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Syntax (Seminar Introduction to Linguistics, Andrew McIntyre)

1. Introductory Concepts
1.1. Syntactic categories
A first step in analysing the structure of sentences is to identify the syntactic categories
(parts of speech) in the sentence. (1) lists the most important syntactic categories:
(1) Category
Abbreviation Example
a. noun
N
John, London, computer, city, stupidity, event
b. verb
V
hear, think, kill, shorten, eavesdrop, exist
c. adjective
A
good, obscene, demented, lovely, schoolmasterly
d. preposition P
by, in, with, from, to, at, inside, despite
e. adverb
Adv
slowly, often, now, mostly
f. determiner
D, Det
a, the, this, those
It is difficult to give clear definitions for each of the syntactic categories. Definitions
based on meaning like (2) are unreliable. For instance, there are nouns which denote
activities (the hammering), events (recital), states (drunkenness) and properties (silliness).
(2) a. Nouns denote people, places or things.
b. Verbs denote events, activities or states.
c. Adjectives denote properties.
More satisfactory are definitions based on morphological and syntactic criteria, e.g.:
(3) Examples of morphological criteria for categories (for English only!):
a. Nouns can take plural s or one of its allomorphs: dogs, children
b. Verbs have inflection for person, tense, number: she talks/talked; she sings/sang
c. If a word can take comparative/superlative affixes, it is an adjective: taller/tallest
d. If -ly can be added to a word to form an adverb, that word is an adjective (slowly).
(4) Examples of syntactic criteria for categories in English (Assume that each pair of
brackets is filled by only one word):
a. They have no [N ]
b. the [A ] [N ]
c. She did this very [Adv ]
d. They are very [A ]
e. They can [V ]

1.2. Constituent structure


A central task in syntax is to devise rules which predict which sentences are acceptable to
native speakers and which are unacceptable. For instance, since (5)a) is acceptable and
(5)b) unacceptable, we might propose that the mental grammar of a native speaker
includes a word order rule like (5)c), but not one like (5)d).
(5) a. That man likes that woman.
b. *That man that woman likes.
c. S D+N+V+D+N
(=A sentence can consist of the sequence determiner +
noun + verb + determiner + noun)
d. *S D+N+D+N+V
However, word order rules like (5)c,d) are inadequate. (5)a) could be changed as in (6),
and in infinitely many other ways. To describe all the possible variants using word order
rules like (5)b), we would need infinitely many such rules. Such rules explain nothing.
(6) a. Change [That man] to: [That old man]; [That old man with the Elvis hairstyle];
[He]; [That extremely old and decrepit man]; [The man who nearly got electrocuted]...
b. Change [that woman] to: [her]; [fast piano playing]; [intellectual free jazz and late

Beethoven string quartets]; [his photographs of Victorian guesthouses in Tasmania]...


c. After man in (5)a), add and followed by anything that yields an acceptable sentence.
d. At the end of (5)a), add and followed by anything that yields an acceptable
sentence.
A first step in formulating better rules is to realise that sentences are formed by combining
words with other words to form larger groups of words (=constituents). Constituents
combine with other constituents to form bigger constituents, until we have the largest
possible constituent, a sentence. Examples of the usefulness of constituents:
The bracketed expressions in (6)a,b) are noun phrases (NPs), constituents containing a
noun and material describing it, or pronouns (he, her, it). Recognising NPs allows us to
describe the sentences in (5)a,b) and all variants in (6)a,b) with one rule in (7).
(7) S NP V NP (simplified; to be revised later!)
The rule in (8) allows us to handle the possibilities in (6)c,d).
(=A constituent of category X can be replaced by two
(8) [X ] [X ] and [X ]
constituents of the same category joined by and.)
Rules like (7) and (8) which appeal to the existence of constituents greatly simplify the
description of the sentences in (5) and (6), and all other sentences.

1.3. Tests for constituents


To determine whether a string (i.e. group of words) is a constituent or not, linguists use tests
like the following ones.
a) Proform test. If you can replace a string with a proform, the string is a constituent.
Proforms stand for constituents already mentioned. E.g. pronouns (which replace NPs;
she/him/they etc). Other proforms: somewhere, do so, there).
(9) a. The lady running the group handed in her resignation at noon.
b. She handed in her resignation. [ The lady running the group is a constituent]
c. The lady running it handed in her resignation. [ the group is a constituent]
d. The lady running the group did so at noon. [ handed in her resignation is a
constituent]
e. The lady running the group handed in her resignation then. [at noon is a
constituent]
b) Question test. A string is a constituent if you can ask about it using a wh-expression (e.g.
where/how/when/why/what/who(m); with whom?, at what time?, in whose house?). The
answer to the question is also a constituent. (10) illustrates this with reference to (9)(a).
(10) a.
A: What did the lady running the group hand in at noon?
B: Her resignation.
b.
A: Who handed in her resignation at noon?
B: The lady running the group
c.
A: When did the lady running the group hand in her resignation?
B: At noon
c) Movement test. If a string can be moved to some other position in the sentence, it is very
likely to be a constituent.
(11) a. Egbert was reading a thick book about formal logic on the balcony on Sunday.
b. On Sunday, Egbert was reading a thick book about formal logic on the balcony.
c. On the balcony, Egbert was reading a thick book about formal logic on Sunday.
d. Egbert was reading on the balcony on Sunday a thick book about formal logic.
(12) a. Rover ran out of the house.
b. Out of the house Rover ran.
(13) a. Ann is not a fan of mindless techno music.
b. A fan of mindless techno music, Ann is not.
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Syntax
(14) a. Gertrude wasn't interested in art.
b. Interested in art, Gertrude wasn't.
(15) a. Hortense didn't win the race.
b. Win the race, Hortense didn't.
d) Coordination test. If you can coordinate two strings (i.e. join them together using
conjunctions (e.g. and, or)), the strings are constituents. E.g. the underlined strings in (16)(a)
and (17)(a) are shown to be constituents in (16)(b,c) and (17)(b,c).
(16) a. I went to the post office to post a letter.
b. I went to the post office to post a letter and did the shopping.
c. I did the shopping and went to the post office to post a letter.
(17) a. She spoke to a small number of the students interested in the subject.
b. She spoke to a small number of the students interested in the subject and the staff.
c. She spoke to the staff and a small number of the students interested in the subject.
More advanced tests (optional)
e) Cleft test. (18)(a) is changed into cleft sentences in (b-d). Cleft sentences have the form in
(18)(e). The material between was/is and that (underlined) must be a constituent.
(18) a. The guests from overseas visited the best parts of the city on Monday.
b. It was on Monday that the guests from overseas visited the best parts of the city.
c. It was the best parts of the city that the guests from overseas visited on Monday.
d. It was the guests from overseas that visited the best parts of the city on Monday.
e. It {was/is} X that ...
[where X is some constituent]
f) Pseudocleft test. (18)(a) is converted to pseudocleft sentences in (19)/(20). A form of be
divides the sentence into two parts, of which one begins with what and the other is a
constituent (the latter constituents are underlined below).
(19) a. What the guests from overseas visited on Monday was the best parts of the city.
b. The best parts of the city were what the guests from overseas visited on Monday.
(20) a. What the guests from overseas did on Monday was visit the best parts of the city.
b. Visit the best parts of the city was what the guests from overseas did on Monday.
(21) a. I don't need losers like him who can't think their way out of a paper bag.
b. What I don't need are losers like him who can't think their way out of a paper bag.
c. Losers like him who can't think their way out of a paper bag are what I don't need.
(22) a. She seemed to be totally fed up with the inefficiency of the system.
b. What she seemed to be was totally fed up with the inefficiency of the system.
c. Totally fed up with the inefficiency of the system was what she seemed to be.
g) Though test. If though means although, it forces an inversion of word order where though
is preceded by a constituent. Cf. (23):
(23) a. Although she is a defender of free will... = A defender of free will though she is...
b. Although they are annoyed at him... = Annoyed at him though they are...
c. Although he worked hard...
= Work hard though he did...

1.4. Phrases and the notion head


Each word-level category (N,V,P and others in (1)) is part of a constituent (called a
phrase) which also contains material giving information about it or dependent on it.
Examples:
(24) a. Noun Phrase (NP): the (biggest) tree (in the garden)
b. Verb Phrase (VP): (often) played (in a band) (on Saturday nights)
c. Prepositional Phrase (PP): under the window
c. Adjective Phrase (AP): (very) proud (of his children)
We explain each of these in more detail later, but for now note the properties which all
these phrases have in common.
Underlined are the heads of the phrases. The head of a phrase is the word that determines
the properties of the whole phrase. Heads are obligatory in phrases. Everything in a phrase
depends on the head (e.g. gives information about the head, is in the phrase because the
head requires or allows it to be).
Useful terminology: N heads or projects NP, NP is a projection of N.
Recall from morphology that words can also have heads: bird is the head of [N [A black] [N
bird]]. Unlike in syntax, combining words in morphology yields words, not phrases.

2. Basic details about some important types of phrases


2.1. Noun Phrase (NP)
Examples of various types of noun phrases (NPs):
(25) a. the woman; a big tree; this coffee, our existence
b. a (famous) singer (of exceptional talent) (who got run over by a truck)
c. a (renowned) expert (on indigenous Australian music) (from Brisbane)
d. the (most important) representatives (of workers' interests) (at the conference)
Why underlined nouns are considered the heads of these expressions:
a. The whole NPs refer to (instances of) the entity/concept named by the noun.
b. All the material in the phrase is there to give information about the noun, so it follows
that the noun is the central element of the phrase.
Pronouns (she/him/it/ them etc.) are proforms for NPs, not just nouns. Proof:
(26) a. They found [NP a big tree] and sat under it.
b. *They found [NP a big tree] and sat under the big it.
Here are examples of NPs which contain only one word (a noun or pronoun). They are
considered to be complete NPs because there is no other material that is dependent on the
head noun, and because they appear in other positions where one finds NPs (e.g. the
subject position of a sentence):
(27) Pronouns:
[NP I] like [NP it]
(28) Mass/plural indefinites: [NP [N Italians]] drink [NP [N wine]]
(29) Proper names: [NP Maria] likes [NP England]

A. Apply two constituent tests to show that the underlined phrases are constituents.
1. A lady in a blue dress sang the national anthem in the stadium some time after noon.
2. Someone saw a suspicious-looking man with a briefcase walking around in the foyer on
Monday half an hour before the building blew up.

B. Find all the NPs in the following sentences. Use the pronoun test to help you.
1. Someone gave the children presents, but apparently nobody thought that it was not a
good idea to give three-year-olds Swiss army knives.
2. Three strange men in black suits were seen smoking cigarettes behind the building early
in the morning, shortly before a huge explosion blew the roof off the building.

Syntax

2.2. Verb Phrase (VP)


(30)a) illustrates an example of a tree diagramme indicating the constituents in a
sentence. Notice that it contains a constituent called a verb phrase (VP), which combines
with an NP to form the sentence.
(30) a.
S
b.
S
VP
NP
Her mother

NP
V
read

NP

a book

Her mother

NP
V
read

a book

Why do we assume VP exists? Why is Her mother read a book given the structure in
(30)a), not that in (30)b)? Answer: Constituent tests show that VP exists:
(31) a. Her mother READ A BOOK. She did so last week.
[Proform test]
b. A: What did her mother do?
B: READ A BOOK.
[Question test]
c. Her mother [READ A BOOK] and [did a crossword puzzle]
[Coordination]
Her mother [did a crossword puzzle] and [READ A BOOK]
d. READ A BOOK was what her mother did.
[Pseudocleft test]
[though test]
e. READ A BOOK though she did, she was still bored.
Why is V seen as the head of the constituent? I.e. why do we call it a VP? Answer: All
material in the phrase gives information about the situation expressed by the verb.
Other examples of VPs (note that some can consist solely of a verb):
(32) a. (suddenly) died (of cancer) (at a young age)
b. (blindly) rely on the advice of a counsellor
c. (often) called him a maladjusted sociopath
d. (quickly) give Basil the key
e. (often) eats (dinner) (in the kitchen)
Hints for identifying VPs:
Putting an appropriate NP (called a subject) in front of the VP yields a full sentence.
Most VPs start with V, but sometimes there is an adverb in front of the verb, cf. (32).
C. Identify the NP and VP which combine to form the following sentences.
1. The lady over there and her friend know George.
2. Fred obviously believes the story about the Martian invasion.
3. A big problem with the theory still gives the researchers cause for concern.
4. He usually read or watched television.
D. Find all the VPs and NPs in the following sentences.
1. Mary obviously reads the paper every day, but John also knows a lot.
2. Someone sent a book to Marys home, but she never received it.

2.3. Prepositional Phrase (PP)

Proform for spatial PPs: there; for temporal PPs: then. Other PPs cant be replaced by
proforms, e.g. PPs headed by of, about, despite.
Prepositional phrases usually consist of P+NP (as in (33)). Exceptions are as follows:
A few PPs consist of P+PP:
(35) [PP from [PP under [NP the table]]]
Sometimes PPs combine to form larger PPs:
(36) I went [PP [PP out the door] [PP into the garden] [PP to the gate]].
Sometimes the preposition is preceded by an adverb or some other phrase giving
information about the place or direction expressed by the PP:
(37) [PP RIGHT near [NP them]] [PP STRAIGHT towards [NP it]] [PP BACK to [NP London]]
[PP TEN MINUTES before [NP the meeting]] [PP TEN KILOMETRES into [NP the desert]]
E. Find the PPs in the following sentences.
1.
In the photograph someone was standing between Horst and Edeltraud who was
looking at her. In his eyes one could see his immortal love for this fine woman.
2.
In the garden right near the gate was a huge statue of Elvis.
3.
I read in the book on p. 44 the claim that 95% of the population is unable to think for
itself and will put faith in any frequently repeated claim.

2.4. Adjective Phrase (AP)


Examples of different types of adjective phrases (APs):
(38) a. [AP (very) angry (at the rest of the human race)]
b. [AP dull (to the extreme)]
c. [AP (soul-destroyingly) boring]
d. [AP devoid of content]
e. [AP interested (in art) (to some extent)]
APs typically describe NPs. They may appear either inside or outside this NP:
(39) a. [NP a [AP very angry] person] shouted at him.
b. [NP a person [AP very angry about the situation]] shouted at him.
c. [NP the people] became [AP very angry]
If inside the NP, English APs come before the head noun if AP is head-final (see (39)b)).
APs never contain the noun described by the adjective. (Note (39)a).)
F. Find the APs in the following sentences.
1.
Because they are bigger and fairly dangerous, Australian spiders are more interesting.
2.
Because they are responsible for this, they are probably going to have a fairly long
prison sentence, and the free accommodation should make them grateful.

Examples of prepositional phrases (PPs), illustrating the three main types: spatial PPs
(expressing places or directions, as in (a,b)), temporal PPs (expressing times, (c,d)) and
other PPs expressing more abstract meanings (e,f):
(33) a. [PP near [NP the fireplace]]
b. [PP towards [NP the building]]
c. [PP after [NP the discussion]]
d. [PP in [NP the evening]]
e. [PP of [NP her parents]]
f. [PP despite [NP the situation]]
PPs are not a type of NP. Unlike NPs, PPs never denote entities, and cannot be replaced
by pronouns:
(34) a. I went [PP into [NP the building]] [PP with [NP the other people]]
b. I went [PP into [NP IT]] [PP with [NP THEM]]
c. *I went IT THEM.

(40) a. (very) slowly


b. (extremely) well
c. (completely) independently of the approval of his superiors
AdvPs occur (a) inside VP, describing the situation named by the verb, (b) inside APs
indicating the degree to which the adjective is applicable, (c) inside the AdvPs headed by
other adverbs, also indicating the degree to which the main adverb is applicable.
(41) [S [NP Mary] [VP [AdvP very quickly] memorised [NP the material] [AdvP perfectly]]]
(42) [AP [AdvP vaguely/incredibly/mind-blowingly/(so) very/somewhat] cool]]
(43) [AdvP [AdvP incredibly/(so) very/somewhat] skillfully]]

2.5. Adverb Phrase (AdvP)

Syntax

2.6. Sentence (S): The biggest type of constituent treated here


Many sentences consist of NP + VP. Put otherwise: many sentences have NP and VP as
immediate constituents (i.e. the biggest constituents, the first ones we find working
down from the top of the tree). Words are the ultimate (smallest) constituents. There are
often other constituents which are intermediate constituents.
An example of an analysis of the structure for a whole sentence, using two different types
of notation:
(44)
S
VP
PP
NP
AdvP
NP
PP
PP
NP
NP
NP
N
AP
AP
D A
N P D N
Adv V
N P A
N
P N
N
The old man in the caf often reads books by French authors on Saturday nights
(45) [S[NP [D The] [AP [A old]] [N man] [PP [P in] [NP [D the] [N caf]]]] [VP [Adv(P) often] reads
[NP books by french authors] [PP on Saturday nights]]]
More on notation: Constituents can be represented with either trees (=phrase markers,
tree diagrammes) like (44) or (labelled) bracketing as in (45).
Each node (=point in tree with a category label) stands for a constituent.
Triangle notation can sometimes be used to abbreviate constituents if their internal
structure is not important to the point at hand:
(46)
PP
NP
P
by
French authors
G. Draw trees for the following expressions.
1. He likes the music.
2. She left yesterday.
3. The police talked to him.
4. the man in the green suit 5. a nice morning in the sun 6. She gave him a book.
H. Draw trees for the VPs in these sentences. Use triangle notation for NPs, PPs, AdvPs.
a. She often watched videos in the evenings.
b. She gave flowers to her yesterday.
c. She sent John a book yesterday.
e. She went to the pub every night.
f. She woke very early the next morning. g. They called her a genius.

2.7. Coordinated constituents


Coordination (=linking material using conjunctions like and, or, but) obeys two basic rules:
a. Coordination is possible only with constituents of the same category.
b. Coordination forms a phrase of the same category as that of the coordinated constituents.
(47) a.

NP

b.

Adv

NP

conj

NP

Adv

his mother

and

his father

slowly and

conj

Adv
carefully

c.

??
NP

(He is) *

conj

a criminal and

d.

??

PP
in gaol

AdvP conj
(She did it)

* badly and

PP
on Friday

I. Identify the constituents coordinated by the italicised conjunctions below.


1. A cleaner and a professor of physics recently got married.
2. She sang and played a Beatles tune.
3. There was an interesting talk on the last day of the conference, but everyone fell asleep.
4. He went to the restaurant for a pie and chips but only had a glass of wine there.
J. Draw trees for the following expressions.
1. young and very enthusiastic
2. She read a book and went to bed.
3. a lawyer or notary
4. She held lectures in Paris and in London.

2.8. Problems in determining where a phrase begins and ends


Beginners may be tempted to regard a good documentary in (48)a) as an NP, since this
string is clearly an NP in other sentences like (48)b). However, a good documentary is not
a complete NP in (48)a). The PPs by a French journalist and about Spain are clearly also
part of the NP, as they describe the documentary. (49) shows that the underlined string in
(48)a) is an NP and that the string in italics is not (recall that pronouns like it stand for
NPs). (50) applies the movement test to (48)a), showing that the underlined string in
(48)a) is a constituent and that a good documentary is not.
(48) a. I saw a good documentary by a French journalist about Spain last night.
b. I saw a good documentary last night.
(49) a. I saw it last night.
[it replaces NP underlined in (48)]
b. *I saw it by a French journalist about Spain last night. [it does not replace an NP]
c. *I saw it about Spain last night.
[it does not replace an NP]
(50) a. I saw last night a documentary by a French journalist about Spain.
b. *I saw by a French journalist about Spain a documentary last night.
Message from this: when drawing trees or identifying instances of a particular category in
a sentence, ask the following questions:
Have I really found every part of the category in question?
Is there evidence from tests (say the pronoun test for NPs) that confirms/refutes my
hypotheses about where the boundaries of the category are?
Similar examples (the underlined strings are instances of the cateogries indicated, while
the italicised strings are not):
(51) a. She asked an expert on climatology from America about this. [NP]
b. She met the president of the committee on Friday.
[NP]
c. She was very disappointed with the computer on Friday.
[AP]
d. She hit the ball over the fence.
[VP]
K. Find the VPs in the following sentences.
1. She wrote several books on British history.
2. She apparently believes the stories about the aliens.
3. She read a book and went to bed.
4. They emptied and refilled the tank.
L. Find the NPs in the following sentences.
1. People from the mainland often forget Tasmania when they draw maps of Australia.
2. At the next meeting, the president of the committee called in an expert on environmental
pollution and global warming from America.
8

Syntax
M. Draw trees for the NPs below. Use triangle notation for all PPs and APs.
a. her hatred of plastic forks
b. the man in the grey suit near the bar
c. the big, old car in the street
d. the French painter of abstract landscapes
N. Find the APs in the following sentences.
a. Francine's idea of a luxurious Sunday afternoon is to have a nice hot bath while consuming
immoderately large amounts of affordably cheap French champagne or reading some articles
relevant to her work for the next week.
b. It's not so very surprising that he's quitting his job, considering that that large an amount of
boring and difficult work gets assigned to him on an almost daily basis.

3.

Auxiliaries and lexical verbs


Auxiliaries (hard-to-define verb-like words with grammatical functions):
Modal auxiliaries: can, may, must, shall, will, as well as need in some uses.
Other auxiliaries: be, as well as have and do in some uses.

Auxiliaries differ from normal verbs (lexical verbs) as follows:


A) In question inversion, auxiliaries go before the subject NP, lexical verbs do not:
(58) Does she work? vs *Works she? Has she worked vs. *Worked she?
B) Thus, in tag questions an auxiliary can appear but not a lexical verb:
(59) She has worked, hasn't/didn't she? vs. *She worked, worked she?

2.9. NPs with possessive s (advanced)


In NPs with possessive s, the string to the left of s is always a full NP. Usually this NP
can alternatively be expressed in a PP with of, cf. (52).
(52) a. [NP [NP That lady]'s husband] left.
b. [NP [NP That lady at the door]'s husband] left. (i.e. husband of that lady near the door)
c. [NP [NP That lady outside]'s husband] left.
(i.e. husband of that lady outside)
Example of a structure for possessive s-NPs:

C) Negative particles (not, n't) can negate auxiliaries but not lexical verbs:
(60) she mustn't/must not smoke vs. *she smokes not

(53)

E) Lexical verbs can take a complement VP introduced by to. Auxiliaries cannot.


(62) He wants to VP, she tried to VP; he must VP, she did VP
With inversion, tag questions, negation, if there is no auxiliary, a dummy auxiliary do
must be inserted. This phenomenon is called do-support:
(63) a. *smokes she?
/
does she smoke?
b. *she smokes not
/
she does not smoke
c. *she smokes, smokes she?
/
she smokes, doesn't she

NP
D
NP
the person over there

N
car

's

Remember: the possessor (the person/thing that has the noun heading the whole phrase) is
always a full NP which combines with s to form a (definite) determiner.
Possessor NPs are the only type of NP that cant be replaced by a normal pronoun: Anns
car *shes car. This is because there are special possessive determiners which act as
proforms for the D constituent in the tree (her car).
O. Draw trees for the following NPs.
1. her car
2. the babys clothes
3. Freds book about maths
4. John and Marys friend (give different trees for the different interpretations)
5. a friend of my wife's car 6. my friend's wife's car
2.10. More on PPs (advanced)
The underlined items in (54) are often wrongly called adverbs. They have little in
common with real adverbs (often, slowly, well). Modern linguists call them intransitive
prepositions, prepositions not followed by NPs (cf. intransitive verbs: arrive, explode).
(54) a. they went {inside/downstairs/forwards}
b. they are {here/everywhere/downstairs/overhead/ahead/outside}
Evidence that the so-called adverbs in (54) are really prepositions: (a) like other
prepositions, they express directions or places; (b) they can be coordinated with PPs, not
adverbs cf. (55); (c) many prepositions can be used with or without a NP, cf. (56),
suggesting that they are the same kind of element in both contexts. (We dont say that
read has different categories in I read and I read a book.); (d) they can be modified by
right, straight, which otherwise modify prepositions but not adverbs, cf. (57).
(55) a. They walked [PP outside] and [PP down the hall]
b. They went [PP upwards] and [PP over the hill]
c. *They went [PP inside] and [AdvP slowly]
(56) a. They are inside (the house)
b. The sky above (us) and the valley (below)
(57) a. I walked [PP straight/right out (of the house)]
b. I walked [AdvP (*straight/*right) slowly]
9

D) Lexical verbs can be transitive (i.e. take an object), auxiliaries cannot:


(61) he wants/needs a drink vs. *he must a drink

Some verbs can be used either as lexical verbs or as auxiliaries.


HAVE is an auxiliary if used in forming the perfect tense. Otherwise it is lexical:
(64) a. Haveaux you eaten?
b. Don't you havelex a pencil?
DO as a transitive verb is a lexical verb. Otherwise it is an auxiliary (e.g. in dosupport and its emphatic use)
(65) a. Didaux you dolex work/a dance?
b. Martians DOaux exist, I DIDaux see one!
NEED always behaves like a lexical verb when transitive, and means have to have.
When it means just have to it can be either a lexical verb or an auxiliary. If used as
an auxiliary, it is uninflected and is mainly confined to negative contexts and
questions (Need he go? He neednt go. *He need go.).
(66) he doesn't needlex a pencil
(67) a. He needaux(*s/*ed) not do that. b. He doesnt need to do that.
Position of auxiliaries in sentences (main exception to the rule that S = NP+VP):
(68) [S NP Aux VP]
P. Are the underlined verbs lexical or auxiliary verbs?
1. She did something else.
2. He is from Cambodia.
3. He says he left but did he?
4. I have no time.
Q. Decide whether need is an auxiliary or lexical verb in the following sentences.
Reformulate the sentences, changing need to a lexical verb if it is an auxiliary, or to an
auxiliary if it is lexical. (The reformulation may not be possible in all cases.)
a. You don't need to go to the bank.
b. I don't need any help.
c. Nobody need do that.
d. You need to go to the bank.
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