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- Lecture notes -

















The aim of this course is to help Romanian students understand the rules of English
morphology. The study of English words from the point of view of their forms and the rules
concerning the modification of their forms naturally follows the study of English phonetics
(concerned with the manner in which the sounds of a language are made and with their
acoustic properties) and phonology (preoccupied with the manner in which these sounds are
used to convey meaning), as well as the study of English lexicology (whose field of interest is
the vocabulary of a given language, dealing with sources of vocabulary, word-formation,
words and their meaning(s), changes of meaning).
The course is conceived as a normative work on descriptive bases: it provides rules
for what is considered to be a correct grammatical use of words, describing and classifying
grammatical facts (Leviţchi, 1970: 9-10). It is based on both traditional and modern
approaches on English morphology, having as a starting point the works written by well-
known foreign and Romanian grammarians.
Starting from the idea that morphology organizes the words into principal and
secondary parts of speech, the course consists of two main parts. Part I is dedicated to the
principal parts of speech (or open classes (Jurafsky & Martin, 2008: 125)): the noun, the
adjective, the verb, the adverb. Part II is dedicated to the secondary parts of speech (or
closed classes (Jurafsky & Martin, 2008: 124)): the pronoun, the preposition, the conjunction
and the numeral.
Without being exhaustive, this course provides just enough information concerning
the set of rules that describe the structure of words in English, shaping a framework of the
English language that can help students learn and better understand it.


I.1. Definition
I.2. The noun phrase and its structure
I.3. Criteria for identifying nouns
I.3.1. Position in the sentence
I.3.2. Noun ending
I.3.3. Function in the sentence
I.4. Noun classes
I.5. The grammatical categories of the noun
I.5.1. The category of number
I.5.1.1. Typical plurals and their pronunciation
I.5.1.2. Irregular spelling and/or pronunciation for the typical
I.5.1.3. Irregular plurals
I.5.1.4. Nouns with zero plural
I.5.1.5. Nouns used only in the singular
I.5.1.6. Nouns used only in the plural
I.5.1.7. The plural of collective nouns
I.5.1.8. The plural of substantivised adjectives
I.5.1.9. The plural of foreign nouns
I.5.1.10. The plural of compound nouns
I.5.1.11. Nouns with two plural forms
I.5.1.12. Nouns with a plural that has different meanings
I.5.1.13. The plural of abbreviations and of other substantivized
parts of speech
I.5.1.14. The plural of proper nouns
I.5.1.15. Concord between noun and verb
I.5.2. The category of gender
I.5.2.1. The lexical expression of gender
I. Masculine / feminine nouns
I. Neuter nouns
I. Common gender nouns
I.5.2.2. The grammatical expression of gender
I.5.3. The category of case
I.5.3.1. The Nominative case

I.5.3.2. The Genitive case
I.5.3.3. The Dative case
I.5.3.4. The Accusative case
I.5.4. The category of determination
I.5.4.1. The Determiners
I. The central determiners
I. The pre-determiners
I. The post-determiners
I.5.4.2. The Pre-modifiers
I.5.4.3. The Post-modifiers

I.1. Definition
The noun is the principal part of speech which refers to names given to people,
things, places, actions or qualities in order to identify them (Alexander, 1988: 34):
- the name of a person: Peter; teacher
- the name of a thing: car; table
- the name of a place: Bucharest; town
- the name of an action: laughter; laughing
- the name of a quality: beauty; gentleness
From a semantic point of view, the noun phrase refers to concrete things such as
persons, objects, places or institutions, but also to abstract things such as names of actions,
qualities, emotions, phenomena (Downing & Locke, 2006: 401).
From a syntactic point of view, the noun phrase refers to that element in the
sentence which functions as subject, object or complement (Quirk et al., 1991: 129).

I.2. The noun phrase and its structure

Nouns rarely appear alone in sentences. They are accompanied by articles,
adjectives, adverbs, etc., together forming noun phrases.
A noun phrase may consist of one up to four primary elements (Downing & Locke,
2006: 403):
1. the central element is called the head. It is normally a noun (boy), but it can also be a
pronoun (he) or an adjective (which is quite limited in use: the poor, the rich, the
unemployed). The head is the only element of a noun phrase which may appear alone in the
2. the determiner (articles, demonstratives, possessives, distributives, quantifiers, ordinal
and cardinal numerals);
3. the pre-modifier, which can be mainly an adjective (minor difficulties), but also a noun
(music lover), an -ing participle (striking resemblance) or an –en participle (fallen leaves)
following the determiner and preceding the head;
4. the post-modifier, which can be a noun (car that colour), an adverb (the man inside), a
finite clause (the book I read) or non-finite clauses (a child playing outside) following the
With all four elements the noun phrase looks like this:

Determiner Pre-modifier Head Post-modifier
One beautiful evening in May

If the pre- and post-modifiers can usually be omitted, the head and the determiner
(when its presence is required) form the typical noun phrase.

I.3. Criteria for identifying nouns

There are certain criteria according to which we can distinguish nouns from other
morphological classes, and they are: the position the noun may have in the sentence, the
noun endings and the function the noun has in the sentence.

I.3.1. Position in the sentence

Nouns can often be recognized by their position in the sentence, as they may:
- follow a determiner
Ex: a book
the book
that book
his book
- follow one or more adjectives
Ex: an interesting book
an old and difficult book

I.3.2. Noun ending

There are certain endings which may lead to the forming of nouns when added to
verbs or adjectives.
- endings added to verbs: -ion, -ance, -ence, -ement, -al, -y.
Ex: to abolish – abolition
to accept – acceptance
to interfere – interference
to postpone – postponement
to arrive – arrival
to injure – injury
-endings added to adjectives: -ity, -ness, -th (with a sound change), -dom, -ence
Ex: national – nationality
happy – happiness
strong – strength
free – freedom
absent – absence

This criterion cannot always be applied for recognizing nouns, as there are nouns
which may have the same form with verbs or adjectives.
Ex: answer – to answer
dance – to dance
cold (n) – cold (adj.)
light (n) – light (adj.)
Sometimes there is a difference between the noun and the verb, noticeable in stress,
pronunciation or spelling (Alexander, 1988: 35).

a) Stress difference – the noun has the stress on the first syllable, while the verb has
the stress on the second syllable:
Ex: ‘progress - to pro’gress
‘conduct – to con’duct
‘permit – to per’mit
b) Pronunciation difference – the ending of the noun is pronounced with a voiceless
sound, while ending of the verb is pronounced with a voiced sound:
Ex: house /s/ - to house /z/
use /s/ - to use /z/
c) Spelling difference – it accompanies the pronunciation difference:
Ex: advice /s/ - to advise /z/
belief /f/ - to believe /v/
cloth /θ/ - to clothe /ð/

I.3.3. Function in the sentence

Nouns can function as (Alexander, 1988: 34; Paidos, 1996: 11):
- the subject of a verb: The bus has arrived.
- the direct object of a verb: He received a parcel.
- the indirect object of a verb: He sent his girlfriend some flowers.
- the complement of the verb to be or a related verb like to seem: She is a doctor.
- an apposition: My brother, the reporter, always tells me the latest news.
- direct address: Mary, sit down!

I.4. Noun classes

There are two big classes of nouns: proper nouns and common nouns. The latter class
is divided into two sub-classes (taking into consideration the category of number): countable
nouns and uncountable nouns. These two, in their turn, are both sub-divided into concrete
nouns and abstract nouns.
The noun classes are thus the following (Quirk et al., 1991: 129):
- proper nouns: Laura; English
They are spelt with a capital letter and they refer to persons, places, things which are
regarded as unique. Proper nouns may include:
- names of persons: Jane; Jones
- names of nationalities and languages: French; Romanian
- titles for persons: Miss Jane; Doctor Jones
- titles of books, newspapers: Heart of Darkness; The Times
- geographical names: Mount Everest; Romania; Europe
- names of institutions: The White House; The United Nations Organization
- names of days of the week, months or festivals: Monday; November; Christmas

Some proper nouns have changed in time, becoming common nouns. They are not
written with a capital letter anymore and they refer to (Bădescu, 1984: 17):
- objects named after the place of origin
Ex: china (porcelain) < China
holland (linen fabric) < Holland
bayonet (weapon) < Bayonne (town in France)
champagne (kind of wine) < Champagne (region in France)

- objects named after their inventors, discoverers, manufacturers or inspirers
Ex: mackintosh (raincoat) < Charles Mackintosh, a Scottish inventor
sandwich (2 slices of bread) < Earl of Sandwich
mausoleum (tomb) < Mausolos, an ancient king
savarin (cake) < Brillant de Savarin, a French cook
- common nouns
They are opposed to proper nouns as they do not designate names of persons, places
or things considered as unique. On the basis of quantitative structure, the main difference in
this class of common nouns is between countable and uncountable nouns.
- countable nouns: they refer to nouns which can be distinguished as
“discrete” (Downing & Locke, 2006: 405), “separable entities” (Quirk et al.,
1991: 130). They have a plural form, they can be preceded by the indefinite
article, by many, (a) few and by numbers.
- concrete: they refer to nouns which have an individual physical
existence: boat; house
- abstract: they refer to aspects, concepts, ideas, experiences which
exist apart from concrete existence: hope; situation

- uncountable (mass) nouns: they refer to nouns which are seen as

“indivisible” (Downing & Locke, 2006: 405), “continuous entities” (Quirk et al.,
1991: 130). They do not have a plural form, they cannot be preceded by the
indefinite article or numbers, they can be preceded by much and (a) little.
- concrete: they refer to nouns sometimes having physical, but not
individual existence (these nouns usually refer to substances): cotton; milk
- abstract: they refer to aspects, concepts, ideas, experiences which
exist apart from concrete existence (these nouns usually refer to human
feelings or qualities, activities, abstract ideas): love; pride; sleep; advice

The uncountable nouns seem to be most problematic for the lerners of English, as
they may have a plural form but a singular meaning, a singular form but a meaning of
plurality, etc. That is why Angela Downing suggests a (non-exhaustive) typology of such
nouns (Downing & Locke, 2006: 407):
1. Uncountable singular nouns
a) nouns ending in –ics (plural in form but singular in meaning) which refer
to areas of study or activities: aerobics, athletics, ethics, linguistics,
mathematics, phonetics, politics, statistics, etc. Ethics and statistics can
sometimes be used as countable nouns, but in this case their form is
singular: an ethic, a statistic.
b) nouns which refer to items ”conceptualized as an aggregate” (Downing &
Locke, 2006: 407): baggage, cutlery, luggage, jewellery, furniture, etc.
c) names of certain diseases and games (plural in form but singular in
meaning): measles, mumps, rickets, draughts, darts, skittles.
d) nouns referring to food, drinks, natural phenomena: bread, butter, coffee,
wine, rain, snow, etc.
e) nouns referring to abstract notions: advice, information, knowledge, luck,
love, music, sleep, time, etc.
f) nouns referring to activities: homework, research, work, etc.

g) miscellaneous nouns: electricity, machinery, money, news, weather.
2. Uncountable plural nouns
a) nouns referring to articles of dress made of two parts: pants, pyjamas,
trousers, etc.
b) nouns referring to tools and instruments consisting of two parts: pliers,
scissors, scales, etc.
c) nouns singular in form but plural in meaning: cattle, clergy, police.
d) miscellaneous nouns: belongings, goods, manners, surroundings, thanks,

The similarities and differences between the countable and uncountable nouns can
be seen in the following chart:1

Countable nouns Uncountable nouns

Plural form: train-trains; bottle-bottles No plural form: rice-*rices; music-*musics
Can be preceded by the indefinite article: a Cannot be preceded by the indefinite article:
train; a bottle *a rice; *a music
Have only zero determiner: rice; music
Can be preceded by many, (a) few: many/(a) Can be preceded by much, (a) little: much/(a)
few tarins; many/(a) few bottles little rice; much/(a) little music
Can be preceded by cardinal numerals: two Cannot be preceded by cardinal numerals:
trains; three bottles *two rice(s); *three music(s)
Can be preceded by other quantifiers which Cannot be preceded by other quantifiers
imply numerals: both trains; a dozen bottles which imply numerals: *both rice; *a dozen
Can be preceded by the determiners each, Cannot be preceded by the determiners
every, either, neither: each/every train; each, every, either, neither: *each/every rice;
either/neither bottle *either/neither music
Can be preceded by some and any: some Can be preceded by some and any: some
trains; any train; some bottles; any bottle rice; any rice; some music; any music
Can be preceded by a lot of and no: a lot of Can be preceded by a lot of and no: a lot of
trains; no trains; a lot of bottles; no bottles rice; no rice; a lot of music; no music

There are some nouns which, depending on the circumstances, can function as either
countable or uncountable nouns. I tis the case of nouns referring to food and drinks and
abstractions. In the uncountable form the meaning refers to generalisations, while in the
countable form the meaning is restricted2:
Ex: We all like wine. However, I prefer red wines to white.
Air is vital for life, but the air in this town is polluted.

According to the way they are formed, the common nouns can be simple, derivative
or compound.
- the simple nouns are formed of only one word: tooth, brush, ground,etc.

http://www.learnenglish.de/grammar/noununcount.htm, retrieved on February 26th, 2011.

http://linguapress.com/grammar/count-nouns.htm, retrieved on January 30th, 2011.

- the derivative nouns by one root morpheme and one or more derivational
morphemes (prefixes or suffixes or both): misbehaviour, betrayal, disagreement, etc.
- the compound nouns are made up of two or more words, usually two nouns (tooth-
brush) or an adjective modifying a noun (blackboard). However, other parts of speech can
combine as well to form compound nouns. Thus, the following combinations are possible3:
- noun + noun: toothpaste
- adjective + noun: blackboard
- verb + noun: swimming pool
- preposition + noun: underground
- noun + verb: haircut
- noun + preposition: hanger on
- adjective + verb: dry cleaning
- preposition + verb: input

A special category of nouns – the partitives – is used when there appears the need to
refer to specific pieces of uncountable nouns or to a limited number of countable items. The
partitives can have a singular or plural form and are followed by of + noun.
Ex: a slice of bread
two slices of bread
a piece of paper
two pieces of paper
The partitives are of two types (Alexander, 1988: 42):
- general partitives: piece and bit (less formal) are used with a large number of
uncountable nouns, both concrete and abstract: a piece/bit of
- specific partitives, which refer to4:
- single items: a bar of chocolate; a roll of paper; a slice of cake; a loaf of
bread, etc.;
- single amounts: a block of ice; a lump of sugar; a pile of earth; a heap of
rubbish, etc.;
- small quantities: a drop of oil; a grain of sand; a pinch of salt, etc.;
- measures: a kilo of flour; a metre of cloth; a pound of coffee, etc.;
- containers: a jar of jam; a bottle of milk; a packet of cigarettes, etc.;
- types and species: a make of car; a brand of soap; a species of fish, etc.;
- games: a game of football/billiards/cards, etc.;
- pairs: a pair of shoes/glasses/jeans/tongs, etc.;
- abstract concepts: a grain of truth; a period of calm; a fit of anger; a wink of
sleep, etc..

Another category – the collective nouns – is used when the reference is to a group of
people, animals, plants, things considered as a whole5.
- people: an army (of soldiers); a board (of directors); a gang (of thieves); a troupe (of
dancers), etc.;
- animals, birds, insects: a pride (of lions); a flock (of birds); a plague (of insects), etc.;

http://www.learnenglish.de/grammar/nouncompound.htm, retrieved on January 30th, 2011.
For a longer list see Appendix I.a
For a longer list see Appendix I.b

- plants and fruit: a bunch (of flowers); a crop (of apples), etc.;
- things: a collection (of pictures); a set (of china); a string (of pearls), etc..

I.5. The grammatical categories of the noun

I.5.1. The category of number

Generally speaking, number is considered to be a feature (affecting not only nouns)
which points out to the difference between “one” (singular) and “more than one” (plural).
Speaking strictly about nouns, number may be associated with the grammatical categories of
countable and uncountable (mass) nouns. Nouns have contrasting singular and plural forms
(Huddleston & Pullum, 2005: 85). The singular number is manifest in proper nouns,
countable nouns and uncountable nouns, while the plural number appears especially with
countable nouns and only in some special cases with proper nouns. The category of number
in English nouns gives rise to several problems which claim special attention (the
pronunciation of typical plurals, irregular plurals, nouns with zero plural etc.).

I.5.1.1. Typical plurals and their pronunciation

Most nouns form their plural by adding –s or –es to the singular form. The suffix –es
is added to the nouns ending (in the singular) in: -s, -x, -z, -sh, -ch. It would be difficult to
pronounce such words if only –s were added:
Ex: bus – buses
fox – foxes
buzz – buzzes
fish – fishes
match – matches

The suffix –s is pronounced /s/ after voiceless consonants:

Ex: book – books /s/
top – tops /s/
cup – cups /s/
moth – moths /s/
The suffix –s is pronounced /z/ after voiced consonants or after vowels:
Ex: dog – dogs /z/
head – heads /z/
pub – pubs /z/
eye – eyes /z/
cinema – cinemas /z/
The suffix –es is pronounced /iz/:
Ex: bush – bushes /iz/
dress – dresses /iz/
fox – foxes /iz/

I.5.1.2. Irregular spelling and/or pronunciation for the typical plural

a) Nouns ending in –y
- nouns ending in –y preceded by a vowel add –s to the singular form:
Ex: day – days
boy – boys

key – keys
- nouns ending in –y preceded by a consonant change the –y to –ie and then add –s:
Ex: country – countries
sky – skies
baby – babies

b) Nouns ending in –f or –fe

- generally, nouns ending in –f or –fe get –s in the plural:
Ex: cliff – cliffs
proof – proofs
roof - roofs
- some nouns change –f or –fe into –ves when turned into the plural:
Ex: beef – beeves
leaf – leaves
calf – calves
wife – wives
wolf – wolves
knife – knives
thief – thieves
life – lives (*exception: still-life – still-lifes)
- some nouns ending in –f or –fe may have either –s or –ves in the plural:
Ex: scarf – scarfs, scarves
dwarf – dwarfs, dwarves
handkerchief – handkerchiefs, handkerchieves

c) Nouns ending in –o
- some nouns ending in –o get –s when turned into the plural. They are:
- nouns whose final –o is preceded by a vowel:
Ex: radio – radios
scenario – scenarios
bamboo – bamboos
cuckoo – cuckoos
- nouns of foreign origin (particularly Spanish and Italian):
Ex: canto – cantos
rondo – rondos
soprano – sopranos
tango - tangos
- abbreviations:
Ex: kilo – kilos
photo – photos
- proper nouns:
Ex: Eskimo – Eskimos
Romeo – Romeos
- nouns ending in –o preceded by a consonant add the suffix –es to the plural:
Ex: cargo – cargoes
echo – echoes
tomato – tomatoes

veto – vetoes
hero – heroes
- some nouns ending in –o may have both –s and –es for the plural:
Ex: flamingo – flamingos, flamingoes
domino – dominos, dominoes
buffalo – buffalos, buffaloes
archipelago – archipelagos, archipelagoes

d) Nouns ending in –th

Nouns ending in –th get –s in the plural.
- the ending –ths is pronounced /θs/ when preceded by a short vowel or a
Ex: birth – births /θs/
moth – moths /θs/
month – months /θs/
faith – faiths /θs/
cloth – cloths /θs/
- the ending –ths is pronounced /ðz/:
Ex: mouth – mouths /ðz/
youth – youths /ðz/
bath – baths /ðz/
- some nouns may have both pronunciations:
Ex: earth – earths
oath – oaths

I.5.1.3. Irregular plurals

Some nouns do not form the plural by adding –s or –es, but they have a form of their
own, based on vowel alternations:
Ex: child – children
foot – feet
goose – geese
louse – lice
mouse – mice
man – men
woman – women
tooth – teeth
Two nouns have maintained their form from the old plural in –n, which, during the
Renaissance, gave way to the –s plural form.
Ex: ox – oxen
brother – brethren

I.5.1.4. Nouns with zero plural

There are some nouns which retain the singular form in the plural. They are:
- nouns referring to hunting and fishing: game; grouse; sheep; snipe; carp; cod; salmon

*such nouns can be used in the plural when the idea of “varieties” is implied:
Ex: trout – trouts

herring – herrings
deer – deers
- some nationality names: Chinese; Portuguese; Japanese
- nouns expressing number or measurement: four hundred people; two million dollars; three
dozen boxes
*such nouns can be used in the plural when they express an indefinite number:
Ex: hundreds of people
millions of dollars
dozens of books
- nouns that are part of compound adjectives denoting measure, quantity, when they
precede another noun: a two-hour exam; a four-day trip; a five-mile walk
- the nouns craft and aircraft:
Ex: He has flied many aircraft.
- trees belonging to a certain species: fir; pine

I.5.1.5. Nouns used only in the singular

There are some nouns which are always used only in the singular, and they are called
Singularia Tantum (which is the Latin for “singular only”) nouns: advice, knowledge,
information, furniture, business, butter, bread, money, luggage, weather, sand, luck.

I.5.1.6. Nouns used only in the plural

There are some nouns which are always used only in the plural. They are called
Pluralia Tantum (which is the Latin for “plural only”) nouns, as they suggest the idea of
plurality and they refer to:
- articles of dress made of two parts: jeans; trousers; pants; shorts
- tools and instruments consisting of two parts: binoculars; glasses; scales; scissors
- parts of the body: genitals; entrails; vitals; remains; corps
- constructions and institutions: headquarters; customs; lodgings; archives
- places (with reference to an indefinite plurality): outskirts; surroundings; sands
- possessions: belongings; goods; assets
- names of diseases: measles; mumps; rheumatics
- names of some games: billiards; cards; dominoes; skittles
- names of sciences or subjects: economics; electronics; linguistics; phonetics
- geographical names: the Carpathians; the Alps; the Netherlands
- some adjectives turned into nouns: news; odds; valuables
- some nouns ending in –ing + s: doings; takings; earnings; savings; winnings
- others: alms; fireworks; congratulations; auspices

I.5.1.7. The plural of collective nouns

The collective nouns are singular in form but plural in meaning. The idea of plurality is
due to the fact that they denote an indefinite number of things, human beings or animals.
Some collective nouns cannot be used in the plural: police; cattle; clergy; mankind;

Other collective nouns can be pluralized, indicating two or several similar bodies:
Ex: party – parties
pack - packs

class – classes
people – peoples*
* in the plural, people loses its singular meaning of “persons”, indicating “all
the persons forming a state”.

I.5.1.8. The plural of substantivised adjectives

Such nouns have in common with collective nouns the fact that they denote an
indefinite number of persons. Some nouns in this category have only singular form: the rich;
the poor; the blind; the deaf.
Other nouns in this category have also something in common with Pluralia Tantum
nouns: they have a plural form. They can be notionally sub-classed into nouns denoting:
a) races: the whites; the blacks
b) creed: the heathens; the heretics
c) age: the ancients; the grown-ups
d) comparatives: the elders; the youngers

I.5.1.9. The plural of foreign nouns

Some nouns of foreign origin (Latin, Greek, French, Italian, Hebrew) have irregular
plural forms, as they have preserved their foreign plural; some nouns of foreign origin have
both English and foreign plurals, while others have only a normal English plural.

a) Nouns of Latin origin:

- if the singular form ends in –us, the plural is in -i/-ora/-era (or the regular English plural)
Ex: geniuses – genii (geniuses)
cactus – cacti (cactuses)
fungus – fungi (funguses)
bacillus – bacilli
stimulus – stimuli
tempus – tempora
genus – genera
- if the singular form ends in –a, the plural is in -ae (or the regular English plural)
Ex: antenna – antennae (antennas)
larva – larvae
vertebra – vertebrae (vertebras)
- if the singular form ends in –um, the plural is in -a (or the regular English plural)
Ex: aquarium – aquaria (aquariums)
curriculum – curricula (curriculums)
memorandum – memoranda (memorandums)
addendum – addenda
bacterium – bacteria
- if the singular form ends in -ex/-ix, the plural is in -ices (or the regular English plural)
Ex: index – indices (indexes)
appendix – appendices (appendixes)
matrix – matrices (matrixes)

b) Nouns of Greek origin:

- if the singular form ends in -is/-is, the plural is in -es

Ex: analysis – analyses
axis – axes
basis – bases
oasis – oases
- if the singular form ends in –on, the plural is in -a (or the regular English plural)
Ex: automaton – automata (automatons)
criterion – criteria
phenomenon – phenomena

c) Nouns of French origin:

- if the singular form ends in –eau, the plural is in -eaux / -ieu - -ieux (or the regular English
Ex: plateau – plateaux (plateaus)
tableau – tableaux (tableaus)
adieu – adieux
- some nouns ending in –s have zero plural
Ex: chamois

d) Nouns of Italian origin:

- if the singular form ends in –o, the plural is in -i (or the regular English plural)
Ex: libretto – libretti (librettos)
tempo – tempi (tempos)

e) Nouns of Hebrew origin:

Ex: seraph – seraphim
cherub – cherubim
kibbutz - kibbutzim

I.5.1.10. The plural of compound nouns

It follows broadly the following patterns:

a) one-word compounds add –s (or –es) for the plural to the last element:
Ex: bedroom – bedrooms
armchair – armchairs
pickpocket – pickpockets

*the same rule applies for compounds made of elements which are not nouns:
Ex: breakdown – breakdowns
drawback – drawbacks
forget-me-not – forget-me-nots
good-for-nothing – good-for-nothings
merry-go-round – merry-go-rounds

b) compounds whose first element is a noun followed by a prepositional phrase,

adjective or adverb add –s (or –es) for the plural to the noun:

Ex: brother-in-law – brothers-in-law
commander-in-chief – commanders-in-chief
man-of-war – men-of-war

c) compounds made up of a noun and an adjective add –s (or –es) for the plural to the
noun or to the adjective:
Ex: sergeant-major – sergeants-major – sergeant-majors
knight-errant – knights-errant – knight-errants
poet-laureate – poets-laureate – poet-laureates

d) compounds whose first element is one of the words man, woman, lord, gentleman,
yeoman add –s (or –es) for the plural to both elements:
Ex: man-servant – men-servants
woman-teacher – women-teachers
Lord Justice – Lords Justices
gentleman farmer – gentlemen farmers
yeoman-farmer – yeomen-farmers

I.5.1.11. Nouns with two plural forms

There are some nouns that have two plural forms (one regular and one irregular),
with different meanings:

Singular Plural Meaning

Die1 dies metal stamps for making
Die2 dice small cubes of bone or wood
used in some games
Formula1 formulas forms of words

Formula2 formulae mathematical term

Genius1 geniuses persons of great mental
Genius2 genii good or evil spirits
Index1 indexes tables of contents

Index2 indices algebrical signs

Medium1 mediums people who can
communicate with spirits
Medium2 media means, agencies
Staff1 staffs a body of persons

Staff2 staves the five horizontal lines used

in music
Cloth1 cloths different kinds of cloth

Cloth2 clothes articles of dress

I.5.1.12. Nouns with a plural that has different meanings
There are some nouns that have just one plural form with different meanings:
Singular Plural Meaning
Compass compasses Instrument(s) for navigation

------ compasses instrument for drawing

Colour colours hue(s)

------ colours flag

Custom customs habit(s)

------ customs import duties

Draught draughts current(s) of air

------ draughts a game

Drawer drawers a piece of furniture

------ drawers a garment for the lower part

of the body
Effect effects result(s)

------ effects goods, personal property

Ground grounds Sg.: the solid surface of the
Pl.: enclosed land attached to
a house

------ grounds coffee dregs

Manner manners way(s)

------ manners behaviour

Minute minutes space(s) of time

------ minutes record of proceedings at a

Pain pains suffering(s)

------ pains trouble, effort

Spectacle spectacles public show(s)

------ spectacles eye-glasses

Spirit spirits soul(s)

------ spirits alcoholic drinks

------ spirits state of mind

I.5.1.13. The plural of abbreviations and of other substantivized parts of

- letters, figures and the parts of speech other than nouns, when used as nouns,
make the plural by adding the suffix –s: i’s; 1990’s; VIPs; pros and cons; ups and downs.
- single letter abbreviations like c (chapter), p (page) make the plural by doubling the
consonant: cc; pp.

I.5.1.14. The plural of proper nouns

Proper nouns can be used in the plural in the following circumstances:
a) when the individual proper nouns denote a family or dynasty: the Smiths; the Tudors
b) when they refer to some countries or regions: the Netherlands; the Middlands
c) when they refer to some nations: Romanians; Americans

* in proper nouns ending in –y vowel shifting does not appear after consonants: the
Murphys; the Germanys.

I.5.1.15. Concord between noun and verb

As a general rule, a singular noun takes a singular verb and a plural noun takes a
plural verb.
Collective nouns may be followed by a singular verb (when the noun is regarded as a
whole) or a plural verb (when the noun is thought of as a group of individuals):
Ex: My family is called Johnson.
My family are on holiday.
*there are some collective nouns that are always followed by a plural verb:
cattle, clergy, people, police
Singularia Tantum nouns are followed by a singular verb:
Ex: Where is the money?
Her advice is always good to follow.
Pluralia Tantum nouns may be followed:
- by a plural verb, and these nouns are:
- nouns referring to things made of two parts (glasses, trousers, pants, etc.)
- ashes, chemicals, contents, surroundings, etc.
- by a singular verb, and these nouns are:
- names of diseases (measles, mumps, etc)
- nouns referring to games (billiards, checkers, etc.)
- news, works, etc.
- by a singular or by a plural verb: names of sciences, subjects (the singular verb refers to the
science or subject as such, the plural verb refers to the features suggested by the name of
that science or subject)

I.5.2. The category of gender

Gender distinctions in English are not very numerous and when they are made, there
is a strong connection between the biological category “sex” and the grammatical category
“gender” (“natural sex distinctions determine English gender distinctions” (Quirk et al., 1991:
187)). Gender refers to nouns and mainly to personal pronouns, but it can also influence

other parts of speech as well (for example, the adjective pregnant is considered to be
feminine as it can be used only with feminine nouns). The category of gender in English is
formed by two oppositions. One opposition functions in the whole set of nouns, dividing
them into nouns referring to persons and nouns referring to things / ideas. The other
opposition functions only in the subgroup of nouns referring to persons, dividing them into
masculine, feminine or common nouns.
As a result of this double oppositional correlation, a specific system of four genders
arises for the English nouns:
a) masculine – for beings of masculine sex;
b) feminine – for beings of feminine sex;
c) neuter – for things and ideas;
d) common (dual) – for beings which can be either masculine or feminine.

Gender in English is expressed by lexical or grammatical means.

I.5.2.1. The lexical expression of gender

I. Masculine / feminine nouns

The distinction between masculine and feminine nouns can be made in different
a) using different words (these nouns have “no overt marking that suggests morphological
correspondence between masculine and feminine” (Quirk et al., 1991: 188)):
Ex: boy – girl
mother – father
dog – bitch
cock – hen
brother – sister

b) adding suffixes to the masculine form (-ess, -ine, -ix, -a, -e/-enne, -ette/-use):
Ex: actor – actress
hero – heroine
administrator – administratix
czar – czarina
confidant – confidante
comedian – comedienne
usher – usherette
chauffeur – chauffeuse

c) adding suffixes to the feminine form (-er, -groom):

Ex: widow – widower
bride – bridegroom

For b) and c) cases “the two gender forms have a derivational relationship” (Quirk et
al., 1991: 187).

d) using compounds in which the first element specifies gender:

- nouns referring to persons:

Ex: boyfriend – girlfriend
father-in-law – mother-in-law
prince-consort – queen-consort
- nouns referring to animals:
Ex: buck-rabbit – doe-rabbit
he-bird – she-bird
cock-pheasant – hen-pheasant

e) using compounds in which the second element specifies gender:

Ex: grandfather – grandmother
milkman – milkmaid
grandson – granddaughter

There are a few nouns which denote only one sex. For example, dowdy (unattractive
woman), hussy (woman of bad behaviour), shrew, virago (an amusing woman) have no
corresponding words for males. In the same manner, nouns such as dude or dandy are
applied only to men.
Gendered nouns (terms that generally exclude one sex, particularly females) should
be avoided because of the sexist implications they carry and of the patronizing attitude that
they impose. The most commonly used gendered nouns are man and the compounds with
man.6 Such words should be replaced by gender-neutral nouns:
Ex: *man achievement - human achievement
*congressman - member of congress
*salesman - salesperson
*insurance man - insurance agent
*statesman - leader
*cameraman - camera operator
*freshman – first-year student
*mailman – mail carrier / postal worker
*steward, stewardess – flight attendant

I. Neuter nouns

Neuter gender refers to things or ideas: book, school, table, tree, car, map, thought
Sometimes, for stylistic purposes, some neuter nouns may become either masculine
or feminine.
a) neuter nouns changed into masculine:
- nouns denoting passions or violent actions: love, despair, crime, murder, anger,
- nouns denoting power, dignity: death, river, storm, ocean, mountain, sun, etc.

b) neuter nouns changed into feminine:

- nouns denoting beauty, gentleness: hope, justice, modesty, virtue, etc.
- nouns denoting negative traits of character: vanity, revenge, envy, etc.
- nouns denoting elements from nature: earth, darkness, evening, moon, etc.
- nouns referring to arts and sciences: drama, poetry, painting, etc.
http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/gender.html, retrieved on January 25th, 2011.

- nouns referring to countries, cities: country, city, England, Bucharest, etc.
- nouns referring to planes, ships, boats: plane, ship, boat, submarine, etc.
- names of universities: Oxford University, Cambridge University, etc.

I. Common gender nouns

Common (dual) gender refers to either sex and thus the same word may be used
both for male and female: child, adult, enemy, friend, parent, passenger, neighbour, guest,
etc. They can be classified into nouns denoting:
- relations: cousin; child; parent
- friends and enemies: friend; partner; enemy; foe
- inhabitants: neighbour; foreigner
- professions: artist; musician; teacher; worker
- leaders: captain; employer; prime-minister
- followers and supporters: democrat; Orthodox; fan
- race or nationality: African; Romanian

I.5.2.2. The grammatical expression of gender

The grammatical expression of gender consists in:
a) the replacement of nouns in common gender with the corresponding personal
pronoun (IIIrd person singular, masculine or feminine):
Ex: The doctor came and he / she gave me some medicine.
b) the agreement of nouns in common gender with the corresponding possessive
adjectives or the replacement of such nouns with the corresponding possessive
pronouns (IIIrd person singular, masculine or feminine):
Ex: Was your child wearing his red tie?
The worker took home the papers that were his.
c) the agreement of nouns in common gender with the corresponding reflexive
Ex: The dancer was very proud of herself.
d) the use of it, its and itself when the nouns refer to persons who could not yet
develop a personality (such as baby, infant, child).
Ex: When the baby saw its mother, it tried to raise its head.
e) the use of he/his, she/her/hers for animals. Today’s usage is to treat animals as
neuter when neither sex nor personality is important. However, domestic animals,
when named or when affective reasons are implied, are treated as masculine or
Ex: My dog Winston gave a loud growl, feeling he had the family on his side.

However, for the first three cases, the use of gender-specific pronouns is debatable,
due to the (recent) tendency of avoiding sexist language. Gender-specific pronouns can be
used in contexts where the referent is explicitly known as either male or female or when one
might presume that most members of some group are the same gender7. For gender-
ambiguous situations two options should be considered:8

7 http://www.worldlingo.com/ma/enwiki/en/Gender-specific_pronoun#English_gender-
specific_pronouns, retrieved on February 11th, 2011.
8 http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/gender.html, retrieved on February 11th, 2011.

a) the use of the personal plural pronoun they – it traditionally replaces plural nouns.
However, they can also refer to a singular referent, but this usage (considered
incorrect by many grammarians) is restricted to speech and it appears mainly in
American English.
Ex: When a student cheats in the exam, they should be punished.
This substitution of the plural for the singular may escape observation in speech, but
it may strike as awkward or incorrect in writing. That is why a solution may be the use of
plural nouns as well (where the context allows it).
Ex: When students cheat in the exam, they should be punished.

b) the use of both gender-specific pronouns – there are two variants: “she or he” (“he or
she”) and “she/he” (“he/she”). In the latter case an abbreviated form can be used –
“s/he” – but this usage is restricted to writing, as it would be rather ambiguous in
Ex: In this shop everyone can find what she or he//she/he//s/he wants.

I.5.3. The category of case

There were some contradictory opinions concerning the case of the nouns in English:
a) English nouns have 2 cases:
- common case
- genitive case
This is the viewpoint of Randoplh Quirk’s school (Quirk et al., 1991: 192), being based
on the fact that in the surface structure English nouns have only two morphological forms:
an unmarked form (girl) and a marked genitive form (girl’s).

b) English nouns have more than 2 cases:

- the Nominative
- the Genitive
- the Dative
- the Accusative
* the majority of grammarians consider the Vocative as a form of Nominative and it is
called Nominative of Address.

We adhere to the second viewpoint, as we can find traces of their existence also in
Ex: Susan – she (N)
Susan’s – hers (G)
to Susan – to her (D)
Susan – her (Acc)

I.5.3.1. The Nominative case

It answers the questions who? and what? and it is the case of:
a) the subject of the sentence: The car is parked outside.
b) the subject of a non-finite verb: Harry being home, I thought of paying him a visit.
c) subject complement for the verbs: to be, to appear, to look, to seem: I am a teacher.
d) the apposition of a noun: Mary, a friend of mine, called me yesterday.

*there is a special form of Nominative, called the Nominative of Address (or the Vocative
Nominative), which designates the person or thing addressed. It does not have a syntactic
Ex: Tom, come inside!
Is that you, Mary?
You seemed so beautiful, house of my childhood!

I.5.3.2. The Genitive case

It answers the questions whose?, which?, what? The Genitive expresses mainly
possession, but also origin, characteristic, measure, composition, a whole from which a part
is taken (Bădescu, 1984: 64-65).
a) the possessive Genitive: Mary’s car; the singer’s voice
b) the Genitive expressive of dependence: the wheel of the cart; the key of my door
c) the Genitive expressing family relationship: Tom’s daughter; the doctor’s wife
d) the Subjective Genitive (expresses the subject of the action mentioned by the
determined noun, when the latter is derived from a verb or has a verbal meaning):
my brother’s arrival; the passage of time
e) the Genitive of authorship: Shakespeare’s plays; Dickens’ novels
f) the Objective Genitive (expresses the Object of a noun derived from a verb or which
has a verbal meaning): a writer of novels; a great reader of poetry
g) the Descriptive Genitive: a feeling of joy; women’s hats
h) the Appositive Genitive: the month of August; the city of Winchester
i) the Partitive Genitive (showing a whole from which a part is taken): a glass of milk;
the best of my pupils
j) the Genitive expressing measure: an hour’s walk
k) the Genitive expressing composition: a team of players
l) the Genitive of Gradation (expressing the superlative)
Ex: The day he voted for the first time was the day of days for him.
She considered it the poem of poems.

In English there are four Genitive forms:

a) the synthetic Genitive (the ‘s Genitive)
b) the analytic / periphrastic Genitive (the of Genitive)
c) the double Genitive (the ‘s and of Genitive)
d) the uninflected Genitive (shown by word order)

a) The synthetic Genitive

The synthetic Genitive is the only flexional case in English. It is considered a survivor
of the Old English Genitive in –es.
There is a resemblance between the way of pronouncing the ‘s Genitive and the
regular plural. Thus, the synthetic Genitive is pronounced:
- /z/ after vowels and voiced consonants, other than sibilants: boy’s; dad’s
- /s/ after voiceless consonants, other than sibilants: girl’s
- /iz/ after –s, -ss, -c, -ch, -tch, -sh, -x, -z: Thomas’; actress’

There are some cases when s may be omitted in writing:

a) when the (common or proper) noun ends in –s, -ss, -x or –z:

Ex: Thomas’ wife
the actress’ part
Rex’ bone
Liz’ car
b) when the noun is in the plural
Ex: the boys’ behaviour
my friends’ names
c) when the noun is a name (generally of foreign origin) ending in –s.
Ex: Ulysses’ journey
Socrates’ philosophy
d) when some nouns ending in the sound /s/ are followed by sake:
Ex: for goodness(’) sake
for conscience(’) sake

The use of the synthetic Genitive is strongly connected with the idea of life, that is
why it accompanies nouns referring to living beings or to life in a figurative sense. Thus, the
synthetic Genitive is used with:
- nouns referring to persons: my sister’s room
- some nouns referring to animals or birds, especially those belonging to higher classes: the
horse’s power; the lark’s nest
- proper names: Julie’s remark
- collective nouns: the government’s approval
- personifications and whenever inanimate things are considered to have life:
- concrete things: the house’s colour
- abstract things: beauty’s enemy
- names of countries, states, towns: Romania’s poverty
- names of stars and planets: the sun’s brightness
- nouns referring to ships and cars: the ship’s crew; the taxi’s engine
- nouns denoting chronological divisions, measurements, distance, weight, worth:
tomorrow’s departure; a week’s rest; five minutes’ conversation; a stone’s throw; ten dollars’
- idiomatic expressions: in my mind’s eye; for God’s sake; for goodness’ sake; out of harm’s

The synthetic Genitive may be used elliptically (without the possessed object):
- in order to avoid repetition (when the possessed object has already been mentioned):
Ex: Tom’s car is better than your brother’s.
- when one of the following words is understood: house, church, store, shop, hotel, theatre:
Ex: St. Paul’s (cathedral)
my aunt’s (house)
at the greengrocer’s (shop)

When a group of words forms a sense unit, the group Genitive is used:
Ex: The test of a man or woman’s breeding is how they behave in a quarrel.

In the case of a noun followed by an apposition the ‘s for the Genitive case is added

a) the apposition, if the genitive is used attributively:
Ex: Have you seen my sister Mary’s car?
b) the apposition or the noun, if the genitive is used predicatively:
Ex: This car is my sister Mary’s.
This car is my sister’s Mary.
c) (rarely) the apposition and the noun
Ex: I was going to Tom’s the baker’s.

b) The analytic Genitive

In Middle English the Genitive developed an of form, in parallel with the ‘s form.
Usually, the same relation may be expressed in both forms of the Genitive, as in the man’s
house / the house of the man. But there are cases when only the analytic Genitive may
Ex: a bull’s eye (=target)
the eye of a bull

The of Genitive may indicate possession, composition, material, duration, measure,

the whole from which a part is taken, characteristic, authorship.
a) the Genitive expressing possession: the books of the students
b) the Genitive expressing composition: a garden of flowers
c) the Genitive expressing material: a house of brick
d) the Genitive expressing duration: a matter of hours
e) the Genitive expressing measure: a weight of 10 kilos
f) the Genitive expressing the whole from which a part is taken: the leg of the table
g) the Genitive expressing characteristic: an example of this type
h) the Genitive expressing authorship: a play of Shakespeare

The analytic Genitive is the specific form used with:

- nouns referring to things: the windows of the house
- nouns referring to small animals, insects: the wing of the bee
- geographical names: the city of Paris
- substantivized adjectives: the houses of the rich
- proper names, followed by an apposition: This is the car of Mr. Smith, the doctor
- abstract nouns: the time of hope
- nouns denoting time: the first of August
- nouns denoting measure and value: a distance of ten kilometers

There are some circumstances when the analytic genitive cannot replace the
synthetic one:
a) with such nouns as Father, Mother, Uncle, Aunt, Grannie used as proper nouns,
when they are not preceded by a possessive adjective:
Ex: Father’s wishes
Mother’s care
b) with proper nouns indicating towns, squares, buildings, institutions, stores, etc.
Ex: St. Alban’s (Town)
St. James’ Square
Queen’s Theatre

Woolworth’s (store)
c) with nouns followed by a gerund
Ex: Tom’s coming was a great surprise.
He remembered his son’s telephoning before the departure.
d) in the case of idiomatic expressions
Ex: out of harm’s way
at one’s wits’ end
her heart’s desire

c) The double Genitive

It consists in the use of both synthetic and analytic Genitives, usually having a
partitive meaning. This Genitive may be used only with nouns denoting definite individuals
and it implies a difference in meaning as compared with the analytic Genitive.
Ex: A description of Dickens (=one presenting him)
A description of Dickens’ (=one written by him)

A portrait of Grigorescu (=one portraying him)

A portrait of Grigorescu’s (=one painted by him or belonging to him)

Preceded by a demonstrative adjective, the form of double Genitive may get a

stylistic value, expressing disdain, discomfort, etc.
Ex: That child of Mary’s is a nuisance!
I don’t know what to do about this girl of my sister’s!

The double Genitive is frequently met in phrases as:

Ex: a friend of my sister’s
a fan of Madonna’s

d) The implicit Genitive

It is also called the uninflected Genitive. The Genitive relation is indicated only by
word order, a noun being placed before another noun.
Ex: sun-rise (=the rise of the sun)

This kind of Genitive is used in various compounds and titles, especially for
Ex: The United Nations Organization (=The Organization of the United

I.5.3.3. The Dative case

It is the case which indicates to whom the action of the verb is directed or if the
action is to his advantage or disadvantage. The Dative case answers the questions to whom?
for whom? to which? to what? A noun in the dative usually functions as an indirect object
and it is marked by the prepositions to and for and, occasionally, by on, upon, from.
Ex: I gave Mary a nice blouse.
I gave a nice blouse to Mary.
Get the room ready for our guests.
She draws attention on/upon/from the student.

A noun in the Dative case may be:
a) an indirect object following a verb:
Ex: Send Mary a present!
b) a prepositional object following a verb:
Ex: He sent the book to the editors.
c) a prepositional object following a noun or an interjection:
Ex: She kept her promise to her children.
Hurray for the holidays!
d) an indirect object following an adjective:
Ex: You are like your mother.
e) a prepositional object following an adjective:
Ex: I am grateful to my friends.
f) the apposition of a noun in the Dative
Ex: I gave my friend John your book to read.

I.5.3.4. The Accusative case

It answers the questions whom? and what?. A noun in the Accusative may be:
a) a direct object
Ex: He met that girl again.
b) a prepositional object
Ex: I was listening to music.
c) an object complement which determines a direct object:
Ex: The manager appointed her secretary.
She calls Mary “cousin”.
c) an adverbial modifier:
Ex: She called me every day (of time)
I went to work by bus. (of place)
He was running full speed. (of manner)
d) the apposition of a noun in the Accusative:
Ex: I saw Mrs. Smith, the doctor.

A special type of the Accusative is the Cognate Accusative, which owes its name to
the fact that the noun in the Accusative repeats the idea expressed by the verb:
Ex: to die a death
to dream a dream
to fight a fight

II.1. Definition
II.2. The adjectival phrase and its structure
II.3. The properties of adjectives
II.4. The functions of adjectives
II.5. The position of adjectives in relation to the noun
II.6. Classification of adjectives
II.6.1. According to meaning
II.6.2. According to syntactic function
II.6.3. According to semantic distinctions
II.7. The Descriptive Adjectives
II.7.1. The formation of adjectives
II.7.2. The comparison of adjectives
II.7.4. The order of adjectives
II.8. The Limiting Adjectives

II.1. Definition
The adjective is the principal part of speech which helps identifying or describing a
noun (Alexander, 1988: 106), denoting properties of objects, persons, places, etc.
(Huddleston & Pullum, 2005: 112), properties that relate to: quality (a good person), size (a
small house), age (a young woman), temperature (a hot day), shape (a round table), colour
(a black cat), origin (a Swiss chocolate).

II.2. The adjectival phrase and its structure

The adjectival phrase consists of an adjective as head (h), which can appear alone or
accompanied by a modifier (m) and a post-head element. The post-head element, in its turn,
can be either a modifier (m) or a complement (c); the post-modifier and the complement
can co-occur in the same adjectival phrase. The difference between them is that the
complement is controlled by the adjectival head (good at . . ., fond of . . ., glad that . . ., glad
to . . . etc.), whereas the post-modifier is not. (Downing & Locke, 2006: 476; Huddleston &
Pullum, 2005: 118)
The basic structure of the adjectival phrase is as follows:

Modifier Head Post-head (modifier / complement)

Very good indeed at chess

Other examples of full adjectival heads structures are:

- extremely hot for this period (mhm);
- very glad that you won the match (mhc);
- quite fond of music (mhc)

II.3. The properties of adjectives
From a syntactic point of view, the adjectives in English have three main properties:
(Huddleston & Pullum, 2005: 112; Quirk et al., 1991: 231):
1. Function: adjectives can function attributively or predicatively. Adjectives in attributive
position function as premodifiers of the following noung (the beautiful painting). Adjectives
in predicative position function mainly as complement in the structure of the clause: subject
complement (The painting is beautiful.) or object complement (She thought the painting
2. Grade: adjectives can take comparative and superlative forms. They can inflect for grade,
using the suffixes –er and –est (noisier – the noisiest), or they can form comparative and
superlative adjective phrases with the help of more and the most (more beautiful – the most
3. Modification: adjectives can be premodified by adverbs, nouns or other adjectives with
reference to a quality (strangely attractive, pitch black, light brown) or to a specific context
(physically handicapped, duty-free) (Downing & Locke, 2006: 493). Adjectives can also be
modified by the intensifiers very, quite, rather (This painting is very beautiful.)

II.4. The functions of adjectives

The adjectives can function:
- in clause structure as: subject complement (Your idea is excellent.); object
complement (I consider this impolite.); complement of a preposition (for good; in short);
- in phrase structure as: head of a noun phrase (adjectives qualifying personal nouns:
the rich; adjectives denoting nationalities: the English) (Quirk et al., 1991: 251-252); modifier
of another adjective (bright red; pale yellow); premodifier of a noun (a good man; heavy
rain); postmodifier of a noun (something expensive; the person responsible).

Downing & Locke(2006: 482) also speak about peripheral adjectival groups:
- stance adjuncts – make an evaluative comment on the content of the whole clause:
Ex: Odd / Strange, I’ve never thought of this.
- detached predicatives – they add contextual information. They are encountered in writing
and absent from conversation.
Ex: Sad and disappointed, she walked away.
- adjectives as exclamations:
Ex: Great!
Fine !
Fantastic !

II.5. The position of adjectives in relation to the noun

The adjectives usually precede the noun or pronoun they modify. They follow the
noun in a number of titles (Attorney General; Governor General; Poet Laureate; Sergeant
Major) and in a number of fixed phrases (hope eternal; sum total; time immemorial;
Goodness gracious!) (Alexander, 1988: 111). Adjectives also follow the indefinite pronouns
ending in –body, -one, -thing, -where (Quirk et al., 1991: 248): anyone rich, something

A few adjectives formed with the prefix a- and the four adjectives absent, present,
concerned, involved usually appear in postposition (Quirk et al., 1991: 248-249): the building
ablaze, the ships afloat, the people absent/present/concerned/involved.
Some adjectives (mostly ending in –able and –ible: available, eligible, imaginable,
etc.) can precede or follow the noun, usually with no change of meaning:
Ex: We will complete the work in the time available / available time.
A few adjectives have different meaning depending on whether they precede or
follow the noun:
Ex: the concerned person (= worried) / the person concerned (= responsible)
the involved explanation (= complicated) / the person involved (= connected with)
the present employees (= currently employed) / the employees present (= here
the proper question (= correct) / the question proper (= itself)

II.6. Classification of adjectives

II.6.1. According to meaning

Depending on what they refer to, there are two types of adjectives:
a) descriptive adjectives – they express a quality (good, bad, smart, etc.) or a physical
state such as age, colour, size (old, brown, large, etc.)9;
b) limiting adjectives – they express distance, quantity, possession, placing restriction
on the nouns they modify.

II.6.2. According to syntactic function

The use of adjectives as attributive or predicative gives the following classification of
a) central adjectives – they can be both attributive and predicative
Ex: a big car – the car is big
b) attributive only10
Ex: the mere truth - *the truth is mere
c) predicative only11
Ex: *a loath man – the man is loath to accept it

II.6.3. According to semantic distinctions

From a semantic point of view the adjectives can be classified into (Quirk et al., 1991:
- stative and dynamic
Most adjectives are stative. Unlike the dynamic adjectives, they cannot be used with
a progressive aspect or the imperative mood:
Ex: *She’s being old.
*Be old!
Adjectives that can be used dynamically include: adorable, ambitious, brave, calm,
careful, friendly, funny, generous, gentle, kind, nice, patient, shy, timid, vulgar.

For a list of descriptive adjectives see Appendix II.a
For a longer list of adjectives used attributively see Appendix II.b
For a longer list of adjectives used predicatively see Appendix II.c

- gradable and non-gradable
Most adjectives are gradable: “they denote scalar properties that can apply in varying
degrees” (Huddleston & Pullum, 2005: 118). They can admit the use of such adverbs as more
and most or suffixes such as –er, -est, which convey the degree of intensity of the adjectives,
but they can also admit other intensifiers such as very, extremely, so.
Ex: interesting - more interesting – the most interesting
very / extremely / so interesting
old – older – the oldest
very / extremely / so old
Most stative adjectives and all dynamic adjectives are gradable. Only a few stative
adjectives (the so-called “technical adjectives” and adjectives denoting provenance) are non-
gradable, denoting “non-scalar properties” (Huddleston & Pullum, 2005: 118).
Ex: *more atomic
*very atomic
*extremely Romanian

- inherent and non-inherent

Most adjectives are inherent, characterizing the referent of the noun directly.
Gradable adjectives can be either inherent or non-inherent:
Ex: a white bag (= the bag is white) – inherent
a new friend (*=the friend is new) – non-inherent
Dynamic adjectives are generally inherent.
Ex: a jealous husband (= the husband is jealous)

II.7. The Descriptive Adjectives

II.7.1. The formation of adjectives

There are three ways of building up adjectives in English: derivation (using prefixes
and suffixes), conversion and composition.
a) derivation
- using prefixes (a-, ab-, bi-, dis-, extra-, in-, ir-, super-, etc.): alive, abnormal, bifocal,
disadvantageous, extraordinary, incapable, irregular, supernatural, etc.
- using suffixes (-able, -ible, -ful, -ic, -ing, -some, -y, etc.): agreeable, sensible, useful,
historic, amazing, quarrelsome, dusty, etc.
A special case is that of the Past Participle –ed and of the Present Participle –ing
(used as suffixes for forming adjectives): the former means affected in this way, the latter
means having this effect.
Ex: alarmed – alarming
confused – confusing
insulted – insulting
tired – tiring
Some Past Participle forms are used only adjectively:
Ex: on bended knees – she had bent her knees
a shrunken material – the material has shrunk in the washing
panic-stricken – they were struck with panic

sunken wrack – the storm had sunk the ship

b) conversion
- nouns changed into adjectives: a stone wall; a summer dress
- verbs changed into adjectives: a make-and-break situation; the would–be actor
- adverbs changed into adjectives: the above rule; his only friend
At the same time, in certain situations, the adjectives may function as other parts of
- when they denote abstract notions and are preceded by the definite article,
adjectives may function as nouns: the poor; the rich; the brave; the wounded
- when the adjectives designate nationalities, they also function as nouns: the English;
the Russians; the Indians
- adjectives may serve as adverbs: to break loose; straight ahead
c) composition
- adjective + noun: a long-distance call
- adjective + Past Participle: a hard-boiled egg
- adjective + noun + -(e)d: a dark-haired man
- noun + Past Participle: heart-broken
- noun + adjective: crystal-clear
- noun + Present Participle: cancer-producing substances
- noun + noun: a sound-proof room
- adverb + Past Participle: well-meant
- adverb + adjective: wide-open
- adverb + Present Participle: hard-working
- verb + noun: a telltale signal
- verb + verb: a would-be champion
- verb + adverb: a runaway man
- preposition + noun: underage
- numeral + noun + adjective: a five-year-old girl

II.7.2. The comparison of adjectives

The comparison applies only to gradable adjectives, which have three degrees of
comparison: the Positive, the Comparative (of superiority, of equality and of inferiority) and
the Superlative (the Relative Superlative and the Absolute Superlative).

The Positive degree is the root form of the adjectives that can be found in the
dictionaries (Coghill & Magedanz, 2003: 170).
According to the way they form the comparative of superiority and the relative
superlative adjectives may be divided into regular and irregular.
1) The regular adjectives – they may have two forms for the comparative and
superlative: an inflected form (adding the suffixes –er and –est) and an uninflected form
(using more and most). The adjectives that form the comparative by adding –er to the
positive form of the adjective and the superlative by adding –est and a definite article to the
positive form of the adjective include:
- the monosyllabic adjectives (except right, real, wrong)
Ex: fat – fatter – the fattest

soft – softer – the softest
- the disyllabic adjectives ending in –y or –ly:
Ex: busy – busier – the busiest
lonely – lonelier – the loneliest

There are some adjectives that can have both forms (inflected and uninflected) for
the comparative and the superlative:
- the disyllabic adjectives ending in –er, -le, -ow, -some and –ure:
Ex: clever – cleverer / more clever – the cleverest / the most clever
noble – nobler / more noble – the noblest / the most noble
shallow – shallower / more shallow – the shallowest / the most shallow
handsome – handsomer / more handsome / the most handsome
obscure – obscurer / more obscure – the obscurest / the most obscure
- some dissyllabic adjectives with the stress on the first syllable:
Ex: idle – idler / more idle – the idlest / the most idle
cruel – crueller / more cruel – the cruellest / the most cruel
- numerous dissyllabic adjectives with the stress on the last syllable:
Ex: profound – profounder / more profound – the profoundest / the most profound
severe – severer / more severe – the severest / the most severe
sincere – sincerer / more sincere – the sincerest / the most sincere

The following orthographical rules should be noted and obeyed (Jespersen, 2006:
a) single final consonants are doubled when the preceding vowel is stressed and spelled with
a single letter: big – bigger – the biggest
b) the final –l is doubled when it follows an unstressed vowel: cruel – crueller – the cruellest
c) the final –y remains unchanged when preceded by a vowel: gray – grayer – the grayest
d) the final –y changes to –i when it comes after a consonant: happy – happier – the happiest
e) adjectives ending in –e add only –r or –st: fine – finer – the finest

The adjectives that form the comparative by adding more in front of the positive
form of the adjective and the superlative by adding the most in front of the positive form of
the adjective include:
- the plurisyllabic adjectives:
Ex: interesting – more interesting – the most interesting
beautiful – more beautiful – the most beautiful
- the dissyllabic adjectives with the stress on the first syllable:
Ex: fragile – more fragile – the most fragile
constant – more constant – the most constant
- the participles and the adjectives with participial suffixes
Ex: upset – more upset – the most upset
skilled – more skilled – the most skilled
convincing – more convincing – the most convincing

2) The irregular adjectives

They have different forms for the comparative and the superlative:

Positive Comparative Superlative Example
good better the best This is a better car
than the one I used
to have.
He is the best
student in his class.
bad worse the worst Your test paper is
worse than mine.
This is the worst meal
I have ever eaten.
ill worse the worst *In American English
ill is the formal
equivalent of sick.
*In British English ill
is used only

You look ill. / You feel

He is a sick child.
The sick must be
taken care of.
much (uncountable more (the) most I need more time to
nouns) solve this problem.
Most cheese is made
from cow’s milk.
many (countable more (the) most There were more
nouns) students present
than I expected.
Most students
understand English.
little less the least I earn less money
than my brother.
He does the least
work in his office.
old (for age of older the oldest His elder brother is
people and things) elder (used only the eldest (for the two years older than
attributively, for the members of the him.
members of the same family)
same family)
late later (for time) the latest (for time; Later rumours say
the most recent) that he is dead.
latter (for order; the the last(for order; This is his latest
second of the two, the final) book.
the opposite of the The latter half of May
former) was very cold.

This is his last poem.
far farther (usually for the farthest (usually Farther towns need
distance) for distance) water supply.
further (for distance the furthest (for This is the farthest
and time) distance and time) village in the county.
*further alone means His arrival is further
also additional than we expected.
His arrival was the
I need further
information on this
near nearer the nearest (for His house is nearer to
distance) mine than yours.
the next (for order) His house is the
nearest to the town
The next bus will
come in 10 minutes.

As previously mentioned, there are three types of Comparative and two types of
Superlative, which have the following forms:
a) the Comparative – it is used in order to compare one person or thing with another.
The comparison may be between:
- single items: Mary is younger than Paul.
- a single item and a group: Mary is younger than her sisters.
- two groups: My sisters are younger than your sisters.

The Comparative can be:

- of superiority: -er / more/ irregular form + than
Ex: This house is bigger / more interesting / worse than the other one.
If two things of exactly the same kind are compared, the can be used before a
comparative in formal style:
Ex: Which is (the) bigger? (of the two houses)
My house is (the) bigger. (of the two house)
There is a special construction, the + comparative + the, which is used to show cause
and effect:
Ex: The more expensive cigarettes become, the less people smoke.

- of equality: as + adjective (Positive) + as (there is a great number of idioms which are

comparatives of equality12)
Ex: My house is as big as yours.

- of inferiority: not as/ so + adjective (Positive) + as

less + adjective (Positive) + than
For a list of these idioms see Bonta, Raluca, Introducing morphology: (the article, the noun, the
adjective, the pronoun): workbook for students, Bacău, Ed. Alma Mater, 2009.

Ex: This book is less interesting than the others I’ve read.

Sometimes, the modifiers of degree can have a submodifier placed before them,
which may (Downing & Locke, 2006: 493):
a) attenuate a negative value: rather less interesting
b) reinforce a positive value: only too pleased

b) the Superlative – it is used to compare one person or thing with several in the same
There are two types of Superlative:
- the Relative Superlative: the …–est / the most … / the (irregular form)
Ex: She is the smartest / the most beautiful / the best in her class.
Informally, the Superlative can be used instead of a comparative when comparing
two people or things:
Ex: Who’s the richest, Tom or Jim?

- the Absolute Superlative:

- the use of very / much + adjective (Positive)
Ex: It is a very cold day.
I am (very) much obliged.
- the use of a great number of adverbs (equivalent with very and much) that
are more expressive than the ones mentioned above: admirably, alarmingly, completely,
considerably, dreadfully, excessively, extremely, greatly, highly, infinitely, perfectly,
remarkably, shockingly, unusually, etc.
Ex: It was unusually cold this spring.
I am dreadfully sorry.
* there are certain common collocations with a superlative meaning: freezing
cold, blind drunk, fast asleep, stinking rich, highly controversial, deeply moving, horribly
disfigured, etc.
- the use of some adverbs that may get the value of an absolute superlative:
just, quite, positively, really, simply, etc.
Ex: It was just splendid.
I was quite disappointed.
It was positively / really disgraceful.
She was simply awful.
- the use of some prefixes in the formation of adjectives: extra-dry, extra-
strong, hypersensitive, oversized, superfine.
- the use of the relative superlative in sentences where the second element is
very general or it is not present:
Ex: He has the worst of tempers.
I saw the sweetest baby.
She is the funniest child.
- the use of some exclamatory constructions:
Ex: What a fine speech!
You are so kind to me!
- the use of some genitive constructions:
Ex: He was the villain of villains.

Courage was the virtue of all virtues.
- the repetition of an adjective or adverb:
Ex: He’s clever-clever.

II.7.4. The order of adjectives

When more adjectives are used to describe a noun, the usual order is:

Quality size/age/shape colour origin past participle noun

Beautiful big new oval black English handmade table

*the adjective indicating origin usually precedes an adjectival past participle.

However, this is not invariable: a handmade English table. If a present participle is used, it
precedes the one expressing origin: a quick-selling English handmade table.
*the general qualities precede the particular ones: a beautiful spacious room.

II.8. The Limiting Adjectives

The most important limiting adjectives are (Alexander, 1988; Bădescu, 1984; Paidos,
1993; Quirk et al., 1991):
a) the possessive adjectives;
b) the demonstrative adjectives
c) the interrogative adjectives;
d) the relative adjectives;
e)the indefinite adjectives.

a) The possessive adjectives – they are, for the singular, my, your, his, her, its and for the
plural, our, your, their. They change according to the gender and number of the possessor.
Ex: The man has sold his car.
The woman has sold her car.
The possessive adjectives function as determiners.
Extra emphasis can be given to the idea of possession by the addition of (very) own to
all possessive adjectives (Alexander, 1988: 81):
Ex: I’d love to have my (very) own car.

b) The demonstrative adjectives – they are this/that, these/those, the (=that), the other, such
(a),the same, very.
- this/that, these/those – this/these refer to somebody or something close to the speaker;
that/those refer to somebody or something that is more distant from the speaker. They may
- deictic use – indicating spatial or temporal orientation:
Ex: This car is mine.
These days have been very happy for me.
- anaphoric use – referring to something known in the context or already
Ex: I wanted to buy the last vase in the shop, but that vase was broken.
- cataphoric use – pointing to something to be mentioned later:
Ex: Listen to this story I’m going to tell you now!

- emotional use – implying that the participants in the conversation share the
same views regarding the subject of discussion:
Ex: Hear this story!

- the (=that): I didn’t recognize him at the moment. (=at that moment)
- such (a) – the meaning is this/that kind of: I want such a car.
- same: We had the same views regarding this matter.
- very: I didn’t like her from the very beginning.

c) The interrogative adjectives – they are what, which, whose, how many and how much.
Ex: What number do you have at your office?
Which book did you like best?
Whose car is this one?
How much money have you spent so far?
How many people have you invited to your party?

d) The relative adjectives – they are what, (whatever), which, (whichever) and whose.
Ex: I advised him what decision to take.
I didn’t know which blouse to choose.
The man whose hair is white is her father.

e) The indefinite adjectives – they are a certain, certain, some, any, no, much, many, (a)
little, (a) few, each, every, either, neither, all, whole, both (the), several, other, another,
enough, most.
- a certain: He brought a certain Mary with him.
- certain: He has certain books that might interest you.
- some is used:
- in affirmative sentences: She was carrying some books.
- in interrogative sentences that express an offer, an invitation: Would you like
some tea?
- in interrogative sentences, when an affirmative answer is expected: Could you
give me some money?
- with the meaning certain, but not all: Some people believe everything they see
on TV.
Some can also appear with some special uses: (Alexander, 1988: 91)
- with the meaning extraordinary: That’s some painting you’ve got on the wall!
- with the meaning several: I haven’t seen you for some years.
- with the meaning approximately: There were some 200 people present.
- with the meaning an unknown: There must be some doctor who could help you.
- with the meaning no kind of: That’s some answer, I must say! (ironic)
- any is used:
- in affirmative sentences, with the meaning no matter what: Any idea is
- in interrogative sentences: Are there any fruits in the fridge?
- in negative sentences, when the verb is negated: I don’t have any friends.
- after negative adverbs (hardly, scarcely, barely): I hardly have any friends.
Any can also appear with some special uses: (Alexander, 1988: 91)

- with the meaning usual: This isn’t just any book. (it’s special)
- with the meaning the minimum/maximum: She’ll need any help she can get.
- with the meaning no matter which: Give me a plate. Any plate will do.
- no is used in negative sentences, when the verb is affirmative: I have no friends.
- much and many have the same meaning, but they are used with different types of
nouns. Much is used with uncountable nouns, while many is used with countable nouns.
Ex: He doesn’t have much money.
He doesn’t have many properties.

- the pairs little/a little – few/a few have the same meanings, but they are used with
different types of nouns. (A) little is used with uncountable nouns, while (a) few is used
with countable nouns. Little means not much, few means not many, a little and a few
mean at least some.
Ex: I have little money.
I have a little money.
I have few friends.
I have a few friends.
In theory, the comparative and superlative forms of few and little maintain the
requirements for the positive forms. In practice, however, the informal use of less and the
least with plural countables or collective nouns such as people is commonly heard.
Ex: Less and less people can afford to buy a new house.
This TV show attracts the least viewers.
- each refers to all members of a group, considering them one by one: Three men
entered the room; each of them was carrying a bag.
- every refers to all members of a group, considered together: She sent me three letters
and every letter stresses how much she likes London.
Every may appear in a series of idiomatic expressions: every bit, every right, every
now and then, every so often.
- either refers to singular count nouns, meaning one or other of the two: You may take
either car.
- neither refers to singular count nouns, meaning not one and not the other of the two: I
gave them two books to read, but they read neither book.
- all is used to indicate the entire quantity: All pupils start their holiday in June.
- both (the) is used for two persons or things considered together: Both my children are
at school.
- whole means complete, every part of: He waited for her a whole year.
- several indicates a large but indefinite number of persons or things: We are going to
spend several days at the seaside.
- other indicates something more or something different: I want to hear other opinions
about this matter.
- another means different or one more: I want another book, not this one.; Can I have
another cup of coffee?
- enough may appear before or after the noun: There are people enough / enough
people in the room.
- most indicates almost all of a quantity or a number: Most people present there were

III.1. Definition
III.2. The verb phrase and its structure
III.3. The verb classes
III.4. The verb forms
III.5. Finite and non-finite verb phrases
III.6. Types of verbs according to complementation
III.7. The grammatical categories of the verb
III.7.1. The category of tense
III.7.2. The category of aspect
III.7.3. The category of voice
III.7.4. The category of mood
III.7.4.1. The Indicative Mood
III.7.4.2. The Subjunctive Mood
III.7.4.3. The Conditional Mood
III.7.4.4. The Imperative Mood
III.8. The non-finite verb phrases
III.8.1. The Infinitive
III.8.2. The Gerund
III.8.3. The Participle
III.9. Modality and the modal auxiliaries
III.9.1. Can
III.9.2. Could
III.9.3. May
III.9.4. Might
III.9.5. Must
III.9.6. Shall
III.9.7. Should
III.9.8. Will
III.9.9. Would
III.9.11. Used to
III.9.13. Dare

III.1. Definition
The verb is the principal part of speech by means of which people most typically
express their perception of events (Downing & Locke, 2006: 317).

III.2. The verb phrase and its structure
The verb phrase consists of a main verb (v), which may be a lexical verb or a primary
auxiliary. The main verb can function alone or preceded by one or more auxiliaries (x). The
first auxiliary is usually called the “operator” (Downing & Locke, 2006: 317)
The verb phrase may look like this:
v: I went home
ov: I am going home.
oxv: I have been going home.

III.3. The verb classes

By means of the verb phrase people express their perception of activities, events or
states. The verb phrase consists of the following classes and forms of verbs (Downing &
Locke, 2006: 318; Quirk et al., 1991: 69):
- lexical verbs: go, read, take, etc.;
- auxiliary verbs:
- primary auxiliary: - periphrastic do
- aspectual be and have
- passive be
- modal auxiliaries: shall, should, will, would, can, could, may, might, must,
ought to; need, dare, used to
- semi-auxiliary verbs:
- be able to, be about to, be apt to, be bound to, be due to, be going to, be liable
to, be likely to, be certain to, be sure to, be to, be unlikely to, be supposed to;
- have to, have got to;
- had better, would rather, would sooner.

The lexical verbs constitute an open set, meaning that new ones can be added to the
lexicon at any time. The auxiliary and semi-auxiliary verbs form closed sets, being limited in

III.4. The verb forms

Normally, the English verb has five forms (Quirk et al., 1991: 70): the base form, the –
s form, the past, the –ing participle and the –ed participle. The –ed form is identical for both
the past and the past participle in the regular lexical verbs. With the irregular lexical verbs 13,
the number of forms may vary from three (cut, cuts, cutting) to eight (be, am, is, are, was,
were, being, been). The modal auxiliaries do not have the infinitive (*to can), the –ing
participle (*canning) or the –ed participle (*caned).


1. the base form V walk a) the present tense
go (except IIIrd person
I/you/we/they walk
I/you/we/they go

For a complete list of irregular verbs, see Appendix III

b) imperative:
c) subjunctive:
They demanded that
I walk/go.
d) the bare infinitive:
He can’t walk.
They may go.
e) the to- infinitive:
He wants us to
2. the –s form V-s walks the present tense,
goes IIIrd person singular:
He/she/it walks.
He/she/it goes.
3. the past V-ed1 walked the past tense:
went They walked/went
4. the –ing participle V-ing walking a) the progressive
(present participle) going aspect:
He is walking/going
b) non-finite –ing
Walking/Going home
is not easy.
5. the –ed participle V-ed2 walked a) the perfective
(past participle) gone aspect:
She has walked/gone
b) the passive voice:
This alley was walked
on many times.

III.5. Finite and non-finite verb phrases

The above mentioned verb forms function in finite and non-finite verb phrases. The
elements that differentiate them can be seen in the following chart (Quirk et al., 1991: 71-

Finite verb phrases Non-finite verb phrases

They have tense distinctions (present and They do not have tense distinctions.
past tense)
Ex: She works hard.
She worked hard.
They can function as the verb phrase of a They cannot function as the verb phrase of a
main clause, having a concord with the main clause:

subject. For the verb to be, the concord is Ex: *She to come home early.
between all persons and the verb.
Ex: I am
You are
He/She is
We are
For the other lexical verbs, the “concord is
restricted to a contrast between IIIrd and
non-IIIrd person singular present” (Quirk et
al., 1991: 72).
Ex: I go home.
He goes home.
The modal auxiliaries do not have a concord
with the subject.
Ex: I/you/he/we/they may go.
They have mood: indicative, imperative and They do not have imperative mood.
subjunctive mood.
Ex: He goes home.
Go home!
They suggested that he go home.

Both the finite and the non-finite verb phrases can be either simple or complex
(Quirk et al., 1991: 72-73).
a) The simple finite verb phrase consists of only one verb, which can be present, past or
Ex: She goes home.
She went home.
Go home!
b) The complex finite verb phrase consists of two or more verbs. There are four basic types:
A (modal/periphrastic) – modal or periphrastic auxiliary + the base of the verb phrase
Ex: He may call.

B (perfective) – the auxiliary have + the –ed participle of the verb phrase head.
Ex: He has called.

C (progressive) – the auxiliary be + the –ing participle of the verb phrase head.
Ex: He is calling.

D (passive) – the auxiliary be + the –ed participle of the verb phrase head.
Ex: He is called.

These four types enter various combinations with each other:

AB: He may have called.
AC: He may be calling.
AD: He may be called.

BC: He has been calling.
BD: He has been called.
CD: He is being called.
ABC: He may have been calling.
ABD: He may have been called.
ACD: He may be being called.
BCD: He has been being called.
ABCD: He may have been being called.

c) The simple non-finite verb phrase consists of only one verb in the infinitive or participle.
Ex: to call

d) The complex non-finite verb phrase respects almost the same patterns as the complex
finite verb phrase, with the exception of A type, as the modal auxiliaries have no non-finite
forms. Following the above-mentioned combinations, there can be distinguished the
following types of non-finite verb phrases:
B: to have called / having called
C: to be calling / *being calling
D: to be called / being called
BC: to have been calling / having been calling
BD: to have been called / having been called
CD: to be being called / *being being called
BCD: to have been being called / having been being called

III.6. Types of verbs according to complementation

Complementation refers to the way in which a verb selects objects, the verb being
thus considered transitive. There are four main types of transitive verbs (Quirk et al., 1991:
a) Copular (intensive) verbs – are those verbs whose meaning changes when the object
following them is dropped: appear (sad), be (happy), become (rich), feel (tired), get
(ready), grow (old), keep (silent), look (nice), smell (sweet), sound (terrible), turn

b) Monotransitive verbs – are those verbs which require a direct object and they may
be classified further on into:
- verbs which allow the passive transformation: begin, believe, bring, call, cut,
do, doubt, enjoy, lose, love, meet, receive, remember, say, start, study, etc.
Ex: My neighbour has cut the tree in front of his house. – The tree in front of my
neighbour’s house has been cut by him.
- verbs which do not allow the passive transformation: have, lack, fit, suit,
Ex: He lacks confidence. - *Confidence is lacked by him.

c) Complex transitive verbs – are those verbs which are followed by an object and an
object complement: call, drive, find, get, hold, imagine, make, prefer, suppose, turn,

Ex: Her behaviour drives me insane.

d) Ditransitive verbs – are those verbs followed by an indirect object (normally animate
and positioned first) and a direct object (normally inanimate): ask, beg, charge, give,
offer, wish, etc.
Ex: He gave his secretary an envelope.

Some verbs do not accept any object after them, as they refer to actions or events
which do not involve “anyone or anything other than the subject” (Cobuild, 1990: 130).
These are the “pure” intransitive verbs (Quirk et al., 1991: 319): appear, come, die, fall, go,
lie, rise.
There are some verbs which can be transitive or intransitive (Quirk et al., 1991: 319):
a) with little or no difference in meaning: approach, drink, drive, enter, help, pass, play,
Ex: They drink (wine) every Saturday evening.
b) with considerable difference in meaning: begin, change, drop, grow, walk, work, run
Ex: Paul runs very fast.
Jim runs a hotel.

III.7. The grammatical categories of the verb

The categories that are used with respect to the English verb are tense, aspect, voice
and mood.

III.7.1. The category of tense

In English there is a clear distinction between time and tense, the latter being only
loosely related to time. Time is “a universal concept with three divisions” (Quirk et al., 1991:
84), past, present and future. The category of tense is used to make reference to these
extra-linguistic realities. Generally, in many languages, the changes in the verb forms
indicate present, past and future. From this perspective, English has only two tenses, as
there are only two cases where the form of the verb varies: present – which refers to
present time (listen, come) and past – which refers to past time (listened, came) (Alexander,
1988: 159). Still, the combination of will + bare infinitive is considered to refer to the future;
at the same time, the combinations of be + present participle and have + participle are also
considered as tenses.

III.7.2. The category of aspect

Aspect refers to the manner in which the action of the verb is regarded or
experienced. Aspect cannot be disconnected from the idea of time; however, this
connection is regarded in a different way than when tense is taken into account. Thus, tense
relates an action to a time point, referring to the external time of a situation, while aspect
relates the action to an internal time of a situation, denoting its internal time organization.
In English, the contrast is between perfective/non-perfective aspect and progressive/non-
progressive aspect. The categories of tense and aspect combine, resulting the following
a) present perfect / past perfect
Ex: she has called / had called
b) present progressive / past progressive

Ex: she is calling / was calling
c) present perfect progressive / past perfect progressive
Ex: she has been calling / had been calling

The perfect aspect indicates that the action expressed by the verb precedes a certain
moment in time. This means that the action or state expressed by present perfect or past
perfect is considered to be completed at the time of speaking or at a time spoken of.
The progressive aspect indicates that the action expressed by the verb is considered
as being in progress, as proceeding continuously at a definite period of time. It indicates
ongoing actions (instead of the occurrence of an action) or the continuity of a state (instead
of the existence of that state). The progressive aspect can also show simultaneity,
incompletion, emphasis or limited duration of time. In English there are some verbs which
can occur in the progressive aspect and others which cannot do so. Generally, the distinction
is between verbs in dynamic use (which accept the progressive) and verbs in stative use
(which cannot be used in the progressive). The dynamic verbs include (Quirk et al., 1991: 95-
- verbs that denote activities: call, drink, eat, listen, play, work, write etc.
- verbs that denote processes: change, deteriorate, grow etc.
- verbs of bodily sensation: ache, feel, hurt, itch etc.
- transitional event verbs: arrive, die, fall, leave etc.
- momentary verbs: hit, jump, kick, knock etc.

The stative verbs include:

- verbs of physical perception: hear, see, taste, smell, sound
- verbs of mental perception: believe, doubt, feel, forget, guess, imagine, remember, think,
understand etc.
- verbs of emotion or attitude: adore, care, like, dislike, forgive, hate, want, wish, surprise
- verbs showing possession: have, own, possess etc.
- other verbs such as: be, appear, concern, contain, involve, lack, need, seem etc.

Some of these verbs can be used in the progressive aspect only in certain cases:
1.To hear
- to receive news of or from:
Ex: We’re hearing interesting news about our friend.
- when referring to legal cases, meaning to try:
Ex: The judge is hearing my neighbour, who is a witness in this case.
2. To see
- to meet by appointment
Ex: I’m seeing my family next week.
- to visit
Ex: We are seeing the beautiful sights of Verona.
- to have hallucinations
Ex: I’m seeing things.
3. To smell
- to try to get a particular sensation
Ex: Why are you smelling the fish?

4. To feel
- the progressive form suggests that the state is temporary
Ex: My mother felt well yesterday, but she is not feeling well today.
- when it means to try to get a particular sensation
Ex: The doctor is feeling the patient’s arm.
5. To taste
- to try to get a particular sensation
Ex: He’s tasting the wine.
6. To have
- to eat, to drink
Ex: I’m having lunch.
- to have a bath / a chat / a ride / a good time / a laugh / a swim
Ex: I’m having a chat.
7. To be
- for temporary activity or behaviour
Ex: You’re being so strange today!
8. To like; to love
- to enjoy
Ex: I’m loving it.
9. To think
- an opinion given or asked for
Ex: What are you thinking about?

III.7.3. The category of voice

Voice refers to the relations established between subject and action. The action can
be considered in two different ways, without altering the facts, the opposition being
between active and passive constructions.
Ex: She will call me.
I will be called by her.
The situation reflected by the passive construction does not differ from the situation
reflected by the active construction — the nature of the process is preserved intact and the
situational participants remain in their places. The transition from the active voice to the
passive voice changes the subjective appraisal of the situation by the speaker, the plane of
his presentation of it.
However, not all the verbs capable of taking an object are actually used in the
passive. In particular, the passive form is alien to many verbs which display a weak dynamic
force, such as have (direct possessive meaning), belong, cost, resemble, fail, misgive, etc.
Thus, in accord with their relation to the passive voice, all the verbs can be divided into two
large sets: the set of passivised verbs and the set of non-passivised verbs.

III.7.4. The category of mood

Mood indicates the way in which the speaker considers the action or state denoted
by the verb. It can be conceived as a fact, as actually taking place or as a command, desire,
possibility or condition. Thus, the moods for the finite verb forms are the indicative, the
subjunctive, the conditional and the imperative.

III.7.4.1. The Indicative Mood
The indicative mood shows that the speaker considers the action or state denoted by
the verb as real. It includes the present tense (simple and progressive), the past tense
(simple and progressive), the present perfect (simple and progressive), the past perfect
(simple and progressive) and the future (simple and progressive).

a) The Present Tense Simple

The formulae describing the structure of the present tense simple are:
Active voice: V
V + -(e)s (III person sg.)
Passive voice: be (present simple) + V + -ed participle
It is a tense which can be used with or without any reference to a certain time.
Without reference to a certain time, the present simple falls into two categories, the generic
present and the habitual present:
The generic present shows states that are valid not only at the speech time now, but
also at any interval of time.

Ex: Ice melts in the sun.

Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.

It is used to express:
1. General timeless statements (eternal truths)
Ex: Man is mortal.

2. Definitions
Ex: Grammar is / represents the study of how words and their component parts
combine to form sentences.

3. Proverbs and sayings

Ex: All’s well that ends well.

4. Geographical or mathematical statements

Ex: The earth moves round the sun.
Three and five make eight.

The habitual present indicates that a situation is repeated with a given frequency,
during an interval.
Ex: A dog barks in my yard every day.

The markers (adverbs of frequency) normally used with the habitual present are:
always, often, usually, frequently, generally, normally, every day/month/year, sometimes,
rarely, seldom, regularly, twice a week/month/year.

With reference to a certain time, the present simple is used to express instantaneous
activities, single actions begun and completed approximately at the moment of speech.
Ex: I place this flower into the hat and look, a rabbit pops out.

The situations when the instantaneous present is used are the following:
1. Step-by-step instructions and demonstrations
Ex: To get to the station you go straight on.
First I take a bowl and break two eggs into it.

2. Sport commentaries
Ex: The player hits and the ball goes into the audience.

3. Performatives (the uttering of the sentence is simultaneous with the action)

Ex: I pronounce you man and wife.

4. Stage directions
Ex: George enters the room: Hi!

5. Special exclamatory sentences (with initial adverbials: here, there, up, down, etc.)
Ex: Here comes the winner!

The present tense can also denote future time or it can have a past time reference.

The simple present with future reference shows that the action supposed to happen
in the future is fixed in advance.

It is used in:
1. Officially planned actions (timetables, statements about the calendar)
Ex: The train for London leaves at six.
Tomorrow is Tuesday.

2. Planned activities where the idea of certainty is implied

Ex: She returns tomorrow morning.

3. Subordinate clauses of time

Ex: I’ll call you when I get home.

4. Subordinate clauses of condition

Ex: If you come here tomorrow, we’ll go to the cinema.

The simple present with past reference shows that past happenings are portrayed as
if they are going on at the present moment.

It is used:
1. With verbs of linguistic communication (to hear, to say, to learn, to understand)
which refer to the receptive end of the communication process
Ex: I hear she’s getting married.

2. In newspaper headlines in order to draw the attention of the reader

Ex: Plane crashes in Paris.

b) The Present Tense Progressive
The formulae describing the structure of the present tense progressive are:
Active voice: be (present simple) + V + -ing participle
Passive voice: be (present progressive) + V + -ed participle
It is used to express:
1. An action happening at the moment of speaking
Ex: I’m writing an exercise now.

2. A temporary action (in contrast with an action usually performed)

Ex: She usually cooks lunch, but today I’m cooking.

3. An annoying action (the verbs are usually combined with such adverbs as: always,
continually, constantly)
Ex: You are always borrowing money from me!

4. A definite action planned for the near future

Ex: I’m meeting my friend tomorrow.

5. With activities / processes (to get, to grow) to express a transition from one state
to another
Ex: It’s getting dark.

c) The Present Perfect Simple

The formulae describing the structure of the present tense perfect simple are:
Active voice: have (present) + V + -ed participle
Passive voice: be (present perfect simple) + V + -ed participle
Present perfect is the characteristic tense used in order to indicate that a period of
time stretches between some time in the past and the present time. There are several types
of present perfect, depending on the type of action indicated:
1. the resultative present perfect indicates:
a) an action which is just completed, but the result is still present (the markers
are just, already).
Ex: They have just solved the problem.

b) an uncompleted action that one is expecting (the markers are yet, still).
Ex: We haven’t finished eating yet.

2. the continuative present perfect shows an action begun in the past and still
continuing to the present, but only with non-continuous verbs.
Ex: We have known each other since we were kids.
This hut has been deserted for three days.

3. the experiential present perfect may refer to:

a) general experiences (the markers are never, ever, often, seldom, always)
Ex: I have never visited America.

b) limited experiences (with words denoting an incomplete period of time:
this week / month / year, today, this morning)
Ex: We have worked a lot this week.

The present perfect may have future reference, in adverbial clauses of time in order
to express a future action, prior to the one represented by a future tense in the main
Ex: We will paint the fence after we have had lunch.

d) The Present Perfect Progressive

The formulae describing the structure of the present perfect progressive are:
Active voice: be (present perfect simple) + V + -ing
Passive voice: be (present perfect progressive) + V + -ed participle
The present perfect simple and the present perfect progressive generally share the
same temporal relations; the present perfect progressive stresses the limited duration of an
action or state.
The continuative present perfect progressive shows duration from the past until now
(the markers are since, for, lately, recently).
Ex: She has been teaching this class since Christmas.
We have been working a lot recently.

The resultative present perfect progressive suggests that one can see, smell, hear or
feel the results of an action that has recently stopped.
Ex: You have been fighting again. [I can tell from your black eye]
She has been crying. [Look, her eyes are red.]

The present perfect progressive can have an incomplete event use, showing that the
action is not completed
Ex: Who has been eating my dinner? [Some of my dinner is left.]
Who has eaten my dinner? [All my dinner is gone.]
The present progressive can also have an emotional use, conveying feelings of
Ex: I have been demanding an explanation for hours but nobody has yet
dared to speak up.

e) The Past Tense Simple

The formulae describing the structure of the past tense simple are:
Active voice: V + -ed
Passive voice: be (past tense simple) + V + -ed participle
The use of past tense simple is connected with a definite past time division which
may be indicated by several adverbials or by the linguistic or extralinguistic context.
The definite past tense expresses an action or state wholly completed before the
present moment (the markers used are yesterday, last week / month / year, that day, once,
in 1999, on Sunday, ago, etc.).
Ex: Yesterday I met my old friend Jack.

The habitual past expresses a past habit or a repeated action in the past.

Ex: She drank three cups of coffee a day.

In this case, used to or would may also be employed.

The attitudinal past is related to the speaker’s attitude rather than to time, being
most often associated with politeness. It is used with verbs such as hope, think, want,
wonder. It is considered to be more polite than the present tense.
Ex: Did you want to see me now?
I wondered if you could help me.

The past tense simple can have a past perfect value when it refers to past events that
take place in sequence.
Ex: She knocked, entered and slammed the door.

The past tense simple can also have a future value (usually in literary style). In science
fiction, future events are told as if they are recollected.
Ex: In the year 2201 the Martians visited Earth.

f) The Paste Tense Progressive

The formulae describing the structure of the past tense progressive are:
Active voice: be (paste tense simple) + V + - ing
Passive voice: be (past tense progressive) + V + -ed participle
This tense is used:
- to express an action in progress at a certain moment in the past, implied by the context or
expressed by adverbials (at this time yesterday, at 1/2/3 o’clock yesterday / last week / last
month, this time last week / month / year, etc.).
Ex: I was working at 8 o’clock yesterday.

- to indicate that an action was going on (like a “background”) at a time when something
else, more important or more dramatic (the “foreground” action) took place.
Ex: While Mary was crossing (the “background”action) the street yesterday, she saw
(the “foreground” action) an accident.

- to show that two or more actions were going on at the same time in the past.
Ex: While Mary was cooking, her husband was reading the newspaper.

- to express a repeated action in the past which annoys the speaker.

Ex: My husband was always getting into trouble.

- to express gradual progress without any temporal marker.

Ex: The car was getting worse.

- with verbs such as hope, think, want, wonder it makes a request sound more polite but less
Ex: I was wondering if you could help me.

f) The Past Perfect Tense Simple

The formulae describing the structure of the past perfect simple are:
Active voice: have (past simple) + V + - ed participle
Passive voice: be (past perfect simple) + V + -ed participle
Described usually as a past-in-the-past, the past perfect simple is generally used:
- to express a past action that took place before a past moment or before another action in
the past (the markers are when, after, before, as soon as).
Ex: When I came home, he had already done his homework.
I came home after he had done his homework.
He had done his homework before I came home.

- to express duration up to a certain moment in the past (marker: by the time.)

Ex: By the time the rain started, we had got home.

- to show that a past action was finished a little time before another past action (the markers
are: just, already, hardly / barely / scarcely and no sooner).
Ex: She told us that her brother had just left.
We didn’t know that he had already repaired his car.
I had hardly / scarcely entered the room when somebody knocked at the door.

With the last four markers inversion may be used:

Ex: Hardly / scarcely / barely had I entered the room when somebody knocked at the
No sooner had she seen the photos than she remembered
everything about the accident.

- with since and for when the point of reference is past.

Ex: In 1999 I had been a teacher for ten years.
I knew she had not seen him since Christmas.

- in Indirect Speech, to express a Past Tense or a Present Perfect from Direct Speech.
Ex: “I saw this film last week”, Nick said.
Nick said he had seen that film a week before.

“I have never visited Madrid”, he explained.

He explained he had never visited Madrid.

- to express a Past Conditional in a conditional clause.

Ex: I would have given her the book if I had met her.

- to express an unfulfilled wish.

Ex: I wish I had not missed the train.

- after would rather (when the subjects are different) or as if / as though.

Ex: Yesterday I’d rather you had stayed here than gone there.
She spoke about that play as if / though she had seen it.

- with such verbs as to expect, to hope, to intend, to mean to express past hope or intention
which was not fulfilled.
Ex: I had hoped / intended / meant to find tickets for that performance but I wasn’t
able to.

g) The Past Perfect Progressive

The formulae describing the structure of the past perfect progressive are:
Active voice: be (past perfect simple) + V + - ing participle
Passive voice: be (past perfect progressive) + V + -ed participle
The past perfect progressive tense is used:
- to underline the continuity of a past action up to a past moment (the markers are since,
Ex: The pupils had been reading the lesson for five minutes when the teacher entered
the classroom.

- to show that the effect of a past action was still apparent.

Ex: She told me that her son had been fighting. (the blue eye was still visible)

- to convey the speaker’s irritation.

Ex: I had been trying for hours to find him, but with no result.

h) Means of expressing future time

As there is no obvious future tense in English corresponding to the time/tense
parallel for present and past (Quirk et al., 1991: 87), future time is rendered by means of
simple present or progressive forms or by means of modal auxiliaries or semi-auxiliaries.
The present simple is used:
1.For future actions when we refer to programs, timetables etc.
Ex: The bus arrives at 7.30.

2. In time and condition clauses

Ex: I’ll come when you call me.
I’ll come if you call me.

3. For planned activities where the idea of certainty is implied

Ex: She returns tomorrow morning.

The present progressive is used to express a definite action planned for the near
Ex: What are you doing tomorrow?

Be going to shows:
1. Intention (the future fulfilment of present intention)
Ex: What is she going to tell us?

2. Prediction
Ex: It is going to rain in a few minutes.

3. Planned actions
Ex: My uncle is going to buy a boat next year.

What is called future simple (construction with the modals shall/will + verb) is used:
1. For on-the-spot decisions
Ex: Of course I’ll help you!

2. For promises, threats, warnings, requests, hopes and offers

Ex: If you repair the car, you’ll have a three days’ holiday.
Will you help me?

3. For actions/situations/events which will definitely happen in future and which we

can control
Ex: My friend will see an interesting thing in the afternoon.

SHALL as a modal also shows:

a) determination, resolution
Ex: I shall help you immediately.

b) promise
Ex: If you repair this car, you shall have a three days’ holiday.

c) refusal
Ex: As you have not taken care of the book you borrowed, you shall not have another

d) threat
Ex: If Mary has done such a thing, she shall pay dearly for it.

WILL as a modal also shows:

a) willingness, determination
Ex: I will pay you as much as you ask for.

b) promise
Ex: I won’t make such a mistake again.

c) possibility
Ex: That girl under the tree will be his sister.

d) something unavoidable or that recurs very often

Ex: Boys will be boys.

The future progressive is used:

1. To express a future activity that will begin before and will continue after a certain
moment in the future
Ex: This time tomorrow we shall be watching TV.

2. To indicate that an activity will extend over a whole future period
Ex: She will be writing letters all day.

3. To express future events that are planned

Ex: We shall be spending our next holiday in the mountains.

The future perfect is used for actions which will be finished before a stated period of
time Especially with words before, by, by then, until etc.
Ex: She will have delivered all the newspapers by 8 o`clock.

The future perfect progressive is used to emphasize the duration of an action up to a

certain time in the future
Ex: By the end of next month, she will have been teaching for twenty years.

Be to indicates:
1. Something that is destined to happen
Ex: The famous tennis player began the match in which he was to break his arm.

2. An official plan or arrangement

Ex: She is to see her dentist tomorrow.

3. The will of a person, different from the speaker

Ex: This bad news is to be given to him after his exam.

4. Duty
Ex: What exercises are we to do?

5. Possibility, probability
Ex: Prices are to be much higher soon.

Be about to is used to express something that will happen in the immediate future
Ex: I am about to go to the seaside.

III.7.4.2. The Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive mood expresses wish, hope, suggestion, demand or doubt. It may
have either synthetical or analytical forms.

a) The Synthetical Subjunctive

It has two tenses: Present and Past.

1. The Present Subjunctive

Its form is the base form of the verb.
According to its uses, there are two types of subjunctive:
i. Formulaic Subjunctive
ii. Mandative Subjunctive

i. Formulaic Subjunctive – expresses wishes or set expressions:

Ex: God save the Queen!
Long live the Queen!
God bless you!
Heaven help us!
Curse this exam!

ii. Mandative Subjunctive – is used in subordinate that-clauses when the main clause
expresses a desire, a demand, a requirement, an obligation, a necessity, etc.

It appears in:
a) direct object clauses, after such verbs as: to suggest, to order, to demand, to urge, to
Ex: She suggested that we start the meeting.

b) in subject clauses after such impersonal constructions as: it is

necessary/advisable/possible/impossible, etc.
Ex: It is advisable that he study for this exam.

2. The Past Subjunctive

Its form is the past form of the verb. However, it does not denote time, but unreality.

It is used:
a) in conditional clauses, to express a Present Conditional.
Ex: If I were you, I would be more careful.
b) after:
- wish:
Ex: I wish I were younger.
- it’s (high) time:
Ex: It’s (high) time you started learning.
It’s (high) time for you to start learning.

- the Subjunctive indicates that it is a little late for the action.

- the for+object+Long Infinitive construction indicates that the right time for
the action has arrived.
- as if/though:
Ex: He looks at me as if/though he didn’t understand me.

- even if/though:
Ex: Even if/though I lost my job, I wouldn’t move town.
- would rather/sooner (with different subjects):
Ex: I’d rather/sooner you studied more.
- suppose (that):
Ex: Suppose (that) you were rich. What would you do?

3. The Past Perfect Subjunctive

Its form is identical to that of the Past Perfect Tense.

It is used:
a) in conditional clauses to express a Past Conditional:
Ex: I would have left the country if I had had the chance.

b) after:
- wish (to express a regretted action in the past):
Ex: I wish you hadn’t said that.
- as if/though:
Ex: He was speaking English as if/though he had lived in England.
- even if/though:
Ex: I wouldn’t have told you the truth even if/though I had known it.

b) The Analytical Subjunctive

It is formed with the help of a modal auxiliary (shall/should/would/may/might/could)
and the infinitive of the verb.

1. Shall + infinitive is used:

- in main clauses expressing suggestion:

Ex: Shall I help you?
- in subordinate clauses, expressing resolution:
Ex: They have decided that you shall go there (= you must go)

2. Should + infinitive is used:

- in main clauses, expressing doubt:

Ex: Why should you do such a thing?

- in different subordinate clauses:

a) in subject clauses, after impersonal constructions like: it is/was
important/necessary/natural/surprising/ advisable
Ex: It is necessary that you should come.
b) in conditional clauses, to underline the hypothetical nature of the action:
Ex: If he should call you (= happened to call you), what would you tell him?
c) in direct object clauses, after such verbs as to demand, to insist, to
command, to propose, to request, to suggest, etc.
Ex: They insisted that you should come.
d) in subordinate clauses of purpose introduced by lest, for fear (that), in case.
Ex: I left in a hurry lest he should see me there.
e) concessive clauses introduced by though, although, whatever.
Ex: Whatever your son should do, don’t punish him.

3. May/Might + infinitive is used:

- in main clauses, to express a wish:

Ex: May all your dreams come true!

- in different subordinate clauses:
a) in subject clauses introduced by it is/was possible/probable/likely
Ex: It is probable that it may rain today.
b) in subordinate clauses of purpose introduced by that, in order that, so that.
Ex: He took a seat in the front row so that he might hear better.
c) in concessive clauses introduced by though, although, however, whatever,
no matter.
Ex: However difficult it may/might be to you, you must accept the reality.

4. Could + infinitive is an alternative to may/might. It expresses purpose,

having a higher degree of certainty.
Ex: He took a seat in the front row so that he could hear better.

5. Would + infinitive is used in:

a) direct object clauses after wish, to express a possible action.

Ex: They wish we would visit them soon.

b) subordinate clauses of purpose, after that, in order that, so that.

Ex: She studied all night so that she would be able to pass the exam.

III.7.4.3. The Conditional Mood

The conditional mood shows that the speaker considers the action or state
denoted by the verb as hypothetical.
There are no verb forms inflected for expressing condition in English.
The Conditional Mood uses different tenses of the Indicative Mood or some auxiliary
or modal verbs.
It has two tenses, the present and the past conditional, described by the formulae:

Present conditional: would + infinitive

Past conditional: would + have + V + -ed participle

There is a variety of types of conditional sentences in English.

The standard structures include:

Type Zero – expresses reality, what always happens

If –clause: Present
Main clause: Present
Ex: If you mix red and blue, you get violet.

Type I – expresses an open/probable condition.

If –clause: Present
Main clause: Future/Imperative
Ex: If she sees John, she will give him the book.
If you see John, give him the book.

Type II – expresses rejected/improbable/hypothetical/unreal condition.
If –clause: Past Tense
Main clause: Present Conditional
Ex: If I were you, I wouldn’t accept his offer.
If I had more time, I would help you.

Type III – expresses an impossible condition.

If –clause: Past Perfect
Main clause: Past Conditional
Ex: If I had gone there, I would not have met him.

The mixed structures express supposition, the following combinations being possible:

a) If-clause: Past Tense

Main clause: Future
Ex: If she left her umbrella in the desk, she will find it tomorrow.

b) If-clause: Past Tense

Main clause: Present Tense
Ex: If she stopped in Paris, she is unlikely to be back in one day.

c) If-clause: Present Perfect Simple/Progressive

Main clause: Future
Ex: If he has bought a car, he will have to get his driving license.
If he has been playing computer games for so many hours, he won’t be able to
finish his homework.

d) If-clause: Present Simple

Main clause: Future Perfect
Ex: If she wins, she will have studied hard.

The use of modal auxiliaries in if-clauses

a) Should expresses supposition

Ex: If you should come across Bill, tell him to ring me up, please.

b) Will expresses:
- volition
Ex: If you will explain this problem to me, I’ll finish my work in time.
- obstinate insistence
Ex: If you will go there, you will be sorry.
- hypothesis
Ex: If she will become a student, she has to work harder.
- polite invitation
Ex: If you will wait here, I’ll tell the doctor that you have come.

c) Would indicates:

- volition
Ex: If Tom would help me, I would repair my car today.
- highly polite request
Ex: If you would accept our terms, we could sign the contract very soon.

The omission of IF

In conditional sentences of type II and III if may be omitted for stylistic purposes.
In such cases there takes place an inversion.
Ex: If he were to find us here, he would be very surprised.
Were he to find us here, he would be very surprised.

George could buy a new car if he saved enough money.

Should George save enough money, he could buy a new car.

The team would have won the championship if they hadn’t lost the last match.
Had the team not lost the last match, they would have won the championship.

A conditional clause may be also introduced by:

- unless
Ex: She will not understand the film unless she reads the book as well.
- but for
Ex: But for this rain, I would go for a walk.
- in case
Ex: In case I meet her, I’ll let her know about you.
- suppose/supposing (that)
Ex: Suppose/supposing (that) I’m late! What would happen?
- so long as/provided/providing (that)/on condition that
Ex: He will lend you the car so long as/provided/providing (that)/on condition that
you bring it back in due time.

III.7.4.4. The Imperative Mood

The imperative form coincides with the short infinitive, having affirmative and
negative forms. The imperative mood is used only in the second person.
Ex: Come here!
Do not shout!
The imperative can also have a perfect form, rarely used in present day English:
Ex: Have the car searched!
Passive constructions correspond only to the formulae be + V + -ed participle.
Ex: Be seated!
Be informed!

The imperative is generally used to express (Alexander, 1988: 185):

1. Direct commands, requests, suggestions:
Ex: Go home!
Open the window!
Stay calm!

2. Warnings:
Ex: Be careful!
3. Directions:
Ex: Go straight on!
4. Instructions:
Ex: Add some sugar and stir.
5. Prohibitions (in public notices):
Ex: Keep off the grass!
6. Advice (after always and never):
Ex: Always be polite!
Never speak to strangers!
7. Invitations:
Ex: Come and have a drink with me!
8. Offers:
Ex: Have a cookie!

III.8. The non-finite verb phrases

III.8.1. The Infinitive

The infinitive is the non-finite form of the verb which combines the properties of the
verb with those of a noun.
Like other non-finite forms (gerund and participle), the infinitive does not undergo an
agreement with the subject and it does not have the category of person or the category of
tense (in the traditional sense, which implies the idea of conjugation). However, the
infinitive as a verb preserves the categories of aspect and voice. Thus, the forms of the
infinitive are (Alexander, 1988: 299):
Active Passive
Present infinitive: (to) call (to) be called
Present progressive infinitive: (to) be calling -
Perfect infinitive: (to) have called (to) have been called
Perfect progressive infinitive: (to) have been calling -

The present infinitive refers to the same moment in time as the verb that precedes it:
Ex: She makes / made / will make the child cry.
The perfect infinitive refers to a time which is anterior to the one referred to by the
preceding verb:
Ex: I hope to have done all in my work.

The infinitive as a noun can have the function of:

a) the subject of a sentence:
Ex: To err is human.
b) a direct object:
Ex: I want to help you.
c) the predicative:
Ex: My wish is to travel all over the world.
d) an attribute:
Ex: This is a house to live in for the rest of your life.

There are two types of infinitive: the full/long/complete infinitive (with the particle
to) and the short/incomplete/plain/bare infinitive (without to).
The long infinitive is used:
1. after a series of lexical verbs: appear, attempt, authorize, begin, cease, change, compel,
decide, design, enable, encourage, expect, forbid, hesitate, implore, like, manage, notify,
omit, permit, persuade, prepare, pretend, require, resolve, seem, strive, try, want, wish, etc.
Ex: It has just begun to snow.
He wants to win the competition.
2. after semi-auxiliaries: have to, be to, be about to, be going to, be supposed to.
Ex: You have to work harder.
It’s going to rain.
3. after two modals: ought to and used to.
Ex: You ought to visit your relatives more often.
We used to go fishing every week when we lived in the country.
4. after some adjectives expressing moral or intellectual qualities: brave, clever, courageous,
cruel, foolish, generous, good, kind, mean, thoughtful, wicked, etc.
Ex: It is very thoughtful of you to visit me.
It was foolish of him to drive that fast.
5. after ordinal numbers and superlatives.
Ex: You will be the first to know.
She is the best to perform in this movie.

After such verbs as to want, to like, to wish, to hate, to hope, to try, etc. the infinitive
is sometimes represented only by to, in order to avoid repetition.
Ex: “Did you visit Paris?”
“No, I didn’t. But I would like to.”

The short infinitive is used:

1. after modal verbs.
Ex: You must call them at once.
I can help you.
2. after verbs of perception.
Ex: He saw me leave the house.
I heard him say that.
3. after certain expressions: had better, would rather/sooner, had best, cannot but, need
Ex: You had better tell the truth.
I’d rather stay home than go to work.
4. after the verbs to make and to let.
Ex: Don’t make me laugh!
Let me speak!

There are two usual constructions with the infinitive, called the Accusative with the
infinitive and the Nominative with the infinitive.

The Accusative with the infinitive is a construction in which the infinitive is preceded
by a noun or a pronoun in the Accusative. This construction is generally used (Paidos, 1993:
1. after verbs of perception: to feel, to hear, to perceive, to notice, to watch.
Ex: I heard him swear.
He saw me cross the street.
These verbs can also be followed by present participle, the difference being that the
infinitive expresses a complete action, while the present participle shows that the action is
not complete.
Ex: He saw me cross the street. (He watched me from one side of the street to the
He saw me crossing the street. (He noticed me while I was crossing).
2. after to let, to make.
Ex: They will let me know when my car is fixed.
You make me laugh!
3. after verbs expressing mental activities: to believe, to think, to understand, to imagine, to
know, to suppose, etc.
Ex: I imagined her to be right.
They considered me to be guilty.
4. after verbs expressing volition: to want, to wish, to desire, to intend.
Ex: I want you to listen to me.
5. after verbs expressing permission or a command: to allow, to force, to command, to
oblige, to order, to permit.
Ex: She allowed me to go out.
I ordered him to stop the car.
6. after verbs like to advise, to choose, to convince, to persuade, to send, etc.
Ex: They advised me to pay my taxes.
I persuaded him to surrender.

The Nominative with the infinitive is a construction in which the infinitive is preceded
by a noun or a pronoun in the Nominative. This construction is generally used (Paidos, 1993:
1. after some verbs in the Passive Voice: to believe, to expect, to feel, to hear, to imagine, to
know, to notice, to perceive, to say, to see, to suppose, etc.
Ex: She is known to be a good actress.
You were supposed to come earlier.
2. after to appear, to chance, to happen, to prove, to seem, etc.
Ex: They happen to be our best friends.
She proved to be very nice.
3. after some constructions: to be lucky/fortunate/unlucky/unfortunate, to be
certain/positive/sure, to be likely.
Ex: You were lucky to find me.
They are likely to arrive tomorrow.

III.8.2. The Gerund
The gerund is the non-finite form of the verb which, like the infinitive, combines the
properties of a verb with those of a noun. Just like the infinitive, the gerund serves as the
verbal name of a process. It may have tense and voice:
Present: Tom’s coming here is unexpected.
Perfect: Your having admitted the truth hurt me.
Active: She likes calling me three times a day.
Passive: She insisted on being called at once.

The gerund has a more pronounced substantive quality than the infinitive, namely
(Paidos, 1993: 215-216):
a) it can be modified by a noun in the possessive case or its pronominal equivalents
Ex: The girl’s leaving so early was no surprise.
They insisted on my arriving early.
b) it can be used with prepositions
Ex: She began by drawing our attention upon three issues.
c) it can have a plural form
Ex: I lost count of his goings abroad.
d) it can have a genitive form
Ex: The idea of going abroad twice this summer pleased them.
e) it can be preceded by the definite or indefinite article
Ex: She is a dancing-teacher.
There were a lot of patients in the waiting-room.
f) it may be the subject of a sentence
Ex: Playing the piano is her favourite hobby.
g) it may be the predicative
Ex: Seeing is believing.
h) it may be the object of a verb
Ex: He hates waking up early.

There are some verbs, nouns and expressions that require the use of the gerund:
1. verbs: to admit, to advise, to avoid, to begin, to consider, to continue, to deny, to detest, to
dislike, to enjoy, to excuse, to finish, to forget, to forgive, to hate, to like, to love, to regret, to
start, to suggest, to try, etc.
Ex: I regret having hurt her.
She didn’t want to risk missing the train.
2. verbs with prepositions: to accuse of, to aim at, to agree with, to approve of, to consist in,
to excuse from, to insist on, to prevent from, to rely on, to succeed in, to think of, etc.
Ex: They accused me of cheating.
I rely on your supporting me.
3. phrasal verbs: to go on, to keep on, to give up, etc.
Ex: Keep on trying!
He gave up drinking two years ago.
4. nouns with prepositions: apology for, disappointment at, experience in, habit of, necessity
of, pleasure of, possibility of, reason for, surprise at, etc.
Ex: He has the bad habit of smoking.
Please accept my apology for having been so rude.

5. expressions with be/get + adjective/past participle + preposition: to be afraid of, to be
annoyed at, to be capable of, to be interested in, to be responsible for, to be suitable for, to
be surprised at, to be/get used to, to be/get accustomed to, etc.
Ex: They are responsible for having lost the elections.
My son is interested in collecting stamps.
6. expressions: can’t help, can’t stand, it’s no good/use, to be looking forward to, to be
worth, to feel like, etc.
Ex: It’s no use trying again.
The book is worth reading.

There are some verbs which can be followed either by the gerund or by the infinitive,
with or without any difference in meaning (Paidos, 1993: 218-220):

Verb Infinitive Gerund

to begin, to cease Expresses and involuntary Expresses a deliberate
action: action:
Ex: It began/ceased to rain. Ex: He began/ceased playing
the piano.
to stop Means the cessation of Means the cessation of an
something else in order to action.
start doing an action. Ex: Stop talking during the
Ex: She stopped to talk to us. lecture!
to attempt, to intend, to Used in informal English. Used in formal English.
learn, can’t bear Ex: I can’t bear to be alone. Ex: I can’t bear being alone.
to hate, to love, to like, to Used for special occasions. Used for general activities.
dislike, to prefer Ex: I hate to wake up early on Ex: I hate waking up early.
to remember, to forget, to Used for an action that Used for an action that
neglect, to omit follows these verbs. precedes these verbs.
Ex: Remember to call me! Ex: She remembered calling
me the other day.
to deserve, to need, to Used in the passive voice. Used more frequently.
require, to want Ex: This door needs to be Ex: This door needs painting.
to try The meaning is to make an The meaning is to test, to
effort/attempt. make an experiment.
Ex: Although she didn’t have Ex: He tried mixing the two
too many chances, she tried substances.
to win the competition.
to propose The meaning is to intend. The meaning is to suggest.
Ex: She proposed to spend a Ex: She proposed spending a
week abroad. week abroad.
to mean The meaning is to intend. The meaning is to signify, to
Ex: They mean to reach Paris involve.
early in the morning. Ex: To become a boss means
working very hard.

III.8.3. The Participle
There are two participles in English: the present participle (ending in –ing) and the
past participle (ending in –ed, in the case of regular verbs, or having a special form, in the
case of irregular verbs).

1. The present participle is the non-finite form of the verb which combines the
properties of the verb with those of the adjective and adverb. It coincides in form with the
gerund (they both end in the suffix –ing). The present participle can have tense and voice, as
verbal characteristics:
Present: calling
Perfect: having called

Active: calling
Passive: being called / having been called

The present participle is used as part of the progressive aspect and it can be modified
by an adverb:
Ex: I am calling her now.

As an adjective, the present participle can be used predicatively and also in different
degrees of comparison:
Ex: His story is more amusing than yours.
He told us the most amusing story we have ever heard.

There should be made a distinction between the present participle as a modifier and
the gerund as a modifier (the present participle can be changed into an adjective clause):
Present participle: working class = a class that is working
Gerund: working-shoes = shoes for working

Present participle: a swimming child = a child who is swimming

Gerund: a swimming-pool = a pool for swimming

The present participle can be used as an adverb:

Ex: They waved at us smilingly.

There are several construction with the present participle (Paidos, 1993: 231-232):
a) the Accusative with the participle – used after verbs of perception (to see, to hear, to feel,
to watch, etc.), to express an incomplete action and after such verbs as to catch, to find, to
imagine, to keep, to leave, to start:
Ex: I saw her crossing the street.
He found her reading a newspaper.
b) the Nominative with the participle – used with verbs of perception in the passive:
Ex: The boss was seen leaving the firm.
c) the Absolute Nominative – in this construction, the subject of the present participle is
different from the subject of the sentence:
Ex: Weather permitting, we’ll go out for a walk in the park.
d) the Absolute participle – in this construction, the present participle has no subject:

Ex: Generally speaking, her work is very important for our company.

2. The past participle is the non-finite form of the verb which combines the
properties of the verb with those of the adjective.
As a verb, the past participle is used in the formation of perfect tenses:
Ex: She has changed her car.
He had called her before he visited her.

As an adjective, it can function:

a) as a simple adjective:
Ex: I saw in front of me a defeated man.
I am not finished yet.
b) as a compound adjective:
Ex: He came up with well-grounded objections.
This is what I call a well-appointed expedition

III.9. Modality and the modal auxiliaries

Modality is the category by which speakers express their attitude towards what they
are uttering. It covers such notions as possibility, probability, necessity, volition, obligation,
permission, doubt, wish, regret, desire.
The realization of modal meanings can be achieved through:
a) modal auxiliaries
- central modal auxiliaries: can, could, may, might, shall, should, will, would, must.
- marginal modal auxiliaries: ought to, used to, need, dare.
b) semi-auxiliaries: had better, would rather, have to, (have) got to, be supposed to, be going
to, be able to, be obliged to, be likely to, be willing to.
c) lexical verbs: to allow, to beg, to command, to forbid, to guarantee, to guess, to suggest,
to warn, to wonder, to wish, etc.
d) adverbs: probably, possibly, surely, hopefully, thankfully, obviously.
e) adjectives: possible, probable, likely
f) nouns: possibility, probability, chance, likelihood
g) certain types of intonation (for example, the fall-rise intonation)
h) the use of hesitation phenomena in speech

The modal auxiliaries have certain characteristics that differentiate them from the
other verbs:
- they do not have long infinitive;
Ex: *to can
*to must
- they are not followed by long infinitive;
Ex: *You must to wake up early.
- they do not have –ing participle;
Ex: *maying
- they do not add –(e)s to the IIIrd person singular;
Ex: He can speak Spanish very well.
- there is no co-occurrence between the modal auxiliaries;
Ex: *I can must go.

(there is, though, co-occurrence between a modal and a semi auxiliary:
Ex: You will have to speak louder)
- they have only two formal tenses: present and past;
Ex: I can drive a car.
I could ride a bike when I was a child.
- they can combine with aspect and voice:
Ex: They may not have meant what they said. (perfect aspect)
They should be called. (passive voice)
- the negation is formed by adding not after the modal;
Ex: You may not leave now.
- the interrogative is formed with an inversion.
Ex: Can I go now?

III.9.1. Can
In the affirmative, can has the following meanings:
a) present or future physical or mental ability (the alternative construction is to be able to)
Ex: I can lift this table.
He can help us tomorrow.
b) action in progress (with verbs of perception)
Ex: I can see you now.
c) permission (in informal English)
Ex: He can go there next time.
d) possibility
Ex: The doctor can see you now.

In the interrogative, can is used:

a) to ask about present or future physical or mental ability
Ex: Can you lift this table?
Can he help us tomorrow?
b) to ask about actions in progress (with verbs of perception)
Ex: Can you see me now?
c) to ask for permission in informal English
Ex: Can I borrow your car?
d) to express disbelief
Ex: Can he be that bad?
e) to express polite requests
Ex: Can I visit you later?

The negative form expresses:

a) incapacity
Ex: I can’t lift this table.
He can’t help us tomorrow.
b) action in progress (with verbs of perception)
Ex: I can’t see you.
c) lack of permission
Ex: You can’t go out.
d) impossibility

Ex: It’s only 7 o’clock; she can’t be at work now.
He can’t have given a better answer than this one.

III.9.2. Could
Could denotes in the affirmative:
a) a past physical or mental ability
Ex: When she was young she could skate very well.
He could speak English when he was younger.
b) past permission
Ex: When we were children we could play outside every day.
c) possibility regarded from a moment in the past
Ex: I wondered if she could remember my address.

Could in the interrogative is used:

a) to ask about a past physical or mental ability
Ex: Could you skate when you were a child?
Could you speak English when you were younger?
b) to express a polite request (more polite than can)
Ex: Could you show me the way to the airport?

The negative construction denotes:

a) lack of physical or mental ability
Ex: When she was young she couldn’t skate very well.
He couldn’t speak English when he was younger.
b) impossibility
Ex: We couldn’t see anything in the fog.

III.9.3. May
May in the affirmative is used:
a) to express formal permission in the present or future (it can be replaced by to be allowed
to / to be permitted to)
Ex: You may leave.
b) to express possibility (it can be replaced by it is possible / maybe / perhaps)
Ex: It may snow today.
She may be working now. (may + Progressive Infinitive = possibility of something
that continues now)
He may have called you twice yesterday. (may + Perfect Infinitive = possibility that
an action took place in the past)
c) to express wish, hope
Ex: May all your dreams come true!

In the interrogative may is used:

a) to ask for permission (formal style)
Ex: May I go out?
b) to express doubt, uncertainty
Ex: Who may that young lady be?

In the negative may is used:
a) to express prohibition
Ex: You may not bring your books into the examination room.
b) to negate the possibility
Ex: She may not be the best in her class, but she is the most hard working student.

III.9.4. Might
Might denotes:
a) permission connected with the past (alternative constructions are was allowed to / was
permitted to)
Ex: She told me I might visit her whenever I wanted.
b) present / future / past possibility (a little remote than the one expressed by may)
Ex: Your sister might be at work now. (present)
He might leave tomorrow. (future)
I thought I might manage abroad. (past)
He might still be working. (might + Progressive Infinitive = possibility of something
to continue)
They might have told the truth. (might + Perfect Infinitive = past possibility)
c) uncertainty
Ex: I wonder who that old man might be.

III.9.5. Must
Must denotes:
a) obligation imposed by the speaker. Its substitute is to have to, but there is a slight
difference between them: the latter expresses obligation imposed by external authority or
circumstances, which the speaker cannot control.
Ex: I must wake up early every day.
I have to play with my son whenever he asks me.
b) command and necessity
Ex: You must listen carefully to my advice.
They must work hard if they want to earn more money.
c) deduction, logical conclusion, probability
Ex: It’s late. He must be home.
She must be still sleeping.
She lost some weight. She must have kept a diet.

The negative construction shows prohibition:

Ex: You must not park the car here.
The lack of obligation is not rendered by must not, but by don’t have to, haven’t (got)
to or needn’t.
Ex: You must learn all these poems.
You don’t have to / haven’t got to / needn’t learn all these poems.
The negative deduction is not rendered by must not, but by can’t / couldn’t.
Ex: He must be in his office.
He can’t / couldn’t be in his office.

III.9.6. Shall
Shall shows:
a) the intention of punishment (in the official style)
Ex: Anyone who copies in the exam shall be punished.
b) threat (in the third person)
Ex: If they break the rule they shall pay for it.
c) promise
Ex: If you help me you shall be well paid.
Ex: You shall answer the letter immediately.

In the interrogative form (first person) shall shows the will of the interlocutor:
Ex: Shall I help you? (Do you want me to help you?)
When shall I call you? (When do you want me to call you?)

In the negative form shall denotes:

a) refusal
Ex: As you have broken my car, you shall not borrow it from me again another time!
b) prohibition (synonymous with must not)
Ex: You shall not talk to anybody on your way to school!

III.9.7. Should
Should expresses:
a) obligation (weaker than the one expressed by must)
Ex: You should write your essay for tomorrow. (must = have no other choice)
b) an unfulfilled duty in the past
Ex: You should have come here earlier. (but you didn’t)
c) supposition
Ex: If it’s 10 o’clock, he should be in his office.
d) advice
Ex: You should keep a diet.
e) almost certainty (similar to ought to)
Ex: This should be their house.

III.9.8. Will
Will can express:
a) volition, willingness in affirmative, interrogative and negative sentences (it can also
appear in if clauses)
Ex: I will pay you if you will help me.
Will you help me?
I won’t ask him anything.
b) possibility, assumption
Ex: This will be his car.
c) something unavoidable or that occurs very often (the will of fate)
Ex: Accidents will happen.

III.9.9. Would
Would denotes:
a) volition in affirmative, interrogative and negative sentences
Ex: If I would want that car, I would buy it.
Would you pass me the salt, please?
I wouldn’t tell him the truth.
b) probability
Ex: That woman would be his sister.
c) a habit, a repeated action in the past
Ex: They would come every day for tea when they were my neighbours.

III.9.10. Ought to
Ought to expresses:
a) duty, moral obligation
Ex: You ought to phone home every day.
You ought to have phoned home every day. (unfulfilled duty or obligation)
b) a strong suggestion
Ex: You ought to keep a diet.
c) expectation
Ex: There ought to come a lot of people at the wedding.
There ought to have come a lot of people at the wedding. (expectation in the past
which was not fulfilled)

III.9.11. Used to
Used to shows:
a) habitual actions in the past
Ex: I used to come home late when I was working.
b) habitual states in the past
Ex: There used to be a cinema near my house.

III.9.12. Need
As a modal auxiliary, need has the meaning to have to. It has the same form for all
persons and is mainly used in the interrogative and negative.
Ex: Need I wake up early every day? / Yes, you must.
You needn’t wake up early every day.

In affirmative sentences need occurs with such words as never, hardly and scarcely,
which have negative implications:
Ex: I hardly/scarcely need mention their duty, since everybody knows what to do.

There are two variants for the negative form in the past, with different meanings:
didn’t need to (the action was not necessary and was not performed) and needn’t have +
past participle (the action was not necessary, but was performed).
Ex: I didn’t need to knock at the door since it was already open.
I needn’t have knocked at the door since, in this way, I awoke the baby.

III.9.13. Dare
Dare denotes:
a) doubt
Ex: Dare he come here again?
b) bravery
Ex: He dare speak.
c) impudence
Ex: How dare you say something like this?

There are two main types of modality:

- epistemic (extrinsic) modality: the modal auxiliaries and semi-auxiliaries state the
degree of likelihood regarding the truth of the proposition. The speaker comments
on the content of the clause.
- deontic (intrinsic) modality: the modal auxiliaries and semi-auxiliaries refer to ability,
permission, duty, willingness in relation to the subject. The speaker intervenes in the
speech event.

Necessity, probability, possibility of the Volition, obligation, permission of the subject
a) possibility (affirmative, interrogative and a) permission (in informal style)
negative forms) Ex: You can inspect the school.
Ex: Anybody can make mistakes. Can I go?
Can I be wrong? You can’t go. (negation of modality:
He can’t be in his office. (negation of refuse permission)
modality: It is not possible that …)
**Could is also used, as a tentative form.
b) necessity (only interrogative and negative b) possibility (granting for permission)
forms. The affirmative form is with must). Ex: You can see for yourself.
Ex: They must be on holiday. I’ll see what can be done and give you a
Can they be on holiday? ring.
They can’t be on holiday.
c) ability
Ex: I can speak English.
Possibility (affirmative and negative forms) a) permission (in formal style)
Ex: You may be wrong. Ex: You may inspect the school.
He may not be in his office. (negation of May I go?
proposition: It is possible that he is not …) You may not go. (negation of modality:
refuse permission)

b) possibility (granting for permission)

Ex: You may see for yourself.
Logical necessity (affirmative form) a) inescapable obligation
Ex: They must be on holiday. Ex: I must go.

b) necessity
Ex: You must keep a diet.
a) prediction a) willingness
Ex: The course will be over by now. Ex: Will you help me?
b) would - habituality b) refusal
Ex: I would swim when I was at the seaside. Ex: The door won’t open.
c) insistence
Ex: I will come, no matter what you say.
d) intention
Ex: I will wait here until you come.
a) offer or suggestion
Ex: Shall I make some tea for you?
Shall we walk in the park?
b) inescapable obligation
Ex: All candidates shall remain in their seats.
Probability Escapable obligation/advisability
Ex: They should be/ought to be home by Ex: You should/ought to keep a diet.

IV.1. Definition
IV.2. The adverbial phrase and its structure
IV.3. Characteristics of the adverb
IV.4. The functions of the adverbs
IV.5. The form of adverbs
IV.6. Typology of adverbs
IV.6.1. Adverbs of manner
IV.6.2. Adverbs of place
IV.6.3. Adverbs of time
IV.6.4. Adverbs of degree
IV.6.5. Interrogative adverbs
IV.6.6. Connective/Relative adverbs
IV.6.7. Focus adverbs
IV.6.8. Viewpoint adverbs
IV.7. The comparison of adverbs
IV.8. Inversion after adverbs

IV.1. Definition
The adverb is the principal part of speech which, as the name suggests (ad-verb),
adds something to the meaning of the verb or modifies it, showing how, when, where, etc.
something happens or is done (Alexander, 1988: 122). From a semantic point of view, many
adverbs express qualities of processes and situations (Downing & Locke, 2006: 502).
Ex: He gently explained the truth to his daughter.
The adverb can also modify (Alexander, 1988: 122; Huddleston and Pullum, 2005: 122):
a) adjectives: The test was extremely easy.
b) other adverbs: Tell her I’ll come home very late.
c) prepositional phrases: Your car is completely out of order.
d) complete sentences: Strangely enough, he lost the competition.
e) nouns: The little girl here is my niece.
f) pronouns: The initiative was mostly his.

IV.2. The structure of the adverbial phrase

The structure of the adverbial phrase is similar to that of the adjectival phrase; that
is, it is composed potentially of three elements: the head h, the modifier m and the
posthead element, either m(post-modifier) or c (complement). These elements combine to
form the following four basic structures (Downing & Locke, 2006: 503):
Modifier Head Posthead (post-modifier/complement)
Too early in the morning /than necessary

Other adverbial phrases:

Ex: very late in the evening (mhm)

far away from civilisation (mhc)
quite clearly enough (mhc)

The head element is always realised by an adverb . The modifier is realised typically
by grading and intensifying adverbs. The complement expresses a different type of meaning
from that of the modifier, as it does in the adjectival phrases. It expresses the scope or
context of the meaning expressed by the head (e.g. luckily for us); alternatively, it can serve
to define the modifier more explicitly (e.g. more correctly than before). It is for this reason
that complements of adjectives and adverbs are mostly realised by prepositional phrases
and clauses, whereas pre-modifiers are usually realised by words (Downing & Locke, 2006:

IV.3. Characteristics of the adverb

The adverb has a series of characteristic features (Downing & Locke, 2006: 504):
1. adverbs modify verbs, nouns, pronouns, clauses, adjectives and other adverbs.
2. adverbs function typically in the clause as adverbial modifiers, and in group structures as
pre-modifier and post-modifier. In addition, they marginally realise subject, object,
complement and adjunct functions in clauses.
3. they express a wide variety of types and subtypes of meaning.
4. they can occupy different positions in clause structure.
5. they are very frequently optional, in the sense that they can be omitted without the
clause becoming ungrammatical.

IV.4. The functions of the adverbs

The adverb may function (Downing & Locke, 2006: 509):
- in clause structure as: adverbial modifier (of manner, place, time) (He plays piano well.);
subject complement (That’s all right.); direct object (I don’t know why.); stance adjunct
(Luckily, she was at home.); subject (Today is the last Monday in the month.).
- in phrase structure as:
a) modifier in adjectival phrases: all wet; quite strange; too short.
b) modifier in adverbial phrases: nearly there; more easily; very often.
c) modifier in noun phrases: the then President; a nearby restaurant; quite a success.
d) modifier of determiners: about double; roughly half; almost all.
e) post-modifier in adjectival phrases: quick enough; very beautiful indeed.
f) post-modifier in adverbial phrases: quickly enough; beautifully indeed; never again.
g) post-modifier in noun phrases: the journey back; the way ahead.
h) particle in verb phrases: pick up; put on; take out; pull off; go in.

IV.5. The form of adverbs

Adverbs may be single words, derived from adjectives and nouns with prefixes and
suffixes (Paidos, 1993: 189-194) or compound forms (Downing & Locke, 2006: 504).
a) single words: here, there, now, then, etc.
b) derived from noun, followed by the suffixes –ways, -wards, -wise: sideways,
backwards, clockwise.
c) derived from adjective / noun, preceded by the prefix a-(indicating mainly position or
direction): abroad, ashore, ahead, along, away.

d) derived from adjective / noun, followed by the suffix –ly: gently, nicely, hourly, etc.
e) shortened forms from prepositional phrases: downhill, indoors, inside, outside,
downstairs, etc.
f) combinations of other classes of words: somewhere, anywhere, nowhere,
everywhere, etc.

There are also adverbial phrases: after all, at all, at first, at least, at present, by all
means, by the way, in fact, in general, in vain, not at all, of course, here and there, in and out,
every now and then, to and fro, up and down, etc.

In the case of the adverbs derived from adjectives, there appear two distinctive cases
(Alexander, 1988: 125; Paidos, 1993: 190-194):
a) some adjectives add –ly to form the adverb, but they can also function as adverbs
in their adjective form:
bright / brightly
Ex: The diamond on her ring was shining bright / brightly.

cheap / cheaply
Ex: I do not intend to sell my car cheap / cheaply.

dead / deadly
Ex: He is dead / deadly for this kind of food.

dear / dearly
Ex: You’ll pay dear / dearly for what you did.

fair / fairly
Ex: They didn’t fight fair / fairly for the first prize.

sound / soundly
Ex: The baby is sleeping sound / soundly.

tight / tightly
Ex: I couldn’t open the box as it was packed tight / tightly.

b) some adjectives add –ly to form the adverb; the adjective form can be also used as
adverb, but the meaning changes:

clean = completely, entirely cleanly = in a clean manner

Ex: He clean forgot to come to the meeting. Ex: My son played the violin accompaniment
clear = completely clearly = in a clear manner
Ex: I slept clear through the night. Ex: I could read clearly with my glasses on.
close = near closely = in a close manner (descriptive use)
Ex: Don’t say a word until he comes close. Ex: These two events are closely connected.
deep = far down, into deeply = very greatly

Ex: Dug deep and you’ll find the treasure. Ex: He loved her deeply.
He disappeared deep into the night.
direct = straight and short, without deviation directly = without delay or hesitation
Ex: They came direct to my house. Ex: Come home directly.
due = exactly (used before the points of the duly = at the proper time, punctually
compass) Ex: The plane duly landed.
Ex: We went due West.
easy = with ease, in a relaxed manner, easily = in an easy manner, without question,
without speed very probably
Ex: Go easy here, as the road is slippery. Ex: He could be easily recognized.
This is easily your best book.
Take your umbrella; it may easily rain.
free = without restraint freely = in a free manner, willingly
Ex: The horses were running free in the field. Ex: I can’t speak freely with my parents.
I freely join you everywhere.
full = completely, entirely fully = completely, at least
Ex: It was a full/fully grown tree. Ex: It will take you fully two days to finish this
hard = with effort/pain/force/firmness, hardly = almost no/not/none/never
slowly and with difficulty Ex: He hardly ever calls me.
Ex: She slammed the door hard.
Bad habits die hard.
high = at a great altitude, in a rich manner highly = very much, with approval
Ex: The kite flew high in the sky. Ex: He highly appreciates you.
They live high. She speaks highly of his work.
just = exactly, very recently, on the point of, justly = with honesty
absolutely Ex: They were justly considered the best
Ex: This piece of news is just what I expected. players in the team.
He has just called.
I was just about to leave the house when
they came.
The present you have given me is just
large = at a distance, in a boastful manner largely = mainly, to a great extent
Ex: They sailed large to the South. Ex: This success is largely due to our common
He talked large about his achievements. efforts.
Our performance has been largely
late = after the expected or usual time lately = recently
Ex: He comes late at work every day. Ex: I haven’t seen them lately.
most = to a great extent mostly = mainly, usually, as a rule
Ex: What upset me most was his rudeness. Ex: Mostly, I spend my holidays abroad.
near = at a very small distance from nearly = in a close manner, almost
something/someone Ex: These events are nearly connected.
Ex: They moved near the big city. We have nearly finished.
pretty = fairly prettily = in a pretty manner
Ex: They live pretty far from the town. Ex: The little girl was prettily dressed.

right = exactly, immediately, completely, in a rightly = accurately, with honesty
correct manner Ex: He was rightly considered the best writer
Ex: He fell right on his arm. of his generation.
They came right after dinner.
Here I feel right at home.
He didn’t do his job right.
sharp = punctually, quickly sharply = in an aggressive manner, suddenly
Ex: The meeting started at eight o’clock Ex: The shark attacked sharply.
The car turned sharp left.
short = suddenly, abruptly shortly = soon, in a concise manner
Ex: My lecture was stopped short. Ex: He called me shortly after I got home.
He answered the police shortly.

IV.6. Typology of adverbs

IV.6.1. Adverbs of manner
These adverbs generally answer the questions How? and In what way/manner? and
they show:
a) the manner in which the action of the verb is performed: accurately, badly,
beautifully, carefully, correctly, differently, easily, fiercely, fluently, gently, heavily, nicely,
peacefully, quietly, rapidly, silently, simply, thoroughly, urgently, violently, warmly, willingly,
b) the circumstances of an event or situation: alone, collectively, illegally, legally,
mechanically, naturally, openly, personally, publicly, etc.
c) the feelings of the person who performs the action: angrily, boldly, calmly,
desperately, eagerly, furiously, gladly, happily, miserably, nervously, proudly, sadly, sincerely,

There are several types of adverbs of manner (Bădescu, 1984: 461):

a) Adverbs of quality: badly, beautifully, fairly, fluently, kindly, nicely, perfectly, well, etc.
b) Adverbs of amount or degree: almost, completely, entirely, hardly, largely, wholly, etc.
c) Adverbs of affirmation, probability or negation: yes, indeed, undoubtedly, certainly, truly,
maybe, perhaps, possibly, probably, no, not, never, etc.
d) Intensive adverbs: especially, exactly, only, precisely, simply, surely, at least, at most, etc.
e) Restrictive adverbs: only, but, just, etc.
f) Explanatory adverbs: as, namely, such as, that is (to say), etc.
g) Exclamatory adverbs: How! What! So what!
h) Introductory adverbs: accordingly, consequently, however, therefore, in any case, of
course, etc.

Normally, the adverbs of manner are placed after the verb or after the object:
Ex: She spoke openly to me about her situation.
He speaks English fluently.
Sometimes the adverbs of manner can appear between the subject and the verb to
emphasize the subject, or they can open a sentence for dramatic effect or to create
suspense (Alexander, 1988: 127) (in narrative writing and only with such adverbs of manner
such as gently, quietly, slowly, suddenly):

Ex: Mary gladly accepted the job proposal.
They were all writing their papers quietly. Suddenly, a loud noise scared them all.

When there are more different adverbs in a sentence, the usual order is: manner –
place – time.

IV.6.2. Adverbs of place

The adverbs of place generally offer information about (Alexander, 1988: 127):
a) location: ahead, anywhere, around, ashore, downstairs, everywhere, here, indoors,
nowhere, outdoors, somewhere, there, under, upstairs, etc. These adverbs showing location
answer the question Where? and usually follow static verbs (be, live, stay, etc.)
b) direction: along, back, backward, forward, left, right, east, eastward, north,
northward, south, southward, west, westward, etc. These adverbs showing direction answer
the questions Where to/from? and usually follow dynamic verbs (come, go, run, etc.)

The adverbs of place, no matter whether they show location or direction, usually
follow the verb:
Ex: We stayed indoors most of our holiday as it rained a lot.
He drove eastward to reach the big city.
In descriptive writing, however, the adverbs of place can begin the sentence in order
to emphasize the location:
Ex: Upstairs it was quiet. Downstairs it was noisy.

IV.6.3. Adverbs of time

These adverbs refer to (Alexander, 1988: 128):
a) definite time – they indicate current time or certain days, months, years (referring to
past or future time) and answer the question When?: today, yesterday, last
week/month/year, before, ago, on Monday/Tuesday …, at noon/dawn, etc. Normally this
type of adverbs occurs at the end of the sentence:
Ex: I met them last year.
However, there are cases when they can appear at the beginning of the sentence:
Ex: Today I’ve received a very strange phone call.
In the case of more adverbs of definite time in the same sentence, the progress is
from the more particular to the more general and thus the order is time + day + date + year:
Ex: The meeting is at 2 o’clock in the afternoon on Tuesday June 12th 2010.

b) indefinite time – they do not answer time questions precisely (Alexander, 1988: 129):
afterwards, already, another day/time, at last, at once, eventually, immediately, lately,
nowadays, yet, etc.
They are normally placed at the end of the sentence. However, they can appear
before the verb or at the beginning of the sentence when the purpose is to focus the
Ex: I phoned her immediately. (the normal unmarked position)
I immediately phoned her. (the focus is on the action phoned)
Immediately, I phoned her. (the focus is on the whole clause)

c) duration – the adverbs and prepositional phrases in this category show how long the
action of the verb lasts or takes and answer the questions Since when? and For how long?.
- adverbs: ago, always, all day long, (not) any more, (not) any longer, no longer,
no more, briefly, indefinitely, permanently, temporarily, etc.
Ex: They moved here temporarily.
Among these adverbs there can be distinguished those which show how often an
action is repeated (they answer the question How often?). There are two cases (Paidos,
1993: 199):
- adverbs indicating definite frequency: once, twice, three/four…times (a
day/week/month/year), every day/week/month/year, daily, weekly, monthly,
- adverbs indicating indefinite frequency: always, frequently, often, rarely,
seldom, sometimes, etc.

- prepositional phrases beginning with the prepositions: after, before, by, during,
for, from … to/till, since, throughout.
Ex: I haven’t spoken to him for three months.

IV.6.4. Adverbs of degree

The adverbs of degree show “the extent of an action or the degree to which and
action is performed” (Paidos, 1993: 199) and they answer the questions To what
extent/degree?. Some of the most common adverbs of degree are: absolutely, almost,
amazingly, awfully, badly, barely, completely, deeply, enormously, enough, entirely,
extremely, fairly, far, fully, greatly, hardly, immensely, just, mainly, nearly, pretty, quite,
rather, simply, terribly, truly, very, well, wonderfully, etc.
These adverbs are normally placed before the words they modify:
a) adjectives: Your essay is fairly interesting.
b) adverbs: He speaks English quite well.
c) verbs: She simply quit her job.
d) nouns (not very often): She is quite a specialist in linguistics.

IV.6.5. Interrogative adverbs

These adverbs are used in the beginning of questions and they are how, when, where
and why.
Ex: How did you solve the problem?
When were they supposed to come?
Where will you go this summer?
Why are you upset?

IV.6.6. Connective/Relative adverbs

They are used to link clauses in various circumstances:
a) to introduce additional information: also, as well, besides, furthermore, moreover.
Ex: This trip is very expensive; besides, we don’t have time for a holiday.
b) to introduce a comparison: as compared to, equally, likewise, similarly.
Ex: My husband was fired and similarly, so was I.
c) to add a contrast: alternately, conversely, even so, however, instead, nevertheless,
nonetheless, rather, still, though, yet.

Ex: We didn’t trust John at all. However, we appointed him for this job.
d) to show that something took place before or after an event already mentioned:
afterwards, beforehand, earlier, finally, first, last, meanwhile, next, presently,
simultaneously, soon, suddenly, then, throughout.
Ex: He worked all day to repair his car. Finally, he asked for some help.
e) to summarize the things already mentioned: all in all, and so on, essentially.
Ex: This is what happened last year. All in all, it was a good year.
f) to show how, when, where or why an action took place (the interrogative adverbs are
used as relative adverbs)
Ex: I asked them how and where they had spent their holiday.
Connective adverbs may appear in the beginning of the sentence or in mid-position.

IV.6.7. Focus adverbs

These adverbs focus attention on the word they qualify and they are: alone, chiefly,
especially, even, just, mainly, merely, mostly, notably, only, particularly, really, simply, solely,
specially. Other adverbs such as too, also, as well, not … either focus attention by adding
more information.
Ex: I was particularly interested in this matter.
Mary is a student. She is also a nurse.
According to the word they want to emphasize, the position in the sentence of some
adverbs such as even and only is flexible and the meaning slightly changes:
Ex: Even Jim could repair the car. (i.e. although he is not very good at repairing
Jim could repair even this car. (i.e. although the problem was very serious)
Only Tom entered this room. (i.e. nobody else)
Tom only entered this room. (i.e. and did nothing else)
Tom entered only this room. (i.e. and nowhere else)

IV.6.8. Viewpoint adverbs

Viewpoint adverbs qualify what is said or written, indicating the speaker’s or writer’s
attitude to what he is saying or writing (Alexander, 1988: 142). Thus, they may indicate
(Paidos, 1993: 204-205):
a) how sure the speaker/writer is about something: certainly, clearly, definitely, honestly,
maybe, naturally, obviously, perhaps, possibly, really, remarkably, strictly.
Ex: You definitely need some help.
b) what the speaker’s/writer/s opinion is: curiously, fortunately, frankly, happily, honestly,
hopefully, ironically, miraculously, mysteriously, sadly, surprisingly, unfortunately, (un)luckily,
Ex: Luckily, he offered to help me.
c) that the speaker/writer is not going into details: anyhow, anyway, briefly, in brief/short.
Ex: Anyway, this is all he told me.
Viewpoint adverbs may appear in the beginning of the sentence, in mid-position or at
the end of the sentence:
Ex: I don’t think this will work, but you may try anyway.

IV.7. The comparison of adverbs
The comparative and the superlative degree apply only to gradable adverbs and this
category includes most adverbs of manner, some adverbs of time and some adverbs of
The comparison of adverbs functions like in the case of adjectives: the adverbs have
three degrees of comparison: the Positive, the Comparative (of superiority, of equality and
of inferiority) and the Superlative (the Relative Superlative and the Absolute Superlative).
According to the way they form the comparative of superiority and the relative
superlative adverbs may be divided into regular and irregular.
For the regular adverbs the following rules apply:
a) the comparative of superiority is formed by adding –er and the relative superlative is
formed by adding –est to the adverbs which have the same form as adjectives: early, fast,
high, late, long, near.
Ex: He came earlier than you did.
He came the earliest of all.
b) the comparative of superiority is formed by adding more and the relative superlative
is formed by adding (the) most in front of adverbs made up of adjective + ly: carefully, nicely,
Ex: She planned her trip more carefully this time.
This time she planned her trip most carefully.

The irregular adverbs have the following forms for the comparative of superiority and
the relative superlative:
Well – better – (the) best
Badly – worse – (the) worst
Far – further – (the) furthest

The formula for the comparative of equality is as + adverb + as:

Ex: He plays tennis as badly as his son.

The formula for the comparative of inferiority is not … so/as + adverb + as:
Ex: He does not play tennis so/as badly as his son.

The absolute superlative is formed with the help of very + adverb:

Ex: He plays tennis very badly.

IV.8. Inversion after adverbs

Sometimes, an adverb may begin a sentence, with a direct consequence for the
normal subject-verb order. This means the sentence will have the following form: adverb +
verb + subject + …. The adverbs which may appear in the beginning of the sentence
triggering an inversion are:
a) negative adverbs: never, seldom, scarcely … when, no sooner … than, under no
circumstances, on no account, little, not until, neither, nor, rarely.
Ex: Little did he know about her problems.
Scarcely had we gone out when it started to rain.
Rarely did he come to visit me.

b) restrictive adverbs: only now, only when, only then, only in this way, only there, not
Ex: Only now do I realize that he was right.
c) adverbs of place like here and there with verbs of motion or with the verb be when
offering things or identifying location.
Ex: There goes the last bus!
Here comes the bride!
Here’s a soda for you!
There’s your stop!
d) adverbs of time or place may be followed by inversion for stylistic purposes.
Ex: In that green field lay the beautiful mansion.
Often have I wondered about you.


V.1. Definition
V.2. Classification of pronouns
V.3. The personal pronouns
V.4. The reflexive pronouns
V.5. The possessive pronouns
V.6. The relative pronouns
V.7. The interrogative pronouns
V.8. The demonstrative pronouns
V.9. The indefinite pronouns

V.1. Definition
The pronoun is the secondary part of speech that can be used in place of a noun or a
noun phrase. It has a deictic function, as it points “to objects, to their properties and
relations, their local and temporal reference, or placement, without naming them.”
(Beklyarova, 2007: 413)

V.2. Classification of pronouns

There are several subclasses of pronouns (Quirk et al., 1991: 140):
- central pronouns, which include:
- personal pronouns
- reflexive pronouns
- possessive pronouns
- relative pronouns
- interrogative pronouns
- demonstrative pronouns
- indefinite pronouns, that can be:
- positive
- universal
- assertive
- non-assertive
- negative

V.3. The personal pronouns

They have the forms: I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they (in the Nominative) and me, you,
him, her, it, us, you, them (in the Dative and Accusative). Besides these distinctions in case, it
can be seen that the personal pronouns have also distinctions in person (first, second and
third) and in number (singular and plural) (Greenbaum & Nelson, 2009: 46).

The forms in the nominative are normally used as the subject of the sentence: They are
my friends.

The forms in the Dative and Accusative are generally used:

- as direct objects: I’ll call her tomorrow.
- as indirect objects: Paul offered me some flowers.
- as objects of prepositions: Explain to them the whole truth.
- in short answers: Are you tired? / Me? No.
The main function of the personal pronouns is “to help establish major referents in the
discourse by setting up referential (or identity) chains by means of anaphora. This is an
important part of referential coherence, of making important referents continuous and
salient enough to be perceived and remembered by listeners and readers.” (Downing &
Locke, 2006: 415)
There are some things to be mentioned about some of the personal pronouns:
a) we can usually refer:
- to the locutor and interlocutor together (the inclusive we, that means me +
you): Listen to what I suggest: we shall stay home tomorrow.
- to the locutor and (an)other person(s), excluding the interlocutor (the exclusive
we, that means me + other(s) – you): Ex: We don’t understand why you are acting
so irrational.
- to a group which the locutor is a part of (school, local community, etc.): We are a
multicultural society.

There are also some atypical uses of we, when it may be used for:
- one person alone (the locutor), who is an important person. It’s best known usage is by a
monarch (that is why it is called royal we or majestic plural), such as a king, queen or pope,
who is not only speaking on his own behalf, but also as leader of a nation or institution:
Ex: “In agreement with the Imperial Duma We have thought it well to renounce the
throne of the Russian Empire and to lay down the supreme power14.”
- the locutor/author (the editorial columnist in a newspaper, who speaks on behalf of the
media institution who employs him, or an academic, who speaks on behalf of the readers
who agree with him) + the reader
Ex: “We hope Gov. Eliot Spitzer can help break a 15-year-old stalemate over a
measure that would allow family members in New York State to act as decision
makers for patients unable to direct their own care15.”
- the interlocutor (the patronizing we). This usage of we may be considered ironic or
Ex: Are we feeling all right today? (the doctor may ask a patient)

b)you may refer:

- to the person(s) you are talking to: I want to talk to you, Mary.; You are not
allowed to go out, boys!
- to people in general (can be used interchangeably with one): You (one) never
know(s) what you (one) can do until you (one) try (tries).

14 the abdication statement of Nicholas II of Rusia, www.wikipedia.org, retrieved on December 9th, 2010.
15 The New York Times, May 13, 2007

c) he and she are used when referring to persons, but they may also be used instead of it
with personifications:
- he may refer to16: nouns denoting passions; names of things that suggest
power, dignity
- she may refer to17: nouns that suggest beauty, gentleness; nouns that
denote negative traits of character; nouns that denote elements of nature;
names of countries; names of ships, planes.

d) it is used to refer to things or abstract notions, but also:

- to refer to animals and insects: The cat is not in the house; it must have gone
- to refer to persons (baby, infant, child): When the baby woke up, it began to
- in impersonal constructions:
- to denote time: It’s ten o’clock.
- to denote weather conditions: It’s sunny.
- to denote distances: It’s no distance to the hospital.
- in introductory-anticipatory constructions:
- with verbs in the Infinitive: It’s difficult to drive.
- with subject that-clauses: It’s necessary that she should come home
- in introductory-emphatic constructions: It is Paul who broke the window.
- with such verbs as: to amaze, to bother, to disgust, to please, to interest, to
surprise, etc.: It surprises me that you are still so undecided.
- with some verbs in the Passive Voice: to believe, to consider, to expect, to
imagine, to suppose, etc.: It is believed that he will move soon.
- to replace a whole sentence: He hurt me; I’ll never forget it.

e) they is often used

- to refer to people or things in general: They say she’ll leave town next year.
- to refer to a group of people whose identity does not need to be stated:
They arrested the thief. (= it is clear that they refers to the police)
- after indefinite pronouns such as someone or anyone (even if the reference
is just to the singular): If anyone wants to be a mediator, they must attend a

One is sometimes used as a singular personal pronoun, to make statements about

people in general, but this use is considered formal (Cobuild, 1990: 45).
Ex: Going round Romania, one is struck by the beautiful scenery.

V.4. The reflexive pronouns

They have the forms myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves,
themselves. There is another reflexive pronoun, oneself, which is the general form:

See also the Gender of Nouns
See also the Gender of Nouns

Ex: One may hurt oneself with such a toy.
The reflexive pronouns “reflect another nominal element of the sentence, usually the
subject, with which it is in co-referential relation” (Quirk et al., 1991: 211):
- subject and direct object: The killer hurt himself.
- subject and indirect object: She cooked herself a big lunch.
- subject and subject complement: The one who did this for the first time was himself.
- subject and prepositional complement: Talk about yourself!
- subject and apposition: She herself couldn’t come.

There are two distinct uses of the reflexive pronouns: non-emphatic and emphatic
(Quirk et al., 1991: 211-213).
1. Non-emphatic use (they refer to the same person or thing as the subject does)
It occurs in the following cases:
a) with verbs which always require a reflexive object: to avail oneself (of), to betake
oneself, to pride oneself (on): He always prides himself on his achievements.
b) with verbs where the reflexive pronoun may be omitted with little or no change
in meaning: to adjust (oneself), to dress (oneself), to prove (oneself to be
competent), to shave (oneself), to wash (oneself): The little girl can’t dress herself.
c) with non-reflexive verbs where the reflexive pronouns are used to denote co-
reference in contrast with non-co-referential objects: She saw herself / her in the
*herself = co-referent with the subject she
*her = refers to another person
d) after as, like, but, except, in variation with personal pronouns: For somebody like
me/myself, this is a big accomplishment.

2. Emphatic use (they give emphasis to a person or thing)

Reflexive pronouns in emphatic use occur in apposition and have greater positional
mobility (unlike the pronouns in non-emphatic use).
Ex: I wouldn’t trust him myself.
I myself wouldn’t trust him.
Myself, I wouldn’t trust him.

V.5. The possessive pronouns

The possessive pronouns indicate that something belongs to someone or is
associated with them. They have the forms mine/ours, yours, his/hers/theirs. In terms of
syntactic functions, they can be:
- the subject of a sentence: Your house is small, but mine is big.
- a subject complement of the verb to be: It’s not my car, it’s yours.
- the direct object: He is driving Jane’s car today and Jane is driving his.
- a prepositional object: We are not waiting for your friends, but for ours.

V.6. The relative pronouns

They are: who, whom, whoever, which, whichever, that, whatever. They “introduce
relative clauses postmodifying nominal heads” (Quirk et al., 1991: 214).
- who refers to persons and it is the subject of a relative clause:
Ex: The girl who is playing outside is my daughter.

- whom refers to persons and it is the object of a relative clause (the form who may also
be accepted):
Ex: This is the boy who(m) I was telling you about.
- which refers to things or animals and may be the subject or the object of a relative
Ex: The book which I read is very interesting.
I saw the bear which attacked him.
- that refers to people, things or animals and may be the subject or the object of a
relative clause:
Ex: The girl that is playing outside is my daughter.
The book that I read is very interesting.
I saw the bear that attacked him.

That is preferred:
- after superlatives: She is the meanest girl that I have ever seen.
- after ordinal numbers: He was the first runner that finished the race.
- after indefinite pronouns: Is there anything that I can do for you?
- when the antecedent is both a person and a thing: Tell me about the people and places
that you have seen there.

- whoever, whichever and whatever refer to persons or things that are unknown or
Ex: I’ll help whoever needs my help.
I have several umbrellas; take whichever you want.
Tell me whatever you want.

V.7. The interrogative pronouns

They are who, whose, whom, what and which. They appear in interrogative
sentences, being used as the subject or object of a clause, or the object of a preposition:
Ex: Who has just called?
I have found a book; whose is it?
Whom did you see there?
What are you doing now?
What are you thinking about?
Which of you is guilty?

There are some idiomatic expressions with interrogative pronouns: what about …?,
which is which, who is who, what’s what.

V.8. The demonstrative pronouns

They are: this/these, that/those, the former/the latter, the other/the others, the
same, so, such, one/ones.
- this/these, that/those may have several uses (Downing & Locke, 2006: 217; Quirk et al.,
1991: 217):
a) anaphoric (referring to a previous part of the discourse), with optional one/ones.
Ex: Of all the cars, I prefer this/that (one)
these/those (ones)

b) cataphoric (referring to a part of the discourse that is to come):
Ex: This is a test: One, two, over!
c) exophoric (referring to something outside the discourse):
Ex: They never imagined things would come to this.
d) deictic:
Ex: This/that is my house.
e) determinative use (only that and those)
Ex: That which upset me most was his behaviour.
Those who are lazy will never pass.
f) emotive use in informal style:
Ex: Please don’t mention this again!

- the former/the latter – they have the meaning of the first and, respectively, the second of
the two.
Ex: Mary and Jane are my friends; the former is 18, the latter is 20 years old.
- the other/the others have the meaning not this/these ones, referring to people and things.
Ex: I’ll take this car and you may take the other.
Some guests came on time, the others came late.
- the same means not different:
Ex: He offered her a glass of wine and the same to me.
- so is normally used to replace a whole sentence:
Ex: He pretends he is telling the truth, but I don’t think so.
- such means in this way:
Ex: Such is the present situation.
- one/ones:
Ex: He gave me two books: a Romanian one and an English one.
They are the ones elected.

V.9. The indefinite pronouns

They are of several types:
a) positive
- universal: - each: They each helped me.
- all: They are all absent.
- every series (everyone, everybody, everything): I know
everyone/everybody/everything here.
- assertive: - the multal group: much, many, more, most
Ex: We have much to learn about them.
A few people were absent, but many were present.
They asked for more.
Most know English very well.
- the paucal group: little/a little, few/a few18:
Ex: Little is known about her.
Is there any coffee left? Yes, a little.
We expected many people, but few came.
A few survived.

For their rules of usage, see The Adjective and the Adjectival Phrase

- several, enough:
Ex: I found the eggs, but several were broken.
I had enough to eat.
- one:
Ex: One can never be sure of anything.
- some series (someone, somebody, something)19:
Ex: I know someone/somebody/something interesting.

- non-assertive: - any series (anyone, anybody, anything)20:

Ex: I don’t know anyone/anybody/anything.
- either:
Ex: Which car do you prefer?

b) negative: - no series (no one, nobody, nothing)21:

Ex: I know no one/nobody/nothing.
- neither:
Ex: Don’t mention Paul and Peter. Neither of them is my friend.

As they constitute a closed system, all the types of pronouns mentioned above can
be organized and exemplified in the following chart:

Subclasses of pronouns Forms

Central pronouns: personal pronouns - I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they(Nominative)
- me, you, him, her, it, us, you, them (Dative
and Accusative)
Central pronouns: reflexive pronouns myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself,
ourselves, yourselves, themselves
Central pronouns: possessive pronouns mine/ours, yours, his/hers/theirs
Relative pronouns who, whom, whoever, which, whichever,
that, whatever
Interrogative pronouns who?, whose?, whom?, what?, which?
Demonstrative pronouns this/these, that/those, the former/the latter,
the other/the others, the same, so, such,
Indefinite pronouns: positive - universal - each
- all
- every series (everyone, everybody,
Indefinite pronouns: positive – assertive - the multal group: much, many, more, most
- the paucal group: little/a little, few/a few
- several, enough

For their rules of usage, see The Adjective
For their rules of usage, see The Adjective
For their rules of usage, see The Adjective

- one
- some series (someone, somebody,
Indefinite pronouns: positive – non-assertive - any series (anyone, anybody, anything)
- either
Indefinite pronouns: negative - no series (no one, nobody, nothing)
- neither

VI.1. Definition
VI.2. The prepositional phrase and its structure
VI.3. The syntactic functions of prepositions
VI.4. The classification of prepositions
VI.5. Classes of words with the same form as prepositions
VI.6. Constructions with prepositions

VI.1. Definition
The preposition is the secondary part of speech which has a relating function
(Downing & Locke, 2006: 531): it connects a noun or a noun structure to other structures in
the sentence (Paidos, 1993: 225), the two parts of the sentence connected by the
preposition having different syntactic functions (about, by, during, from, in, on, over, to,
under, with, etc.). The prepositional phrase consists of a preposition together with its
complement, which is typically a noun, a noun phrase or a clause (wh-clause or non-finite –
ing clause) in nominal function (with certainty, in the school yard, from what she said, by
signing the agreement, etc.).

VI.2. The prepositional phrase and its structure

A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition and its complement, both being
obligatory, and an optional modifier, which intensifies the preposition (Downing & Locke,
2006: 532). Unlike the case of the noun phrase, the adjectival phrase or the adverbial
phrase, the preposition in the prepositional phrase cannot function alone as a head. The
prepositional phrase can be thus represented as follows:

Modifier Preposition Complement

right into his arms
just at that moment
completely out of control
straight along this road

The modifier generally shows intensification, but it can also take the form of
direction, attenuation, quantification, description, focusing and reinforcement (Downing &
Locke, 2006: 538).
a) intensifying modifiers: completely, directly, badly, right, well, all, etc.
Ex: directly through the window
all about this subject
b) directional modifiers: up, down, out, over
Ex: down by the river
over on the other side
c) attenuating modifiers: partly, slightly, a bit, hardly, a little
Ex: slightly/a bit out of reach
hardly thanks to you
d) quantifying modifiers: nearly, almost, miles, way back

Ex: way back in time
almost at the same time
e) descriptive modifiers: surprisingly, hopelessly, unexpectedly
Ex: hopelessly in love with her
unexpectedly close to failure
f) focusing and reinforcing modifiers: precisely, mainly, just, chiefly, only
Ex: just for this purpose
mainly after dinner

VI.3. The syntactic functions of prepositions

The prepositions may have the following syntactic functions (Downing & Locke, 2006:
541-542; Quirk et al., 1991: 304):
a) subject: After dark is the best moment to go for a walk.
b) direct object: I don’t think next to the highway a good place to live.
c) prepositional object: Stop tampering with the digital camera!
d) subject complement: You must be out of your mind to accept!
e) object complement: The accident left him without a family.
f) adjunct: The children were playing in the garden.
g) postmodifier in a noun phrase: The children in the garden were playing.
h) complement in a noun phrase: She is a teacher of English literature.
i) premodifier in a noun phrase: Off-the-record information cannot be used during
the trial.
j) complement of a verb: They were listening to his speech.
k) complement in an adjectival phrase: I’m sorry for your loss.
l) complement in an adverbial phrase: I live far from here.
m) complement in a prepositional phrase: The museum is opened every day except
on Mondays.
n) disjunct (expresses information that is not essential to the sentence, but it shows
the speaker’s attitude towards the content of the sentence): She did, in all
fairness, try to tell you the truth.
o) conjunct (adds information to the sentence that is not considered part of the
propositional content, but which connects the sentence with previous parts of
the discourse): In conclusion, they did not leave at all.

VI.4. The classification of prepositions

a) according to their form, prepositions can be (Coghill & Magedanz, 200: p.151):
- simple (one-word): about, across, after, as, at, by, down, during, for, from, in, near,
of, off, on, round, to, with, etc.
- complex (two-word, multi-word). According to the parts of speech involved, there
can be distinguished three categories:
- adverb + preposition: along with, apart from, away from, out of, up to, etc.
- verb/adjective/conjunction + preposition: owing to, due to, contrary to, but
for, because of, etc.
- preposition + noun + preposition: by means of, in comparison with, etc.

b) according to their meaning, prepositions can be:

- of place, which have the functions of adjuncts (relating an event to a location),
postmodifiers (relating an object to a location) or predicatives (following the verb to
be). The prepositions indicating place show (Quirk et al., 1991: 307-316):
- simple position and destination: at, to, on, in(to), etc.
- negative position: away from, off, out of, etc.
- relative position or destination: by, over, under, etc.
- passage: across, through, past, etc.
- movement with reference to a directional path: up, down, along, etc.
- orientation: beyond, over, past, etc.
- of time, which occur as adjuncts or postmodifiers. They are (Quirk et al., 1991: 317-
- prepositions that indicate time when: at, on, in
- prepositions that indicate duration: for
- before, after, since, until
- between, by, up to
- of cause: because of, on account of, owing to, thanks to
- of purpose: for
- of instrument: with, by, without

VI.5. Classes of words with the same form as prepositions

Some one-word prepositions can have functions characteristic of verbs, conjunctions
and adverbs (Downing & Locke, 2006: 543-545).
a) prepositions and verbs: some participial forms can function as both prepositions
and verbs: considering, excluding, following, including, regarding, given, granted.
Ex: The museum is open every day excluding Monday. (preposition)
I’m not excluding this possibility. (verb)
b) prepositions and conjunctions: when referring to moments of time and introducing
declarative finite clauses, some items are regarded more as conjunctions than as
prepositions: after, before, since, until.
Ex: before his departure; before leaving (preposition)
before he left (conjunction)
c) prepositions and adverbs: when expressing circumstantial meaning, some words
can function as both prepositions and adverbs: aboard, above, about, across, after, behind,
below, between, down, in, inside, on, outside, under, up.
Ex: We walked in the house. (preposition)
We walked in. (conjunction)

VI.6. Constructions with prepositions

A number of verbs, nouns and adjectives require the use of certain prepositions:
a) verbs with preposition22: to abound in, to account for, to accuse of, to belong to, to bring
about, to call for, to depend on, to laugh at, to listen to, to look after, etc.
b) nouns with prepositions23: aptitude for, astonishment at, belief in, confidence in, desire
for, hunger for, in honour of, master of, objection to, a thirst for, a witness to, etc.

For a longer list see Appendix VI.a
For a longer list see Appendix VI.b

c) adjectives with prepositions24: able to, absent from, curious about, disappointed with,
guilty of, mad about, patient with, suitable for, unaware of, useful for, worried about, etc.
There are also some idioms with prepositions: above suspicion, at a loss, behind bars,
by all means, from cover to cover, in no time, off the beaten track, out of touch, etc.

For a longer list see Appendix VI.c

VII.1. Definition
VII.2. Morphological classification of conjunctions
VII.3. Syntactic classification of conjunctions

VII.1. Definition
The conjunction is the part of speech that links two words that have the same
syntactic function or two sentences that share similar ideas (Coghill & Magedanz, 2003: 135).
Ex: Painting and dancing are his favourite hobbies.
He called but he couldn’t find me.

VII.2. Morphological classification of conjunctions

According to their form, conjunctions can be classified into:
a) simple conjunctions – consist in one word: after, and, as, but, if, when, while, why,
Ex: The boss entered the office after the secretary had typed all the letters.
b) compound conjunctions – formed of two or more parts of speech written in one
word: however, otherwise, therefore, whenever, whereas, etc.
Ex: You are guilty, therefore you should pay for your deeds.
c) correlative conjunctions – consist in two conjunctions separated by sentences or by
parts of sentences: if … then, either … or, neither … nor, as … as, both … and, not only … but
also, so … as, no sooner … than, etc.
Ex: No sooner had we entered the house than the rain started.
Your letter was both affectionate and kind.
d) conjunctional phrases – formed of different parts of speech, combined with
conjunctions or with other parts of speech: as if, as though, as well as, for that reason, on
that account, so long as, or else, in order to, that is why, as if, for instance, etc.
Ex: He behaves as though he didn’t know us.

VII.3. Syntactic classification of conjunctions

According to their function, conjunctions can be coordinating or subordinating
(Bădescu, 1984: 250):
1) The coordinating conjunctions – they connect two similar parts of sentence, with
the same syntactic role, or two coordinate sentences. There are several types of
coordinating conjunctions.
a) copulative or cumulative conjunctions – when a notion ads to another one:
and, besides, further, as well as, both … and, neither … nor, not only … but also, etc.
Ex: Neither Paula nor her children knew about his accident.
b) adversative conjunctions – when they express a contrast: but, but then,
whereas, while, etc.
Ex: Michael is talented, but he is lazy.
c) disjunctive conjunctions – when they express an alternative: or, else, or
else, otherwise, either … or, etc.
Ex: Listen to her advice, or you’ll be sorry!

d) conclusive/illative conjunctions – when they express a conclusion:
accordingly, consequently, hence, therefore, for that reason, on that account, that is why,
Ex: I had to work late, that is why I couldn’t come to the meeting.
e) explicative conjunctions – when they help an explanation: because, namely,
for instance, let us say, such as, that is to say, etc.
Ex: She works hard because she has to raise four children.

2) The subordinating conjunctions and phrases – they link the subordinate clause to
the main clause. There are several types of subordinating conjunctions and phrases.
a) conjunctions of time – they introduce temporal clauses: after, before, (ever)
since, till, until, when, whenever, while, the first time, all the time, as soon as, by the time,
Ex: The rain had already started by the time we got home.
b) conjunctions of place – they introduce adverbial clauses of place: where,
wherever, as far as, etc.
Ex: He won’t tell me where he’s going to spend his holiday.
c) conjunctions of manner – they introduce adverbial clauses of manner: as,
as if, as though, etc.
Ex: They behave as if they were rich.
d) conjunctions of cause – they introduce adverbial clauses of cause: so,
because, for, now (that), since, etc.
Ex: He didn’t take part in that race because he was not very well prepared.
e) conjunctions of purpose – they introduce adverbial clauses of purpose: in
order that, for fear, lest, so as, so that, etc.
Ex: They stopped talking lest they should be heard by the boss.
f) conjunctions of comparison – they introduce adverbial clauses of
comparison: than, as if, as … as, not so/as … as, etc.
Ex: This movie is not so/as good as you think.
g) conjunctions of concession – they introduce adverbial clauses of
concession: although, even if, in spite of, etc.
Ex: Although we are not very good friends, I feel sorry for her loss.
h) conditional conjunctions – they introduce conditional clauses: as long as, if,
if only, on condition (that), provided (that), providing, suppose, supposing, unless, etc.
Ex: Unless you stop yelling, we can’t continue our conversation.
i) conjunctions of result - they introduce adverbial clauses of result: (so …)
that, such … that, etc.
Ex: Fortunately he helped us, so that we ended our work on time.
j) relative conjunctions - they introduce relative clauses: that, which, who,
whose, as, etc.
Ex: This is the man who is going to run the firm.
k) subject clause conjunction – it introduces subject clauses: that
Ex: That you should go there is not surprising.
l) object clause conjunction - it introduces direct object clauses: that
Ex: They knew that I wanted to quit my job.
m) attributive clause conjunction- it introduces attributive clauses: that
Ex: The news that he was fired shocked me.

VIII.1. Definition
VIII.2. Types of numerals
VIII.3. The cardinal numeral
VIII.4. The ordinal numeral
VIII.5. The fractional numeral
VIII.6. The collective numeral
VIII.7. The multiplicative numeral
VIII.8. The distributive numeral
VIII.9. The adverbial numeral
VIII.10. The indefinite numeral

VIII.1. Definition
The numeral is the secondary part of speech that expresses an abstract number, a
numerical determination of objects or the order of objects through counting (Bădescu, 1984:

VIII.2. Types of numerals

There can be distinguished the following types of numerals in English (Bădescu, 1984:
a) cardinal numerals
b) ordinal numerals
c) fractional numerals
d) collective numerals
e) multiplicative numerals
f) distributive numerals
g) adverbial numerals
h) indefinite numerals

VIII.3. The cardinal numeral

The cardinal numeral expresses an abstract number or a definite and exact number of
objects. The cardinal numerals are: zero, one, two, three … one hundred, two thousand, three
million, etc.
In terms of their morphological composition, the cardinal numerals are of three types
(Beklyarova, 2007: 437):
- simple: the cardinals from one to twelve, hundred, thousand, million;
- derived: the cardinals from thirteen to nineteen (derived from the simple ones by
means of the suffix –teen) and the cardinals denoting tens (derived from the
simple ones by means of the suffix –ty);
- compound: the cardinals from twenty-one to twenty-nine, thirty-one to thirty-
nine, etc. and those over hundred.

The numerals hundred, thousand, million, dozen (12), score (20) and gross (144) are
never used in the plural if they are preceded by a definite number or by several, a few or a
couple of.
Ex: Three hundred years
Two thousand euros
Several million pounds
A few dozen books
Nine score boxes
Two gross of pencils
These numerals can be used in the plural when they express an indefinite number:
Ex: Hundreds/thousands/millions/dozens/scores/grosses of people

The cardinal numeral can function as:

a) an adjective, determining a noun: Ex: There were nine candidates for the
b) a noun (in this case, it can have a plural form as well): Ex: She is in her fifties.
c) one can also function as a pronoun: Ex: One knows one’s own story.

VIII.4. The ordinal numeral

The ordinal numeral indicates the order in a series or sequence (Jespersen, 2006:
153). With the exception of the first three numerals and the compound numbers formed
with their help, the ordinal numbers are formed by adding the suffix –th to the cardinal
numerals or to their equivalents. Thus, in terms of their morphological composition, the
ordinal numerals are of three types (Beklyarova, 2007: 438):
- simple: first, second, third;
- derivative: fifth, seventeenth, thirty-fifth, etc.;
- compound: thirty-first, twenty-second, fifty-third, etc.
The ordinal number may have the function of:
a) an adjective: Ex: Her son is the first student in his class.
b) a noun: Ex: I booked two firsts to Bucharest.
c) a pronoun: Ex: The first house we visited was quite large, but the second was
d) an adverb: Ex: When I first came here I was a young student.

VIII.5. The fractional numeral

The fractional numeral expresses fractions, that means one or several equal parts
from a whole.
There are two types of fractions:
a) The common/vulgar fraction – it has two terms: the numerator and the
Ex: 5/10 – numerator/denominator
b) The decimal fraction – in some cases a fraction can be also expressed through a
decimal number:
Ex: 3.25 – three point twenty-five

VIII.6. The collective numeral
The collective numeral expresses in a singular form the numerical idea of plural. It
includes: couple, pair, brace, dozen, score, gross, etc.
Couple, pair, brace refer to groups of two:
Ex: a couple of friends
a pair of gloves
a brace of dogs/ducks/pheasants (brace is a term used to refer to hunting)

Dozen, score, gross refer to groups larger than two.

Ex: two dozen boxes
three score years
two gross of pens

VIII.7. The multiplicative numeral

The multiplicative numeral shows the proportion in which a quantity raises. It
includes: single, double (twofold), triple (threefold), fourfold, tenfold, etc. The forms with the
suffix –fold are especially used in the literary style, the technical or the official style. In
speech, they have been replaced by adverbial numerals: once, twice, thrice/three times, four
times, ten times, etc.

VIII.8. The distributive numeral

The distributive numeral shows the distribution of objects in equal groups: one at a
time, two by two, by threes, by the hundred, four and four, every five days, etc.

VIII.9. The adverbial numeral

The adverbial numeral functions as an adverb and it shows:
a) the frequency or the periodicity of an action: once, twice, three times, once
more, once again, etc.
b) the place in a series: first, firstly, secondly, thirdly, in the first place, etc.

VIII.10. The indefinite numeral

The indefinite numeral shows an indefinite number of objects and it includes: a
number (of), a lot, lots, plenty, etc.

All the types of numerals mentioned above can be followed in the following chart:

Types of numerals Forms

Cardinal numerals zero, one, two, three, …, thirteen, fourteen,
…, twenty, twenty-one, …, one hundred, two
thousand, three million, etc.

Ordinal numerals first, second, third, fourth, sixteenth, fourty-

third, sixty-sixth, etc.
Fractional numerals two-tens, two point twenty, etc.
Collective numerals couple, pair, brace, dozen, score, gross, etc.

Multiplicative numerals single, double (twofold), triple (threefold),
fourfold, tenfold, etc.
Distributive numerals one at a time, two by two, by threes, by the
hundred, four and four, every five days, etc.
Adverbial numerals - once, twice, three times, once more, once
again, etc.
- first, firstly, secondly, thirdly, in the first
place, etc.
Indefinite numerals a number (of), a lot, lots, plenty, etc.

Appendix I.a

Partitives (Cobuild, 1990: 38-39)

a) Nouns referring to single items or amounts

a bar of chocolate / soap / metal
a blade of grass
a block of marble / ice / wood
a box of matches
a book of stamps
a cube of ice
a dash of soda
a flash of light / lightening / inspiration
a head of hair / cattle / cabbage / lettuce
a heap of coal / dirt / rubbish
an item / a piece of news / information
a jar of jam
a jet of water
a loaf of bread
a lump of coal / sugar
a clap of thunder
a piece of wood / furniture / paper / glass / chalk / cotton / bread / advice / information /
gossip / scandal / wisdom / knowledge
a portion of food
a roll of paper
a scrap of paper
a slice of bread / cake / meat
a sheet of paper
a stick of chalk
a strand of hair / wool

b) Nouns referring to small quantities

a breath of air
a cloud of dust
a drop of oil / rain / water
a grain of corn / dirt / rice / sand
a pinch of salt
a puff of smoke / wind
a sip of tea
a speck of dust

c) Nouns referring to measures

a gallon of petrol
a length of cloth

a litre of oil
an ounce of gold
a pint of beer / milk
a pound of coffee
a spoonful of medicine
a yard of cloth

d) Nouns referring to containers

a barrel of beer
a basket of fruit
a bottle of milk / wine / juice
a flask of tea
a glass of water
a tin of soup
a tube of paste
a vase of flowers

e) Nouns referring to types and species

a brand of soap
a kind of biscuit
a species of fish
a type of drug
a variety of pasta
a make of car
a sort of cake

f) Nouns referring to games

a game of billiards / bridge / cards / chess / cricket / darts / tennis / volleyball

g) Nouns referring to pairs

a pair of boots / braces / glasses / gloves / jeans / pants / pliers / pyjamas / scissors / shoes /
skis / slippers / socks / tights / tongs / trousers

h) Nouns referring to abstract concepts

a bit / piece of advice
a bit of knowledgs
a grain of truth
a period of calm
a fit of anger
a wink of sleep
a piece of research
a shred of evidence
a spot of trouble

Appendix I.b

Collective Nouns (Cobuild, 1990: 40-41)

a) Referring to people
a company of actors
a bench of bishops
a troupe of dancers
a board of directors
a party of friends
a gang of labourers
a bevy of ladies
a bench of magistrates
a troupe of minstrels
a band of musicians
a tribe of natives
a band of pilgrims
a class / school of pupils
a crew of sailors
a horde of savages
a staff of servants
a choir of singers
a crowd of spectators
a staff of teachers
a gang of thieves
a congregation of worshippers

b) Referring to animals, birds, insects

a swarm / hive of bees
a flock of birds
a herd of buffaloes
a herd of cattle
a brood of chicks
a herd of elephants
a shoal of fish
a tribe of goats
a team of horses
a swarm / plague of insects
a litter of kittens
a troop / pride of lions
a plague of locusts
a troop of monkeys
a team of oxen
a litter of pups
a nest of rabbits
a flight of swallows

a school of whales
a pack of wolves

c) Referring to plants and fruit

a bunch / hand of bananas
a bunch / bouquet of flowers
a bunch of grapes
a tuft of grass
a stack of hay
a clump / forest of trees

d) Referring to things
a flight / squadron of airplanes
a sheaf / quiver of arrows
a library of books
a pack of cards
a set of china
a packet of cigarettes
a cluster of diamonds
a chest of drawers
a clutch / sitting of eggs
a suite of furniture
a group of islands
a rope / string of pearls
a collection of pictures
a fleet / flotilla / squadron of ships
a collection of stamps
a cluster of stars
a flight of steps
a bundle of sticks
a pile / heap of stones
a set / kit of tools

Appendix II.a25
List of Descriptive
List of Descriptive Adjectives List of Descriptive Adjectives
Adjectives Describing
Describing Appearance Describing Personality
Adorable Aggressive Afraid
Attractive Ambitious Angry
Alluring Amused Anxious
Beautiful Brave Bad
Bewildered Bright Bored
Confident Cruel Calm
Cheerful Combative Confused
Cultured Co-operative Comfortable
Clumsy Cowardly Creepy
Drab Dangerous Depressed
Dull Diligent Disturbed
Dynamic Determined Dominating
Disillusioned Disagreeable Deceitful
Elegant Evil Envious
Fair Frank Faithful
Filthy Fearless Fine
Gentle Generous Good
Glamorous Gifted Grieving
Handsome Helpful Horrible
Homely Harmonious Happy
Hurt Hesitant Hungry
Ill-mannered Instinctive Ill
Jolly Jealous Jovial
Kind-hearted Knowledgeable Kind
Lovely Loner Lively
Magnificent Mysterious Mature
Nervous Naughty Nice

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/list-of-descriptive-adjectives.html, retrieved on January 10th, 2011.

Pleasant Pleasing Proud
Perfect Placid Peaceful
Plucky Punctual Protective
Smiling Successful Sorrowful
Splendid Sedate Silly
Self-assured Sincere Sombre
Snobbish Selfish Sore
Thoughtful Talented Tired
Tense Thrifty Troubled
Timid Truculent Testy
Upset Unbiased Unwell
Vivacious Voracious Vengeful
Wonderful Witty Wicked
Worried Wise Weary
Wild Warm Wrong
Zaftig Zany Zestful
eg- What an adorable baby! eg- He was a brave knight. eg- She was in a jovial mood.
List of Descriptive List of Descriptive List of Descriptive List of Descriptive
Adjectives Describing Adjectives Adjectives Describing Adjectives Describing
Shape Describing Size Time Quantity
Broad Big Ancient Abundant
Crooked Colossal Annual Bountiful
Circular Great Brief Cumbersome
Distorted Gigantic Early Empty
Flat Huge Fast Extra
Hollow Large Late Few
Narrow Miniature Modern Heavy
Round Mammoth Old Myriad
Square Petite Rapid Many
Skinny Tall Swift Multiple
Steep Thin Slow Numerous
Wide Tiny Young Substantial

eg- A skinny boy eg- A miniature train eg- An ancient book eg- Myriad stars

List of Descriptive List of Descriptive List of Descriptive List of Descriptive

Adjectives Describing Adjectives Describing Adjectives Describing Adjectives Describing
Sound Taste Touch Color
Blaring Bitter Hard Azure
Cooing Delicious Loose Aqua
Deafening Fresh Rough Blue
Loud Hot Smooth Black
Melancholic Icy Slippery Crimson
Noisy Juicy Sticky Cyan
Soft Spicy Sharp Gold
Shrill Sweet Scattered Green
Squeaking Sour Soft Magenta
Silent Salty Tender Orange
Thundering Tasty Uneven Pink
Whispering Tasteless Wet Turquoise
eg- Blaring
eg- Delicious pastry eg- Rough surface eg- Green diamond

Appendix II.b

Adjectives used only attributively (Cobuild, 1990: 75)

atomic, bridal, cardiac, countless, cubic, digital, east, eastern, eventual, existing, federal,
forensic, indoor, institutional, introductory, investigative, judicial, lone, maximum,
nationwide, neighbouring, north, northern, occasional, orchestral, outdoor, phonetic,
preconceived, remedial, reproductive, smokeless, south, southern, subterranean,,
supplementary, underlying, west, western, woollen

Appendix II.c (Cobuild, 1990: 77)

a) Adjectives usually used predicatively

afraid, alive, alone, apart, asleep, aware, content, due, glad, ill, likely, ready, safe, sorry, sure,
unable, unlikely, well

b) Adjectives usually or always used predicatively and followed by “to”

accustomed, adjacent, allergic, attributable, attuned, averse, close, conducive, devoted,

impervious, injurious, integral, prone, proportional, proportionate, reconciled, related,
resigned, resistant, similar, subject, subservient, susceptible, unaccustomed

c) Adjectives usually or always used predicatively and followed by “of”

aware, bereft, capable, characteristic, desirous, devoid, fond, full, heedless, illustrative,
incapable, indicative, mindful, reminiscent, represents

d) Adjectives usually or always used predicatively and followed by the

prepositions indicated

contingent on, descended from, inherent in, lacking in, rooted in, steeped in, swathed in,
unhampered by, answerable for, answerable to, burdened by, dependent on, dependent
upon, immune from, incumbent on, incumbent upon, insensible of, parallel to, parallel with,
reliant on, burdened with, connected to, connected with, immune to, inclined to, inclined
towards, insensible to, intent on, intent upon, reliant with, stricken by, stricken with

Appendix III

Irregular Verbs (Cmeciu & Bonta, 1997: 331-343)

Infinitive Past Tense Past Participle

/æ/ /Λ/
begin began begun
drink drank drunk/drunken*
ring rang rung
run ran run
shrink shrank shrunk/shrunken*
sing sang sung
sink sank sunk/sunken*
spring sprang sprung
stink stank stunk
swim swam swum

*drunken, shrunken and sunken are used attributively.

Infinitive Past Tense Past Participle

/Λ/ /Λ/
cling clung clung
dig dug dug
fling flung flung
hang hung/hanged (with a hung/hanged (with a
difference in meaning) difference in meaning)
sling slung slung
slink slunk slunk
spin spun spun/span
stick stuck stuck
sting stung stung
strike struck struck/stricken*
swing swung swung
win won won
wring wrung wrung

*stricken is used attributively.

Infinitive Past Tense Past Participle

/ou/ /ou/
break broke broken
choose chose chosen
freeze froze frozen
steal stole stolen

speak spoke spoken
wake woke woken
weave wove/weaved woven/weaved
Infinitive Past Tense Past Participle
/o:/ /o:/
bear bore borne/born
swear swore sworn
tear tore torn
wear wore worn

Infinitive Past Tense Past Participle

/e/ /e/
bereave bereaved/bereft bereaved/bereft
bleed bled bled
breed bred bred
creep crept crept
dream dreamed/dreamt dreamed/dreamt
feed fed fed
feel felt felt
flee fled fled
keep kept kept
kneel knelt knelt
lead led led
leap leapt leapt
leave left left
mean meant meant
meet met met
read read read
sleep slept slept
smell smelt/smelled smelt/smelled
speed sped/speeded sped/speeded
spell spelled/spelt spelled/spelt
sweep swept swept
weep wept wept

Infinitive Past Tense Past Participle

/u:/ /o:/
draw drew drawn
overdraw overdrew overdrawn
withdrawn withdrew withdrawn

Infinitive Past Tense Past Participle

/o:/ /o:/
beseech besought besought
bring brought brought
buy bought bought
catch caught caught
fight fought fought
seek sought sought
teach taught taught
think thought thought
Infinitive Past Tense Past Participle
/ou/ /i/
drive drove driven
ride rode ridden
rise rose risen
arise arose arisen
shrive shrove shriven
smite smote smitten
stride strode stridden
strive strove striven
thrive throve/thrived thriven
write wrote written

Infinitive Past Tense Past Participle

No change No change
bet bet bet
burst burst burst
broadcast broadcast broadcast
cast cast cast
cost cost cost
cut cut cut
hit hit hit
hurt hurt hurt
let let let
put put put
rid rid rid
set set set
shed shed shed
shut shut shut
slit slit slit
split split split
spread spread spread
thrust thrust thrust

Infinitive Past Tense Past Participle

/t/ /t/
bend bent bent
lend lent lent
rend rent rent

send sent sent
spend spent spent

Infinitive Past Tense Past Participle

/au/ /au/
bind bound bound
find found found
grind ground ground
wind wound wound
Infinitive Past Tense Past Participle
/ou/ /ou/
sell sold sold
tell told told
foretell foretold foretold

Infinitive Past Tense Past Participle

/i/ /i/
bite bit bitten
chide chid chid
hide hid hidden

Infinitive Past Tense Past Participle

/u/ /ei/
forsake forsook forsaken
mistake mistook mistaken
partake partook partaken
shake shook shaken
take took taken

Infinitive Past Tense Past Participle

/ei/ /i/
bid bade/bid bidden/bid
forbid forbade forbidden
forgive forgave forgiven
give gave given

Infinitive Past Tense Past Participle

/æ/ /æ/
sit sat sat
spit spat spat

Infinitive Past Tense Past Participle

/d/ /n/
hew hewed hewn
mow mowed mown

saw sawed sawn
sew sewed sewn
show showed shown
sow sowed sown
strew strewed strewn

abide abode abode
be was/were been
beat beat beaten
blend blended/blent blended/blent
bless blessed/blest blessed/blest
build built built
burn burned/burnt burned/burnt
clothe clothed/clad clothed/clad
come came come
become became become
overcome overcame overcome
deal dealt dealt
do did done
outdo outdid outdone
dwell dwelt dwelt
eat ate eaten
fall fell fallen
foresee foresaw foreseen
forget forgot forgotten
get got got/gotten
go went gone
undergo underwent undergone
have had had
hear heard heard
overhear overheard overheard
hold held held
behold beheld beheld/beholden
withhold withheld withheld
knit knitted/knit knitted/knit
lay laid laid
mislay mislaid mislaid
lean leant/leaned leant/leaned
learn learned/learnt Learned*/learnt
lie lay lain
light lighted/lit lighted/lit
load loaded loaded/laden*
lose lost lost
make made made
melt melted melted/molten*

pay paid paid
rot rotted rotted/rotten*
say said said
see saw seen
shave shaved shaved/shaven
shear sheared sheared/shorn
shine shone shone
shoe shod shod
shoot shot shot
slide slid slid
spill spilled/spilt spilled/spilt
spoil spoiled spoiled/spoilt
stand stood stood
understand understood understood
withstand withstood withstood
swell swelled swollen/swelled
tread trod trodden/trod
work worked worked/wrought*

*laden, learned, molten (iron), rotten, wrought (iron) are used attributively

Appendix VII.a
Verbs with preposition (Paidos, 1993: 228-243)
to abandon to; to abide by; to abound in; to account/or; to accuse of; to accustom to; to
acquaint with; to act on/upon; to agree on/upon; to agree to; to agree with; to aim at/for;
to allow for; to answer for; to answer to; to apologize for; to apologize to; to apply for; to
apply to; to approve of; to ask about; to ask for; to ask in; to assort with; to attend to; to
be about; to be after; to be through; to be with; to believe in; to belong to; to bring about;
to call at; to call for; to call in; to call on; to care for; to carry on; to change for; to change
into; to charge for; to come across; to complain about/of; to connect with; to consist of; to
consist in; to count on/upon; to deal with; to decide on/upon; to defend against/from; to
depend on/upon; to discern between; to dissatisfy at; to dissatisfy with; to distribute to; to
do about; to do for; to do in; to do without; to embark on/upon; to endow with; to excel in;
to feel about; to fit with; to free from; to gaze at; to get after; to get to; to go for; to go
in(to); to inherit from; to introduce to; to involve in; to involve with; to keep about/around;
to keep on; to keep to; to know about/of; to know from; to laugh; to lead in; to learn from;
to learn about/of; to leave for; to leave with; to listen to; to live on; to live through; to long
for; to look after; to look at; to look for; to look in (on); to look on; to look to; to make after;
to make at; to make for; to make of; to match with; to meet with; to mingle with; to mock
at; to object to; to occupy in; to occupy with; to occur to; to originate from; to pass by; to
pay for; to plead for; to plot against; to point at; to point to/towards; to provide for; to
provide with; to pull at; to pull by; to punish for; to punish with; to race against; to reach
after; to reach for; to read for; to refrain from; to require of; to rescue from; to resort to; to
result in; to result from; to revolt against; to use against; to rise from; to run after; to run
at; to run for; to run into; to say about; to say after; to see about; to see to; to seek
after/for; to send for; to set about; to set for; to show around; to take about; to lake after;
to take for; to tell on; to think about/of; to think in; to think to; to throw at; to wait for; to
wave at/to; to wonder at; to wonder about.

Appendix VII.b

Nouns with prepositions (Paidos, 1993: 244-245)

access to; accompaniment of; accord of; in accordance with; account, of; accu¬sation of; act
of; action of; advance of; advertisement for; advice on ; affinity with; aggression against/
towards ; agreement among/about/as to/between; aim of; amusement at; anger against; in
answer (to); antagonism to/ towards/between; appointement with; appreciation of;
aptitude for; in associa¬tion with; astonishment at; attempt on/upon; attendance at; in
attendance on; authority on/over; aversion to; bastion of; battle against/with (another
group)/between (two partsrts); belief in; border between/of/with; bridge across/over;
campaign against/for; care for; chance of; change of; charge with; claim for/to; in command;
in company; in competition with; concern about/over; confidence in; in conformity with;
consultation about (something)/with (some¬one); control over; conversion from; conviction
of/for; cure for; decision about/on; decrease in; defence against; by definition; delight of;
desire for; in diffi¬culty; disagreement between; in disguise ; in the distance; distinction
between; dream of; on duty; off duly; on earth; at ease (with); embargo on;
embar¬rassment at (something)/to (someone); enthusiasm for; entrance to/of; entry in(to);
equality of; equivalent of; evidence about/of; for example; exception to; excursion (in) to;
excuse for; exit from; experiment on/with; expert in/on/at; explanation for; faith in; in
fashion; out of fashion; in favour (of); feeling about/for; fidelity to; on fire; under fire; in
flower; on foot; in general; on the grounds of; by hand (= manually); at hand (- near); on
hand (near and available); in harmony with; haired for/of; on holiday; homage to; in honour
of; an honor to; in the hope of; hunger for; by implication; impression of; improvement
in/of; inclination for/towards; an indictment against/of someone for a crime; in¬equality
in/of/between; information about/on; inspiration for; for instance; instrument of/for;
insurance against; intimacy with; introduction to; investigation into; joke about/with; judge
of; judgement of; justification for; lack of; against the law ; in/by/ under law ; legislation
against/for/on ; at liberty ; in the light (of); liking for; limit of/on ; link between ; at a loss
for); love for; in love (with); in luck; out of luck; with luck ; mania for; margin of; master of; in
the meantime ; memorial to ; memory of; at the mercy of; in a mess ; miracle of; by mistake ;
misunderstanding between ; model of; in moderation; at the moment; for the moment; of
the moment; monopoly of; monument to ; by (the) name ; in the name (of); by nature
(naturally); in the nature of; necessity of/for; need for; at night; nostalgia for; obedience to;
object of; objection to; occasion for; partiality for; participant in; on patrol; perspective
on/of; by phone; in place of; by plane; in possession of; possibility of; power of; power over;
prediction about/of; predilection for; preface to; prejudice against; prescription for; on
prescription; probability of; promise to; proof of; in proposition to/with; in public; a question
about; beyond question; in question (=involved); out of question; quotation from ; at
random; at any rate; rationale for/of; in reality ; reason for; by reason of; recovery from;
reference to; reflection-of/ on/ upon; refusal of; relation with/between/of/to ; relationship
with/between ; relit from; remark on; remedy for; replacement for; replica of; with
reservation(s); in reserve; respect for; responsibility for; revelation to; wider review ; at
(the) risk (of); by road; rumour of; sanctions against; at sea; the secret of; sequel to ; in
sequence ; out of sequence; in session; by ship; in sight; out of sight; on sight; a sign of;
signal for; in silence; on stage.; in step ; out of step; in store on the street (homeless); in the
street (outside); the strength of; stress on; study of; suggestion of; under suspicion; above

suspicion; beyond suspicion; symbolof; sympathy for/with; symptom of; synonym for; a
target for; a taste of by taxi; in tears; a technique of/for; by telephone; on television; in
terme of; a testimony to; in theory; a thirst for; in touch with; on tour; without trace;
translation from/to/into; a tribute to; in trouble; by truck; by tube; understanding of; in
unison; in vain; on vacation; at variance with; a variation of/on; a variety of; a vehicle for;
verdict on; on the verge of; in the vicinity of; with a view to; visit from; visitor from/to; a
witness to.

Appendix VII.c

Adjectives with prepositions (Paidos, 1993: 246-247)

able to; absent from; absorbed in; acceptable to; accountable for; accustomed to; afraid of
something/to do something; ahead of; afflicted by; alarmed by; allergic to; amazed at/by;
angry about (something)/with somebody; annoyed at/about/by; anxious about/for; armed
with; ashamed about/of; astonished at; attentive to; available for; averse to; aware of; bad
at/for; basic to; blind to; bored with; brilliant at; busy with; capable of; careful
of/about/with; careless of/with; certain of; charged with; clear about/of; clever at/to; close
to; comparable to/with; complementary to; concerned about/with; conscious of;
content(ed) with; contrary to; convenientfor; crazy about (something)/to do (something);
crowded with; curious about; deaf to; delighted with (a present)/at (hearing something)/to
do (something); dependent on; descended from; determined to; different fro/than;
disappointed with; displeased with; doubtful about; due to; eager for; easy about/to;
embarrassed at/about/by; envious of; equal to; essential for/to; evident to; exclusive to; fair
to; faithful to; familiar to/with; famous for; favourable to; fearful of; fit for; fond of; forgetful
of; free for; friendly to; full of; furious at/with; generous to/with; gentle with; glad about/of/
to; good at; grateful to/for; guilty of; happy about/with; harmful to; hesitant about/to; heavy
with; honest about; honoured to; hopeful about; hopeless at; hungry for; identical to/with;
ignorant of; impatient at/of/with; important for; impressed by/with; incapable of;
incompatible with; inconsistent with; independent of; inferior to; indispensable to;
indistinguishable from; inherent in; inimical to; insensible of/to; inseparable from; interested
in/to; intolerant of; intoxicated by; invisible to; involved in/with; invulnerable to; irrelevant
to; jealous of; keen about/on; kind of/to; at large; late for; at last; likely to; loyal to; mad
about; married to; mirrored by/in; mistaken about/as to; native (to); necessary for; nervous
about/of; new to; nice to; notorious for; noted for; obedient to; obvious of/to; obsessed
by/with; occupied in/with; of old; optimistic about; orientated to /towards; pardoned for;
parted from; patient with; peculiar to; pleasant to; pleased with/to/about; poor in; popular
with; populated by; positive about (sure); preferable to; prejudiced against; preoccupied
with; proficient in; prompt to; proud of; puzzled about; qualified for/to; ready for; for real;
receptive to; related to; relevant to; remote from; removed from; resident in; responsible
for/to; reunited with; rich in/with; rooted in; sacred to; safe from; satisfied with; scornful of;
sensitive to/about; sentimental about; separate from; serious about; short of; for/to;
superior to; sure about/of; surrounded by; susceptible to; surprised at; symbolic of;
sympathetic to/towards; synonymous with; thankful to/for; thirsty for; thrilled about; tired
of; true to; unacceptable to ; unaccustomed; unacquainted with; unaffected by; unafraid of;
unattractive to; unavailable for; unaware of; uncertain about/of; uncharacteristic of; unclear
about; uneasy about; unconcerned with; unconnected with; unconscious of; undecided
about; unequal to; unfair to; unfaithful to; unfamiliar to; unfit for; unhappy about/with;
unempressed by; uninterested in; unique to; unkind to; unknown to; unprepared for;
unsatisfied with; unsuited to; unsure about; wasted on; weak on; worried about; worthy of;
wrong with.

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