23 May, 2012

LANE 333 - Formal and Structural Classes

• Parts of speech are labels for categories in which words are usually placed.
• Words can be categorized according to how they work within phrases, clauses or sentences.
Traditionally, they are known as parts of speech. In modern linguistics, they are known as word classes.
• Early in the 1540, the Latin grammar written in English by William Lyly was published in 1540.
• Eight parts of speech was introduced:
·         DECLINED
1.      Nouns
2.      Adverbs
3.      Pronouns
4.      Verbs
5.      Participles
·         UNDECLINED
6.      Conjunctions
7.      Prepositions
8.      Interjections
• In1640, Ben Jonson introduced: English Grammar.
•Jonson followed the Latin Parts of speech.
• By the 1760s, the participles had been dropped.
•Lowth chose these parts of speech: nouns, adjectives, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, and interjections.
• In 1795, Murray’s English Grammar was introduced.
• Murray adopted the eight parts of speech of Lowth, to which he added the articles.
•These parts of speech are: articles, nouns, adjectives, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, and interjections.
•Traditional English grammars assign class membership following Latin-derived definitions of parts of speech.
• Several problems are raised as the definitions of the traditional parts of speech are based on two different criteria.
•The definitions of nouns and verbs are based on meaning while the rest are based on function.
·         a red shirt’: The word red is the name of a colour and hence is a noun, but it modifies the noun shirt and hence is an adjective.Therefore: we have to set up a more elaborate yet workable set of word classes: formal classes and functional/structural classes.
Parts of speech may be classified into three groups:
1.      The form-classes: These are: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs. The term form-class is used because membership in a class is determined by the form of a word.
2.      The positional-classes: There are four main positional classes: nominal, verbal, adjectival, and adverbial. Membership in these classes is determined by position or word order.
3.      The structure-classes: such as prepositions and auxiliaries. The structure classes are small, stable, and closed.

Parts of speech: Form-Classes


•The inflectional or derivational morphology determines the membership of words to parts of speech or form classes:
1.      Nouns
2.      Verbs
3.      Adjectives
4.      Adverbs
• Form classes are large and open as they readily admit new members, e.g. workaholic, minibus.

A. Nouns

Nouns are identified as nouns by two aspects of form:
1. inflectional morphemes, and
2. derivational morphemes.
The inflectional morphemes are:
A- the noun plural {-s pl} ,and
B- the noun possessive {-s ps}.

e.g. The author seems tired
‘author’ is a noun because it can be change to the plural in the same position, with the readjustment of seems to the plural form seem:11/17/2011
_The authors seem tired.
But in the sentence:
_ Her brother may author a new biography.
‘author’ cannot be made plural and hence is not a noun.
• Nouns may have only a plural form, e.g. clothes, goods, pants, oats, scissors, glasses.
• Nouns are also identified by certain derivational suffixes, e.g. The -ity suffix added to an adjective as in the noun purity’.12 11/17/2011
•Although the use of inflectional suffixes is a practical tool for noun identification, derivational suffixes cannot be neglected.
•Some words are never inflected: e.g. drainage, manhood, nourishment.


Verbs have five different inflectional forms:

•Any  word  that  has  three  or  more  of  these inflectional forms is said to belong to the form class called the verb .For example, cut has the minimum of three forms: cut, cuts, cutting.
•Derivational  suffixes  that  help  identify  verbs are few; e.g. solidify, strengthen, colonize.

C. Adjectives
• A word that is inflected with –er, –est , and that is capable of forming adverbs with –ly and or
nouns with –ness is called an adjective.
• We can usually identify adjectives by derivational suffixes alone; e.g. cultural, readable, reddish.
D. Adverbs

• The adverb has four suffixes:
_ the derivational suffixes –ly, -wise, -ward, and –s .
_ the free form like.
• Words consisting of: a source noun+-ward are at home in the positions of both adjectives and adverbs, as in:
1-‘The earthward drop of the parachutist was spectacular.’ ( adjective position).
2-‘As she stepped out the plane door and parachuted earthward.’ (adverb position).

• There are a few words that do not allow or do not have inflectional or derivational suffixes to be used with them. These words are referred to as ‘nonsuffixing forms’ or ‘uninflected words’.
1. Words traditionally called nouns e.g. tennis
2. Words traditionally called adverbs e.g. never
3. Words traditionally called adjectives e.g. only
4. Most words in structure classes e.g. the, must, from, and.

Parts of speech: Structure-Classes

Structure-class words, sometimes called function words, are words that signal how the form class words (sometimes referred to as  “content words”) relate to each other in a sentence.
Structure classes have three main characteristics:
1- recognized mainly by position, as they rarely change form.
2- small in number.
3- stable and closed classes.
A. Qualifiers
The qualifier occurs in the position just before an adjectival or an adverbial as
1.      The dinner was very good.
2.      She performed rather skillfully.
Dr. 12/3/2011
 • The function of a qualifier: is to modify; and
• The modified word: is called the head.
• You can use a frame sentence to test whether a word is a qualifier:
*      The handsome man seems_____ handsome.
• You can supply very, quite, rather, etc.12/3/2011
• Many qualifiers appear similar to adverbs; however, you will find that they do not pass many of the adverb tests.
Qualifiers’ position can accept any form class: Nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.
*      The table was only inches wide.6 12/3/2011
*      The water is boiling hot.
*      My dress seems lighter blue than yours.
*      You did fairly well.
1. Some qualifiers are homophones of adjectives: Pretty good, mighty fine, jolly hot, great big,..
2. Some qualifiers have a limited distribution: brand new, much alive, that good,.....
3. Some noun phrases and idiomatic expressions are considered qualifiers due to their positions: a lot , kind of, sort of, a bit (of). ......
4. The qualifiers used before a comparative differ from the ones used before the positive degree:
*       I feel much better.
*       I feel very good.

B. Prepositions
• Prepositions signal that a noun phrase called the object of the preposition follows.
• A noun phrase is any word or group of words for which a noun can be substituted.
• A preposition and its object are together called a prepositional phrase (PP).
• Prepositions are either simple (one-word) or compound (multi-word) prepositions.
•Prepositions connect the nominal or noun phrases (the object of the preposition) that follow to the rest of the sentence.9 12/3/2011
1. Simple: e.g. about, of, by, since.
2. Compound: e.g. next to, by means of, in front of.
cont., Prepositions
Simple Prepositions:
• English has a small group of prepositions:
1- one-syllable prepositions, which are frequently used such as at, in .
Example: He came with the girl.
2-Two-syllable prepositions, such as about, before.
Example: We invested despite the risk.
Compound Prepositions:
1.      two-part
2.      with noun
1. We arrived ahead of time.
2. The game was called off on account of rain.
Prepositions are usually followed by a noun, noun phrase, personal pronoun,
or noun-substitute called the object of the preposition.
• George sat between the two deans.
• George jumped on it.
• George went from this to that.
• Prepositional phrases themselves function as post modifiers of noun phrases or verb phrases in a sentence:
_ Adjectival function: ‘The voice of the people’ (modifies the voice)
_ Adverbial function: ‘hurried to the store’ (modifies hurried)
_ Adverbial function: ‘sorry for the interruption’ (modifies sorry)
Some of these words we have been dealing with can be either prepositions or adverbials.
Preposition: She looked up the stairs.
Adverbial: She looked up.
• The name Preposition implies that this structure word occupies a preposition.
•Prepositions usually precede their objects.
• Some –ing verb forms may function as prepositions.
_ Considering your loss, the bill will not be sent.
• There are cases where prepositions occur at the end of a structure and
the object of the preposition was fronted for stylistic purposes:
1. Relative clause : The job ( that) he worked at.
2. Passive: the lock had been tampered with.
3. Infinitive: Clay is fun to play with.
4. Exclamation: What a mess we got into!
5. QW question: Which room did you find it in?
6. Set expression: The world over, your objection notwithstanding.

C. Determiners
A determiner is a word that patterns with a noun. It precedes the noun and serves as a signal that a noun is soon to follow.
Example: The gymnasium
If the noun is proceeded by adjectives and nouns, the determiner precedes these modifiers.
1. The new gymnasium
2. The brick gymnasium
3. The new brick gymnasium.
There are five main groups of determiners:
1. Articles: a/an, the
2. Demonstratives: this, these, that, those
3. Possessives:
_ Possessive nouns
_ Prenominal Possive Pronouns: my, our, your, his, her, its, their,
4. Indefinites & Quantifiers: some, any, no, every, other, another, many, more, most, enough, few, less, much, either, neither, several, all, both, each.
5. Numerals:
_ Cardinal numbers: one, two, three, four, ...
_ Ordinal numbers: first, second, third, last
The Ordering of Determiners:
Determiners occur before nouns, and they indicate the kind of reference which the nouns have. Depending on their relative position before a noun, we distinguish three classes of determiners:
1. Predeterminer
2. Central Determiner
3. Postdeterminer
EXAMPLE: ‘I met all my many friends.’
I met
Predeterminer: all
Central Determiner : my
Postdeterminer: many
Noun: friends.
1. Predeterminers: all, both, fractions (half, one-third) , multipliers (double, twice)
2. Central determiners:
– articles: the, a, an
– demonstratives: this/that ; these/those,23 12/3/2011
– possessives: my, our, your, his, her, possessives of names
– wh-determiners: which, whose, whichever
– negative determiner: no
3. Post-determiners:
– ordinal numerals: (first, second, former, latter, last, next)
– Cardinal numerals: (1, 2, 3)24 12/3/2011
– Quantifiers: (much, many, any, every, few)
• The absence of a determiner to signal a following noun will sometimes produce ambiguity. Here is a case from a newspaper headline:
_’Union Demands Increase’25 12/3/2011
we do not know how to interpret increase because a signal is absent:
1. A determiner would indicate that it is a noun: Union demands an increase
2. An auxiliary would indicate that it is a verb: Union demands will increase
·   Some determiners overlap with noun substitutes (words that can substitute nouns)
as in:
1. That will be enough
2. What can one do with old cars like these?
3. I can’t tell Jim’s tennis shoes from his.26 12/3/2011
4. I prefer Elizabeth’s
• All the italic words are noun substitutes forming noun phrases whereas determiners form a constituent of a noun phrase which modifies the head nouns.

D. Auxiliaries
Auxiliaries are closely associated with the verb and are of three kinds.
1. Modal auxiliaries
2. Primary auxiliaries: have and be
3. The periphrastic auxiliary: do12/3/2011
• There are ten modal auxiliaries: can, could, may , might, shall, should ,will, would ,must ,ought (to).
The modal auxiliaries are bound together as a group by two characteristics of form:
(a)The present tense form does not take an –s in the third person singular.
(b)They do not have participle forms , present or past.
•Modal auxiliaries precede verb stems and give the special shades of meaning such as:
_ Volition
_ possibility
_ probability
_ permission
_ necessity
• They are sometimes called verb markers because they signal that a verb is about to
•The majority of the modals are said to have tense:
*      Shall, should
*      Will, would
*      can, could
*      May, might
Must and ought to do not have a parallel form, like the others. To express past tense of must, in the sense of necessity, we use “had to’, e.g.:
*      This morning I must trim the hedge.
*      Yesterday I had to trim the hedge.
• To express past tense of ought to, in the sense of necessity, we use ‘ought to/should have + a past participle’, e.g.:
*      You ought to see those strawberries.
*      You ought to have/ should have seen those strawberries.
• The negatives of must and ought (to) are not regular.
• If must means “is necessary” then its negative means “is not necessary”.
This negative meaning is expressed by do not have to or need not, and NOT by
must not, which is forbiddance of the action of the following verb. Thus:

Primary Auxiliaries
2.The Primary Auxiliaries:
The second kind is the primary auxiliaries: have and be.

Have and Be
• When auxiliaries are employed in groups of two or three, they must follow the sequence: modal + have + be
• With have only one form is used in main-verb sequences.
• but be may be doubled, as in: “ He was being punished.”
Auxiliary do has three main functions:
1. The formation of questions and tag questions in sentences which do not contain an auxiliary:
_ Sally studies chemistry. _Does Sally study chemistry?
_ Sally studied chemistry. _Did Sally study chemistry?
_ Sally studies chemistry , doesn’t she?
_ Sally studied chemistry, didn’t she?
4 12/3/2011
2. The formation of negatives in sentences which do not contain an auxiliary :
_ Sally studies chemistry. _Sally doesn’t study chemistry?
_ Sally studied chemistry. _Sally didn’t study chemistry?

3. The formation of emphatic sentences:
_ I do like that one.
Do may also function as a main verb. Its general meaning is something “to perform” or “to cause”:
_ I’ll do it.
_ It’ll do you good./3/2011
As a main verb, do may also get its meaning from another verb, as in:
_ We want it more than they do. (i.e. ‘want it’).
NOTE: It is important to note that primary auxiliaries can be main verbs in structures such as:
_ He did the dishes.
_ We have a dog. 36 12/3/2011
_ She is a nice girl.
Auxiliaries in Questions and Negation

1. In forming questions:
The first auxiliary is placed in front of the subject:
_The dog should be licensed._ Should the dog be licensed?
_They are happy. _ Are they happy?37 12/3/2011
_ Jim is teaching history. _
Is Jim teaching history?
2. Negatives:
Placing the word ‘not’ after the first auxiliary:
_The dog should be licensed._ The dog shouldn’t be licensed
_They are happy _ They aren’t happy.
_Jim is teaching history. _
Jim isn’t teaching history.
3. Tag questions:
Locate the first auxiliary of the utterance and repeat it in a subsequent tag38 12/3/2011
_The dog should be licensed, shouldn’t it?
_The dog should be licensed, should it?
_They are happy, aren’t they?
_They aren’t happy, are they?
_Jim is teaching history, isn’t he?
_ Jim isn’t teaching history, is he?
• The behaviour and patterning of auxiliaries differ from those of verbs in several respects:
1. an auxiliary verb is not used as a full verb. It may be used, however, as a substitute verb or in reference to a previously mentioned verb, as in:39 12/3/2011
_ He ate an orange and so did I.
_ I can drive and so can he.
_ A: “Are you going to the play?”
B: “Yes, I am.”
2. The negative of a verb phrase that has a verb only is different from a one that has an auxiliary verb.
3. Forming a question with an auxiliary is different than forming a question with a verb.40 12/3/2011
Affim.“ He has been attending.” _
Neg.“ He has not been attending.”
_Affim.“He attends” _
Neg.“He doesn’t attend.”

E. Pronouns: Personal, Interrogative, Relative

Pronouns are substitutes for noun phrases. This is clear if you perform a simple substitution test on the sentence:
_That old torn hat is lying here.
* That old torn it is lying here.
It is lying here.
• Of course, the forms of pronouns don’t refer specifically to the noun phrase they are
•The referent of a pronoun is called an antecedent:
_A: You know that hammer we lost?
B: It is lying there.
Personal Pronouns
A personal pronoun is the most basic type used to substitute for a noun phrase. The forms of personal pronouns are determined by three different characteristics: PERSON (1st, 2nd, or 3rd), NUMBER (singular or plural) and GENDER (masculine, feminine, or neuter).

1. They are going to the ballet.
2. It was she who missed the test.
3. We saw her in the car.
4. I gave her the letter yesterday.44 12/3/2011
5. A package came from him.
6. That lawn mower is ours.
7. Yours was the best.
Relative Pronouns
who, whom, whose, which, and that. These are called relative pronouns because they relate a dependent clause to an independent clause.
_The woman who married Rusty is an aerospace engineer.12/3/2011
• Here the word who modifies a noun phrase, the woman. In fact, the woman is the antecedent of the relative pronoun. Since who modifies a noun phrase, it is functioning adjectivally. Adjectival clauses which use relative pronouns are called relative clauses.
_The woman whom Rusty married is an aerospace engineer.
• Why the change to whom? It is because the relative pronoun is functioning as the object of married, rather than the subject, as in the first sentence.46 12/3/2011
•The form whose is a relative pronoun that functions as a possessive determiner within the relative clause.
_The bicyclist whose helmet fell of kept writing.
• The pronouns who, whom, and whose are all used for human antecedents, and sometimes for animals.
• For nonhuman antecedents, a single form that is used.
_The trip that intrigues me most visits the Copper Canyon in Mexico.
• The form that is also frequently used for human antecedents.
However, the who forms tend to be preferred by more educated speakers and in standard English.
•The pronoun which has antecedents that are things, animals, and sometimes a general idea expressed by the rest of the sentence. It is never used for humans.12/3/2011
_Those apple trees, which belong to our neighbour, bear beautiful fruit.
_ Carlo read all of War and Peace in one day, which astounded us.
• In the second sentence, the entire main clause is the antecedent of which.
• Sometimes whose is used as the possessive of that and which:
_He tossed aside the lock whose key was missing.
• However, prepositional phrases are also frequently used:
_ the lock to/for which the key was missing.
Interrogative Pronouns

We use interrogative pronouns to ask questions.
•The interrogative pronoun represents the thing that we don't know (what we are
asking the question about).50 12/3/2011
•There are four main interrogative pronouns: who, whom, what, which.
• Notice that the possessive pronoun whose can also be an interrogative pronoun (an interrogative possessive pronoun).

Notice that whom is the correct form when the pronoun is the object of the verb, as in "Whom did you see?" ("I saw John.")
However, in normal, spoken English we rarely use whom. Most native speakers would say (or even write): "Who did you see?"

•When we add "-ever", we get the pronouns ( whoever, whatever, whichever).
• we use it for emphasis, often to show confusion or surprise.
_ Whoever would want to do such a nasty thing?
_Whatever did he say to make her cry like that?
_They're all fantastic! Whichever will you choose?


·   Structure classes have relatively few and fixed members.
they are closed classes as they rarely admit new members.
they are recognized by position.5 12/3/2011
they do not carry a heavy semantic load, but they are very important in what they signal and how the structure of a sentence is to be interpreted.
Stageberg, Norman C. and Dallin D. Oaks (2000). An Introductory English Grammar , Heinle, Boston:USA.