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Proiect cofinanţat din Fondul Social European prin Programul Operaţional Sectorial Dezvoltarea Resurselor Umane 2007-2013

Investeşte în oameni!

Formarea profesională a cadrelor didactice

din învăţământul preuniversitar
pentru noi oportunităţi de dezvoltare în carieră

Remus BEJAN Camelia BEJAN

Program de conversie profesională la nivel postuniversitar

pentru cadrele didactice din învăţământul preuniversitar


Forma de învăţământ ID - semestrul I


of Contemporary English

Remus BEJAN Camelia BEJAN

© 2010 Acest manual a fost elaborat în cadrul "Proiectului pentru Învăţământul
Rural", proiect co-finanţat de către Banca Mondială, Guvernul României
şi comunităţile locale.

Nici o parte a acestei lucrări nu poate fi reprodusă fără acordul scris al

Ministerului Educaţiei, Cercetării, Tineretului şi Sportului.

ISBN 973-0-04113-X
Cont ents


Introduction 2
Objectives of the course 2
Specific competences 2
Presentation of content 3
Course tasks 4
Evaluation, assessment and testing 4
Plan your study 5
Summary 6
Further reading 6
Diagnostic test 6
Answers to diagnostic test 8

UNIT ONE. Basic concepts 10

Objectives of the unit 11
1.1. Grammatical units 11
1.2.The phrasal constituents 12
1.2.1.The noun phrase 12
1.2.2.The verb phrase 14
1.2.3.The adjective phrase 15
1.2.4.The adverb phrase 15
1.2.5.The prepositional phrase 16
1.3. Words 17
1.3.1. Word vs. lexeme 18
1.3.2. Morphological structure of words 18
1.3.3. Word classes 23 Lexical words 23
Nouns 23
Lexical verbs 23
Adjectives 23
Adverbs 23 Function words 23
Determiners 24
Pronouns 24
Auxiliary verbs 25
Modal verbs 26
Prepositions 26
Adverbial particles 26
Coordinators 27
Subordinators 27
The negative particle ‘not’ 27
The infinitive marker ‘to’ 27
Numerals 28
Summary 29
Key Terms 29
Further reading 29
Send-away assignment (SAA) 1 30
Answers to self-assessed questions (SAQs) 1.1– 1.7 31

Cont ents
UNIT TWO. Nouns 33
Objectives of the unit 34
2.1. Types of nouns 34
2.1.1. Proper nouns 34
2.1.2. Common nouns 35
2.2. Noun formation 36
2.2.1. Derived nouns 36
2.2.2. Compound nouns 38
2.3. Number 39
2.3.1. Countable vs. uncountable nouns 39
2.3.2. Regular plural formation 39
2.3.3. Irregular plural formation 46
2.3.4. Foreign plurals 48
2.3.5. Nouns resistant to number contrast 49
2.4. Case 51
2.4.1. The common case 51
2.4.2. The genitive case 51
2.5. Gender 55
2.5.1. Lexical expression of gender 55
2.5.2. Morphological expression of gender 56
2.5.3. Dual gender nouns 57
Summary 58
Key terms 59
Further reading 59
Send-away assignment (SAA)2 59
Answers to self-assessed questions (SAQs) 2.1 – 2. 10 62

UNIT THREE. Determiners and pronouns 65

Objectives of the unit 66
3.1. Determiners 66
3.1.1. Articles 67 Indefinite article 68 Aero article 70 Definite article 72
3.1.2. Possessive determiners 76
3.1.3. Demonstrative determiners 76
3.1.4. Quantifiers 77
3.1.5. Numerals 81
3.1.6. Semi-determiners 85
3.2. Pronouns 87
3.2.1. Personal pronouns 87
3.2.2. Possessive pronouns 89
3.2.3. Reflexive pronouns 90
3.2.4. Reciprocal pronouns 91
3.2.5. Indefinite pronouns 92
3.2.6. Demonstrative pronouns 95
3.2.7. Interrogative pronouns 96
3.2.8. Relative pronouns 72
Summary 98
Key terms 99
Further reading 99
Send-away assignment (SAA) 3 99
Answers to self-assessed questions (SAQs) 3.1 -3.13 102
Cont ents

UNIT FOUR. Verbs 104

Objectives of the unit 105
4.1. Single-word lexical verbs 105
4.1.1. Regular lexical verbs 105
4.1.2. Irregular lexical verbs 107
4.1.3. Formation of verbs 109
4.2. Multi-word lexical verbs 110
4.2.1. Phrasal verbs 110
4.2.2. Prepositional verbs 111
4.2.3. Prepositional phrasal verbs 112
4.2.4. Idioms 113
4.3. Auxiliary verbs: be, have, do 113
Summary 114
Key terms 114
Further reading 114
Send-away assignment (SAA) 4 114
Answers to self-assessed questions (SAQs) 4.1 -4.3 117

UNIT FIVE. Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood 118

Objectives of the unit 119
5.1. Tense 119
5.1.1. Present simple 120
5.1.2. Past simple 125
5.2. Aspect 128
5.2.1. The simple aspect 128
5.2.2. The progressive aspect 128 Present progressive 131 Past progressive 132
5.2.3. The perfective aspect 134 Present perfect simple 134 Present perfect progressive 136 Past perfect simple 138 Past perfect progressive 141
5.2.4. Means of expressing future time 141 Future simple 141 Going to 141 Be to 142 Present progressive 143 Present simple 143 Future progressive 143 Future perfect 144 Future perfect progressive 144
5.3. Voice 145
5.4. Modality 148
5.4.1. Can – could 150
5.4.2. May – might 153
5.4.3. Must 155
5.4.4. Will – would 157
5.4.5. Shall – should 157

Cont ents

5.5. Mood 159

5.5.1. Indicative 159
5.5.2. Imperative 160
5.5.3. Conditional 160
5.5.4. Subjunctive 160
Summary 164
Key terms 165
Further reading 165
Send-away assignment (SAA) 5 166
Answers to self-assessed questions (SAQs) 5.1 -5.21 168

UNIT SIX. Adjectives and adverbs 173

Objectives of the unit 174
6.1. Adjectives 174
6.1.1. Semantic classes 175
6.1.2. Order of adjectives 176
6.1.3. Comparison of adjectives 177
6.1.4. Alternative inflectional or phrasal comparison 178
6.1.5. Formation of adjectives 181 Derived adjectives 181 Compound adjectives 182 Participial adjectives 184
6.2. Adverbs 185
6.2.1. Adverbs and adjectives with the same form 186
6.2.2. Comparison of adverbs 187
6.2.3. Syntactic function of adverbs 188
6.2.4. Semantic classification of adverbs 188
6.2.5. Order of adverbs 192
Summary 194
Key terms 194
Further reading 195
Send-away assignment (SAA) 6 195
Answers to self-assessed questions (SAQs) 6.1 -6.11 198

Glossary of grammatical terms 195

Bibliography 211



1. Introduction 2
1.1. Objectives of the course 2
1.2. Specific competences 2
1.3. Presentation of content 3
1.4. Course tasks 4
1.5. Evaluation, assessment and testing 4
1.6. Plan your study 6

Summary 6
Further reading 7
Diagnostic test 7
Answers to diagnostic test 9


1. Introduction

The study of grammar traditionally includes morphology and syntax.

Morphology is that part of the grammar of a language that studies
the internal structure of words, while syntax involves the study of
word combinations or sentence structure. The Morphology of
Contemporary English is a mandatory course, part of pack 1
(specialism). It assumes a low intermediate standard of knowledge
and operational ability in the language and seeks to fulfill the
following aims:

 to develop your knowledge of English through exploration and

analysis ;
 to enable you to see grammar in general and morphology in
particular as providing means of understanding the relation of
form to meaning and of meaning to situation ;
 to provide you with a basic terminology which will enable you to
make these relationships explicit.

1.1. Objectives of the course

The course will help you demonstrate your capacity of understanding

and using the basic structures of English, which will allow you to
communicate efficiently in the language (orally and in writing), at an
advanced level and meet the fundamental objectives of teaching
English, as well as become aware, through personal experience, of
the difficulties met in learning English.

1.2. Specific competences

By the end of the course you will be able to:

 recognize the main word classes (noun, verb, adjective, etc.);

 recognize the elements that make up the structure of the word
(morphemes, grammatical markers);
 recognize grammatical categories (the nominal categories of
gender, case, determination; the verbal categories of tense,
aspect, mood, the adjectival/adverbial category of comparison);
 carry out complex morphological analysis of sentences (identify
word classes and grammatical categories);
 produce correct sentences observing morphological rules (the use
of tenses and aspect, positioning of adjectives and of adverbs in
the clause, etc.);
 correlate observations concerning the morphological structure of
words with phonetic, phonological, syntactic and semantic

1.3. Presentation of content

This book will introduce you to the study of English morphology. The
grammatical content of the book is presented in 6 independent units,
as follows:

Unit 1 Basic concepts

Unit 2 Nouns
Unit 3 Determiners and pronouns
Unit 4 Verbs
Unit 5 Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood
Unit 6 Adjectives and adverbs

Unit 1 gives a bird’s eye view of the whole course and defines
the basic units of grammar (phrase, word and morpheme). Units from
2 to 6 give a detailed description of the main word-classes of English
(noun, determiner, quantifier, pronoun, verb, adjective and adverb).
The units are further divided into sections, each one being conceived
as a learning component with appropriate practice tasks.
Every unit begins with a statement of the aim and lists its main
objectives. They are designed to assist you in your preparation and
offer a review for study purposes. Through its objectives, each unit
specifies what you will be able to do when you have finished it. The
objectives will help you monitor your own progress and decide on the
work that you need to do in order to get the best possible results.
Each of the six study units which make up the course is
accompanied by intensive practical work. We advise you to build up
a portfolio of the tasks to be undertaken. These and any work in
English that you consider relevant to your training should be
collected at any time for future reference. They will also assist your
preparation for the progress tests and the final examination.
The summary and the list of key terms organized
alphabetically, which we have placed at the end of every unit,
together with the glossary of grammatical terms at the end of the
book are meant to reinforce the main grammatical aspects
To stimulate your interest in studying this course, each unit
contains a variable number of topics for reflection and study. We
encourage you to experiment and apply the ideas and the techniques
used in the course in your own activity, to reflect upon the results and
develop ideas and procedures adapted to the environment in which
you work.

Reflection points (Think first!) are signaled by a

question mark.


Note down any thoughts or experiences you consider useful in

your portfolio, as you progress through the course. This will support
your learning experience and contribute to the work you need to do
for successfully meeting the specific objectives of the course.

1.4. Course tasks

The different areas of grammar lend themselves to a wide variety of

practical linguistic tasks limited only by the time factor.
Self-assessed questions (SAQs) are in-text questions that
break down the text in order to clarify and consolidate certain
teaching points. Some involve the observation and identification of
morphological elements and their semantic functions or of the
relations between them; others call for the manipulation and
completion of classes of words in various meaningful ways. Those
proposed can be selected, adapted, amplified or omitted, according
to need. For all of them, you will find answers at the end of each unit.
We believe that study should not attend solely to the attainment
of certain practical end-results. Its value lies, to a great extent, in the
thinking that goes in the process of ensuring results, not only in the
results themselves. The premature reference to a key negates the
whole purpose of the tasks, and you should resist the temptation at
all costs.

Self-assessed questions (SAQs) are signaled by

a fountain-pen.

1.5. Evaluation, assessment and testing

Your level of performance will be assessed periodically throughout

the semester (which counts 40 % of the overall end-of-semester
grade). This coursework assessment will consist in submitting to your
tutor the six obligatory send-away assignments (SAAs), on the
date set by the course map.

The send-away assignments (SAAs) are

signaled by an envelope and a mail-box.


These assignments, which you will find at the end of each unit,
are based on the material you have studied in the units. You can use
extra material if you wish (you might find the suggestions for further
reading at the end of each unit useful). At the beginning of each
assignment you will find detailed instructions on how to do it. You will
have to spend about 60 minutes in doing each assignment, provided
you have completed all the tasks required by the unit.
We would prefer that you type your assignments but writing
them legibly will do as well. Once completed, send them to your tutor,
and he or she will send feedback on all of them (commentary and
assessment) within two weeks. It is of utmost importance that you
meet the deadlines specified in the course map. Remember that your
tutor has planned his or her time around these deadlines. If you do
not observe them, he or she may be unable to read your assignment
and send feedback quickly to you.
Every SAQ and every SAA contain a variable number of
exercises and items, depending on the specific learning tasks that
derive from the objectives mentioned at the beginning of each unit. In
establishing the weight of each SAA (see table on page 5), we have
taken into account the relative importance of objectives covering the
content of the unit, the difficulty that you are likely to face in their
realization, their degree of complexity and novelty, the time allotted
by the syllabus for dealing with them. For each exercise, a 50%
success rate should be considered as minimal. In case you fail to
solve any of the items, we strongly advise you to re-read the relevant
sections of the course, refer to the glossary of grammatical terms to
revise basic definitions and other material suggested in the ‘Further
reading’ and in the general bibliographic list.

You will also sit a written examination (which counts for 60%
of the overall mark) at the end of the semester. You will have to
answer various questions and do exercises covering the major
problems dealt with in the course (units 1-6). Your grammar
competence will be evaluated by means of a variety of testing
structures such as multiple choice, modified cloze, text completion,
paraphrase, true – false, error identification, word changing,
word/clause order.
Your grade will be based on your ability to understand and
describe the structure of English sentences (form and function), your
knowledge of vocabulary for thinking and about and discussing
grammar, your competence in the mechanics of writing
(demonstrated in your writing) and in communicating grammatical
concepts to others. Your grammar knowledge will also be
demonstrated by your ability to produce sentences, both written and
oral, which are perceived as grammatically correct.


1.6. Plan Your Study

Distance learning encourages and relies on those skills and

competences that allow you to work independently. You can learn at
your own pace, in a manner that best suits you, whenever you can
find some time to learn. It will take you about 28 hours to go through
the whole course and accomplish all the assignments required.

Week Units Assignments 40 % Date

1 Introduction Diagnostic test
2 Unit 1 SAA 1 due 6%
3 Unit 2
4 Unit 2 SAA 2 due 7%
5 Unit 3
6 Unit 3 SAA 3 due 8%
7 Unit 4
8 Unit 4 SAA 4 due 5%
9 Unit 5
10 Unit 5 SAA 5 due 8%
11 Unit 6
12 Unit 6 SAA 6 due 6%
13 Revision
14 Revision


The material for study is divided in six rather independent units. Unit
2 is important in the sense that it provides the essential information
about the basic units of grammatical analysis: the clause, the
phrase, the word and the morpheme. The following units give
details about the noun, the verb, the adjective, the adverb and the
grammatical categories associated with them: gender, number,
case (for nouns), tense, aspect, mood (for verbs). Each unit
contains a significant number of exercises of different types (SAQs)
that will allow you to practice the most important problems studied. At
the end of each unit, a Send-away assignment (SAA) tests what
you have learned in the respective unit. Reflection points (Think
first!) allow to link your study with your own activity. Throughout the
book we use a number of icons to identify the main types of activities.


Further reading

We strongly encourage you to consult other works that will help you
find additional information on special grammar aspects. At the end of
each unit, you will find useful recommendations. However, when you
do this, remember to read critically. Sir Francis Bacon once said:

Read not to contradict and confute, not to believe and take for
granted, not to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider.

Diagnostic test

This diagnostic test is designed to give you a quick way

of assessing the approximate level of your knowledge of
English grammar and usage. Choose the word or phrase
which best completes each sentence grammatically. You
are advised to spend not more than 15 minutes on this

1) Did you ……… anywhere interesting last weekend?

a) go b) going c) was d) went
2) I work as a teacher and my wife ………, too.
a) do b) is c) work d) does
3) I think ……… doctor.
a) her job is b) she’s a c) her job is an d) she’s
4) How long ……… sitting here?
a) have you been b) are you c) have you d) been
5) Would you like ……… help?
a) a b) some c) me d) I
6) They ……… go to the cinema.
a) tomorrow b) much c) rare d) seldom
7) In life ……… can make a mistake; we’re all human.
a) anyone b) some people c) not anybody d) someone
8) If he ……… about it, I’m sure he’d help.
a) had known b) knew c) has known d) knows

9) When I ……… through it, I’ll lend you the newspaper.

a) will have looked b) looked c) have looked
d) look


10) Mum gave ……… her job when I was born.

a) in b) up c) off d) away
11) It's all right, we ……… hurry. We have plenty of time.
a) mustn’t b) shouldn’t c) can’t d) needn’t
12) You have a terrible fever! ……… call a doctor?
a) Shall I b) Do I c) Must I d) Will I
13) Please try ……… ……… at night.
a) avoiding to drive b) to avoid to drive c) avoiding driving
d) to avoid driving
14) You should give ……….
a) to your mother this letter b) this letter your mother
c) letter this to your mother d) this letter to your mother
15) Marian has ……… old books.
a) very much b) a lot of c) lots d) a very lot
16) A Jaguar is ……… than a Fiat.
a) more expensive b) expensiver c) much expensive d)

17) I made one or two mistakes, but ……… of my answers were

a) much b) most c) more d) few
18) . . . train are you taking, the express to London or to
a) Which b) How c) Whose d) What
19) Mary takes the dog for a walk ……… the evening.
a) in b) at c) on d) to
20) We haven't got ……… English friends.
a) no b) any c) none d) some
21) George can't ……… to you now. He's busy.
a) talked b) to talk c) talking d)

22) He's a friend of ……….

a) them b) there’s c) theirs d)
23) I ……… drink beer than wine.
a) would like more b) prefer c) had better d) would
24) I gave her ……… earrings for Christmas.
a) a pair of b) a set of c) two d) a
25) Would you like some more tea? There's still ……… left.
a) few b) a few c) a little d)

26) I didn't realize that the shop was ……… the other side of the
a) by b) for c) on d) in

27) The language school that I attend is 20 kilometers ……….

a) far b) away c) distance d) long
28) Many adult students of English wish they ……… their
language studies earlier.
a) would start b) would have started c) had started d) will
29) Tom has two sisters, but he doesn't speak to ……… of
a) both b) any c) either d) neither
30) George goes to ……… by car.
a) a work b) the work c) an work d) work

If your score is 50% or less, you should consider your

level as elementary. You will have to work hard to make
significant improvements. A score of 50-70% is
acceptable, but some areas of English grammar need to
be given special attention. If your score is higher than
75% , congratulations, your grammar is good!

Answers to diagnostic test

1) a; 2) d; 3) b; 4) a; 5) b; 6) d; 7) a; 8) a; 9) c; 10) b;
11) d; 12) a; 13) d; 14) d; 15) b; 16) a); 17) b; 18) a; 19) a;
20) b; 21) d; 22) c; 23) d; 24) a; 25) c; 26) c; 27) b; 28) c;
29) c; 30) d

Basic concepts

Basic concepts

Objectives 11

1.1. Grammatical units 11

1.2. The phrasal constituents 12

1.2.1. The noun phrase 12
1.2.2. The verb phrase 14
1.2.3. The adjective phrase 15
1.2.4. The adverb phrase 15
1.2.5. The prepositional phrase 16

1.3. Words 17
1.3.1. Word vs. lexeme 18
1.3.2. Morphological structure of words 18
1.3.3. Word classes 23 Lexical words 23
Nouns 23
Lexical verbs 23
Adjectives 23
Adverbs 23 Function words 23
Determiners 24
Pronouns 24
Auxiliary verbs 25
Modal verbs 26
Prepositions 26
Adverbial particles 26
Coordinators 27
Subordinators 27
The negative particle ‘not’ 27
The infinitive marker ‘to’ 27
Numerals 28

Summary 29
Key terms 29
Further reading 29
Send – away assignment (SAA) 1 30
Answers to self-assessed questions (SAQs) 1.1 – 1. 7. 31

Basic concepts


This unit will introduce, define and illustrate the terminology used in
the grammatical analysis of English, with a view to enhancing your
awareness of the relationship between grammatical form and
meaning. We will examine the constituents of the simple sentence,
the major word-classes and their characteristics, the structure of the
word and will sketch the context in which any correct grammatical
analysis should be carried out.

After you have completed the study of this unit and have done
all the tasks recommended, you should be able to:

• recognize and identify the phrasal constituents of the clause:

the noun phrase, the verb phrase, the adjective phrase, the
adverb phrase, the prepositional phrase;
• analyze the structure of phrases;
• define and exemplify simple, complex or compound words;
• explain how words are formed;
• give brief definitions and examples of the following terms:
morpheme, root, base/stem, affix, inflection.

1.1. Grammatical units

In spite of the bewildering variety of forms, language use is

governed by rules. Stretches of language, either spoken or written,
can be broken down into meaningful linguistic units, which follow a
regularly repeated pattern. Grammatical units are characterized in
terms of their a) internal structure (a clause consists of clause
elements, a phrase consists of a head, a complement and optional
adjuncts, a word consist of a stem and, possibly, affixes) b)
syntactic role and c) meaning.
In English four types of units are usually recognized and
hierarchically arranged on a rank scale:

clause → phrase → word → morpheme

Thus, a clause is the maximal grammatical unit. It is made up

of a subject, a predicate and usually expresses a complete thought:

John works on a farm.

The clause is made up of one or more phrases; each phrase is

made up of one or more words. Each word can be further analyzed
as being made up of one or more morphemes, the morpheme being
the smallest meaningful unit.

Basic concepts

1.2. The phrasal constituents

The words that build up a clause can be put together in
meaningful groups or phrases. The head, as the most important
element of the phrase determines the relationships and the behavior
of the phrase as a whole. Depending on the head, which may be
accompanied by other elements, there are noun phrases, verb
phrases, adjectival phrases, adverbial phrases and prepositional
phrases. Each phrase, except the prepositional phrase, can consist
of the head only.

1.2.1. The noun phrase

The noun phrase (NP) is called so because the word which

acts as its main part is typically a noun. Minimally, it may consist in a
noun only, as in (a) below. Often, the noun that is central to the
phrase may be accompanied by other words, which provide
information relating to it. Consider the bracketed structures with the
noun farmer(s) as the main part:

a. [John] is [a farmer].
b. [That farmer] is my uncle.
c. [Those farmers] are my neighbors.
d. [That farmer with a shovel in his hand] is my uncle.
e. [That tall hardworking farmer] is my uncle.
f. [That tall hardworking farmer feeding the cattle] is my uncle.
premodification postmodification
g. [That tall hardworking farmer who is feeding the cattle in the
premodification postmodification
stables] is my uncle.

In describing noun phrases we may distinguish:

• the head (farmer), the word around which the other
components group together and which controls concord, that
is the agreement in grammatical form between elements in a
clause or a phrase. Thus in (c) the plural noun head farmers
determines changes in the demonstrative adjective (those),
in the verb (are), and the predicative (my neighbors), all of
which are thus marked as plural.

• the premodifiers, which include all the items placed before

the head: determiners (that, those), adjectives (tall,
hardworking), and other nouns.

• the postmodifiers, comprising all the items placed after the

head, especially prepositional phrases ( with the shovel in his
hand), relative clauses ( who is feeding the cattle in the
stables) and non-finite clauses (feeding the cattle in the
Basic concepts

Within the set of noun premodifiers, there is a class - the

determiners - which show whether the entity denoted by the noun is
known or not to the speaker. The structure of the noun phrase could
thus be re-written as:

Noun Phrase (NP)

(Determiners(s)) (Premodifier(s)) Head (Postmodifier(s))

The parentheses remind you that the determiners and the

modifiers can be left out. However, determiners are more necessary
to the noun phrase structure than modifiers. The only situation in
which the noun phrase has no expressed determiner is when it has a
‘zero’ article, as in the first example above.
The noun phrase can typically act as subject, direct object,
indirect object or prepositional object, attribute, or predicative, etc., in
a clause:

Subject: Some farmers have new machinery.

Direct Object We helped the farmers.
Indirect Object: They gave the farmers all the documents.
Prepositional Object: We rely on farmers.
Attribute: The farmers’ meeting was postponed.
Subject predicative: My neighbors are good farmers.
Object predicative: They chose him ‘Farmer of the Year’.

The main morphological characteristics of the noun will be

discussed in the following pages. The premodifiers and the
postmodifiers will be treated in the next chapter of this course.

SAQ 1.1.

Underline the noun phrases and analyze them into their

determiners, heads, premodifiers and postmodifiers.

Eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables helps ensure

an adequate intake of most micronutrients and dietary
fibers, says a UN agency. Increased consumption can help
avoid eating foods high in fats, sugar and salt. Though
developing countries largely contribute to the global supply
of fruit and vegetables and production can still be improved,
many people in the developing world do not eat enough.
Consumption is often low amongst lower socio-economic

Basic concepts

Write your answers in the space provided below and then

compare them with those given at the end of the unit.
The first has been done for you:

a – determiner; wide – premodifier; variety – head; of fruit

and vegetable – postmodifier;

1.2.2. The verb phrase

The verb phrase (VP) usually consists of a head, which is a
lexical verb, preceded by the optional elements, the auxiliaries and/or
the modals. Lexical verbs express both lexical meaning (motion,
perception, cognition, etc.) and grammatical meaning (tense, aspect,
person, number):

She went back to New York. [motion + past]

I know no secret recipe for certainty. [cognition + present]

Modal verbs add to the lexical verb a special semantic

component such as: ability, possibility, permission, obligation,
necessity, etc.:

You can build this vacation cottage yourself. [ability]

This year prospects may be better. [possibility]
The problem must be faced squarely. [obligation]

Auxiliary verbs (be, have, do) carry grammatical meaning

only. They follow modals and occur in the order: perfect,
progressive, passive, (some of them may be omitted). In addition,
all finite VPs are also marked for tense (T):

T V writes
T perf. V has written
T progr. V is writing
T perf. progr. V has been writing
T modal V will write
T modal perf. V will have written
T modal progr. V will be writing
T modal perf. progr. V will have been writing
passive V is written
T perf. passive V has been written
Basic concepts

The first auxiliary is usually called operator. The operator is

involved in forming interrogative sentences (the operator is inverted
with the subject) and negative sentences (the negative particle not is
attached to the operator):

He has been working as an engineer for five years.

Has he been working as an engineer for five years?
He hasn’t been working as an engineer for five years.
“How do you feel?” Charlie asked me.
Hanck did not abandon his scheme.

1.2.3. The adjective phrase

Adjectives are words that typically modify nouns. Adjectives
commonly specify the properties or the attributes of a noun referent:

The house is old.

Sam is very angry with John.
He is so fond of music.

The adjectival phrase (AP) typically consists of a head, a

specifier and a complement, which combine to form the following
basic structures:

specifier head complement

very angry with John
so fond of music

The head of the adjectival phrase is always realized by an

adjective, which may function alone, or may be optionally
accompanied by specifiers (very, rather, so, too, etc.). Specifiers
typically indicate the degree of the quality denoted by the adjective.
The elements following the head serve to complete the meaning of
the adjective and are generally called complements. Complements
generally take the form of prepositional phrases.

1.2.4. The adverb phrase

Adverb phrases (AdvP) are normally composed of three
elements: the head, the specifier and the complement:

He made up hid mind.

He made up his mind independently.
He made up his mind quite independently of me.

Basic concepts

specifier head complement

quite independently of me

Complements are typically realized by prepositional phrases.

Adverb phrases are frequently optional in the sense that they can be
omitted without the clause becoming ungrammatical. They function
as Adverbial Modifiers of Manner, Place or Time.

1.2.5. The prepositional phrase

English makes extensive use of prepositions. Prepositions

never appear alone but in combination with a noun phrase, that acts
as complement of the preposition. Prepositions are semantically
bound with the noun following them:

He put the book right on the shelf.

They are at odds.

specifier head complement

right on the shelf
behind him
at odds

The complement of the preposition is typically realized by

nouns and pronouns but also by wh-finite clauses, gerundial clauses,
and occasionally by adjectives and adverbs:

He was taken completely by surprise. (prep + noun)

He knew them from before the war. (prep + prep + noun)
I know where he is, right near here. (prep + adv)
At last the call came. (prep + adj)
He insisted on being paid at once. (prep + gerundial clause)
He was interested in what they were up to. (prep + indirect question)

Basic concepts

SAQ 1.2.

Identify the type of phrase (NP, VP, AP, AdvP). The first
has been done for you.

1) anti-terrorist laws; 7) a student of Physics;

2) quite hot; 8) very kind to Mary;
3) pretty soon; 9) rather carelessly;
4) the urban young; 10) before the war;
5) in a hurry; 11) every bridge over the river
6) a small black bag; 12) so efficient in his work.

Write your answers in the space provided below and then

compare them with those given at the end of the unit. The
first has been done for you:

1) NP;

1.3. Words
Phrases are made up of words. Although they look familiar to
everyone, their definition is far from simple. Words are however
identifiable by such criteria as:

a) a regular stress pattern, the possibility of being preceded or

followed by pauses in speech or separated from one another by
means of spaces and punctuation marks, in writing:

The boy is reading a book.

b) being the minimal possible unit in an utterance:

John. (in reply to a question like: Who phoned?)

Tonight. (in reply to a question like: When shall we meet?)

c) being assigned one, or more dictionary meanings:

boy 1. a male child or a male person in general:

The boys wanted to play football.
2. a son: How old is your little boy?
(Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English)

The manner in which the above-mentioned conditions are met

varies considerably and depends on the nature of each word.
Basic concepts

1.3.1. Word vs. lexeme

A lexeme is a word in roughly the sense that would correspond
to a dictionary entry. For instance, play would have two entries in the
dictionary, as a verb and as a noun. These are the lexemes, the
basic forms. The verb would appear in various forms when used in
sentences, while the noun would have other forms:

verb lexeme: play.

forms of the lexeme: play, plays, played, playing

noun lexeme: play

forms of the lexeme: plays (pl.), play’s; plays’ (genitive)

SAQ 1.3.
Look up the entries for study and intellectual in a dictionary.
Identify the lexemes for each, together with the
corresponding word forms.

Write your answers in the space provided below and then

compare them with those given at the end of the unit.

1.3.2. Morphological structure of words

A word is built up of smaller constituents called morphemes.
By definition, a morpheme is a minimal unit of meaning, that is, a
meaningful sequence of sounds which is not divisible into smaller
meaningful units.
Morphemes are different from syllables. The word animal, for
example, can be divided into three syllables (a-ni-mal), yet it consists
of one morpheme only, which in this case, is identical to the word.
None of the smaller units (a-, -ni-, -mal) bears a meaning of its own.
However, the plural form animals, which retains the original three-
syllable structure, consists in two morphemes: the former is animal,
meaning “a creature”, and the latter, represented by -s (/z/ in speech)
signifying “more than one”.
Morphemes are classified by linguists as free morphemes or
bound morphemes and as roots or affixes.

Basic concepts

A free morpheme is one which can stand alone (farm, job, task,
man, child, box, etc.). The morpheme farm, for instance, cannot be
broken down into smaller bits, and it typically has semantic content,
in our case, “an area of land, and the buildings on it, used for growing
crops and/or keeping animals”.
A bound morpheme is one which cannot occur as an
independent word (re-, dis-, -tion, -er, etc.) and has to be attached to
other morphemes to build words: replay, dislike, education, farmer.
Their semantic content is more difficult to isolate. Bound morphemes
are typically called affixes.

SAQ 1.4.

Decide in which of the following words re- is a bound

rewrite, rest, redo, reevaluate, resistance,
revolution, reunification, repeat

Write your answers in the space provided below and then

compare them with those given at the end of the unit.

There are two types of affixes: prefixes (added to the beginning

of a word) and suffixes (added to the end of a word):

un- unnecessary, untold

mis- misunderstand, misfortune

-ful fruitful, careful

-tion construction, exploitation

Prefixes, together with some suffixes, generate new words and,

for this reason, they are called derivational morphemes, to be more
precise, derivational prefixes or suffixes.
Actually, affixes attach to the root (of the word). A root is the
portion of a word that is common to a set of derived or inflected
forms. When all affixes are removed the root is not further analyzable
into meaningful elements, being morphologically simple and carries
the main portion of meaning of the words in which it appears:

humanize, humanism, humanitarian, humans, inhuman,


Basic concepts

That part of a word to which affixes are added is called a stem.

The root is always a stem, but a more complex derived word
structure may also be a stem. Unlike roots, words may have more
than one stem. Consider the word carelessness:

care [root]
care [root and stem 1] + less [derivational suffix 1] > careless (adj)
careless [stem 2] + ness [derivational suffix 2] > carelessness (n)

Care is also the stem of the verbal lexeme to care, whose

inflectional forms are cares (present, 3rd person singular), cared (past
tense or past participle) and caring (present participle).

SAQ 1.5.A.

A. Identify the roots for the following words. Write your

answers in the space provided below and then compare
them with those given at the end of the unit:

1) impossible 6) peacefully
2) cloudiness 7) exceptionally
3) childhood 8) parental
4) teacher 9) friendship
5) development 10) industrialize

Basic concepts

SAQ 1.5.B.
B. Complete the words in italics with the correct
derivational suffix: -ness, -ize,- able, -ity, -ible, -ive, -ment, -
fy. –hood. Write your answers in the space provided below
and then compare them with those given at the end of the

1) The tap water is not safe to drink. However, the bottled

water is drink____.
2) Which assignment is your priority? I don’t know, it is difficult
to priorit____.
3) My grandmother is very forgetful. Yes, my great-aunt also
suffers from forgetful____.
4) Most of the mistakes can be forgiven. However, these basic
errors are unforgiv____.
5) It is difficult to cope with the strains of single parent____.
6) The factory has been very product____ this year.
7) Democracy is fundamental to good govern____.
8) The court was unable to determine the own____ of the
9) Please noti____ all the students concerned about the room
10) It is difficult to explain the popular____ of a singer who cannot
actually sing.

Inflectional morphemes are endings added to noun or verbal

stems to specify grammatical meanings such as number, case,
tense, aspect, etc. The most widely used inflections are given in the
table below:

inflection grammatical meaning example

-s 3 pers. sg. present verb works, falls
-ed past verb worked
-ing progressive verb working, falling
-en past participle verb fallen
-s plural noun carts
‘s possessive noun farmer’s
-er comparative adjective warmer
-est superlative adjective warmest

It follows from this, that inflections distinguish between large

classes of words: nouns (whose inflections indicate: number, case)
verbs (whose infections indicate: tense, aspect, voice) and
adjectives/adverbs (whose inflections indicate degrees of

Basic concepts

SAQ 1.6. A.

A. Which words contain a derivational affix and which

inflectional affix? Write your answers in the space
provided below and then compare them with those given
at the end of the unit:

eggs, walked, singing, react, goodness, capitalism,

John's, worker, faster, employee, given, quickest, jobs.

derivational affix inflectional affix

SAQ 1.6. B.

B. Identify and name all inflected forms. Write your

answers in the space provided below and then compare
them with those given at the end of the unit. The first has
been done for you.

1. John's house looks older than this.

2. The boys studied longer than you.
3. Fred may have written the longest essay.
4. John claimed that he had tried to find you.
5. I am waiting for the student who o wns this book.
6. The tallest student studies in Bill's class.

1) John’s – genitive;

Basic concepts

1.3.3. Word classes

According to their grammatical behavior and their main

function, words can be broadly grouped into: lexical words and
function words. Lexical words

Lexical words are the main bearers of meaning and they form
the primary vocabulary of a language. Lexical words have a complex
internal structure, are morphologically variable, and they can be
heads of phrases. There are four main lexical words in English:
nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.


Nouns typically refer to concrete people and things as well as

to abstract ideas and phenomena (John, teacher, book, land, peace,

Lexical verbs

Lexical verbs typically denote actions ( work, write, play),

processes (change, develop, increase) or states (sleep, fear,


Adjectives typically describe qualities, characteristics and

properties of objects, people and phenomena expressed by nouns.
(nice, difficult, easy)


Adverbs specify the circumstances (place, time, manner) in

which an action takes place (here, no w, slowly). Function words

Function words have little or no lexical meaning, their role is to
express grammatical relationships between lexical words or between
lexical words and larger units. Function words can be conveniently
grouped according to the lexical word to which they are associated:

grammatical unit function words

clause subordinators, wh-words, the negator not, the
infinitive marker to
clause/ phrase coordinators
verb phrase auxiliaries, modals, adverbial particles
noun phrase determiners, pronouns, numerals,

Basic concepts


Determiners are words that modify noun phrases. The most

important are:

a) The definite article (the) specifies that the referent is known to

the speaker:

There was a horse in the field. The horse was black.

b) The indefinite article (a/an) typically signals that something is

mentioned for the first time and thus represents new information:

She was talking to an old woman.

c) Demonstrative determiners (this/these, that/those) indicates

whether the referent of the noun phrase is close or remote in
distance, or time:

Look at that man over there. (remote in distance)

I saw her this morning (= today in the morning). (close in time)

d) Possessive determiners (my, your, his, her, our, their) express


Their parties are always fun.

e) Quantifiers (some, few, many, much) specify the number or

amount of something:

I don't have much money with me.


A pronoun is a pro-form (a word, replacing other words,

phrases, clauses or sentences, whose meaning is understood from
the linguistic or extra linguistic context) which functions like a noun
and replaces a noun phrase.

a) Personal pronouns identify the participants in a communication

situation: the speaker (I/me, we/us), the addressee (you), and a
third referent that is neither speaker nor addressee (he/him,
she/her, it, they/them):

Tell them the news.

b) Reflexive pronouns (myself, yourself, herself) show co-

reference with the subject:

She must be very proud of herself.

Basic concepts

c) Possessive pronouns (mine, theirs, ours) express ownership:

This piece of land is mine.

d) Demonstrative pronouns (this/that; these/those) indicate a

referent’s spatial or temporal location:

This is the best project.

On that date Huff left his home. ]

e) Reciprocal pronouns (each other; one another) express a

mutual sentiment or action among the referents of a plural

Don and Susie really loved each other.

We all try and help one another.

f) Indefinite pronouns (one, somebody, anybody) indicate that the

referents are not identifiable:

There's someone at the door.

g) Relative pronouns (who, which, what) introduce a relative

clause, and are co-referential to the word modified by the relative

Houses which overlook the lake cost more.

h) Interrogative pronouns (who, what, which) are used in

questions to stand for the item questioned:

Which of the applicants has got the job?

Who is that woman?
What are your political opinions?

Auxiliary verbs

The three auxiliary verbs of English, be, have and do are used
to form up complex verb phrases. Have specifies perfective aspect:

He has known Mary for two years.

For a few brief minutes they had all been part of one little

The auxiliary be marks the progressive aspect and the passive


They are taking a course in fertilizers. (progressive)

She was seen at the theater. (passive]

Basic concepts

The auxiliary do is used as operator in interrogative and

negative independent clauses when there is no other auxiliary

What do you read?

I didn’t meet them in London.

Modal verbs

Modal verbs are used to build up complex verb phrases. There

are nine modal auxiliaries in English: can, could, may, might, shall,
should, will, would and must. Several characteristics differentiate
modals from other verbs and auxiliaries. Modal verbs can express a
wide range of meanings (possibility, permission, necessity,
obligation, etc). The verbs dare (to), need (to), ought to, used to can
be regarded as marginal auxiliaries. Moreover, a number of
multiword verbs such as have to, had better, have got to, be going to
are close in meaning to modal verbs.


Preposition (about, at, by, do wn, in, of, etc.) are invariable
words that introduce prepositional phrases and connect them with
other elements of the clause.
There's nothing you can do about it now.
The stone rolled down the hill.
The kids were playing in the street.

Adverbial particles

Adverbial particles are invariable words (a way, back, down,

forth, off, past, up), different from adverbs and prepositions, which
are used to build phrasal verbs, such as: give up, bring about, make
up. Their basic meaning is of motion and result. They are closely
connected with the verb:

Working in the slums brought her up against the realities of


Basic concepts


Coordinators or coordinating conjunctions link phrases and

clauses that have the same syntactic function. They can be simple
(and, but, or) or correlative (both ... and, either ... or). Coordinators
express the meanings of addition, alternative or contrast.

Both his mother and his father will be there. (addition)

Is your sister older or younger than you? (alternative)
Well, I think she's either Russian or Polish. (alternative)
His mother won't be there, but his father might. (contrast)


Subordinators or subordinating conjunctions are words that

introduce finite dependent clauses. They indicate the meaning
relationship between the dependent clause and the superordinate
clause: time (after, as, since, while), reason (because), condition (if,
even if), comparison (as, than).

You can go swimming while I'm having lunch.

It's twenty years since I've seen her.
I did it because he told me to.
I'll get there, even if I have to walk.
It was much better than I'd expected.

The negative particle ‘not’

The main use of the particle not (shortened form n’t) is to

negate a clause or a constituent:

She did not / didn't see him. (clausal negation)

Not everybody agrees. (constituent negation)

The infinitive marker ‘to’

To is often used before the base form of a verb to show that the
verb is in the infinitive:

I set out to buy food.

She managed to escape.

Basic concepts


A numeral is a word, functioning most typically as an adjective

or pronoun, that expresses a number, and relation to the number,
such as one of the following: quantity, sequence, frequency, and
fraction. There are four distinctive sets of numerals: cardinal (one,
two), ordinal (the first, the second), multiplicative (once, twice, four
times), distributive (by threes, in twos) and partitive (two thirds,

Ten people were invited but only five turned up.

They go there twice a week.
It was the first time they had ever met.
Her mother had just given birth to another child, her fifth.
People arrived in twos and threes.

SAQ 1.7.

Identify the word classes in the following text. Write your

answers in the space provided below and then compare
them with those given at the end of the unit:

Two elephants went on holiday and sat down on the beach. It

was a very hot day and they fancied having a s wim in the sea.
Unfortunately they couldn't: they only had one pair of trunks!

Noun: elephants, holiday


Basic concepts


Grammar is a description of a language. Morphology, as a

traditional part of grammar, deals with words and the changes that
affect their forms to express various grammatical meanings
associated with such categories as number, gender, case, tense,
aspect, mood, voice, or comparison. There are four fundamental
grammatical units characterized by a specific internal structure,
meanings and syntactic roles: clause, phrase, word and
morpheme. Phrases can be classified with regard to their head into
noun phrases, verb phrases, adjectival phrases, adverb phrases
and prepositional phrases. Words can be grouped into lexical
words (noun, verb, adjective and adverb) and function words
(pronouns, auxiliaries, prepositions, conjunctions).

Key terms

• affix • modality
• aspect • morpheme
• case • phrase
• clause • root
• comparison • sentence
• determination • stem
• grammatical category • tense
• grammatical meaning • voice
• inflection • word
• mood

Further reading

Downing, Angela and Philip Locke (1995). A University Course in

English Grammar. New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, Tokyo,
Singapore: Phoenix ELT.
Greenbaum, Sidney and Randolph Quirk (1991). A Student’s
Grammar of the English Language. Harlow, England: Longman.
Levitchi, Leon (1970). Limba englezã contemporanã. Morfologia.
Bucuresti: Editura Didacticã si Pedagogicã.
Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, Jan Svartvik
(1976). A Grammar of Contemporary English. Longman.

Basic concepts

Send – away assignment (SAA) 1

Complete the following test to find out how much you know
about basic morphology.

A. How many different lexemes are there in the following list?

man, men, girls, girl, mouse, work, play, walk, leave
(10 minutes: 10 points)

B. Each underlined word in the following passage ends with

an inflectional suffix. Write beside each word the
morpheme label for the inflectional suffix it contains (-pl., -
poss, -prs, -ed, -en, -ing, -er, -est). (15 minutes: 10 points)

At a certain season of our life we are accustomed to consider

every spot as the possible site of a house. I have thus surveyed
the country on every side within a dozen miles (pl) of where I live.
In imagination I have bought all the farms ( ) in succession, for all
were to be bought, and I kne w their price. I walked ( ) over
each farmer's ( ) premises ( ), tasted ( ) his wild apples ( ),
discoursed on husbandry with him, took his farm at his price, at
any price, mortgaging ( ) it to him in my mind; even put a higher
( ) price on it. This experience entitled me to be regarded as a
sort of real-estate broker by my friends ( ).

Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Ch. 2. “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For”

C. Briefly define or explain the following terms (50-60 words):

(30 minutes: 30 points)
1) grammatical meaning
2) lexeme
3) clause
4) noun phrase
5) affix
6) inflection
7) word
8) gender
9) stem
10) grammar

Send the answers to these questions to your tutor.

Total points for SAA 1: 50

Basic concepts

Answers to self-assessed questions (SAQs) 1.1 – 1. 7.

SAQ 1.1.
det. premodifier head postmodifier
a wide variety of fruit and vegetables
an adequate intake of most micronutrients and
dietary fibers
a UN agency
increased consumption
foods high in fats, sugar and salt
developing countries
the global supply of fruit and vegetables
many people in the developing world
lower socio- groups

SAQ 1.2.
1. NP; 2. AP; 3. AdvP; 4.NP; 5. PP; 6. NP; 7. NP; 8. AP; 9. AdvP; 10. PP;
11. NP; 12. AP.

SAQ 1.3.
study, studies (noun); studies, studying, studied (verb); intellectual
(adjective); intellectual, intellectuals, intellectuals’ (noun)
Should your answers to SAQs 1.1 – 1.3 not be comparable to those
given above, we strongly advise you to revise sections 1.1. – 1.2.

SAQ 1.4.
rewrite, redo, reevaluate, reunification

SAQ 1.5.
A. 1. possible; 2. cloud; 3. child; 4. teach; 5. develop; 6. peace; 7.
exception; 8. parent; 9. friend; 10. industrial.
B. 1. drinkable; 2. prioritize; 3. forgetfulness; 4. unforgivable; 5.
parenthood; 6. productive; 7. government; 8. owner; 9. notify; 10.

SAQ 1.6.
A. Inflectional affix: eggs, walked, singing, John's, faster, given,
Derivational affix: react, goodness, capitalism, worker, employee,

B. 1. John’s (genitive); looks (simple present tense); older (comparative);

2. boys (plural); studied (past tense); longer (comparative); 3. written (past
participle); longest (superlative); 4. claimed (past tense); tried (past
participle); 5. am (present tense); waiting (present participle); owns
(present tense); 6. tallest (superlative); studies (present tense); Bill’s
Basic concepts

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQs 1.4 – 1.6 not be comparable to

those given above, we strongly advise you to revise section 1.3.2.

SAQ 1.7.
word class item
noun elephants, holiday, beach, day, s wim, sea, pair, trunks
determiner the, a
pronoun it, they
adjective hot
numeral two, one
verb went, sat, was, fancied, having, couldn’t, had
adverb down, very, unfortunately, only
preposition on, in, of
conjunction and

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 1.7 not be comparable to those

given above, we strongly advise you to revise section 1.3.3.



Objectives 34

2.1. Types of nouns 34

2.1.1. Proper nouns 34
2.1.2. Common nouns 35

2.2. Noun formation 36

2.2.1. Derived nouns 36
2.2.2. Compound nouns 38

2.3. Number 39
2.3.1. Countable v. uncountable nouns 39
2.3.2. Regular plural formation 39
2.3.3. Irregular plural formation 46
2.3.4. Foreign plurals 48
2.3.5. Nouns resistant to number contrast 49

2.4. Case 51
2.4.1. The common case 51
2.4.2. The genitive case 51

2.5. Gender 55
2.5.1. Lexical expression of gender 55
2.5.2. Morphological expression of gender 56
2.5.3. Dual gender nouns 57

Summary 58
Key terms 59
Further reading 59
Send away assignment (SAA) 2 59
Answers to self-assessed questions (SAQs )2.1 – 2.10 62



This unit will introduce you to the morphological characteristics of

nouns, as basic elements of noun phrases. You will study the nominal
categories of gender, number and case, which will facilitate your
understanding of the correct use of the noun in communication. You
will learn a number of important concepts used in the analysis of
nouns as well as develop practical skills by solving exercises.

After studying this unit, you will be able to:

• explain how nouns are formed;

• classify nouns according to morphological and semantic
• explain the difference between countable and uncountable
• identify and use classes of nouns in the plural form;
• illustrate the various meanings of the genitive constructions;
• distinguish between nouns in the masculine, feminine and

2.1. Types of nouns

Nouns refer semantically to concrete entities such as persons,

objects, places but also to actions (laughter), abstractions (thought),
natural phenomena (thunder) and others. Nouns can be broadly
grouped into a number of classes, which differ in meaning and
grammatical properties. There is an important semantic distinction
between proper nouns and common nouns.

2.1.1. Proper nouns

Proper nouns name unique entities that are known to the

speaker and the hearer in a given speech situation. Proper nouns
designate specific people (Bill Gates), places (London), institutions
(The UNO, The Parliament) and rank from single words to fairly
lengthy strings of words.
Orthographically, proper nouns are marked by an initial capital
letter, although their capitalization is strictly a matter of convention.


The most familiar proper nouns are:

a) Personal names: John, Helen;

b) Geographical names: Britain, Romania, Italy;
c) Holidays, months and days of the week: Easter, March, Monday;
d) Religions, followers of particular religions and some religious
concepts: Christianity, Muslim, Buddhist, God, the Devil;
e) Persons and bodies with unique public functions: The President,
Parliament, Congress;
f) Public buildings, institutions, monuments: The British Museum,
Oxford University, The Eiffel Tower;
g) Political parties and their members: The Republican Party; a
Democrat, a Republican;
h) Languages: English, Romanian and nationalities: a German, a
i) Adjectives and common nouns derived from proper nouns: a
Marxist, Victorian, New Yorker;
j) Historical events, law, periods: World War II, The Industrial
Revolution, The Declaration of Independence.

Proper nouns do not normally take any determiner because

they refer to an entity whose identity is already known. However,
there are many proper nouns that are regularly preceded by the
definite article. Some important groups are:

k) Plural geographical names (mountain groups, island groups, gulfs,

straits, deserts, forests, peninsulas, geographic areas): the Alps,
the Bahamas, the Persian Gulf, the Straits of Magellan, the
Sahara, the Black Forest, the Yucatan Peninsula, the Middle East;
l) Other geographical names such as rivers, seas, and canals: the
Danube, the Caspian, the Suez Canal;
m) Public institutions, such as hotels, restaurants, theaters,
museums, libraries: the Ritz (Hotel), the Smithsonian (Museum),
the Metropolitan (Opera), the National Gallery, the Albert Hall, the
Old Vic (Theatre);
n) Names of ships, mostly those well-known in history: The Titanic,
The Mayflower;
o) Many newspapers and periodicals: The Guardian, The
Washington Post.
p) Points on the globe: The North Pole, The Equator.

2.1.2. Common nouns

Common nouns refer to ordinary things (book), places
(countryside), persons (girl), animals (horse) but also denote actions
(work), abstractions (suggestion), relations (friendship), qualities
(beauty), emotions (anger), phenomena (rain) and others.
The referent may be perceived as a countable [C] entity (dog –
dogs), or as an indivisible, uncountable [U] mass entity (sugar). Many
nouns which are basically uncountable also have countable uses
with a difference of meaning:

I had ham, chicken and fish for dinner. ‘meat’ [U]

They have some chickens and two turkeys. ‘bird’ [C]

2.2. Noun formation

New nouns can be formed by derivation and compounding.
Derived nouns are formed by adding affixes (suffixes or prefixes).
Compound nouns are formed from two words combined to form a
single noun (bed + room → bedroom) [the arrow shows the direction
of derivation].
In addition to derivation and compounding, there is conversion,
also known as “zero derivation”. For instance, no morpheme marks
the change of the verb (play) into the corresponding noun (play) as

You'll have to play inside today. (verb)

We could hear the happy sounds of children at play. (noun)

2.2.1. Derived nouns

Most derivational prefixes have their own meanings which
combine in various ways with the meaning(s) of the word to which they
attach. Prefixes usually do not change the word class: added to a
noun root they form a new noun with a different meaning:

neo- + colonialism (noun) → neocolonialism (noun)

The most productive prefixes are:

a) Prefix basic meanings examples

anti- ‘against, opposite to’ antiabortionist

auto- ‘self’ autobiography
counter- ‘against’ counterargument
hyper ‘extreme’ hyperinflation
inter- ‘between; among’ interaction
mini- ‘small’ minibus
mono- ‘one’ monotheism
non- ‘not’ nonconformist
out- ‘outside; separate’ outgrowth
pre- ‘before’ predecessor
pseudo- ‘false’ pseudo-democracy
re- ‘again’ reconstruction
semi- ‘half’ semicircle
sub- ‘below’ submarine
super- ‘more than; above’ superhero
tele- ‘distant’ teleshopping
under- ‘below; too little’ underachievement


Many of the derivational prefixes in English are of native

Germanic origin, others are of foreign origin, Latin or Greek. Here are
some examples:

Germanic: for-, mis-, out-, over-, under-, up-, with-

Latin: dis-, neo-, non-, pre-, pro-, sub-, super-, trans-
Greek: anti-, bio-, geo-, hyper-, macro-, psycho-, tele-

SAQ 2.1.

Complete the following sentences by using the correct form of the

words in parentheses. Write your answers in the spaces provided
below and compare them with those given at the end of the unit:

1) (help) A feeling of utter …………. washed over him.

2) (sincere) I don’t doubt his ……….
3) (confide) I’d like to speak to you in ……….
4) (precede) You should give your schoolwork …………..
5) (drama) A …................... writes plays for the theater,
television or radio.
6) (appreciate) She shows little ……………. of good music.

While prefixes are attached to nouns to produce other nouns,

suffixes can be added to words belonging to various classes. In the
example below, the suffix is added to a verb to form a noun:

employ (verb) + er → employer (noun).

In contrast with prefixes, the meanings of suffixes is rather

vague. The derivational process may also bring about changes in
spelling and pronunciation:

b) Suffix meanings examples

-ance ‘action/state of V-ing’ assistance

-ant, -ent ‘person who V-s’ assistant
-dom ‘state of being A/N’ freedom
-ee ‘person who has been V-ed’ employee
-er ‘person who V-s’ farmer
‘smth. used for V-ing’ computer
-ful amount that fills N’ handful
-ician ‘person concerned with N’ mathematician
-ing ‘action of V-ing’ reading
-ism ’doctrine of N’ Marxism
-ist ‘person believing in N-ism’ Marxist
-ness ‘state of quality of being A’ blindness
-ship ‘state of being N’ friendship
‘skill as N’ craftsmanship

Derivational suffixes are more productive than derivational


c) a number of nouns are formed by means of conversion or ‘zero

derivation’, i.e. without the benefit of an affix:

(verb) drink → (noun) drink

(verb) cut → (noun) cut
(verb) move → (noun) move
(adjective) poor → (noun) the poor
(adjective) young → (noun) the young

Do you want me to cut the cake? (verb)

A cut of 1% in interest rates was announced yesterday. (noun]

2.2.2. Compound nouns

Compounding is the most productive process by means of which
the vocabulary of the English language expands. In compounding, two
words, sometimes more than two, combine to form new words. Some
major patterns are illustrated in the following table:

pattern example

noun + noun database

noun+verb-er bookseller, screwdriver
noun+verb-ing housekeeping
adjective+noun blackbird
verb+noun cookbook
verb-ing+noun printing-press
verb+particle go-between, dropout
particle+verb income, input

SAQ 2.2.

Express the following ideas using a noun + noun structure.

Write your answers in the spaces provided below and compare
them with those given at the end of the unit:

1) a factory producing paper a paper factory

2) a story about war _______________
3) a person training teachers _______________
4) the door of the garage _______________
5) a headline in a newspaper _______________
6) soup made of chicken _______________
7) a paste for cleaning teeth _______________
8) the light to the moon _______________
9) the waves of the sea _______________
10) a case for books _______________

2.3. Number
The grammatical category of number in nouns correlates with
the notion of countability. The number system has two terms:
singular, which denotes ‘one’, and plural, which denotes ‘more than

Think first!

Before reading the next section, identify the nouns in the

following paragraph and state whether they denote
countable entities or amounts of substance. Write your
answers in your portfolio and be prepared to discuss
them with your tutor and your colleagues.

The FAO report on forests and water stresses the need to

improve environment policy in support of the management of
mountain forests and upland areas. ‘Mountainous forested
watersheds are the most important freshwater-yielding areas
in the world but also the source area for landslides, torrents
and floods.’

Food and Agriculture Organization, Loss of forest cover threatens freshwater


countable entities substance

one paper - two papers water
one forest - two forests

2.3.1. Countable v. uncountable nouns

The vast majority of English nouns are countable, with separate

singular and plural forms. The singular is not marked while the plural
of most nouns is marked by simply adding the –s or –es:

farm - farms box - boxes

land - lands bus - buses

Uncountable nouns refer to entities which cannot be counted.

They are usually names of materials (cotton, sand, water, salt,
milk), collections of things (baggage, furniture, equipment) or
abstract nouns (knowledge, progress, information, luck, news,
advice). They are invariable, i.e. they cannot change their number.
Both countable and uncountable nouns can enter constructions
denoting the part of a whole. Such partitive constructions consist
of a quantifying noun indicating the part or the quantity and an of-
phrase specifying the type of matter referred to. Quantifying nouns
vary in number like ordinary countable nouns:

He drank a cup / three cups of tea.

The major types of quantifying nouns are:

a) nouns denoting the type of container

barrel of brandy, fish

basket of eggs, fruit, flowers
box of chocolate, matches, soap, books
cup of coffee, tea
sack of grain, potatoes, rice, mail

b) nouns denoting shape

heap of leaves, blankets

pile of bills, bricks, rocks, wood

There's heaps of time before the plane leaves.

c) standardized measure terms

pint, gallon, quart, liter of beer, gas, milk, water

foot, inch, yard, meter of material, wire, cloth
ounce, pound, gram, kilo(gram) of cheese, butter, flour
ton, tone of aluminum, bricks

d) plural numerals

tens, hundreds, millions of dollars, accidents

dozens, scores of animals, books

There were scores of boxes and crates, all waiting to be

checked and loaded.

e) nouns ending in -ful: the suffix –ful can be added to almost any
noun denoting some kind of container to form a quantifying noun:
basketful, bellyful, mouthful, plateful, pocketful, teaspoonful:

armful of straw, grass, flowers

handful of salt, pencils

She scooped up handfuls of loose earth.

f) nouns denoting two items:

pair of eyes, gloves, hands, socks

couple of days, hours, boys

I've seen her a couple of times before.

She’s going to buy a new pair of shoes.

SAQ 2.3.A.

A. Complete each sentence with one suitable word from

the list. Use each word once only: blade, flight, item, piece,
sheet, head, lump, set, slice. Write your answers in the
spaces provided below and compare them with those
given at the end of the unit:

1) Let me give you a ……… of advice.

2) There is an interesting ……… of news in the paper.
3) A ……… of stairs takes you to the top of the house.
4) Can I have another ……… of paper, please?
5) Put another ……… of coal on the fire.
6) Helen has a lovely ……… of hair.
7) Do you want another ……… of toast?
8) We bought Mary a ……… of cutlery for a wedding
9) There was not a single ……… of grass left standing.

SAQ 2.3.B.

B. Use a dictionary to decide what you call a group of . . .

ants bees cattle chickens cows dogs

ducks fish flies geese goat hen
horses locusts mares oxen pigeons pigs
rabbits sheep trout turkeys wolves

Write your answers in the spaces provided below and

compare them with those given at the end of the unit:

a colony / an army of _______

a swarm of _______ _______
a herd of _______ _______
a brood _______ _______
a pack of _______ _______

a flush / team of _______ _______
a shoal of
a flock of
_______ _______
a herd / team of
a plague of
a stud of
a team / yoke of
a flight / flock of
a colony / bury /nest of
a hover of

Think first!

Write the plural form of cat, dog, bush, church, fox.

How is the plural of these nouns formed?
When do you add –es instead of –s to form the plural of a
Write the plural form of the nouns
day, poppy, wolf, knife, tomato, potato
How do you form the plural of nouns ending in –y, -f, and
–fe ?

Write your answers in your portfolio too and be prepared to

discuss them with your tutor and/or your colleagues.


2.3.2. Regular plural formation

The regular plural is formed by means of an –s suffix which is

pronounced [s] or [z]. The plural ending is pronounced /s/ when the
singular ends with a voiceless consonant / p, t, k, f, θ/:

/p/ map – maps

/t / cat – cats
/k/ book – books
/f / cliff—cliffs, roof—roofs, gulf--gulfs
/θ / moth – moths

The plural ending is pronounced /z/ when the singular ends with
a vowel or with a voiced consonant:

/b/ rib – ribs

/d/ bed – beds
/g/ pig – pigs

The plural ending -es , pronounced [iz], is added when the noun
ends in sibilants [s, ʃ, ʧ,, z, ʒ: ]

/s / horse – horses
/ʃ / bush – bushes
/ʧ / church – churches
/z / prize – prizes
/ʒ / mirage – mirages

Attention should be paid to certain spelling points concerning

nouns ending in –y, -f / -fe and –o:

Nouns ending in –y:

If the singular form ends in a vowel +y, add –s for the plural:
boy – boys day – days

If the singular form ends in a consonant +y, the plural ends in -ies:

poppy – poppies factory – factories

Nouns ending in –f or –fe, have the plural in -ves:

calf – calves wife – wives

wolf – wolves leaf – leaves
half – halves shelf-- shelves

With some nouns, both regular plurals in –s and –ves plurals

are possible:

scarf – scarfs/ scarves

hoof – hoofs / hooves

Nouns ending in –o have the plural form –s if the noun ends

in vowel +o: radio – radios, or in nouns of foreign origin:

kilo – kilos, photo – photos

However, if the singular noun ends in consonant +o, the plural

is –es:

hero – heroes, potato – potatoes, tomato – tomatoes

Abbreviations take the regular –s plural ending: PCs, CDs,


SAQ 2.4.A.

A. Write the plural form of the nouns ending in –y:

1) He withdrew the key from his pocket where he had been

toying with it.
2) There is a growing tendency among employers to hire
casual staff.
3) He waited for the students’ reply.
4) A grand jury called 10 witnesses yesterday.
5) The Secretary of State has repeated a warning.
6) Finding a doctor can be difficult in a foreign country.

Write your answers in the spaces provided below and

compare them with those given at the end of the unit:


SAQ 2.4.B.

Write the plural form of the nouns ending in -o:

1) It was just a potato and tomato salad but it was the best
John had ever had.
2) If you listen carefully, you will hear the echo coming back
from the mountain.
3) In times of trouble anybody can become a hero.
4) On the piano there was a framed photo taken ten years
ago at their wedding ceremony.
5) Granny was watching too many soap operas on TV and
she never listened to the radio.

Write your answers in the spaces provided below and

compare them with those given at the end of the unit:

Think first!

Simple nouns get the –s/-es marker of the plural attached

at the end of the word. What about compound nouns?
Underline the correct plural form:

A grown-up is requested to pay all the fees.

Grown-ups / growns up are requested to pay all the fees.

A gentleman farmer was invited to attend the meeting.

Several gentleman farmers / gentlemen farmers were invited to
attend the meeting.

Write your answers in your portfolio too and be prepared to

discuss them with your tutor and your colleagues.


Compound nouns form the plural in different ways:

a) plural in the first element:

attorney general attorneys general

notary public notaries public
passer-by passers-by
mother-in-law mothers-in-law
grant-in-aid grants-in-aid

b) plural in both first and last element:

gentleman farmer gentlemen farmers

manservant menservants
woman doctor women doctors

c) plural in the last element:

grown-up grown-ups
stand-by stand-bys
forget-me-not forget-me-nots
sit-in sit-ins

With the nouns illustrated so far, the plural form is fully

predictable from the singular, i.e. they have the regular plural.

2.3.3. Irregular plural formation

Irregular plurals are by definition unpredictable. For this simple reason
the plurals of the nouns that follow such a pattern have to be learned
as individual lexical units. In many cases where foreign words are
involved, it is helpful to know about pluralization in the relevant
languages, particularly Latin and Greek.

Vowel change
In a small number of nouns, there is a change of vowel sound and
spelling (‘mutation plurals’) without an ending, which distinguishes the
singular form from the plural one:

goose – geese man – men mouse – mice

tooth – teeth woman – women louse – lice
foot – feet /’w u m ən / /wimin /


Zero plural
Some nouns have the same form both in the singular and in the plural.
They fall into three main categories: names of animals, quantifying
nouns and nationality names.

a) Nouns naming animals. Sheep, deer and cod though

countable have the same form for the singular and the plural. These
nouns take a verb either in the singular or in the plural:

This sheep has just had a lamb.

These sheep have just had lambs.

Other animals, birds and fishes can have zero plurals,

especially when viewed as prey:

They shot two reindeer, though this is strictly forbidden.

The woodcock/ pheasant/ herring/ trout/ salmon/ fish are
not very plentiful this year.

When these animals are not seen as a pray, they have the
regular –s plural:

Aren’t those pheasants beautiful?

b) Nouns of quantity. There is a strong tendency for units of

number, of length, of value and of weight to have a zero plural when
premodified by another quantitative word:

three dozen / hundred people

many thousand / million insects
eight ton of coal
ten head / yoke of oxen
three pound / stone of potatoes

However, when not preceded by numerals, these nouns have

normal plural forms:

Dozens (and dozens) of people crowded into the room.

Thousands of people had lived in the flooded area.

c) Nationality names ending in –ese (Portuguese, Chinese,

Japanese) also have zero plurals:

The Chinese are friendly, honest, and terribly proud of their



2.3.4. Foreign plurals

Numerous nouns adopted from foreign languages, especially

Latin, and Greek, retain the foreign inflection for plural. In some cases,
there are two plurals: an English regular form used in everyday
language and the foreign plural preferred in technical discourse:

a) Nouns in –us /əs/ with plural –i /ai/:

bacillus - bacilli
stimulus - stimuli

b) Nouns in –us /əs/ with plural –a /ə/ (only in technical use):

corpus - corpora
genus - genera

c) Nouns in –a /ə/ with plural –ae /i:/ or /ai/:

regular plural foreign plural

formula - formulas formulae
vertebra - vertebras vertebrae

d) Nouns in –um /əm/ with plural –a /ə: /:

curriculum - curricula
stratum - strata

e) Nouns in –ex, -ix with plural –ices /isi:z/:

index - indices
matrix - matrices

f) Nouns in –is /is/ with plural –es /i:z/:

analysis - analyses
axis - axes
basis - bases
crisis - crises
hypothesis - hypotheses
parenthesis - parentheses
thesis - theses

g) Nouns in –on /ən/ with plural –a /ə/:

criterion - criteria
phenomenon - phenomena


h) Some nouns from French sometimes retain a French plural in

writing, with the French zero ending in speech or, more usually, a
regular English plural:

regular plural foreign plural

bureau - bureaus /-əuz / bureaux /-əu/
plateau - plateaus plateaux

SAQ 2.5.

The following nouns have retained in English their original

Latin or Greek plural forms. Write them in the
corresponding row. Some nouns have two plural forms:
the original one, and a second one following the English
rules of plural formation. Compare them with those given
at the end of the unit:

bacterium, criterion, curriculum, datum, formula, fungus, index,

larva, phenomenon, thesis, syllabus, synthesis

-us → -i nucleus- nuclei/ nucleuses

-a → -ae

-um → -a

-ex, -ix → -ices

-is → -es

-on → -a

2.3.5. Nouns resistant to number contrast

Number essentially involves the distinction between ‘one’ and ‘more
than one’, but there are singular nouns that cannot ordinarily be plural
(meat) and plural nouns that cannot ordinarily be singular (binoculars).
Accordingly, such nouns will be grouped into:

a) Singular nouns (also known as singularia tantum) are nouns that

have no plural form. The most familiar are:

concrete mass nouns: silver, uranium

abstract mass nouns: music, dirt, homework
proper nouns: London, the Danube, Mary
certain nouns ending in –s: news
names of sciences ending in –ics: physics, acoustics
names of diseases: mumps, measles
names of games: billiards, dominoes


b) Plural nouns (also pluralia tantum) are nouns with only one form,
the plural. The set includes binary nouns (also known as
summation plurals). They refer to entities which comprise two
parts: tools and instruments (scissors, forceps, scales, tongs), and
articles of dress (jeans, pants, pajamas, shorts, trousers):

These scissors are too blunt.

These trousers don’t match your shirt.

c) Collective nouns are common nouns that refer to groups of

people: class, committee, family, firm, government, jury, ministry,
party, staff, team, union, etc. Collective nouns agree with the verb
either in the singular or in the plural depending on their meaning. If
collective nouns are considered as denoting a group of individuals
doing personal things or involved in performing certain activities, they
are followed by a verb in the plural and plural pronouns:

My family are at the seaside. They are all on the beach now.
My children are playing and my wife is watching them.
My firm are wonderful. They do all they can for me.

When the emphasis is on the group as an impersonal unit, an

abstract entity, the collective noun is followed by a verb in the

The average British family has 3-6 members.

My firm was founded in the 19th century.

SAQ 2.6.

Underline the correct form of the verb. Compare your answers

with those given at the end of the unit:

1) My family always spend / spends their Easter holiday up in

the North of Moldavia.
2) The press was / were asked to leave the hall.
3) The press was / were asked to take their seats
4) The team has / have been working in different places since
5) The whole team has / have been working on the same
project since May.
6) The police has / have no idea about the identity of the
7) The police is / are looking for the murderer.
8) In this village it is the community that decide / decides
9) The staff is / are arguing fiercely with their opponents.
10) Cattle is / are feeding on the banks of the river.


2.4. Case
Case is a grammatical category determined by the syntactic
function and the semantic role of a noun. Morphologically, English
nouns have two cases: the unmarked common case and the marked
genitive case.

2.4.1. The common case

Nouns in English have the same form when they are used in the
nominative, dative or accusative case. Consequently, these cases are
collectively known as ‘the common case’:

A farmer uses fertilizers to improve the crop. (Nominative, Agent)

A farmer loves his land. (Nominative, Experiencer)
The neighbors gave direct help to the farmer. (Dative, Beneficiary )
Liz married a farmer. (Accusative, Patient)

2.4.2. The genitive case

The genitive is mainly used to express possession. That is why it

is sometimes called the ‘possessive’ case. However, besides showing
possession the genitive has other meanings related to some basic
sentence structure:

Genitives Analogues

a) possessive genitive
Mary’s passport “Mary owns a passport.”
the car’s wheel “The car has a wheel.”

b) subjective genitive
the parents’ consent “The parents consented.”

c) genitive of origin
the girl’s story “The girl told / wrote a story.”
England’s cheeses “the cheeses produced in England.”

d) objective genitive
the family’s support “somebody supports the family”
the boy’s release “somebody released the boy”

e) descriptive genitive
a women’s college “a college for women”
a doctor’s degree “a doctoral degree / a doctorate”


The genitive constructions

We frequently find a choice between using a premodifying

genitive and a postmodifying prepositional phrase with of; the similarity
in meaning and function has caused the latter to be called the ‘of -
genitive’. Thus, it is reasonable to regard the genitive as having two

a) the ’s genitive (the inflected genitive) indicated in writing by the

apostrophe ’s suffix or apostrophe only, after the modifying noun:

the boy’s toys

modifying noun head
the students’ fault
modifying noun head

b) the of genitive (the periphrastic genitive) consisting of the

modifying of-phrase after the head of the noun phrase:

The toys of the children

head modifying of-phrase
The fault of the students
head modifying of-phrase

Choice of the ’s genitive

The choice of the ’s-genitive depends on the gender of the noun

in the genitive case. Generally speaking, the ’s genitive is favored by
the animate nouns, that is persons and animals with personal gender
characteristic. The following four animate noun classes take the ’s
genitive, but the of-genitive is also possible in most cases:

personal names George Washington’s statue

personal nouns the boy’s new shirt
collective nouns the government’s decision
higher animals the horse’s neck

The ’s genitive is also used with certain kinds of inanimate nouns:

a) geographical names:

continents: Europe’s future

countries: Spain’s immigrants
cities/towns: London’s water supply
universities: Harvard’s Linguistics department

b) ‘locative nouns’ denote regions, institutions, etc., can be very

similar to geographical names and are often written with initial
capital letter:


the world’s economic organization

the Church’s mission
the country’s population
c) temporal nouns:

the decade’s events this year’s sales

a day’s work a week’s holiday

d) nouns of ‘special interest to human activity’

the body’s needs the car’s performance

SAQ 2.7.

Match the situations when the ’s genitive is used with the

corresponding examples. The first has been solved for
you. When you have finished compare your answers with
those at the end of the unit:

1. when the first noun is a person or a big animal; d.

2. when the first noun refers to a group of living creatures or
an organization;
3. with geographical names or places;
4. with some phrases connected to nature;
5. with words expressing time;
6. with words expressing distance;
7. with words expressing dimension or value;
8. with words followed by sake;
9. with nouns of special interest to human activity;
10. when the first noun is the user or producer of something
expressed by the second.

a) bird’s nest, cow’s milk, a doll’s house

b) at ten miles’ distance
c) the mind’s development, science’s future
d) Mary’s car, the horse’s tail
e) Romania’s population
f) the sun’s rays;
g) yesterday’s ne ws;
h) the bank’s clients, the herd’s head
i) 20 euros’ worth;
j) for order’s sake


Choice of the of genitive

The of-genitive is chiefly used with nouns denoting lower

animals and with inanimate nouns. Inanimate nouns regularly take of
genitive, but many inanimate nouns occur with the ’s genitive. The
following nouns, for example, will equally well admit both genitive

the car’s engine the engine of the car

the book’s title the title of the book
the to wn’s population the population of the town

SAQ 2.8.

Rewrite the following sentences using ’s or the of-

genitive as appropriate. In certain cases both options
are possible. Compare your answers with those given at
the end of the unit:
1. Mary has a niece. Mary’s niece
2. The project lasted for two years. ………………
3. The town has a name. ………………
4. The fence is colored. ………………
5. The newspaper was published yesterday. ………………
6. The accident has a cause. ………………
7. The mayor has approved the funding. ………………
8. The pupil has made a mistake. ………………
9. The village road has an end. ………………
10. The mountain is covered with forests. ………………
11. This word has a meaning. ………………
12. Dad has consented to our marriage. ………………
13. A walk takes five minutes. ………………
14. The cow gives milk. ………………
15. The cottage has two windows. ………………


2.5. Gender
Gender is a grammatical category characteristic of nouns that
have male and female referents. It is therefore connected to
distinctions of sex and, consequently, the corresponding nouns tend to
be in separate classes, namely masculine and feminine. Such
distinctions are not normally made in the case of nouns referring to
’things’, which are therefore classified as neuter.

2.5.1. Lexical expression of gender

Nouns denoting family relationships (a) and social position (b)

are lexically marked for gender (pair of different words):

father - mother uncle - aunt

brother - sister nephew - niece
son - daughter

spinster – bachelor king - queen

lord – lady monk - nun

Lexical means are also used to express gender with a number

of animate nouns:

bull - cow cock - hen

fox - vixen stallion - mare
ram - ewe stag - hind
boar – saw

In compound nouns either the first constituent or the second

one is lexically marked for the masculine – feminine distinction:

a) the first constituent

male nurse (female) nurse

(male) student (female) student
boy-friend girl-friend
Jack ass Jenny ass
he-goat she-goat
cock sparrow hen sparrow
tom cat tabby cat

He was in the police you know, and he was a male nurse.

They ordered the drinks from a female bartender.
These were female prisoners convicted of violent crimes.
Judy told a story about a British female reporter.


b) the second constituent:

chairman chairwoman
spokesman spokeswoman
businessman businesswoman
congressman congresswoman

A spokeswoman for the company announced the decision.

A State Department spokesman explained the situation.

Compounds ending in -person(s) and -people are sometimes

used to express reference to both males and females and to avoid
sex-bias associated with the use of the corresponding masculine

Mrs. Moon, their Chairperson, was interviewed yesterday.

We have a vacancy for an experienced salesperson.
Jane was the spokesperson for the delegation.

2.5.2. Morphological expression of gender

A few English nouns have gender-specific derivational suffixes.
Most of the personal nouns refer to positions and jobs. In most cases
the feminine noun is derived from the masculine one:

masculine - feminine

actor → actress
governor → governess
mayor → mayoress
mister → mistress
god → goddess
hero → heroine
[the arrow → shows the direction of derivation]

There are a few exceptions to this rule:

masculine - feminine

widower <= widow

bride <= bridegroom


SAQ 2.9.

A. Underline the nouns marked for gender and give the

corresponding masculine or feminine pairs. Write your
answers in the spaces provided below and compare them
with those given at the end of the unit. The first has been
done for you:

1) Parents of the bridegroom are Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson

2) The hero of this novel is a man fighting injustice.
3) Gavin's stallion was in the barn.
4) The old woman had a nephew from Northern Italy.
5) "God save the King!”
6) She is a very high-powered businesswoman.
7) The hunters had killed a lioness.
8) The Congresswoman tried hard, but she failed.
9) They have a she-goat in the barn.

1) bridegroom (M) – bride (F);

2.5.3. Dual gender nouns

Within personal nouns, there are several nouns in English where
the distinction male/female is neutralized, the same noun naming both.
Some grammarians call them dual gender nouns:

journalist, friend, teacher, child, baby, pupil, doctor, student, etc.

fox, deer, sheep, pig, horse, fo wl, etc.

When referring to nouns of dual gender and pronouns such as

anybody or nobody, special problems arise, however, where the sex
of the referent is unidentified or irrelevant. Traditionally, masculine
pronouns have been used:

The individual can deal directly with his employer if he

chooses so.
Nobody in his right mind punishes a quarter-century-old


Nowadays, a plural form pronoun is preferred as a way of

purposely not specifying the sex of the person referred to (although
the expressions he or she, him or her may also be used):

Nobody came, did they?

Everyone thinks they are in the centre of the universe.
Once you have let anybody in they'd chop you up and put you
in their next stew.

SAQ 2.10.

Fill in the table below, indicating the corresponding

masculine, feminine of dual gender noun (wherever
possible). Compare your answers with those given at
the end of the unit:

masculine feminine dual

ram sheep
engineer engineer
nanny-goat goat

In this unit we have discussed the morphological criteria used to
identify a number of noun classes: proper nouns, which name unique
entities, and common nouns, which name ordinary things, further
grouped into countable and uncountable. Such distinctions correlate
with different grammatical patterns (countable nouns have singular
and plural number, while uncountable have only one form, either in the
singular or in the plural). The category of number indicates the
opposition between ‘one’, and ‘more than one’. Although most English
common nouns mark the plural by means of an –s suffix, a large
number of nouns do not follow this pattern and use other markers:
vowel change, ‘zero plural’, etc. The English case system consists in
the unmarked common case (corresponding to the nominative, dative
and accusative cases) and the marked genitive case. The choice is
between a premodifying ’s genitive and a postmodifying genitive (of-
genitive) and depends on gender distinctions, the ’s genitive being
favored by animate nouns. In English, the grammatical category of
gender is closely connected with sex distinctions. Animate nouns are
masculine or feminine. Inanimate nouns are neuter.

Key terms
case gender
collective noun genitive
common noun noun
compound noun number
countable proper noun
uncountable quantifier
foreign plurals zero plural

Further reading
Baciu, Ileana (1999). English Morphology: Word Formation. A
generative perspective. Bucuresti: Editura Universitatii din
Bucuresti, 195 - 209.
Coser C. Vulcãnescu R. (2004). Developing competence in English.
Intensive English Practice, Polirom, Iasi, pp. 11-40.
Gãlãteanu, Georgiana, Ecaterina Comisel (1982). Gramatica limbii
engleze, Editura didacticã si pedagogicã, Bucuresti, pp 71 – 93.
Hulban, Horia (2004) Syntheses in English Morphology, Editura
Spanda, Iasi, 16 – 95.
Parlog, Hortensia (1995). The English Noun Phrase. Hestia Publishing
House. Timisoara.

Send away assignment (SAA) 2

A. True or false? Choose as appropriate.

(5 minutes: 10 points)

1) Nouns may be countable or uncountable. T/F

2) Some concrete nouns are uncountable. T/F
3) Both proper and common nouns start with a capital
letter. T/F
4) Derived nouns are formed by means of affixes. T/F
5) Nouns in the plural always end in –s. T/F
6) All nouns have singular and plural forms. T/F
7) All nouns in the genitive case express possession. T/F
8) The ‘s-genitive is preferred for inanimate nouns. T/F
9) Nouns denoting persons are either masculine or feminine.
10) All nouns get either prefixes or suffixes to express gender.


B. Underline the uncountable nouns in the following text

and put them into one of the categories below:
(10 minutes: 26 points)

substances: coffee
human qualities:
abstract ideas:
subjects of study:
sports events:

She left her coffee on the table, untouched. Courage had

almost left her but her patience was over. A feeling of pride
overwhelmed her. She had to try at least. Something had
awoken her from her too long sleep and suddenly she knew
that she had to leave that house and try her luck somewhere
else. If everything went wrong she could still continue her
career in politics, or she will find some work. She headed
towards the pantry to pack some food and on the way she
tripped over the checkers that Marty had left on the floor when
he left for the athletics class. She was afraid the noise would
wake Joe who was lying with mumps in the other room. But
she didn’t stop. All she felt was a great feeling of relief now
that she had made the decision.’

C. Rewrite the sentences using the correct possessive

form of the nouns given in parenthesis:
(10 minutes: 7 points)

1) (roof / shed) was blown off by the storm last week.

2) Although (Ann / reply) amazed her relatives, they didn’t
show their feelings.
3) They were satisfied with (work / that day).
4) (legs / chair) were not very well glued, so Jim fell when
he sat down.
5) She rubbed (floor/ kitchen) clean and then continued
with the ( windows / sitting room).
6) Jane was pleased with her (holiday/two weeks) in the
7) The farmer bought ( worth / Euro 20) of seeds.


D. Underline the nouns in the text below and write their

plural form: (10 minutes: 34 points)

‘You have to be waiting for the guest if he has had a

reservation. The table has to be ready with a sparkling
tablecloth and a matching napkin for each person, and the
cutlery will be on it: knife on the right, fork on the left, menu in
the middle. No ashtray in this room. Smoking is forbidden. For
a special event, there’ll be a spoon and a special knife for the
fish but no teaspoon since people might prefer a piece of fruit
instead of an ice cream or a cake. If you want to have some
dessert, you bring in the trolley so they can choose. There’s
always a flower or a bunch in a vase in the middle of the
table. Have the bill ready when they ask for it but leave the
table immediately: don’t worry, people will leave the money on
the table with a tip.’
Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron-Mills


E. Read the following sentences. Identify the nouns

belonging to the different categories a, b, c and give
some more examples for each category: (10
minutes: 13 points)

a. Irregular nouns: child – children

b. Nouns with the same form for both singular and plural:
c. Nouns that refer to single items that have two linked parts:

1) During the three years he had spent in the jungle, Harris

identified several new species of plants.
2) Joe put the meat on the scales before cutting it up into
small pieces.
3) She taught the children to take good care of their teeth.
4) Women are as efficient in managerial jobs as men.
5) The sheep were grazing in the field when he came to
gather them.
6) The astronaut wrote two series of numbers on the
7) Jamie put down the scissors in front of the mirror next to
the pincers.


8) Tom had left his glasses on the shelf and now he

couldn’t see the trout because of the sun glistening in
the water.

F. Fill in the blank space with a suitable word. Choose

from the list below. Some of the nouns may not be useful.
(5 minutes: 10 points)

cars, chicken, chickens, children, coffee, experience, fish,

fish, furniture, help, housework, luggage, money, news,
things, time, times, wine

1) ‘How many ________ do they have?’ Six. But they don't

lay eggs.’
2) ‘How much ________ have you received from your
friend?’ ‘I haven't heard from him lately.’
3) ‘How much ___________ would you like with your rice?’
‘Just a little, please.’
4) He does not eat much _____________. He likes only
5) How much ______ have we got to finish the project?
6) I do not have to do much __________. I only do the
washing up.
7) I have got so many__________ to tell you.
8) I won't take too much ___________ with me, only a
suitcase and a handbag.
9) They have not caught many ____________ from the
10) We do not need as much ____________ as last time.
We will basically manage alone.

Send the answers to these questions to your tutor.

Total points for SAA 2: 93

Answers to self-assessed questions (SAQs) 2.1 – 2.10

SAQ 2.1.
1. helplessness; 2. sincerity; 3. confidence; 4. precedence; 5.
dramatist; 6. appreciation.

SAQ 2.2.
1. a paper factory; 2. a war story; 3. a teacher trainer; 4. the garage
door; 5. a newspaper headline; 6. chicken soup; 7. tooth paste; 8.
moonlight; 9. the sea waves; 10. bookcase.


SAQ 2.3.
A. 1. piece; 2. item; 3. flight; 4. sheet; 5. lump; 6. head; 7. slice; 8.
set; 9. blade; 10. clap

B. a colony / an army of ants; a swarm of bees, flies; a herd of

cattle, cows, sheep, goats; a brood / peep of chickens; a pack of
dogs, wolves; a flush / team of ducks; a shoal of fish; a flock of
geese, turkeys; a brood of hens; a drove / herd / stable / team of
horses; a plague of locusts; a stud of mares; a team / yoke of
oxen; a flight / flock of pigeons; a drove / herd / sounder of pigs; a
colony / bury / nest of rabbits; a hover of trout.

SAQ 2.4.
A. 1. keys; 2. authorities; 3. replies; 4. juries; 5. secretaries; 6.
B. 1. potatoes; tomatoes; 2. echoes; 3. heroes; 4. pianos; 5. radios.

SAQ 2.5.
[-us > -i] [-a > -ae] [-um > -a]
nucleus – formula – datum – data
nuclei formulae
/nucleuses /formulas
fungus –fungi larva – larvae curriculum –
/ funguses curricula

syllabus – bacterium –
syllabi / bacteria
[-ix, -ex > -ices] [-is > -es] [-on > -a]
index – indices thesis – theses phenomenon –
synthesis – syntheses phenomena
criterion - criteria

SAQ 2.6.
1. spend; 2. was; 3. were; 4. have; 5. has; 6. have; 7. are; 8. decides;
9. are; 10. are.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQs 2.1 - 2.6 not be

comparable to those given above, we strongly advise you to
revise sections 2.1 – 2.3

SAQ 2.7.
1. d; 2. h; 3. e; 4. f; 5. g; 6. b; 7. i; 8. j; 9. c; 10. a.

SAQ 2.8.
A. 1. two year project; 3. the town’s name/ the name of the town;
4. the color of the fence; 5. yesterday’s newspaper; 6. the cause of
the accident; 7. the mayor’s approval of the funding; 8. the pupil’s

mistake; 9. the end of the village road; 10. the mountain’s forests /
the forests of the mountain; 11. the meaning of the word; 12. Dad’s
consent to our marriage; 13. a five minutes’ walk / a walk of five
minutes; 14. the cow’s milk; 15. the windows of the cottage.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQs 2.7 - 2.8 not be

comparable to those given above, we strongly advise you to
revise section 2.4.

SAQ 2.9.
A. 1. bride; 2. heroine; 3. mare; 4. niece; 5. queen; 6.
businessman; 7. lion; 8. congressman; 9. he-goat.

SAQ 2.10.
a) hog sow pig
b) nephew niece -
c) ram ewe sheep
d) bachelor spinster -
e) engineer female engineer engineer
f) billy-goat nanny goat goat
g) widower widow -
h) stag hind deer
i) stallion mare horse
j) chairman chairwoman chairperson
k) cock hen -

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQs 2.9 - 2.10 not be

comparable to those given above, we strongly advise you to
revise section 2.5.

Determiners and pronouns

Determiners and pronouns

Objectives 66

3.1. Determiners 66
3.1.1. The article 67 The indefinite article 68 The zero article 70 The definite article 72
3.1.2. Possessive determiners 76
3.1.3. Demonstrative determiners 76
3.1.4. Quantifiers 77
3.1.5. Numerals 81
3.1.6. Semi-determiners 85

3.2. Pronouns 87
3.2.1. Personal pronouns 87
3.2.2. Possessive pronouns 89
3.2.3. Reflexive pronouns 90
3.2.4. Reciprocal pronouns 91
3.2.5. Indefinite pronouns 92
3.2.6. Demonstrative pronouns 955
3.2.7. Interrogative pronouns 966
3.2.8. Relative pronouns 977

Summary 98
Key terms 99
Further reading 99
Send-away assignment (SAA 4) 99
Answers to self-assessed questions (SAQs) 3.1 – 3.13 102

Determiners and pronouns

In this unit we will continue our study of the noun phrase by focusing
on those items that precede the head - generically called determiners.
The second section will examine various types of pronouns and their
function as substitutes for nouns in appropriate contexts.


After studying this unit, you will be able to:

 recognize different types of determiners (articles, possessives,

demonstratives, quantifiers, numerals and semi-determiners)
and explain their role in noun phrases;
 define and identify three types of articles: definite, indefinite
and zero and account for their correct use;
 define quantifiers and explain how they modify nouns;
 use numerals to express dates, measurements, calculations;
 identify different types of pronouns (personal, possessive,
reflexive, reciprocal, demonstrative, indefinite, interrogative),
explain their role in the noun phrase or in the clause and
account for their correct use;
 apply your understanding to the analysis of linguistic material.

3.1. Determiners
Determiners are words that specify the reference of a noun, i.e.
the entity in the real world to which a noun refers. The combinations
of nouns with certain determiners differ depending on the type of
noun. Among determiners, three sub-groups may be identified
according to their position:

1) Central determiners, with three subgroups:

a) articles: the, a,
b) demonstrative determiners: this, these, that, those
c) possessive determiners: my, your, his, etc

Central determiners are mutually exclusive, i.e. they cannot be

used simultaneously in the same noun phrase. This (sg) and these
(pl) are used to refer to a particular person(s), thing(s) or event(s)
that is/are close in time or space:

How long have you been living in this country?

He never comes to see me these days.
(= now, as compared with the past).

Determiners and pronouns

In contrast, that (sg) and those (pl) are used for referring to a
person/persons or thing(s) that is/are not near the speaker or as near
to the speaker as another/others:

Look at that man over there.

I was living with my parents at that time.
I think you'll find these shoes more comfortable than those.

2) Predeterminers: all, both, half and multipliers like double, once.

As their name indicates, predeterminers precede central determiners:

There is much truth in both these charges.

I'm gradually losing all my friends.

3) Post determiners, with two sub-groups:

a) ordinal numerals first, second and the semi-

determiners same, other, former, latter, last and next
b) cardinal numerals six, ten and quantifying determiners
much, many

Post determiners follow central determiners:

The disappearance of my former partner is extremely troubling.

These two colors don't look right together.

3.1.1. The article

The definite article (the) and the indefinite article (a) are the
most common determiners. The semantic function of articles is to
present the referents of a noun as indefinite, definite or generic.
The indefinite article is used before singular countable nouns or
before nouns that begin with consonants (a cow, a barn); and an
before nouns that begin with vowels (an apple, an orchard).
Sometimes the written form of a noun may be misleading.
Compare the initial sounds (not the letters) of the following nouns:

/a / an umbrella / ju / a university, a union

/e / an egg / ju / a Euro, a European
/ wu / a woman,
/ wʌ/ a one-time hero

The choice of the correct form of the indefinite article depends

on pronunciation and not on spelling. Thus, an is used when the
word begins with an actual vowel sound and a when the word begins
with a consonant or a consonant-like sound /ju/ or /wu/.
You should pay attention to nouns spelt with initial h. If h is
pronounced as the consonant /h/ then use a. If a vowel is the first
sound in the word, use an:
a horse /`hɔ: s,/ an hour /`auə/
a hotel /həu`tel/

Determiners and pronouns

SAQ 3.1.

Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the indefinite

article (a, an) in the following noun phrases. Compare our
answers with those at the end of the unit:

1. … honorable person; 2. … historical speech; 3. … honest

refusal; 4. … heiress to the throne; 5. … hare; 6. …
Englishman; 7. … European journey; 8. … engineer; 9. …
elephant; 10. … useful book; 11. … unintentional mistake;
12. … unilateral agreement; 13. … Ukrainian skater; 14. …
one-way street; 15. … wall; 16. … worm; 17. … one-man band;
18. … Australian student; 19. … ear-ring; 20. … owl. The indefinite article

The indefinite article is used to introduce a new entity in the

discourse. Subsequent references to the same entity generally take
the form of definite nouns or personal pronouns:

He bought a diamond ring. She accepted the ring / it .

Mary saw a cat. The cat / It was black.

In these examples, the nouns diamond ring and cat take the
indefinite article when used for the first time, because they are new
information in the discourse. When used for the second time, they
take the definite article (or are replaced by pronouns) because they
are already known information.

Some special uses of the indefinite article

a) in ratios (= “per”), i.e. the relationship between two groups of

people or things that is represented by two numbers showing how
much larger one group is than the other: 16p a kilo, five times a year,
six miles an hour:

I take a walk at lunchtime, a couple of miles a day.

Laura tutored my older brother Johnny three times a week.

b) in numbers, instead of one: a couple, a quarter, a hundred

c) to indicate jobs: He is an engineer. Joan is a teacher.

Determiners and pronouns

d) in idiomatic expressions with verbs like have, go, make, take, etc.,
to indicate an action:

have a talk / a walk / a sleep

have/take a bath / a look / a rest / an interest in
go for a ride / a run / a s wim / a walk
make a(n) attempt / a fuss / a mistake / a speech

You can have a sleep tonight.

If I'm lucky I will go for a ride on my stallion.

SAQ 3.2.

Decide whether the nouns are countable [C] or

uncountable [U] and use the correct form of the indefinite
article. Write your answers in the spaces provided below.
Compare our answers with those at the end of the unit.
The first has been done for you:

1. My neighbor is a photographer [C]; let’s ask him for …

advice […] about color films.
2. We had … fish […] and … chips […] for … lunch […].
3. He is … vegetarian […] ; you won’t get … meat […] at his
house. He’ll give you … nut cutlet […] .
4. … travel agent would give you … information […]
about … hotels […].
5. We’d better go by … taxi […] – if we can get … taxi […]
at such … hour […] as 2 a.m.
6. I hope you have … lovely time […] and … good weather
[…]. But I’m not going for … holiday […]; I’m going on …
business […] .
7. I have … headache […] and … sore throat […] . I think
I’ve got … cold […] .
8. If you go by … train […] you can have quite …
comfortable journey […] .
9. I’m having … few friends […] in to … coffee […] tomorrow
evening. Would you like to come?
10. I’ll pay you … hundred […] … week […] . It’s not …
enormous salary […] but after all you are … completely
unskilled man […] .

Determiners and pronouns The zero article

There are situations when uncountable nouns (I drink coffee,
not milk), and plural countable nouns (He hasn’t read books for
years) are used without an article. The absence of the article in
these cases indicates that the noun is generic, that is why the
absent article is called the ‘zero’ article. Notice that the ‘zero’ article
does not mean that the article has been omitted as in this newspaper


Reference is generic when the noun phrase refers to a whole

class rather than to an individual person or thing. However, with
singular countable nouns, we may use either the definite or the
indefinite article to express generic reference, as in:

The horse is a domestic animal.

A horse is a domestic animal.

Though close in meaning (both are generic), the horse refers to

the species as a whole, while a horse refers to any member of the

Some special uses of the zero article:


In some fixed expressions indicating place, we use the zero

article (the focus is on the type of institution rather than on a specific

at / to / from school
at / to / from university (college)
at / in / from / to church
in / into / out / to / from hospital

Notice the difference in meaning when the same noun is used

with the zero article or with the definite article:

They’re in hospital. (they are sick)

They’re in the hospital. (in a certain hospital to visit a patient)

They go to church on Sunday. (to attend service)

They go to the nearest church. (to a certain church)

We are at university. (we are students)

Let’s meet at the university. (a certain meeting place)

Determiners and pronouns


The zero article refers to the general term ‘meal’. In contrast,

the definite article is used if a special meal is singled out:

They had lunch at a cafe overlooking the intersection.

Jack grabbed the lunch from the table and went out.

days, months and seasons

We use the ‘zero’ article with the names of the days of the week
and months of the year:

In April came a rapid thaw that produced high waters.

When winter comes in 12 weeks, they will freeze.

a unique position

Jobs and positions normally require an indefinite article, but

when somebody gains a unique position, the zero article is used:

Queen Elizabeth had lunch with President Bush.

He was elected chairman of the committee.

means of transport and communication

Prepositional phrases opening with the preposition by take a

noun with the zero article:

(go) by bus / car / coach / plane / taxi / train

(travel) by air / horse / trail / car
(contact) by radio / telephone
(send) by mail / post / satellite link

a) times of the day

The zero article is used especially with some prepositional

phrases indicating time: at noon, at dawn, at night:

The bell in the church tower rang before and after Mass and at
Will the children be left alone at night?

However, the use of the definite article shows a certain period of the

She sat and waited for the dawn.

He woke up in the middle of the night.

Determiners and pronouns

double expressions

The zero article is sometimes found in combinations of identical

or semantically related nouns, particularly with prepositions:

arm in arm from top to toe

day after day hand in hand
day by day shoulder to shoulder
from cover to week by week

He traveled from country to country.

They walked hand in hand along the path.
Week by week he grew a little stronger.

h) block language

The zero article is normal with noun phrases in block language,

i.e. the special type of language used in public notices, book titles,
newspaper headlines, labels, and notices, where communication
needs strip language of all but the most information-bearing forms:


KEY WITNESS DISAPPEARS The definite article

The definite article specifies the referent of the noun phrase.
The entity to which the noun phrase refers is assumed to be known
to the speaker. This knowledge could be based on the preceding text:

A rod, a line and some hooks are all you need, but the rod
must be flexible and the line very strong. The hooks can't be
too small.

The use of the definite article may also reflect the situational
context. It may be obvious from the situation which particular object(s)
is/are being referred to. Situational reference depends on the
immediate speech situation or on the larger shared context.
Reference may be to a unique event or to an ordinary, common one:

Go to the door. (immediate speech situation, both

interlocut ors are in a room with one door)
How do I get to the bus station? (larger shared cont ext)
The sun sets in the west. (unique reference)

Determiners and pronouns

Some special uses of the definite article:

a) to show that the person or thing referred to is famous or important.

The definite article is stressed and pronounced / ði: /:

Tom Cruise? Not the Tom Cruise?

At that time London was the place to be.

b) with first, last, next, ordinal numbers, superlative and superlative-

like adjectives (only, main, right, same, wrong, etc.):

The second / next / best chapter was ready.

The pupils had used the same dictionary.
Poor George! The only boy, the family darling.

c) with "superlative" nouns: majority, minimum, whole (of), etc.

The majority of children will benefit by orthodontic treatment.

Yet in energy terms the UK is the best placed country in the
whole of Europe.

d) with interdependent comparatives:

The sooner we get a way from here, the better.

e) with parts of the body and the human make-up (mind, intelligence,
intellect, soul, heart, will) referred to generally:

Heavy drinking will damage the liver.

Do you believe in the soul?

Usually if we talk about a person’s body, or about their

possessions, we use the possessive adjective:

He broke his leg during a football match.

I was struck with the expression of his face.
You look quite a sight in your red dress.

Notice however that when we talk about the parts of the body
as affected by some external action, we prefer a prepositional phrase
+ the:

He wouldn't look Thomas in the face.

A fragment of the tooth came off and hit me straight in the eye.
She kissed the baby on the forehead.
The dog bit him in the leg.

Determiners and pronouns

SAQ 3.3.a.

A. From the knowledge you have acquired about the use

of determiners with nouns denoting parts of the
human body, fill in the gaps either with an article or
with a possessive determiner, if necessary. Compare
your answers with those given at the end of the unit.

1) The bullet struck him in ………. arm.

2) Someone threw an egg which struck the speaker
on ………. shoulder.
3) I have a pain in ………………. shoulder.
4) He stroked …………………….. chin thoughtfully.
5) The lioness bit him in ………………………….. leg.
6) We shook ……………………….. hands with the host.
7) He is a selfish man; he wouldn’t lift ………………. finger
to help anyone.
8) You’ll strain …………………… eyes if you read in bad
9) She was soon on ……………. knees, scrubbing the
kitchen floor.
10) I hit ………………….. thumb with a hammer when I was
hanging the picture.
11) I saw him raise ………………. right hand and take an
12) There was a shot and a policeman came out
with ………… blood running down …………………..

SAQ 3.3.b.

B. The following illustrate the use of the definite article.

Match the statements to each set of examples:

a. The Sunday Times, The Observer Magazine;

b. the Far East, the Pacific, the Black Sea, the Danube, the
Carpathians, the British Isles, the Gobi, the Arabian Gulf,
the Transylvanian Plateau, the Danube Delta, the
Panama Canal;
c. the Sun, the Moon;
d. the English, the French;
e. The Odeon, The Globe, The British Museum, The
National Gallery, The Eminescu Library, The University of
f. the rich, the poor;
Determiners and pronouns
g. the Romanian language, the English language;

h. the fifth, the second;

i. the biggest, the best, the most beautiful.

1. place names: geographical regions, oceans, seas, rivers,

mountain groups, island groups, deserts, gulfs, bays,
2. public buildings: hotels, cinemas and theaters, museums
and art galleries, libraries, universities, hospitals;
3. the superlative of adjectives;
4. some newspapers and magazines;
5. things that are unique;
6. names of peoples;
7. names of languages when determined by the word
8. ordinal numbers;
9. nouns formed from adjectives.

Write your answers in the space provided below. Compare

them with those given at the end of the unit. The first has
been done for you:


SAQ 3.3.c.

C. Insert the definite article if necessary. Compare your

answers with those given at the end of the unit:

1. ……….. youngest boy has just started going to ……….

school; …………. eldest boy is at ………… college.
2. When …………. Titanic was crossing ………… Atlantic she
struck an iceberg which tore a huge hole in her bow. ……..
captain ordered ……… crew to help ………. passengers
into ……. boats.
3. There’ll always be a conflict between ……… old and ….…
young. …….. young people want ………. change but ………
old people want ………. things to stay ……….. same.
4. ‘I’d like to see Mr. Smith, please.’ ‘Do you mean …………
Mr. Smith who works in ……… box office or ………… other Mr.
Determiners and pronouns

3.1.2. Possessive determiners

Possessive determiners specify a noun phrase by relating it to
the speaker (my, our), the addressee (your) or other entities
mentioned in the text or given in the speech situation (his, her, its,
their). The set of possessive determiners corresponds to a set of
personal pronouns (see 3.2.1.):

Mrs. Black celebrates her birthday [C] on Tuesday.

Which is their house?

The possessive adjective o wn is frequently used to emphasize


a) something belongs to or is connected with a person:

It was her own idea.

Is the car your own?
Your day off is your own. (“you can spend it as you wish”)
Our children are gro wn up and have children of their own.

b) something is done or produced by a particular person and

for himself or herself:

She makes all her own clothes.

He has to cook his own meals.
We encourage students to develop their own ideas.

3.1.3. Demonstrative determiners

The demonstrative determiners this/that and these/those are

closely related in meaning with the definite article. However, in
addition to marking an entity as known, they specify the number of
the referent (singular or plural) and whether the referent is near or
distant in relation to the speaker:

singular plural
near this book these books
distant that book those books

The singular demonstrative determiners combine with both

countable and uncountable nouns. However, the plural
demonstrative determiners combine with countable plural nouns only:

This soup [U] is really delicious – how do you make it?

Have you heard from that Scottish boy [C] you used to go out
These areas [C] are frequently affected by floods.

Determiners and pronouns

The reference of noun phrases with demonstrative determiners

may be established on the basis of the situation or on the preceding
or following text. Situational reference is very common in
conversation. The demonstrative determiner reflects the speaker’s
perception of distance:

Who's this? A teacher in our school.

(referring to a photo the speaker is looking at)
Give me that photo, over there, will you?

The use of demonstrative determiners is not just a matter of

physical location in relation to the speaker. Frequently they also
express whether something is near or distant in time (cf. now vs. then)

The effects of their decision will be seen by this autumn.

It was a merry Christmas for me that year.

3.1.4. Quantifiers
Some determiners specify nouns in terms of quantity and are
therefore called quantifiers. They combine with both definite and
indefinite noun phrases. In the latter case, they are generally
followed by of:

all money all of the money

some money some of the money
much money much of the money

all girls, some girls, many girls

Quantifiers can be broadly divided into four main groups:

inclusive quantifiers (all, both, each, every), quantifiers of large
quantity (much, many), of moderate or small quantity (some, few,
little), arbitrary or negative quantifiers (any, no).

a) Inclusive

All refers to the whole of a group or a mass; it combines with

both countable and uncountable nouns. Both is used with reference
to two entities with plural countable nouns:

The US Government pays for all its overseas workers [C].

He’s been entirely different all spring [U].
He suffered multiple fractures of both ankles.

Each and every refer to the individual members of a group and

only combine with singular nouns. Each stresses the separate
individual, every indicates the individual as a member of the group:

Eve and I were each allotted $5000.

He gave every patient the same medicine.

Determiners and pronouns
Each can be used with reference to two entities, every with
reference to three or more:

She had a child holding on to each hand.

The business makes less money every year.

b) Large quantity

Many and much specify large quantity; many with plural

countable nouns, and much with uncountable nouns. They are
typically used in questions and in negative contexts:

Did you have much trouble [U] with the customs?

Have you read many English books [C, pl.] ?
His performances have not attracted much attention. [U]
He did not translate many books from English into Italian. [C, pl]

Other determiners specifying quantity are a great/ good many

(with plural countable nouns), a great/ good deal of (with
uncountable nouns), plenty of, a lot of and lots of. The last three
combine with both uncountable and plural countable nouns. They are
characteristic of casual speech:

A good many pages [C] of the book are an account of his life.
Gymnastics requires a great deal of character. [U]
A good deal of English [U] was spoken on the beach.

He has got plenty of money [U] / plenty of friends. [C]

A lot of my friends [C] are thinking about emigrating.

Lots of patience [U] is needed, too.

Lots of citizens [C] think it’s time for an election.

c) Moderate or small quantity

Some /sə m/ usually specifies a moderate or indefinite quantity

or number and is used with both uncountable and plural countable

I need some medicine. [U]

He has bought some aspirins. [C]

Some /sʌ m/ also has other uses that need to be distinguished from
the one above. It expresses admiration or approval and it is strongly
stressed, as in:

This is some man!

Determiners specifying small quantity are a few, few and several

with plural countable nouns; and a little, little with uncountable
Determiners and pronouns

A few and a little have a positive meaning similar to some:

Would you like a little (some) champagne [U]?
There are a few (some) eggs [C] in the fridge.

Few and little have a negative meaning. They suggest that the
quantity is less than expected:

He has little time to spend on writing letters. (almost no time)

This theory is very difficult; few people can understand it.
(not many)

d) Arbitrary / negative member or amount

Any refers to an arbitrary member of the group or amount of a

mass. It combines with both countable and uncountable nouns. It is
often used in questions and negative clauses:

The decision does not discriminate against any applicant [C].

You never give me any help [U].

Either has a similar meaning, but it refers to two entities and

combines only with singular countable nouns:

Come on Tuesday or Wednesday. Either day is OK.

There's a door at either end of the corridor.

No and neither have negative reference, the former generally, the

latter with reference to two entities:

No action has been taken on such major problems.

I can’t get there – there’s no bus.
Neither parent realized what was happening.

Determiners and pronouns

SAQ 3.4.a.

A. In the following sentences, fill in the gaps with one of

the following quantifiers: much, many, a lot of, a little, little,
a fe w, few. Compare your answers with those given at the
end of the unit.

1) There isn’t __________ food left, is there? – ‘There’s

__________ bread and soup.’
2) How __________ material are we expected to read in one
3) I’ve had __________ headaches already because of stress.
4) They say __________ knowledge is a bad thing.
5) I know __________ instances where that proves true.
6) I've paid __________ attention to how __________ rain
we've had.
7) Our yard looks awful this summer. There are too
__________ weeds.
8) I didn't use __________ fertilizer last spring, and that has
made a difference.
9) I'm afraid it's rained __________ times this summer, and
the grass is turning brown and dying.
10) __________ of my neighbors ignore their grass, and they
have better lawns this year.

SAQ 3.4.b.

B. Fill in the spaces in the sentences below with some,

any, no. Compare your answers with those given at the
end of the unit:

1. There aren’t ………… buses but you can take the train.
2. I’ve got ………… interesting ideas if you are willing to hear
3. They never have ………… fun.
4. Can I offer you ………… wine?
5. If there’s ……………. milk left, put it in the fridge.
6. Do you know if ……….. of John’s friends is coming to the
7. Hardly …………. of the new cars have acceptable prices.

Determiners and pronouns

3.1.5 Numerals
A numeral is a word, functioning most typically as a modifier of
a noun that expresses quantity or sequence. There are two main
types of numerals: cardinal numerals and ordinal numerals.
Cardinals are clearly related to quantifying determiners but differ from
these in providing a numerical rather than a more general
specification, i.e. they are used to express how many objects are
referred to:

There were some papers to be filled in. (quantifying det erminer)

There were four papers to be filled in. (cardinal numeral)

Ordinals, on the other hand, specify nouns in terms of order.

They designate position in a sequence and are more like semi-

The first paper to be filled in was on the table.

English numerals are systematic in the sense that, with few

exceptions, they are formed by adding suffixes to other numbers, as
can be seen below:

cardinal numeral ordinal numeral

0 naught, zero -
1 one 1st first
2 two 2nd second
3 three 3rd third
4 four 4th fourth
5 five 5th fifth
6 six 6th sixth
7 seven 7th seventh
8 eight 8th eighth
9 nine 9th ninth
10 ten 10th tenth
11 eleven 11th eleventh
12 twelve 12th twelfth
13 thirteen 13th thirteenth
14 fourteen 14th fourteenth
15 fifteen 15th fifteenth
16 sixteen 16th sixteenth
17 seventeen 17th seventeenth
18 eighteen 18th eighteenth
19 nineteen 19th nineteenth
20 twenty 20th twentieth
21 twenty-one 21st twenty-first
22 twenty-two 22nd twenty-second
23 twenty-three 23rd twenty-third
24 twenty-four 24th twenty-fourth
30 thirty 30th thirtieth

Determiners and pronouns
40 forty 40th fortieth
50 fifty 50th fiftieth
60 sixty 60th sixtieth
70 seventy 70th seventieth
80 eighty 80th eightieth
90 ninety 90th ninetieth
100 one hundred 100th one hundredth
101 one hundred and 101st one hundred and first
1,000 one thousand 1,000th one thousandth
1,001 one thousand and 1,001st one thousand and
one first
1,254 one thousand, two 1,254th one thousand, two
hundred and fifty- hundred and fifty
four fourth
2,000 two thousand 2,000th two thousandth
100,000 one hundred 100,000th one hundred
thousand thousandth
658,902 six hundred and 658,902nd six hundred and fifty-
fifty-eight eight thousand, nine
thousand, nine hundred and second
hundred and two
1,000,000 one million 1,000,000th one millionth

Other numerals

British American
1,000,000,000 one thousand million one billion
1,000,000,000,000 one billion one trillion

In British English they always use and before the tens in a

number. In American English and can be dropped:

310 Br.E. three hundred and ten

Am.E. three hundred ten

Numerals are used in: fractions, decimals, dates, prices,

measures, calculations, telephone numbers, bank accounts, games
scores, etc., as shown below:

a. Fractions

Simple fractions are expressed by using ‘ordinal numbers’:

1/8 ‘an eighth (or one eighth)’

1 5/9 ‘one and five ninths’

More complex fractions are often expressed by using the word


310/ 605 ‘three hundred and ten over six hundred and five’
Determiners and pronouns

Fractions expressing time or distance are read:

¾ hour‘three quarters of an hour’

7/10 mile ‘seven tenths of a mile’

b. Decimals

Decimal fractions are said with each figure separate. The full
stop (called ‘point’) not a comma is used before fractions:

0.5 ‘nought point five or point five’ (US: ‘zero point five)’
5.375 ‘five point three seven five’

c. Expressing the date

There is a difference between British English and American

English when expressing the date:

Br.E. write 2 March 1996 or 2nd March, 1996

and read ‘the second of March nineteen ninety-six’

Am.E. write March 2, 1996

and read ‘March the second nineteen ninety-six’

d. Prices in British and American money

There are 100 pence in a pound. Sums of money are named as


1p ‘one penny’ or ‘one p’ /pi:/ (informal)

5p ‘five pence’ or ‘five p’ (informal)
£3.50 ‘three pounds seventy-five (pence)’ or
‘three pounds and seventy-five pence’ (more formal)

There are 100 cents in a dollar. Sums of money are named

very much as in British English. Some coins have special names:
one-cent coins are called pennies; five-cent coins are nickels; ten-
cent coins are dimes; twenty-five cent coins are quarters.

e. Measures

In recent years, Britain has adopted some metric measurement

units, but non-metric measures are still widely used. America uses
mainly non-metric units. Approximate values are given below:

1 inch (in) = 2.5 cm

1 foot (ft) = 12 inches = 30 cm

Determiners and pronouns
1 yard (yd) = 3 feet = 90 cm
1 mile (m) = 1,760 yards = 1.6 km

1 acre = 4,840 square yards = 0.4 hectares

1 square mile = 640 acres = 259 ha

1 ounce (1 oz) = 28 g
1 pound (1 lb) = 16 ounces = 455 g
1 stone (British only) = 14 pounds = 6.4 kg
1 kg = 2.2 pounds (2.2 lb)

1 British pint = 568 cl

1 US pint = 473 cl
1 gallon = 8 pints (8 pt)
1 British gallon = 4.55 litres
1 US gallon = 3.78 litres

Height is measured in feet, while distance can be measured in

feet or yards:

We are now flying at an altitude of 28,000 feet.

The car park is straight on, about 500 yards on the right.

British people usually measure their weight in stones and

pounds; Americans just use pounds:

Br.E. I weigh eight stone six.

Areas are given in square feet or square meters:

A garden is 30m x 48m. ‘thirty meters by forty-eight meters’

A room is 12 x 12 ft. ‘twelve by twelve feet’
The total area is twelve feet square.

f. Calculations

2x2 =4 Two and two is / are four. (informal)

Two plus two equals / is four. (formal)

7-4 =3 Four from seven is / leaves three. (informal)

Seven take away four is / leaves three. (informal)
Seven minus four equals / is three. (formal)

3x2 =6 Three twos are six. (informal)

Three times two is six. (informal)
Three multiplied by two equals / is six. (formal)

9:3 =3 Three(s) into nine goes three times. (informal)

Nine divided by three equals / is three. (formal)

Determiners and pronouns

g. The figure 0

In British English the figure 0 is called nought. When referring

to team games it becomes nil:

Manchester three; Liverpool nil.

In telephone numbers or accounts it is read like the letter O [əu]:

My account number is 41206090.

My account number is four one two o six o nine o.

In measurements (for instance of temperature) 0 is called zero:

zero degrees Fahrenheit=17.8 degrees below zero Centigrade

In American English the figure 0 is called zero. Both the British

and the Americans use love for tennis game scores.

SAQ 3.5.

Read the following numbers. Compare your answers with

those given at the end of the unit:

1. Cardinal numbers: 1995; 33; 179; 2,089; 4, 231; 941;

2. Ordinal numbers: 5th, 8th, 9th, 21st, 243rd, 952nd;
3. Fractions: 3/5, 6/8, 2/3, ½;
4. Decimals: 0.341; 5.427; 0.251;
5. Dates: 2.01.1978; 23.11.2003; 30.09.1711;
6. Phone numbers: 071-520722; 061-721034;
7. Prices: £10.45, $ 35, Euro 45.90.

3.1.6. Semi-determiners
In addition to the determiners proper, there are some
determiner-like words which are often described as adjectives. They
differ from adjectives however in that they have no descriptive
meaning. Most semi-determiners co-occur either only with the
definite article or with the indefinite article but not with both. There
are four major parings of semi-determiners: same and other, former
and latter, last and next, certain and such.
Same may be added after the definite article to emphasize that
the reference is exactly to the person or thing mentioned before:

We were almost the same age. She was fifteen and I was
These teams carried out the same operations in different areas.

Determiners and pronouns

Other is the opposite of same and specifies that the reference

is to an entity different from the one mentioned previously. It may be
added after the definite article, possessive determiners, after a
numeral or it may occur as the only determiner in indefinite noun
phrases (in which case it takes the form another):

The / His / T wo other cases were also under investigation.

Helen had to adjust to another approach to collaboration.

Former and latter may be added after the definite article to

discriminate between the first and the second of two things or people
already mentioned:

He presented two solutions. The latter seems much better.

The town has a cinema and a theater. The former was built in

Former and latter can also be used with reference to time,

meaning “that used to have a particular position or status in the past”:

He is married to the former Audrey Knecht.

Shirley was a former student of North Texas State University.

Last and next are like ordinal numerals in specifying items in

terms of order. They regularly combine with the definite article or
some other definite determiner, except when used in time
expressions (such as last week, next Thursday):

In the next chapter they will give attention to the style of writing.
The committee analyzed its defeat of last autumn.

Certain and such differ from the other semi-determiners in

being used only in indefinite noun phrases. Certain singles out a
specific person/thing or some specific persons/things. Such refers to
a person/thing or people/things of a particular kind:

Certain areas are better than others in keeping bees.

They do our country great harm by such actions.

Other uses of semi-determiners

Apart from certain, the semi-determiners can also be used as

pronouns, or they can combine like adjectives with one(s) to occupy
a nominal position:

Others admitted he was absolutely correct.

The pigment in shells was the same one as that in mussels.
The views of one leader may not be the same as the views of
another one.
I hate these earphones but the other ones hurt my ears.

Determiners and pronouns

In addition to occurring as determiners and pronouns, some of

these forms have other uses: last and next as adverbs (When did
you last see him?), certain as adjective (Are you certain?).

3.2. Pronouns

A pronoun is a word which replaces a noun. The English

pronominal system consists of:

a) personal pronouns (I, they, him, etc.);

b) reflexive pronouns (herself, ourselves, etc.);
c) possessive pronouns (mine, theirs, etc);
d) demonstrative pronouns (this / that; these / those);
e) interrogative pronouns ( who, which, what);
f) relative pronouns (who, which, that, etc.).

3.2.1. Personal pronouns

A personal pronoun distinguishes between the participants in
communication, such as the speaker (I/me, we/us) the addressee
(you), and referents which are neither speaker nor addressee
(he/him, she/her, they/them), and it typically refers to specific
individuals. There are corresponding series of personal pronouns,
possessive determiners, possessive pronouns and reflexive
pronouns. Further, there is a distinction between nominative and
accusative case for most personal pronouns, as shown in the table

personal pronoun possessive reflexive

nominative accusative determiner pronoun

I me my mine myself
you you your yours yourself
he him his his himself
she her her hers herself
it it its - itself
we us our ours ourselves
you you your yours yourselves
they them their theirs themselves

I, me, you, he, she, him, we and us generally have personal

reference, while it normally has nonpersonal reference. The plural
pronouns they /them are commonly used with both personal and
non-personal reference:

‘Where’s Jane?’ ‘She is at the hairdresser’s.’

Determiners and pronouns
John killed the spider by hitting it.

He/him or she/her may also be used with reference to animals

when we think of them as having personal qualities and feelings
characteristic of human beings, particularly with pets and domestic

Pronouns used either in the accusative or in the nominative

After forms of the verb be, both nominative and accusative

forms can be used:

It is I. It was he. (formal)

It s me, dad. You think it's him? (informal)

After the adjectives in the comparative degree both nominative

and accusative forms occur:

She's as bad as me and you !

Joe was older than he and suffering from high blood pressure.
Then he’s as real as I.

SAQ 3.6.

The personal pronoun I is considered overcorrect, so in

informal speech me is used instead. Fill the gaps with the
appropriate form of the first person personal pronoun.
Compare your answers with those given at the end of the

1. ‘When knocking at a friend’s door, do you say ‘It’s …… ?’

or ‘It’s ……. ?’
‘Well, it seems to ……. that ……. is the grammatically correct
form but ……. is the usage.’
2. 'Who’s there?‘ ‘It’s only …….. my friend Thomas and …….

3. ‘I can’t believe this! All my friends get paid more than …….
4. ‘My secretary and ……. were the only ones to agree to the
5. ‘My father, our neighbor and ……. went fishing on Sunday

Determiners and pronouns

3.2.2. Possessive pronouns

The possessive pronouns express possession. They are

typically used when the head noun is recoverable from the preceding

Alice took my hands in hers.

Everyone seemed to have a newspaper in their hands that
morning. Several people waved theirs at Bobbie and smiled as
she went by.
My hair is very fine. Yours is much thicker.
‘What happened?’ ‘ Your guess is as good as mine’.

The possessive pronoun also occurs in a post-modifying of-

phrase, which is parallel to the double-genitive:

She is a friend of my wife’s . (one of her friends)

She is a friend of hers.

This construction makes it possible for a noun to be specified

with both a determiner and a possessive marker.

A relative of mine had a son called Rick, who was learning

brick-laying at a local college.
He took a fancy to a cousin of mine.

SAQ 3.7.

Fill in the gaps with the correct form of the possessive

pronoun. Compare your answers with those given at the
end of the unit:

1. My brother and I have bicycles but ……. is older than ……..

2. Mary and John drink coffee but ……. is stronger than ……..
3. Please, lend me a pencil. I forgot ……..
4. I can’t recognize his voice; but I never mistake ……. even
when you whisper.
5. We have a new tennis racket and Mary has a new one too,
but ……. is better quality than ……..

Determiners and pronouns

3.2.3. Reflexive pronouns

The reflexive pronouns form a set corresponding to the
personal and possessive forms and show co-reference with the
subject, i.e. they are identical in reference with the subject of the
same clause. The reflexive pronoun however carries a different
syntactic role, it is typically an object:

So I consoled myself by reading books.

She cried herself to sleep.
John forced himself to smile.
Do pull yourself together!

The reflexive pronoun oneself refers to people in general:

It is only through study that one really begins to know oneself.

Reflexive pronouns also show emphasis. In this use, the

reflexive pronouns are stressed and are usually placed immediately
after (or nearby) the noun phrase they relate to. They are called
emphatic reflexive pronouns and their function is to underline the
identity of the referent:

I’ll go and see the President himself if I have to.

Having reached the place himself, he ran tiptoe down the steps.

With subject noun phrases, they may also be placed later in the
clause and have greater positional mobility. Compare:

The mayor himself spoke to me.

The mayor spoke to me himself.

Determiners and pronouns
SAQ 3.8.

Are the pronouns in the following sentences reflexive or

emphatic (R/E)? Write your answers in the spaces below.
Compare them with those given at the end of the unit. The
first has been done for you:

1. You’d better check yourself. You don’t seem to feel too well.
2. Don’t tell me to check the lights! Check them yourself.

3. We visited the gardens but the museum itself was closed.

4. How much time do you give yourself to get ready?

5. The lights switch themselves on as soon as it gets dark.

6. You yourself have to take this decision.

7. There are plenty of cakes. Help yourselves!

8. One can easily lose oneself in the woods.

3.2.4. Reciprocal pronouns

The reciprocal pronouns each other and one another are co-
referent with a preceding noun phrase within the same clause,
usually in subject position:

They visit each other a lot.

Her friends were talking to one another.

Both reciprocal pronouns can have possessive forms:

We avoided one another's / each other’s eyes.

They differ from the reflexive pronouns in that the reference is

to more than one entity and in that there is a mutual relationship
between the entities. Each other is used when only two people are
involved. One another is used when we refer to more than two
people or when making very general statements:

Jane and Mary talk to each other a lot.

Despite the chaos, people were getting one another out and
trying to save one another.

However, in modern English, most people make no difference

between these two pronouns.

Determiners and pronouns

SAQ 3.9.

Fill in the gaps with the correct reciprocal pronoun. Write

your answers in the spaces below. Compare them with
those given at the end of the unit:

1) Hearing the noise the three boys became silent and looked
at ….……………………...
2) Jane and Maggie used to help ….……………………... with
their Maths lessons.
3) The government and rebel delegations had begun to build
up some trust in ….……………………...
4) Ann and I allow ….……………………... absolute freedom.
5) Dear Lord, help each of us to care for . …..................... to
love ….……………………... and to help….……………… .
6) The two smile at ....... and then move to hold one hand
7) Everyone knew ….……………………... by name in the
8) A committee of parents try to help ….…………………find
9) Europeans learn a little more about ….……………………...
10) Jerry holds his arms out and they both hug …......... and
pat ................................ on the back.

3.2.5. Indefinite pronouns

Indefinite pronouns refer to entities which the speaker cannot
specify more exactly. There are four main sets of indefinite pronouns,
each derived from a quantifier:

quantifier indefinite pronouns

every everybody everyone everything
some somebody someone something
any anybody anyone anything
no nobody no one nothing

Reference is always to an indefinite person or thing:

‘I feel fine! Where is everybody?’

Mr. Kennedy always knew everything about everybody.
And nobody knew anything about aquafarming.
Now no one said anything at all.

Somebody, someone and something are usually used in

affirmative sentences, while anybody, anyone, anything are
distributed in interrogative sentences:

Something or someone frightened him off.

Can anybody believe stories like that?
Determiners and pronouns

Anybody, anyone, anything also occur in negative sentences

generated by:

a) negating the verb with the negative particle not:

I opened the door but I couldn’t see anybody.

b) the negatives never, no, neither, nor, hardly, scarcely, etc.:

Never lend money or anything else to a stranger.

Neither team think they're going to gain anything from that.
Nor is there anyone willing to do that.
Hardly anyone noticed her as she passed by.

c) the ‘implied’ negatives, i.e. words with a negative meaning: fail,

prevent; reluctant, hard, difficult, comparison with too:

The problem was too difficult for anyone to solve.

He was reluctant to meet anyone that day.
This was too risky for anybody to do it.
They worked hard for anything they got.

d) in conditional clauses

If they have to take anything, they'd rather take the money.

I'll be there all day if anyone can help me.

For all this, compounds of some can be used in negative,

interrogative or conditional clauses, when the basic meaning is

Why don't you just hire somebody else?

(‘I strongly suggest you hire somebody else’)
If somebody calls, tell him or her I’m sick in bed.
(‘the speaker expects that someone will call’)

Conversely, anybody, anyone and anything can be used with

stress in clauses with the meaning ‘no matter who’, ‘no matter what’:

I enjoy cooking. I'd cook anything.

Anybody can see that it's wrong.

Everybody, everyone and everything are used with singular

verbs. When possessives and pronouns refer back to everybody or
everyone they can be either singular (more formal) or plural (less

'How's everything with you?' 'Fine, thanks.' (informal)

Everyone held his or her breath. (formal)
I know everybody's got their own arguments but . . . (informal)

Determiners and pronouns

The pronoun one has two pronominal uses, in addition to being

used as a numeral:

a) substitute one
One is often used to replace or to avoid repeating a noun. A
singular noun is replaced by one, a plural noun by ones:

May I have a melon – a nice ripe one?

The new designs are much better than the old ones.

b) generic one
One may also refer to people in general (‘including you and
me’). It is a rather formal and impersonal pronoun in this use:

What can one do to protect oneself from these awful people?

There is also a possessive one’s and a reflexive pronoun


One’s family can be a real nuisance at times.

One should always give oneself plenty of time to pack.

SAQ 3.10.

Fill in the blanks with the corresponding indefinite

pronouns. Compare your answers with those given at
the end of the unit:

1) ............................. breathe a word about this!

2) ............................. stand up!
3) Have you had ............................. to eat, Peter?
4) I haven’t got ............................. to go with.
5) They’ve got ............................. to play with.
6) Is there ............................. who can advise me about tax?
7) Nothing is more precious than .............................’s life.
8) I forbid ............................. to touch that clock.
9) Should we call a doctor or .............................?
10) When we confronted him, he denied .............................

Determiners and pronouns

3.2.6. Demonstrative pronouns

In addition to marking something as known, the demonstrative
pronouns specify whether the referent is near (this, these) or distant
(that, those) in relation to the addressee:

Make up your mind. Which do you want? This one or that one?

The demonstrative pronouns have a number of special uses:

The demonstrative pronouns are used:

a) to introduce somebody or show something to somebody:

Hello, this is Maria Diaz (= on the telephone).

Kate, this is John (= when you are introducing them).
This is the captain speaking.
Do it like this (= in the way I am showing you).

b) to refer to somebody or something that have already been


There was a court case resulting from this incident.

What’s this I hear about you getting married?

The singular forms of the demonstrative pronoun may refer to a

preceding clause or sentence, or more vaguely to the preceding text:

He doesn't want her to speak to him angrily. This breaks his


c) with periods of time related to the present: this week / month / year:

I saw her this morning (today in the morning).

Do you want me to come this Monday (Monday of this week) or next
Do it this minute (now).
He never comes to see me these days (now, as compared with the

Determiners and pronouns

SAQ 3.11.

Choose the correct form of the demonstrative pronouns

(P) or demonstrative determiners (D) in accordance with
the statement. Use this/these for something that is here,
close or happening now and that/those for something
that is over there, distant, unfinished or unwanted. Write
your answers in the spaces provided below. Compare
them with those given at the end of the unit. The first as
been done for you:

1) This / That is the best price you could ever get. P

2) I didn’t like all these / those lies he told me. __
3) Just listen, this / that will make you laugh. __
4) Did you hear this / that heavy rain last night? __
5) This / That outcome was not in the least wanted. __
6) These / Those shoes are expensive but I like them very
much. __
7) Who said this / that ? __
8) This / That guy was such a jerk. __
9) What was this / that news you wanted to tell me? __

3.2.7. Interrogative pronouns

The interrogative pronouns (who, whom, whose, which and

what) are used in questions. They replace the item questioned. Who,
whom and whose have only personal reference:

‘Who are you?’. ‘I’m Jane.’

‘Whose are these books?’ ‘These books are Mary’s .’
‘Whom have you asked about your assignment?’ ‘My teacher.’

Which and what may have both personal and non-personal


I can see five girls in this photo. Which is your sister?

There are several umbrellas here. Which is yours?

‘What is she?’ ‘She is a Chemistry teacher.’

‘What is he drinking?’ ‘He is drinking lemon juice.’

Which is selective and usually implies that the speaker has a

limited number of choices in mind, while what has indefinite
reference and implies ‘what kind of’.

Determiners and pronouns

SAQ 3.12.

Fill in the blanks with the appropriate interrogative

pronouns. Compare your answers with those given at the
end of the unit:

1) …………. way shall we go? By the stream or through the

2) ………….sort of film do you like best?
3) …………. will you have to drink?
4) …………. is the man over there?
5) …………. did you meet at the party?
6) …………. of your brothers works on this farm?
7) …………. has become of your old friend Martin?
8) …………. house is that?
9) …………. does he think he is to speak to us like that?
10) …………. umbrella did you take?’ ‘I took Jane’s umbrella?’

3.2.8. Relative pronouns

Relative pronouns are a group of noun substitutes ( who,

whoever, whosoever, which, whichever) used to join the dependent
clauses they introduce to their own antecedent, i.e. the nouns to
which the relative pronouns refer. The choice of the relative pronoun
is also conditioned by the antecedent:

• Who is used when the antecedent is a person;

• That is used to refer to either persons or things;
• Which is used to refer to anything except persons.

John, who is my brother, will be joining the school in September.

The watch (that/which) you gave me keeps perfect time.
The people (that/whom) I spoke to were very helpful.

The relative pronoun whose refers to people but can also refer
to things or animals:

The salesman, whose name I have forgotten, sold Sam a car.

Determiners and pronouns

SAQ 3.13.
Insert in each blank the necessary relative pronoun.
Compare your answers with those given at the end of the

1) The boxer ............... career was ruined by health

problems was on TV last night.
2) The day ............... we met was the happiest of my life.
3) You'll have to speak to the person to ............... you gave
the money.
4) He's the guy ............... brother was sacked for stealing.
5) Is there a shop nearby ............... sells stamps?
6) Is there a store around here in . ............... I can get
some stamps?
7) They blamed me for everything ............... went wrong.
8) Nothing ............... she said surprised me.
9) There are those ............... say she should not have got
the job.
10) The man ............... answered the phone was rather

In this unit we have examined two types of noun phrase
constituents: determiners (articles, possessives, demonstratives and
quantifiers) and the nominal substitutes (pronouns). The semantic
function of articles (definite, indefinite, zero) is to present the
referents of a noun as indefinite, definite or generic. Possessive
determiners specify a noun phrase by relating it to the speaker (my,
our), the addressee (your) or other entities mentioned in the text (his,
her, its, their). The demonstrative determiners this/that and
these/those in addition to marking an entity as known, specify
whether the referent is near or distant in relation to the speaker.
Quantifiers (fe w, some, all, much) specify nouns in terms of quantity.
Cardinal numerals provide a numerical specification and are used in:
fractions, decimals, dates, prices, measures, calculations, telephone
numbers, bank accounts, games scores. Pronouns typically replace
noun phrases. Personal pronouns replace nouns and distinguish
between the speaker (I, we), the addressee (you) and a third referent
(he, she, it, they) in a communicative act. Possessive pronouns
(mine, yours, ours) express ownership. Reflexive pronouns (myself,
yourself) always co-occur with nouns or pronouns in subject position.
Reciprocal pronouns (each other, one another) express a mutual
feeling or action among the referents of a plural subject. Indefinite
pronouns (everybody, someone, nothing, anything) refer to entities
which the speaker/writer cannot specify more exactly.
Demonstrative pronouns (this, these, that, those) specify whether
the referent is near or distant in relation to the addressee. Relative
pronouns (who, which, that) are used to join the dependent clauses
they introduce to their own antecedent, i.e. the nouns to which the
relative pronouns refer.
Determiners and pronouns

Key terms
 article  personal pronoun
 cardinal numeral  possessive pronoun
 definite article  postdeterminer
 demonstrative  predeterminer
pronoun  pronoun
 determiner  quantifiers
 generic reference  quantifying nouns
 indefinite article  reciprocal pronouns
 indefinite pronoun  reference
 interrogative pronoun  reflexive pronoun
 ordinal numeral  zero article

Further reading
Baciu, Ileana (2004). Functional Categories in English. Bucureşti:
Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti, 89 – 137.
Foley, Mark and Diane Hall (2003) Advanced Learner’s Grammar.
London: Longman, 264-280.
Greenbaum, Sidney and Randolph Quirk (1991). A Student’s
Grammar of the English Language. Harlow, England: Longman,
70 -128.
Hulban, Horia (2004). Syntheses in English Morphology, Editura
Spanda, Iasi, 95 - 160, 178 - 230.

Send-away assignment (SAA 4)

A. True or false? (5 minutes: 12 x2=24 points)

1) English has two articles, definite and indefi nite. T/F

2) We don’t use the definite article with geographical
names. T/F
3) a/an can be used with all count nouns. T/F
4) The shows definite meaning with all common nouns.
5) Determiners usually follow adjectives. T/F
6) Determiners can stand in random order. T/F
7) The count/noncountable distinction affects the choice
of determiners. T/F
8) Post-determiners stand after their noun. T/F
9) Demonstratives have the same form if they appear as
pronouns or as determiners. T/F
10) Possessives have the same form if they appear as
pronouns and determiners. T/F
11) Who, whom and whose normally refer to people. T/F
12) Which always refers to things and or events. T/F
Determiners and pronouns

B. Fill in the necessary articles:

(15 minutes: 26 points)

When (1)___ morning sun clears (2)___ Amazon tree line in

southeastern Peru and strikes (3)___ gray-pink clay bank in
(4)___ upper Tambopata, one of (5)___ world's most dazzling
wildlife gatherings is nearing its riotous peak.
(6)___ steep bank has become (7)___ pulsing, 130-foot-high
palette of red, blue, and green as more than (8)___ thousand
parrots squabble over choice perches to grab (9)___ beakful of
clay, (10)___ vital but mysterious part of their diet. More than
(11)___ dozen parrot species will visit (12)___ clay lick
throughout (13)___ day, but this midmorning crush belongs to
giants of (14)___ parrot world, (15)___ macaws.
Hidden by (16)___ blind a hundred feet away, I watch (17)___
congregation. Flying on wings of royal blue with a hint of green,
(18)___ husky red-and-green macaw is (19)___ largest,
weighting more than three pounds and measuring more than
three feet from head to tail. (20)___ slightly slimmer scarlet
macaw unfurls darker blue wings with brilliant yellow
shoulders. (21)___ blue-and-yellow macaw flasher feathers
more turquoise and gold. All three shake tails as long as their
bodies and boast probably (22)___ most powerful bites in
(23)___ bird world.
Macaws seem to mate for life, so most arrive at (24)___ lick in
pairs. Some are shepherding offspring. (25)___ juveniles are
perfectly capable of biting at their own clay, but they're
spoiled. Bleating relentlessly as their parents regurgitate clay in
their mouths, pampering them as they have since (26)___ day
they were hatched.
Excerpt from National Geographic Magazine, January 1994.

C. Put in a, an, the or some where necessary:

(10 minutes: 27 points)

1) Please put ... fruit on ... table.

2) He leaves ... home at 8 o’clock and arrives at ... at 8.30.
3) I never have ... coffee after ... dinner.
4) I’d like ... tea. Would you please make ...?
5) I don’t like to see ... house without ... books.
6) ... Everest is ... highest mountain in ... world.
7) Most people eat ... bread with their meals.
8) ... fishmonger at ... corner of … street always has …
fresh fish.
9) Which is ... more nutritious fruit: ... apples or ... oranges?
10) I went to … London yesterday. On … train I met ... actor
and ... actress. ... actor is quite well known, but …
actress has only just begun her career.

Determiners and pronouns
D. Complete each sentence with the most suitable word or
phrase. (5 minutes: 5x 2=10 points)

1) What would ………… like to do this morning?

a) someone b) one c) yourself d) you
2) Did you enjoy …………?
a) at the party b)the party c) yourself at the party d) with
yourself at the party
3) One prefers to shop at Harrods, …………?
a) doesn’t one b) isn’t it c) don’t you d) isn’t one
4) Please invite ………… you like to the reception.
a) one b) anyone c) ones d) all

E. From the set of options given in parentheses, select the

correct word or word group to write in the blank.
(10 minutes: 15 points)
1) Some of these opinions about child-raising are completely
new to John and _____________ . (she, her)
2) Don’t be offended, but I think that you and _____________
should probably leave separately. (me, I)
3) Neither of the men wants to take _____________ tools all
the way to the blacksmith. (his, their)
4) The rain did not bother the students because most of them
have _____________ own umbrellas. (his or her, their)
5) Their father has taught his wife and _____________ most
of the accounting and management details. (they, them)
6) When she is worried about something, the little ginger cat
prefers Tom and _____________ to you. (her, she)
7) Our school board plans _____________ programs for big
merged schools where the teachers and principals were
responsible for the curriculum. (its, their)
8) Everybody I know around here walks around with
_____________ headphones on all the time. (his or her,
9) People ought to realize that _____________ might need to
hear the sounds of traffic sometimes. (he or she, they)
10) A farmer in this area doesn’t have to worry about the rain
spoiling _____________ hay. (his or her, their)
11) In any boy’s life, a time comes when _____________ must
make a difficult choice. (he, they)
12) Living on a small dairy farm, one can’t avoid
_____________ basic responsibilities. (his or her, their)
13) The police say that Mazie and _____________ can find the
tools that were scattered by the vandals. (they, them)
14) Nothing will ever come between _____________ old
friends now that we’ve learned how to laugh. (we, us)
15) People say that _____________ young people are better
educated than our parents are. (we, us)
Send the answers to these questions to your tutor.
Total points for SAA 3: 102
Determiners and pronouns

Answers to SAQs 3.1 – 3.13.

SAQ 3.1.
1. an; 2. a; 3. an; 4. an; 5. a; 6. an; 7. a; 8. an; 9. an; 10. a; 11. an;
12. a; 13. a; 14. a; 15. a; 16. a; 17. a; 18. an; 19. an; 20. an.
SAQ 3.2.
1) a., _; 2) _, _, _; 3) a, _,a; 4) a, _, _; 5) a, a, _, a, _, a; 6) a, _, a,
_; 7) a, a, a; 8) _, a; 9) a, _ 10) a, a, an, a.

SAQ 3.3.
A. 1. the; 2. the; 3. my; 4. his; 5. the; 6. _; 7. a; 8. your; 9. her; 10.
my; 11. his. 12. his.
B. a - 4; b – 1; c – 5; d – 6; e – 2; f – 9; g – 7; h – 8; i – 3.
C. 1. the, _, the, _; 2. the, the, The, the, the, the; 3. the, the. The, a,
the, _, the; 4. _, the, the.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 3 not be comparable to

those given above, we strongly advise you to revise section

SAQ 3.4.
A. 1) much/(a) little; 2) much; 3) many/few; 4) little; 5) a few; 6)
little/much; 7) many; 8) much; 9) few; 10) few.
B. 1. any; 2. some; 3. any; 4. some; 5. any; 6. any; 7. any.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 3.4 not be comparable to

those given above, we strongly advise you to revise section

SAQ 3.5.
1) one thousand nine hundred and five; thirty-three; one hundred and
seventy-nine; two thousand and eighty-nine; four; two hundred and
thirty-one; nine hundred and forty-one; 2) the fifth; the eighth; the
ninth; the twenty-fourth; the two hundred and forty-third; the nine
hundred and fifty-second; 3) three/fifths; six/eighths; two/thirds;
one/half; 4) nought/zero point three four one; five point four two
seven; nought/zero point two five one; 5) The second of
January/January the second nineteen seventy-eight; the twenty-third
of November/November the twenty-third two thousand and three; the
thirtieth of September/September the thirtieth seventeen eleven; o-
seven-one-five-two-o-seven-two-two/double two; o-six-one-seven-
two-one-o-three-four; ten pounds (and) forty-five; thirty-five dollars;
forty-five Euros and ninety cents.

SAQ 3.6.
1. I, me, me, I, me; 2. us, me; 3. I; 4. I; 5. me

SAQ 3.7.
1. his, mine; 2. his, hers; 3. mine; 4. yours; 5. hers, ours.
Determiners and pronouns

SAQ 3.8.
1. R; 2. E; 3. E; 4. R; 5. R; 6. E; 7. R; 8. R.

SAQ 3.9.
1. one another; 2. each other; 3. one another; 4) each other; 5)
one another; 6) one another/one another/ one another; 7) one
another; 8) one another; 9) one another; 10) each other/each other.

SAQ 3.10.
1) Nobody; 2) everybody; anything; 4) anyone; 5) nothing; 6) one; 8)
anyone; 9) someone; 10) everything.

SAQ 3.11.
1. this (P); 2. those (D); 3. this (P); 4. that (D); 5. that (D); 6. These
(D); 7. that (P); 8. That (D); 9. that (D).

SAQ 3.12.
1. which; 2. what; 3. what; 4. who; 5. whom; 6. which; 7. what; 8.
whose; 9. who; 10) whose.

SAQ 3.13.
1.whose; 2. (that); 3. whom; 4. whose; 5. which/that; 6. which; 7.
that/which; 8. that; 9. who/that; 10. who/that.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 3.6 - 3.12 not be

comparable to those given above, we strongly advise you to
revise section 3.2.



Objectives 105

4.1. Single-word lexical verbs 105

4.1.1. Regular lexical verbs 105
4.1.2. Irregular lexical verbs 107
4.1.3. Formation of verbs 109

4.2. Multi-word lexical verbs 110

4.2.1. Phrasal verbs 110
4.2.2. Prepositional verbs 111
4.2.3. Prepositional phrasal verbs 112
4.2.4. Idioms 113

4.3. The auxiliary verbs: be, have, do 113

Summary 114
Key terms 115
Further reading 115
Send-away assignment (SAA) 4 115
Answers to self-assessed questions (SAQs) 4.1 - 4.3 117


In this unit, we discuss the morphological properties of lexical verbs
and show how these verbs are classified according to semantic and
syntactic criteria. You will also learn about the auxiliary verbs: be,
have, do. You will use new concepts in the analysis of verbs and
develop practical skills by solving exercises.

After studying this unit, you will be able to:

 classify lexical verbs according to semantic criteria;

 recognize verbal derivational affixes;
 distinguish between phrasal, propositional, prepositional
phrasal verbs and verbal idioms;

4.1. Single-word lexical verbs

Based on their core meaning, i.e. the meaning the speakers
tend to think of first, English verbs can be classified as activity verbs
(denoting voluntary or involuntary actions (buy, come, move, open),
communication verbs (ask, explain, say, speak, talk), mental
verbs including both cognitive meanings (think, know) and emotional
meanings expressing various attitudes or desires (love, want),
together with perception (see, taste) and receipt of communication
(read, hear), verbs of causation (allow, cause, force, help, let,
permit), which indicate that some person or inanimate entity brings
about a new state of affairs, verbs of existence or relationship
(reporting a state that exists between entities (be, seem, appear, live,
stay, contain, include, involve) and aspectual verbs (begin, continue
finish, keep, start, stop) which characterize the stage of progress of
an activity.

4.1.1. Regular lexical verbs

Regular lexical verbs have only four morphological variants,
involving three inflections added to a base or stem:

 The base form is used for infinitives;

 The inflectional morpheme -(e)s is used to indicate the third
person singular present tense;
 The inflectional morpheme -ing is used for present
 The inflectional morpheme -ed is used for simple past tense
and for past participles.


inflection lexical verbs

look play try push reduce
-(e)s looks plays tries pushes reduces
-ing looking playing trying pushing reducing
-ed looked played tried pushed reduced

-(e)s is pronounced:

/s/ after voiceless consonants /p, t, k, f/, except /s, t/: hits, sleeps,
walks, laughs.
/z/ after vowels and voiced consonants: tries, moves, falls;
/iz/ after /s, z, ʃ,ʧ/: passes, reduces, recognizes, pushes, watches.

-ed is pronounced:

/t/ after voiceless consonants: watched, stopped, looked;

/d/ after vowels and voiced consonants: tried, moved, called;
/id/ after /t, d/: waited, wanted, added, attended.

-(e)s is spelt –es when the final letter of the verb is: s, z, sh, or ch:
pass - passes, push - pushes, watch - watches

If the base form of the verb ends in a consonant + e, the final e

is dropped before -ing or -ed:

reduce -- reducing -- reduced

If the verb ends in a consonant + y, the endings -(e)s, and -ed

take the form -ies and -ied respectively:

copy – copies – copied try – tries - tried

Verbs ending in vowel + y take the usual ending –s or –ed:

play – plays -- played

In addition to the spelling changes described above, a single

consonant letter at the end of the base is doubled before adding -ing
or -ed. This occurs only when the preceding vowel is stressed and
spelled with a single letter:

drop dropping dropped

admit admitting admitted

When the preceding vowel is unstressed or spelled with two

letters, there is no doubling of the final consonant in most cases:

order ordering ordered

fail failing failed


One exception is that final -s, -m or -l can be doubled sometimes when

preceded by an unstressed vowel (British English only):

focus focussing focussed

program programming programmed
cancel cancelling cancelled

SAQ 4.1.

Add -ing and -ed to the verbs below: agree -- agreeing –

agreed. Write in the space provided below. Compare your
answers with those given at the end of the unit.

1) argue; ……………………………
2) cancel; ……………………………
3) die; ……………………………
4) dye; ……………………………
5) enjoy; ……………………………
6) hop; ……………………………
7) hope; ……………………………
8) hurry; ……………………………
9) lie; ……………………………
10) live; ……………………………
11) occur; ……………………………
12) offer; ……………………………
13) picnic; ……………………………
14) panic; ……………………………
15) prefer; ……………………………
16) refer; ……………………………
17) regret; ……………………………
18) stop; ……………………………
19) travel. ……………………………

4.1.2. Irregular lexical verbs

About 200 English verbs have irregular morphological variants.

Irregular verbs differ from regular verbs in the formation of past tense
and past participle forms. Irregular verbs can be grouped as below:

Class 1 verbs take a voiceless -t /t/ suffix to mark both past

tense and past participle:

base form past tense past participle

build built built
send sent sent

Class 2 verbs take a -t or -d suffix to mark both past tense and
past participle, with a change in the base vowel:

base form past tense past participle

feel felt felt
tell told told
leave left left
bring brought brought

Class 3 verbs take the regular -ed suffix for past tense and the -
(e)n suffix for past participle:

base form past tense past participle

show showed shown
flow flowed flown

Class 4 verbs have no suffix for past tense forms but the suffix -
(e)n for the past participles, with a change in the vowel for one or

base from past tense past participle

break broke broken
choose chose chosen
eat ate eaten
fall fell fallen
forget forgot forgotten
give gave given

Class 5 verbs have past tense and past participle forms marked
only by a change in the base vowel:

base form past tense past participle

come came come
begin began begun
find found found
get got got
hang hung hung

Class 6 verbs have past tense forms and past participle forms
identical to the base form:

base form past tense past participle

cut cut cut
hit hit hit
let let let
shut shut shut


4.1.3. Formation of verbs

Derivational affixes can be added to existing words to form new
verbs in English. Prefixes do not generally change the word class. A
prefix is added to a verb root, a noun root or to an adjective root to
form a verb with a different meaning:

prefix verb / noun root derived verb

dis- like (verb) dislike
mis- lead mislead
over- cook overcook
un- do undo
de- frost (noun) defrost
dis- place displace
en- courage encourage
dis- content discontent
en- large enlarge

Derivational suffixes are attached to a noun or an adjective

base to form a verb with a similar meaning:

suffix noun / adjective root derived verb

-ate assassin assassinate
-ify class classify
-ize computer computerize
-ify simple simplify
-ize actual actualize
-en black blacken

SAQ 4.2.

Underline the derived verbs and comment on their


1) They should have their children immunized against

2) They couldn’t raise funds needed to industrialize all the
underdeveloped countries.
3) Pig manure has long been used to enrich soils.
4) He keeps his savings under his mattress because he
distrusts the banks.
5) His decision displeased the community.
6) They should encourage peasant families to grow
alternative crops.
7) The conflict demoralized the whole community.
8) Such a defeat is inevitably disheartening the football
9) His wife persuaded him to institutionalize his aged
10) Parliament finally legalized trade unions.


Write your answers in the space provided below.

Compare them with those given at the end of the unit.
The first has been done for you:

1) Adj. immune + -ize;

4.2. Multi-word lexical verbs

There are four major kinds of multi-word combinations that
comprise relatively idiomatic units and function with a single meaning
which is different from the meanings of the individual words:

type of multi-
word words that combine examples
phrasal verb verb + particle pick up
prepositional verb + preposition look at
prepositional verb + particle + preposition get away with
phrasal verb
idiom verb + NP + preposition take a loot at
verb + NP + PP take into account
verb + verb make do

4.2.1. Phrasal verbs

Phrasal verbs are combinations of a lexical verb with an
adverbial particle (give up, do with, put off). They can be intransitive
or transitive:

Rick’s car broke down. intransitive

She brought up four children. transitive
Direct Object

Phrasal verbs can be replaced by single transitive verbs: bring

up ‘raise’, put off ‘delay’, give in ‘agree’, leave out ‘omit’, which tend
to be restricted the formal use of the language:

The judge put off the verdict.

The judge delayed the verdict.


With transitive phrasal verbs the direct object can appear

between the verb and the particle. This is the normal word-order
when the object is a pronoun. When the direct object is a longer noun
phrase, it is placed at the end:

She brought them up.

Let us carry out this updated program.

4.2.2. Prepositional verbs

Prepositional verbs are combinations of a lexical verb and a
preposition followed by an object noun phrase (deal with sth., rely on
sb., depend on sth., provide for sb., insist on sth., etc.). The verb and
the preposition function as a single semantic unit, with a meaning
that cannot be derived completely from the individual meanings of
the two parts:

My decision depends on your answer.

He has provided for his family well.

A few prepositional verbs are followed by two noun phrases, the

first being the Object of the verb, the second the Object of the
preposition (accuse sb. of sth., acquaint sb. with sth., advise sb. of /
about sth., blame sb. for sth., congratulate sb. on /for sth., thank sb.
for sth., remind sb. of sth., etc.):

They blamed John for his failure.

He acquainted her with the facts.
This wine reminds me of France.

Prepositional verbs are different from phrasal verbs in that:

a) a preposition cannot be usually placed after the Object,

whereas the adverbial particle of phrasal verbs can generally
precede or follow the Object:
I rely on Mary. *I rely Mary on. prepositional verb
He put on his hat. He put his hat on. phrasal verb

b) a pronoun follows a preposition but precedes the adverbial

particle of a phrasal verbs:

I rely on her. prepositional verb

He put it on. phrasal verb

c) the preposition can be fronted in wh-questions, while the

particle cannot:

Whom do you rely on? On whom do you rely?

What did he put on? *On what did he put?


d) an adverb can be placed between the verb and the following

preposition but not between a verb and its particle:

I rely entirely on her.

*He put quickly on his hat.

4.2.3. Prepositional phrasal verbs

Prepositional phrasal verbs (get out of sth., get away with sth.,
go out for sth., catch up with sb., turn a way from sb., look for ward to
sth., put up with sth., come down to sth., end up with sth., etc.)
consist of a lexical verb combined with a particle, a preposition and a
noun phrase functioning as an object after the preposition:

We've come up with a solution.

I cannot put up with your behavior any longer.
Modern medicines have not done away with disease.
prepositional object

Prepositional phrasal verbs function as a semantic unit and can

sometimes be replaced by a single transitive verb with similar
meaning: get out with sth. ‘avoid’, look forward to sth. ‘anticipate’, etc.

SAQ 4.3.

Decide whether the following verbs are: a. prepositional,

b. phrasal, c. prepositional phrasal verbs. Write your
answers in the space provided below. Compare your
answers with those given at the end of the unit. The first
has been done for you:

1) He turned the lights off when he went to bed. …b,

2) Raymond, I think you'll end up with her. ……
3) The quarrel resulted in his mother leaving the house. ……
4) Why couldn't you put up with margarine for one day? ……
5) They blew the bridge up. ……
6) The committee will soon get round to your suggestion. ..….
7) She set about making a new dress. ……
8) Mind where you are walking, the ground is muddy. ……
9) No one can figure out how the fire started. ……
10) Don’t let me keep you from going out. .…..
11) Have we got enough food in? .…..
12) You didn't do that, did you? You're not having me on, are


4.2.4. Idioms
Fixed combinations of verb plus prepositional phrase
occasionally form idiomatic units, or idioms. Some of them can be
replaced by simple lexical verbs: bear in mind - ‘remember’, give sb.
the cold shoulder - ‘reject’, give sb. the creeps - ‘frighten’, have
second thoughts - ‘change one’s opinion’, have green fingers - ‘be
good at gardening’, keep/lose one’s head - ‘act calmly’, etc.:

It's important to bear in mind two things.

That house gives me the creeps.
You're not having second thoughts, are you?

This idiomatic category may include combinations of two verbs

such as make do (with) - ‘manage’, let sb go/be - ‘allow sb. to
leave/do sth.’:

We must make do with the evidence we have.

Let him be on the tractor beside me.

A few verbs, such as do, have, make, and take combine with
noun phrases and prepositional phrases to form set verbal

You must take time into account.

This isn't very important. I don't want to make an issue of it.

4.3. The auxiliary verbs: be, have, do

There are three auxiliary verbs in English: be, have, do. The
auxiliary verb be has two distinct functions: to mark the progressive
aspect and the passive voice:

They are planting trees now. progressive aspect

Trees are planted in the deserted areas. passive voice

The two auxiliary uses of be can occur in the same clause:

Trees are being planted in the deserted areas now.

The auxiliary verb have is used with the past participle to form
perfect tenses:

I have finished my work. present perfect

They had left before you got there? past perfect
They shall have finished their work by next week. future perfect


The auxiliary verb do is used to form negative sentences. It is

followed by the negative particle not which can be contracted to n’t:

They did not go to Paris.

She does not work hard.
I don't like fish.
Don’t forget to buy milk.

The auxiliary do is also used to make questions (yes/no

questions, wh-questions, tag questions) when the lexical verb is in
the present simple or past simple:

Does she write a letter every month? present

What does he write?
He writes a letter every month, doesn’t he?
Did he live in a cottage? past
Where did he live?
He lived in a cottage, didn’t he?

The verb do also serves as a pro-verb, that is do can replace a

whole verb phrase to avoid repetition:

He plays better than he did a year ago.

She works harder than he does.
'Who won?' 'I did.'
'I love peaches.' 'So do I.
'I don't want to go back.' 'Neither do I.'

As an emphatic verb, do is used to emphasize what you are


He looks tired. neutral statement

He does look tired. emphatic statement
He wrote to say thank you. neutral statement
She did at least write to say thank you. emphatic statement

Do is inverted with the subject in negative emphatic statements

when a negative adverb is moved to the front:

Not only does she speak Spanish, but she's also good with

The verb expresses our perception of events, states, and acts of
consciousness. Lexical verbs can express a wide range of
meanings. Most English verbs are regular and have only four
morphological variants, involving three suffixes added to a base: -
(e)s, -ing and -ed. About 200 verbs have irregular morphological
variants for past tense and past participle forms. New verbs can be
formed by suffixation from nouns and adjectives, or by prefixation
from other verbs. Multi-word combinations include a verb, a particle,
a preposition and a noun phrase. The main classes of such
combinations are known as: phrasal verbs, prepositional verbs,
prepositional phrasal verbs. The auxiliary verbs (be, have, do)
indicate tense and aspect.

Key terms
 auxiliary  prepositional
 idiom phrasal verb
 lexical verb  phrasal verb
 multi-word lexical  prepositional verb
verb  regular / irregular

Further reading

Budai, Lazlo (2000). Gramatica engleză. Teorie şi exerciţii. Bucureşti:

Teora, 9-12.
Courtney Rosemary (1983). Longman Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs,
Longman Group, UK Limited.
Cowie, A.P. R. Mackin & I.R.McCaig (1993). Oxford Dictionary of
English Idioms, Oxford Dictionary of Current Idiomatic English,
volume 2, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, Jan Svartvik
(1976). A Grammar of Contemporary English, Longman. 24 –

Send-away assignment (SAA) 4

A. True or False?
10 minutes: 8x2=16 points)

1) Auxiliary verbs form tenses and express modality.

2) We invert the subject and the auxiliary to form several kinds
of questions.
3) Linking verbs are also called copulative verbs.
4) Linking verbs connect their subject to the predicative.
5) Most multi-word verbs are idiomatic: their meaning cannot
always be clear from the meaning of their parts.
6) There are three main types of multi-word verb: phrasal,
prepositional and prepositional-phrasal.
7) Phrasal verbs may be transitive or intransitive.
8) Prepositional verbs are never transitive.


B. Classify the verbs in the sentences below as follows:

a) transitive phrasal; b) intransitive phrasal; c) prepositional
d) prepositional-phrasal (15 minutes: 10 points)

1) They rushed him off to hospital.

2) We’ll drive over some time tomorrow.
3) His vocation urged him on.
4) She accidentally knocked a book off the bedside table.
5) He got on his bike and rode off.
6) He blew the crumbs off his desk and shook them off his
7) The orders were sent out yesterday.
8) He gulped down his beer.
9) He raced back home.
10) Several trees were blown down.

C. Decide whether in the following clauses the verbs be,

have, do are used as: a. lexical verbs, b. auxiliary verbs
(10 minutes: 12 points)

1) Fred was in Italy last year. 2) Actually John is a good

farmer. 3) He is being rude. 4) They are graduates of Portland
University. 5) There are red roses in the garden. 6) He had a
new car and a boat. 7) He has already had dinner. 8) She had
a red jacket on. 9) We will do what we can to help. 10) He
doesn’t like hamburgers. 11) She doesn’t do her duty. 12) The
ham had a smoky flavor.

D. Give the three forms of the following verbs:

(20 minutes: 45 points)

1) hide; 2) weave; 3) come; 4) write; 5) hit; 6) stick; 7) bear; 8)

shrink; 9) seek; 10) weep; 11) sow; 12) ring; 13) arise; 14)
tear; 15) buy; 16) eat; 17) sew; 18) bring; 19) meet; 20) go;
21) speed; 22) cut; 23) draw; 24) be; 25) do; 26) fight; 27)
grind; 28) teach; 29) speak; 30) ride; 31) dig; 32) grow; 33)
see; 34) tread; 35) drink; 36) wind; 37) freeze; 38) breed;
39) weep; 40) tell; 41) swear; 42) bleed; 43) lie; 44) burst;
45) swing.

Send the answers to these questions to your tutor.

Total points for SAA 4: 83


Answers to SAQs 4.1 - 4.3

SAQ 4.1.
1) argue -- arguing – argued; 2) cancel – cancel(l)ing – cancel(l)ed;
3) die -- dying – died; 4) dye -- dying – died; 5) enjoy -- enjoying –
enjoyed; 6) hop -- hopping – hopped; 7) hope -- hoping – hoped; 8)
hurry -- hurrying – hurried; 9) lie -- lying – lied; 10) live -- living –
lived; 11) occur -- occurring – occurred; 12) offer -- offering – offered;
13) picnic -- picnicking -- picnicked; 14) panic -- panicking –
panicked; 15) prefer -- preferring – preferred; 16) refer -- referring –
referred; 17) regret -- regretting – regretted; 18) stop - stopping –
stopped; 19) travel – travel(l)ing – travel(l)ed.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 4.1 not be comparable to

those given above, please revise section 4.1.1.

SAQ 4.2.
1. Adj. immune + -ize; 2. Adj. industrial + -ize; 3. en- + Adj. rich; 4.
dis- V. trust; 5. dis- V. please; 6. en- + N. courage; 7. de- + Adj. moral
+ -ize; 8. dis- + N. heart + -en; 9. Adj. Institutional + ize; 10. Adj. legal
+ -ize.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 4.2. not be comparable to

those given above, please revise section 4.1.5.

SAQ 4.3.
1. b; 2. c; 3. a; 4. c; 5. b; 6. c; 7. a; 8. b; 9. b; 10. a; 11. b; 12. b.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 4.3 not be comparable to

those given above, please revise section 4.2.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

Objectives 119

5.1. Tense 119

5.1.1 Present simple 120
5.1.2. Past simple 125

5.2. Aspect 128

5.2.1. The simple aspect 128
5.2.2. The progressive aspect 128 Present progressive 131 Past progressive 132
5.2.3. The perfective aspect 134 Present perfect simple 134 Present perfect progressive 136 Past perfect simple 138 Past perfect progressive 141
5.2.4. Means of expressing future time 141 Future simple 141 Going to 141 Be to 142 Present progressive 143 simple 143 Future progressive 143 Future perfect 144 Future perfect progressive 144

5.3. Voice 145

5.4. Modality 148

5.4.1. Can – could 150
5.4.2. May – might 153
5.4.3. Must 155
5.4.4. Will – would 157
5.4.5. Shall – should 157

5.5. Mood 159

5.5.1. Indicative 159
5.5.2. Imperative 160
5.5.3. Conditional 160
5.5.4. Subjunctive 160

Summary 164
Key terms 165
Further reading: 165
Send-away assignment (SAA) 5 166
Answers to self-assessed questions (SAQs) 5.1 – 5.21. 168

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

Tense, aspect, voice and modality are fundamental categories in
grammar. Each of them represents perspectives from which we view
our experience of events. The category of tense marks the order of
events in time, while the category of aspect marks the temporal
contour of events, i.e. their duration, their being accomplished or not.
Tense and aspect are obligatory categories. With modality we add to
our statements such subjective meanings as possibility, probability,
necessity, prediction, or obligation.


By the end of this unit you will be able to:

 recognize the verbal categories of tense, aspect, voice,

modality, and their markers;
 use verbs in the present and past tense to indicate the
chronology of events in time;
 distinguish between progressive and perfect aspect, i.e.
between duration and completion of an event;
 express future time in various ways;
 express subjective meanings such as: possibility, ability,
permission and obligation by means of modal verbs;
 express virtual reality by means of the subjunctive mood.

5.1. Tense
Time is a basic concept that exists independently of human
language. Tense, on the other hand, is the linguistic expression of
time relations realized by verb forms. It is a way of expressing events
as occurring at points situated along the linear flow of time. The
normal point of reference is the moment of speaking or the speech
The moment of speaking is the point versus which some events
are anterior, i.e. they take place before the moment of speech, they
are recollected, posterior to the moment of speech, i.e. they are
anticipated and therefore will take place after the moment of
speaking, while other events are simply simultaneous with the
moment of speech, i.e. they happen at the same time.
Tense distinctions are largely dependent on whether the verb is
stative or dynamic. Stative verbs refer to a state of affairs, while
dynamic verbs refer to a sequence of separate events, as in:

I know nothing about him. (stative verb)

I wrote two letters yesterday. (dynamic)

Many verbs however lend themselves to both interpretations:

The children have nice clothes. (stative)

They have dinner at the restaurant. (dynamic)

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

Stative verbs fall into several semantic groups:

stative verbs examples

verbs of relation be, belong, contain, depend, have,
own, resemble, seem, sound
verbs of cognition believe, know, realize, think,
verbs of attitude disagrees, dislike, like, want, wish
verbs of involuntary feel, hear, see, smell, taste
verbs of bodily sensation ache, feel, hurt, itch, tickle

English verbs are inflected only for two tenses: present simple
and past simple.

5.1.1. Present simple

The marker of the present simple is the morpheme –(e)s for the
third person singular:

I (you, we, they) drink milk.

He (she, it) drinks milk.

The auxiliary do (or does for the third person singular) is

inserted in pre-subject position to form interrogative sentences:

He grows vegetables. affirmative sentence

Does he grow vegetables? yes-no question
What does he grow? wh-question
He grows vegetables, doesn’t he? tag-question

It is also used to form negative sentences:

Don’t forget to post the letter!

I don't feel like going out tonight.
Freddy's solution doesn’t appeal to me.
Most people don't have more than a vague idea what folklore
actually is.

The auxiliary do (does) replaces the whole verb phrase in short

answers to yes-no questions or in order to avoid repeating a full verb:

Does he grow vegetables? Yes, he does /

No, he doesn’t.

'Will Kay come?' 'She may do.'

I want to go home.' 'So do I.'
So now you know as much as I do.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

SAQ 5.1.A.

A. Fill in the gap with the correct present simple forms

(affirmative, interrogative, negative) of the verbs in
parentheses. Compare your answers with those given at
the end of the unit:

1) Fortunately, she …………………………. at my school.

2) You ever …………………………. your grandma? I’m sure
she …………………………. her relatives. (visit, miss)
3) My neighbor…………………………. to lock the gate
during the day. (not like)
4) ………………………….you …………………………. me
anymore? I …………………………. your brother.
He …………………………. a word of what
I …………………………. (not trust, understand, not
believe, say)
5) Pollution …………………………. the greenhouse effect
and it …………………………. life on the planet. (create,
6) The foresters …………………………. a thousand saplings
on the hill slopes every spring. (plant)

SAQ 5.1.B.

B. Read quickly in the 3rd person singular: Compare your

answers with those given at the end of the unit.

1. Housewives have to work hard. They cook the meals, lay

the table, and wash up, clean the house and mend the
clothes. Sometimes they also do the washing and ironing
and look after the garden.

2. My name is Susan. I am a secretary. I write a lot of letters

every day, I answer the telephone, and meet people. I
type letters and official papers. I put papers away in the
file cabinet. I help my boss to plan his time. I also remind
him of important appointments. I work eight hours a day.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

The present simple tense is used to express actions or events

that occur at present and that are viewed as: generic, habitual or

a. generic present
The present simple refers to statements that apply to all time,
including the speech time, to ‘eternal truths’, i.e. states of affairs that
existed, exist now and will continue to exist in the future:

Birds fly.
Cows eat grass.
The sun rises in the East.
Water freezes at 00 C.

b. instantaneous present
Sometimes the event is presented as coinciding with the
speech time and without having any duration beyond the moment of

Single event with little Somebody knocks on the door.

or no duration (knock,
jump, kick, nod, etc.)
sports commentaries Roberto Carlos passes to Zidane, Zidane
on radio or television to Ronaldo, Ronaldo shoots - and it’s a
demonstrations or How to plant vegetables
instructions First the farmer rakes the soil to make
sure it is soft for when the seed gets
planted. After that the farmer sows the
seeds. A few minutes later the farmer
waters the plant with a watering can. After
two weeks or more the plant starts to grow.
Then the farmer cuts the stem of the plant.
After that the farmer rakes the soil again
so when he wants to plant a seed the
farmer can put it there.
performative verbs I name this ship Queen Mary.
(that refer to actions I pronounce you man and wife.
performed while
uttering the clause)
In addition to these uses, the simple present tense can be used,
in certain limited ways, with past or future reference.

c. habitual present
The present simple refers to events which repeatedly occur
over an unspecified period of time:

The milkman calls on Sundays.

He often digs his own garden and mows the lawn.
She eats vegetables every day.
Bill spends a lot of money on bets every month.
Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

Habitual present is often accompanied by frequency adverbs:

often, rarely, seldom, once, every morning (afternoon, day, week,
month, year, summer, Monday), etc.

d. historical present
 in newspaper headlines, in order to dramatize the event:

Iraqi head seeks arms

Two sisters reunite after eighteen years

 in a narrative or an anecdote, in casual conversation or

fictional narrative, very frequently in recounting plots of books
and films, in order to achieve stronger effect and render the
event immediate:

The movie cuts to an image of the hobbits’ peaceful Shire

years later, where the wizard Gandalf has come to celebrate
Bilbo’s 111th birthday. The party is an extravagant occasion
with fireworks and revelry, and Bilbo entertains children with
tales of his adventures. In the middle of a rambling speech,
however, he puts on the ring, which makes him invisible and
runs to his house to pack his things and leave the Shire.
Gandalf meets Bilbo back in his house and tells him .…
(The Fellowship of the Ring, Spark Notes)

 in stage directions and captions to photographs:

JOAN: That's good?

(Larkin moves away. He won't face her. Sound of a car, door
slamming, close. Joan looks up at the sound.)
LARKIN: (Quietly) Doing nothing is the brass ring in this

 in reporting information, with verbs of communicating (say,

tell) or perception (see, hear, understand) to suggest that the
reported information is still valid, even though the event took
place in the past:

I hear that you're real good at what you do.

I understand that you intend to represent yourself?

If past tense were used in the reporting verb, the validity of the
information would no longer be emphasized:

I heard that you were real good at what you did.

e. present for future time

In main clauses, the simple present, usually accompanied by
adverbs of future time, is used to suggest that a future event is
certain to take place:

The train leaves at ten tonight.

Exams begin on Monday.
Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

The present simple indicates future actions that are considered

part of an already fixed program. The verbs used to indicate planned
future actions are verbs of motion: come, go, leave or aspectual
verbs: begin, start, end, etc.
In conditional and in temporal clauses, the present simple
renders a future time event:

I’ll do it, if I have time.

I’ll phone you, as soon as I arrive home.

SAQ 5.2.

Underline the verbs in the present simple and comment

on their meaning using the distinctions (a–e) made above.
Write your answers in the space provided below.
Compare them with those given at the end of the unit. The
first has been done for you:

1. These men go to work by train every day. They stay in the

train for half an hour and sit and stand there and read the
newspapers. They try to read all the news during the journey
and in that way know a lot about the topics of the day.
2. Our friends leave for the seaside at three o’clock today and
arrive there about seven; they spend their holidays there every
year and swim in the sea or sleep all the time. They forget
their work, enjoy the sea air and live as free as birds. Their
holidays finish in August.
3. Dogs make better pets than cats because they are more
friendly. They understand and obey their masters, but cats
like to live their own life.
4. One measures the coffee into a small saucepan, sprinkles
the gelatin and leaves it to soak for five minutes.
5. The park opens half and hour after sunrise and closes half
an hour before sunset.
6. A man comes to me yesterday and asks me to sign a
petition, but I don’t feel like it, so I say no.

1) go--habitual present;

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

5.1.2. Past simple

The past tense marker on regular verbs is –ed. Irregular verbs
have various past tense forms (see 4.1.2):

They walked along the river bank yesterday.

He drove his car to the edge of the cliff.

The auxiliary did is inserted in pre-subject position to form

interrogative sentences:

They grew vegetables last year. affirmative sentence

Did they grow vegetables? yes-no question
What did they grow? wh-question
They grew vegetables last year, didn’t they? tag question

The auxiliary did replaces the whole verb phrase in short

answers to yes-no questions:

Did they grow vegetables? Yes, they did.

No, they didn’t.

SAQ 5.3.A.

A. In the narrative below put the verbs in brackets into the

simple past tense. Write your answers in the space
provided below. Compare them with those given at the
end of the unit. The first has been done for you:

Lightening … twice by our house last night. (strike). We … the

sound of thunder and we … the lightening in the air. (hear,
smell) The first flash … a neighborhood tree. (hit) It … the bark
off the tree. (tear). Although the tree … , the lightening … the
tree. (not burn, kill) The second flash … another
neighborhood’s chimney and … out a whole row of bricks.
(strike, tear) The chimney … down noisily. (fall) The fire …
immediately. (start) Our neighbors … the firemen who ... at
once and … the fire. (call, come, put out) We … lucky. (be)
The lightening … our house. (miss)


Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

SAQ 5.3.B.

B. Ask yes-no questions to the following sentences. Write

your answers in the space provided below. Compare them
with those given at the end of the unit. The first has been
done for you:

A bird made a nest in this tree. It laid five eggs. Tommy saw
the nest. He climbed the tree. He held on to a branch with one
hand. He took two of the eggs. He put them in his mouth. He
needed both his hands. He began to climb down. One of the
branches broke. Tommy fell and hurt his arm. The eggs broke,
too. They tasted nice.

Did a bird make a nest in this tree?

The past simple basically indicates an event that happened

before the present moment.

a) definite events / states in the past

The past simple is used to refer to an event that occurred at a
definite time in the past. The event was completed in the past:

She phoned me at 6 o’clock.

The telephone rang as soon as I got home.

The definite time in the past can be indicated by means of

adverbs of time (at 9 o’clock, yesterday, last week, last summer, two
years ago, five months ago, a moment ago, etc.) or it may be
suggested by an adverbial clause of time (introduced by when, as
soon as, after, etc.)
Questions beginning with when have the verb in the past tense
because they expect an answer about the time when an event

When did they plant the olive trees?

They planted the olive trees five years ago.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

The past simple is also used to indicate a sequence of past

events in a narrative line:

One day, while I was waiting for a bus, someone tapped me on

the shoulder and asked me if my name was Alfred. He told me
that we once had worked in the same office .…

b) habitual simple past

The simple past expresses past habitual or characteristic
actions, events that repeatedly occurred in the past:

When we were living in London, I often went to the theatre.

c) in indirect speech
A way of rendering speech in writing, by rewording what
somebody said as a nominal that-clause or as an indirect question,
instead of the simple present when the reporting verb (tell, ask) is in
the past:

direct speech indirect speech

‘I have a new camera.’ => He told me he had a new camera.
‘Where are you living?’ => I was asked where I was living.

SAQ 5.4.

In the sentences below put the verbs in brackets into the

past tense simple. Write your answers in the space
provided below. Compare them with those given at the
end of the unit. The first has been done for you:

Before modern farming methods, farmers (lose) many crops

owing to dry weather. Sometimes dry periods (last) for many
years. In those days, a long dry period, or drought, often (turn)
the land to dust. Then winds (come) along and (blow) the good
land away. This (happen) year after year. Farmers themselves
(make) the situation worse. Each year they (plant) the same
crops. They never (give) the land a rest. Farmers (have) a very
hard time until they (start) to use modern farming methods.

1) lost;

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

5.2. Aspect

While the category of tense marks the order of events in time,

the category of aspect marks the temporal contour of events, i.e.
their duration and their being accomplished or not. Three aspectual
distinctions are traditionally identified in English: simple, progressive
and perfective. Aspect always combines with tense.

5.2.1. The simple aspect

The simple aspect in English is the one we choose whenever

we make an objective, straightforward presentation of a situation. Of
the three aspectual contrasts of English, the simple aspect is the
unmarked one (in contrast, the perfect is marked by the auxiliary
have + past participle, while the progressive aspect is marked by
some form of be + ing-participle of the lexical verb). By combining
with tense, the simple aspect generates such forms as the present
tense and the past tense (see 5.1.1 – 5.1.2).

Think first!

McDonald’s slogan: ‘I’m loving it!’

Is this slogan correct? Why? Why not? In case you

cannot find an answer, read what follows for a (possible)
solution. Write your answer in your portfolio and be
prepared to discuss it with your tutor or your colleagues.

5.2.2. The progressive aspect

English has a progressive aspect realized by means of the
auxiliary be and the -ing participle. The progressive aspect combines
with both present and past tenses and also with the perfect, with
modals, and modal equivalents and with the passive:

progressive forms example

present + progressive They are building a house.
past + progressive They were building a cottage.
perfect + progressive The bird has been building a
modal + progressive He may be building a shelter.
present + progressive + passive A shelter is being built now.
past + progressive + passive A factory was being built then.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

The fundamental function of the progressive aspect is to

indicate a dynamic action in the process of happening, i.e. in

Don’t knock – he may be sleeping.

Last night at 6 p.m., I was eating dinner.
This time tomorrow I’ll be flying to New York.
I’ve been looking for my glasses everywhere but I haven’t
found them.

In addition, it may imply that the situation has limited duration

and is not necessarily complete (simple tenses are generally used to
talk about permanent situations or completed actions):

John is working in the afternoon this month. (temporary situation)

John (usually) works in the morning. (permanent situation)

Because of its dynamic character, the progressive aspect is

compatible with dynamic verbs either durative (blow, work, ripen) or
punctual (knock):

A gale of wind from the west is blowing gently.

She was writing articles for a women’s magazine at the time.
Apples are ripening in the sun.

For the same reason, the progressive is incompatible with the

so-called ‘stative verbs’. The most important are:

stative verbs examples

verbs of attitude like, dislike, hate, love, prefer, wish
verbs of cognition believe, doubt, feel (=have an opinion),
guess, imagine, know, mean, realize,
recognize, remember, suppose, think
(=have an opinion), understand
verbs of involuntary hear, see, taste (=have a flavor), smell,
perception sound
verbs of relation appear, be, belong to, consist of, contain,
depend on, deserve, fit, include, involve,
lack, matter, measure (=have length, etc),
need, owe, own, possess, resemble, seem,
weigh (=have weight)

Stative verbs are typically used in the simple aspect. One can
say I like your coffee, but not *I am liking your coffee.
When stative verbs are used in the progressive aspect their
meaning is altered. Verbs of cognition and relation take on dynamic
meanings, indicate temporary behavior or an attitude on the part of
the speaker. Verbs of perception combine with the progressive to
refer to deliberate actions rather than involuntary perception.
Compare the progressive and the non-progressive uses of certain
Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

simple aspect progressive aspect

Jane is at school. Jane is being rude today.
(She is a pupil) (temporary attitude)
How much does/did this Eggs are costing more these
book cost? days. (temporary situation)
I expect she’ll come later. I’m expecting a letter form her.
(I’m waiting to receive)
(I believe)
I think he is a kind man. I’m thinking of my grandmother.
(It is my opinion)
I didn’t consider it wise to I was considering buying a new
interfere. (It was my opinion) house at the time. (I was thinking of)
He likes fresh milk. ----
I see a bird! I am seeing the boss tomorrow.
(involuntary use of senses) (meet)
I heard music. You will be hearing from him.
(involuntary use of senses) (get news)
I smell gas. It smells bad. She is smelling a rose.
(involuntary use of senses) (voluntary, deliberate action)

SAQ 5.5.

Use the stative verbs either in the simple aspect or in the

progressive. Write your answers in the space provided
below. Compare them with those given at the end of the
unit. The first has been done for you:

1) I … voices. there is someone at the door. (hear)

2) I … this pudding. It … good. (like, taste)
3) ‘What are you doing?’ ‘I … this meat to see if it is
spoiled.’ (smell)
4) I ... the dentist today. I have an appointment with him.
5) Paul … about the exam. He … it was long and difficult.
6) You … gas? I … the new stove is leaking. (smell,
7) Your father and I ... about you. You are our only child.
We … the best in life for you. (care, desire)
8) ‘Why … you rude today? You’ve never behaved like
this before.’ (be)
9) How many books ... your school library ? (contain)
10) Speak up, he … very well (not hear).

1) hear;

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood Present progressive

The present progressive is formed by means of the auxiliary be
in the present tense and the -ing participle of the lexical verb.

a) A verb in the present progressive indicates an action

happening at the moment of speaking ‘now’, ‘at this moment’. The
action has duration and it is not complete:

I am reading War and Peace by Tolstoy.

It is getting warmer and warmer.
Why is the baby crying? Is she hungry?
How are they feeling now?

b) It may also denote a temporary, limited action or behavior

with an adverbial indicating present time:

I live in Brasov but I’m living in Bucharest this year.

He usually walks to school but today he is going by bus.
Why are you being so rude?
I’m seeing a lot of Mary these days.

c) The present progressive indicates a frequently repeated

action which annoys the speaker. The typical adverbs are: always,
forever, continually, all the time:

My neighbor is always playing the piano at midnight.

They are complaining about their neighbors all the time.

d) The present progressive may also be used with reference to

future time. It indicates somebody’s immediate plans for the near

We’re spending next winter holidays in Egypt.

What are you doing this evening?

e) The present progressive is used in temporal and adverbial

clauses to indicate an action underway or in progress as some other
action takes place:

We will go for a walk while the baby is sleeping.

Jim doesn’t like to be disturbed while he’s working.

The present progressive is also used in for ‘background’

situations in present-time narratives:

So, I’m standing there, minding my own business, when this

policeman walks up to me . . .
Michael Swan. Practical English Usage.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

SAQ 5.6

Comment on the use of the present progressive in the

following, using the distinctions (a – e) above. Write
your answers in the space provided below. Compare
them with those given at the end of the unit. The first
has been done for you:

1) I usually study in the morning, but I (study) in the

afternoon this week.
2) Ann: Don’t be so sentimental.
Jenny: But I (not be) sentimental.
3) I (go) to the library after school. I (work) on a project
on water pollution.
4) He always (give) me bad advice.
5) I (dine) with Susan tonight. Would you join us?
6) By the way I (have) some people over for dinner
7) Stop that noisy game you (play).
8) The children (grow) tired. Put them to bed, please.
9) How quickly you (grow)? How tall you are!

1) am studying-temporary situation; Past progressive

The past progressive is formed by means of the auxiliary be in

the past and the –ing participle of the lexical verb.

a) It expresses an action in progress, going on precisely at a

point in time or over a specified period of time:

I was jogging at 10 yesterday.

At half past seven the crowds were pouring into the subways.
They were playing tennis from six to seven yesterday evening.

b) A verb in the past progressive also expresses an action that

began before, and probably continued after a shorter action
expressed by a verb in the past simple:

While I was jogging a man stopped me and asked me the time.

What were you doing when I phoned you?
Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

c) In narratives, the past progressive frequently has the effect of

providing certain ‘background’ information in order to highlight a
sequence of events expressed in the simple past tense (heard,
turned down, stood up):

Ann was listening to loud music on her stereo when the door
bell rang. She turned the stereo down and stood up to answer
the door. An old woman was standing on the steps.

d) The past progressive may be used to indicate two actions

going on simultaneously and lasting over a longer period of time:

The boys were playing football, while the girls were watching

e) With the adverb always it expresses a frequently repeated

past action, which often annoyed the speaker:

She was always ringing me up late at night.

f) A personal arrangement or plan for the near future seen from

the past:

He was busy packing, for he was leaving the next day.

g) In the indirect speech after a reporting verb in the past, the

past progressive is the equivalent of the present progressive:

‘I am staying at the Lido Hotel’ direct speech

He told us he was staying at the Lido Hotel. indirect speech

SAQ 5.7.

A. Put the verbs in brackets in the past progressive,

then comment on the use of the past progressive. Use
the distinctions (a – g) above.

1) Yesterday was December 31st. When the clock struck

midnight, Mr. Barton (pour) champagne and Mrs.
Barton cheerfully (talk) to her guests.
2) While she (eat) a sandwich, he was drinking some
3) She (work) in a hospital when I met her.
4) Your parents (live) in this town when you were born?
5) They (have) dinner at this time yesterday.
6) He always (invite) me to parties.
7) She (stay) with some relatives when I called on her.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

Write your answers in the space provided below.

Compare them with those given at the end of the unit.
The first has been done for you:

1) was pouring – action in progress;

5.2.3. The perfective aspect

The basic meaning of the perfect aspect is anteriority of the
event in relation to another moment (the speech time or a past time).
The perfect aspect is always signaled by the auxiliary verb have
followed by the past participle of the lexical verb. By combining with
tense, perfective aspect results in two simple tenses: Present Perfect
and Past Perfect. Present perfect simple

The present perfect is formed by means of the auxiliary have in

the present and the –en participle of the lexical verb. The present
perfect places the event in a period of time which extends up to and
includes the speech time. We typically use perfect tense to show a
connection between the past and the present time. The adverbs of
time refer to a period of time not yet over (up to now, so far, these
days, for two days, since June, etc.).

a) anteriority

The present perfect is used when the speaker does not want to refer
to a definite moment in time but simply to the anteriority of the event
in relation to speech time. The action is viewed as occurring at an
indefinite or unspecified time in the past. Adverbs that can be used
with the present perfect include adverbs of frequency, which are
themselves indefinite as regards time specification: already, always,
ever, in the last five years, lately, never, recently, sometimes, yet:

They have already admitted that they were wrong.

They have not yet analyzed the data yet.
I've always admired him.
I haven't really seen his car a lot lately.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

b) past actions relevant at present

The present perfect is often used to refer to past actions which

are relevant at the speech time. What matters is the fact that the
result of a past event is still felt at the present moment:

I have recovered from my illness. (the result is ‘I am now well again)

He has read the novel. (now he can comment on the plot)
I haven’t eaten anything. (the result is ‘Now I am hungry’)
We have already met. (we know each other)

In such cases no adverb of time accompanies the verbs in the

present perfect.

c) continuative perfect

The present perfect expresses an event or a state that extends

over a period lasting up to the moment of speaking, as indicated by
adverbs beginning with since or for.
Since + a point in time (since four o’clock, since yesterday,
since I was in London) expresses the beginning of a period of time.
For + a unit of time (for a few minutes, for an hour, for a week,
for years, for centuries) expresses the duration of a period of time.

They have known each other since 1980.

It has rained for a week; the village is in danger.

SAQ 5.8.A.

A. Fill the gaps to distinguish between past simple (a)

and present perfect (b). Compare your answers with
those given at the end of the unit. The first has been
done for you.

1) Past tense expresses an event with no connection to

the present moment.
2) ……………………….. indicates an event that has just
taken place and whose effects are felt at the present.
3) The typical adverbs used with ………………………..
are: just (already, yet, lately), today, this week
(month, year, summer), for (five minutes, two weeks,
three years), since (Monday, August, 1990).
4) The typical adverbs used with ………………………..
are: just now, at two o’clock, yesterday morning, last
week (month, year, winter), two minutes ago, five
weeks ago, three years ago)
5) Questions about time (when …?) have the verb
in ……………………….. .
6) Questions about quantity and number (How much …?
How many …?) contain a verb in the ……………… .

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

SAQ 5.8.B.

B. Now practice using the verb write in the past simple

or present perfect. Compare your answers with those
given at the end of the unit. The first has been done for

1. Dickens wrote some very famous novels.

2. I ……………………… two letters this evening. I will post
them tomorrow.
3. When ……………………… you ……………………… the
4. Who ……………………… Harry Potter?
5. How many poems ………………………
you ………………………?
6. I ……………………… her several letters but she didn’t
7. ……………………… Mozart ……………………… the
8. The doctor ……………………… me a prescription for
sleeping pills.
9. He ……………………… for ages. (not write)
10. I sent them a card but they never ............... back. Present perfect progressive

The present perfect progressive is formed by means of have +

been + verb -ing.

a) The meaning associated with the present perfect progressive

is that of a temporal situation leading up to the present. It also
suggests a sense of a situation in progress with limited duration:

You can’t go out. It has been raining for a few minutes.

I have been living here for the last three weeks.

b) With durative dynamic verbs, the present perfect progressive

emphasizes that the action is not completed, while the present
perfect simple normally suggests completion, result:

I’ve been reading the book. (not completed)

I’ ve read the book. (completed, result)

c) With punctual dynamic verbs, the present perfect progressive

shows that the action is repeated over a period of time:

I’ve been phoning you for hours! Where have you been?

The typical adverbs of time are for (for many years / two weeks
/a long time, etc.) and since (since 5 o’clock /January /1999, etc.)
Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

SAQ 5.9.A.

A. Fill the gaps to distinguish between the present perfect

simple (a) and the present perfect progressive (b).
Compare your answers with those given at the end of the
unit. The first has been done for you”

a) Present perfect progressive emphasizes duration,

uninterrupted action still going on at present.
b) ………………….… focuses on repetition and completion of
the event.
c) Questions with How much or How many have the verb
in ………………….…
d) Questions with How long take a verb in the ……………… .

SAQ 5.9.B.

B. Fill in the blanks with the correct forms of the verbs

given in parentheses. Compare your answers with those
given at the end of the unit. The first has been done for

1) I have been earning my own living since I finished

school. (earn)
2) ‘How much ……………….. he ………………..?’ ‘He … a lot
of money lately.’ (earn)
3) ‘How long ………………..the child ……………….. TV?’
‘For two hours.’
‘How many programs ………………..he ………………..?’
4) I ……………….. the car to work since I bought it. (drive)
‘How long … you … the car?’ ‘I ……………….. the car for
nine years.’ (drive)
5) The phone ……………….. for the past five minutes. (ring)
6) His mother is very sick. He ………………..
just ……………….. the hospital. (ring)

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood Past perfect simple

The past perfect is formed by means of the auxiliary have in
the past followed by the -en participle of the lexical verb: had gone,
had played.

a) It is used to refer to an event in the past that happened

before a past moment (by two o’clock, by January last year) or before
another event in the past. The focus is on the completed activity:

By two o’clock she had made some phone calls.

We had moved into a new house before our boy was born.

b) The adverbs hardly, barely, scarcely + when, no sooner +

than are often used with the past perfect to indicate a past event
completed immediately before another past event. When these
adverbs are used at the beginning of the sentence, they are followed
by inversion of the subject with the verb:

They had hardly come out of the room, when it started to rain.
The band had no sooner started to play, than he went away.

Hardly had they come out of the room, when it started to rain.
No sooner had the band started to play, than he went away.

c) The past perfect is used in temporal clauses beginning with

after, as soon as, before, by the time, till, when, until to show that the
action is anterior to the one in the main clause (otherwise the past
tense is used):

After she had finished, they left. (“she had to finish first”)
As soon as I had done it, I sent it to her. (“I had to do it first”)
She wouldn't sign the contract before she had seen it.
(“she had to see it first”)

d) When the time relation is not unambiguous, the past often

replaces the past perfect:

When she saw the mouse she screamed. (“she saw it first”)


When she sang, she sat down. (‘she sat down while singing’)
When she had sung, she sat down.
(‘she sang first, then she sat down’)

e) The past perfect is used in reported speech instead of the

past tense or present perfect tense to indicate a backshift into a more
remote past:

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

Direct Speech:

Ann: ‘John returned from his trip two days ago. He has already
heard the news.’ (past simple, present perfect)

‘You have annoyed the dog.’ (present perfect)

Reported Speech:

Ann told me that John had returned from his trip two days
before and he had already heard the news.

I told him that he had annoyed the dog.

SAQ 5.10

Use either the past simple or the past perfect of the verbs
in parentheses. Write your answers in the space provided
below. Compare them with those given at the end of the
unit. The first has been done for you:

1) Almost all the guests (leave) by the time we (arrived).

2) John (wonder) whether he (leave) his wallet at home.
3) The couple (scarcely, enter) the house when they (begin)
to argue.
4) The teacher (ask) the boy why he (not do) his homework.
5) The car (hardly, go) a mile when it (have) a flat tire.
6) They (be) married for seven years when they finally (have)
a child.
7) No sooner he (leave) on holiday than he (return) because
his parents (ring up) him to tell him that some burglars
(break) into the house.
8) Betty (fill) the cake and (decorate) it with icing which she
(prepare) hours before and (keep) in the fridge to harden.

1) had left;

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood Past perfect progressive

The past perfect progressive (had + been + verb-ing), usually

accompanied by an expression of time beginning with for / since, is
used for actions which had been going on continuously up to a past

It was midnight. I had been studying since noon.

I had been waiting for Tom for two hours when he arrived.

The past perfect progressive often indicates a previous action

whose result was obvious at a certain past moment:

The grass was wet because it had been raining all day.
The kids were very tired because they had been playing
baseball since early this morning.

SAQ 5.11.

Fill in the gaps with the correct form of the verb in

parentheses. Use either past perfect simple or
progressive. Compare your answers with those given at
the end of the unit. The first has been done for you:

1) ‘How long has Mary been watching TV by 10 o’clock?’

‘She ……………………………. TV for an hour.’
‘How many programs ……………… she ………….. ?’
‘She ……………………………….. two programs.’
2) ‘How long ……. Jim …….. English by January 2004?’
‘ He ……………….. English for five months.’
‘How many lesson ……....he ………………. from his
‘He ……………………. 15 lessons.’
3) They said they ……………………………….… to move to
the country for a long time. (plan)
4) We ………………………………….. for forty-five minutes
when the bell rang. Then we stopped writing and handed
our papers in. (write)
5) 5) The waters of the river …………………..……… for the
last two days. The village was saved. (rise)
6) Aunt Berth ………………..………….. the town with her
fresh vegetables for such a long time that even she
couldn’t remember. (supply)
7) The lion ever …………………..…… the cage before it was
moved? (leave)
8) When I got to the butcher’s, he …………………….. (close).
9) Didn’t I warn you to be careful? If only you …………..…….
Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

5.2.4. Means of expressing future time

There are several ways of expressing future time in English,

either by means of specialized future tenses or by using present
tenses with future meaning. Future simple

The future simple (will + verb) refers to actions that will take
place after the speech moment. The auxiliary will serves as the
ordinary marker of the future tense (shall is old-fashioned):

They will meet us at the newest café in the market.

At the feast, we will eat heartily.
Bobbie will call you tomorrow with details about the agenda.

The future simple expresses neutral prediction and takes

adverbs indicating future time (tomorrow morning, next week, next
autumn, etc.). Use it when you want to ‘say what you think will

It'll be cold and damp tomorrow.

Do you think he’ll come?

It is also used in the main clauses of conditional sentences:

You will feel better if you take your medicine regularly.

You'll be in time if you hurry.
‘Come out for a walk.’ ‘ No. I’ll miss the film on TV.’ Going to

Going to future marks future planned activity and prediction based on

fact. It also refers to the future fulfilment of present cause or intention:

I’m going to stay at home and watch TV. intention

It’s going to rain. Look at the clouds. cause

With the adverb just, going to future conveys the same meaning
as be about to:

‘Why are you all sitting at the table?’

‘We are just going to eat.’
‘We are (just) about to eat.’

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood Be to

Be to refers to a fixed and inevitable event or change in the

future and is used in reporting of news, frequently in the passive:

The government is to introduce new taxes.

The factory is to be closed until sanitary conditions are met.
All our vans now are to be re-fueled.

SAQ 5.12. A.

A. Use the verbs in parentheses in the future simple or

going to future. Compare your answers with those given
at the end of the unit:

1) She ………………………………. the place if she

follows the map. (find)
2) Why have they got their coats on?
They ………………………. (leave)
3) As soon as the rain stops, I ……………………….… to the
baker’s to get some bread. (walk).
4) The horse is limping badly. He …………………………. the
race. (finish)
5) Put on your life-belts. The
ship ……………………..…….(sink)
6) The weather forecast is excellent. It …………………….

SAQ 5.12.B.

B. Use future simple for unplanned intention and going

to future for planned intention. Compare your answers
with those given at the end of the unit:

1. ‘What are you doing with that spade?’

‘I ………………………… some apple trees.’ (plant)
2. ‘My car won’t start.’ ‘I ……………………….
and ……………….. it a push.’ (come, give)
3. ‘Why is Bob carrying his guitar?’
‘He …………………………… it at Mary’s birthday
party.’ (play)
4. ‘There isn’t any butter in the
house.‘ ‘I ………………………….
and …………………………. some.’ (go, get)
5. ‘This is a terribly heavy box.’ ‘I ……………………….... to
carry it.‘ (help)

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood Present progressive

The present progressive with a future meaning is used for scheduled

or personally planned events:

We're having a party on Saturday. We have already made the

I have already made my plans. I’m leaving at noon tomorrow. Present simple

The simple present with a future meaning expresses a future

event as part of an official plan or arrangement regarded as
unalterable. It is accompanied by an adverbial indicating future time:

We start for Brasov tomorrow.

The train leaves at 8.30.

The simple present is used in temporal and conditional clauses

to express a future action:

When the President arrives, the band will play the National
If you press this button, the door will open. Future progressive

The future progressive tense (will + be + verb-ing) is used to
describe temporary actions ongoing around a given future time:

We'll be cleaning up the yard Saturday afternoon.

I’ll be helping with the harvesting tomorrow.

The future progressive is used to refer to continuing action that

will occur in the future:

He will be working on the computer system for the next two


A longer future action that overlaps, is interrupted by, or occurs

with reference to some other future event/time:

Don't call at 6 pm, because I'll be eating dinner then.

When you arrive, they’ll be still having dinner.

Use the future progressive as a polite way of asking about

someone’s plans or decisions:

Will you be having dinner at your parents’ tonight?

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood Future perfect

The future perfect (will + have + verb-en) is used to refer to an

action that will be completed sometime in the future, before a point in
the future or before another action takes place. It is usually
recognized by the time adverbial phrases containing by or next:

The play will have ended by 10 o’clock.

The hotel people will have scoured and vacuumed the
building by the time the first guests arrive. Future perfect progressive

The future perfect progressive (will + have + been + verb-ing)
tense is used to indicate a continuing action that will be completed at
some specified time in the future:

I will have been studying English for three years by the end of
this term. duration completion

By the time the meeting is over, the committee will have been
arguing about which candidate to interview for three hours.

SAQ 5.13

Use the verbs in parenthesis in the future (progressive,

perfect or perfect progressive). Compare your answers with
those given at the end of the unit:

1) He ……………………………………… the winner at 10

o’clock tomorrow. (interview)
2) Nick …………………………………….. a camera before
he starts on a trip around the world. (buy)
3) By tomorrow Alice …………………………….… skiing
lessons for two weeks. (take)
4) She can sing so she ………………………………….… in
the school festival. (perform)
5) The Martins ……………………………………… in this
house for ten years by January the first. (live)
6) By next month Mrs. Allen …………………………………
as a librarian for twenty years. (work)
7) She ………………………………………….. from the
seaside by September the 15th. (return)

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

5.3. Voice
Voice refers to the semantic roles (the actual role a participant
plays in some real or imagined situation) of the subject of the
sentence. It indicates whether the subject is an agent (the person is
the doer of the event), a patient (a person or a thing which is
affected) or beneficiary of an event.
In the active voice, the subject is the agent of the action, the
participant that causes the change occasioned by the event. In the
passive voice, the subject is the undergoer, the participant that
suffers the change occasioned by the event. The agent performing
the action may appear in a by-phrase or may be omitted. Compare:

The pupil wrote an essay. active voice

Agent Patient

The essay was written (by the pupil). passive voice

Patient Agent

The passive voice has three formal characteristics:

 the auxiliary be
 the lexical verb in the past participial form
 an optional by prepositional phrase containing the agent

A long letter was written (by John).

be by-prepositional phrase

The use of tenses in English should be practiced

(by the pupils). be
by-prepositional phrase

Only transitive verbs (those that take direct objects) can be

transformed into passive constructions. Many active sentences do
not change into passive structures if the verb is ‘stative’. We can say
He has a new house, but we cannot say *A new house is had by him.
Here is a brief list of such verbs that cannot passivize: agree with,
become, comprise, equal, fit, lack, look like, resemble (for details see
The active voice is the "normal" voice. In most situations, the
active voice is preferable to the passive for the majority of your
sentences. Sentences in the active voice are generally - though not
always - clearer and more direct than those in the passive voice.

Icy winds may have damaged the house plants.

The house plants may have been damaged by icy winds.

He slammed the door shut.

The door was slammed shut by him.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

Sentences in the active voice are also more concise and

dynamic than those in the passive voice because fewer words are
required to express action in active voice than in the passive.

The committee is considering investing money in a factory.

Investing money in a factory is being considered by the


The passive voice is less usual than the active voice. It is

particularly useful when the agent performing the action is obvious,
unimportant or unknown, as in:

The aurora borealis can be observed in the early morning

The victim was apparently struck in the early morning hours.

The passive voice is effective in such circumstances because it

highlights the action rather than the agent performing the action. The
effect is to lend the article the air of objectivity. Writers in the
sciences conventionally use passive voice more often than writers in
other discourses. In scientific or technical writing or lab reports, the
agent is not really important but the process or principle being
described is of ultimate importance:

The protein concentration required to saturate the solid phase

was determined and the amount of bound protein was
quantified by the micro-biochoninic acid protein assay.

SAQ 5.14.

Remember: to use the passive voice effectively, use it

sparingly. Otherwise, your writing may well
substantiate the absurdity of this famous example.
Re-write the text and make all the necessary

"It was midday. The bus was being got into by

passengers. They were being squashed together. A hat
was being worn on the head of a young gentleman. A
long neck was one of the characteristics of the young
gentleman. The man standing next to him was being
grumbled at by the latter because of the jostling that was
being inflicted on him by him. As soon as a vacant seat
was espied by the young gentleman, it was made the
object of his precipitate movements and it became sat
down upon."
(From Text Book: An Introduction to Literary Language, eds. R. Scholes,
Nancy R. Comley, and Gregory L. Ulmer. New York: St. Martin's Press
(1988) 138-142.)

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

Write your answers in the space provided below.

Compare them with those given at the end of the unit.
The first has been done for you.

It was midday. Passengers were squashing one


Think first!

Situation 1

You get to a show on time. You need tickets. What will

you say to the person in the ticket office?

Situation 2

You discover that you need two more dollars. How would
you ask your friends for some more money?

Write your answers in your portfolio and be prepared to

discuss them with your tutor and your colleagues.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

5.4. Modality

Modality is a category of the verb by which speakers express

their evaluation or judgment of the situations to which they refer in
their statements. Modality typically involves such notions as
possibility, probability, necessity, volition, obligation and permission.
The forms which realize these concepts are the modal verbs:
can, may, must, should, would, ought to, etc. Some modals have
pairs (can-could, may-might, will-would, shall-should) others are
single (must, dare, need).
The major syntactic properties of the modal verbs are:

Modals do not have non-finite forms (infinitive or participles):

*to can, *canning, * to must, *musting

a) Modals have no agreement with the subject in the 3rd person


I can speak English. vs. I speak English.

He can speak English. vs. He speaks English.

b) Modal verbs are inverted with the subject to form questions

(yes-no question, wh-question, tag question):

Could you tell me the truth?

What could you tell me?
You could tell me the truth, couldn’t you?
They ought not to be here, ought they?

c) The modal paraphrases form the interrogative by means of

inversion with the subject:

He is able to fly a plane.

Is he able to fly a plane?
He was allowed to go to the party.
Was he allowed to go to the party?

d) Modals cannot co-occur with each other but the periphrastic

equivalents, such as be able to, be permitted, be likely, be necessary,
etc., can:

*I will can go.

I might be able to get there in time.

e) Modal verbs are not marked for tense and aspect. What is
historically the past tense mark (could, would, might, should) no
longer indicates past time:

It may / might rain tomorrow.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

Instead, modal verbs combine with a lexical verb in:

 the simple infinitive to express a modalized event at present:

I can/could drive a car, ride a motorbike and sail a boat.

He should visit his parents more often.

 the progressive infinitive (be + verb -ing) to show an action in

progress at present:

She must be reading a book.

 the perfect infinitive (have + verb -en) to indicate reference to the


She could have phoned her friend but she didn’t.

 the perfect progressive infinitive (have + been + verb -ing) to

suggest an activity in progress in the past:

She may have been reading a book when you phoned her.

 In passive sentences modal verbs combine with the simple

passive infinitive (be + verb -en) to refer to an event in the
present and with the perfect passive infinitive (have + been +
verb -en) to indicate an event in the past:

active They could paint the house before they sell it.
passive The house could be painted before they sell it.
modal + be + verb -en

active They could have painted the house before they sold it.
passive The house could have been painted before they
sold it. modal + have + been + verb -en

 In reported speech, could, would, might, should replace the

corresponding can, will, may and shall:
‘I can come’, she said. direct speech
She said she could come. reported speech

g) The main modal verbs have corresponding modal paraphrases which

can be used in all tenses: can – be able to, may - be permitted to, be
allowed to, must – have to:

can I am/ was/ will be able to ski.

may Am/ was/ will I be permitted to come in?
must. You have to/ had to/will have to study.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

Have to is the only modal paraphrase that forms the

interrogative and the negative with the auxiliary do:

Do I have to finish the book by next month?

I don’t have to finish the book by next month.
Did I have to be in time for school?
I didn’t have to be in time for school.

The major semantic values of the modal verbs are given the
following sections.

5.4.1. Can – could

The pair can – could is mainly used to express ability, possibility

and permission (in colloquial speech)

physical or mental

in the present He can ride a wild horse.

(physical ability)
in the past He could read when he was five.
(mental ability)
objective possibility Don’t light a match in this chemical
factory. It can cause an explosion.
permission You can borrow my bike.

ask for permission Can/ Could I use your phone?

(colloquial instead of may)
negative deduction You’ve just had your dinner. You can’t
(impossibility of be hungry.

a present event She can’t be typing a letter now. She

can’t type.
a past event) He couldn’t have heard the news on
the radio because he was sleeping

Verbs of physical perception are not used in the progressive

form. They are usually combined with the modal verb can to indicate
a state at present:

He is walking along the shore now. What can he see, hear, feel
He lives in a small village on the shore. What does he see, hear,
feel every day?

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

When an individual event was successfully performed in the

past, be able to is used instead of could:

Though the mountaineer was very tired, he was able to get to

the top. (‘he managed to get to the top’)
He could swim so he was able to reach the shore.
(‘he succeeded in reaching the shore’)

To stress that a past ability no longer exists, we use the

construction used to be able to:

‘Can you play chess, Betty?’

‘I used to be able to play it, but now I’ve forgotten how to.’

I used to be able to make clay pots on a wheel.

Where artists used to be able to put on performances in their
loft spaces, now high-end restaurants want to move in.

SAQ 5.15.A.

A. Comment upon the meanings of can or could in the

following examples. Write your answers in the space
provided below. Compare them with those given at the
end of the unit. The first has been done for you:

1) What are you doing right now? What could you be

doing if you were not in class?
2) Everything looks deserted. They can’t be at home.
3) Can I have another piece of cake?
4) She can sing. She is a member of the school choir.
5) He could dance very well so he was able to win the
dance contest.
6) ‘Why didn’t you invite Margaret?’ ‘I couldn’t get her
phone number.’
7) Who can translate this paragraph into English for next
8) ‘You didn’t attend all the classes, Jane?’ ‘I could have
attended all the classes, but I had to stay home and
take care of my baby brother.’

1) possibility;

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

SAQ 5.15.B.

B. Use be able to in the appropriate tense paying

attention to the adverbs of time. Compare your answers
with those given at the end of the unit. The first has been
done for you:

1) I will be able to read fast when I finish this speed-

reading course.
2) ‘Have you ever eaten frog legs?’ ‘No,
I ……………………… face the idea.’
3) ‘I can’t speak English without an accent now.’ ‘Don’t
worry, you …………………………. speak better next
4) The children ………………………… sail across the
lake last week.
5) ‘Can the baby sit in his pram?’ ‘Yes, he ………………
already …………………. sit ‘
6) The postman ………………………… deliver the letters
because the dog barked fiercely.
7) Fortunately, I………………………….…… make many
new friends since I arrived in this town.
8) He told me he …………………………..…… borrow
umbrellas so we had to wait until the rain stopped.
9) ‘Can you translate fluently?’
‘I …………………………….. translate fluently, but now
I’ve forgotten a lot of words.’
10) ‘I wish I could grow roses in the front garden.’ ‘I’d
like …………………..……… grow roses, too.’

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

5.4.2. May – might

The pair may – might is mainly used to express possibility

and permission:

possibility He may be on the next bus.

in the present He might not know that we are waiting for him.
(+ present (a more remote possibility)
The dog isn’t here. He may have taken it with
in the past
His letter might have given him the idea.
(+ past
grant or refuse Candidates may (not) bring textbooks into the
formal examination room.
May I borrow your pen, please?
request Might I borrow your pen, please?
permission (less common, greater uncertainty about the answer)

May expressing permission can be replaced by the modal

paraphrases: be allowed to or be permitted to:

You may not touch the exhibits in a museum.

You are not allowed to touch the exhibits.

The negative may not (colloquially can’t) expresses a refusal of

permission and is therefore less strong than must not which
expresses prohibition:

You may not park here. (refusal of permission)

You must not park here. (prohibition)
You must not smoke here.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

SAQ 5.16.

Comment on the meanings of may - might in the

following. Write your answers in the space provided
below. Compare them with those given at the end of the
unit. The first has been done for you:

1) Jane may not have time to come to Bill’s party.

2) ‘What do you think he will do there?’ / ‘What might he
do there?”
3) ‘He may go boating on the lake or he may visit the
Village Museum.’
4) My friend is flying to Paris. He may/might be reading a
book now.
5) ‘Perhaps your umbrella is at home.’ ‘Well, it might be
there, but I don’t think so.’
6) I am not sure what I will be when I leave school. I
haven’t decided yet. I may become a librarian or I might
become a teacher.
7) I don’t know whether John signed the contract or not.
He might have signed it.
8) ‘Mr. Grant looked worried. I’m not sure why.’ ‘He might
have been thinking about his sick mother.’
9) I hate to bother you, but may I borrow your briefcase?
10) ‘May I open the window?’ ‘No, you may not. It’s cold
11) I asked if I might invite my friends over next Sunday.

1) present, possibility;

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

5.4.3. Must

Must is chiefly used to express obligation and logical necessity:

obligation imposed You must be back by 10 o’clock.

by the speaker
obligation deriving
from rules/regulations Passengers must fasten their seat belts.

logical necessity He left two hours ago. He must be at home

(deduction) now.

Absence of obligation at present is expressed by needn’t and in

the past by didn’t need to:

‘You needn’t wait for me.’

She didn’t need to call an ambulance. Her uncle is a doctor.

When using need in questions the speaker hopes for a negative


‘Need he climb the apple tree?’

‘No, he needn’t. There are a lot of apples in the basket.’

Needn’t + perfect infinitive (have + verb -en) is used exclusively

to refer to an action which took place in the past but was

I translated the message not knowing that everybody here

understood English. I needn’t have translated the message.

The modal must can be used with reference to an action in the

present or possibly in the future. When specific reference has to be
made to other times or aspects, the modal paraphrase have to is
used. It expresses habitual obligation or obligation imposed by others
(external obligation):

I will have to finish the book by next month.

The children were in a summer camp. They had to chop
firewood, fetch water and cook meals themselves.

The negative and interrogative of have to are formed with do:

Why did he have to leave home so early?

The pupils didn’t have to go to school on Saturday.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

SAQ 5.17.

Comment on the meanings of must – have to – need.

1) I hear foot steps. Someone must be coming.

2) We didn’t need to call an ambulance. Jim was feeling
3) You needn’t have washed the cardigan, because it was
4) I must go to the hospital early. My friend is sick.
5) I have to go to hospital early. I am a doctor.
6) You mustn’t smoke in here. You can cause an explosion.
7) He had to stay indoors because of the heavy rain.
8) In England motorists must drive on the left side of the
9) You needn’t help me. I can manage.
10) Visitors mustn’t feed the animals at the Zoo.

Write your answers in the space provided below.

Compare them with those given at the end of the unit. The
first has been done for you:

1) logical necessity (deduction);

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

5.4.4. Will – would

The pair will – would has two major functions: to express

predictability and volition:

meaning will would


concerning a It will rain during They said it would rain

future event the night. during the night.
habitual, typical Boys will be boys. In spring birds would
behavior A dog will obey his return to their nests.
master. (typical behavior in the past)


weak volition I will marry her He said he would marry

(willingness) tomorrow if she will her right away if she
have me. would have him.

strong volition He will go She wouldn't change it,

(insistence, swimming in even though she knew it
obstinacy) dangerous waters. was wrong.

5.4.5. Shall – should

The modal verb shall expresses volition while should indicates
obligation and logical necessity:

meaning shall
the speaker’s volition
(imposed on 2nd, 3rd pers. You shall stay with us as long as you
subjects) like.
weak volition (willingness) (‘I am willing to have you here.’)

strong volition (insistence) You shall obey my orders.

(‘I insist that you obey my orders.’)

In its sense of obligation and logical necessity, should is weaker

than must. Ought to can be used as an alternative to should in both

expressed should/ ought to must
obligation He should/ ought to He must pay for the
imposed by the pay for the broken broken window.
speaker window.
logical necessity Our guests should / Our guests must be at
ought to be home by home now.
now. (I am sure. They have a
(I am not sure, they might fast car.)
have had a breakdown)

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

Modal verbs serve fulfill various speech acts in conversation:

speech acts examples

mild command: You can turn the TV off now, Danny.
strong command: You might post these letters for me.
You will stay here until I come back.
(polite) Can / Could / Will / Would you lend me
(irritated) your pen, please?
You might tell me what she said.
(polite) Could / Will you have dinner with us on
(casual, friendly) Sunday?
You must come and see me some time.
suggestions, advice
(giving advice) Can’t / Couldn’t you talk with your wife
(emphatic advice) first?
(expecting advice) You must see that film. It’s very good.
Shall we see a film tonight?
offers May I offer you some cake?
Shall I help you?
desire I could cry for joy!
reproach You might have warned us that the bull
was dangerous.
bewilderment How could my daughter have been
involved in all this?

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

SAQ 5.18.

Comment on the meanings of the modals will – would and

shall – should. Write your answers in the space provided
below. Compare them with those given at the end of the
unit. The first has been done for you:

1) She will talk for hours about clothes and films.

2) When he had a problem to solve, he would always work
at it until he found an answer.
3) All competitors shall wear tracksuits.
4) He should be writing the composition, but he isn’t.
5) ‘I’m going to study tonight.’ ‘It’s too late now. You should
have studied last night.’
6) ‘Was Laura going to school when you saw her?’
7) ‘She should have been going to school, but she wasn’t.’
8) It’s cold and cloudy. It should rain.
9) I wonder why we haven’t received any news from aunt
Emily. We should have heard from her by now.

1) typical behavior in the present;

5.5. Mood
Mood is a grammatical category that signals the relationship of
the verb with reality and intent. In traditional terms, there are four
moods: the indicative, the imperative, the conditional and the

5.5.1. Indicative

The indicative is the most common one and is used in factual,

objective statements. The speaker asserts the sentence as being
true (factual). A verb in the indicative varies for tense and aspect and
shows grammatical concord with the subject in the present tense:

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

Nick picks up the boxes.

The shepherd fetched the stick.
Helen has closed the window.
Cows were grazing beside the river.

Sentences in the indicative can be either declarative (see above)

or interrogative:

Have you fed the sheep yet?

Do you regularly spray your crops with pesticides?

5.5.2. Imperative

The imperative mood is typically used to ask, request or

command someone to do something. The imperative verb form is
similar to the base form of the verb.

Go away!
John, give me the book please!
Please, don't move until you've finished!

An imperative sentence typically contains no grammatical

subject, but the implied subject is ‘you’. Sometimes a subject may be
included, particularly in negative imperatives which are formed with
the auxiliary verb do:

Don't you dare touch that switch.

Don't you eat it. Don't you touch that butter.

5.5.3. Conditional
The conditional mood is manifested in independent clauses by
means of the modal auxiliary would added to the bare infinitive of the
main verb:

John would drink.

I would eat, but I'm not hungry.
‘What would you like to do now?’ I’d like to go swimming.’

The conditional mood is more frequently used to express

uncertainty, particularly in conditional sentences. The verb in the
main clause is in the present conditional (would + verb), while the
verb in the subordinate clause (introduced by if, unless, in case) is in
the subjunctive mood:

I would buy a huge house if I had a lot of money.

present conditional subjunctive

I would talk to her if I were you.

present conditional subjunctive

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

The perfect conditional (would + have + -en) shows how the

past could have been different but was not:

I would have come, if you had rung me. (“I did not come”)
perfect conditional past subjunctive

If anyone had asked her, she would have described

herself only as nervous and worried.

5.5.4. Subjunctive
The subjunctive is rare in main clauses in present-day English,
and survives in some set formulas whose subjunctive meaning is
either concession or a wish: far be it from me, so be it, suffice it to

Far be it from me to interfere with your arrangements.

Come what may, I’ll help you.
Be that as it may, we’ll stick to our plan.
Long live the Queen!
God forgive you!
Curse this dog!

The subjunctive is mostly used in subordinate clauses to

express actions contrary to fact. The subjunctive mood has synthetic
and analytical forms.

The Synthetic Subjunctive is identical in form with the past

simple and the past perfect:

It’s time you got down to business. present subjunctive

He behaves as if he owned the place.
I wish you had brought your sister with you. past subjunctive
If only you had asked someone’s advice!

Be is the only verb which has a special present subjunctive form


I wish I were younger.

If he were to leave, he wouldn’t hesitate to tell us.

The present subjunctive expresses wishes, possibility,

uncertainty present unreality, i.e. actions contrary to present fact:

after It’s time It’s time we went home.

after the verb wish I wish I had a brother.
in conditional If I had time, I would go on a trip.
clauses If I had had time, I would have gone on a trip.
in concessive Even though he were present, I would not
clauses change my mind.
in comparative He treats her as if she were a child.
clauses He treated her as if she had been a child.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

SAQ 5.19.

Underline the words that use the synthetic subjunctive and

put the verbs in parentheses in the correct form. Write
your answers in the space provided below. Compare them
with those given at the end of the unit. The first has been
done for you:

1) Henry is taking his driving test for the sixth time. It’s time
he (take) it.
2) ‘I am sorry I don’t speak a bit German.’ ‘I wish you
(speak) German.’
3) I would go for a walk if it (stop) raining.
4) The young man felt as if the ground (slip) beneath his
5) My stomach hurt after a large meal. I wish I (not eat) so
6) We could have gone skating, if the river (not be) frozen.
7) Even if the work (be) twice as difficult I wouldn’t have
refused to do it.
8) He looked as if he just (come) from a very long travel.

1) took;

The analytical (or periphrastic) subjunctive expresses

unreality by means of a variety of modal auxiliaries + infinitive:

shall / should + infinitive

They decided that nobody shall be admitted without a ticket.

It is not necessary that every girl should be an actress.

may/ might + infinitive

May you be happy in the life you have chosen!

We put the milk on the shelf for fear the cat might get at it.

would + infinitive

I wish you would forget it.

She wishes her husband would stop smoking
Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

The analytical subjunctive should + infinitive is used after

adjectives, verbs and nouns that express a wish, a suggestion, a
desire, etc.:

after It is/was + adjective It is essential that they should know

(crucial, necessary, essential, the truth.
natural, surprising, odd, absurd, It is amazing that they should win
strange, urgent)
the race.
after the verbs: He proposed that we should
ask, command, insist, order, postpone our meeting.
propose, recommend, require,

after the nouns: My desire is / was that he should

suggestion, proposal, idea, wish, leave off his work and go on a
recommendation, desire holiday.
purpose clauses I spoke slowly so that everybody
should understand the rules.

negative purpose clauses The road was icy and the old woman
after lest in expressions of fear was terrified lest she should slip and
conditional clauses If the phone should ring, please say
(the action is unlikely to occur) that I’ll be back at noon.

SAQ 5.20

Underline the words requiring the analytical subjunctive

with should + infinitive and put the verbs in parentheses in
the correct form. Write your answers in the space
provided below. Compare them with those given at the
end of the unit. The first has been done for you:

1) Andy suggested that I (sell) my bicycle.

2) He made the proposal that they (buy) a car with the
3) It is important for children that they (learn) to share
4) He writes telephone numbers down lest he (forget) them.
5) They came to the agreement that they (organize) cultural
6) The boys hid behind a bush for fear the men (see) them.
7) If Alec (win) the race, his trainer will be very proud.
8) I warned her about the danger so that she (not get hurt).

1) should sell ;

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

The analytical subjunctive may / might + infinitive is used in

the following contexts:
after the verbs: He desired that the boy might be left
order, request, desire behind under his care.
after expressions of I’m afraid they may misunderstand my
fear intentions.
I was afraid that they might
misunderstand my intentions.
clauses of purpose She gave me the key so that I might open
the door.
clauses of concession However hard he may try, he will never
win the tournament.

SAQ 5.21.

Underline the words that require may/might + infinitive

and comment on the use of the subjunctive. Write your
answers in the space provided below. Compare them with
those given at the end of the unit. The first has been done
for you:

1) The driver stopped so that the children may/ might cross

the street.
2) He was afraid that the news might upset her.
3) He sat with the door wide open at all times that he might
hear the footsteps as they entered.
4) She was overcome with fear that I might let her down.
5) I will order that my doors may no longer be open to you.
6) She is afraid that he may leave without seeing her.

1) clause of purpose;


Tense, aspect, voice and modality are fundamental categories

in grammar. Each of them represents perspectives from which we
view our experience of events. Tense is the grammatical expression
of time relations. In relation to the speech time, some events are
simultaneous with it (present), others precede it (past) or follow it
(future). English verbs are inflected only for two tenses: present and
past. All other temporal forms are periphrastic (that is they are
formed by means of auxiliary verbs). Aspect can be indefinite,
Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood
progressive or perfective. Aspect combines with tense. Progressive
tenses (present, past, future) involve duration and incompletion. All
perfective tenses (present, past and future) have in common the idea
of anteriority and completion. Modality signals possibility, probability,
necessity, permission or attitudes (desire, wish, etc). It can be
expressed by modal verbs (can/could, may/might, shall/should,
will/would, ought to), modal equivalents (have to, be going to, be to,
be allowed to, etc) or mood (subjunctive). Modal verbs (or modals)
have certain characteristics that differentiate them from auxiliaries
and lexical verbs: modals are not marked for tense. Modals may
directly precede the bare infinitive of the lexical verb and have
periphrastic counterparts: can, could (be able to), must (have to,
have got to), may, might (be allowed to, be permitted to). There are
four moods in English: the indicative, the imperative, the conditional
and the subjunctive. The indicative is the most common one, and
the verb in the indicative has tense and aspect. The subjunctive is
mainly used in counter-factual clauses: if-clauses, concessive
clauses and purpose clauses.

Key terms

 active voice  past tense

 aspect  perfect(ive) aspect
 imperative mood  present tense
 indicative mood  progressive aspect
 modality  stative verb
 modal verbs  subjunctive mood
 mood  tense
 passive voice

Further reading:
Coşer C., Vulcănescu R. (2004). Developing competence in
English, Intensive English Practice. Iaşi: Polirom. 94-158.
Gălăţeanu-Fârnoagă, Georgiana, (1987). Sinteze de gramatică
engleză, Editura Albatros.Bucureşti , 11- 275.
Hulban, Horia (2004). Syntheses in English Morphology, Editura
Spanda, Iasi, 324 – 365.
Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, Jan
Svartvik (1976). A Grammar of Contemporary English.
Longman. 61 – 123.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

Send-away assignment (SAA) 5

A. True or false?
(15 minutes: 18x2=36 points)

1) All verb forms are marked for tense and aspect. T/F
2) The present tenses are marked by the third person singular
–s inflection. T/F
3) The past tenses are marked by -ed. T/F
4) The past tenses refer only to past time. T/F
5) Sometimes we can use both the past tense or the past
perfect with the same time reference. T/F
6) Progressive tenses are often used as background for
simple present or past actions. T/F
7) The present tense may refer to past, present or future time.
8) We rarely use verbs with stative meaning in the present
progressive tense. T/F
9) The present perfect tense is incompatible with ‘past’
adverbs like yesterday. T/F
10) English has no future tense. T/F
11) Shall and will are used for pure future of prediction. T/F
12) Modals form questions by inversion with the subject. T/F
13) Modals form their negatives with not. T/F
14) Modals are used to express attitude. T/F
15) Can and could usually have the modal meanings of ability,
permission, opportunity and theoretical possibility. T/F
16) May and might are used to refer to possibility and
permission. T/F
17) Will and would have the modal meanings of volition. T/F
18) Questions starting with shall/should inquire about the
wishes of the person spoken to. T/F

B. Put the verbs in parenthesis into the correct form:

(10 minutes: 16 points)

George (return) from England last week and tomorrow evening

we (have) a party to celebrate his return. When you (see) him
tomorrow, you probably (be) amazed to see how much he
(change) since we last (see) him. When I (ask) him what he
(intend) to do he (say) he (not make up) his mind yet, but if he
(offer) a good job he probably (take) it and (start) to work
immediately. He (add) that he (may) even open a business of
his own. However, knowing George as I do, I (think) he (be)
far happier to work for somebody else.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

C. Use can, may, must to replace the words underlined in

the sentences below. Make other changes if necessary:
(10 minutes: 10 points)

1) You have the obligation to leave your shoes outside when

you enter a mosque.
2) If I come earlier, will I have the permission to choose my
3) Do you have the ability to install Windows XP for me?
4) You are permitted to leave earlier today.
5) Do you think it is possible for me to prepare dinner for the
next family reunion?
6) It’s very important that we speak to the neighbors before
pulling down that common wall.
7) Are you able to keep a secret?
8) It’s possible that he’ll try again.
9) I’m sure he is at home now; he left a long time ago.
10) Is it possible for me to borrow several books at the same

D. Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the verb in

parentheses: (10 minutes: 10 points)

1) It is important that he (try) to study often

2) Donna requested that Frank (be) at the party.
3) It is necessary that a life guard (monitor) the swimming
pool while the children are taking their swimming
4) I suggest that you (not take) the job without renegotiating
the salary.
5) Jake recommended that Susan (be hired) immediately.
6) I propose that we all (be waiting) in Tim's apartment
when he gets home.
7) Judy asked that we (attend) her graduation ceremony
next week.
8) The monk insisted that the tourists (enter) the temple
until they had removed their shoes.
9) John insists that Sarah (invite) to the wedding; otherwise
he will not attend.
10) She says that the government (regulate) the airline
industry. I don't know if that is true.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

E. Put the verbs in brackets into the correct form in the

gaps. Where no verb is given, put one of the following
linking words into the gaps.
(15 minutes: 20 points)

while, finally, and, although, however,

as soon as, but, then, before, when

The Unlucky Burglar

One evening Paul (watch) ______ the television ______ (eat)

______ his supper ______ the door suddenly (open) ______
and a burglar (come) ______ in. He (wear) ______ a mask
and (carry) ______ a sack. ______ doing anything else he
(tie) ______ Paul to the chair. ______ he went upstairs to look
for money. ______ he (not find) ______ any money he (find)
______ a lot of jewelry, which he (put) ______ into his sack. In
his rush to get downstairs he (not see) ______ the dog (lie)
______ at the bottom of the stairs, and he (fall) ______ over it,
losing his glasses. ______ the burglar (look for) ______ them,
Paul (try) ______ to free himself. ______ Paul (manage)
______ to escape and he (phone) ______ the police. ______
the burglar (find) ______ his glasses he (run) ______ out of
the house. ______ unfortunately for him, the police (wait)
______ for him at the end of the garden.

Send the answers to these questions to your tutor.

Total points for SAA 5: 92

Answers to self-assessed questions (SAQs) 5.1. – 5.21.

SAQ 5.1.
A. 1. teaches; 2. do you visit, misses; 3. doesn’t like; 4. don’t you trust;
understand, does not believe, say; 5. creates, endangers; 6. plant;
B. 1. A housewife has … She cooks … lays … washes … cleans …
mends ... she does … looks …; 2. Her name is Susan. She is …
She writes … answers… meets … types … puts … helps …
reminds … works….

SAQ 5.2.
1. habitual actions; 2. planned future action; 3. generic present; 4.
instantaneous present (cooking recipes); 5. announcements; 6.
historical present.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 5.1-5.2 not be comparable

to those given above, please revise section 5.1.1.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

SAQ 5.3.
A. struck, heard, smelt, hit, tore, did not burn, killed, struck, tore, fell,
started, called, came, put out, were, missed

B. Did it lay five eggs? Did Tommy see the nest? Did he climb the tree?
Did he hold …? Did he take …? Did he put ...? Did he need …? Did
he begin …? Did one of the branches break? Did Tommy fall and
hurt …? Did the eggs break? Did they taste nice? Did you last go, did
you see; went, saw.

SAQ 5.4.
1. lost, lasted, turned, came, blew, happened, made, planted, gave,
had, started.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 5.3-5.4 not be comparable to

those given above, please revise section 5.1.2

SAQ 5.5.
1. hear; 2. like; tastes; 3. am smelling; 4. am seeing; 5. is thinking;
thinks; 6. do you smell; think; 7. care; desire; 8. are you being; 9. does
your library contain; 10. does not hear.

SAQ 5.6.
A. 1. am studying; 2. am being; 3. am going, am working; 4. is giving;
5. am dining, am having; 6. are playing; 7. are growing; 8. are you
B. 1. temporary action; 2. temporary behavior; 3. plans for the near
future; 4. actions annoying the speaker; 5. personal plans; 6. action
happening at the speech moment; 7. 8. with the verbs get and grow
transition from one state to another

SAQ 5.7.
A. 1. was pouring (action in progress at a specified time), was
talking (action in progress at a specified time); 2. was eating, was
drinking (simultaneous actions in progress); 3. was working (an
action that began before, and probably continued after a shorter
action expressed by a verb in the past simple); 4. were your
parents living (an action that began before, and probably continued
after a shorter action expressed by a verb in the past simple); 5.
were having (action in progress at a specified time); 6. was always
inviting (a frequently repeated past action, which annoyed or
pleased the speaker); 7. was staying (an action that began before,
and probably continued after a shorter action expressed by a verb
in the past simple).
B. 1. an action in progress at a certain past moment; 2. two actions
going on at the same time in the past; 3. contrast between a
prolonged action and a momentary action; 4. contrast between a
prolonged action and a momentary action; 5. an action in progress
at a certain past moment; 6. annoying events in the past; 7.
contrast between a prolonged action and a momentary action;

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 5.5-5.7 not be comparable to

those given above, please revise section 5.2.2

SAQ 5.8.
A. 1. past simple; 2. past perfect; 3. past perfect; 4. past simple; 5.
past simple; 6. past perfect.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 5.8 not be comparable to

those given above, please revise section and

B.1. wrote; 2. have written; 3. did you write; 4. wrote; 5. have you
written; 6. wrote; 7. did Mozart write; 8. wrote; 9. hasn’t written; 10.

SAQ 5.9.
a) present perfect progressive; b) present prefect simple; c) present
prefect simple; d) present perfect progressive;
1. have been earning; 2. has he earned, has earned; 3. has the
child been watching, has he watched; 4. have driven, have (you)
been driving, have been driving; 5. has been ringing; 6. has just

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 5.9 not be comparable to

those given above, please revise section and

SAQ 5.10.
1. had left, arrived; 2. wondered, had left; 3. had scarcely entered,
began; 4. asked, had not done; 5. hardly had the car gone, had; 6.
had been, had; 7. had he left, returned, had rung him up, had
broken; 8. filled, decorated, had prepared, had kept.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 5.10 not be comparable to

those given above, please revise section

SAQ 5.11.
1. had Mary been watching, had been watching, had watched, had
watched; 2. had Jim been studying, had been studying, had studied,
had studied; 3. had been planning; 4. had been writing; 5. had been
rising; 6. had been supplying; 7. had the lion ever left; 8. had closed; 9.
had listened.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQs 5.11 not be comparable to

those given above, please revise and

SAQ 5.12.
A. 1. Will she find; 2. are just going to leave; 3. will walk; 4. is not
going to finish; 5. is going to sink; 6. is not going to rain.
B. 1. am going to plant; 2. will come and give; 3. is going to play; 4.
will go and get; 5. will help.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 5.12 not be comparable to

those given above, please revise section 5.24,1, and

SAQ 5.13.
1. will be interviewing; 2. will have bought; 3. will have been taking; 4.
will be performing; 5. will have been living; 6. will have been working;
7. will have returned.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 5.13 not be comparable to

those given above, please revise section, and

SAQ 5.14.
It was midday. Passengers were squashing one another to get into
the bus. A long-necked young man wearing a hat was grumbling at
the man standing next to him because he was jostling him. Seeing a
vacant seat, the young man precipitated toward it and sat down.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 5.14 not be comparable to

those given above, please revise section 5.3.

SAQ 5.15.
A. 1. possibility; 2. negative deduction; 3. permission; 4. ability; 5.
past ability; 6. inability in the past; 7. future ability; 8. past ability,
not used.
B. 1. will be able to; 2. have never been able to; 3. will be able to; 4.
weren’t able to; 5. he is already able to; 6. wasn’t able to; 7. have
been able to; 8. hadn’t been able to; 9. used to be able to; 10. to be
able to.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 5.15 not be comparable to

those given above, please revise section 5.4.1.

SAQ 5.16.
1. present possibility; 2. possibility (note that in questions may is
replaced by do you think, be likely; 3. present possibility of
something happening now; 4. less likely possibility; 5. possibility,
less likely possibility in the future; 6. a less likely possibility in the
past; 7. possibility that an action was going on at a certain time in
the past; 8. permission; 9. asking for permission, refusal of
permission; 10. permission in indirect speech.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 5.16 not be comparable to

those given above, please revise section 5.4.2

SAQ 5.17.
1. logical necessity (deduction); 2. an action was not necessary in
the past; 3. you washed it although it was unnecessary; 4.
obligation imposed by the speaker; 5. obligation imposed by others;
6. obligation deriving from regulations; 7. external obligation; 8.

Tense, aspect, voice, modality and mood
obligation deriving from regulations; 9. absence of obligation at
present; 10. obligation deriving from regulations.
NOTE: Should your answers to SAQ 5.17 not be comparable to
those given above, please revise section 5.4.3.

SAQ 5.18.
1. typical behavior in the present; 2. typical behavior in the past; 3.
insistence; 4. an obligation at the moment of speaking; 5. unfulfilled
past obligation; 6. unfulfilled obligation to perform an ongoing action
at a moment in the past; 7. logical necessity; 8. logical necessity in
the past.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQs 5.18 not be comparable to

those given above, we advise you to revise sections 5.4.4.

SAQ 5.19.
1. took; 2. spoke; 3. stopped; 4. slipped; 5. had not eaten; 6.7. had
been; 8. had just come.

SAQ 5.20.
1. suggested; 2. proposal, should buy; 3. important, should learn; 4.
lest, should forget; 5. agreement, should organize; 6. for fear,
should see; 7. if, should win; 8. so that, should not get.

SAQ 5.21.
1. so that, clause of purpose; 2. afraid, expression of fear; 3. that,
clause of purpose; 4. fear, expression of fear; 5. afraid, expression
of fear.

NOTE: Should your answers to SAQs 5.19 - 5.2.1 not be

comparable to those given above, please revise section 5.5.4.

Adjectives and adverbs


Adjectives and adverbs

Objectives 174

6. 1. Adjectives 174
6.1.1. Semantic classes 175
6.1.2. Order of adjectives 176
6.1.3. Comparison of adjectives 177
6.1.4. Alternative inflectional or phrasal comparison 178
6.1.5. Formation of adjectives 181 Derived adjectives 181 Compound adjectives 182 Participial adjectives 184

6.2. Adverbs 185

6.2.1. Adverbs and adjectives with the same form 186
6.2.2. Comparison of adverbs 187
6.2.3. Syntactic functions of adverbs 188
6.2.4. Semantic classification of adverbs 188
6.2.5. Order of the adverbs 192

Summary 194
Key terms 194
Further reading 195
Send-away assignment (SAA) 6 195
Answers to self-assessed questions (SAQs) 6.1 – 6.11 198

Adjectives and adverbs


This unit focuses on the basic forms, meanings and syntactic roles of
adjectives and adverbs.


By the end of this unit, you will be able to:

 define the main morphological and semantic characteristics of

adjectives and adverbs;
 identity different semantic classes of adjectives and adverbs;
 form the comparative and superlative degree of adjectives and
adverbs correctly;
 define the main functions of adjectives and adverbs in the
 form adjectives and adverbs from other word-classes by
 locate adjectives and adverbs correctly in the clause.

6. 1 Adjectives

Adjectives are words that modify nouns. Adjectives commonly

specify the properties or attributes of a noun referent:

The house is old.

I’ve bought a new car.

However, they vary considerably in their form, their syntactic

functions and the types of lexical and grammatical meanings they
Adjectives may be used attributively or predicatively. As
attributes, adjectives modify nominal expressions; they occur as
constituents of the nouns phrase and typically precede the head

That is a nice old wooden cottage.

In a few fixed expressions adjectives occur after the noun:

attorney general, God Almighty, heir apparent, notary public, etc.
Modifying adjectives can also occur as predicatives and
characterize the nominal expression in subject position:

Francesca was charming, but Blanche was sweet.

Adjectives and adverbs
Certain adjectives can be used only predicatively: well, ill, and
adjectives prefixed by a-: afraid, ajar, akin, alive, alone, ashamed,
asleep, awake:

For several days, she was ill.

Are your people still alive?

Others are used only attributively: elder, live, little, sheer, mere,
lonely, sick, etc.:

He was a sick man.

His elder brother, Richad Damory, was more prominent.
Ann Catt was a lonely, devoted soul.

SAQ 6.1

Paying attention to which adjectives are normally used

only attributively and which are used only predicatively,
write short sentences with the adjectives shown in
brackets. The first has been done for you. Compare your
answers with those given at the end of the unit:

1) the concern (chief): Health is her chief concern .

2) the door (ajar); ………………………………………
3) the kittens (asleep) ………………………………………
4) the slopes (sheer) ………………………………………
5) the street (main) ………………………………………
6) the volunteers (ready) ………………………………………
7) our dog (afraid) ………………………………………
8) the reason (principal) ………………………………………
9) her baby (alone) ………………………………………

6.1.1. Semantic classes

Adjectives typically characterize the referent of a nominal


a cheerful young British nurse

the little grey stone statues

In addition, they are gradable in meaning, in other words they

can denote degrees of a given quality. This means that they can be
modified by an adverb of degree (very young, highly successful).
They also take the comparative and superlative forms (younger,

Adjectives and adverbs
We can distinguish two broad semantic groups of adjectives:
descriptors and classifiers. Descriptors are typically gradable and
denote such features as the following:

meaning adjectives
color/brightness black, white dark, bright
size / quantity / extent and big, huge, long, large, little, high
chronology / age / frequency annual, daily, late, new, old,
emotion / evaluation bad, beautiful, fine, good, right

Classifiers delimit or restrict a noun’s referent, by placing it in

relation to other referents. They are typically non-gradable:

characteristics adjectives
relational / classificational /additional, complete, different,
restrictive final, following, general, initial,
ethnic (designate the national American, Chinese, Christian,
or religious group to which a Democrat
referent belongs)
topical (giving the subject chemical, (= connected with
area or showing a chemistry’), commercial, human,
relationship with a noun) legal, medical, official, oral,

6.1.2. Order of adjectives

When two or more adjectives modify a noun, their order is fixed
to a certain degree. The rules for the order of the adjectives are still a
matter of dispute among grammarians. For adjectives that modify
nouns denoting objects, the order is the one exemplified below:

numeral quality age size shape color origin material purpose noun
my two old tiny oval blue Chinese vases
the large cinema hall
her new French steel tennis racket

For adjectives that modify nouns denoting events, the order is

given below:

det./ speaker- subject- thematic/

cardinal ordinal manner noun
poss. oriented oriented ethnic
his previous disgusting angry reaction
two future possible friendly agreements
the second American invasion

Adjectives and adverbs

SAQ 6.2.

Arrange the adjectives given in brackets in the correct


1) birds (tiny, those, three)

2) quilts (six, thick, all)
3) pumpkins (ten, his, medium-sized)
4) puppy (four-week-old, our, damp, warm)
5) carpet (heavy, a, round, thick)
6) table (low, oval, their)
7) baby (lively, her, six-month-old)
8) dress (satin, a, white, long)
9) steps (narrow, cement, ten)
10) basement (cool, damp, the)

1) those three tiny birds;

6.1.3. Comparison of adjectives

Adjectives that are capable of representing degrees of a

property are said to be gradable.
Gradable adjectives can be specially marked to denote
comparative and superlative degree either inflectionally or phrasally.
Monosyllabic adjectives usually take the inflections -er, -est to mark
the comparative and the superlative degree, while longer adjectives
usually take phrasal comparison, using the degree adverbs more and

type of marking comparative superlative

inflectional stronger the strongest
phrasal more difficult the most difficult

Non-gradable adjectives are not capable of expressing

degrees of a property and cannot be used in the comparative or
superlative degree:

*more previous
*very motionless
*most continuous

Adjectives and adverbs

Some non-gradable adjectives, on the other hand, can be

modified by emphatic adverbs: quite motionless, really tremendous.

SAQ 6.3

The following table gives the age, height, and weight of

each child in a group of three children, together with the
amount of money possessed by each child. Make up
clauses with adjectives in the comparative and superlative

Child's Name Denise Ray Carl

Age (years) 12 11 10
Height (cm) 140 154 135
Weight (kg) 40 43 45
Money (dollars) 90 70 25

Compare the following:

Ray – Carl
Denise – group
Ray – Denise
Carl – group

Ray is older / taller / heavier / richer than Carl.

6.1.4. Alternative inflectional or phrasal comparison

Certain adjectives take alternatively either inflectional or phrasal

marking of the degrees of comparison.

a) Some monosyllabic adjectives (fair, full, fierce, proud,


His face was fuller; his lips had become swollen-looking.

Music in France remained more dancelike, more full of flavor.
And the people in that region are much ruder.
Somebody told me the truth, which is even more rude.

Adjectives and adverbs

b) Disyllabic adjectives vary considerably in occurrence with

inflectional or phrasal comparison, depending on phonological or
morphological characteristics. Most disyllabic adjectives (proper,
rapid) take a phrasal marker of degree:

The governments encourage a more rapid growth.

It seemed more proper to pay tribute to her in this way.

Disyllabic adjectives ending in the unstressed vowel -y (angry,

busy, crazy, funny, gloomy, happy, heavy, lucky, nasty, pretty)
usually take -er, -est to mark the comparative and the superlative:
easy -- easier -- the easiest, lucky – luckier – the luckiest:

I had to watch my luckier mates going to college, or the

luckiest of them all, to university.

Disyllabic adjectives such as mellow, narrow, shallow which end

in an unstressed vowel can also be inflected. Other disyllabic
adjectives which are sometimes inflected are those ending in –er, -le,
-re or –ure (clever, gentle, sincere, secure):

Things are mellower, happier.

c) Trisyllabic adjectives in -y sometimes take inflectional


What can I do to relax? Sometimes I feel like the unhappiest,

unluckiest person on earth.

Adjectives ending with the suffix -ly (costly, deadly, friendly,

lively) take both types of comparison, with varying degrees of
He had a more lively personality than others.
The party leaders showed livelier interest in political power
than in the city's welfare.
The addition of -er and -est can involve regular spelling
changes to the adjective stem. Silent -e is omitted before adding the
suffix (safe, safer, safest); a single consonant is doubled after a
single vowel letter (dim, dimmer, dimmest, big – bigger – the biggest);
final -y is changed into -i if a consonant letter precedes it (tidy – tidier
- tidiest).
In conversation, adjectives are occasionally doubly marked for
degree, carrying both inflectional and phrasal markers:

This way it’s more easier to see the effects.

She felt much happier after the discussion.

The adjectives good, bad and the quantifiers little, much / many
have completely irregular comparative and superlative forms more:
good – better – the best, bad – worse – the worst, little – less – the
least, much / many – more – the most.
Adjectives and adverbs

SAQ 6.4

Complete the following sentences by filling in the blanks

with the comparative forms of the irregular adjectives
given in brackets. Compare your answers with those
given at the end of the unit:

1) The bread tastes even ___________ than the rolls. (good)

2) He does not want to walk ___________ than necessary.
3) Ann drinks ___________ coffee than Jim does. (little)
4) We have ___________ honey than we need. (much)
5) The weather was ___________ yesterday than it is today.

Repeated comparative adjectives

Two identical comparatives are sometimes conjoined by and to

form a structure that denotes an ever-increasing degree of the
adjective. Typically, the repeated adjectives function predicatively
after the copular verb get, grow, or become:

I watched the balloon becoming bigger and bigger.

It was more and more difficult to get into the laboratory.

SAQ 6.5

Rewrite each of the following sentences in the space

provided below, using the construction in which the
comparative form of the adjective is repeated.

The wind is becoming increasingly strong.

The wind is becoming stronger and stronger.

1) It was increasingly dark outside and I couldn't see much.

2) The grass is becoming increasingly green.
3) The child’s hands were increasingly dirty.
4) The situation is growing increasingly bad.
5) It is becoming increasingly clear that this problem will not
be easily solved. The mist became increasingly thick.
6) Her work is getting increasingly good.
7) The trees are growing increasingly tall.
8) The soil is becoming increasingly dry.
9) The time remaining grew increasingly short.
10) She is increasingly weak because of her illness.

Adjectives and adverbs

Write your answers in the space provided below.

Compare them with those given at the end of the unit.

6.1.5. Formation of adjectives

New adjectives can be formed with derivational affixes and by

compounding. In addition, participial forms can be used as adjectives. Derived adjectives

Many adjectives are derived by affixing an adjectival suffix to a

base form. Denominal and deverbal adjectives are derived
respectively from nouns and verbs. The most common derivational
adjective suffixes are:

noun stem suffix derived adjectives

person -al personal
care -ful careful
home -less homeless
wood -en wooden
nerve -ous nervous

verb stem suffix derived adjective

eat -able eatable
excite -ing exciting
correspond -ent correspondent

Having good personal relationships is the most important thing

for me.
Little boys crowded together on long wooden benches, and in
the center of the room sat the teacher.
The horse may be nervous of cars.
I remember Grandma telling us to go hunt for some ground
squirrels or anything eatable for meat.

Adjectives and adverbs

SAQ 6.6

Complete the following sentences by using the correct

form of the words in parentheses. Compare your
answers with those given at the end of the unit:

1. (critic) Why are you so …………………. of everything I do?

2. (influence) He is a very …………………………. person.
3. (glory) It’s a …………………………. day for a picnic.
4. (magnet) He has a …………………………… personality.
5. (boy) Don’t be deceived by his ………………. appearance.
6. (real) We used a more …………… approach to the
7. (courage) Don’t be ……………………….. by one failure.
8. (help) She stood there …………….. not knowing what to
9. (experiment) My work is still in the ………….. ….stage.
10. (advise) It would be ………………………. to go early. Compound adjectives

Formally, compound adjectives take many shapes. Adjectives

can be added to other adjectives (grey-bluish). Compounds can also
be composed of an adjective plus noun (full-time) or an adverb plus
adjective (over-protective). The component elements can themselves
be derived (bluish, protective).

Looking after a child is a full-time job (= hard work that takes a

lot of time).
You look smart in this grey-bluish suit!
Parents can easily become over-protective of their children
(= want to protect them too much).

Furthermore, many compound adjectives involve participial

forms. The compound open-minded is derived from a noun phrase
(an open mind) to which -ed has been suffixed. However, the
element in an adjectival compound that is suffixed with -ed or -ing is
most often a verb, as in world-renowned.

The sort of people who live and work here are well educated
and open-minded.

The following list shows the common adjectival patterns:

Adjectives and adverbs

structure compound adjectives

adjective + adjective bitter-sweet, yellow-brown
adverb + ed-participle ill-suited, new-born, well-timed, well-
adverb + ing-participle well-meaning, rapidly-growing
adjective + color adjective dark-blue, light-blue, gray-white.
adjective + other adjective bitter-sweet
adjective + ed-participle clean shaven, ready-made, white-
adjective + ing-participle good-looking, sickly-smelling
noun+ adjective duty-free, iron-rich, life-long, waist-
noun + ed-participle classroom-based, home-baked,
noun + ing-participle eye-catching, hair-raising, peace-
adjective + noun fast-food, free-market, full-time, large-
participle + adverbial blown-out, left-over, paid up

SAQ 6.7

Choose the right answer:

1) Politicians don’t seem to get hurt by criticism, they are

so ….
a) thick-skinned b) left-handed c) strong-willed d) cool-

2) How old are you when you become ...?

a) medium aged b) middle-aged c) in-the-middle aged d)

3) Which of the following “heart” adjectives does not exist?

a) warm-hearted b) cold-hearted c) soft-hearted d) hot-

4) If you loose your temper easily, you are ... -headed.

a) cold b) warm c) hot d) boiling

5) Which of the following is NOT true? ‘Easy-going people ….

a) get on with people they don’t know b) are very relaxed
about things c) find going to places very easy d) don’t get
stressed out by things.

Adjectives and adverbs Participial adjectives

A major subclass of adjectives can be distinguished by the -ed

or -ing endings. These are known as participial adjectives and they
are analyzed as derived from verb forms:

verb inflection participial adjective

determine -ed determined
annoy -ing annoying

In some cases, though, nouns rather than verbs provide the

base form as in interested and crowded. In other cases, as with
uninterested or unemployed, a negative prefix attaches to the derived
participial adjective (interesting, employed) rather than directly to the

He makes many interesting comments.

A number of adjectives ending in -ed have a special

pronunciation: the last syllable is pronounced /id/ instead of the
normal /d/ or /t/. These are: aged /eid id/, learned, ragged, wicked,
wretched, naked, as in my aged aunt (formal), a learned professor
(formal), a ragged jacket, a wicked man, that wretched woman.

SAQ 6.8

Choose the correct participial adjective for the context of

the sentence.

1) The new recruits were ok until they took the (demoralized /

demoralizing) two-hour math test.
2) Watch out for (falling / fallen) rocks along the road.
3) All the children were (excited / exciting) at the idea of going
to the circus.
4) The animals were (fascinating / fascinated) to the children.
5) The news about Jane's surgery was (disturbed / disturbing)
and the whole class was very (upsetting / upset).
6) I am (finishing / finished) with this exercise!
7) Look! It's a (shooting / shot) star.
8) The map was badly made and actually very (confused /
9) We were (amazed / amazing) at the long registration line.
10) Billy is always (tiring / tired) after spending all afternoon in
nursery school.

Adjectives and adverbs

6.2. Adverbs
Morphologically, we may distinguish three classes of adverbs:

a) simple adverbs are single words (well, rather, quite, soon).

b) compound adverbs are formed by combining two or more
elements into a single word: everywhere (every + where), therefore
(there + fore).
c) derivational adverbs are formed by suffixing –ly to the base
form of an adjective:

adjective suffix adverb

cheap -ly cheaply

Not all adverbs ending in -ly are formed by the addition of -ly to
an adjectival form. Some adverbs are derived from adjectives that
already end in -ly: In these cases the adverb is normally formed by
zero derivation.

noun stem suffix adjective adverb

week -ly weekly weekly
father -ly fatherly fatherly

Other suffixes used to form adverbs are: -wise, (streetwise) and

–wards (forwards, backwards).
There are certain changes in the spelling of derived adverbs. If
the adjective ends in '-y', replace the 'y' with 'i' and add '-ly' (easy –
easily, happy – happily, lucky – luckily, etc. If the adjective ends in ‘-
able', '-ible', or '-le', replace the '-e' with '-y' (propable – probably,
terrible – terribly). If the adjective ends in '-ic', add '-ally': basic –
basically, economic – economically, etc.).

SAQ 6.9

Complete the following sentences: use the correct form

of the word in parentheses:

1) (fatal) He was .......................... wounded.

2) (intention) Did he do that ................... ?
3) (athlete) He’s quite an ........................ looking
4) (fortune) .................., he came late and missed the
5) (occasion) We hear him .……………… .
6) (heart) He gave us a very ....................... welcome.
7) (grace) She walks very ……………………… .
8) (hero) He behaved ………………………… .
9) (reluctance) He went very ……………… .
10) (method) He works very ……………….. .

Adjectives and adverbs

6.2.1. Adverbs and adjectives with the same form

In some cases, an adverb has the same form as a related adjective:

The player hit a fast ball over the left fielder's head. adjective
He was learning fast. adverb
During early childhood boys tease and bully. adjective
The farmer must get up early, and, at times, work late at night.

adjective adverb
hard hard
high high
late late
little little
long long
loud loud(ly)
low low
much much
straight straight
wide wide

When an adverb does not differ in form from the corresponding

adjective, it is necessary to distinguish between the functions of
adjectives and adverbs in order to determine which form should be
used in a given situation. Whereas adjectives modify nouns, adverbs
basically modify verbs.

SAQ 6.10

For each of the following sentences, pay attention to

whether the word to be placed in the blank modifies a
noun or a verb and complete the sentence with either the
adjective given in brackets or the corresponding adverb,
as appropriate. Compare your answers with those given at
the end of the unit.

1. There was a ___________ rain in the morning. (light)

2. The path was ___________ marked. (clear)
3. She waved ___________. (cheerful)
4. ___________ rain is forecast for tomorrow. (heavy)
5. I opened the door ___________ and stepped outside. (quiet)
6. ___________ situated farms often produce higher yields than
other farms. (favorable)
7. ___________ weather conditions have prevailed for the past
ten days. (unusual)
8. ___________ few people understand the situation. (relative)
9. It was a ___________ Easter Sunday. (hot)
10. The moon appeared ___________ between the clouds. (brief)

Adjectives and adverbs

6.2.2. Comparison of adverbs

In general, comparative and superlative forms of adverbs are
the same as for adjectives: -er or -est added to short adverbs:

positive comparative superlative

hard harder hardest
late later latest
fast faster fastest

I shook him a little harder and made some noise.

With adverbs ending in -ly, use more for the comparative and
most for the superlative:

positive comparative superlative

quietly more quietly most quietly
slowly more slowly most slowly
seriously more seriously most seriously

He had to take life more seriously.

She walked easily now and more slowly.

In some cases, an adverb can be made comparative either with

the use of more or with -er inflection:

The moral is: don't transplant it any oftener than you must.
We should do that more often!

Some adverbs have irregular comparative forms, and are

identical to the corresponding adjectives good, bad and far, the
quantifiers much and little:

positive comparative superlative

badly worse worst
far farther / further farthest / furthest
little less least
well better best
much more most

The local people advanced farther into unknown territory.

He sleeps less than he used to.

Adjectives and adverbs

When used in making comparisons, the positive form of an

adverb is usually preceded and followed by as and the comparative
form is followed by than:

He moves as slowly as a snail.

She sings more beautifully than him.

The comparative forms of adverbs can be used in progressive


He worked harder and harder.

It rains more and more frequently. (“increasingly frequently”)
As time passed, she saw less and less frequently her old

6.2.3. Syntactic functions of adverbs

Adverbs can be integrated into an element of the clause and
serve as modifiers. Most commonly, adverbs may premodify an
adjective, another adverb, a pronoun and numeral or a noun phrase:

Washed, they came out surprisingly clear and bright. (adj.)

The struggle was over surprisingly quickly. (adv.)
Nearly everyone was impressed with their success. (pron.)
Misunderstanding has almost zero possibility. (num.)

Enough and indeed may postmodify an adjective or adverb:

It is simply not good enough for people to argue.

Some of them are very delicious indeed.
In Rome she intended to move very slowly indeed.

6.2.4. Semantic classification of adverbs

Adverbs express several broad meanings in clause and in

phrase structures: modal (or manner), circumstantial (time and place)
degree, focusing, linking:

a) adverbs of manner express information about how an action

is performed:

His speed was dropping rapidly.

b) adverbs of place show position, direction or distance:

They built a house nearby.

She took the child outside.

Adjectives and adverbs

Other adverbs of place: ending in '-wards', expressing

movement in a particular direction: backwards, forwards, upwards,
downwards, northwards, southwards, homewards, onwards, etc.

I was six days going thither and coming homewards.

You must also look upwards to see people.

c) adverbs of time convey information about when an action

happened (position in time) but also for how long (duration) and
how often (frequency):

Yesterday I had a bad toothache.

I want stay in bed all day.
I have always been inclined to skepticism.

Adverbs indicating position in time and duration are typically

placed at the end of the sentence:

We sold our horse last year.

She didn't come back for two days.

Adverbs expressing indefinite frequency (always, ever,

usually, normally, often, frequently, sometimes, occasionally, rarely
seldom, never) are usually placed before the main verb but after
auxiliary or modal verbs (be, have, may, must):

He never drinks milk. (before the main verb)

You can always come and stay with us. (after the modal verb)
I have never seen a tiger. (between auxiliary and main verb)

Some other adverbs of definite frequency (expressing the

exact number of times an action happens) are usually placed at the
end of the sentence:

Scrub the room once a week.

Yet is used in questions and in negative sentences and is

placed at the end of the sentence or after not:

Have you heard anything from him yet?

The street cleaner had not yet been around.

Still expresses continuity; it is used in positive sentences and

questions and is placed before the main verb and after auxiliary or
modal verbs:

He still points an accusing finger at all of us.

Is it still raining?
The public may still find pleasure in public places.

Adjectives and adverbs

d) adverbs of viewpoint or attitude (honestly, seriously,

personally, surprisingly, surely, undoubtedly) tell us about the
speaker's viewpoint or opinion about an action or make some
comment on the action:

Personally, I don't blame him (“this is my opinion”)

I didn’t tell anyone, honestly! (“what I say is true”)

These adverbs are usually placed at the beginning or at the end

of the sentence and are separated from the rest of the sentence by a
comma. Commenting adverbs (definitely, certainly, obviously,
simply) are very similar to viewpoint adverbs and often the same
words, but they go in a different position - after the verb to be and
before the main verb:

I honestly can't remember.

e) adverbs of certainty express how sure we feel about

something. Adverbs of certainty (certainly, definitely, probably,
undoubtedly, surely) go before the main verb but after the copulative
verb to be:

I certainly did not want to go back.

I definitely remember sending the letter.
This is surely a major work.

If the sentence contains an auxiliary (except do), these adverbs

go between the auxiliary and the main verb:

He has certainly forgotten us.

The train has obviously been delayed.
This would surely be a major step toward better living

f) additive adverbs show that one item is being added to

another (too, also). Additive adverbs can occur at clause level or
phrase level:

Shade trees, too, are a big help so keep them if you can.
He, too, believes in good intentions.
This tool can also be made with a lathe.
The job also covers a number of other items.

g) restrictive adverbs focus attention on a certain element of a

clause. They emphasize the importance of one part of the proposition
by restricting the truth value of the proposition to that part (especially,

People of your age, especially boys, often tell false stories.

Adjectives and adverbs

h) adverbs of degree (almost, nearly, quite, just, too, enough,

scarcely, completely, very, less, slightly, rather, quite) tell us about
the intensity or degree of an action, an adjective or another adverb.
Adverbs of degree are usually placed:
 before the adjective or adverb they are modifying:

This was a slightly different matter.

 before the main verb:

The pain in his chest nearly brought him down again.

Enough as an adverb meaning 'to the necessary degree'

normally comes after the adjectives and adverbs it modifies

Is your tea sweet enough? (adjective)

You don’t drive fast enough. (adverb)

Too as an adverb meaning 'more than is necessary or useful'

goes before adjectives and adverbs,

This tea is too sweet. (adjective)

He drives too fast. (adverb)

I) linking adverbs are used to connect stretches of the text:

clauses sentences, paragraphs or longer thus contributing to its
cohesion. The main semantic categories are:

 enumeration and addition (first, secondly, thirdly; additionally)

The problems were numerous. Firstly, I didn’t know exactly

when I was going to America; secondly, who was going to look
after my son?

 summation: altogether, overall

In the general election the number of candidates in the fifteen

constituencies was 14. Overall, half of them were serious

The food was good and we loved the atmosphere and the
people. Altogether it was a great evening.

 apposition: namely

One group of people seems to be forgotten, namely pensioners.

Adjectives and adverbs

 result or inference: therefore, thus

There is still much to discuss. We, therefore, return to this item

at our next meeting.

The universities have expanded, thus allowing many more

people the chance of higher education.

 contrast or concession: though, alternatively, however

Urbanization appears to be an important factor in the

disintegration of this group. This conclusion is, however, an

This type of window would not be suitable for a festoon or

ruched blind. Alternatively, it would have to be fitted outside
the window reveal.

Strange though it may sound, I was pleased it was over.

6.2.5. Order of the adverbs

If several adverbs appear in a clause they are typically used in
the order: manner/place/time sequence:

She sang beautifully in the town hall last night.

He waited quietly in the room for an hour.
manner place time

If you need to use more than one adverb of time at the end of a
sentence, use them in this order: duration – frequency – time:

I worked on a farm for five days every week last year.

duration frequency time

Several adverbs expressing the precise time when the event

took place are ordered from the shortest to the longest unit of time:

He was born at 10 o’clock in the morning on 2 November, 1995.

Adjectives and adverbs

SAQ 6.11

Rewrite the following in the most straightforward word


1) for some years / in France /this may be the last time a

competition is organized
2) every day of the week / in the park / after lunch / We
see John running
3) to first year students / enthusiastically / Jim lectures /
about folk art
4) on the main campus / the coach works / at the gym /
every day of the week / in his office
5) at the edge / all summer / rapidly / in the marshes / of
the pond / bacteria grow
6) in Cleveland / in the backroom / My father was born / of
a farmhouse /
7) next week / to see her doctor / Jane made an
appointment / at two o'clock
8) during the months of December and January / after
dark / she leaves the island
9) the children whispered / on Christmas Eve / excitedly /
in front of the tree
10) on Monday/ before we leave/ try to get back.

Write your answers in the space provided below. When

you have finished, compare your answers with those
given at the end of the unit. The first has been done for

1) This may be the last time a competition is

organized in France for some years.

Adjectives and adverbs


Adjectives specify the properties of the referent of the noun

they modify. They may be used either attributively, typically
preceding the noun (beautiful building) or predicatively, following a
copulative verb (Sue is charming). Many adjectives can denote
degrees of a given quality and are therefore gradable, which means
that they can take the comparative and superlative forms. Non-
gradable adjectives do not share these characteristics. Gradable
adjectives modify to express grammatical meanings associated with
the category of comparison. The comparative and the superlative
can be marked either inflectionally (long, longer, longest) or phrasally
(more beautiful, most beautiful). Adjectives can be formed with
derivation affixes (painful, homeless) and compounding (open-
minded, critically-ill). A major class of adjectives, identified by the –
ing or -ed ending, is represented by participial adjectives (charming,
frightened). Adverbs express a variety of meanings. A significant
number of adverbs are formed from adjectives with the suffix -ly. Like
adjectives, adverbs can express the comparative and the
superlative either inflectionally or phrasally. In a clause adverbs
typically serve as verbal modifiers. In the clause adverbs occupy
various positions: initial, mid or final position. Semantically,
adverbs can express a large number of meanings, the most
important being circumstantial (time, place), manner, degree,
viewpoint, focusing, relative (or linking) adverbs.

Key terms

 additive adverbs  intensifier

 adjective  linking adverbs
 adverb  manner adverb
 attributive  negative adverb
adjectives  participial
 classifier adjectives
 comparison  place adverb
 comparative  predicative
 compound adjectives
adjectives  restrictive
 degree adverb adverbs
 focus adverbs  superlative
 frequency  time adverbs
adverbs  viewpoint
 gradable / adverbs

Adjectives and adverbs

Further reading
Foley, Mark and Diane Hall (2003). Advanced Learner’s Grammar.
London: Longman, 216-243.
Greenbaum, Sydney and Randolph Quirk (1991). A Student’s
Grammar of the English Language. London: Longman, 129-203.
Hulban, Horia (2004). Syntheses in English Morpgology, Editura
Spanda, Iasi. 160 – 175.
Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, Jan Svartvik
(1976). A Grammar of Contemporary English. Longman, 229-

Send-away assignment (SAA) 6

A. Think about adjectives. True or False?

(5 min: 5x2=10 points)

1) Adjectives may be gradable or non-gradable.

2) The attributive position is before a noun.
3) The predicative position for adjectives is after a linking
4) Most adjectives are identifiable as such by their form.
5) Several adjectives modifying a noun appear in a fixed

B. Place the adjectives in the proper order:

(5 min: 5x2=10 points)

1) cute, a puppy, Labrador, little

2) a dress, old-fashioned, gorgeous, wedding
3) dear, granddaddy, old, my
4) sensitive, intelligent, reading a
5) several, Russian, weightlifters, powerful

C. Choose the right word paying attention to spelling:

(10 min: 10 points)

1. Those are probably the ___________ curtains in the store.

a) fancyest b) fanciest c) most fanciest

2. Uncle Carl is really ___________ man.

a) an old sweet b) a sweet, old c) a sweet old

Adjectives and adverbs
3. The Austin used to be ___________ sports car.
a) a fine English b) an English, fine c) a fine, English

4. Everyone was home for the holidays. What could make for
___________ Christmas than that?
a) a merryer b) the merriest c) a merrier

5. They grew up in ___________ house in New York.

a) comfortable, little b) as little, comfortable c) a
comfortable little

6. The Titanic is the ___________ movie I've ever seen.

a) most excited b) most exciting c) most excitable

7. Jill wanted to take a course with ___________ professor.

a) that interesting new Japanese economics b) that
Japanese interesting, new economics c) that
interesting, new, Japanese, economics

8. Of all the mechanics in the shop, Jerry is surely

a) the less competent b) the least competent c) the

9. In the fall, the valleys tend to be ___________ than the

a) foggy b) more foggier c) foggier

10. My cold is definitely ___________ this morning.

a) worse b) worst c) worser

D. Decide whether the underlined words are adjectives or

(5 min: 8 points)
1) Take her easy.
2) Try to be early from now on.
3) There are two classes of pedestrians: the quick and the
4) Her hair was clean and brushed straight down to her
5) I’ll put it away if you don’t behave right.
6) This coffee tastes too sweet.
7) Something has gone terribly wrong.
8) Present is a point, just passed.

Adjectives and adverbs

E. Think about adverbs. True or False?

(5 min: 9x2=18 points)

1) There are three clause positions for adverbs: front, mid

and end-position. T/F
2) Most adverbs are gradable. T/F
3) Most adverbs of time can take front-position. T/F
4) Common adverbs end in -ly. T/F
5) Adverbs can premodify pronouns. T/F
6) Adverbs of place are usually not found in mid-position.
7) Sentence adverbs never take end-position. T/F
8) No word can operate as both adjective and adverb. T/F
9) Adverbials appear in a manner/place/time sequence. T/F

F. Underline the adverbs in each sentence and identify

them by their type: manner, place, time, certainty, degree,
interrogative, relative and viewpoint or commenting.
(15 min: 14x=28 points )

1) Jenny does not quite know what she will do after

2) Tell me why you were getting home late.
3) Jack quietly asked Helen to wait patiently for him.
4) I regularly forget my homework.
5) Theoretically, you should always drive the speed limit.
6) The puppies devoured their food greedily.
7) How do brown cows steadily eat green grass and always
give white milk?
8) Surely you can’t be serious? (Be careful. This is not
9) You obviously enjoyed your vacation.
10) The Martins built a lovely house nearby.

G. Insert in the following adverbs in appropriate places:

(5 min: 7x2=14 points)

historically, stylistically, politically, socially,

racially, constitutionally, formally

1) Though not ‘true enemies’, they are unyielding.

2) He is well connected.
Adjectives and adverbs
3) The sentences are too long and complex.
4) Bad socialism isn’t, for all that, better than capitalism.
5) The British are mixed.
6) The war was the culmination of the nineteenth century.
7) Most of the new towns are still villages.

H. Make sentences from the following elements. Assume

no special emphasis is needed but aim to write well-
balanced sentences:
(5 min: 5x2=10 points)

1) I’m / there / to tell you the truth / when he’s on duty / very
2) After lunch / to your place / actually / to return the money
/ if it’s convenient / I could come.
3) At nine thirty / the exam starts / on Thursday the fifth /
4) Steadily / for the rest of the day / in the garden / they
5) A fine old woman / here / two weeks ago / in London / I

I. Correct the following sentences:

(5 min: 7x2=14 points)

1) She only grew to be four feet tall.

2) They reported that John Brown, a European rock star,
had issued a new album on the six o’clock news.
3) Is that music loud enough?
4) She shops for clothes at the local thrift store usually.
5) Maria prays at St. Matthew’s Church fervently for her
grandmother’s recovery.
6) Joanna made an appointment next summer to see her
doctor next July at two o’clock on the first Thursday.
7) Dry the car with a soft fluffy towel carefully.

Send the answers to these questions to your tutor.

Total points for SAA 6: 122

Answers to self-assessed questions (SAQs) 6.1. – 6.11.

SAQ 6.1.
1. Their chief concern was to solve the problem. 2. The door is ajar.
3. The kittens are asleep. 4. …the sheer slopes…. 5. This is the
main street. 6. The volunteers are ready. 7. The dog is afraid (of
people). 8. …the principal reason… 9.Her baby is alone. .

Adjectives and adverbs
SAQ 6.2.
1. those three tiny birds; 2. all six thick quilts; 3. his ten medium-
sized pumpkins; 4. our warm, damp, four-week-old puppy; 5. a thick,
heavy, round carpet; 6. their low, oval table; 7. her lively, six-month-
old baby; 8. a long white satin dress; 9. ten narrow cement steps; 10.
the cool, damp basement.

SAQ 6.3.
1. Ray is older / taller / heavier / richer than Carl. 2. Denise is the
oldest / tallest / heaviest / richest child in the group. 3. Ray is
younger / shorter / lighter / poorer than Denise. 4. Carl is the
youngest / shortest / lightest / poorest child in the group.

Should your answers to SAQs 6.1 – 6.3. not be comparable to

those given above, please revise sections 6.1.1 – 6.1.3.

SAQ 6.4.
1. better; 2. farther; 3. less; 4. more; 5. worse

SAQ 6.5.
1. It was darker and darker outside and I couldn't see much. 2. The
grass is becoming greener and greener. 3. The child’s hands were
dirtier and dirtier. 4. The situation is growing worse and worse. 5. It
is becoming clearer and clearer that this problem will not be easily
solved. 6. The mist became thicker and thicker. 7. Her work is
getting better and better. 8. The trees are growing taller and taller. 8.
The soil is becoming drier and drier. 9. The time remaining grew
shorter and shorter. 10. She is weaker and weaker because of her

Should your answers to SAQs 6.4 – 6.5. not be comparable to

those given above, please revise sections 6.1.4.

SAQ 6.6.
1. critical. 2. influential; 3. glorious; 4. magnetic; 5. boyish; 6.
realistic; 7. discouraged; 8. helpless; 9. experimental; 10. advisable

SAQ 6.7.
1. a; 2. b; 3. d; 4. c; 5. a.

SAQ 6.8.
1. demoralizing; 2. falling; 3. excited; 4. fascinating; 5. disturbing; 6.
finished; 7. shooting; 8. confusing; 9. amazed; 10. tired.

Should your answers to SAQs 6.6 – 6.8. not be comparable to

those given above, please revise sections 6.1.5. 1 –

SAQ 6.9.
1. fatally; 2. intentionally; 3. athletically; 4. Fortunately; 5.
occasionally; 6. heartily; 7. gracefully; 8. heroically; 9. reluctantly; 10.
Adjectives and adverbs

SAQ 6.10.
1. light; 2. clearly; 3. cheerfully; 4. heavy; 5. quietly; 6. Favorably; 7.
Unusual; 8. Relatively; 9. hot; 10. briefl.

SAQ 6.11.
1. This may be the last time a competition is organized in France for
some years. 2. We see John running in the park after lunch every
day of the week. 3. Jim enthusiastically lectures to his students
about folk art. 4. The coach works at the gym in his office on the
main campus every day of the week. 5. Bacteria grow rapidly at the
edge of the pond in the marshes all summer. 6. My father was born
in the backroom of a farmhouse in Iowa. 7. Jane made an
appointment to see her doctor at two o’clock next week. 8. She
leaves the island after dark in the months of December and January.
9. The children whispered excitedly on Christmas Eve in front of the
tree. 10. Try to get back before we leave on Monday.

Should your answers to SAQs 6.9 – 6.11 be comparable to

those given above, please revise section 6.2.

Glossary of grammatical terms

Glossary of grammatical terms

Active voice There is no morphological marker of the active voice. Typically, the
subject of an active verb phrase is the 'doer of an action':

Ann is drinking coffee.

Jack has woken up.
I will come back soon.
Adjective An adjective is a word that modifies nouns. An adjective qualifies the
person, thing, etc. to which the noun refers. Adjectives typically give
us information about size (a tall man), color (red tulips), age (an old
woman), etc. An adjective, if it is gradable, may be intensified, and
may take comparative (taller) and superlative (tallest) degrees.

Adjective phrase A phrase with an adjective as its head. An adjective can be

intensified by an adverb (as in very strong, terribly difficult, more
popular). Adjective phrases function as modifiers of nouns (fertile
land) or as predicatives (The land is fertile).

Adverb An adverb is a word that typically modifies any class of words

(except nouns) such as adjectives (extremely hot), other adverbs
(really superbly), verbs (to work slowly), or sentences for such
categories as time (He left early), manner (She speaks softly), place
or direction.

Adverb phrase A phrase with an adverb as its head. The head may be preceded by
an intensifier (another adverb: even faster, too abruptly) and followed
by a postmodifier (usually a clause: more slowly than he expected.)

Affix An affix is a bound morpheme which adds lexical or grammatical

information to a root or stem. (e.g. -s and -ed in play-s and play-ed).
An affix may be a prefix or a suffix. Affixes can also be called
inflectional and derivational morphemes.

Aspect Aspect is a grammatical category characteristic of verbs that

expresses a temporal contour of events, i.e. their duration (She is
writing a letter now) and their being accomplished or not (She has
just written a letter). Aspect is often indicated by verbal affixes or
auxiliary verbs. In contrast to tense, aspect does not locate an
action/state in time. The English verb phrase can be marked for two
different aspects: the progressive (be –ing) and the perfective (have

Attributive The term attributive refers to the position of an adjective in a noun

adjectives phrase. We say that an adjective is attributive or is used attributively
when it comes before a noun (and therefore is part of a noun
phrase): a young student, ripe apples

Glossary of grammatical terms

Auxiliary An auxiliary verb is a verb which accompanies the lexical verb of a

verb phrase, and expresses grammatical distinctions not carried by
the lexical verb, such as person, number, tense, aspect, and voice.
The auxiliary verbs are be, have, do.

Case Case is a grammatical category determined by the syntactic or

semantic function of a noun or pronoun. Case refers to the form of a
noun to show whether it is subject, object, etc. English distinguishes
a common case, unmarked (boy) and a genitive case, marked by ’s.

Central Central adjectives are adjectives which fulfill all the criteria for the
adjectives adjective class: they are gradable, can be modified by an adverb of
degree, and may be used attributively or predicatively. The group
includes adjectives of size and dimension (big, tall, small), and
adjectives of time (new, old, young)

Clause A clause is a grammatical unit that includes a predicate and a

subject, and expresses a complete thought. Syntactically, a clause
may be independent, that is complete in itself, or dependent,
necessarily related to an independent clause:

John works on a farm.

John works on a farm where pesticides are used.
independent dependent

Clauses can combine into larger units of thought, sentences, in two

ways by means of coordination or subordination:

They irrigated the land and used fertilizers.

coordinate clause coordinate clause
They irrigated the land when they got the pumps.
main clause subordinate clause

Clauses can be main clauses or subordinate clauses, and they can

be finite or non-finite. Depending on the form of the verb, a clause is
finite, when the verb form expresses tense, person or number or
non-finite when the verb form does not express these, that is when
the verb is in the infinitive, -ing participle, gerund, -en participle:

When they arrived there, they found the village deserted.

finite clause finite clause
When arriving there, they found the village deserted.
non-finite (present) participial clause
On arriving there, they found the village deserted.
non-finite gerundial clause
Seen from the distance, the village seemed deserted.
non-finite (past) participial clause

Collective noun A collective noun is a noun that refers to a group of entities (family,
army, government) that may be considered either as individuals or as
one larger entity.

Glossary of grammatical terms

Common noun A common noun is a noun that signifies a nonspecific member of a

group: a person (teacher), an animal (cat), a thing (book), a quality
(courage), an action (laughter).

Comparative Comparatives of adjectives and adverbs are formed with –er …

(than) or more /less … (than)

Adjectives: My coffee is hotter (than yours).

An old tractor is less expensive than an old one.
Adverbs: He works harder / quicker than me.
You should drive more carefully.
Comparison The declension of adjectives/adverbs to indicate degree: the positive,
the comparative, and the superlative. The positive is the base form
(good, tall, quickly). The comparative indicates a higher degree
(better, taller, more quickly), and the superlative indicates the
highest degree (best, tallest, most quickly).

Compound A compound is a word that is made up of two (or more) roots:

blackboard (compound noun); a horse-drawn cart (compound

Concrete noun A concrete noun refers to people or things, which have physical
existence: a doctor, a dog, rice.

Copulative A copulative/link verb is a verb which links a subject to a predicative

verb realized by an adjective phrase (John is/looks very sick), a noun
phrase (You are a good student), a prepositional phrase (The trees
are in flower) or a clause (The trouble is that the car is too
expensive). Copulative verbs are mostly verbs of existence: be,
become, exist, verbs of perception: look, feel, sound, smell, taste or
verbs that express a process of change: turn, grow

His voice sounded strange on the phone.

The room smelt damp.
That book looks interesting.
She turned pale.

Countable / A countable noun is a noun, which refers to separate entities. It has

Uncountable the ability to take a plural form (books), distinct from the singular one
(book), to occur with characteristic determiners (such as a/an, many),
and to occur with cardinal numerals. A noun is uncountable when we
do not normally use a/an in front of it and it has no plural (water).

Degree adverb The term refers to adverbs like enough, fairly, rather quite, very,
which broadly answer the question To what extent?

Glossary of grammatical terms

Determination A category specific of nouns, which refers to such meanings as

number, definiteness, proximity and ownership. It is realized by
several classes of determiners: articles (a/an, the), numerals,
demonstrative determiners (this/that, these/those), indefinite
determiners (some/any), possessive determiners (my, your, his, her,
its, our, their), relative determiners (whose, which), interrogative
determiners (which, what, whose), or an s-genitive.

Determiner Determiners are words that express the reference of a noun, i.e. they
‘determine’ the meaning of the noun. Examples include the definite
article (the) and indefinite articles (a/an), possessive adjectives (my,
your, her), demonstrative adjectives (this/these, that/those) and
quantifiers (few, little).

Double genitive The genitive can be expressed by ’s-genitive (the farmer’s tools) or
the of-genitive (the tools of the farmer). In a double genitive, both
constructions appear in the same phrase: a horse of my uncle’s
(“one of my uncle’s horses”).

Dynamic verb A dynamic verb refers to an activity, action or event: talk, run, fly,
read. Verbs which are not dynamic are referred to as 'stative’. The
distinction between stative and dynamic verbs is relevant for the use
of the progressive aspect and the passive voice, both of which occur
mostly with dynamic verbs.

Extended verb The extended verb phrase consists of a lexical verb at the head,
phrase preceded by up to four auxiliaries. The order in which the auxiliaries
occur is fixed and depends upon the grammatical meaning they
convey. The features of grammatical meanings which can be
expressed in an extended VP include the following: tense, modality,
aspect, voice. Examples: will have arrived; may be walking.

Finite verb A finite verb is a verb form that occurs in an independent clause, and
form is marked for: tense, aspect, voice, person, number. Examples:
reads, is reading, will read, has read, had read, etc.

Focus adverbs Focus adverbs are adverbs like even, just, merely, and only which
can precede the word they modify to focus attention on it: Only Mary

Foreign plurals The term refers to some plurals of nouns of foreign origin that are not
formed with s. Nouns of foreign origin are frequently used in scientific
and technical contexts. Some have only foreign plurals (sg. basis -
pl. bases), others also have anglicized forms (sg. cactus – pl. cacti

Frequency The term refers to adverbs like always, often, usually which answer
adverbs the question How often?

Glossary of grammatical terms

Gender Gender is a grammatical category that groups nouns and some

pronouns in three classes: masculine, feminine, neuter. In English
nouns denoting humans have natural gender while inanimate nouns
are neuter. Natural gender indicates that nouns may be classed in
correlation with natural sex distinctions. A noun or a pronoun
denoting a male (boy, father, he, himself) is of masculine gender,
and a female noun (girl, mother, she, herself) is of feminine gender.

Genitive Genitive case (also called the possessive case) indicates

possession. The genitive can be expressed in two ways in English:
with apostrophe’s (John’s house), or with the of-phrase (the door of
the house). The former is mainly used for people, the latter, for

Gradable / Gradable is a term applied to adjectives, and to some adverbs. Most

ungradable adjectives are gradable. This means that we can imagine degrees in
the quality referred to. So we can use an adjective with very, too,
enough (very good, good enough) or form a comparative or
superlative: shorter/ shortest, more interesting/most interesting.
Adjectives are ungradable when we cannot modify them with very,
and cannot make comparative and superlative forms, for example
medical, unique.

Grammatical A grammatical category is a set of syntactic and semantic features

category that characterize word classes. In nouns, the term refers to such
notions as gender, number, case. These are the nominal
grammatical categories. Verbs are characterized by tense, aspect,
mood, voice. These are the verbal grammatical categories.

Grammatical A grammatical relation (Subject, Object, Complement, Adverbial

relation Modifier) is a role of a noun phrase that determines syntactic
behavior such as word position in a clause, agreement, participation
in such operations as passivization. Here are some kinds of
grammatical relations: subject, object

The villagers planted apple trees on the hill.

Subject Object Adverbial Modifier

Apple trees were planted on the hill by the villagers.

Subject Adverbial Modifier Prepositional Object

Head (of a The head of a phrase is the element that determines the syntactic
phrase) function of the whole phrase. In a noun phrase, the head is the noun
that refers to the same entity to which the whole phrase refers, such
as horse in a fine black horse.

Glossary of grammatical terms

Imperative The imperative is typically used to make commands:

Go away.
Don’t talk.

An imperative sentence characteristically contains no grammatical

subject, but the implied subject is 'you'. Sometimes a subject may
be included, particularly in negative imperatives:

Don't you dare say that.

A sentence such as Let's go home! where the implied subject

includes the speaker as well as the hearer(s), is also imperative. The
imperative verb form (identical to the base form of the verb) is finite,
but it does not vary for tense, aspect, or person/number.

Indicative The indicative mood represents an action as a fact or as in close

(mood) relationship to reality. The indicative is used for most communicative
purposes. The indicative verb form differs from the others in varying
for tense and aspect, and in showing grammatical concord with the
subject in the present tense. Sentences in the indicative can be
either declarative or interrogative.

Inflection Inflection is variation in the form of a word, typically by means of an

affix, that expresses a grammatical meaning such as: agreement (in
person and number), tense, aspect, and mood. In the sentence She
reads a story, reads is inflected for person (3rd person) and number
(singular) by the suffix -s.

Intensifier Intensifiers are adverbs which are used with gradable adjectives and
adverbs (very slow/ very slowly) and in some cases, verbs (I entirely
agree). An intensifier normally strengthens the meaning. Compare:

Your work is good.

Your work is very good.

Typical intensifiers are very, such a/an, so, and –ly adverbs instead
of very (extremely).

Lexical verb A lexical verb is a verb that belongs to the primary verb vocabulary of
a language. The verb working in must be working is a lexical verb.

-ly adverb There are three classes of adverbs ending in –ly:

Adverbs of manner: badly, happily:

Intensifiers: extremely:
Viewpoint adverbs: frankly:

We played badly.
He is extremely tired.
Frankly, I don't trust you.

Glossary of grammatical terms

Manner adverb Manner is a semantic role that notes how the action, experience, or
an event is carried out. Adverbs of manner answer the question
How? Most of them end in –ly and are formed from adjectives: badly,

Mid position This term is often used in connection with adverbs of frequency,
which normally come after be when it is the only verb in the clause
(He’s always late), after the first auxiliary (He has often gone to the
USA), and before the main verb (I never drink coffee).

Modal verb A verb that expresses modality (obligation, permission, possibility,

ability or probability). The modal verbs are can/could, may/might,
must, shall/should, will/would, ought to. These modals have no non-
finite forms. There can only be one modal auxiliary proper in a verb

Modality Modality is a type of meaning, involving the affirmation of possibility,

impossibility, necessity, etc. Modality can be expressed by verbs
(particularly modals), and adverbials:

Willingness/readiness: will, would, dare

Obligation: must, shall, should, ought to, have to, need
Permission: may, might, can, could
Ability: can, could
Possibility: may, might, can, could

Modifier A modifier is an optional constituent in a phrase that conveys

information relating to the head of the construction. In the phrase the
hot soup, the constituent hot is a modifier of soup, the head of the
construction. Depending on their position in the phrase, modifiers are
of two types: premodifiers and postmodifiers. A premodifier precedes
the head, while the post modifier follows the head.

Mood Mood is a verbal category that signals the relationship of the verb
with reality and intent. In traditional terms, there are four moods: the
indicative, the imperative, the conditional, and the subjunctive.

Morpheme The morpheme is the smallest meaningful linguistic unit. Some

words are made up of one morpheme (book); others of two (books,
bookish) or more (unreadable). Morphemes can be lexical (in which
case they refer to something), inflectional (in which case they
represent grammatical suffixes), or derivational (in which case they
represent an affix which changes the meaning and often the class of
the word to which it is added).

Morphology Morphology is the study of how morphemes combine into words, and
of how words are inflected.

Non-finite A nonfinite verb is a verb that is not fully inflected for the categories
verb form of tense, person and number: working (present participle), to work

Glossary of grammatical terms

Noun Nouns are names given to people, things, places, etc. in order to
identify them. Nouns may act as subjects, (direct or indirect) objects
of the verb, object of a preposition or attribute of a noun.

Noun phrase A noun phrase is a phrase that has a noun as its head. A noun
phrase generally includes one or more modifying words (the man
next door).

Number Number is a grammatical category of nouns and pronouns that

expresses distinctions such as "one" or "more than one". In the word
boys, plural number is marked by the suffix -s, the pronoun him has a
different form in the plural them. The category also applies to a
certain extent to verbs, which have special present tense forms for
third person singular subjects (the girl sings vs. the girls sing).

Operator The first auxiliary in an extended verb phrase, such as will in She will
be coming, or do in Do you study English?

Participial A participial adjective is the same form as a present participle of a

adjectives verb (fascinating) or the past participle of a verb (fascinated ) and is
used exactly like an adjective.

He told us a fascinating story.

The fascinated audience applauded enthusiastically.

Passive (voice) The passive is a category of the verb phrase. The passive voice is
marked by the grammatical auxiliary be + past participle:

The letter is/was written by Joe.

The subject of a passive clause is typically an affected participant

(the letter). The agent (= the doer of the action) may be specified by
means of a prepositional phrase (by Joe) or not, as in

No new errors were being made.

Past tense Past tense verbs most commonly refer to actions / events / states
that belong to the past. The past tense form of regular verbs ends in
–ed: (play - played - played). In irregular verb conjugation, the past
tense form is the second form cited (go - went - gone; write - wrote -

Perfective The perfect or perfective aspect is a verbal category showing that

aspect something is completed. In English the perfective aspect is realized
by the grammatical auxiliary have followed by a past participle. The
present perfect: present tense + perfective aspect (He has come
back) expresses that something took place at an unspecified point in
the past, and that this action may have some relevance to the
present. The past perfect: past tense + perfective aspect (He had
come back) expresses that something took place at a point before
another moment or action in the past.

Glossary of grammatical terms

Person Person is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and

determiners. We distinguish between first person (I, me, myself, my,
mine, we, us, ourselves, our, ours), second person (you,
yourself/yourselves, your, yours), and third person (he, him, himself,
his, she, her, herself, hers, it, itself, its, they, them, themselves, their,
theirs). The category of person combines with that of number, so that
we get first person singular, first person plural, etc. The verb system
has special present tense forms with third person singular subjects:

I like him
He likes me.

Prepositional Prepositional phrasal verbs (get out of, get back to, get away with, go
phrasal verb out for, catch up with, turn away from, look forward to, put up with,
come down to, end up with) consist of a lexical verb combined with
an adverbial particle plus a preposition.

Phrasal verb Phrasal verbs are combinations of a lexical verb with an adverbial
particle (give up, do with, switch off, take after). A phrasal verb may
be transitive, and thus accompanied by a direct object. If the object is
realized as a pronoun, it is placed between the verb and the particle,
but if it is realized as a full noun phrase, it tends to be placed after
the particle:

I looked this word / it up.

I looked up this word.

Phrasal verbs can occur in the passive voice:

The word was looked up.

The verb and the particle form a close semantic unit, whose meaning
is often not predictable from the meaning of the verb + the meaning
of the particle (give + up). Compare with prepositional verb.

Phrase A phrase is a word or group of words which can fulfil a syntactic

function in a clause. A phrase is named after the most important
word in it (the head): noun phrases, verb phrases, adjective
phrases, adverb phrases, etc.

Place adverb Adverbs of place are words or phrases that answer the question
Where? Where to? Where from? They may be: single words (here,
there, away, upstairs) or phrases (in hospital, on the left)

Predicative The term predicative refers to the position of an adjective in a clause.

adjectives An adjective is predicative or is used predicatively when it comes
directly after be, become, seem, etc.

That cottage is old.

You seem happy.

Glossary of grammatical terms

Preposition Prepositions generally express a relation, often in time or space.

They can also express relations of agency, cause, means, manner,
support, opposition, etc. (after, at, before, below, by, in, of, on, over,
under). Prepositions introduce prepositional phrases (after lunch), or
they may combine with a verb to form a prepositional verb (to
depend on). Prepositions may also combine with a preposition or an
adverb to form complex prepositions (out of, because of, apart from,
in front of).

Prepositional A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition + a noun phrase (in

phrase China, for a week). What follows the preposition is called the
complement of the preposition. Besides noun phrases, the
complement of the preposition can be an -ing clause or an indirect

He boasts about having seen all the countries in America.

He is in dispute with his parents about what to do in life / what
he should do in life.

Prepositional phrases can function as adverbials at clause level (He

worked in the field), or as postmodifiers of noun phrases (The man
with a black hat is my father) or complements of adjectives/adverbs
at phrase level (He is fond of music).

Prepositional A prepositional verb consists of a verb + a preposition, followed by

verb an object. In contrast to the particle in phrasal verbs, the preposition
in a prepositional verb always precedes the object:

She pleaded with her friend not to go.

However, the preposition is closely connected to the verb, in that the

verb + preposition form a single semantic unit. Some prepositional
verbs can also occur in the passive voice, in which case the
preposition stays with the verb rather than with the noun phrase.

He looked after the dog.

The dog was looked after.

Present tense Present tense verbs usually refer to actions/events/states that belong
to the present time, or that have general validity. The present tense
form is identical to the base form of the verb, except for third person
singular subjects, when the verb ends in -s. A present tense form can
combine with the progressive aspect (he is sleeping), with the
perfective aspect (he has slept), or with the passive voice (he has
been asked questions), or any combination of aspect and voice (he
has been sleeping).

Glossary of grammatical terms

Progressive / The progressive aspect is a verbal category with two meaning

non-progressive components: (limited) duration and (possible) incompletion. The
progressive aspect is realized by the auxiliary be followed by an-ing
participle. The progressive aspect does not usually occur with stative
verbs, as these verbs denote permanent situations. Combined with
the present tense, the progressive aspect denotes progress and
incompletion (She is watching a film on TV). Combined with the past
tense, the progressive aspect denotes duration in the past and
possible incompletion (She was reading last night -- the emphasis is
on the activity of reading). When the progressive aspect combines
with the perfective aspect, the meaning is that an activity stretched
from the past up to a specified point of time (They’ve been working
all day).

Proper noun A proper noun is used for a particular person (Julia), place
(Australia), the months of the year (March), etc., which is thought to
be unique. It is normally spelt with a capital letter. Articles are not
generally used with proper nouns.

Qualify An adjective describes or qualifies the person or thing, etc, to which it

refers. We use adjectives to say what a person or a thing is like. (an
old car, a pretty woman).

Quantifier A quantifier expresses a referent's definite (two, four) or indefinite

number (few, little, plenty of) or amount (many, much). A quantifier
functions as a modifier of a noun. Some quantifiers combine with
countable nouns (a few books), others with uncountable nouns (little
time), some with both kinds (plenty of books/time).

Reference Reference is the relationship that a linguistic expression has with the
concrete entity or abstraction it represents. Here is an example of
reference: the noun man refers to a person, the noun pen refers to
an object, the noun storm refers to a natural phenomenon, etc.

Root A root is a lexical morpheme, i.e. a word or part of a word which has
meaning, and which cannot be divided into smaller meaningful units.
It can function as a stem, and it may combine with derivational and
inflectional affixes. In the word popularity, the root is popular, while -
ity is a derivational affix (morpheme).

Glossary of grammatical terms

Semantic roles A semantic role is the relationship that a participant in a situation has
with the main verb in a clause. It is the actual role a participant plays
in a situation. Compare: John hit Ben and Ben was hit by John. In
both clauses, someone named John deliberately hits someone else
named Ben. It follows that John is the agent (the doer) of the action,
while Ben is the patient (the one who suffers the effect). The
semantic role of John is the same (agent) in both sentences,
although in the first John is the Subject of the clause, while in the
second, the prepositional object. In both sentences, Ben has the
semantic role of patient. The main semantic roles are:

Agent: Peter wrote the essay.

Patient Mother opened the door.
Beneficiary: I bought mother a present.
Force: The thunder struck the tree.
Instrument: John cut the bread with a knife.
Experiencer: Mary loves cats.

Semi-modal Also known as marginal modal auxiliaries, semi-modals (dare, need,

have to, used to) are verbs which carry the same kind of meaning as
the modal verbs. Semi-modals can be used either as auxiliaries, i.e.
without do-insertion in interrogative and negative sentences (You
need not help her), or as main verbs (You need money). Unlike
auxiliaries, when used as main verbs, semi-modals require do-
insertion in negative and interrogative sentences (Do you need

Sentence A sentence is a grammatical unit with syntactic, semantic and

phonological properties:

The man feeds a horse.

At the syntactic level a sentence consists of a relation of predication

between a NP functioning as the Subject of the sentence [NPThe
man] and a VP functioning as the Predicate of the sentence [VP feeds
a horse]. At the semantic level, a sentence is representable as a
logical relation between a predicate (feed) and its arguments (the
man, a horse). At the phonological level, each sentence has a
phonetic shape, an intonational contour and a graphic form.
Sentences consist of one or more clauses. A simple sentence
consists of an independent clause. A compound sentence involves
two or more clauses coordinated by means of coordinating
conjunctions (and, but, or, nor). A complex sentence consists of an
independent (main) clause and one or more clauses dependent on
the main clause, and subordinated to it by means of a subordinating
conjunction (when, after, before, if, because, etc.)
Simple sentence: They irrigated the land.
Compound sentence:
They irrigated the land and used fertilizers.
coordinate clause coordinate clause

Glossary of grammatical terms
Complex sentence:
They irrigated the land when they got the pumps.
main clause subordinate clause
Sentence form / Sentence form refers to the typical word order of a clause/sentence.
type The sentence types in English are declarative (marked by the word
order S+V), yes/no interrogative (marked by the word order V+S),
wh-interrogative (marked by the word order wh-word+V+S), and
imperative (marked by the word order V, with the verb in the
imperative, and usually no subject. Sentences express different
types of meaning.Typically, declaratives function as statements, they
provide information about situations or states; interrogatives function
as questions, imperatives as commands and exclamatory sentences
express strong emotional states:

Declarative: They saw a beautiful landscape.

Interrogative: What did they see?
Exclamatory: What a beautiful landscape!
Imperative: Take a photo of this landscape, please!

Stative Stative verbs refer to a state, and require no action on the part of the
subject: be, have, contain, know, resemble. The distinction between
stative and dynamic verbs is relevant for the use of the progressive
aspect and the passive voice, since neither combines easily with
stative verbs. Note that verbs of perception (see, hear), and verbs of
opinion and of thinking (think, believe, understand) behave as stative
verbs when denoting involuntary perception/cognition.

Stem The stem is the main part of a word to which inflectional morphemes
may be added, such as the base form of a verb (write), the singular
form of a noun (field), the positive form of adjectives (nice) and
adverbs (quickly). It consists of a root, sometimes in combination
with derivational affixes. In the word farmers, the stem is farmer, and
's is an inflectional suffix. The root is 'farm', and 'er' is a derivational
suffix. The word disgraceful is a stem consisting of the root 'grace'
and the two affixes 'dis-' and '-ful'.

Subjunctive The subjunctive mood represents an action or a state not as an

(mood) actual reality, but as a wish, desire or plan in the mind of the
speaker. The subjunctive is used in counter-factual clauses (if –
clauses, (If I had money, I would go on a trip to Paris. (= I don’t have
money) or concessive clauses. In formal (written) American English,
the so-called mandative subjunctive is used in that-clauses
expressing a demand, regulation, or obligation (She insisted that
they come in time). In British English, should + infinitive is generally
used instead (She insisted that they should come in time). In main
clauses, the subjunctive also survives in some set formulas such as
be that as it may; so be it, long live the Queen. Be is the only verb
which has a subjunctive past tense form (were). In all other cases the
subjunctive is expressed by the base form of the verb. A subjunctive
verb form is finite, but does not vary for person or number.

Glossary of grammatical terms

Superlative The superlatives of adjectives and adverbs are formed with –est or
the most/least. We use the superlative when we compare one person
or thing with others in the same group. The definite article the is used
before a superlative:

Adjectives: This is the hottest summer/the most comfortable

Adverbs: John drives the most carefully.

Syntax An area of grammatical study, syntax refers to how the words in the
phrase can be combined, e.g. the order of modifiers and head, or the
number/types of modifiers that go with a head), or to how clause
elements are combined, i.e. what kinds of clause elements can occur
together, and in which order they can occur.

Tense Tense is a category of the verb phrase. It places an action in time

relative to the 'here and now' of the speaker. Only finite verbs can
show tense. English has only two morphological tenses (i.e. tenses
which have special forms rather than combinations of forms): present
tense and past tense. Verbs in the present tense generally refer to
'now', while verbs in the past tense generally refer to 'before now'.

She lives in London.

She lived in London.

Both the present and the past tense can combine with the
progressive and the perfective aspect.

Time adverbs Adverbs of time are words or phrases that answer the questions
When? How long? How often? They refer to duration (since Monday,
for three years), definite time (today, on Friday), indefinite time
(another time), frequency (always, never):

I'm going away for a few days.

Harvesting starts today.

Verb phrase A verb phrase is a phrase that is composed of a main verb (the
head) and auxiliary verbs or particles related to the verb (drinks,
must have been drinking, drank up).

Glossary of grammatical terms

Viewpoint Viewpoint adverbs express the speaker’s attitude to what he/she is

adverbs saying. For example, a speaker may use the adverbs clearly or
evidently to tell us that he/she is drawing conclusions; frankly or
honestly to impress us with his/her sincerity; generally or normally to
make generalizations:

Frankly, I don’t think he’s right.

Viewpoint adverbs modify the whole clause (that is why they are also
called sentence adverbs). They come at the beginning of the clause,
and are marked off by commas. They do not affect the word order of
the rest of the clause.

Voice Voice is a category of the verb that expresses the semantic functions
attributed to the Subject of a clause, whether it is the agent, the
patient or the recipient of the action/state of the verb. The following
clause in the active voice: James ate the cake, while the next is in
the passive voice: The cake was eaten by James. Their meaning is
similar (someone by the name of James ate the cake) but, in the
former the agent (or doer), James, is the subject of the clause, while
in the latter, the agent is the prepositional object (by John).

Word The word is the smallest linguistic unit that can have a syntactic
function. A word has an expression side (combination of sounds, or
of letters) and a content side (an independent meaning).

Syntactic A syntactic function is the grammatical relationship of one constituent

function to another within a clause. The most important are: Subject,
Predicate, Object, Complement, Adverbial Modifier.

A zero is a constituent proposed in an analysis to represent an

element held to be present at an abstract level but not realized in the
data. A zero morpheme marks the plural of sheep.



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