier. Draw the appropriate tree structure for each example.

a) into the house

b) repaired the telephone

c) full of mistakes

d) more towards the window

e) a film about pollution

f) always study this material

g) perhaps earn the money

h) that argument with Owen

i) the success of the programme

3. Draw phrase structure trees for each of the following sentences:

a) Those guests should leave.

b) Maria never ate the brownie.

c) That shelf will fall.

d) The glass broke.

e) The student lost the debate.

f) The manager may offer an increment

g) The judge often sentences shoplifters.

h) The teacher often organised a discussion.

i) A psychic will speak to this group.

j) Marianne could become quite fond of Larry.

4. Indicate the category of each word in the following sentences; Then, draw the appropriate branching tree structure for each sentence:

a) The tutor told the students to study.

b) The customer asked for a cold beer.

c) He have the Red Cross some money.

d) The jet landed.

e) A journalist wrote the article.

f) Julie is tired of her job.

5. Indicate the category of each word in the following sentences; Then, draw the appropriate branching tree structure for each sentence:

a) That glass suddenly broke.

b) A jogger ran towards the end of the lane.

c) These dead trees might block the road.

d) The detective hurriedly looked through the records.

e) The peaches never appear quite ripe.

f) Gillian will play the trumpet and the drums in the orchestra.

6. Apply the substitution test to determine which of the bracketed sequences in the following sentences form constituents; Then draw appropriate branching trees for each sentence:

a) [The tragedy] upset the entire family.

b) They hid [the cave].

c) The [computer was very] expensive.

d) [The town square and the civic building] will be rebuilt.

e) Jane [left town].

f) The goslings [swam across] the lake.

7. Apply the movement test to determine which of the bracketed sequences in the following sentences form constituents; Then draw appropriate branching trees for each sentence:

a) We ate our lunch [near the river bank].

b) Steve looked [up the number] in the book.

c) The [island has been] flooded.

d) I love [peanut butter and bacon sandwiches].

e) The environmental [movement is gaining momentum].

8. Lexical categories are divided into subcategories on the basis of their complements. For each of the following words, two potential complement options are given. For each of the words:

i) Determine which one of the two options better matches the subcategorisation requirements of the verb, noun or adjective.ii) Justify your choice by creating a sentence using that complement option.



a) Expire

or NP NPb) Destroy

NP or c) Observe

NP or PPto PPaboutd) Discuss

NP or e) Clean

NP PPfor or NP NPf) Mumble

NPor NP NPg) Throw

or NP PPloch) Paint

NP PPto or NP PPfor



a) Debate

PPof PPto or PPwith PPaboutb) Hammer

or PP PPwith PPaboutc) Success

PPof PPto or PPofd) Transfer

PPwith PPabout or PPof PPtoe) Sickness

or PPwith PPabout



a) Strong

or PPaboutb) sick

NP or PPofc) bored

PPwith or PPofd) knowledgeable

PPto or PPaboute) small

PPof or 9. The following sentences all contain embedded clauses that function as complements of a verb. Draw a tree structure for each sentence:

a) The reporter said that an accident injured the boy.

b) The fishermen think that the company polluted the bay.

c) Barbara reported that a student asked whether the eclipse would occur.

10. The following sentences all contain embedded clauses that function as complements of an adjective, a preposition or a noun. Draw a tree structure for each sentence:

a) The police appeared happy that the criminal would surrender.

b) That officer was sure that Gerry often speeds down the motorway.

c) Anna wondered about whether the exam would cover that section.

d) The jury will never believe the claim that the driver wrecked the Porsche.

11. The derivations of the following sentences involve the inversion transformation. Give the deep structure and the surface structure for each sentence; Then draw a tree structure for each sentence:

a) Will the boss hire Hilary?

b) Can the dog bring the Frisbee?

c) Should the student report the incident?

d) Must the musician play that music?

e) Is that player leaving the team?

12. The following sentences involve the rules of Wh- Movement and inversion. Give the deep structure and the surface structure for each of these sentences. Then draw a tree structure for each sentence:

a) Who should the director call?

b) Who should call the director?

c) What is Joanne eating?

d) Who will those immigrants live with?

e) What might Chris bake for the party?

f) What was Anne bringing to the gathering?

13. The following sentences contain modifiers of various types. For each sentence, first identify the modifier(s), then draw the tree structures:

a) A large iguana suddenly appeared.

b) The headteacher made an important announcement after the class.

c) An unusual event occurred before the game.

d) The very hazardous waste seeped into the ground quickly.

e) A huge moon hung in the black sky.

f) Timothy drew an enormous map during the afternoon.

14. Each of the following sentences contains a relative clause. Draw the deep structure and the surface structure trees for each of these sentences., then draw the tree structures:

a) The animals which Sam saw came from Kenya.

b) Kyle likes the girl whom June befriended.

c) The woman whom Keith lives with recycles plastic.

d) Helen recited a poem which Wordsworth wrote.

e) The canoe which Crusoe built was too heavy.

15. In each of the following sentences, indicate below each NP whether it is agent or theme. The, draw the tree structures:

a) Maria purchased a present.

b) The class was conducted by an expert.

c) Those books were read by young children.

d) An expert conducted the class.

e) A present was purchased by Marie.

16. Analyse the following sentences from a transformational point of view drawing appropriate branching trees for each sentence:

a) All classes were cancelled because the weather was bad.

b) I cant understand why you did such a thing.

c) This is such a beautiful piano that Im sorry I have to sell it.

d) Mary tried hard and solved the exercises quickly.

e) This swimming pool is used by over a thousand people each week.

f) The new central heating is being put in today by the men.

g) Helens book has been just published by her publishers.

h) The meal, which wasnt very tasty, was very expensive.

i) What do you think I should do?

j) The student read a tragedy by Shakespeare and a story by Hemingway.

k) Who carries the luggage?

l) Who meets Mary at the station?

m) Who does Mary meet at the station?

n) Harry, who was tired, went to bed very early.

o) Do you ever get annoyed by people/

p) My radio, which isnt very old, has suddenly stopped working.

q) Last week I ran into an old friend whom I hadnt seen for ages.

r) I think that my boss is the person whom I admire most.

17. Show structural ambiguity by drawing different branching trees for the following sentences:

a) John loves money more than Mary.

b) The ambassador did not leave London to take up an appointment in Africa.

c) She fed her dog biscuits.

d) There are wealthy men and women.

e) Nicole saw the people with binoculars.

18. The following sentences all contain conjunctions. Draw a tree structure for each of the sentences. Show two possible tree structures (a conjunction can link two phrases or two sentences):

a) The cyclist drank a gallon of water and a litre of Coke.

b) The airplane will land at the airport and taxi to the terminal.

c) The dog went down the stairs and out the door.

d) Crusoe landed on an island and ate a goat.

e) Jill should recycle that book and magazine.

f) Hillary knows that spring will come and that the snow will melt.

g) Mary is keen on calculus but tired of chemistry.


[1] ADJECTIVE = (A) A lexical category that designates a property that is applicable to the entities named by nouns, can often take comparative and superlative endings in English, and functions as the head of an adjective phrase (e.g. red, obese, hearty).

[2] ADVERB = (Adv.) A lexical category that typically names properties that can be applied to the actions designated by verbs (e.g. quickly, fearfully).

[3] AGENT = The thematic role of the doer of the action designated by the verb (e.g. Mary in Mary fed the cat).[4] ARGUMENT = A NP which is syntactically a grammatical dependent of a verb and about which semantically the verb says something (e.g. Her friends showed the inspector her letters).[5] AUXILIARY VERB = A functional category that serves as the specifier of a verb (e.g. was in was talking).

[6] COMPLEMENT = The element or elements for which a head is subcategorised and which provide information about entities and locations whose existence is implied by the meaning of the head (e.g. the book in bought the book).

[7] COMPLEMENT CLAUSE = A sentence-like construction that is embedded within a larger structure (e.g. that her father had been a teacher in Mary told her friend that her father had been a teacher).

[8] COMPLEMENTIZER (C) = A functional category that takes an S complement, forming a CP (complementizer phrase) (e.g. whether he knows the truth in I wonder whether he knows the truth).

[9] CONJUNCTION = A functional category that joins together two or more categories of the same type, forming a co-ordinate structure (e.g. and in a man and his dog).

[10] CONSTITUENT = One or more words that occur together as a syntactic unit (e.g. the doctor in The doctor consulted the patient).

[11] CO-ORDINATE STRUCTURE CONSTRAINT, THE = A constraint on transformations that does not allow an element to be removed from a co-ordinate structure (e.g. a man and a woman).

[12] CO-ORDINATE STRUCTURE = A phrase that is formed by joining two (or more) categories of the same type with a conjunction such as but, and, or (e.g. those men and women).

[13] CO-ORDINATION = The operation that groups together two or more categories of the same type with the help of a conjunction (e.g. Tom and his beautiful bride).

[14] CO-ORDINATION RULE, THE = The phrase structure rule that states the composition of a co-ordinate structure: Xn (X n*ConX n. [15] CO-ORDINATION TEST = A test used to determine if a group of words is a constituent by joining it to another group of words with a conjunction such as and, or but (e.g. beautiful but expensive).

[16] DEEP STRUCTURE = The structure generated by the phrase structure rules in accordance with the subcategorization properties of the heads.

[17] DEGREE WORD = (Deg) A functional category that serves as the specifier of a preposition or an adjective (e.g. quite in quite tired; very in very near the house).

[18] DETERMINER = (Det) A functional category that serves as the specifier of a noun (e.g. a, the, these).

[19] DIRECT OBJECT = The NP complement of a verb (e.g. a fish in Judy caught a fish).

[20] FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS = An approach to syntactic analysis that attempts to understand syntactic phenomena in terms of their communicative function.

[21] FUNCTIONAL CATEGORY = A word-level syntactic category whose members are harder to define and paraphrase than those of lexical categories (e.g. auxiliary verbs, conjunctions, determiners, and degree words; also called NON-LEXICAL CATEGORY).

[22] HEAD (of a phrase) = The word around which a phrasal category is built (e.g. V, N, A, P).

[23] INFL (INFLECTION) = The node that appears directly under S in a phrase structure tree and dominates tense as well as other verbal inflection (i.e. person and number); the constituents of INFL take part in subject-verb agreement. INFL is often abbreviated to I).

[24] INVERSION = A transformation that moves Aux from its position within the VP to a position to the left of the subject, formulated as: Move Aux to C.

[25] ISLAND = A constituent that does not permit extraction of a component part (a co-ordinated phrase like the dog and the cat).

[26] LEXICAL CATEGORY = The word-level syntactic categories noun (N), verb (V), adjective (A), and preposition (P).

[27] LINGUISTIC UNIVERSALS = Structural characteristics that occur across the languages of the world.

[28] LINGUISTICS = The discipline that studies the nature and use of language.

[29] MATRIX CLAUSE = The larger phrase in which a complement clause occurs (e.g. I knew that he was right; CP = that he was right).

[30] MODIFIER = An optional element that describes a property of a head (e.g. blue in the blue sky; the book that I read in I liked the book that I read).

[31] MOVEMENT TEST = A test used to determine if a group of words is a constituent by moving them as a single unit to a different position within the sentence (e.g. Yesterday I stayed home; I stayed home yesterday).

[32] MORPHOLOGY = The system of categories and rules involved in word formation and interpretation.

[33] NOUN = (N) A lexical category that typically names entities, can usually be inflected for number and possession (in English), and functions as the head of a noun phrase (e.g. key, Bob, perception).

[34] NP MOVEMENT = A transformation that moves a noun phrase into the subject position.

[35] PASSIVE SENTENCE = A sentence in which the noun phrase bearing the theme role is encoded as subject (e.g. The paper was written by a good student).

[36] PHONETICS = The branch of linguistics that examines the inventory and structure of the sounds of language.

[37] PHONOLOGY = The component of a grammar made up of the elements and principles that determine how sounds pattern in a language.

[38] PHRASE LEVEL = The metrical level on which the stress patterning of phrases is represented.

[39] PHRASE = One or more words that are built around a skeleton consisting of two levels, a phrase level and a word level, and act as a syntactic unit (e.g. the apple, Bob, hurried to class).

[40] PHRASE STRUCTURE RULE = A rule of grammar that states the composition of a phrase (e.g. XP((Specifier) X).

[41] PREPOSITION = (P) A lexical category that functions as the head of a prepositional phrase and occurs before its complement (e.g. into, with, for).

[42] RELATIVE CLAUSE = A CP-sized modifier that provides information about the noun (e.g. that she wants in the book that she wants)

[43] S RULE, THE = The phrase structure rule that states the composition of a sentence: S ( NP Infl VP

[44] SEMANTICS = The study of meaning in human language.

[45] SPECIFIER = A word that helps to make more precise the meaning of the head of the phrase and that occurs immediately beneath XP (e.g. will in will leave).

[46] SUBCATEGORIZATION = The classification of words in terms of their complement options (e.g. eat is subcategorised for a complement NP)

[47] SUBJECT = The NP occurring immediately under S (Mary in Mary is a student).

[48] SUBJECT CONSTRAINT, THE = A constraint on transformations that prevents elements from being removed from a subject phrase).

[49] SUBSTITUTION TEST = A test used to determine if a group of words is a constituent by replacing them with a single word (e.g. them instead of Tom left his old friends).[50] SURFACE STRUCTURE = The structure that results from the application of whatever transformations are appropriate for the sentence in question.

[51] SYNTACTIC CATEGORY = The category into which an element is placed depending on the type of meaning that it expresses, the type of affixes it takes, and the type of structure in which it occurs (includes both lexical and functional categories).

[52] SYNTAX = The system of rules and categories that underlies sentence formation in human language.

[53] TEMPLATE = The innate blueprint of birdsong that predisposes birds to perform a general song that is extremely simplified.

[54] THEMATIC ROLE = The part played by a particular entity in an event (e.g. agent, theme, source, goal, location).

[55] TRACE = The empty element. Marked by the symbol e, that is left in syntactic structure after an element has been moved.

[56] TRANSFORMATION = A type of syntactic rule that can move an element from one position to another (e.g. Will he leave?)

[57] TRANSFORMATIONAL SYNTAX = A widely accepted approach to syntactic analysis in which syntactic phenomena are described in terms of phrase structure rules (which generate deep structures) and transformations (which generate surface structures).

[58] TREE STRUCTURE = A diagram that represents the details of a words or phrases internal structure.

[59] VERB = (V) A lexical category that typically designates actions, sensations, and states, can usually be inflected for tense, and functions as the head of a verb phrase (e.g. see, feel, remain).

[60] WH MOVEMENT = A transformation that moves a wh phrase to the beginning of the sentence: Move a wh phrase to the specifier position under CP.

[61] WH QUESTION = A sentence that begins with a wh word (e.g. Who did you call?)

[62] WORD LEVEL = A level of metrical representation above the foot level.





A phrase is a sequence of one, two or more words arranged in a grammatical unit and lacking a finite verb or such elements of clause structure as subject and verb, as a preposition and a noun or pronoun, an adjective and noun, or an adverb and verb, especially such a construction acting as a unit in a sentence. Phrases are usually classified according to their central word Head, e.g. Noun Phrase (NP), Verb Phrase (VP), Adjective Phrase (AP), Prepositional Phrase (PP), Adverbial Phrase (AdvP), Conjunction Phrase (ConP), Complementizer Phrase (CP), etc.


NP = Tom, the book, the red cat

VP = writes, reads a book, watched a good film yesterday

AP = eager to help people

PP = in the classroom, near the table

AdvP = today, last week.

ConP = a man and a woman

CP (+S) = that he comesCLAUSES

A clause is a syntactic construction containing a subject and predicate (a finite verb) and forming part of a sentence or constituting a whole simple sentence.


Mary said that she was tired. (two clauses)

I waited.

She married a young engineer.

Because I was late, they went without me. (two clauses)

Clauses can be: main (independent) and subordinate (subclause, dependent), finite or non-finite.

A main clause (also called simple clause) is a finite clause that has a subject and a finite verb.

e.g. She failed.

I hurried.

A subordinate clause is a finite clause that gives more information about a main clause, and is introduced by a conjunction such as because, if, that, or a wh-word. Subordinate clauses can come in front of, after, or inside the main clause.


I hurried (independent clause) because I was late (dependent clause).

When he stopped, no one said anything.

They were going by car because it was more comfortable.

I said that I should like to come.

The man who came into the room was short.

A non-finite clause is a subordinate clause which is based on a participle or an infinitive (with no subject or conjunction).


Not knowing what to do, I telephoned Robin.

I persuaded her to try a new method.

A clause is different from a phrase.

A phrase is a group of words which form a grammatical unit. A phrase does not contain a finite verb (of a verb form: distinguishing person, number, and tense, as well as mood or aspect, as opens in She opens the window; of a clause: containing a finite verb) and does not have a subject-predicate structure.

For example:

I liked her expensive new car.

George hated working in the garden.


A sentence is the largest unit of grammatical organisation within which parts of speech (e.g. word, phrase, clause) are said to function. It is a structurally independent grammatical unit of one or more words, in speech often preceded and followed by pauses and in writing begun with a capital letter and ended with a period or other end punctuation, typically consisting of a subject and a predicate containing a finite verb and expressing a statement, question, request, command or exclamation.

E.g. Summer is here.

Who is it?


Sentences are made up of one or more clauses, which are the basic units of grammar. In English, a sentence normally contains one independent clause with a finite verb. Units which are larger than the sentence (e.g. the paragraph) are regarded as examples of discourse.

There are 4 (four) types of sentences: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex (or composite).

A simple sentence consists of one main clause, which has a subject (NP) and one predicate (VP) with one finite verb (The car has stopped) or elliptical (Where is John? In the garden); I like milk (predicate).

E.g. The teacher left.Her father died ten years ago.

I did not open the letter at once.

Little is known about her way of living.

A compound sentence has two or more independent clauses that are equally important which means they are jointed by co-ordination:


We must all eat proper food, or well get sick.

He went to the bar, ordered a drink, and then drank it.I came, I saw, I conquered . (Julius Caesar)

It is an interesting book and yet difficult to follow.

Tom uttered something and then remained silent.

It is strange yet it is true. (two co-ordinated simple sentences)

He is a small boy (ind cl) but he is very strong (ind cl)

Ill either phone you or I will send you a note.

The clauses are joined into one by:a) punctuation alone (asyndetically, without any conjunction)

e.g. The weather was very bad; all classes were cancelled.

b) punctuation and a conjunctive adverb:

e.g. The weather was very bad; therefore all classes were cancelled.

Conjunctive adverbs are:

copulative (addition): moreover, in addition, besides, not only but (also), neither nor, now, then, furthermore, likewise, moreover, again. disjunctive (condition): otherwise, else. adversative (concession): however, still,

nevertheless, but, yet, none the less, all the same, on the other hand, whereas, while. resultative (result): therefore, consequently,

accordingly, so, then, thus, hence.c) a co-ordinate conjunction (syndetically): and, or, but, yet, so, for.

Co-ordinate conjunctions:

copulative (addition): and disjunctive (choice): or adversative (concession, contradiction, contrast): but resultative (result, consequence, conclusion): so explanatory (cause): forE.g. He is an intelligent student, and he takes interest in students.

We must eat proper food, or well get sick.

There are many mistakes but I prefer not to speak about them.

He is a good boy so hell manage on his own.

I cannot give you the book, for there is greatdemand for it.

Similarly, compound sentences may be of the same types:a) copulative (denoting addition): and, not only but (also), neither nor, now, then, furthermore, besides, likewise, moreover, again, in addition, etc.

e.g. First he did his homework, then he went to the cinema.

b) disjunctive (indicating choice): or, either or, else, otherwise, etc.

e.g. Either come in or go out.

c) adversative (denoting contradiction or contrast): but, yet, still, however, nevertheless, none the less, all the same, on the other hand, whereas, while, etc.

e.g. I like tea, whereas / while Joe likes coffee.

d) resultative (denoting inference, consequence, conclusion): so, therefore, then, thus, hence, accordingly, consequently, etc.

e.g. They broke the rules; so they had to leave.

e) explanatory (giving explanations): for

e.g. I went to bed, for it was late.The act or state of co-ordinating or of being co-ordinated is known as co-ordination.

Co-ordination is the linking by co-ordinators of clauses and other sentence parts of equal meaning and grammatical value, e.g. He was conscious of the elegance of his beard and beautiful hands; He seemed extremely troubled and looked up nervously. (When we co-ordinate 2 (two) clauses into a compound sentence we do not repeat the same subject and auxiliary in the second clause).

Co-ordination can link:

Nouns: He made a few friends and many enemies. Adjectives: She was lean and half-starved. Adverbials: Autumn is lengthening into winter, slowly but surely. Conjunctions: I dont know if or when.Co-ordination can link:

Words: He works quickly and efficiently. Phrases: Bored by the conversation, but not wanting to leave, he walked out into the garden. Clauses: He said that he was tired and that he was going to bed.

A complex sentence has one main clause (on which the subclause depends) and one or more subclauses (subordinate/dependent clauses) joined by subordinate conjunctions, e.g. as if, when, after, before, etc.

A dependent (subclause, subordinate) clause contains a full subject and a predicate with a finite verb and begins with a word that attaches the clause to an independent clause (called the main clause). According to function in the sentence, sub-clauses may be:

1. Noun Clauses

E.g. I cant understand why you did such a thing.2. Adjective Clauses (Relative)

E.g. Children who are under twelve must be accompanied by parents.3. Adverbial Clauses

E.g. All classes were cancelled because the weather was bad.

Besides conjunctions, relatives, e.g. as, that, some wh-words (relatives), related adverbs, e.g. so, once, or correlatives, e.g. but also, either or, rather than, but and, neither nor, not only but also, just as than, not so much as, never nor, both and, can be used as subordinators. It is a combination of independent and subordinate (dependent) clauses.

The act or state of subordinating or being subordinated is known as subordination. Subordinating conjunctions introduce subordinate clauses. They do not have to link two clauses. They can introduce the first clause in a sentence.


All classes were cancelled because the weather was bad. He looks as if he needs sleep.

Once you have decided, you have to stick to it. (related adverb)

You can either take the book or leave it with me. (correlatives)

From then on, John was more careful.

When the jar was full, he turned the water off.

He speaks very little English, so I talked to him through an interpreter. (related adverb)

Mary neither likes him, nor wants to see him. (correlatives)

Not only has she been late three times but she has also done no work. (correlatives)

The man I was talking to is a professor. (subordinate clause with no introductory subordinator).

I would rather like a cup of coffee than a glass of wine. (correlatives)

I could never forgive him, nor forget what he had done. (correlatives)

A compound-complex (composite) sentence is a mixture of compound and complex sentences. It contains two or more independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.

E.g. All classes were cancelled because the weather was bad, and students were told to listen to the radio to find out when classes would begin again.

Shakespeare wrote his plays (main clause) while he was working for the Lord Chamberlains Men (subordinate clause) and this explains (main clause) why he knew so much about stagecraft. (subordinate clause).


The smallest sentence unit consists of: NP + VP The NP has the syntactic function of subject, and has the pattern: DETERMINER + MODIFIERS + NOUN

The VP has the syntactic function of predicate, and has the pattern: VERB (auxiliary / operator) + PREDICATION (OBJECT: DO, IO, PIO, PO) / COMPLEMENT (SC / OC) / ADVERBIAL MODIFIERS (Adverbial Clauses)

E.g. His good friend gave him a nice present on his birthday.

NP = his good friend

VP (predication) = gave him a nice present on his birthday

Verb = gave

Objects = him (IO); a nice present (DO)

Adverbial Modifier = on his birthday

They elected him chairman.

NP = they

VP (predication) = elected him chairman.

Verb = elected

Object = him (DO)

Complement = chairman (OC)

Main Structures of Simple Sentence. Clause Types

Languages are generally classified in typological groups according to the clause pattern that is the most frequent in that particular language. As such, there are 7 (seven) basic patterns in English: one is a two-element pattern, two are three-element patterns, and three are four-element patterns.

1. SV The child was laughing.2. SVOd We need a teacher.3. SVCs John is a teacher.4. SVAdvM Mary is here.5. SVOdCo We have proved him wrong.6. SVOdAdvM I put the plate on the table.7. SVOiOd She gives me expensive presents.Other possible clause patterns, mostly used in speech, are:

1. SVOiOdCo She gave us our coffee black.2. SVOiOd - She gave us our coffee.3. SVOdAdvM (Co) They dragged him home (blind drunk).

4. SV (Co) OdC We have proved wrong the clerk.5. SV (AdvM) OdAdvM He took from his pocket a handful of gleaming coins.6. (AdvM) SV (AdvM) Sometimes she sings beautifully.7. S (AdvM) V OIOd She has kindly sent us some photographs.THE SUBJECT AND PREDICATE GROUPS

Modern conceptions state and prove the fact that in a sentence most of the information is transmitted through the PREDICATE GROUP (the verb plus objects, plus complements, or plus adverbial modifiers), while the SUBJECT GROUP (the noun or noun equivalents plus attributes) is the element spoken about, described, analysed, positioned, etc., or merely a referential element, used as a support for the new quantity of information conveyed. In the same terms, the subject group is defined as the theme or topic, while the predicate group is described as the rheme (Cf. A. Banta), or experiencer / comment (Cf. Quirk) i.e. the element of action, of movement, the carrier of the essential information about the theme.

The subject of a sentence may consist of a clause (That she answered the question correctly pleased him enormously), but usually of a NP. It may consist of a pronoun (It rained steadily all day; He had given the girl an apple), or of a single common or proper noun (Universities gradually became famous in Europe during the Middle Ages; John heard the explosion from his office when he was locking the door). But it may be an indeterminately long structure (uncommon) having a noun as head, preceded by other words such as an article, an adjective, or another noun, and followed by a PP or/and by a relative clause. (The new gas stove in the kitchen which I bought last month has a very efficient oven). Again, a subject may be a nominal relative (Whoever breaks this law deserves a fine).

Subject complements, direct objects, and object complements may be realised by the same range of structures as subjects, but subject and object complements have the additional possibility of being realised by AP (having an adjective as head) (She made him very much happier; His brother grew happier gradually).

Indirect objects, on the other hand, have fewer possibilities than subjects, and their realisations are chiefly NP (He had given the girl an apple; That she answered the question correctly pleased him enormously); unlike direct objects and subjects they cannot be realised by that-clauses (She saw that it rained all day; That she answered the question correctly pleased him enormously).

Finally, adverbials can be realised by AdvP (having an adverb as head), e.g. John carefully searched the room; It rained steadily all day; by NP (It rained steadily all day; They make him the chairman every year); by PP (structures consisting of a NP dominated by a preposition), e.g. The girl is now a student at a large university; and by finite clauses (His brother grew happier when his friend arrived) or non-finite clauses (Having been challenged rudely in the street, John was angry).



The Subject Group consists of the noun or noun equivalents (e.g. pronouns, numerals) plus attributes. The Subject Group is also called the Noun Phrase (NP) and has the syntactic function of Subject.

The subject, or NP (in English grammar):

a. typically precedes the main verb in a sentence and is most closely related to it.

b. determines Concord

c. refers to something about which a statement or assertion is made in the rest of the sentence.

That part of the sentence containing the verb or Verb Group (VP) and which may include Objects, Complements, or Adverbials) is known as the Predicate (syntactic function). The predicate is that part of the sentence which predicates something of the subject. For example:



The woman



is good for you.


The term phrase is used to mean group(s) of words e.g. the student or single words, e.g. Henry, they.

The Noun Phrase (NP) is a word or group of words with a noun or a noun substitute (pronoun or numeral) as its head and functioning like a noun in a sentence.

CHARACTERISTICS Its function is equivalent to that of a noun, e.g. Living alone in the sentence Living alone has its advantages. The NP can consist of a single noun or pronoun, or of a noun or pronoun with modifiers, e.g. Henry, the assignment, happiness, he, it, somebody, the white iron gate of the house, the assignment which Henry had to write, he who runs, etc.

Besides nouns as heads (Mary, staff, friend, present, word), occasionally we use pronouns and adjectives as heads of NPs, e.g. One of the worst (pronoun as head); the blue of his eyes (adjective as head).

In some Traditional Grammars, a Participial or Infinitive phrase which could be replaced by a noun or pronoun, for example, the participial phrase mowing the lawn in:

George just hates mowing the lawn.

could be replaced by it:

George just hates it.


A Deteminer (Det) is a word which is used with a noun, and which limits the meaning of the noun in some way. For example, in English the following words can be used as determiners:

a. ARTICLES, e.g. a pencil, the garden

b. DEMONSTRATIVES, e.g. this box, that carc. POSSESSIVES, e.g. her house, my bicycled. QUANTIFIERS, e.g. some milk, many peoplee. NUMERALS, e.g. the first day, three chairs.The Head is the central part of a phrase. Other elements in the phrase are in some grammatical or semantic relationship to the head. For example, in the English NP: the fat lady in the floral dress the noun lady is the head of the phrase.

A Modifier is a word or group of words which gives further information about (modifies) another word or group of words (the Head).

Modification may occur in a NP, a VP, an AP, an AdvP, etc.

a. Modifiers before the head are called premodifiers, for example expensive in this expensive camera.b. Modifiers after the head are called postmodifiers, for example with a stumpy tail in The cat with a stumpy (short and thick) tail.

A Constituent is a linguistic unit, (usually in sentence analysis) which is part of a larger construction.

The Constituents of a NP are:

Determiner + Premodifier + Noun Head + Postmodifier

E.g. The nice lady in grey

the = determiner

nice = premodifier

lady = noun head

in grey = postmodifier

E.g. the sheltered western site away from the ocean

the sheltered western = premodifier

site = head

away from the ocean = postmodifier

a white door which led to a beautiful walled garden

a white = premodifier

door = head

which led to a beautiful walled garden = postmodifier

Determiners can be specified or non-specified

E.g. The students are good.

Students are good.

Premodifiers can be quantifiers or qualifiers.

E.g.The two beautiful women

two = quantifier

beautiful = qualifier

A Qualifier is, in Traditional Grammar, any linguistic unit (e.g. an adjective, a phrase, or a clause) that is part of a Noun Phrase and gives added information about the noun.

For example, her, expensive, and from Paris are qualifiers in the NP: her expensive blouse from Paris.

In Hallidays Functional Grammar, a qualifier is any linguistic unit that is part of a group, gives added information about the Head of the group, and follows the head.

For example, from Paris is a qualifier in the noun group her expensive blouse from Paris.

A Quantifier is a word or phrase which is used with a noun, and which shows quantity. Some quantifiers in English are: many, few, little, several, much, a lot of, plenty of, a piece of, a loaf of, three kilograms of, etc.


Noun phrases may function:

a) as subject of a sentence:

E.g. Mary looked at the boy attentively.

The red dress on the bed is hers. The blue one is mine.

The cinema staff was very polite.

b) As object:

E.g.Have you seen these Romanian paintings? Ive seen all of them. (direct objects)

He gave his friend a nice present. (indirect object; direct object)

c) As subject complement:

E.g. He is one of the worst candidates. He is one of them.

d) As object complement:

E.g. They elected him President of the company.

e) As object of a preposition:

E.g. She left without another word.

He lives in a big house.

I am waiting for one of them.

f) As adverbial modifier:

E.g. Walk that way. I wrote to him last month.

g) As premodifier:

E.g. This is the Queen of Englands Palace.

h) As postmodifier:

E.g. It was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the great American romancer.

i) As free modifier:

E.g. A professional man, he retired when his wife died. He felt helpless, a spectator who had enough troubles of his own.


A determiner / a determinative is a word used in front of a noun and before any adjectives in the phrase to indicate whether you are referring to a specific thing or just to something of a particular type. It may function as an adjunct word (a. modifying word or phrase depending on some other word or phrase; b. an element of clause structure with adverbial function. in a noun phrase)


all the day

three whole years

enough trouble

either arm

There are two types of determiners: specific and general.

Specific determiners are used to help to identify persons or things, when the person you are talking to will know which person or thing you are referring to. They are:

a) articles: a / an, theb) possessive determiners: my, your, his, her, our, your, their.

c) demonstrative determiners: this, that, these, those.

e.g. The man began to run towards the boy.

e.g. Id been waiting a long time to park my car.

E.g. Young people dont like these operas.

We cannot put two determiners from any group a, b, c together, e.g. a / my / this/ book.

General determiners (most of them quantifiers) say how much or how many we are talking about. They are used when you are mentioning people or things for the first time, or talking about them generally without saying exactly which ones you mean. They are:

Some, any, no Each, every, either, neither Much, many, more, most Little, less, least A few, fewer, fewest Enough, several All, both, half What, whatever, which, whichever One, two, three, etc., otherE.g.

There were several reasons for this.

You can stop at any time you like.

There was a man in the lift.

We can put together two general determiners if the combination makes sense,

E.g.We meet every few days.

Have you got any more coffee?

Determiners usually precede the noun they determine, but we do not use them in random order. According to that criterion, we identify 3 (three) groups of determiners: predeterminers, central determiners, postdeterminers.a) PredeterminersE.g.

some quantifiers: all, both, half

multipliers: once, twice, double, etc.

intensifiers: such, what.

b) Central determiners (the most important group)


articles: a, an, the

demonstratives: this, that, these, those

possessives: my, your, his, her , our, their

some quantifiers; some, any, no, etc.

wh-determiners: what, which, whose

Not all predeterminers can be used with all central determiners for semantic reasons. But where we use two or more determiners together, the order is as follows:

Predeterminer + Central + NounE.g. all that yearboth these girlshalf the distancejust her appearanceonly the prize

Predeterminer + of + Central Determiner + Noun (Countable Nouns)E.g. each of these girlsenough of his moneya large number of bookseither of the films

Predeterminer(s) + of + Central Determiner + Noun (Countable Nouns)

E.g. a few more of those cakesplenty more of our bookstwo or three more of the teachersany more of my brothers

Central + Postdeterminer + NounE.g.

the other side

the third time

her two hands

the same thing

Predeterminer + Central Determiner + Postdeterminer(s) + Noun (less frequently)


all these six boys

only the first two days

half my books

all the other days


A modifier is a word or group of words which comes in front of a noun and adds information about the thing which the noun refers to. They usually stand between any determiners and the head in a NP, making its meaning more precise:

e.g.the two leading social orders

the two = determiners

leading social = premodifiers

orders = head

Modification is a structure and it may be described in terms of the arrangements of the units of which it is composed:


A premodifier (quantifier or qualifier) is a unit (a word, phrase, or sometimes a clause) that is placed between the determiner(s) and the noun head (unless it is one of the degree modifiers of a modifier):

e.g. a very interesting book

Premodifiers (determiners and pronouns) are also called quantifiers because they show quantity or amount, e.g. all, both, each, half, every, neither, nor, no one; they are also called qualifiers because they show quality, e.g. beautiful, gorgeous, ugly, interesting.

A postmodifier is a unit (a word, a phrase, or a clause) immediately following the noun head, giving more precise meaning to the head. Postmodification is also called noun complementation, i.e. these postmodifiers, mostly abstract nouns, are complements that complete the meaning of the head.


a very interesting book to read.

a man of strong will

Premodifiers can be:

a) adjectives:


This is the main part of the course.

A harder mattress often helps with back injuries.

After the crossroads look out for the large white building.

b) nouns:


The tennis teacher is in the gym.

the music industry

c) adverbs:


The overhead projector is there.

merely a matter of routine

the now secretary

the downstairs television room

d) compounds:

E.g. easy-going people

heavily-built machine

a four-month-long winter

the floor-washing mornings

e) sentences:


a live-and-let-live individualism

devil-may-care characters

stick-in-the-mud opinion

a wash-at-night-and-wear-in-the-morning dress

Postmodifiers can be:

a) adjectives:


William the Silent

It is the only thing notable

It is the only solution possible. (which is possible)

A road fifty feet wide

The house ablaze (on fire) is next door to ours.

Compare: the stars visible (at a time specified)

the visible stars (at appropriate times)


1. The following adjectives: elect (soon to take office), proper (as strictly defined), absent, present, concerned, involvedE.g.the president elect

syntax proper

all the people present

The idea came from the party concerned.

You will be informed about the event by the person available.

2. In a few fixed phrases: court martial, attorney general, body politic, heir apparent, letters patent, Knight errant, the Theatre Royal, the Post Laureate, from times immemorial, the Postmaster General, proof positive, chairman elect, heir presumptive, postmaster general, lords spiritual, lords temporal, astronomer royal.

b) adverbs:

E.g. down in the cellar beneath

the long march back

he alone

the crowd outside

a reflection of life today in Romania

The house there is ours.

The discussion afterward was very interesting.

c) prepositional phrase:

E.g. a man with long hair

his criticism of the project

authors of today

The walls of my room are white.

Look at the wings of this butterfly.

They helped the children of the poor.

pile of stones (Partitive Genitive)

a man of tact (Qualitative Genitive)

his angel of a wife (Appositive Genitive)

Well be staying with friends of Joes, (The Double Genitive)

d) noun (apposition)

Apposition is the use of a word or phrase immediately following another word or phrase and referring to the same person or thing.


Paris, the capital of FranceThis novel was written by Dickens, the great English writer.

A noun (phrase) in apposition is used to qualify or identify another noun. Noun phrases in apposition are of equal rank, stand next to each other and refer to the same person or thing.

With the stress upon the apposition, we have: Uncle Tom, Professor Albu, Aunt Mary, My friend Joe, Captain Cook, The river Thames, etc.

e) clauses (relative and appositive)

E.g.Thats the boy who found it. (relative clause)

The belief is that Michael has been sent to India. (appositive clause)

I bought this dictionary, which has helped me a lot. (relative clause)

The news that he has died is not true. (appositive clause)

He was no older than his brother, who had been killed at his side. (relative clause)

Its a question of how to attain it. (appositive clause)


The head preceding an appositive clause is always an abstract noun, like: appeal, belief, decision, idea, news, thought, hope, sign, indication, rumour, doubt, certainty, certitude, likelihood, possibility, probability, evidence, fact, proof. Appositive clauses are nominal clauses marked off by commas, which have a similar relationship to the preceding noun head. They may be:

- That clauses, e.g. She sent a message that Castor would be out.

- Wh clauses, e.g. Lewis knew what bitterness was in his mind.

- To- Infinitive clauses, e.g. I do not mean to be rude.

Both appositive and relative clauses may start with that. But appositive clauses may not start with which, as relative can. So where which can alternate with that, the clause is likely to be relative and not appositive.

E.g. The premature news that this battle was lost caused consternation. (appositive clause)

The premature news that / which said the battle was lost caused consternation. (relative clause)

Appositive clauses may be defining and non-defining:

E.g. Mary had a strong belief that her husband intended to leave her. (defining)

Marys belief, that her husband intended to leave her, resulted in reality. (non-defining)


A noun clause is a clause which acts as the subject or object of a sentence.

E.g. Lucy told me why she was worried.

Nominal is:

1. a term used instead of a Noun.

2. A term for a linguistic unit which has some but not all characteristics of a noun, e.g. wounded in The wounded were taken by helicopter to the hospital.

Although wounded is the Head of the noun phrase the wounded and is preceded by an article, it would not be modified by an adjective but by an adverb, e.g. the seriously wounded.

A Nominal Clause (also a Noun Clause) is a clause which functions like a noun or noun phrase; that is, which may occur as subject, object complement, in apposition, or as prepositional complement.

For example:

Nominal clause as subject: What she said is awful.

Nominal clause as object: I dont know what she said

Nominalization is the grammatical process of forming nouns from other parts of speech, usually verbs or adjectives. For example, in English: nominalized forms from the verb to write: writing, writer as in: His writing is illegible. Her mother is a writer.

Noun clauses are introduced by the following subordinators:

Conjunctions: that, whether, if (as if);

Pronouns: who (whoever, whomever), what (whatever, whatsoever), which (whichever, whichsoever);

Adverbs: where, when, how, why.NOTES:

- the most common subordinator is that- whatsoever and whichsoever are archaic.


Noun clauses may function as:

1. Subject (S)


That all of them are happy is visible.

What she said is unclear.

How he got into the house is a mystery. It (preparatory) + V + SC + S (sentence)


It is strange that they did not come at all.

It is necessary that we should learn for the exam. It + V + S (sentence)

E.g. It seemed that the meeting would never end.

Does it matter whether I tell you the truth or not?NOTE: The subject clauses are never separated by a comma.

2. Subject Complement (SC)


You became what you you had always wanted to be.

That is why she came to see me.

It looks as if it were going to rain.

This is where we work.

The trouble is that I am short of money.

3. Object (O)

NOTE: This is the most usual function of the noun clause.

An object clause (i.e. a noun clause which is the object of a verb) may be:

A statement: a. S + V + DO (=that-clause; lest, etc.)E.g.

She said that she had been ill.

He suggested that we should read the whole novel.

I think that they will accept the invitation.

I feared lest he should fail. (formal style)

I am afraid he might fail. (informal style)

b. S + V + (to + IO) PIO + DO

We suggested to her that he might be the thief. S + V + it (DO) + OC + DO (clause)

E.g. We considered it a compliment that the BC should visit our university.

I thought it right that he should be invited. S + V + DO (=Subordinator + Clause)

E.g. He asked whether I had bought a new car.

I wonder what it is.

I know how hard you worked. S + V + IO + DO (clause)

E.g. He told me what the time was. S + V + PO (Preposition+ Subordinator + Clause)

E.g. It depends on whether they arrive in time.THE SUBJECT


The subject is a syntactic unit that functions as one of the two main constituents of a sentence, the other being the predicate, and that consists of a noun, noun phrase, or noun substitute typically referring to the one performing the action or being in the state expressed by the predicate, as I in I gave notice.


The students like to listen to good music.

Men are used to working harder than women.

The chief export of Cuba is sugar.

In an active clause, the subject is the part of the clause that refers to the person or thing that does the action indicated by the verb, or that is in the state indicated by the verb.

E.g. Helen broke another glass today.

Oil floats on water.

In a passive clause, the subject refers to the person or thing that is affected by an action or involved in someones thoughts.


She had been taught logic by an uncle.

The examination is regarded as an arbitrary, unnecessary barrier.

The subject is that principal part of the sentence which shows who / what performs the action expressed by the predicate or to whom / to what a feature or characteristic expressed by the predicate is ascribed.

You do not add a pronoun after the subject in a clause, e.g. you do not say My sister she came to see me yesterday. You say My sister came to see me yesterday.


The verb in a clause should agree with the subject. This means it should have an appropriate form depending on whether the subject is singular, uncountable, or plural.


He wears striped shirts.

People wear wollen clothing here even on hot days.


The subject occupies fixed positions in the English sentence.

In a statement, the subject usually comes in front of the verb.

E.g. I want to talk to the teacher.

In questions, the subject comes after an auxiliary or after the verb be, unless the subject is a wh-word or begins with a wh-word.


Has he been to the seaside?

Why are you here?

Who taught you to read?

Which library has the book?

In an imperative clause, there is usually no subject.

E.g. Show the draft of the paper.

In writing mainly, the main verb is put in front of the subject when an adverbial of place is put at the beginning of a clause.

E.g. Behind the desk was a middle-aged woman.

Inversion also takes place in speech after here and there when you are drawing attention to something.


Here comes the cloud of smoke.

Theres another one.*You do not use inversion when the subject is a personal pronoun.

E.g. Here he comes.

There she goes.

Inversion occurs when broad negative adverbs or other negative adverbials, E.g. only when / then are put at the beginning of a clause for emphasis. This structure is used in formal speech and writing.

E.g. Never in my life have I met such a beautiful girl.

Only when he saw her again, did he realise he was in love with her.

Only then did he start meeting her again.

You use inversion after so when you are saying that the previous positive statement also applies to another person or group.


I read a lot. So do I.

*When so is used to express surprise or to emphasise that someone should do something, inversion does not occur:


It is on the table behind you. So it is.

I feel very guilty about it. So you should.

You use inversion after neither and nor when you are saying that the previous negative statement also applies to another person or group.


You have read neither the book nor have written the report.

I cannot remember. Neither can I.

Inversion of subject and predicate also occurs in conditional clauses that are not introduced by a conjunction. This structure is formal.


Had he been to the party, he would have met Jane.

Inversion can also occur in comparisons after as:


I read a lot for this exam as did all my colleagues.KINDS OF SUBJECTS

Subjects may be simple, compound, coordinated, complex, and double.

Simple subjects are expressed by one word, usually a noun or a noun equivalent, possibly accompanied by attributes.


A train was coming in.

Whistling would be heard.

Compound subjects, although expressed by two or several elements (nouns), represent one person or one thing.


Here comes my lord and master.

Drinking and smoking ages man.

Michelangelo, the painter and poet was born in Florence.

The agreement is in the singular. Sometimes they may not refer to one thing but they are perceived as one entity.


Strawberries and cream is delicious.

To read and to write until midnight is tiring.

Coordinated subjects include two or more elements which refer to several notions joined by coordinating conjunctions. Agreement is usually in the plural.

E.g. A boaster and a liar are cousin-germans.

In the case of two alternative subjects connected by or, the predicate will agree with the noun closer to the verb.


The teacher or the pupils are at fault.

Either she or we are going home.

In the case of two subjects linked by as well as, besides, like, unlike, in addition to, together with, and not, except, but agreement is with the first subject:

E.g. Liese together with some other colleagues is in the classroom.

In the case of two subjects connected by not only but, the predicate agrees to the subject closer to the verb:

E.g. Not only I but the teacher thinks it right.

Complex subjects are subjects (or rather subject phrases) made up of heterogeneous elements.

a. The for-to phrase


For him to do that is rather difficult.b. The Nominative with the Infinitive


He is said to be a good student.c. The Nominative with the Indefinite Participle


The students were seen taking part in the course.d. Subordinate Subject Clauses

E.g. That he will manage is beyond any doubt.

Double subjects appear only in folk poetry, in nursery rhymes and in careless speech and consists in both a noun and a pronoun which is a substitute for the former (clearly a case of redundancy).

E.g. O, my trade it is the rarest one.

The subject may be expressed by:

1. NP (including noun substitutes)

E.g.Every ass loves to hear himself bray. (English proverb)

Beauty is but skin-deep. (abstract noun)

Riding is joy. (verbal noun)

The Henry I knew was another man. (proper name)

Petru Maior University is a state university. (fixed group of words)

He is absent. (pronoun).

Five of them were present. (numeral)

But is a conjunction. (substantivised part of speech)

Yesterday will not be called again. (substantivised part of speech)

2. Verbal Phrase (Infinitive Phrase, Gerundial Phrase)

E.g.To promise and to give nothing is comfort to a fool. (IP)

He said that bringing home his mother would save his mother. (GP)

3. A clause

E.g. Whoever broke it needs a good lesson.

That they come is not certain.

What is worth doing is worth doing well.


From the point of view of their semantic content / value, i.e. the amount of mea