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Independent elements of the sentence

§ 113. Independent elements of the sentence, as the term implies, generally are not grammatically dependent on any particular part of the sentence, but as a rule refer to the sentence as a whole. Only occasionally they may refer to a separate part of the sentence. The independent element may consist of a word or a phrase. Its position is more free than that of any other parts of the sentence and accordingly it may occur in different positions in the sentence.

There are two groups of independent elements:


I. Direct address. A direct address is the name of a person (or occasionally a non-person) to whom the rest of the sentence is addressed. It may be emotionally charged or neutral, but semantically it does not influence the sentence.


I’m sorry, Major, we had an arrangement.

Jenny, darling, don’t say such things.

How’s the world, good friend?


II. Parenthesis. As to its meaning the parenthesis may beofseveral types:


a) It may express the speaker’s attitude to the relation between what is expressed in the sentence and reality (perhaps, maybe, certainly, of course, evidently, oh, Goodness Gracious, etc.).

Undoubtedly you are both excellent engineers.

Surely he had too wide a mouth.

The cottages were, in fact, boxlike and rather towny.

Oh, we can’t go.


b) It may connect the sentence it belongs to with the preceding or the following one expressing different relations (first, firstly, secondly, finally, after all, moreover, besides, by the way, on the contrary, that is (i.e.), for example (eg), etc.).


I was listening and thinking. Besides, I wantedto tell you something.

After all, he'd only been doing his duty.

Finally the whole party started walking.


c) It may specify that which is said in the sentence or express a comment (according to my taste, in my opinion, to tell the truth, in other words, as is known, by the way, etc.).

According to your theory, we’re in a mighty soulful era.

To tell you the truth, the total was more than a thousand francs.


As a rule a parenthesis refers to the sentence (or clause) as a whole.

Frankly speaking, he had been amazed at his failure.

This streak of light was, in all likelihood, a gleam from a lantern.


Sometimes, however, a parenthesis refers only to, a secondary part of the sentence.


Miss Barlett might reveal unknown depths of strangeness, though not, perhaps, of meaning.


As to its morphological nature, a parenthesis can be expressed by:


1. A modal word:

perhaps, no doubt, indeed, certainty, in fact, evidently, maybe, etc.

Perhaps they would go soon.


2. An interjection:

oh, ah, eh, dear me, by God, Good heavens, etc.


You like the outfit, eh?

Dear me, I had no idea you were such a determined character.


3. A conjunct (that is, an adverb combining the function of a parenthesis with that of a connector):

finally, anyway, consequently, besides, moreover, otherwise, etc.


But there’s no chance here. Besides, he couldn’t make two ends meet on the job.


4. A prepositional phrase:

in my opinion, in short, by the way, onthe other hand, on thecontrary, at least, to one's surprise, etc.

In my opinion you are wrong.

You can’t make me! In short, I won’t do it.


5. An infinitive phrase:

to tell the truth, to be sure, to begin with, to do smb justice, etc.


That was, so to speak, another gift for you.

To do that lady justice, Miss Spencer bore the ordeal very well.


6. A participial phrase:

frankly speaking, strictly speaking, generally speaking,etc.

Generally speaking I think you’re right.


7. A clause (see the item on parenthetical clauses).

As it was, Nell departed with surprising docility.


§ 114. The words in an English sentence are arranged in a certain order, which is fixed for every type of the sentence, and is therefore meaningful. We find several principles determining word order in a sentence, so that word order fulfils several functions -grammatical, emphatic, orcommunicative, andlinking. These functions are manifested in different arrangements of the parts of the sentence.

The grammatical function of word order

§ 115. The main function of word order is to express grammati­cal relations and determine the grammatical status of a word by fixing its position in the sentence. There exist two ways of arranging words - direct word order and inverted word order.

Direct word order

§ 116. The most common pattern for the arrangement of the main parts in a declarative sentence isSubject - Predicate - (Object), which is called direct word order. Direct word order is also employed in pronominal questions to the subject or to its attribute.

Direct word orderallows of only few variations in the fixed pattern, and then only for the secondary parts. Thus if there are two objects, the indirect one precedes the direct one, or the prepositional follows the direct one. Thus the pattern has the following form:

Subject - Predicate - Indirect object - Direct object Direct object - Prepositional object

The birds have come.

Ann has seen this film.

The boy gave me no answer.

The boy gave no answer to me.


As to other secondary parts of the sentence, such as attributes and adverbial modifiers, their position is less fixed. Usually those words that are closely connected tend to be placed together. Accordingly secondary parts referring to their headwords are placed close to them, or are incorporated into, or else frame them up. Thus attributes either premodify or postmodify or frame up their headwords: a bright morning, the problems involved, the scene familiar to us, the happiest man alive, the best skier in the world.

Adverbials and different form words seem to be the most movable parts in the sentence. Their mobility is partly accounted for by their varied reference to different parts of the sentence.

The place of adverbials

§ 117. When referring to a verb adverbials may be placed in:


1.Front position.


Again he was late.


2. Contact preposition.


He often said it. He occasionally sees them.


3. Interposition between the elements of a composite verbal part.


He has never seen her.


The latter position is occupied mainly by adverbs of indefinite time and degree: already, always, sometimes, often, hardly, still, just.

In case the predicate includes more than one auxiliary or a modal verb and an auxiliary, the adverbial is usually placed after the first one, although it may also occur after the second one.


This principle must constantly be borne in mind.

It must be constantly borne in mind.


Adverbials may sometimes separate the particle to from the infinitive. This construction is called the split infinitive.


I don’t expect you to thoroughly understand it.


4. Contact post-position.


They are never on time.

He demanded angrily to see the manager.


5. End position.


Are you married yet?

Tom works carefully, but slowly.


Positions 1, 4 and 5 are usually occupied by adverbials of place, time (definite time adverbs) and attendant circumstances.


He left the stage amid thunderous applause.

In the evening we came to the place again.

He returned from London.


When adverbials refer to adjectives, adverbs, nouns, numerals,orpronouns they are usually placed close to these words, generally preceding them.


He is quite a hero.

Mother was much upset about it.


The adverbial expressed by enough always follows the adjective it refers to.


Are you warm enough?

He is a decent enough fellow.


For adverbials allowing of different reference (to a verb,to anadjective, etc.) any change of position may result in a change of meaning. Compare the following sentences:

Nearly all died. (They died with few exceptions.)

All nearly died. (Everybody was on the verge of dying.)

The place of prepositions

§ 118. The usual place of a preposition is between the words the relation of which it denotes. However, in some cases it may be placed at the end of the sentence. These cases are:


1. When the prepositional object (a wordor aclause) is in front



This I can dispense with.

What he says you can rely on.

2. When the prepositional object is made the subject of a passive



He was much laughed at.

The bed has not been slept in.


3. In questions and exclamations, when the object is placed in front



Who are you speaking to?

What a nice girl she has grown into!


4. In contact attributive clauses in which the object to the predicate

belongs to the main clause or is only implied.


It is the very thing I've always dreamed of.

It appeared better than we dared to hope for.


Inverted word order

§ 119. Another common pattern of word order is the inverted one (or inversion). We distinguish full inversion (when the predicate precedes the subject, as in Here comes the lady of the house) and partial inversion (when only part of the predicate precedes the subject, as in Happy may you be!). Some grammarians also distinguish double inversion (when parts of the predicate are placed separately before the subject, as in Hanging on the wall was a picture).

In some cases inversion may be taken as a normal order of words in constructions with special communicative value, and is thus devoid of any special colouring. In other cases inversion is a sort of reordering for stylistic effect or for emphasis. First we enumerate those cases where inversion is a normal word order.


1. Inversion is usedto distinguish between the communicative types of sentences. With this function it is employed in:


a) General questions, polite requests and in tag questions.

Is it really true?

Won’t you have a cup of tea?

You are glad to see me, aren’t you?


b) Pronominal questions, except questions to the subject and its

attribute, where direct word order is used.


What are the police after?


c) There-sentences with the introductory non-­local there, followed

by one of the verbs denoting existence, movement, or change of

the situation .

Therehas been an accident.

Thereis nothing in it.

Thereappeared an ugly face over the fence.

Thereoccurred a sudden revolution in public taste.

Therecomes our chief.


d) Exclamatory sentences expressing wish, despair, indignation, or other strong


Long live the king!

Come what may!


e) Exclamatory sentences which are negative in form but positive

in meaning.

Have I not watched them! (= I have watched them.)

Wouldn’t that be fun! (= It would be fun.)


f) Negative imperative sentences.


Don’t you do it.

2. Inversion is used asa grammatical means of subordination in some complex sentences joined without connectors:


a) In conditional clauses.

Were you sure of it, you wouldn’t hesitate.

Had she known it before, she wouldn’t have made this mistake.


b) In concessive clauses.

Proud as he was, he had to consent to our proposal.


c) In the second part of a sentence of proportional agreement

(although inversion is not obligatory in this case).


The more he thought of it, the less clear was the matter.

3. Inversion is usedin sentences beginning with adverbs denoting place.This usage is traditional, going back to OE norms.

Here is another example.

There goes another bus (туда идет еще один автобус, еще автобус идет).


4. Inversion is usedin stage directions, although this use is limited to certain verbs.

Enter the King, the Queen.

Enter Beatie Bryant, an ample blond.


5. Inversion may be usedin sentences indicating whose words or thoughts are given as direct or indirect speech. These sentences may intro­duce, interrupt, or follow the words in direct or indirect speech, or may be given in parenthesis.


“That’s him,” said Tom (Tom said).

How did he know, thought Jack, miserably.


Direct word order can also be used here.

6. Inversion is usedin statements showing that the remark applies equally to someone or something else.


I am tired. - So am I.

He isn’t ready. - Neither is she.



If the sentence is a corroboration of a remark just made, direct word order is used.


You promised to come and see me. - So I did.

We may meet him later. - So we may.

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