The gerundial predicative constructions — КиберПедия 

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The gerundial predicative constructions

§ 135. The gerundial predicative construction is a predicative com­plex in which the nominal part is generally a noun/noun-pronoun in the possessive case or a possessive pronoun. Sometimes, however, it may be a noun/noun-pronoun in the common case or a personal pronoun in the objective case. The construction may function as different parts of the sentence:

1.Subject. It is used either with or without the introductoryit.

Your doing nothing won’t help anybody.

Isit worth while your quarrelling all the time?



The only way out will be his taking the job.

3.Object. The construction may be either a direct objectto a verb or an indirect non-recipient object to a verb or adjective.


She liked his worrying about his wife.

He insisted on my claims being acknowledged.

4.Attribute. The construction is generally used with the preposition of, althougt other prepositions are also possible.


The prospect of someone else getting a job moved them to strong moral indignation.

5.Adverbial modifier:


a) of time.

After his being away for some time the crisis came.


b) of attendant circumstances.


The car slid away without my having to say anything.


c) of concession.

In spite of it being cold the bushes swarmed with insects.


In this function the construction is always introduced by a preposition.


§ 136. The composite sentence is a sentence consisting of two or more clauses. In its structure a clause is similar to a simple sentence, but unlike a simple sentence it forms part of a bigger syntactical unit.

Within a composite sentence clauses may be joined by means of coordination or subordination, thus forming a compound or a complex sentence respectively.

Coordination is a way of linking grammatical elements to make them equal in rank.

Subordination is a way of linking grammatical elements that makes one of them dependent upon the other (or they are mutually dependent).


1. The door of Henry’s lunch-room opened, and two men came in.

2. I have come to you, because I know from reading your accounts that you are Mr Sherlock Holme’s most

intimate acquaintance.


These sentences may be graphically presented in the following way:


1. The door... opened ————and———— two men came in  
2. I have come to    
  you because I know...    
  that you are...    


A compound sentence may contain coordinate clauses extended by subordinate clauses, and the resulting structure is a compound-complex sentence.


Pooh was very proud when he heard this, and he felt that Heffalump was as good as caught already, but

there was just one other thing which had to be thought about.



A complex sentence may contain subordinate clauses joined by means of coordination, the resulting structure being a complex sentence with homogeneous subordinate clauses.


I must impress upon you again that you are in a very great danger, and that the utmost frankness is




§ 137. A compound sentence consists of two or more clauses of equal rank which form one syntactical whole in meaning and intonation. Clauses that are parts of a compound sentence are called coordinate, as they are joined by coordination.

Coordinate clauses may be linked together with or without a connector; in the first case they are joined syndetically.


Yesterday I bought a penny fiddle

And put it to my chin to play,

But I found its strings painted,

So I threw my fiddle away.


in the second case - asyndeticaily:


Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;

All the king’s horses, and all the king’s men

Cannot put Humpty Dumpty together again.


Syndetic coordination is realized with a number of connectors - conjunctions, such as and, but, or, nor, for, etc., or withconjunctive adverbs, such as moreover, besides, however, yet, still, otherwise, therefore, etc.

In writing coordinate clauses may be marked off by a comma, a semicolon, a colon or occasionally a dash. Sometimes they are not separated graphically at all. In speaking they are separated by pauses.

§ 138. The main semantic feature of the compound sentence is that it follows the flow of thought; thus the content of each successive clause is related to the previous one. Hence come two syntactical features of the compound sentence which distinguish it from the complex sentence.

The first is as follows. The opening clause mostly plays the leading role, and each successive clause is joined to the previous clause.

Note :


A sentence may begin with a coordinating connector, but in this case the whole sentence is joined to the previous sentence in the text.


The first time Mrs. Moffat invited him to watch television with her, Simon declined. He would rather

read, he said.So she gave him books, she gave him classics.But the books he craved were garden books.


The second feature is that the clauses are sequentially fixed. Thus a coordinate clause cannot change place with the previous one without changing or distorting the meaning of the whole sentence, as in:


It was pitch dark,for the fog had come down from London in the night,and all Surbiton was wrapped in

its embraces.


However the change is possible if the clauses contain description. The third feature is that coordinate clauses, either opening or subsequent, may belong to different communicative types.


You may go,but don’t be late for dinner! (declarative and imperative clauses)

I had to leave at once,for whatever else could I have done? (declarative and interrogative clauses)

§ 139. From the point of view of the relationship between coordinate clauses, we distinguish four kinds of coordinate connection: copulative, adversative, disjunctive and causative-consecutive. The type of connection is expressed not only by means of coordinating connectives, but also by the general meaning of clauses conveyed by their lexical and grammatical content. This accounts for asyndetic coordination and for various uses of the conjunction and, when it expresses other relations - that of contrast or consequence.

§ 140. Copulative coordination implies that the information conveyed by coordinate clauses is in some way similar.

The copulative connectors are: the conjunctions and, nor, neither... nor, not only... but (also), as well as, and the conjunctive adverbs then, moreover, besides.

And is the conjunction most frequently used to realize copulative coordination. It may suggest mere addition.


Then she went home and wrote Brody a thank-you note for being so nice, and she also wrote a note to the

chief of police commending young Martin Brody.


The events described in copulative coordinate clauses may besimultaneousorsuccessive.


The black Cadillac made its hunting sound through the night, and the tyres sang on the slab, and the black

fields stretched with mist swept by. (simultaneity)

The front door to the house opened, and a man and a woman stepped out on the wooden porch.



Occasionally the second clause may contain somecommentary on the previous clause.


She was familiar with the petty social problems, and they bored her.


Owing to its vague copulative meaning the conjunction and may also link clauses with adversative or causative-consecutive connections. The meaning of the second clause is either contrasted to the first or contains its consequence.


Why were her own relations so rich, and Phil never knew where the money was coming from for to-

morrow’s tobacco?


In sentences beginning with a verb in the imperative mood, the first clause implies a condition for the fulfilment of the action in the second clause.

Take these pills, and you will feel better. (If you take...)


The conjunction nor joins two negative clauses.


I didn’t recognize the girl, nor did I remember her name.


The correlative pairs neither... nor, not only... but (also) express mere addition, sometimes with accentuation on the second clause.


I not only remembered the girl’s name, but I also knew everything about her family.


The conjunctive adverb then joins clauses describingsuccessive events.


We went along the street, then we turned to the left.


Copulative connection may also be expressed asyndetically, the clauses so joined may describe simultaneous or successive events.


Our Elsie was looking at her with big imploring eyes; she was frowning; she wanted to go. (simultaneity)


§ 141. Adversative coordination joins clauses containing opposition, contradiction or contrast. Adversative connectors are: the conjunctions but, while, whereas, the conjunctive adverbs however, yet, still, nevertheless, and the conjunctive particle only. Adversative coordination may also be realized asyndetically. The main adversative conjunction is but, which expresses adversative connection in a very general way. The clause introduced by but conveys some event that is opposite to what is expected from the contents of the first clause.


The story was amusing, but nobody laughed.

But may join clauses contrasted in meaning.


The English system of noun forms is very simple, but the system of verb forms is most intricate.


The conjunctions while and whereas specialize in expressing contrastive relations.


Peter is an engineer, while his brother is a musician.

Some people prefer going to the theatre, whereas others will stay at home watching TV programmes.


Contrastive relation may be conveyed by asyndetic coordination.


Two or three scenes stood out vividly in his mind - all the rest became a blur.


Among coordinative connectives the particle only is frequently used to join clauses with adversative connection, mainly in colloquial English.


There was an electric light, only Arthur had not switched it on.


§142. Disjunctive coordination implies a choice between two mutually exclusive alternatives. The disjunctive conjunctions are or, either... or, the conjunctive adverbs are else (or else), otherwise.


You can join us at the station, or we can wait for you at home.


The correlative either emphasizes theexclusion of one of the alternatives.


Either listen to me, or I shall stop reading to you.


The clause introduced by or may express arestatement orcorrectionof what is said in the first clause.


We were talking abouta lot of things, or rather he was talking and I was listening.


Coordinate clauses joined by disjunctive connectors may contain an implied condition, real or unreal.


Hurry up, or you will be late. (real condition implied) (If you don’t hurry, you will be late.)


If the first part is negative, the implied condition is positive.


Don’t be late, otherwise you may not be let in. (If you are late, you may not be let in.)

John is busy, otherwise he would be here. (unreal condition implied) (If John weren’t busy, he would be


John is busy, or he would have come. (If John were not busy, he would have come.)

John was busy last night, otherwise he would have come. (If he hadn’t been busy, he would have come.)

§ 143. Causative-consecutive coordination joins clauses connected in such a way that one of them containsa reason and the other - a consequence. The second clause may contain either the reason or the result of the event conveyed by the previous clause. The only causative coordinating conjunction is for.


The days became longer, for it was now springtime.


A causative clause may be also joined asyndetically.


At first I thought that they were brother and sister, they were so much alike.


The conjunction for is intermediate between subordination and coordination. It is most often treated as a coordinating conjunction, because its semantic application is to introduce clausescontaining an explanation or justification of the idea expressed by the previous clause.


The land seemed almost as dark as the water, for there was no moon.


Sometimes the consequence may serve as a justification of the previous statement.


John must have gone, for nobody answers the call.


A for-clause differs from a subordinate clause of reason in that it never precedes the clause it is joined to. If a sentence begins with for, it means that the sentence is linked with the previous one.


When I saw her in the river I was frightened. For at that point the current was strong.


Consecutive connectives are conjunctions so, so that, and conjunctive adverbs therefore, hence, then, thus.


The weather was fine, so there were many people on the beach.

So that is a conjunction intermediate between subordination and coordination. When used after a comma in writing or a pause in speaking its connection with the previous clause is looser and it performs the function of a coordinating conjunction.


John is unlikely to come soon, so that we’d better go home.


§ 144. While coordination is a connection of two or more clauses of equal rank and function, subordination is usually defined as a non-symmetrical relation, that is, in a complex sentence with a minimal composition of two clauses, one is the basic element, whereas the other is a constituent or part of the first. The first one is called the main (or principal) clause, the second the subordinate clause.

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