Verb

THE VERB

General features and classification of verbs

The categories of person and number

The caterogires of tense and aspect

The category of voice

The category of mood

Non-finite forms of the verb

Practical tasks and assignments

GENERAL FEATURES AND CLASSIFICATION OF VERBS

The verb is a part of speech which denotes an action; the term ‘action’ includes the meaning of activity (e.g. to walk, to speak, to play), process (e.g. to sleep, to wait, to live), state (e.g. to be, to like, to know), relation (e.g. to consist, to resemble, to lack) and the like.

The verb has the following grammatical categories: person, number, tense, aspect, voice and mood. These categories can be expressed by means of affixes, inner inflections (change of the root vowel) and by auxiliary words.

The main function of the verb is predication. Verbs make up the predicate of the sentence.

Verbs can be classified into different groups depending on their semantic and syntactical features.

Classes-of-verbs (1)

 

According to their meaning and function in the sentence, English verbs are classified into notional and functional. Notional verbs have a full meaning of their own and can be used without any additional words as a simple predicate, e.g. jump, walk, want. Functional verbs do not have full lexical meaning and they are never used independently.

Functional verbs are link verbs, auxiliary verbs and modal verbs.

Link verbs are to a smaller or greater extent have lost their lexical meaning and are used in the compound nominal predicate, e.g. be, seem, look, feel. He is tired. He looks tired. He feels tired.

Auxiliary verbs have lost their lexical meaning and are used only as form words. They have only grammatical function and are used in analytical forms, e.g. do, have, be, shall, will, should, would.. He is working now. I have done it.

Modal verbs express a range of judgments about the likelihood of events. The modal verbs are: can, could, may, might, will, would, shall, should, must, dare, need, ought to, used to.

 The same verb in different contexts can be modal or auxiliary or have full meaning.

e.g. He has three sons. He has finished the task already. He has to do a lot of work.

A notional verb can be transitive and intransitive. Transitive verbs can take a direct object, i.e. they express an action which passes on to a person or thing directly, e.g. take, give, send. Intransitive verbs cannot take a direct object, e.g. stand, sleep, laugh. Most English verbs are polysemantic and may act either as transitive or as intransitive depending on their meaning, e.g. She ran to meet him. His father ran a prosperous business.

 A verb can have some aspect characteristics depending solely on its lexical meaning. The verbs are divided into terminative and non-terminative (durative). Terminative verbs imply a limit beyond which the action cannot continue, e.g. open, close, bring. Durative verbs do no imply any such limit and the action can go on indefinitely, e.g. carry, live, speak, know. But as most verbs in English are polysemantic they may be terminative in one meaning and durative in another. The distinction between terminative and durative verbs is of great importance as it affects the use of certain tense-aspect forms.

According to their relation to the continuous form, notional verbs fall into two groups: dynamic verbs, i.e. verbs which admit of the continuous form, e.g. eat, make, and stative verbs, i.e. verbs which do not admit of the continuous form, e.g. hear, see.

On the basis of their ability to express predication, the verbs may exist in two forms: finite verbs (have the function of the predicate in the sentence, express person, number, tense, aspect, mood, voice) and non-finite (verbals) (do not express person, number or mood, have many features between the verb and a nominal part of speech, cannot be predicates, i.e. gerund, participle, infinitive).

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THE CATEGORIES OF PERSON AND NUMBER

The categories of person and number are closely connected with each other (the category of concord/ agreement). Both categories are different from the other categories of the finite verb as their semantics is not process-relational. Person and number reflect the properties of subject-doer.

In Modern English there are but a few forms indicating person and number in the synthetic forms of the verb. These are:

  1. The third person singular Present Indefinite Indicative, e.g. he speaks
  2. Suppletive forms for different persons (singular and plural) of the verb to be, I am/was; he is/was; we, (you, they) are/were.

book logo2Additional reading: the complete rule on subject-verb agreement (concord).

 

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THE CATEGORIES OF TENSE AND ASPECT

The categories of tense and aspect are intermingled.

The category of tense denotes the relation of the action either to the moment of speech (this is called the absolute tense expression) or to some definite moment in the past or future (this is called the relative tense expression).

Absolute tense expression 

 Absolute-tense

Relative tense expression

relative-tense

The verb forms may refer an action directly to the present, past or future time. We are dealing in this case with the absolute use of finite forms, which, as a rule, is structurally independent.

But in certain types of clauses the verb form (usually in the subordinate clause) only shows whether the action of the clause is simultaneous with that of the principal clause, precedes it or follows it. In this case we are dealing with the relative use of verb forms. It is usually structurally dependent (see, for example, the rules of the sequence of tenses).

e.g. Mary is walking in the garden (the verb ‘is’ is related to the moment of speech; therefore, it is an absolute present tense) vs. Peter said that Mary was walking in the garden (the verb ‘was’ is related to the time expressed by the verb ‘said’; therefore, it is relative). However, the tense of ‘said’ is established with reference to the present moment. Hence it is an absolute tense, or the tense used absolutely.

PRESENT TENSE

Main uses of the present tenses:

  • The state present, which is used for timeless statements (universal facts, ‘eternal truths’), e.g. Oil floats on water. Two and two make four.
  • The habitual present, which is used for habitual or repeated events, e.g. I go to school every day.
  • The instantaneous present, which is used for the actions taking place at the moment of speech, e.g. I understand what you mean. Smiths passes to Brown. (sports commentary)
  • The historic present used for the descriptions of the past events as if they were happening now: e.g. I hear you’ve resigned.
  • The present tense is also used to describe specific course of action in the future time, e.g. We leave tomorrow.

PAST TENSE

Most uses of the past tense refer to an action or state which has taken place in the past, at a definite time, with a gap between its completion and the present moment.

FUTURE TENSE

English has no future tense endings. Future time is expressed by a variety of other means. Traditional grammar usually presents English as having a future tense expressed by auxiliary verbs shall and will; however, they still have a strong modal meaning.

Main ways to express future time in English:

  • The most common is will, shall, ‘ll: the Future Indefinite, the Future Continuous, the Future Perfect, the Future Perfect Continuous.
  • Be going to + infinitive
  • The Present Continuous
  • The Present Indefinite
  • Expressions be to, be about to, have to
  • The modal verbs may/might/could/should

The category of aspect expresses the manner in which the action is regarded—whether it is complete, in progress, or showing duration. This category may be lexical and grammatical. There are two oppositions of aspect forms in English:

  • The Continuous (Progressive) forms vs. Non-Continuous (Indefinite or Simple) forms;
  • The Perfective forms vs. Non-Perfective forms.

The Indefinite aspect forms have a very broad meaning. They have no special features and merely represent an action as occurring.

The Continuous aspect forms represent an action in its temporary development (process, duration). It implies that the action is taking place over a limited period and is not necessarily complete.

The Perfect aspect forms express priority and relevance. They are constructed using forms of the auxiliary verb have.

The Present Perfect is mainly used for an action continuing up to the present (‘current relevance’). This meaning contrasts with the Past Indefinite tense meaning, e.g. I’ve lived in Paris for a year (and I still do). I lived in Paris for a year (but I don’t now).

The Past Perfect is also used for the actions anterior to other events in the past (relative tense expression), e.g. I was happy that I had met her.

The oppossition of Perfect and Non-Perfect forms is sometimes termed as the category of phase.

THE ENGLISH TENSE AND ASPECT VERB FORMS

‘dance’

tenses

 

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THE CATEGORY OF VOICE

Voice is the category of the verb which indicates relation of the predicate to the subject and the object.

There are two voices in English:

The active voice shows that the person or thing denoted by the subject is the doer (agent) of the action expressed by the predicate.

The passive voice shows that the person or thing denoted by the subject is acted upon (the object of the action).

e.g. The dog saw the cat. The cat was seen by the dog.

There are several types of Passive constructions in English:

  1. If the direct object becomes the subject of the sentence we call this construction The Direct Passive. e.g. I keep the dog at home The dog is kept at home.
  2. A number of verbs in English take two objects – a direct and indirect. These verbs may have two passive constructions: The Direct Passive and the Indirect Passive. e.g. I gave her a book. A book was given to her. She was given a book.
  3. The verbs that take a prepositional object may form the Prepositional Passive.  e.g. They sent for the doctor. The doctor was sent for.

The combination of the verb be with the past participle does not always form the passive voice; it may also be a compound nominal predicate. When the verb ‘be’ with the past participle expresses a process, it is the passive voice. When the construction expresses a state resulting from a process, the verb be is a link-verb and the participle, which has the properties of an adjective, is a predicative. Hence two types of passives: verbal and statal.

Cf: They were married in church yesterday (process). They were married when I last heard about them (state).

PASSIVE VOICE FORMS

‘drive’

voices

THE CATEGORY OF MOOD

Mood indicates the attitude of the speaker towards the action expressed by the verb from the point of view of its reality. Mood relates the verbal action to such conditions as certainty, obligation, necessity, possibility.

Identical mood forms can express different meanings and different forms can express similar meanings, therefore there exist many classifications of moods in English.

Traditionally linguists discriminate 3 moods in English:

1) The Indicative mood shows that the action or state expressed by the verb is presented as a fact.

2) The Imperative mood expresses a command or a request. In Modern English is has only one form which coincides with the bare infinitive, e.g. Be quiet. Come here. Don’t make a noise.

3) The Subjunctive mood The Subjunctive Mood describes hypothetical situations, expresses wishes, demands, proposals, necessity, notions contrary to the fact.

The Subjunctive Mood has many forms of expression, some of which coincide with the Indicative and Imperative mood forms.

The Subjunctive mood has synthetic and analytical forms of expression.

Synthetic forms are divided into present subjunctive and past subjunctive (these names are rather traditional and do not imply any tense relations).

Present subjunctive verb forms are bare infinitives; past subjunctive forms coincide with the past indefinite of indicative verbs (besides, the verb were may be used for all persons).

The analytical forms of the Subjunctive Mood consist of auxiliaries should / would / may / might /shall and bare infinitive.

Both synthetic and analytical forms may have perfect form expression to express the corresponding perfective meanings.

The necessary form of the Subjunctive Mood is chosen depending on the sentence structure and intention of the speaker. There are also a few traditional structures with Subjunctive Mood.

analytical and synthetic subj

present subjunctive

past subjunctive

The choice of the subjunctive mood form depends on its meaning and syntactic construction.

Perfective verb forms in the Subjunctive Mood clauses show the anteriority of action (relative tense expression).

e.g. I wish he had told me about it yesterday. If we had known about it, we would have acted accordingly.

Click any table to see a full version.

NEW SUBJUNCTIVE_tables_1 NEW SUBJUNCTIVE_tables_2 NEW SUBJUNCTIVE_tables_3 NEW SUBJUNCTIVE_tables_4 NEW SUBJUNCTIVE_tables_5

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NON-FINITE FORMS OF THE VERB

The verb has finite and non-finite forms (verbals). The verbals do not express person, number or mood. Therefore they cannot be used as the predicate of a sentence.

There are three verbals in English: the participle (Present and Past), the gerund and the infinitive.

Special features of verbals:

  • Verbals do not express the categories of person, number, absolute tense, and mood. Therefore, they cannot be predicates of the sentence.
  • Verbals have a double nature, nominal and verbal. This duality of their nature is represented in their meaning, structure and syntactic functions.
  • The tense distinctions of the verbals are relative; the form of a verbal does not show whether the action refers to the present, past or future; it shows only whether the action expressed by the verbal is simultaneous with the action expressed by the finite verb or prior to it.

e.g. When working at home, he stays in touch with the office via Yahoo Messenger. (two actions are simultaneous and happen in the present)

 When working at home, he stayed in touch with the office via Yahoo Messenger. (two actions are simultaneous and happened in the past)

 When working at home, he will stay in touch with the office via Yahoo Messenger. (two actions are simultaneous and will happen in the future)

 But: Having worked at the largest law firms in New Mexico, Mr Jones is ready to work with your case. (the first action “having worked” happened before the action in the predicate “is ready”). 

  • All the verbals can form predicative constructions. Such constructions consist of two elements—a nominal element (noun or pronoun) (the doer of the action) and a verbal (participle, gerund or infinitive). The verbal stands in predicate relation to the nominal element, that is in a relation similar to that between the subject and predicate (doer-action).

E.g. The baby was crying. The mother heard him. = The mother heard her baby crying. (the predicate construction is “(her) baby crying”)

In the sentence a verbal may occur:

1)    singly, without accompanying words, e.g. Smoking is dangerous.

2)    in phrases, i.e. with one or several accompanying words (an object or an adverbial modifier), e.g. I like playing computer games.

3)    as a part of a complex tense form, for example, Continuous Tenses or  Passive forms, or after modal verbs etc., e.g. She is working at her new book now. He has been deceived. They must arrive on time.

4)     in predicative constructions, e.g. I heard him say something in a low voice. I object to his going there.

THE INFINITIVE

The infinitive has properties of the noun and the verb.

Similar to the noun, the infinitive in the sentence may be used:

  • as the subject: To live is to love
  • as a predicative: To live is to love
  • as an object: I want to go there.

The verbal features of the infinitive:

  • The infinitive may take a direct object: I want to buy an apple.
  • The infinitive may be modified by an adverb: I want to go fast.
  • The infinitive has relative tense distinction, aspective characteristics and voice:

infinitive

The Indefinite Infinitive expresses an action simultaneous with the predicate

e.g. I was glad to see you.

The Continuous Infinitive denotes an action in progress simultaneous with the predicate (the attention is on the progress).

e.g. I happened to be waiting for the bus when the accident happened.

The Perfect Infinitive denotes an action prior to the action expressed by the predicate.

e.g. He pretended to have seen the film.

I meant to have gone there (=the intention wasn’t carried out).

The Perfect Continuous Infinitive denotes an action which lasted a certain time before the action of the predicate.

e.g. The woman seemed to have been crying.

You must have been waiting for hours!

 

The infinitive may be a part of the following predicative constructions:

  • When the infinitive is related to the subject of the sentence, it forms the subjective infinitive construction (nominative with-the-infinitive construction)

e.g. He was heard to say that. He seems to have been broken. 

  • When the infinitive is related to the object of the sentence, it form the objective infinitive construction

e.g. He saw her move. He knows them to lie. They made him go. 

  • When the infinitive has its own ‘subject’ (doer of the action), independent from the subject of the sentence and introduced by FOR, it form the For-to-Infinitive construction.

e.g. I arranged for you to go there.

Additional reading: click to see the complete version.

infinitive booklet

THE GERUND

The gerund has properties of the noun and the verb.

Similar to the noun, the gerund in the sentence:

  • can perform the function of the subject, e.g. Smoking is dangerous.
  • can perform the function of a predicative, e.g. The duty of all progressive mankind is fighting for peace.
  • can perform the function of an object, e.g. I detest telling lies.
  • can be modified by a pronoun, e.g. I objected to his leaving soon.
  • can be preceded by a preposition, e.g. She insisted on staying at home.

The verbal features of the gerund:

  • The gerund may take a direct object: e.g. I objected to his buying all these useless things.
  • The gerund may be modified by an adverb: e.g. He started laughing merrily.
  • The gerund has relative tense distinction; the gerund of transitive verbs has also voice distinctions.

Gerund

Like all the other verbals, the gerund can form a predicative construction. In the gerundial construction the gerund has its own ‘subject’—the doer of the action in the form of a noun in common or possessive case or a possessive pronoun – Gerundial construction

e.g. He insisted on my doing it. His being faithful means nothing.

The gerundial construction may perform various functions in the sentence.

 

THE PARTICIPLE

The participle have verbal and adjectival or adverbial features.

There are two participles in English—Participle I (Present Participle, -ing Participle) and the Participle II (Past Participle, -ed Participle).

Similar to the adjective/adverb, the Participle in the sentence:

  • may be an attribute, e.g. The smiling girl said something. There is a broken vase on the table.
  • may be an adverbial modifier, e.g. She went away smiling. Having said that, he went away.

The verbal features of the participle:

  • The Participle may take a direct object, e.g. Opening the door, he went out on to the terrace.
  • The Participle may be modified by an adverb, e.g. Leaving the room hurriedly, he ran out.
  • The Participle I has relative tense distinction; the participle of transitive verbs has also voice distinctions.

Forms of Participle I:

Gerund

The Participle can form the following predicative constructions:

  • If the participle is connected by predicative relations to the object of the sentence—Objective Participial Construction, e.g. I saw you dancing.
  • If the participle is connected by predicative relations to the subject of the sentence—the Subjective Participial construction, e.g. He was seen dancing.
  • If the participle has its own ‘subject’ (doer of the action) independent from the subject of the sentence— Absolute participial constructions
  • He came in the room, his dog following him.
Additional reading: click to see the full version.

participlebooklet

Correlations of verbals to each other:

  • Infinitive vs Gerund

The infinitive, the gerund and the verbal noun share similar qualities, but present the process differently. The infinitive generally presents the process as more dynamic, the gerund—as semi-dynamic and the verbal noun as static.

Cf: To arrive so early was a great surprise.

Our arriving so early was a great surprise.

Our early arrival was a surprise. 

In general the gerund has more substantive and abstract character than the infinitive. Besides, the infinitive often has additional modal force.

Cf: This is a kind of peace to be desired by all = This is a kind of peace that should be desired by all.

According to D. Bolinger (1968), the gerund expresses something “real, vivid, fulfilled,” whereas the infinitive expresses something “hypothetical, future, unfulfilled.”

  • Participle vs Gerund

Some grammarians treat ­ing­-forms as one integral entity, though the gerund is noun-related and its meaning is process-substance signification. Participle I, on the other hand, is adjectival and adverbial-related and its meaning is process-quality signification.

A gerund is a verb and noun combined, e.g. “I think of retiring soon from business.”

“Retiring” is a verb (part of a verb “retire”). It is also a noun, because it is object to the preposition “of.”

Participle has characteristics of both verb and adjective or adverb:

e.g. A retired officer lives next door.

She was killed by a falling tile.

“Retired” is a verb, being part of the verb “to retire.” It is also an adjective, because it qualifies the noun “officer.”  “Falling” is a verb, since it is part of the verb “to fall,” but it is also an adjective in that it qualifies the noun “tile.” Hence a participle may be called a verbal adjective.

Unlike the participle the gerund may be preceded by a preposition, it may be modified by a noun in the possessive case of by a possessive pronoun; it can be used in the function of a subject, object and predicative.

In the function of an attribute and of an adverbial modifier both the gerund and the participle may be used, but the gerund in these functions is always preceded by a preposition.

e.g. After walking about ten metres, he found the purse in the leaves.

Walking along the street, he was thinking about his life.

 Further reading

Recap on the use of participles, infinitives and gerunds:

Participles fused and otherwise’ —>

‘5 uses of Infinitive’ —>

‘4 types of Gerund and Gerund phrases’ —>

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CHECK YOUR UNDERSTANDING

Is the verb «to be” in this sentence an auxiliary, link or modal verb?

«He was arguing with her loudly.»

Show answer »

Auxiliary

 

Is the verb “be” in this sentence an auxiliary, link or modal verb?

«He has never been shy before.»

Show answer »

Link verb

 

Is the verb “catch” in this sentence transitive or intransitive?

«He has caught her stealing.»

Show answer »

Transitive (her — direct object)

 

Is the verb “think” in this sentence dynamic or stative?

«We were thinking about your proposal.»

Show answer »

Dynamic

 

What is the correct form of the verb in the sentence «Each of the dogs ____ sick«?

a) is

b) are

Show answer »

Is

 

What is the correct form of the verb in the sentence «He is one of the professors that _____ too much«?

a) talks

b) talk

Show answer »

talk

 

Find the two finite verbs in the text below and define their tense forms.

We will have been driving for fifteen hours by the time we get to Los Angeles.

 

Show answer »

Will have been driving (Future Perfect Continuous)Get (Present Simple)

 

State the type of the passive construction in the following sentence:

The question was often put to me but I never answered it.

a) direct passive

b) indirect passive

c) indirect prepositional

 

Show answer »

a) Direct passive («Someone put a question to me.» — «question» is a direct object to the verb in the sentence in the active voice)

Find the verb in the subjunctive mood

But the most drastic demand the new owner made was that half the workmen be discharged at once.

Show answer »

Be discharged (synthetic present subjunctive in the predicative clause after the word «demand»)

 

Find the non-finite form of the verb (as an independent element of the sentence) and state its type (participle, gerund or infinitive)

He pretended to have forgotten my name.

Show answer »

to have forgotten – perfect infinitive

 

What type of a predicative construction does this sentence contain?

It is for you to decide who of us is right.

1) Subjective Participial contruction (complex subject with the participle)

2) Subjective Infinitive construction (complex subject with the infinitive)

3) For-to-Infinitive construction

 

Show answer »

C (for you to decide)

 

Find a predicative construction with a verbal in the following sentence. Write it out as “nominal element + verbal element”

They wanted the Committee convened over the weekend.

Show answer »

The Committee + convened (objective participial construction)

 

PRACTICAL TASKS AND ASSIGNMENTS: THE VERB

 

Task I. Verb Classes.

Describe the underlined verbs in the given sentences on the basis of:

a)     their lexical meaning and function in the phrase (lexical, verbs of full nominating value or verbs of partial nominating value, i.e. auxiliary, link or modal)

b)    subject-process relation (dynamic or stative)

c)     aspective characteristics of the process, the inner character of the process (terminative or non-terminative)

d)    the valency of the verb (transitive or intransitive)

e)     their ability to express predication (finite or non-finite, i.e. gerund, infinitive, participle)

  • By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he is wrong.
  • Even if you do learn to speak correct English, whom are you going to speak it to? (Clarence Darrow)


Task II. Verb Tenses and Aspect.

Which tenses are used to express the following? Provide examples.

  1. Action in progress at this moment.
  2. Facts are always true.
  3. Temporary habitual action in present.
  4. Complaints about bad habits in present.
  5. Complaints about bad habits in past.
  6. Summaries of events, often historical.
  7. Indefinite event in the past which may have an obvious result in the present.
  8. A habitual action in a period of time up to the present.
  9. Immediate decision to do something.
  10. Fixed future arrangement.
  11. Events that will happen in the natural course of events.
  12. Past habits
  13. Changing states in the past
  14. Action in progress at some time in the past
  15. An event in the past which happens before another event in the past.
  16. An event that continued for some time in the past and finished before some moment in the past.

Task III. Tense , aspect and voice forms.

Find 6 finite verbs in the text below and identify their tense, aspect and voice form.

There are no effective boundaries when it comes to pollutants. Studies have shown that toxic insecticides that have been banned in many countries are riding the wind from countries where they remain legal. Compounds such as DDT and toxaphene have been found in remote places like the Yukon and other Arctic regions.

Task IV. Passive Voice

The Direct Passive.

Which of the sentences below with the direct object cannot form the Passive? What are the other verbs not usually used in the Passive?

a)     He assisted John to his car.

b)    At this moment the others joined us.

c)     We arranged to meet at 5 o’clock.

d)    He should keep his word.

e)     They paid no attention to my speech.

f)      The boy resembled his father.

g)     He fitted hinge bolts to give extra support to the door.

h)    This coat fits you well.

i)       He lacked courage.

j)       The place holds 500 people.

k)    A strange man held a huge pistol.

l)       At this moment I lost courage.

 

The Direct Passive and the Indirect Passive.

e.g. I gave her a book. à A book was given to her. She was given a book.

Form all the possible passive constructions out of these sentences.

a)     Although they gave me a very good job I had to turn it down.

b)    They gave him a life sentence.

c)     They wrote him a letter.

d)    The book earned him a fortune.

e)     They wished me good luck.

f)      He explained the plan to a very frightened little boy.

g)     They suggested a nice job to my old friend’s wife.

 

Task V Subjunctive Mood

Comment on the Subjunctive Mood and modal verbs (form, meaning)

e.g. He willingly accepted his father’s suggestion that he should go on a long journey to India.

should go – analytical subjunctive in the subordinate attributive appositive clause to denote the action as highly desirable or possible.

1)    Harper Steger walked always as though he were a cat and a dog were prowling somewhere in the offing. (Dreiser)

2)    She had suggested that Abraham arrive precisely at one-thirty. (Stone)

3)    My only terror was lest my father should follow me. (Eliot)

4)    If you had anything to say that it was right and necessary for her to hear, you should have gone yourself to Limmeridge House; you should have spoken to the young lady with your own lips. (Collins)

5)    My only wish was that he should be altogether honest.

6)    I don’t know what we’d do without you.

7)    That she should have been there, to hear everything – it was the last thing he had wanted. (Cronin)

8) Suffice it to say that afterwards we never met again.

 

Task VI. Non-finite forms of the verbs and their functions.

Find all independent non-finite forms of the verb, state their form and function

  1. To understand, to know reality, it was necessary to have a theory of knowledge corresponding to the truth.
  2. Having explained that he has incurred the start-up costs of a new company.
  3. To move from one planet to another means to overcome gravitational forces.
  4. The problem of accurately measuring the height of the aircraft above the surface of the Earth is a difficult one.
  5. Translating from one language to another has been accomplished by automatic computers.
  6. There are various ways of charging a body with electricity.
  7. The Earth’s orbit being an ellipse (not a circle), the distance between the Earth and the Sun constantly changes as the Earth revolves around the Sun.
  8. While working to isolate Polonium, the Curies discovered a second radioactive element, calling it “radium.”
  9. Subsequent observations showed a high degree of variability, indicating that the X-ray emission changes considerably throughout the sunspot cycle.

Task VII. Predicative constructions with non-finite forms of the verb

 Point out the predicative constructions with verbals and state their type

  1. The weather being piercing cold, we had no great temptation to stay outside.
  2. They wanted the Committee convened over the weekend.
  3. There’s no danger of it happening again.
  4. I was not surprised by Caddy’s being in low spirits.
  5. Never once had she been seen to cry.
  6. He looked at his watch, made a phone call, and ordered the automobile to be brought round immediately.

Task VIII — Revision

In the text below:

a) Find 3 finite verbs in the text and define their tense forms.

b) Find three Participles (as sentence elements / not as part of verb forms)

TEXT: The number and size of wildfires in the western United States has steadily risen over the last three decades, according to a new report. Between 1984 and 2011, the number of large, uncontrolled burns jumped by seven each year. The area of scorched land also expanded by 355 square kilometers each year.

 

Keys to some tasks and assignments:

Task I. Verb Classes.

 

By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he is wrong.

realizes (1)—lexical, stative, terminative, transitive, finite;

was (2)—link verb;

thinks (3)—lexical, stative, non-terminative, finite;

is (4) —link verb

 

Task II. Verb Tenses and Aspect.

Which tenses are typically used to express the following? Provide examples.

  1. Present Continuous
  2. Present Simple
  3. Present Continuous
  4. Present Continuous
  5. Past Continuous
  6. Present Simple (historical present)
  7. Present Perfect
  8. Present Perfect/Present Perfect Continuous
  9. Future Simple
  10. Present Continuous
  11. Future Continuous
  12. Past Simple
  13. Past Continuous
  14. Past Continuous/Past Perfect Continuous
  15. Past Perfect
  16. Past Perfect Continuous

Task III. Tense , aspect and voice forms.

  1. Are – Present Simple
  2. Have shown – Present Perfect
  3. Have been banned – Present Perfect Passive
  4. Are riding – Present Continuous
  5. Remain – Present Simple
  6. Have been found – Present Perfect Passive

Task IV. Passive Voice

I.      The Direct Passive.

a)     John was assisted to his car.

b)    At this moment we were joined by the others.

c)     It was arranged that we should meet at 5 o’clock. (The passive construction is impossible when the direct object of the verb is expressed by the infinitive).

d)    No passive. “Keep his word” is a set expression that cannot be separated.

e)     No attention was paid to my speech (This set expression allows the passive usage).

f)      The verb “resemble” cannot be used in the passive in this meaning.

g)     Hinge bolts were fitted to give extra support to the door.

h)    The verb “fit” cannot be used in the passive in this meaning.

i)       The verb “lack” cannot be used in the passive in this meaning.

j)       The verb “hold” cannot be used in the passive in this meaning.

k)    A huge pistol was held by a strange man

l)       No passive. “Lose courage” is a set expression that cannot be separated.

 

 

II.      The Direct Passive and the Indirect Passive.

Form all the possible passive constructions out of these sentences.

e.g. I gave her a book. à A book was given to her. She was given a book.

 

a)     I was given a very good job… A very good job was given…

b)    He was given a life sentence. A life sentence was given to him.

c)     A letter was written to him.

d)    No passive construction is allowed with this set expression.

e)     No passive construction is allowed with this set expression.

f)      The plan was explained…

g)     A nice job was suggested… (Such verbs as ‘suggest, explain, announce, dedicate’ etc. cannot change the indirect object to the subject).

 

Task V Subjunctive Mood

Comment on the Subjunctive Mood and modal verbs (form, meaning)

 

  1. …were a cat … were prowling—past synthetic subjunctive in the adverbial clause of comparison to describe an unreal action.
  2. … arrive … —present synthetic subjunctive in the object clause to denote the action as highly desirable or possible.
  3. …should follow…—analytical subjunctive in the predicative clause
  4. had anything to say…—past synthetic subjunctive in the adverbial clause of condition to describe an unreal action;  should have gone…should have spoken—analytical subjunctive in the principal clause to describe an unreal action
  5. should be—analytical subjunctive in the predicative clause to denote the action as highly desirable or possible.
  6. we’d do —analytical subjunctive in the object clause for emphatic expression.
  7. should have been—analytical subjunctive in the subject clause to describe an unreal action.
  8. Suffice—present synthetic subjunctive in the set expression..

Task VI. Non-finite forms of the verbs and their functions.

Find all independent non-finite forms of the verb, state their form and function

  1. To understand, to know reality, it was necessary to have a theory of knowledge corresponding to the truth. (‘to understand/to know’ – infinitive, function: adverbial modifier of purpose; to have (a theory) – subject (introduced by formal introductory ‘it’))
  2. Having explained that he has incurred the start-up costs of a new company. (‘having explained’ – Perfect Participle, function: adverbial modifier of time)
  3. To move from one planet to another means to overcome gravitational forces. (‘to move’ – infinitive, subject; ‘to overcome’ – infinitive, object)
  4. The problem of accurately measuring the height of the aircraft above the surface of the Earth is a difficult one. (‘measuring’ – gerund, function: attribute)
  5. Translating from one language to another has been accomplished by automatic computers. (‘translating’ – gerund, function: subject)
  6. There are various ways of charging a body with electricity. (‘charging’ – gerund, function: attribute)
  7. The Earth’s orbit being an ellipse (not a circle), the distance between the Earth and the Sun constantly changes as the Earth revolves around the Sun. (‘being’ – participle, adverbial modifier of cause)
  8. While working to isolate Polonium, the Curies discovered a second radioactive element, calling it “radium.” (‘working’ – Participle I, adverbial modifier of time; ‘to isolate’ – infinitive, adverbial modifier of purpose; ‘calling’ – Participle I, adverbial modifier of attendant circumstances)
  9. Subsequent observations showed a high degree of variability, indicating that the X-ray emission changes considerably throughout the sunspot cycle. (‘indicating’ – Participle I, adverbial modifier of attending circumstances)

Task VII. Predicative constructions with non-finite forms of the verb

1) weather being (cold) — absolute participial construction

2) Committee convened — objective participial construction (complex object with Participle II)

3) it happening — gerundial construction

4) Caddy’s being — gerundial construction

5) she… to cry — subjective infinitive construction (complex subject with the infinitive)

6) automobile to be brought — objective infinitive construction

 

Task VIII — Revision

In the text below:

 

a) Find 3 finite verbs in the text and define their tense forms.

HAS RISEN — Present Perfect

JUMPED — Past Simple/Indefinite

EXPANDED — Past Simple/Indefinite

 

b) Find three Participles (as sentence elements / not as part of verb forms)

ACCORDING

UNCONTROLLED

SCORCHED

 

 

 

 

 

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