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and its parts 



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AUG 10 '1978 

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Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 61-11895 

The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 60637 
The University of Chicago Press, Ltd., London W.C. 1 

1961 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved 
Published 1961. Fourth Impression 1969 
Printed in the United States of America 







VI. MODE 130 

















INDEX 517 



The subject matter of this book is grammar in the broad sense of 
the term, including word formation, phonology, spelling, and punc- 
tuation. The central interest is in grammar in the narrow sense: 
syntax, of which inflection is here regarded as a division. The 
central interest in syntax gives shape to the whole book. 

The book is organized around the patterns of grammatical form 
which English now employs, not around meanings. Meanings that 
are fundamentally identical can be expressed by different gram- 
matical structures, as when we say now we hope we'll get back by 
summer and now we hope to get back by summer. On the other hand, 
a single grammatical structure can express very different meaning 
relationships, as when the subject is now responsible actor as in 
Smith makes a great deal of trouble and now simply "involved" as 
in Smith has a great deal of trouble. 

But meanings are not ignored. When matters of grammatical 
patterning are noted, their usual contributions to meaning are 
taken into account. This is the reason that sentences as unlike in 
form as what convincing excuses does Dora give? and who gives con- 
vincing excuses? are classified together as interrogatives, while what 
convincing excuses Dora gives! and not one convincing excuse does 
Dora give are put together in another category. When such a 
phrasal verb form as is smoking is identified, its special contribu- 
tion to meaning is similarly taken into account : sequences such as 
George is smoking are distinguished from sequences such as George 
smokes not only in form but in characteristic meanings. The pri- 
mary function of language is to convey meaning: grammatical 
structures exist for this purpose. Often a word follows different 
patterns of syntactic behavior as it expresses different meanings. 


2 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Thus the get of be sure to get your coat dry has two complements 
and the get of be sure to get your dry coat has only one, and the dif- 
ference in construction is obviously bound up with a difference in 
meaning. Contexts are of extreme importance in our understanding 
of language. When they're ready to eat is spoken in a situation in 
which it is clear that "they" is some children, they suggests the 
subject of eat; when the same sentence is spoken in a situation in 
which it is clear that "they" is some baked potatoes, they suggests 
not the subject but the complement of eat. His sister is buying 
antiques will always be understood to have is buying as predicator 
and antiques as complement; his hobby is buying antiques will al- 
ways be understood to have is as predicator and buying antiques 
as complement. We know something about sisters and about hob- 
bies; our analysis takes this into account. 

This grammar begins with relatively large units clauses and 
their nucleuses, and words not with relatively small units such 
as phonemes. Attempts to base syntax in phonemics have not been 
successful. No single syntactic function and no single part of 
speech can be defined in terms of anything phonemic. No single 
category of clauses can be set up on the basis of anything phonemic. 
In particular uses what convincing excuses does Dora give? is without 
real question force: it is equivalent to such a declarative as 
Dora gives no convincing excuses at all. Intonation, manner, and 
situation are of decisive importance in matters such as these; but 
classification of clauses cannot be based on criterions of these 
types. What convincing excuses does Dora give? remains an inter- 
rogative, intent of the speaker notwithstanding, because it employs 
a grammatical pattern whose ordinary function is to elicit infor- 
mation. Similarly, you'll give convincing excuses can have the force 
of an order or of a question, but the sentence remains a declarative 
in syntactic patterning. Our sentences can be whispered, chanted, 
or sung without change in their grammar. They can be written 
and read by people who lack both hearing and speech. 

English can be regarded as primarily an instrument used in the 
formulation and expression of thought. All languages can be re- 
garded as collections of molds and patterns, extremely conven- 
tional in form, within which thought can be shaped. "Language 
and our thought-grooves are inextricably interrelated, are, in a 

Introduction 3 

sense, one and the same/ 7 wrote Sapir. We can listen and talk, un- 
less we are deaf and dumb, and can read and write, unless we are 
illiterate; and we can work out problems in our minds in con- 
sciously verbal ways. The "thought" which we formulate is often 
no more than expression of emotion, or of desire to influence the 
actions of others. Feelings find expression in words, and we can 
speak these words to others or to ourselves or leave them un- 
spoken. Words are more than combinations of sounds, as people are 
more than flesh and blood: words are more, even, than ghosts of 
sounds. However it is used, language is primarily an activity of 
the human brain, not of the human mouth and throat or of the 
human hand. 

For a grammar which begins with clause structure, the concept 
of the morpheme is of little value. To describe reactions as a cluster 
composed of four morphemes is grammatically less significant than 
to say that it is the plural form of a complex noun whose com- 
ponents are the prefix re, the word act, and the suffix ion. Whether 
the complex was put together in English or not is of historical im- 
portance only. The relation of the act of reaction to the ag of 
reagent is of more than historical importance: we can most con- 
veniently consider ag a stem which functions as a variant of act. 
When we start with clause structure, we are able to postpone the 
enormously intricate problems morphological analysis faces. It is a 
curious fact that those who insist that morphological analysis must 
precede syntactic cannot even agree on procedures for identifying 
morphemes. Phonemic identification results in such things as divid- 
ing thermometer into ther and mometer } since the clearest phonemic 
division parallels that in the monitor. Identification of morphemes 
on the basis of meaning runs into the fact that children learn 
words as units in the main, and division of as common a word as 
thermometer is inevitably somewhat sophisticated and is based in 
part on knowledge of spellings and history. Even for the lin- 
guistically sophisticated, when thermometer is divided into thermo 
and meter there remains the question of what view to take of the o 
of thermo and the er of meter. Syntactically derived morphemes are 
naturally of great interest to the grammarian, but when the wh of 
who (where no /w/ is pronounced) and of which is said to have the 
that of a flower that had dropped as a variant, followed by a zero 

4 The Sentence and Its Parts 

variant of the ich of which, the analysis seems unrealistic. It is not 
the use of wh or /hw/ or /w/ that marks clauses of certain types, 
for wh occurs also in such words as whack, wheel, and whip. The 
clause markers of modern English are words and phrases, not 
fractions of words. And it seems simpler to say that the 'd of Pd 
be ready and that of Pd been ready are reduced forms of two words 
which occur in their full forms in negated / wouldn't be ready and 7 
hadn't been ready, than to say that they are the same morpheme 
following zero variants of mil and have. Words are easier to deal 
with than morphemes, in spite of the obvious problems compounds, 
mergings, and fixed phrasings confront us with. Bloomfield called 
the word the smallest unit of speech "for the purposes of ordinary 
life." Grammar should begin as close as possible to the purposes 
of ordinary life not with single words, many of which do not 
ordinarily occur alone, but with the most usual combinations in 
which words occur. 

Assignment of decisive grammatical importance to inflection and 
"function words" seems unjustified for contemporary English. Un- 
inflected words are to be found in all the part-of-speech categories : 
examples are ought, machinery, extinct, now, each, and ouch. Such a 
sentence as people always spread bad news is entirely clear in its 
structure, and yet people is a plural without characteristic plural 
inflection, always has an old inflectional ending not clearly felt in 
modern times, spread is the basic form of a verb that employs its 
basic form as both a present and a past, bad is an adjective whose 
comparative and superlative forms are strikingly unlike it and 
unlike most such forms, and news is an old plural form that is now 
felt as quantifiable and the sentence contains no function words. 
Actually, the inflectional endings of contemporary English are not 
even recognizable except in combination with the words to which 
they are attached. In the sentence forsaken oxen often sadden Helen 
every word ends in en and yet is different in grammar from every 
other word. The spoken language does even less than the written 
to make inflectional endings genuinely distinctive. Thus the final 
inflectional /z/ of trees is identical with the final noninflectional /z/ 
of breeze, so that though in the trees are very fine the subject has 
plural force we cannot say that the /z/ of /triz/ carries this force 
apart from the rest of the word. Even the inflectional ending of 

Introduction 5 

trees is not unambiguous. Trees can be a third-person-singular verb 
form, as in our dog trees too many cats, as well as a plural noun. 
Attempts to distinguish "function" words and "content" words in 
modern English have been made by many grammarians, including 
Sweet at the end of the last century, and have never been success- 
ful. The truth is that almost all words have both grammatical and 
semantic value. Thus, poetry and furniture are learned as gram- 
matically alike in that ordinarily they are both quantifiable (much) 
nouns, and poetry and poem are learned as semantically alike. Very- 
few words are really semantically empty. That and yourself are 
semantically empty in / knew that you'd enjoy yourself, but if hurt 
is substituted for enjoy the reflexive yourself, now used much more 
characteristically, can no longer be called semantically empty. It 
is absurd to call prepositions semantically empty simply because 
sometimes the native speaker has difficulty defining them. The to 
of what nature hasn't done to us will be done by our fellow man, for 
example, is semantically of major importance to its sentence, so 
that if for is substituted there is a very considerable change in 
meaning. In this sentence it is true that has, will, and be are aux- 
iliaries of tense and voice rather than full verbs, and so do express 
meanings that can be described as grammatical. It does not seem 
possible to accept a procedure which results in calling that a func- 
tion word in that concert but a noun (or "Class I word") in that 
small, and in calling had a function word both in the students had 
moved and in the students had to move but a verb (or "Class II 
word") in we had a perfectly wild time last night. It would seem 
much better to say that that is a determinative pronoun used in 
two different ways in that concert and that small and in a third in 
that's the new secretary, and that had is the past form of have used 
as a full verb, with complements of different types, both in we 
had a perfectly wild time last night and in the students had to move, 
and as an auxiliary of tense in the students had moved. 

Grammars of English have usually paid more attention to writ- 
ten English than to spoken. There are obvious reasons for this. 
The sentences of spoken English are often poorly constructed and 
this is not a purist judgement both when they are the products 
of rapid, spontaneous conversation and when they are the products 
of much more careful expression, as, for example, at a conference 

6 The Sentence and Its Parts 

in which specialists in linguistic structure itself debate their prob- 
lems while recording apparatus preserves what they say. What are 
generally regarded as satisfactory sentences appear much more 
regularly in the written language. Furthermore, once it is put in a 
book spoken English is written English. Methods of recording and 
reproducing actual spoken English are relatively new, and even yet 
bits of spoken English cannot be inserted in books in the midst of 
written English. Even worse, the spoken language cannot stand 
still. The written language does: the reader can take it at his own 
speed, skimming or pondering at will. Phonemicists and phoneti- 
cians find the usual written forms of English unsatisfactory for 
their purposes and employ their own written forms. Grammarians 
find the usual forms relatively satisfactory at most points. Though 
the ordinary written forms do not represent pitches and stresses 
accurately, they do give fairly adequate representation to the units 
with which syntax deals. Much of the time they provide extremely 
convenient representations, too, for phonemically variable for- 
matives with which morphology must deal: for example, the tele 
of telegraph and telegraphy, the hibit of exhibit and exhibition, and 
the gon of pentagon and trigonometry. 

There are strong arguments for employing the usual written 
forms in analysis wherever possible. They are established ways of 
using the language, precisely as the spoken forms are, and so 
require attention in themselves. In the schools of earlier genera- 
tions, two of the " three RV were concerned with written language 
and none with spoken. Recorders and television notwithstanding, 
it seems safe to predict that in the foreseeable future complex 
thought will still be communicated most satisfactorily by the 
written language. In everyday life also, the ordinary written forms 
are ^holding their own: indeed, they are put to more and more 
uses in supermarkets, for example, where the storekeeper of the 
past is no longer always at hand, and on superhighways, where 
increasingly complex directions must be given silently to all who 
drive by. The usual written forms are easily read; precise phonetic 
or phonemic transcriptions are much harder to read. The usual 
written forms do not call attention to matters of regional or per- 
sonal pronunciation that are irrelevant to grammatical analysis: 
the ordinary written language is a broadly unifying instrument 

Introduction 7 

with a minimum of involvement in the local and individual. The 
usual written forms both represent and shape the native speaker's 
view of the structure of his language at many points. Thus the 
used of I used to like him is indistinguishable in speech from the use 
of / didn't use to like him, but the difference in spelling is jealously 
maintained for grammatical reasons. 

It is obviously not possible for a short grammar to deal satis- 
factorily with very many varieties of a language. Here all that is 
attempted is a description of standard American English of the 
present time. Standard American English is the English most 
widely useful in the New World. Social considerations make it 
standard, not linguistic ones. Its patterns are complicated at some 
points by the existence of what can best be called styles. We will 
need to deal with three main categories of styles, which we can 
call informal, careful, and formal. Each kind of style has its ap- 
propriate sphere of usefulness. Informal styles are suitable in con- 
versation and in a great deal of writing. There is a very considerable 
place for somewhat more carefully ordered prose that is neither 
notably informal nor notably formal. Formal styles, like formal 
clothing, are the least useful, though they sometimes seem the 
most beautiful. It is in "formal" styles that archaisms of various 
kinds, and echoes of the literature of the past, appear most often. 

At some points the line between what is standard and what is 
nonstandard can be located only tentatively. Even where it seems 
fairly clear how the line should be drawn, those who use the lan- 
guage most effectively do not always confine themselves to stand- 
ard locutions. Correctness is one of the less important of the 
linguistic virtues. Nonstandard phrasings sometimes have an apt- 
ness or a vigor that makes them very attractive, at least for the 
moment. Moreover, as has been said, rapid comfortable speech 
leaves many syntactic patterns unfinished, and carefully thought 
out speech commonly is felt to need revision and ''correcting" 
when it is copied from an exact mechanical recording. Even hi 
careful and formal written use, lapses occur: Homer was not alone 
in nodding occasionally. In the end, what we are calling standard 
American English is normalized English. A rigid dogmatism is 
obviously out of place under such circumstances. 

This grammar is written primarily for teachers and prospective 

8 The Sentence and Its Parts 

teachers of English. There is an effort at every point to avoid 
sharp breaks with the analysis of English that has been taught in 
the schools. New terminology is avoided and terminology in gen- 
eral is kept to a minimum. But this grammar is written against a 
background of widespread dissatisfaction with the school analysis 
of the language. It is written, too, in the conviction that every 
branch of human learning requires constant reformulation as the 
generations go by and that nothing has ever been finished once 
and for all. Samuel Butler remarked that it is a mercy of God 
that every generation does its work badly enough to leave some- 
thing for the next generation to do. 

I have put twenty years of steady work into the making of this 
grammar. I have collected examples both from my miscellaneous 
reading and from what I have heard: only a fraction of these could 
go into this volume. I have written and rewritten, and term after 
term I have used preliminary versions of this grammar with con- 
siderable numbers of students who were themselves teachers of 
English grammar, the great majority of them in the English- 
speaking United States but many of them in very different lin- 
guistic situations. I have learned a great deal from my students. I 
must acknowledge a heavy underlying indebtedness to the stand- 
ard grammarians of Latin, Greek, and the older Germanic lan- 
guages, and to the grammarians of modern foreign languages. They 
were my first teachers, and I have not forgotten the lessons I 
learned from them. I have a very great indebtedness to the Old 
World grammarians of English, and especially to Palmer and 
Poutsma. My indebtedness to such American students of lan- 
guage as Sapir, Bloomfield, Kenyon, Pike, Bolinger, Harris, and 
Chomsky is considerable. In the last chapter the pronunciations 
are based on material in A Pronouncing Dictionary of American 
English, copyright 1953 by G. and C. Merriam Co., publishers of 
the Merriam-Webster Dictionaries. The lines by Conrad Aiken on 
page 414 are from his Collected Poems (Oxford University Press, 
1953). For my title I am indebted to Rodolfo Lenz, whose La 
Oration y Sus Partes is known by all serious students of Spanish 
grammar. Finally, I am greatly indebted to Dwight L. Bolinger, 
Tatsuyoshi Sakamoto, and Dorothy R. Long. 



Sentences are linguistic units of a certain magnitude. In written 
discourse they are ordinarily the most clearly marked units smaller 
than paragraphs and larger than words: capital letters begin them, 
periods or equivalent marks end them, and there is "characteristic 
spacing before and after. Sometimes a single word can be a sen- 
tence, and even a gaj&gcaph; but the distinction in magnitudes is 
a real one nevertheless. Most sentences are dependent on the con- 
text of preceding sentences or of situation for some of their mean- 
ing. Thus such a sentence as we got Phelps in is syntactically 
complete, and yet neither we nor Phelps has adequate effective 
meaning apart from context, the time of got must be indicated 
by context, and some kind of completer for in must be implied by 
context. In unnormalized material, such as the unpunctuated 
twenty-five-thousand-word reverie at the end of Ulysses and 
comparable stretches of spoken English we cannot always be 
sure where the boundaries between sentences come. Analysis of 
sentence structure bad-tetter begin with sentences whose bound- 
aries are not in doubt. It can best begin with sentences in which 
sequences of simple familiar words combine in familiar patterns 
to express readily understood meanings through a symbolism 
which, as Sapir said, "can be transferred from one sense to another, 
from technique to technique." An underlying assumption is that, 
in normal uses of language, words which follow each other without 
decisive breaks have syntactic relationships to each other or are 
parts of larger units that do. 

We can begin the analysis of sentences by noting the syntactic 
functions found in them. These can be divided into three groups, 
which we can call major functions, contained functions, and sec- 


10 The Sentence and Its Parts 

ondary functions. We can draw our examples almost entirely from 
clausal sentences of a single type: the main declarative. The main 
declarative is the basic pattern for statements of fact and opinion. 
Examples of minimal main declaratives declarative "nucleuses" 
to which nothing is added can well begin with everyone's com- 
monest name for himself, the pronoun /. 

I am Ake. I call him Butch. 

I am sad. I make him sad. 

I am here. I put work off. 

I have time. I snore. 

I like soup. I travel. 

We will need to pay attention to nonclausal sentences also. 

Ouch! Thanks. 

Yes. Well! 

Compatibility of meanings limits all grammatical relationships. 
For this reason subjects, predicators, and complements cannot be 
combined indiscriminately, and such sentences as / elapse and 
I make soup angry are not likely to occur. 

Predicators. The key to main declaratives and to clauses of 
every type is what we can call predicators: am, have, like, call, 
make, put, snore, and travel in the declaratives given above. We can 
define predicators as second major components in declarative nu- 
cleuses. From the point of view of part-of-speech classification, 
predicators are normally verbs, and the verbs are the most easily 
identifiable of the parts of speech, though phrasal verb forms such 
as are traveling and has traveled are not always clear. The subject 
matter of predicators is occurrences: actions, events, states of af- 
fairs. All predicators should be regarded as heads within their 
clauses. Even such an inconspicuous and variable form as the 
merged am of I'm Ake which can be phonemically indistinguish- 
able from / make is what makes a clause of the sequence in 
which it is contained. Yet predicators are sometimes implied, or 
partially implied, rather than stated. Thus in reply to the ques- 
tion whereas James? what is said may be only here, but here is then 
a main declarative and a sentence as truly as the full main declara- 
tive James is here. If the response to the main declarative I've 
raised ducks is Harry has too, the predicator has of the response is 

Syntactic Functions 11 

obviously a reduction of the full form has raised, and ducks is 
implied also. 

Subjects. All predicators have subjects, expressed or implied. 
We can define subjects as first major components in declarative 
nucleuses: I in I am Ake, I am sad, I am here, I have time, I like 
soup, I call him Butch, I make him sad, I put work off, I snore, and 
/ travel. Meaning relationships are obviously varied. It will not do 
to say that subjects are "topics" in their clauses: what is topic and 
what comment in such a sentence as I regret to inform you that 
your services are no longer needed, where the syntactic main subject 
is If Subjects can refer to something that is identified or classified 
or described or located, or to something that acts or is affected by 
action, or to something that is simply involved in an occurrence 
of some kind. 

Sometimes it is possible to put into a subject the same content 
that can be put into a predicator. 

Our conversation continued till midnight. 
We talked till midnight. 

One-word subjects are generally nouns or pronouns: the function 
of subject can be regarded as nounal, just as the function of 
predicator can be regarded as verbal. The person-and-number force 
of subjects is often reflected in the forms of their predicators, so 
that if the 7 of I like soup is changed to he then like is changed to 
likes also. Word order is of extreme importance and determines the 
subjects in such pairs as the following. 

My worst day is Monday. 
Monday is my worst day. 
His eyes are his chief problem. 
His chief problem is his eyes. 
We've been given a better schedule. 
A better schedule has been given us. 

A somewhat artificial division of subjects occurs when it and 
there are employed in subject positions and words or longer units 
that embody much or all of the real content of the subjects are 

It's fortunate that you came. 
It's hard to understand Phelps. 

12 The Sentence and Its Parts 

It's fifteen miles to Parkersburg. 
There are seats now. 

For your information there are inclosed copies of all pertinent 

Divided subjects not employing it and there are of less frequent 

No one was present that Td ever seen before. 

Main declaratives with expressed predicators normally have ex- 
pressed subjects also. Thank you is an exception. In informal styles 
other exceptions are not hard to find. 

Looks like rain. 

He never does anything. Just talks. 

Drove over to Akron yesterday, and did some shopping. 

Complements. We can define complements as third, fourth, 
and (rarely) fifth major components in declarative nucleuses: Ake, 
sad, here, time, soup, him, and work in / am Ake, I am sad, I am here, 
I have time, I like soup, I call him Butch, I make him sad, and / put 
work off; and Butch, sad, and off in / call him Butch, I make him 
sad, and / put work off. In I put work off the two complements work 
and off meet normal requirements of the predicator put just as the 
subject I meets another normal requirement. Both I put and / put 
work are less than minimal sequences; I put work off has the mini- 
mal adequacy nucleuses have. The function of complement, unlike 
those of predicator and subject, cannot be related characteristically 
to any single part of speech: it is sometimes nounal, sometimes 
adjectival, and sometimes adverbial. 

Though all verbs normally require expressed subjects when they 
are used as predicators in declaratives, some verbs never take com- 
plements and many verbs do not take complements when they 
express particular turns of meaning. 

I snore. 

I travel. 

You're trembling. 

Mr. Hayes is dying. 

George is sleeping. 

Sickness exists. 

Sometimes a shift in meaning results in use with complements. 

Syntactic Functions 13 

George is sleeping the hours away. 
George is sleeping his headache off. 
The trailer sleeps six. 

Some verbs sometimes have expressed complements and sometimes 
leave complements implied. 

We usually eat lunch at the cafeteria. 

We usually eat at the cafeteria. 

Sylvia married an engineer. 

Sonia never married. 

I don't care whether you go or not. 

I don't care. 

Yes, I'm from Pennsylvania. 

Yes, I am. 

They met each other in Mexico City. 

They met in Mexico City. 

He shaves himself on Sundays. 

He shaves on Sundays. 

Some verbs take two complements. The one that comes first in 
the basic order can be called a first complement and the other a 
second complement. Second complements are italicized in the fol- 
lowing sentences. 

I call him Butch. 

I make him sad. 

I put work off. 

The manager has turned us down. 

Harris locks his dog in the car. 

James puts up with us. 

In each of these sentences the predicator has only its normal neces- 
sities, for the meaning expressed, attached to it. Second comple- 
ments often become first, in effect, when more fundamentally first 
complements are implied rather than stated. 

He generally gets himself home. 
He generally gets home. 
I give the whole thing up. 
I give up. 

Second complements sometimes precede first, and are then com- 
monly called "indirect objects." Substitution of personal pronouns 
for nouns or nounal units generally reveals the basic order: the 
syntactically "second" complement then follows the first. 

14 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Jack's lending Mary his car. 

Jack's lending it to her. 

The editorial takes up the subject of taxes. 

The editorial takes it up. 

Three complements occur much more rarely than two. 
He has it in for us. 

Meaning relationships between predicators and complements are 
extremely varied. 

They make electric fans. 
I hear an electric fan. 
George has an electric fan. 
I need an electric fan. 

In they make electric fans we have an actor-action-product se- 
quence, but the meaning relationships are different in the other 
three sentences. Some complements seem semantically empty. 

He lords it over us. 

We always enjoy ourselves. 

Often, on the other hand, predicators are quite general in meaning 
and complements contain meanings that could be expressed by 
more exact predicators. 

He's taking part. 

He's participating. 

He's made his escape. 

He's escaped. 

He always lets out a whoop. 

He always whoops. 

I put work off. 

I postpone work. 

My wife gets it clean. 

My wife cleans it. 

In combinations such as these the complements have a strict con- 
trol over the writer or speaker's choice of predicator. Parts are 
taken, escapes are made, whoops are let out or sometimes given. 
In complex sentence structure the use of general predicators often 
makes clearer modification possible. 

Most people enjoy watching television a great deal. 
Most people get a great deal of enjoyment out of watching 

Syntactic Functions 15 

The President tipped the boys who carried his bags gener- 

The President gave generous tips to the boys who carried his 

If the first of these sentences is intended to mean what the second 
one means, it is not very well constructed, since a great deal is 
likely to seem to attach to the nearer watching rather than to the 
more distant enjoy. Similarly, in the third sentence generously is 
likely to seem to attach to carried. 

Adjuncts. Subjects and complements are normal necessities 
for their predicators, though (like predicators) they are sometimes 
implied rather than stated. Predicators, subjects, and comple- 
ments make up nucleuses. Predicators also take modifiers which 
are not parts of nucleuses, and these can be called adjuncts. 

Certainly I'm Ake. 

I certainly am Ake. 

I'm sad now. 

I'm always unhappy. 

We wait for Marian long enough. 

We wait hours. 

He's kissed her goodby. 

Tuesdays George is very busy. 

Fortunately Harry's girl friends are never clever. 

Harrison turns me down gracefully. 

The function of adjunct can be regarded as adverbial. But it must 
be said at once that many kinds of words and multiword units 
function as adjuncts. Such a unit as this week, for example, can 
function as subject, complement, or adjunct. 

This week is Jack's last week here. 
We're wasting this week. 
This week everything is different. 
Everything is different this week. 

In letters and parcels come at ten the unit letters and parcels is 
pretty clearly the subject; in Wednesday and Thursday come at ten 
the unit Wednesday and Thursday is pretty clearly not the subject 
but an adjunct, and the clause is an imperative rather than a 
declarative. In the police stopped three cars it is clear that three cars 
is a complement and the predicator stopped means brought to a 
stop; in the police stopped three times it is clear that three times is 

16 The Sentence and Its Parts 

only an adjunct and stopped means came to a stop. Words are used 
as representatives of meanings, and our knowledge of meaning 
relationships guides us in analysis of sentences such as these. In 
fortunately Harry's girl friends are never clever the predicator are 
and the complement clever are separated by the adjunct never, but 
there is no doubt that clever, not never, is the complement of are. 
Our knowledge of the functions particular words perform in sen- 
tences is operative in situations such as this, as are our feelings for 
meaning relationships. Part-of-speech classification makes us sure 
that fortunately is an adjunct. If closely related for innate is sub- 
stituted for fortunately r , it will be taken as a part of the subject, 
within which it will modify Harry. 

The adjuncts noted thus far are tight ones, smoothly incorpo- 
rated into the flow of words in their clauses. From the point of 
view of meaning in particular situations, tight adjuncts are likely 
to be essential within their clauses. Thus the statement Janet 
didn't marry her first husband because she loved him becomes some- 
what pointless if the adjuncts not and because she loved him are 
omitted. Some tenses of verbs often require adjuncts giving an 
idea of time. Thus I studied French is an unsatisfactory statement 
unless either an adjunct indicating (or at least suggesting) time 
is added or some idea of time is already implied. / studied French 
in college has an essential adjunct which Pm studying French and 
I've been studying French do not require. Present and present- 
perfect forms of verbs do not require adjuncts of time, expressed 
or implied; hence construction with these tenses shows the be- 
havior of particular verbs, as opposed to particular tenses, most 
clearly. When adjuncts are essential, it is particular situations that 
make them essential. Subjects and complements are essential in a 
more general way. 

Loose adjuncts must be recognized as well as tight ones. Loose 
adjuncts are felt as relatively nonessential, or incidental. The writ- 
ten language incloses them in commas or stronger marks, the 
spoken language generally sets them off with pauses. 

Well, you're right. 
John, it's your turn again. 

Undoubtedly the old city still has charm, though it cannot be 
called as comfortable as the new suburbs. 

Syntactic Functions 17 

Burned steak, canned peas { bad coffee, store cake I felt my ap- 
petite deserting me rapidly. 

One of my favorite teachers was Mr. Ries, who taught me 
freshman Greek. 

Next weekend Barry goes to another convention, in Chicago. 

Some loose adjuncts have secondary attachments of types that 
will require notice later. 

He hasn't read a new book, good or bad, in twenty years. 
Inscrutable and sardonic, Veblen stood aloof from most of the 
currents of thought that swirled around him. 

Loose-adjunct status can sometimes be assigned arbitrarily, but 
not always. Thus in one of my favorite teachers was the man who 
taught me freshman Greek the subordinate clause who taught me 
freshman Greek is necessarily a part of the complement in the main 
clause, not a loose adjunct. Next weekend Barry goes to another 
convention in Chicago will probably be understood to employ an- 
other convention in Chicago as a nounal unit comparable to another 
Chicago convention. 

The commonest positions for adjuncts in declaratives are after 
complements or after predicators, if there are no complements. 
Such positions are likely to be taken by adjuncts contributing 
meanings of manner, circumstance, respect, accompaniment, ex- 
ception, means, condition, adverseness, result, place, time, dura- 
tion, distance, degree, relatively exact frequency, cause, evidence, 
and reason for speaking. 

He answered politely. 

She isn't happy with her husband acting like that. 
I'd put Puerto Rico at the top for natural beauty. 
She shot him dead. 
We waited too long. 
We visited Cuba several times. 
He must think he's important, the way he talks. 
There's an article about Jamaica in this issue, in case you're 

Positions in front of subjects are likely to be taken by adjuncts 
contributing meanings of possibility, reservation, attitude, inter- 
jection, direct address, and order, and by adjuncts which refer to 
what has just been said. 

18 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Perhaps you're right. 

As politicians go, he's a good speaker. 

Fortunately Harry's girl friends are very forgiving. 

Well, you may be right. 

John, it's your turn. 

In the first place, the town has no industry. 

So she married him. 

Positions interrupting nucleuses (and even interrupting phrasal 
predicators) are likely to be taken by adjuncts contributing mean- 
ings of general frequency, assurance, and negation. 

They often get into difficulties. 
He's certainly doing good work. 
Phil never gets along with Jerry. 
He's rarely had a chance. 
She isn't being diplomatic. 

Positions between predicators and complements are often not 
usable for adjuncts. Thus, if the adjunct then is added to we knew 
the truth, it can be put in any of three positions, but not between 
the predicator knew and its complement. But one-word forms of a 
few verbs are often separated from their complements by adjuncts 
which would precede one-word forms of most verbs. 

He's always here. 

He always comes here. 

And adjuncts of types very much like second complements some- 
times take positions between predicators and complements. 

Susan has made Judy a skirt. 
We've eaten up the cake. 

In simple sentences interruptions of the nucleus are avoided for 
adjuncts of most types. The relationships of subject to predicator 
and of complement to predicator are indicated by juxtaposition as 
well as by part of speech and meaning. For this reason in / always 
get there tired the pressure of word order makes there a complement 
and tired an adjunct but in I always get tired there the same pres- 
sure makes tired a complement and there an adjunct. 

A certain amount of varying of positions of adjuncts is quite 
possible if discretion is used and is often desirable when clauses 
become complex in structure. Sometimes, however, changes in 
position involve changes in meaning relationships. 

Syntactic Functions 19 

Naturally she speaks to us. 
She speaks to us naturally. 

She saw him on Tuesday, and he was happy then . 
She saw him on Tuesday, and then he was happy. 
These are easy days, but I'm still behind in my work. 
These are easy days, but still I'm behind in my work. 
She just won't say no. 
She won't just say no. 

Adjuncts modify more than predicators, of course: they modify 
nucleuses or combinations of nucleuses and other adjuncts. In 
Janet didn't marry her first husband because she loved him the adjunct 
not, in spite of being merged with the predicator, modifies all the 
rest of the sentence: Janet did marry her first husband because she 
loved him. The adjunct because she loved him modifies the nucleus 
Janet did marry her first husband. Adjuncts are added to nucleuses 
layer upon layer, and the precise order of the additions is not al- 
ways clear. But the predicators are the ultimate heads, and it is 
convenient to speak of adjuncts simply as modifiers of predicators. 

It remains true that it is not always easy to distinguish tight 
adjuncts from complements. The test is the normal requirements 
of present and present-perfect forms of the particular verbs used 
as predicators, when they have the turns of meaning in point. But 
it is not always easy to apply the test. Actually it is sometimes not 
easy to distinguish subjects from complements: for example, in 
here's where I get off> in there isn't time, is there? and in who are the 
officers this year? 

Isolates. The major syntactic functions found in clausal sen- 
tences are those of predicator, subject, complement, and adjunct. 
But alongside clausal sentences the language employs units which 
have no such structure even by implication and yet are given the 
same status clausal sentences are given. These can be called clause 
equivalents. They are of two types. First of all, there are what 
have the appearance of undeveloped clauses. Here there are words 
and multiword units such as clauses are made of, but no real clause 
structures are indicated clearly, so that it is not possible to speak 
of implied parts with certainty. 

John! Dear me! 

Good night. You and your big ideas! 

20 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Danger Taliaferro Hall 

No Smoking Grape Juice 

Signs and labels employ isolate construction very commonly. John! 
sometimes amounts to a request for attention and sometimes is 
simply an expression of emotion pleasure, surprise, irritation. 
The second type of clause equivalent makes use of words that 
normally do not participate in clause structure at all but carry in 
themselves the syntactic value of whole nucleuses. 

Ouch! Hello. 

Whew! Yes. 

Isolates sometimes take adjunct modifiers, much as nucleuses do. 
Adjuncts are italicized in the following sentences. 

Thanks very much. Good night, Marian. 

Now for some music. Oh, no ! 

In like father, like son two isolates are combined in a sentence of 
exceptional type. 

Major and contained syntactic functions. From the point 
of view of syntax everything that is put into English participates in 
the performance of the major syntactic functions and is divisible 
first into main clauses and main-clause equivalents and then, 
within these, into predicators, subjects, complements, adjuncts, 
and isolates. 

The major syntactic functions can all be performed by single 
words. They can also be performed by multiword units of various 
kinds. Sometimes these units are clauses, with components of the 
kinds that occur in main declaratives. Sometimes these units are 
nonclausal, and within them must be recognized types of syntactic 
functions which can be called contained functions. 

Contained heads and contained modifiers* Headed units 
are made up of (1) contained heads and (2) contained modifiers 
which attach to these heads. 

Comfortable chairs are expensive now. 
They have three children. 
George is diplomatic enough. 
She writes very badly. 

The italicized headed units are used as subject, as complement, 
and as adjunct. They are used in constructions characteristic of 

Syntactic Functions 21 

their heads: comfortable chairs like chairs, three children like chil- 
dren, diplomatic enough like diplomatic, very badly like badly. The 
headed units given above can be classified as nounal, adjectival, 
and adverbial in type. Contained modifiers normally come next to 
their heads, as is the case here. Most one-word modifiers precede 
their heads, but the reverse order (as in diplomatic enough) is not 
rare. Headed units often function as contained modifiers within 
larger headed units. 

The island has incredibly beautiful vegetation. 
Two-story houses have disadvantages. 

They perform other contained functions also. 

In some headed units the heads are, for one reason or another, 
not freely usable alone in the ways the units are used. 

Our apartment can hardly be heated. 
The poor need health first of all. 
We came to Marietta six weeks ago. 
She irritates people too much. 
Our so-called expert is a fraud. 

We are dealing with oddities of English construction here. Though 
apartment alone is hardly usable as subject without some modifier 
such as our, this, or the, the plural form apartments is usable. The 
poor is a nounal headed unit in which an adjective functions as 
plural head, and nounal use of adjectives is sharply restricted. Ago 
alone cannot be used as an adjunct, but later can and six weeks 
ago must be analyzed, in modern English, as six weeks later is. 
Without such a modifier as too, much is now avoided in unnegated 

When two or more noncoordinate contained modifiers attach to 
the same head, they attach in layers. The precise order of the 
layers is not always apparent, but accumulation is a very different 
thing from coordination. 

Sarah has two very satisfactory daughters. 

The excellent business opportunities there interest him. 

It is clear that in two very satisfactory daughters the most accurate 
analysis would say that the contained modifier two modifies the 
whole unit very satisfactory daughters and the contained modifier 
very satisfactory itself a headed unit modifies the single word 

22 The Sentence and Its Parts 

daughters. But in the excellent business opportunities there, where 
three modifiers precede the head opportunities and one follows it, 
the order of layers is not quite so clear. It seems wise not to push 
the sorting out of layers very far but simply to say that in two 
very satisfactory daughters the head daughters has two modifiers and 
in the excellent business opportunities there the head opportunities 
has four. 
Sometimes contained modifiers are separated from their heads. 

Signs are not lacking that the property will be divided. 

What business is it of his? 

Let someone do it that can. 

Of all these great volcanoes Popocatepetl is the most famous. 

In signs of division of the property are not lacking the modifier of 
signs, here prepositional, follows it immediately. 

Many contained modifiers are in fact complementary. Such a 
word asfondj for example, needs a completer, expressed or implied, 
as truly as such a verb as like, and such a word as superior may 
need one as truly as such a verb as surpass. 

He isn't really fond of her. 

The new tires are superior to the old ones. 

It is noteworthy that the head words fond and superior determine 
the prepositions used in the modifiers. This is a common situation 
when modifiers are complementary. But the distinction between 
complementary and noncomplementary contained modifiers can 
generally be disregarded. 

Phrasal verb forms are best regarded as headed units in which 
the auxiliaries are contained modifiers. Thus in Mary is watching 
television with the children the form is watching can be said to be 
made up of the head watching and the modifier is. Watches can 
replace is watching here without change in subject or complement; 
is hardly can. 7s watching, like watches, is a form of watch, not of be. 

The relationship of modifier and head is sometimes reversed. 
Thus people of that kind, with people the head and of that kind the 
modifier, is often made into that kind of people, with kind the head 
and of people a modifier. In he's sort of nice the relationship is 
similarly upside down : he's rather nice shows the syntactically more 
ordinary patterning. Upside-down construction would be hard to 

Syntactic Functions 23 

avoid for such a question as what kind of person is he? It is note- 
worthy that in such a phrasal verb form as is watching it is not the 
head word but the modifying auxiliary that is usable as a full 
predicator in main declaratives. Sometimes heads are implied. 
Thus the interrogative is Mary watching television 1 can be answered 
by of course she is y and the interrogative is he diplomatic? can be 
answered by not very. 

Principals and appositives. Apposed units are made up of 
(1) principals and (2) appositives set up alongside the principals 
and, in effect, duplicating their construction. 

The year 1989 was the crucial one. 

I like the story "Dry September" especially well. 

You'll pay alimony yet, you brute. 

You boys are welcome to go along. 

We each had to make a choice. 

You've met my friends Lewis Williams and James McPherson. 

We're going down to Mexico City next week. 

There aren't any seats up front. 

Opportunities seem more numerous out west. 

The girl over there is the new stenographer. 

Apposed units obviously perform a variety of syntactic functions. 
Principals always precede their appositives and usually precede 
them immediately as in the sentences above. Phrases, as well as 
single words, are readily usable both as principals and as apposi- 
tives. Appositives are commonly more exact restatements of princi- 
pals; but this is not quite the case with respect to you boys } and in 
we each had to make a choice a representative singular is used in ap- 
position to a plural a construction likely to be avoided in careful 
and formal styles. In informal let's us go too strongly stressed us is 
an appositive which actually repeats its principal, the us of let's, 
which rarely receives strong stress when let's means what it means 

Though they perform a variety of syntactic functions, apposed 
units are of relatively few nounal and adverbial types. Headed 
units are preferred at many points where apposed units might 
seem usable: for example, in the City of New York and in the month 
of August. Adverbial apposed units such as down to Mexico City, 
up front, out west, and over there are in constant use, at least in 
informal styles. The principals here give expression to deep feel- 

24 The Sentence and Its Parts 

ings for general relationships in space and the like : southernness, 
conspicuousness, remoteness from the historic spiritual centers of 
the nation, side-by-sideness. Occasionally two appositives follow 
a single principal. 

Phyllis went back up north last week. 

Here up and north are semantically repetitive, but up (like back) 
is not usable without north or some more exact appositive stated 
or clearly understood from the context. 

Postponing of appositives occurs when the principal is an it or a 
there whose function is to occupy the position the appositive would 
otherwise be expected to occupy. 

It's fifty miles from Youngstown to Akron. 
He makes it hard to work with him. 
There isn't time. 

Here the jvhole matter of the real content of the subject or the 
first complement is left in suspension until the appositive promised 
by the principal is arrived at. 

Prepositions and objects. Prepositional units are made up 
of (1) prepositions and (2) objects. 

He went in debt again. 

Jerry gives spectacular flowers to his girl friends. 

We bought the table at a fire sale. 

The man with glasses is a visitor. 

We drove up to Quebec last summer. 

It's an hour till supper. 

In declaratives, prepositions almost always precede their objects 
and precede them immediately. But sometimes, as in people want 
peace the world around, a preposition follows its object; and some- 
times, as in we wanted him to give you more time, a preposition 
(here to) occurs within its object (here him give you more time). In 
the following sentence an adjunct separates a preposition from its 

The study of contemporary English needs to develop some of 
the decorousness of, for example, Anglo-Saxon scholarship. 

Objects of prepositions are sometimes single words and sometimes 
longer units of various types. 

Syntactic Functions 25 

The relationship between prepositions and their objects has 
much in common with that between predicators and their com- 
plements. The following parallel constructions can illustrate. 

the room beside ours 
the room adjoining ours 
the room that adjoins ours 
students with eight-o'clock classes 
students having eight-o'clock classes 
students that have eight-o'clock classes 

Prepositions are what gives syntactic character to prepositional 
units, and this character can be described as adverbial. The objects 
of prepositions are generally nounal, but a few prepositions (no- 
tably the as of / regarded it as unimportant) take adjectival objects 
in much the way such a verb as be takes adjectival complements. 
Phrasal prepositions must be recognized. Often they embody a 
relational or directional meaning in a noun which is made the head 
word in the object of one one-word preposition and is followed and 
modified by a second. 

Hatcher does everything by means of indirection. 

We came by way of Miami. 

The garage is in back of the house. 

I keep an umbrella here in case of rain. 

We went wrong in spite of everything. 

There was considerable doubt with respect to Harrison's views. 

They may contain a single preposition rather than two. 

We had a pleasant time on board both ships. 
The mountains south of San Juan are magnificent. 

Another type of phrasal preposition embodies a preposition-like 
word followed and modified by an undoubted one-word preposi- 

He keeps abreast of the times. 

They entered the grounds ahead of us. 

Henry acquired three children along with his wife. 

He expressed himself frankly apropos of the change. 

Sensible people always run away from work. 

We postponed the meeting because of the weather. 

You need three wives instead of one. 

She buys them regardless of cost. 

The coat cost upwards of a month's pay. 

26 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Often phrasal prepositions can be paralleled by one-word preposi- 
tions which express their meanings less conspicuously, and perhaps 
less explicitly, but more economically and sometimes more com- 

I'm in favor of variety. 
I'm for variety. 

Under some circumstances objects of phrasal prepositions are in- 
corporated within them and the construction is simplified. 

They don't make errors in the buyer's favor. 
She gave up a great deal for her family's sake. 

In such a unit as since before Christmas it seems preferable to 
say not that since before is a phrasal preposition but that since 
is a preposition with the prepositional unit before Christmas as its 
object. Before, then, is another preposition with Christmas as its 
object. For both since and before true prepositional use is normal. 
In such a unit as for George to call, as in it's time for George to call, 
it seems best to regard /or ... to as an apposed-unit preposition 
in which for is principal and to is delayed appositive. The for is 
obviously that of it's time for his call, and the to is obviously that 
of it's time to call. 

Coordinates. Multiple units are made up of coordinates which 
unite on a syntactically equal basis in performing either major 
syntactic functions or contained ones. 

John loves and leaves them. 

Harry and I carried the trunk down. 

Harry and I drove our cars. 

Her new dress is blue and white. 

He works slowly but accurately. 

Marian is certainly worrying her poor father and mother. 

The startling red and white upholstery dominates the room. 

There's a five-and-ten-Geni store in the block. 

We drove up and down the streets. 

The pen belongs to George or Harry. 

More and more people are bowling. 

In Harry and I carried the trunk down there is joint action; in 
Harry and I drove our cars there is something a little different, so 
that Harry drove his car, and I drove mine means the same thing. 
The multiple units given above all employ coordinators to mark 

Syntactic Functions 27 

the relationship explicitly. Coordinators are best regarded as con- 
tained modifiers within coordinates which they begin. Thus in 
loves and leaves the coordinator and is best considered a modifier 
of leaves. Similarly, in multiple sentences, which have a great deal 
in common with multiple units within clauses, a coordinator join- 
ing two main divisions is best regarded as an adjunct within the 

Harry came out on the bus, and I did too. 

Multiple units without coordinators are not at all rare. 

We took a bus from Akron to Young stown. 

There were thirty-two seats. 

The Sacco-Vanzetti case attracted attention everywhere. 

He's ignorant, opinionated, rude. 

All we do is work, work, work. 

Units of various types function as coordinates in multiple units. 
That's the new man from Ohio and our friend McPherson. 

But though one coordinate is a headed unit and the other an ap- 
posed unit here, both are nounal. Especially in informal styles, 
there is often coordination of words and longer units which are 
not coordinate in sense. 

It made me good and mad. 
Occasionally an adjunct separates coordinates. 

The pen belongs to George, who was here last, or to Harry. 

In a series of three or more coordinates, commonly only the last 
has a coordinator, which then serves to mark it as terminal. 

Courses in English, Spanish, European history, calculus, and 
geology are listed. 

Just as in some headed units the heads cannot be used alone as 
the units are used, the coordinates in some multiple units are not 
usable individually as the multiple units are used. 

Slow and steady wins the race. 

The program pleased young and old. 

It was touch and go for a while. 

The elephants are hunting high and low for Arthur and Celeste. 

He came at us hammer and tongs. 

28 The Sentence and Its Parts 

The baby cried day and night. 

Job or no job, we have to have a holiday. 

They're very conscientious people, by and large. 

A hit-and-run driver almost killed her. 

He's an out-and-out fraud. 

Misleading parallelism in form sometimes suggests unintended 

A conscious understanding of how grammatical patterns func- 
tion is useful to teachers and students who are past childhood. 

Here repetition of to before students would clarify the construction. 

Items in unanalysed strings. Sometimes old relationships 
are no longer felt, and analysis of syntactic units therefore 
seems artificial. This is true, for example, of such a name as James 
Harvey Robinson, where the divisions of the total name are quite 
clear but their relation is not. 

Relation of major and contained syntactic functions to 
secondary syntactic functions. The contained syntactic func- 
tions, then, are those of contained head, contained modifier, prin- 
cipal, appositive, preposition, object, coordinate, and item in an 
unanalyzed string. Every word can be said to perform one of these 
functions within a phrasal predicator, subject, complement, ad- 
junct, or isolate, or to be a (one-word) predicator, subject, com- 
plement, adjunct, or isolate itself. Sometimes a word or multiword 
unit can be said to perform two major or contained functions 
simultaneously. Thus in they separate the men with families from 
those without the word without can be considered both a modifier 
of those and a preposition whose object is implied rather than 
stated. Surely without has the semantic value of without families 
here. In he shouted, "Coming!" the verb form coming is both the 
complement in the main statement and the reduced predicator in 
a quoted statement that has the force of unreduced I'm coming 

Secondary functions differ from major and contained functions 
in that they can be regarded as always performed by words or 
multiword units which also perform major or contained functions. 

Half modifiers. One kind of secondary function is that of half 
modifier. Half modifiers appear in a variety of situations. Most 

Syntactic Functions 29 

adjectival complements are half modifiers of subjects or preceding 

The mountains are very beautiful. 

I finally got the shoes clean. 

Here very beautiful and clean are first of all complements. Comple- 
ments are needed where very beautiful and clean appear, and these 
items perform the necessary function. / finally got the shoes clean 
is structurally very much like I finally got the shoes into good condi- 
tion. But a relationship which approaches contained modification 
is present also. The syntactic distance to the very beautiful moun- 
tains and the clean shoes is not great. 

Many adjuncts have secondary functions as half modifiers. 

We ate the chicken cold. 

He married young. 

Sigrid was already composing at the age of five. 

Mary dropped the handkerchief carelessly. 

George slammed the door furiously. 

He speaks French like a Frenchman. 

The child was found three miles away, hungry and cold. 

Familiar with the marvels of science and invention, the American 

was reluctant to make commitments for future^ generations. 
Many clauses, main and subordinate, contain units for which 

the best name seems to be "complement." 

In the last of these sentences main and subordinate is given half- 
modifier status for reasons that are largely rhetorical : in many main 
and subordinate clauses the same unit is a true modifier within the 
subject, and the meaning is not greatly different. In we ate the 
chicken cold the adjective cold is first of all an adjunct of circum- 
stance, in the usual position of such adjuncts. While it was cold 
would be a similarly used adjunct if it replaced cold. In he married 
young the adjective young is primarily an adjunct of time or cir- 
cumstance and secondarily a half modifier of he } which it cannot 
modify directly as it does Payne in young Payne. Secondary rela- 
tionships as half modifiers may help to explain the construction 
illustrated in the following sentence. 

I saw a dress like that in Hudson's window yesterday. 

Here the seeing has not taken place in the store window : the per- 
son who saw the dress was outside. The italicized unit is perhaps 

30 The Sentence and Its Parts 

most conveniently regarded as an adjunct of place in the statement 
and, in addition, a half modifier of a dress like that. In / never see 
him alone it is similarly possible to regard alone as an adjunct of 
circumstance in the declarative and also a half modifier either of 
the subject / or of the complement him, depending on who is 
never alone. 

Some half-modifier relationships are very strongly felt. Others 
are not clearly felt in modern English and can be ignored in all 
but the most careful analysis. But sometimes when even the least 
conspicuous relationships of this type are disregarded in practice, 
sentence structure is damaged. 

At the age of five Sigrid's teacher had her composing. 

The handkerchief dropped carelessly to the floor. 

Good or bad, he hasn't read a new book in twenty years. 

In the first of these sentences teacher is syntactically more promi- 
nent than Sigrid's, and for this reason a false relationship is mo- 
mentarily possible. In the handkerchief dropped carelessly to the 
floor there is no mention, and no real thought, of anything to 
which carelessness can be attributed. In the last sentence goodness 
or badness may seem to be related either to the adjacent subject, 
he, or to the whole state of affairs rather than to a new book. 
Half appositives. Many loose adjuncts have secondary func- 
tions as half appositives. 

One factor, prices, was decisive. 

One old friend is especially missed: Mozelle. 

We hurried, even ran, to the door. 

He's very Western natural, friendly, without pretensions. 

Two cities Havana and Santiago dominate the opposite 

ends of the island. 

That's what we do, isn't it? assume they won j t come. 
Some people consider hot weather, especially tropical hot 

weather, unhealthy. 
Never before, not even in the seventies, had the outlook seemed 

so bleak. 

Diplomacy real diplomacy is what is needed. 
Anyone, even the Little Woman, can make good soup. 
I have no desk nothing but a table and two chairs. 
These articles make sense, most of them. 

Syntactic Functions 31 

In such a sentence as one factor, prices, was decisive the half ap- 
positive has no effect on the number form of the verb. The subject 
here is one factor, and prices is first of all a loose adjunct even 
though from the point of view of meaning it is a more exact state- 
ment of the content of the subject. Some loose-adjunct half ap~ 
positives approach clauses in force and in the type of modifiers 
they include. 

Wall Street and State Street, so long the objects of popular 
execration, could pose as saviors of the country. 

Half-appositive relationships are present in certain kinds of loose 
adjuncts which precede their half principals. 

As Maine goes, so goes the nation. 

The dictator of literary Boston, Howells never forgot his frontier 


Child that he is, he has always trusted her. 
Windows, doors, beds, dressers everything in the room was 

burned to a crisp. 
Money that was what he needed. 
And John did he like it? 

In the first of these sentences, so is a tight adjunct and as Maine 
goes can be considered in half apposition to it. 

Tight adjuncts have half-appositive relationships much less fre- 
quently than loose adjuncts do. 

I'm occasionally right myself. 
WeVe all made that mistake. 
They don't either one eat enough. 

In I myself am occasionally right it seems best to regard / myself 
as a true apposed unit used as subject, but when myself is delayed 
the situation is different: there is no suspension of the subject, 
since / alone is entirely adequate. Representative half appositives, 
such as either one in the third sentence above, occur chiefly in in- 
formal styles and put singular forms in half apposition with plural 
ones. Half-appositive construction may or may not be felt in sen- 
tences such as the following. 

The people of Hiroshima were the first to die victims of the 
atomic bomb. 


The Sentence and Its Parts 

Half coordinates. -Half coordinates which are primarily tight 
adjuncts occur. The and the sound of voices of he could hear music 
somewhere and the sound of voices can serve as an example. In a 
word-order language such as modern English, the postponement of 
and the sound of voices removes it from the status of a full coordinate 
with music. Half coordinates which are also loose adjuncts occur 
more often. 

He suffered with Latin and Greek, and even with French. 

Integrity was in the tower, and decision. 

We hurried, or rather ran, to the door. 

Avocados, or alligator pears, are a wonderful addition to our 

diet. . . 

The second part of the book, and the best part in my opinion, 

takes up the period of the Revolution. 

Many half coordinates are semantically very much like half ap- 
positives, but are begun by and or or. 

Coordinators. Only four words function as basic coordinators : 
and, but, or, and nor. All four should be regarded as modifiers of 
the coordinates they begin: the function of coordinator is to be 
regarded as an additional, secondary one. Except that they are 
also coordinators, and, but, or, and nor function about as also, 
nevertheless, else, and (in some of its uses) neither function. The 
four basic coordinators, of course, always precede what they at- 
tach to. The multiple coordinator and/ or is often useful. 

If you see Robert and/ or Ruby, let me know. 

The style here is informal, but and/or is most characteristically 
used in careful styles. It is likely to be avoided in formal styles. 
It should be added that and and but do not always function as 

Even the best stores and they are very good stores do not 

handle their vegetables well. 
All but two of the answers were wrong. 

And is an adjunct beginning a loose adjunct of circumstance in 
the first of these sentences, and but is a preposition in the second. 
When they begin coordinates in multiple units, coordinators an- 
nounce an equal sharing of a function. They announce something 

Syntactic Functions 33 

less than this, and yet much like it, when they begin half coordi- 

Precoordinators often accompany basic coordinators, normally 
beginning the first coordinate in a multiple unit and serving notice 
that it is a coordinate and will be followed by another. Both, not, 
either, and neither function as precoordinators before and, but, or, 
and nor. 

Both Mary and Jane liked the picture. 
Not a chemist but a physicist was needed. 
She's not only pretty but also fairly bright. 
He's neither for nor against it. 

Like basic coordinators, precoordinators are modifiers within the 
coordinates they begin: their function as coordinators is a sec- 
ondary one. In he's neither for nor against it, for example, there is a 
multiple preposition in which the first coordinate is neither for and 
the second is nor against Each coordinate is a headed unit in 
which the contained modifier is also a coordinator. It is significant 
that the negative force of neither does not extend to the second 
coordinate as that of not does in he isn f t either for or against it. The 
negative force of not is similarly confined in not a chemist but a 
physicist was needed. 

Whether is often used as a precoordinator which comes somewhat 
before the first coordinate. 

I can't remember whether Jones came in 1953 or in 1954. 

Here whether serves as a clause marker as well as a precoordinator. 
When other precoordinators move forward so that they are sep- 
arated from what they attach to, the resulting construction meets 
with criticism. Thus either Jones came in 1953 or in 1954 is less 
acceptable for careful or formal use than Jones came either in 1953 
or in 1954^ 

Such pairs as on the one hand and on the other hand indicate co- 
ordinate relationships quite often. In such a sentence as she is 
equally unhappy when Christianity is questioned and when it is prac- 
ticed the contained modifier equally functions rather similarly. 

Clause markers. Finally, whatever serves to distinguish 
clauses of other kinds from main declaratives can be said to func- 
tion as a clause marker. The function of clause marker is best 

34 The Sentence and Its Parts 

regarded as always a secondary one, performed by words and 
multiword units which also perform major or contained functions 
within the clauses they mark. Clause markers are italicized in the 
following sentences. 

Has Jack been waiting for us? 
Well, Robert, now what's wrong? 
Be careful. 
I wonder where she's from. 

Has is part of the predicator in the first sentence, what is the sub- 
ject in the second, be is the predicator in the third, and where is 
the object in a prepositional unit used as complement in a sub- 
ordinate clause in the fourth; but has, what, be y and where are also 
clause markers in these sentences. Clause markers tend to begin 
the clauses they mark, but they do not always do so. The use of 
clause markers in contemporary English is most conveniently de- 
scribed in connection with analysis of clause patterns. 



Relation of syntactic functions to part-of-speech cate- 
gories. Words can be said to perform particular syntactic func- 
tions in particular sentences and at the same time to belong to 
part-of-speech categories. In modern English the part-of-speech 
classification of a word is primarily a matter of characteristic be- 
havior in all the circumstances in which it is used with the par- 
ticular meaning in point. In each of the two columns which follow, 
the italicized words must be classified alike with respect to function 
in these sentences but must be distinguished with respect to their 
grammatical behavior in general. 

Coffee was enough. Summer is fun in Minnesota. 

That was enough. Summer is delightful in Minnesota. 

Once was enough. Summer is over in Minnesota. 

Die and death mean essentially the same thing in until I die and 
until my death, but their grammatical behavior is different. The 
basic criterions for determining the part-of-speech classification 
of a word as used with a particular meaning are two, both of them 
syntactic: (1) the functions it characteristically performs, and (2) 
the kinds of modifiers it characteristically accepts. A third criterion 
is less generally useful, and does not help at all with large numbers 
of words such as ought, fun, extinct, then, ouch, and each: the ways 
in which the word inflects. A fourth criterion is sometimes useful 
but is hard to manipulate : the kind of meaning it expresses. A fifth 
possible criterion the presence in some words of noninflectional 
formatives associated with particular part-of-speech classifica- 
tions, such as the ize of pasteurize and the less of careless is 
limited in usefulness and unreliable. 


36 The Sentence and Its Parts 

It seems best oo recognize six parts of speech: verbs, nouns, 
adjectives, adverbs, absolutes, and pronouns. 

Verbs. The function characteristically performed by verbs is 
that of predicator, and the structures characteristically built 
around them are clauses. Their most characteristic modifiers are 
subjects, and these precede them hi declaratives. Almost all verbs 
can be run through such series as / want, you want, he wants, 
though many of them need complements as well as subjects; and 
words of no other kind take the nominative and common-case 
forms of the personal pronouns as prepositive modifiers in this 
way. Almost all verbs make inflected forms by adding what the 
written language represents by s or es in the third person singular 
of the present and ing in the one-word gerundial; and every word 
which inflects in these ways is a verb. Verbs have other inflected 
forms too, but these two are sufficient for purposes of identification. 
Verbs express meanings of occurrence action, event, or state of 

A few defectives must be classified as verbs and yet do not fully 
meet the tests almost all verbs meet. Seven verbs have neither s 
forms nor gerundial forms: can, may, must, ought, shall, should, 
and will. 

All verbs normally accept only subjects and other modifiers that 
are semantically compatible with them. This is the reason such a 
verb as rain, used as hi it rained last night, takes only it as subject: 
only "it" can rain real rain. But people can rain blows on each 
other if they want to, and rain can hardly be called a defective 
verb. Compatibility of meanings sets bounds on the development 
of all syntactic relationships. 

The patterning of particular verbs with respect to complements 
requires notice because of its importance to other parts of speech. 
Some verbs characteristically take nounal first complements and 
are called transitive. 

We make fudge. 

I've dropped a plate. 

I remember Tony well. 

Not even Californians understand Californians. 

She has no brothers or sisters. 

Columbus is the capital. 

Parts of Speech 37 

Some transitives also take second complements. These may be 
characteristically nounal. 

We've elected Haynes chairman. 
They call it efficiency. 

Or they may be nounal ("indirect" complements) if they precede 
syntactically "first' 7 complements. The verbs with which this is 
usual form a limited group: it is not usual, for example, to say 
he's dedicated her another song. 

They've assigned Wilson another class. 
She's handed him his hat. 
Larry's sent us some pictures. 
They teach the children a little French. 
We owe our friends a great deal. 

Or they may be adjectival, with half-modifier relationships to the 
first complements. 

He gets his clothes wet. 

They've made their friends angry. 

Or, more often, adverbial. 

We't;e elected Haynes to the chairmanship. 

They've assigned it to George. 

We owe a great deal to our friends. 

He gets his clothes into very bad condition. 

I've put the typewriter in its case. 

I've put the typewriter away. 

I'll take you there. 

We'll look the Littles up. 

He's turned his key in. 

We've finally rid the place of roaches. 

You deprive me of my best excuses. 

Some verbs characteristically take adjectival first complements 
with half -modifier relationships to the subjects and are called 

The older residents are now wealthy. 

He gets too emotional. 

She looks healthy enough. 

She acts silly. 

The dog breaks loose. 

Everything went black. 

38 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Some verbs characteristically take adverbial first complements 
(including prepositional units) and can be called oblique. 

He looks away. 

He looks at the ceiling. 

We go there. 

He is here. 

A new manager has taken over. 

Everyone longs for security. 

He refrains from criticism. 

Harris participates in the protests. 

They're infringing on our rights. 

The car belongs to Jack. 

The purse harmonizes with her gloves. 

The dog breaks out. 

Some oblique verbs also take second complements. 

He doesn't fall in with such suggestions. 
He's going on with the novel. 
She's made up with him. 
We've done away with the rugs. 
She puts up with a great deal. 

Some verbs are used without complements and can be called 

He snores. 

Meaning relationships are very complex, as has been said. Cop- 
ulatives most often express ideas of being, becoming, remaining, 
and seeming (including impressing particular senses, as in the milk 
smells sour) ; but they are not confined to such meanings. Many 
verbs are used with varied turns of meaning with which varied 
complement patterns are normal. Thus, from the point of view of 
contemporary English grammar, be is transitive in Columbus is the 
capital (and even in careful or formal it was he who had asked the 
White House to issue a denial), copulative in you're right, oblique in 
he's here, and terminant in there aren't enough seats. Get is transitive 
in he got another drink and in he got himself drunk, copulative in 
he got drunk, and oblique in he got back to his apartment. Look is 
oblique in she looked at him but is transitive in she looked daggers at 
him and copulative in she looked happy. Try is transitive in we try 
numerous recipes but is oblique in she tried for an A. Truly excep- 

Parts of Speech 39 

tional complements, such as the adjective long with the transitive 
verb spend in we didn't spend long there, are another matter. Some 
verbs are used in patternings of extremely restricted types. Thus 
bestir, for example, is used only with reflexive first complements. 
Nouns. The functions which are characteristically performed 
by nouns and are most helpful in part-of-speech classification are 

1. Subject, as in paper isn't strong enough. 

2. Complement of a transitive verb, as in we've used paper. 

3. Object of a preposition, as in we wrapped it in paper. 

4. Head in a nounal headed unit, as in this paper isn't strong. 

Other functions characteristically performed by nouns are those 
of principal and appositive within nounal apposed units (as in 
Johnny my boy and my friend George) and of coordinates within 
nounal multiple units (as in Harvey and 7). The most characteristic 
modifiers of nouns in positions in front of the nouns are (1) deter- 
miners, such as the and possessives, and (2) adjectives. Their most 
characteristic inflections serve to mark plural number and pos- 
sessive case. Meanings are of limited help in identifying nouns as 
such, since meanings of practically any kind can be expressed in 
nouns; it is true, however, that the names of people, places, and 
"things" are characteristically nouns. 

But nouns are of three types with somewhat distinct patterns 
of behavior. The basic forms of pluralizer nouns are most often 
used as heads within nounal units, since they generally require 
determiners. Thus it is hard to use the basic forms of such nouns as 
house or wife alone as subjects without determiners such as the, 
your, or Richardson's. Proper nouns such as Richardson, Harriet, 
Mars, Bronx, and Antilles either rarely take determiners or take 
only an ordinary compulsory the, and as proper nouns they do not 
change from singular to plural or vice versa. Quantifiables such as 
courage, fun, pneumonia, milk, spaghetti, machinery, and furniture 
are not made plural, though it is true that some quantifiables have 
pluralizer status also. A word that has an 5 plural is clearly a noun 
or a pronoun, but only one of the three varieties of nouns forms 
plurals. Inflection for the possessive is fundamentally a nounal and 
pronounal variety of inflection, but it is often added to multiword 
units, as in someone else's, where else is an adverb. Actually, 

40 The Sentence and Its Parts 

quantifiables and many pluralizers are rarely made possessive. 
A number of functional defectives require classification as nouns. 
Examples are italicized in the following units. 

on behalf of in good stead 

Mr. Jones on the verge of 

for your sake for a short while 

Dear Sir: in no wise 

These are words which now occur as nouns only in sharply limited 
situations. Mr. has the plural Messrs, and is clearly a noun honorific 
like doctor, judge } and colonel. In contemporary American use the 
while of subordinate clauses is best considered an adverb with the 
secondary function of clause marker, like when. 

Nounal headed units fall into patterns of a complexity surpassed 
only by clause structure itself. Adjectival modifiers, descriptive 
or qualifying in force, normally precede their heads immediately. 

quiet girls medieval France better clothes 

motherly women poor George older countries 

Determiner modifiers, pronounal in function, normally precede 
adjectival modifiers when both are used, and are concerned with 
identification, number, or quantity. 

the tall boy two bad starts 

no good reason a great many old friends 

Fred's new house too much water 

But the presence of extremitive and near-extremitive elements 
sometimes forces the article a inside units it might be expected to 

I didn't realize how high a price he had paid. 
It isn't as big a room as that. 
She's too good a cook to make such a pie. 
It isn't that big a city. 

Predeterminer modifiers generally are adverbial in function, and 
mensurant, selectional, differential, conjunctive, or adjunct-like 
in force. 

twice the time and the young people 

only the older children then a struggling lawyer 

considerably the best room scarcely an hour 

Parts of Speech 41 

Postpositive modifiers are most characteristically adverbial or 

the price alone people with children 

the weather here people who have children 

Postpositive position is normal even for adjectival units if they 
include prepositional or clausal modifiers of their own. 

Main statements roughly equivalent to these subordinate clauses 

would be as follows. 
Roughly equivalent main statements would be as follows. 

When there is no determiner, a pluralizer or quantifiable noun or 
nounal unit usually has general force. Sometimes the force is truly 

Children hate irony. 

Water is the best drink. 

Statistics require interpretation. 

Man still finds germs and insects dangerous. 

Sometimes there is simply an unwillingness to get involved in ideas 
of identity, number, or quantity. 

We eat baked potatoes quite often. 

He writes short stories. 

He spent five years in college. 

Almost all our shoes are machine made now. 

We spend a third of our lives in bed. 

Without determiners nouns sometimes approach adjectives in 

Mona is located in beautiful mountain country. 

Some university students were on the plane. 

Faculty social life tends to be dull. 

He isn't man enough. 

The other suit is wool. 

Summer is fun in Minnesota. 

The food is tops. 

He's good company. 

It's biological nonsense to call women the weaker sex. 

This kind of thing is exceptional for nounal complements. Deter- 
miners are necessary with nounal complements in such sentences 
as the following. 

42 The Sentence and Its Parts 

He's a lawyer. 

His wife is a Canadian. 

But in the plural the inflectional endings show nounal construction 
and determinatives are not needed in the same situations. 

Both men are lawyers. 

Both the wives are Canadians. 

In some special situations there is really specific force without 
the aid of determiners. This is notably true where there is a kind 
of pairing in more or less fixed phrasings. 

I searched the room from top to bottom. 
Mother and child are doing well. 

It is true in upside-down construction where indefinite articles are 
commonly dropped, at least in careful and formal styles. 

Some kind of solution is necessary. 
A solution of some kind is necessary. 

It is true in the light of context in such a sentence as the following. 
I'm driving to town after supper today. 

Proper nouns, of course, are basically specific in force without the 
aid of determiners. In only John the adverb only is essentially pre~ 
determinative exactly as it is hi only the older children. 

Adjectives. The functions which are characteristically per- 
formed by adjectives and are most helpful in part-of-speech classi- 
fication are two: 

1. Prepositive modifier of a noun head, as in new houses are 

being built. 

2. Complement of a copulative verb, with a half -modifier rela- 

tionship to the subject, as in these houses are new. 

Adjectives are generally usable as new is used in these two sen- 
tences. Other functions characteristically performed by adjectives 
are that of head in an adjectival headed unit, as new is used irx 
these houses are very new } and that of coordinate in an adjectival 
multiple unit, as new is used in these houses are new and pleasant. 
The most characteristic prepositive modifiers of adjectives are 
adverbs. Some adjectives employ the endings er and est to make 
comparatives and superlatives. As for meanings, generally adjec- 

Parts of Speech 43 

tives express meanings that can be described broadly as qualitative 
or descriptive: they name "characteristics." 

As modifiers of nouns, adjectives are normally preceded by deter- 
miners when determiners are used along with them: for example, 
in the new house, some new houses, and Fred's new house. New house 
and new houses are undetermined units, like house and houses alone; 
and new house is no more usable as a subject than house alone. 
Adjectives do not modify proper nouns such as Lucy and Stephen- 
son freely, though emotional combinations such as poor Lucy occur. 
Some adjectives express meanings of identification, number, and 
quantity and are at the borderline with determiner use. 

that very moment forty-odd seats 

innumerable occasions considerable experience 

In forty-odd there is even coordination of a determinative pronoun 
and an adjective. 

A fairly large number of functional defectives must be included 
among the adjectives. Some are usable before nouns but not as 
complements of copulatives. This is true of the following. 




very (meaning "exact" or "true") 

live, lone, outdoor, faraway 

foster (as in foster parents), vice (as in vice president) 

main, chief 

fore, hind, mid 

mere, sole 

A number of words that ordinarily require prepositional com- 
pleters seem to require classification as adjectives and yet are 
not usable as prepositive modifiers of head nouns. Examples follow. 

afraid desirous 

content ("satisfied") irrespective 

proof tantamount 

sorry ("regretful") unable 

All these words are freely usable, with completers expressed or in 
some cases implied, after copulative verbs. Such words as ready and 
glad have limited use before head nouns, as in a ready wit and a 
glad smile, but are much more freely usable after be. 

44 The Sentence and Its Parts 

For particular meanings, too, severe limits on use sometimes 
exist. Thus, in American English, the baby feels bad is not matched, 
with the same meaning, by the bad baby or even by the baby is bad, 
though the baby is worse is quite acceptable. 

Adverbs. The functions characteristically performed by ad- 
verbs which are most helpful in part-of-speech classification are (1) 
that of adjunct, (2) that of prepositive modifier of an adjective or 
another adverb, (3) that of postpositive modifier, and (4) that of 

The situation improved then. 

He was very frank. 

Someone else can do it. 

There's a good public library in Marietta. 

The function of predeterminative modifier in nounal units (as in 
twice the usual price) is also fundamentally adverbial. Adverbs also 
function characteristically as heads in adverbial headed units (such 
as very badly), as principals and appositives in adverbial apposed 
units (such as down there) , and as coordinates in adverbial mul- 
tiple units (such as now and then). Many adverbs are highly spe- 
cialized words that are quite limited in functioning. 

A very few adverbs share with some adjectives (and with the 
pronoun few) the use of the inflectional endings er and est to make 
comparatives and superlatives. This is true of often and soon. 
Adverbs in ly } such as faintly, quickly, and sadly, reject er and est 
(preferring more and most), though various adjectives in ly, such as 
deadly and friendly, make use of these endings. As for meanings, 
adverbs used as adjuncts of predicators contribute ideas of time, 
place, manner, and so on, as adjuncts in general do. Adverbs used 
as prepositive contained modifiers express ideas of degree (as in 
very arrogant), attitude (as in disturbingly ignorant), reference (as in 
rhetorically neater), and so on. Adverbs used as prepositions gen- 
erally express relational or directional meanings. But meanings 
are undependable guides once again. 

The basic coordinators and, but, or, and nor are best regarded as 
a small but important subcategory among the adverbs, as are such 
clause markers as if, than, when, and whether and such linking ad- 
verbs as consequently, nevertheless, and also, which neither sub- 

Parts of Speech 45 

ordinate nor explicitly coordinate. All of the words which function 
as one-word prepositions are most conveniently classified as ad- 
verbs, though for such words as worth and like this classification is 
an arbitrary one. 

Absolutes. The one function characteristically performed by 
absolutes is that of isolate. 

Some absolutes are substitute words. This is true of yes and no. 
Others have a more stable content of meaning. This is true of such 
absolutes as the following. 





















Some absolutes take adjuncts of various kinds, as in yes, indeed 
and in hello, John; but it is noteworthy that absolutes tend to reject 
modifiers, so that, for example, no gives way to not in such sen- 
tences as certainly not. Absolutes do not inflect. Most of them are 
emotional, but this cannot be said of yes, no, or hello. 

Some absolutes function as adjuncts on occasion. 

Oh, I guess not. 
No I didn't! 

No I didn't! is a somewhat emotional declarative disagreeing with 
something that has just been said. No, I didn't is a very different 
matter: a semantically repetitive double sentence answering a 
question, with no used as an isolate in the main-declarative equiv- 
alent which constitutes the first division of the double sentence. 
Such isolates as the following are not to be classified as absolutes. 

Danger My! Gracious! Well! 

Danger is a noun, my a pronoun, gracious an adjective, well an 

Alone among the six parts of speech, absolutes will require no 
further attention at a later point. 

Pronouns. The pronouns make up a small part-of-speech cate- 
gory distinct from the others in that it is practically closed and 
the words that belong to it can be listed. The language adds new 

46 The Sentence and Its Parts 

verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and absolutes, easily and con- 
stantly ; but there is no easy entry for new pronouns. 

The one characteristically pronounal syntactic function is that 
of determiner modifier of nounal heads, but not all pronouns per- 
form this function. Pronouns do not take prepositive modifiers 
very freely. They express meanings (1) of identification and/or (2) 
of number or quantity. Some pronouns inflect in highly individ- 
ualistic ways; others do not inflect. Pronouns are of two 
syntactically distinct kinds. Those which can be classified as deter- 
minative pronouns have the function of determiner as their basic 
use. They can be listed as follows. 

I. Full determinatives of identification. 

1. Definiteness: this (and these), that (and those), the. 

2. Indefiniteness: a (and an), some. 

3. Indifference: any, either. 

4. Universality: every, each. 

5. Negation: no (and none), neither. 

6. Clause marking: what, which, whatever, whichever. 
II. Partial determinatives of identification. 

7. Identity: same. 

8. Type: such. 

9. Difference: other (and others). 

10. Sequence: ordinal numerals, last, next, former, 


11. Possession: own. 

III. Determinatives of number and quantity. 

12. Cardinal numerals. 

13. Small number and quantity :few (and fewer, 

fewest), little (and less, least), several. 

14. Sufficiency: enough. 

15. Large number and quantity: many and much 

(and more, most). 

16. Totality: all, both. 

The determinatives of identification are freely usable as deter- 
miner modifiers of singular forms of pluralizer nouns. Those which 
are called full determinatives of identification are usable thus 
without the presence of another (and superimposed) determiner 
in front of them. 

this house some house 

the house either house 

Parts of Speech 4,7 

each house what house 

no house whichever house 

Determined units such as these are usable in nounal functions as 
their pluralizer nounal heads ordinarily are not. Thus this house 
can be used as a subject though house normally cannot. Deter- 
minatives listed as partial determinatives of identification do not 
ordinarily begin similarly usable nounal units. Full determinatives 
and possessives can be superimposed on partial determinatives to 
make fully determined units. But where such is the partial deter- 
minative it precedes the indefinite article a, so that, in effect, the 
partial determinative is superimposed on the full one. 

the same house every second house 

no such house the latter house 

such a house your own house 

Some of the pronouns listed as determinatives of identification, 
both full and partial, can modify plurals such as houses and quan- 
tifiables such as furniture; others cannot. 

The pronouns listed above as determinatives of number and 
quantity are characteristically used to modify (1) plural forms of 
pluralizer nouns and/or (2) quantifiable nouns. Except for the 
cardinal numeral one, they modify singular forms of pluralizers 
only very exceptionally. 

three houses enough furniture 

little furniture many houses 

enough houses much furniture 

The classification of the determinatives given here is somewhat 
arbitrary, especially from the point of view of meanings. There is 
a frequent mixing of interest in identification with interest in quan- 
tity and number. Moreover the patterning of the determinatives 
of number and quantity is often followed by some, any, and no as 
well, so that in effect these pronouns often take their places 
syntactically as well as semantically in a kind of number-and- 
quantity series along with few, little, several, many, much, enough, 
and all. No may even seem to deserve membership in the series of 
cardinal numerals : no wife and no children, one wife and one child, 
two wives and two children, etc. 

The characteristic use of determinative pronouns is the use as 

48 The Sentence and Its Parts 

determiners within nounal units. But most determinative pronouns 
are also usable rather freely in nounal functions. In nounal uses 
they are best considered forms which have assimilated the mean- 
ings and the functions of what would be their heads in unreduced 
construction. In general, determinative pronouns can represent 
larger nounal units only when it is clear exactly what they are 
representing. Often obvious parallelism is the key to the matter. 

Most tourists are interested in the life of the people, but some 
are interested only in nightclubs. 

Clearly some represents some tourists here: the parallelism with 
most tourists makes this plain. Often determinative pronouns are 
followed by modifiers that are the key to what is not expressed. 

Some of Bill's old friends have turned against him. 

The last of the students has left. 

Two of the girls are from Haiti. 

Many of these apartments are furnished. 

Unreduced expression some friends from among Bill's old friends, 
etc. would be objectionably repetitive here. Sometimes what sug- 
gests the unstated head for a determinative pronoun is simply 
something stated prominently in what immediately precedes. 

There are six apartments, each with a garage. 

Sometimes it is something prominent in the situation at the mo- 
ment, as when that just isn't true means that story someone has told 
you just isn't true. Sometimes no very precise unstated head is 
really thought of. 

She's on her own now. 
This is Fred Johnson. 

If Fred Johnson uses this as an indirect equivalent of 7 in identify- 
ing himself on the telephone, some such noun as speaker, or some 
such nounal unit as person who is calling, may suggest itself as an 
omitted head for this, but it is not likely that it will suggest itself 
immediately and automatically. Nevertheless it remains true that 
the total pattern of behavior of the word must be kept in mind. 
Among the determinative pronouns only the, a, and every do not 
occur in nounal uses. No has a variant none which replaces the 
basic form in nounal uses, and other has an s plural for nounal use. 

Parts of Speech 49 

This job takes patience, and I have none. 
Some old friends write oftener than others. 

Here none obviously represents no patience, and others represents 
other old friends. 

This and that have inflected plural forms, and such numerals 
as dozen and hundred have s plurals used in oddly restricted ways ; 
but determinative pronouns in general lack number inflection. 
Possessive forms of determinative pronouns occur occasionally. 
Few, little, many, and much compare. Many and much share more 
and most as comparative and superlative. 

As has been said, in general pronouns do not accept prepositive 
modifiers freely. Their most common prepositive modifiers are 
perhaps certain adverbs: for example, in almost all of the houses, in 
very few houses, and in too much noise. When they are used in 
nounal constructions, determinative pronouns often have modifiers 
that in unreduced constructions would belong to the nounal heads 
which are, with varying degrees of clarity, implied. 

her own the latter 

some others the third of the month 

A few determinative pronouns take the indefinite article a as a 
modifier even when the units thus formed are used as determiner 

a few occasions a great many reasons 

a little fun 

Nounal pronouns can be listed as follows. 

1. The personals I, you, he, she, it, we, they, with their objec- 

tives, possessives, and self forms. 

2. The reciprocal each other, with its possessive. 

3. The expletive there. 

4. General one ("a person"), with its possessive and its self 


5. Substitute one (as in a large house and a small one), with 

its plural and possessive forms. 

6. The compounds someone, somebody, something, anyone, any- 

body, anything, everyone, everybody, everything, no one, 
nobody, nothing, with their possessives. 

7. The clause markers that, who, and whoever. 

50 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Naught and nil are little-used pronoun equivalents of nothing, and 
aught is a rare equivalent of anything. The personals are repeatable 
as nouns (and most other pronouns) are not, so that though it is 
not normal to say George does George's work when George feels like 
it it is quite normal to say he does his work when he feels like it. 
Expletive there is sharply limited in syntactic functioning, but so 
is such a noun as behalf. 

Almost all of the nounal pronouns have the syntactic value of 
determiner modifiers and heads together. Thus who's he? is com- 
parable syntactically to who's that man? rather than to the reduced 
who's that? The element of identification in terms of situation 
which is central in that is also prominent in he, though except in the 
possessive he is never used as a determiner modifier. It would be 
quite possible to regard the nounal pronouns as a subcategory of 
the nouns like the proper nouns in their behavior, but it seems 
wiser to group them with the determinatives. 

Pronoun status should not be assigned on the basis of meaning 
alone. Meanings of identification, number, and quantity are often 
expressed by words of other kinds. The idea of number expressed 
by the pronoun two, for example, occurs also in the verb double, 
in the noun pair, in the adjectives double and twofold, and in the 
adverbs doubly and twice. The category of pronouns is primarily a 
syntactic one, not a semantic one. 

Multiple part-of ^speech classifications. Many words must 
be classified sometimes as one part of speech and sometimes as an- 
other. When this is the case, it is normally because they accept 
two or more distinctive types of modifiers. Sometimes it is because 
they express distinct meanings in functions characteristic of differ- 
ent parts of speech. Patterns of inflection are significant too. Only 
verbs have s forms, ing forms, and ed forms. Only nouns and a few 
pronouns inflect for plural number though verbs inflect for person 
and number at some points. Almost all the words that add er and 
est to form comparatives and superlatives must be granted ad- 
jective status: a few adverbs and pronouns are the only exceptions. 

A considerable number of words must be classified as verbs and 
also as nouns. Jump can serve as an example: jump provides both 
verbal and nounal names for an action. As a verb it accepts such 
prepositive subject modifiers as the personal-pronoun forms /, you, 

Parts of Speech 51 

and he. As a noun it accepts determiner and adjectival prepositive 
modifiers. As a verb jump follows the inflectional pattern of the 
regular verbs, as a noun the inflectional pattern of regular pluralizer 

He jumps up and down on the bed. 
He crosses the room in three big jumps. 

Often where a single word is both a verb and a noun the meaning 
relationship is not so simple. Thus the verb dust, used as in no one 
dusts the furniture now, expresses the meaning expressed by the 
noun dust plus the additional meaning expressed by the verb 
remove. The following brief list of words which are both verbs and 
nouns can serve to suggest something of the complexity of the 
meaning relationships which develop. 













































These matters are highly individual: each word has its own history 
and its own accumulation of uses. 

A smaller number of words must be classified as verbs and also 
as adjectives. Warm can serve as an example. As a verb warm takes 
such prepositive subject modifiers as /, you, and he: as an adjective 
it takes such prepositive modifiers as the adverbs too and very. 
As a verb warm has an s form and an ing form, as well as a regular 
past form in ed\ as an adjective it has an er form and an est form. 

It's warming up a little today. 
It's warmer today. 

Warm is both verb and adjective, but hot is only an adjective. 
Again, these matters are highly individual: each word must be 

52 The Sentence and Its Parts 

known with respect to its grammar as well as its central meaning. 
A few other words which are both verbs and adjectives are the 





Verbs which are also adjectives are likely to express the meanings 
of the adjectives plus such meanings as become or cause to become. 
A few words are verbs, nouns, and adjectives. 

better faint slack trim 

blind limp slight void 

calm parallel square wrong 

equal quiet total yellow 

A few words are verbs and are also pronouns, adverbs, or even 

own up O. K. 

second down hurrah 

Second is of course a noun also. Back, down, and while seem to re- 
quire classification as verbs, nouns, and adverbs. 

A considerable number of words must be classified as nouns and 
also as adjectives. Conservative will do as an example. As a noun it 
accepts such prepositive modifiers as the determiner a and the 
adjective true and it inflects for plural number, as in he is a true 
conservative and they are true conservatives. As an adjective it ignores 
considerations of number and accepts such prepositive modifiers 
as the adverbs very and too, as in they are very conservative. The 
word French can serve as a second example. As the name of the 
language, French is a quantifiable noun and is hence modifiable by 
such determiners as much (as in he doesn't know much French} as 
well as by adjectives (as in she speaks Canadian French). But 
French is also an adjective, usable as in French customs, French 
wines, and the French people. Other examples of words which must 
be classified as both nouns and adjectives follow. 

Parts of Speech 53 





A few words which require classification as pronouns require 
other part-of-speech classifications too. Thus little is best classified 
as a pronoun in a little fun, where it is quantitative and is modified 
by a (which cannot modify fun), but as an adjective in a little boy, 
where it is descriptive and is concerned with size rather than with 
quantity. In a little fun it functions (with a) as some functions; 
in a little boy as small functions. There is best regarded as a pronoun 
in there isn't time, where it is the principal in an apposed-unit sub- 
ject and has no place meaning, but as an adverb in there she is, 
where it is complement and has a place meaning. No is best classi- 
fied as a pronoun in he has no friends, where it is a determiner like 
some, but as an absolute when it answers questions as yes does. 
Thirty is a pronoun in he j s thirty years old and in he j s thirty, but 
it is best considered a noun in he's in his thirties. Fourth is a pronoun 
in the fourth day and in there were five meetings, but she came only to 
the fourth; but it is best classified as a noun in its use as the denom- 
inator in fractions, as in one fourth and three fourths. 

When problems of part-of-speech classification touch the cate- 
gory of the adverbs, meanings furnish important criterions more 
often than at any other point. Adjectives and adverbs cannot be 
distinguished on the basis of differences in the kinds of prepositive 
modifiers they characteristically accept. In general, no word should 
be granted both adjective and adverb status unless either (1) 
sharply distinct meanings occur in the functions characteristic of 
the two parts of speech or (2) prepositional and nonprepositional 
uses seem to require this double status. Right is best regarded as an 
adjective in he gave the right answer but (for contemporary English) 
an adverb with quite different meaning in he went right ahead. 
Round is an adjective in a round table but an adverb with different 
meaning in he went round the corner, where the more distinctive 
form around is now preferred. Still is an adjective in a still night 
and in the still figure, but an adverb in he still remembers a little 
Latin, in still, he remembers a little Latin, and in his Greek is still 
worse. Right j round, and still are verbs and nouns also. Pretty , real, 

54 The Sentence and Its Parts 

and very are to be classified as adverbs with meanings of degree 
in pretty late, informal real new, and very high, but as adjectives in 
pretty girls, real mahogany, and the very man, the very same, my very 
own, and the very best (where the old meanings of attractiveness, 
truth, and exactness have not faded away). The double part-of- 
speech status indicated for such words as these is made necessary 
by the correspondence between distinctions in syntactic functions 
and distinctions in meaning. Prepositional use seems to make 
double status necessary for a few words. Thus the due of all due 
consideration and of our success was largely due to your help is best 
regarded as an adjective, but the due of twenty dollars is still due 
him is most conveniently regarded as an adverb used preposi- 

Uncharacteristic functioning . A word that in a particular 
meaning or cluster of meanings clearly has unquestioned member- 
ship in one part-of-speech category should not be granted mem- 
bership in another merely on the basis of performance of functions 
characteristic of this second part of speech. Thus the italicized 
words which follow are best classified as nouns in all the uses 

an hour went by Eastern universities 

hours later university students 

a graduate of Swarthmore he teaches English 

a graduate student an English teacher from Ohio 

a bright future is ahead these songs are my favorites 

his future employer my favorite songs 

Marietta is her home on my right 

she isn't a home girl we turned right 

she went home early raise your right hand 

the frozen north the back of the chair 

the north wind the back road 

he went back north in back of the house 

silk is too expensive is made of iron 

a silk dress an iron will 

the dress is silk 

The italicized words which follow are best classified as adjectives 
in all the uses illustrated. 

a fast car fast colors 

he drives fast he held fast 

Parts of Speech 55 

bodily injury hard work 

toss him out bodily he works hard 

the right answer a weekly paper 

he answered right it's delivered weekly 

a defensive psychology an early hour 

on the defensive we left early 

loud voices a rough game 

they talk too loud they play rough 

a forward look an extra shirt 

we went forward extra large 

an easy job poor people 

easy does it the poor suffer most 

take it easy he died poor 

deep feelings of guilt a long time 

deep in his heart hasn't been here long 

hasn't dug deep enough not for long 

Those which follow are best classified as adverbs in all the situa- 
tions illustrated. 

went off sadly offices up on the third floor 

an off day the up button 

she sings well we only borrowed it 

would be well to consult he's only a child 

let well enough alone he's an only child 

she isn't well 

Yes is best classified as an absolute in all the uses illustrated. 

Yes, I saw him. 
George says yes. 
He's no yes man. 

The words that follow are best classified as pronouns in all the 
situations illustrated. 

she never helps the city 

that she devil so much the better 

neither of us went his first wife 

neither loved nor hated let's go home first 

not much time we need more money 

doesn't work much money is more important 

brought no ice all children 

feels no better all right 

For assignment of more than a single part-of-speech classification, 
acceptance of characteristic modifiers, clear distinctions in mean- 

56 The Sentence and Its Parts 

ing, and inflection are all more significant than simple performance 
of syntactic functions of varied types. Thus though in my favorite 
songs the word favorite is performing a function more character- 
istically performed by adjectives, the fact that it will not accept 
adverbs as prepositive modifiers as adjectives do, together with 
the fact that in such sentences as these songs are favorites among 
our students it is not possible to replace favorites, which is clearly a 
plural noun, by favoritej should make it seem unwise to classify 
favorite as an adjective. Favorite is a noun used, in my favorite 
songs , like an adjective; but it is not an adjective. The poor of the 
poor suffer most is not as clear a case. Here poor does take one 
modifier characteristically taken by nouns rather than by adjec- 
tives: the determiner the. But poor rejects inflection for plural 
number, is not usable nounally in the singular (a poor suffers in 
times like these is not possible), and generally accepts only the and 
occasionally a possessive (as in Mexico does not forget her poor) 
among the modifiers characteristically accepted by nouns; con- 
sequently it seems best to regard poor not as a noun but as an 
adjective used, in the poor suffer most, like a noun as a head in a 
nounal headed unit. 

To the extent that meanings permit, words which hold member- 
ship in two or more part-of-speech categories must always be 
assigned, in particular uses, to the category most characteristically 
usable in the construction. Thus in a cold day the word cold is to 
be classified as an adjective whereas in the bitter cold penetrates to 
the bone the same word is to be classified as a noun. In a French 
teacher meaning cannot be ignored. If the unit is equivalent to a 
teacher of French, the word French is a noun. If the unit is equiv- 
alent to a teacher from France or something of the kind, the word 
French is an adjective. 

Situation and common sense often play a major part in our 
assignment of part-of-speech classifications. Thus the sign open 
Sundays on a store will not often be misunderstood. It is clear that 
open is an adjective used as complement, not a verb used as pred- 
icator in an imperative clause. It is clear too that what is open is 
the store, not the Sundays though under other circumstances 
open might well modify Sundays. In one situation fire! will be 
understood as a verb meaning "shoot," in another as a noun mean- 

Parts of Speech 57 

ing "conflagration." The reader or hearer solves jigsaw puzzles 
such as these rapidly and accurately, even though the pieces which 
he must put together have considerable flexibility. The words are 
known, both with respect to their central meanings and with re- 
spect to the ways they can combine with other words; and the 
patternings of clauses and clause equivalents are known. 

Classification of inflected forms. It is one of the complex- 
ities of syntax that inflected forms do not always behave syntactic- 
ally as the corresponding basic forms behave. In general, it is 
desirable to give inflected forms the same part-of-speech classifica- 
tions their basic forms are given. But exceptions must be made at 
some points. 

A few comparatives and superlatives seem to require different 
classifications from their basic forms. Inner, outer, and upper seem 
to require classification as adjectives (since they are freely usable as 
prepositive modifiers within nounal headed units), though in, out, 
and up are best classified as adverbs. Better, best, worse, and worst 
are conveniently classified as adjectives when they function as 
inflected forms for well and badly as well as when they function 
thus for good and bad. 

The cookies were good, but the cake was better. 
Dora cooks well, but Mary cooks better. 

A great many words which in some uses clearly are gerundial or 
participial forms of verbs require classification as nouns or adjec- 
tives in others and are doubtful in still others. Wlien such words 
are employed as head words in nounal headed units, it is generally 
most convenient to classify them as nouns. 

Loud singing makes George nervous. 
Miles was involved in the taking of bribes. 
Not much building is going on now. 
Window washing is exciting this far up. 

When they are employed as head words in adjectival headed units, 
it is most convenient to classify them as adjectives. 

Our Spanish-speafcmgr students expect long holidays. 
It's a God-forsaken desert. 

Verbal force is strong in the examples given: this can be recognized 
by describing the italicized words as gerundial nouns and adjec- 

58 The Sentence and Its Parts 

tives and participial adjectives. In units such as the wounded and 
the dying the heads are best described as adjectives, like poor in 
the poor, not nouns. 

Where words of gerundial or participial type are unmodified but 
clauses would not be used, classification as nouns or adjectives 
seems best. Thus gerundial and participial forms used as preposi- 
tive modifiers in nounal units are best described as gerundial and 
participial nouns and adjectives. 

her chewing gum a born salesman 

good farming country his given name 

rising prices a hated professor 

winding roads a satisfied customer 

^f j winning team spoken English 

Here chewing and farming are gerundial nouns (gum for chewing, 
not gum which chews] and the other italicized words are adjectives. 
As postpositive modifiers within nounal units the same forms are 
best described as verb forms, predicators in one-word clauses. 

the students answering the name given 

the team winning the English spoken 

When such forms are used as complements of copulatives, they 
are best classified as gerundial and participial nouns and adjectives. 

Patton's only recreation is bowling. 

The principal occupation of the area is still farming. 

Peanuts are fattening. 

Joe is always irritating. 

A spoon is missing. 

The procedure is complicated. 

I'm depressed today. 

The doors have been closed for an hour. 

The door won't stay put. 

We finally got rid of our pets. 

Here bowling and farming are gerundial nouns used as chess and 
agriculture might be used, and the other italicized words are ad- 
jectives. When modification by very and too (meaning "exces- 
sively") is possible, classification as adjectives is doubly warranted : 
very and too simply do not modify true verbs. But very and too 
will not modify the missing of a spoon is missing or the closed of the 
doors have been closed for an hour. In careful and formal styles 

Parts of Speech 59 

participial adjectives, much more than gemndial, are quite slow 
to accept very even where it seems semantically compatible. Phras- 
ings such as greatly amused, thoroughly bored, deeply concerned, ex- 
tremely disgusted, quite encouraged, decidedly interested, genuinely 
pleased, and quite surprised result from avoidance of very. Even the 
most informal American English would probably reject very as a 
modifier of the participial adjective hated in a hated professor. 

Often gerundial and participial nouns and adjectives are quite 
unlike the corresponding verbs in the matter of normal completers. 
Thus the verb disturb requires a nounal complement: it disturbs 
everyone. But the participial adjective disturbing gets along quite 
well without a completer, as in it's disturbing, or takes a preposi- 
tional one, as in it's disturbing to everyone. In it's disturu. y everyone 
the predicator is is disturbing and the complement is everyone; is 
disturbing is like disturbs in function. Similarly in the doors have 
been closed by the watchman the predicator is have been closed and 
the complement is by the watchman: the sentence is a reversal of 
the watchman has closed the doors. 

Meanings are untrustworthy guides, but they are helpful none- 
theless. When building (as in a tall building} no longer names an 
action, but rather names the product of an action, the word is no 
longer a verb form. When irritating comes to be a qualitative, 
descriptive word as in her manner is always irritating then irri- 
tating is no longer a verb form. Inflection is occasionally decisive. 
When coming forms an s plural, as in / can't keep up with her com- 
ings and goings, the word requires noun classification. 

Nonce uses, Nonce uses cut across normal part-of-speech 
lines. In he uses too many "if's" the word if is a nonce noun and has 
taken on both a determiner modifier (too many) and a plural ending. 
In don't "if" me the same word has become a nonce verb and has 
taken on an auxiliary modifier (do). Italics, underlining, or quota- 
tion marks commonly mark nonce uses in the written language. 



A variety of well-defined clause patterns is available in contem- 
porary English. These fall into two general categories: main-clause 
patterns and subordinate-clause patterns. Main clauses have char- 
acteristics that make them freely usable as sentences. Subordi- 
nate clauses, on the other hand, are normally incorporated within 
other clauses, and many of them have characteristics which ordi- 
narily make them seem unacceptable as sentences, at least in care- 
ful and formal styles. Four main-clause patterns can be dis- 
tinguished in contemporary English: the patterns of the main 
declarative, the main interrogative, the main imperative, and the 
main assertive. Four subordinate-clause patterns clearly parallel 
these main-clause patterns in their structure. 

Main declaratives. As has been said, the main declarative is 
the ordinary main-clause pattern for statements of fact and opin- 
ion. The order subject-predicator-complement is employed in the 
nucleus, and there are no special clause markers such as are found 
in clauses of other types. The predicator is a common-mode or 
hypothetical-subjunctive verb form. 

like San Francisco. 
You'd like San Francisco. 

Main declaratives sometimes have question force. Intonation 
and/or manner, and context, can make this intention clear in the 
spoken language. 

You're coming along? 
Segall was chairman? 
Perhaps you think I'm unsympathetic? 
I don't remember your name. 

Main-Clause Patterns and Their Subordinate-Clause Derivatives 61 

All of these sentences remain declaratives in syntax. In some situa- 
tions main declaratives have the force of orders. 

You're coming along. 

The situation is much the same when clause equivalents such as 
yes? and well, George? have question force without the syntactic 
marks of interrogates, and when clause equivalents such as sh! 
and, in an elevator, third have imperative force without the syn- 
tactic marks of imperatives. 

Sometimes main declaratives are incorporated within other 
clauses, as are the italicized main declaratives in the sentences 
which follow. 

They really were going, with a flutter of "We did have the best 


I thought to myself, this is it! 
The fact is, J never liked him. 
They know only one thing about him: he's honest. 
I don't need any help, thank you. 
I don't care what you say, it's too expensive. 
If the situation of the past two years is typical and I believe 

it is we must resign ourselves to decreasing sales for some 


It's time to start, / suppose. 
I hated to say much, he was so nice. 
The state of jitters seemed almost normal, it had prevailed so 


In the last three sentences the construction is upside down: such 
forms as / suppose it's time to start show the more ordinary pattern. 
In it's time to start, I suppose the adjunct / suppose lacks a com- 
plement because its complement has become the main nucleus for 
the whole sentence. Incorporation of main clauses subordinately 
within other clauses is of course exceptional. In general, it is also 
less smooth than incorporation of subordinate clauses, and so re- 
quires punctuation more commonly in the written language. 

The main declarative can conveniently be regarded as central 
among the clause patterns of contemporary English, and other 
clause patterns can be described in terms of matters of structure 
that distinguish them from it. 

Subordinate declaratives. Subordinate-declarative clauses 
are in form little more than smoothly incorporated main declara- 

62 The Sentence and Its Parts 

tives. When subordinate declaratives are marked, it is normally 
by the addition of an unstressed pronoun that which functions as 
a semantically empty adjunct and clause marker. 

I knew that I was right. 

This that is required in some situations, optional in most, and 
unusable in a few. Informal styles employ it less than careful and 
formal ones. When that is not used, subordinate declaratives are 
distinguished by their declarative form and their tight incorpora- 
tion within larger clauses. 

Subordinate-declarative clauses have some use in the nounal 
functions of subjects, complements of transitive verbs, apposi- 
tives in nounal apposed units, and objects of prepositions. 

That the committee was fortunate in its choice is amply demon- 
strated by the twenty-nine years of service Miss Holmes 

They say they'll send us copies. 

The fact that he grew up in Mexico helps. 

She makes it clear that she isn't pleased. 

We can't help it that things went badly. 

He kept on in spite of the fact that he was very unhappy. 

Life was hard the year after her husband died. 

Few dogs prowl among the rubble, for refugees catch and eat 
the dogs. 

It looks like it's going to rain. 

I can't say but that I agree with you. 

The budget is unrealistic in that it disregards increased costs. 

There are sharp limits on the use of declaratives in all the nounal 
functions. They are often quite unsatisfactory as subjects: such 
a question as is that he's coming true? is especially unacceptable, 
and the reduction of the declarative to delayed-appositive status 
in is it true that he's coming? is a welcome way out. Only a few 
prepositions accept declarative clauses as objects. After, before, for, 
since, till and until, in when it expresses respect, informal but 
within negated larger clauses, and informal like accept them; but 
only in and but among these will tolerate a marker that in a declar- 
ative which serves as object for them. Some phrasal prepositions 
such as because of, for fear of, and in case of accept declarative 
objects but are shortened when they do so. 

Main-Clause Patterns and Their Subordinate-Clause Derivatives 63 

We went because we wanted to. 

Here's the paper, in case you're interested. 

Subordinate declaratives are often used where nouns would not 
be usable. 

We were hoping we'd finish in time. 

He convinced us that we were unwise. 

What has he done that he should deserve this? 

There is some indication that others are involved. 

We're glad you came. 

He bought another car so his wife would have one. 

We arrived early, so that we got good seats. 

The situation is such that agreement is unlikely. 

He's such a good speaker he doesn't need subject matter. 

Prepositions can be said to have fallen out in many such uses of 
declaratives, and the declaratives alone function as complements, 
adjuncts, and contained modifiers where prepositional units would 
be syntactically more ordinary. 

We were hoping for a quick job. 

He convinced us of our mistake. 

What has he done to deserve this? 

There is some indication of the involvement of others. 

When a declarative modifies a so or such, immediately preceding or 
earlier in the larger clauses, it is harder to think in terms of lost 

In informal styles what sometimes replaces that as clause marker 
in declaratives used as objects of the preposition but within larger 
negated clauses. 

I'm not sure but what I agree with you. 

I never talked to him but what he told me his troubles. 

Exceptional reduction is illustrated in the following declaratives. 

That's the house Mary said was for sale. 
I hope not. 

In somewhat archaic styles subordinate declaratives, generally 
with the adjunct oh preceding the marker thatj are occasionally 
given sentence status as expressions of desires. 

Oh that she knew the truth! 

64 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Main interrogatives. The main interrogative is the ordinary 
main-clause pattern for asking for facts and opinions. Like the 
declaratives, it normally has a common-mode or hypothetical- 
subjunctive predicator. 

Do you like Jamaica? 
Would you like Jamaica? 

Main interrogatives are marked by the use of predicators or parts 
of predicators in front of subjects. 

Was Jack at the University?^ 

Did he take you around the island? 

Or by the use of marker pronouns or adverbs as subjects or parts 
of subjects. 

Well, Bill, who's coming? 
Which house was built first? 
How old a child drew that? 

Or by the use of both predicators or parts of predicators in front of 
subjects, and marker pronouns or adverbs (or units including them) 
in front of the verb-form markers. 

When are the Richardsons coming back? 
Exactly how much would we be paid? 
Why in the world did you skip Haiti? 

Main interrogatives which do not employ marker pronouns or 
adverbs can be called yes-or-no interrogatives. The pronouns and 
adverbs which can mark main interrogatives are very few in num- 
ber: who, which, what; when, where, why, how. The verb forms which 
can mark main interrogatives form a limited group also : are, am, 
is, were, was; can, could, may, might, must, ought, shall, should, will, 
would; in their auxiliary uses have, has, had, do, does, did; infre- 
quently need. In combination with better, had functions as a main- 
interrogative marker even when it is not an auxiliary : for example, 
in hadn't we better telephone? Exceptional main interrogatives such 
as how goes it? occasionally occur. In who's a linguist? the subject 
is who; the interrogative is a transform of A is a linguist. In what's 
a linguist? the subject is a linguist; the interrogative is a transform 
of a linguist is X. In such an interrogative as who's the chairman 
this year? two analyses are possible. 

Main-Clause Patterns and Their Subordinate-Clause Derivatives 65 

The markers used in interrogatives are not superimposed on 
clause structures to which they add nothing but the marks of 
the interrogative. They perform major syntactic functions, or par- 
ticipate in the performance of major syntactic functions, which 
are also performed in the corresponding main declaratives. 

You would like Jamaica. 

Jack was at the University. 

He took you around the island. 

Well, Bill, she's coming. 

A nine-year-old child drew that. 

The Richardsons are coming back tomorrow. 

You skipped Haiti for some ridiculous reason. 

The marker pronouns and adverbs are not themselves usable in 
declaratives ordinarily, but the marker verb forms are, though 
expanded verb forms with do } such as did take y have somewhat 
special emotional force in declaratives not negated by not. 

When a marker pronoun or adverb is used as the object of a 
preposition, or as part of the object of a preposition, in informal 
styles the preposition generally takes the position it would have in 
the corresponding declarative. 

What are you looking for? 

Which office are they putting Olga in? 

Where are you from? 

What has Wilson been up to? 

What does the new library look like? 

Who is the package for? 

In formal styles the preposition sometimes moves forward with 
its object. Sometimes, however, it simply cannot go forward. 

Sometimes the structure of the main interrogative is mixed with 
that of another clause type. Why be so particular? is thus a main 
interrogative with verbid-clause characteristics: the predicator is 
an infinitive, and there is no expressed subject. He said whatf is a 
declarative with something of the syntax of an interrogative: what 
has interrogative-marker force but is not in the interrogative- 
marker position. 

Though they operate subtly and do not themselves establish the 
interrogative pattern, the presence of interrogative reinforcers in 

66 The Sentence and Its Parts 

many interrogatives deserves notice. Any and ever are perhaps 
the most-used interrogative reinforcers. 

Have there been any hurricanes since you came? 
Do flowers ever stop blooming in Puerto Rico? 

The corresponding unnegated declaratives would certainly not 
employ any and ever. Nor would the corresponding unnegated 
declaratives employ the words and longer units italicized in the 
following sentences. 

Why did you go into teaching at all? 
Will George be away long? 
Does Jack have much time for it? 

Highly reduced main interrogatives have constant use in in- 
formal styles. 

Anyone at home? 

Even in careful and formal styles parts of main interrogatives are 
often implied rather than stated. 

What virtues did the nineteenth-century American extol, what 
vices condemn, what heroes exalt, what villains execrate? 

When what is used as the reply to a call or to ask for a repetition 
of something not understood, it is best described as an isolate. 
In why so much noise? the unit so much noise is best described 
similarly, and why is best called an adjunct. What about George? is 
best described as a main interrogative composed of two isolates, 
the second of them a prepositional unit. 

Main interrogatives are sometimes incorporated subordinately 
within other clauses, as are the italicized main interrogatives in the 
sentences which follow. 

The first question is, how much can we spend? 
St. Thomas, may I add, is fully as interesting. 
Rebellion was inevitable, for what other course was open? 

St. Thomas , may I add, is fully as interesting has upside-down con- 
struction, and what in more ordinary patterning would be the 
complement of add (in may I add that St. Thomas is fully as inter- 

Main-Clause Patterns and Their Subordinate-Clause Derivatives 67 

estingf) has become the main nucleus to which may I add attaches 
as an adjunct. 

The main-interrogative pattern has some use where no real 
question is intended. 

Was it hot! 

What was my surprise to learn that Andrews had left. 
Will you please send the information requested. 
Will you be quiet! 

The first two sentences have extremitive force (it was extremely 
hot!), and the last two have the force of requests; but the sentences 
are main interrogatives in syntax nevertheless. 

Subordinate interrogatives. Subordinate-interrogative 
clauses employ markers of the same types employed by main- 
interrogative clauses. Some subordinate interrogatives have clear 
question force, others do not. The category is a category of syn- 
tactic form as it is here described. 

Marker verb forms preceding subjects are employed very much 
less than in main interrogatives. They occur chiefly in subordinate 
interrogatives used as adjuncts of condition, without other mark- 
ers. Usually the marker verb form is had, should, or were. 

Were prices to rise further, the government would have to 

take action. 
Had we known that you are interested in English dialects, we 

would have urged you to go on to Jamaica. 
The marker pronouns and adverbs used in main interrogatives 
are all employed in subordinate interrogatives, without other mark- 
ers. Subordinate interrogatives marked by who, which, what, when, 
where, why, and how are all usable in nounal functions. 

What you need is a change of scene. 

What clothes she has are unsuitable. 

We didn't know who he was. 

That's how I learned German. 

I remember when the family was very poor. 

We never were told why we were invited. 

Atlas is symbolic of what is going wrong in many 

West Indian islands today. 
I was thinking about what you said. 
It isn't clear where he got it. 
It doesn't matter what he did. 

68 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Like subordinate declaratives, subordinate interrogatives marked 
by these words are also used in nonnounal functions where prep- 
ositions can be considered to have dropped out. 

I don't care how you finish it. 

Look what I did! 

I have no idea why he said that. 

Make up your mind what you want. 

I'm not sure when they'll get here. 

What is more important, he knows his subject. 

Subordinate interrogatives marked by when and where are used as 
adjuncts quite freely. 

The city was much smaller when we lived there. 
Where I come from, people are polite. 

Adjunct-like modification can be extended to nounal heads. 
I'll never forget his surprise when we told him. 

Subordinate interrogatives marked by who and which, and to a 
lesser extent by when, where, and why, have considerable use as 
contained modifiers following heads which are also referred to by 
the marking pronouns and adverbs. 

People who talk like that are dangerous. 

The man whose car was wrecked is our neighbor. 

He ended with the argument with which he had begun. 

The day when we arrived was a holiday. 

Now when we want to start, Larry isn't here. 

The reason why he can't come is clear. 

There's no industry in the area where he grew up. 

They function also as loose adjuncts following words or longer 
units to which the markers refer. 

We went with Larry, who knew everyone. 

Then we went on to Cleveland, where my sister lives. 

Chiefly in informal styles, subordinate interrogatives marked by 
which are used as loose adjuncts following nucleuses to which which 

Jerry argued that emotional loyalties are dangerous, with 

which contention Henry disagreed. 
He answers when he wants to, which isn't often. 

Main-Clause Patterns and Their Subordinate-Clause Derivatives 69 

Many clauses which are best classified as subordinate interrog- 
atives have as clause markers pronouns that are rarely or never 
used in this way in main interrogatives. Clauses marked by the 
compounds whoever, whichever, and whatever occur in nounal func- 

Whoever said that was very shrewd. 
He'll do well in whatever course he takes. 

They also occur as adjuncts. 

Whatever he said, we need his help. 

The unstressed pronoun that marks many subordinate-interrog- 
ative clauses used as contained modifiers of preceding heads to 
which that refers. 

I didn't see anything that I liked. 

I've never seen children that made less trouble. 

The day that we arrived in Mexico City was a holiday. 

I see Julia everywhere that I go. 

Harriman was one of the original New Dealers that was able 

to survive the Truman Administration. 
This is one of the best books that have come out lately. 

Subordinate interrogatives marked by that are sometimes not dis- 
tinguishable in terms of their own internal form from subordinate 

Now that you're here we'll open the box. 
We're glad that you're here. 

The that of interrogatives is syntactically in competition with who 
and which; the that of declaratives is not. The that of now that 
you're here is used in the clause it begins as at which is used in 
essentially equivalent at this time at which you're here: it is an 
adjunct of time and refers to the now which precedes it. The that 
of we're glad that you're here is the superimposed that of declara- 
tives: who and which are not used in this way. Interrogatives 
marked by that are sometimes used as adjuncts (characteristically 
tight ones), with that referring to whole preceding nucleuses, often 
with other adjuncts. 

He didn't even apologize that I know of. 

70 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Sometimes they are used as delayed appositives within apposed- 
unit subjects, and that refers to what precedes them immediately. 

It's your own dead that matter. 

It was in Miami that he met his future wife. 

It was then that I became convinced. 

Many clauses that we can most conveniently classify as sub- 
ordinate interrogatives have as clause markers adverbs which are 
not used similarly in main interrogatives. Whether marks subordi- 
nate interrogatives used where nouns are usable and also where 
prepositions can be considered to have dropped out. 

No one knows whether he's coming. 
There's some question whether he likes it. 
Whether it's expensive or not t Mary wants it. 

Subordinate interrogatives begun by whether have much of the 
force of main-clause yes-or-no interrogatives marked only by verb 

Is he coming? 

Does he like it? 

Is it expensive or not? 

Or not is felt as necessary after whether in subordinate interrogatives 
used as adjuncts within larger clauses. Whenever, wherever, and 
however mark interrogatives characteristically used as adjuncts. 

He tells that story whenever anyone will listen. 

Wherever he grew up, his English is colorless enough now. 

You won't be able to please him however hard you try. 

Such compounds as whereby and whereupon mark subordinate 
interrogatives used as contained modifiers and loose adjuncts, 
chiefly in somewhat formal styles. Where is equivalent to which 
in these compounds and refers to something (often a whole nucleus) 
preceding it. 

He has an arrangement whereby a car is available. 
In New Mexico the Mossers tried to escape, whereupon Cook 
threatened to kill them. 

A Ithough and though, as, if, once, only, unless, and while mark sub- 
ordinate interrogatives characteristically used as adjuncts within 
larger clauses. 

Main-Clause Patterns and Their Subordinate-Clause Derivatives 71 

Though he wouldn't admit it, he was very tired. 
The story seemed plausible as he told it. 
We'll come if we can. 
You'll like the place once you get settled. 
The food is good, only they serve too much pie. 
The hospital was very full while I was there. 
George won't contribute unless he has to. 

Besides serving as markers, these words function in their clauses 
as adjuncts semantically much like nonmarker nevertheless, thus, 
perhaps, soon, and then. Clauses marked by as have a considerable 
range of use even apart from their use in comparisons. 

Chicken pie as Harriet makes it is a work of art. 
That's as it should be. 

If competes with whether as a marker for subordinate interrogatives 
in nounal constructions, especially in informal styles. 

We asked the watchman if we might look around. 

Grammatical complexity of subordinate interrogative 
clauses. The prepositional adverbs but and like sometimes enter 
into subordinate clauses (then best regarded as interrogative in 
type) instead of preceding them and functioning as prepositions 
with declarative-clause objects. 

There is not a university in the area but follows public opinion 

in fear and trembling. 
He looks like he did twenty years ago. 

Here but is a subject, equivalent to it plus negator not in the 
corresponding statement it does not follow public opinion in fear 
and trembling, and like is a complement, equivalent to like that 
in the corresponding statement he looked like that twenty years ago. 
But is used in this way chiefly in somewhat formal styles, and like 
chiefly in informal styles. 

The use of than and as in clauses of comparison is syntactically 
remarkable. Than functions as a marker in subordinate interrog- 
ative clauses used as contained modifiers of comparatives (includ- 
ing rather), other and else, and sometimes differently or even differ- 
ent. Though best considered an adverb in part-of-speech classifi- 
cation, this than (like but and like) performs major and contained 
syntactic functions of a remarkable variety of types. 

72 The Sentence and Its Parts 

The cost was greater than seemed reasonable. 
More people drink milk than used to. 
We got more tomatoes than we had bargained for. 
I'd rather take the course in English than in Spanish. 
Rice is prepared differently than it is in the States. 
You may often say something with a different intonation than 
we indicate here. 

Besides functioning as a marker in clauses used much like those 
marked by although and if, the adverb as also marks subordinate 
interrogatives used as contained modifiers of another as (which 
cannot precede marker as immediately) or (somewhat formally) 
of a so in a negated containing clause or of the pronouns such or 
same. Like than, this as performs a remarkable variety of functions 
in addition to marking the clauses it begins. 

Not nearly as many students take Latin here now as did 

twenty years ago. 

He isn't as energetic as he once was. 
We have as many points of view as we have members. 
We went to Saba as well as to Nevis. 
Houses such as yours aren't built now. 
Harriet has alienated such friends as she has. 
My feelings are the same as yours. 

Occasionally the first as is omitted. 

He's strong as an ox. 

Late as we were, Mary was later. 

In subordinate interrogatives as in main interrogatives, when a 
marker pronoun or adverb is used as object of a preposition in 
its clause it is likely to be separated from its preposition, coming 
at the front of the clause it marks while the preposition remains 
where the whole prepositional unit would be in a declarative. 

I wonder who he's looking for. 

Machinery is what he knows most about. 

No one knows what the box is for. 

This is the goal that we are striving toward. 

There are some things which people cannot do without. 

I wonder where she's from. 

We got more tomatoes than we had bargained for. 

That's about as much teasing as Jack will put up with. 

Clause-marker adverbs such as where, than, and as cannot follow 

Main-Clause Patterns and Their Subordinate-Clause Derivatives 73 

prepositions for which they serve as objects, and neither can the 
clause-marker pronoun that. Clause-marking what is apparently 
limited in much the same way in subordinate interrogative clauses. 
Who and which often follow prepositions, at least in somewhat 
formal styles though hardly in subordinate interrogatives used 
in nounal constructions. 

Is there a candidate in whom we can have confidence? 

Dr. Jordan has three sons, two of whom are also physicians. 

This is the goal toward which we are striving. 

There is a residence requirement the effect of which is not quite 

People are impressed by the assurance with which he speaks. 

Subordinate interrogatives function as impinging clauses some- 

He's never what you'd call deceived her. 

She's attractive, industrious, and what passes for intelligent. 

They lost little, if any, of their investment. 

So do clauses of mixed construction in which declarative word 
order is combined with the use of subordinate-interrogative clause 

We'll get there heaven knows when. 

Sometimes subordinate interrogatives are parts of predicators and 
predicator-and-complement sequences in upside-down construc- 

He as much as said so. 

He has more than satisfied us. 

Sometimes they are given sentence status. 

Labor felt that prices and profits had risen more rapidly than 
wages. Which was to a considerable extent true. 

Franklin finally married, in fact. While his mother was visiting 
an ailing relative. 

If only she knew her own mind! 

If it isn't our old friend Hubert! 

As if we didn't know what she was up to! 

Noteworthy reduction of varied types occurs in subordinate- 
interrogative clauses. Where it does not function as subject of the 
interrogative it marks, that is often implied rather than stated. 

74 The Sentence and Its Parts 

I didn't see anything I liked. 

He ended with the argument he had begun with. 

The leaders are disturbed at the situation the party is in. 

The reason he can't come is clear. 

I see that girl everywhere I go. 

That's the house Mary said was for sale. 

In the last sentence if a clause-marker that is added, as in that's the 
house that Mary said was for sale, it functions as the subject not 
of the subordinate interrogative it marks but of the subordinate 
declarative which is contained, as complement, within the inter- 
rogative as it functions in Mary said it was for sale. That can be 
said to be the only dispensable clause-marker of interrogative 
clauses. A common pattern of reduction drops the subject and 
the predicator (be) but keeps the marker. 

I didn't know where to look for you. 

There is no set point at which to begin. 

He has a new car in which to see Puerto Rico. 

Such main interrogatives as where was I to look for you? show the 
construction. Reduction is especially notable in clauses of com- 
parison, where a great deal is commonly left to be inferred from 
what has just preceded. 

It's pleasanter here in the winter than in the summer. 

He spoke better than usual. 

More than fifty students enrolled. 

He's doing more than being polite. 

It's easier said than done. 

A house should be convenient as well as beautiful. 

I read as far as the fifth chapter. 

Oddly different reductions lie behind the following sentences. 

Joan is more impatient than her sister. 

Joan is more impatient than that. 

Joan is more impatient than bad-tempered. 

There is often a kind of telescoping of subordinate interrogatives. 

Haynes acts as if he were a millionaire. 

The town looks as though it's very old. 

She welcomed us with excessive cordiality as though to com- 

pensate for her earlier neglect. 
Hard as we worked, we didn't finish. 

Main-Clause Patterns and Their Subordinate- Clause Derivatives 75 

Syntactically complete equivalents here would seem unnatural. 

Haynes acts as he would act if he were a millionaire. 

The town looks as a town looks if it's very old. 

She welcomed us with excessive cordiality as she would welcome 

us if she did so to compensate for her earlier neglect. 
Though we worked as hard as we did, we didn't finish. 

In hard though we worked, we didn't finish a line has been crossed, 
and it seems necessary to say that hard is an adjunct in the clause 
marked by though, preceding the clause marker quite exceptionally. 
Reduction of still other types is common. 

Tell me when! 

I'll tell you what. 

Whatever the reason, he refused. 

Their religious and political differences, though great, never 

produced a clash. 

He seemed excessively timid, if not unfriendly. 
They lost little, if any, of their investment. 
In the nineteenth century, as in the seventeenth, great social 

changes took place. 
As taught here, economics is very stimulating. 

Isolates occur in subordinate interrogative clauses. The italicized 
interrogative in the following sentence is best regarded as com- 
posed of two isolates. 

Young people can't be expected to read, what with automobiles, 
sports, and television. 

The fact that the following mam subject may seem momentarily 
to suggest a wrong subject for the subjectless interrogative lays 
the reduction in the following sentence open to criticism. 

Although seriously damaged by the earthquake of 1917, resto- 
ration work has almost brought the cathedral back to its 
original beauty. 

Sometimes the structure of the subordinate interrogative is 
mixed with that of another clause type. In the following interrog- 
atives there is assimilation of the form (1) of the main interrog- 
ative, (2) of the main imperative, and (3) of the verbid. 

1. We'd pick San Francisco, as who wouldn't? 

2. Til tell you what let's do. 

76 The Sentence and Its Parts 

The cost is 82.65, which please remit to Ralph D. Fall, 
Ithaca, New York. 

It is certain that the President's action will be severely 
criticized, as witness the account in this morning's paper. 
3. The American did not so much disparage other peoples 
and countries as ignore them. 

Rather than live near Ruth, Andy went to sea. 

Many of those who wrote on language were retired clergy- 
men who, though possessing some skill in the classics, had 
no conception of the history of English. 

Occasionally a subordinate interrogative has word order that is 
characteristic of assertives. 

The road into Gyangtse was lined on each side with small 
stones, as was the entire route. 

In careless nonstandard use, what begins as a subordinate inter- 
rogative modifying a preceding nounal head to which the clause 
marker in the interrogative seems to refer, sometimes shifts to 
subordinate-declarative construction as it proceeds. 

Now she has a husband that she never has any idea where he is. 

Present-subjunctive verb forms sometimes occur as predicators 
in subordinate interrogatives used, in formal styles, as adjuncts 
of condition or circumstance. Here they have none of the force 
they have in imperatives. 

A liberal education is of value to anyone, whether he be a 
teacher, a businessman, or a farmer. 

In interrogatives in which lest serves as marker, present-subjunc- 
tive verb forms do have something of the force they have in 

The visitors sat in silence lest they be guilty of offense. 

Main imperatives* Main imperatives give main-clause ex- 
pression to requests and desires. The predicators are always 
present-subjunctive verb forms, usable without expressed subjects 
much more freely than the common-mode verb forms with which 
they are often identical except in syntax. Since present-subjunctive 
verb forms are never employed as the predicators of main clauses 
of other kinds, they serve as clause markers as well as predicators 

Main-Clause Patterns and Their Subordinate-Clause Derivatives 77 

in main imperatives and are indeed the only clause markers used 
in them. Main imperatives most often express direct requests of 
one kind or another, varying in force from supplication through 
invitation, hope, and warning to command and challenge. 

Just give me one more chance. 
Come in. 

Have a good time. 
Be careful. 

Pick those toys up this instant! 
Just say one more word if you're looking for trouble. 
Try to tell them that human nature has changed, and they 
respond that it cannot possibly change. 

When a direct request does not have an expressed subject, its 
implied subject is of course you, singular or plural. Sometimes 
main imperatives used to express direct requests do have expressed 

You be careful coming down that mountain. 
You boys drive carefully. 

You boys drive carefully can be either a declarative or an imperative : 
context, manner, and/or intonation provide the key. 

Main imperatives with third-person subjects are used less fre- 

Heaven help us! 

The devil take the hindmost. 

Somebody do something! 

Somebody do something! has the force of a direct request. In such 
imperatives as bless your heart! and confound it! the third-person 
subject God is implied rather than stated. 
Main imperatives without expressed predicators occur. 

Down, Rover! 
Good luck to you! 
Shame on you! 

Main imperatives are sometimes incorporated within other 

Please don't say that. 

He hardly seems middle-aged, let alone old. 

She gave him a come-hither look. 

78 The Sentence and Its Parts 

It's a dog-eat-dog situation. 

Say what you wiU, we got the job done. 

We never get away except in the summers. 

All except one were air-conditioned. 

It's the best restaurant here, bar none. 

You can depend on Mary, bless her heart. 

Win or lose, he'll do it his way. 

We were ready in time, thanks to you. 

There is something irresistible about a method of classification 

that starts with two poles, exemplified, say, by Chinese and 

Explain ourselves as we might, we couldn't placate him. 

In the last of these sentences the implied subject of explain is 
first-person we. Modifying units beginning with except and bar 
are often regarded as prepositional, not clausal. 

Some main imperatives have the basic subject-predicator-com- 
plement word order altered as it is in assertive clauses to be 
described at a later point. 

Far be it from me to tell Logan the truth. 
May the best man win. 

Suffice it to say that the point was never pressed. 
Be that as it may, the gesture was a wise one. 
Come Easter, Barbara will buy another outfit. 

Sometimes main imperatives have the force of questions: for 
example, suppose John calls? The imperatives of direct request 
tend to be avoided where delicacy is thought desirable as when 
would you mind closing the window? replaces please close the window. 
Main imperatives of other kinds are confined chiefly to formal, or 
even archaic, styles and to fixed phrasings. 

Subordinate imperatives. Subordinate-imperative clauses 
are like main-imperative clauses in having present-subjunctive 
(and occasionally present-perfect-subjunctive) verb forms as pred- 
icators, and they are like main-imperative clauses in force. They 
are like subordinate declaratives in using an unstressed that as an 
adjunct and clause marker. Subordinate imperatives are unlike 
main imperatives in requiring expressed subjects, which are of 
all persons; they are unlike subordinate declaratives in the mode 
of their verb forms and in their constant use of the marker that. 

Subordinate imperatives occur as subordinate clauses affected 

Main-Clause Patterns and Their Subordinate-Clause Derivatives 79 

by desire (or by influencing normally rooted in desire) expressed 
in larger containing clauses by such verbs as advise, ask, beg, de- 
mand, desire, forbid, insist, intend, order, prefer, propose, recommend, 
request, require, suggest, and urge, and by nouns and adjectives 
with related meanings. 

The students ask only that they not be bored. 

The situation demanded that our efforts be concentrated at 

In case of my death I desire that this insurance be paid to my 

The Press prefers that footnotes be grouped at the end of the 

Various members of the faculty have urged that the library 

be kept open. 
It is important that the child recognize good informal English 

and be able to use it. 

We were anxious that there be no misunderstanding. 
The Dean approved Fenton's proposal on condition that he 

get the consent of the departments involved. 
The insistence that each student pay an activities fee had put 

another burden on those whose families were poor. 
We had already received Miss Lay's request that she be 

transferred to another department. 

In the examples given above the subjunctive forms are clearly 
distinct from common-mode forms. In great numbers of subordi- 
nate imperatives this is not the case, so that in internal form the 
clauses are not distinguishable from declaratives. 

It is important that children recognize good informal English. 

The police demanded that we move our car. 

There is no good reason for the requirement that all students 

have completed a course in phonemics before enrolling for the 

course in grammar. 

Subordinate imperatives occur characteristically in rather formal 
styles. Verbid clauses tend to replace them. 

The students only ask not to be bored. 

The Press prefers to have footnotes grouped at the end of the 

It is important for the child to recognize good informal English 

and be able to use it. 

80 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Main assertives. Like main declaratives, main assertives are 
main-clause expressions of opinion or of fact. Like declaratives 
(and interrogatives) they have common-mode or hypothetical- 
subjunctive verb forms as predicators. They characteristically 
differ from declaratives in that their subjects are preceded by com- 
plements (or parts of complements) and/or by predicators (or 
parts of predicators) ; in some assertives, however, the parts of the 
nucleus occur in the order in which they occur in declaratives, 
just as they do in such an interrogative as who broke the cup? 
Four types of main assertives occur. 

One type uses what or how, or a unit including one of these words, 
in or before the subject. 

What strange people come here! 
What a beautiful city San Francisco is! 
How I suffered with that dentist! 

The clause markers are italicized here. In the first and third sen- 
tences the parts of the nucleus are in declarative order. What and 
how have extremitive force in assertives: how I suffered is much 
like I suffered extremely in meaning. Expression of opinion or fact 
felt as extraordinary is accompanied by construction that is ex- 
traordinary. Reduced what and how main assertives are common. 

What a day! 
How sweet! 

What and how main assertives are generally regarded as exclam- 
atory, and so punctuated. But exclamatory sentences employ all 
main-clause patterns and (as in if only we agreed on restaurants!} 
even some subordinate-clause patterns. In expressions of enthu- 
siasm what and how main assertives are commoner in feminine 
use than in masculine. What is used more widely than how. 

A second type of main assertive uses before the subject (1) so, 
such, especially, still more, or similar locutions, or units containing 
them, or (2) negatives or near negatives. In this position these 
words and multiword units function as clause markers, besides 
functioning as adjuncts or as complements. In addition, in this 
position these markers make necessary the use of still other clause 
markers before the subjects: marker verb forms. There are thus 

Main-Clause Patterns and Their Subordinate-Clause Derivatives 81 

two markers in all clauses of this type. Clause markers are itali- 
cized in the following main assertives. 

1. So ridiculous were his charges that it seemed pointless to 

try to answer them. 
To such an extreme did they go that all moderate solutions 

became impossible. 

Especially did we enjoy the life of the plaza. 
Still more were we pleased with the beaches. 
Wett do I remember the day we arrived. 

2. Nowhere is there a lovelier island. 

Not since Wilson nosed out Hughes had the country seen 
such an upset. 

Not only in summer is the climate of these states unpleas- 
ant, but hi winter also. 

Not one word did he say. 

Rarely does the temperature go above ninety in San Juan. 

Only when fie is addressed directly does Jasper look up. 

The marker verb forms are those that are used in main interroga- 
tives: are, am, is, were, was; can } could , may, might, must, ought, 
shall, should, will, would; in their auxiliary uses have, has, had, do, 
does, did; infrequently need. Main assertives of this second type 
have something of extremitive force, though less of it than those 
employing what and how. 

Reduced main assertives of this second type occur. 

They won't finish by June, much less by April. 
Main declaratives closely paralleling main assertives of this 
second type are generally possible. 

His charges were so ridiculous that it seemed pointless to 

answer them. 
There is no lovelier island anywhere. 

The declarative pattern is more generally satisfactory. At one 
point, however, this second assertive pattern holds its own in 
competition with the declarative pattern: so and neither, accom- 
panied by marker verb forms, are constantly used before the 
subjects in reduced assertive clauses that are parallel in their con- 
tent to previous declaratives. 

We enjoyed the trip, and so did Harry. 

Harry hasn't paid his bill yet. But neither have I. 

82 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Here the assertives are not felt as different in force from the corre- 
sponding declaratives and Harry did too and and I haven't either. 
A third type of main assertive is essentially extremitive also 
but includes nothing as distinctive as the what and how of the first 
type or the marker verb forms of the second. Assertives of this 
third type simple main assertives merely have their subjects 
preceded by complements or parts of complements and/or by 
predicators or parts of predicators. 

There it is 

Off he went. 

In you go ! 

Right you are. 

One thing I'm sure of. 

Oversights we can pardon. 

His habits of waste the American transmitted to a generation 

that could no longer afford them. 

Of all these great volcanoes Popocatepetl is the most esteemed. 
A lot of good it did me! 
Here's your pen. 

In came three of the neighbors' children. 
Sixty miles to the north is the city of Cleveland. 
Many's the time he's done it. 

Coming up the street was the Congregational minister. 
Inclosed is my check for the amount due. 
Enjoy it we did. 

The clause markers in these sentences are of course the italicized 
complement and predicator units which precede the subjects in 
their nucleuses. All of these assertives could be made into declar- 
atives simply by changing the word order. But English is a word- 
order language, and departures from the normal subject-pred- 
icator-complement order of declaratives are significant. Simple 
assertives are something special: sometimes emphatic, sometimes 
excited, sometimes rhetorically useful for varied reasons, some- 
times just feebly literary. Ordinarily the basic declarative pattern 
is preferable. Much of the time, as a matter of fact, it would be 
difficult to avoid it in expression of fact or opinion. Exceptional 
assertive sentences such as here's your pen can readily employ com- 
plement-predicator-subject order simply because here does not read- 
ily function as subject. Dogs like children will always be taken as in 
sub j ect-predicator-complement order. 

Main-Clause Patterns and Their Subordinate- Clause Derivatives 83 

Reduction occurs occasionally in simple main assertives. 

Not for him the easy paths, the glib answers, the simple solu- 
tions of a material civilization. 
Here goes! 

Simple main assertives are sometimes incorporated subordinately 
within larger clauses. 

Roosevelt's dead, more's the pity. 

The fourth type of main assertive is proportionative rather than 
extremitive. This type is marked by the use of the and a compar- 
ative, or a unit containing the and a comparative, in or (much more 
often) before the subject. Assertives of this kind occur in pairs, 
combined in multiple sentences; the occurrence of the first con- 
stitutes a promise that a second is ahead. 

The more he spends on that car, the worse it runs. 

The sooner you decide, the better it will be. 

The fewer visitors come, the more we'll accomplish. 

Reduced assertives of the proportionative type are common. 
The smaller the town, the friendlier the people. 

In pairs of proportionative assertives the meaning relationship 
makes it reasonable to regard the first as an adjunct included, in 
front position, within the second. 

In proportion as the town is small, the people are friendly. 

But the parallelism in form makes it seem best to regard pairs of 
proportionatives as coordinate main clauses in closely unified mul- 
tiple sentences in which the main parts are interdependent. Some- 
times a single proportionative clause is used as an adjunct within 
a larger clause of another type. 

The situation got worse and worse the more he said. 

Subordinate assertives. Subordinate assertives differ from 
main assertives as subordinate declaratives differ from main declar- 
atives: in their smooth incorporation within larger clauses and/or 
in their use of an unstressed pronoun that as semantically empty 
adjunct and clause marker. 

84 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Subordinate what-&nd-how assertives cannot employ that as a 
clause marker. 

I didn't realize what strange people came here. 
You have no idea how I suffered with that dentist. 
It's amazing how good Jack's steaks are. 

In internal syntactic form, subordinate what-&nd-how assertives 
are commonly indistinguishable from subordinate interrogatives, 
though manner and intonation serve to distinguish the two types 
in the spoken language. Doubtful instances are most conveniently 
classifiable as interrogatives. But the use of an indefinite article 
between what and a singular pluralizer head does distinguish sub- 
ordinate assertives from subordinate interrogatives syntactically. 

I had forgotten what a department Mills worked in. 
I had forgotten what department Mills worked in. 

Subordinate assertives corresponding to the other types of main 
assertives occur infrequently. 

I tried to explain that not one word had we said. 
We knew that the more we offered Hartford, the more he would 



The four patterns of structure, or clusters of patterns of structure, 
characteristically found in main clauses those of the main de- 
clarative, the main interrogative, the main imperative, and the 
main assertive are matched by clearly parallel patterns of struc- 
ture characteristically found in subordinate clauses. It remains to 
describe a pattern of clause structure or a cluster of two pat- 
terns characteristically employed in subordinate clauses and not 
so clearly parallel to any main-clause pattern, and to say some- 
thing about the effects of negation on clause structure, about clause 
splitting, and about the coordination of clauses. 

Infinitival verbid clauses. What can conveniently be called 
verbid clauses are like main imperatives in that the predicators are 
verb forms usable without expressed subjects much more freely 
than the common-mode verb forms with which some of them are 
identical except in syntax. The verb forms used as predicators in 
verbid clauses are sometimes infinitival in mode and sometimes 
gerundial, and they serve as the only clause markers, unless spe- 
cial case forms of subjects are also regarded as clause markers 
when they occur. Infinitival verbid clauses are sometimes identical 
in internal form with main imperatives. This is true of be careful, 
for example, in it's wise to be careful. 

The commonest use of infinitival verbid clauses without ex- 
pressed subjects is the use as object of the preposition to. 

Circumstances forced us to postpone the trip. 

We came to feel very happy in New York. 

We were too late to see our friends. 

We decided to take Edward along. 

He lived to be ninety. 

To tett the truthj we all want comfort. 


86 The Sentence and Its Parts 

He left home in 1945, never to return. 

We're to bring our own food. 

He has a family to think of. 

She wants a new bag to match her shoes. 

To have admitted the truth would have been to endanger the 

whole venture. 

It takes a low bush to stand in a strong wind. 
We wanted to go with you. 
People like to be liked. 
We asked nothing except to be let alone. 

Units made up of to and infinitival completers of to sometimes 
occur as exceptional complements in sentences in which there has 
been a shifting of subjects. 

He is said to have been indicted before. 
Everyone is supposed to bring a small present. 
She seems to have accepted the situation. 
He's likely to get into trouble again. 

Like the shifted constructions of such passives as we weren't given 
enough time, the shifted constructions above commonly serve to 
give earlier notice, and greater syntactic prominence, to the in- 
volvement of human beings. 

It is said that he has been indicted before. 
He is said to have been indicted before. 
Not enough time was given us. 
We were not given enough time. 

Units made up of to and infinitival completers are sometimes given 
sentence status even in careful and formal styles. 

To return to what was happening in Mexico City. 
To think that all that money has been wasted! 

When infinitival clauses used as objects of to are negated by not 
or never, the negator is usually advanced to a position in front of 
to, at least in careful and formal styles. 

It's a shame not to be there. 
I try never to offend her. 

The word so moves forward similarly in the formula so to speak. 
Simply, only, merely, and just seem to move forward without dif- 

Other Matters of Clause Patterning 87 

I hope that it will be possible simply to drop my name. 
You have only to read the introduction. 

Other adjuncts of infinitives generally do not take the position 
in front of to very gracefully. 

It was not the General's function openly to attack his superior. 

Openly could follow his superior to advantage here. There is a 
prejudice against putting adjuncts of infinitives between to and 
the infinitives, and the name "split infinitives" has been attached 
to the constructions which result when adjuncts are put there. But 
sometimes no other position is really very satisfactory. 

She's too young to really understand what age means. 
It's a terrible thing to almost kill your best friend. 
To actually steal a contract seemed a great sin. 
People seem to deliberately avoid talking to newcomers. 
On his deathbed he asked his children to at least give him a 
funeral at which his old friends would feel comfortable. 

Especially in informal styles, there is frequent use of the preposi- 
tion to alone to represent a prepositional unit in which the ex- 
pressed object of to would be an infinitival clause. 

She speaks English, but she doesn't like to. 
She speaks English only when she has to. 
More people drink milk than used to. 

The reduction here is basically the same as that which occurs when 
come in is used in place of come into the house. Another noteworthy 
type of reduction is common after want. 

The cat wants in. 

The construction is similar to that in did you let the cat in? except 
that after let an expressed infinitive (get or come} would not be 
preceded by to. A third type of notable reduction is found in such 
sentences as he has a family to think of, where the infinitival clause 
think of lacks an object for the preposition of just as the inter- 
rogative clause does in he has a family he thinks of. 

Two phrasal prepositions often occur where to alone might be 

We stopped in order to look at the old forts. 
Will you be so kind as to explain what happened? 

88 The Sentence and Its Parts 

In order to is simply an expansion of to often used in adjuncts of 
purpose. As to is a combination of a head word, as, here made 
necessary by the preceding so, and a modifying to which prepares 
for the following infinitival clause in the common fashion. 

Subjectless infinitival clauses are by no means confined to use 
as objects of the preposition to. A few verbs take them as first 
complements: the defectives can, may, must, shall, should, and 
will, but not the defective ought; had, when it is used with present 
force along with better, rather, etc.; need, when it is used with a 
negator or near negator and (formally) when it is used in inter- 
rogatives; dare, when it is used (formally) with a negator and in 

John can help you. 

You may be right. 

Shall we call a taxi? 

To this day Mary won't say a word to John. 

We'd better tell her the truth. 

Dare we trust our own representatives? 

Among these verbs, will functions as an auxiliary of tense, as 
well as a full predicator expressing volition and related meanings; 
and shall functions similarly where it competes with will as a true 
tense auxiliary, as in formal we shall be glad to send further infor- 
mation if you wish. Occasionally an infinitival clause without to 
completes be. 

What the author does is attribute to Charlie every kind of trouble 
a student ever has. 

In informal styles such clauses sometimes complete go and come. 

Let's go tell him. 
Come see us. 

Subjectless infinitival clauses are used (1) as second complements 
after a few very important verbs of influencing, assisting, and 
permitting, and (2) as tight postcomplementary adjuncts (and in 
some cases as second complements) after a number of verbs of 

1. She had the store deliver the dresses. 
She makes her husband take her to operas. 
John helped me pack my books. 
They let us leave when we finished. 

Other Matters of Clause Patterning 89 

2. I saw Mary drop the box. 
I watched him pick it up. 
Look at the boy run! 
Jane heard us come in. 
I felt the atmosphere change. 
I've had people ask me whether Pm Scotch. 

Where the infinitival verb form is passive, auxiliary be is omitted. 

I had my watch cleaned a year ago. 

I saw George put out of the restaurant for brawling, 

More extreme reduction is common after let and help. 

Let me in. 

I'll help you up. 

Most verbs of influencing, assisting, permitting, and forbidding 
take to and infinitival clauses, not infinitival clauses alone, as sec- 
ond complements. 

Circumstances forced us to delay the trip. 

Hugh got us to ask for a postponement. 

His wife's income enables Herbert to send his children to the 

very best schools. 

They allowed us to leave when we finished. 
He forbade his daughter to see George again. 

Help takes both types of second complements: John helped me to 
pack my books is used alongside John helped me pack my books. In 
the passive make and help always have to in the complementary 

We've been made to wait much too long. 

A few verbs of experiencing take to and infinitival completers after 
first complements. 

I've always found him to be reasonably diplomatic. 
I've known hi to be candid. 

After a passive verb of experiencing to makes its appearance regu- 

A stranger was seen to pick up the purse. 

What are at bottom infinitival second complements occur without 
expressed first complements in a few fixed phrasings. 

90 The Sentence and Its Parts 

He didn't let go, 
Live and let live. 
Children like to make believe they're adults. 

Sometimes infinitival second complements are implied rather than 

She went because her mother made her. 

Infinitival clauses without expressed subjects of their own appear 
occasionally under other circumstances. 

He won't even thank you, let alone pay you. 

That's what I'll do: marry a fortune. 

He's never done anything besides tell funny stories. 

A feeling for parallelism has a great deal to do with the use of 
infinitival clauses in the first two of these sentences: such clauses 
as he won't pay you and I'll marry a fortune are vaguely in mind. 
In the last sentence an infinitival clause serves as a neutral substi- 
tute for a less manageable structure. In informal conversational use 
infinitival clauses without to sometimes function as contained 
modifiers of nounal heads. 

There have been lots of people try it. 

The subjects of infinitival clauses. When infinitival clauses 
lack expressed subjects, subjects are always implied. Often the sub- 
ject of the larger clause within which an infinitival clause is con- 
tained suggests the subject for the infinitival clause. 

We came to feel very happy in New York. 

He has no home to go to. 

He is said to have been in trouble before. 

You may be right. 

He's never done anything besides tell funny stories. 

He has a family to take care of. 

The children are ready to eat. 

Often a complement in the larger clause, or the head word in the 
complement, suggests the subject. 

Circumstances have forced us to postpone the exhibition. 

She wants a new bag to match her shoes. 

They let us leave when we finished. 

I watched him pick it up. 

He has a family to take care of him. 

Other Matters of Clause Patterning 91 

Sometimes even a possessive within the larger clause suggests it. 

His desire has been to be frank without giving offense. 
Sometimes situation or context suggests the subject. 

To return to what was happening in Mexico City. 

The invitation to visit the laboratory came at an awkward 


It was very disturbing to see John so upset. 
The potatoes are ready to eat. 

Sometimes the unexpressed subject is general "a person/' 

Taking courses is a silly way to get an education. 
Guadalajara is a delightful city to live in. 
To tell the truth, we all want comfort. 
It's easy to underestimate quiet people. 
The fruit is just to look at. 

Infinitival clauses with expressed subjects of their own tend to 
be used as objects of the apposed-unit preposition for . . . to, 
much as those without expressed subjects tend to be used as ob- 
jects of the simple preposition to. This /or ... to occurs, like the 
to, both where a preposition is syntactically normal and where a 
preposition would hardly occur except before an infinitival clause. 
The to is put inside the infinitival clause, before its predicator. 

We waited for the clock to strike. 

There's no need for you to be indirect. 

There were children for Susan to play with. 

For religion to divide the country so bitterly is tragic indeed. 

It is important for the discussion to be frank. 

One way of finding Jones would be for you to inquire at all the 


She hates for anyone to ignore her. 
We intended for you to be there. 

Infinitival clauses made objects of for . . . to are identical in ap- 
pearance with combinations (from which they originally devel- 
oped) in which for is a preposition completed by the noun or 
nounal unit which follows it, while to is another preposition com- 
pleted separately by an infinitival clause with no stated subject of 
its own within it. 

It's hard for me to explain my feelings. 

92 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Here for me is an adjunct of the main predicator is and to explain 
my feelings is in apposition with it. 

Infinitival clauses with their own expressed subjects are also 
used as objects of the simple preposition to. This to, like the to of 
for . . . to, comes inside the infinitival clause, before its predica- 
tor. Units made up of to and infinitival clauses with expressed sub- 
jects are used as complements (1) after certain verbs of wanting 
and liking, and (2) after certain verbs of knowing, thinking, declar- 
ing, and the like. 

1. Mildred wants her friends to visit her constantly. 
I like people to tell the truth. 

2. Hamilton knew the facts to be otherwise. 
We expected rents to be high here. 

He conceives it to be his duty to correct his colleagues. 

After like units with /or ... to compete. 

I like for people to tell me the truth. 
Verbless infinitival clauses without to or for . . . to are common. 

Everyone wants lemonade very cold. 
Small-town people consider us bad-mannered. 
Those who did not know him thought him rude. 

Sometimes only an auxiliary be and to are omitted. 
We don't want anything said about this. 

The corresponding infinitival clause with common-voice predica- 
tor is anyone (to) say anything about this. Occasionally infinitival 
clauses with their own expressed subjects and with to develop after 
verbs of influencing and permitting. 

The company requires bills to be paid by the tenth. 
The court ordered the property to be sold. 

The infinitive is passive, and the construction is only doubtfully 
standard. But when auxiliary be and to are omitted, the construc- 
tion sometimes becomes more acceptable. 

The manager ordered the floor cleared at once. 

This kind of reduced infinitival clause also develops after such 
verbs as hear and have. 

Other Matters of Clause Patterning 93 

I've had three pens taken from my desk. 
I've heard him criticized unmercifully. 

Infinitival clauses with expressed subjects and without to oc- 
casionally have sentence status with the force of somewhat emo- 
tional questions. 

Him teach English? 
Me be careful? 

Gerundial verbids. Gerundial verbid clauses have gerundial- 
mode verb forms as predicators. Gerundial clauses without ex- 
pressed subjects of their own are used as subjects in larger con- 
taining clauses. 

Seeing Montreal occupied Monday. 
Washing windows this far up is very exciting. 

They are used as complements of verbs of various types, notably 
verbs of stopping, finishing, postponing, avoiding, resenting, and 
tolerating, and a few verbs of approximately opposite meanings 
such as begin, keep ("continue"), enjoy, appreciate, and recommend, 
and such verbs as imagine, consider, and even be. 

John mentioned having seen Fred in Rochester. 

We enjoyed being with you. 

She hasn't finished mending her stockings. 

We put off buying a car as long as we could. 

I recommend trying diplomacy. 

We're considering buying anew car. 

It would be playing with fire to invite Walter. 

George went on eating his breakfast 

They kept us wondering what the trouble was. 

We kept wondering what the trouble was. 

They are used as adjuncts, both tight and loose, chiefly with rela- 
tionships of circumstance, manner, cause, or similar meanings. 

We kept busy seeing Montreal. 
The neighbors heard us coming in last night. 
The police caught him robbing a gas station. 
Coming into town, we had a hard time finding a garage. 
Beginning in June, prices will be five percent higher. 
Having had good debate training, Thomas can make a case for 
either side. 

94- The Sentence and Its Parts 

To the end of his life Veblen was alone and imperturbable, 
seeking truth along the byways rather than in the cultivated 
fields of scholarship. 

Scientific knowledge can be good or bad, depending on the use 
to which it is put. 

Considering everything, it was a good deal. 

They are used as contained modifiers of nounal heads. 

In came a small girl carrying a puppy. 

Students desiring additional training in spoken Spanish should 

register for Spanish 202. 
Religion is God moving among men. 

They are used as postponed appositives, though in American prac- 
tice infinitival clauses with to are generally preferred in this con- 

It's no use reasoning with Jack. 

It's very pleasant sitting here in the sun. 

They are used as objects of prepositions. Here they are the most 
widely usable of all subordinate clauses. 

Jester won't get cooperation by threatening people. 

I'm in favor of making some money. 

He was arrested for knocking a policeman down. 

Her color comes from getting out in the sun. 

There's no use in reasoning with Jack. 

She talked him into giving her a job. 

Smith isn't past being taken in by pretty girls. 

The newspapers have devoted a great deal of space to telling 

the public about advances in this field. 
I have no objection to writing the letter. 
I'm used to getting my own breakfast. 
The sales are worth waiting for. 
Countries are often thought of as having feminine qualities. 

At some points gerundial clauses and infinitival clauses with to 
are usable with about the same meanings. 

He began questioning us. 
He began to question us. 

At other points there are clear differences in meaning. 

Do you remember closing the door? 
Do you remember to close the door? 

Other Matters of Clause Patterning 95 

I tried being polite to her. 
I tried to be polite to her. 

At some points gerundials with normal prepositions compete with 
infinitives with the generalized preposition to. 

There's no time for singing silly songs. 
There's no time to sing silly songs. 
She was delighted at being included. 
She was delighted to be included. 

When gerundial clauses lack expressed subjects, subjects are of 
course always implied. They are suggested as in infinitival clauses. 
When there is a possibility that a wrong subject may suggest itself, 
however ludicrously, subjectless gerundial clauses (or infinitival 
clauses, or interrogative clauses) are best avoided, at least in writ- 
ten English. Thus such a sentence as walking around the campus, the 
Tower dominates everything had better be rephrased. 

Gerundial clauses without expressed subjects are sometimes 
begun by determinative pronouns which modify what follows much 
as they would modify nouns. 

There's no telling what he thinks. 

There isn't any getting along with him. 

This treating us all like children is a little offensive. 

The pronoun modifiers can be regarded as adjuncts of an excep- 
tional type within the gerundial clauses. The situation is not wholly 
different in such a sentence as he's behaving exactly as he's always 
behaved, where exactly can be regarded as an adjunct within the 
adverbial clause even though it precedes the clause marker as. 
Gerundial clauses with expressed subjects are sometimes used 
as subjects within larger clauses. 

John's staying away complicates the problem. 

The children's taking music lessons added to the expense. 

Sometimes as complements. 

Pardon my being so frank. 

We resented Foster's treating us so arrogantly. 

We appreciate your inviting us. 

Sometimes as adjuncts. 

We prefer a lower altitude, all things being equal. 

96 The Sentence and Its Parts 

There being no objection, the meeting adjourned. 
I have often seen him marching magnificently up the street, 
wife and children following respectfully a few steps behind. 

Sometimes as objects of prepositions. 

Rosemary's usefulness is increased by her having lived in 


They insisted on our being there. 
You're right about there being no time. 
There's no use in everyone's getting upset. 
I'm in favor of people like him making some money. 
Instead of the passing months assuaging his grief, they only 

increased it. 
I have often seen him marching magnificently up the street 

with his wife and children following respectfully a few steps 

How can we get anything done with him acting like a prima 

Harriet can't do anything without her husband criticizing her 


Expressed subjects in gerundial clauses are likely- but not cer- 
tain to be marked by possessive inflection if the gerundial clauses 
are used as subjects, complements, or objects of prepositions other 
than with and sometimes without. But where possessive inflection 
cannot be added very satisfactorily, even careful and formal styles 
get along without it. And apostrophes are not very likely to be 
added to plural subjects, as in instead of the passing months as- 
suaging his grief. Possessive inflection is not usable for subjects in 
gerundial clauses used as adjuncts or as objects of the preposition 
with within adjuncts of circumstance. 

Verbless gerundial clauses with expressed nonpossessive sub- 
jects have considerable use. They function as loose adjuncts of 

We left Cairo on the seventh with still more passengers, most 
of them beautiful women. 

There were dozens of poems, some of them good and some bad. 

While they were talking the family about their small ambitions 
and he about leadership a huge stone rolled down the moun- 

Verbless gerundial clauses are fairly common as objects of the 
preposition with. The implied predicator in such clauses is being. 

Other Matters of Clause Patterning 97 

We can't buy much with prices always so high. 
We went into it with our eyes open. 
It's lonely with the children away. 

An airliner with forty people aboard crashed west of Denver 
last night. 

Where there is more or less fixed phrasing, as in such locutions as 
day after day, word for word, step by step, arm in arm, eye to eye, 
year in and year out, hat in hand, sight unseen, inside out, and head 
first, verbless gerundial clauses are much more widely usable. They 
occur, for example, as tight adjuncts, as subjects, as modifiers 
within nounal units, and as complements. 

They slept three in a bed. 

Car after car went by without stopping. 

A head-on collision was the result. 

The table was upside down. 

We were face to face with the thief. 

Gerundial clauses with both expressed subjects and expressed 
predicators seem somewhat stiff and uncomfortable much of the 
time. Competing constructions tend to replace them. 

John's staying away complicates the problem. 

It complicates the problem for John to stay away. 

We resented Foster's treating us so arrogantly. 

We resented having Foster treat us so arrogantly. 

We resented it that Foster treated us so arrogantly. 

No one can prevent John's seeing the manager. 

No one can prevent John from seeing the manager. 

Of course she minds her husband's acting like that. 

Of course she minds it when her husband acts like that. 

Weather permitting, the meeting will be held in the stadium. 

If the weather permits, the meeting will be held in the stadium. 

When full gerundial clauses would have passive predicators, the 
passive auxiliary be is commonly omitted. Such clauses without 
subjects of their own are used as adjuncts, chiefly with relation- 
ships of circumstance, manner, cause, or similar meanings. 

Williamson taught at the University for thirty years, disliking 

his colleagues and disliked by them. 
Seen from a distance, Our Most Holy Lady of the Miracles of 

Tlaltenango looks like a pretty doll. 
Long neglected by literature, the city now achieved a notoriety 

as unlovely as that of the frowzy country town. 

98 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Such clauses are also used as contained modifiers of nounal heads. 

Hidalgo appealed to resentments built up by centuries of 


You won't like the accommodations furnished by the college. 
A. friend in power is a friend lost. 

When there are no expressed subjects, subjects are of course im- 
plied. Sometimes there are expressed subjects. 

All things considered, you did very wisely. 

There are also advanced courses in history, philosophy, and 

sociology, some of them taught in English. 
It's hard to go ahead with so many people offended by our plans. 

If the passive auxiliary were stated in gerundial clauses such as 
these, sometimes the form used would be being and sometimes 
having been. Often it would seem unnatural to express the auxiliary. 
Some gerundial clauses have the normal subject-predicator-com- 
plement word order altered as it is in many assertives. When this 
is the case, generally being, as full verb or as auxiliary in a passive, 
is implied but not stated. 

Babbitt had various profitable contacts, among them the officials 

of the traction company. 
No matter what he says, we're going ahead. 
Some solution is possible, provided no further errors are made. 
Given a reasonable amount of good will, the conflict of interests 

can be resolved. 
Granted that universities need business managers, it still does not 

follow that these men should run the universities. 

Negation. Fundamentally negation is the language of dissent. 
Its favored word is not, and the central meaning of not is one of 
otherness. Thus negated George doesn't drive very prudently dissents 
from unnegated George drives very prudently. Here, in terms of 
layers, not is best regarded as the outermost modifier of the predi- 
cator does drive, though the focus of dissent obviously lies in the 
words very prudently and George drives rather imprudently is prob- 
ably a roughly equivalent statement. Half his students don't under- 
stand him does not seem to dissent from unnegated half his students 
understand him, but this is because the two sentences speak of 
different groups of students one of one half, the other of the 
other half. Sometimes negation is semantically specialized to con- 

Other Matters of Clause Patterning 99 

vey meanings of "lessness," as in / don't have a dime, and (though 
usually not with not) zero, as in no coffee is raised on the island now. 
When not negates a declarative, it normally must follow one of 
the same verb forms that are used to mark main interrogatives 
and some main assertives: are, am, is, were, was; can, could, may, 
might, must, ought, shall, should, will, would; in their auxiliary uses 
have, has, had, do, does, did; need. 

Fred was not there. 

We can't leave before Thursday. 

There won't be time next week. 

The economic problem has not been solved. 

You needn't return the jars. 

In interrogatives also not must follow one of these same verb forms. 
The subject commonly intervenes in careful and formal styles but 
not in informal ones. 

Has the economic problem not been solved? 
Wasn't Fred there? 

In main imperatives not follows do even when the predicator is be. 

Don't tell him. 
Don't be reckless. 

When main imperatives have expressed subjects, negation with 
not produces a word order like that of main interrogatives. 

Don't you tell him! 
Don't anyone move ! 

Not is used without do in subordinate imperatives. 

It is important that exceptions not be made. 

In some assertives of the second type not is attached to a comple- 
ment or adjunct on which the negation is focused and, as has been 
said, this negated unit then moves in front of the subject and must 
be followed by a marker verb form which is also in front of the 


Not since Wilson nosed out Hughes had the country seen such 

an upset. 
Not one word did he say. 

In verbid clauses not is used without the preceding verb forms 

100 The Sentence and Its Parts 

required in main declaratives. As has been said, when not negates 
infinitival verbid clauses used with to, it moves forward before to. 

I tried not to offend him. 
He resents not being invited. 

Not is by no means the only adjunct with negator force. 

It was no longer possible to have confidence in Jackson. 
Marian never acts hastily. 

It is by no means the only adjunct with negator force. 
Never mind what I said yesterday. 

Marker verb forms are not required with negator adjuncts other 
than not. Equivalents employing not and a marker verb form com- 
pete with the constructions illustrated by the sentences given 
above, and are often preferred in informal styles. 

It wasn't possible to have confidence in Jackson any longer. 

Marian doesn't ever act hastily. 

It isn't the only adjunct with negator force by any means. 

Negative subjects and negative complements can serve as nega- 

Nothing was done. 

Not everyone would agree with you. 

No home could be pleasanter. 

It's none of his business. 

He's no mathematician. 

I had no way of knowing his attitude. 

We got nowhere. 

They did nothing. 

It is noteworthy that the negative subject of such a declarative as 
nothing was done disappears in the corresponding main interroga- 
tive, at least in informal styles. 

Wasn't anything done? 

When negators turn up as late as the complement area, they are 
likely to produce special effects either of emphasis or of formality. 
But the use of negative complements often results in neater sen- 
tences than alternative patternings produce, and so is favored in 
careful and formal styles. 

They did nothing. 

They did not do anything. 

Other Matters of Clause Patterning 101 

The desire for early expression of negators sometimes leads to 
attaching them to main predicators when attachment to later sub- 
ordinate predicators might seem more orderly and exact. 

I don't think we've finished. 
I didn't use to like him. 

It is not really illogical to put the negators early here. As the sen- 
tences stand, what is negated is the main nucleuses / think we've 
finished and I used to like him. If the negators are moved to the 
subordinate predicators, the effect is likely to seem too direct. 

I think we haven't finished. 
I used not to like him. 

Negation is the language of dissent, and dissent can seem a little 
graceless when it is precise. Occasionally in informal styles a nega- 
tor is moved forward to a main predicator when it would seem that 
meanings should prevent. 

When we parted, I never expected to see her again. 

Negative words tend to push forward under other circumstances 
also. In the following sentences negative modifiers which from the 
point of view of the most careful structure should be contained 
modifiers later in their clauses have moved forward to the normal 
position of adjuncts functioning as clause negators. 

The Observer does not appeal to emotion but to reason. 
One is never engaged in farming in general, but in farming a 
particular tract of land under specific conditions. 

Neither full declarative is really negated here: certainly there is no 
negation of what begins with but. Sentences such as these are fre- 
quent even in careful and formal styles: it is not possible to regard 
them as nonstandard. But from the point of view of clause struc- 
ture, revisions are preferable to the two sentences as they stand. 
Not often moves forward after whether, with which it is coordi- 

Whether or not he said it, it isn't true. 

Whether he said it or not is a split clause of syntactically ordinary 

102 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Like interrogative reinforcers, negative reinforcers are of minor 
importance syntactically but deserve notice. Negation and inter- 
rogation are related in idea, and the same reinforcers are used in 
both situations. 

Shelton doesn't have any real convictions. 

He hasn't ever expressed himself on the basic issues. 

He doesn't vote any more. 

He doesn't think about them at all. 

He doesn't like candor a bit. 

The italicized negative reinforcers would not be used in the cor- 
responding unnegated declaratives. Much, too, is often a negative 
reinforcer, and for this reason the following questions involve dif- 
ferent implications. 

Doesn't Harris know a great deal of Spanish? 
Doesn't Harris know much Spanish? 

The use of a great deal here suggests that a positive answer (yes, he 
does} is expected. The use of much suggests that a negative answer 
is expected. As has been said, the influence of reinforcers is subtle, 
but is real. They are quite likely to be present in negated clauses: 
there is an obvious preference for multiple indication of negation 
when it affects nucleuses. Yet though standard English prefers 
multiple indication of negation when it affects nucleuses by 
marker verb forms, by not, much of the time by reinforcers also 
it is now reluctant to combine, attached to a single predicator, 
two or more of the invariably negative words beginning with n. 
I don't know nothing, for example, is nonstandard if it means what 
is meant by I don't know anything or I know nothing. Why don't we 
just not go! is standard, however with two negators attaching to 
the nucleus independently, as different layers. 

At the semantic borderline between positive and negative are 
concepts expressed by such words as only, just, hardly, scarcely, 
seldom, and rarely on the one hand and nearly and almost on the 
other. The first six words, though semantically positive in their 
relations to what they modify, often affect clause patterns as nega- 
tors do. Marker verb forms accompany them when they precede 
the subjects of their clauses, and the clauses are assertives rather 
than declaratives. 

Other Matters of Clause Patterning 103 

Rarely does the thermometer go above ninety. 
Only when he is addressed directly does he look up. 

Only, just, hardly, and scarcely tend to push forward to clause- 
negator positions, just as not does, even when later positions seem 
more appropriate. 

We only kept one of the puppies. 

He just shaves on Saturdays. 

The law should only be invoked, we believe, when all other 

means of influencing the parents have been exhausted. 
At present we hardly have a hundred names and addresses. 

The desire that negative or near-negative coloring begin early is 
very strong, and sentences such as these cannot be called non- 
standard, though they would be revised in the most careful writing. 
Negative reinforcers combine with the near negatives also. 

I've hardly ever seen Jack angry at all. 

And there is objection to combining near negatives with n nega- 
tives, as in nonstandard I don j t hardly think so. Nearly and almost, 
on the other hand, have no negative syntactic force, though from 
the point of view of meaning they are negatives. 

We nearly missed the tram. 

He almost hit the window, didn't he? 

In informal styles combinations of n negatives and near-nega- 
tive but are fairly common, and they occur also in other styles. 

There's no doubt but what he means it. 

I can't help but wonder about Barnes. 

We never saw but one tarantula while we were there. 

There can be no question but that onomatopoetic forms exist. 

Hardly and scarcely can be negative in real meaning as well as 
in syntax: for example, in I hardly think so. Little is really negative 
in little did we realize that we would never see Maurice again. There 
is negative meaning, though not negative syntactic force, in it was 
anything but satisfactory and in she was far from well. A variety of 
adjuncts take on negative meaning in informal styles: for exam- 
ple, like fun in like fun you can! Irony gives negative force to ordi- 
nary positive patterns at times. 

104 The Sentence and Its Parts 

A lot of good it did me. 

I'll teach him to talk like that. 

Comparison occurs in negation where higher degrees of dissent are 

What he says is not true of the older generation, and still less 
is it true of the young people. 

Layers of modification are sometimes of great importance where 
negation is concerned. 

Harriet isn't from a wealthy home like most of our students. 
Unlike most of our students, Harriet isn't from a wealthy 

The two sentences mean much the same thing; yet in the second 
the loose adjunct preceding the subject requires a negative prefix 
un which is not usable in the tight adjunct following the comple- 
ment in the first sentence. The loose adjunct in the second sen- 
tence is the outermost modifier of the main predicator is and is 
not affected by the fact that the nucleus is negated. Layers of 
meaning are involved somewhat differently in sentences such as 
the following. 

Nobody who can stay at home wants to be out every night. 

Here nobody is a zero word, but the who which refers back to it is 
not a zero word. Nobody can stay at home is no main-declarative 
equivalent of who can stay at home: who refers to the unnegated 
core of nobody, and actually no modifies body who can stay at home. 
The presence of a negator in the main predication seems to be 
responsible for the illogical loss of one in the subordinate predica- 
tion in the following sentence. 

He didn't stay any longer than he could help. 

Positive and negative forms often take on special implications 
in interrogatives. Is it a pretty baby? can be an open question, 
without any suggestion of the type of response expected. Spoken 
enthusiastically, the sentence can lose question force and become 
equivalent to it's an extremely pretty baby. An exclamation point 
generally replaces the question mark in the written language when 
this sense is intended. Spoken skeptically, the sentence can indi- 

Other Matters of Clause Patterning 105 

cate expectation of a negative answer. The corresponding negative 
interrogative can hardly be an open one. Isn't it a pretty baby? in 
one situation and with one manner suggests expectation of a posi- 
tive response; under other circumstances and with another man- 
ner, the sentence suggests expectation of a negative response. 
Confirmational questions invite specific answers. In ifs a 'pretty 
baby, isn't itf the negative question invites a positive answer con- 
firming the positive statement which has been made somewhat 
tentatively. In it isn't a pretty baby, is itf the positive question 
invites a negative answer confirming the tentative negative state- 
ment. This is the basic pattern for confirmational interrogatives. 
Where the positive-or-negative force of a statement is not entirely 
clear, it is difficult to add a satisfactory confirmational interroga- 

There is a good deal of negation that does not affect clause 
structure. The negative affixes do not disturb it, for example. Un- 
certainty has paralyzed us is as positive in force as it would be if 
the subject were certainty. The paper was illegible is as positive a 
statement as the paper was messy, though the paper wasn't legible 
is a negated statement. Even the words that commonly negate 
clauses do not always do so. The negatives in the following sen- 
tences do not negate their clauses: their force is contained. 

You're no doubt right. 

He wastes no end of time. 

He'll repair it for nothing. 

Not infrequently the native upper classes did more harm than 

the foreigners did. 
In 1861 the Southerners justified secession not on the basis of 

the right of revolution but on constitutional grounds. 
The Observer appeals not to emotion, but to reason. 
We had a pleasant week in Costa Rica not long ago. 

Split clauses. Sometimes what begins as a single clause di- 
vides as it proceeds. The division can occur at various points. In 
the following sentences the split comes at the end of the italics. 

On Thursdays John keeps the baby and his wife plays bridge. 
Clark loves God dearly, hates the devil enthusiastically, and 

tolerates his fellow man. 
Harris has always liked women but never understood them. 

106 The Sentence and Its Parts 

It was good to see you but sad not to have more time. 
Are you going to town or not? 

Here on Thursdays is followed by two complete nucleuses, tied 
together in Siamese-twin fashion by joint possession of the intro- 
ductory adjunct the second nucleus also modified by the adjunct 
and. Clark is the subject of three predicators, all of them with 
complements and adjuncts of their own. Harris has is the subject 
and part of the predicator of two joined nucleuses, the first with 
its own adjunct always , the second with the two adjuncts but and 
never. It was is part of the subject and all of the predicator for 
two joined nucleuses, the remainder of the subject in the first 
nucleus being to see you and the remainder in the second being 
not to have more time. Are you is the subject and part of the predica- 
tor for two joined nucleuses, the second given highly reduced 
Sometimes split clauses terminate in single words or sequences. 

Adjuncts most often follow but sometimes precede and oc- 
casionally interrupt the nucleuses they attach to. 

Here three predicators, each with an adjunct or two of its own, 
share both a single subject and a single complement. 

Impinging modifiers produce a variant type of split clauses ter- 
minating in single words or sequences. 

They took us heaven knows where. 

Philips is an honest, if not a diplomatic, Administration man. 

In the first of these sentences heaven knows where is an impinging 
declarative whose complement where has the syntax of a comple- 
ment of the main predicator took also as, for example, in they 
took us somewhere. This sentence has something of the quality of 
upside-down construction: it is not unlike a twisted variant of 
heaven knows where they took us. In the second sentence Administra- 
tion man is a part of the complement in the impinging reduced 
subordinate clause if not a diplomatic Administration man and a 
part of the complement in the main nucleus Philips is an honest 
Administration man. When split clauses terminate in a single word 
or sequence, the result is likely to have a labored, conscious quality 
that is hardly desirable even in careful and formal styles, whatever 

Other Matters of Clause Patterning 107 

the ingenuity and efficiency of construction. Other patterns are 
generally preferable. 

A great deal of dubious sentence structure is produced by care- 
less or insensitive use of split clauses. The basic principles of 
careful structure here are very simple: everything which precedes 
a point at which splitting begins must fit both or all of the branches 
which begin there, and everything that follows a point at which 
splitting ends must fit both or all of the branches which unite 
there. Such sentences as the following violate these principles. 

In 1930 Mrs. Allen came to the University and taught there 

twenty years. 

This car is as good or better than the last one we had. 
He is one of the worst if not the worst teacher I've known. 
This is an upsurge of opinion that officials cannot ignore and 

stay in office. 

Language is something that people should sit back and enjoy. 
I'm going downtown and buy a hat. 

Sentences like these occur inevitably in rapid, natural speech, and 
should be regarded as acceptable in informal styles. 

Split clauses whose structure is less than ideal also occur when 
the splitting makes single words, or larger units, perform two or 
more structural functions of different types. 

She is beautiful and admired by everyone. 
He is polite to, but does not respect, those under whom he 
does his work. 

In the first of these sentences is functions both as a main predica- 
tor and as an auxiliary within the predicator is admired. In the 
second sentence those under whom he does his work functions both 
as object of the preposition to and as complement of the predicator 
does respect The first sentence can hardly be called standard. The 
second must be described as standard but a little painful. Yet 
when a completing unit precedes what it completes, little or no 
pain is felt if it completes two constructions of dissimilar types. 

Is this the haven that he searched for and found? 
What we had bought and paid for was enough. 

Coordination of clauses. Quite often two or more main 
clauses are united as coordinates within multiple sentences. Analy- 
sis of such sentences must begin by separating the coordinates. 

108 The Sentence and Its Parts 

We met your friend, and he impressed us. 

Are you coining along, or aren't you? 

Don't be too dishonest, but don't be too truthful either. 

Here the coordinates are united by coordinators functioning as 
adjuncts within the coordinates they begin. The first sentence is 
made up of two declaratives, the second of two interrogatives, the 
third of two imperatives. Precoordinators are used in the following 
multiple sentences. 

Either he thinks she's wonderful, or he finds her father's money 

very attractive. 
Not only is their patriotism commonly mixed with feelings of 

humiliation and shame, but it is probably stronger because 

of the admixture. 

The precoordinators are adjuncts in the first clauses, just as the 
basic coordinators are adjuncts in the clauses they begin. Many 
multiple sentences, of course, employ no coordinators at all. 

His manner became less abrupt: he was almost polite. 
He sat still for a few more minutes; then he walked over to 
the table. 

The interdependent relationship between the two main clauses in 
proportionative assertives is indicated by the parallel construc- 
tions with which they begin. 

The more he said, the less convincing he was. 

Exceptional reduction is often present in coordinates after the 

The European had his wheat and the Indian his corn. 
You won't like the course, but you will the teacher. 

To a considerable extent, multiple sentences are made up of 
main clauses of the same type. Various types of assertives, how- 
ever, are frequently coordinated with declaratives. 

She didn't understand the teacher, much less the text. 
Wages are high, but so are prices. 
We urged him to go, and go he did. 

Imperatives are often coordinated with following declaratives to 
which they have the meaning relationship that clauses of condi- 
tion would have. 

Other Matters of Clause Patterning 109 

Give in to her once, and you'll never have your way again. 
Let an honest man enter politics of this kind, and all the 
established groups will be at his throat. 

Nonstandard coordination of an interrogative and a declarative 
occurs in the following sentence. 

Would you like to lose fat but you just can't control your ap- 

Confirmational interrogatives (always reduced) unite with the 
declaratives for which they ask confirmation, in multiple sentences 
for which no coordinator is usable. 

The food's very good, isn't it? 

I'm doing well enough, don't you think? 

Emotional and meditative interrogatives unite with declaratives 

She persuaded you, did she? 

He doesn't like the food, doesn't he? 

Semantically repetitive interrogatives unite w^ith imperatives in 
much the same way. 

Bring your friend along, won't you? 
Let me in, will you? 
Let's go again, shall we? 

A kind of half coordination sometimes unites clauses of different 
types where true coordination might seem a little uncomfortable. 
A dash often indicates this in the written language. 

Bring your friend along and won't you try to come a little 

Multiple sentences sometimes combine a main clause and an 
isolate with or without adjuncts. 

The American tolerated in others minor infractions of law and 
custom and expected to be similarly indulged in his own 
transgressions: hence his vast patience with noise, litter, the 
invasion of privacy, and sharp practice. 

Every effort was made, but to no avail. 

It's a hard life, and no mistake. 

One more story like that, and out he goes. 

Yes, I saw it. 

No, I don't. 

110 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Sometimes they combine two isolates with or without adjuncts. 

Well, well! 

Another day, another dollar! 

Tsk, tsk! 

Oh, oh! 

Easy come, easy go. 

First come, first served. 

So far, so good. 

Multiple sentences can themselves be made up of multiple units 
composed of main clauses. 

His wife wanted to make the trip, and he did too; but the 
children were a problem, and the expense was great. 

At the other extreme, coordinators often begin new sentences, 
where they are best regarded as no more than adjuncts of order 
or sequence. 

Centerville is a few miles south. And Fillmore is even closer 
to the north. 

What must be considered a lapse in sentence structure occurs 
when what ought to be the second of two subordinate clauses is 
allowed to take the form of a main clause, or to appear to take it. 

Horace was a wild young fellow whose father was cruel to him 

and his mother was drunk much of the time. 
Cokeson believed Falder had committed a crime, so he should 

be punished. 

Multiple units within larger clauses often have clauses as coordi- 
nates. In general, the clauses are alike in type. 

Cokeson believed that Falder had committed a crime and that 
therefore he should be punished. 

Quite exceptionally, both interrogatives and gerundials are some- 
times combined even with nonclausal coordinates. 

She has beauty and what passes for intelligence. 

I saw him at nine and when he left. 

Dazzled by the concept of infinity, prodigal of the resources of 
nature, greedy and reckless, the American did more damage 
in a century than nature could repair in a thousand years. 

Other Matters of Clause Patterning 111 

Nonclausal transforms of the basic clause pattern. Units 
that are best regarded as nonclausal are often strikingly similar to 
clauses in meaning and structure and can be regarded as nonclausal 
transforms of the basic clause pattern. Units such as are italicized 
in the following sentences are best considered nounal and adjec- 
tival headed units, not clauses. 

stopped the taking of bribes labor-saving machinery 

necessitates constant window church-going families 

washing home-cooked meals 

Taking and washing are best described as gerundial nouns used 
as heads in nounal headed units here, and saving, going, and cooked 
as gerundial and participial adjectives used as heads in adjectival 
headed units somewhat as crazy is used in boy crazy. 



Complexity of the grammar of English verbs. The syntactic 
function characteristically performed by verbs is that of predicator. 
Within phrasal predicators (such as is playing} individual verb 
forms function as modifiers and heads. Verbs often function as 
clause markers, notably in imperatives, verbids, and many inter- 
rogatives. Verbs can of course be used as coordinates within mul- 
tiple predicators. 

We washed and dried the dishes. 
I tried and tried to warn him. 

They can constitute one-word subordinate clauses and so perform 
another syntactic function along with that of predicator. 

We have work to do. 

I can't look at Jim without laughing. 

The time given was insufficient. 

Here do and laughing are predicators and objects of prepositions 
as well, and given is a contained modifier within the main subject 
as well as the predicator in a one-word gerundial clause. Truly 
exceptional uses of verb forms are of very few types. Especially 
in informal styles, upside-down construction sometimes puts verb 
forms in objects of prepositions within headed-unit predicators. 

It all but ruined him. 
I kind of like it. 

Occasionally what seem to require classification as verb forms are 
used in purely nounal and adjectival functions. 

They're in the know. 

As a would-be scholar he's pathetic. 


Voice and Aspect 113 

As the heart of the predications in which they occur, verbs in- 
dicate by their forms a variety of circumstances affecting these 
predications. Verbs have far more forms than words of other parts 
of speech have. They are inflected in various ways, as pairs such 
as the following indicate. 

play, plays go, went 

sing, sang play, will play 

think, thought play, is playing 

Inflectional endings are added, parts of basic forms are replaced, 
forms that originally belonged to other verbs are (for be and go) 
brought into the paradigms, and auxiliaries are employed. In 
regular verbs such as play inflection is by the addition of the end- 
ings s, ing, and ed and the auxiliaries do, will (and in formal styles 
shall) , have, and be. In such a form of play as would have been playing 
several devices of inflection have been employed together. 

We will need, then, to note the inflectional patterns that are 
followed and their relation to meaning. Inflection is for voice, 
aspect, mode, tense, expansion (with do), and person and number. 

The two voices. For almost all verbs two sets of voice forms 
exist side by side: a common-voice set, often called active, and a 
passive-voice set. Passive-voice forms are phrasal. They have at 
least two components: (1) a form of the verb be, used as aux- 
iliary; and (2) the participle of the verb whose passive is formed, 
used as head. The participial head is invariable: all indications 
of aspect, mode, tense, expansion, and person and number are 
carried by the auxiliary (as in is played) or auxiliaries (as in 
would have been played). The use of a passive form indicates that 
the verb's normal direction of predication is reversed: that is, that 
the subject is what in the basic common-voice pattern would be a 
complement or the object of a preposition in a prepositional unit 
used as a complement or (exceptionally) as an adjunct. 

Common-voice verb forms with reversed direction of 
predication. The common-voice forms of some verbs are them- 
selves usable with opposite directions of predication. This is 
notably true of verbs whose common-voice forms can take both 
active responsible subjects and neutral subjects, the latter usable 
also as complements when the same verbs have active responsible 

114 The Sentence and Its Parts 

They ring the bells at six. 

The bells ring at six. 

Something has changed Mary greatly. 

Mary has changed greatly. 

I'm wearing my shoes out. 

My shoes are wearing out. 

A sailor opened the door and came in. 

The door opened and a sailor came in. 

George waked us up when he left. 

We waked up when George left. 

John dropped the candy dish and broke it. 

John dropped the candy dish and it broke. 

We didn't, digest the supper very well. 

The supper didn't digest very well. 

We smelled the flowers. 

The flowers smelled good. 

In the second sentence in each of these pairs what is predicated is 
seen as an event or a state of affairs rather than as an action, and 
the matter of responsibility is ignored. In the bells ring at six there 
is no thought of people or mechanisms responsible for the ringing : 
all that is said is that a ringing of bells takes place. In the door 
opened and a sailor came in the opening of the door is told of (in 
the first main clause) without reference to the sailor who is opening 
it but is not seen at first. In John dropped the candy dish and it 
broke there is no fixing of responsibility for the breaking, though 
responsibility for the dropping is assigned. The subjects in sen- 
tences such as these are comparable to the subjects in such sen- 
tences as my grades have gone down and his wife died last year. 
Events are predicated, not actions: subjects are thought of not as 
responsible but as merely involved. 

In some pairs with opposite directions of predication, both sub- 
jects seem to be active and responsible. 

The Democrats ran Roosevelt again in 1944. 
Roosevelt ran again in 1944. 

In modern English when reflexive complements are expressed or 
can readily be expressed, the subject is normally an active respon- 
sible one. 

She tires herself out talking on the telephone. 
Mr. Dobie's books sell themselves. 

Voice and Aspect 115 

We kept poking George in the side, and finally he turned over. 
Jack shaves twice a day. 

But in we enjoyed ourselves apparently an event rather than an 
action is spoken of, as in we had a good time. 

The ability of common-voice forms to take either active respon- 
sible subjects or neutral subjects, with reversed direction of predi- 
cation, belongs to a limited (though considerable) number of verbs. 
Thus see and hear are not reversible but smell is, so that the baby 
sees, hears, smells becomes regrettably ambiguous when smell is 
reached. Though it is usual to say the water is boiling as well as 
Judy is boiling the water, it is not usual to say, for example, the 
floor is sweeping or a house is building. It would perhaps be difficult 
to visualize the sweeping of floors and the building of houses with- 
out some notice of sweepers and builders also. There are limitations 
also on the extent to which some verbs that take either active 
responsible subjects or neutral subjects can take the latter. Though 
it is possible to say the water for our tea is boiling, it is not possible, 
with the same freedom, to say water for tea boils every afternoon. 
Here visualization of the total process of boiling, as opposed to a 
mere central segment of the process, is likely to require notice of a 
responsible person. 

The common-voice forms of be are reversible when be is a true 
equational verb. 

The worst thing is the lights. 
The lights are the worst thing. 

Pairs of etymologically related verbs exist in which an essential 
distinction lies in opposite directions of predication. This is true 
for lay and lie, raise and rise, set (and seat) and sit, and fell and 
fall. Such pairs give trouble: lay and Ke, in particular, are con- 
stantly confused, with lay tending to take over the functions of lie. 
Where opposite directions of predication are expressed by ety- 
mologically unrelated verbs, the situation is better. 

Flattery pleases us all. 
We all like flattery. 

Implications in use of passive forms. The use of passive- 
voice forms ordinarily indicates an awareness that the basic 

116 The Sentence and Its Parts 

direction of predication has been reversed, and a feeling that 
responsibility for what is predicated is assignable to someone or 
something distinct from the subject. The subject is marked un- 
mistakably as a passive subject. A comparison of the following 
sentences is instructive. 

The chairman began the meeting promptly. 
The meeting began promptly. 
The meeting was begun promptly. 

In the second sentence there is no hint of an awareness of an active 
agent, apart from the meeting itself, responsible for the meeting's 
beginning. In the third sentence there is such an awareness. In the 
third sentence it is quite possible to add a direct notice of the 
responsible agent: by someone I didn't recognize, for example. There 
is in fact a kind of syntactic reduction in the third sentence as long 
as no notice of the responsible agent is included, and such units as 
by someone I didn't recognize are best regarded as complements. 
Passive-voice predicators do occur sometimes, though quite 
exceptionally, without any hint of responsible agents apart from 
the subjects. 

One boy fell out of a canoe and was drowned. 
Lincoln was born in Kentucky. 

For most verbs reversal of the basic direction of predication 
normally necessitates use of passive-voice forms. 

The neighbors disturb us every night. 
We're disturbed every night. 
They rob us whenever we buy there. 
We're robbed whenever we buy there. 

Yet, though it is hardly possible to make we disturb every night 
approach we are disturbed every night in meaning, it is quite possible 
to make we disturb easily roughly equivalent to we are disturbed 

The subjects of passive verb forms. The subjects of passive 
verb forms are most often what would be nounal first complements 
if the basic direction of predication of the verbs were not reversed. 

The bells are rung every morning at six. 
The door was opened by a sailor. 

Voice and Aspect 117 

The candy dish has been broken. 

Mr. Dobie's books are sold everywhere. 

He'ZZ always be dominated by his wife. 

We were called idlers. 

Such things aren't ever lived down. 

He was heard to object. 

We were forced to economize. 

You'ZZ be picked up at seven. 

He is regarded as undiplomatic. 

Quite often the subjects are what would be objects of prepositions 
in adverbial first complements if the basic direction of predication 
of the verbs were not reversed. 

You're being imposed on. 

The objectives have never been agreed on. 

She likes to be looked at. 

The house has been lived in. 

The box has been broken into. 

The funds were accounted for carefully. 

You'ZZ be called on for help. 

A doctor had been sent for. 

The box had been run over by a car. 

Sometimes the subjects of passive verb forms are what would be 
second complements if the basic direction of predication of the 
verbs were not reversed. 

We weren't given enough time. 

She was promised improved facilities. 

Students who request them will be mailed permits. 

The construction is exceptional, and when it occurs it is usually 
where the second complement of the common-voice sentence could 
precede the first complement, without a preposition. Occasionally 
what would have to be objects of prepositions in adverbial second 
complements if the basic direction of predication of the verbs were 
not reversed become subjects of passive verb forms. 

Every detail will be taken care of. 
He's been made fun of too much. 
The pictures have been done away with. 
He is looked up to by everyone. 

Again the construction is exceptional; usually it is not possible. 
Occasionally what would be objects of prepositions in adjuncts if 

118 The Sentence and Its Parts 

the basic direction of predication of the verbs were not reversed 
become subjects of passive verb forms. 

The bed has been slept in. 

The baby is always being cooed over by aunts and grand- 
On the way home we were rained on. 

Here again the construction is very exceptional and is ordinarily 
not usable. The use of passive verb forms with subjects that have 
been shifted to them from subordinate clauses to which they more 
logically belong has been mentioned elsewhere. 

The preparations were thought adequate. 

It was thought that the preparations were adequate. 

Several congressmen are said to be involved. 

It is said that several congressmen are involved. 

Analysis must accept what it finds, and what it finds as subjects 
of passive verbs can be very strange from the point of view of 
Indo-European grammar of more conservative types. Generally 
nothing is thrown away in the passive, except that the active 
subject is likely to be implied rather than stated. Thus in the 
pictures have been done away with the passive verb form has both 
away and with as complements, though the object of with in the 
unreversed equivalent they've done away with the pictures has be- 
come the subject. Nothing is really added in the passive either. 
For this reason it is danced here is not possible as a reversal of 
people dance here, though it is quite possible as a reversal of people 
dance it here, where it represents the name of some particular 

Usefulness of the passive. Passive-voice forms are bulkier 
than common-voice forms, and where there is no real reason to 
prefer passives common-voice forms are generally preferable. But 
passive forms are often quite effective. Sometimes what would be 
the subject of a common-voice form seems unimportant or is only 
vaguely identifiable. 

The old house has been torn down. 

We've been locked out again. 

The figure is said to represent the rain god. 

Sometimes what would be the subject of a common-voice form is 

Voice and Aspect 119 

important, and is included in the clause, but for valid rhetorical 
reasons seems better as complement of agency than as subject. 

The college was founded by two frontier preachers. 
He'ZZ always be dominated by his wife. 

When the passive is an infinitive or a gerundial, sometimes its use 
eliminates awkward subject constructions. 

Everyone likes to be liked. 

We resented being treated like that. 

We got out without being seen. 

In impersonal written styles the passive often serves as a way of 
keeping the writer out of sight. 

The use of shifted subjects has been mentioned elsewhere. 

Some verbs, however, have no passive forms. Be and seem have 
none, nor do the defectives can, may, must, ought, shall, should, and 
will. Happen and occur have none: it is hardly possible to say, for 
example, I've been happened to by some very inconvenient things lately. 
Cost has no passive: a lot of money is cost by his wife's clothes is 
hardly allowable. Belong seems to have no passive. The list could 
be extended. Other verbs are not reversed in particular turns of 
meaning. Thus have has no passive when it is statal, as in she has 
red hair. Let cannot be reversed in they let us continue, though we 
were allowed to continue is entirely acceptable, and we were let in, 
without an infinitive after let, is also acceptable. On the other hand, 
though she's been taken sick occurs something has taken her sick 
does not. 

Direction of predication in infinitives, gerundials, and 
participles. In the infinitival mode, common-voice forms with- 
out expressed subjects frequently occur where passives might be 
expected. The direction of predication the common-voice verb 
would have in other modes is maintained, and the unstated sub- 
ject is likely to be either very general (people or someone) or some- 
thing that the situation suggests. 

There isn't much to say, 

There are larvae to feed and eggs to tend. 

The bread is too hot to eat. 

The reason is not far to seek. 

120 The Sentence and Its Parts 

This is to chop with. 
Of course he's to blame. 

There is no need to regard the italicized verb forms as passive in 
force. There isn't much to say is equivalent to there isn't much that I 
(or a person) can say. Of course he's to blame is equivalent to of 
course he faces people's blaming him: is to is here semantically close 
to faces, as is toward would be. 

In the gerundial mode, common-voice forms without expressed 
subjects sometimes occur under similar conditions. 

The situation needs looking into. 

The suggestion is worth thinking about. 

The situation needs looking into is comparable to the situation re- 
quires that someone look into it. When gerundials become nouns and 
adjectives, however, they very often do show reversal of the basic 
directions of predication of the verbs to which they are related. 
Thus earnings and savings have a kind of passive force, and so does 
clipping in a newspaper clipping. Lacking and missing seem to have 
passive force in sentences like my best tie is missing. 

Participles are a special case. They are most conveniently listed 
among common-voice past forms, since for regular verbs and many 
irregular verbs they are identical with the common-mode and sub- 
junctive-mode common-voice past. Used with auxiliary be, or with 
auxiliary be implied, participles have passive force. 

The cameras that are now made in Japan are among the 

world's best. 
Seen from the plane, the islands are very beautiful. 

English participles are ordinarily not used as returned and climbed 
are used in returned to his country, Froebel started kindergartens 
and this is a picture of my little brother climbed up a tree. But there 
is nothing passive about participles in modern English when they 
are used with auxiliary have. 

He has finished the job. 

He would have become more irritable if we had kept on. 

And participial adjectives are often clearly not passive. 

an escaped prisoner he's a well-read man 

a grown person he's given to boasting 

Voice and Aspect 121 

a decayed tooth we're paid up now 

a dissipated fellow she feels run down 

Constructions that resemble passives. Combinations of be 
and participial-adjective complements are identical with passives 
in form. 

John's copy is bound in leather. 

The old Mormon houses are very solidly built. 

Apparently the lock is broken. 

Are you married f 

But in true phrasal passives the auxiliaries set the time for actions 
whose semantic centers are the head-word participles. The aux- 
iliaries in the four sentences given are all present, but there is no 
present action: rather there is a present state of affairs consequent 
upon earlier actions. John's copy is bound in leather is not a re- 
versal of the publisher binds John's copy in leather. In John's copy 
is bound in leather the predicator is is, not is bound, and the com- 
plement is bound in leather. Apparently the lock has been broken is 
a reversal of apparently someone has broken the lock: the predicator 
is the passive verb form has been broken. The situation is not the 
same in apparently the lock is broken, where the participial adjective 
broken is a complement, not a part of the predicator, just as such 
a nonparticipial adjective as defective would be. 

The verb get is used in many combinations which resemble 
passives to a greater or less extent. Often the resemblance is very 
superficial indeed. 

Jack got married last month. 
Olds got elected without difficulty. 
We got rid of him finally. 
He finally got dressed and went out. 
We got started at noon. 

There is no reversal of common-voice nucleuses in these sentences. 
Jack got married last month is not a reversal of someone married 
Jack last month; rather, married is the complement of copulative 
got just as sick or rich might be. We got started at noon is structurally 
parallel to we got ready at noon. Get seems closer to the true passive 
auxiliary be in sentences such as the following. 

122 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Jack got arrested for speeding yesterday. 

My trousers got torn. 

I get blamed for everything. 

We got soaked on the way home. 

She gets upset easily. 

Caroline gets teased by the other children. 

Even in sentences like these, however, get is best regarded as a full 
predicator expressing arrival or attainment, whether purposed or 
not, much as it does in Jack got in trouble, my trousers got dirty, 
and similar sentences. In Caroline gets teased by the other children, 
then, the complement is the headed unit teased by the other children, 
in which teased is the head. Phrasings employing get as the pred- 
icator are often used in preference to passives because true passives 
would not be clearly distinguishable from combinations of full- 
predicator be and participial-adjective complements. Thus he was 
married a year ago can mean either (1) someone authorized to 
perform the ceremony did so a year ago, or (2) he was in possession 
of a wife a year ago, having gone through the ceremony before 
that time. He got married a year ago is unambiguous: it can mean 
only that he arrived at the married state a year ago. 

The two aspects. For almost all verbs except the defectives 
can, may, must, ought, shall, should, and will, two sets of aspectual 
forms exist side by side: a common-aspect set and a progressive 
set. Progressive-aspect forms are always phrasal. They always have 
at least two components: (1) a form of the verb be, used as aux- 
iliary; and (2) a one-word gerundial following this auxiliary. When 
a progressive is also passive, the one-word gerundial is being, which 
serves as the auxiliary for the passive and is followed by the par- 
ticiple of the verb whose progressive passive is being formed, as in 
was being cheated. Unless the phrasal progressive form is passive, 
the gerundial is head for the whole progressive form, and indicates 
the verb whose progressive is being formed, as in has been cheating. 
Mode, tense, and person and number are indicated by what pre- 
cedes the gerundial in the phrasal form. 

The use of common-aspect for ms. For most verbs the use 
of a common-aspect form suggests that the predication is viewed 
with perspective. The point of view is not always external, but it 
often is. Common-aspect forms are normal in narrative, in which 

Voice and Aspect 123 

sequences of actions or events are seen from outside, not while they 
are in process. 

Every morning George takes the children to school, parks his 
car about six blocks from his office, walks to a restaurant 
near his office, drinks two cups of coffee and reads his news- 
paper, and then finally gets to work. 

In the third act the robots destroy their masters and assume 

In February my parents witt come down by plane. They'ZZ 
stay a month or so, and we'tt take them around the island. 
Then they'K take the boat to New Orleans. 

When the Spaniards came to the islands, they found a con- 
siderable Indian population; but new diseases and bad 
treatment eliminated the Indians, and Negro slaves were 
brought in. 

Common-aspect forms are similarly normal wherever actions or 
events are spoken of as wholes, not as in process either at the time 
of speaking or writing or at any other time taken as a temporary 

Mary learns new tunes with no effort at all. 

Our dog has bitten the mailman twice since September. 

Re's picked up some French somewhere. 

Martin has had a great deal of trouble with his teeth. 

What have you told her? 

People have been shot for less. 

Rosemary will fly back to Puerto Rico after Christmas. 

Phelps got back yesterday. 

Roosevelt made the Democratic Party what it is. 

In uses of both these types, except in the present tense, the verb 
forms are not affected by considerations either of duration or of rep- 
etition or the lack of repetition. 

Common-aspect forms are sometimes used for special effects in 
telling of actions or events in process at the time of writing or 
speaking, where progressives would seem normal. This occurs in 
various situations where the external point of view of spectators 
at a play is approached. Assertive-clause word order sometimes 
helps to give the effect of something special. 

Here they come! 

124 The Sentence and Its Parts 

In you go! 

He doesn't answer. 

Sometimes a flavor of objectivity and detachment is gained through 
the use of common-aspect forms in requests, warnings, promises, 
and other delicate communications actually in process of formula- 
tion and directed at the reader or hearer. Here the verbs are often 
"performatives" whose use in itself sometimes is a performance of 
the action they name. 

We ask that you return these forms promptly. 

I worn you that diplomacy is needed. 

We raise this question reluctantly. 

I promise that this will not happen again. 

I congratulate you on your promotion. 

I give up. 

I pass. 

I inclose a check for the amount due. 

Progressive forms are of course usable also in these examples. But 
it is noteworthy that main imperatives rarely employ progressive 

Common-aspect forms are ordinarily used when verbs express 
what can best be thought of as reflexes more or less automatic 
responses, whether sensory, emotional, or intellectual. An explic- 
itly internal view is normally not taken when such predicators are 

I hear you. 

She sees you. 

I don't believe that. 

I remember that face. 

I forget your address. 

I think so. 

She's dreaming and doesn't know what's happening. 

I wonder what time it is. 

It occurs to me that I may have misunderstood you. 

It surprises me that you should say that. 

That suits me. 

Common-aspect forms are used in predications which are not 
thought of as confined within relatively narrow time limits. Verbs 
expressing actions and events then have repetitive force; verbs 

Voice and Aspect 125 

expressing states of affairs simply imply relatively great contin- 

1. The bells ring at six. 
Mary talks too fast. 
William walks to school. 
We cfon't eat much meat. 
Jack smokes too much. 

2. Mary's parents live across the river in West Virginia. 
A church stands at the corner. 

Judy looks like her mother. 

Williamson is very inconsiderate. 

My father chose a spot that overlooked the river. 

Ownership and "possession" of varied types are usually stated in 
nonprogressive forms even when explicitly temporary. 

The car belongs to me this week. 
Sarah has a headache this afternoon. 

Sarah is having a headache this afternoon might suggest that Sarah 
was making a point of the headache. 

The use of progressive-aspect forms. Progressive-aspect 
forms are normal where predications tell of actions, events, or 
states of affairs that are in process at the time of writing or speak- 
ing and are thought of as begun but not ended, with beginnings 
and/or ends felt as relatively close to the time of writing or speak- 

Mary's talking too fast. 

William had an early breakfast and is now walking to school. 

Mary's parents are living across the river in West Virginia. 

A policeman is standing at the corner. 

Judy's looking well, for a person just out of the hospital. 

Williamson is being very inconsiderate. 

I'm listening to you. 

She's watching you. 

She's seeing the sights. 

I'm thinking about what you said. 

Jack is having a wonderful time in England. 

Johnny's dropping his plate. 

Are your parents living? 

Sometimes what is in process is a series of actions or events, so 
that the progressive forms have repetitive force. 

126 The Sentence and Its Parts 

William is walking to school this semester. 

We aren't eating much meat nowadays. 

Jack is smoking too much. 

Is the paper coming? 

George is being dependable this year. 

Spoken while Mary was talking, Mary's talking too fast would 
imply nothing about Mary's habit. Mary's parents are living across 
the river in West Virginia implies that their residence there is 
regarded as temporary, or began recently. Williamson is being very 
inconsiderate views Williamson's lack of considerateness as a rela- 
tively brief phenomenon; Williamson is very inconsiderate views 
his lack of considerateness as a rather permanent quality. Pm 
thinking about what you said differs from I think so in that there is 
an element of deliberateness about the thinking where progressive 
forms are used: thought is here a kind of work, with fairly well- 
defined beginning and end, not merely a quick darting of opinion 
rising instantaneously to the surface when something calls it into 
play. Pm listening to you differs similarly from / hear you: listening 
is conscious and deliberate, but hearing, in this sense, is a reflex. 
In Johnny's dropping his plate what is going on is apparently pre- 
liminary to the actual fall of the plate, and the plate may never 
fall. In are your parents living? the progressive form is a reminder 
of the shortness of life. Do your parents live? is not likely, though 
do your parents live here? is quite common because in this sentence 
"living" is simply a matter of residence and for residence feelings 
of relative permanence are easily achieved. In William is walking to 
school this semester what is felt as in process at the time of speaking 
is not a particular walk to school but the semester-long series of 
walks. No single walk need be in process. The reason for the choice 
of the progressive here is the feeling that the series of walks is of 
relatively short duration, not a long-time, relatively permanent 

Progressive-aspect forms are normal where predications tell of 
actions, events, or states of affairs in process, begun but not ended, 
at the time of other occurrences which at the moment are more 
prominent in the speaker or writer's attention. Here the progressive 
marks a kind of overlapping simultaneousness. 

Voice and Aspect 127 

Henry is leaving for work when Louise gets home. 

The wife of the dead man hides near the house, and the mother 

runs for the neighbors, who are working in their garden. 
If I were being waited on, I wouldn't be so unhappy. 
Jack always knows what he 's doing. 
When you arrive, I'll be taking examinations. 
John went to the drugstore at ten. Two of his best friends were 

having coffee, and naturally he joined them. 

Sometimes what has been begun is never ended. 

Sarah was drowning when the boys got to her, but they saved 

Sometimes what is in process is a series of actions or events, so 
that the progressive forms again have repetitive force. 

When I first came to know Robertson, he was spending his 
summers in Mexico City. 

Usually Henry leaves for work when Louise gets home views the 
departure and the arrival as alike members of a narrative sequence: 
first Louise gets home, then (very soon) Henry leaves. When is 
leaving is used instead of leaveSj sequence is replaced by overlapping 
simultaneousness: the departure has begun, at least in the marginal 
phase of preparation, before the arrival takes place; but the de- 
parture has not been completed. A kind of linguistic economy 
sometimes results in the use of the simpler common-aspect forms 
in clauses subordinated by while and as, where progressives might, 
seem reasonable. 

While you enjoy the boat trip, I'll take my examinations. 
The crowd grew restless as the moment approached. 

Sometimes progressives are concerned simply with occurrences in 
progress begun but not ended at some time in the past. 

George was taking a Greek course in October. 

Progressive-aspect forms in present-perfect and present-future 
tenses sometimes emphasize closeness to the moment of writing 
or speaking, and in past-perfect and past-future tenses closeness 
to a past time that is central in the attention at the moment. The 
point of view is internal, as with all progressives. 

128 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Martin's been having a great deal of trouble with his teeth. 

Mary's been crying. 

Mrs. Harris has been dying for days and cannot possibly live 

much longer. 

He's been learning some French somewhere. 
I've been writing a letter home. 
I 9 II be seeing you. 
Til be retiring in June. 

The children had been pestering me outrageously. 
I knew I'd be seeing him. 

Martin's had a great deal of trouble with his teeth leaves the trouble 
undated: it may have been at any time in Martin's life. I've written 
a letter home, on the other hand, almost certainly speaks of a recent 
action a whole action, resulting in a finished letter. I've been 
writing a letter home stresses recentness a little more and does not 
imply that the letter has been finished. Perhaps the letter has been 
finished, perhaps it has not: all that is said is that the speaker or 
writer has very recently been engaged in writing it. 

Progressive-aspect forms sometimes merely suggest greater emo- 
tional realization than simple-aspect forms. The hearer or reader 
is asked to stop for a moment at a point between the beginning and 
the end of the action, event, or state of affairs predicated, or within 
a series of actions, events, or states of affairs. 

She asked whether he was hurt, and he replied that he was. 
A moment later he was dying. 

He's constantly seeing things that aren't there. 

Haven't you been buying yourself another car? 

I suppose I'll still be worrying about grammar when I'm super- 

Sally got the job in June, and by August she was lunching with 
the boss pretty regularly. 

He was always wanting to be consulted. 

In 1932 Hitler came to power. From 1932 to 1939 Germany 
was preparing for war. In 1939 she struck. 

I had been waiting half an hour when she arrived. 

They haven't been seeing each other this fall suggests a responsible 
subject, and a broken relationship, much more clearly than they 
haven't seen each other this fall would. 

Aspectual force of gerundials. In phrasal progressive forms 
such as is playing, will be ending, are being made, and has been work- 

Voice and Aspect 129 

ing the gerundial forms head words except in progressive pas- 
sives obviously contribute heavily to the progressive force. 
Sometimes, however, gerundials are not progressive in force at all. 

My father chose a spot overlooking the river. 

Having come prepared to deal with savages, Cortez sent Moc- 

tezuma a cap and some toys and necklaces. 
After taking the test, Mary decided there was hope for her. 

Constructions that resemble progressives. To some ex- 
tent, the progressive involves an awareness of beginnings and/or 
ends. But verbs which express beginning, continuance, or end ex- 
plicitly are another matter, and should not be regarded as aux- 
iliaries of aspect. This is true of such verbs as begin, start, come (to), 
get (to}, take (to}, keep, go (on), used (to}, stop, and quit. 

Susan began writing letters at six. 

Mattie came to play the role Zeena had played. 

Ben has taken to wearing ties only an artist can wear. 

I kept saying I was sorry. 

I went on eating my lunch. 

We used to walk long distances. 

Most men have quit carrying pocket watches. 

The italicized verb forms should be regarded as the main predica- 
tors in these sentences. Some of them have gerundial-clause com- 
plements, others have prepositional complements in which to is 
the preposition and what follows is the infinitival-clause object 
of to. 



The five modes. Mode has to do in part with distinctions be- 
tween the actual and the hypothetical (and sometimes the merely 
doubtful) and in part simply with distinctions between clause 
patterns. It seems necessary to recognize five modes: the common 
(or indicative), the subjunctive, the infinitival, the gerundial, and 
the participial. It seems best not to recognize any modal auxiliaries 
at all. The modes of modern English are distinguished primarily 
by different practices with respect to (1) the use of tense forms and 
(2) the relative dispensability of expressed subjects. Differences 
in verb forms are relatively slight. The basic verb form listen re- 
quires three classifications with respect to mode in the following 

Usually you listen to the music. 

Listen to the music ! 

You like to listen to the music, don't you? 

And the past form listened requires three classifications with re- 
spect to mode in the following sentences. 

You listened to the music yesterday. 
Rosemary would like the music if she listened to it. 
Music listened to in times of weariness and frustration has 
something of the therapeutic value of religion or of love. 

Whatever may be true of more highly inflected languages, in 
modern English modal distinctions, like part-of -speech distinctions, 
are primarily matters of syntax, not of differences in inflection. 
The common mode. The common mode is the normal main- 
clause mode for predications formulated as actualities. Except 
where predications are formulated hypothetically, it is the mode 
normally used in main-clause expressions of fact or opinion and in 

Mode 131 

questions. It dominates most subordinate-clause patterns as well, 
but it is of course not usable in verbid clauses. 

The common mode is the mode of actuality, but it is used for 
fiction as well as for what is spoken of as fact. Moreover actuality 
has its margins in which colorings of uncertainty and doubt appear 
and yet do not cause the kind of rejection implicit in hypothetical 
predication. Noncommittal conditional sentences almost always 
employ common-mode verb forms, whether (1) from the present 
set of tenses or (2) from the past set. 

1. If he isn't in his office, he's on his way there. 

The poor boy deserves sympathy if he's in love with Janet. 

If I've ever met him, I've forgotten about it. 

Nothing will happen unless we get busy. 

If I said the wrong thing, we'll hear about it. 

2. If Joe was angry, he concealed his feelings. 
If I'd ever met him, I'd forgotten about it. 

If I said the wrong thing, we'll hear about it. 

Other nonfactual uses of common-mode forms are italicized in the 
following sentences. 

1. I doubt that he has enough experience. 
We're hoping you'll be there. 
Suppose we're late. 

We're looking for a stenographer who has a thorough 
mastery of English, Spanish, and Portuguese. 

Anyone who learns to control hurricanes will deserve an 
island or two as a reward. 

Who's silly enough to say things will be better next year? 

2. I doubted that Jack knew the facts. 

I had heard an absurd rumor that Hugh was remarrying. 
Arsat's brother had asked him to wait until the woman was 

dead, but she did not die. 
There wasn't anyone in the little town that had seen more 

of the world. 

Doubt finds expression, in sentences such as have been given, in 
such words as if and doubt, or simply in context not in modal 
verb forms. 

Hypothetical subjunctives. In modern English the subjunc- 
tive is employed, first of all, to mark predications as formulated not 
in the stream of actual occurrences but in a stream of imagined 

132 The Sentence and Its Parts 

occurrences which can be thought of as flowing phantom-like along- 
side it. When the time is past or narrowly present, hypothesis re- 
jects all idea of actualization: what is spoken of is regarded as 
unreal. When the time idea is future, hypothesis generally involves 
provisional rejection rather than complete, since in human affairs 
complete accuracy about the future is usually out of the question. 
Present time and future time are often not clearly separated in the 
stream of the hypothetical. 

The verb forms used as hypothetical subjunctives are forms 
.belonging to the four past tenses past, past perfect, past future, 
and past future perfect never forms belonging to the four corre- 
sponding present tenses. "Past" forms are thus used not for what 
has already been passed, and lies behind, in the stream of the 
actual, but for what is passed over to one side (as a building on the 
other side of the street is passed) in the parallel stream of the 
hypothetical. At most points hypothetical-subjunctive forms are 
identical with common-mode forms; but they are sharply dis- 
tinguished from common-mode forms by their use of the four past 
tenses with altered time values. The following pairs show the 

Virginia knows the Dunhams well. I wish you knew them. 
Virginia knew the Feders when they were students. I wish you 
had known them then. 

In the first pair the subjunctive past knew has the time value of 
the common-mode present know. In the second pair the subjunc- 
tive past perfect had known has the time value of the common-mode 
past knew. 

Main-clause uses of hypothetical-subjunctive predicators are 
illustrated in the following sentences. 

Mary would be a good teacher. 

It would be hard to find a worse husband than Hugh. 

Would Jack mind moving? 

Phyllis had better see a psychiatrist. 

Hugh wouldn't have enjoyed the party. 

Olga would have known about that. 

Mary is not a teacher, and is not planning to be one. No one is 
trying to find a worse husband than Hugh, or has any intention 

Mode 133 

of trying: if is or will be were substituted for would be, the search 
would be brought into the stream of actuality; but here it is wholly 
imaginary. In would Jack mind moving? Jack is not moving, and 
so is not in a situation to mind moving or not mind it. In Hugh 
wouldn't have enjoyed the party and in Olga would have known about 
that the time is past. Hugh did not attend the party; Olga's knowl- 
edge was nonexistent for all practical purposes, since it did not 
come into play. 

Hypothetical subjunctives are of course not confined to main 
clauses. Subordinate clauses which are parts of larger hypothetical 
frameworks employ them. 

What would Jane be doing if she were here now? 

Not many stores would keep a salesman who was as irritable 

as that. 

Hugh would be healthy enough if he ate sensibly. 
If Napoleon had unified Europe, the history of the last century 

would have been very different. 

In the second sentence both predications are formulated hypothet- 
ically, but it is entirely possible that an actual salesman who is 
"as irritable as that" is being kept in mind. The time is present 
in the first two sentences, vaguely present or future in the third, 
and past in the fourth. Hugh will be healthy enough if he eats sensibly 
is a noncommittal conditional sentence, formulated in the stream 
of actuality though obviously colored by doubt. Hugh would be 
healthy enough if he ate sensibly is a rejected conditional sentence, 
formulated in the stream of hypothesis though the rejection is pro- 
visional and leaves room for a possibility of reformation on Hugh's 

Sometimes hypothetical predications or even sets of predications 
occur within larger clauses formulated in the stream of actuality 
rather than in that of hypothesis. 

She acts as if she were his wife. 

The room he has now is better than anything he would find if 

he looked for another. 
San Francisco is a city you would enjoy living in. 

Conversely, clauses which are predicated hypothetically some- 
times have within them smaller clauses which are predicated as 

134 The Sentence and Its Parts 

It would be hard for Fred to accept the climate of Maine, now 

that he has lived in the tropics so long. 
A new house would probably not be as well constructed as this 

one is. 
My grandmother wouldn't have liked the way people spend 

Sundays now. 
I'd say Julia is a genius. 

Sometimes it is even possible to make mixed noncommittal-re- 
jected conditional sentences, though ordinarily such mixtures are 
not acceptable. 

If you can tell me what books are needed, I'd appreciate your 

doing so. 

If I buy the gas, would you furnish the food? 
If you would like to meet him, we'll invite him to the house. 

Hypothetical subjunctives are normal in subordinate-declara- 
tive clauses used as complements of the verb wish. 

We wish we were back in the islands. 

I wish Hugh had apologized. 

For a long time we've wished we had two cars. 

Declarative clauses completing wish express what is felt as unreal 
or impossible. We wish we were back in the islands is very close to 
we regret that we're not living in the islands in meaning. In I wish 
Hugh had apologized it is implied that he has not; in / hope 
Hugh has apologized there is no such implication. Hypothetical 
subjunctives are normal in declarative clauses after it's time. 

It's time I did some work. 

It's time he was getting married. 

Here the hypothetical subjunctives of the subordinate clauses can 
express not only what is felt as highly improbable but also what 
is an actuality but a surprising actuality, pulled out of the jaws 
of the unreality to which it has seemed to belong. Subordinate 
clauses used as sentences to express wishes which amount to ex- 
pressions of regret employ hypothetical subjunctive forms also. 

Oh, that we had known what was coining! 
If only he knew the truth! 

Hypothetical subjunctives are often used as softened equivalents 

Mode 135 

of common-mode forms. In this use the rejection of actualization 
is not genuine. 

I'd think so. 

That would seem reasonable. 

When would the Dean be likely to come in? 

Would you happen to have a map of the city? 

Would you please close the window? 

Could you tell me the time? 

Mary might like the picture. 

Yd rather you told the Dean yourself. 

We'd just as soon he didn't know. 

What the hypothetical-subjunctive forms contribute here is an 
effect of indirection and delicacy. By a kind of syntactic metaphor, 
they transfer predications from the stream of the actual to which 
they really belong to the remoter stream of the hypothetical. 
Thus Mary might like the picture states the existence of the pos- 
sibility hypothetical^ and so implies that there is less chance than 
Mary may like the picture would imply. Common-mode forms often 
seem too direct where opinions, requests, and similar sensitive 
matters are in point. 7 prefer that you tell the Dean yourself, for 
example, may seem too forthright in many situations. In informal 
styles the indirectness which hypothetical-subjunctive forms can 
contribute is sometimes used for emotional effects bordering on 

I wouldn't know about minor poets of the eighteenth century. 

Coactual subjunctives. The subjunctive is used not only in 
predications formulated within the stream of the hypothetical or 
unreal but also in predications formulated in marginal reaches of 
the stream of the actual where there are colorings of uncertainty. 
Subjunctives of this second type can be called coaetual. The verb 
forms employed are present forms or (rarely) present-perfect forms, 
identical with common-mode forms for the same tenses except 
that (1) they have no 5 ending in the third person singular and (2) 
in the case of be, as full predicator or as auxiliary, the basic form is 
employed throughout the present rather than the are, am, and 
is of the common-mode present. 

By far the commonest use of coaetual subjunctives is the use as 

136 The Sentence and Its Parts 

the predicators of imperative main clauses. Imperative main 
clauses are implicitly objects of desire or of twisted counterfeits 
of desire such as lie behind challenge; there is present a basic 
uncertainty with respect to actualization, though there is nothing 
approaching even provisional rejection of the possibility of actu- 

Be sure to bring the children. 

Stay single till you're thirty, and you'll inevitably be a social 


Just say one more word and out you go! 
Someone say something! 
May the best man win! 

The use of may as a subjunctive in indirect imperatives such as the 
last sentence is confined to archaic styles and more or less fixed 

The predicators of subordinate imperative clauses are also co- 
actual subjunctives. 

The Administration asks that no exceptions be made. 
It is important that every member come prepared to discuss 
this problem. 

In somewhat formal styles coactual subjunctives like those of 
subordinate imperative clauses in force occur in interrogative 
clauses subordinated by lest. 

The visitors sat in silence lest they be guilty of offense. 

In more or less formal styles coactual subjunctives occasionally 
occur in adjunct clauses of condition (and concession) of non- 
committal type, where common-mode forms are usual. The pred- 
ications made in these adjunct clauses are not in any sense objects 
of desire. 

If the major subject be psychology, the student must select a 

first minor from the following list of subjects. 
A liberal education is of value to anyone, whether he be a 

businessman, a farmer, or a teacher. 
It is hard to compose out of many separate impressions, aided 

though they be by sketches and color notes, a new complete 


Mode 137 

Infinitival, gerundial, and participial modes. The infini- 
tival and gerundial modes have required extended notice in connec- 
tion with clause structure and for this reason require only very 
brief notice here. They provide varied patterns for subordinate- 
clause use and compete now with the common mode and now with 
the subjunctive. 

1. I'm sorry to have disturbed you. 
I'm sorry I disturbed you. 

We urged her to make other arrangements. 
We urged that she make other arrangements. 

2. After climbing the pyramid, we were ready for a little rest. 
After we climbed the pyramid, we were ready for a little 


She always insists on Jack's going along. 
She always insists that Jack go along. 

The infinitives of modern English have no genuinely distinctive 
forms : they are to be classified as infinitives for syntactic reasons 
only. Most verbs have six infinitives. 

play be playing be played 

have played have been playing have been played 

Gerundials have the ending ing as their characteristic mark. 
Most verbs have five gerundial forms. 

playing being played 

having played having been playing having been played 

In each phrasal gerundial form the first word carries the ending 
ing. Infinitives and gerundials inflect for tense, aspect, and voice. 
Participles make no such distinctions. Most verbs have a single 
past form used in common, subjunctive, and participial modes. 
This is true, for example, of regular play, and of irregular sell, send, 
cut (which uses its basic form unchanged as a past), and stick. 
A few irregular verbs have participles distinct from common-mode 
and subjunctive pasts: sink, steal, eat, and be are examples. 

Participles, basic-form infinitives, and one-word gerundials are 
all used as heads in phrasal verb forms: for example, in is played, 
will play, and has been playing. Other verb forms are not used in 
this way. Unlike infinitives and gerundials, participles do not func- 
tion as predicators alone : that is, without an auxiliary expressed 

138 The Sentence and Its Parts 

or implied. The defectives can, may, must, ought, shall, should, and 
will have no forms usable as infinitives, gerundials, or participles 
in standard American English. 

One-word infinitival and gerundial forms often pass over to the 
part-of-speech category of the nouns, and one-word gerundial and 
participial forms to that of the adjectives. Phrasal infinitival and 
gerundial forms do not. 

The problem of modal auxiliaries. A category of modal 
auxiliaries is often set up for modern English, to include various 
verbs expressing ideas of possibility, constraint, and desire. The 
verbs most often regarded as modal auxiliaries are those which 
are normally followed by infinitives: can, may, must, and 
should; perhaps shall and will, in uses in which they are not re- 
garded as simply auxiliaries of tense. Ought is sometimes added to 
the list in spite of the to which precedes following infinitives, as in 
the work ought to be done by Thursday. Sometimes such combinations 
as had better and let's, as in the work had better be done by Thursday 
and let's give it all up, are also regarded as modal auxiliaries, though 
obviously not on the basis of form. But we will have a neater 
analysis of contemporary English, as has been said, if we recognize 
no modal auxiliaries at all. We will then have to say of such a verb 
as can that it is a transitive whose complement must be infinitival, 
somewhat as we have to say of such a verb as pride that it is a 
transitive whose first complement must be reflexive. We will still 
need to give special notice to verbs expressing meanings of possi- 
bility, constraint, and volition. 

Expression of possibility. Among verbs expressing possi- 
bility of various types can, may, and let are most deserving of 
attention. Can is sometimes concerned with ability, of whatever 
type, thought of as belonging to the subject. 

Julia can translate that, I'm sure. 
I can stand that fellow only for a limited time. 
She was a woman who could weep becomingly. 
The trunk is so heavy I can hardly budge it. 

Perhaps the most frequently expressed meaning of can, however, 
is really feasibility, or the absence of anything to prevent. 

I can go home next weekend. 

Mode 139 

You can spend the night with us. 

I can only report that she labors heavily to add a little fun to a 

dreary comedy. 

I could see Ixtaccihuatl from the plane. 
Can I be of any help? 

Florence interrupted before Julia could finish. 
Snow can cover the ground for months here. 
The building can be entered at either end. 
Faulkner's stories can be compared with Poe's. 

In negated clauses and in interrogatives can appears where may 
would be likely, or almost certain, in the corresponding unnegated 

English can't be as hard as you think. 

He can't have left. 

These figures can't be right. 

Who can that be? 

Can we be mistaken? 

In he can't have left the idea of possibility is present in time 
(it isn't possible) and the idea of leaving is past (that he has left). 
A negator used with can almost always negates can, not the follow- 
ing complement alone. Can is of course defective, with two tense 
forms only and with the present form used only in the common 
mode and the past form not used as a participle. Other modes of 
expression often have to replace can. 

You'll be able to drive after a few more lessons. 
I'd had an opportunity to spend some time in New York the 
preceding summer. 

Ideas of ability and feasibility creep into various constructions 
where they find no explicit expression. Thus he speaks three lan- 
guages is equivalent in force to he can speak three languages and 
there's no knowing what he'll do is equivalent to what he'll do can't 
be known. Moreover the preposition to often comes to express 
possibility such as can also expresses. 

He has a good home to go to. 

Shoes of this type are to be seen everywhere. 

M ay, like can, is a full predicator expressing possibility of various 
types. Most often it expresses a kind of possibility that involves 

140 The Sentence and Its Parts 

uncertainty on the part of the speaker or writer, much as the ad- 
verb perhaps does. 

I may go home next weekend. 
We may have been wrong about George. 
You might not want to come back with me. 
If the rain had been harder, it might have washed away the 
hurdles course. 

In interrogative clauses after any and after such, the may of un- 
certainty expresses a shade of meaning also expressed by happen to 
and by by chance. The style is careful or formal. 

We shall be glad to answer any questions that you may wish 
to ask. 

The local representative in each city had to bear the respon- 
sibility for any serious errors that might occur. 

The student was expected to see his advisor at such hours as 
might be posted. 

The may of uncertainty is sometimes used in making admissions 
where there is really no uncertainty at all. 

I may be a woman, but I have some rights. 
Bad as the situation may be, there are reasons for restrained 

Sometimes may expresses feasibility. It is used in this way chiefly 
(1) in more or less fixed phrasings and (2) in slightly archaic formal 
styles and in usage that is perhaps justly described as genteel. 

1. I may as well give up. 

He decided he might as well clear out and have a stroll 

before catching the train home. 
I might have known you'd be dissatisfied. 
I've been calling since noon, I might add. 
Cost what it may, she'll have to have it. 
May the best man win I 

2. The prescriptions of the reformers were gathered into 

textbooks and may still be found in the books we are 

now using. 

Inclosed is a postcard that you may use. 
The arm of the chair may be detached. 
We shall be careful to inform you of all developments, in 

order that there may be no misunderstandings. 

Mode 141 

After somewhat formal in order that it is usual to employ may or 
shall. May is sometimes used also in clauses that have the force 
of quite indirect request. 

Thursday you might read the next chapter. 

Sometimes may expresses a kind of possibility that involves 
permission and direct recognition of authority. 

May I borrow your pen for a moment? 

Might we have a little air? 

I'll go along with you if I may. 

We asked the watchman whether we might take a walk 

through the premises. 
Husband and wife may file a joint return even though one of 

them had no income. 

The may that recognizes authority has honorific force where 
authority is imputed to the person or people addressed. It is con- 
sequently a graceful form in such sentences as Fll go along with you 
if I may, where if I may is equivalent to if you permit. It cannot 
be described as graceful where it suggests open arrogation of 
authority (however rightly) by the speaker or writer, as in you may 
have my copy until tomorrow. Can is preferable in granting or deny- 
ing permission, since it states the case simply in terms of feasibility, 
ignoring the superior status of the speaker or writer. Institutional 
granting of permission, in regulations and the like, is another mat- 
ter: authoritative may is more satisfactory here, though can is 
satisfactory also. Sometimes may suggests vaguely located author- 
ity, as it is permissible would. 

We are concerned with what I may call the mechanics of 

Can is usable in asking permission, though here can lacks the polite 
deference that may has. 

Can I open a window? 

Could I borrow your dictionary for a few minutes? 

The hypothetical subjunctive could has the politeness of indirection 
here a more delicate kind of politeness, perhaps, than that of the 
directly honorific may. Like all polite forms, the may of deference 
to authority can be used ironically. 

142 The Sentence and Its Parts 

May I ask whether you have any idea of paying me? 
Permission is of course expressed in other ways also. 

Is it all right if I open a window? 

We're allowed to use dictionaries if we want to. 

In interrogatives may is pretty well confined to permissive use. 
The question corresponding to he may go home will employ some 
such phrasing as is there a possibility of his going home? Hadn't we 
might as well leave? illustrates the nonstandard use of had with 
might in interrogatives. The may which recognizes uncertainty is 
not negated : in you may not like it, for example, there is no negating 
of may. Permissive may can be negated, as in students may not keep 
cars at the College; but must and can are both preferred where per- 
mission is denied. Where defective may cannot be used other locu- 
tions occur: there is a chance, it is possible, it is permitted, we're 
allowed to, etc. 

Like may and can, let is best regarded always as a full predicator, 
never as an auxiliary. As the predicator in main-imperative clauses 
it has a remarkable range of uses. Where let us becomes a suggestion 
that the hearer or hearers unite in some action with the speaker 
(or the reader or readers with the writer), the use of let is honorific 
in origin. Us is the first complement, and an infinitival clause is 
the second. 

Let us pray. 

Let us assume that what we call human nature is a conglom- 
eration of processes. 

Though quite informal, the merged form let's always has this 
once-honorific force. 

Let's go to a movie. 

The implication once was that control of the situation lies with 
the person or people addressed. Let is also used as the predicator 
of main-imperative clauses when tlie person or people addressed 
cannot be thought of as in any way able to influence the situations 
in point. Here too let is a full predicator with two complements. 

Our reasons for granting loans should be reasons of humanity. 
If instead they are reasons of power, let them at least be on 
the side of the popular movements all over the world. 

Mode 143 

If Henry doesn't like the school, let him go elsewhere. 

Just let him try to get out of this! 

Let the study of Latin be dropped from our schools, and the 

English of the next generation will reach a level unknown 

He doesn't look middle-aged, let alone old. 

Expression of constraint. A number of verbs expressing con- 
straint of various types require attention. Must, like can, may, and 
let, is never a true auxiliary. Must expresses a degree of constraint 
that is felt as too strong to permit escape: necessity, in other words. 

I must do some studying tonight. 

We must be going. 

You mustn't let things worry you. 

We must not forget the part religion has played. 

Sometimes must expresses the compelling force of evidence which 
is felt as almost conclusive: this is the must of conviction, or 
probability semantically not far from the may of uncertainty. 

That must be the new manager's wife. 

It must be almost twelve. 

George must not have been consulted. 

Must is never negated: when not follows must, and even when it is 
merged with must in mustn't, what is negated is the complement 
of must, not must itself. George must not have been consulted is 
equivalent to it seems dear that George wasn't consulted: not goes 
with have been consulted, not with must. Must has only a single 
form. It is not liked in main interrogatives, so that, for example, 
the confirmational question for you must be an engineer is often 
aren't you? 

Constraint felt as inescapable is also expressed by have with to 
and an infinitival completer of to. Have has the advantage of not 
being defective. 

We've had to put up with that for weeks. 
You'ZZ have to be diplomatic with Harrison. 
Everything had to have his approval. 
You don't have to return the book. 

Where there is negation of necessity or near negation, or even 
questioning or doubt need is often used, though have is usable also. 

144 The Sentence and Its Parts 

You needn't return the book. 
He needn't have been so frank. 
There need be only a few of these. 
Need I add that nothing more was said? 

Elsewhere need usually expresses not constraint, which is felt as 
pressure from outside, but simple lack or deficiency, as in we need 
more information and in we need to get a little more information. 
In informal styles the strongest way of expressing constraint is 
have got followed by to and an infinitival completer of to. 

I've got to do some studying tonight. 
We've got to get started. 

But have got to expresses compulsion only in a single tense, and it is 
commonly avoided in main interrogatives and with negators. Con- 
straint felt as inescapable can also be expressed by such locutions 
as have no alternative but, cannot help } and be necessary. Conviction is 
expressed by be bound to as well as by must. 

That's bound to be the new manager's wife. 

Be bound to can express conviction about the future course of 
events, as in he's bound to be here tomorrow; must cannot. Have to 
occasionally expresses conviction also, at least in informal styles. 
Both have to and need occasionally display remarkable mutations 
in meaning. 

She just has to have a new dress for each party. 
He needn't think he can get away with that. 

In the first of these two sentences strong desire is treated as a com- 
pelling force. There's no use in his thinking he can get away with that 
phrases the meaning of the second sentence more exactly. 

Shall is a special case among the verbs expressing constraint felt 
as inescapable. Shall is used in main interrogatives which assign 
the hearer or reader authority to make decisions for the speaker or 
writer or even for others. 

Shall we have some coffee? 
When shall I come by for you? 
Let's go again, shall we? 
Shall John get your mail too? 

The use is honorific, like the may of may I bring you some coffee? 

Mode 145 

and (originally) the let of let's get some coffee. Sometimes the author- 
ity of the person or persons addressed the readers of a book or 
article, for example is obviously fictitious. 

Who shall say that landscaping is not one of the fine arts? 

Like may, shall has a certain amount of use in regulations, where 
the authority is clearly collective or institutional. 

Passengers shall not converse with the driver while the bus is 
in motion. 

There may even be a control vested in physical things. 

The velum determines which way the air shall escape. 

In formal styles authoritative shall occasionally occurs even where 
authority clearly resides in the speaker or writer. 

The visitor was the president of a university that shall be 
nameless here. 

But in general shall is avoided where authority resides in the 
speaker or writer. Both you shall have an answer by Thursday and 
my son shall do as I say now seem a little graceless. 

Especially in more or less formal styles, shall occurs in subordi- 
nate clauses affected by desire (or by influencing normally rooted in 
desire) expressed in the larger containing clauses, and in subordi- 
nate clauses subordinated by lest. 

Her only desire is that her daughter shall never see want. 
We are anxious that there shall be no misunderstanding. 
One senses in the older man a constant solicitude lest the 

younger man shall burn himself out. 
He was determined that the truth should be known. 
Her only desire was that her daughter should never see want. 
The visitors sat in silence lest they should be guilty of offense. 

Shall is very close to may in uses such as these. In a variety of other 
situations styles that can be described as careful or formal to a 
variety of degrees employ shall to express uncertainty, much as 
may is employed. 

Williams was expected to act as dean only until someone 

better qualified should become available. 
If the exchange should become more unfavorable, most of our 

Mexican students would have to leave. 

146 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Any person who shall make any false statement in an attempt 
to defraud this retirement system shall be subject to pros- 
ecution under the law. 

In the first of these sentences should, here the common-mode past 
of shall, has a good deal of the semantic value of if anyone did. 
In the second sentence should has the semantic value of by any 
chance: the condition is a rejected one, formulated in the stream 
of the hypothetical (so that should is a subjunctive past), but the 
effect of should is really to soften the rejection and make it equiv- 
ocal as compared with the simpler if the exchange became more 
unfavorable. The shall of the legalistic third sentence is semantically 
very close to the may of someone may make a false statement. 

Finally, shall is used in formal styles as an auxiliary of tense 
alongside will. 

As separate common-mode-present defective verbs (no longer 
to be thought of as inflected forms of shall and owe), should and 
ought are now used to express a degree of constraint that is felt as 
escapable: desirability of some kind, whether based in duty, pro- 
priety, civility, prudence, or simply probable benefit or pleasure. 
Examples of this use of should follow. 

Children should obey their parents. 

How should I know what they want? 

Peas should not be eaten with a spoon. 

Should we tell him the truth? 

I should study tonight. 

I should have told you what to expect. 

You should see our garden now. 

Ironic uses occur, at least in informal styles. 

I should worry what she thinks. 

Should is also used to express what can be called reasonable 

You shouldn't have much trouble finding him. 

The situation should improve by fall. 

A coat like that should cost about fifty dollars. 

/ have to study tonight implies that no escape from the task is in 
sight. Escape may later be found, but this is another matter. 
I had to study last night implies that no escape was found. / should 

Mode 147 

study tonight implies that escape from the task is quite possible, 
and / should have studied last night implies that escape was actually 
found. A coat like that must cost about fifty dollars expresses con- 
viction. A coat like that should cost about fifty dollars expresses 
reasonable expectation something weaker than conviction. 

Like shall, should sometimes expresses uncertainty. It has con- 
siderable use of this kind, even in informal styles, in the subordi- 
nate clauses of noncommittal conditional sentences and in other 
subordinate clauses of similar types. 

If anyone should call, please say that I'll be back at five. 
If the Consul should be in town tomorrow, we'll make our 

arrangements then. 
He always prepares his argument carefully, in case there 

should be opposition. 

Here should is semantically close to happen to. It gives a shading 
that is often felt as desirable. Possibility of actualization is not 
rejected, even provisionally; but it is discounted somewhat 
sometimes, as in the first of the three sentences given, because a 
kind of modest underestimating of the possibility seems called for. 
Noncommittal conditions become less than completely noncom- 

Should sometimes has essentially the semantic value of actually 
or the very idea. This occurs in subordinate-declarative clauses 
following ideas of appraisal, emotional or nonemotional, expressed 
in the larger containing clauses. 

It amazes her that informal English should be considered 


It is strange that there should be so few complaints. 
It's a shame that you should have so much trouble. 
It seemed entirely natural that during the Civil War privates 

should elect their officers. 
It was appropriate that the American's favorite philosopher 

should have founded a newspaper. 

It also occurs in main clauses which employ the main-interrogative 
clause pattern but are really not questions at all. 

When I looked out, what should I see but three cars full of 

148 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Ought has a much narrower range of use than should. It is used 
only to express desirability (duty, propriety, etc.) and reasonable 

I ought to study tonight. 

They ought to have told you that. 

Mary ought to be getting back now. 

Though ought belongs to the small group of verb forms performing 
clause-marker functions, it is a relatively uncomfortable member 
of the group and is likely to give way to should where a marker is 
needed. Nonstandard had ought sometimes occurs where a clause 
marker is needed. 

Hadn't we ought to tell George? 

Other methods of expressing desirability are of course available, 
and some of them are especially attractive where defective should 
and ought are unsatisfactory. Be desirable, be wise, and similar 
phrasings are often used. Behoove has become somewhat archaic. 

It behooved every ambitious politician to get himself born in a 
log cabin. 

Had better is used, like should and ought, with common-mode-pres- 
ent force, but had is a past-subjunctive form of have in this com- 
bination, and it can hardly be dissociated from have as should and 
ought can be dissociated from shall and owe. 

We'd better hire anyone that wants the job. 
You'd better see a doctor about that. 

Colorings of warning, sometimes even of threat, appear with had 
better rather more often than with should and ought. Ideas of rea- 
sonable probability can of course be expressed in many ways 
simply by the adverb probably, for example, and by is likely to. 
Be to expresses a kind of constraint that grows out of arrange- 
ments, stipulations, and expectations of various kinds. It occurs 
only in two tenses, the present and the past. 

Charles is to get us at eight. 

You were to phone me this afternoon. 

How was I to know they were married? 

Your father says youVe to get the car back by ten. 

Mode 1*9 

Arrangements and schedulings represent a relatively inoffensive 
kind of constraining influence, and be to is often, in effect, a polite 
substitute for more direct have to, as in the last of the four sentences 
just given. With passive infinitives be to often represents stronger 
constraint, becoming equivalent to must. 

Difficulties are to be expected. 

Sometimes, on the other hand, be to expresses destiny, and Is 
equivalent to be destined to. 

In 1860 she met the man who was to be her husband. 
We were quite prosperous when my father remarried. Within 
a year we were to lose everything. 

In subordinate clauses in sentences of rejected condition be to 
comes to be roughly equivalent to should and happen to. 

Even if the Administration were to undergo a last-minute con- 
version and decide that the wisest course was to reverse its 
present policy, it could not easily do so. 

Arrangements and expectations find frequent expression in be sup- 
posed to, be expected to, and similar locutions. 

I'm supposed to get back tomorrow. 

Expression of volition. As a full predicator will expresses var- 
ious types of volition, ranging from reluctant consent to deter- 
mined insistence. Consent is expressed most often. 

Will you do me a favor? 

Come here, mil you? 

TF0n't you stay awhile? 

Would you be so kind as to explain yourself? 

Phil can help if he will. 

If you'ZZ excuse me, I'll phone the store. 

He'd study music if his family would let him. 

Wilson wouldn't commit himself when we talked to him. 

I wouldn't have a car like that. 

I'd just as soon finish now. 

Preference is expressed by would rather. 

I'd rather you didn't tell him. 

Desire of a variety not nearly as strong as insistence is expressed 
in such sentences as the following. 

ISO The Sentence and Its Parts 

Say what you mllj you won't convince him. 
Will you have sugar for your coffee? 

The desire is pessimistic when the past subjunctive would is used 
(archaically) with a declarative-clause complement but usually 
without an expressed subject. 

Would that it were true! 

Would to God that we could believe him ! 

With dominant stress will can express insistence. 

She will tell the awful truth. 
Why will he do such things? 
They would invite him, in spite of everything. 

A kind of animism often extends volition to weather, machinery, 
and inanimates of various other types, especially when they are 
regarded as obstinately negative. 

If only it would rain! 

The motor won't start. 

His stomach won't let him sleep. 

I do wish the phone would ring. 

Adaptability is just a step from this and is hard to distinguish 
from it. 

The auditorium wouldn't hold the crowd. 
The new car will go a hundred miles an hour. 
I tried the suit on, but it wouldn't do. 

Habit is just a step from volition too. 

He'll talk for an hour or so, and then he'll become apologetic 
about wasting time. 

When we were children, Mother would read to us in the eve- 
nings from a big book of Bible stories. 

Will is best regarded as a full predicator in all these uses. It is 
also used as an auxiliary of tense, of course. Often it is extremely 
difficult, without very clear context, to tell whether mil is a full 
predicator expressing volition, adaptability, or habit, or simply a 
future auxiliary. Sometimes such ambiguity exists even with con- 
text. Will is of course defective, and so gives way to other methods 
of expressing volition, etc., at many points. Be willing to is much 

Mode 151 

used for consent. There is no possibility of ambiguity, and it is 
usable where defective mil is not. 

I'm not sure I can translate that paragraph, but I'm willing 

to try. 

Apparently want is now the commonest verb for expressing desire 
directly, as in she wants to see you. Wish involves rejection of possi- 
bility when declarative clauses follow, as in I wish I were a good 
mechanic, and is largely confined to formal styles when it has 
complements of other types, as in whom did you wish to see? The 
hypothetical subjunctive would like is much used for expressing 
desire somewhat indirectly, as in what would you like to see? In 
interrogates, negated clauses, and adjuncts of condition care is 
used as a delicate way of expressing desire, as in we'd enjoy hewing 
you if you care to come along. Feel like and feel inclined to have 
somewhat similar uses. 

Take off your coat if you feel like doing so. 

Determination is most likely to be expressed by locutions such as 
be determined to, insist on, and be bent on. 



The eight tenses. The tenses are the recognition that verbs give 
to the passage of time. The common mode makes more distinctions 
than any other. In the common mode four tenses have the time of 
speaking or writing as their center: the present, the present perfect, 
the present future, and the present future perfect, the last with 
some future time as a more immediate center. These are the tenses 
of proximity, or the present tenses. In the common mode four 
other tenses normally have some specific time in the past as their 
center: the past, the past perfect, the past future, and the past 
future perfect. These are the tenses of severance, or the past 

Tense forms are marked in two ways. Futures and perfects 
employ auxiliaries: will (and in limited first-person uses in formal 
styles, shall) in all future tenses, have in all perfect tenses. Almost 
all one-word past forms are distinguished from basic forms (1) by 
the addition of endings to the basic forms, as when played and 
participial eaten are formed from play and eat; or (2) by changes 
in the vocalic and/or consonantal composition of the basic forms, 
with or without the addition of endings, as when dug, sent, felt, 
stood, sold, and participial broken are formed from dig, send, feel, 
stand, sell, and break; or (3) by replacement with originally un- 
related forms, as when were and went replace be and go. A few basic 
forms are used as pasts without change: for example, put, spread, 
and (as a participle) come. Except for such one-word pasts as put, 
spread, and participial come, all the forms of the four past tenses 
are marked by past inflection. In phrasal past forms past inflection 
occurs in the first word. Ignoring variations for person and number, 

Tense 153 

the forms of the four past tenses of the regular verb play in the 
common mode can be listed as follows: 
played and did play, had played, would $ay, would have 

were playing, had been playing, would be playing, would have 

been playing 
were played, had been played, would be played, would have 

been played 
were being played 

Corresponding forms in the four present tenses lack the past in- 
flection which marks past forms: 

play and do play, have played, will play, will have played 
are playing, have been playing, will be playing, will have 

been playing 
are played, have been played, will be played, will have been 

are being played 

In phrasal forms employing more than one auxiliary, will (or shall) 
always comes first and have can be preceded only by witt or shall 
It is not surprising that the time of speaking or writing should 
serve as a center for one group of tenses. This is the time that we 
live in, and it is all that we have. In the narrowest sense the present 
time is a point so minute that it is already a part of the past before 
we can finish the sentence. But the present with which verbs are 
concerned is not this uncomfortable pin-point present: an infinite 
variety of durations is covered in verbal presents. As for the past, 
it is dead, but we are products of it, and everything that we have 
comes out of it. The past stirs us deeply. We cannot know the 
future as we think we know parts of the past, and it has not affected 
us as clearly. Bit by bit new presents emerge from the future, and 
we try to shape the present with the future in mind. We make 
predictions with varying degrees of certainty. Yet the language has 
long had only two main centers in its tense system. There are no 
one-word futures to match the one-word presents and pasts, and 
the language gives no such attention to future time as it gives to 
present and past time. The future is always ahead and is always 
looked forward to from some point in the present or the past. 
Sustained narrative has difficulty using future tenses on and on : a 

154 The Sentence and Its Parts 

novel about the future, for example, runs into much less difficulty 
with its verbs if it makes a past out of its future by looking at it 
from a still later point in time. 

Each tense has its characteristic time range, though every tense 
meets competition from other tenses within its characteristic range. 
The time spans actually covered in particular predications are 
another matter. Thus in George has knocked that silly friend of yours 
down the felling of the friend is placed by the tense form within a 
time range that terminates at the moment of speaking or writing. 
The time span actually covered by the felling of the friend is 
probably a very brief one, and unlike the time range within which 
it is set, it pretty clearly has not terminated just at the moment of 
speaking or writing. Nothing is implied about the situation before 
the time actually spanned by the predication. Nor is anything 
implied about the situation at the moment of speaking or writing: 
probably the silly friend has got up and gone about his business. 
Similarly in Mary was sick yesterday nothing is implied about what 
preceded yesterday or about what is following it. Some actions, 
events, and states of affairs leave lasting effects; but this is not a 
matter tense forms are concerned with. Often the time spanned by 
a predication is not really filled: there is simply recurrence of an 
action or event through the span. Thus in I'm eating lunch down- 
town this week the time spanned is the week within which the 
sentence is framed, but the lunches eaten take up only a fraction 
of the time contained in the week, and no lunch need be in process 
when the sentence is framed. The time ranges assigned to tense 
forms vary notably from mode to mode. Thus in we drove very care- 
fully coming through town the gerundial present form coming is 
used for the same time as the common-mode past came in we drove 
very carefully as we came through town. 

The present in the common mode. In the common mode 
the time range of the present tense is fixed only by the normal 
requirement that it include the moment of speaking or writing. 
Whatever their length, the time spans covered by common-mode 
presents are normally thought of as extending both before and after 
the moment of speaking or writing. These time spans can be long 
enough to include millions of years, or they can be a few brief 

Tense 155 

moments, or they can be segments of time somewhere between 
these extremes. 

Water is basic to life on this planet. 
Johnny is dropping his plate. 
The Johnsons live in New Jersey now. 
WeVe eating supper out this week. 

It is quite natural that the common-mode present should be used 
in speaking of what is said and done in stories, novels, plays, and 
the like, which continue to express themselves to those who read 
or see them. 

The book begins with an account of the building of the first 

Mormon temple at Kirtland. 
Shakespeare's Cleopatra says that women should be haughty. 

For many verbs the common-mode present is also quite natural in 
telling about what is scheduled, at the time of speaking or writing, 
to take place in the future. 

We leave for Mexico City at seven tomorrow morning. 
The mayor is speaking over television tonight. 
Classes begin next Wednesday. 

Here what extends through the moment of speaking or writing is a 
marginal phase of the actions or events predicated: planning, ar- 
ranging, or scheduling. Similarly, in Johnny's dropping his plate 
what is already happening is almost certainly marginal, and there 
is a possibility that the actual fall of the plate can even be headed 
off. It is noteworthy that where presents have to do with schedules 
or arrangements, ideas of constraint are sometimes involved. 

Where do we pay? 

Where does this piece go? 

YouVe seeing the Dean at three this afternoon. 

Under certain conditions common-mode presents are used for 
time spans which lie entirely before the moment of speaking or 
writing. In a very few situations common-mode presents are used 
for very recent past time which is felt as practically present. 

I hear that Eugene is in town. 

Why do you say that? 

It's four months since we left Mexico City. 

156 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Sometimes the present is used in narrative for what lies farther 
back in the past, in an effort to make the past seem alive again. 

The bus reaches the top and begins to descend. Soon we see a 

small whitish town deep in the valley below. 
At some time before the thirteenth century Teotihuacan is 

abandoned and Ananuac becomes the prey of Nahua invaders 

from the north. 

Finally, a few present forms that were originally pasts, and need 
when it expresses constraint, are used like pasts in limited circum- 
stances where the past time is clear from the context. 

I knew I must be wrong. 

We supposed that we ought to make some apology. 
It seemed entirely natural that during the Civil War privates 
should elect their officers. 

Ought, should, and need are used with perfect-infinitive comple- 
ments where past forms of these three verbs with present-infinitive 
complements would seem more reasonable. 

I should have told you what to expect. 
You needn't have done that. 

The equivalent phrasings it was desirable that I tell you what to 
expect and you didn't have to do that show combinations of tenses 
that are not so exceptional. 

In subordinate clauses common-mode presents have considerable 
use for time spans which lie entirely after the moment of writing 
or speaking. Usually the predicators of the larger clauses within 
which these subordinate clauses occur set the time clearly enough, 
but sometimes the time is indicated in other ways. 

We'll welcome anyone who comes. 

I'll talk to him as soon as he arrives. 

They'll continue to have trouble until they solve the economic 


If you're in New York next summer, hunt us up. 
Do you mind if I skip the meeting tomorrow? 

Future-tense forms are used economically. For the verbs, future 
time is a kind of horizon for present time, entitled to its own tense 
forms but only within limits. 

Tense 157 

The present in other modes. In the subjunctive mode the 
present tense is very commonly used for time spans which lie en- 
tirely after the moment of writing or speaking. 

Come in! 

Don't miss next week's issue. 

I suggest that we try the steak. 

Present subjunctives also occur in subordinate clauses incorporated 
in larger clauses with predicators whose time is past, and in such 
contexts they commonly are used for time spans which are future 
in relation to the time of the main predicators, not in relation to 
the moment of speaking or writing. 

I suggested that we try the steak. 

In the infinitival and gerundial modes, present forms are nor- 
mally concerned not with the time of speaking or writing but with 
the time of the predicators of the larger clauses within which the 
infinitival and gerundial clauses are incorporated, or with time 
that is future in relation to this tune. In the following sentences 
the time of the infinitives is the same as that of the mam predica- 

She likes to be flattered. 
She always liked to be flattered, 
There's no one to be seen. 
He's never done anything but tell silly jokes. 
You'll see him leave at six tomorrow morning. 
Besides being ignorant, Beecham was very arrogant. 
We always got lost coming through town. 
Weather permitting, the meetings were held in the stadium. 
The Indians went forward on their knees, carrying candles and 
intoning prayers. 

The time is future in relation to that of the predicators of the 
larger containing clauses in the following sentences. 

The hero is gone from serious modern literature never to 


George was planning to leave the next day. 
Jack had recommended trying again. 
We're afraid of offending him. 
They've always insisted on our being there. 

158 The Sentence and Its Parts 

In the gerundial mode, present forms in clauses used in nounal 
constructions are sometimes concerned with time earlier than the 
time of the larger clauses within which the gerundial clauses are 
incorporated. Perfect gerundials might be expected, but sometimes 
they would seem a little heavy. 

John mentioned seeing Mary in Washington. 
George was arrested for knocking a policeman down. 
I can't understand Perry's doing that. 
We appreciate your inviting us. 

In gerundial clauses used as adjuncts present forms are concerned 
with earlier time only when there is no real interval. 

Taking off his coat, he sat down at the counter and went to 

In exceptional circumstances present infinitives and gerundials 
are sometimes concerned with the time of writing or speaking 
rather than the time of the larger clauses in which they are in- 

To tell the truth, I never felt that I understood him. 
That man sitting next to the hostess was a teacher here ten 
years ago. 

The present perfect in the common mode. In the common 
mode the time range of the present perfect is ordinarily fixed only 
by the requirement that it terminate at the moment of speaking or 
writing. The time spans covered by common-mode present perfects 
are of widely varying lengths, and they vary also in their placing 
within the characteristic time range. Sometimes they terminate at 
the moment of speaking or writing or just before it. This is com- 
monly true when adjuncts of duration are attached to them. 

Jack's been in town for a week. 

Mary's had a headache all morning. 

How long has Bill lived in New York? 

Since its beginnings the industry has developed steadily. 

She's been deceiving him for months. 

Sometimes there is simply an implication of recentness, without 
explicit recognition of intervals of time that have actually elapsed, 
and without explicit dating of the predications. 

Tense 159 

The mail has come. 

We've sold our house. 

They're caught the robber. 

It 7 s the first time Bill has tried to marry anyone. 

She's been crying. 

Sometimes the time spans lie farther back in the past. Here again 
there is no explicit recognition of the intervals of time sometimes 
very considerable that have elapsed, and no explicit dating of the 
predications. Experiences lying at unspecified points in the past 
are thought of as not severed from the present. 

I've seen that face before somewhere. 

I've heard my grandmother sing that song. 

The city has been destroyed by invaders repeatedly. 

When the time spans covered by present perfects terminate at 
the moment of speaking or writing, what is predicated often con- 
tinues, in reality, through this moment. Jack's been in town for a 
week, for example, can be spoken or written just as Jack leaves 
town or when he intends to stay longer. In either case what the 
present-perfect verb form is concerned with is the week that has 
just come to an end, not the situation at the moment of speaking 
or writing. Jack's in town for a week places the moment of speaking 
or writing within the week, not at the end of it. Mary's had a 
headache all morning is usable either at the end of the morning or 
at any point well along in the morning. The sentence is concerned 
with the period of headache preceding the moment of speaking, 
whether it is really a whole morning or simply the considerable part 
of the morning which has elapsed; whether or not the headache has 
ended is outside the scope of the predicator. Wherever adjuncts of 
duration name periods of time terminated (exactly or inexactly) 
just before the moment of speaking or writing, present-perfect 
tense forms are normal for the predicators. This is felt to be true 
when the adjuncts are made up of the preposition since and an 
object indicating a point at which the time span of the predication 

We've lived here since 1952. 

The city has changed since we came here. 

160 The Sentence and Its Parts 

But exceptional presents occur occasionally in informal styles 
where since and an object make up an adjunct of duration. 

It's dull here since George left. 
Since when is he an authority? 

Something comparable occurs occasionally in careful and formal 
styles with such adjuncts as to this day. 

They regret the decision to this day. 

When the time spans covered by common-mode present perfects 
do not extend to the moment of speaking or writing, it is normally 
impossible nevertheless to include in the clauses any mention of 
the intervals of time that have elapsed. Thus the mail has come 
cannot keep its present-perfect verb form if half an hour ago is 
added or, for that matter, if five seconds ago is added. Nor can 
there be any dating of predications employing common-mode pres- 
ent-perfect verb forms. Thus I've seen him at ten o j clock this 
morning is unnatural; the perfect must give way to the past here. 
Even so vague a dater as once, as used to refer to unspecified 
times in the past, requires the use of past verb forms rather than 
present perfects. I've once discussed the problem with Perry is un- 
natural: the past is needed again. Dating as within units of time 
uncompleted or barely completed at the moment of speaking or 
writing is another matter: the present perfect permits this readily. 
Thus I've been to town this morning is quite natural if the morning 
is not yet completed or is barely completed. 

Though it deals with past time and has exactly the same time 
range as the past tense, the present perfect is one of the four 
present tenses in force as well as in form, and when it is used what 
it deals with is seen as still not cut off from the present. In I've 
heard my grandmother sing that song the grandmother may be dead 
at the time of speaking or writing but the active subject is not, 
and is not willing at the moment to use a verb form that would 
cut his experience off from the present. My grandmother has sung 
that song is normal, however, only when the grandmother is still 
living. Death makes us all parts of the past, and at the moment of 
the grandmother's death verb forms belonging to the four past 

Tense 161 

tenses would become inescapable in most sentences in which the 
grandmother was the subject. 

When the fact is clearly indicated, the common-mode present 
perfect sometimes deals with segments of time that extend to more 
than one point in a longer present which includes the moment of 
speaking or writing, rather than to the precise time of speaking 
or writing. 

Every time I see him, he has just made some startling dis- 
I always know when she has had a letter from her son. 

Sometimes it deals with segments of time that extend to points in 
the future (in relation to the time of speaking or writing) rather 
than to the time of speaking or writing itself. 

When I've had lunch, I'll call you. 

George won't give up till he's used every argument. 

With after present-perfect forms are sometimes used where they 
are really redundant. 

After he's given up, he always despises himself. 

In informal styles the present perfect is used exceptionally in sen- 
tences such as the following. 

It's nine hours since I've eaten anything. 

It's been nine hours since I ate anything employs tense forms more 

In informal styles common-mode present-perfect forms of get are 
often equivalent in force to the present forms of have where mean- 
ings of possession and necessity are expressed. 

He's got two automobiles and a boat. 
I've got to go downtown. 

This is an exceptional use of the present perfect. Ordinarily the 
present perfect implies nothing about the moment of speaking or 
writing, and certainly implies no continuance after it. This is the 
reason your son's been having trouble with his arithmetic is likely to 
seem a little politer than your son's hewing trouble with his arith- 
metic. The present perfect places the trouble in a very recent past 

162 The Sentence and Its Parts 

whose effects are still felt, but suggests that there need be no 
more of it. The present places the trouble in the present and 
not a pin-point present and inevitably suggests a certain amount 
of continuance beyond the moment of speaking or writing. 

The present perfect in other modes. In the subjunctive 
mode present-perfect tense forms occur only rarely. 

It is important that the candidate have completed all the re- 
quired courses. 

The time is earlier than the time of the predications of the larger 
clauses or than some other time indicated by the situation. 

In the infinitival and gerundial modes (where there are no past 
forms), present-perfect forms normally deal with time earlier than 
the time of the predicators of the larger containing clauses, what- 
ever this time is: 

1. I'm glad to have met you. 

You seem to have been in the rain. 

Moore was known to have falsified his returns. 

I must have said the wrong thing. 

2. Paul bitterly regretted not having gone into music. 
Having read three detective novels that week, I wasn't in- 
terested in a fourth. 

Sometimes present-perfect infinitives and gerundials deal with time 
earlier than a time indicated by an adjunct within their clauses. 

I hope to have finished by June. 

I was supposed to have finished by last June. 

With after present-perfect gerundials involve redundancy, but they 

After having visited Trinidad, we were eager to see Martinique 

Sometimes present-perfect infinitives indicate unreality. This oc- 
curs characteristically after were (or was) to, could, might, ought to, 
and should. 

A second conference was to have been held the following sum- 

Mary could have warned us. 
They might have died. 
George should have waited longer. 

Tense 163 

The first of these sentences means that a second conference was 
scheduled but was not actually held. The second means that Mary 
was able to give a warning but did not. The third means that there 
was a possibility of death but death did not actually occur. The 
fourth means that it was desirable for George to wait longer but 
he did not. In the absence of past infinitives, present-perfect infini- 
tives have taken on the function of predication in the stream of 
the hypothetical and the unreal. 

The present future. Present-future forms occur only in the 
common mode. The time range of the present-future tense extends 
from the moment of speaking or writing to indefinitely remote 
points in what presumably lies ahead. The moment of speaking or 
writing is not included. The time spans covered by present-future 
forms are of infinitely varied lengths. 

It won't take five minutes for me to pick George up. 

We'ZZ be happier next year. 

The poor will not accept poverty forever. 

The time spans covered are usually pegged at definite points in the 
future, explicitly or by implication; but sometimes they can be 
left unpegged. 

The present future is used chiefly to make predictions. These 
can be hedged about with conditions, reservations, and qualifica- 
tions of many other types. Subordinated predications underlying 
the predictions made by present-future forms are generally as- 
sumed rather than predicted directly, and present forms are used 
for them even though their time spans do not include the time of 
speaking or writing. Thus in your friends wiU miss you while you 1 re 
gone the main-clause predicator will miss is a present-future form 
and makes a prediction, but the subordinate-clause predicator are 
is a present form used of future time. Present futures occur quite 
normally in subordinate clauses whose predications follow those 
of the larger clauses in some sequence of cause and effect or of 
time, instead of preceding them. 

John will come Thursday, so that it witt be possible for you to 

see him on Friday. 

He won't be able to find a house that witt suit his wife. 
Please send a telegram telling when you will arrive. 


The Sentence and Its Parts 

Present futures occur in other subordinate clauses used as loose 
adjuncts in larger clauses. 

We'll meet the ten-o'clock plane, which will naturally be late. 
He'll come, though he won't do so very cheerfully. 
Hughes will have a relatively easy job, since he'll be an out- 
sider not involved in local quarrels. 

Present futures occur in subordinate clauses used as modifiers of 

They'll miss us more than they'll miss you. 

They occur in subordinate clauses within larger containing clauses 
whose predicates are of other tenses. 

It isn't likely that Perry will agree. 

He has a wife that will make life interesting. 

If the building won't be finished till August, we have a problem. 

Where what is predicted is likely to benefit the hearer or reader 
and the speaker or writer seems able to bring about what he pre- 
dicts, present futures are likely to be taken as equivalent to 

I'll be in my office at four. 
You'K be satisfied with our work. 

Where what is predicted is likely to seem troublesome to the hearer 
or reader and the speaker or writer possesses, or seems to possess, 
authority that enables him to compel actualization of what he 
predicts, common-mode present futures develop notions of con- 

Students intending to take this examination mil sign the list 

in the office of the secretary. 
You'ZZ do as I tell you. 
That will be all. 

This latter use of present-future forms has a quality of assurance 
that often seems highhanded. Present futures have occasional use 
in expressing assumptions about the present. Here there is a kind 
of prediction that the assumptions will be verified. 

A car's coming in. That will be Hugh, I guess. 
They'ZZ be in the balcony. Let's go on up. 

Tense 165 

Present futures are sometimes used where the present seems a little 
too direct. 

That will be twenty dollars, please. ^ 

The present future perfect. The present future perfect nor- 
mally has a time range whose distinguishing characteristic is 
that it terminates at some point in the future and is thought of 
primarily with respect to this terminal point. Time spans actually 
covered vary in length and sometimes extend to the terminal points 
of their time ranges and sometimes do not. 

We'll have lived here three years in August. 
Surely the world will have solved the problem of war by the 
time the children grow up. 

Occasionally the present future perfect is used to express assump- 
tions where the present perfect would otherwise seem normal. 

He'ZZ have finished the examination by now. 

Present future perfects are relatively heavy forms. The con- 
struction out of which they originally developed is generally pre- 
ferred, where it is usable. 

Surely the world will have the problem of war solved by the 
time the children grow up. 

But present future perfects cannot always be avoided, and they do 
occur even in informal styles. 

The past tense in the common mode. The point from 
which the passage of time is noted is of course the moment of 
speaking or writing. But all our presents become pasts, and in part 
the past is very real to us. Parts of the past can be viewed as 
attached to the present: present-perfect tense forms are then 
usable. But much of the past cannot be looked at very easily in 
this way. The past had its own validity, quite apart from the tiny 
present; and the past has its own tenses, quite distinct from the 
four present tenses. The past tense is the most important of these. 
The past tense is not a satellite on the present tense; the past tense 
is indeed a center for satellite tenses exactly paralleling the three 
satellite tenses surrounding the present tense. The time range of 
the past tense is identical with that of the present perfect, and ex- 

166 The Sentence and Its Parts 

tends to the moment of speaking or writing: but the past tense 
belongs to the enormous dead past, not to the brief present. The 
time spans with which the past tense deals are of enormously varied 
length and can occur at any point in the past. 

Since the past tense belongs to the enormous past, it usually 
requires some kind of time modifier to date it, unless what has 
been said previously makes dating clear. 

I didn't sleep a wink last night. 
Students worked harder when I was in college. 
After the Spaniards hunted for the fountain of youth in the 
sixteenth century, mankind gave up the dream. 

Sometimes dating is unnecessary because it is assumed that the 
hearer or reader possesses an adequate notion of chronology. 

The Mayans developed a magnificent architecture. 
Lincoln was born not far from here. 
Barry grew up in Mexico. 

Sometimes dating seems unnecessary for other reasons. 

Who invented the safety pin? 

My father gave me this watch. 

Did you know the new manager has arrived? 

Where used to is used, no dating is necessary. 
He used to sell automobiles. 

Where dating seems necessary with past-tense forms, such vague 
words as once are sufficient. 

I once heard Paxton say he saw no point in restricting people 
to one marriage at a time. 

The past tense is quite usable for the very recent past, always with 
the implication of separation from the precise present moment. 

I just saw George talking to Millard. 
What did you say? 
Did you hear that? 

It is usable with time modifiers naming units of time not yet com- 
pleted at the moment of speaking or writing. 

He just this minute left. 

Where did you have lunch today? 

Tense 167 

The common-aspect, common-mode past is the normal narrative 
tense used for series of occurrences thought of as forming sequences 
of one kind or another in the past. It occurs even in subordinate 
clauses attaching to predicators of other modes and tenses where a 
probable sequence is looked at from the point of view of some point 
in the past. 

They considered it necessary that they fight until one of them 

killed the other. 
Three years ago we decided to build a house as soon as costs 

went down a little, but they are still as high as ever. 

Where main predicators are past-tense forms, common-mode 
predicators in subordinate clauses, and even in other main clauses 
which follow immediately, are likely to be past-tense too if a choice 
between past forms and presents is possible. Unnecessary wrenches 
in point of view are avoided. 

Columbus believed that the world was round. 

We stopped in a small village where the inhabitants spoke 


I thought you were an Englishman. 
What did you say your name was? 
We found this book in the living room, and we were sure it 

was yours. 

The past tense generally leaves the whole matter of the present 
open, and does not imply that it differs from the past. But the 
pull to present forms is sometimes strong, and certainly should not 
be resisted when it is felt. 

George said yesterday that his brother still wants to run the 

family's affairs. 
We lived near Chapultepec, which is one of the world's great 


In these sentences the use of past verb forms might very well sug- 
gest that the situation has changed. But sometimes even present 
perfects used as main predicators pull subordinate predicators to 
the past tense, since present perfects deal with the past also. 

I've always known you were a good speaker. 

Common-mode past-tense forms are sometimes used as softened 
equivalents of presents which might seem a little too direct. 

168 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Did you wish to look at our higher-priced suits? 

We were wondering whether you were going to be at home next 

I thought you said we'd have a day off this week. 

Common-mode past-tense forms are often substituted for pres- 
ent perfects where the time relationship of the present perfect has 
been established and repetition of the tense seems undesirable. 
Series of past-tense forms are entirely acceptable; series of present 
perfects sometimes seem less so. 

He's one man who has studied French and remembers what he 

was taught. 
These are just a few of the things he's done when he had a little 

spare time. 

Past-tense forms are sometimes used with ever and never where 
present perfects would seem more normal 

This is the best gumbo I ever tasted. 
This is the first time he ever admitted his guilt. 
Did you ever find out who broke the window? 
George never did know how to pick a tie. 

They can be used for time earlier than a central future time. 

If you buy an old house, you will live to regret that you did. 
I'll mail you a card when I reach New York, and let you know 
I arrived. 

Progressive past-tense forms can involve ideas of planning or 
arranging for later actions or events, especially when the verb 
is go. 

I stayed at the University that Christmas because I was 
going home the next summer. 

The past tense in other modes. In the hypothetical sub- 
junctive the past tense is used for the time of speaking or writing 
and for time that is future in relation to the time of speaking or 
writing. This use of the past tense occurs chiefly in clauses in- 
corporated in larger clauses similarly formulated in the stream of 
the hypothetical 

You would think Jerry was incapable of guile if you saw him 
under such circumstances. 

Tense 169 

He'd pay you if he could. 

George would help anyone who was in trouble, no matter 

what the trouble was. 
I'd rather you stayed here. 
If I left now, my family wouldn't have any idea where I was. 

The occurrence of past-tense forms in subordinate hypothetical 
clauses parallels the occurrence of presents in subordinate clauses 
whose time is future. 

If I leave now, my family won't have any idea where I am. 

Past-tense forms occur in declarative clauses used as complements 
of wish, whatever the mode and tense of wish, when the time of 
the declarative-clause predication is the same as the time of the 
main predication. 

I wish Bill had a little patience. 
I wish I shared your optimism. 

The past subjunctives of the defectives can, may, and mil are 
used not only in subordinate clauses where the past subjunctives 
of other verbs are used, but also in the situations where the past 
future subjunctives of other verbs are used. 

Hugh could take us all if he wanted to. 

You might like the music if you listened to it for a while. 

I might add that I never got my money. 

George would rather we didn't say much. 

This use of could, might, and would has made it hard to use them 
as common-mode pasts in some situations. Thus in on the way 
home we were able to visit Yucatan it is not possible to use could 
rather than were able to. The past subjunctive of have is used when 
better follows and is followed by clausal complements (always 
infinitival after had better} or has such complements understood. 

You'd better talk to Perry about it. 

When hypothetical subjunctives occur in clauses incorporated 
in larger clauses with past time ideas, the hypothetical forms some- 
times have their time values in relation to the time of the larger 
clauses, not to the moment of speaking or writing. 

I knew I'd better explain. 

She spoke of God as if she managed the world for him. 

170 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Infinitives and gerundials do not have past-tense forms: in- 
stead their present-perfect forms function much as both present 
perfects and pasts function in the common mode. Participles, on 
the other hand, occur only in the past tense. 

The past perfect in the common mode. In the common 
mode the time range of the past perfect is fixed with relation to 
some past time, which is taken as the terminal point. The past per- 
fect deals with time farther in the past than another past time on 
which attention is centered. The time which fixes the terminal 
point for the range of the past perfect may find expression in any 
of the past tenses. 

Spanish was easy for Mary because she had studied Latin. 

We'd been waiting an hour when she got there. 

That was the first time we'd ever eaten Arabic food. 

He did not know that years later he would return and would 

wonder that he had been so bitter. 
I'd never seen a man before that had been beaten. 

Or even in a present perfect. 

I've rarely had students that had had much Latin. 
Or in context. 

If a stranger came, they waited until he had left. 
I hadn't thought of that. 

In the first of these last two sentences until he had left is equivalent 
to until after he left In the second something like until you 
mentioned it a moment ago is implied. 
Sometimes the past perfect is used as a softened present perfect. 

We had hoped you would agree with us. 

We have been hoping would often be a more accurate beginning in 
such a sentence. 

The past perfect is likely to be avoided in telling of relatively 
quick sequences of actions and events occurring pretty much in 

John jumped to his feet the moment the bell rang. 
When he finished his coffee he went back to work. 

At the other extreme the past perfect is ordinarily not used in 

Tense 171 

telling of earlier occurrences which are not thought of as genuinely 
related to what is told of in the past tense. 

We visited Gettysburg last summer and saw the battlefield 
where the Confederacy sustained one of its most important 

The student from France argued that Napoleon's defeat was a 
catastrophe for Europe. 

My grandfather once told me that when he was a boy the vil- 
lage was very much larger. 

Where the time is the same, the past perfect is not used in 
predications incorporated in larger clauses employing past-perfect 
tense forms. 

When Paul was a young man, he had wanted to travel. 
They hadn't found us when they called. 

The past perfect is usually not maintained in series of predications 
dealing with essentially the same time. It is likely to be used only 
at the beginning and the end of such series, being one of the rela- 
tively heavy tenses in effect and so being used sparingly. 

They had seen him once in the morning. As usual he was walk- 
ing the deck for his daily exercise. He passed them several 
times and looked at them with interest, but without speak- 
ing. Margaret said she thought he wanted to speak but was 
too timid. Then he had disappeared. 

The post perfect in the subjunctive. In hypothetical- 
subjunctive uses the past perfect very commonly deals with the 
time range which in the common mode is divided between the 
present perfect and the past tense. 

If George had been listening, he would have understood. 
Jack would have better teeth if he'd eaten sensibly as a child. 
I wish we had known the truth. 

Sometimes, however, the terminal point for the time range is not 
the moment of speaking or writing but some point in the stream of 
the hypothetical probably vaguely future at which a larger con- 
taining clause is pegged. 

What would you do if you waked up some day and discovered 

that you had kitted someone in your sleep? 
I wouldn't buy a car that had been in a wreck. 

172 The Sentence and Its Parts 

The past future in the common mode. In the common 
mode the tune range of the past future is fixed with relation to 
some past time and extends into the future from that time. The 
time which fixes the beginning point for the range of the past 
future may find expression in any of the past tenses, or in the 
present perfect. 

She told him he would find her waiting when he returned. 
If the magazines of the new day lacked distinction, they 

doubtless served the same purpose that the movies and the 

radio would shortly serve that of killing time pleasantly. 
Pierre had thought children would bring him happiness. 
He was always afraid he would marry someone who would tire 

of him within a short time. 
Smith has always turned his check over to his wife so that the 

money would last longer. 

The common-mode past future is used chiefly in subordinate 
clauses incorporated in larger clauses whose time is past. Oc- 
casionally, however, it occurs in main clauses. 

He watched the mists come creeping up the beach below the 
house. In a few minutes fog would surround the house too. 

The past future in the subjunctive mode. In main-clause 
hypothetical-subjunctive uses the past future is concerned with the 
time of speaking or writing and with time that is future in relation 
to the time of speaking or writing. Predications employing the past 
future in this way are formulated in the stream of the hypothetical, 
in which the distinction between present and future is somewhat 
obscured. Would (and in formal first-person uses should) can be 
said to express a kind of lateral prediction, directed not at what lies 
ahead but at what belongs to a stream of occurrences distinct 
from that of actuality but more or less parallel to it. 

You wouldn't recognize him now. 
Most people would say she is too aggressive. 
If you did your thesis next spring, you would get your degree 
in June. 

In clauses incorporated within larger clauses whose predicators 
are hypothetical-subjunctive past-future verb forms, past sub- 
junctives are usual assuming that the subordinate predications 

Tense 173 

are also formulated in the stream of the hypothetical. But past- 
future subjunctives are used when they deal with what follows in 
some sequence of cause and effect or of tune. 

If foreign students got to know native students quickly, they 
would learn the customs of the country in a way that would 
help them greatly. 

If we moved out there, we'd be so far from my work that 
a car would be necessary. 

Past-future subjunctives are also used in clauses that function as 
loose adjuncts within larger clauses with past-future subjunctive 
predicators. Here they deal with essentially the same time as that 
of the larger clauses. 

It would be fun to have them all to dinner, though it would 
also be hard to manage. 

Past-future subjunctives also occur sometimes in subordinate 
clauses used as or in subjects, complements, and tight adjuncts 
within larger clauses which also employ past-future subjunctives 
and which are concerned with essentially the same time. 

A small house on a quiet street would be what we would like 

You wouldn't think they would have a cruise for schoolteachers, 

but they do. 

In clauses incorporated within larger clauses whose predicators 
are hypothetical subjunctives of other tenses, past-future sub- 
junctive forms often deal with time future in relation to the time 
of the larger clauses. 

I wish we had known you would be in town the next day. 
I wouldn't have thought anyone would object. 
If he had a job that would keep him on the payroll till next 
summer, he'd be all right. 

In declarative clauses used as complements of wish (whatever 
its tense and mode), past-future subjunctives are sometimes used 
for time that is future in relation to the time expressed by wish. 

Judy wishes we'd see someone we know while we're in Aca- 

pulco next month. 
I wish that plane would get here. 

But hope and a future are more satisfactory in expressing desires 

174 The Sentence and Its Parts 

not felt as unrealizable. In complementary clauses after wish, would 
commonly is a full predicator expressing volition, as in / wish 
Mr. Crawford would give fewer quizzes. 

When clauses whose predicators are past-future subjunctives are 
incorporated within larger clauses whose time is past, they are con- 
cerned with time that is present or future in relation to the time 
of the larger clauses within which they are incorporated. 

We knew that if we moved out there we'd need a car. 

The Marquis said that it would be hard to find the ideal wife 

he wanted. 
A distinction that is useful in the present cannot be made here. 

The Marquis says that it will be hard to find the ideal wife 

he wants. 
The Marquis says that it would be hard to find the ideal wife 

he wants. 

Past-future subjunctives have some use (like futures in the com- 
mon mode) to express probability in present time. 

Let's see. He would be in New York by now. We probably can 
reach him by telephone. 

The same forms often serve as softened equivalents of common- 
mode presents. 

It would seem that we aren't exactly popular here. 

I should think you'd welcome a change. 

The past future perfect. The past future perfect has very 
little common-mode use. When it is used in this mode, its time 
range is fixed at the terminal point, which is future in relation to 
a past time taken, at least momentarily, as a kind of center. 

We were afraid that by the following summer our jobs would 
have come to an end. 

In hypothetical-subjunctive uses in main clauses, the time range 
of the past future perfect is that which the perfect and the past 
tense divide when predications are formulated in the stream of the 

Miss Hill would have been a wonderful mother and grand- 
mother; instead she has been a rather dull teacher all these 

Tense 175 

We would have appreciated some cooperation last week, but 
we certainly didn't get any. 

In subordinate clauses the time is sometimes past in relation to 
another past which is the time of the larger incorporating clause. 

He often wondered what he would have done if he had not met 

Sometimes the time range is that of the present or future, with the 
implication that all possibility has ended. 

I'm doing as well as I can, but Hadley would have done the job 

It would have been nice to spend next summer in Mexico, but 

it just doesn't seem possible now. 

Constructions resembling futures. Combinations com- 
posed of be going to and following infinitives are sometimes very- 
close to futures semantically. Nevertheless it seems best to regard 
be going as a full predicator in all such uses, with to and its in- 
finitival completer as the complement of be going. Often be going 
to expresses intention, and is really closer to be intending to than to 
the future auxiliary will in meaning. 

We're going to sell the car. 

Mr. Harris isn't going to give an examination. 

You were going to tell us what happened. 

Sometimes be going to expresses preparation without intention in 
the strict sense, or tendency or direction. 

It's going to rain tonight. 
The baby's going to fall out of his chair. 
You're going to be disappointed, I'm afraid. 
What's this going to cost me? 

Be going to characteristically does more than simply place a 
predication within a time range, as the auxiliary will does. In 
she's going to have a baby the processes leading to birth have begun. 
We're going to show you the town while you're here suggests that 
plans, and even preparations, are in process. You're going to regret 
this is more ominous than you'll regret this: it is an assertion that 
the person addressed is already on the way to regret. We're going 
to move next month is semantically very close to we're moving next 

176 The Sentence and Its Parts 

month. We're moving treats planning and the like, already begun, 
as a part of the action of moving; we're going to move gives separate 
status to such preparations, as is made clear by the naturalness of 
such a sentence as we were going to move next month, with were 
going in the past. 

Be about to is one of a number of common ways of expressing 
imminent action. I was about to say so is like I was approximately 
at the point of saying so in construction except that the phrasal 
preposition at the point of takes a gerundial clause as its object, 
not an infinitival clause. When it is used of past time, be about to, 
like be going to, is likely to carry the implication that what was 
then imminent did not really occur. They're about to get a new car 
is semantically and syntactically quite distinct from they'll get a 
new car. 



Expanded presents and pasts. With the exception of the defec- 
tives can, may, must, ought, shall, should, and will all verbs have 
expanded forms in which the basic-form infinitive serves as the 
head and do serves as the auxiliary. The chief use of expansion of 
this kind is to provide verb forms which can function as clause 
markers and in negation, in addition to serving as parts of predi- 

Did you try the roast beef? 

Not only did Butch serve excellent soups and meats, but his 

desserts were the best in Cuernavaca too. 
People do not eat much mutton in this region. 

Expanded forms also serve as vehicles for expression of exceptional 
emotion of varied types, with do semantically much like such 
adverbs as really, certainly, and actually. 

They do know how to cook steaks. 

Do come to see us. 

I do wish the children weren't so noisy. 

If I do tell Dora, she'll repeat it. 

What difference would it make if we did get there late? 

Occasionally, needed parallelism is made possible by the use of 
expanded forms. 

They can and do escape such duties. 

If we refuse auxiliary status to can, we will have to say that we 
have an oddly split clause here. 

Expanded forms occur alongside one-word unexpanded forms 
in the present and the past tenses. They are normally confined to 


178 The Sentence and Its Parts 

use in (1) the common mode, (2) the coactual subjunctive in main- 
imperative clauses, and (3) the hypothetical subjunctive. 

He doesn't waste much time. (He wastes some time.) 

Don't waste so much time. (Waste less time.) 

I wouldn't get much done even (Even if I used all 

if I did use all my time well. my time well.) 

Expanded forms of be are clearly standard in main-imperative 
clauses and dubiously standard in some other uses. 

Don't be so concerned. 

Do be careful. 

Why don't you be diplomatic? 

Expanded forms of infinitives occur after let's in doubtfully stand- 
ard informal styles. 

Let's don't say anything. 
Let's do go to see him. 

The do of expanded presents and pasts is closely related to the 
do which serves as a substitute verb replacing present-tense and 
past-tense common-mode and subjunctive forms of all verbs except 
be } can, may, must, ought, shall, should, will, and perfect-auxiliary 
have, in contexts in which they have just had prominent expres- 
sion and repetition is not desired. 

She speaks Portuguese better than she does Spanish. 
Substitute do often represents more than a verb. 

You speak Spanish, don't you? 

She wants more money, does she? 

No one expects Ferris to write another textbook now. In fact, 

if he did no one would read it. 
Martin gets angry easily, and Williams does too. 

With so or it as complement, substitute do is usable in other tenses 
and in other modes. 

Someone else would have told George if we hadn't done so. 
Collins asked Jennings to make the motion because he was 
afraid to do it himself. 

The verbs which substitute do cannot replace can represent 
larger units which are suggested by what immediately precedes. 

Expansion, Person and Number, Paradigms, Irregular Verbs 179 

He isn't a student, is he? 

You can persuade him better than I can. 

He'll eat up the rest of the pie, mil he? 

He'll take suggestions better than he will orders. 

You haven't known him as long as we have. 

The noise has annoyed my wife as much as it has me. 

With some of these forms a second form, have, must often be kept 
as a time indicator. 

We stayed longer than we should have. 

Sometimes be cannot be left unexpressed after them as other 
verbs can. 

I was as diplomatic as I could be. 

In somewhat formal styles both substitute do and representative 
forms of be, can, may, must, ought, shall, should, will, and perfect 
auxiliary have are sometimes dispensed with hi adjunct clauses of 
comparison where informal styles, and perhaps careful styles, 
would employ them. 

She speaks Portuguese better than Spanish. 

You can persuade him better than I. 

He takes suggestions better than orders. 

The bank has waited as long as we. 

The delay has inconvenienced you as much as us. 

Where as well as means as truly as or besides as in parents are 
invited as well as children this verbless reduction is the only pos- 
sibility. In such a sentence as Linda understood Witty better than 
anyone else, the verbless reduction may be ambiguous: it can be 
equivalent to than anyone else did or to than she did anyone else. 
Person-and-number forms. With all verbs except the de- 
fectives can, may, must, ought, shall, should, and will there is some- 
times inflection for person and number. Three "persons" are 
recognized by the language. The first is that of the speaker or 
writer, or of a group with two or more members including the 
speaker or writer, or of two or more writers (or, rarely, speakers) 
expressing themselves jointly. The second person is that of a per- 
son or people directly addressed, or of a group with two or more 
members including a person or people directly addressed but not 
including the speaker or writer or speakers or writers. Sometimes 

180 The Sentence and Its Parts 

what is directly addressed is not really human: everyone talks to 
dogs, for example, and children talk to dolls. The third person is 
that of everyone and everything else. Two numbers are recognized: 
singular and plural. When verbs are affected by considerations of 
person and number, ordinarily what influences them is something 
primarily a characteristic of their subjects, not of the verbs them- 
selves. Thus in Mrs. White goes to town twice a day the inflectional s 
of goes makes it clear that the form is third person singular; but 
what is third person singular at bottom is Mrs. White, not the 
repeated trips to town. 

At many points the verbs of contemporary English are quite 
indifferent to person and number. Thus the past form played is 
usable with subjects of any person and either number. The defec- 
tives can, may, must, ought, shall, should, and will do not inflect 
for person and number at all. 

Person-and-number distinctions are carried farther in the verb 
be than in any other verb. In the common-mode present the verb 
be has am in the first person singular, is in the third person singu- 
lar, and are as common-person-and-number form used in the second 
person singular and throughout the plural. In the common-mode 
present perfect be has has been in the third person singular along- 
side the common-person-and-number form have been. In the com- 
mon-mode present future and present future perfect be has the 
formal first-person forms shall be and shall have been alongside the 
indifferent-person-and-number forms will be and will have been. In 
the common-mode past be has the first-and-third-singular form was 
alongside the common-person-and-number form were; in the sub- 
junctive-mode past it has was as a first-and-third singular form 
alongside a were which in some situations is a common-person- 
and-number form and in others is indifferent to person and num- 
ber. In the subjunctive past future and past future perfect it has 
the formal first-person forms should be and should have been along- 
side the indifferent person-and-number forms would be and would 
have been. The complexities of be affect all progressives and pas- 
sives, since be is used as auxiliary in these. And among the com- 
mon-aspect, common-voice forms of other verbs, the defectives 
excepted, there are such forms as plays, does play, has played, shall 
play, shall have played, should play, and should have played along- 

Expansion, Person and Number, Paradigms, Irregular Verbs 181 

side common-person-and-number forms or even indifferent-per- 
son-and-number forms. 

The use of shall as an auxiliary in present-future and present- 
future-perfect forms is confined to formal and careful styles, and 
is general only in formal styles. 

Formal: We shall not be able to furnish additional copies. 
Careful: We will not be (or shall not be) able to furnish addi- 
tional copies. 
Informal : We won't be able to send any more copies. 

The reductions II (as in we'll) and wo (as in won't) are clearly 
reductions of will, not shall The shall which appears in formal 
styles as an auxiliary of tense in the first person is normally not 
used, in contemporary American English, in main interrogatives. 

Will we be living in peace a decade from now? 
Will I be able to find the place? 
Will we have a holiday at Easter? 
Will I need a sweater? 

In American English if shall is used in such interrogatives as these 
the effect is disturbing: the semantic center of gravity of shall 
makes itself felt, and a decision from someone supposedly able 
to determine the course of events seems to be asked for, rather 
than a prediction. The full-predicator shall of shall I take a sweaterf 
is quite distinct from the tense-auxiliary shall of formal I shall be 
in New York all next week. The use of shall in such a sentence as 
the following can be described as genteel nonstandard. 

A new road is being cut around the island, and the foundations 
of the old house shall be uncovered. 

The use of should, the past of shall, as an auxiliary in past- 
future and past-future-perfect forms is similarly characteristic of 
careful styles and (more especially) of formal ones, and is similarly 
avoided in questions. In these two past tenses would is almost 
universally preferred, in American use, in the common mode. 

We were paid what we had thought we would be paid. 
In September we were confident that we would have com- 
pleted the work by May. 

Here should would suggest the meaning ought also expresses. In 

182 The Sentence and Its Parts 

the hypothetical subjunctive should is used in formal styles much 
as shall is used in the common-mode present future and present 
future perfect. 

If you pressed us we should admit that some students are 

liberally educated with thirty^hours of credit. 
We should have preferred an earlier date. 

Even in informal styles should occurs as an auxiliary of tense in 
the hypothetical-subjunctive past future with think and in a few 
fixed phrasings. 

I should think George would like it. 
I should say not! 

But would is preferred in the past future and the past future 
perfect almost everywhere in all but the most formal styles. 

In the past subjunctive, were is sometimes used as an indifferent- 
person-and-number form of be and sometimes as a common-per- 
son-and-number form, with was used alongside it in the first and 
third persons singular. Were can function as an indifferent-per- 
son-and-number form only in adjunct clauses of rejected condition 
and in declarative clauses used as complements of wish. 

If the expense were justifiable, the situation would be dif- 

Everyone wishes war were a thing of the past. 
I shouldn't avoid him if I were you. 

But even in these situations was is used in the first and third per- 
sons singular in informal styles and to some extent even in careful 
styles, just as it is used in the common-mode past. 

Everyone wishes war was a thing of the past. 
If he was my friend, I'd warn him. 

In subordinate clauses of other types were is not similarly usable 
in the first and third persons singular of the past subjunctive. 

If I had to write a thesis, I would pick a subject that was 

not very involved. 

I wish I thought war was a thing of the past. 
I wondered whether the expense was justified. 

When were is employed with first- and third-person singular sub- 
jects in clauses such as these, its use can be described as genteel 

Expansion, Person and Number, Paradigms, Irregular Verbs 183 

nonstandard. The tendency is obviously toward making the past 
subjunctive identical with the common-mode past, for be just as 
it is for other verbs. 

She wouldn't read a novel that bored her. 

She wouldn't read a novel that was dull to her. 

She wouldn't read a novel if it bored her. 

She wouldn't read a novel if it was dull to her. 

But in the adjunct clause of rejected condition in the last of these 
four sentences, were can still be said to be preferred in formal styles 
and to some extent even in careful ones. 

Person-end- number force reflected in verbs. As has been 
said, when verbs are affected by considerations of person and num- 
ber, ordinarily they simply reflect something primarily character- 
istic of their subjects, not of the verbs themselves. Only a few 
pronoun subjects 7, we, you, and very infrequently the subordi- 
nators who and that when they refer to 7, we, or you actually exert 
first- and second-person force with visible effects on their verbs. 
With other subjects first- and second-person verb forms are not 
used even where they might seem most logical. 

I'm the person that always has to pay the bill. 

Neither of us is very tactful. 

Poor little me always gets the blame. 

One of you is responsible. 

Who's calling? 

Who are you? with subject you is a possible, but very direct, way 
of asking a person who is making a phone call to identify himself; 
but who are calling? would not occur. Similarly when a person 
refers to himself as this in identifying himself on the telephone, he 
cannot employ am as he would if he referred to himself as 7. 

This is Fred Andrews. 
I'm Fred Andrews. 

In quoted uses, even 7 and you have third-person-singular force. 
Just who is "I" in this story? 

Very infrequently 7 and you are used as final coordinates in mul- 
tiple-unit subjects in which the first coordinate is either a rejected 

184 The Sentence and Its Parts 

one or an alternative, and first- or second-person force is assigned 
the total subject. 

Not you but I am to blame. 

Either Jack or I am to blame. 

The construction is usually avoided, since there is no very satis- 
factory solution to the problem it poses. 

Where there is third-person force, the distinction between singu- 
lar and plural is more complex than the terms traditionally em- 
ployed suggest. The "singular" forms are really nonplural rather 
than singular in the strict sense. Indifferent-number subjects and 
quantifiable subjects normally influence verb forms exactly as true 
third-person-singular subjects do. 

Home is always in the men's thoughts. 
Money is of inescapable importance. 

Here home is is semantically equivalent to their homes are. Home 
is not truly singular here, as it is in he has never had a real home. 
And money is not a pluralizer ordinarily; it is a quantifiable, like 
fun and lettuce, to which concepts of number are not directly ap- 

.When words or multiword units usable with either singular or 
plural verb forms function as subjects, it is obviously necessary to 
look beyond them for the key to the number force they can be 
thought of as transmitting. 

The goldfish is dead. 
The goldfish are dead. 
Some were damaged. 
Some was damaged. 

Clearly the key to the number of the verb used with the goldfish 
is the number of goldfish the speaker or writer has in mind. The 
key to the number of the verb used with some is what some repre- 
sents in particular contexts: some chairs were damaged, but some 
furniture was damaged. 

When clauses are used as subjects, they are ordinarily assigned 
singular force. 

Buying cars on the instalment plan is an expensive avocation 

for a teacher. 
Case after case has been cured. 

Expansion, Person and Number, Paradigms, Irregular Verbs 185 

But interrogative clauses in which what is clause marker can have 
plural force. 

What people I met were very friendly. 

Here what people I met has the same number force as the people I 
met But if clauses of this type contain nothing in themselves to 
suggest plural force, and what immediately precedes has not sug- 
gested it, singular force is normal for them even before be and 
plural complements of be. 

What we all want is health and security. 
Prepositional units used as subjects are assigned singular force. 

Over the fence is out. 

To admit the truth would be to endanger the whole enterprise. 

So are double units in which prepositional units function as co- 

From here to Cleveland is seventy miles. 

When subjects are apposed units having it as principal and 
clauses as postponed appositives, they are regularly assigned singu- 
lar force. 

It's true that we always have difficulties. 
It's the wives who make the problem. 

But when there is principal the number force of the subject is 
determined, at least in careful and formal styles, by the appositive. 

There isn't time. 

There are still a few seeds. 

When headed units determine number forms for verbs (or for 
pronouns), their force is generally indicated by their heads. Thus 
a man of exceptional talents has singular force, and this force is 
indicated by the head word man. Sometimes, however, it is neces- 
sary to look beyond the contained head to a modifier. This is true 
especially when the head is a noun or pronoun capable of express- 
ing meanings either of quantity or of number. 

Half of our time was wasted. 
Half of the cups were broken. 
Some of our time was wasted. 
Some of the cups were broken. 

186 The Sentence and Its Parts 

It is true also in such units as Mr. and Mrs. Smith in Mr. and Mrs. 
Smith are coming , as opposed to the Smiths. Sometimes a unit whose 
head is plural is used nevertheless as the name of what is felt as 

Fifteen minutes is too long to wait. 

Ten dollars is too much to pay. 

Three fourths of the distance was behind us. 

Here there is no interest in separate minutes or dollars or fourths. 
Headed units representing arithmetical processes (addition, sub- 
traction, multiplication, division) commonly have singular force 
whatever the head words. 

Two plus two is four. 

Nine divided by three is three. 

Upside-down units generally have the number force they would 
have if they were not upside down. 

That kind of people annoy me. 
People of that kind annoy me. 

More than one has singular force. 

More than one of our customers has complained. 

When multiple units determine number forms for verbs (or for 
pronouns), problems sometimes come up. If pluralizer coordinates 
are added, the unit resulting normally has plural force. 

A mother and her child were waiting for the bus. 

The multiple head in a husband and wife were sitting across from 
me gives the headed-unit subject plural force; the multiple head 
in a colleague and friend was sitting across from me does not because 
the coordinates here are simply two designations for a single per- 
son. Multiple units representing the arithmetical process of addi- 
tion commonly have singular force. 

Two and two is four. 

Representative singulars are sometimes added without producing 
plural force. 

Every tone of voice and every facial expression was painful. 
Everything he did and everything he said was too dramatic. 
One thing and another has gone wrong all year. 

Expansion, Person and Number, Paradigms, Irregular Verbs 187 

Quantity is often added to quantity to produce simply a bigger 
quantity, not anything felt as plural. 

All of his own money and most of his wife's has been wasted. 
Your assistance and that of your friends is greatly appreciated. 
Very little building and not much repairing is being done. 

Sometimes clauses are added without developing plural force. 

Lecturing for an hour and then batting questions about is hard 

When representative singulars are added to plurals, and when 
quantifiables and pluralizers are added, somewhat awkward situa- 
tions result. The combinations generally are felt to have plural 

Every city and many smaller places have adequate facilities 

The tables and other furniture are for sale. 

When a multiple subject follows its predicator, the first coordinate 
in the subject is likely to determine the number form of the verb. 

On the table was a runner of gold-threaded Chinese fabric, 
four magazines, a silver box containing cigarettes, and three 
a gift books." 

Multiple units in which the first coordinate is rejected but the 
second is accepted have the number force of the accepted member. 

Not the boy himself but his parents are responsible. 

This is true even where the rejection of the first coordinate actu- 
ally centers in its employment of some such word as only or merely. 

Not only the parents bid also the boy himself is in trouble. 

But multiple units of this type are likely to be kept out of situa- 
tions in which their number force becomes significant. 

Multiple units in which the coordinates are alternatives, 
whether open or rejected alternatives, in general have the number 
force of the coordinate nearer the point at which number force 

Either the climate or the houses are wrong. 
Is the climate or the houses wrong? 

188 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Similarly the multiple modifier one or more gives the subject plural 
force in one or more pages are missing. But where number force is 
important it is generally wise to avoid using multiple units in 
which the coordinates are alternatives that differ in number. 

Split clauses sometimes have two or more subjects and a single 
predicator. The two subjects function quite differently from mul- 
tiple-unit single subjects. 

First the necessity of helping support his younger brothers 
and then the period of service in the war was responsible 
for his failure to get the formal training in music he always 

Here was functions as predicator for the two subjects separately, 
as for the two adjuncts first and then. 

Paradigms. It remains to list the forms of the verbs. Verbs do 
not have many one-word forms. Regular verbs have only four. 
Play, plays , playing, played can illustrate ; the four forms here are 
the basic form, the s form, the gerundial form, and the past form. 
A number of irregular verbs have five one-word forms, two of them 
past forms: write, writes, writing, wrote, written can illustrate. Be 
has eight one-word forms; at the other extreme such verbs as put 
and spread, which use their basic forms as pasts also, have only 
three distinct one-word forms and yet are not syntactically defec- 
tive. The syntactic defectives can, may, must, ought, shall, should, 
and will have only a form or two. For all verbs except the defectives 
phrasal forms are made with the aid of auxiliaries: be followed by a 
participle in passives, be followed by a gerundial in progressives, 
have followed by a participle in perfects, will (and sometimes 
shall] followed by an infinitive in futures, do followed by an infini- 
tive in expanded forms. From the point of view of syntax the use 
of auxiliaries is not greatly different from the use of other inflec- 
tional devices. Thus the separable will of George will 'probably start 
tomorrow is syntactically quite like the attached ed of / started 

Paradigms illustrating the inflectional pattern of regular verbs 
follow. The paradigms are simplified in that they give no indication 
of the variability of auxiliaries. Witt, for example, becomes II in 
he'll start tomorrow and wo in he won't start today. 

Expansion, Person and Number, Paradigms, Irregular Verbs 189 


Tense Form 


Person and 

A. 1. play 

do play 

does play 


third singular 
third singular 

2. have played 

has played 
having played 


third singular 

3. will play 
shall play 


first person 

4. will have played 
shall have played 


first person 

B. 1. played 
did play 



2. had played 



3. would play 
should play 


first person 

4. would have played 
should have played 


first person 

190 The Sentence and Its Parts 


Tense Form 

A. 1. be playing 

are playing 
am playing 
is playing 

2. have been playing 

has been playing 
having been playing 

3. will be playing 
shall be playing 

4. will have been playing 
shall have been playing 














Person and 

first singular 
third singular 

third singular 

first person 

first person 

B. 1. were playing 
was playing 

2. had been playing 

3. would be playing 
should be playing 







4. would have been playing common 

should have been playing subjunctive 

common or 

first and 

third singular 
first and 

third singular 


first person 

first person 

Expansion, Person and Number, Paradigms, Irregular Verbs 






Person and 

A. 1. 

be played 

are played 
am played 
is played 
being played 


first singular 
third singular 


have been played 

has been played 
having been played 


third singular 


will be played 
shall be played 


first person 


will have been played 
shall have been played 


first person 

B. 1. 

were played 


common or 

was played 

2. had been played 

3. would be played 
should be played 







4. would have been played common 

should have been played subjunctive 

first and 

third singular 
first and 

third singular 


first person 

first person 



A. 1. 

B. 1. 

The Sentence and Its Parts 



are being played 
am being played 
is being played 



were being played 

was being played common 



Person and 

first singular 
third singular 

common or 

first and 

third singular 
first and 

third singular 

In the paradigms given above, the tenses are indicated by letters 
and numbers as follows : 

A. 1. Present 

2. Present perfect 

3. Present future 

4. Present future perfect 

B. 1. Past 

2. Past perfect 

3. Past future 

4. Past future perfect 

Expansion, Person and Number, Paradigms, Irregular Verbs 193 

Other progressive passive forms are possibilities rather than 
normal actualities. Combinations of the forms be and being and 
of the forms been and being are generally avoided. The last game 
of the series is being played now is quite acceptable; the last game 
of the series will be being played then is much less so. 

The form would have been played will serve to illustrate the struc- 
ture of complex phrasal verb forms. The head is played. Would is 
the past form of will: the total form is therefore a past future. Have 
marks the total form as a perfect, been marks it as a passive. 
Would have been played, then, is a past-future-perfect passive form 
of the verb play. It can be used in either the common mode or 
the subjunctive, and in American English it is generally indif- 
ferent to person-and-number force in its subject. In aspect would 
have been played is common, since it lacks the sequence of be and 
a gerundial which marks the progressive. 

The category of regular verbs to which play belongs includes the 
overwhelming majority of English verbs. Verbs of non-Germanic 
origin including the many acquired from French, Latin, and 
Greek are characteristically regular, and most verbs of Germanic 
origin are regular also. 

The inflected one-word forms of regular verbs. Regular 
verbs have s forms made by adding to their basic forms an ending 
which in the written language is represented by s alone where its 
addition does not increase the number of syllables in the spoken 

aim s 

crie s 


froth s 

allow s 

die s 

ski s 

knife s 

bar s 

huddle s 

stir s 

pick s 

bathe s 

live s 


seat s 

bow s 

noarrie s 

vetoe s 

wipe s 

Where the addition of the ending does increase the number of 
syllables in the spoken forms, es is added rather than 5 alone. 

amaz es 
box es 

catch es 
danc es 

judg es 
lunch es 

rag es 
reach es 

buzz es 
cash es 

gass es 
hatch es 

pass es 
quizz es 

roug es 
whizz es 

194 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Involvement in more or less regular complexities of the spelling 
system when inflectional endings are added does not constitute 
grounds for calling a verb irregular. 

Regular verbs have gerundial forms made by adding to basic 
forms an ending which in the written language is represented by 
ing. Here again complexities of spelling appear. 

agree ing danc ing liv ing study ing 

bend ing dy ing occurr ing ty ing 

better ing dye ing picnick ing travel ing 

blam ing hoe ing quizz ing uttering 

bow ing fill ing rubb ing veto ing 

cry ing fix ing ski ing worry ing 

Regular verbs have past forms made by adding to their basic 
forms an ending which the written language represents by ed 
even where its addition does not increase the number of syllables 
in the spoken form. 

amus ed 
buzz ed 
carri ed 
chuckl ed 
crochet ed 
cri ed 
deaden ed 

dragg ed 
flow ed 
fre ed 
lean ed 
long ed 
play ed 
purr ed 

quarrel ed 
quizz ed 
referr ed 
seem ed 
sinn ed 
stirr ed 
ti ed 

bas ed 
diminish ed 
froth ed 
photograph ed 
reach ed 
trapp ed 
trick ed 

Where the addition of the ending does increase the number of 
syllables, ed is added exactly as where it does not. 

avoid ed educat ed permitt ed start ed 
correct ed mold ed provid ed want ed 

disgust ed padd ed rott ed wound ed 

Once again complexities of spelling appear. 

Irregularities affecting one- word present forms. Irregular 
verbs differ from regular verbs almost entirely in that their one- 
word inflected forms are not made, in the written language, simply 
by adding s, ing, and ed to their basic forms. A very few of them 
differ also in the uses to which their one-word forms are put. Except 
that the defectives can, may, must, ought, shall, should, and will do 

Expansion, Person and Number, Paradigms, Irregular Verbs 195 

not take auxiliaries at all, irregular verbs do not differ from regular 
verbs in the use they make of auxiliaries. 

Only a few verbs have irregularities affecting the uses to which 
their basic forms are put. The most notable is be, whose basic 
form serves only as a subjunctive and an infinitive. 

The Chairman suggests that speeches be brief. 
We want to be fair. 

The common-mode present of be substitutes forms quite unlike the 
basic form: are in the second singular and throughout the plural, 
am in the first person singular. The defectives can, may, must, 
ought, shall, should, and will are notable also: their basic forms are 
used only as common-mode presents, not as infinitives and (ex- 
cept for may as used in may the best man win) not as subjunctives; 
but on the other hand their basic forms serve as indifferent-per- 
son-and-number forms in the common-mode present and thus take 
over the function performed in the third person singular by the s 
forms of regular verbs. The basic form need sometimes functions 
as an indifferent-person-and-number form in the common-mode 
present also, generally in negated clauses in which need is com- 
pleted by infinitival clauses without to. 

The tourist need not provide himself with a passport. 
No tourist need worry about hotel accommodations. 

In doubtfully standard informal styles a somewhat similar exten- 
sion sometimes carries do into the third person singular in the 
merged form don't. 

He don't like the food very well. 

Irregularities affecting one-word s forms are very few. Be has an 
s form quite unlike its basic form: is. Have has the s form has, 
with ve lost. Say and do have s forms that are regular in the writ- 
ten language but irregular in the spoken. The seven defectives 
have no s forms. 

There are no real irregularities affecting gerundial forms. The 
seven defectives, again, do not have such forms. 

Irregular verbs with single one-word past forms. Almost 
all irregularities in the formation and use of English verb forms in- 

196 The Sentence and Its Parts 

volve one-word past forms. Since the verbs that are irregular in 
other respects are also irregular here, it is convenient to make past 
forms the basis for classification of all irregular verbs. On this basis 
the irregular verbs of contemporary American English fall into 
eight categories, most of which can be divided into obvious sub- 
categories. The verbs included in the first four of the eight cate- 
gories have single one-word past forms which function in common, 
subjunctive, and participial modes. 

One category of irregular verbs is made up of verbs which employ 
the spoken inflectional ending /d/ or its variant /t/ in forming 
single one-word past forms, but which accompany the addition 
of /d/ and /t/ by changes in the forms to which they are added. 
These verbs do not use the written ed of regular verbs. They fall 
into six subcategories. 

1. lay: laid feel: felt 
pay: paid kneel: knelt 
0. K.: 0. K. 'd mean: meant 

2. flee: fled buy: bought 
hear: heard 4. bereave: bereft 
say: said leave: left 
sell: sold lose: lost 

tell: told 5. have: had 

shoe: shod make: made 

3. creep: crept 6. seek: sought 
keep : kept teach : taught 
sleep: slept bring: brought 
sweep: swept think: thought 
weep : wept catch : caught 
deal: dealt 

In laid, paid, and 0. K. 'd there is of course irregularity only in 
spelling. Kneel sometimes has the regular past kneeled. Dream, leap, 
burn, dwell, spell, and spill are usually regular in contemporary 
American use. Where death is involved, bereave is usually regular. 
Beseech has besought as a past form, or it can be a regular verb. 
Work has wrought, but is naore commonly a regular verb. 

A second category of irregular verbs is made up of verbs whose 
basic forms end in /d/ and whose single one-word past forms differ 
from the basic forms only in that /t/ is substituted for /d/. The 
category is a small one, but the verbs within it fall into two sub- 

Expansion, Person and Number, Paradigms, Irregular Verbs 197 

1. bend: bent send: sent 

lend: lent spend: spent 

rend: rent 2. build: built 

Gird has girt as its past sometimes, but probably is a regular verb 
more often. 

A third category of irregular verbs is made up of verbs whose 
basic forms also function as pasts in common, subjunctive, and 
participial modes. The category is small, and the verbs within it 
have basic forms ending in /t/ or /d/. 

1. bet: bet set: set 

burst: burst shut: shut 

cast: cast slit: slit 

cost: cost spit: spit 

cut: cut split: split 

hit : hit thrust : thrust 
hurt: hurt 2. bid ("offer"): bid 

let: let shed: shed 

put: put spread: spread 
quit: quit 

Spit uses both spit and spat as pasts. Fit, knit, sweat, wet, rid, and 
shred all use both regular pasts and their basic forms. Acquit is a 
regular verb, unlike quit. 

A fourth category of irregular verbs is made up of verbs whose 
single one-word past forms differ from their basic forms only in 
their vowel sounds. The verbs within this category can conven- 
iently be grouped according to their vowel sounds. 

1. bleed: bled string: strung 
breed : bred swing : swung 
feed: fed wring: wrung 
lead: led slink: slunk 
read: read dig: dug 
meet: met stick: stuck 

2. sit: sat spin: spun 

3. cling: clung win: won 
fling: flung 4. get: got 
sling: slung tread: trod 
sting: stung 5. hang: hung 

198 The Sentence and Its Parts 

6. light: lit 8. fight: fought 
slide: slid 9. shine: shone 

7. bind: bound 10. strike: struck 
find: found 11. hold: held 
grind: ground 12. shoot: shot 
wind: wound 

In spite of its non-Germanic origin plead sometimes has a past pled 
as well as the regular and better established pleaded. Speed, heave, 
stave, and abide are usually regular now; but the past forms sped, 
hove, stove, and abode occur. Get has a participial form gotten which 
occurs in some uses of get, so that for some users of American 
English in he's got a new car now the verb get expresses possession 
only and is different in sense from get in he's gotten a new car now, 
where acquisition is expressed. Gotten is generally avoided in care- 
ful and formal styles. Trodden occurs occasionally as a participial 
past of tread. Hang is sometimes kept regular where executions 
are spoken of. The verb light is sometimes regular, and the com- 
pound alight is always regular. Shine is regular with nounal comple- 
ments, as in he shined his own shoes in those days. Strike has 
stricken as a participle used with the general meaning "afflicted." 
Irregular verbs with two one-word past forms. Three 
more categories of irregular verbs are made up almost entirely of 
verbs that have two one-word past forms, one used as a past in 
common and subjunctive modes and the other used as a participle. 
The first of these categories, the fifth category of irregular verbs, 
is made up of verbs whose common-mode and subjunctive past 
differs from the basic form only in its vowel sound, and whose par- 
ticiple is distinct from the other past only in its vowel sound. The 
category is a small one, made up of verbs whose vowel sound is 
followed by a nasal consonant sound; but it divides into two 

1. come: came, come spring: sprang, sprung 
run: ran, run drink: drank, drunk 

2. swim: swam, swum shrink: shrank, shrunk 
begin: began, begun sink: sank, sunk 
ring: rang, rung stink: stank, stunk 
sing: sang, sung 

Expansion, Person and Number, Paradigms, Irregular Verbs 199 

The verb swim is likely to be avoided where the participial form 
is called for. Sprung and shrunk sometimes drive out sprang and 
shrank. Uncertainty about past forms is common, in fact, in all 
the verbs of the subcategory to which swim, spring, and shrink 

A sixth category of irregular verbs is made up of verbs that have 
two past forms of which one, used in common and subjunctive 
modes, differs from the basic form only in vowel sounds and the 
other, the participle, is marked by the use of an infectional ending 
which in the written language is represented by en and (after vowel 
letters, and r and w) n. The verbs of this category fall into three 
subcategories, and these can conveniently be subdivided further. 

1. a. freeze: froze, frozen 

speak: spoke, spoken 
steal: stole, stolen 
weave: wove, woven 

b. break: broke, broken 

c. beget: begot, begotten 
forget: forgot, forgotten 

d. bear: bore, borne 
swear: swore, sworn 
tear: tore, torn 
w^ear: wore, worn 

e. bite: bit, bitten 
hide: hid, hidden 

f. lie ("recline," "extend"): lay, lain 

g. choose: chose, chosen 

2. a. eat: ate, eaten 

b. see: saw, seen 

c. give: gave, given 

d. bid ("order/ 7 "express"): bade, bidden 

e. forsake: forsook, forsaken 
shake: shook, shaken 
take: took, taken 

f. slay: slew, slain 

g. fall: fell, fallen 

h. draw: drew, drawn 
i. blow: blew, blown 

grow: grew, grown 

know: knew, known 

throw: threw, thrown 

3. a. drive : drove, driven 

200 The Sentence and Its Parts 

ride: rode, ridden 
rise : rose, risen 
smite: smote, smitten 
stride: strode, stridden 
strive : strove, striven 
write: wrote, written 
b. fly: flew, flown 

Bear also has a participle born, used only in passives where birth 
is spoken of. For many speakers of American English the borne 
of she had already borne six children and the born of her seventh was 
born that Christmas day are distinct only in the written language. 
The participles lain and stridden are rarely heard : these verbs are 
simply avoided where a participle would be called for. Strive is 
sometimes regular. 

A seventh category of irregular verbs includes a few highly in- 
dividualistic verbs that combine inflectional patterns normally 
characteristic of different types of verbs or that behave in some 
other highly unusual fashion. 

stand: stood go: went, gone 

do: did, done be: were, was, been 

beat: beat, beaten 

Stand has only one one-word past form. In vigorous, slightly 
slangy informal styles the basic form beat is used as a participle 
also, as in they've beat us again. Show, sow, strew, and swell are 
commonly regular verbs, but they also have as participles the 
forms shown, sown, strewn, and swollen. Wake is commonly a regu- 
lar verb, but the irregular common-mode and subjunctive past 
form woke is also widely used. Dive is normally a regular verb, but 
the past form dove also occurs; thrive is usually regular, but the 
past form throve occurs. Prove has a participle proven, in spite of 
its non-Germanic origin. 

The defectives. The remaining category of irregular verbs is 
made up of the seven defectives. Four of these have one-word 
past forms which function as common-mode and subjunctive pasts, 
but not as participles. All these pasts are irregular formations. 

1. can: could will: would 

shall .-should 2. may: might 

Expansion, Person and Number, Paradigms, Irregular Verbs 201 

Three defectives have no inflected forms at all. 

must should 


Should was originally a past form of shall and is still best regarded 
as the past of shall in various situations where it has past-tense 
force. When should is equivalent to ought in meaning, and in 
certain other uses where it has present-tense force, it is best re- 
garded as a distinct verb in spite of its origin. 

In particular turns of meaning some verbs are in effect func- 
tionally defective. Use, used as in he used to be very strong, as in 
I didn't use to like him, and as in I'm used to him, occurs only in 
past forms. But use occurs in much more varied situations with 
other turns of meaning: it is not defective basically. There is more 
reason to call such a verb as be, which never occurs in passive 
forms, defective; but it seems wisest to keep the word for verbs 
which fail to fill out even the common-aspect, common-voice pat- 

Irregularities in participial adjectives and in compound 
verbs. Participial adjectives are sometimes oddly distinct from 
the true participles of the living language. A few examples follow. 

on bended knees molten metal 

his bounden duty roast beef 

I'm broke a rotten apple 

a drunken beast a sunken garden 

In addition, participial adjectives in ed sometimes make a syllable 
of ed where the true participles would not: for example, in her 
aged parents, his beloved sister, not a blessed one, that cursed fool, 
and he seemed very learned. Gotten occurs in his itt-gotten gains even 
in the usage of those who generally reject the form. Lit, swelled, 
and ridded are not usable in a lighted room, a swollen finger, and 
we finally got rid of him. Pent, sodden, and staid now seem hardly 
related to pen, seethe, and stay. 

Compound and complex verbs normally follow the related sim- 
pler verbs in their inflectional behavior. Awake inflects like wake, 
become like come, foresee like see, outrun like run, uphold like hold, 

202 The Sentence and Its Parts 

withstand like stand, and so on. Beget and forget are exceptions to 
this rule. Irregularities in verb inflections characteristically appear 
in monosyllabic forms. Forsake, however, has no corresponding 
verb sake among living English verbs. Beware and daresay are 
really merged forms. Beware is usable in constructions where the 
basic verb form be is usable; daresay is ordinarily used only with I 
as subject. 



Pluralizer nouns have plural forms whose use often correlates with 
the use of particular person-and-number forms of verbs and with 
the use of particular pronoun forms. 

This island has a quality of its own. 
These islands have a quality of their own. 
That sheep has a quality of its own. 
Those sheep have a quality of their own. 
Those trousers have a quality of their own. 

The plural forms of pluralizers are also syntactically distinct from 
the singulars in that they are freely usable as subjects, for exam- 
ple, without determiner modifiers. 

Islands have a quality of their own. 
Every island has a quality of its own. 

Regular inflection for plural number. Most pluralizers 
have two common-case forms: a basic form, which is ordinarily 
singular in force; and a common-case plural form. The plurals of 
regular pluralizers are made by adding to the basic forms an ending 
which in the written language is represented by 5 alone where its 
addition does not increase the number of syllables in the spoken 

auditorium s 


son s 

bandit s 

countrie s 

piano s 

stove s 

cap s 

crie s 

rattle s 

taxi s 

cape s 

day s 

shoe s 

tomatoe s 

wreck s 

Where the addition of the ending does increase the number of 
syllables in the spoken forms, es is added rather than s alone. 


204 The Sentence and Its Parts 

box es 

church es 

guess es 

quizz es 

buss es 

dish es 

hostess es 

sandwich es 

chanc es 

fezz es 

judg es 

stag es 

chorus es 

fuzz es 

mirag es 

summons es 

Involvement in more or less regular complexities of the spelling 
system when inflectional endings are added does not constitute 
grounds for calling a pluralizer noun irregular. 

Irregular plurals using the s ending. One group of irregular 
pluralizers employs the 5 ending of regular pluralizers but in the 
spoken language changes a final voiceless consonant sound to the 
corresponding voiced sound. Sometimes the change is from // 
to /v/. 

beeve s knive s scarve s thieve s 

calve s leave s selve s wharve s 

elve s live s sheave s wive s 

halve s loave s shelve s wolve s 

Sometimes the change is from the first sound of thin to the first 
sound of then and is not indicated by the spelling. 

bath s moth s oath s truth s 
booth s mouth s path s 

In the word houses the change is from the /s/ of sue to the /z/ of 
zoo. Beef, scarf, wharf, moth, and truth have regularly formed 
plurals as well as the irregular ones noted here. 

The irregularities noted in the formation of such plurals as beeves, 
baths, and houses occur only in small groups of words. They are 
not present in the following plurals. 

belief s 
berth s 
birth s 
breath s 
chief s 

death s 
depth s 
dos es 
dwarf s 

fourth s 
growth s 
gulf s 
hearth s 
hoof s 

kiss es 
proof s 
roof s 
safe s 
staff s 

Hooves and staves, the latter with a change in vowel sound, occur. 
Letters, numerals, words mentioned as words, and abbreviations 
form 5 plurals which commonly use apostrophes in the written 
language but are regular in the spoken. 

three A' a and two B's in the 1950 J $ 

no if s or bid's too many Ph.D.'s 

Pluralizers and Quantifiables 205 

Irregular plurals inflecting in other ways. A few native 
nouns have plurals which differ from their basic forms in their 
vowels and/or in their employment of the inflectional ending en. 

geese lice women 
teeth mice oxen 
feet men children 

Women is extraordinary in having changed the vowel of the first 
syllable in the spoken language but not in the written and having 
changed the vowel of the second syllable in the written language. 
Brother has a regular plural ordinarily, but brethren occurs also, 
chiefly in religious use. 

A considerable number of nouns of foreign origin make plurals 
in English following foreign patterns. The best-established foreign 
pattern is that followed by the following plurals, in which weakly 
stressed final e$ has been substituted for unstressed final is of the 
basic forms. 

analyses diagnoses neuroses psychoses 

axes hypotheses oases synopses 

crises metamorphoses parentheses theses 

A second foreign pattern substitutes weakly stressed final i for 
unstressed final us. 

alumni bacilli 

A third foreign pattern substitutes weakly stressed final ae for 
unstressed final a. 

algae alumnae larvae minutiae 

A fourth pattern substitutes unstressed a for unstressed um or on. 
addenda bacteria desiderata phenomena 

Mr. and Mrs. have highly anomalous Messrs, and Mesdames as 
plurals, but these are commonly avoided except in very formal 
styles and at the beginning of lengthy lists. A good many words 
sometimes have plurals following foreign patterns and sometimes 
have regular s plurals. Examples include cactus, focus, fungus, 
gladiolus, nucleus, radius, stimulus, syllabus, terminus; antenna, 
formula; compendium, curriculum, encomium, medium, memoran- 
dum, spectrum, stratum, automaton, criterion; and appendix, beau, 

206 The Sentence and Its Parts 

seraph, stigma, the last five words sometimes following 
foreign patterns not noted above. 

In general, when words from other languages have been added 
to the English word stock they have been made to follow the 
established inflectional pattern of English (when they inflect at 
all), just as their pronunciation has in general been made to fit 
into the English sound system. Only a basic form has been taken 
into English. Thus the verb move inflects in English as a regular 
English verb : the French and Latin inflections of the source verb 
are completely disregarded by the English verb. Sometimes the 
English basic form is itself an inflected form in the language from 
which the word comes. Thus Latin inflected forms of various kinds 
have become English nouns in affidavit, deficit, fiat, ignoramus, 
imprimatur, quorum, recipe, requiem, tenet, veto, and vim. But from 
the point of view of contemporary English grammar embedded 
inflections such as occur in words like these are irrelevant. The 
foreign plurals found among English nouns are not irrelevant. They 
are of course commonest in learned special vocabularies. They are 
troublesome: mass media, for example, is sometimes taken to be 
singular rather than plural. Very common words, such as native 
foot, can follow exceptional inflectional patterns; less common 
words can hardly afford to try, if they are to flourish in the non- 
esoteric general vocabulary. The substitution of foreign plurals for 
the regular English plurals of such words as the following would 
seem quite affected in most contexts. 

area bandit cello isthmus 

auditorium bureau gymnasium stadium 

Sometimes regular plurals replace even firmly established native 
irregular plurals: for example, in she does still lifes and in those 
boys are dumb oxes. 

Other plural forms. A small number of nouns use their basic 
forms both as singulars and (unchanged) as plurals. These include 
(1) a few words used of animals and fish, (2) a few nouns applied 
to people as members of national and tribal groups, and (3) a 
few other nouns of miscellaneous types, 

deer goldfish salmon swine 

fish moose sheep trout 

fowl perch shrimp vermin 







Pluralizers and Quantifiables 207 



Counsel is used in this way when it is applied to lawyers, craft 
when it is applied to boats, head when it is used of cattle and the 
like in counting, means when it is close to method in sense, pick 
when it is close to the best in sense. In the spoken language Iroquois 
and Sioux sometimes add /z/ in the plural. 

A few nouns use their English basic forms as unchanged plurals 
less consistently. In informal styles a few nouns naming measure- 
ments use their basic forms occasionally as unchanged plurals when 
numeral pronouns modify them, as in six foot one andfive gallon of 
gas. Sometimes family names ending in s, and even some family 
names ending in x and z, are made plural without change of form. 
Thus the Bridges occurs alongside the Bridgeses, the Hendrix along- 
side the HendrixeSj the Stephens alongside the Stephenses, the An- 
drews alongside the Andrewses, the Hughes alongside the Hugheses, 
and the Schwartz alongside the Schwartzes. The regular plurals, made 
by adding es, are commonly regarded as preferable; but the basic 
forms of names like these have something of the feeling of inflected 
forms in which inflectional s has already been employed. It may 
seem preferable to avoid making plurals for family names such as 
have been mentioned, just as it is preferable to avoid making a 
plural of Socrates , or of commons (as used of college eating places), 
or of lazybones, or of upstairs or whereabouts. Such locutions as 
the Bridges family and Mr. and Mrs. Bridges, the latter with num- 
ber shown only in the multiple modifier, get around the difficulty. 

A few nouns of French origin use basic forms ending in 5 as 
unchanged plurals in the written language but in the spoken lan- 
guage have nothing corresponding to the final s for the singular 
and add /z/ for the plural. 

chamois faux pas precis 
corps patois rendezvous 

An essentially opposite situation exists in compounds terminating 
in unstressed man, which is changed to men in the written language 
but remains unchanged in the spoken. 

208 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Englishmen Irishmen policemen workmen 

The noun person generally employs an etymologically unrelated 
plural, people. 

Several people have tried to reach you. 

Persons occurs too, chiefly in formal styles. People is still a singu- 
lar also, in its application to groupings of human beings such as 

Plurals without corresponding singulars. In general, plu- 
rals represent more instances of what is represented singly by their 
basic forms. Thus boys is used of young male people, just as boy is 
ordinarily used of a single young male person ; and fathers is used 
of male parents, just as father is ordinarily used of a single male 
parent. A few plurals are more general in application than the cor- 
responding singulars. Thus alumni can include female graduates, 
though alumnus is ordinarily applicable only to a single male 
graduate. Our hosts can be equivalent to our host and hostess, and 
the George Hendersons can be applied to a group made up of a 
single George Henderson and his wife and children, or to George 
Henderson and his wife. Dishes can include cups and plates, though 
dish is not likely to be used of a cup or a plate. But this kind of 
thing is limited in occurrence; ordinarily plurals are not more gen- 
eral in application than corresponding singulars. 

Uncountable plurals for which equivalent singulars are not em- 
ployed are much less limited in occurrence. The italicized words in 
the following sentences are plurals both in form and in the force 
they exert on verbs and pronouns. 

Her present surroundings are very satisfactory. 
Her travels have taken her everywhere. 
The dues are not very high. 
He gives me the creeps. 

His statistics are more impressive than accurate. 
The proceeds from the sale were considerable. 
George's new trousers are rather startling. 
These scissors need sharpening. 

There is no clear feeling here for such individual units as normally 
compose pluralities. In the concept of surroundings, for example, 
though there is some feeling that more than one element is in- 

Pluralizers and Quantifiables 209 

volved, there is a certain vagueness about the identity of the ele- 
ments, and it is not possible to speak either of a surrounding or of 
three surroundings. Travels has a clear feeling of plurality in it, but 
the components of the plurality, again, are not thought of clearly 
enough to be definitely countable. If they were so thought of, 
trips would replace travels; trips is a true countable pluralizer. If 
all feeling of plurality were gone, travel would be used; and travel 
is a quantifiable, in syntax not the singular form of the pluralizer 
travels. Dues reflects in its plural form and force an awareness of 
repeated payments; yet the number of payments is of minor im- 
portance. Creeps shows an old feeling that emotional states are 
multiple in character and yet cannot be broken down into clearly 
defined divisions. For statistics, a corresponding singular does 
occur, especially where there is expression of contempt. 

You have corrupted every statistic you have used. 

A list of plurals without semantically corresponding singulars 
would include such words as the following. 









































Cattle and police are without inflectional s, but are plurals never- 
theless. Number words can be used only in a limited way with 
words such as are listed here. Words which express number con- 
cepts exactly the numeral pronouns are not usable. Even as ac- 
curate a word as several is hardly usable. Many and few and a few 
are usable with some plurals of the kind. 

CLU1& VVJ.UJLL JJX/JLJJ.'-' t-rl *-- C*JUJ \JJ. UAJ.V/ *^i , *\*.* 

She has entirely too many clothes. 

I have to pick up a few groceries on the 

way home. 

But it is not usual, for example, to speak of few morals or few sav- 
ings. Words that express both number and quantity concepts 

210 The Sentence and Its Parts 

such, as all, enough, some, any, and no are usable with most of the 
plural nouns that have no singulars. In these words the number 
concepts are largely lost in less troublesome concepts of totality, 
sufficiency, and the like. But some plural nouns reject even modi- 
fiers such as these. Police, for example, normally gives way to 
policeman under such circumstances. 

A rather distinct subcategory among the plural nouns without 
freely used corresponding singular forms is made up of nouns used 
as the names of single articles whose structure, at least in part, is 

breeches pajamas scissors suspenders 

drawers pants shears tights 

glasses pincers shorts tongs 

jeans pliers slacks trousers 

overalls scales spectacles tweezers 

The old singular forceps seems to have become a plural of this kind 
now. Hose (meaning "stockings") is a plural of the same kind in 
spite of the fact that the members of a pair are not joined. Usu- 
ally words naming members of pairs that are not physically at- 
tached to each other are ordinary countable pluralizers, as is true 
of glove, stocking, sock, and shoe. When a plural form is used for a 
single double unit, plural forms in themselves indicate nothing 
about the number of double units. My new trousers can refer to one 
garment or more than one. When the number of double units is of 
consequence, and is not clear from the situation, the word pair 
can be applied to the double units. Number words can then be 
used with pair. 

Did you see a pair of glasses on my desk? 
We keep several pairs of pliers in the car. 

But such words as enough, some, any, and no, again, can be used 
without the insertion of pair. 

Surely we have enough scissors already. 

It should be added that refusal to accept determinatives of num- 
ber occurs also with a few exceptional pluralizers whose basic forms 
are used with both singular and plural force. Thus counsel (used 
of lawyers) and pick (meaning "the best") can hardly be given 
such modifiers. 

Pluralizers and Quantifiables 211 

Collectives. Nouns applied to various types of groups, organ- 
izations, and the like sometimes raise number problems when their 
basic forms are used. Ordinarily the basic forms of collectives have 
singular force. The pronoun forms that modify other singulars can 
modify the basic forms of collectives, as in this audience, a com- 
mittee, each family, another government. In their relations with 
marker pronouns referring back to them, the basic forms of col- 
lectives normally show singular force and require a which or that 
with singular force. In their relations with verbs for which they 
function as subjects, the basic forms of collectives, again, usually 
show singular force. 

The Army was not much interested at first. 

The audience was very quiet. 

A committee is investigating the matter. 

The family has its black sheep. 

The government has been following a dangerous course. 

Exceptions to these generalizations occur. It is possible to find 
combinations such as fewer faculty, as in it is suggested that fewer 
faculty be assigned to each institute where fewer faculty members 
would be more hi accord with normal patterning. When a collec- 
tive names a group of people in which the individual members 
stand out with considerable prominence in the speaker's mind, and 
when the verb names an action or state of affairs that is felt as 
more individual than collective, the basic forms of collectives some- 
times are employed with plural verb forms and transmit plural 
force to marker pronouns also. 

Tom's family aren't impressed by his new wife. 

The young couple who are moving next door are from Utah. 

The basic forms of collectives are most likely to exhibit plural 
force when personal pronouns are made to refer to them in new 
main clauses or in later parts of split clauses. 

The Army wasn't much interested in him. They took one look 

at Him and turned him down. 
The audience was in a bad mood. They had expected a more 

familiar kind of music. 
The class does good work on phonetics. They like it better 

than they do syntax. 

212 The Sentence and Its Parts 

A committee is studying the situation. They want a statement 

from everyone involved. 

The crowd was stirred, and their responses showed it. 
A delegation from the union was waiting. They had come a 

long way to present their case. 
The faculty was behind the President. They had shown this 

repeatedly, and now they showed it again. 
We brought the baby home from the hospital yesterday. We 

had hoped they would keep him longer. 
The Institute will support us. They almost have to. 
The Republican machine was fighting hard. They had money, 

and they were winning. 

I wrote the Cleveland office twice, but they never answered. 
Our Production Department is having trouble and will need 

more time than they had thought. 

The neuter, nonhuman character of it operates in favor of they 
in situations of this type. In careful and formal styles, however, 
desire for consistency usually leads to elimination of avoidable 
shifts in number. The sentences above are likely to be rephrased in 
such styles. It will replace they, or the sentences will be changed 
still more radically. Sentences such as the following will result. 

The Army wasn't much interested in him. It took one look at 

him and turned him down. 
The audience was in a bad mood. Everyone had expected a 

more familiar kind of music. 
The students do good work on phonetics. They like it better 

than they dp syntax. 
A committee is studying the situation. Its members want a 

statement from everyone involved. 

A list of more or less typical collective nouns follows : 





Most collectives name human groupings, but some, such as flock, 
herd, and swarm, name animal groupings, and a few, such as set, 
usually name inanimate groupings. 
Most collectives have plural forms with normal plural force. Col- 

Pluralizers and Quantifiables 213 

lectives are simply pluralizers whose basic (normally singular) 
forms sometimes have plural force in varying degrees. 

Nouns of number and quantity. Nouns of number are 
much like collectives in their behavior, and they also resemble 
pronouns. The number force of whatever they count makes itself 
felt through them; much more often than the collectives they re- 
semble, they combine singular forms with plural force. 

An average of ten students are absent each day. 

When the papers reached me, a couple were missing. 

No end of errors were found. 

One fourth of the students were Spanish majors. 

Half of the students were English majors. 

A lot of people feel that way. 

A number of possibilities were mentioned. 

The greater part of our people were favorable. 

Plenty of rooms were available. 

A quarter of the games were lost. 

Some papers were excellent, but the rest were poor. 

A wealth of examples are given. 

Nouns of number often retain a degree of singular force, as is 
shown by their acceptance of such modifiers as a and one. Never- 
theless the verbs which follow them are rightly plural in such sen- 
tences as those above. Most nouns of number are usable in other 
ways also. Number itself, for example, is an ordinary singular 
pluralizer hi such a sentence as the number of possibilities has in- 
creased. Half has an extraordinary range of uses, and even sup- 
plants second in fractions much as quarter sometimes replaces 

Nouns (or normal units) of quantity are sometimes like nouns 
of number in exerting number force that is not suggested by their 

Ten minutes is too long. 

Three glasses of lemonade seems like a great deal. 

Two dottars is a high price, 

Ninety horsepower seems enough. 

Names of quantities such as these have pluralizer force. Some- 
times, as in he gave us a bad ten minutes, determiners involving 
number ideas are superimposed on them; in informal styles oc- 

214 The Sentence and Its Parts 

casionally they are even made plural, as in there was a long line of 
people paying their eighty centses. Some nouns of number are also 
used as nouns of quantity. This is true of the denominators in 
fractions (half, third, etc.) and of such words as lot, part, plenty, 
remainder, and rest. As nouns of number such words are used with 
plural force; as nouns of quantity, with singular. In this respect 
they are strikingly like various pronouns of number and quantity, 
such as all and some. 

Some of the chairs were in good condition, but the rest were 

Some of the furniture was in good condition, but the rest was 


Sometimes singular forms and plural forms compete to express 
practically identical meanings of number and quantity. Thus a 
great number of voters means about the same thing as great numbers 
of voters, and a lot of time as lots of time. 

Indifferent-number force in basic forms of pluralizers. 
Ordinarily the basic forms of pluralizer nouns have clearly singular 
force in all respects. Thus chair in her chair didn't seem very strong 
can be applied only to a single specimen, just as chairs in the same 
sentence could be applied only to two or more specimens. If be re- 
placed seem, the sentence would read her chair wasn't (not weren't) 
strong; if a personal pronoun were made to refer back to chair, the 
form used would be it; and if a demonstrative pronoun were sub- 
stituted for her, the form used would be this or that, not these or 
those. Collectives like family and nouns of number like part some- 
times exhibit plural force, as has been noted. 

There is, however, a limited and yet rather considerable use 
of undetermined basic forms of pluralizers as indifferent-number 
forms. The construction is normal when pluralizer nouns are used 
as common-case modifiers of other nouns. 

animal crackers cigar boxes student activities 

automobile salesmen fool boys taxi drivers 

baby girls girl babies telephone books 

baby sitters insect powder tourist business 

baby talk letter writing window washing 

card playing oyster stew woman haters 

cherry pie street signs word order 

Pluralizers and Quantifiables 215 

Some pluralizers that are ordinarily not used except as s plurals 
are without s in this use. 

an ash tray an oat field pajama trousers 

Even the 5 of such compounds as outdoors sometimes falls off in 
prepositive uses, as in outdoor sports, though an upstairs apartment 
illustrates the opposite practice. 

In prepositive-modifier common-case use plural forms would 
tend to be confused with possessives. Thus girls babies would be 
indistinguishable from girl's babies and girls' babies in the spoken 
language, and even in the written language the distinction would 
be a weak one. Nevertheless some plural forms do occur in this 

clothes closet United States government savings bank 
glasses case sales technique women lawyers 

A glass case could hardly mean a case for glasses. Men friends and 
women lawyers employ common-case plurals as prepositive modi- 
fiers of other plurals without any possibility that the modifying 
plurals will be confused with possessives. Women lawyers is oddly 
distinct from woman haters. In women lawyers the modifying noun 
is semantically equivalent to the adjective female. In woman haters 
the noun woman is semantically equivalent to postpositive of 

Undetermined basic forms of pluralizers are normal, without 
reference to number, as prepositive modifiers of adjectives, in- 
cluding gerundial and participial adjectives. 

ash gray c^ar-smoking politicians machine made 
boy crazy horse drawn motor driven 

In paired constructions of various types undetermined basic 
forms of pluralizers are used without reference to number. 

We worked day and night till we finished. 

Man, woman, and child the bomb destroyed them all. 

They fought tooth and nail for their freedom. 

The relationship between husband and wife has changed. 

The food isn't fit for man or beast. 

We get tired of boy-meet&-girl movies. 

They built dozens of such houses side by side. 

He's read all Trollope's novels from beginning to end. 

216 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Undetermined basic forms of pluralizers are used with indif- 
ferent-number force as objects of prepositions in a considerable 
number of more or less fixed phrasings. 

Most college students spend their summers at home. 

You can see Mexico by bus cheaply and pleasantly. 

Fine shoes are still made by hand in these countries. 

The Captain knew practically all of us by name. 

Such things can generally be worked out by telephone. 

We were hunting for squirrel. 

We spend a third of our lives in bed. 

Millions of young people are in college now. 

The best people were in jail at the time. 

We had to stand in line for everything in those years. 

Millions of men were in uniform at the time. 

Few of us achieve real peace of mind. 

Love of country was weaker than love of family. 

We stacked the boxes on end. 

The poor travel on foot as in the past. 

The men have been on strike three times since then. 

George is never on time. 

The books are all out of place. 

He's always speaking out of turn. 

Country people go to town frequently all over the island. 

People can see Mexico by bus, or by car, or by plane, or by train; 
but ordinarily not by comfortable bus, and not in bus. To town can 
be matched by in town, out of town, and through town; but in 
islands without towns are pleasant places it is hardly possible to 
employ without town. Such locutions as in hospital and in university 
would be useful but apparently are not established. 

Undetermined basic forms of pluralizers have indifferent-num- 
ber force in such phrasal adjectives as black-eyed. 

She's a pretty little black-eyed girl. 
She's a pretty little girl with black eyes. 

Black-eyesed simply does not occur, however reasonable it may 

Undetermined basic forms of pluralizers are used with indif- 
ferent-number force as complements in fixed phrasings of various 

Pluralizers and Quantifiables 217 

The Jacksons had never set foot in Mexico before. 

We all got home by midnight. 

Many women keep house and work too. 

The winners took office at a difficult time. 

The children haven't learned to keep step. 

A few of those who were captured turned traitor. 

In all the constructions noted thus far, the indifferent-number 
force of basic-form pluralizers is unlikely to affect other parts of 
the sentences in which they occur, or of following sentences. When 
indifferent-number force is found in basic-form pluralizers used as 
generic subjects of expressed predicators, the situation is different. 

Man, too, is stimulated by hunger. 

Life is too short for hair-splitting like that. 

Birth does not always involve pain. 

Monday is always a hard day. 

When noon comes, the stores close for two hours. 

Breakfast always includes eggs. 

Marriage is rarely a prison. 

Home is always in the men's minds. 

In such sentences number force is indifferent from the point of 
view of meaning, but choice between singular and plural is neces- 
sary for the predicators. Pronouns can refer to nouns used in this 
way too, or modify them; and again choice between singular and 
plural is sometimes necessary. 

Man has had to fight his way step by step. 
Birth should not involve pain, but it often does. 
This life is too short for such hairsplitting. 

The more usual patterning calls for the use of undetermined 
plurals, not undetermined singulars, where generic force is desired 
for pluralizers. 

People, too, are stimulated by hunger. 
Mondays are always hard. 
Marriages should not be prisons. 
Uniforms impress Sarah. 

Basic forms of quantifiables function generically quite normally. 
The usual contrast is clear in the following sentence. 

Thought is hostile to fluency, so that politicians are more fluent 
than scientists. 

218 The Sentence and Its Parts 

But such words as man, life (as applied to the period of time 
separating birth from death), birth, and Monday can hardly be 
classified as quantifiables, as thought and fluency can. 

Extension of indifferent-number use to determined pluralizers 
occurs in common-case nounal units employed as prepositive modi- 
fiers within larger nounal units. 

a sixty-dollar suit a three-hundred-mzZe trip 

a six-foot man a ten-minute nap 

In a dry-goods store and a two-thirds majority plural forms are used 
in similar situations. In units such as three-year-old, whether used 
as phrasal nouns (as in the three-year-old next door) or as preposi- 
tive modifiers (as in any three-year-old child), the construction is 
different but obviously related. 

Distributive singulars, representative singulars 9 singulars 
by understatement and metaphor. Determined distributive 
singulars compete with plurals. 

When we go to the movies, we rarely stay till the end, 
Both drivers had a good sense of humor. 
The tender part of the horses' hoofs was sore. 
The tests are given in the form of objective quizzes, discus- 
sion tests, and oral examinations. 
All New Yorkers seem to be in a hurry. 
Mothers give up too much for the sake of children. 
Bring a pencil to class next time, please. 

There are shifts in point of view here. In the first sentence, for 
example, movies is plural, and each movie has an end; but end is 
singular. In the last sentence each student is expected to bring a 
pencil, but a group of students is spoken to jointly. A strong feel- 
ing against needless shifts in point of view holds the use of dis- 
tributive singulars down in careful and formal styles, and to some 
extent even in informal styles. Distributive singulars are avoided, 
for example, in such sentences as the following. 

The men brought their wives along. 
They turned their faces to the camera. 
Many of them have their own homes. 
Do you all have your badges? 

Pluralizers and Quantifiables 219 

Here the complements are plural for much the same reason as the 
complement is plural in his relatives are farmers. 

Representative singulars, determined by such pronouns as (1) 
any, each, every, and a, and (2) the, compete with plurals also. 

(1) Any student of history knows that. 
Does each delegate have a badge? 

Ah 1 her life every woman waits for the right man to come 
along, but meanwhile most women marry. 

In order to get maximum enjoyment out of life, a man 
should have an Egyptian wife, a French mistress, a 
Chinese cook, and a home in the West Indies. 

Here and there an old Victorian mansion is still kept up. 

Many a man has tried and failed. 

(2) He buys ties by the dozen. 

It's a noisy district in the evening. 

One trouble with higher education in the United States 

is that in the fall there is football and in the spring there 

is spring. 

The Ph.D. should always be awarded posthumously. 
The family has always perpetuated inequalities. 
The Indian had no defense against the new weapons. 

The chief disadvantage of the plural is illustrated hi the following 

In order to get maximum enjoyment out of life, men should 
have Egyptian wives, French mistresses, Chinese cooks, 
and homes in the West Indies. 

Here there is no clear indication that what is suggested is an al- 
lotment of a single wife, for example, to a single man. The chief 
disadvantage of representative singulars turns up in sentences like 
everyone paid his own way, where his is less than completely satis- 
factory if everyone represents a group that includes members of 
both sexes but the their of informal styles leaves something to be 
desired also. 

Some singulars are simply products of understatement or meta- 

In a word } the new policy is doomed to failure. 
Keep an eye on George, will you? 

Distinctions between pluralissers and quantifiables. 

Quantifiable nouns characteristically reject both determinatives of 

220 The Sentence and Its Parts 

number (the cardinal numerals, few, several, many, both) and deter- 
minatives of identification which modify only true singulars (a, 
either, every, each, neither), but they accept determinatives of quan- 
tity (little, much). Similarly, quantifiable nouns are used harmo- 
niously with such words as amount, as in a certain amount of poetry, 
and not with such words as number, as in a certain number of poems. 
Quantifiables are not made plural, though it must be added at 
once that many nouns must be classified as quantifiables in some 
uses and as pluralizers in others. When quantifiables determine 
number forms of demonstrative pronouns, personal pronouns, or 
verbs, these forms are singular, not plural 

Quantifiables used of what lacks obvious physical sub" 
stance. Nounal names of qualities, emotions, activities, and 
forces are often quantifiables. Some nouns of these kinds are 
rarely or never used as pluralizers. 






Thus such locutions as several applauses, an odd behavior, and an- 
other fun seem quite strange; locutions such as several bursts of 
applause, an odd piece of behavior, and another good time generally 
replace them. Laugh is a pluralizer alongside quantifiable laughter, 
job is a pluralizer alongside quantifiable work. The situation is sim- 
pler when nouns naming qualities, emotions, activities, and forces 
are freely usable both as quantifiables and as pluralizers applied 
to particular instances. 





























Thus I didn't have much chance can be matched by I didn't have a 
very good chance, and my hat doesn't have much shape by my hat 
doesn't have a very good shape. The situation is different with such 

Pluralizers and Quantifiables 221 

nouns as heart, school, and sun. Heart is a quantifiable in the sense 
of "enthusiasm," as in 7 didn't have much heart for it; it is a plural- 
izer as the name of the physical organ, as in Maurice had a bad 
heart. School is a quantifiable as the name of an activity, as in 
school starts at nine and in we didn't have much school today; it is a 
pluralizer as the name of an institution, as in Susan was in four 
schools that year. Sun is a quantifiable as the name of the emana- 
tion, as in a little sun would do us good; it is a pluralizer as the 
name of a star. 

Gerundial nouns are likely to be quantifiable. Quite often along- 
side quantifiable gerundial nouns there are pluralizers whose basic 
forms are identical with the basic forms of the corresponding verbs. 
Thus so much crying is paralleled by a good cry, that much guessing 
by several guesses, too much stopping by three stops, and a little 
whispering by a stage whisper. But this patterning is followed only 
within limits. Thus hearing and suffering are pluralizers as well as 
quantifiables, and sin and taste are quantifiables as well as plural- 

Names of bodies of knowledge and of languages tend to be quan- 
tifiables. This is true of such words as architecture, chemistry, 
English, French, grammar, law, and zoology. It is also true of 
nouns in ics such as economics, phonetics, and physics. The words 
language and science are quantifiables in their broader, less dif- 
ferentiated senses, but pluralizers when applied to individual in- 

I never learned much science. 

The sciences are more and more important. 

Nouns applied to less extensive kinds of information (and mis- 
information) also tend to be quantifiables. This is true of such 
words as advice, information, knowledge, nonsense, propaganda, and 
word (meaning "news")- It is also true of the old plural form news. 
Such words as piece and bit are commonly applied to what are 
felt as countable units, as in two or three pieces of news. Names of 
games are generally quantifiables. This is true of such words as 
basketball, bridge, footbatt, and poker, and even of such old plurals 
as checkers and dominoes when used as names of games and not as 
names of objects used in the games. 

222 The Sentence and Its Parts 

I don't play much checkers nowadays. 

Names of ailments tend to be quantifiable. This is true, for 
example, of anemia, appendicitis, arthritis, asthma, dysentery, and 
pneumonia. It is true also of such old plurals as measles, mumps, 
and rickets. 

There has been very little influenza this winter. 

We've had entirely too much mumps in the neighborhood. 

Disease is both a quantifiable and a pluralizer. Fever (unspecified), 
"ache" names (such as backache, headache, and toothache), and 
cancer are both quantifiables and, when applied to individual 
instances, pluralizers. But phrasal scarlet fever and typhoid fever 
are always quantifiables. 

There's very little typhoid fever there now. 

Indigestion is always quantifiable. Odd preferences appear in par- 
ticular locutions. Thus the native would never say / have headache, 
but always I have a headache; yet he would say either / don't have 
much headache or I don't have a very bad headache. The word case 
is often used when particular instances of ailments without plural- 
izer names are to be discussed. 

There were two cases of typhoid fever last year. 

Time, applied to duration, is a quantifiable in its general ap- 
plication and either a quantifiable or a pluralizer in applications 
to specific periods. 

I don't know how much time I wasted. 
I waited a long time. 

The names of the seasons are similarly sometimes quantifiables 
and sometimes pluralizers. 

Minnesota has too much winter. 
Florida usually has mild winters. 

Vacation behaves like the names of the seasons. Weather is a quan- 
tifiable, climate is a pluralizer. 

We have very little hot weather. 
We have a very mild climate. 

Space, place, and room are both quantifiables and pluralizers. As a 

Pluralizers and Quantifiables 223 

pluralizer room, of course, has a very specific application to the 
divisions of buildings. 
Names of colors are normally quantifiables. 

A little yellow would help the total effect. 

But such nouns are used as pluralizers when particular shadings 
are referred to, as in the hat was a pale blue. And some color nouns 
have specialized uses as pluralizers, as when the whites means the 
white people. 

Names of substances. Nouns naming what are felt as un- 
countable substances are normally quantifiables, not pluralizers. 
This is true of names of solids, of liquids, and of gases. It is also 
true of names of grains and leaves and of other masses of particles 
whose natural units are commonly too numerous for counting to 
be a real possibility; but it is not true of beans and peas, berries, 
or nuts. Nouns such as the following are normally quantifiable 
when they name substances. 






With most names of substances measurement becomes possible 
with the aid of words such as piece, grain, helping, gatton, pound, 
etc., which are countable pluralizers. The quantifiable noun has to 
be subordinated in construction, as the object of a preposition as, 
for example, in a head of lettuce and in a quart of milk. Some names 
of substances are used as pluralizers also, applied to particular 
varieties of the substances named. 

The bakery makes a very fine rye bread. 
American soups are uninspiring. 
Marble is an expensive stone. 

Such uses are exceptional. It is commoner for nouns which are 
quantifiables as names of substances to have uses of other kinds 
as pluralizers. 

224 The Sentence and Its Parts 

She took two aspirins and went to bed. 

He raises chickens. 

The dog had a cloth wrapped around its leg. 

We toasted marshmallows over the hot coals. 

We need a new electric iron. 

He buys skins from the trappers. 

Names of miscellanies. Names of aggregates whose com- 
ponents are of different kinds tend to be quantifiables. This is true 
of such nouns as the following. 





Such words as piece and article are generally applied to what are 
felt as countable units. Pluralizers are commonly used for distinct 
components within miscellanies. Thus quantifiable baggage is 
matched by pluralizer suitcase, quantifiable country by pluralizer 
/arm, quantifiable furniture by pluralizer chair , quantifiable ma- 
chinery by (hardly more specific) pluralizer machine, quantifiable 
mail by pluralizer letter, quantifiable money by pluralizer dollar, 
quantifiable poetry by pluralizer poem and (more specific) sonnet, 
quantifiable scenery by pluralizer scene or view. A few nouns of 
miscellany are also used as pluralizers when varieties are referred 

The avocado is a valuable food. 
The mango is a tropical fruit 

This kind of thing is commoner in quasi-technical use than in gen- 
eral use. Country is a pluralizer as well as a quantifiable, but with 
a sharp distinction in meaning. 

There's too much country around us. 
This is a big country. 

Quantifiables applied to people are quite exceptional in con- 
temporary English. The Shakespearean much taU youth and the 
biblical much people have given place to many tall young men 

Pluralizers and Quantifiables 225 

and many people. Company, however, in the sense of "visitor or 
visitors," is a quantifiable which is applied to people. 

We like to have a little company now and then. 
But the neuter personal pronoun it can never refer to company: it 
would be felt as too devoid of personality. Posterity and personnel 
are basically quantifiables, like company; but the tendency is to 
avoid them, substituting relatives, descendants, and employees where 
their quantifiable force would be noticeable. Sometimes personnel 
is treated as a plural. Population is a highly impersonal quantifiable 
in some of its uses. Even for domestic animals a quantitative view 
is exceptional, though it persists in livestock and poultry. 

Mixtures of quantifiable and pluraliser characteristics. 
As has been noted, English has nouns that are plural in form 
but quantifiable in force. This is true of names of a number of 
diseases, though here, it must be said, there is a tendency to assign 
uncountable-plural status and mumps are dangerous to adults is 
heard alongside the preferred mumps is dangerous to adults. The 
names of such games as checkers and dominoes are plural in form 
but quantifiable in force. So are the names of bodies of knowledge 
ending in ics genetics, mathematics^ physics, etc. Politics is often 
treated as a quantifiable even when it names activities rather than 
any body of knowledge. 

There's too much politics in what he's doing. 

Statistics is an uncountable pluralizer when applied to particular 
figures, and such nouns as acoustics, athletics, hysterics, and tactics 
are uncountable pluralizers when they are applied to properties 
and activities. 

The statistics he quotes are misleading. 
His tactics are a little crude. 

News is now quantifiable hi force invariably. 

The plural forms seen in mumps y checkers, genetics, and news are 
native ones employing the regular ending s. It is remarkable that 
they have developed quantifiable force. It is much less strange 
that a few foreign plurals should have crossed the same line, as 
paraphernalia, regalia, stamina, confetti, macaroni, and spaghetti 
have done. Data is moving in the same direction, and the old singu- 

226 The Sentence and Its Parts 

lar datum is rarely seen; but data has not become securely estab- 
lished as a quantifiable and is often avoided in constructions where 
it would determine a choice between singular and plural forms of 
verbs or pronouns. It is of course not surprising that data should 
move toward classification with such quantifiables as information 
and advice. 

Quantifiable status is sometimes given, especially in informal 
styles, to such uncountable pluralizers as ashes, brains, fireworks, 
morals, oats, and suds. 

We have too much ashes in the fireplace. 
He just doesn't have much brains. 

The situation is very similar in sentences such as Johnny's eaten 
too much mashed potatoes. Many is obviously not usable here : indi- 
vidual, countable potatoes are not present hi mashed potatoes. 
In somewhat literary styles, nouns which are ordinarily quanti- 
fiables are sometimes preceded by the indefinite article a when they 
are also modified by adjectives or, more often, clauses. 

an admiration which he did not try to conceal 

a thorough knowledge of the subject 

a prose that has rarely been equaled for force 

In archaic usage a few ordinarily quantifiable nouns occasionally 
take plural forms as an indication of great quantity. 

the sands of the desert the waters of the deep 

Waters occurs also in such phrases as American waters. Sometimes 
nouns that are normally pluralizers are used as quantifiables with 
an effect somewhat like that of metaphor. 

He has too much family. 

I just didn't have much morning today. 

He isn't man enough. 

Slightly less direct combinations of determinative pronouns of 
quantity and pluralizer nouns are commoner. 

Only a little of the contents of the bottle remains. 
I'd seen enough of the picture. 
Not much of the morning was left. 

Quantifiables remain unchanged when pluralizers with which 
they are coupled change number. 

Pluralizers and Quantifiables 227 

The little girl's hair is very pretty. 

The little girls 7 hair is very pretty. 

He tries to guard his health. 

They try to guard their health. 

He got his education in the public schools. 

They got their education in the public schools. 

It is noteworthy that expression of abstract concepts is com- 
monly better achieved by quantifiable nouns than by pluralizers. 
Thus machinery gets to the essence of the matter better than 
machines, which even as an undetermined generic plural does not 
get as completely away from the particular, and better than the 
representative singular the machine also. 

Machinery has changed human life completely. 
Machines have changed human life completely. 
The machine has changed human life completely. 

But when undetermined basic forms of pluralizers are usable with 
indifferent-number force, they are able to get at essences about as 
well as quantifiables can. 

Marriage is an institution it is hard to be happy with and 
hard to be happy without. 

Travel by plane makes the transitions between cultures dis- 

At the opposite extreme from abstraction, accurate measurement 
always requires the use of numerals, even when these cannot be 
attached directly to the nouns that name what is measured, as in 
three quarts of milk. 

In most constructions basic forms of nouns used without de- 
terminers and without particular applications are best taken to be 
quantifiables if the nouns in point are clearly established as quan- 
tifiables in other constructions. Basic forms of pluralizers have only 
very exceptional use without determinative modifiers, as has been 
noted. Thus in a great change took place the noun place is best con- 
sidered a quantifiable, as in there isn't much place for it, rather than 
a pluralizer, as in there's a place for such things. The use of basic 
forms without determiners is ordinary for quantifiables (and for 
proper nouns) and is exceptional for pluralizers. 




Proper nouns. Proper nouns differ from both pluralizers and 
quantifiables in having particular applications without the use of 
determiner modifiers. 





Proper nouns are most characteristically used (1) as names of living 
beings, real or imaginary, that are thought of as individual per- 
sonalities; (2) as names of geographical and political units and 
topographical features of various kinds; (3) as names of days and 
months; and (4) as titles of literary, musical, and artistic works, 
and of periodicals. Children use proper nouns as names of dolls 
and toy animals. Large rural estates sometimes have proper nouns 
as names. Hurricanes are given such names. Such names as George 
are likely to be assigned on an unsystematic basis (except that 
sex is taken into account), simply because they happen to appeal 
to those who (at birth or purchase) are doing the naming. Such 
names as Jack are likely to be nicknames. Such names as Thompson 
are usually given systematically, on the basis of membership in a 
family. Such names as Tuesday are assigned on the basis of position 
in a sequence. Tuesday is a pluralizer in the last three Tuesdays, 
but so is George in another George and Paris in the Paris of Napo- 
leon's day. Tuesday is a proper noun both in I'll see you Tuesday 
and in I saw George Tuesday, but it is a pluralizer in I'll see you 

Proper Names, Possessives, Exceptional Uses of Nouns 229 

next Tuesday and in / saw George last Tuesday, where determiners 
are employed. Weeks do not have proper nouns as names, and 
neither do years or centuries. The written language assigns hon- 
orific initial capital letters to most proper nouns. 

Such words as George, Thompson, and Paris have their most 
characteristic uses as proper nouns. Such words as faith, mother, 
god, and tombstone all have other uses as more basically charac- 
teristic; yet they function as proper nouns too. 

Where did Faith leave her umbrella? 

What does Mother think? 

George Fox thought that God was uninterested in theology. 

We visited Tombstone while we were in Arizona. 

In true proper-noun uses, proper nouns do not change number, as 
pluralizers do, and do not take determiners of quantity, as quanti- 
fiables do. In nounal constructions all plural proper nouns (Andes, 
Antilles, Everglades, etc.) take an essentially invariable anti- 
systematic the, and so do some singulars (names of rivers such as 
Ohio, names of ships such as Bremen, some miscellaneous place 
names such as Bronx, some names of historical events such as 
Renaissance, etc.). Proper nouns do not accept as tight modifiers 
subordinate clauses with that as marker: company that wouldn't 
leave and visitors that wouldn't leave are normal nounal units, but 
not George that wouldn't leave. 

Proper nouns are not confined to single applications. There are 
innumerable Georges, some of them people, some of them dogs, 
some of them dolls. The commonly used proper nouns can be 
unambiguous in their applications only when context or situation 
is favorable. George phoned while you were out is a satisfactory 
sentence only if in the thinking of both the speaker or writer and 
the hearer or reader a single person named George is prominent at 
the time. The effective meaning of such a name as George, in 
characteristic proper-noun uses, is quite individual accumulated 
in years of acquaintanceship perhaps, and not to be found in 
dictionaries. We'll be in Paris next week is satisfactory only when a 
single Paris whether in Kentucky or in France or elsewhere is 
uniquely prominent in the mind of those concerned. 

230 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Combination and modification of proper nouns. Proper 
nouns sometimes unite with other proper nouns to form phrasal 
units whose application is clearer than that of one-word proper 
nouns. Thus George Carter will often be clear where George alone is 
not. A second given name can follow George, as in George Harvey 
Carter. In actual practice, letters often replace given names. T. S. 
Eliot, for example, is a much better known sequence than Thomas 
Stearns Eliot. The relationships between the names which make up 
phrasal units such as George Harvey Carter are highly ambiguous : 
in modern English such units are best regarded as unanalyzed 
strings. Combinations such as Paris, Kentucky, are a little like 
combinations such as George Carter; but in the written language 
the name of the larger geographical unit is treated as a loose ad- 
junct and inclosed in commas. 

Modification of proper nouns includes, notably, the use of hon- 
orific modifiers with names of people. These are usually nouns used 
as prepositive modifiers of family names or of combinations of 
family names and given names. 

Mr. George H. Carter President Eisenhower 

Captain James J. Nichol Bishop Manning 

Judge McLendon Senator Morse 

Dr. Elder Grandfather Clark 

A few honorifics are attached to given names. 

Uncle Leslie Saint Paul 

Aunt Mary Queen Elizabeth 

Two adjectives are used as honorific modifiers: reverend and, less 
commonly, honorable. There is a feeling that these should be pre- 
ceded by the article the and followed by given names and family 
names together, as in the Reverend George Brewster; but there is also 
a marked tendency to treat reverend exactly as the noun honorifics 
are treated, as in Reverend Brewster will preach at the eleven-o'clock 
service. The general tendency has long been toward simplification 
and standardization in the matter of honorific modifiers of people's 
names. The names of the famous and of the dead are commonly 
used without honorifics: Abraham Lincoln, or just Lincoln, is gen- 
erally preferred to President Lincoln, for example. At the other 
extreme, also, when relationships become informal it is usual for 

Proper Names, Possessives, Exceptional Uses of Nouns 231 

honorifies to disappear and for given names to replace family 
names, though such things as differences in age may interfere. 
Mrs. is often used with names which without it would belong only 
to the husbands. Most honorific modifiers of people's names are 
usable without the names where they can also be used in com- 
bination with the names. Without the names they usually take 
articles, except in direct address. 

Tell me the truth, Doctor. 
Has the Judge come in? 

But Mr., Mrs., and Miss are not standard without names, and 
neither are Reverend and Honorable. 

At least in journalistic styles, common-case nounal modifiers 
naming professions or otherwise contributing toward identification 
are sometimes attached to names of people and capitalized like 

Polio Fighter Salk World Champion Tenley Albright 

Other types of modifiers of proper nouns applied to people and 
places can be illustrated as follows. 

poor Mary all Germany 

colonial Virginia Chicago proper 

southern France my dear Mr. Fulton 

Here the modifiers are not given initial capital letters. In poor 
Mary the modifier is an emotional word, like the dear of dear me. 
Some prepositive modifiers of proper nouns are of ordinary pre- 
determi native types: all Germany t for example, is much like all 
that week. Proper nouns do not take modifiers freely, as has been 
said. But half modifiers relate to them with comparative freedom. 

Mary went home sick. 

Phrasal proper names including words other than proper 
nouns. The proper nouns, alone and in combinations, form the 
hard core in a much larger category of proper names. The remain- 
der of the category is made up of phrasal units which combine 
fixed wording with individual application. The wording of phrasal 
proper names is often official in origin, but this is not always the 
case. The written language uses honorific capital letters to mark 

232 The Sentence and Its Parts 

phrasal proper names. Words of all kinds are included in such 
names. In the Republican Party, for example, the is a determinative 
pronoun, republican is an adjective, and party is a pluralizer noun. 
No single word is a proper noun in this proper name, but the whole 
unit has a fixed quality, and the application is individual. In Ohio 
State University all three words are nouns. Ohio is a proper noun; 
state and university are pluralizers. Ohio State University normally 
has no determiner pronoun, except in formal institutional use; the 
Republican Party requires one, the article the. 

Sometimes official titles are used with reasonably fixed particular 
applications so that in some ways they compete with the more 
permanent given-and-family names of the holders. 

the President of Mexico 

the Governor of Michigan 

the Dean of the College of Education 

The honorific capitals given President, Governor, and Dean here 
would not be normal in the last three presidents, a meeting of gov- 
ernors, and another dean t It is noteworthy that the honorific Mr. 
(and the less common honorific modifier Madam) can modify short 
forms of some titles such as these when they are used in direct 

Mr. President Madam Chairman 

Some old or exotic phrasal proper names applied to people and 
superhuman personages are not titles but approach titles in force. 

the Wife of Bath 

Our Most Holy Lady of the Miracles of Tlaltenango 

Pseudoproper names are used ironically. 

Whole school systems plunge from one morass to another in 

pursuit of The New English. 
Even the Little Woman could learn to make good soup. 

Names of geographical and political units and of topographical 
features are very frequently phrasal. 

North America the Atlantic Ocean 

the United States of America the Gulf of Mexico 

Puerto Rico Hudson Bay 

Proper Names, Possessives, Exceptional Uses of Nouns 233 

New York Lake Erie 

the Far East the Panama Canal 

the Ukraine Mount Everest 

Mexico City Lookout Mountain 

Fort Wayne the Tropic of Capricorn 

Roads, streets, buildings, addresses, and the like commonly have 
phrasal proper names. 

the Pan-American Highway the White House 

Main Street Carnegie Hall 

the Holland Tunnel the Stambaugh Building 

Schuyler Park 5531 Maryland Avenue 

the Statue of Liberty Room 315 

Ships, trains, and planes do too. 

the Spirit of Saint Louis the Capitol Limited 

Institutions, organizations, commercial establishments, and the 
like have them. 

Columbia University the Methodist Church 

the University of Illinois the United States Senate 

McKinley School the Ford Motor Company 

the Republican Party the Viking Press 

Historically important events, alliances, groupings, treaties, etc., 
may receive such treatment. 

the Renaissance the Supreme Court 

the French Revolution the New Deal 

World War II the Monroe Doctrine 

Phrasal proper names are given to days. 

January 7 New Year's Day 

Courses of study commonly have phrasal proper names. 
History 22 the Poetry of Milton 

Literary, musical, and artistic works, and periodicals, very com- 
monly have names of this kind. 

"Dry September" the Bible 

Passage to India the Acts of the Apostles 

"I Got Rhythm" the Iliad 

the Cleveland Plain Dealer the Canterbury Tales 

234 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Divisions of such works have them too. 

Volume III Appendix B 

West Virginia is a proper name; southern Ohio is not, since the 
combination lacks the fixed status West Virginia has. The White 
House is a proper name as used of the President's residence in 
Washington; used of another building that simply happens to be 
white, the same series of words has no such status. History 22 is a 
proper name ; history is merely a quantifiable noun. Volume III is 
a proper name; the third volume is not. January 7 is a proper name; 
the seventh of January is not. 

What are felt as short forms of phrasal proper names occur 
frequently and retain the capitals of the full forms. 

the United States 5531 Maryland 

the States the University 

the Atlantic the Senate 

the Gulf General Electric 

But short forms of proper names are not similarly recognized in 
such locutions as the mountain, the ocean, the lake, the street (though 
the Street is possible for Wall Street), the hotel, and the school. The 
Church, with an honorific capital c, refers to a national church, or 
to the body of believers in general, not to a single local organization 
or building. 

Phrasal proper names with both plural form and plural force 
occur. They are commonest as names of mountain ranges, groups 
of lakes, and groups of islands. 

the Appalachian Mountains the West Indies 

the Rocky Mountains the Philippine Islands 

the Great Lakes the British Isles 

The Appalachians, the Rockies, and the Philippines are short-form 
phrasal proper names. The Middle Ages is a plural phrasal proper 
name of more exceptional type. Phrasal proper names with plural 
form but singular force occur also. 

the United States Gulliver's Travels 

Niagara Falls 

Corresponding singulars do not occur for plural-form proper names. 
Sometimes sequences that in form are not nounal at all are 

Proper Names, Possessives, Exceptional Uses of Nouns 235 

used as phrasal proper names. Thus race horses are sometimes 
assigned names such as In Dutch and Call the Cops. Combinations 
of letters often replace complex phrasal proper names in common 
use. Thus the series of letters U. C.L.A.iss, generally recognized 
reduction of the University of California at Los Angeles. 

Uncapitalized and doubtful proper names. The proper 
names thus far noted are marked hi the written language by honor- 
ific capital letters. But some nouns that seem to require classifica- 
tion as proper nouns are not so marked. Among place names 
heaven, hell, paradise, and earth often require classification as proper 
nouns and yet are not begun with capitals. World is never a proper 
noun; like sun, it always requires the definite article if the appli- 
cation is to be specific. Earth is generally a pluralizer in its syntax, 
like world and sun] it is usually after prepositions (as in no city on 
earth is more beloved than Paris) that earth seems to require proper- 
noun classification. When it means "soil" or "dirt," earth is of 
course a quantifiable. The names of the seasons are sometimes 
proper nouns (as in we'll be in Puerto Rico by winter), sometimes 
pluralizers, and sometimes quantifiables. Today, tomorrow, and 
yesterday usually have the syntax of proper nouns and yet are 
left uncapitalized. Like Tuesday, these names are assigned on a 
fixed periodic basis; but every day is today once, somewhat as 
every human being is I and also you under certain circumstances 
but not under others. In late yesterday the adjective late seems to be 
an essentially predeterminative modifier of yesterday, somewhat as 
in southern France the adjective southern is an essentially pre- 
determinative modifier of France. Units such as tomorrow afternoon 
and yesterday morning are syntactically much like phrasal-proper- 
name units such as Earlham College; units such as this morning and 
the next afternoon are made particular in application by their deter- 
miner modifiers, as are units such as last week. Noon and midnight 
often have the syntax of proper nouns. The names of meals are 
sometimes pluralizers (as in we had a good supper), sometimes quan- 
tifiables (as in we didn't have much supper), and sometimes ap- 
parently proper nouns (as in we have company today, and supper 
will be late). Uncapitalized units such as page 10 and line 7 seem to 
require classification as phrasal proper names just as truly as 
capitalized Act IV and Room 301 do. But units such as the tenth 

236 The Sentence and Its Parts 

page, with ordinary determinatives making them particular, do not. 
The problem of classification is often a difficult one with such words 
as mankind, Christendom, society, fate, and nature. 

Mankind has come a long way. 

Society is indebted to those who rebel against it. 

Nature is indeed cruel. 

In uses such as these, proper-noun classification seems reasonable. 
Finally, the names of more or less organized bodies of thought 
Christianity, Buddhism, Islam raise problems. Probably they are 
best classified as proper nouns. Perhaps such nouns as labor and 
management, applied to social groupings, are best regarded as 
proper nouns also. Words spoken of as words often acquire the 
syntax of proper nouns. 

Urbane is a word I would avoid. 

Proper names are readily made into pluralizers under various 

the Johnsons another linguistic Copernicus 

three Georges the Miltons of the world 

a Roosevelt the Brooklyn of Whitman's day 

the first Samuel Butler the young Edison 

In where' 's Johnson? the family name Johnson is a true proper noun; 
in where are the Johnsons? it is a pluralizer. In there are three Georges 
in the class the effective individual content of George as a true 
proper name is absent; in the Miltons of the world there is a gen- 
eralizing of true proper-name content. It is natural that the honor- 
ific capital letters should be retained in cases such as these. They 
are also retained when a man's name is applied to his work or to 
products for which he has major responsibility. 

It's a Van Gogh. 

Bring your Jespersens to class. 

This is the third Ford we've owned. 

I'd like to hear some Beethoven. 

I haven't read much Dickens, I'm afraid. 

Here Beethoven and Dickens have become quantifiables. In Holly- 
wood occasionally gets a good idea, but they wear it out very soon the 
proper noun Hollywood has acquired collective force and is re- 
ferred to by they. 

Proper Names, Possessives, Exceptional Uses of Nouns 237 

Capitalization which begins as honorific marking of proper 
names is thus carried outside the category of proper names. It is 
carried still farther. Thus the pluralizer nouns Londoner and Ohioan 
have initial capitals simply because London and Ohio do, and words 
like English, Cuban, Christian, and Wagnerian (whether adjectives 
or nouns) have initial capitals for similar reasons. Even in verbs 
such as Americanize and Anglicize the capitals hang on. Sometimes 
they do get dropped. Thus they have disappeared, in some uses 
at least, in such words as biblical, china, lynch, pasteurize, platonic, 
romance, sadism, sandwich, satanic, solon, vulcanize, and watt. But 
trade names such as Kodak and Kleenex are given capitals even 
though their syntax is clearly that of the pluralizers and the quan- 
tifiables. Whether or not initial capitals are assigned to a word is 
of course not a criterion for classifying it as a proper noun or as 
something else. The category of proper nouns is a syntactic one, 
not an orthographical one. 

Characteristic uses of nouns. As has been said, the func- 
tions characteristically performed by nouns the nounal func- 
tions are as follows. 

1. Subject, as in paper isn't strong enough. 

2. Complement of a transitive verb, as in we've used paper. 

3. Head in a nounal headed unit, as in this paper isn't strong. 

4. Principal in a nounal apposed unit, as in that's enough, 

George old fellow. 

5. Appositive in a nounal apposed unit, as in my friend George 

was along. 

6. Object of a preposition as in / went with George. 

7. Coordinate within a nounal multiple unit as in George and 

I were there. 

But these are by no means the only functions nouns perform. For 
the possessive forms of nouns, performance of nonnounal functions 
is usual. For the common-case forms, it is frequent. 

The possessive forms, Inflection of nouns to form possessives 
is by the addition, to common-case forms, of an inflectional ending 
which in the written language is represented by an apostrophe and 
s. The addition of this ending generally does not involve increase 
in the number of syllables in the spoken forms. 

238 The Sentence and Its Parts 

boy 7 s dog 's Shaw 's livestock 7 s 

child J s hero 7 s winter 7 s Rip 's 

company ; s Malraux 's woman 7 s Robert 7 s 

conservative 7 s man 7 s death 's thief 7 s 

country 's Mary 7 s Kate 7 s wife 's 

When the addition of this ending does increase the number of 
syllables, the written language still represents the form by 's. 

Alice 7 s Fitch 's Louise 's witness 's 

Fish 7 s judge 7 s waitress 7 s wretch 7 s 

Common-case plurals that do not end in the inflectional s of 
plurality add the inflectional ending represented by 's. 

alumnae 's children ? s men 7 s sheep 7 s 

alumni 's Englishmen 7 s people 7 s women 7 s 

But common-case plurals that do end in the inflectional s of 
plurality are used as possessives unchanged except for the addition 
of an apostrophe in the written language. 

boys ' heroes 7 Richardsons 7 wives 7 

conservatives 7 judges ' weeks 7 wretches 7 

countries 7 pilots 7 witnesses 7 Youngs ' 

Some basic forms ending in /s/ or /z/ have considerable use as 
possessives without change in the spoken language and with the 
addition only of an apostrophe in the written. Nouns treated in 
this way are usually names of people, less often names of places. 

Charles 7 answer Fields 7 death 

Dolores 7 room Hendrix 7 family 

Frances 7 father Langston Hughes 7 best work 

Gladys 7 new house Mr. Jones 7 home 

Mrs. Adkins 7 car Mr. Mathews 7 permission 

Robert Bridges 7 poetry Mr. Sanchez 7 office 

Willis 7 views Mrs. Watts 7 notions 

Dickens 7 novels Texas 7 submerged lands 

In careful and formal styles possessives employing a spoken syl- 
labic ending and the written 7 s are commonly preferred for names 
like these. But the same considerations that operate against plurals 
like the Bridgeses and the Battses operate against possessives like 
Robert Bridgets and Langston Hughes's, and operate even more 
strongly. There is a feeling that the possessive of Robert Bridges 

Proper Names, Possessives, Exceptional Uses of Nouns 239 

should be made like the possessive of these judges, and that the 
possessive of Langston Hughes should be made like the possessive 
of the Jews, without the addition of another /z/. Possessives made 
without the addition of a syllabic suffix are well established for 
names ending in /s/ or /z/ and associated in the main with the 
distant past. 

Achilles' Erasmus 7 Laertes' Socrates' 

Cervantes' Heraclitus' Moses' Ulysses' 

Copernicus' Jesus' Polonius' Xerxes' 

They are established also in a few fixed phrasings. 

for goodness 7 sake for conscience 7 sake 

The written-language apostrophe is often omitted when posses- 
sives occur within phrasal proper names. 

Martins Ferry the Citizens Savings Bank 

Pikes Peak Columbia Teachers College 

the Ex-Students Association 

Apostrophes are not used in a number of compounds. 

beeswax bridesmaid hogshead swordsman 

But in hyphenated units such as bull's-eye and cats-paw they are 

The written language has four distinct forms for the great 
majority of pluralizers. Examples follow, with C. representing 
common case and P. representing possessive. 

Written Singulars 

C. week judge hero country thief man alumnus 
P. week's judge's hero's country's thief's man's alum mis' s 

Written Plurals 

C. weeks judges heroes countries thieves men alumni 
P. weeks 7 judges' heroes 7 countries' thieves' men's alumni's 

Week, judge, hero, and country are regular pluralizers, the last two 
involved in complexities of spelling when s is added but not when 7 s 
is added. In the spoken language these four words have only two 
forms: a basic form which functions as a common-case singular, 
and an inflected form which functions as a possessive-case singular 
and also as an indifferent-case plural. Thus in the spoken language 

240 The Sentence and Its Parts 

week's, weeks, and weeks' are all one form. Thief has three forms in 
the spoken language; man and alumnus have four. Such a family 
name as Bridges can have two forms in the written language but 
only a single form in the spoken. 

Mr. Bridges the Bridges 

Mr. Bridges 7 the Bridges' 

But a more conservative practice would have four written forms 
here, representing two spoken forms. 

Mr. Bridges the Bridgeses 

Mr. Bridges's the Bridgeses' 

Use of possessives as determiners. The function most char- 
acteristically performed by possessives is the pronounal function of 
determiner within nounal headed units. Used as determiners, pos- 
sessives indicate that identification is specific and complete. Some- 
times they identify on the basis of ownership. Jack's car may be 
the only car Jack owns. Jack's tie is probably not the only tie 
Jack owns, but it is the only one that attracts attention at the 
moment of speaking or writing. Often possessives are concerned 
with relationships distinct from simple ownership and yet not 
wholly unrelated to it. In Jack's hand the hand is hardly "owned"; 
it is a part of the possessor. In Mary's room at the William Penn 
Hotel the possessive Mary's indicates temporary possession, not 
real ownership. In Whitman's poetry the possessive indicates au- 
thorship, which is a kind of ownership too (as copyright laws 
suggest) and may even be felt as an ownership that continues 
after death. In Japan's exports the situation is not greatly different. 
In Mary's picture the possessive can indicate (1) that Mary owns 
the picture, or (2) that she made it, or (3) that she is the subject of 
it. If she made it or is the subject of it, she has something of the 
right to it that the author has to a book. If she is the subject of 
the picture, something like that picture of Mary might be preferred 
to Mary's picture. In Jack's brother there is no ownership of course, 
but family relationships involve a kind of mutual possessing which 
the verb have can also indicate, as in Jack has one brother and two 
sisters. Jack's friends is much like Jack's brother; Jack's enemies 
and Jack's neighbors are also similar. So are Jack's inferiors, where 

Proper Names, Possessives, Exceptional Uses of Nouns 241 

the relationship is likely to be much less close. The relationships are 
personal ones in constructions such as these where possessives func- 
tion as determiners of identification based on relationships involv- 
ing "possession" of various kinds distinct from ownership. 
Sometimes possessives really indicate no more than strong interest. 
Thus in there goes one of Bill's "beautiful morons" all the possessive 
may mean is that Bill shows considerable interest in women of a 
type here labeled beautiful morons. Sometimes the possessive indi- 
cates only that there has been a kind of dedication, at least in 
theory: for example, in St. George's Church and in the People's 
National Bank. 

Sometimes determining possessives have relationships to nounal 
heads much like the relationships subjects have to predicators. 

He needs his friends' help. 

We advanced the date at John's suggestion. 

Every child needs a mother's love. 

John's mistake was in trusting Harrison. 

I hadn't heard about Hugh's trip. 

We came here shortly after Roosevelt's death. 

His friends' help is much like his friends help him in meaning rela- 
tionships; but his friends' help is a nounal headed unit, not a clause. 
Hugh's trip is like Hugh traveled, and Roosevelt's death like Roosevelt 
died. The possessives are like passive subjects in the italicized units 
which follow. 

Germany's defeat was inevitable. 

Have you heard about John's promotion? 

MacArihur's dismissal changed the situation. 

Here Germany's defeat is like Germany was defeated. Nouns ex- 
pressing meanings of occurrence have no passive forms; but this 
does not prevent frequent reversal in a kind of direction of pred- 

MacArbhur's dismissal: Mac Arthur was dismissed 
Truman's dismissal of MacArthur: Truman dismissed Mac- 

But possessives paralleling passive subjects are often not usable. 
Thus Latin's study must give way to the study of Latin. 

242 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Nouns and nounal units marked by possessive inflection some- 
times function as determiners of quantity. 

two weeks 1 notice half an hour's sleep 

five years' experience a month's rent 

a few minutes' thought an evening's entertainment 

a hard day's work thousands of dollars' worth 

two weeks' vacation three hours' credit 

The construction seems to be of this type in such units as at arm's 
length, a stone's throw, a moment's pause, and a long day's drive, 
in spite of the fact that the head nouns here are probably felt as 
pluralizers rather than quantifiables. Common-case construction 
is generally preferred to possessive construction for meanings com- 
parable to these when the heads are pluralizers. 

a three-day trip a four-year course 

a two-hour walk a five-cent charge 

a one-day job a ten-dollar bill 

a ten-minute nap a three-cent stamp 

In prepositive positions within nounal headed units possessive 
determiners are full determiners. The same possessives also occur 
in postpositive positions, as objects of of, with determiner force 

It's an old grammar of Addison Clark's. 

We took some friends of Mary's along. 

It's no business of Joe's. 

That artificial English of Hugh's is very painful. 

The play of Galsworthy's that I like best is "Justice." 

Students of Hudson's express the same view. 

Full determiners are superimposed in all of these sentences except 
the last, in which the subject is undetermined. Postponed posses- 
sives are limited in occurrence. 

Except for the determiners of quantity, possessive determiners 
are generally nouns or nounal units of very limited types. They 
are likely to be used of people; or of animals, dolls, and the like 
thought of as having personality; or of divinities, natural phenom- 
ena, and the like that have been thought of similarly. 

a child's mind the cat's eyes 

my parents' home Big Sister's bed 

Proper Names, Possess! ves, Exceptional Uses of Nouns 245 

Thor's beard death's door 

nature's freaks the sun's rays 

Or of groupings of people such as are commonly given proper 

the nation's history the Army's methods 

England's destiny the University's investments 

labor's aims the jury's verdict 

the company's assets the government's policy 

the city's policy the Tribune's editorial 

the island's problems the Philharmonic's new director 

Or of units of time. 

last year's model today's paper 

this semester's schedule New Year's Eve 

Uses of possessive inflection in fixed phrasings carry it farther. 

at his wit's end out of harm's way 

to his heart's content for goodness' sake 

in my mind's eye thought for thought's sake 

Occasionally possessives are seen in units such as the kitchen's pots, 
the play's title, the water's edge, and the box's top. They are not very 
natural in such uses. Possessive determiners are generally applied 
to "possessors" of one kind or another, and possessors tend to be 
either human beings or enough like human beings, in one way or 
another, to deserve proper names. The relationships expressed are 
intimate ones. 
Common-case modifiers sometimes compete with possessives. 

the students' newspaper the student newspaper 

the family's car the family car 

Hoover's administration the Hoover administration 

Here the meanings are about the same, but the use of possessives 
relates the modifiers and the heads in a more personal way. 
Common-case nouns do not function as determiners, so that, 
though Hoover's administration is determined, Hoover administra- 
tion requires a determiner. Sometimes a distinction in case in the 
modifier indicates a difference in meaning relationships. 

the Negro's problem the Negro problem 

the mother's cat the mother cat 

244 The Sentence and Its Parts 

The Negro's problem means "the problem the Negro faces' 7 : the 
point of view is the intimate, internal one of the Negro himself. 
The Negro problem very probably means "the problem the Negro 
produces for others": the point of view is external and perhaps 
unfriendly. In the mother's cat the cat belongs to the mother; in 
the mother cat the cat itself is the mother. 

Prepositional units begun by of often compete with possessive 
determiners. In the grave, scratchy voice of President Truman the 
prepositional unit is perhaps preferred for rhetorical reasons: 
President Truman's grave, scratchy voice gets a good deal in front 
of the head voice. The rise of Hitler may seem to have a special 
effectiveness that Hitler's rise lacks. The eyes of Mary is not pos- 
sible; Mary's eyes is the only locution for a relationship as intimate 
as this. People's favorite sports is normal; the favorite sports of the 
people of Chile avoids the possessive because of Chile follows people. 
Postpositive prepositional units, again, cannot function as deter- 
miners, so that the is used before favorite sports. 

Hitler's rise the rise of Hitler 

the Negro's problem the problem of the Negro 

Use of possessives as nondeterminative modifiers. Some- 
times possessives used as prepositive modifiers in nounal headed 
units do not have determiner force. 

bachelors' degrees another boys' school 

children's books a hornets' nest 

women's dresses a ladies' man 

teachers' colleges a man's umbrella 

The units given in the first column above are undetermined. 
Bachelors' degrees is as undetermined as graduate degrees^ and 
women's dresses is as undetermined as party dresses. The units 
given in the second column are determined, but not by the posses- 
sives. Modifiers that would follow determiners can precede non- 
determinative possessives. 

a respectable bachelor's degree 

no very satisfactory children's books 

a somewhat unsuccessful ladies' man 

Nondeterminative possessives conflict with the central pattern- 
ing of modern English, and they are of limited occurrence for 

Proper Names, Possessives, Exceptional Uses of Nouns 245 

this reason. Several women's dresses can be ambiguous: it can be 
equivalent to either the dresses belonging to several women or several 
dresses for women. The pull is toward the first meaning. My favorite 
girl's name can be similarly ambiguous, meaning the name of my 
favorite girl or my favorite name for a girL A wooden dressmaker's 
form is unambiguous only because it is obvious that what is 
wooden is a form and not a dressmaker. Her woman's guile is 
unambiguous only when it is clear that what is "hers 77 is not a 
woman but feminine guile. The spoken language can reduce am- 
biguities through distinctions in intonation, but this solution is 
less than satisfactory. Modern English prefers to use uninflected 
basic forms of nouns, not possessives, as nondeterminative pre- 
positive modifiers when it lets nouns perform this adjectival 
function at all. 

graduate degrees the Hoover administration 

business colleges the child mind 

Possessives without following heads. Possessives are usable 
rather freely as representative forms which have assimilated both 
the meanings and the functions of what would be their heads in 
full phrasings. 

Mary's old friends don't have much in common with John's. 
Boys 7 clothes cost less than girls'. 

My parents were stricter than Bill's, who were perhaps too 
uninterested in discipline. 

Here John's represents John's old friends; the obviously parallel 
Mary's old friends assures this. Girls' will similarly be taken to 
represent girls' clothes even in the spoken language, where girls' 
is not distinguishable from the commorircase plural form. Bill's 
will be taken to represent Bill's parents, to whom the following 
who clearly refers. It is noteworthy that possessives without follow- 
ing heads can have singular, plural, or quantitative force. 

Hugh's excuses were thin, but Joe's was thinner. 
Hugh's excuses were thin, but Joe's were thinner. 
Hugh's work was poor, but Joe's was worse. 

Some possessives without following heads are usable even when 
there are no parallel full constructions in the immediate context. 

246 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Susan spent three months at her grandmother's. 

We had supper at the Carrolls'. 

We had been shopping at Macy's. 

Jack is at the dentist's. 

We walked up Fifth Avenue to St. Bartholemew's. 

How shall we celebrate New Year's? 

He took his master's at Columbia. 

Home, home, store, office, church, Eve, and degree are suggested by 
the possessives themselves here. This type of construction is 
sharply limited in occurrence. 

Possessives used as subjects in gerundial clauses. As has 
been said, possessive inflection often is given to subjects in gerun- 
dial clauses. The function of subject is of course nounal and is 
elsewhere assigned (when nouns perform it) to the common case. 

Herbert's marrying that silly girl is just too much. 
Instead of the teacher's wearing herself out reading composi- 
tions, the students could criticize each other's work. 
We didn't mind the cover's being torn. 

This use of possessive inflection is not a comfortable one. In in- 
formal styles the tendency is to leave subjects of gerundials un- 
marked by possessive inflection, like subjects of other verb forms. 
In all styles the gerundial-clause pattern is often avoided because 
of distaste for possessive inflection on subjects. 

Phrasal attachment of possessive inflection. Very com- 
monly possessive inflectional endings indicate relationships for 
preceding multiword nounal units rather than for the single words 
to which they are attached. These units may be headed units, 
apposed units, or multiple units. The normal place for possessive 
inflection is at the end of whole units in all such cases. 

The poor girl's husband has lost his job. 

The umbrella is the new secretary's. 

I don't understand our friend Jack's letting us down. 

An hour and a half's work is too much. 

If the nounal unit is a headed one terminating in its head, what 
results is not unlike what results when such a unit is made plural: 
the poor girl's is obviously similar to the poor girls. If the nounal 
unit is an apposed one terminating in the appositive, what results 
is exceptional from the point of view of the older Indo-European 

Proper Names, Possessives, Exceptional Uses of Nouns 247 

grammar: in our friend Jack's, for example, the principal is not 
possessive but the appositive apparently is. In multiple units such 
as an hour and a half's the construction is strange too: the head 
word in the first coordinate is a common-case noun here, but the 
head word in the second apparently is a possessive. The key to the 
matter, of course, is the fact that in all of these units possessive 
inflectional endings belong not just to the words they are attached 
to but to the whole units. Possessive inflections terminate units 
much as prepositions begin them. The Republican Party's candidate 
and the candidate of the Republican Party employ 's and of in very 
similar ways. 

When nounal units end in postpositive modifiers, possessive 
inflections are generally not appended in formal styles : other con- 
structions are preferred instead. In careful styles possessive in- 
flections are added more frequently. 

someone else's seat 

thousands of dollars' worth 

the Wife of Bath's marriages 

the Dean of Student Life's help 

the Institute of International Education's policies 

Else is an adverb, but it clearly modifies someone and it has come to 
accept possessive inflection readily. In the last three examples 
given above, the capital letters help to outline the possessive units 
in the written language, and intonation takes care of the matter 
in the spoken. In informal styles, and especially in conversation, 
possessive inflection is added to units of still other types. 

each of them's interest in cats 
the children across the street's dog 
the boy you met' 8 father 
the girl he goes with's mother 
at a friend of mine's 

In the unit a friend of mine'Sj for a friend of mine's home } two layers 
of possessive inflection have been added to already-possessive my, 
but the outermost layer really belongs to the whole unit. In the 
spoken language intonation serves to outline the italicized units 
given above, but in the written language there are greater diffi- 
culties. Even in the most informal spoken use there are limits to 

248 The Sentence and Its Parts 

what can be handled satisfactorily as possessive units. The itali- 
cized units which follow are certainly not very acceptable ones. 

one of our friends' car 

the man that bought our house's wife 

Coordination of possessives occurs but is sometimes awkward. 

That was during Harding' 's or Coolidge's administration. 
Nearby is some of Switzerland's and the world's best scenery. 
This is either Jim's or Marvin's. 

Possessives do fairly well as half coordinates where there is an 
effect of afterthought. 

The hat is Jack's or Bill's. 

They occur as modifiers within larger possessives, sometimes awk- 

We're going in Jane's father's car. 
We're going over to Jane's sister's. 

Nonnounal uses of common- case nouns and nounal 
units. Nouns do not function as predicators, but nounal units 
with verbs in them sometimes do. 

She sort of laughed. 

Here the verb laughed has been reduced to the status of object of 
a preposition within the total predicator. The style is informal. 
Nounal complements of be sometimes approach the essentially 
adjectival function of complement of a copulative verb. 

It's no use to warn him. 

The buckle is silver. 

Hugh just isn't your type, little girl. 

What color are the baby's eyes? 

It's tops. 

In George is now thirty-five years of age the situation is similar; 
the nounal complement has the force of adjectival thirty-five years 
old. Nounal complements are sometimes found after oblique verbs 

We went home at ten. 
We went places then. 
We came north a year later. 

Proper Names, Possessives, Exceptional Uses of Nouns 249 

Nounal adjuncts are very common. 

Come here, George, 

That was on Sunday, my only free day. 

I saw him Tuesday. 

The moment he saw us, he rushed over to welcome us. 

I'll do better next time. 

We traveled all afternoon. 

What way did you come? 

We drove north. 

She came back three times. 

I half believed him. 

We went to England second class. 

He came back from the war a new man. 

MacArthur or no MacArthur, the situation was desperate. 

Wonder of wonders, we got his signature. 

No doubt she meant it. 

He's bought his wife another car. 

She struck him a hard Now. 

In spite of their variety, nounal adjuncts direct address ex- 
cepted occur only in a very limited way. Thus though / saw him 
Tuesday is normal 7 saw him noon and I saw him February are 
not. Prepositions can easily be supplied for many nounal adjuncts, 
so that the nounal constructions can be regarded as syntactically 
reduced; but this is not always true. Adjuncts of direct address, 
for example, can hardly be supplied with prepositions; they are 
like subjects and many complements in having no relation-indi- 
cating words of this kind. Half-appositive relationships make 
nounal construction natural in such sentences as that was on 
Sunday, my only free day, and perhaps in such sentences as he came 
back from the war a new man. 

Nouns and nounal units are used quite extensively as contained 
modifiers within headed units. They occur most often as pre- 
positive modifiers within nounal headed units. 

apartment hotels automobile insur- old-age security 

brick houses ance an open-air meeting 

chance acquaint- chewing gum a fifty-mile drive 

ance danger point a no-account loafer 

country towns farming country some teen-age girls 

east winds football players a wild-goose chase 

Ford cars history courses a two-story house 

250 The Sentence and Its Parts 

giant corporations sea level & fire-insurance com- 

Judge Henderson Sunday schools pany 

living wage telephone books his mama's-boy ways 

night trains vacuum cleaners a matter-of-fact person 

pet rabbits waiting rooms middle-of-the-road ideas 

Country towns can be replaced by rural towns, in which an adjective 
is used as a modifier; but rural has less warmth than country, and 
perhaps too much of a sociological flavor. Giant corporations can 
be replaced by gigantic corporations with only a slight loss of 
forcefulness. You'll break your fool neck is stronger than you'll 
break your foolish neck. But there is no adjective that quite matches 
the night of night trains, and none that quite matches the pet of pet 
rabbits or the university of university students. Nouns and nounal 
units are used as predeterminative and postpositive modifiers in 
nounal units less often, but they are used in both these ways. 

half the morning the people next door 

three times the usual number a house the size of a hospital 

the meeting yesterday hair the color of good coffee 

the trip home eight hours a day 

Nouns and nounal units occur also as contained modifiers within 
adjectival and adverbial headed units. 

world famous six years old /wr-lined coat 

knee high ten pounds heavier peace-loving nations 

girl crazy all night long church-going people 

dirt cheap a great deal worse a week ago 

raving mad mac/ime-made belts once a year 

boiling hot tnsec-borne diseases how the devil 

Occasionally nouns function as appositives in adverbial apposed 

up front down south back home 



Inflectional forms of the adjectives. The only inflection of 
adjectives which occurs in modern English is that which normally 
serves to indicate that an explicitly comparative view of the char- 
acteristic named is being taken and that this characteristic is 
thought to exist, in the instances or circumstances on which atten- 
tion is centered, in other degrees than in the instances or circum- 
stances with which comparison is made. Two types of inflected 
forms perform this function: comparative forms and superlative 

Marietta is older than the other cities of the area. 
Marietta is the oldest city in the area. 

Old has older and oldest as one-word inflected forms. Conscientious 
has more conscientious and most conscientious as what can most con- 
veniently be called inflected forms too phrasal in type, like the 
verb form will play. If more conscientious and most conscientious 
are classified as phrasal inflected forms of conscientious, it will be 
difficult to deny such classification to less conscientious and least 
conscientious. From the point of view of syntax, the reason for 
classifying more conscientious, most conscientious, less conscientious, 
and least conscientious with older and oldest is the fact that, like 
older and oldest, phrasal units of these four types are usable as 
heads in nounal headed units with a degree of freedom not at all 
possible for the basic forms. 

Of the two girls, the older is the more conscientious. 
Of the three boys, the oldest is the least conscientious. 
Of the two girls, the younger is the less conscientious. 
Of the three boys, the youngest is the most conscientious. 


252 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Modern English does not permit such a phrasing as the young is the 
conscientious. Such forms as older and more conscientious can be 
called plus comparatives; such forms as less conscientious can be 
called minus comparatives. Such forms as oldest and most consci- 
entious can be called plus superlatives; such forms as least conscien- 
tious can be called minus superlatives. More, most, less, and least 
can be considered pronoun forms used as auxiliaries within phrasal 
adjective forms. 

Explicit comparison is quite possible without the use of com- 
parative and superlative forms. This is true even where judgements 
of inequality result. 

Marietta is very old in comparison with most cities of the 

Middle West. 
Marietta is not as old as Philadelphia, of course. 

Where judgements of equality result, basic forms are normal. 

Marietta is as old as many cities farther east. 
Regular inflected forms. With exceptions to be noted later, 
adjectives with monosyllabic basic forms make comparative forms 
of plus type by adding an inflectional ending which in the written 
language is represented by er and make superlative forms by adding 
an inflectional ending written est. Complexities of spelling appear. 

clean er clean est hard er hard est 

dri er dri est lat er lat est 

fin er fin est neat er neat est 

fre er fre est sadd er sadd est 

Some adjectives whose basic forms have two syllables make plus 
comparative and superlative forms in the same way. Common 
dissyllabic adjectives terminating in the suffix y do so most con- 

fin?.' er funni est lucki er lucki est 
Though not clearly divisible as funny and lucky are, holy, pretty, 
and silly follow the same pattern of inflection. Some other common 
dissyllabic adjectives with unstressed or weakly stressed second 
syllables notably adjectives whose basic forms terminate in the 
suffix ly employ the endings er and est less consistently, but do 
employ them. 

Adjectives 253 





Comparative and superlative forms employing the auxiliary pro- 
noun forms more and most compete here but are perhaps less 
forceful: he's the stupidest man I know, for example, is more forceful 
than he's the most stupid man I know. Polite sometimes employs 
the endings er and est in spite of the fact that its second syllable 
is stressed. A few other dissyllabic adjectives whose basic forms 
have stressed second syllables employ the superlative suffix est in 
more or less fixed phrasings, 

in the minutest detail not the remotest notion 

For most adjectives whose basic forms have two syllables, plus 
comparative forms are made only with the aid of auxiliary more 
and plus superlatives only with the aid of auxiliary most. This is 
almost always the case for adjectives whose second syllables are 
stressed. It is generally the case for adjectives whose basic forms 
end in alj ant, ed, en, ern, ful, ic, ing, ish, ive, less, ous, some, and 
ward. It is the case for other adjectives of miscellaneous types. 

absurd childish fatal skilled 

active comic flippant solemn 

afraid complete futile spacious 

alert content gifted splendid 

amorous cunning gruesome stylish 

ancient damning hopeless thoughtful 

awkward direct hostile thoughtless 

backward distinct human tired 

basic docile humane tiresome 

brutal dormant monstrous useful 

candid eager proper useless 

careless earnest prudent valid 

certain exact rigid vicious 

charming famous selfish vocal 

For adjectives whose basic forms have more than two syllables, 
plus comparative and superlative forms require the use of the 
auxiliaries more and most. 

254 The Sentence and Its Parts 

leisurely, more leisurely, most leisurely 
satisfactory, more satisfactory, most satisfactory 

In general, phrasal adjectives such as cold-blooded employ the 
auxiliaries more and most when they form plus comparatives and 

cold-blooded, more cold-blooded, most cold-blooded. 

It is possible, of course, to inflect contained adjectives rather than 
the larger phrasal ones, producing such forms as colder-blooded and 
coldest-blooded; but these are generally avoided except where the 
contained adjective is good or bad. 

good-hearted, better-hearted, best-hearted 
bad-tempered, worse-tempered, worst-tempered 

Adjectives which begin with prefixes are likely to employ more and 
most whatever the corresponding adjectives without prefixes would 
do, though practice varies on this point. 

unsafe, more unsafe, most unsafe 
unhappy, more unhappy, most unhappy 

Even adjectives whose plus comparatives and superlatives are 
ordinarily made with the aid of the endings er and est occasionally 
employ more and most in special situations to be noted later. 

I guess I'm more lazy than sick. 
You've been most kind. 

The two methods of forming plus comparatives and superlatives 
are quite different in some respects. The inflectional endings cannot 
be used without the forms to which they attach. The auxiliary 
pronouns, on the other hand, can be used repeatedly without 
repetition of their head words, and can be used with the adverb so 
substituted for head words that will be clearly understood from 
context or situation. 

It's harder and harder to save any money. 

It's more and more difficult to save any money. 

Their last secretary was erratic, but this one is more so. 

All minus comparatives and superlatives are formed regularly, 
following a single pattern: the auxiliary pronoun forms less and 
least are placed before the basic forms. 

Adjectives 255 

free, less free, least free 

happy, less happy, least happy 

satisfactory, less satisfactory, least satisfactory 

Irregularities in inflection. Irregularly compared adjectives 
are few. The most important are bad and good, with originally un- 
related plus comparatives and superlatives. 

bad, worse, worst good, better, best 

Little should be classified as an adjective when it expresses mean- 
ings of small size or of unimportance or unimpressiveness. Its plus 
inflection is quite irregular. 

little, less, least 

Worse and less are unique among one-word comparatives in not 
terminating in r. Less and least rarely express meanings of small 
size now: the least child is archaic phrasing. But meanings of un- 
importance or unimpressiveness are expressed by less and least in 
such locutions as no less a person than the Dean, not the least 
objection, and the least of my worries. Lesser is a second comparative 
of little which is not usable with clauses marked by than but occa- 
sionally occurs in such locutions as the lesser of two evils and all 
lesser institutions. Far has irregular inflected forms. 

far, farther, farthest 

Further and furthest occur as variants of farther and farthest. Elder 
and eldest are archaic as inflected forms of old; and elder, like lesser, 
is not usable with clauses subordinated by than. In almost all 
situations old is now regular. Late has latter as a comparative in 
such phrasings as the latter part of the nineteenth century; but usually 
late is regular. 

At least one basic-form adjective has a regular superlative but 
no comparative. 

mere, merest 

A few other basic-form adjectives have irregular superlatives but 
no commonly used comparatives with the same meanings. 

fore, foremost northern, northernmost 

hind, hindmost southern, southernmost 

eastern, easternmost western, westernmost 

256 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Superlatives in most are now felt as compounds in which a modify- 
ing auxiliary pronoun has been united, postpositively, with a basic- 
form adjective head. Regular comparatives of such adjectives of 
direction as western occur occasionally, as in Colorado is more 
Western than California; but in literal directional meanings other 
constructions are preferred, as in California is farther west than 
Colorado. Several forms that are best classified as irregular super- 
lative adjectives are based on adverbs. 

inmost, innermost uppermost 

outmost, outermost utmost, uttermost 

At least one superlative in most is based on a noun. 


Comparative forms not usable with than clauses exist alongside 
some of these superlatives. Inner, outer, upper, and utter are such 
forms. Further is a comparative in the process of detaching itself 
from/ar when it means additional. Former is now distinct from fore 
and foremost; it is best regarded as an adjective when it is used 
with the meaning of earlier, as in a former resident. 

Some adjectives rarely or never compare. This is true of a con- 
siderable number of gerundial and participial forms whose clas- 
sification as adjectives is somewhat arbitrary. 

a growing child an educated person 

an increasing tendency a grown man 

his suffering hearers an organized effort 

But many other adjectives of gerundial and participial origin do 
compare : for example, convincing, fattening, surprising, bored, com- 
plicated, and tired. Such adjectives as the following do not compare. 

hourly, daily, weekly sole, lone 

four-legged, triangular chief, main, principal 

bearded, striped extinct, incurable 

Right and wrong are generally not compared, though correct is. 
It would help if his English were less correct 

True is compared, but false is not likely to be. Bad is compared, 
but evil generally is not, and ill is not. Adjectives of color, nation- 
ality, religion, and the like are compared. 

Adjectives 257 

She has the reddest hair you ever saw. 
She's more Irish than necessary. 

But er and est are avoided, even with monosyllabic adjectives such 
as Scotch and French. Such words as perfect, final and dead are 
compared with relative freedom, at least in some applications. 

I'm afraid his pronunciation is more perfect than ever. 
The decision was less final than was believed. 
It was the deadest party I ever got into. 

In general, adjectives which do not compare are not modified by 
such degree modifiers as very, too, as, and so. But alone compares 
in such sentences as she's more alone than ever, and yet seems to 
reject very and too, if not as and so; and little as an adjective con- 
cerned with size is rarely compared and yet accepts very, too, as, 
and so quite readily. Little is a special case, of course: in less children 
it will be taken as the pronoun, with less pushing out fewer, rather 
than the adjective equivalent to smaller. 

Meanings are clearly responsible for the absence of comparative 
and superlative forms for such adjectives as hourly. Most adjec- 
tives cannot be pegged to absolute meanings which forbid com- 
parison uncompromisingly, but if hourly is to mean anything at all, 
it has such a meaning. It is harder to see why the growing of a 
growing child and the grown of a grown man should reject compar- 
ison. More and most can modify the verb grow as in both the children 
are growing more this year, though very and too cannot function as 
degree modifiers of verbs. 

The uses of comparative forms. Comparative forms of ad- 
jectives have their most characteristic use when clauses of com- 
parison subordinated by than modify them. 

Mexico City is higher than is really comfortable. 
The city is more cosmopolitan than most cities in the States. 
The vegetation is less tropical than at lower altitudes. 
Boston is three centuries old, but Mexico City is an older city 

than that. 
Mexico City offers a more stimulating intellectual life than 

most cities do. 

Definite determinatives of identity, such as the, cannot easily be 
superimposed on comparatives modified by than clauses; but in- 

258 The Sentence and Its Parts 

definite determinatives, such as a, can. It is often possible, and 
even desirable, to leave the than clause implied rather than stated. 

Housing was expensive when we came, but the situation is 

better now. 

There must be less complicated ways of convincing him. 
You'll live longer if you don't worry. 
Gray is becoming more malicious year by year. 
We'd better have our brakes checked. 

It is generally not desirable to use the forms of direct comparison 
where it is not clear what is being compared. 

In the characteristic use with a than clause expressed or implied, 
the comparative of such an adjective as fond normally requires 
two completers. Thus in he's fond of good music the prepositional 
unit of good music is a completing modifier of fond, and in he's 
fonder of good music than of good food a second completing modifier, 
than of good food, is added to satisfy the special needs of the 

Sometimes there is comparison of the degrees to which two 
qualities exist in a particular situation. If the than clause is re- 
duced, the comparative form must employ more even in the case 
of an adjective that usually employs the ending er in forming its 

We were more dead than alive. 
She's more sick than lazy. 

But when the than clause is not reduced, a comparative in er is 

It's thicker than it is wide. 

Her typing is neater than it is accurate. 

Comparatives modified by the are used in pairs, as has been said, 
to mark relationships of proportionate variation. 

The smaller the town, the friendlier the people. 

The is a modifier of difference when it modifies comparatives in 
this way, not a determiner. So much could be substituted, though 
the result would be less natural. Comparatives used in pairs with 
the are concerned with highly relative, comparative ratings; but 
it is not possible to supply than completers. 

Adjectives 259 

Comparative forms of adjectives have another use, in which they 
are preceded by the or other definite determinatives and cannot be 
modified by than clauses. In this use comparative forms have the 
characteristic syntax of superlative forms, in essence, rather than 
the usual syntax of comparative forms. Comparative forms are 
usable with the syntax of superlatives only when the total number 
of instances, or groups of instances, is two. In careful and formal 
styles, and to some extent in informal styles, they are normally 
preferred to superlatives under such circumstances. 

The older of the two boys is in college. 
The less studious twin became a salesman. 
About half the students were from Asia, and these were the 
more industrious. 

There is a suggestion of two instances or groupings in such phras- 
ings as the following, though it may not be very obvious. 

his better judgement the older generation 

the lower grades the upper middle class 

the newer houses the better features of the system 

In higher education the comparative has this kind of force even 
though there is no determinative. 

Comparative forms used with the syntax of superlatives tend to 
be crowded out by superlatives in many situations, especially in 
informal styles. 

Which route is the shortest? 

Joe always sits by the best lamp and leaves his wife the other 

I got the worst of the argument. 

In informal styles it would seem overprecise to ask which route is 
the shorter when only two routes are under consideration or to 
speak of the better lamp when there are only two lamps. The super- 
lative forms used when there are more than two tend to be more 
natural also when there are only two. But where division into two 
is always present in the nature of things, superlative forms are 
not likely to be used. 

Her upper teeth have to be pulled. 

It is biological nonsense to call women the weaker sex. 

260 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Only the metaphorical meaning of foot makes a superlative possible 
in the following sentence. 

A good politician always puts his best foot in his mouth. 

Comparatives are well established also in such phrasings as the 
better homes and the lower grades, where best and lowest, lacking the 
suggestion of division into two presumably not very unequal group- 
ings, would seem to refer to smaller numbers of homes and grades, 
at somewhat extreme positions in the scale. 

Comparatives are sometimes given exceptional uses in which 
they have so much the and, especially in doubtfully standard styles, 
all the as modifiers of difference. 

So much the better. 

That makes it all the more doubtful. 

Is that all the later it is? 

Minus comparatives are much less frequent than plus com- 
paratives. Adjectives that do not employ the auxiliary pronoun 
more in forming plus comparatives do not often form minus com- 
paratives. Other patterns are preferred. 

His new office is not as big as his old one. 
His new office is smaller than his old one. 

Less big would seem unnatural here. Even adjectives that employ 
the auxiliary pronoun form more often avoid the companion form 

His new office is not as convenient as his old one. 

But less convenient is quite possible here. 

The uses of superlative forms. With respect to mean- 
ing, superlative forms of adjectives are not greatly different from 
comparative. Marietta is the oldest city in the area (or Marietta is 
the oldest of the cities of the area) is not unlike Marietta is older than 
the other cities of the area in content. The contrast may be a little 
stronger when comparatives are used: Marietta is older than the 
other cities of the area puts Marietta in isolation on one side and the 
remaining cities of the area on the other, whereas if oldest is used 
instead of older the resulting construction leaves Marietta in the 
same grouping as the other cities, even though it is still differen- 

Adjectives 261 

tiated from them. From the point of view of syntax, there is more 
difference. Superlative forms cannot be modified by than clauses. 
In addition, they have a strong affinity for definite determinatives 
of identification, such as the. 

Cider is the best drink available. 
Cider is the best of the available drinks. 
Tom is our least industrious student. 

With determiner modifiers, notably the, superlatives have consid- 
erable use in nounal constructions. 

Only the most studious passed. 
We left the hardest till last. 

The is likely to be used even where the resulting unit is used as an 
adjunct and it seems preferable to avoid the. 

Which do you like the best? 

The students from Asia work the hardest. 

Enthusiasm, pretended enthusiasm, surprise, and irritation all 
lead at times to the use of superlatives without much respect for 
accuracy but also without syntactic strangeness. 

They have the prettiest baby you ever saw. 
That's the most ridiculous thing I ever heard of. 
That's the worst yet. 

Sometimes explicit comparison is pretty well lost sight of. This is 
true, for example, in polite we had the best time! spoken by departing 
female guests. 

When indefinite determinatives combine with superlatives the 
result is syntactically exceptional. Sometimes there is an unusual 
type of superimposing. 

There's always a worst student. 
Everyone has a best friend. 

These sentences are convenient equivalents of there j s always a 
student who is the worst student in the class and everyone has a friend 
who is his best friend. Most superlatives following indefinite deter- 
minatives are generally a very different matter. 

He's a most obliging fellow. 

It was a most delightful occasion. 

262 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Here again explicit comparison is not really present. Most may 
seem elegant in this use : such modifiers as extremely are generally 
preferred, or no modifiers at all. 

Superlatives have considerable use as complements of copulative 
verbs and as adjuncts (and as heads and coordinates in such com- 
plements and adjuncts) without preceding determinatives. 

It seems best to try another method. 

It's hardest of all to understand him when he's eloquent. 

She's least accommodating when she's having troubles. 

The vegetation is most impressive in the valleys. 

She always stays longest when we're busy. 

Most superlatives again have occasional use where clear and specific 
comparison is not implied. 

You've been most kind. 
It was most embarrassing. 

Phrasings such as very kind and extremely embarrassing are gen- 
erally preferred. It is noteworthy that you've been kindest always 
involves specific comparison: context or situation must suggest a 
completing modifier such as, for example, among our hosts here. 
Exceptional character of comparatives and superlatives. 
Most basic-form adjectives accept very, too, so, and as as 
modifiers of degree. Neither comparatives nor superlatives ac- 
cept these words. But comparatives accept such pronouns as much, 
as well as nounal units of various types, as modifiers of difference; 
and superlatives are often accompanied by similar modifiers in 
predeterminative uses when the superlatives function as heads in 
nounal units. Basic-form adjectives do not ordinarily accept these. 

very old very considerate 

much older a great deal more considerate 

much the oldest a great deal the most considerate 

Comparatives also take the article the as a modifier of difference, 
in a construction quite distinct from those in which it functions as 
a determiner. 

The harder I try, the worse I do. 
And superlatives take ordinal numerals and next. 

Adjectives 263 

Popocatepetl is not the highest volcano in Mexico but the 

second highest. 
This room is the next most satisfactory. 

In addition, comparative and superlative forms of adjectives are 
usable as head words in nounal units with a degree of freedom un- 
known to their basic forms. They do not often take other adjec- 
tives as modifiers as nouns do, but they take determiners and 
postpositive clauses and prepositional units, often even where the 
force of the units they head seems more adjectival than nounal. 

She's looking her best. 
She's the healthiest she's ever been. 

The subjects on which Williamson is the least dogmatic are 
naturally those on which he is the least ignorant. 

It is noteworthy that comparative and superlative forms are 
sometimes weaker in force than the basic forms to which they 
correspond. This is the reason sentences such as the following occur. 

I wouldn't call Tom a good student, but he's the best in the 

Tom certainly isn't a good student, but he's better than his 


One day can be warmer than another without being warm, and 
one child can be older than another without being old. The basic 
forms are applicable only when certain standards are met. These 
standards have been built up on the basis of long experience. 
Comparatives and superlatives sometimes ignore them, and simply 
put instances or sets of instances side by side. Old is usable with 
inflection and also with modifiers all along a scale on which without 
either modifiers or inflection it is much less broadly usable. Carol 
can be seven years old, and older than Janet, and the oldest of her 
group, without being old. If such words as still and even are used 
with comparatives, established standards for corresponding basic 
forms are ordinarily not ignored. Thus Jack's French is even better 
than his Spanish implies that Jack's French and his Spanish are 
both good, in the judgement of the speaker or writer. And for many 
adjectives comparative and superlative forms never ignore the 
established standards for the basic forms. Thus if one person is 
said to be more obstinate than another, the implication is that 
both are obstinate. 

264 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Syntactically exceptional uses of adjectives. Adjectives 
have considerable use in nonadjectival constructions. Their use as 
predicators is of course highly exceptional, but in informal styles 
had is sometimes dropped in such sentences as we better be careful 
and the comparative adjective better may be felt as the main pred- 
icator. The use of adjectives as subjects occurs in such formulas as 
easy does it and occasionally in contexts where an unstated head 
is suggested by what immediately precedes. 

Where European manners were rigid and punctilious, A meri- 
can were flexible and careless. 

Other phrasings are generally preferred. The use of adjectives as 
complements of transitive verbs is quite limited. 

She knows better. 

We didn't spend long there. 

She isn't even pretty, let alone beautiful. 

The use of adjectives and adjectival units as adjuncts is very 
considerable. Sometimes there is no corresponding adverb. 

You see the country best from busses. 

He certainly talks big. 

They carried him out bodily. 

The paper is delivered daily. 

We got home early. 

As far as I know, that's right. 

I read the paper too fast. 

We haven't waited long. 

Prior to publication certain changes will be necessary. 

Jack did the job unaided. 

Sometimes corresponding adverbs exist, but adjectives are used as 
adjuncts because the adverbs have different secondary relation- 
ships or would even express different meanings. 

They ate the chicken cold. 

His lawyer got him off easy. 

They'll let the children in free. 

Jack tries hard. 

George has been getting to his classes late. 

It costs two thousand dollars new. 

I pushed the door open. 

We left him very sad. 

They beat him unconscious. 

Adjectives 265 

In they ate the chicken cold the adjective cold is an adjunct of manner 
or circumstance and a half modifier of the complement the chicken. 
In they ate the chicken coldly the adverb coldly is an adjunct of 
manner or circumstance and a half modifier of the subject they. 
The coldness which is related to the chicken is physical, that which 
is related to "they" is emotional. In George has been getting to his 
classes late the adjective late is an adjunct of manner or circum- 
stance expressing the meaning after the proper time. In George has 
been getting to his classes lately the adverb lately is an adjunct of 
time equivalent in meaning to recently. Sometimes corresponding 
adverbs exist and are entirely usable but the simpler adjectives 
tend to be preferred, as more forceful, in informal styles when 
sentences are short and somewhat emotional. The adjectives used 
in this way are short, common ones. 

It hurts bad. 

Take it easy. 

He doesn't play fair. 

You're doing fine. 

She talks too loud. 

Go slow. 

Sure I like it. 

Hold tight! 

He's done it wrong again. 

The line between adjectival adjuncts and adjectival complements 
is sometimes very hard to draw. Adjunct classification in the fol- 
lowing sentences is not wholly satisfying. 

The principle still holds true. 
The door has banged shut. 

Loose adjuncts are often adjectival in form. 

Contrary to the general belief, the older form is not sewn but 


Effective the first of November, the library will close at eleven. 
Strange to say, the word has completely different meanings in 

the two languages. 
Unknown to Griselda, the Marquis sent the two children to a 

Unknown in his home city, Findlay is known among classicists 

throughout the nation. 

266 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Within nounal headed units adjectives sometimes have excep- 
tional uses. Double is a predeterminative modifier in double the 
true value. Poor precedes a determinative in his poor first wife. 
Postpositive adjective modifiers occur in a few more or less fixed 

mother dear the university proper 

the president elect a battle royal 

time immemorial the first person singular 

Verbal force is apparently responsible for the postpositive position 
of some adjectives: postpositive position is normal for clausal 

the best solution imaginable 

a consciousness of questions unsolved 

Postpositive position is often natural for adjectival units which 
themselves contain postpositive modifiers of their own and even for 
some which contain only prepositive modifiers. 

applicants desirous of personal interviews 
rooms large enough 
a wall six feet high 

Adjectives sometimes modify nounal heads as other nouns might 
modify them, not as adjectives ordinarily do. Thus an insane 
asylum is an asylum for the insane, not one which is insane, and 
married life is the life of the married. 

Basic-form adjectives function as heads, with determiner modi- 
fiers, in headed units of nounal types under various sets of circum- 
stances. Sometimes the adjectives are used of people, usually with 
categorical the but sometimes with other determiners. The force is 
almost always plural. 

The French do these things well. 

The living may have less to say to us than the dead . 

The old require interesting occupations too. 

Mexico does not forget her poor. 

It's our own dead that matter. 

Among nationality adjectives only a few English, Welsh, Scotch, 
Irish, Dutch, and French are usable as categorical plurals. It is 

Adjectives 267 

quite exceptional for adjectives with determiners to be used of 
people with singular force. 

She'll bring her intended along. 

In another exceptional use an adjective with a determiner is used 
of animals with indifferent-number force. 

Almost any animal will defend its young. 

Sometimes adjectives modified by the definite article are used with 
neuter force as names of qualities or of embodiments of qualities, 
often in more or less fixed phrasings. 

They have no patience with the mediocre. 

He's always on the defensive. 

Humor celebrated the ludicrous. 

He has no real belief in the supernatural. 

We're in the thick of it. 

In all cf a sudden an adjective modified by an indefinite article is 
used similarly. Sometimes adjectives become heads because of un- 
willingness to repeat a word or longer unit just given prominent 

We prefer the old furniture to the new. 

Since furniture is quantifiable, substitute one cannot represent it 
after new. The adjective new has taken on the meaning and syntax 
of a head which is left unexpressed. In he is a true conservative this 
same kind of thing has taken place, but conservative has gone a 
step farther and become a noun with a readiness to accept adjec- 
tives as prepositive modifiers and with an s plural. 

Adjectives have limited use as modifiers of pronouns, as in a 
great many and at long last and as in far more. They have limited 
use also as modifiers of other adjectives, chiefly but not entirely 
gerundial and participial adjectives. 

a cfear-cut victory a new-born child 

deathly pale plain silly 

far better ready-made clothes 

a full-grown man Roman Catholic schools 

good looking a smooth-talking salesman 

the idle rich sound asleep 

z7Z-advised the very best 

late Victorian wide open 

268 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Sometimes they modify adverbs. 

better off far ahead 

dear through long before 

close by straight ahead 

Sometimes they modify prepositional units. 

deep in her heart full in the face 

early in the year long before noon 

far beyond our needs straight out main street 

In Paraguay is farther west the adjective farther modifies a noun 
with the value of the prepositional unit to the west. 

Adjectives function as objects of prepositions under various cir- 

She's sort of pretty. 

She's anything but considerate. 

It's nothing short of scandalous. 

George was the most reasonable by far. 

In general, they prove very satisfactory. 

I won't be gone for long. 

We picked them at random. 

I regarded him as dependable. 

I remember her as small and delicate. 

We took his co-operation for granted. 

She drives like mad. 

Upside-down constructions and modifiers of exception, addition, 
and the like are often highly exceptional in construction. For, like, 
and (especially) as sometimes serve as copulative prepositions 
with adjectival objects which have half -modifier relationships with 
what precedes. 

As coordinates, adjectives sometimes combine to perform func- 
tions they would hardly perform singly. 

Slow and steady wins the race. 

The program pleased young and old. 

The elephants are hunting high and low for Arthur. 

They stuck together through thick and thin. 



Miscellaneousness of the category of adverbs. The adverbs 
make up the most miscellaneous of the part-of -speech categories 
and follow highly individualistic patterns of behavior to a greater 
extent than words of other types do. The category could be broken 
up into several part-of-speech categories of less miscellaneous 
nature, but some of these would be quite small (and two or three 
of them would be closed as well), and they would not be syntac- 
tically as distinct as parts of speech should be. Only an extensive 
"grammar of words 7 ' can give adequate notice to the syntactic be- 
havior of the words here grouped together as adverbs. Something 
can be said here, however, about the behavior of several important 
sub categories among them. 

Adjective-like adverbs in ly . The largest subcategory among 
the adverbs is made up of words formed by adding the suffix ly to 
adjectives. The basic forms of most adjectives (including gerundial, 
participial, and phrasal adjectives) can be transformed into ad- 
verbs by the addition of ly. 

adequate ly 
affirmative ly 
bad ly 
bare ly 
charming ly 
chief ly 
cold-blooded ly 


good-natured ly 
hard ly 
humane ly 
hurried ly 
late ly 
laughing ly 

loud ly 
maddening ly 
mere ly 
miraculous ly 
mistaken ly 
noisi ly 
repeated ly 

ridiculous ly 
satisfactori ly 
seeming ly 
selfish ly 
sole ly 
stern ly 
unceasing ly 

Complexities of the spelling system appear. Formerly and utterly 
are exceptional in that ly has been added to old comparative forms. 
The adverb especially is more widely used than the adverb spe- 
cially, though the adjective special is used more than the adjective 


270 The Sentence and Its Parts 

especial. Forms such as ably, basically, fatally, and supposedly show 
complexities in formation to be noted later. Not all adjectives have 
corresponding adverbs in ly, by any means. Such common mono- 
syllables as big, fast, long, old, small, and young have none. Good 
has well as the corresponding adverb: goodly is a slightly archaic 
adjective, not an adverb. Adjectives which themselves employ the 
suffix ly have no corresponding adverbs with a second ly. This is 
true of such adjectives as bodily, early, hourly, and kindly, which 
are usable as adjuncts without change, and of such adjectives as 
deadly, friendly, leisurely, lonely, manly, and stately, which are gen- 
erally regarded as not satisfactorily usable as adjuncts. Other ad- 
jectives of miscellaneous types seem not to form corresponding 
adverbs. This is true, for example, of difficult, eastern, extinct, 
French, funny, foreign, grown, parallel, silly, skilled, and superior. 

Some more or less adjective-like adverbs in ly are made by the 
addition of ly to nouns, pronouns, and even other adverbs. This is 
true of namely, partly, purposely, only, secondly , mostly, and nearly. 

Adjective-like adverbs in ly function most characteristically as 
adjuncts of predicators. Meaning relationships are varied. 

He does his work thoroughly. 
Unfortunately a little tact is needed. 
George has been coming to his classes lately. 
We occasionally see George at the beach. 
We barely finished. 

Here relationships of manner, attitude, time, general frequency, 
and near negation are expressed. Manner is probably the rela- 
tionship most often expressed by adverb adjuncts in ly. 

Adjective-like adverbs in ly function as complements occasion- 

He treats his wife badly. 

Occasionally they function as predeterminative and postpositive 
modifiers within nounal headed units. 

nearly a year advancement professionally 

exactly the right amount his behavior socially 

They function as contained modifiers in nonnounal headed units 
with much greater frequency. They modify adjectives, most often 

Adverbs 271 

as modifiers of degree but sometimes as modifiers of attitude, 
respect, or even manner. 

absolutely impossible openly critical 

a badly managed affair painfully correct 

curiously silent a rapidly growing city 

decidedly ^ better strikingly beautiful 

deeply grieved ^ surprisingly complex 

doubly responsible terribly expensive 

easily obtainable typographically superior 

encouragingly simple understandably hesitant 

extremely pleasant utterly hopeless 

numerically equal wholly inadequate 
obviously sincere 

They modify adverbs, though generally not other adverbs in ly. 

exactly how practically there entirely too big 
They modify prepositional units. 

exactly in the middle decidedly above it desperately in love 
They even modify pronouns 

hardly anyone almost none only three 
Only has an extraordinary range of uses. 

We were only trying to help. 

She's an only child. 

She's only a child. 

The program is for children only. 

There were only three of us. 

It was only then that he consented. 

Adjective-like adverbs in ly commonly accept degree modifiers 
of various types, and sometimes modifiers of other kinds. 

He does his work very thoroughly. 

He does his work as thoroughly as anyone does. 

She needs to do something independently of her family. 

Most of them can be compared with 'the aid of the auxiliary pro- 
noun forms more and most and less and least, except that the adjec- 
tive forms worse and worst serve as comparative and superlative 
for badly as well as for bad, just as the adjective forms better and 
best serve as comparative and superlative for both the adjective 

272 The Sentence and Its Parts 

good and the adverb well. In informal styles, comparative and 
superlative adjective forms sometimes push out established com- 
parative and superlative adverb forms as in the following sen- 

You can live cheaper in the smaller towns. 

They can be glued together easier. 

Clause- marker adverbs. Clause-marker adverbs form a lim- 
ited group which is of particular interest to syntax. These include 
the words which share with verbs and pronouns the function of 
marking main- and subordinate-interrogative clauses. Clause- 
marker adverbs have been listed previously, as clause patterns 
have been noted. Most clause-marker adverbs are always clause- 
markers; this is true of where except in its uses within compounds 
such as somewhere. But however and though are sometimes subordi- 
nating clause markers, as in the first two sentences that follow, 
and sometimes simple conjunctive adjuncts, as in the last two. 

We won't please him however we do the job. 

He acts as though he's suffering. 

We finally gave up, however. 

We decided, though, that we'd try again. 

Once and only are sometimes subordinating clause markers but 
more often adjuncts of more ordinary types. 

Once you get to know him, you'll like him. 

The food is excellent, only they serve too much pie. 

I've talked to him once or twice. 

There are only a few afternoon classes. 

As is an adverb with a remarkable variety of uses. Often it is used 
twice in a single sentence, first as a head word to which a clause of 
comparison later in the sentence is attached, then as the marker 
within the clause of comparison. 

As many students read Shakespeare now as did when I was in 

Clauses marked by as are of course not always clauses of com- 
parison. Sometimes as also serves as a preposition, as will be noted 
later. While is generally a clause marker of the subordinator vari- 
ety, but it is sometimes a noun as in for a long while and sometimes 
a verb as in we whiled away the hours. 

Adverbs 273 

Clause-marker adverbs such as these are in general not pegged 
tightly to single meanings. Thus if occurs in adjuncts of different 
types in the following sentences. 

// George hears about this, he'll be irritated. 

Uruguay is the best-organized country in South America if 

not the largest or most powerful, 
//your eyes are hurting, why don't you have them examined? 

In the first of these sentences the clause begun by if is a true ad- 
junct of condition. In the second, however, if begins an adjunct of 
concession, and although is usable, though if makes concessions a 
little less explicitly and so a little more delicately; and in the 
third if begins an adjunct of circumstance, and when is usable. 
How has a remarkable range of uses. As a complement with cop- 
ulatives it can call for responses of ordinarily adjectival types. 

How is Mr. Hayes today? 
How was the movie? 
How does the coffee taste? 
How does the new dress look? 

As an adjunct of manner, how calls for adverbial responses. 
How can we repair it? 

As a contained modifier of pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs, 
marker how serves to inquire into number, quantity, price, dura- 
tion, frequency, and matters of many other kinds. Its meaning is 
roughly that of to what degree? 

How many questions will there be? 

How much time will they take? 

How much are eggs? 

How long will the concert last? 

How often will the committee meet? 

How many times will the committee meet? 

How large is the auditorium? 

How well does she type? 

But how cannot help to elicit such a response as the third, for 
Jefferson was the third president, where English has no really sat- 
isfactory way of phrasing the question. And in assertives how often 
gives way to the pronoun what even where how seems syntactically 
more appropriate. 

274 The Sentence and Its Parts 

What a large auditorium! 

How is used as a marker in subordinate-interrogative clauses ex- 
actly as it is used in main-interrogative clauses except that it is 
not usable in clauses used as adjuncts, though however is. 

How does she do "Curfew Shall Not Ring Tonight"? 

I wonder how she does it. 

"Curfew Shall Not Ring Tonight" sounds terrible as she does 

"Curfew Shall Not Ring Tonight" sounds terrible however you 

do it. 

The coordinators. The basic coordinators and, but, or } and 
nor involve the kind of reference to what has just preceded that 
the demonstrative pronouns, or the personal pronouns of the third 
person, often involve, though when the coordinators are used this 
reference is made quite inconspicuously. And, for example, has 
pretty much the meaning of in addition to this in its most charac- 
teristic uses. 

Your knowledge of grammar will be greatly increased if you 
study Latin, and you will acquire background for English 
vocabulary study. 

Here and ties back to the whole main clause which precedes it. 
But and often goes a little farther than simple addition. 

Puerto Ricans live close together, and they know what is 

going on. 
Smith has done everything he could for his wife, and she 

doesn't appreciate it, 

In these two sentences and approaches therefore and yet in meaning, 
but not explicitly. Therefore and yet can be placed after and in 
these sentences, somewhat as also can be placed after and in the 
sentence given just before these two. In titles such as Students and 
Religion the meaning of and is not far from that of in relation to. 
The coordinators, of course, relate not simply clauses but also 
nonclausal units of almost every kind. 

The precoordinators both, either, and neither are pronouns. Not, 
however, is a precoordinator adverb in sentences such as it should 
have been said not once but several times. 

Adverbs 275 

Conjunctive adverbs. Some adverbs link without either sub- 
ordinating what they begin or explicitly coordinating it. Classifi- 
cation as conjunctive adverbs must be given such words as also, 
too when it is equivalent to also in meaning, furthermore, neverthe- 
less, however when it is equivalent to nevertheless in meaning, still 
with the same meaning, else, therefore, hence, so when it means 
hence and when it means also, and accordingly. These have es- 
sentially the meanings of such phrasings as in addition to this, in 
spite of this, and because of this] but they can refer to nucleuses and 
clauses more unmistakably than the demonstrative pronouns can. 

When it's too hot for coats, ties are uncomfortable also. 
He lived in a world of his own, and yet he was a part of the 
adult world too. 

Conjunctive adverbs can refer to nonclausal units as well as to 

The house is luxurious but nevertheless unpretentious. 

Here nevertheless can be said to relate the two adjectives luxurious 
and unpretentious somewhat as but does, though nevertheless can 
hardly mark the adjectives as participants in a multiple comple- 
ment as the coordinator but does. 

Conjunctive adverbs, too, display complex patterns of use of 
highly individual kinds. Eke and so are of particular interest. 
Else is used as an adjunct reinforcing the coordinator or, 

The Hortons will be in Acapulco, or else in Cuernavaca. 

Here its behavior is much like that of the pronoun either which 
reinforces second negated constructions. 

The Hortons won't be in Mexico City, and you won't find 
them in Cuernavaca either. 

Else is also used as a contained modifier of nounal compound pro- 
nouns such as anyone and something and of similarly formed ad- 
verbs such as anywhere, of clause-marker pronouns and adverbs 
such as who and where, and of the determinative pronouns much 
and little. 

There was nothing else to say. 
It's somewhere else. 

276 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Who else will be there? 
There isn't much else to do. 

Here else is much like other in behavior. 

There was one other thing to say. 
What other people will be there? 

So tends to have extremitive force. 

Growing old doesn't seem so bad when you consider the alter- 

I didn't realize it was so late. 
Your dress is so pretty ! 

In the first two sentences so is conjunctive if it refers to something 
just said. It can also point to what seems obvious though unstated. 
So has lost conjunctive force in the last sentence, where it is simply 
equivalent to extremely in meaning. The use of so in the sense of 
also produces assertive clause patterning in such sentences as the 
following, in spite of the fact that so has no real extremitive force 

The mountains are very beautiful, and so is the sea. 

So is sometimes simply a substitute word, comparable to the 
personal-pronoun forms of the third person. 

If planes are dangerous, cars are much more so. 
I'm afraid so. 
I suppose so. 

Here so represents first an adjective danger ous, which has been 
expressed prominently just before and then two declarative 
clauses whose content would be clear in the situations in which the 
sentences were framed. The use of so to represent subordinate- 
declarative clauses is quite limited: I'm afraid so but I'm sure of it', 
I suppose so (or think so, or will tell him so) but I know that. So is 
often coordinated with nounal units in such phrasings as a month 
or so. 

Among the conjunctive adverbs so looks now to what has pre- 
ceded, as the coordinators do, and now to what is to follow, as the 
precoordinators do. 

The Hortons are friendly people with plenty of time and 
money, so they do a great deal of entertaining. 



Classes are now so big that any close relationship between 

teachers and students is impossible. 
We went half an hour early so that we would have good seats. 

In the first of these sentences so is a conjunctive adjunct within the 
second main clause in a multiple sentence and links that main 
clause to the first one. And is quite usable with this so. In the 
second sentence so is the head word in a contained modifier, and 
itself has as a completing modifier the declarative clause which 
begins with subordinator that. In the third sentence so is the head 
word in an adjunct and has as a completing modifier the declar- 
ative clause which follows it immediately. So can be regarded as a 
conjunctive where it looks ahead to a completing modifier, as in 
the second and third of these sentences, as well as where it looks 

Prepositional adverbs. Words which normally take nounal 
completers in some or most of their uses, and which are clearly not 
classifiable as verbs, can conveniently be grouped together as 
prepositional adverbs. A list would include the following. 




























































Near is one of the few adverbs that have comparative and super- 
lative forms made by adding er and est Amid has a variant amidst, 
around has what is now felt as a short variant round, beside has a 
variant besides (used where the meaning is that of addition), be- 
tween has a variant betwixt, and till has a long variant until. 
Literary words such as atop and astride, and the archaic of 

278 The Sentence and Its Parts 

direct address, can be added to the list; so can per, versus, and via. 
It does not seem wise to regard forms of living verbs as preposi- 
tional. In the lot adjoining ours it seems best to regard adjoining 
as the predicator in a gerundial clause modifying the head noun 
lot just as the relative clause which adjoins ours would modify it, 
not as a preposition like the beside of the lot beside ours. Similarly in 
all except three it seems best to regard except three as (for modern 
English.) an imperative clause used as a contained modifier of all, 
not as a prepositional unit like the but three of all but three. During 
and notwithstanding are another matter: dure is no longer a living 
verb, and certainly notwithstand is not a verb. 

Some of the prepositional adverbs listed require other part-of- 
speech classifications also. Despite is sometimes a noun, down is 
sometimes a noun and sometimes a verb, due is best regarded as an 
adjective when it has no nounal completer expressed or implied, 
inside is sometimes a noun, less is a pronoun much more often than 
(as in seven less four is three) it is a prepositional adverb, opposite 
is sometimes a noun, past is often a noun, worth is a noun in such 
phrasings as a dollar's worth. 

Prepositional adverbs are sometimes used with objects clearly 
implied but not stated. 

The street was busy, but I finally got across. 

Come in! 

I haven't seen him since. 

Of course he wants to. 

That's something like! 

This kind of thing is of limited occurrence except in subordinate 
clauses. It is very frequent in subordinate clauses. 

The house we were looking at was much too big. 

It's worth looking into. 

We have other problems to think of. 

That's the man we came with. 

At, into, of, and with are not likely to be used without expressed 
objects in corresponding main clauses. 

Some prepositional adverbs have uses in which they are best not 
regarded as prepositions at all. Thus though about is a preposition 
in we were talking about the election, it is a nonprepositional modifier 

Adverbs 279 

of what follows (like the equivalent approximately) in there were 
about twenty and in I was about to ask. Though along is a preposition 
in we drove along the seashore for several miles, it is not at all clearly 
so in we get along well together. But is a coordinator oftener than it is 
prepositional, and sometimes it is merely a contained modifier 
equivalent to only, as in it was but a step to absolute ruin. Down is 
a preposition in farther down the mountain but hardly so in I lay 
down for half an hour or in he let me down when I was depending on 
him. In is hardly a preposition in we handed our papers in. Off is a 
preposition in I washed the dirt off the car, but hardly in did you 
turn the lights off? The on of position or movement in contact with 
a line is a preposition in on the coast and in on the road to Toledo, 
but not very clearly so in after lunch we drove on or in I kept on 
studying where the line is a metaphorical line of effort. Up is a 
preposition in he went up the stairs two at a time, but hardly in I 
looked up and saw what had happened or in she tore the letter up. 
As has been noted, a few prepositions sometimes have copulative 
force and so are used with adjectival objects. As functions in this 
way most often. 

They've always regarded him as essentially helpless. 
The proposal struck me as unrealistic. 
We gave it up as hopeless. 

For is copulative in we took it for granted and like in the furniture 
was like new. 

A few adverbs which are commonly used as one-word preposi- 
tions are also used as head words in phrasal prepositions. Thus 
alongside of, inside of, and outside of occur alongside the one-word 
prepositions without of, which are generally preferred. Nearer to 
and nearest to are probably commoner than the one-word preposi- 
tions without to. 

They're a little nearer to the campus than they were. 

Though generally avoided in careful and formal styles, off of occurs 
alongside off, especially when there is no following object. 

Here's the bottle that lid came off of. 
Which bus did he get off off 

280 The Sentence and Its Parts 

The use of prepositions is highly arbitrary. Some verbs take 
nounal complements, some take prepositional ones. 

He was watching us. 
He was looking at us. 

Some adjunct relationships lack satisfactory prepositions. 

That's right, George. 

I reminded him three times. 

Nouns and adjectives ordinarily do not take clearly nounal com- 
pleting modifiers: prepositional units are normal here. Thus he 
respects women is matched by his respect for women and he is re- 
spectful toward women with the prepositions for and toward used 
with the noun respect and the adjective respectful. Where preposi- 
tions are required, choice among them is determined by conventions 
that are often hard to understand. Two prepositions are even in- 
volved in the distinction between two and more than two that is 
made with such pronouns as both and all and with comparative and 
superlative adjective forms in such phrasings as the younger of the 
two and the youngest of the three. 

We'll divide the profit between the two of us. 
We'll divide the profit among the three of us. 

Between is used where division into two parts is made for numbers 
larger than two. 

There are excellent roads between Guadalajara and the other 
important cities of the region. 

As has been said, contemporary English is reluctant to ac- 
cept many possible combinations of prepositions and completing 
clauses. Among the subordinate-clause patterns employed in con- 
temporary English, four can be called basically nounal: those 
of declaratives, imperatives, assertives, and infinitival verbids. 
Two other patterns are partly nounal in essence and partly ad- 
jectival-adverbial: that of interrogative clauses and that of gerun- 
dial verbid clauses. Gerundial clauses are rather freely usable as 
objects of prepositions. 

She is quite capable of decorating the truth. 
Frank isn't past being taken in by pretty girls. 

Adverbs 281 

Interrogative clauses are less freely usable as objects of preposi- 
tions, which often drop out before them. 

I've been thinking about what you said. 
I wasn't sure who it was. 
I don't care what he did. 

Declarative clauses can complete only a very few one-word prep- 
ositions and a few reduced phrasal prepositions. 

Stevens was Chairman until he died. 

He -must have loved her dearly, for he ruined himself for her. 

He married her because he loved her. 

Here because he loved her is paralleled by because of his love for her. 
Infinitival verbid clauses complete only a few prepositions. In- 
finitival clauses without expressed subjects of their own have an 
extraordinary affinity for to; those with subjects have a similar 
affinity for for . . . to. 

The to which is used with infinitives has a remarkably broad 
range of uses. It occurs not only where it would also be used with 
nonclausal objects, but also in many situations where other prep- 
ositions would be used especially prepositions expressing rela- 
tionships of respect, purpose, and end. 

don't care about meeting him decided on a change 

don't care to meet him decided to change 

serves as an explanation consented to a delay 

serves to explain consented to wait 

shocked at his appearance invited him to supper 

shocked to see him invited him to stay 

stopped for a look inclined toward the view 

stopped to look inclined to think 

forced him into marriage lived until he was ninety 

forced him to marry lived to be ninety 

the honor of presenting satisfied with his answer 

the honor to present satisfied to know this 

In some of its uses a preposition usable before a noun or pronoun 
does not suggest itself immediately. 

To tell the truth, we all w^nt comfort. 
Who is he to ask such favors? 

Sometimes to, used of what lies ahead in time, takes on some of the 
force of the future auxiliary Witt. 

282 The Sentence and Its Parts 

These days are passing rapidly, never to return. 

In time manifestations of provincialism, like Currier and Ives 

prints, were to become collectors' items. 
If prices were to rise further, the government would have to 

take action. 
We can look for real improvement in years to come. 

Often to takes on meanings of constraint and possibility, as what 
is thought of as lying ahead (or probably lying ahead) is seen, in 
prospect, as compelling or as inviting. 

We have work to do. 

We're to bring sandwiches and fruit. 

The novel to be read is Passage to India. 

He has no relatives to turn to. 

He has a new car in which to see Puerto Rico. 

I don't know how to explain it. 

Often to is used with infinitives where the occurrence of a preposi- 
tion is syntactically exceptional. To is likely to add something of 
abstractedness, or separation from strictest reality, in constructions 
of this kind: the predication is viewed as a prospect, or an idea, 
rather than as an actuality. 

To be a bully seemed contemptible. 

It takes a low bush to stand in a hard wind. 

We wanted to be here. 

He asks nothing except to be let alone. 

Sometimes it is hard to see that to really makes a contribution. 

We used to see Eugene oftener. 

On Saturdays Jerry works in his yard till about ten and then 
begins to read his mail. 

In the sentence just given, if stops is substituted for begins the 
preposition to expresses purpose and begins an adjunct rather than 
a complement. The to which occurs within an infinitival clause, 
between an expressed subject and the infinitival predicator, is 
best regarded as a preposition placed inside its clausal object. 

We wanted you to be there. 

Sometimes infinitival clauses with subjects of their own are made 
objects of the prepositional apposed units for . . . to, with for 
preceding the clause and with its appositive, to } inside the clause. 

Adverbs 283 

We're waiting for the main picture to end. 
One way of finding Jerry would be for you to inquire at all the 

Two of the few prepositions that are usable with subordinate- 
declarative clauses as objects tend under certain circumstances to 
unite more closely with what follows them, becoming clause mark- 
ers within subordinate-interrogative clauses rather than preposi- 
tions with clausal objects. 

Surely there isn't a mother but faces this problem. 
We need houses like were built in the last century. 
He looks like he looked twenty years ago. 

Careful styles tend to avoid this kind of thing, and formal styles 
avoid it with like though they may accept it with but. The other 
prepositional adverbs that are usable with declarative-clause ob- 
jects do not unite with such objects except as prepositions normally 
unite with their objects. Thus in Stevens was Chairman until he 
died the preposition until has in the clause he died an object that 
completes it just as the nounal headed unit his death would com- 
plete it, and in he married her because he loved her the preposition 
because has in the clause he loved her an object that completes it 
just as the nounal unit his love for her would complete the un- 
shortened phrasal preposition because of. 

As is prepositional much less than it is nonprepositional, and is 
best thought of as nonprepositional in such sentences as you're as 
bright as me, where me is simply the strong form of / used as subject 
in the reduced adverbial clause as me in which as is complement 
and marker. In less characteristically informal styles as I am would 
be preferred to as me here. Somewhat formal styles might employ 
as I. Than is best regarded as always a subordinator adverb em- 
ployed in adverbial clauses, never prepositional. The two sentences 
which follow, both of them informal in style, are quite distinct in 

They got there earlier than us. 
They got there before us. 

Here than us is an adverbial clause, like than we did and formal 
than we] and than is an adjunct and marker in this clause. Before 
us } on the contrary, is a prepositional unit in which before is the 

284 The Sentence and Its Parts 

preposition and us is its object. Before we did is a prepositional 
unit also, and we did is the object of before. They got there before we 
is not acceptable : the strong prepositional force of before prevents 

Other adverbs. Other adverbs remain. There are adjective- 
like adverbs without ly. Soon is one and has the comparative and 
superlative forms sooner and soonest. Rather is a comparative ad- 
verb without a living basic form. It has a remarkable variety of 
characteristic uses. 

He opened the door or rather, he started to open it. 
I'd rather not tell him. 

Rather than disappoint us, George went ahead with the ar- 

It was a careless action rather than a calculated one. 
It's rather late. 

As a contained modifier equivalent to somewhat in meaning (it's 
somewhat late), rather loses comparative force. Doubtless must now 
be classified as an adverb, though the suffix less normally termi- 
nates adjectives. Quite is an adverb used chiefly in negated clauses 
(and so tending to reinforce the negation) and as a predetermi- 
native contained modifier in nounal headed units. 

I didn't quite finish. 
That isn't quite right. 
He's quite a boy. 

Very and pretty, and informal real and awful (and less often mighty), 
are best classified as adverbs when they function as contained 
modifiers of degree. Awfully tends to be preferred to the simpler 
adverb form without ly, even as degree modifier. 

very late real late awful late 

pretty late mighty late awfully late 

Postpositive galore and the alias and nee which precede proper 
names are less clearly adjective-like adverbs. Well is an adjective- 
like adverb that is involved in notable competition with the corre- 
sponding adjective, good. When the interest is in people's health, 
well is used as the complement of copulatives, where adjectives 
are normal. 

Adverbs 285 

I'm afraid John isn't well. 

He seems well, but he is really very weak. 

Where the interest is in appearance from the point of view of 
attractiveness rather than of health, there is some confusion, and 
both good and well are often avoided. 

Yellow isn't a very good color for Mary. 

In somewhat formal styles well completes be in sentences such as 
it is well to be prepared for disappointments. In adjunct uses, well is 
the systematically normal word, but good has considerable use in 
informal styles. 

I can't see very good without glasses. 

The semantic range of well is remarkable, as the following sentences 

This may well be true. 

I can well understand it. 

He's lived in Detroit as well as Chicago. 

I prefer steak well done. 

He's well on his way by now. 

George isn't well today. 

It would be well to consider other possibilities. 

Well, I guess it's time for some coffee. 

In the last of these sentences well is an adjunct that is no more than 
introductory in force. 

There are pronoun-like adverbs which neither mark clauses as 
when does nor function as conjunctive adverbs as else does. The 
why which serves as a mild introductory adjunct is commonly 
distinguished from clause-marker why (and what and which) by its 
loss of the sound /h/. 

Why, I suppose I can. 

Adverbs such as sometime, anyhow, and everywhere are markedly 
like such pronouns as someone, anybody, and nothing in formation, 
meanings, and even syntax. Adverbs such as now, here, then, and 
there have obvious relationships to the demonstrative pronouns 
this and that The relationship is less clear, perhaps, for such ad- 
verbs as the still which means as late as this and the already which 
means as early as this. 

286 The Sentence and Its Parts 

George is still in his office. 
George is in his office already. 

Ever is obviously much like the pronoun any in behavior and 
reinforces questioning, negation, and condition very similarly. 

They won't ever admit it. 

They won't admit it under any circumstances. 

Once and twice are clearly related to the numeral pronouns one and 
two. Such adverbs as seldom, sometimes, often, and always have a 
great deal in common with such determinative pronouns of number 
as few, some, many, and all. In sometimes, as in indoors, an s plural 
appears among the adverbs, in a nounal component in a compound. 
Often has a comparative in er and a superlative in est. As has been 
noted, some "adjective-like" adverbs in ly are based on pronouns. 

There are adverbs which are made up of old prepositions and 
their objects. In such adverbs as aback, abreast, afield, afresh, ahead, 
anew, aside, and away the old preposition is no longer a known 
component. Akin, alike, alive, and awake are similarly formed com- 
plexes for which classification as adjectives rather than as adverbs 
may seem desirable; but because of their prepositional-unit origin 
they are not usable as prepositive modifiers within nounal headed 
units and are most conveniently classified simply as adverbs. Other 
adverbs that were once prepositional phrases include indeed, in- 
doors, perhaps, percent, and (with exceptional apostrophe) o'clock. 
Percent and o'clock are characteristically limited to uses as post- 
positive modifiers of numeral pronouns. Occasionally percent is 
treated as a noun, but percentage (as in a certain percentage) is 
preferred in such uses. Such adverbs as hereafter and thereupon have 
their prepositional component following its adverb object, as do 
clause-marker adverbs such as whereby and whereupon. 

Adverbs of still other types remain. Maybe and ago are verbal 
in origin. As has been said, ago is quite exceptional in the types of 
modifiers it takes. 

a year ago long ago two weeks ago yesterday 

Awhile is composed of an article and its head noun normally kept 
separate after prepositions, as in for a while. 

Finally, there is not, whose use as a clause negator affects clause 
structure strikingly, as has been noted. 

Adverbs 287 

Performance of nonadverbial functions by adverbs and 
prepositional units. The functions characteristically performed 
by adverbs can be regarded as the adverbial functions. Almost all 
of them are performed by prepositional units also, since the syntax 
of prepositional units is determined by the prepositions and these 
are adverbs in part of speech. The adverbial functions are as 

1., Complement of an oblique verb, as in she looked up and 
she looked at us. 

2. Second complement, as in she's put the checkers away and 

she's put the checkers in their box. 

3. Adjunct, as in he isn't happy here and he isn't happy in 


4. Head in an adverbial headed unit, as in he did it rather 

badly and in he did it entirely without help. 

5. Prepositive modifier in an adjectival or adverbial headed 

unit, as in it was surprisingly good and he behaved very 

6. Predeterminative modifier in a nounal headed unit, as in 

it irritates even his best friends and nearly a year went by. 

7. Postpositive modifier in a headed unit, as in the people here, 

the best murder mystery yet, the people of Chapel Hill, 
parallel to the railroad, and independently^ of his family. 

8. Principal in an adverbial apposed unit, as in we expect to 

spend the summer out in Utah. 

9. Appositive in an adverbial apposed unit, as in we'll be out 

there in August and we'll be back in Pennsylvania in 

10. Coordinate in an adverbial multiple unit, as in he talked 
slowly and without emphasis. 

Prepositional units are normally used as postpositive modifiers 
rather than as prepositive ones, but in if he's at all dependent and in 
for at least an hour prepositional units function first as the pre- 
positive modifier of an adjective and then as the predeterminative 
modifier of a noun. Prepositional units can often be coordinated 
with adjectives as well as with adverbs. 

He is honest and without malice. 

Adverbs and adverbial units, including prepositional units, have 
considerable use in nonadverbial functions. They occur as subjects. 

288 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Once is enough. 
After eleven will be too late. 

To neglect the basic economic problem would be to court disaster. 
From Miami to San Juan is a thousand miles. 
As has been said, a few prepositions sometimes have copula- 
tive force. 

It took longer than seemed necessary. 
There isn't a child but has to rebel against its parents. 
We need houses like were built in the last century. 

They occur as complements of transitive verbs. 

We'd better let well enough alone. 

They left here at ten. 

I think so. 

I've never seen but one scorpion. 

He's hard to see except in the morning. 

As complements of copulative verbs. 

He isn't well. 

How does the coffee taste? 

As heads in nounal units. 

by the by now that you mention it 

everywhere I go every now and then 

the hereafter this once 

the like every so often 

As adjective-like prepositive modifiers in nounal units. 

in after years the off season 

an after-dinner speech his only argument 

a by product more on-the-job training 

an in-between coloring the opposite side 

the down payment an outside room 

people of like minds an over-all reorganization 

a minus sign a through train 

a near collision the up button 

As determinative modifiers in nounal units. 

between forty and fifty students 
from ten to fifteen minutes 

As objects of prepositions. 

till afterwards from nowhere 

until a short time ago at once 

Adverbs 289 

since before the war until recently 

from behind the counter kind of roughly 

in between the extremes since then 

from here near there 

by now nothing like as well 

between now and then where are you from? 

In coordination with words and multiword units of nonadverbial 

passports, visas, and so forth 
my one and only chance 
an up-and-coming salesman 

Actually a rather small number of words, and a rather small 
number of situations, account for most of the uses of adverbs in 
nonadverbial functions. Subordinator as and than function as sub- 
jects, as complements of verbs of various types, and even (as in the 
following sentence) as objects of prepositions. 

Conditions such as his family lives in are a disgrace. 

But and like have similar syntactically exceptional uses when they 
enter subordinate clauses and do not merely act as prepositions 
outside them. Such words as once, now t and here are convenient 
brief equivalents of such units as one time, the present, and this 
place. Adjuncts of addition and exception (such as except in the 
morning), upside-down constructions (such as kind of roughly), and 
series terminators (such as and so forth) are allowed great syntactic 
freedom. In the main the use of adverbs in nonadverbial con- 
structions is quite limited. At some points limits are sometimes set 
in too arbitrary a fashion. Thus the use of where with the prep- 
ositions at and to is commonly condemned, on the grounds that 
these prepositions are redundant with where; but in sentences such 
as the following to seems highly desirable. 

Where in the world has John run off to now? 



As has been said, determinative pronouns are characteristically 
used in two ways : 

1. As determiner modifiers of nounal heads. 

2. As forms which have assimilated both the meanings and the 

syntactic functions of what would be their nounal heads 
in unreduced construction. 

Full determinatives of identification can combine with singular 
forms of pluralizer nouns to form units usable in nounal functions 
where undetermined singulars of pluralizers normally are not usa- 
ble. The full determinatives of identification are this, demonstrative 
that, the, a, some, any, either, every, each, no, neither, what, which, 
whatever, and whichever. Of these, the, a, and every are exceptional 
in not being usable in nounal functions: they require expressed 

Demonstrative this and that. The demonstratives this and 
that identify by pointing of one kind or another, whether physical 
or not. This implies relative nearness in whatever dimension. This 
pen is a pen probably in the speaker or writer's hand. This gloomy 
old house is a gloomy old house that the speaker or writer is prob- 
ably in or near at the moment. This morning, this noon, this after- 
noon, and this evening are parts of the day in which they are spoken 
or written; this spring, this summer, this fall, and this winter are in 
process, not too far ahead, or in the immediate past. Today and 
tonight replace this day and this night unless modifiers are added as 
in this day of surprises, to this very day, and this beautiful night. In 
informal styles, this sometimes simply implies prominence in the 
speaker or writer's thinking. 

Full Determinatives of Identification 291 

Then I got this letter from Grace. 

The story begins with Ryabovich attending this party. 

That implies relative remoteness. That pen is a pen perhaps in the 
hand of the person addressed, or perhaps at a distance or even no 
longer in existence; but it can also be a pen in the speaker's hand, 
looked at with a certain detachment or perspective, or perhaps 
even with some special emotion, for whatever reason. That week 
is a week in the past or the future, neither the present week nor the 
week before it (last week} or after it (next week) ; that day is a day 
in the past or the future, neither the present day nor the day be- 
fore it (yesterday) nor the day after it (tomorrow). 

As determinative modifiers both this and that are applicable to 
people but sometimes a certain amount of delicacy is necessary in 
using them and especially in using that. 

Who is that woman in the red dress? 
This little boy is our neighbor. 

The woman in the red dress is apparently out of hearing, and the 
little boy is quite young. The use of the demonstratives in the 
following sentences is emotional. 

We've tried this doctor and that. 
Those neighbors ! 

She's one of those big, helpless women. 
Have you provided for those children of yours and that little 

Emotional demonstratives are of course not confined to applica- 
tions to people. 

He's parked that Buick of his in front of our drive again. 

The that of close that door! is often emotional, used where the would 
be adequate. The that of he has that natural, unpretentious manner 
which marks the Westerner has a less obvious emotional value. 
In doubtfully standard informal use this and that are sometimes 
made plural in upside-down nounal units in which they modify 

Those kind of chairs are very comfortable. 

Here chairs of that kind has been turned upside down. The plural 
force of the whole subject unit seems to make substitution of those 

292 The Sentence and Its Parts 

for that natural. But if either sort or type is used instead of kind, 
there is less tendency to make the demonstrative plural. 
The demonstratives have very considerable nounal use. 

This is fun. 

I haven't seen him from that day to this. 

Those are very comfortable-looking shoes. 

I've been doing this and that all morning. 

What's that? 

Who's that? 

This is Mary Jones. 

This is Mary Jones employs the normal, unemotional formula for 
identification of the speaker over the telephone and of others in 
introductions. But demonstratives used nounally of people can be 
emotional also. 

That's a good fellow! 
Surely she didn't marry that? 

Demonstratives used nounally often refer to occurrences, nu- 
cleuses, clauses, sentences, and series of sentences. 

Look at that! The baby's walking. 

You may be right at that. 

There was little building and not much repairing, and that 

at a time when the community was growing rapidly. 
When work is done inefficiently, people like to excuse this by 

blaming the climate. 
Pennsylvania is a very beautiful state. That is, the parts of it 

you will spend your time in are very beautiful. 
Joe means well that's the best you can say for him. 
We see him when he comes to town, but that isn't often. 
We saw snow only once during the winter, and that was when 

the mountains high above the city were covered with it. 
That's how matters stood. 
I tried to tell her that. 

The use of demonstratives to refer to occurrences, nucleuses, and 
the like is sometimes criticized, and is perhaps best kept at a mini- 
mum in careful and formal styles; but sometimes the construction 
is much neater than the alternatives. That is commoner than this 
in this use, but this can refer to what the speaker or writer is 
about to say and that cannot. 

I'll say this: he's strictly honest. 

Full Determinatives of Identification 293 

Sometimes demonstratives used nounally refer to adjectives, nu- 
meral pronouns, and miscellaneous expressions of number and 

"Is he boring?" "I wouldn't call him that." 
It's hot now, but it will be hotter than this after April. 
"There are five vacant rooms." "That's too many." 
Judy's eight now, and she seems older than that. 
The first test failed half the class, but the second failed more 
than that. 

In the last sentence that will be taken to refer to half the class and 
that one would be taken to refer to the first test, as it would. 

This is a very useful word for referring to antecedents late in 
immediately preceding main clauses. 

His speech was concerned chiefly with the subject of land owner- 
ship. This was a very delicate matter, since many of those 
present were plantation owners. 

The universities get some of the young people who come to New 
Yorkj but these form only a small part of the total number 
who come. 

Grades are not to be recorded on the enrollment cards. These 
are to be kept for the teacher's own records. 

The personals would depend less on nearness and more on the 
type of syntactic prominence that subjects have, and are not usable 
in place of this in these sentences. That is not usable to refer to 
earlier possible antecedents as this refers to later; there is no par- 
alleling of this and that as the latter and the former are paralleled. 
That is often used nounally with the value of a form of the 
definite article the and an implied head to which postpositive modi- 
fiers are attached. 

Morally and socially his world was not very different from 

that inhabited by his parents. 

We picked the coolest apartment among those available. 
The English spoken in rural Georgia is quite different from 

that spoken in rural Indiana. 

The happiest people are those whose work interests them. 
There are those who disagree. 

Basic-form that cannot refer to people in this use, though plural 
those can. Combinations of the and substitute one compete with 

294 The Sentence and Its Parts 

nounal that in some situations. The meanings are the same, but 
the syntax is not. 

The demonstratives this and that modify both pluralizers and 
quantifiables. When they modify plurals, alone among determiner 
modifiers they themselves show number. 

this girl that day this lettuce that advice 

these girls those days 

Both this and that have considerable use as modifiers of degree 
attaching to adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns, as adverbs do. 

this big that badly that many 

Demonstratives are not repeatable as the personals are. Thus in 
let go of that before you break it the demonstrative is used only once 
and is then replaced by it. 

The definite article the. In origin the definite article the 
is an unstressed variant of the demonstrative that. From the 
point of view of meaning it functions as a less forceful equivalent 
of this as well as that. 

How do you like the weather? 

How do you like this weather? 

What did you think of the speech last night? 

What did you think of that speech last night? 

The element of pointing is normally weaker with the than with the 
demonstratives. There is a similar directing of the attention; but 
there is more dependence on obviousness and less on selection by 
means of pointing of one kind or another. In this respect deter- 
minative the is a great deal like nounal he and it. Characteristically 
the indicates that identification seems complete on the basis of 
conspicuousness in the particular situation or context. 

I'm afraid the milk is sour. 

Mary's in the garage. 

Where's the paper? 

We drove out into the country. 

When Juanita went to confession, she told the priest what had 


The President is speaking tonight. 
Before the drought was over, many farmers were ruined. 
Sophomores who read Chaucer find the English very difficult. 

Full Determinatives of Identification 295 

Sometimes the implies obviousness on a basis broader than par- 
ticular situations in the usual sense. 

The sun makes life possible, but it can also kill. 
Our ancestors blamed the devil for these things. 

Somewhat exceptional uses of the definite article include the 
categorical use modifying plural nouns and adjectives used noun- 
ally (of people) with plural force. 

The Spaniards brought Negro slaves into their Caribbean 


The Lutherans have their own schools too. 
The steelworkers are on strike. 
The women make their influence felt in politics now. 
The French still have important Caribbean possessions. 
Even the very young and the very old need interesting things 

to do. 

The difference between the categorical plural with the and the 
general plural without determiners is not always clearly felt, but 
it is basically significant. The Germans have had trouble with all 
their neighbors is a statement about a national grouping and implies 
nothing about individual Germans. Germans are good workers is a 
statement about individual Germans, looked at in general but as 
individuals nevertheless. It does not imply that every German is a 
good worker; allowance for exceptions is understood. 

The use of the definite article to mark representative singulars is 
contrary to its ordinary patterning in modern English, but it is 
frequent nevertheless. 

I never try to work much in the morning. 

It's always pleasant here in the winter. 

Carol plays the violin exceptionally well 

He buys ties by the dozen. 

Smoking is certainly bad for the throat. 

The automobile has changed American life. 

The American husband is willing to help with the dishes. 

As far as the eye could see, the land was empty. 

Writing with the left hand creates problems in school. 

This book will interest the teacher most. 

The enemy attacked the next day. 

He's playing the fool as usual. 

296 The Sentence and Its Parts 

What should perhaps be considered representative plurals and 
quantifiables are much less frequent. 

Warm salt water is good for the nerves. 

Everyone should get in the water in the summer. 

Those who live in the country deserve good medicine too. 

Representative singulars with the are best established, perhaps, 
with names of the major divisions of the day (the morning, the 
afternoon, the evening, the night) and of the year (the spring, the 
summer, the fall, the winter), with names of units of measurement 
(the pound, the yard, the dozen) used with by, and with names of 
musical instruments such as the piano and the violin. These are 
oddly limited uses. Though it is normal to say she plays the piano 
and mean the typical piano, it is not usual to say she drives the 
automobile and mean the typical automobile. Similarly, though it 
is usual to say we buy tea by the pound, the use of the immediately 
after the naming of the price (as in green tea is now two dollars the 
pound) belongs to genteel usage, and a is usually preferred. Ap- 
plied to people and their institutions, the representative singular 
with the gives an effect of detachment. 

In terms of patterns of behavior, the Negro is not a single 
human type in the British islands, the French islands, 
Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Haiti. 

Here the Negro is a sociological abstraction, like the American hus- 
band, the city, and the home in some uses. 

Definite articles are common with names of parts of the body in 
some situations where possessives of personals might be expected. 
This is true following a complement to which a possessive personal 
would refer if one were used. 

grabbed George by the arm took the child by the hand 
chilled us to the bone shot him through the heart 

looked me in the eye look a gift horse in the mouth 

The is kept in corresponding passives, and sometimes in other 
constructions where a possessive would have the subject as ante- 

He was shot through the heart. 

He was red in the face. 

I was feeling weak in the legs. 

Full Determinatives of Identification 297 

But for parts of the body the often gives a somewhat impersonal 

Those of the natives that have had comfortable lives are beau- 
tiful people. The features are fine, and the eyes large and 

Metaphorical locutions sometimes employ this the. 

I'm feeling a little down in the mouth right now. 
We'll pay through the nose. 
He gives me a pain in the neck. 

The use of the definite article with proper names is a matter 
of some complexity. True proper nouns ordinarily have no article. 
A few quite exceptional place names employ the with what must 
be considered true proper nouns: for example, the Argentine, the 
Netherlands, the Bronx, the Crimea, the Hague. Such old titles of 
books as the Bible, the Koran, and the Iliad do similarly. Ordinarily 
the use of honorifics before names of people does not involve the 
addition of articles: for example, in Mr. Hayes, Dr. Gaston, Presi- 
dent Luckey, General Lee, Bishop Manning, Sr. Collazo. But the 
is often regarded as desirable before the adjective honorifics Rev- 
erend and Honorable, when these are used with people's names; 
and it is used with a few exotic honorifics, as in the Emperor 
Maximilian and the Metropolitan Sergius. When the is used before 
an honorific, another construction is approached : the apposed-unit 
construction of the prophet Isaiah and the Spaniard Serrano. 

Names of oceans, seas, rivers, groups of islands, mountain ranges, 
deserts, ships, trains, planes, and hotels normally have the. 

the Atlantic the West Indies the Queen Elizabeth 

the Caribbean the Appalachians the Ozarker 
the Ohio the Sahara the Taft 

Ohio and Mississippi are states; the Ohio and the Mississippi are 
rivers. Queen Elizabeth is the name of a queen; the Queen Elizabeth 
is the name of a ship. All plural proper nouns employ the. 

Articles that are not compulsory or invariable modify true proper 
nouns in such phrasings as the indefatigable Poutsma and the late 
Senator Norris. But in such phrasings as the Dorothy Lucker we 
know, the first Roosevelt, and the seventeenth-century Samuel Butler 


The Sentence and Its Parts 

proper names have become pluralizers. Probably this is what has 
happened also in the new Puerto Rico, where the island is thought 
of as a cluster of variants one Puerto Rico in 1900, another in 
1930, another now. 

For phrasal proper names with head words that are pluralizers 
rather than true proper nouns, the normal pattern calls for use of 

the Appalachian Mountains 

the Atlantic Ocean 

the Butler Museum of Art 

the Canal Zone 

the City of New York 

the College of William and 


the Dead Sea 

the First Methodist Church 
the General Electric Company 

the Great Lakes 
the Gulf of Mexico 
the Middle Ages 
the Modern Language Associa- 

the Ohio Hotel 
the Pan-American Highway 
the Republic of Panama 
the Statue of Liberty 
the University of Utah 

But the is not used in some phrasal proper names in which plural- 
izer nouns are heads. This is normally true of names of islands, 
bays, lakes, mountains, counties, forts, cities, streets, and parks. 

Mustang Island Mahpning County Wick Avenue 

Hudson Bay Mexico City Washington Boulevard 

Lookout Mountain Main Street Mill Creek Park 

Mount Everest Lake Erie Fort McHenry 

It is true of names of colleges, universities, and other educational 
institutions, and sometimes of names of buildings used by such 
institutions, when the pluralizer head word is preceded by a proper 
noun or other relatively specific word or phrase. 

Houghton College 
Ohio State University 
Southern Methodist Univer- 

California Institute of Tech- 

Taliaferro Hall 
Gould Gymnasium 

In formal institutional use, the is sometimes placed before such a 
name as Ohio State University. 

Sometimes the has semantic value like that of the best, the correct, 
or the true. 

That's not the way for an adult with a positive I.Q. to learn a 
foreign language. 

Full Determinatives of Identification 299 

Mustaches were quite the thing in those days. 
From the historical point of view the Orthodox Church also 
can argue that it is the Church. 

In such phrasings as the other day, as in I saw Helen downtown the 
other day, there is an offhand quality to the and no real idea of con- 
spicuousness. The other day means about what on a recent day would 

Like the demonstratives, the definite article the modifies both 
pluralizers and quantifiables, but unlike the demonstratives it does 
not inflect for number. It has adverbial uses in which it modifies 
comparative adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns. 

Joe looks the worse for wear. 

The sooner we get there, the better it will be. 

The indefinite article a. The characteristic use of the in- 
definite article a is to identify simply by placing in a category. The 
a new hobby of Edgar needs a new hobby has for the singular almost 
the same force that the new hobbies of Edgar needs new hobbies has 
for the plural. In most constructions singular forms of pluralizers 
must have determiners. A is their minimum determiner. Often 
what is identified by a has not had previous mention in the context 
but continues to be important after the first mention. Once identi- 
fication is established, however inexactly, a becomes unusable. 
Sometimes what a identifies is of no more than momentary conse- 
quence, as is the case in J got a cup of coffee at nine and then worked 
till eleven. Sometimes the identification marked by the use of a is no 
more than an additional classification of what is known to speaker 
or writer and to hearer or reader from another point of view. 

I learned yesterday that Professor Hidalgo is a Mason. 
Harris is a sensitive, imaginative person. 

Though it identifies only in terms of membership in a category 
for example, as in the last sentence above, the category of sensitive, 
imaginative people a is a full determinative in its syntax, not a 
partial one. A new car is as fully determined syntactically as that 
new car or Jack's new car. But the determinative pronouns such, 
what, and many are used with a and precede it; and extremitive 
adjectival modifiers containing how, so, as, too, however, and that 
precede it also. 

300 The Sentence and Its Parts 

I hadn't realized what a long trip we would have. 

Many a man has tried. 

He's so stern a father that his children sometimes have to 

ask twice for things they shouldn't have. 
However low a price he paid, he wasted his money. 

Like general one and substitute one, the indefinite article orig- 
inally developed from the numeral one. In its most characteristic 
uses a is now concerned with identification more than with number. 
In I wanted an A in the course the unit an A and the unit the course 
are alike singular, and singular number is unemphasized in the two 
units alike. In I wanted one A in the course the use of the numeral 
one gives number central importance. But in some uses the indefi- 
nite article a is still semantically very close to the numeral one. 

I'll be back in a day or two. 
She wastes a third of her time. 
We were for the change, to a man. 

One third of her time suggests a more accurate estimate than a third 
of her time, just as one hundred dollars suggests a more careful 
count than a hundred dollars. 

In negated clauses, main interrogatives, and subordinate inter- 
rogatives with question or condition force, the indefinite article a 
is often semantically close to the numeral one but to some extent 
parallels any also. 

Does he have a wife? 
I didn't bring a camera. 
I don't know a thing. 
I didn't say a word. 
He doesn't have a friend in the world. 
If he's ever read a major work in the field, he shows no signs 
of it. 

A often suggests that what is thought of as a reasonable allotment 
is a single specimen: one wife, one camera at hand. Thus does he 
have a wife? contrasts with does he have any children? But some- 
times a is used (often with single and other reinforcing locutions) 
where any might be expected, as in he doesn't have a friend in the 

The indefinite article a approaches each in meaning when it 
modifies names of units of measurement (of time, distance, size, 

Full Determinatives of Identification 301 

weight, etc.) and unites with them to form postpositive modifiers in 
units naming cost and frequency. There is historical objection to 
calling this a the article, but there is no doubt that it is now felt 
as the article. 

forty dollars a month three times a day 

a dollar a pound twice an hour 

Like the definite article the, the indefinite article sometimes 
marks representative singulars. A lacks the effect of detachment 
that the has in this use. A approaches any here, but any is more 
sweeping and leaves no room for exceptions. 

A good house is warm in winter and cool in summer. 
A cat is a relatively independent pet. 
Shopping is hard on a man. 

The indefinite article is variable in form, in both the spoken 
language and the written. Before vowel sounds it terminates in an 
/n/ which it does not have before consonant sounds. 

a good job a Ph.D. an only child 

a one-man job an adequate job an M.A. 

Before words beginning with unstressed syllables in which initial 
h may or may not be pronounced, a seems to have an uneasy 
preference over an. 

a habitual drunkard a historical novel 

a hallucination a hysterical woman 

The indefinite article normally modifies only singular pluralizers. 
It often modifies nounal units which are plural in form but singular 
in force, as in she gave me a bad thirty minutes. In such units as a 
little and a great many it modifies other determinative pronouns. 

Indefinite some. Some is much like the indefinite article a in 
some of its uses but has a wider variety of uses than a does and 
modifies plurals and quantifiables as well as singulars. Syntac- 
tically some is most like a when it modifies singular pluralizers. 

Some student has been trying to reach you. 
You'll have to find some other good excuse. 
Surely there's some way to stop him. 
I'll come to your house some day next week. 

302 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Here, as with a in its most characteristic uses, there is identification 
only to the extent of classification. Some differs from a in making 
more of a point of the inexact character of such identification. 
Sometimes it carries a suggestion of emotion. 

Phyllis learned to talk like that in some Speech course. 
Some girl friend of George's has his car today. 

Where there is contrast, some, like numeral one but less often, 
serves as a replacement for the article a. 

For some reason or other, there's no need to lock doors here. 

When some modifies plurals, it expresses indefiniteness with re- 
spect to both identification and number. 

Some visitors came by while you were out. 

The orchestra played some lively Mexican pieces. 

Elena has some remarkable silver pins on sale. 

Some is here a great deal like an indefinite article for the plural, and 
it is significant that in the sentences given above a will ordinarily 
replace some if the number of the head is changed to singular. 
But some is often not used with plurals after be and as where a is 
needed with singulars. 

The brothers are good mechanics. 

Everyone regards the brothers as good mechanics. 

Some is used with plural heads where there is contrast or a sug- 
gestion of contrast. 

Some English teachers have sensible sets of linguistic prej- 
udices, but most of them do not. 
Some people just don't understand George. 

Some also occurs where the meaning of an appreciable number is 

We stayed there for some years. 

Some occasionally precedes a numeral pronoun on which it is 
superimposed. Here it is semantically close to approximately. 

Jenny has accumulated some thirty absences. 

When some modifies quantifiables, it expresses indefiniteness 
with respect to both identification and quantity. 

Full Determinatives of Identification 303 

Some furniture for the porch would help. 

I could eat some more chicken. 

Horton will give you some impressive bad advice. 

Some is found, as with plurals, where there is contrast or a sug- 
gestion of contrast and where the meaning of appreciable is im- 

Some porch furniture is comfortable, and some isn't. 

Some milk is still unpasteurized. 

I waited some little time. 

The college is at some distance from the town. 

He's a man of some importance. 

In informal styles some occasionally takes on a good deal of the 
force of the adjective phenomenal, as a modifier of singulars, plurals, 
and quantifiables. 

It's some town! 

Those were some parties! 

It was some fun! 

A touch of this force is evident in the compound somebody used as 
in he wants to be somebody. 

Like most determinative pronouns (but unlike a), some has 
nounal uses. Here it is always either plural or quantifiable in force. 

Some of the visitors had been here before. 

Some of his advice was good. 

Some of us went swimming. 

The war brought misery to some but wealth to others. 

If there's any coffee, I'll take some. 

Some of them and some of it are often preferred to some alone. 

We ate Mexican dishes constantly, and some of them were 

We drank cider all along the road, and some of it was wonder- 

Some does not often occur in negated clauses except main inter- 
rogatives and subordinate interrogatives with question or condi- 
tion force. The sweeping, all-inclusive force of any makes any very 
popular as a negative reinforcer. In main interrogatives and in 
subordinate interrogatives with question or condition force 
whether negated or not some is used as well as any, but with 
different force. 

304 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Will you have some soup? 

Why should we put some more money into that old car? 

Doesn't she have some rooms to rent? 

I wonder whether I've said something unwise. 

If you've had some experience, you won't find the work hard. 

In general, in sentences such as these some suggests appreciable 
amounts or numbers and/or expectation of positive replies. For 
this reason will you have some soup? has a more generous quality 
to it than will you have any soup? where any has some of the force 
of the least bit and does not suggest a positive answer. 

Some tends to be replaced by somewhat in adverbial uses, but it 
does occur in them. 

The medicine helped me some. 

Indifferent any and either. When any and either are used as 
determiner modifiers of singular forms of pluralizers, they have 
pretty much the semantic content of the indefinite article a with 
it doesn't matter which added as a loose adjunct. Any expresses 
indifference to identity within groups with three or more members; 
either expresses the same meaning within groups with only two 

Hilda will marry any man with a bank account. 
Bill can write with either hand. 

Either normally modifies only singulars. Any modifies singulars 
where singular number seems appropriate and plurals where plural 
number seems appropriate. 

Any good mechanic could repair that. 

The state university trains more lawyers than any other insti- 
tution in the area. 
I shall appreciate any suggestions you care to make. 

When any modifies plurals it normally expresses indifference to 
number as well as to identity. 

In such a sentence as Frank can get excited about any pretty girl 
that comes along the meaning of any is not far from that of every or 
that of all. But often the meaning of any is close to that of the one 
to which it is related in origin, and even to the determinative no of 
zero (only a short step from one), rather than to that of every and 
all at the opposite extreme of universality and totality. 

Full Determinatives of Identification 305 

Students who have failed any grade twice cannot remain in 


Andrew has hardly any close friends. 
Any errors that appear will be called to your attention. 

Here any grade is semantically close to a single grade, and hardly 
any close friends is not far from almost no close friends. Any errors 
involves an implication that it is doubtful that errors, or at least 
an appreciable number of errors, will appear. It is a curiosity of 
semantics that the meaning of it doesn't matter which is equally 
compatible with meanings close to that of every and with meanings 
close to that of no. 

Any is a favored word for giving a sweeping quality to negated 
clauses, main interrogatives, and subordinate interrogatives with 
question or condition force. Have you heard any complaints? is a 
sweeping open question; have you heard a complaintf and have you 
heard complaints? (or some complaints?) are questions framed in 
expectation of particular replies yes, I've heard one and yes, I've 
heard some. If any is given dominant stress in uses of this kind, its 
old relationship to one next door to zero can make itself very 
strongly felt. Does he have any good qualities? with dominant stress 
on any means about the same thing as does he have even one good 
quality? A negative answer is pretty clearly expected here. But 
any is a slippery word, and understatement and hyperbole are of 
course frequent. Where the context or situation indicates what is 
intended, any is usable even in negated clauses, main interroga- 
tives, and subordinate interrogatives with question or condition 
force, with the meaning which approaches that of every. 

Surely you don't believe any fanciful story Jack tells you. 

The any which approaches every in meaning accepts almost as a 
prepositive modifier. The any which approaches determinative no 
accepts near-negative hardly and scarcely. 

I used to be able to eat almost any fried foods. 
Hardly any fried foods agree with me now. 

In negated clauses, main interrogatives, and subordinate inter- 
rogatives with question or condition force any ordinarily modifies 
plurals in preference to singular forms of pluralizers. 

306 The Sentence and Its Parts 

The Jacksons don't have any children. 

Have you seen any ants in the kitchen? 

If we have any visitors, we'll make lemonade. 

But sometimes plurals would suggest plurality where it seems un- 
suitable. Any can modify singular forms of pluralizers in such a 
situation, though it will sometimes seem a little emotional and a 
may be preferred to it. 

There isn't any kitchen in the apartment. 

Does Allen have a wife? 

If we had an automobile, we'd take you home. 

As determiner modifiers of pluralizers, both any and either take 
on special meanings at times. In he'll be here any day the meaning of 
any day is roughly equivalent to today or soon. He'll be here some 
day puts the incompletely identified day into the future more in- 
definitely. In I warned him any number of times the meaning of any 
is roughly equivalent to that of a very great. Either is occasionally 
used where each is usually preferred, as in on either side of the door 
stood a huge urn. 

Any is used as a determiner modifier of quantifiables also, and in 
this use it expresses indifference to quantity as well as to identity. 
Here any is semantically close now to all and now to the least bit. 

Any money she earns goes to charity. 

Any advice will be appreciated. 

I doubt that she speaks any Italian. 

There isn't any flour in the house. 

Is there any malaria in the area? 

If we had any time left, we'd go on to Martinique. 

Both any and either have nounal uses. 

Any of the neighbors would be glad to help. 
They served hash once a week, but I never ate any. 
Either of your parents can fill out the form. 
I hadn't met either of the girls before. 

In many situations of them or of it is appended to any, and of them 
to either, or substitute one is employed as a head, in preference to 
using any and either nounally without modifiers of the whole. 

There are about a dozen seats left, but hardly any of them are 

There are two newspapers, but we don't take either one. 

Full Determinatives of Identification 307 

Any has considerable use in adverbial constructions, (1) as a 
modifier of comparatives and of the too of excess and (2) as an 
adjunct, though here at all tends to be preferred. 

I couldn't finish any sooner. 
Henriette doesn't come any more. 
I'm afraid I didn't explain any too well. 
I didn't sleep any last night. 

Either has considerable use as an adjunct, and as a modifier of 
head constructions of varied types, when it is used in the second 
of two negated clauses or smaller units as too is used where there is 
no negation. 

The food wasn't very expensive, but it wasn't very good either. 
Unfortunately Phyllis isn't rich or pretty either. 

As a precoordinator, either is sometimes an adjunct and sometimes 
a contained modifier attaching to a head of practically any kind. 

Either you'll let Hawkins have his way or you'll have trouble. 
He's either insensitive or cruel. 

As a precoordinator either can be used when there are more than 
two coordinates. 

Either the subject matter of such courses is no longer of wide 
interest, or the teaching is poor, or the students are forced 
into other courses. 

Universal every and each. Every and each are full determina- 
tives of universality, which they come at through representative 
singulars. Every is preferable to each where large numbers are 
involved and individual members of the category are not as clearly 
in mind. 

After 1932 all over the world every Jew carried a heavy burden 

of fear and horror. 

Every college in the country teaches something it calls English. 
Every moment of our stay in New York was pleasant. 
Garbage is collected every third day. 
We have every reason to hope for improvement. 

In the last of these sentences the use of every suggests a considerable 
number of reasons, perhaps in optimistic overstatement. Even 
where relatively small numbers are involved, every is preferable to 

308 The Sentence and Its Parts 

each if a sweeping universality without too much attention to 
individual members of the category is wanted. 

Every window in the room was broken . 

Every accepts modifiers such as the adverbs almost and absolutely 
to form phrasal determiners, whereas each does not. 

We had a test almost every week. 
Absolutely every egg in the dozen was bad. 

Each often seems preferable to every where small definite numbers 
are involved and more attention to the individual members of the 
category seems desirable. Where the number involved is two, every 
is not usable. 

Susan was carrying a jellyfish in each hand. 

Every and each modify only heads with singular force, never 
plurals or true quantifiables. Every often modifies phrasal heads 
whose form is plural though their force is singular. 

We stopped every few miles to rest. 

Every accepts various adverbial units as heads in exceptional 
nounal headed units used as adjuncts of predicators. 

every now and then every once in a while 

every so often 

Every is occasionally preceded by possessive determiners, 
his every gesture whose every mood 

Every is like the and a in having no nounal use. It has consid- 
erable use with substitute one as head where nounal use might be 

We went to half a dozen British movies, and every one was 

Each is quite usable in nounal constructions, or one can be added. 

My father always brought each of us children a present when 

he came home from his trips. 
There are a dozen of us in the group, and each has his special 


Full Determinatives of Identification 309 

Every and each express universality, but in most of their uses 
there are limits, whether clearly or vaguely defined, within which 
universality is visualized. Thus in everyone goes without a coat in 
summer there is not to mention inaccuracy a tacit limitation 
to an area or a city or perhaps a smaller social segment, such as a 
school or an office. Universality and totality are closely related 
concepts, or perhaps the same concept looked at in different ways. 
Hence every and each compete with all. Representative singular 
every student and each student the first quite sweeping, the second 
more painstaking in its interest in individual students compete 
with plural all students and all the students. 

Negative no and neither. When no and neither are used 
as determiner modifiers of singulars, they express meanings of a 
(or the numeral one, or even any} and not together. 

No human being is completely unaffected by flattery. 
Neither parent should administer all the punishment. 

No expresses this meaning when groups with three or more mem- 
bers are involved; neither expresses it when groups with only two 
members are involved. Neither normally modifies singulars not 
plurals, and not true quantifiables. No has a stronger affinity for 
plurals than for singulars. 

There are no churches in our section of town. 
Judy has had no cavities so far. 
No women were present. 
No classes are meeting today. 

The meaning, in the end, is that of zero. The pull is toward the 
plural because determiners of number in general have plural heads. 
But where singulars seem clearly more suitable no is used with 

He really has no home. 

The trouble is that George is no diplomat. 

No is used as a determiner modifier of quantifiables as well as of 
pluralizers. Here it is semantically equivalent to not a bit of. 

There's no mustard left in the bottle. 

It's no fun to hear Shakespeare chopped up like that. 

310 The Sentence and Its Parts 

In nounal use no is replaced by its long variant none. Usually a 
modifier of the whole begun by of follows. Where the reference is to 
pluralizers, the unit is generally felt to have plural force. 

None of the stores are open on Sundays. 
None of the snapshots were very good. 
None of us are going. 

Occasionally none has clear singular force where it refers to plural- 

It was none other than the Congregational minister. 
None is also used, like no, with reference to quantifiables. 

None of the food was aesthetically satisfying. 

At bottom Edgar had none of the assurance that appeared on 

the surface. 
It's none of his business. 

None has some nounal use without modifiers of the whole, espe- 
cially in highly reduced answers to questions but also in some other 

"How much coffee do we have?" "None, I'm afraid." 
One is better than none. 

Neither has nounal uses too, especially when modifiers of the 
whole follow. The reference is always to pluralizers, and the group 
in point always has two members. In careful and formal styles the 
unit is treated as singular in force. 

Neither of the boys likes it. 
Neither of them is really to blame. 

In informal styles such units are sometimes treated as plural, like 
similar units with none. There is a strong tendency to employ one 
as a head with neither in preference to using neither nounally. 

Neither one of the boys likes it. 

We bought two watermelons, but neither one was good. 

No, none, and neither all perform adverbial functions. No some- 
times functions as an adjunct beginning gerundial clauses. 

There's no understanding Joan. 

Full Determinatives of Identification 311 

No sometimes modifies comparatives and none sometimes modifies 

I'm a little older but no wiser. 
The instructions are none too clear. 

Neither has considerable use as an adjunct in the second of two 
negated clauses. 

I didn't go, and neither did Bill. 

In its use as precoordinator, neither functions as adjunct and as 
contained modifier of heads of varied types. 

Neither taking courses nor writing a thesis interests Hudson 

She's neither rich nor pretty. 

Clause-marker what. Among the clause-marker pronouns 
what and which and whatever and whichever are basically deter- 
minative in type. What is used as a determiner in main interroga- 
tives asking for identification where there is a feeling that the 
number of possibilities is great. 

What name have they given the baby? 
What teachers did you have last semester? 
What furniture will we need? 

What has considerable nounal use in interrogatives. 

What have they named the baby? 
What will we need? 

What's the best way to get rid of ants? 
What in the world can we do in Buffalo? 
What does Garner want now? 

As a subject, nounal what always has singular force with relation to 
its predicator. 

What has made the city grow so fast? 

What circumstances have made the city grow so fast? 

In general, nounal what is not usable when words referring to people 
are implied as heads for it. Thus what did you have in French? can- 
not mean what teachers did you have in French? But as a comple- 
ment, what sometimes asks for classification of people by such 

312 The Sentence and Its Parts 

things as profession, religion, and college class, with the context 
indicating the precise type of classification wanted. 

Jim is a Methodist, but what is his wife? 

In reduced constructions asking for repetition of a word or phrase, 
what occasionally functions as a kind of head word preceded by 
other determinatives, and occasionally as a predicator or as head 
word in a predicator. 

A what? Some what? 

He what? They've what? 

What is used as a marker in assertives. Here it has pretty much 
the semantic content of the adjective phenomenal. 

What a name they've given that poor baby! 
What a view! What lobsters! What weather! 
You can't imagine what a mess I've made. 

When extremitive what modifies singular forms of pluralizers, the 
article a is also employed and follows it. Often what occurs where 
the marker adverb how would seem syntactically more appropriate. 
What a beautiful view! is semantically more or less equivalent to 
it's a phenomenally beautiful view } but the syntax of what is quite 
different from that of phenomenally. 

What is used in subordinate-interrogative clauses that have true 
question force much as it is used in main interrogatives, and in 
subordinate assertives much as it is used in main assertives. 

I don't know what name they've given the baby. 

Renfrew is an engineer, but I'm not sure what Robertson is. 

It's astonishing what a good husband Jerry is. 

In subordinate interrogatives what can have the meaning what kind 
of person. 

You know well enough what Garner is. 

What has considerable use in subordinate-interrogative clauses with 
the force of nounal heads and modifying clauses together. 

What Eugene needs is new interests and new friends. 
This weather isn't what is considered typical here. 
What we got was another stuffed shirt. 
What trips we take are relatively uninteresting. 

Full Determinatives of Identification 313 

What trips we take is felt as equivalent to the trips that we take in 
number force. Used nounally as subject in interrogative clauses, 
what can have plural force with relation to its own predicator if a 
clear plural reference has been established. 

The stores aren't numerous, but what are to be found are 

What is not usable in interrogative clauses following head words to 
which the markers in the interrogative clauses refer, as that is used 
in we already knew everything that he said. 
What occasionally functions as an adjunct. 

What does Joan care about cost? 
What does it matter to you? 

In informal styles it sometimes replaces clause-marker that in 
subordinate-declarative clauses made objects of the preposition but. 

He's not so obstinate but what hell listen. 
Who knows but what we'll get to Hawaii next? 

Clause-marker which. Which is used as a determiner in main 
interrogatives asking for identification where there is a feeling that 
the number of possibilities is small. 

Which seats shall we take? 

Which daughter married the congressman? 

Which has a considerable nounal use in main interrogatives. 

Which of your courses takes the most time? 
Which is it too big or too small? 

Substitute one has considerable use as a head word for which. In 
this use one serves as a clear indicator of number. 

We're giving the kittens away now. Which one would you like? 
I don't have time for all the stories in the collection. Which 
ones would you recommend especially? 

Which is used in subordinate-interrogative clauses that have 
true question force, much as it is used in main interrogatives. 

I wonder which daughter married first. 
Let me know which ones you'd like. 

314 The Sentence and Its Parts 

In careful and formal styles which is sometimes used as a deter- 
miner modifier in interrogative clauses which follow words or multi- 
word units often whole nucleuses to which which refers. 

The license expires at the end of the second year, at which 

time it will be necessary to procure another. 
In the thirties many Puerto Bicans blamed United States 

economic policies for the depression, for which reason desire 

for independence became very strong. 
The upper classes may continue to block reforms, in which 

case we must expect the use of violence. 

Much more commonly which is used in nounal constructions in 
interrogative clauses which follow nounal units to which which 

He always ends with the argument which seems most impres- 
sive to him. 

He always ends with the arguments which seem most impres- 
sive to him. 

In informal styles this nounal which sometimes refers to whole 

When I go to work there are no places to park, which means 
that I have a real problem. 

Nounal which is rarely used with reference to people as individuals, 
but it is quite usable with reference to groupings of people and 
with reference to abstractions of human types. 

He was related to a family named Fitton, which in turn was 

related to the Houghtons of Lancashire. 
Joe acted like a fanatic which he is. 

Which is not a clause marker at all in the locution every which way. 
Which does not inflect for number. It does borrow a possessive 
from who, however, for use in interrogative clauses which follow 
nounal units to which whose refers. 

This is an age of problems whose solution is made more difficult 
by modern ideas. 

Alternatives to whose solution are the solution of which and of which 
the solution, both of them relatively awkward. Often, however, it 
seems advisable to look for phrasings of other kinds. Such verbs 

Full Determinatives of Identification 315 

as have and belong, and such prepositional adverbs as of and with, 
obviously can come at the meanings expressed by possessive in- 

Clause- marker whatever and whichever. The compounds 
whatever and whichever do not often occur in main interrogatives, 
where such units as what in the world are preferred. 

Whatever happened? 

What in the world happened? 

They have considerable use in subordinate-interrogative clauses 
that have the force of nounal heads and modifying clauses together. 

We used whatever boxes we could find. 
I'll take whichever one you give me. 
Whatever he does is done well. 

Here ever is semantically equivalent to any, despite the differences 
in syntactic structures. 

We used any boxes that we could find. 
I'll take any one you give me. 
Anything that he does is done well. 

Whatever and whichever also have considerable use in subordinate- 
interrogative clauses used as adjuncts of indifference, where larger 
constructions begun by no matter compete. 

Whatever reasons he gave, the truth is that he's afraid to get 


Whatever you do, don't trust him. 
I'll be satisfied whichever way it goes. 

Whatever and otherwise-archaic whatsoever have uses as post- 
positive modifiers of nounal heads. Here they reinforce meanings 
of negation, question, and condition, and are not clause markers. 

George used no judgement whatever. 

If he had any judgement whatsoever, he wouldn't be in the 
trouble he's in. 



Like the full determinatives of identification, the partial deter- 
minatives of identification and the determinatives of number and 
quantity are characteristically used both as determiner modifiers 
of nounal heads and as forms which have assimilated the meanings 
and the syntactic functions of what would be their nounal heads 
in unreduced constructions. Full determinatives can be super- 
imposed freely on most of them, as in that same day, in his third 
job, in my next visit, in the three boys, and in his many friends; but 
full determinatives are not likely to be superimposed on such de- 
terminatives of number and quantity as enough and all. The partial 
determinatives of identification are same, such, other, the ordinal 
numerals, last, next, former, latter, and own; the determinatives of 
number and quantity are the cardinal numerals, few, little, several, 
enough, many, much, all, and both. 

The determinative of identity: same, The pronoun same 
has essentially the meaning also expressed by the adjective iden- 
tical. Same is most characteristically used as a partial determiner 
within nounal units, and modifies singulars, plurals, and quanti- 

Jerry and I went to the same college. 
The same two salesmen came by yesterday. 
George always uses the very same excuses. 
He'll give you the same advice again. 

Same has nounal uses of various types . 

It's all the same to me. 

Things never look the same after a long absence. 

The same to you! 

In standard usage, same is normally preceded by a full deter- 
miner. Same normally requires completing modifiers, expressed or 

Other Determinatives 317 

implied. When expressed, these are generally interrogative clauses 
subordinated by as or that. 

Things never look the same after a long absence as they looked 

The same two salesmen that came here before came by again 


Same often serves as head in adjunct constructions, especially 
in informal styles. 

Hodges lacked support, but he went ahead just the same. 
Teachers want security the same as everyone else, 

The determinative of type: such. Such varies in meaning 
from equivalence with locutions such as of this kind almost to 
equivalence with the or that. 

Some such arrangement was necessary. 

We're usually at home at such times. 

The invitations went to such guests as seemed likely to interest 

the guest of honor. 
There isn't any such street. 

In the last of these sentences any such has practically the semantic 
value of any that, which is not an accepted combination. 

Such tends to have emotional force. This may be mild: in effect, 
only a clear hint of favorable or unfavorable attitudes. The mean- 
ing still varies from that of of this kind to that of the and that. 

I never heard of such a method. 

You never saw such weather. 

Such clothes as we had were not appropriate. 

The multiple-unit determinative such-and-such is semantically an 
emotional equivalent of some. 

They'll hire such-and-such a man from outside, and he'll do 
what they won't let the local men do. 

The emotional force of such is sometimes very strong, and such, 
like what, comes to be involved in meanings the adjective phe- 
nomenal expresses. 

Did you ever see such waves! 
There was music and such music! 

318 The Sentence and Its Parts 

When such is superimposed on units made up of adjectives and 
nounal heads, it takes on the semantic force of an extremitive 
modifier of the adjectives, though syntactically it is best regarded 
as a modifier of the nounal heads. 

Such a big house would be hard to heat. 

It isn't wise to use such picturesque language. 

We had such a nice time ! 

They really aren't such high prices if you want quality. 

Here such has replaced the semantically related adverb so. Such 
cannot do this when no nounal head follows the adjectives, and it 
cannot do it with the pronouns few, little, many, and much. 

The prices really aren't so high if you want quality. 
I didn't realize that there was so little time. 

Like same, such normally requires completing modifiers, ex- 
pressed or implied. These are generally interrogative clauses 
marked by as or declarative clauses. 

Some such arrangement as this was necessary. 

We always take such things as flashlight, blankets, and mos- 
quito netting. 

I never heard of such a method as that. 

Such a big house as that one is would be hard to heat. 

The children were having such a good time that their mother 
hated to call them in. 

Expressed completing clauses are often reduced. Sometimes, as in 
the second sentence above, they amount to lists which such marks 
as not complete. Sometimes as to infinitival clauses complete such. 
Sometimes its completers pull such to postpositive position, as in 
some arrangement such as this was necessary. Sometimes as such is 
used in informal styles it is hard to formulate satisfactory com- 
pleters of even reduced types. 

In standard usage such occurs in nounal constructions rela- 
tively little. 

He's a wonderful husband. There aren't many such. 
The fury of the storm was such as to leave few houses un- 
Such were the conditions which brought on the revolt. 

Such is often the head word in loose adjuncts which are also half 
appositives of preceding nouns or nounal units. 

Other Determinatives 319 

Phyllis was bored by her husband's attentions, such as they 

They lived on small game, such as rabbits and quail. 

The determinative of difference: other. The pronoun other 
is applied to members of a category already prominently repre- 
sented by one or more members. As a determiner modifier other 
modifies singulars, plurals, and quantifiables. 

Wednesday will be all right, or any other day this week. 

Who are those other people? 

I left my other glasses at home. 

Where are the other two schools? 

Other opportunities will turn up. 

I liked the other furniture better. 

Was there any other mail? 

The indefinite article a merges with other to form another, which 
has the full-determinative force of a. 

We saw another British movie. 

After the the commonest uses of other occur where there is a 
twofold division. 

One of the brothers is very serious, but the other is a playboy. 
We wasted five days of the six, but the sixth was wonderful. 

But in a few offhand phrases such as the other day, other means no 
more than recent and the no more than indefinite a. After every 
quite often other still has its ancient meaning of second. 

Milk is delivered every other day. 
Often other is simply equivalent to additional. 

Bert wanted another hamburger, of course. 

It is noteworthy that if a numeral were substituted for an here 
other would be replaced by more, which is primarily concerned with 
number and quantity and so takes on the meaning of additional 
more naturally. 

Other has considerable nounal use. 

Dudley was wearing one shoe and carrying the other. 
It won't work, for one reason or another. 

320 The Sentence and Its Parts 

In contrast with some the basic form other is used where the com- 
pound another might be expected. 

It won't work, for some reason or other. 
The inflected plural form others appears in nounal use. 

Some students have a taste for grammar, and others don't. 
I liked the first poem but not the others. 

Like same and such, other normally requires a completing modi- 
fier, expressed or implied. Expressed completers take the form of 
interrogative clauses of comparison subordinated by than } and 
sometimes pull other to postpositive positions. 

We have no problems other than expense. 

Occasionally a unit with other as head functions as an adjunct, 
and occasionally other is coordinated with the adverbs somewhere 
and somehow. 

I've never known the Buckners to entertain other than lavishly. 
We'll get the job done somehow or other. 

The ordinal numerals. The ordinal numerals are based on 
the cardinals and make up a series which can be extended in- 
definitely. Most ordinals are formed by adding a suffix written th 
to the corresponding cardinals, whether these are single words or 
phrasal units. 

sixth twenty-sixth three hundred and sixth 

Where the cardinal ends in the suffix ty, a syllabic variant of th 
written eth is added, as in twentieth. First, second, third, fifth, 
eighth, and ninth are irregular, eighth and ninth in spelling only; 
phrasal ordinals such as twenty-third extend these irregularities. 
First and second originally had no relationship to one and two. One 
hundredth, one thousandth, and one millionth are generally sim- 
plified by the omission of one. Nth occurs in to the nth degree. Num- 
ber ideographs are sometimes combined with ordinal suffixes 
in the written language, notably in such street names as 116th 

The ordinal numerals identify on the basis of position within 
sequences. The sequences are of varied types, involving positions 
in time, space, importance, and relationships of still other kinds. 

Other Determinatives 321 

The twenty -first century should be a peaceful one. 

Clara is Henry's third wife. 

The Hortons live in the fourth house from the corner. 

Fentress is the second vice president now. 

Mary is a second cousin. 

Nounal uses of ordinal pronouns are frequent. 

We got to Marietta on the fifth of November. 

Let me be the first to congratulate you. 

Let me be among the first to congratulate you. 

Our second thoughts are generally better than our first. 

We were unduly suspicious at first. 

The ordinals have very considerable use as adjuncts and some use 
as modifiers of superlative adjectives. 

Let's investigate other possibilities first. 
I came out second best. 

Other determinatives of sequence: last, next, former, 
latter. Last and next identify on the basis of position in se- 
quences, like the ordinals; but they are not involved in counting. 
Last is sometimes applied to the member or members of a series 
with which the series is terminated. 

The Tempest was Shakespeare's last play. 
We spent the last days of our stay shopping. 

In this sense last contrasts with first. But often last contrasts with 
next rather than with first: last and next identify in terms of 
proximity, last immediately before the central point, and next im- 
mediately after it. 

The next town will be larger than the last two, won't it? 

Last and next were originally related to the adjective latest and 
the adverb nearest, and the line separating the determinative pro- 
nouns from the superlative adjective and adverb is not a very 
rigid one. But the nearest town need not be the next town on a 
route. In Moore's latest attack on the Administration the adjective 
latest is concerned with recentness, just as it is in the latest fashions. 
In the last session of the legislature the pronoun last is concerned 
with position in a series of sessions. Last and next become full de- 
terminers in such units as last week and next year y where they are 

322 The Sentence and Its Parts 

used with relation to the time of speaking or writing. Used in very 
similar units with relation to other times, they are partial de- 

I'll see you next Saturday. 

We were in Evanston on Christmas Day, and we spent the 
next Saturday in Chicago. 

Last and next have nounal uses also. 

Jack would be the last to deny it. 

We were in Marietta the week before last. 

They have considerable use as adjuncts and as heads in adjunct 
units, and next sometimes modifies superlative adjectives. 

What shall we do next? 

Next to losing our baggage, that was the worst thing that hap- 
Monday is the best day, and Tuesday is next best. 

Former and latter are determinative pronouns which distinguish 
between two more or less parallel references in terms of the order 
in which they have just been mentioned. 

Uruguay and Paraguay have had completely different his- 
tories, and the former is now one of the most advanced 
countries in the world in its political and social organiza- 
tion while the latter is not. 

Such words as first, second, and last replace former and latter where 
there are more than two possible references. 

The determinative pronoun of possession: own. The par- 
tial determinative own is always used with a superimposed posses- 
sive which it reinforces semantically much as an intensive self form 
of a personal pronoun reinforces a noun or pronoun. Own most 
often reinforces possessive pronouns which refer to subjects or 
complements in the clauses. 

George brought his own boat. 

We took George for a ride in his own boat. 

Own is usable with possessive pronouns in such sentences as it was 
my own fault } but it is not usable in such sentences as / have your 

Other Determinatives 323 

copy. It is quite usable with possessives of nouns, as in that's 
Judy's own doll. Occasionally own marks a more permanent rela- 
tionship than might be indicated by a possessive without own. 

When I passed out the pencils, one boy said his wouldn't 

When I passed out the pencils, one boy asked whether he 

might use his own. 

Usually, however, own simply accentuates what the possessive 
which precedes it would indicate in any case. Where accentuation 
is out of place, own is out of place. Thus George picks his ties 
recklessly should have own after his only in certain contexts: for 
example, after something has been said about how other people 
choose ties for him, or about how he chooses ties for other people. 
As a determiner modifier own attaches to singulars, plurals, and 

Gray is his own worst enemy. 
Clara makes her own clothes. 
Use your own judgement. 

In Clara makes her own clothes the use of own implies a feeling that 
her needs accentuation: it is not a usual thing for women to make 
their clothes themselves. Clara arranges her own hair badly would 
be usable with own only in special contexts: for example, after 
something had been said about how her beauty parlor arranges her 
hair or about how she arranges other people's hair. 

Own is also used as a nounal head modified by preceding pos- 
sessives. It does not inflect for number. 

George's ties are loud, but my own aren't much quieter. 

She's been holding her own but not gaming. 

I did it on my own. 

The university has no hospital of its own. 

She would like children of her own. 

The cardinal numerals. Including the phrasal forms, the 
cardinal numerals make up a series which can be extended in- 
definitely. The nonphrasal cardinals are few. The first ten numerals 
set a pattern which is incorporated in every succeeding ten, though 
with noticeable modifications in the second ten. 


The Sentence and Its Parts 































one hundred and one 
one hundred and two 
one hundred and three 
one hundred and four 
one hundred and five 
one hundred and six 
one hundred and seven 
one hundred and eight 
one hundred and nine 
one hundred and ten 

Eleven and twelve are special cases. The teens show variants of 
three in thirteen and of five in fifteen, and a written t is lost in 
eighteen. In the names of the tens which terminate in ty the series 
two to nine appears again. 

two twenty six sixty 

three thirty seven seventy 

four forty eight eighty 

five fifty nine ninety 

Variants of two, three, four, five, and eight appear in the names of 
the tens. Such words as hundred, thousand, million, and billion con- 
tinue the system of cardinal numerals. Dozen is a numeral outside 
the decimal system but useful for many purposes because it is 
divisible by two, three, four, and six whereas ten is divisible only 
by two and five. In such a phrasal numeral as five thousand four 
hundred and twenty-three the relation of the parts is fairly com- 
plex. There are three coordinates here: five thousand is one, four 
hundred is a second, twenty-three is the third. Five is a modifier of 
thousand, and/ow a modifier of hundred. Twenty-three is a multiple 
unit within the larger multiple unit. The whole phrasal numeral can 
modify a noun head: this is of course its normal use. Or it can be 
given nounal uses. 

There is no true numeral pronoun for zero. No is the closest 
thing to one, as has been said. There are also such nounal pro- 
nouns as nothing and little-used nil and naught. The word zero is a 
noun, not a pronoun: it has many uses in connection with tem- 
peratures, grades, and other phenomena rated on numerical scales. 
The ideograph is variously read as zero, as naught, and even (where 
there is not counting but naming, as in I'll be in Room 204 and in 
my phone number is &906S) as though it were the letter o. Hybrid 

Other Determinatives 325 

forms occur in which numerals and other determinatives of number 
combine in phrasal units. 

Several hundred tickets were sold. 

Let's take a few dozen of those doughnuts along. 

There were about a hundred students in the class. 

Like determinative pronouns of other types, the cardinal nu- 
merals have use as determiner modifiers in nounal units as their 
most characteristic function but are also used nounally. 

We bought two watches from Mr. Frank. 
Three hundred thousand people live in the city now. 
We needed one watch, but we bought two. 
The next two we buy will be steel ones. 
We'd better take along two dozen of the big doughnuts George 

In nounal uses dozen, hundred, thousand, million, and billion add s 
when they have plural force and are not preceded by another pro- 
noun of number, but ordinarily do not add s when another pronoun 
of number precedes them. 

There were thousands of birds. 
There were several hundred of us. 

Remarkable reduction is present in uses such as occur in I'll be 
back at ten and David's ten now, and in seventy-five isn't a very good 
grade and seventy-five is an ideal temperature. 

The cardinal numerals have considerable use in identifying on 
the basis of position in sequences of various types. Here they com- 
pete with the ordinals. Unlike the ordinals, however, the cardinals 
tend to be used in units with the force of phrasal proper names: 
names of years, of hours, of buildings (as identified by street num- 
bers), of rooms, of volumes and other major divisions in lengthy 
works, of chapters, of acts and scenes in plays, of pages, of tele- 
phone numbers, etc. 

Hoover became President in 1928. 
We arrived at five in the morning. 
The address is 625 Oxford Avenue. 
The class meets in Room 315. 
I finished Volume III yesterday. 
I stopped at page 75. 

326 The Sentence and Its Parts 

When cardinal numerals are used to identify, they are not always 
spoken as they are when they are used as counting words. Thus 
1928 as the name of the year is usually spoken as nineteen twenty- 
eight but in counting is likely to be one thousand nine hundred and 
twenty-eight. The form nineteen hundred and twenty-eight is possible 
in both situations. When cardinals are used to identify, the last 
two digits are often spoken as one unit and what precedes as an- 
other. What precedes often indicates the number of the century 
(though not directly, since 1928 was not in the nineteenth cen- 
tury), the number of a block, or the number of a floor. In some 
proper-name uses the letters of the alphabet compete with the 
cardinal numerals, or supplement them: for example, in Appendix 
B and in Apartment D. 

The cardinal numerals are also used in an abstract way in 
mathematical calculations. 

Six divided by two is three. 

One requires particular notice. As has been said, both general 
one (meaning a person) and substitute one (as in a green tie and a 
gray <> ne ) developed from the numeral, as did the indefinite article 
a. General one has a self form like those of the personals; substi- 
tute one has an s plural; the indefinite article a is quite distinct 
from the numeral one in form, though it is not very distinct in 
syntax and not at all distinct in meaning at some points. What 
remains as the pattern of uses of the numeral one is still rather 

As is true of the other numerals, numeral one is normally con- 
cerned entirely or at least primarily with number. 

The newsstand usually buys one copy of Harpers and three 

of the New Yorker. 
It's the one course you shouldn't miss. 

In nounal uses also, numeral one is often concerned entirely or at 
least primarily with number. 

"How many tennis balls are left?" "Just one." 
No one of the available buildings is adequate. 

Numeral one is sometimes concerned with identity as much as 
with number or even more, so that it is semantically a stressed 

Other Determinatives 327 

indefinite article in effect. This is notably true where there is con- 
trast, where there is selection from within a group, and where one 
refers to a period of time in the past as some would to a period of 
time in the future. 

Students have difficulty in transferring from one institution 
to another. 

The whole class liked phonemics. One student said the ex- 
ercises were like a game. 

Willie bought a gun, and one day he shot at something in his 

This article-like numeral one is also used in nounal constructions 
where the article a cannot be used. 

One of these buildings is used as a museum, and another 

houses laboratories. 
They have a comfortable house, but they would like one in a 

newer part of town. 
It's a dog, but it doesn't look like one. 
I'm not one to object to a little noise. 

The determinatives of small number and quantity: few, 
little, several. There are two determinatives of indefinitely 
small number, few and several, and one determinative of indefinitely 
small quantity, little. Few and little are very flexible words. Few 
students will suggest one range of numbers in one school or in one 
situation, and another range in another. Little money is similarly 
flexible. Several is more nearly fixed: the range is from three to 
seven or eight or thereabouts. 

Except when it is modified by o, few has near-negative force : 
there is a feeling of approach to the no of zero. It is used as a de- 
terminer with nounal heads and as a nounal form. 

On the few occasions when Williamson has been right, he has 

been right for highly irrational reasons. 
We have very few problems with the boys. 
Very few of us are really satisfied. 
Few will disagree with this judgement. 
His needs are few. 

Phrasal a few normally lacks the near-negative force of few with- 
out a. There is a feeling of approach to some rather than to no. 

328 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Like few, phrasal a few is used both as a determiner with nounal 
heads and nounally. 

We'd like to buy a few things in New York. 

We have quite a few problems with the boys. 

We had been in Puerto Rico only a few months. 

A few of the neighbors have dogs. 

We caught a great many fish, but we kept only a few. 

Quite a few means an appreciable number, and is very different in 
force from very few. Only a few and just a few have much the same 
force as few alone, and are often preferred to the single word. 
Adjectival modifiers of few are occasionally incorporated in a few, 
but only in a very limited way. 

A favored few always get first choice. 

Like many adjectives and a few adverbs, few has a comparative 
form in er and a superlative in est. Both fewer and fewest are used 
as determiners and nounally. 

We have fewer free days than we used to have. 
We have some free days, but fewer than usual. 
Johnny's paper has the fewest errors. 
Johnny made some errors, but the fewest so far. 

Both forms require completing modifiers, expressed or implied, like 
comparatives and superlatives in general. Both forms are near- 
negative in force. 

Near-negative few (without a) and its inflected forms fewer and 
fewest are most characteristically used in careful and formal styles. 
In informal styles, and to some extent even in careful styles, com- 
binations of many and not are generally preferred. 

We don't have many problems with the boys. 
We don't have as many free days as we used to. 

Also less and least tend to replace fewer and fewest. 

Several has nothing of the near-negative force of few. It is used 
both as a determiner and nounally. 

We waited several days. 
Several of us stayed. 

Several is best regarded as an adjective where it stresses variety 

Other Determinatives 329 

and distinctness rather than number, as in we went our several 

Like few, except when a is used with it little has near-negative 
force: there is a feeling of approach to the no of zero. Little is 
used as a determiner and nounally. 

There is little doubt that English teachers are confused. 
You're welcome to what little coffee there is. 
Litde remains of the work of the Shakers. 
She had little or nothing to say. 
Things got better little by little. 

Phrasal a little normally lacks the near-negative force of little 
without a. It occurs both as a determiner and in nounal uses. 

We usually eat a little fruit. 

The boys were having a little fun in their way. 

There's quite a little milk in the refrigerator. 

If there's any coffee, I'll take a little. 

I'll be back after a little. 

Like few, little has a comparative form, less, and a superlative 
form, least. Both occur as determiners and also in nounal uses, with 
near-negative force. 

I have less time than I used to have. 
A little less uncertainty is desirable. 
The less said, the better. 
This room has the least space. 
The least we can do is pay for repairs. 

In informal styles near-negative little (without a) and its in- 
flected forms less and least tend to be avoided, like near-negative 

There isn't much doubt that English teachers are confused. 
I don't have as much time as I used to. 

But less is much better established than fewer, and indeed tends 
to replace fewer, and to serve as a comparative for both few and 
little as more does for both many and much. Less replaces fewer 
most often when a modifier of comparison follows immediately. 

As late as the sixteenth century English was spoken by less 
than five million people. 

330 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Between 1604 and 1755 no less than twenty English diction- 
aries appeared. 
There are now less than one hundred strong verbs in the 

Less than half the entering freshmen will get degrees m the 


Less also replaces fewer in constructions in which no modifier of 
comparison follows. 

Please answer in twenty-five words or less. 
There were a dozen of us, more or less. 

These uses of less must be regarded as standard. Fewer is also 
quite usable, and is commonly preferred for careful and formal 
styles. Least shows less tendency to replace fewest, except that the 
fixed phrasing at least does not distinguish number from quantity 
at all. 

Four dozen diapers are the least you can get along with. 
There were at least five students from Maine. 

Little (and a little), less, and least all have considerable use as 
adjuncts and as heads in adjunct constructions. Little and a little 
modify comparatives, the too of excess, some basic-form adjectives 
and adverbs (generally with too implied), and prepositional units; 
less and least perform some of these functions and are of course 
used as modifiers of basic-form adjectives and adverbs in phrasal 
comparatives and superlatives. 

Little did we realize that we would never see Louise again. 

Phil discouraged us less. 

She likes her history course least. 

It's a little better. 

It's a little too big. 

She's a little young. 

He's a little to the right in his thinking. 

He's less like his father now. 

He likes to display little-known, information, 

As has been said, little is often an adjective concerned with size, 
as in a little girl. 

The determinative of sufficiency: enough. Enough is the 
determinative of sufficiency, semantically equivalent to the adjec- 
tive sufficient. The concept of sufficiency is of course a highly 

Other Determinatives 331 

flexible one much of the time, involving estimates that are not 
subject to accurate measurement. Enough functions as a deter- 
miner modifying both plurals and quantifiables. 

Janet certainly has enough friends. 

Frank doesn't give enough time to his family. 

It functions in nounal uses, with both plural and quantitative 

There are some envelopes, but hardly enough. 
That's enough from you! 
Enough of the letters are here to keep us busy. 
Enough of the correspondence is here to keep us busy. 

It is used as an adjunct and as a modifier of adjectives and adverbs, 
both basic-form and comparative, and of more and less. When it 
modifies basic-form adjectives and adverbs, it follows them. 

The children aren't at home enough. 
The town isn't big enough. 
He didn't go slowly enough. 
It isn't enough better. 
That isn't enough more. 

Determinatives of large number and quantity: many and 
much. Many and much are companion determinatives, like few 
and little: many expresses large number, and much large quantity. 
Like few, little, and enough, many and much are very flexible words 
in application. 

Many is used as a determiner with nounal heads, and in nounal 

She has many reasons to distrust us. 

There aren't many towns along the road. 

George's many friends will miss him. 

There aren't many of us around now. 

The many do not really need the leadership of the few. 

Especially in informal styles, many and the determinative unit 
very many tend to be used chiefly in negated clauses, main inter- 
rogatives, and subordinate interrogatives with question or condi- 
tion force. Elsewhere a good many tends to replace simple many 
and a great many to replace very many. (And of course a lot and 
lots compete.) 

332 The Sentence and Its Parts 

There weren't many meetings after Easter. 
There were a good many meetings before Easter. 
There aren't very many children here. 
There are a great many children here. 

As many, so many, and too many occur in both types of situations. 
As complement in assertives, as predeterminative modifier be- 
fore a, and (with too) as postpositive modifier, determinative many 
has exceptional relationships to singulars. 

Many's the time I've heard him say it. 
Many a man has tried and failed. 
One excuse too many has been given. 

Much is used as a determiner with nounal heads, and in nounal 

We didn't waste much time. 

There isn't much wood in the building. 

Much of the time was wasted. 

They don't have much in common. 

He doesn't know much about Puerto Rico. 

I thought as much. 

How much do those Japanese cameras cost? 

Upside-down construction is involved in some of the uses of 
much, and in others especially after be remarkable syntactic and 
semantic extensions are apparent. 

He isn't much of a teacher. 

The flowers weren't much, but it was nice to have them. 

Judson isn't much to look at. 

How much are eggs? 

The children were too much for us. 

Much has a great deal of use in adverbial functions. It is used as 
an adjunct and as a modifier of comparatives, superlatives with 
determiners, too, prepositional units, etc. In upside-down construc- 
tion much even serves as head in predicators and predicator-and- 
complement sequences. 

I didn't sleep much last night. 

I don't much like the idea. 

The last book wasn't much better. 

Carter talks much more convincingly. 

The coat isn't much too big. 

Other Determinatives 333 

It's much the worst time to go to New Orleans. 

Much to my surprise, June decided to come along. 

They aren't much alike. 

The situation was much the same when we got back. 

The first play was much the best. 

Harriet as much as admits that she married for money. 

Unmodified much is largely confined to negated clauses, main 
interrogatives, and subordinate interrogatives with question or 
condition force. Such nounal units as a great deal, a good deal, in- 
formal a lot, and informal lots are generally preferred to much 
where negation, interrogation, and condition are not involved. 

He didn't have much fun. 
He had a great deal of fun. 

Very much tends to be restricted as. much alone is. 

There isn't very much of the cake left. 
There's a great deal of the cake left. 

More serves as comparative for both many and much. More func- 
tions as a determiner modifying both plurals and quantifiables. 

There will be more tourists next month. 
Are there any more questions? 
Let's wait a few more days. 
We need more space. 
Have some more coffee. 

It functions in nounal uses, with both plural and quantifiable force. 

We have two cats, and we don't need any more. 
Williamson had very little patience in those days, and I doubt 

that he has more now. 
I have a little more to do. 

Upside-down construction extends the use of more. 

Harry is more of a teacher than George is. 
He was more than kind. 

Preceded by the numeral one, more can modify singular forms of 

We need one more chair. 
I'll take one more piece. 

334 The Sentence and Its Parts 

The phrasal determiner more than one also modifies singulars. 

More than one reason has been given. 
Sometimes more follows its head. 

I need two weeks more. 

Like comparatives in general, more requires completing modi- 
fiers, expressed or implied. Its normal completers are interrogative 
clauses of comparison. These are often separated from it. 

There will be more tourists next month than there are now. 

Like comparatives in general, more is often weaker in force than 
its basic forms many and much. 

There aren't many tourists now, but there are more than there 
were last month. 

More combines with basic-form adjectives and adverbs to form 
phrasal comparatives, as has been noted. It also functions as ad- 
junct and as head in phrasal adjuncts, and it modifies prepositional 

We drive the car more than we should. 
Don't you feel more at home now? 

The combination any more has considerable use in negated clauses, 
main interrogatives, and subordinate interrogatives with question 
or condition force. 

We don't watch TV any more. 

If the baby cries any more, pick him up. 

In upside-down construction more, like much, acts as head in 
predicators and predicator-and-complement sequences. 

The Democrats have more than recovered their losses. 

There is no tendency to confine the use of more to clauses in which 
there is negation, question, or condition. In this respect more is un- 
like its two basic forms, many and much. 

Most is the superlative for both many and much. It functions as 
a determiner modifying both plurals and quantifiables, and is used 

Other Determinatives 335 

Who made the most mistakes? 

The oldest child gets the most attention. 

We've all had literature courses, but Mary's had the most. 

We made the most of our opportunity. 

In both these uses most, like superlatives in general, tends to be 
preceded by superimposed the. But it is also used without the. 
Most is used very commonly with the meaning the majority or 
the largest part. In this sense too it is concerned with both number 
and quantity. 

Most children like pets. 

Most of our students come from middle-class families. 

Most restaurant coffee is poor. 

Most of the rice eaten in the States is dull. 

The is normally not used with most in this use. Thus George eats 
the most desserts is likely to mean George eats more desserts than the 
rest of us do, but George eats most desserts is likely to mean that 
George eats more kinds of desserts than he refuses. 

Most combines with basic-form adjectives and adverbs to form 
phrasal superlatives, as has been noted. It also functions as an 

The third candidate's manner impressed us most. 

The determinatives of totality: all and both. All is the 

pronoun of totality where groups with three or more members are 
involved, and also where quantifiables are involved. Both is the pro- 
noun of totality where groups with only two members are involved. 
All functions as a determiner modifying both plurals and quanti- 

All big cities have traffic problems now. 

Bring Henry along, by all means. 

All salt water stings when it gets in your eyes. 

A II poetry is artificial. 

The appropriation is inadequate, beyond all doubt. 

It functions in nounal uses, with both plural and quantifiable force. 

All but three of the boys are going. 

There wasn't room for all of us. 

Death comes to all. 

Almost all of that enormous cake was eaten. 

336 The Sentence and Its Parts 

In apposition with you, all is sometimes applied to groups of two 
in the southern United States. 

When are you all coming over to see us? 

All competes with the representative-singular determinative of 
universality every. 

All virtues can become vices. 
Every virtue can become a vice. 

Quantitative nounal all is semantically very close to everything in 
such sentences as the following. 

Is that all? 

She knows all about it. 

It is semantically close to everything in a number of more or less 
fixed phrasings where it is entrenched. 

above all best of all in all 

after all for all I know once and for all 

at all for all of me when all is said and done 

Sometimes nounal all implies that the totality it represents is 

That's all we ask. 

All that was visible was the hair, forehead, and eyes. 

He's the owner, for all I know. 

Ironic use is sometimes made of this all. 

All Barbara wants is a big house in town and another in the 
country, and two or three Cadillacs, and a yacht, and 
enough money to operate this equipment. 

All Neely wants is everything. 

All has many adverbial uses. It functions as a predeterminer 
modifier of noun heads, as most determinatives of number and 
quantity cannot. 

all the boys all morning 

all the milk all England 

Here all morning is equivalent to all the morning, and the proper 
noun England has the force of determiner and head noun together. 
In all the boys totality within a particular group of boys is expressed 
by all; in all boys totality is not limited to any particular group. 

Other Determinatives 337 

All of the boys exists alongside all the boys and is syntactically like 
none of the boys, few of the boys, etc. All is often used as an adjunct 
with half-appositive relationships. 

We're all going. 

We've all been given the same answer. 

All has strikingly varied adverbial uses as contained modifier. 

all too soon all of a sudden all right 

all the better all through the war all up 

All has syntactically exceptional uses as head word in upside-down 
predicators or predicator-and-complement sequences. 

It's all but ruined him. 

In informal styles all occurs as a coordinate terminating series 
where its use is highly exceptional. 

Meanwhile Judy had graduated and all. 
She's pretty and clever and all. 

Both is used with reference to pairs. It functions both as a de- 
terminer in nounal units and nounally. 

You'll need "both hands. 
Both of us heard it. 
We liked them both. 

Both emphasizes joint participation. Where joint participation is 
clear without both } the word is generally avoided: the two is likely 
to be used, or there is no such word. 

One of the two procedures is certain to be satisfactory. 
It is difficult to see many similarities between the two lan- 

The two get on each other's nerves. 
Paul and Babbitt belonged to the same club. 

Like all, both often functions as predeterminer modifier of noun 
heads, though such units as both the boys are really not different 
in meaning from such units as both boys. Like all, both is often used 
as an adjunct with half-appositive relationships, as in we were both 
disappointed. In addition, as a precoordinator both attaches to a 
wide variety of heads. 

He's both encouraged us and interfered with us. 
He drinks coffee both with meals and between them. 



The nounal pronouns differ from the determinative pronouns in 
not being used, except in the possessive, as determiner modifiers. 
Thus nounal she is not used as determinative that is used in who is 
that girl? though it is used as determinative that is used in who 
is that? Among the nounal pronouns, the set of personal pronouns 
7, you, he, she, it, we, they, and their "inflected" forms is of ex- 
ceptional syntactic importance. 

The personal pronouns of the first and second persons. 
7 is the personal pronoun of the first person singular. 7 is every 
person's name for himself. It is not the name a person uses in iden- 
tifying himself or in signing a letter; and it is not a name by which 
people can be addressed. But 7 is the name every person uses of 
himself when he can. 7 is for people, without regard to sex, age, or 
social class; but it is put in the mouths and thoughts of animals, 
dolls, and anything else that is treated personally and endowed 
with language as in children's play. Often the hearer knows no 
other name for the speaker who refers to himself as 7. 

We is the personal pronoun of the first person plural. We is not 
the plural of 7 in the sense that boys is the plural of boy: for every 
human being, there is only one 7. We is simply a plural in which 7 
is included. 

If you and I can agree, we can get somewhere. 
When Wilson and I try, we can usually agree. 
You and Wilson and I can get together if we try. 
lowans are just Middle Westerners. We aren't spectacular in 
any way. 

We often refers to nouns or nounal units prominent in what has 
just been said, as in the examples above; it is also used without 

Personal Pronouns 339 

them, with prominence in the situation fixing the reference. In 
formal styles a postpositive modifier occasionally helps to fix the 

We who have known him are fully aware of the range of his 

In rather formal styles we is sometimes a modest substitute for 7. 

We have distinguished between what Byron wrote glibly and 
what he took some pains with. 

Perhaps this we is intended to suggest inclusion of the reader. In 
journalistic use this we sometimes hints at inclusion of fellow jour- 
nalists: the opinions expressed are to be taken as those of the staff 
or of spokesmen for the staff. Sometimes we is simply whimsical. 

A red-haired woman cornered us at a cocktail party last week 
to tell us about a peculiar habit her husband has picked up. 

We is occasionally an equivalent of you. 

Now it's time for our medicine. 

Sometimes we is roughly equivalent to a person or people or gen- 
eral onej though it includes the speaker or writer more explicitly. 

We become more and more impatient of interruptions as the 
years go by. 

Smaller we's are sometimes referred to within larger ones. 
Some of us felt that we were being outmaneuvered, 

You is the personal pronoun of the second person singular as 
well as of the second person plural. You is everyone's name for a 
person #b whom he is speaking or writing, though it is not a good 
name for use in attracting attention. Like I, you is for people, 
without regard to sex, age, or social class, and is also applied to 
animals, dolls, and the like when they are treated like people. Oc- 
casionally you is actually the speaker or writer. 

It was from here that your father used to set out for the 
mines, none of his family knowing whether he would ever 
return. And you hope your present days here will help to 
bring him back to you as he was when young. 

340 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Much more frequently you is a typical person. 

If you have health and a little money and a few friends, noth- 
ing else matters very much. 

Bashfulness is a quality you don't expect to find in a man 
like Judson. 

You have to be careful in your dealings with Thompson. 

The language has no completely satisfactory way of referring to 
the typical person. In informal styles, you is clearly the most-used 
pronounal method, in spite of the fact that it can be ambiguous. 
In earlier centuries you was always plural, but when the old 
singular thou became emotional and delicate often contemptuous, 
though also often affectionate and, as still applied to God in 
prayer, even reverent you became singular and plural alike, with 
only its self form indicating number. The situation generally makes 
clear just what the reference of you is. Occasionally, both in formal 
styles and in very informal ones, a postpositive modifier helps to 
fix reference. 

You of the student body have responsibilities too. 
You with the sandwiches! 

Sometimes its number force is indicated elsewhere in the sentence. 

You're a real diplomat. 
You're real diplomats. 
Aren't you coming along, George? 
You people should come to see us. 
We hope you two can come. 

You plural is used with reference to nouns or nounal units prom- 
inent in what has just been said, and (much more often) with the 
situation itself indicating the reference. 

Virginians are sometimes hard to put up with. Fou're much 

too proud of your ancestors. 
It's good to see you again. 

The fact that you can be taken as either singular or plural has 
advantages when, for example, Christmas cards are printed with 
such phrasings as wishing you a Merry Christmas. 

Third-person-singular he and she. He, she, and it are the 
personal pronouns of the third person singular. He and she are like / 
and you in being designations normally applied to people. He and 

Personal Pronouns 341 

she are applicable to everyone as a subject of conversation or writ- 
ing. Usually he and she are substitutes which take the place of 
other designations already prominently expressed. 

May will come along if she can. 

The man who was sitting across from me looked as though he 
wanted a chance to escape. 

The great virtue of he and she is their usual inconspicuousness, 
which makes it possible to repeat them over and over again. But 
they are so well established as substitute words that even relatively 
bulky forms of them are commonly required where nouhs would 
otherwise be repeated close together. 

May has invited herself to come along again. 

Sometimes he and she are substitutes not for what has been said 
but for what will be said prominently in what follows immediately. 

When he was just beginning to write plays, Shakespeare used 
a great deal of rhyme. 

In informal conversation the reference of he and she is sometimes 
indicated by such means as gestures. 

Who's het 

Well, she's pretty at least. 

Here he may be equivalent to that man at the next tdbhj and she to 
our waitress. In formal styles, and in a few fixed phrasings, the 
reference of he and she is sometimes indicated by a following modi- 

All things come to him who waits. 
He who hesitates is lost. 

But in most situations this kind of thing is avoided. Who's she with 
the big red car? seems quite unnatural, for example. 

He and she are primarily for people, divided into male and fe- 
male. Thus a man named Warren is referred to as he and a woman 
named Warren as she, whether or not such honorifics as Mr. and 
Miss are used with the name, while a city given the same name 
will not ordinarily be so referred to. When your date is used of a 
person, it is referred to by he or she; when it refers to an occasion 
by it. He and she are also applied to anything that is regarded as 

342 The Sentence and Its Parts 

having personality, including dolls and toy animals, for example. 
Where the feeling about personality is strong, he and she are some- 
times used without much regard for precise sex classifications. Thus 
a kitten or a goldfish may be referred to as he (or she) quite mis- 
takenly, just as it may be given the name Oswald (or Flora) on the 
basis of the wrong guess about its sex. God is referred to as he, and 
when he refers to God, as when it refers to Christ, an honorific 
capital letter often begins it. Death is sometimes referred to by he, 
but only somewhat poetically. Nature is more often referred to by 
she, and may even be called Mother Nature; sometimes fortune is 
also she. Countries can be referred to, a little emotionally, as she, 
though this is hardly true when the name used is an old plural 
such as the United States. Ships are commonly she; planes, auto- 
mobiles, and trains are less likely to be thought of in terms of 
personality and femininity. No other pronouns take sex into ac- 
count, though such nouns as boy, waitress, William, and Susan 
normally do. 
He is sometimes made to serve as an equivalent to he or she. 

Some student left his notebook in the reading room. 

If your child is given plenty of time to eat, dress, and get 

ready for school, he will begin his day's work in a good 

frame of mind. 
Surely whoever told Mary didn't know how much unhappiness 

he was causing. 

He is not really a satisfactory equivalent for he or she: he is too 
definitely male in most of its uses. He or she is awkward, and in 
informal styles they is usually substituted. The shift in number 
makes this an objectionable substitution for careful and formal 
styles, which either hold to he or resort to rephrasings that avoid 
the problem. He is sometimes impossible where the reference is to 
representative everyone or everybody. 

Everyone treats Mary well, but she treats him badly. 

Third-person- singular it. It is for what is felt as lacking per- 
sonality. It can represent not only pluralizers and proper names 
but also quantifiables. 

I parked the car where it would be in the shade. 

Personal Pronouns 343 

New York still draws young men of talent from all over the 

country, just as it always has. 
Practically everyone likes milk better when it's cold. 

It is entirely usable for animals, though it gives way to he and she 
when they are regarded as personalities, or when sex is mentioned. 
A rooster can be referred to as it in complete disregard of obvious 
sex classification, if there is no interest in the rooster as a per- 
sonality. It is quite usable for human babies, though the family and 
the friends of the family would certainly use he or she. It is even 
usable of human beings generally, without regard either to sex or 
to number, as a subject in identifications which are begun vaguely. 

Who was that? I thought it was your sister. 
If anyone needs help, it's George. 

A young woman came to the door when we knocked. It was 
the new secretary. 

It often represents sentences and even sequences of sentences, 
especially when it is used as complement of such verbs as know, 
mean, believe, doubt, say, admit, and deny. 

I just don't believe it. 

It can represent main divisions of multiple sentences, and main 

She's pretty, and she knows it. 
You'll be in trouble before you know it. 
Why won't he admit an error? Is it because he lacks self- 

It represents subordinate clauses with great frequency. Most 
commonly these are used as delayed appositives to it in a construc- 
tion which permits postponement of the subordinate clauses while 
it represents them in the positions which would otherwise be nor- 
mal for them. 

It's unfortunate that Mary isn't here. 

It doesn't matter what he thinks. 

I'll leave it to you which route we take. 

It was the women who filled home-town papers with accounts of 

their presentation at the Court of St. James. 
It was then that Marie's mother decided that Marie was no 

longer an innocent little dove. 

344 The Sentence and Its Parts 

In main interrogatives this it is sometimes thrown directly in front 
of clausal appositives, as in why is it that we can't get together? 
Sometimes even in declaratives it precedes declarative-clause ap- 
positives directly, and acts as a kind of buffer for them after predi- 
cators and prepositions that do not accept them as completers. 

I resent it that such a charge is added. 

I'll see to it that a good typewriter is available. 

You can depend on it that Hugh will make trouble. 

It often represents subordinate clauses, or nucleuses of subordinate 
clauses, which are hardly in apposition with it. 

I'm sure he's been mistreated, but he shouldn't take it out on 


It might help if we talked to the Dean. 
Smith can't help it if he likes company. 
It makes him unhappy when people think he's unfriendly. 

It often represents prepositional units. Most often the preposi- 
tion is to or /or ... to and its object is an infinitival clause. The 
whole unit is a delayed appositive to it, as subordinate clauses 
often are. 

It isn't easy to be bored in New York. 
It's important for Jones to be satisfied. 

It also represents other prepositional units, chiefly ones express- 
ing meanings of duration and distance. These units, again, are 
used as delayed appositives to it. 

It's only sixty miles to Cleveland. 

It's three years since he's had a real vacation. 

It doesn't matter about the horses. 

Less frequently, it represents adjectives and adjectival units. 
She's intelligent, but she doesn't look it. 

It sometimes represents headed-unit delayed appositives which 
parallel clauses in their content, even when these appositives them- 
selves are plural in force. 

It's incredible the chances Hudson takes. 

The paralleling clause here is what chances Hudson takes. 
It has considerable use without expressed reference in the con- 

Personal Pronouns 345 

text. As a subject, it sometimes seems to be a name for natural 
forces beyond personality and sex, somewhat as I is a name for 
speaker or writer. 

It's snowing. 

Volition of a stubborn kind is attributed to this it in such sentences 
as if it would only rain! Sometimes it is equivalent to the surround- 
ings, the time, the situation, or to such general nouns as things or 

It's very pretty here. 

It's ten thirty. 

It's winter now in Uruguay. 

If it weren't for the heat, we'd go shopping. 

How goes it? 

We'll have to make the best of it. 

May's making it hot for us. 

When it comes to irritating people, he's phenomenal. 

Take it easy, boy. 

I had it out with him. 

Sometimes it is equivalent to the running, the point, or the goal, 

The food here isn't in it with that at the Commons. 

It isn't that I distrust him. 

Out with it! 

We'll have to run for it. 

Sometimes it expresses ideas of hostility or trouble. 

She has it in for us. 

He'll catch it when his wife finds out. 

I'm afraid I'm up against it. 

Sometimes it has no clear semantic content and yet is an integral 
part of the phrasing. 

Joe likes to lord it over people. 
I've gone it alone long enough. 
George has no taste for roughing it. 
The boys are whooping it up again. 

Sometimes it refers to something prominent in the particular 
situation, much as the demonstratives this and that do. 

Ifs a tough life. 
Stop it! 

346 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Third-person-plural they. They is the personal pronoun of 
the third person plural. It serves as plural for he, she, and it] but un- 
like these singulars, it is wholly indifferent to sex and personality 
and the absence of them. Being plural, they is not applicable to true 
quantifiables such as fun and furniture. They is generally a sub- 
stitute word used with obvious reference. Sometimes, like the other 
personal pronouns, it is used with its reference made clear by the 
prominence in the situation of what it refers to. 

Who are they? 

Here they can be equivalent to those women who just came in. In 
sentences such as the following the context clarifies the reference 
somewhat less directly. 

We had expected to lose several hours at the Border, but 

they hardly looked at our baggage. 
When I started banking here, they gave me a bankbook that 

I've never used. 

Especially in informal styles, they is sometimes equivalent to 
people, and so is very similar to general you and we, though it 
suggests that speaker and spoken-to are apart from the general 
group represented. 

They say we won't have any classes Tuesday. 

As has been noted, in informal styles they is often used as a sub- 
stitute for awkward he or she. 

If you see Robert or Ruby, tell them I'll be in Washington in 

Inflection of the personal pronouns. Many nouns espe- 
cially proper nouns have distinct common-case and possessive 
forms. The matter of case is more complicated for the personal 
pronouns. All the personal pronouns have common-case forms com- 
pounded with self in addition to basic common-case forms or their 
equivalents. Actually only you and it have basic common-case 
forms : most of the personal pronouns have distinct nominative and 
objective forms dividing the functions performed for nouns by com- 
mon-case forms. Finally, most of the personal pronouns have two 
possessive forms, a short form and a long one, dividing the func- 
tions performed for nouns by single possessive forms. Only his and 

Personal Pronouns 347 

its function in as many situations as the possessives of nouns. 
Paradigms can be made as follows. 

Basic Nomina- Objec- Self 

Common tive tive Common Indifferent Short Lorg 

1 sg. I me myself my mine 

2 sg. you yourself your yours 

3 sg. he him himself his 

3 sg. sne her herself her hers 

3 sg. it itself its 

1 pi. we us ourselves our ours 

2 pi. you yourselves your yours 

3 pi. they them themselves their theirs 

The nominative and basic-common-case forms are usually re- 
garded as the basic forms. As between the nominatives and the 
objectives, however, the objectives are now the stronger forms, and 
in second-person you an old objective has completely displaced an 
old nominative the ye of the biblical ye shall know the truth, and 
the truth shall make you free. From the point of view of simplicity 
of system, it is unfortunate that in standard American English 
there has not been a general displacement of nominatives by ob- 
jectives, as in popular Jamaican, where him talk is equivalent to 
standard American he talks. The relationships of the inflected forms 
to the basic forms are obviously highly individualistic: only list- 
ings of one-word forms of some of the irregular verbs (notably be) 
and, in a smaller way, plurals for such nouns as woman and per- 
son and comparatives and superlatives for such adjectives as good 
and bad, are comparable in irregularity. Even possessives are made 
irregularly for personal pronouns. The s ending used in possessive 
forms of nouns appears also in the indifferent possessives his and 
its and in all the long possessives except mine, but all the short 
possessives except my employ an ending written r, though only 
your and their can be said to add it to the basic forms. Possessives 
of personal pronouns, like the possessive of who, are not marked 
in the written language by the apostrophe which is prescribed for 
possessives of nouns. The self forms are obviously compounds. In 
some self forms the first component is a possessive, in others an 
objective, in herself modern-English her could be either. It is 

348 The Sentence and Its Parts 

highly exceptional that for syntactic reasons clear compounds re- 
quire classification as inflected forms. 

The uses of the nominative and objective forms. The 

nominative forms of the personal pronouns are normal in all styles 
as subjects of expressed verbs in the common and subjunctive 

She doesn't often get to New York now. 
What would he do if he found it out? 

In formal styles nominative forms of the personal pronouns are 
used as subjects when common-mode or subjunctive verb forms 
are implied but not expressed. 

Others were closer to the President than he. 
No one else was as uncompromising as they. 

In formal styles nominative forms of personals are also used as 
subjects in gerundial clauses used as loose adjuncts. 

Harkins had drawn up a plan of organization, he to be di- 

In formal styles nominative forms of personals are used as com- 
plements of common-mode and subjunctive forms of the verb be. 

It was he who drafted the plan for "Universities for the 
People" which was published in 1853. 

In formal styles nominative forms of personals are used as com- 
plements of infinitival forms of the verb be where the main sub- 
jects stand in relation to these complements as they would stand 
if be were the main verb. 

It is said to have been he who brought about the change. 
It may not have been she. 

In formal styles nominative forms of personals occur, finally, in 
adjuncts which are also half appositives of subjects. 

They never disagreed on anything basic, he and his friends. 

In what must be described as careless nonstandard use nominative 
forms sometimes occur as coordinates where both long-established 
principles of syntax and the present trend of the language support 
objective forms. 

Someone will bring you and I back. 

Personal Pronouns 349 

Such a unit as you and George is usable in all nounal functions 
without change; it is not surprising that such a unit as you and I 
should occasionally be so used also, even though I is a weaker 
form in general than me. 

As head words, principals, and coordinates, nominative forms 
are normal where they would be normal if a personal pronoun 
alone replaced the total headed, apposed, or multiple unit. 

He who hesitates is lost. 

We children were generally left at home. 

Joan and I can bring the food. 

Especially in informal styles, he and she have some use as modi- 
fiers and heads where such adjective-nouns as male and female 
would be syntactically more normal. 

a he man It's a he. 

a she goat It's a she. 

The objective forms of the personal pronouns are normal in all 
styles as subjects in infinitival clauses and in gerundial clauses 
used as objects of the preposition with. 

We wanted him to wait a little longer. 

Him be diplomatic? 

It's hard to work with him talking all the time. 

They are normal in all styles as first complements of transitive 
verbs and as second complements preceding first complements. 

They brought us home. 
They didn't give her a chance. 

They are normal in all styles as objects of prepositions. 
There's a package for him. 

The objective me has no competition from the nominative I in 
the isolate dear me! though the possessive my is usable, without an 
adjective, as an isolate. 

In informal styles objective forms are preferred to nominatives 
as subjects in clauses in which common-mode or subjunctive verbs 
are implied but not expressed. 

You haven't lived here as long as her. 
Who'd pay the bill? Me? 

350 The Sentence and Its Parts 

In informal styles the preference for objective forms rather than 
nominatives extends to subjects in gerundial clauses not used as 
objects of the preposition with. 

We had to wade across the street and me in my best suit. 

In informal styles objective forms occur in apposition with exple- 
tive there in divided apposed-unit subjects. 

There used to be three of us, but now there's only me. 

In informal styles objective forms are preferred to nominatives as 
complements of the verb be as of all other verbs. 

That's him coming up the drive now. 
It must have been us. 

As head words, principals, and coordinates, objective forms, like 
nominatives, are normal where they would be normal if a personal 
pronoun alone replaced the total headed, apposed, or multiple 

Informal styles restrict nominative forms of personal pronouns 
to use as subjects of expressed common-mode and subjunctive 
verb forms. Careful styles tend to restrict nominative forms of 
personals in the same way, but to avoid using objective forms 
where formal styles reject them. Thus informal you haven't lived 
here as long as her is likely to be matched in careful styles by you 
haven j t lived here as long as she has and informal that's him coming 
up the drive now is likely to be matched by that's Benson coming up 
the drive now. There is nothing stiff about these less markedly in- 
formal patterns: they are quite usable in face-to-face spoken 
English, where the formal patterns would generally be out of place. 

The basic common-case forms you and it are of course usable 
like both the nominatives and the objectives of the other personal 
pronouns. The common-case form of you is also usable in direct 
address, like the common-case forms of nouns. 

I'm sorry for you, you poor little thing. 

The uses of the self forms. The self forms of the personal 
pronouns replace the nominative and objective (or basic common- 
case) forms in two types of situations. They function, first, as 
reflexives. As reflexives they most often refer back to the subjects 

Personal Pronouns 351 

of the clauses in which they occur. They function as first comple- 
ments of transitive verbs (occasionally including be)j as second 
complements preceding first complements, as objects of preposi- 
tions, as adjuncts of benefit, and (exceptionally) as subjects in 
reduced infinitival clauses. 

You've hurt yourself. 

Marian just isn't herself today. 

He always gives himself the benefit of the doubt. 

We bought billfolds for ourselves. 

We bought ourselves billfolds. 

She wants herself included. 

She considers herself mistreated. 

Reflexives also function as coordinates in multiple units used in 
these ways. 

He always gives himself and his friends the benefit of the 

Often the subject to which a reflexive refers is implied rather than 

Be yourself. 

Take care of yourself. 

It isn't easy to rid yourself of such people. 

As reflexives following nounal complements self forms often refer 
to these complements. 

We left him to himself. 

No one tells her the unpleasant truth about herself. 

Within nounal headed units reflexives sometimes refer to preced- 
ing possessives. 

Something has destroyed Mary's faith in herself. 

As reflexives self forms generally make the same kind of syn- 
tactic contribution to their clauses that nouns and other pronouns 

His wife threatens to kill him if he leaves her. 
His wife threatens to kill herself if he leaves her. 

Enjoy takes reflexive complements which are in effect empty: our- 
selves in we've enjoyed ourselves makes no such contribution to its 
clause as our visit does in we've enjoyed our visit. This is a highly 

352 The Sentence and Its Parts 

exceptional use of reflexives in English. But English has a number 
of verbs (and meanings of verbs) which apparently are now used 
only with reflexive complements. This is true of absent, avail, be- 
stir, betake, bethink, bysy, conduct ("behave")? plume, pride, and 
resign (in the sense of "reconcile"). 

I should bestir myself and get this thing finished. 
We'll have to resign ourselves to the situation. 

Reflexive complements are left unexpressed after many verbs. 

Don't bother me. 

Don't bother. 

The police hurried us on our way. 

The police hurried on their way. 

Sometimes there is a choice between expressing reflexive comple- 
ments and not expressing them, with little if any difference in force. 

I can't keep myself cool now. 
I can't keep cool now. 
We'd better get ourselves ready. 
We'd better get ready. 

Sometimes if the reflexive is expressed there is more of a feeling 
of effort or achievement, or of responsibility. 

He shaves himself. 

He shaves. 

Benson has got himself into hot water again, 

Benson has got into hot water again. 

She's starving herself to death. 

She's starving to death. 

After many verbs where they would seem syntactically normal but 
are not used, the absence of reflexives is not likely to be felt. 

We set to work the next morning. 
We put up at a small hotel. 
We finally got rid of the ants. 

But many reflexive complements cannot be left out. 

The new Greek teacher introduced himself. 

It would be sad if Williamson confined himself to the dull 

topics he knows something about. 
Restrain yourself, Morton. 
Help yourself to some peanuts. 

Personal Pronouns 353 

Objective and basic-corn m on-case forms of personals, rather 
than self forms, are used as objects of prepositions in many units 
which follow nounal complements when the reference is to the 
subjects rather than to the complements. 

Do you have a pen with you? 
Ben has a lot of mischief in him. 
Jack never takes us with him. 
Joan has the Dean against her. 

In constructions of this kind, if the prepositional unit is moved 
forward objective and basic-common-case forms are still used. 

I had with me a letter of introduction from my bank. 

Sometimes objective and basic-common-case forms are preferred 
even though there is no complement that would interfere with 
self forms. 

Look behind you! 

In informal styles objective and basic-common-case forms some- 
times replace self forms as reflexive adjuncts of benefit preceding 

I've bought me a new car. 

In addition to serving as reflexives, the self forms of the per- 
sonal pronouns function also as what are usually called intensives. 
As intensives they stand in apposition or half apposition to the 
words or longer units they refer to. Self forms used as intensive 
appositives are italicized in the following sentences. 

You'd better talk to the manager himself. 
Christ himself had a traitor among his followers. 
I myself am inclined to agree. 

Intensives characteristically stress identity. They tend to be some- 
what emotional, and, like emotional constructions in general, can 
produce more or less opposite effects. In the second of the sen- 
tences given, Christ himself is like even Christ in force. The implica- 
tion is that the example is an extreme one. In the third sentence 
myself adds, or can add, an effect of modesty to I. The self forms 
are half appositives in the following sentences. 

354 The Sentence and Its Parts 

He's taught Spanish himself. 

She made the dress herself. 

You're inclined to postpone things yourselves. 

George asked Louise to come himself. 

George asked Louise to come herself. 

The half principals in all these sentences are the subjects of the 
clauses in which the self forms are adjuncts and half appositives. 
In George asked Louise to come herself the adjunct herself modifies 
the predicator come. No half principal for herself is expressed : the 
implied subject of come, suggested by the first complement (Louise) 
in the main clause, would serve as half principal if it were ex- 
pressed. Half-appositive intensives characteristically refer to sub- 
jects and are half-appositives to them, and it is not unusual for 
the subjects to be implied rather than stated as, for example, in 
do it yourself. 

Self forms of personal pronouns sometimes replace nominative, 
objective, and basic-common-case forms in multiple units where 
the construction does not require self forms. 

They invited my wife and myself. 

Here myself may seem more modest than the more direct form me, 
as well as more similar to the first coordinate my wife in composi- 
tion and bulk. Such uses of the self forms meet with criticism, and 
from the point of view of simplicity of syntactic system they seem 

The uses of the possessive forms. Short possessive forms of 
personal pronouns characteristically perform only two syntactic 
functions. First, they act as determiner modifiers in nounal headed 
units. As determiner modifiers they are generally concerned with 
the same relationships that possessive forms of nouns are con- 
cerned with. 

The boys have torn their clothes. 

I'm in your way. 

I hope my Spanish won't seem too bad. 

We never located our man. 

No one understands her treatment of her husband. 

Hitler was able to maintain control until his final defeat. 

Determiner possessives of personal pronouns are a normal way of 

Personal Pronouns 355 

identifying parts of the body, aspects of the psyche, education, 
clothes, and intimate possessions in general. 

The children raised their hands. 
I have a right to change my mind. 
She did her master's at Columbia. 
You can take off your coat. 

But prepositional units, together with the, replace such possessives 
in various fixed phrasings. 

I can't for the life of me see why he did it. 
From the look of them, they aren't healthy. 

In the my dear sir of direct address the possessive my has a some- 
what formal honorific quality. This my easily becomes ironic or 
condescending, as it is likely to be in my boy, for example. 

Short possessives of personal pronouns function also as subjects 
in gerundial clauses used as subjects, complements of transitive 
verbs, and objects of prepositions other than with. 

I hope you don't mind my asking this. 
Is there a chance of our having to do it? 

As subjects in gerundial clauses, possessives of personal pronouns 
are more generally acceptable than possessives of nouns. They are 
not usable, however, where multiword subjects of gerundials 
merely happen to terminate in personal pronouns. 

May resents the idea of a man like him marrying her sister. 

The short possessive my has highly exceptional use as an emo- 
tional isolate. 

Long possessive forms always perform nounal functions but gen- 
erally do so by virtue of reduction, just as possessives of nouns 
often do. 

Jack's idea was silly, but not as silly as ours. 
Hers is an old-fashioned home. 

Here ours and hers represent our idea and her home. 

Long possessive forms of personal pronouns have a second use 
as objects of of in postpositive modifiers within nounal units. Here 
they have lost determiner status. 

356 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Some friends of ours are coming by. 
That husband of hers will keep her in line. 
It's no business of mine. 

The indifferent possessives his and its are used like both the 
short possessives of the other personal pronouns and their long 
possessives. It, of course, generally refers to what is felt as lacking 
personality, and the relationships expressed by possessives gen- 
erally involve personality. But its is used a great deal more than 
the possessives of nouns to which it can refer. Thus the play was 
approaching its end is quite normal, whereas we left at the play's end 
is not, and would generally be replaced by we left at the end of the 



In addition to the personal pronouns, a somewhat miscellaneous 
group of other nounal pronouns must be recognized. Included in 
this group are the phrasal reciprocal each other, expletive there, 
general one, substitute one, the compounds of the someone type, 
and the clause markers that, who, and whoever. 

The reciprocal. Reflexives and reciprocals are closely related 
semantically, and they perform the same syntactic functions. They 
differ in that there is a crossing of relationships when a reciprocal 
is used and not when a reflexive is used. 

The bride and groom seem pleased with each other. 
The bride and groom seem pleased with themselves. 

Reciprocals can refer only to plural nouns, pronouns, or nounal 
units; reflexives can refer to singulars as well. With reciprocals the 
crossing of relationships sometimes becomes complex. 

We five children were always quarreling with each other. 

There is no one-word reciprocal pronoun in modern English. 
Phrasal each other is now felt as composed of a head other and a 
determiner modifier each. In the parent construction each is a half 
appositive of the plural to which phrasal each other refers, and 
other functions quite separately. 

They seem pleased each with the other. 

Each other is not affected in form by the person of its antecedent, 
and in this respect is quite unlike the self forms. It has a regularly 
formed possessive. 

We must keep each other's respect. 

Mary and Roberta have a low view of each other's husbands. 


358 The Sentence and Its Parts 

When each other's modifies a pluralizer, the plural form of the 
pluralizer is normal in spite of the fact that each other's is a singular 

Like reflexives, reciprocals are often implied rather than ex- 

The McPhersons met at the University. 
The two families hardly speak now. 

The somewhat archaic phrasal reciprocal one another is used as 
each other is used, except that it is generally used only to refer to 
plurals naming groups with at least three members. 

The expletive. Expletive there is a highly exceptional pronoun 
characteristically used as principal in apposed-unit subjects. It 
occurs most typically when the verb is be. 

There is such a thing as honesty. 

There isn't time for much reading nowadays. 

There's something wrong. 

There's no one at home. 

When we need advice, there's always George. 

It isn't right for there to be so many uncertainties. 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned. 

Expletive there is also used with modals when be is the predicator 
in the infinitival clauses completing them, and with various kinds 
of catenative sequences terminating in infinitival clauses with be 
as predicator. 

There are said to be many errors. 
There had better be enough. 
There happen to be three possibilities. 
There seems to be a discrepancy. 
There must be some mistake. 
There may not be any other solution. 
There are sure to be complaints. 
There's about to be an accident. 
There's going to be more space. 
There ought to be a law. 

After let in somewhat formal styles there is used in first comple- 
ments where infinitival clauses with be as predicator serve as 
second complements. 

Let there be no mistake. 

Other Nounal Pronouns 359 

The semantic resemblance to syntactically distinct may there be 
no mistake makes the use of there after let seem natural. 

There expresses meanings of existence, relevance, and availabil- 
ity in such sentences as have been given. There is used as principal 
in apposed-unit subjects with other verbs where meanings of some- 
what similar types are expressed. 

With his honesty there was mingled an unfortunate blindness 

to reality. 
There comes a time for decision. 

In standard usage the expletive pronoun there does not deter- 
mine the number force of apposed-unit subjects in which it is the 
principal : the appositives do this. Even when appositives are im- 
plied rather than stated, they determine number force. This ac- 
counts for the forms of the verbs in the questions which follow. 

"There aren't any seats." "Aren't there? 13 
"There isn't any room." "Isn't there?" 

It is possible, however, that the use of expletive there is partially 
responsible for the use of singular verb forms in such sentences as 
the following. 

There is, besides Athens and Rome, Copan and Cuzco to be 

taken into account. 
At Christmas there is special food which is eaten at no other 

time, special songs, and a great deal of visiting. 
There was a present tense and a past. 
There is no industry and no farming. 
All afternoon there was sunshine and rain by turn. 

General one. General one is semantically equivalent ordi- 
narily to a person or people. As has been noted, you, we, and they 
are all semantically equivalent to a person and people at times; but 
one is the favored pronoun for this use in formal styles, and it is 
likely to be preferred to the three personals even in careful styles. 
One is unique among the pronouns outside the personal subcate- 
gory in being indefinitely repeatable, like the personals. 

In the course of one's life, one may make a dozen real friends 

if one is lucky. 
One tries to avoid unpleasantness, doesn't one? 

360 The Sentence and Its Parts 

It is possible to employ personal pronouns rather than repetitions 
of one. 

In the course of his life, one may make a dozen real friends if 
he is lucky. 

But repetition of one is likely to be preferred, especially in formal 
styles. Like you, we, and they, general one is indifferent to sex, and 
this is an advantage. He is never convincingly indifferent to sex. 
Sometimes, of course, one is "a person" of a single sex, and the 
substitution of a personal pronoun is less unsatisfactory. 

One can hope to keep her figure indefinitely if she is careful 
about her diet. 

Sometimes one is really a mask for / or even for you. 

One noticed the high percentage of charming women that 

One should be careful in dealing with Williamson. 

General one does not accept modifiers. But the one which some- 
times precedes people's names commonly with a somewhat dis- 
paraging effect, as in then we had to see one Theodore White, brother- 
in-law of our congressman is best regarded as general one used as 
principal in apposed units in which proper names function as ap- 

The basic form one is a common-case form, like you and it. A 
possessive is made as for singular nouns. There is also a self form, 
as for the personals and no other pronouns, usable both as a re- 
flexive and as an intensive. 

One can take oneself too seriously in these matters. 
One should develop one's pictures oneself. 

General one has no plural forms. Other uses of one are more im- 
portant; but general one is useful, and it is unfortunate that it has 
not established itself in informal styles. 

Substitute one. The characteristic use of substitute one is 
to provide a substitute for a noun or nounal unit prominent in the 
context, to which prepositive modifiers (accompanied by post- 
positive modifiers or not) can be attached to form nounal units 
with pronoun heads. 

Other Nounal Pronouns 361 

She made two big loaves and one small one. 
The newer books for children are better illustrated than the 
older ones. 

Here the italicized one of the first sentence is clearly a substitute 
for loaf and is modified by the determiner one and by the adjective 
small. The italicized ones of the second sentence is as clearly a 
substitute for books for children and is modified by the determiner 
the and the adjective older. Substitute one is like the personal pro- 
nouns of the third person in that it serves as a way of avoiding 
the repetition of ordinarily bulkier nouns and nounal units: it is 
unlike the personal pronouns in its ready acceptance of modifiers. 
Substitute one is derived from numeral one, and it has not lost 
all number force. For this reason it can represent only pluralizers, 
never quantifiables. 

We need two chairs, and we want sturdy ones. 

We need some furniture, and we want it to be sturdy. 

Substitute one inflects both for number and for possessive case. 

An indolent mother may be preferable to a fussy one. 
Indolent mothers may be preferable to fussy ones. 
An indolent mother's household may be more peaceful than a 
fussy one's. 

Substitute one is readily preceded by modifiers of relatively sim- 
ple descriptive types. 

This street is the main one. 

His other car is an imported one. 

Is the train a through one? 

Wicker chairs are no more comfortable than metal ones. 

He has a three-hour course and two two-hour ones. 

When we have prizes, Jane always gets the best one. 

Superlatives ordinarily cannot be followed by substitute one } how- 
ever, when modifiers of the whole begun by of come next, as in 
the largest of the apartments. Substitute one is not usable after many 
modifiers with somewhat exceptional relationships to their heads: 
repetition or reduction is necessary instead. 

He's a woman hater and she's a man hater. 

There were two English teachers and a history teacher. 

362 The Sentence and Its Parts 

The Methodist Church is not greatly different from the 

There's a grade school on one corner and a high school on the 


Some determiner modifiers can precede substitute one directly 
and some cannot. Possessives cannot, and neither can determina- 
tive pronouns of number. 

Sarah's friends are less picturesque than Jane's. 

I had three pens but lost two. 

Pens become expensive if you lose many. 

A few determinative pronouns of identification ordinarily do not 
precede substitute one directly. This is true of some, such, former, 
latter, and own. The indefinite article a is well established directly 
before substitute one only where an adjective has been pulled in 
front of a. 

We got an answer, but not as clear a one as we had hoped for. 

In dubiously standard informal use, a precedes one more often. 

We expected to find jellyfish, but we haven't seen a one. 

When the definite article the precedes substitute one directly, there 
is usually a postpositive modifier attached to one also; but this is 
not always the case. 

I'll take the one you leave. 

The ones with locks are the most useful. 

These just aren't the ones. 

This and that can precede substitute one directly, though these and 
those generally do not; so can most of the other determinative pro- 
nouns of identification. 

I didn't like his last letter, and this one is worse. 

Either one will be all right. 

She has two sons, but neither one is much good to her. 

I had no idea which ones he wanted. 

It's always the same ones that make the trouble. 

This chair looks nice, but the other one is more comfortable. 

I read the first chapter and skipped the second one. 

These pictures aren't as good as the last ones. 

Other Nounal Pronouns 363 

When other modifiers intervene, determiners of every kind can 
modify substitute one. 

Sarah's undramatic friends may be preferable in the end to 
Jane's picturesque ones. 

Substitute one functions as a head for postpositive modifiers, but 
only when it has at least one prepositive modifier. 

We got some seats, but not the ones we'd wanted. 

In I have a good watch, but I need one with an alarm it is best to 
regard one as the numeral, not the substitute. Expression of the 
implied noun watch would not result in loss of this one: there would 
only be a possible preference for its unstressed equivalent, the 
indefinite article. 

I have a good watch, but I need a watch (or one watch) with 
an alarm. 

The one of / need one with an alarm is not a substitute : it is a deter- 
minative pronoun (not a nounal one) used without a stated head. 
Generally the reference of substitute one is clear from the con- 
text. When substitute one stands for person, however, the help of 
context is sometimes relatively subtle. 

We aren't the ones to tell him. 

Such locutions as their loved ones and the little ones are emotional. 
In I heard a new one yesterday, substitute one will be taken, without 
further context, to mean "joke" or "tricky piece of reasoning." 
Formal styles have a tendency to reject substitute one where in- 
formal styles would want it. 

The proposal has its good points as well as its bad. 

From the point of view of meaning such general nouns as thing, 
matter, man, and person are quite comparable to substitute one in 
some of their uses; but syntactic classifications cannot be made 
simply on the basis of meanings. 

The compounds terminating in one, body, and thing. 
The determinative pronouns some, any, every, and no combine with 
substitute one and the nouns body and thing to form compounds. 

364 The Sentence and Its Parts 

No one is written phrasally but is best grouped with the compounds 
nevertheless when it is used as nobody is used. In the compounds, 
some, any, every, and no have the meanings they have as uncom- 
pounded determinatives. One and body have essentially the com- 
mon-sex meaning of person. Thing, of course, has a broad neuter 
meaning. The compounds in one, body, and thing are all singulars, 
and inflect only to form possessives. 

The compounds in one, body, and thing are sometimes modified 
postpositively by adjectives which have been crowded out of the 
position they usually take between determiners and nounal heads. 

Anyone interested can apply. 
Something new has been added. 

Where the pronoun other would be used in uncompounded equiva- 
lents, the adverb else is used postpositively with the compounds in 
one, body, and thing. 

Everyone else had left. 
Every other person had left. 

The compounds accept some adverbs prepositively, as modifiers of 
predeterminer types. 

Almost everyone knows it. 

Though the compounds in thing are basically neuter, they are 
sometimes applied to people. 

He's nothing to her. 
She's something special. 

Upside-down constructions and the like employ them with some 

He was anything but pleased. 
He's something of a musician. 
I haven't seen anything of George lately. 

They function as series enders where they are syntactically 

He hasn't apologized or anything. 

The compounds in one, body, and thing cannot be modified by 
modifiers of the whole begun by of. Thus though all of the students 

Other Nounal Pronouns 365 

were present is entirely possible, as is everybody in the class was 
present, it is not possible to say everybody of the students was present. 
Where modifiers of the whole begun by of are used, the uncom- 
pounded units any one, every one and no one are usable. 

Every one of my Latin teachers stressed grammar. 

Unlike the corresponding compounds, uncompounded any one and 
every one are usable where the reference is to countable pluralizers 
other than people. 

Any one of my Latin courses taught me more English grammar 

than all my English courses. 
Every one of my English courses dealt with the British past. 

The compound pronouns are syntactically notable in that per- 
sonal pronouns sometimes refer to their second components. 

Nobody would become a coal miner if he could help it. People 
would go into almost any other kind of work first. 

Here the he which in the first sentence has nobody as its antecedent 
is not itself negative. In the second sentence people is preferred 
to a he which would have nobody as its antecedent again. Actually 
such pronouns as nobody must often be classified as syntactically 
ununified mergings rather than true compounds. 

Clause-marker that. Among the clause-marker pronouns 
only that, who, and whoever are fundamentally nounal. Clause- 
marker that is distinct from demonstrative that in normally being 
unstressed and also in not inflecting for plural number. That is used 
as a clause marker both (1) in subordinate declaratives, impera- 
tives, and assertives and (2) in subordinate interrogatives. In 
declaratives, imperatives, and assertives it always functions as an 
adjunct that contributes nothing except to mark its clause: noth- 
ing equivalent to it occurs in corresponding main declaratives. In 
subordinate declaratives marker that can be expressed or omitted 
at will in many situations. 

I had no idea that it was so late. 

I had no idea it was so late. 

They have so much money that they can't spend it all. 

They have so much money they can't spend it all. 

366 The Sentence and Its Parts 

That is likely to be needed in situations that occur chiefly in some- 
what formal styles. 

They admit that other procedures are possible. 
Our representative in the area was fully aware that a revision 
of policy was necessary. 

It is often desirable also after be. 

It isn't that he's lazy. 

The truth is that I don't understand him. 

Often it helps to clarify construction. 

Miss Kirchwey told the Attorney General that some months 
ago she was informed that the government had a file on her. 

James How believed that Falder had committed a grave 
crime, and that for this reason he should receive no mercy. 

That is not usable where a subordinate-declarative clause is re- 
duced to not. In such situations not is treated as the substitute 
adverb so is treated. 

I guess not. 
I'm afraid not. 

And, as has been said, that is likely not to be usable in declaratives 
used as objects of prepositions. 

We got home before the rain began. 

In subordinate imperatives and assertives, marker that is normally 

No one has proposed that new negotiations be begun. 
Don't forget that here we are. 

That is usable as a marker in subordinate interrogatives only 
when these follow heads that that refers to. In interrogatives that 
performs most nounal functions and takes the place of words and 
multiword units that would be employed if the interrogatives were 
made into corresponding main declaratives. Marker that is indif- 
ferent to what is felt as personality or the absence of personality, 
so that it competes with both who and which. Wherever it is hard 
to decide between who and which, that has an advantage. 

The courses and teachers that have impressed him are few. 
I didn't hear the quartet that sang last night. 

Other Nounal Pronouns 367 

Where the reference is to designations of people not regarded in 
terms of individual personality, that is likely to be preferred to who. 

He isn't the hero that I thought he was. 
Fool that I was, I believed him. 

That is preferred to who and which after superlatives and only. 

The student was the best husband that the Wife of Bath ever 


He is the most dramatic pianist that has played here in years. 
This is the only room that is available. 

That is likely to be preferred to both who and which when other 
pronouns, excepting the personals, are referred to. 

Who that you know would like a cat? 
Nothing that I said seemed right. 
There isn't much that I can do. 
That's all that was said. 

That has no possessive. Though it is indifferent to number in 
form, it transmits the number force of what it refers to. 

We'd better replace the box that is seriously damaged. 
We'd better replace the boxes that are seriously damaged. 

That differs from who and which in rejecting use in subordinate 
interrogatives functioning as loose adjuncts. Thus it is not pos- 
sible to replace who and which with that in the following sentences. 

We missed McPherson, who was in France at the time. 
We went on to Trinidad, which was very different. 

That also differs from who and which in not being usable as object 
of preceding prepositions. But prepositions can often be left in 
normal declarative positions and that can be moved to the front 

There's the man that you were looking for. 

And prepositions can simply be dropped after a few head nouns 
such as day, year, time, place, way, rate, and reason, and after such 
adverb heads as now and everywhere, leaving that performing ad- 
verbial functions. 

That was the day that we arrived in San Francisco. 
The hours that I waited seemed interminable. 

368 The Sentence and Its Parts 

He didn't say a word all the time that I was there. 

The last time that I saw her, she was married to a musician. 

That's the place that we bought the typewriter. 

She cooks kid the way that they cook it in northern Mexico. 

At the rate that he's growing, he'll be bigger than his father in 
another year. 

The reason that Miami has so many amusement places is ob- 

Now that you know the truth, you can understand our feel- 

We see him everywhere that we go. 

Prepositions have dropped out before that also in interrogative 
clauses such as the following, in which that functions as adjunct. 

It was then that I understood. 

It was there that we met. 

Why is it that he worries so much? 

In these three sentences that functions as then, there, and therefore 
would function in main declaratives corresponding to the inter- 
rogatives that that begins here. 

As has been said, in informal and even in careful styles clause- 
marker that is commonly not expressed in subordinate-interroga- 
tive clauses for which it does not function as subject. 

The house we lived in had almost no wood in it. 

He isn't the man we thought was coming. 

We want the best there is. 

Rents were high the year we were there. 

Clause- marker who. Who is used as a clause marker both in 
main and subordinate interrogatives. It almost always has refer- 
ence to people. 

Who parked that car in front of our drive? 

The person who parked that car has no manners at all. 

Stories about animals occasionally use who as a way of making the 
characters seem human. 

Once there was a polite little polar bear who lived in the 
frozen regions of the far north. 

But this is unusual. Who sometimes seems hardly usable even for 
babies, so that the last three babies that were born in this hospital is 

Other Nounal Pronouns 369 

likely to seem better with that than it would with who. Who is a 
common-sex pronoun, like you rather than he and she. Both he and 
she can refer to who. 

Who left his pipe on the table? 

I wonder who left her purse on the table? 

I'm looking for the girl who left her purse on the table. 

Who has three case forms: nominative who, objective whom, 
possessive whose. In all styles the nominative form is used as sub- 

Who'd like to go downtown with me? 
I wonder who owns the land. 

The men who fought alongside Madero and Carranza and 
Zapata are no longer young. 

The nominative is also used as complement of be in all styles. 

Who is that man? 

Let's find out who that man is. 

In informal styles, and to some extent even in careful styles, in 
main interrogatives and in subordinate interrogatives that do not 
follow something who refers to, nominative who is used as comple- 
ment of all verbs, and as object of prepositions not brought to the 
front of their clauses with it. 

Who will the Republicans nominate? 

Hedda didn't care who she married. 

Who were you talking to when I came in? 

I am not sure who this letter should be addressed to. 

He's always drinking beer with heaven knows -who. 

It's hard to remember who is in love with who. 

You saw who? 

In subordinate interrogatives that do follow something who refers 
to, nominative who is generally avoided as complement of transi- 
tive verbs other than be and as object of prepositions. Objective 
whom is employed, or another phrasing is used. 

The man whom Hedda married was no match for her. 

The man that Hedda married was no match for her. 

The man Hedda married was no match for her. 

The people for whom Juarez struggled have not forgotten him. 

The people that Juarez struggled for have not forgotten him. 

370 The Sentence and Its Parts 

The people Juarez struggled for have not forgotten him. 
Louise has announced her engagement to George Hancock, 

whom I believe you know. 
Louise has announced her engagement to a man I believe you 

know George Hancock. 

The old man has two sons, one of whom is a doctor. 
The old man has two sons, one of them a doctor. 
The old man has two sons. One of them is a doctor. 
Jesse Owens, whom many call the greatest athlete of our times, 

once held three world records in three different events. 
Harris is the man to whom to speak. 
Harris is the man to speak to. 
Harris is the man you should speak to. 

The objective form whom is usual as complement of transitive 
verbs other than be in formal styles and to some extent in careful 

Whom did the American revere? Whom did he condemn? 
No one knows whom the President will select. 

Whom is used as object of prepositions in formal styles, and to 
some extent in careful styles, and the prepositions are likely to be 
brought to the front of their clauses along with whom. 

To whom were these communications directed? 

The use of whom as subject of a verb from which it is separated 
by such a sequence as the you think of the following sentence can 
be described as genteel nonstandard. 

I am noting here qualifications for members and suggest that 
you list for us any persons whom you think will qualify. 

The use of the objective form whom in face-to-face relationships 
is likely to seem affected. Whom tends to seem quite formal, and 
to be avoided in most constructions even in careful styles. Clause 
markers usually come early in their clauses, in what is felt as sub- 
ject territory; and the object form whom has consequently come 
to seem inappropriate. 

The possessive form whose, like the possessives of personal pro- 
nouns, is not given an apostrophe in the written language, which 
distinguishes the merged who's of who's coming? and who's been 
here? from the possessive whose of whose car is that? Whose, like 

Other Nounal Pronouns 371 

his and the possessives of nouns, is used both as a determinative 
modifier and in nounal constructions. 

Whose car is that? 

I wonder whose car that is. 

Whose is that? 

I have no idea whose it is. 

Granting that GilhV classes are the most interesting, whose 

are the most informative? 
The man whose ladder we borrowed lives at the corner. 

In form, who is indifferent to number. 

Who is that girl? 
Who are those girls? 

When it functions as subject without something before it that it 
refers to, who normally is used with singular verb forms in prefer- 
ence to plural, even where who clearly anticipates a plural reply. 

Who's eating at the Club this year? 
Who's been invited to the reception? 
Who was at the party? 

All can be attached to who in these questions without affecting 
the number of the verb. In many questions, of course, there is no 
certainty of the number of the designation which who calls for. 

Who wants coffee, and who wants tea? 

When who follows something it refers to, it transmits the number 
force of what it refers to. 

The people who live next door are musicians. 
The girl who lives next door is a musician. 

Clause-marker whoever. The compound whoever is rarely 
used in main interrogatives in contemporary American English, 
but it does occur. 

Whoever told you that? 

Who in the world told you that? 

Whoever is used in subordinate-interrogative clauses that have the 
force of nounal heads and modifying clauses together. Uncom- 
pounded who is not usable in this way in contemporary English. 

Whoever left the key will probably be back soon. 

The person who left the key will probably be back soon. 

372 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Often whoever expresses indifference to identity in a way that re- 
lates it semantically to anyone and no matter. 

He votes for whoever gets the Republican nomination. 

He votes for anyone who gets the Republican nomination. 

Whoever did it, it wasn't a good job. 

No matter who did it, it wasn't a good job. 

Whoever has an objective form whomever and a possessive form 
whosever. Both are avoided in informal and even in careful styles. 

Whoever he marries will have to tolerate a lot. 

He bores whoever he talks to. 

We'll have to take care of the duck whoever it belongs to. 

Often prepositions simply cannot move to the front with whoever ; 
he bores to whomever he talks is hardly possible, being too much 
like he talks to whoever (or formal whomever) he sees, where the 
preposition is not a part of the interrogative clause but rather has 
the clause as its object. Sentences like we j ll have to take care of the 
dog whosever it is are possible but infrequent. 
The longer compound whosoever is now rarely used. 



Written-language assignment of word status. The central 
subject matter of grammar is the behavior of words in sentences. 
Sentences are of various types. Alongside single clausal sentences of 
many degrees of complexity some of them clausal units within 
which other clausal units are contained there are multiple sen- 
tences, split sentences, and nonclausal sentences. In speech, sen- 
tence structure is often quite careless : the more deliberate practices 
of the written language are a safer guide to what native users of 
contemporary English regard as satisfactory sentences. Words are 
of various types too. Written-language practice is our best guide 
as to what are commonly regarded as "words" and what are re- 
garded, on the one hand, as formatives without word status (such 
as the tele of telegraph, the orn of adorn, the un of untrue, and the 
an of Chilean) and, on the other hand, as phrasal units. For the 
literate for whom grammars are made words are units that are 
commonly written with spacing before and after them but not 
inside them. The written language both expresses and helps to 
shape the popular view of what combinations of sounds and of 
letters are words and what are not. 

From the point of view of grammatical analysis, written-lan- 
guage assignment of word status seems entirely reasonable when 
word status is given to minimal readily separable units. In such a 
sentence as the Republicans are unhappy at the moment the sequence 
of written-language words can be interrupted between successive 
words with comparative ease. We can put conservative after the, 
certainly after Republicans, very after are, again after unhappy, 
exactly after at (especially if we also put present after the), and 
present after the. Actually we can separate Republican and 5 by 


374 The Sentence and Its Parts 

inserting leader, and un and happy by inserting usually, producing 
the Republican leaders are unusually happy at the moment. But 
Republicans is best regarded as only an inflected form of Republi- 
can, as are is of be; and un is normally bound tightly to what fol- 
lows it, so that though we met uneven terms is phonemically very 
similar to we met on even terms we can put such words as very and 
genuinely between on and even but not between un and even. 

Republican, happy, and moment are divisible into components 
whose uses in modern English are not confined to these complexes, 
A sophisticated analysis might recognize in these words the re of 
real, the publ of publish, the ic of Arabic, the an of Chilean, the 
hap of mishap, the y of lucky, the formative which in movement ap- 
pears as move and in motion and motive as mot, and the raettZ of 
movement. An unsophisticated analysis might not divide these 
three words, since Republican, republic, and public are fairly dis- 
tinct in their common meanings, the hap of happy is commonly 
distinct from that of mishap and happen in meaning, and the mo 
of moment is not likely to be recognized by either meaning or 
internal form though the mo of momentum might be recognized, 
Republicans, unhappy, and moment are "words/ 3 like the, are, and 
at, because they are clear units that are not easily interruptible 
but usually are readily separable from what precedes and follows 
them. Similarly conform, is one word in I conform but can farm is 
two words in / can farm, where we can easily put always between 
can and /arm. 

Difficulties presented by written-language words. From 
the point of view of grammatical analysis, written-language words 
are least satisfactory where there has been merging of what else- 
where are words, without development of syntactic unity. Merged 
forms into which, in informal styles, a number of common verbs 
enter freely must be treated in grammatical analysis exactly as 
their unmerged equivalents are treated : they must be broken apart. 
The we're of sometimes we're wrong may be phonemically indistin- 
guishable from the were of some times were wrong, but we're is sub- 
ject and predicator together here. We're is easily interruptible too, 
as in sometimes we certainly are wrong. The arerit of we aren't here to 
ask favors is main predicator and negator adjunct together, and the 
negator not really negates not the predicator are or even the nucleus 

Simplexes, Repeti Lives, Compounds 375 

we are here but we are here to ask favors, the focus of negation being 
on the adjunct of purpose to ask favors. (We are here, but not to ask 
favors.) The lets of let's go must be analyzed like the let us of let 
us pray and the make him of make him stop. Syntactically ununified 
forms in which verbs do not participate are less conspicuous, but 
occasionally their lack of syntactic unity is noteworthy. Thus the 
nothing of nothing that I do pleases him is really not referred to by 
the that of that I do: that I do is not a transform of I do nothing. 
In the main subject nothing that I do actually the determiner no 
has as its head the sequence thing that I do, and that refers to 
thing rather than to nothing. Another is syntactically like the other 
and a second, not like other alone. Another boy is usable as a sub- 
ject, like the other boy; other boy is not. In inasmuch and insofar, as 
and so maintain their special relationship to following modifiers, 
which commonly begin with as. 

Written-language words are also unsatisfactory where part-of- 
speech classification must be assigned to written-language phrases, 
hyphenated or unhyphenated. Thus phrasal-verb status must be, 
assigned the following. 

ad-lib double-park 

blue-pencil dry-clean 

cold-shoulder hand-pick 

court-martial soft-soap 

cross-index window-shop 

Here hyphenation indicates a relationship which stops just short 
of the compounding which has occurred in such verbs as browbeat 
and daydream, and is much closer than that of adjuncts to predi- 

Phrasal nouns fall into rather distinct subcategories. Phrases of 
foreign origin sometimes have noun status in English. 

coup d'etat status quo 

non sequitur Puerto Rico 

sine qua non Viet Nam 

Another subcategory of phrasal nouns is made up of English words 
in combinations that are syntactically anomalous in nounal uses. 

an about-face too much make-believe 

an also-ran another merry-go-round 

376 The Sentence and Its Parts 

no cure-alls those ne'er-do-wells 

a free-for-all a once-over 

a good-for-nothing their say-so 

some hand-me-downs the old so-and-so 

a pitiful has-been some stay-at-homes 

no in-betweens a great to-do 

our in-laws several ten-year-olds 

Where verb-and-adverb combinations such as blowout, setup, 
showdown, and turnover acquire noun status, it is generally as 
compounds now. But when the adverb is in or to, and also when 
the verb looks light in comparison with the adverb, written-lan- 
guage-phrase status is sometimes preferred to compound status: 
for example, in a run-in, a lean-to, a set-to, and a go-between. Have- 
not and know-how are generally written as phrases, as in too many 
have-nots and not enough know-how. A third subcategory of phrasal 
nouns has nounal heads followed by modifiers within the phrasal 
units. At least in careful and formal styles, plural inflection occurs 
at the end of the nounal head words. 

hangers-on talkings-to editors-in-chief 
goings-on runners-up mothers-in-law 

But this internal position for plural inflection is not a comfortable 
one. In informal styles phrasal nouns terminating in in-law are 
often given plural inflection at the end, as in both my brother-in- 
laws are engineers. Such a phrasal noun as Jack-of -all-trades will 
not often be pluralized. Where letters serve as nounal heads, plural 
inflection falls on postpositive modifiers in all styles. 

three A-minuses several B-flats 

In a fourth subcategory of phrasal nouns, affixes combine with 
multiword units of various kinds, rather than with single words. 

New Yorker ex-world champion 

Puerto Rican submachine gun 

North Carolinian stick-to-itiveness 

It is obvious that a New Yorker is not a Yorker who is new but an 

"er" from New York, just as an islander is an "er" from an island. 
Most phrasal adjectives are syntactically similar to the phrasal 

nouns in which affixes combine with phrases rather than with the 

single words to which they attach. 

Simplexes, Repetitives, Compounds 377 

big-hearted single-minded uncalled-for 

old-fashioned thick-skinned unheard-of 

A few phrases of foreign origin must be classified as phrasal adjec- 
tives in English. 

a-la-carte bona fide 

Matter-of-fact and spick-and-span are phrasal adjectives of other 

Phrasal pronouns include such ordinals as two hundred and fourth, 
the reciprocal each other, and the no one which requires classifica- 
tion with nothing and anybody. 

Part-of-speech classification of multiword units is best avoided 
wherever possible. Certainly units which are hyphenated only 
when they are used as prepositive modifiers of nounal heads need 
not be classified as phrasal adjectives. 

a well-educated person a little-known fact 

our better-informed citizens some much-needed rest 

an easy-going wife a longed-for visit 

old-age security a no-account loafer 

Here the hyphenated sequences are simply modifier-and-head units 
used as prepositive modifiers within larger units. Hyphenation is a 
way of showing relationships where otherwise they might not be 
clear in the written language. In modern-language teaching what is 
modern is the languages; in modern language teaching what is 
modern, if we can depend on the absence of hyphenation, is the 
teaching of languages. 

Words often combine in fixed longer units which, like the words 
themselves, are not readily interruptible. Sometimes the words 
which compose such units are not readily definable individually: 
this is true, for example, in hard up and spick-and-span. In such 
units as at once and French doors the meanings of the individual 
words are clearer but the combinations have a fixed quality none- 
theless. Phrasal proper names are units that are not easily inter- 
ruptible. Henry Bamford Parkes } the Republican Party, and the 
University of New Mexico are all rather tightly bound units. But 
the words which compose fixed units such as hard up, at once, and 
Henry Bamford Parkes are clear and in other uses are readily 
separable from what precedes and follows them. Moreover writing 

378 The Sentence and Its Parts 

many sequences such as these without spacing would be visually 
unsatisfactory. Modern English tends to avoid long and com- 
plicated words just as at the other extreme it avoids nonsyllabic 
words, writing Jack's as one word, not as Jack s, even when Jack's 
is subject and predicator together or, as in Jack's building a boat, 
subject and beginning of predicator. 

Written-language compounds are relatively fixed combinations 
of what elsewhere are words, somewhat as phrasal proper names 
are; but compounds are written as words rather than as phrases. 
Often they exist alongside phrasal units whose structure is in- 
distinguishable. Thus high school and short cut are written as 
phrases but highway and shortcake are written as compound 
"words." If we follow written-language distinctions here, we will 
treat the relationships binding high and school and short and cut as 
matters of sentence structure and those binding high and way and 
short and cake as matters of word formation, in spite of the obvious 
inconsistency. Our simplest course will be to accept written-lan- 
guage distinctions in our analysis just as we do in our writing. 
Sometimes, of course, practice is divided: at the moment, for 
example, air lines and airlines both occur. 

The problem of "sanies." When we ask whether two occur- 
rences of a particular combination of sounds or of letters constitute 
occurrences of the same word or formative, we raise a question not 
to be answered without taking history into account. The evidence 
of history warrants our regarding the italicized words in the fol- 
lowing pairs as "sames" in spite of the differences in meanings. 

We rode in the day coach. 

We went with the football coach. 

A free press would help. 
A free meal would help. 

A mountain range divides the state. 
An electric range occupies the corner. 

It took time to convince George. 
My last vaccination took. 

Benson made me a good offer, so I took him up. 
Benson wanted to see Montreal, so I took him up. 

Simplexes, Repetitives, Compounds 379 

The historical evidence does not warrant our regarding the itali- 
cized words in the following pairs as sames. 

It's another case of measles. 
It's another case of beer. 

Roberts was elected in a close race. 

Germs are still dangerous enemies of the human race. 

Harriet's roast beef is always rare. 
Not all these books are rare. 

We sounded Russell out. 
Russell sounded favorable. 

Similarly the evidence of history warrants our regarding the pass 
of passive and that of passion as the same, but it does not warrant 
our regarding the ped of pedagogue and that of biped as the same. 
History of course includes more than origins. The following 
words look like clear word-plus-word compounds but in original 
composition were not what they seem. 

cockroach goodby outrage shamefaced 

Complete analysis cannot ignore origins, but the view of the struc- 
ture of such words as these which now suggests itself has made 
itself felt in their forms and is perhaps more significant than their 
original composition. In goodby, for example, it is very hard to 
take the first syllable as a variant form of the word God now, with 
both its present form and the existence of such locutions as good 
morning and good night pulling in another direction; and the exist- 
ence of by-and-by inevitably influences the interpretation of the 
second syllable of goodby. Such forms as mushroom and shamrock 
are another matter. In origin mushroom and shamrock are not 
combinations of the English words mush and room and sham and 
rock, and the meanings of mush and room and sham and rock are 
irrelevant to the meanings of mushroom and shamrock. Accidents 
of internal form are not enough to justify viewing mushroom and 
shamrock as anything but simplexes. 

The study of the history of words and fonnatives is tremen- 
dously complex, and grammatical analysis obviously cannot pre- 
suppose thorough knowledge of it. Most identifications of words 
as "sames" in different uses are somewhat tentative. Differences 

380 The Sentence and Its Parts 

in spellings are commonly relied on as indications of differences in 
histories, and rightly so. Thus rain and rein and reign are seen at 
once as three distinct words in spite of their identity in pronuncia- 
tion. Block and bloCj metal and mettle and plain and plane are seen 
as separate words, in spite of identical ultimate origins, because of 
the differences in spellings and meanings. Minor fashions in spell- 
ing such as alone distinguish favor from favovr, theater from theatre, 
and dialogue from dialog are of course to be dismissed as insignifi- 
cant. There must be much less reliance on pronunciation than on 
spelling: regional differences alone would make this inevitable. 
Pronunciation, spelling, and meaning often unite in causing what 
was once a single word to be regarded as two words now. Thus 
elect and elite 3 gentle and genteel, grammar and glamour, native and 
naive, prove and probe, tradition and treason, ticket and etiquette, 
and triumph and trump are now universally regarded as separate 
words. Meanings are untrustworthy guides, since many words take 
on strange collections of them; but meanings must inevitably be 
taken into account. After all, it is as representatives of meanings 
that words exist. Meanings suggest, for example, that the tick 
which is used of the noise made by clocks and that which is used 
of mattress covers and that which is used of small living creatures 
are different words, and historical fact supports the guess. 

Variant forms must be recognized, both for words and for f orma- 
tives without word status. An exceptionally variable word is will, 
as the following sentences show. 

You'ZZ be here, won't you? 
You won't be here, will you? 

Is and has include among their variants forms that in the spoken 
language assimilate to what precedes them, as /z/ and /s/, exactly 
as various inflectional endings do. 

Bill's trying hard. 
Jack's tried hard. 

The negative prefix in is an exceptionally variable formative, as 
the following words illustrate. 

ignoble inaccurate 

illegal incomplete 

impolite irrational 

Simplexes, Repetitives, Compounds 381 

History, meanings, and clear patterns of use support recognition 
of clusters of variants in cases like these. Will can replace II and 
wo: the difference will be in style, or in emphasis, with word order 
involved in the change from won't you? to will you not? The in of 
inaccurate cannot replace, for example, the ir of irrational, but 
there is a clear pattern of use here: the variant employed in any 
complex is determined by the nature of the phoneme that begins 
the following component, just as for the indefinite article choice 
between the variants a and an is determined by the phoneme that 
begins the following word and a usual complaint and an unusual 
complaint occur side by side. 

We had better classify all inflected forms as variants of their 
basic forms. As has been noted, "inflection" is of various kinds. 
What is actually compounding is best regarded as inflection in the 
case of the self forms of the personal pronouns and general one] 
if we are to regard considerations of syntax as of first importance, 
we will want to classify himself as an inflected variant of he. What 
were originally distinct words, as their internal forms still show, 
are used to fill out inflectional patterns when, for example, went is 
made a past for go, people a plural for person, worse a comparative 
for bad, and her a possessive for she. Changes within basic forms 
provide a more important type of inflection. Thus the past of 
win is won and the plural of foot is feet. The addition of inflectional 
endings is the commonest type of inflection in English. Thus what 
the written language represents by s is added to destroy to make a 
third person singular and to boy to make a plural. Sometimes the 
addition of inflectional endings is accompanied by changes in the 
forms to which the endings are added, as when in bought a variant 
of the ending usually written ed has been added to a variant of buy. 
One-word "inflected" forms of all these types are best regarded 
merely as syntactic variants of their basic forms. When auxiliaries 
are employed, phrasal inflected forms result. Thus has gone is a 
phrasal inflected form of go. 

Often groups of related forms must be recognized where lack 
of clear patterning will hardly allow us to speak of clusters of vari- 
ants. Thus though we can describe sang and bled as inflected 
variants of sing and bleed, we had better regard song and sing and 
blood and bleed simply as related words; and though we can describe 

382 The Sentence and Its Parts 

the plural noun thieves as a variant of thief, we had better consider 
that the noun thief and the verb thieve are merely related words. In 
the case of stop and look, on the other hand, we had better consider 
that single words function both as nouns and as verbs. 

Categories of words on the basis of their internal struc- 
ture. On the basis of their internal structure English words 
(apart from syntactically ununified mergings such as I'm, aren't, 
let's, and another) can be classified in four categories: simplexes, 
repetitives, compounds, and complexes. Subcategories of the com- 
pounds and the complexes will require notice. One-word inflected 
forms of words of all these varieties are of course to be classified 
exactly as the corresponding basic forms are classified. 

The simplexes. The category of simplexes is made up of words 
which do not contain components readily recognizable either as 
words themselves or as formatives which lack word status but, 
like words, have their own relationships to meanings, however 
tenuous these relationships may become in particular uses. 

Classification as simplexes had better be assigned to practically 
all monosyllables except (1) such syntactically ununified merged 
forms as we're, aren't, and let's; (2) such monosyllabic complexes 
employing nonsyllabic suffixes as truth and fourth; and (3) shortened 
words such as trig and prof, which are used alongside unshortened 
trigonometry and professor, and which when analyzed would reflect 
the analysis given their unshortened variants. 

Simplexes are not to be thought of as not divisible through 
historical analysis. Such words as as, lone, lord, preach, square, and 
twit were compounds or complexes within historic times, but their 
history is irrelevant to our classification here : they are now felt as 
simplexes. The concept of groups of simplexes sharing a common 
ancestry and alike marked by it need not be regarded as a contra- 
diction in terms. The relationships between may and main need not 
affect classifications here, or those between gloom and glum, or be- 
tween grow and green, or between no and not, or between ride and 
road, or between twice and twin, or between which and where, or 
even (as has been said) between song and sing. All such words can 
be classified as simplexes in terms of their place in the word stock 
of contemporary English, and the "meaningful fractions" seen, for 

Simplexes, Repetitives, Compounds 383 

example, in twice and twin can be left to the history of the language 
for treatment. 

Many words of two or more syllables must be regarded as sim- 
plexes in modern English too. This is true of such words as the 





The feeling for syllable-sized units is strong in modern English, and 
acceptance of such words as these as simplexes is uneasy. From the 
point of view of historical analysis many such words are undoubt- 
edly divisible. Fuel, for example, is composed historically of a vari- 
ant of the foe of focus and a variant of the suffix al. In form fuel 
is not less like/ocus than bought is like buy, but bought and buy have 
the special relationship of inflected variant and basic form. The 
relationship of fuel to focus belongs to the history of the language. 
Similarly vowel, with the same Latin ancestry as vocal, is most 
naturally regarded as a simplex in modern English; but here the 
semantic-historical relationship of vocalic to vowel complicates the 
matter and makes it convenient to classify the vocal of vocalic as a 
variant of vowel. 

The repetitives. The category of repetitives is small, but it 
deserves notice. It includes, first of all, a few words with compo- 
nents repeated without change. Poohpoohj tomtom, goodygoody, 
and hushhush are repetitives of this kind. Much more often, re- 
peated components are varied in the repetition. Commonly there 
is variation in vowels, as in crisscross, or in consonants, as in hob- 
nob. Some components obviously have word status themselves, 
others do not. The repetitives have histories of varied types : what- 
ever their histories, words such as these form a special category. 
Included are verbs. 

crisscross heehaw pitterpatter seesaw 
dillydally hobnob poohpooh shillyshally 

flimflam kowtow powwow zigzag 


The Sentence and Its Parts 













mumbo jumbo 










And at least one adverb : willynilly. 

The taste for rhyme and alliteration which makes itself felt in 
many slogans, for example, is largely responsible for the existence 
and popularity of the repetitives. The relation between the compo- 
nents which make up repetitives seems to be essentially that of 
such repetitive coordinates as better and better and tried and tried 
and the work, work, work of all we do is work, work, work. But in 
many repetitives neither component alone can suggest the meaning 
of the combination. The longer repetitives are sometimes written 
as phrases, with hyphens. 

The compounds. The category of compounds is made up of 
words that are divisible into components all of which have the 
status in contemporary English of known words. Compounds are 
quite numerous. The relationships between component words are 
clear in the great majority of compounds, and are of very few types. 

By far the largest subcategory among the compounds is made 
up of head-and-modifier combinations. In most compounds of this 
kind the head follows the modifier, but in some it precedes. 
Usually head-and-modifier compounds have the part-of-speech 
classifications of their heads. Sometimes they must be assigned 
other part-of-speech classifications in addition: weekend, for exam- 
ple, is a verb as well as a noun. Sometimes the head component is 
a verb and the modifying component is an adverb or, less typically, 
a noun or even an adjective. 





In great numbers of compounds the head component is a noun and 
the modifying component is another noun or, less typically, an 
adjective, an adverb, or even a pronoun. 

Simplexes, Repetitives, Compounds 385 





Noun heads precede the modifying adjective full in an exceptional 
variety of compounding. 

earful hatful houseful spoonful 

In some compounds the head component is an adjective, sometimes 
gerundial or participial in origin, and the modifying component is 
an adverb, a noun, or even another adjective. 

everlasting underprivileged homesick workmanlike 

ingrown airtight lifelike newborn 

outspoken churchgoing topheavy thoroughgoing 

overconfident heartbroken waterproof widespread 

In a few compounds the head component is an adverb and the 
modifying component is a pronoun. 

altogether nowhere somehow 

Adverb heads precede the modifying adverb ever in a few com- 

however whenever wherever 

In a few compounds the head component is a pronoun and the 
modifying component is another pronoun or even an adverb or a 

anyone everyone overmuch selfsame 

Pronoun heads precede the modifying adverb ever in a few com- 

whatever whichever whoever 

A considerable number of head-and-modifier compounds can 
hardly be assigned the part-of-speech classifications the heads 
ordinarily have. Thus heads which would ordinarily be classified 
as verbs often combine with modifiers to form nouns. Sometimes 
an adverb modifier precedes the verb head, as in income and wel- 

386 The Sentence and Its Parts 

/are. Much more commonly, especially in compounds which rela- 
tively formal styles tend to avoid, the verb head comes first. 





Comparison with verb-and-adverb sequences from which such 
compounds as these derive is instructive. 

Another tire blew out on the way back. 

They're building up another candidate for governor now. 

Well have to cut the current off. 

Verb heads sometimes combine with modifiers of noun, adjective, 
and pronoun types most often complementary modifiers to 
form noun compounds. 

daredevil spitfire tattletale standstill 
killjoy stopgap diehard cureall 

Verb heads sometimes combine with complementary noun modi- 
fiers to form adjectives. 

breakneck telltale 

In maybe the verb form may has combined with a complementary 
infinitive to form a compound adverb. 

Noun heads sometimes combine with modifiers of varied types 
adjectives, nouns, pronouns, adverbs to form compounds that 
are not nouns. Sometimes such compounds must be classified as 

Sometimes as adjectives. 

barefoot secondhand downtown outside 
Sometimes as adverbs. 

likewise anyway sometime 
sidewise awhile sometimes 

Sometimes as pronouns. 

anybody everything something nobody 

Simplexes, Repetitives, Compounds 337 

Adjective heads apparently occur in very few nonadjectival com- 
pounds, but grownup is a compound noun with a participial 
adjective as head, and already and notwithstanding are compound 
adverbs with adjectival heads. Pronoun heads occur in such com- 
pound adverbs as almost and nevertheless. 

Preposition-and-object compounds make up a category much 
smaller than that of modifier-and-head compounds. Adverb status 
is of course syntactically normal for preposition-and-object com- 

alongside indeed overboard underfoot 

In some compound adverbs of this kind the object component 
precedes the preposition component. 

thereby thereupon wherein wherewith 

Some preposition-and-object compounds require classification as 

aboveboard outdoor underage uphill 

offhand overnight underground upstairs 

A few preposition-and-object compounds require classification as 

afternoon outdoors overalls tonight 

Compounding almost always involves heads and modifiers or 
prepositions and objects, but in some compounds the components 
seem to be related in other ways and in some the nature of the 
relationship is not clear. In a few compounds the components seem 
to have the relationship of principal and appositive: for example, 
in the adverbs roundabout and underneath. In a few compounds 
the components seem to have the relationship of half head and 
half modifier which subjects and complements sometimes have: 
for example, in the noun sundown and in the adverb headfirst In a 
few compounds the components seem to have the relationship of 
coordinates: for example, in such nouns of direction as northeast, 
in the adjective bittersweet, and in the adverb henceforth. In such 
nouns as undergraduate, overtime, and godsend the components are 
clear enough but their relationship seems less clear. This is the 
case also in such compound prepositional adverbs as into and 

388 The Sentence and Its Parts 

without and in such exceptionally formed compound nouns as 
whatnot, whereabouts, and wherewithal. We must speak here of com- 
ponents in unanalyzed strings. 

Sequences of capitalized initial letters from sequences of words 
sometimes form what can be regarded as compounds of an excep- 
tional type. Examples are IQ and TV, in which the component 
letters are given their individual letter-name pronunciations, and 
UNESCO, which is pronounced as an ordinary word with such a 
spelling would be pronounced. 

Compounding of exceptional types has inevitably received dis- 
proportionate attention here: the great majority of compounds are 
of head-and-modifier type, and the head components are most 
often nouns. Written-language compounding occurs in oddly re- 
stricted ways. Modifying nouns combine with following head 
nouns, as in roommate for example, much more freely than mod- 
ifying adjectives do. Thus high school, real estate, and sweet potato 
are written as phrases, not as compounds. It is especially uncom- 
mon for modifiers of gerundial origin to be joined with noun heads 
as is done in mockingbird. Modifying nouns are not likely to be 
joined with head nouns when the total number of syllables is as 
high as four, so that though bathroom is treated as a compound 
reference room is not likely to achieve similar status. Not many 
compounds have more than two words as components as teaspoon- 
ful and nevertheless do. Thus though birthday is compounded birth- 
day cake is treated as a phrase, and phrasal status is maintained 
for combinations such as forget-me-nots. Phrasal status is main- 
tained even for many noun-and-noun combinations of the type 
most likely to be compounded : for example, for boy friend, room 
rent, safety pin, and summer school. When compounding occurs, 
modifying nouns are usually basic forms. Sometimes they are 
basic forms ordinarily not used outside compounds, as in ashtray, 
oatmeal, and scissortail. But plural forms occur in such compounds 
as clothesbrush, newspaper, teethridge, and thanksgiving] and pos- 
sessives (without apostrophes) occur in such compounds as bees- 
wax, bridesmaid, doomsday, and townspeople. Precise semantic re- 
lationships between modifiers and heads are quite varied. An 
armchair is a chair with arms, a mailbox is a box for mail, a tax- 
payer is a payer of taxes, a tomcat is a cat whose sex would make 

Simplexes, Repetitives, Compounds 389 

the name Tom appropriate. Heartsick means "sick at heart," home- 
sick means "sick for home." Many compounds are not easily 
rephrased. Some compounds can offer visual difficulties. Thus no- 
where looks like a combination of now and here as well as one of no 
and where, and compounds such as beefeater, forestage, tosspot, and 
towhead can be puzzling in the written language. Bedraggled has 
been pronounced on television, quite seriously, as though it were 
a combination of bed and raggled. Compounding is sometimes 
avoided because of visual difficulties it would produce. Thus no 
one is written as two words, though nobody and someone are written 
as compounds; and though setup is commonly treated as a com- 
pound, run-in is hyphenated. For such items as awhile and anyway 
decision between compound status and phrase status is made quite 
arbitrarily. A while is written as two words when used in nounal 
constructions, as in for a while; and such items as all right, any 
more, every place, some day, and any time are written as phrases 
rather than compounds by those who are careful of the niceties of 
current usage. Awhile, of course, is readily interruptible: I waited 
a long while is common alongside / waited awhile. Indeed is com- 
pounded, but in fact, in spite (of), and in order (to) are written as 

When words unite in compounds, in general they keep their 
shapes about as well as they do in other uses. Some phonological 
merging does occur. Cupboard is a striking example of exceptional 
spoken-language merging; lapboard follows the usual pattern. 
Eurasia and partake are old merged compounds. Lewis Carroll's 
chortle, uniting chuckle and snort, is a merged form x>f somewhat 
different type. Commercial and journalistic English produces 
striking merged compounds that in the main appear to be no more 
than tricks to catch attention. Thus standard service center be- 
comes commercial servicenter. Even a national association of 
teachers of English has employed the merged compound coun- 
ciletter issue after issue. Motel, for motor hotel, seems to have passed 
into general use; brunch, for breakfast-lunch, is more restricted in 
use. Merged compounds differ from such merged forms as I'm in 
that they are syntactically unified. 



The complexes. The category of complexes is made up of words 
among whose components are noninflectional format! ves which do 
not have word status but which are recognizable, more or less 
readily, as meaning-conveying entities in themselves even though 
their contributions to the meanings of particular combinations 
are not always obvious. Sometimes among the components which 
make up complexes there are items which elsewhere have word 
status. This is the case in untrue, island, raspberry, biochemistry, 
Chilean, and seventh, where true, land, berry, chemistry, Chile, and 
seven are immediately recognized as words themselves in other 
uses, though un, this is, this rasp, bio, this an, and th apparently 
have no status as words. In some complexes all the components 
are formatives which lack word status. This is true in reject, captor, 
bigamous, chronology, and omnivorous. 

Two groups of affixes prefixes and suffixes are commonly set 
up among the formatives. Classification as affixes is most often 
assigned to formatives which combine with numbers of English 
words. Such affixes can of course combine with other formatives 
as well as with English words. Thus the negative prefix im of 
immovable occurs also in immense. Several affixes can be employed 
in a single complex, but practically every complex contains at 
least one formative that is not an affix. Shortened words such as 
semipro, for semiprofessional, constitute a natural exception to this 
rule: such a word as insuperable is exceptional in a more funda- 
mental way. 

Prefixes. Adverb-like formatives that combine with following 
words are most likely to be classified as prefixes. A list of prefixes 
widely used in the central, nontechnical body of the language 
might well include the following. 

Complexes 391 

1. A, as in afloat, alive, asleep, across, away, anew, apiece. 

2. Ad, as in adjoin, administer. 

3. Anti, as in anticlimax, antifreeze, antisocial. 

4. Be, as in befriend, befuddle, belittle, because, below, beside. 

5. Co, as in coexist, co-operate, coeducation, coworker. 

6. De, as in decentralize, decode, defrost, detour, debunk, de- 

nominate, devote. 

7. Dis, as in disagree, dislike, disown, disbelief, dishonest, 


8. En, as in enact, endear, enliven. 

9. Ex, as in ex-president, ex-student, exchange, excommunicate, 

explain, exterminate. 

10. Extra, as in extracurricular, extramarital. 

11. Hyper, as in hypercritical, hypersensitive. 

12. 7n, as in indigestion, inequality, inadequate, indefinite, 


13. Inter, as in interact, intermarry, intermeddle, inter-Ameri- 

can, intercollegiate. 

14. Mis, as in misinterpret, misprint, misspell, misadventure, 

mishap, mistake. 

15. Non, as in nonaggression, nonconductor, nonsense, nonex- 

istent, nonintoxicating, nonpartisan. 

16. Post, as in postdate, postscript, postgraduate. 

17. Pre, as in prearrange, prepay, prerequisite, preview, pre- 

Christian, prehistoric, prenatal. 

18. Pro, as in pro-British, prolabor, pronoun, proportion. 

19. Re, as in reeled, reprint, recommend, remark, remove. 

20. Sub, as in subdivide, sublease, subcommittee, subhead, sub- 

way, subconscious, subnormal. 

21. Super, as in superimpose, supersaturate, superstructure, 

superman, supernatural. 

22. Trans, as in transplant, transship, transatlantic. 

23. Ultra, as in ultraconservative, ultrafashionable. 

24. 17/1, as in unbelief, unrest, uneasy, uneducated, unexciting, 

unfriendly, unlike, unwell, and as in unbutton, uncover, 

Only a few of the prefixes listed above are native in origin: a, be, 
in part mis, and un. A originated as an unstressed variant of sev- 
eral prepositions, be as an unstressed variant of by, and mis (to the 
extent that it is native in origin) as an unstressed variant of the 
miss of amiss. Some complexes beginning with a often seem archaic 
or literary: on foot is now commoner than afoot, and in bed than 
abed. A curiosity of word formation is the literary a-borning of 

392 The Sentence and Its Parts 

what then was the theme of the play that thus died a-borning? Negative 
un is apparently both the most used of all English prefixes and the 
one farthest from word status. Clear word-and-word compounds 
such as overeat and outdo have been much more characteristic of 
English word formation than prefix-and-word complexes. 

Many complexes made up of nonnative prefixes and English 
words were formed outside English. In general, the nonnative pre- 
fixes listed above have word status in the languages from which 
they were acquired, and some of them are used in English in 
borrowed phrases such as ad hoc, de facto , non sequitur, and sub rosa. 
Pro and con acquire word status in the pros and cons; ad, con, pro, 
and sub are sometimes used as shortenings of advertisement, con- 
fidence (in con man) and convict, professional, and submarine. Ex- 
ceptional uses of prefixes with implied following components occur. 

There are cold drinks available, alcoholic and non-. 

Extra is an English adjective in an extra shirt and in informal extra 
big. The distinction between the ' 'prefix" en of endear and the word 
in of income and inflame is obviously arbitrary. A number of the 
nonnative prefixes listed have variants which deserve notice. Such 
variants occur in accompany, affirm, agglutinate, allocate, ammuni- 
tion, annul, approximate, arrange, assure, attune, and abase] in 
collateral, commission, condescend, correlate] in diffusion] in em- 
bitter, impart, irradiate] in evocation, efface] in ignoble, illegal, im- 
patient, irresponsible] in suffix, suppress] in surcharge. Many of the 
complexes in which nonnative prefixes occur have the flavor of 
careful and formal styles. 

Under certain circumstances, hyphens separate prefixes from the 
components with which they unite. The hyphens in non-Catholic, 
pre-Christian, and pro-British simply permit the retention of capital 
letters: transatlantic and unchristian are exceptional in dropping 
the capitals. Co-op and co-ed would offer exceptional visual diffi- 
culties if they were written unhyphenated. Hyphens are sometimes 
employed in such a complex as re-form to indicate that the com- 
bination is a fresh one : re-form means simply "form again," whereas 
reform generally implies improvement. Ex is a special case : when 
it has the meaning of "former" it is followed by a hyphen regularly, 
when it has other meanings it is not. 

Complexes 393 

The negative prefixes deserve special notice. As has been said, 
negation is concerned with meanings of dissent or difference. Un is 
the most widely used of the negative prefixes, but non enters into 
new complexes more freely than un does, though non also tends 
to seem a little formal perhaps. Native un is used alongside dis, 

iSj and (most of all) in in related complexes. 

unable inability undigested indigestion 

uncivil incivility unequal inequality 

uncomfortable discomfort unfortunate misfortune 

uncompleted incomplete ungrateful ingratitude 

uncomprehending incomprehension unsanitary insane 

undecided indecision unstable instability 

Words terminating in ing, ed, able, and ful are likely to be made 
negative by un. In general, the use of nonnative terminations is 
likely to be accompanied by the use of nonnative negative prefixes 
rather than un. It is noteworthy that negative prefixes are some- 
times attached to forms that are rarely used without the prefixes. 

ungainly unprecedented unspeakable 

Here the negated complexes have simply proved more useful than 
the corresponding unnegated forms. In unloosen and disgruntle 
there is not really negation of the components which follow the 
prefixes; rather, there is intensification perhaps. 

It is possible to set up a small subcategory of prefixes charac- 
teristically used not with English words but with other f ormatives. 
The following adverblike formatives some of them with variant 
forms not noted here would be included in such a subcategory. 

1. A, as in apathy (and amoral). 

2. Ab, as in abominate (and abnormal). 

3. Ana, as in analogy. 

4. Ante, as in antecedent (and anteroom). 

5. Apo, as in apology. 

6. Cata, as in catalogue. 

7. Circum, as in circumference (and circumlocution). 

8. Dia, as in diagonal. 

9. Epi, as in episode. 

10. Hypo, as in hypochondria. 

11. Intra, as in intravenous (and intramural). 

12. Meta, as in metabolism (and metaphysics). 

13. 06, as in object. 

394 The Sentence and Its Parts 

14. Para, as in paragon. 

15. Retro, as in retrospection (and retroactive). 

16. Se, as in segregate. 

17. Per, as in perfect (and perform). 

18. Sfyn, as in synchronize. 

It is also possible to include among the prefixes formatives of 
numeral and adjectival types: for example, the U of bifocal and 
the mono of monotone. But formatives of these types frequently 
combine with suffixes, as in binary and monism; and prefixes of 
less dubious types normally combine only with words and non- 
affixal formatives. 

Suffixes. Classification as suffixes is most often assigned to 
formatives, themselves without word status, which follow numbers 
of English words and combine with them to form complexes. 
Suffixes commonly determine part-of-speech classifications for the 
complexes they terminate. A few commonly terminate verbs. 

1. Ate, as in authenticate, captivate, motivate. 

2. En, as in blacken, quicken, weaken, frighten, strengthen, 


3. Er, as in waver, patter. 

4. he, as in centralize, nationalize, characterize, pasteurize, 

scandalize, revolutionize. 

5. Le, as in crackle, crumble, snuggle, fondle. 

From the point of view of history, verb forms terminating in ate 
are perhaps best seen simply as variants of forms without this ate, 
as illuminate, going back to a Latin past-participial stem, is in 
origin a variant of illumine, going back to the corresponding Latin 
infinitival stem; but in modern English where pairs such as captive 
and captivate exist it seems reasonable to regard ate as a verb-mak- 
ing suffix. The suffix en which terminates verbs is comparable in in- 
ternal form with the suffix which terminates such adjectives as wood- 
en and with the inflectional endings employed in such plurals as oxen, 
such participles as fallen, thrown, and done, and such pronoun forms 
as mine and none. It is strikingly like the prefix en of endear in 
both meaning and form, so that in enliven, as compared with 
deaden and endear, there seems to be repetition both of form and 
of meaning. Frequentative-diminutive er and le are not likely to be 
noticed except in fairly sophisticated analysis, but they are felt. 

Complexes 395 

A list of suffixes which commonly terminate nouns will have to be 

6. Ade, as in blockade, escapade, lemonade. 

7. Age, as in breakage , postage, shortage, percentage. 

8. Al, as in refusal, rental, trial. 

9. An, as in Ohioan, Tennesseean, Chilean. 

10. Ance, as in allowance, clearance, forbearance, utterance. 

11. Ant, as in assistant, claimant, disinfectant. 

12. Ard, as in drunkard, dullard, laggard. 

13. Cy, as in bankruptcy, captaincy. 

14. Dora, as in boredom, freedom, officialdom. 

15. .Be, as in absentee, draftee, employee. 
3. Er, as in patter. 

16. J?r, as in frafcer, burner, reader, islander, officer, Vermonter, 

goner, outsider. 

17. Ery, as in bakery, distillery, machinery, scenery, snobbery. 

18. Ese, as in Japanese, journalese. 

19. Jss, as in hostess, stewardess. 

20. jEJfte, as in kitchenette, statueite. 

21. Hood, as in childhood, neighborhood, falsehood. 

22. Ice, as in cowardice, justice, notice, service. 

23. Ing, as in shirting, inning. 

24. Jon, as in rebellion, action, confession. 

25. Ism, as in determinism, alcoholism, egoism, idealism, Lu- 


26. 1st, as in tourist, typist, faddist, novelist, idealist, defeatist. 

27. Itis, as in sinusitis, tonsilitis. 

28. /&/, as in conformity, absurdity, oddity. 
5. Le, as in ripple, sparkle, sniffle, speckle. 

29. Le, as in booklet, cutlet, ringlet. 

30. Ling, as in duckling, yearling, hireling, underling. 

31. Men, as in abandonment, amazement, befuddlement, merri- 


32. Ness, as in clumsiness, meanness, naturalness, sameness. 

33. Ship, as in courtship, dictatorship, instructor ship, salesman- 

ship, hardship, membership, township. 

34. Ster, as in gangster, teamster, youngster. 

35. Th, as in growth, warmth. 

36. C7de, as in solicitude, quietude. 

37. C7re, as in architecture, composure, failure. 

38. F, as in assembly, destiny, flattery, warranty. 

39. Y, as in Billy, dolly, sonny. 

Variant forms of some of these suffixes require notice. Thus for 
modern English the ence of adherence, correspondence, and occur- 

396 The Sentence and Its Parts 

rence is best regarded as a variant of ance, and the ent of corre- 
spondent and superintendent and the ante of vigilante as variants of 
ant. The art of braggart is a variant of ard. The azre of concessionaire, 
the ar of Zmr, the eer of mountaineer, the ier of cashier, the or of 
governor, and the 7/er of lawyer are most conveniently regarded as 
variants of an er suffix which, like the prefix mis, is partly native 
and partly nonnative in origin. The ry of jewelry and chemistry 
and the ary of dictionary and tributary can be regarded as variants 
of en/. The et of isZe and couplet is a variant of e#e, the ty of cruelty 
and 50/6% and the fe of naivete are variants of %, the t of Ae^/ii is 
a variant of the A of growth, and the ie of Annie and Charlie is a 
variant of the T/ of Billy. The suffixes er of patter, er of feafcer, and 
ing of shirting are identical in their internal forms with the in- 
flectional endings of bigger and playing. Stranger can be either an 
inflected adjective or a noun complex. 

Jack's point of view seems stranger than ever. 
You're almost a stranger here. 

A number of suffixes commonly terminate adjectives. 

40. Able, as in likable, commendable, comfortable, objectionable, 

perishable, marriageable, peaceable, suitable, personable. 

8. Al, as in conditional, clinical, tidal, continual. 

9. An, as in Chilean, Lutheran, Roman, republican. 
11. Ant, as in buoyant, pliant. 

17. Ary, as in customary dietary, revolutionary, secondary. 
1. Ate, as in considerate, affectionate, compassionate. 

41. jBd, as in talented, moneyed, bigoted. 

42. JSfo, as in golden, silken, wooden. 

43. J5Jm, as in eastern, northern. 

18. Ese, as in Japanese, Siamese. 

44. .FuZ, as in beautiful, hopeful, forgetful, resentful. 

45. Ic, as in basic, choleric, scenic. 

46. Ish, as in bookish, Danish, selfish, outlandish, youngish, 

reddish, offish. 

47. Ive, as in active, constructive, defective, plaintive. 

48. Less, as in tireless, aimless, coatless, mannerless. 

49. %, as in bodily, disorderly, monthly, deadly, likely, lonely, 

sickly, leisurely, scholarly. 

50. Ous, as in dangerous, cavernous, famous, murderous, con- 

tinuous, solicitous. 

51. Some, as in troublesome, meddlesome, venturesome, lonesome, 


Complexes 397 

52. Ward, as in homeward, wayward, backward, forward. 

53. Y, as in bony, slippery, windy, sticky, folksy. 

Here again variant forms of some of the suffixes listed require 
notice. Thus the ible of contemptible, digestible, gullible, and sen- 
sible occurs alongside the able of comfortable-, the ar of consular, 
polar, and linear and the He of infantile and servile occur alongside 
the aZ of continual and ZmeaZ, ar occurring especially after Z; the 
ent of absorbent and different occurs alongside the anZ of buoyant- 
the on/ of conciliatory and supervisory occurs alongside the ary of 
customary-, the *e of composite and definite occurs alongside the ate 
of considerate-, and the ose of verbose occurs alongside the ous of 
famous. Some adjectives employ both ic and aZ where a single 
suffix would seem sufficient: this is the case in alphabetical, method- 
ical, nonsensical, and spherical-, economical generally differs from 
economic in meaning. The suffix ed of moneyed is of course identical 
in internal form with the inflectional ending ed of played. 
A few suffixes commonly terminate adverbs. 

49. Ly, as in happily, longingly, heatedly, partly, namely, 

mostly, overly. 
52. Ward, as in afterward, toward. 

When ly is added to adjectives ending in the suffix ic, the suffix 
al is normally interposed in the written language (though it may 
not appear in the spoken), as in authentically, basically, diplomat- 
ically, dramatically, and heroically. Publicly has no al. 
A few suffixes commonly terminate pronouns. 

54. Teen, as in fourteen, sixteen. 

55. Th, as in fourth, hundredth, nth. 

56. Ty, as in sixty, seventy. 

Eth occurs as a variant of th used after- the suffix ty, in such com- 
plexes as twentieth and sixtieth. The th of fourth is of course identical 
in internal form with the th of growth. 

About half of the suffixes listed above are native in origin. The 
language has long used suffixes much more extensively than pre- 
fixes. Problems in classification of course occur. Able and full are 
adjectives with meanings not very different from those most often 
expressed by the "suffixes" able and ful: blamable and careful can 
be regarded as word-and-word compounds comparable to blame- 

398 The Sentence and Its Parts 

worthy, carefree, and earful. The occasional use of ism and teens as 
nouns is obviously derived from their use as suffixes, and is clearly 
of minor importance among the uses made of these items. The ly 
of such adverbs as rapidly could be regarded as an inflectional 
ending added to many adjectives when these are used in the func- 
tions commonly described as adverbial, just as a possessive ending 
is added to many nouns when these are used as determiners. It 
seems wise to follow the tradition in matters such as these. Another 
problem arises from the circumstance that Latin and Greek word 
formation employed formatives commonly called "stems" where 
modern English word formation has words. It is not always clear 
where such stems end and suffixes begin. But precise historical 
accuracy in this matter is not of primary importance to the gram- 
mar of contemporary English. Whenever it is possible to do so, 
word formation in English can most conveniently be thought of as 
conforming to the pattern which most simply describes genuinely 
native word formation. Thus notable is best thought of as a complex 
made up of the verb note and the suffix able, in the same way that 
likable is made up of the verb like and the suffix able. Whether the 
original stem was not or nota, and the original suffix the Latin 
precursor of able or simply of ble (as the existence of digestible and 
soluble suggests) is hardly relevant for modern English. Similarly 
dedication is most conveniently regarded, in modern English, as a 
complex made up of the verb dedicate and the suffix ion. 

The association of particular suffixes with particular parts of 
speech is by no means exclusive. Thus blockade, package, spiral, 
engineer, service, and station must all be classified as verbs as well 
as nouns, though they end in fundamentally nounal suffixes. Doubt- 
less is an adverb now rather than an adjective, as comparison of 
doubtless leaders are needed and fearless leaders are needed shows. 
Favorite is a noun, not an adjective; hence the insistence on fa- 
vorites rather than favorite in these songs are favorites now. Music is 
a noun, not an adjective; directive and weekly are nouns as well as 
adjectives, and directive seems to be used as a noun more than as 
an adjective. Complexes terminating in suffixes have their indi- 
vidual histories and consequently their individual ranges of use, 
just as other words do. Complexes are sometimes so far from the 
meanings of their components that relationships are likely to re- 

Complexes 399 

main unsuspected. Thus the complexes embrace and bracelet are 
not now likely to be thought of as related to the noun and verb 
brace, and the complex steady is not likely to be related to the sec- 
ond component of the compound bedstead. Emergency is far from 
emergence in its usual meanings, and hospitality from hospital. 
Objective and objection seem quite distinct in their common mean- 
ings; so, for that matter, do the noun object and the verb object. 
Traction and tract have very different meanings. 

Suffixes tend to unite with words belonging to particular parts 
of speech. Thus ful and less generally unite with nouns, as in 
hopeful and hopeless, and ness generally unites with adjectives, as 
in sadness and hopelessness. The ly which terminates adjectives 
unites with nouns ordinarily, as in leisurely and monthly ; and gen- 
erally the ly that terminates adverbs unites with adjectives, as in 
sadly and hopefully. But untypical combinations are frequent. Thus 
forgetful, resentful, and tireless have verbs as first components, and 
sameness has a pronoun as first component. The adjective com- 
plexes deadly and sickly have adjectives as first components, not 
nouns; and the adverb complexes partly, mostly, and overly have 
noun, pronoun, and adverb first components. 

It is possible to recognize a small subcategory of suffixes which 
characteristically combine not with words but with other forma- 
tives. The following formatives might well be included in this 

1. And, as in multiplicand. 

2. Esce, as in effervesce. 

3. Id, as in humid. 

4. Ine, as in genuine. 

5. Ish, as in finish. 

6. Mony, as in matrimony. 

7. Oid, as in anthropoid. 

8. Or, as in humor. 

9. OsiSj as in psychosis. 

Indication of sex, nationality, smallness, direction of 
predication. The ess of hostess is the only suffix used in a signifi- 
cant number of nouns to indicate sex, and the use even of ess is not 
really very extensive. The "gender" of English nouns is ordinarily 
not indicated by their internal forms at all. That boy is referred to 
as he, and that toy as it. Harry is normally referred to as he, and 

400 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Mary as she. That cat can be referred to as he, she, or it, depending 
partly on the sex of the cat and partly on whether the cat is re- 
garded as a personality or not. Actually Harry would be referred to 
as she if the name were given seriously to a girl, and Mary as he if 
this name were given seriously to a boy though if, for example, 
the name Mary were applied to a boy sarcastically, the pronoun she 
would probably refer to it, continuing the sarcasm. It remains true 
that English has categories of nouns that are characteristically 
limited in their application by considerations of sex. Nouns with 
applications of various kinds are ordinarily thus limited. 

Most given names of people, and of pets, dolls, and toy animals, 
indicate sex, real or fictitious. Mostly, as has been said, this is not 
a matter of any common internal form : it is a matter of the usual 
assignment of some names to males and others to females. But such 
terminations as the ine of Pauline and Josephine and the ette of 
Henriette do sometimes serve to distinguish feminine forms from 
masculine. Sometimes sex is indicated in the written language and 
not in the spoken, as when Francis, Billy, and Joe are used for boys 
and Frances, Billie, and Jo for girls. 

Words used in direct address, both in face-to-face communica- 
tion and in letters, and words used as honorific modifiers of proper 
names often indicate sex. The sir and gentlemen of direct address 
are for men, the ma'am, madam, and ladies for women. The com- 
monest honorific modifiers of proper names Mr., Miss, and Mrs. 
indicate sex; Miss and Mrs. indicate marital status also, though 
less dependably. Ecclesiastical honorifics such as Brother, Sister, 
and Father indicate sex; so do such ancient honorifics as King and 
Queen, and such family honorifics as the Uncle of Uncle Carl and 
the Aunt of Aunt Mary. Sex is indicated twice in such a designation 
as Aunt Mary, where the honorific is used with a given name; it is 
indicated only in the honorific in such a designation as Mrs. James 
M. Whitney, which would name a different person if the honorific 
were dropped. Some honorifics used with proper names, such as 
doctor, are usable without reference to sex. 

Nouns applied to people in their relationships to home, family, 
marriage, courtship, and similar intimate aspects of life commonly 
indicate sex clearly. This is true of father, husband, 'brother, son, 
grandfather, grandson, uncle, nephew, lover, bridegroom, bachelor, 

Complexes 401 

widower, and host] and of the feminine counterparts of these words. 
But parent, child, grandparent, cousin, relative, friend, and guest 
are applied freely to members of both sexes. In such pairs as fianc& 
and fiancee there is distinction in the written language but not in 
the spoken. Widower is grammatically exceptional in giving a dis- 
tinguishing suffix not to the form applied to the female but to 
that applied to the male. Blonde and ingenue are used only of 

A few nationality nouns indicate sex. This is true of the com- 
pounds Dutchman, Englishman, Frenchman, Irishman, Scotchman, 
and Welshman. Corresponding feminine compounds such as Eng- 
lishwoman are likely to be avoided. 

Nouns applied to divinities and quasi-divinities, and those ap- 
plied to holders of positions in social and ecclesiastical hierarchies 
coming down from the medieval and earlier past, or to those en- 
gaged in activities of a supernatural or at least extraordinary 
character, commonly indicate sex. This is true of god, devil, pope, 
emperor, king, prince, lord, duke, bishop, count, knight, sir, gentle- 
man, rector, priest, monk, master, heir, godfather, wizard, and hero] 
and of their feminine equivalents where there are such. But saint 
and peasant can be applied to members of either sex. 

Nouns applied to people as members of occupational and social 
groupings characteristic of present-day life sometimes indicate sex. 
In man, boy, woman, and girl sex is of course of central interest; 
person, child, and baby ignore it. Compounds ending in man and 
master and the feminine equivalents show sex: examples are con- 
gressman, laundryman, milkman, policeman, salesman, and post- 
master; and congresswoman, policewoman, washerwoman, and 
postmistress. Such nouns as actor, alumnus, farmer, landlord, mas- 
seur, and waiter are normally applied only to men, though actor 
and farmer are sometimes applied also to women. Actress, alumna, 
landlady, masseuse, salesgirl, waitress, co-ed, housewife, and seam- 
stress are applied only to women. Two-word designations such as 
delivery boy, chorus girl, and repair man are applicable only to 
members of a single sex. The modern tendency in English is to 
ignore sex in designations of members of occupational groupings 
and the like. There is no sex limitation for such words as architect, 
artistj author, clerk, cook, dancer, doctor, editor, instructor, judge. 

402 The Sentence and Its Parts 

librarian, manager, minister, musician, patient, pianist, preacher, 
president, principal, professor, student, reporter, and teacher. Even 
a few compounds terminating in man have become applicable to 
members of both sexes: for example, chairman, freshman, and 
spokesman. Forms such as poetess and aviatrix are avoided. 

Some nouns which are applied to animals are applicable only to 
those of a single sex. Thus stallion and gelding, bull and steer and 
ox, ram and wether, boar, tomcat, rooster and cock, drake, and gander 
can be applied only to males; and mare, cow, ewe, sow, and hen can 
be applied only to females. Words applied to the young are gen- 
erally indifferent to sex: this is true of colt, calf, lamb, duckling, 
gosling, kitten, and chick. Most nouns applied to wild animals ignore 
sex: for example, deer, lion, tiger, elephant, wolf, squirrel, and rabbit. 
Buck is applicable only to males; doe, lioness, and tigress only to 
females. Horse, cattle, sheep, pig and hog, cat, chicken, duck, goose, 
dog, and goat are all applicable to males and females alike. In- 
creasing urbanization is of course causing decreasing interest in 
sex distinctions in nonhuman forms of life; city people are likely 
not to know what a drake, for example, is. 

There is considerable use of modifying words to indicate sex: 
for example, in boy friend, woman doctor, and female kitten. 

The formation of adjectives and nouns of nationality deserves 
notice. The favored pattern employs the suffix an to form com- 
plexes which are both nouns applied to people and adjectives. All 
New World nationalities have words employing this suffix, united 
more often than not with a formative which is a variant of the 
name of the country, as in Brazilian and Cuban. Argentinian is in 
competition with Argentine, which seems to have wider use. Many 
adjectives and nouns of nationality for other parts of the world 
employ an also: for example, Australian, Egyptian, Italian, Nor- 
wegian, and Russian. Arabian is an adjective; the corresponding 
noun applied to people is Arab. The noun Spaniard employs the 
suffix ard, which is derogatory in most of its uses but is not so felt 
in Spaniard. Various adjectives and nouns of nationality employ 
the suffix 656: for example, Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese, 
The adjective Icelandic employs ic, and such adjectives as Danish, 
English, Finnish, Polish, Spanish, and Turkish employ ish. The 

Complexes 403 

nouns of nationality are distinct here Icelander, Dane, English- 
man (for males), Finn, Pole, Spaniard, Swede, and Turk but the 
adjectives are also used as names of languages. Adjectives and 
nouns based on names of continents characteristically employ an: 
for example, African, Asian, European, and phrasal South Ameri- 
can. Nouns applied to natives, and sometimes to residents, of 
states within the United States most often employ the suffix an: 
for example, Californian, Ohioan, and Texan. Vermonter and New 
Yorker employ er. New Yorker is also applied to natives and resi- 
dents of New York City. Other cities in the United States seem 
not to have equally well established nouns to apply to their natives 
and residents, though various Old World cities have adjectives 
and nouns in an, such as A thenian, Parisian, Roman, and Venetian. 
Regional nouns in er include Southerner and such phrasal nouns as 
Middle Westerner and New Englander. Adjectives and nouns for 
religious groups are often in an: for example, Christian, Confucian, 
Episcopalian, Lutheran, and Mohammedan. Protestant, Quaker, and 
Methodist illustrate the use of other suffixes in adjectives and nouns. 
Jewish is an adjective only. Adjectives in an are sometimes based 
on the names of those who have influenced the world in fields 
other than religion: for example, Aristotelian, Darwinian, Eliz- 
abethan, Freudian, Marxian, Rabelaisian, and Shakespearean. 
Marxian competes with Marxist, which seems to be established 
as an adjective as well as a noun; Napoleonic employs ic. Adjec- 
tives and nouns for political parties sometimes employ an, as in 
Republican, and sometimes ist, as in Socialist. Democratic, in ic, 
is an adjective only. 

Names of languages are generally quantifiable nouns identical 
in form with corresponding adjectives of nationality: for example, 
Italian, Chinese, Icelandic, English, and Dutch. Arabic is commonly 
used for the language of the Arabs, not Arabian. 

There is much less feeling for diminutives in English than there 
is in, for example, Spanish. A number of diminutive suffixes are 
employed, however: notably the ette of kitchenette, the le of sparkk, 
the let of booklet, the ling of duckling, and the y of sonny. The y 
of sonny belongs largely to the language of children. Diminu- 
tives, of course, can easily be made derogatory in force. Underling, 

404 The Sentence and Its Parts 

hireling, and weakling are generally derogatory, and sonny can be 
given similar emotional force. The ard of drunkard and laggard 
seems to be the only rather consistently derogatory suffix. 

Something essentially the same as the direction of predication 
of verbs is notable in many noun and adjective complexes and, in 
part at least, seems to center in the suffixes. Complexes terminating 
in the er of baker tend to have common-voice force : a baker bakes, 
an employer employs. Complexes terminating in the ee of employee 
tend to have passive force : an employee is employed, a trainee is 
trained. Complexes terminating in the able of commendable tend 
to have passive force: what is commendable can be commended, 
what is endurable can be endured. Sometimes pairs of complexes 
seem to differ in a kind of incorporated direction of predication. 
A contemptuous person expresses contempt, a contemptible person 
receives it. A respectful person expresses respect, a respectable 
person is the object of respect. But once again, every complex has 
its own history and its own set of uses. Some complexes have 
common-voice force in one use and passive in another. A hopeful 
person hopes, a hopeful situation is the object of hope. Readers read 
when they are people, are read when they are books. Employees 
are employed, but absentees absent themselves. What is commend- 
able can be commended, but what is suitable suits. Tourists tour, 
but defeatists are defeated or feel that they are. The complexes 
must be known as wholes. 

It is a curiosity of English word formation that often nonnative 
adjectives occur alongside native nouns where native adjective 
complexes might be expected. Examples follow. 

island, insular sea, marine 

lip, labial water, aqueous 

moon, lunar will, voluntary 

Watery and willful exist, of course, but are often emotional Native 
nightly exists alongside night, but is commonly frequentative in 
force whereas nonnative nocturnal is not. Old and age are an ex- 
ceptional pair in that the adjective is native and the noun not. 
Nonaffixal formatives. In addition to the formatives which 
are conveniently grouped as prefixes and suffixes, English employs 
great numbers of formatives not ordinarily so grouped. Many of 

Complexes 405 

these are clearly variants of English words in origin. The complex 
numerals terminating in teen, ty, and th include obvious examples 
at the -heart of the ancient native vocabulary. 

two twen ty 

three thir teen thir ty thir d 

four for ty 

five fifteen fifty fifth 

eight eigh teen eigh ty eigh th 

nine nin th 

twelve twelf th 

Noun complexes terminating in nonsyllabic th provide further 
examples of the use of formatives which are clearly variants of 
common native words. 


bread th 
dea th 
dep th 


leng th 
slo th 
streng th 
wid th 
you th 

New World adjectives and nouns of nationality provide examples 
of the use of formatives which are variants of words belonging to a 
more recently acquired vocabulary. 

Americ an 
Argentini an 
Bolivi an 
Brazili an 

Canadi an 
Columbi an 
Costa Ric an 
Cub an 

Ecuadori an 
Guatemal an 
Hondur an 
Mexic an 

Nicaragu an 
Panamani an 
Peruvi an 
Venezuel an 

Most of the formatives which are readily seen as variants of 
English words are not native in origin. Various circumstances 
account for their existence. The union of suffixes and words of 
foreign origin which terminate in foreign inflectional endings is 
normally accompanied by loss of the foreign inflectional endings. 

asphyxi ate 
bacteri al 
catastroph ic 
cosm ic 
crani al 

deliri ous 
epitom ize 
fin al 
foe al 
minim ize 

mor al 
nucle ar 
odi ous 
optim ist 
orchestr al 

phenomen al 
seri al 
skelet al 
stimul ant 
vacu ous 

Modern developments of old inflectional endings, and terminations 
felt as equivalent to these, are similarly dropped. 

406 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Buddh ist Cub an plan ist Puerto Ric an 

Chin ese Mexic an punctili ous Tex an 

This is of course not typical English word formation: fundamen- 
tally it is Latin and Greek word formation, manipulating stems 
rather than words, carried into English. But in such a complex as 
tropical, which is best related to tropics rather than tropic, the 
native inflectional ending s can be said to be dropped. 

Rather similar differences between words and the corresponding 
formatives used before suffixes appear where le and y disappear in 
compounding. When adjectives terminating in le unite with the 
suffix ly, what is most conveniently regarded as loss of le occurs. 

ab ly feeb ly peaceab ly subt ly 

doub ly gent ly sing ly understandab ly 

Such a native adjective as fickle may tend to refuse union with ly. 
What from the point of view of English is best regarded as loss of y 
before a suffix occurs in complexes following patterns not native in 

anarch ist biolog ist econom ize iron ic 
bigam ous calor ic geograph er occup ant 

biograph er colon ist harmon ize tyrann ous 

A great number of variant forms appear before suffixes because 
of the use in Latin word formation of two verb stems, one of them 
conveniently derived from the infinitive and the other from the 
past participle. Latin past-participial stems are commonly marked, 
in written English, by the use of either the letter t or the letter s, 
somewhat as participial forms of English verbs are commonly 
marked by the use of ed and t. Sometimes both infinitival stems 
and participial stems have in effect become English words, with 
written forms either still close to those of Latin or altered because 
of use in French. In the following pairs the Latin infinitival stems 
have provided English with verbs and the Latin participial stems 
with nouns or adjectives. The Latin "stems" are here complex. 

applaud, applause exceed, excess 

conceive, concept expand, expanse 

consider, considerate extend, extent 

despair, desperate impel, impulse 

determine, determinate impinge, impact 

Complexes 407 

offend, offense recur, recourse 

pretend, pretense resolve, resolute 

proceed, process revert, reverse 

produce, product succeed, success 

pursue, pursuit transcribe, transcript 

In the following pairs both stems have provided English with verbs. 

confound, confuse illumine, illuminate 

construe, construct imply, implicate 

convince, convict oblige, obligate 

deduce, deduct pursue, prosecute 

design, designate repel, repulse 

dissemble, dissimulate require, request 

esteem, estimate restrain, restrict 

Sometimes English has Latin past-participial stems as words 
but does not give the corresponding infinitival stems equivalent 
status. The following English verbs, some of them also nouns or 
adjectives, are in effect Latin past-participial stems. 

abominate delete exact pollute 

appreciate deliberate execute prevent 

attract deviate exhibit radiate 

attribute dominate exhilarate respect 

celebrate educate expedite select 

collect effect impress separate 

communicate eject instigate stimulate 

compensate elect instruct subtract 

confess elongate intoxicate supervise 

confiscate equate object terminate 

constitute erect palpitate tolerate 

correct erupt penetrate unite 

Sometimes English has Latin infinitival stems as words but not 
Latin past-participial stems. The following English verbs are in 
effect Latin infinitival steins, most of them complex in structure. 

absorb conserve imagine prolong 

acquire console infringe provide 

adapt contend introduce publish 

affirm converse inveigh reconcile 

apply deify invoke repeat 

coalesce derive move retain 

compare destroy permit reveal 

compel exclude prepare satisfy 

compete glorify present solve 

408 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Some suffixes of Latin origin are often combined with Latin 
infinitival stems which lack word status in English though the 
corresponding past-participial stems have such status. This is true 
of ant (and its variant enf) in particular; it is also true of able (and 
its variant Me). 

abomin able corrig ible exig ent separ able 

appreci able educ able expedi ent stimul ant 

celebr ant effici ent intoxic ant termin able 

communic ant elig ible penetr able toler able 

constitu ent exhilar ant radi ant toler ant 

Other suffixes of Latin origin are often combined with past-par- 
ticipial stems which lack word status in English though the corre- 
sponding infinitival stems have such status. This is true of ion and 
ive in particular; it is also true of or and ory. 

absorpt ive 

conservat ive 

imaginat ive 

prolongat ion 

acquisit ion 

consolat ory 

infract ion 

provis ion 

adaptat ion 

content ion 

introduct ory 

publicat ion 

affirmat ive 

conversat ion 

invect ive 

reconciliat ion 

applicat ion 

deificat ion 

invocat ion 

repetit ive 

coalit ion 

derivat ive 

mot or 

retent ive 

comparat ive 

destruct ive 

permiss ive 

revelat ory 

competit or 

exclus ive 

preparat ory 

satisfact ion 

compuls ive 

glorificat ion 

presentat ion 

solut ion 

It is noteworthy that though the verbs convince and convict now 
express rather distinct meanings ordinarily, the noun conviction 
serves as a semantic companion to both. The relation of revolution 
to revolve and revolt is similar. 

Stems of Latin past-participial type are developed for new verbs 
such as pasteurize (as in pasteurization), and have even been in- 
vented for starve (in starvation) and talk (in talkative). From the 
point of view of English word formation, stems of Latin infinitival 
and Latin past-participial types are frequently best regarded 
simply as variants, 

Changes which took place in French sometimes add to the num- 
ber of variant past-participial and infinitival stems of Latin origin. 
Thus four stems appear in the group of words which includes r e- 
ceive, recipient, receipt, and reception. Three stems appear in the 
group which includes despise, despicable, and despite. Obey and 

Complexes 409 

obedient show variant forms of the same infinitival stem; so do 
pertain and pertinent. Memoir and remember show two French 
variants of the Latin stem of memorable. 

Variations in noun and adjective stems from Latin and Greek 
also complicate word formation for modern English. Here again 
histories of use in French add to the complexity which is found, and 
the tendency to make new words on Latin and Greek models adds 
also. Quite often there is simply what the written language repre- 
sents as the addition of a vowel before a suffix, to what without 
this addition has word status in English. 

actu al 

cornmerci al 

gase ous 

rebelli ous 

adverbi al 

contemptu ous 

grammar! an 

ritu al 

artifici al 

courte ous 

habitu al 

savi or 

avarici ous 

dictatori al 

musici an 

spaci ous 

Christi an 

equatori al 

Paris! an 

Span! ard 

circumstanci al 

ethere al 

president! al 

spiritu al 

civili an 

eventu al 

proverb! al 

textu al 

collegi ate 

financi al 

raci al 

vici ous 

Sometimes written ti replaces ce rather than t before suffixes: for 
example, in conscientious, essential, and preferential, which in Eng- 
lish will be related to conscience, essence, and preference. 

Variations of other types occur in noun and adjective stems from 
Latin and Greek. 

accurac y 
agenc y 
analyt ic 
apologet ic 
aristocrac y 
buoyanc y 
contr ary 
crimin al 

decenc y 
degenerac y 
emphat ic 
enm ity 
frequenc y 
genet ic 
grammat ical 
humil ity 

hypnot ic 
idioc y 
idiomat ic 
inim ical 
intimac y 
jocul ar 
judici al 
mechan ic 

messeng er 
numer al 
parochi al 
stigmat ize 
syntact ic 
systemat ic 
tubul ar 
volumin ous 

Differences in form are sometimes very considerable. 

cross, crusade people, popular 

devil, diabolic point, punctual 

double, duplicity poor, poverty 

fierce, ferocious rule, regular 

market, mercantile saint, sanctity 


The Sentence and Its Parts 

Differences in meanings often accompany differences in forms. 

lieu, local noun, nominal 

master, magisterial pilgrim, peregrination 

Nonaffixal formatives which can hardly be regarded as variants 
of English words are numerous also. Examples are italicized in the 
following pairs of words. 

misanthropic, anthropocentric 
biology, microbe 
capable, capture 
carnage, carnivorous 
isochronal, chronometer 
homicide, suicide 
democrat, democracy 
crescent, increase 
cuZpable, exculpate 
equal, equivalent 
feminism, effeminate 
pre/er, coniferous 
pro/essorship, confess 
infringe, fraction 
polygamous, gamogenesis 
geometry, perigee 
hexagon, trigonometry 
gregarious, segregate 
exMarate, hilarious 
iatric, psychiatrist 
liquid, liquefy 
monolithic, lithography 
logic, philoZogy 
delude, illusion 
immanent, remain 
mental, demented 
remit, mission 
monism, monopoly 
announce, denunciation 
omniscieni, omnipresent 
adorn, ornament 
anonymous, onomatfopoetic 

orthodox, orthography 
patient, passion 
repeat, petition 
pedal, centipede 
anglopMe, philology 
police, metropolis 
polygon, polyp 
potable, portion 
deride, risible 
sacrament, sacrilege 
sequence, consecutive 
preside, session 
resist, insistence 
associate, sociology 
sop/tism, philosopher 
respond, sponsor 
destroy, construction 
stupor, stupefy 
dissuade, persuasion 
assume, resumption 
tenable, detain 
polytheism, theology 
toxic, antitoxin 
protrude, intrusion 
intuition, tutor 
unanimous, unison 
urbanization, suburb 
pervade, evasive 
very, verify 
invincible, evict 
revive, vivisection 
devour, omnivorous 

But English continues to make new words from Latin and Greek 
stems, especially in scientific and technical applications. Thus the 
aud of audible now has word status in technical use, as well as the 
audit of audition and auditory, which has long had word status. 

Complexes 411 

Phot is established in technical use, though the photo of photograph 
is very much more widely known. Neon is well known, but differ- 
ence in meanings is likely to prevent it from being related to the 
neo of neolithic. 

Grammatical relationships binding the components of 
complexes. It is possible to extend analysis of syntactic type 
into complexes, noting that their components are often clearly re- 
lated as modifiers and heads, or as principals and appositives, or as 
prepositions and objects, or as coordinates. Prefixes commonly 
seem to function as modifiers of what follows them: for example, 
in coexist, dislike, ex-president, hypercritical, indigestion, interact, 
misprint, nonaggression, prearrange, reeled, subdivide, superimpose, 
transplant, ultraconservative, and unhappy. Sometimes prefixes seem 
to function as prepositions, and the following components as their 
objects: for example, in afoot, antifreeze, because, postwar, pro- 
British, and transatlantic. Much less frequently prefixes may seem 
to act as heads for what follows them. Thus endear and enrich have 
the value of make dear and make rich, and dear and rich can be 
viewed as complementary modifiers of en as of make. Though there 
are arguments against assigning head status to affixes, suffixes very 
commonly can be viewed as heads modified by the components 
which precede them. Thus in colds always weaken me the en of 
weaken functions essentially as the make of colds always make me 
weak functions : weak can be viewed as a complementary modifier of 
en and make alike. An Ohioan is an "an" from Ohio, just as an Ohio 
farmer is a farmer from Ohio; and though Ohio is a proper noun, 
Ohioan is a pluralizer. Some suffixes seem more like modifiers of 
what precedes them: thus the ette of kitchenette seems to relate to 
kitchen as the small of small kitchen does. Some suffixes seem to 
have a relation to what precedes them like that of prepositions to 
their objects: thus the ed of talented and the less of coatless may 
be felt as structurally much like the with of a pianist with talent 
and the without of he was without a coat. The teen of sixteen, in 
origin a variant of ten, is in a coordinate relationship with the 
component which precedes it : sixteen is six and ten. 

Complexes containing more than two clear components some- 
times raise the problem of precisely what has combined with what. 
In such a complex as luckily this problem does not exist : it is clear 

412 The Sentence and Its Parts 

that the suffix ly has combined with the adjective lucky, within 
which the suffix y has combined with the noun luck. In unluckily 
the matter is not quite so simple : the complex can be viewed as a 
combination of un and luckily or as a combination of unlucky and 
ly. In deodorizer the problem is still worse : the complex is obviously 
a combination of deodorize and er, but deodorize is hardly divisible 
satisfactorily into either deodor and ize or de and odorize. A some- 
what different problem faces us when we look at such a pair of 
complexes as coextend and coextension. It seems best to consider 
here that coextension is a combination of the suffix ion and the 
complex formative coextens, which is a variant of coextend. Coex- 
tend is obviously made up of the prefix co and extend ; extend, in 
turn, is made up of ex and tend. But it is possible to ignore the 
existence of coextend and describe coextension as a combination of 
co and extension, and then to ignore the existence of extend and 
describe extension as a combination of ex and tension* 

We often encounter difficult problems when we attempt careful 
analysis of the composition of complex words. We react to the 
presence of meaningful "fractions' ' that we have trouble identify- 
ing with certainty, since we tend to learn words as wholes. In such 
a slogan as think or thwim, obviously paralleling sink or swim, the 
thwim carries meaning. Pretty clearly the ash of such a set of words 
as bash, dash, gash, lash, splash, clash, and mash carries meaning. 
It seems best not to attempt division of such words as these. Even 
complexes which are clearly divisible into generally recognized 
components, without leftovers, are commonly best regarded simply 
as unit strings of components whose precise relationships are left 



Everything that is put into English in thought, speech (or song), 
or writing is composed of clauses and clause equivalents which 
can be broken up into predicators, subjects, complements, isolates, 
and adjuncts, and then (where sentence structure is not extremely 
simple) into syntactic units of varied types within these major 
divisions. Everything that is put into English is also composed of 
words, and many words can be divided into components that are 
recognized by the linguistically sophisticated and sometimes even 
by the linguistically naive. Finally, everything that is put into 
spoken (or sung) English is composed of sounds, and everything 
that is put into written English is composed of letters, ideographs, 
and marks of punctuation. 

Spoken language has a longer history than written language; 
and even yet, unless they are deaf, children learn to hear and talk 
before they learn to read and write. The written language is based 
on the spoken and ordinarily should not be studied apart from the 
spoken. But the subject matter of grammar is the sets of molds 
and patterns which languages employ in the formulation and com- 
munication of thought. For the study of the syntax and word 
formation of standard contemporary American English, the ordi- 
nary written forms give reasonably adequate representation to 
what must be taken into account. The structures employed in 
written English are the same as those employed in spoken; spoken 
English simply employs them less cautiously, leaving many un- 
finished and others curiously combined. But when analysis of the 
distinctive sounds of the language and their written representa- 
tions is attempted, obviously a clear distinction between spoken 
English and written English becomes necessary. 


414 The Sentence and Its Parts 

The sounds employed in contemporary American English can 
receive only very superficial treatment here. Like the work of the 
linguistic historians and the lexicographers, the highly specialized 
work that has been done on the sounds of contemporary English 
requires separate treatment: there is no possibility of doing it 
justice in a one-volume grammar. Spelling and punctuation are 
another matter. The written language ordinarily ignores differences 
in dialect and gives relatively little attention to differences in 
emotional attitudes which in the spoken language affect pitches, 
stresses, and pauses very considerably. Thus in the written lan- 
guage a single representation of a bit of poetry serves for innu- 
merable spoken versions, varying tremendously from speaker to 
speaker and, for a single speaker, from occasion to occasion: the 
reader makes his own version, which may well be more effective 
unspoken than as he would speak it. 

Music I heard with you was more than music, 
And bread I broke with you was more than bread. 
Now that I am without you, all is desolate. 
All that was once so beautiful is dead. 

Finally, the spelling and punctuation of the written language are 
commonly taught in schools, whereas the system of vowel and 
consonant sounds, pitches, stresses, and pauses of the spoken lan- 
guage is best mastered unanalytically, by children, as gestures and 
mannerisms are learned though it is true that when the language 
is learned after childhood even intonation is likely to be approached 

Both the ordinary written form of the language and the currently 
usual varieties of phonemic transcription represent the distinctive 
vowel and consonant sounds of contemporary English as units 
occurring one after another in uninterrupted or interrupted se- 
quences. The evidence of the laboratories makes it clear that the 
stream of sound is not as sharply segmented as such representa- 
tions suggest. Sounds blend into neighboring sounds; some, indeed, 
are heard primarily because of the way they alter neighboring 
sounds. The vowel and consonant sounds Usually recognized as 
significant are bundles of phonetic characteristics, so that the 
stream of sound is capable of analysis of very different types. But 

Vowels and Consonants 415 

the traditional type of analysis continues to be useful, and it has 
great advantages where there is an interest in relating sounds and 
established spellings. The significant vowel and consonant sounds, 
or phonemes, are abstractions: the /t/ of ten, for example, is no- 
tably different in phonetic characteristics from the /t/ of forty. 
But all our units are abstractions. 

The stressed vowel sounds. Especially if we are interested in 
relating sounds and spellings, the significant vowel sounds of Eng- 
lish can conveniently be divided into stressed sounds and un- 
stressed ones. The stressed vowel sounds can be further subdivided 
into long vowel sounds and short ones. In what seems to be the 
commonest practice in American English, six long vowel sounds 
and six short ones are distinguished in stressed syllables. These are 
commonly identified by the characteristic positions of concentra- 
tion of the arching tongue. 


/\/ of bead 
/e/ of laid 

/o/ of laud 
/o/ of load 
/u/ of food 
/?/ of bird 

/i/ of bid 
/e/ of led 
/3d/ of lad 
/a/ of rod, calm 

/u/ of good 
/A/ of bud 

For the long vowel sounds the tongue is characteristically held 
relatively tense; for the short vowel sounds it is held relatively lax, 
and the positions are a little lower than for the corresponding long 
sounds. The lips are characteristically rounded for all the back 
vowels except the low /a/ of rod and calm. For mid-central /3/ the 
tip of the tongue is characteristically pulled back and elevated 
slightly. The names "long" and "short" are traditional. In their 
favor is the fact that the "short" stressed vowel sounds rarely end 
words, and that it is when they end words at pauses that stressed 
vowel sounds take most time. Especially in slow speech, stressed 
vowel sounds tend to be notably impure in quality before voiced 
consonant sounds and at the end of words followed by pauses, so 
that it becomes possible to regard them as diphthongs. Comparison 
of stressed vowel sounds before voiceless /t/, before voiced /d/, 
and at the end of words that are spoken alone is of interest. 

416 The Sentence and Its Parts 

seat, seed, see lit, lid 

rate, raid, ray let, led 

bat, bad, baa 

sought, sawed, saw sot, sod, ah 
rote, road, roe 

moot, mood, moo foot, hood 

curt, curd, cur butt, bud 

Some of the complexities of English word formation and spelling 
have their basis in the fact that often the joining of a word and a 
noninflectional suffix results in the substitution of a short vowel 
sound for a long vowel sound or a diphthong, and that the spelling 
may or may not indicate the substitution. 

abund ant 

deprav ity 

penal ty 

south ern 

appell ate 

episod ic 

pleas ant 

speci al 

athlet ic 

fabul ous 

profan ity 

stat ic 

brev ity 

fac et 

profund ity 

tabl et 

cav ity 

fest ive 

san ity 

thrott le 

clos et 

inflamm able 

schol ar 

van ity 

compos ite 

metr ic 

secret ary 

volcan ic 

cyclon ic 

microscop ic 

seren ity 

zeal ous 

It is noteworthy that in a number of inflected verb forms the addi- 
tion of an inflectional ending is accompanied by the shortening 
of a vowel sound. 

do, does, done deal, dealt 

flee, fled leave, left 

say, says, said mean, meant 

shoe, shod drive, driven 

keep, kept write, written 

In holiday the first vowel sound has been shortened in compound- 
ing. But in studious a long vowel sound has replaced the short 
sound of study. 

The list of stressed vowel sounds given above is not adequate 
for all varieties of American English. In words like rod and bother 
some speakers use a slightly rounded short sound /x>/> which they 
distinguish from the /a/ of calm and father. In words like bath and 
dance some speakers use a short sound /a/, between // and /a/. 
In words like bird some speakers use a long sound /3/, without 
"r coloring," instead of /ar/. In what follows, the existence of /D/, 

Vowels and Consonants 417 

/a/, and /s/ is ignored, except that the use of /a/ as the first 
sound in various diphthongs and triphthongs is noted. 

The spellings of the stressed vowel sounds. In what seems 
to be the commonest practice, then, twelve vowel sounds are distin- 
guished in stressed syllables. The alphabet used in the ordinary 
written language provides only five vowel letters. The alphabet also 
provides three glide letters r, w, and y which have considerable 
use in the representation of vowel sounds as well as consonant 
sounds. But the glide letters and the vowel letters together would 
not be enough even if they were efficiently used. In this situation 
there has been an attempt, in effect, to assign the five single vowel 
letters to the six short vowel sounds u being divided between the 
/A/ of cut and the relatively little used /u/ of put and make 
two-letter representations basic for the long vowel sounds. The 
attempt has not been made consistently, but it has been made part 
of the time. In the two-letter representations of long vowel sounds, 
sometimes the first letter indicates the position of the tongue con- 
centration and the second is little more than an indication that 
the sound is long, as is the case in keen and toe. But sometimes the 
two letters are about equally important in indicating tongue con- 
centration, as is true in say and saw and laid and laud. The last 
letter, the glide letter r, indicates the position of the tongue in 
spellings given /ar/ : for example, in the ur, ir, er, and or of lurk, 
shirk, jerk, and work. This r is doubled as some consonant letters 
are doubled, as in furry, stirred, and conferring. The last letter also 
indicates tongue position in two spellings of /u/: eu and ew, as in 
rheumatism and blew. 

A number of spellings of both vowel and consonant sounds 
terminate in nonsyllabic e. In scene, cane, tone, and rune nonsyllabic 
e is delayed: it is written last but is part of the representation not 
of the final consonant sound /n/ but of the vowel sounds which 
precede /n/ in these words. In see, toe, and rue nonsyllabic e is 
part of the representation of the vowel sounds which terminate 
these words; in bronze and shelve it is part of the representation of 
the final consonant sounds. Sometimes a nonsyllabic e performs two 
functions; this is true of the e of rage, which is part of the repre- 
sentation of the vowel sound /e/ and is also part of the representa- 
tion of the consonantal combination /ds/. Sometimes a nonsyllabic 

418 The Sentence and Its Parts 

e has no real function and is genuinely "silent" : this is true of the e 
of cigarette, for example, and of that of come. Syllabic final e is 
quite limited in occurrence, though some of the most frequently 
used words have it; it occurs usually (1) in words that are com- 
monly unstressed, such as he, she, and the, and (2) in modern ac- 
quisitions from other languages, such as simile, finale, cafe, and 
protege. Nonsyllabic final e is normally dropped before inflectional 
endings and noninflectional suffixes beginning with vowel letters, 
and before the glide-letter suffix y. 

activ ity cring es favorit ism rip est 

admir ed cring ing fre ed Rom an 

admir ing dabbl ed fre er rout ed 

agre ed dabbl er fre est rout ing 

amaz es dabbl ing ho ed sal able 

amaz ing danc er lik able seen ic 

captiv ate destin y loos en serv ice 

coher ence di ed nois es statu ette 

collaps ible dy ed nois y stor age 

compos ure engin eer refug ee su ing 

constru ed escap ade refus al Swed ish 

constru ing extrem ist ridicul ous trembl ed 

continu al ey ed rip en trembl ing 

cring ed ey ing rip er wast ing 

When a suffix or inflectional ending beginning with a vowel letter 
is added to a word ending in an Ze representing syllabic /\/, and 
when the suffix y is added, the e is dropped according to rule and 
usually there is also a change from syllabic /}/ to nonsyllabic /!/ 
in the spoken forms, so that, for example, dabbler, trembling, and 
bubbly have no more syllables than dabble, tremble, and bubble. 
But when inflectional ed is added, syllabic /]/ is retained before /d/. 
Loss of nonsyllabic e when, for example, ing is added to cringe, 
route, and waste destroys distinctions made in the written basic 
forms : cringing and wasting look like rhymes for bringing and last- 
ing, and route and rout become indistinguishable in their written 
past forms and gerundial forms. 

Under certain circumstances nonsyllabic final e is kept before 
suffixes and inflectional endings beginning with vowel letters. 

1. Words ending in ee and oe retain these spellings before 
vowel letters other than e, as in agreeable, freeing, canoe- 
ing, and hoeing. 

Vowels and Consonants 419 

2. Words ending in ce and ge retain these spellings before a, o, 
and Uj as in changeable, noticeable, and courageous. 

Dye and singe keep e before ing, so that dyeing and singeing are 
visually distinct from dying and singing. In such words as &*e, Ke, 
and tie the spelling ze is replaced by the spelling y when ing is 
added. Nonsyllabic final e is dropped before consonants, irregu- 
larly, in argument, awful, duly, ninth, truly, truth, and wholly. The 
normal retention of this e before consonants is illustrated in amaze- 
ment, hopeful, freely, and solely. Its normal retention in compounds, 
even before other vowel letters, is illustrated in firearm, as com- 
pared with firing. Loss in a compound occurs in wherever. 

In some words whose basic forms end in o preceded by a con- 
sonant letter or a glide letter, when the inflectional ending s is 
added there is a substitution of oe for o. This is true whether o 
represents a stressed /o/ or an unstressed vowel sound. This sub- 
stitution occurs in the following words. 

doe s 
dominoe s 
echoe s 
embargoe s 

goe s 
heroe s 
innuendoe s 
jingoe s 

mosquitoe s 
mulattoe s 
Negroe s 
noe s 

potatoe s 
tomatoe s 
torpedoe s 
vetoe s 

In does the vowel sound is shortened. Most words ending in o retain 
this o unchanged when s is added, as in dynamos and pianos. 
Though the basic representations of long vowel sounds employ 
two letters, one-letter representations must be described as regular 
for five of these sounds all except /a-/ under certain circum- 
stances. In regular spellings a single letter represents a long vowel 

1. When this letter is followed by a single consonant letter 

other than x and this consonant letter is followed by a 
vowel letter, a semivowel letter, or an le representing 
syllabic /]./, as in famous, hatred, and enable. 

2. When this letter is followed by a vowel letter representing 

a vowel sound in the following syllable, as in idea and 

3. When the vowel sound represented by this letter ends the 

spoken word, as in he, no, few, and simile, and also as in 
debris, crochet, Utah, and apropos. 

It should be added that though a single letter can represent a long 

420 The Sentence and Its Parts 

vowel sound at the end of the word (where short vowel sounds 
rarely appear), representations using a single letter are in fact 
exceptional here, and generally occur only in words that are com- 
monly unstressed (such as do, to, the, a, he and who), in words like 
few where e represents consonantal /]/ and w represents long /u/, 
and in modern acquisitions from other languages (such as ski, cafe, 
tomato, and menu, as well as such words as debris and crochet where 
silent consonant letters follow). 

Irregular uses of normal spellings of long vowel sounds must also 
be taken into account. These occur under the following circum- 

1. When a single vowel letter represents a long vowel sound 

even though two consonant letters follow. This type of 
irregularity occurs notably in representations of /o/ in 
such words as ball, malt, walk, boss, coffee, cost, long, 
often, and cloth, and in representations of /o/ in such 
words as roll, jolt, bold, and folk. It occurs also in such 
words as truth and bathing. 

2. When a single vowel letter represents a long vowel sound 

before a single pronounced consonant letter which ends a 
word. This kind or irregularity occurs in such words as 
control and extol. It also occurs before inflectional s in 
such forms as radios, skis, cafes, and menus. 

3. When two consonant letters separate a delayed e from its 

companion vowel letter, as in ache, range, clothe, and 

Tables of the spellings given the vowel sounds of contemporary 
English are complex things, even when (as here) they attempt 
only to relate these spellings to the pronunciations employed in a 
single somewhat-normalized variety of American speech. Some 
spellings occur only in a very few words, at least for the central 
nontechnical stream of the language: these can be left out of 
tables and noted separately. Rare spellings of this kind are not 
always contrary to the basic system, as the u of busy is, for ex- 
ample; sometimes, like the ey of key (which seems fully as normal 
for l\l as the ay of pay seems for /e/), they are simply spellings 
that have been put to very little use. Spellings which are not rare, 
and for this reason require notice in tables, can be classified as 
primary, secondary, and anomalous. The primary spellings will be, 

Vowels and Consonants 421 

in the main, native spellings which lie at the heart of the spelling 
system. These frequently involve uses of the Latin letters quite 
distinct from those found in other languages using these letters. 
The secondary spellings will be spellings which are notably dis- 
tinct from the primary spellings but which nevertheless follow a 
pattern. Some secondary spellings will be nonnative, in general 
employing the Latin letters much more nearly as they are employed 
in other languages. Thus the e~e of fete is a nonnative secondary 
spelling, while the a-e of fate is a native primary spelling for the 
same sound. Other secondary spellings have other explanations. 
Thus the w of few is essentially a terminal spelling. A tendency to 
distinguish spellings used elsewhere from those used at the end of 
words is noteworthy at various points, and accounts for the use, 
among primary spellings of /e/, of ai in maid alongside ay in mat/, 
for example. The anomalous spellings listed in the tables which 
follow are spellings which conflict with the general patterning of 
English spellings and yet have considerable use. The oo of good 
and the ea of sweat are such spellings: the use of two-letter com- 
binations for short vowel sounds makes this classification neces- 
sary. Good and sweat employ the spellings oo and ea anomalously, 
food and heat do not. The ear of earn is an anomalous spelling for 
the long vowel sound /ar/ which in urn is represented by a primary 
spelling, since in earn two vowel letters precede r. Earn and yearn 
employ the spelling ear anomalously, ear and year do not. 

A table of spellings of the long stressed vowel sounds follows. 

1. High-front /if. 

Primary, e series: ee, ea, ei, e-e, e. 

feet, meat, ceiling, scene, genius 
Secondary, i series : ie, i-e t i. 

chief, machine, mosquito 

2. Mid-front /e/. 

Primary, a series : az, ay, a-e, a. 

aim, lay, lake, table 
Secondary, e series : ee, ei, ey, e-e, e. 

fiancee, feint, obey, crepe, bouquet 

3. Low-back /o/. 

Primary, a series : au, aw, a. 

sauce, lawn, hurrah 
Secondary, o series: ou, o. 

cough, long 

422 The Sentence and Its Parts 

4. Mid-back /o/. 

Primary, o series: oa, ou, ow, oe, o-e, o. 
load, dough, grow, toe, tone, noble 

5. High-back /u/. 

Primary, o series: 00, ou, o. 

food, group, do 
Secondary, u series: eu, ui, ue, u-e, u. 

pseudonym, fruit, blue, rune, junior 
Secondary, w series: ew, w. 

flew, few 

6. Mid-central /ar/. 

Primary, r series: ur, urr, ir, irr, er, err, or. 

burn, furry, first, stirring, verb, deterred, word 
Anomalous: ear, our. 
earth, journey 

Rare spellings of the long vowel sounds can be illustrated as follows. 

For /i/: minutiae, quay, people, key, subpoena. 

For /e/: Gaelic, gauge, great. 

For /o/: broad, gone. 

For /o/: chauffeur, plateau, yeoman, sew. 

For /u/: beauty, lieu, shoe, lose. 

For /ar/: connoisseur, cofonel, worry, myrtle, myrrh. 

A table of spellings of the short stressed vowel sounds follows. 

7. High-front /i/. 11. High-back /u/. 

Primary, i. Primary, u. 

hint full 

Secondary, y. Anomalous, oo. 

hymn book 

8. Mid-front //. 12. Mid-central /A/. 

Primary, e. Primary, y. 

bred sun 

Anomalous, ea. Secondary, o, 

dead wonder 

9. Low-front //. Anomalous, ow. 

Primary, a. young 


10. Low-back /a/. 
Primary, o. 

Secondary, a. 

Vowels and Consonants 423 

Rare spellings of the short vowel sounds can be illustrated as fol- 

For /i/r English, been, sieve, women, busy, build. 
For //: any, again, sa?/s, heifer, jeopardy, friend, 


For /se/: ma'am, plaid, laugh, meringue. 
For /a/: salaam, rendezvous, bureaucracy, bourgeois, 

For /u/: wolf, could. 
For /A/: does, none, hors d'oeuvre, blood. 

The diphthongs and triphthongs. In the commonest type 
of American English, stressed vocalic combinations include nine 

Front-rising Back-rising Centering 

High-front /ir/ of mere 

Mid-front /er/ of merit 

Low-front /ser/ of narrow 

Low-central /ai/ of Zine /air/ of noun 
Low-back /ar/ of farm 

Low-back /DI/ of loin /or/ of form 

High-back /ur/ of poor 

And two triphthongs. 

Front-rising Back-rising 
Low-central /air/ of tire /aur/ of sour 

The triphthongs are obviously first front- and back-rising and then 
centering. The frequent absence of "r coloring 75 in some varieties 
of American English is ignored here. So is the existence, in some 
varieties of American English, of a mid-back centering diphthong 
/or/, whose users distinguish, for example, hoarse from horse and 
wore from war. 

The diphthongs and triphthongs employ three vocalic glides, 
here represented by /i/, /u/, and /r/. Such long vowel sounds as 
the /e/ of hay and the /o/ of hoe are likely to end, especially when 
they occur at pauses, with sounds which are phonetically like the 
/I/ of high and the /u/ of how; and such short vowel sounds as the 
/ce/ of sad often end with a sound which is phonetically close to the 
/9/ of freard when beard is spoken "without r coloring" and some- 
times, as in hang and bag, with a sound which is phonetically close 

424 The Sentence and Its Parts 

to the /i/ which terminates the diphthong of hike. But the vocalic 
glides of the diphthongs and triphthongs commonly have an in- 
dispensability which makes it seem necessary to give them notice 
in phonemic representations. A better system of phonemic repre- 
sentation would not assign the same symbol to the short /i/ of 
pin and the vocalic glide of line, loin, and tire; nor would it assign 
the same symbol to the short /XT/ of put and the vocalic glide of 
noun and sour; nor would it assign the same symbol to the con- 
sonantal /r/ of rod and the vocalic glide of farm. 

The spellings which represent the diphthongs and triphthongs 
are best described as units, without much effort to identify each 
letter with a particular component sound. Some of the spellings 
employed can of course be broken down into component letters 
which correspond quite normally to component sounds. The spell- 
ings of /ai/, however, suggest a long vowel sound like /i/ and /o/, 
not a diphthong. Thus the i-e of line employs a delayed e exactly 
as the a-e of lane and the o-e of lone do. Some of the spellings of the 
diphthongs terminating in /r/ suggest long opening sounds though 
the opening sounds actually used are short. Thus the ea of fear 
suggests the presence of the long /i/ of feat rather than of the short 
III of fit, and the ai of pair suggests the presence of the long /e/ of 
pain rather than of the short /e/ of pen. Such spellings as occur in 
tore and barring suggest a consonantal /r/ comparable to the con- 
sonantal /n/ of tone and banning; but the consonantal /r/ of con- 
temporary American English of the commonest type does not 
follow vowel sounds in the same syllables. The use of y to represent 
/ai/ and unstressed /i/ at the end of words causes complications 
in spelling when inflectional endings and noninflectional suffixes 
are added. Before the 's of possessives and before ing and nonin- 
flectional suffixes beginning with i, this y remains; before the s of 
plural nouns and that of third-singular verb forms, it normally 
becomes ie (except that proper names retain y, as in the Whitbys) ; 
before other inflectional endings and noninflectional suffixes it 
normally becomes z. 

family 's 
imply ing 
lobby ist 

f amilie s 
flie s 
implie s 
lobbie s 

dizzi ly 
impli ed 
lobbi ed 

merci ful 
readi ly 
silli est 
thirti eth 

Vowels and Consonants 425 

Exceptions occur, and usage is divided, where suffixes and inflec- 
tional endings are added to monosyllabic words such as dry and 
shy. Y is kept before ward, as in cityward; it is replaced by e in 
somewhat archaic beauteous and plenteous. In a considerable num- 
ber of words the letter i alone represents the diphthong /ai/ 
before silent gh, as in sigh, sight, and tightly; in sign and island it 
does so before silent g and s. 

A table of spellings of the front- and back-rising diphthongs 

13. Low-central /ai/. 

Primary, i series": ie, i-e, i. 

pie, pine, triumph 
Secondary, y series: y-e, y. 

style, dry 

14. Low-back /oi/. 

Primary, o series: oi, oy. 
coin, coy 

15. Low-central /an/. 

Primary, o series: ou, ow. 
shout, cow 

Rare spellings of these diphthongs can be illustrated as follows. 

For /ai/: aisle, bayou, height, eye, coyote, buy, dye. 
For /oi/ : buoy. 
For /au/: sauerkraut 

A table of spellings of the centering diphthongs and the triph- 
thongs follows. 

16. High-front /ir/. 

Primary, e series: eer, ear, ere, er. 

queer, clear, here, period 
Secondary, i series : ier, ir, irr. 

cashier, spirit, irritate 
Secondary, yr. 


17. Mid-front /er/. 

Primary, a series : air, are, ar. 

stair, care, caring 
Secondary, e series : ear, er, err. 

wear, merit, errand 

18. Low-front /ser/. 

Primary, a series: ar, arr. 
guarantee, arrogant 

426 The Sentence and Its Parts 

19. Low-back /ar/. 

Primary, a series : ar, arr. 
harm, barring 

20. Low-back /or/. 

Primary, o series: oar, our, ore, or, orr. 

roar, course, store, form, horrible 
Secondary, a series : aur, ar, arr. 

laurel, warm, quarrel 

21. High-back /ur/. 

Primary, o series: oor, our. 

poor, tour 
Secondary, u series: ure, ur. 

sure, jury 

22. Low-central /air/. 

Primary, i series: ire, ir. 
tire, wiring 

23. Low-central /aur/. 

Primary, our. 

Rare spellings of the centering diphthongs and the triphthongs can 
be illustrated as follows. 

For /ir/: weird. 

For /er/: prayer, heir, there, eyrie, bury. 

For /ar/ : bazaar, heart, sergeant, memoir. 

For /or/: drawer, reservoir, door, toward. 

For /ur/: neural, potpourri. 

For /air/: pyrotechnic, lyre. 

Those who have a diphthong /or/ use this diphthong in preference 
to /or/ where oar, our, and ore are written (as in roar, course, and 
store), and even in some words where or is written in fort, for 
example, though not in fork. It must be noted also that /aer/ is 
widely used in preference to /er/ where air, are, and ear are written, 
as in stair, care, and wear. Actually there are especially great 
regional variations in the pronunciation of the diphthongs and 
triphthongs in general. 

The vowel sounds of unstressed syllables. Twelve single 
vowel sounds and eleven diphthongs and triphthongs commonly 
function as peaks in stressed syllables in American English. Almost 
all stressed syllables have vocalic peaks: exceptions occur in 
absolutes such as the shl that is used in attempts to silence children. 

Vowels and Consonants 427 

In what are most conveniently regarded as unstressed syllables, 
discriminations are less exact. Only four vowel sounds function as 
peaks in such syllables, and there are no diphthongs or triphthongs. 

24. High-front /i/ of exact, coffee 

25. High-back /u/ of situation, statue 

26. Mid-central /a^/ of pursue, differ 

27. Mid-central /9/ of oppose, sofa 

A better system of phonemic representation, again, would not 
assign the same symbol to the short stressed /i/ of pit and the 
unstressed /i/ of exact and coffee, nor would it assign the same 
symbol to the short stressed /u/ of put and the unstressed /u/ of 
situation and statue. It seems reasonable, however, that the vocalic 
glides of diphthongs and triphthongs should be regarded as var- 
iants of the unstressed vowel sounds. 

The unstressed vowel sounds exist in many subvarieties and 
shade into each other confusingly. Unstressed /i/ is qualitatively 
like both the long stressed /i/ of seek and the short stressed /i/ 
of sick, and unstressed /u/ is qualitatively like both the long 
stressed /u/ of food and the short stressed /u/ of good. The un- 
stressed /i/ of coffee is likely to sound like stressed /i/ if it occurs 
at a pause, as in here's the coffee, but like stressed /i/ elsewhere, 
as in the coffee's ready. The unstressed "r colored" f&J of pursue 
and differ is qualitatively like the stressed /ar/ of person and defer. 
The unstressed /a/, or schwa, of oppose and sofa commonly has a 
somewhat higher tongue position than the stressed /A/ of upper, 
but is qualitatively much like it. It should be added that many 
unstressed syllables are without vocalic peaks. This is true when 
(occasionally) /m/ and /rj/ function as peaks, as in some pro- 
nunciations of the second syllables of sophomore and baking powder, 
and when (much more often) /}/ and /n/ function as peaks, as in 
the final syllables of devil, idle, comparison, and sudden. 

The unstressed vowel sounds do not have a set of spellings of 
their own. In theory at least, all the spellings used to represent 
the vocalic parts of stressed syllables are also usable to represent 
the unstressed vowel sounds, so that the different distributions of 
stress and absence of stress in telegraph and telegraphy, for example, 
can alter all the vowel sounds without disturbing spelling. But 

428 The Sentence and Its Parts 

even in unstressed syllables, particular spellings do tend to be 
associated with particular vowel sounds. 

1. Unstressed /!/ is commonly represented by spellings which 

in stressed syllables would suggest the high-front and 
mid-front sounds /i/, /i/, /e/, and /E/, or the front- 
rising diphthong /ai/. 

2. Unstressed /u/ is commonly represented by spellings which 

in stressed syllables would suggest long high-back /u/. 

3. Unstressed /&/ is commonly represented by spellings which 

in stressed syllables would suggest "r colored 7 ' /ar/ or the 
diphthongs and triphthongs terminating in /r/. 

4. Unstressed /9/, schwa, is most characteristically repre- 

sented by spellings which in stressed syllables would 
suggest low-front /se/, low-back /a/ or /o/, mid-back 
/o/, high-back /u/, mid-central /A/, or the diphthongs 
/au/ and /DI/. 

But schwa tends to replace /:/ and /u/. Schwa can be regarded 
as the true obscure vowel sound toward which unstressed syllables 

Unstressed /i/ seems firmly established at the end of such words 
as posse, coffee, money, spaghetti, and candy, and before inflectional 
endings and noninflectional suffixes as in worried, silliness, and 
odious. It is well established in inflectional ing, though in inflectional 
es and ed, used as in passes and hated, /9/ offers it strong com- 
petition. It is well established in various prefixes and suffixes. 





But schwa is often dominant where /i/ might be expected, so that 
the ent of dependent and the ant of determinant, for example, are 
not distinguished in pronunciation. 

Unstressed /u/ occurs at the end of words and of syllables, and 
before inflectional endings and noninflectional suffixes. It is the 
most infrequent of the unstressed vowel sounds. Examples of un- 
stressed /u/ follow. 

Vowels and Consonants 429 

accentuate habitual sensual tissue 

casual Hinduism silhouette usual 

February issue statue virtue 

graduate ritual textual visual 

In comfortable informal speech unstressed /u/ followed by schwa 
tends to disappear. Thus such words as casual and usual come to 
have only two syllables, with schwa in the unstressed one. 

Unstressed /&/ is quite well established in most types of Ameri- 
can English. Examples follow. 

similar nadir actor survive 

theater cupboard glamour nature 

pasteurize whippoorwill acre marta/r 

Unstressed /a-/ has one spelling which is not used to represent the 
vocalic parts of stressed syllables: the spelling re, which occurs 
after /k/ and /g/ in such words as acre, euchre, and ogre, though 
not in soccer and eager, and which is also used quite exceptionally 
in the word timbre, meaning "tone," and sometimes in theatre, 
where it apparently is thought to have prestige value. Schwa shows 
little tendency to supplant /a 1 -/. In most varieties of American 
English l&l gives way to schwa only when another /V/ or an /r/ 
occurs in an immediately following syllable in the same word as 
in cater cornered, governor, southerner, and surprise, in each of which 
the first r is often ignored. In such words as flatterer and caterer 
there is what is conveniently regarded as two /a^/' s. 

Obscure schwa, /a/, is of course the commonest vowel sound in 
unstressed syllables. Widely varied spellings represent schwa. 

above definite famous 

purchase sterile healthful 

quiet bottom fortune 

bureaucrat mademoiselle analysis 

Obviously the ear offers especially inadequate guidance to the 
spellings that represent the vowel sounds of unstressed syllables. 
It is not surprising that such words as definite and optimist are 
very frequently misspelled. 

The consonant sounds. Distinctions in vowel sounds are char- 
acteristically produced by moving the tongue and the lower jaw to 

430 The Sentence and Its Parts 

form variously shaped resonance chambers. Distinctions in con- 
sonant sounds are characteristically produced by employing var- 
ious kinds of obstruction in the way of the flow of air through the 
mouth and lips. This obstruction can occur at the lips, as for the 
labials; at the front teeth, as for the interdentals; in the front of 
the mouth above the teeth, as for the alveolars; at the roof of the 
mouth toward the front, as for the palatals; in central areas of the 
mouth, as for central /r/; and at the back of the mouth, as for the 
velars. The aspirate /h/ is another matter, and can be regarded 
simply as an emphatic beginning for vowel sounds and the con- 
sonantal glides /j/ and /w/ as in huge and whale. For the labials 
and labiodentals the active obstructing agent is the lower lip; for 
the other consonant sounds, excepting the aspirate /h/, it is the 

Twenty-two consonant sounds seem best regarded as monoph- 
thongal and represented in simple phonemic transcription by single 
symbols. They can be subdivided on the basis of the character of 
the obstruction which produces them. For six, the obstruction is 
complete and may be followed by explosive release : these are the 
stops. For eight, the obstruction is incomplete, so that the flow of 
air continues but friction is set up at the point of obstruction: 
these are the fricatives. For three, complete obstruction blocks the 
passage of air through the mouth and lips but passage is permitted 
through the nose: these are the nasals. For one, the flow of air 
passes along the side (or sides) of the tongue, with the point of the 
tongue making a light partial obstruction and the bulk of the 
tongue rather low in the mouth: this is the lateral /!/. Three con- 
sonant sounds are closely related to corresponding vowel sounds: 
these are the consonantal glides. The aspirate /h/ remains. 

Fourteen of the consonant sounds characteristically involve a 
vibration of the vocal cords which is sometimes called voicing, and 
which is also involved in all vowel sounds. Eight consonant sounds 
are characteristically voiceless. These eight include aspirate /h/ 
and half the stops and fricatives, which occur in voiced-voiceless 
pairs. Since the stream of speech is dominated by voicing, the 
voiceless consonants represent relatively great departure from the 
normal characteristics of the stream and so are relatively energetic. 
Most energetic of all are the voiceless stops, which tend to acquire a 

Vowels and Consonants 431 

noticeable aspiration when they precede vowel sounds in the same 
syllables. When they follow the vowel sounds of their syllables and 
are followed by unstressed vowel sounds, voiceless stops tend 
noticeably to acquire voice, so that, for example, latter may be 
indistinguishable from ladder. The distinction between voicing and 
absence of voice sometimes distinguishes verbs from nouns or ad- 
jectives. Spellings do not always indicate this distinction where it 
is made. 

advise, advice house, house 

believe, belief save, safe 

diffuse, diffuse sheathe, sheath 

excuse, excuse teethe, teeth 

grieve, grief use, use 

Sometimes a combination of distinction between voiced and voice- 
less consonants and distinction between long and short stressed 
vowel sounds distinguishes verbs from nouns. 

breathe, breath graze, grass 

bathe, bath 

Voicing of voiceless consonants in such plurals as calves, oaths, and 
houses is a similar phenomenon. So is voicing before suffixes. 

grief, grievous north, northern 

mischief, mischievous worth, worthy 

In southern and wizard a shift to short vowel sounds accompanies 
this voicing. The influence of neighboring sounds often affects 
voicing. This is notably true when before the voiceless /t/ of to 
the voiced /z/ of used, supposed, and has becomes voiceless /s/ 
and the voiced /v/ of have becomes voiceless /f/. 
The six stops are as follows : 

Bilabial : 


/p/ of pore 
/t/ of tore 
/k/ of core 


/b/ of bore 
/d/ of door 
/g/ of gore 

All of the stops have single consonant letters as their basic 
representations. But for two reasons consonant letters are doubled, 
in fact or in effect, in a great many words. 

432 The Sentence and Its Parts 

1. Sometimes doubling indicates that a preceding vowel letter 

represents a short stressed vowel sound. Doubled con- 
sonant letters which perform this function are generally 
followed by vowel letters, glide letters, or le representing 
syllabic /]./, as in luggage, mattress, and nibble. In addi- 
tion, at the end of words /, k, Z, s, and z are normally 
doubled after short stressed vowel sounds, though other 
consonant letters are not so that sniff, lock, bell, pass, 
and buzz contrast with snip, lob, bet, pan, and bug. 

2. In a great many complexes doubling occurs because of the 

coming together of two components which are no longer 
kept distinct in the spoken language. One of the repeated 
letters terminates the first written component, the other 
begins the second; there is no corresponding repetition 
of the consonant sound. If a single vowel letter repre- 
senting a stressed vowel sound precedes, the vowel sound 
will normally be short, as in annotate, attribution, suffix, 
and supplicate. In compounds the components are usually 
kept distinct, and they are kept distinct in some com- 
plexes also. Thus in headdress, roommate, greenness, and 
unnerved if there is no actual doubling of consonant 
sounds, there is at least clear prolongation, and what 
results can be represented reasonably enough by /dd/, 
/mm/, and /nn/. This is a very different matter from 
the repeating of consonant letters where there is no re- 
peating or clear prolonging of consonant sounds. 

There is also a certain amount of doubling after unstressed vowel 
sounds for no reason that is clear in English: for example, in 
staccato. And in such words as panicky, picnicking, and trafficked 
the letter c is replaced by ck before inflectional endings and non- 
inflectional suffixes beginning with e, i, and y to make it clear that 
the sound represented is the stop /k/ and not the fricative /s/. 
In pairs like classical and classicism and authentic and authenticity, 
c represents /s/ before e and i. 

A. great deal of doubling takes place when inflectional endings 
and noninflectional suffixes are joined to basic-form words. Dou- 
bling normally takes place when the following conditions are met: 

1. The word with which the suffix or inflectional ending is 
combined ends in a single consonant letter other than x 
or h, or in the glide letter r. 

Vowels and Consonants 433 

2. A single vowel letter, or a single vowel letter preceded by 

the combination qu (as in quit), precedes this single con- 
sonant letter or r. 

3. The vowel sound of the last syllable of this word (the only 

syllable if the word is monosyllabic) is stressed in the 
resulting form, as in referring as opposed to reference. 

4. What is joined to the basic-form word is either a suffix le 

or y or a suffix or inflectional ending beginning with a 
vowel letter. 

Examples of doubling when these conditions are met follow. 

abhorr ence 
bagg age 
bagg ed 
bagg ing 
blott er 
committ ee 

controll ing 
dabb le 
deterr ent 
forgett able 
gladd en 
gladd est 

godd ess 
handicapp ing 
kidnapp er 
lagg ard 
mann ish 
quizz es 

ragg ed 
rebutt al 
shrubb ery 
starr ed 
starr y 
zigzagg ed 

There is no doubling or prolonging of sounds here. Except where r 
is involved (as in deterrent, deterring, starred, and stc^ry) and except 
also for a few forms such as controllable and controlling, the doubling 
of letters normally serves to indicate that the preceding vowel 
letter represents a short stressed vowel sound, whether the stress 
on the vowel sound is primary stress as in unforgettable or secondary 
or weak stress as in kidnapper and zigzagging. Exceptional doubling 
occurs in such words as excellence in spite of the pattern of stress; 
the doubling in excelling is of course normal. Doubling is commonly 
absent before the suffices ic and ity. 

angel ic symbol ic abnormal ity Christian ity 

atom ic method ical avid ity steril ity 

But metallic shows regular doubling before ic. Absence of doubling 
results in irregular spellings in benefited, benefiting, paralleled, and 
paralleling, where secondary or weak stresses precede the inflec- 
tional endings, and in chagrined. Substitution of single-letter repre- 
sentation of consonant sounds for doubled sometimes, occurs before 
suffixes where otherwise the same letter would be used three times 
in succession. 

dul ly ful ly shril ly 

434 The Sentence and Its Parts 

In dully and shrilly there is what can be regarded as /U/ in the 
spoken language; in more frequently used fully there is only a 
single /!/. 

The doubling of consonant letters in such words as wedding is 
obviously not unlike the doubling of vowel letters in such words as 
weeding, and the doubling with variation in such words as stricken 
(which is to strike as hidden is to hide) is not unlike the use of two 
vowel letters in such words as leading. Like the doubling of vowel 
letters, the doubling of consonant letters is commonly a way of 
indicating vowel sounds. 

It should be noted that vowel letters participate directly in a 
number of representations of consonant sounds. Several two- and 
three-letter representations of the velar stops include the vowel 
letter u, and when these combinations end words an e follows the u. 
In such words as vague the e participates in the representations 
both of the velar stop and of the long vowel sound which precedes 
it. The spelling ed for /t/ and /d/ serves, for great numbers of 
regular verbs, to make the verb inflectional ending visually if not 
aurally distinct from noninflectional /t/ and /d/. Thus packed is 
visually quite distinct from pact, paced from paste, passed from 
past, sighed from side, barred from bard, mowed from mode, bowled 
from bold, and banned from band. The verb inflection which is 
written ed is notably variable in the spoken language. It is pro- 
nounced /d/ after all voiced sounds except another /d/: for ex- 
ample, in played, showed, robbed, loved, raised, rolled, and banged. 
It is pronounced /t/ after all voiceless consonants except another 
/t/ ; for example, in ripped, laughed, frothed , missed, and patched. 
After /d/ and /t/ ed is pronounced /id/ or /9d/: for example, in 
waded and hated. Sometimes this ed is also pronounced /id/ or 
/ad/ when a noninflectional suffix follows it, as in confessedly, 
markedly, and preparedness where without such a suffix it is pro- 
nounced /d/ or /t/. 

Like the stressed vowel sounds, the consonant sounds have some 
spellings which are employed in very few words and are best 
omitted from tables of the commoner spellings. The commoner 
spellings, again, can be classified as primary, secondary, and anom- 
alous. Irregular uses of primary and secondary spellings occur 
under the following circumstances. 

Vowels and Consonants 435 

1. When a single consonant sound which does not follow a 

short stressed vowel sound is given doubled representa- 
tion. This occurs (1) after long stressed vowel sounds, 
as in butte, chauffeur, hall, office, poll, and toss; (2) after 
unstressed vowel sounds, as in abbreviate, raccoon, ac- 
knowledge, adduce, plaintiff, aggression, immoral, mayon- 
naise, supply, waitress, and dilettante; and (3) when a 
consonant sound precedes, as in vitally and basically 
where a is silent before /}/ or /!/. 

2. When final d, g, n, and t are given doubled representations 

after short stressed vowel sounds, as in add, egg, inn, 
and butt; and conversely when final c, f, k, I, s, and z are 
given undoubled representations after short stressed 
vowel sounds, as in bloc, chef, trek, armful, yes, and whiz. 

3. When the e of such combinations as ge, que, and ve does not 

participate also in the representation of immediately pre- 
ceding stressed vowel sounds, as in garage, plaque, and 
love; and conversely when the e of such combinations as 
the t in which two consonant letters are employed, does 
participate in the representation of immediately preced- 
ing stressed vowel sounds, as in bathe and clothe. 

4. When a single vowel letter representing a short vowel sound 

is followed by a single consonant letter which is in turn 
followed by a vowel letter or a glide letter. Thus irregu- 
larly used single consonant letters in study, coming, 
menace, metal, rabid, rapid, second, vigor, and condition 
contrast with regularly used doubled consonant letters 
in muddy, humming, pennant, mettle, rabbit, rapping, 
beckon, bigger, and commission. 

The last of these irregularities is the most frequent of the irregu- 
larities affecting the representation of vowel sounds. It occurs 
most often in words acquired from other languages, but is also 
found occasionally in native words. The irregularity is in the use 
of the single consonant letter, but the damage is done to the 
representation of the preceding short vowel sound, which becomes 
indistinguishable from a regular representation of a long vowel 
sound in study, for example, as compared with student. 
A table of spellings of the stops follows. 

28. Voiceless-bilabial /p/. 

Primary, p series: p, pp. 
drop, upper 

436 The Sentence and Its Parts 

29. Voiceless-alveolar /t/. 

Primary, t series: Z, tt. 

bit, bitten 
Anomalous: ed. 


30. Voiceless-velar /k/. 

Primary, fc series : k, ck. 

strike, stricken 
Secondary, c series : c, cc. 

cane, tobacco 
Secondary, g series: q, qu,,que. 

quit, conquer, grotesque 
Anomalous: ch. 


31. Voiced-bilabial /b/. 

Primary, 6 series: 6, 66. 
dab, rabbit 

32. Voiced-alveolar /d/. 

Primary, d series : d, dd. 

mad, saddle 
Anomalous : ed. 


33. Voiced-velar /g/. 

Primary, series: g, gg, gu, gue. 
longer, giggle, guard, rogue 

Rare spellings of the stops can be illustrated as follows. 

For /t/ : veld, TTiomas, pizza. 

For /k/ : sacc/iarine, acquaint, fcAaki, trefcfcing. 

For /g/:0Aastly. 

The eight fricatives are as follows. 

Voiceless Voiced 


/f / of <We/ 
/9/ of wreath 
/s/ of race 
/V of notion 

/v/ of iM^ve 
/S/ of wreathe 
/z/ of raise 
/3/ of erosion 

Except for its use in combination with /d/, the voiced palatal 
fricative /s/ is the least used of all the consonant sounds, rarely 
beginning a word (though exotic genre and gendarme begin with it) 
and tending to give way to /ds/ at the end of words, as in garage. 
Only four of the fricatives have single letters as basic representa- 

Vowels and Consonants 437 

tions: /f/, /v/, /s/, and /z/. The letter v is doubled in only a few 
words, most of them regarded as slang : divvy, flivver , revved, savvy. 
Moreover i; is rarely allowed to end a word, though it does termi- 
nate Slav and rev at least. These restrictions on the use of the letter 
v make it impossible for the written language to distinguish, for 
example, have and having from save and saving as it distinguishes 
can and canning from cane and caning. Doubling occurs within 
certain representations of /$/ : notably in the ssi of mission. When 
c represents /s/ and (with i) /$/, it is not doubled: thus tacit has 
a single c just as facing does, and pernicious has a single c just as 
ferocious does. Similarly t is not doubled in representations of /$/, 
or s and g in representations of /3/. The language has no repre- 
sentations of /3/ employing two consonant letters, and so cannot 
represent /3/ regularly after short stressed vowel sounds for ex- 
ample, in vision. S is sometimes doubled in representations of /z/, 
as in scissors and dissolve; but usually, as in risen (which is to rise 
as hidden is to hide), it is not doubled. 

The fricatives have a number of two- and three-letter representa- 
tions terminating in h, e, and i. The consonant letter h is used in a 
few anomalous representations of velar stops (for example, in 
stomach, khan, and ghetto) and in an anomalous representation of 
the consonantal glide /r/ (as in rhyme), but normally its presence 
within two- and three-letter representations of single consonant 
sounds serves to mark these sounds as fricatives. When e is used 
with c and g it indicates that fricatives, not the stops /k/ and /g/, 
are being represented. When it is used with v, s, and z, it simply 
prevents these letters from being used at the end of words. The 
taboo against ending with v has been noted. There is a similar 
prejudice against a word's ending with a single z, though a few 
words such as quiz and whiz do. A final single s is usually inflec- 
tional, so that inflectional /s/ and /z/ are generally distinct in 
appearance if not in sound from noninflectional. Thus lacks is 
visually quite distinct from lax, laps from lapse, patients from 
patience, crews from cruise, and sees from seize. But famous, crisis, 
gas, lens, and as are examples from small categories of words that 
do end in noninflectional single $. The various inflectional endings 
which are written s and ; s, like the inflectional ending of verbs 
that is written ed, are notably variable in the spoken language. 

438 The Sentence and Its Parts 

After all voiced sounds except /z/ and /3/ they are pronounced 
/z/: for example, in boys, buys, Mary's, comes, wives, roads, Bill's, 
and sags. After all voiceless consonants except /s/ and /$/ they 
are pronounced /s/: for example, in rips, wife's, froths, bats, and 
cracks. After /z/, /$/, /s/, and /$/ they are pronounced /iz/ or 
/sz/ and es is written for s though '$ remains: for example, in 
buzzes, mirages, badges, Cass's, and rushes. The single noninflec- 
tional s of as, like the single / of if, the single e of the, and the single 
o of to, is employed in a word that is commonly unstressed. In the 
combination the, the letter e serves to mark the consonant sound 
as voiced. Quite often the e which functions as a part of the repre- 
sentation of a fricative functions also as a part of the representation 
of the preceding vowel sound: for example, in base, bathe, Chinese, 
daze, drove, prestige, and spice. Where i occurs in representations 
of the palatal fricatives /$/ and /3/, it represented /j/ after /s/ 
and /z/ in earlier pronunciations. Similarly race you still becomes 
/re$9/ in the spoken language, and raise you still becomes 
A table of spellings of the fricatives follows. 

34. Voiceless-labiodental /f/. 

Primary,./ series: /, ff. 

stifle, stiff 
Secondary : ph. 


35. Voiceless-interdental /6/. 

Primary: th. 

36. Voiceless-alveolar /s/. 

Primary, s series: s, ss, se. 

sight, fuss, dense 
Secondary, c series: c, ce, sc, see. 

cite, dance, scent, coalesce 

37. Voiceless-palatal /$/. 

Primary, s series: sh, si, ssi. 

short, expansion, passion 
Secondary, c series : ch, ci, c. 

machine, racial, associate 
Secondary, t series : ti, t. 

nation, negotiate 

38. Voiced-labiodental /v/. 

Primary, v series: v, ve. 
over, cove 

Vowels and Consonants 439 

39. Voiced-interdental /t>/. 

Primary, th series: th, the. 
mother, wreathe 

40. Voiced-alveolar /z/. 

Primary, s series: s, se. 

criticism, applause 
Secondary, z series: z, zz, ze. 

zero, quizzes, gauze 

41. Voiced-palatal /$/. 

Primary, s series: si, s. 

invasion, composure 
Secondary, g series: g, ge. 

regime, beige 

Rare spellings of the fricatives can be illustrated as follows. 

For /f / : sappWre, rough. 

For /s/: quartz. 

For /$/ : ocean, fuc/isia, fascist, schwa, conscious, 

cus/iion, assure, sugar. 
For / v/ : of, Stephen, divvy. 
For /z/: Czar, discern, dissolve, xylophone. 
For /3/ : equation, seizure, brazier. 

The nasals and the lateral are as follows. 

Voiced Nasals Voiced Lateral 
Bilabial: /m/ of rum 

Alveolar: /n/ of run /!/ of lull 

Velar: /rj/ of rung 

After a stressed vowel sound in the same syllable for example, in 
feel, fail, foal, fool, fill, and full /!/ seems very close in quality to 
/al/. The nasal /rj/ does not begin English words. 

Two of the three nasals, /m/ and /n/, and the lateral /!/ have 
single letters as basic representations. These are doubled just as 
single-letter representations of the stops are doubled. The velar 
nasal /rj/ has n as a one-letter representation only when /rj/ occurs 
before the velar stops /k/ and /g/, as in think and finger. What 
was once /g/ after /rj/ is not pronounced in such words as sing 
and long (where it would end the words); and the letters ng to- 
gether represent /rj/. In longer and longest, stronger and strongest, 
and younger and youngest the letters ng still represent /rjg/, but 
in more typical singer, hanger, and longing they represent only /rj/ 

440 The Sentence and Its Parts 

A table of spellings of the nasals and the lateral follows. 

42. Voiced-bilabial /m/. 

Primary, m series: m, mm. 
man, immigrate 

43. Voiced-alveolar /n/. 

Primary, n series : n, nn. 
pun, annual 

44. Voiced-velar /r)/. 

Primary, n series: n, ng, 
bank, bang 

45. Voiced-alveolar /!/. 

Primary, I series: I, II. 
pole, fell 

Rare spellings can be illustrated as follows. 

For /n/: comptroller 

For /i)/: harangued, tongue 

The consonantal glides and the aspirate are as follows. 

Voiced Voiceless 

Front: /j/ of yea 

Central: /r/ of ray 
Back : /w/ of way 

Aspirate: /h/ of Am/ 

As has been said, the consonantal glides are closely related to the 
vocalic glides. The /j/ of yacht is much like the /i/ of tie, and the 
/r/ and /w/ which begin roar and wow are much like the /r/ and 
/u/ which terminate these words. The consonantal glides occur 
only before vowel sounds in their syllables, the vocalic glides occur 
only after other vowel sounds in their syllables. Glides which occur 
between stressed and unstressed vowel sounds can ordinarily be 
assumed to belong to the syllables of the stressed vowel sounds. 
Thus in barometric, origin, tyranny, and various the sound repre- 
sented by r can be said to combine, as a vocalic glide, with the 
vowel sound that precedes it, whereas in barometer, original, tyran- 
nical, and variety the sound represented by the same letter can be 
said to function as a consonantal glide beginning the syllables to 
which it belongs. The aspirate /h/ occurs only before vowel sounds 
in the same syllables and before /j/ as in humid and /w/ as in 
whet. The aspirate normally disappears in unstressed syllables: for 

Vowels and Consonants 441 

example, in prohibition as compared with prohibit and in unstressed 
his (as in Cox lost his hat) as compared with stressed his (as in the 
hat's his). The consonantal glides do not disappear from unstressed 
syllables to any comparable extent, but in many situations they 
do tend to fall out or to be replaced in one way or another. Thus 
in the sentence Jim will get you hundreds of them comfortable pro- 
nunciations will tend to omit the /w/ of will, to combine the /j/ 
of you with the /t/ of get to produce /t$/, and to substitute /ac-/ 
for /ra/ in hundreds. 

A table of spellings of the consonantal glides and the aspirate 

46. Voiced-front /j/. 

Primary: y. 

Secondary: i. 

Secondary: e. 


47. Voiced-central /r/. 

Primary : r. 

Anomalous : rr, rh. 

surround, rheumatism 

48. Voiced-back /w/. 

Primary: w. 

Secondary: u. 


49. Aspirate /h/. 

Primary : h. 

Rare spellings can be illustrated as follows. 

For /']/: vignette, hallelujah. 
For /w/: choir. 
For /h/: marihuana. 

Consonant combinations. Consonant combinations within 
syllables are much more numerous than vocalic combinations. Only 
five, however, are used both before and after the vowel sounds of 
the syllables in which they occur. 

442 The Sentence and Its Parts 

/t$/ of choke, rich /sp/ of spare, lisp 

/ds/ of joke, ridge /st/ of stor, Ks 

/sk/ of scare, risk 

The exclusively prevocalic consonantal combinations that can 
be regarded as normal for contemporary English are of two types. 
One type terminates in the lateral /!/ or in one of the consonantal 
glides /j/, /r/, and /w/. The remainder of such a combination is a 
single consonant sound (as in clean, cure, cream, and quick) or two 
consonant sounds of which the first is the voiceless fricative /s/ 
(as in skewer, sclerosis, scratch, squad, spew, splash, spread, and 
street). The other normal prevocalic type begins with the voiceless 
fricative /s/ and has only a single consonant sound following this 
/s/. Sphere, small, and snow can serve as examples. Such words as 
slow and sweet can be said to belong to both types. Many possible 
combinations of the two established prevocalic types either do not 
occur or occur only in words of foreign origin and more or less 
exotic character, many of them names of people and places. Thus 
/pw/ and /bw/ are accepted in such place names as Pueblo, 
Puerto Rico, and Buenos Aires, but do not occur otherwise and 
cause difficulties in these names. 

Prevocalic consonantal combinations of types that are not nat- 
ural for contemporary English are accepted in such exotic words as 
tsetse and Tlaxcala. In such words as Cnut, Dvorak, Gdynia, and 
tmesis schwa is commonly inserted between the first two consonant 
sounds, so that an unstressed syllable is added to what the written 
language suggests. In a considerable number of words whose spell- 
ings suggest unusual consonant combinations, the spoken language 
simply ignores one of the written consonant letters, This is true of 
such words as bdellium, gnaw, know, pneumonia, psychology, pto- 
maine, and write. 

The exclusively postvocalic consonantal combinations that can 
be regarded as normal within syllables in contemporary English 
are of two types very much like the two types of prevocalic com- 
binations. One type begins with the lateral /!/ or one of the nasals 
/m/, /n/, and /rj/. The remainder of such a combination is a 
single consonant sound (as in self, bump, ant, and ink) or /t$/ or 
/dj/ (as in squelch, bulge, lunch, and fringe), or two consonant 
sounds of which the second is /s/ (as in waltz, glimpse, chintz, and 

Vowels and Consonants 443 

jinx). The other type of normal postvocalic consonantal combina- 
tion terminates in /s/ and has only a single consonant sound in 
front of this /s/. Such words as mix, collapse, and quartz can serve 
as examples. Such words as false and dance can be said to belong to 
both groups. Some possible combinations of the established post- 
vocalic types do not occur. Thus /mb/, /mv/, /n?J/, and /lg/ are 
not used. In such words as rumble and assemble /b/ pretty clearly 
belongs to the following syllable, not with /m/. 

The number of postvocalic consonantal combinations in use in 
contemporary English has been increased by the development, in 
modern times, of the wholly consonantal inflectional endings writ- 
ten s and ed, and of the wholly consonantal noninflectional suffixes 
written th. The use of these terminations has resulted in a con- 
siderable number of consonantal combinations which cannot be 
called either "normal" or exotic. Examples follow. 

/tSz/ of bathes /kts/ of facts 

/ndz/ of bands /sks/ of risks 

/gd/ of dragged /p6s/ of depths 

/ndsd/ of plunged /ks6s/ of sixths 

/rjkt/ of thanked 

The use of some combinations such as these goes beyond the 
situations in which the nonsyllabic consonantal suffixes and in- 
flectional endings appear. Since /kt/ is accepted in packed, it is 
the more easily maintained in fact; and since /rjkt/ is accepted in 
thanked, it is the more easily maintained in adjunct. But English 
is a language which refuses to pronounce the p of psychology or 
the b of thumb , though it insists on writing them. In comfortable 
speech, simplification of consonant combinations takes place very 
commonly. Thus clothes loses /B/ and is pronounced like the verb 
close. Bands loses /d/ and is pronounced like bans, sects loses /t/ 
and becomes indistinguishable from sex, priests loses /t/ and 
rhymes with niece, asked loses /k/ and rhymes with past. Where it 
is clear (with the help of context) and usual, such simplification is 
not undesirable. Simplification is normal in sequences of spoken 
words when difficult combinations are thrown together at rapid 
tempos, though when the tempo is slowed simplification may seem 
slovenly. A common type of misspelling is the result of following 

444 The Sentence and Its Parts 

the ear rather than the grammar where difficult combinations 

I have to take three advance courses next semester. 

Yesterday everyone seem to agree. 

I hadn't practice the piece enough. 

Laurette was finally ask to leave, 

My brother use to room with me. 

The participial endings in such combinations as creamed chicken, 
iced tea, mashed potatoes, and whipped cream are retained in stand- 
ard written English, though ice cream and roast beef have no such 
endings. Writing is one thing, pronunciation is often quite another. 
It no longer seems reasonable to maintain the point of view which 
in the last century caused the McGuffey Readers, for example, to 
drill students on the careful pronunciation of such archaic con- 
sonant combinations as were represented by written thank'd'st, 
help'd'st, and rob'd'st. But sometimes simplification is not clear and 
usual, and difficult combinations must be got through. Thus bathes, 
wasps , and risked can hardly be simplified. 

The spelling of the great majority of consonant combinations 
does not require special notice. The sounds which go to make up 
the combination /spr/ in such a word as spray, for example, are 
represented in the combination exactly as they are represented 
individually in such words as say, pay, and ray. The spellings given 
/t$/ and /ds/ require notice, however, and so do the uses to which 
the written language puts the letter x. The affricates /t$/ and 
/ds/ have spellings much like those of monophthongal palatal 
fricatives. The ch of each and the tch of itch may seem like a pair 
such as the I of heel and the II of kill, but it is better to regard them 
simply as a spelling in which /t/ is not represented individually 
and one in which it is. The combination /ds/, however, has basic 
one-letter representations, and in the dg of cadging as compared 
with the g of caging there is true doubling comparable to that 
shown in the ck of backing alongside the' k of baking. The letter x 
represents two consonant sounds normally, and a single vowel 
letter in front of it always represents a short vowel sound, as in 
axle, lexicon, Dixie, boxing, and buxom. The ks of oaks represents 
sound by sound what the x of coax represents together. Very com- 
monly the two sounds represented by x are not in the same syllable. 

Vo\vels and Consonants 4,4,5 

The following table shows the spellings of /t$/ and /ds/, and 
the spellings which employ the letter x. 

50. Voiceless-affricate /t$/. 

Primary, c series: cA, fcA. 

rich, witch 
Secondary, t series : ti, J. 

question, nature 

51. Voiced-affricate /ds/. 

Primary, g series: g, dg, dge, ge, gi, 
germ, fidget, badge, college, region 

Secondary, j series : /, dj. 
jerk, adjective 

Secondary, d series: di, d. 
cordial, verdure 

52. Voiceless-stop-and-fricative /ks/. 

Primary spellings requiring notice : x, xc. 
lax, excellent 

53. Voiced-stop-and-fricative /gz/. 

Primary spelling requiring notice : x. 

Rare spellings of /t$/ and /ds/ can be illustrated as follows. 

For /t$/ : cello, Czech, righteous. 
For /ds/ : exaggerate* 

X has the value of /k$/ in sexual and of /gs/ in luxurious. In 
anxious the combination ici has the value of /k$/. 

Unrepresented sounds, silent letters,, reversals in order 9 ex- 
otic sounds. Unrepresented sounds occur. Among the vowel 
sounds schwa is unrepresented before /m/ where sm and thm termin- 
ate words, as in baptism and logarithm. Unstressed /if or schwa is 
unrepresented also in numerous possessive singulars of nouns: for 
example, in "boss's. Among the consonant sounds /t/ is unrepre- 
sented in eighth and the consonantal glide /w/ in one and once. 
The most frequently unrepresented of all vowel and consonant 
sounds is the consonantal glide /j/, which occurs unrepresented 
in such words as unit, music, futile, cute, human, cure, volume, 
genuine, and failure. When /}/ occurs unrepresented, it is almost 
always before a sound, stressed or unstressed, represented by the 
letter u or a combination of letters begun with u. In some varieties 
of American English, unrepresented /j/ occurs, and in others it 

446 The Sentence and Its Parts 

does not occur, after /8/, /t/, /d/, and /n/ in the same syllable, 
in such words as enthusiasm, Tuesday, dupe, nuisance, durable, and 
mature. Pairs such as youth and use, feudal and futile, and hew and 
Au show /j/ represented by y and 6 alongside unrepresented /j/. 
Pairs such as ooze and use, coo and cue, and poor and pure put words 
not employing unrepresented /j/ alongside words employing it. 

Abbreviations, of course, leave sounds unrepresented on a much 
larger scale: Mr. and N. Y. can serve as examples. A few abbre- 
viations are commonly read in what amount to translations: Ib. 
and viz., for example, as pound and namely. Such interlingual 
symbols as the number ideographs disregard sounds completely, 
so that the symbol 5, for example, is read as cinco in Spanish and 
five in English. 

Silent letters are more frequent than unrepresented sounds. 
First of all, there is a category of words in which e occurs without 
function. A few common words of native origin are included in the 
category: come, done, eye f and owe are examples. Modern acqui- 
sitions, especially from French, make up a larger subcategory: 
belle, caffeine, caste, cigarette, clientele, fagade, locale, route, and 
silhouette can serve as examples. Often a vowel letter is silent, and 
the number of syllables is reduced, where otherwise there would 
be two or three unstressed syllables in succession. In the following 
words pronunciation of a vowel sound where the italicized vowel 
letters occur might seem affected. 





The o of iron is silent even though pronouncing it would give the 
word only one unstressed syllable. In a large number of words, 
unstressed syllables disappear in rapid, comfortable speech but 
remain in careful speech. Finally, silent vowel letters occur, without 
reduction in number of syllables, in many words in which un- 
stressed vowel sounds drop out before /!/ and /n/, and in some 
words in which they drop out before /m/ and /g/j and these 
consonant sounds then function as peaks of syllables. Syllabic /I/ 
develops after most of the consonant sounds, but generally not 

Vowels and Consonants 447 

after the fricatives /0/, /tS/, /$/, or /3/, or after a consonantal 
glide or the aspirate /h/. The following words show silent vowel 
letters where syllabic /}/ occurs. 

approval channel devil idyl 

baffle desolate docile simultaneous 

Syllabic /n/ usually develops only after the alveolars /t/, /d/, /s/, 
and /z/. The following words show silent vowel letters where 
syllabic /n/ occurs. 

ardent certain comparison medicine 

Syllabic /in/ occurs infrequently, after labial /p/ and /b/ and 
labiodental /f/ and /v/; syllabic /n/ occurs infrequently after 
velar /k/ and /g/. 

Silent consonant letters are fairly common. The inconspicuous 
simplification normal for consonant clusters produced by the addi- 
tion of consonantal inflectional endings has been noted. Simplifi- 
cation of essentially the same kind sometimes occurs when two 
words come together. Thus in last night, must be, first grade, and 
best student the first word in each pair is commonly pronounced 
without /t/. In addition, consonant letters that are silent without 
regard to preceding or following words occur with some frequency. 
Examples follow. 








































faux pas 





In such words as indict, sign, might, talk, and folk, however, the 
consonant letters here described as silent can be regarded as parts 
of the representations of vowel sounds. It should be noted that 
consonant letters that are silent in particular words are sometimes 
pronounced in related words. 

448 The Sentence and Its Parts 

crumb, crumble phlegm, phlegmatic 

doubt, dubitative prohibition, prohibit 

malign, malignant shepherd, cowherd 

muscle, muscular solemn, solemnity 

schism, schizophrenia corps, corpus 

resign, resignation receipt, reception 

In such complexes as fasten , moisten, and soften the t is silent; in 
such corresponding simplexes as fast, moistj and soft it normally is 

Letters representing successive sounds occasionally occur in re- 
versed order. The consonantal combination /hw/ has wh as its 
normal representation, as in which and whet. The consonantal com- 
bination /nj/ is represented by gn in a few exotic words such as 
lorgnette and vignette. The presence, side by side, of the spellings 
er and re for the same unstressed vowel sound, and of the spellings 
el and le for the same syllabic consonant sound, as in eager and 
ogre and libel and liable, is a phenomenon of a somewhat different 
but related type. 

Sounds outside the usual sets of vowel and consonant sounds 
occur in absolutes such as what is written as tut, tut (or tsk, tsk, or 
tch, tch). Sometimes exotic sounds are employed in words acquired 
from other languages, notably French: for example, in rapproche- 
ment, milieu, and salon. Obviously words which require the produc- 
tion of unfamiliar vowel and consonant sounds can have only 
limited usefulness. Similarly efforts to maintain accent marks on 
words which have become English leads only to trouble : our type- 
writers generally do not have accent marks. The dieresis which 
used to be employed in such words as naive and cooperate is equally 
impractical and the cedilla of, for example, facade. 

The stability of established spellings. There is no doubt 
that the complexity of its spelling is a major defect of contemporary 
English. Entirely too much school time must be given to spelling, at 
the expense of subject matters of much greater fundamental im- 
portance. Where choice among recognized spellings is possible, 
spellings which conform to the patterning of the primary spellings 
should be preferred : chaperone rather than chaperon, for example, 
since the vowel sound of the last syllable is the stressed long /o/ 
of bone and tone. Where spellings are fixed but choice among recog- 

Vowels and Consonants 44,9 

nized pronunciations is possible, decision again should be in favor 
of what conforms best to the primary patterns of the spelling 
system: /ai/ rather than /i/ in isolate, for example, and /i/ rather 
than // in economic. But native speakers should not tamper very 
much with pronunciations they learned in childhood. Naturalness 
and absence of anything approaching affectation are highly de- 
sirable in spoken language, and regional variations add interest to 
it. Those who learn English past childhood should not be greatly 
concerned about traces of foreign accent. The British novelist 
Joseph Conrad learned English as a young man, and spoke with 
an accent all his life; but no one has written the language more 
effectively, and he was a brilliant conversationalist as well. 

Once their precise composition has been established, the written 
forms of words are remarkably secure. Indeed, widespread literacy 
seems to have made them almost invulnerable: literate people will 
not tolerate alterations in familiar combinations of letters. Even 
such unfortunate bits of native spelling as the gh of, for example, 
caught, taught, and brought (and of night and through) seem quite 
secure. The tremendous borrowed vocabulary of modern English 
has generally paid much more attention to letters than to sounds. 
This is of course the reason English and Spanish so often relate 
identical or nearly identical combinations of letters for example, 
in place names and in such very different words as ideal, original, 
pasteurize, and chili to essentially identical aggregations of mean- 
ings, and yet employ very different combinations of sounds. 
Literate people seem to relate visual impressions to meanings some- 
what less flexibly than they relate aural impressions to them. One 
who hears Bible pronounced almost as he pronounces bobble finds 
it much easier to accept the different pronunciation than he would 
to accept another spelling. Noah Webster's early effort to reform 
English spelling by introducing such spellings as tung, crum, Hand, 
f ether, and wimmen was doomed to failure and would doubtless 
have even less chance now. Clever respellings catch the eye and 
so are useful in advertising. 

Kash Karry Your Wate and Fate 

Hold Gold Signs of All Kigns 

Such a chapter heading as Liquor Is Quiquor gets attention simi- 

450 The Sentence and Its Parts 

larly. But this kind of thing is acceptable only in a very limited 
way. Such a slogan as do right and fear no man, don't write and fear 
no woman is amusing, but the written-language words are given 
their established spellings here: it will not do to confuse right and 
write and rite and wright. In most kinds of writing, "correct" 
spelling is obligatory. From the point of view of the spelling system 
the spelling r-a-i-n in the rain of Henry VIII is clearly preferable 
to the established spelling r-e-i-g-n, but the systematically pref- 
erable spelling is simply not acceptable here. 




Stress in words. Variations in what is commonly called stress are 
a notable characteristic of spoken English. The term "stress" is not 
an ideal one: "prominence" would be more satisfactory, and promi- 
nence is evidently produced largely by increasing duration and 
changing pitch. It is convenient to distinguish stressed syllables 
from unstressed ones, but syllables can be either stressed or un- 
stressed in varying degrees. In irreparable only the second syllable 
is stressed. Among the three unstressed syllables following the 
stressed syllable, the last comes closest to stress and the first is 
farthest from it. There is a tendency to alternate stressed and 
unstressed syllables, and a sequence of three unstressed syllables 
is likely to seem troublesome, though such sequences occur in 
standard pronunciations of, for example, communicable, despicable, 
disputable, evidently, formidable, hospitable, incomparable, and irref- 
utable. In { polio [ mye l litis there are four stressed syllables. Among 
the four the last is most prominent and can be said to have the 
primary stress, the second the o which terminates polio, un- 
marked as the word is written above comes closest to being 
unstressed but does maintain long /o/ and so can be said to have 
weak stress, and the first and third can be said to have secondary 
stress. The ordinary spellings ignore differences in stress. Simply 
and imply have very different patterns of stress, and these affect 
their vowel sounds; but the written forms give no hint of this fact. 
The noun entrance and the verb entrance are written alike, so that 
without the help of context the combination of letters which repre- 
sents these two words cannot be pronounced. 

Used alone, every word can be said to have one primary stress. 


452 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Inflectional endings are characteristically unstressed; the "in- 
flected" pronoun forms in self (myself, themselves, oneself, etc.) have 
primary stress on self, however. Simplexes tend to have only one 
stressed syllable even when they are several syllables in length: 
this is true, for example, in cannibal and Missouri. But many 
simplexes have more than one stress: for example, antenna, bar- 
becue, hurricane, Massachusetts, moron. Repetitives such as hobnob, 
hocuspocus, hodgepodge, hushhush, rolypoly, and willynilly have two 
stresses. When words combine to form compounds, ordinarily each 
retains stress. Even though the first component in compounds is 
likely to have the relation of modifier to what follows it, it gen- 
erally has primary stress. 

backfire boathouse homesick nowhere 

browbeat houseboat waterproof sometime 

But in some compounds the primary stress comes later. 

outgrow afternoon overconfident whenever 

overpay undergraduate herein nevertheless 

In letter compounds such as TV and CIO, the primary stress seems 
to come at the end. In some compounds the position of primary 
stress depends on whether or not the compounds have following 
heads that they modify. 

We still shop at 'downtown stores. 
We still shop down'town. 
He'll give you an 'offhand answer. 
He'll answer off'hand. 

In some compounds there is loss of stress on the last component. 
Often this component is the noun man. 





But in businessman and mailman there is usually some stress on 
man. In forehead, highland, Iceland, necklace, Sunday, and yesterday 
there is loss of stress on last components other than man. In such 
nouns as breakfast, Christmas, shepherd, and vineyard the last com- 

Stress, Syllabification, Intonation, and Punctuation 453 

ponent has lost stress and the first has had a short vowel sound 
substituted for a long vowel sound or a diphthong. 

Patterns of stress within complexes are quite varied. Complexes 
can have one stressed syllable, or several. Prefixes and suffixes tend 
to be unstressed, but some commonly have secondary or weak 

antisocial nonaggression captivate customary 

coeducation uneasy centralize optimism 

extracurricular unwrap childhood solicitude 

For a few affixes, primary stress is normal. 

absentee Japanese kitchenette sinusitis 
Sometimes affixes for which it is not usual have primary stress. 

antifreeze subhead allocate infinite 

nonsense superman correlate mishap 

Some suffixes have stressed variants with characteristic spellings. 

cashier mirage mountaineer urbane 

personnel morale unique verbose 

The teen of such complexes as fourteen commonly has primary stress 
when no head follows. 

Carol's four'teen now. 

She's 'fourteen years old now. 

The union of words and noninflectional suffixes is often accom- 
panied by redistribution of stress within the components. In such 
complexes as the following, primary stresses have moved to the 

conference, confidence, excellence, residence 
admirable, comparable, preferable, reputable 
competent, confident, excellent, president 
definite, deputy, desperate, maintenance 

In such complexes as the following, primary stresses have moved 
nearer the end. 

abbreviation, accumulation, exhibition, indication 
abnormality, activity, continuity, sterility, minority 
adjectival, colonial, elemental, memorial 
algebraic, artistic, atomic, poetic, Icelandic 

454 The Sentence and Its Parts 

courageous, luxurious, ridiculous, synonymous 
photographer, telegraphy, triumphant, indicative 

Shifts in stress are especially notable before the suffixes ence, able, 
ent, ion, ity, al, ic, and ous. Before ion and ity, in particular, the 
habit of bringing primary stress to the end of the uniting word, 
immediately before ion and ity, results in notably distinct arrange- 
ments of stress. Exhibition and continuity are therefore quite dis- 
tinct from exhibit and continue in the spoken language, though the 
written language gives no suggestion of this. In such complexes as 
capability , stability, curiosity, and monstrosity the shifted pattern 
of stress affects spellings: ity is combined with notably distinct 
variants of the adjectives with which it is uniting. Apostolic shows 
a similar change before ic, and miraculous shows it before ous. 
There is no shifting in such words as convergence, respectable, ab- 
sorbent, epochal, choleric, and adventurous. Shifts in stress do not 
accompany the addition of suffixes in genuinely native word for- 
mation, it should be said. It is a curiosity of stress patterning that 
in complexes in which the first components are nonaffixal forma- 
tives the primary stress often falls not on the central part of either 
component but on a stem vowel terminating the first formative. 

biology isochronal omniscient philosophy 

democracy lithography omnivorous psychology 

Related complexes such as democrat and psychological put the 
stresses on parts of the components which seem more central. 
Within complexes and compounds of two or more syllables, pat- 
tern of stress often varies with part of speech. Sometimes the 
primary stress is on the last syllable of the verb and the first 
syllable of the noun or adjective. 

com'press, 'compress ,over'hang, 'over,hang 

con'duct, 'conduct per'fect, 'perfect 

di'gest, 'digest per'vert, 'pervert 

e'scort, 'escort pre'sent, 'present 

ex'tract, 'extract pro'gress, 'progress 

fer'ment, 'ferment pur'port, 'purport 

fre'quent, 'frequent re'bel, 'rebel 

im'port, 'import re'hash, 'rehash 

jinter'change, 'interchange sur'vey, 'survey 

offset, 'offset sub'ject, 'subject 

,over'flow, 'overflow transfer, 'transfer 

Stress, Syllabification, Intonation, and Punctuation 455 

A few adjectives and nouns are distinguished in the same way. 
in'valid, 'invalid mi'nute, 'minute 

In such a verb as attribute, which contrasts with the noun l attribute, 
the primary stress is on the syllable next to the last rather than on 
the last. In such pairs as the following almost all of them termi- 
nating in ate or ment verbs have final syllables with secondary 
stress but nouns and adjectives have unstressed final syllables. 

a'ppropri.ate, appropriate 'graduate, 'graduate 

a'pproxi.mate, approximate 'imple.ment, 'implement 

a'ssoci,ate, associate i'nit^ate, i'nitiate 

'compli.ment, 'compliment 'moderate, 'moderate 

de'libe.rate, deliberate 'ori,ent, 'orient 

e'labo,rate, elaborate 'regi.ment, 'regiment 

'estimate, 'estimate 'separate, 'separate 

But every word must be learned individually. The following com- 
plexes and compounds are both verbs and nouns without distinc- 
tion in patterns of stress. 

comfort detour exhaust promise 

command disdain exhibit remark 

control exchange outline support 

delay exercise process surface 

Words normally unstressed. Irregular alternation between 
stress and absence of stress characterizes sequences of words as well 
as single multisyllabic words. Unstressed pronunciations are normal 
for a number of constantly used monosyllables belonging to a 
variety of grammatical categories. 

1. Unstressed pronunciations are normal for be and been and 
for most of the verb forms that (1) precede not when not 
functions as clause negator and (2) take positions in front 
of subjects in questions: are, am, is, were, was; can, 
could, must, shall, should, will, would; in auxiliary uses 
have, has, had. May, might, and ought usually have at 
least weak stress even in such sequences as we may sell the 
house and I ought to warn you. Do, does, and did are 
strongly stressed in their emotional uses, as in apologetic, 
enthusiastic, or merely surprised he does read the local 
paper; in their uses as clause markers they are likely to be 

456 The Sentence and Its Parts 

2. Unstressed pronunciations are normal for the coordinating 

adverbs and, but, or, and nor; for some clause-marker ad- 
verbs used in subordinate clauses, notably when, where, 
if, as, and than; and for a number of prepositional ad- 
verbs, notably at, by, for, from, in, of, till, to, and with. 
Clause-marker adverbs such as why, how, and though are 
not likely to lose stress, nor are such prepositional ad- 
verbs as down, like, near, off, on, past, up, and worth. 

3. Unstressed pronunciations are normal for the articles the 

and a; for monosyllabic forms of the personal pronouns, 
excepting possessives used without following heads (as in 
that's his) and also excepting the forms 7, our, and they; 
for expletive there; for substitute one (as in a yellow apple 
and three red ones}; and for clause-marker that. 

The very frequency of occurrence of these words makes it pos- 
sible for them to be quite inconspicuous and at the same time 
recognizable. But all these words except perhaps expletive there 
are sometimes stressed. When they merge with not, as in we aren't 
late and he hadn't been told, the normally unstressed verb forms 
have stress and not loses it, so that in informal spoken English the 
difference in stressing becomes a part of the indication of nega- 
tion though are and had do take stress in emotional we are late 
and he had been told. In their uses as clause markers, as in are we 
late? and had Bill been told? the normally unstressed verb forms 
may or may not be stressed. Some monosyllabic verb forms not 
listed above sometimes lose stress before strongly stressed comple- 
ments: for example, get and come in get up! and come in! Except 
occasionally as a result of compounding (as in chairman and high- 
land, where man and land are unstressed), nouns, adjectives, and 
absolutes are very rarely unstressed; but sir is sometimes unstressed 
in yes, sir! and times is sometimes unstressed in its use in connec- 
tion with multiplication, as in three times four is twelve. Clause- 
marker adverbs and pronouns seem more likely to be unstressed 
in subordinate clauses than in main ones: when, for example, in 
no one answered when I called but not in when did you call? Prep- 
ositional adverbs that are "normally" unstressed are unstressed 
only when they are used as prepositions with objects following 
them. When objects come earlier, as in who's itforf the same words 
are stressed; and they are stressed when they do not have ex- 
pressed objects, as in come in! This and that are generally stressed, 

Stress, Syllabification, Intonation, and Punctuation 457 

in contrast with the; but this is commonly unstressed in con- 
stantly used this morning. Some is often a stressed equivalent of 
unstressed a, as in some salesman has been trying to call you. When 
it modifies plurals and quantifiables, some is ordinarily unstressed. 
In some students are complaining stress on some would suggest an 
unstated contrasting but others are not. Difference in stress can 
sometimes indicate which of two essentially opposite meanings of 
any is intended. Thus in Sarah won't invite any boys to her party 
light stress on any can indicate that the sentence means that no 
boys will be invited and very strong stress on any especially if 
just is placed before any can indicate that boys will be invited 
but Sarah is particular and not all the boys that might be invited 
will be. 

When they are unstressed, various monosyllabic words that are 
quite distinct in their written forms and in their stressed spoken 
forms become indistinguishable in pronunciation. Are and or and 
her are alike, for example; so are and and in, since and usually 
loses /d/. Of and have become indistinguishable in pronunciation, 
and the ungrammatical produce written sequences such as might 
of known. Actually of and have and a often fall together, when 
the /v/ of of and have is ignored : in a common pronunciation of 
a cup of coffee, for example, a and of are indistinguishable. When 7 
and they are unstressed, sequences like I love her and a lover be- 
come identical in pronunciation, and sequences like they love her 
and the lover. Context makes real ambiguity infrequent. Where 
ambiguity would be likely to result, loss of stress is sometimes 
avoided even in rather rapid informal speech. Thus on and in are 
generally kept distinct by maintaining weak stress on on, and our 
and her by maintaining weak stress on our. Her can safely be 
pronounced like are and or because it is generally used in clearly 
different constructions, but her and our, like in and on, are used 
in the same constructions. 

Stress in phrasal units. In phrasal units, phrase stress tends 
to come on the last word. 

enough time a terrific fight boys and girls 

time en6ugh a battle r6yal girls and b6ys 

the return trip Roosevelt's d6ath around the w6rld 

the trip b&ck the death of R6osevelt the world ar6und 

458 The Sentence and Its Parts 

If the last word has more than one syllable, phrase stress normally 
centers on the syllable where primary stress falls when the word is 
spoken alone. When the last word is one that is normally un- 
stressed, phrase stress normally moves forward, as in George and 
me (where coordination gives me a degree of stress but George ordi- 
narily has phrase stress for the multiple unit), and as in the niw 
ones (where ones ordinarily remains unstressed). 

In phrasal units in which relationships are exceptional in some 
way, phrase stress often moves forward. The contrasts in the fol- 
lowing pairs of nounal units are significant. 

a baby sister a mother c6untry a stone h6use 

a b&by sitter a m6ther complex a r6ck garden 

a woman lawyer a toy clipboard a candy c&ne 

a w6man hater a t6y cupboard a c&ndy store 

Each of these units contains a modifying noun and a head noun, 
and the modifying noun precedes its head. When the modifying 
noun has the essentially descriptive force of an adjective, the head 
noun normally has phrase stress. In a baby sister the sister is a 
baby, in a candy cdne the cane is candy. When the modifying 
noun has some other relationship to its head, the modifying noun 
rather than the head normally has phrase stress. Thus in a bdby 
sitter the sitter is not a baby but a sitter with babies, and in a 
cdndy store the store is not candy but sells candy. When it is used 
of a cupboard that is itself a toy, a toy cupboard has phrase stress 
on cupboard; when it is used of a cupboard which is not itself a 
toy but is used as a place for toys, the same sequence has phrase 
stress on toy. Adjective modifiers of noun heads tend to have 
phrase stress when the relationship is exceptional, as in the sick 
room (where the room is not sick), the Ugal profession (as compared 
with the legal solution), and a professional man (as compared with 
a professional musician). When a gerundial adjective or noun mod- 
ifies a following head noun, the pattern of stress normally indi- 
cates the nature of the relationship somewhat similarly. When the 
gerundial is a gerundial adjective with the force of a modifying 
clause with progressive-aspect predicator, the head noun normally 
has phrase stress: when the gerundial is a noun, and often when 
it is an adjective with the force of a common-aspect predicator, 
the gerundial has phrase stress. 

Stress, Syllabification, Intonation, and Punctuation 459 

growing children visiting firemen traveling salesmen 

gr6wing pains visiting hours vanishing cream 

a living s6ul the waiting mother washing machines 

living conditions the waiting room working people 

Here growing children are children that are growing, but growing 
pains are the pains of growing. Vanishing cream is cream that 
vanishes, and w6rking people are people that work. Phrase stress 
sometimes moves to the front of fixed combinations composed of 
adjective modifiers and noun heads. 

the high schools ral estate yellow jackets 

But yellow f&uer is a fixed combination too. Many phrasal units 
disregard the usual patterns of stress. Thus in ghost writers and 
problem children phrase stress is on the modifying nouns, though 
the writers are ghosts and the children are problems. In student 
activities, on the other hand, phrase stress is on activities, though 
the activities are not students but rather are for students. With 
identical relationships apdrtment house and apartment hotel employ 
different patterns of stress. Similarly chocolate cdke and chocolate 
bar follow different patterns of stress. Running w&ter is commonly 
water that runs when it is turned on, not water that is running; a 
living w&ge is a wage that permits living, not a wage that is liv- 
ing. Working mdthers has phrase stress on mothers, though work- 
ing people has it on working, 

In phrasal proper names phrase stress tends to come at the end. 

Samuel Biitler Wick Avenue the Republican 

Robert Morss Swarthmore C611ege Party 

L6vett St. George's 


In New York phrase stress is on York and New is likely to have 
weaker stress than that on new in new homes. But in phrasal proper 
names such as West Forty-second Street and the General Electric 
Company phrase stress precedes such fairly obvious nouns as 
street and company. 

In phrasal units which require part-of-speech classification as 
units, phrase stress is variously placed. It is on the first word in 
such phrasal nouns as hdnd-me-downs, hds-beens, in-laws, and t6-do, 
and in such phrasal adjectives as unheard-of and uncdlled-for. It is 

460 The Sentence and Its Parts 

on the last word in such phrasal verbs as soft-soap and double- 
pdrk; in such phrasal nouns as about-fdce, at-home, commander-in- 
chlef, B-fldt, and New Yorker; and in such phrasal adjectives as 
big-hearted and matter-of-fdct. 

Stress in sentences. In sentences, patterns of stress are de- 
termined by complex combinations of influences that can only 
be suggested here. The tendency is toward putting dominant stress 
at the end. There is a parallel to this tendency in the assignment 
of time in long-known hymn tunes. Thus the first lines of one of 
Charles Wesley's hymns are as follows. 

A charge to keep I have, 
A God to glorify. 

In the tune to which this hymn is most often sung, "Boylston," the 
syllables have and fy, ending their lines, have twice the time any 
other syllables have. Dominant stress is of course more than ex- 
tended duration, and normally centers on syllables that would 
have primary stress or phrase stress if the words or longer units 
they are parts of were spoken alone: a dominant stress given to 
glorify would normally center on its first syllable rather than its 
last. But the parallel is significant. When the answer to what's 
wrong now? is Bill's broken a chair, dominant stress will usually 
be on the complement a chair. From the point of view of syntactic 
analysis the head word in the statement is the predicator has 
broken, and from the point of view of meaning it would seem that 
the trouble centers in the breaking; but dominant stress will be 
assigned to broken only in rather exceptional versions of the sen- 
tence. In / know one thing dominant stress will usually be on the 
complement one thing; in one thing I know it will usually be on 
the predicator know. In small-town people are very friendly dom- 
inant stress will generally be on the complement very friendly; in 
the double sentence the smaller the town, the friendlier the people it 
will generally be on the subjects the town and the people. In what's a 
linguist? dominant stress will generally be on the subject a linguist; 
in who's a linguist? it will generally be on the complement a 
linguist. Dominant stress is on her luggage both in that's her luggage, 
where her luggage is the complement, and in there's her luggage, 
where it is the subject. Adverbial second complements, however, 

Stress, Syllabification, Intonation, and Punctuation 461 

are likely not to have dominant stress wheu they terminate sen- 
tences. If the answer to what was that noise? is George put the cat 
out, dominant stress will ordinarily be on the first complement, 
the cat, not the second complement out. Final adjuncts may or 
may not have dominant stress. If the answer to what was that 
noise? is George reads the news emotionally, dominant stress may 
or may not be on the adjunct emotionally. When prepositional com- 
plements are divided as in what are you looking for? they are 
likely to lose dominant stress. 

Context is of extreme importance. What is new in the context 
is likely to be made more prominent than what is not. Thus in a 
context in which there has been discussion of snow but mention 
of local conditions is new, dominant stress will probably be on 
here in it rarely snows here; but in a context in which there has 
been discussion of local weather but no mention of snow, dominant 
stress will probably be on snows. The personal pronouns and sub- 
stitute one are normally unstressed because they refer to what is 
prominent in the immediate context. In Til go with George dom- 
inant stress is probably on George; but if George has just been 
mentioned prominently (and the trip to be made has been under 
discussion), what is said is probably Pll go with him, and dominant 
stress is probably on the preposition with. When a gesture ac- 
companies who's he? the personal pronoun has dominant stress 
because "he" has not been mentioned previously. If both George 
and a piece of information George does not have are prominent 
in the context, but the idea of telling George is new, then dom- 
inant stress will probably be on tell in why not tell George? But when 
what is new in a particular context is also fairly obvious, there is 
normally only light stress or no stress at all. Thus the unstressed 
it of it rarely snows here gets its significance from its use with 
snows: nothing can snow snow but "it." In there aren't many young 
people in the neighborhood the modifier young takes dominant stress 
away from its head people: the fact that the young creatures of 
interest are people seems rather obvious. If women replaced people, 
it would normally have dominant stress. In I have things to do the 
word things makes little real contribution to meaning and has 
weaker stress than do. If work is substituted for things (with more 
exact contribution to meaning), it will have dominant stress. In I 

462 The Sentence and Its Parts 

know one thing dominant stress is likely to go to one rather than 
to semantically pale thing. In / knew you when you were a child, 
and you were pretty then dominant stress on then implies that the 
young woman spoken to is still pretty. Dominant stress on pretty 
would be almost insulting here. In the written language then can 
be underlined or italicized to guide the reader here, but much of 
the time the written language simply depends on the reader's 
alertness, and a careless reader will have to back up and reread. 
Often dominant stress simply indicates a centering of atten- 
tion or emotion. Thus in it's incredible what that boy can eat dom- 
inant stress is likely to be on incredible, and eat will have strong 
stress also. In she has it infer George dominant stress will ordinarily 
be on in, where the notion of stored-up antipathy seems to center. 
In we 1 re painting at our garage strong stress on at indicates that 
the job being done is not real painting but simply an effort at 
painting. Where there is comparison or contrast dominant stresses 
normally operate to center attention. Thus in his friends are 
stranger than his sisters' strong stresses are normal for his and 
sisters', but in his friends are stranger than his sisters strong stresses 
are normal for friends and sisters. In he's hurting himself more than 
he's hurting you both himself and you have stronger stress than 
they would ordinarily have if there were no contrast. In is she 
Chinese or Japanese? the desire to contrast the first parts of words 
which are alike in their last components produces an exceptional 
disregard of the normal patterns of stress of Chinese and Japanese. 
Sometimes strong stress serves to focus an important secondary 
relationship. Thus in Mary wrote an account of the trip first strong 
stress on Mary marks Mary as the first in a series of people who 
wrote accounts of the trip, strong stress on wrote marks the writ- 
ing as the first of a series of actions of Mary's concerned with 
an account of her trip (about which she may later have made 
speeches, for example), and strong stress on trip makes the trip 
the first of a series of subjects about which Mary wrote accounts. 
In hunger stimulates man too the situation is very similar. Strong 
stress on hunger treats hunger as an additional stimulus, strong 
stress on stimulates treats stimulation as an additional effect of 
hunger, strong stress on man treats man as an additional creature 
who responds to the stimulation of hunger. Here again, in the 

Stress, Syllabification, Intonation, and Punctuation 46$ 

written language it is possible to help the reader get his stresses 
right by using underlining or italics, but much of the time there 
is simply reliance on his understanding in the light of context. 

When a word represents a larger construction of which it is the 
only expressed part, it normally has more stress than it would 
have in fully expressed construction. Thus when yes, I have is the 
response to have you finished reading the paper? the stress on have, 
which here represents have finished reading the paper, is quite 
strong. In Mack's the leader at camp, but Jack is here the is of the 
second main declarative represents is the leader and therefore has 
stress. Mack's the leader at camp, but Jack's here, with this is 
deprived of stress, makes here the complement in the clause. In 
of all the suggestions that were made, his was the silliest the possessive 
his represents his suggestion and is stressed. When go represents 
itself and a complement (being equivalent, say, to go to Martinique) 
in which boat did Jack go on? it has strong stress; when it represents 
only itself and on which is its complement (so that go on is seman- 
tically equivalent to board), on has stronger stress than go does. 
Omission of a subordinator pronoun, however, does not result in 
an increase in stress on a prepositional adverb for which the sub- 
ordinator pronoun would be object. Thus to has light stress both 
in that was the conclusion that I came to and in that was the conclu- 
sion I came to. But when to represents to consciousness in that was 
the moment that I came to, and similarly in that was the moment I 
came to, there is much stronger stress on to. In / wanted to tell him, 
but I was afraid to the final to is lightly stressed because it repre- 
sents to tell him. In to tell him, of course, to is normally unstressed. 
When I have instructions to leave is equivalent in meaning to I have 
instructions that I am to leave this place, dominant stress is ordi- 
narily on leave. When the same sequence is equivalent in meaning 
to / have instructions which I am to leave, dominant stress is ordi- 
narily on instructions. 

It is clear that patterns of stress sometimes show construction 
unambiguously in the spoken language where without the help of 
context it would be ambiguous in the written. Other examples 

I'll come by Tuesday. 

I can't be happy long without drinking water. 

464 The Sentence and Its Parts 

In the first of these sentences if by is the complement of come and 
Tuesday is an adjunct of time equivalent to on Tuesday, there will 
be strong stress on by in the spoken language; but if a complement 
for come is implied and by Tuesday is a prepositional unit used as 
an adjunct, by will be unstressed or lightly stressed at most. In 
the second sentence if drinking water is a gerundial clause and 
without drinking water is roughly equivalent in meaning to unless 
I drink water, there will be stronger stress on water than on drink- 
ing; but if drinking is a gerundial noun modifying water and with- 
out drinking water is equivalent to without water for drinking, there 
will be stronger stress on drinking than on water. But the use of 
stress in comparison and contrast, for example, can undermine dis- 
tinctions such as these. And patterns of stress are not always un- 
ambiguous by any means. In the Steiners have busy lives without 
visiting relatives only context can indicate whether visiting rela- 
tives is equivalent in meaning to paying visits to relatives or to 
relatives who are visiting them, and in / looked up the number and 
I looked up the chimney only the meanings of number and chimney 
make it clear that up is syntactically a second complement in the 
first sentence and a preposition followed by its object in the sec- 

Syllabification. Syllables are linguistic units centering in 
peaks which are usually vocalic but, as has been noted, are conso- 
nantal under certain circumstances, and which may or may not be 
combined with preceding and/or following consonants or combina- 
tions of consonants. Syllables are genuine units, but division of 
words and sentences into them presents great difficulties. Some- 
times even the number of syllables is not clear. Doubt on this 
point is strongest before /!/ and /&/ or /r/. From the point of view 
of word formation real might be expected to have two syllables. 
Historically re is the formative that is employed also in republic, 
and al is the common suffix. When ity is added, real clearly has 
two syllables. But there is every reason to regard deal as a mono- 
syllable, and because of the fact that /!/ commonly has the quality 
of /ol/ when it follows vowel sounds, deal seems to be a perfectly 
satisfactory rhyme with real Similarly spelling and history suggest 
regarding power as a word of two syllables; yet power seems to be 
a good rhyme for monosyllabic sour. We are dealing with border- 

Stress, Syllabification, Intonation, and Punctuation 465 

line cases, and we must expect borderline cases in all attempts at 
classification of linguistic phenomena. 

The problem of deciding where syllables begin and end is a more 
fundamental one. Often there simply are no clear division points: 
syllables flow into the syllables that follow them much as the dis- 
tinctive sounds of which they are composed flow into the sounds 
which follow them. In comfortable rapid speech the following 
sequences may become indistinguishable to the ear. 

May could answer. 
Make a dancer. 

Division points between syllables are generally clearest before 
stresses. But even before stresses we must face the fact that such 
pairs as a notion and an ocean, and a name and an aim, have long 
tended to be indistinguishable, so that the McGufTey Readers of 
the last century, with a strong interest in "correct" pronunciation, 
drilled students on making a distinction that they obviously were 
likely not to make. In earlier times an /n/ moved from the article 
to the noun in a nickname, and the opposite shift occurred in an 
orange. At all is often pronounced like a tall, with the aspirated /t/ 
that begins syllables. Bring her over can be very close indeed to 
bring Rover, and that's tough to that stuff. When the final /s/ of 
miss and the initial /j/ of you unite to make miss you a reasonably 
good rhyme for tissue, division into precise syllables becomes 

In compound words in which all major components retain stress, 
syllable divisions between major components normally seem clear. 
Thus pieplant seems to divide between pie and plant, and pipeline 
between pipe and line. Teacup seems to divide between tea and 
cup, and makeup between make and up. In complexes, division into 
syllables is often a very different matter from division into the 
components with which word formation is concerned. Thus the 
clearest syllable divisions in the following complexes come at points 
inside clear formatives, not before or after them. 

absen'tee Chi'nese pho'tography ther'mometer 

a'dorn definition proclamation trigo'nometry 

carnivorous engi'neer psychology u'nanimous 

466 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Proper nouns often divide with equal clarity, whether or not they 
are divisible into formatives in English. 

Cor'nelius Fuji'yama Massachusetts Pa'tricia 

Some formatives are generally merged with their neighbors. This 
is notably true of ion: for example, in conviction and revision. 

The written language does not attempt to indicate syllable divi- 
sions as it does vowel and consonant sounds, words, and sentences. 
It does have a set of conventions for dividing words at the ends 
of lines, but this is another matter. Thus the convention permits 
us to divide suppose, biggish, and revision into sup-pose, big-gish, 
and either re-vision or revi-sion. Accurate syllable division here 
would give us su-ppose and (if we assume that since short stressed 
vowel sounds normally cannot end words they normally cannot 
end syllables either) bigg~ish and re-vision or revisi-on. Accurate 
syllable division is a highly controversial matter, and in the end 
has to be uncomfortably arbitrary at important points. For most 
purposes it is enough to know how many syllables there are, where 
their peaks are, and where stressed syllables begin. The ordinary 
spellings will not permit us to mark stresses at the beginnings of 
syllables in words like exact, where x represents one consonant 
sound in the first syllable and one in the second: we can bow to 
necessity and write ex } act. 

Intonation and punctuation. In the spoken language, the 
stream of words is interrupted by pauses of varied types ; in the writ- 
ten language, by punctuation. The "pauses" of the spoken language 
may involve silence, or they may involve simply a slowing down. 
Like stress, they also involve characteristic uses of pitch. Where 
unstressed words occur, the spoken language does not mark off 
words as clearly as the written does. A lot and allot are generally 
indistinguishable in pronunciation, and lock it and locket. In very 
informal speech the merging of words in what did you take her? 
will make take her indistinguishable from taker and may make 
what did you into a two-syllable sequence rhyming with rajah. 
But the written language often fails to show syntactic grouping 
where the spoken language does. We need more conscientious 
officials is ambiguous in the written language : it can be equivalent 

Stress, Syllabification, Intonation, and Punctuation 467 

to we need officials who are more conscientious or to we need a greater 
number of conscientious officials. Children who have watched this 
program often show that it has affected their thinking is ambiguous 
in the written language: often can be taken as an adjunct in the 
clause whose predicator is have watched or as an adjunct in the 
main statement, whose predicator is show. Such sentences as these 
are not ambiguous in the spoken language, where intonation makes 
it clear how their components group themselves. Good writing 
involves avoidance of ambiguities such as these; good conversa- 
tion is characteristically less demanding. 

The spoken language is commonly said to employ three types of 
terminal pauses, which can be called fading, rising, and sustained. 
Spoken as a straightforward statement regarded as more or less 
complete in itself, Jane's pretty will normally end with falling pitch 
and fading away of the sound. Spoken incredulously, or with the 
force of a question, the same sentence would normally end with 
rising pitch and without an effect of fading away. Spoken as 
something which might well be followed by but and a comment less 
favorable to Jane, the sentence might well end with pitch sustained 
to the end. As a response to George has bought another ridiculously 
expensive gadget, the one-word sentence what! with high rising pitch 
is roughly equivalent to what are you saying! With lower fading 
intonation it is equivalent to what has he bought? All three types 
of "terminal" pauses occur within sentences as well as at the ends 
of them. The sentences of a minister given to long, elaborately 
worked out structures and dramatic uses of pitch, stress, and 
pause will contain many "terminal" pauses. Afterthought, real or 
pretended, causes them to appear within even very short sentences. 
Sustained terminals are especially likely to occur within sentences 
of many kinds. A currently famous bit of phonological analysis 
places one between subject and predicator in Long Island is a 
long island. 

From the point of view of grammatical analysis, the most im- 
portant function of intonation in the spoken language and punctua- 
tion in the written is to show what goes with what. Thus the fol- 
lowing responses to the question what has kept Harriet from 
marrying? employ the same sequence of words but are very dif- 
ferent grammatical structures. 

468 The Sentence and Its Parts 

You know. Her mother. 
You know her mother. 

A variety of intonations is available for each of these responses. 
The attitude of the speaker is inevitably reflected in the intonation 
he employs : a great deal of intonation is packaging. This is not to 
say that it is unimportant. For delicate subject matter intonation 
can be of tremendous importance. The grammatically significant 
fact about the two responses given above is that the first response 
is two sentences, both of them reduced as is often the case in 
replies to questions, and the second response is a single sentence. 
Unpunctuated headlines can be misleading, as the following exam- 
ple shows. 


But neither intonation nor punctuation provides a detailed guide 
to analysis. The following sentences the last one reduced, and 
most likely to occur as the reply to a question can employ iden- 
tical intonation and identical punctuation and yet be structurally 
quite distinct. 

That's her luggage. 
There's her luggage. 
Bring her luggage. 
With her luggage. 

The interrogative where' s her luggage? can employ the same into- 
nation but is marked by special punctuation in the written lan- 

Punctuation between sentences and main divisions of 
multiple sentences. Terminal punctuation and initial capital 
letters together mark the sentences of the written language. The 
basic sentence-terminating mark is of course the period. The ques- 
tion mark indicates that a reply is desired* Like the period, it follows 
clauses and clause equivalents of various types; and it certainly 
is not confined to association with particular intonation patterns, 

Where's her luggage? 
Did you finish? 
That's her luggage? 

Stress, Syllabification, Intonation, and Punctuation 469 

But declaratives such as that's her luggage? gain question force in 
the spoken language wholly from rising intonation and perhaps 
manner. So do isolates with no clausal form at all. 

Ready? Friend of yours? 

Sugar? Yes? 

Exclamation points, too, can terminate sentences of varied syn- 
tactic types : their value is emotional, and they suggest emotional 
intonations quite imprecisely. 

That's her luggage ! 

Is it hot! 

What a mess! 

If only she'd get here! 


Within multiple sentences the general practice is to use commas 
to separate the major divisions if these are linked by coordinators 
(and, but, or, nor) and do not themselves contain commas. Where 
something stated in the first major division is implied in the fol- 
lowing one, the divisions are tied together more tightly and the 
comma can well be omitted. 

Parents were notoriously indulgent of their children and chil- 
dren notoriously disrespectful of their parents. 

Where comma punctuation occurs within a major division, and 
where there is no coordinator, a semicolon normally replaces the 

Nations with large resources, good organization, and a willing- 
ness to face economic facts can perhaps hope to remain 
unaffected by world economic upheavals; but nations which 
are less fortunate cannot. 

It was very delicate work; consequently errors were inevitably 

At that time the electroencephalograph was still a laboratory 
novelty; today it is standard clinical equipment. 

Where the first major division amounts to a preparation for the 
second, a colon is appropriate. 

He shows more than disregard of ideas: he shows fear of them. 
Matilde is like most girls with backgrounds such as hers: she 
shows her emotions freely. 

470 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Exceptions to the general rule for punctuating between the 
major divisions of multiple sentences must be noted. When the 
second main division of a multiple sentence begins (somewhat in- 
formally) with a so which means therefore, a comma is usual as the 
separating mark. 

She went to school in France, so her French is excellent. 

A comma is quite possible without a coordinator between short 
major divisions of multiple sentences, especially when they are 
parallel in content and structure. 

He likes garlic, she hates garlic. 

The past has not ceased to exist, it has only ceased to be 

What history did the nineteenth-century American know, 
what stories did he treasure, what heroes and heroines of 
literature did he cherish, what songs did he sing? 

A comma is normal without a coordinator between proportiona- 
tive-assertive main clauses united in interdependent multiple sen- 

The less building you have, the more light and air you get. 

A comma is also normal without a coordinator (1) between a 
declarative and a confirmational interrogative, (2) between a de- 
clarative and an emotional or meditative interrogative, (3) between 
an imperative and a reiterative interrogative, and (4) between yes 
or no and a reiterative declarative, reduced or not reduced. 

You live here, don't you? 
He's late again, is he? 
Take me along, won't you? 
No, I haven't. 
Yes, I said it. 

Split sentences are normally distinguished, in careful punctua- 
tion, from multiple sentences. 

If the inspector will approve it, this project can be considered 

finished and a new one can be begun. 
Sometimes we invite him but he refuses. 

In each of these sentences a single adjunct, if the inspector will 
approve it in the first and sometimes in the second, modifies two 

Stress, Syllabification, Intonation, and Punctuation 471 

following nucleuses and punctuation between the nucleuses is 
therefore not desirable, 

Punctuation after clausal adjuncts in pre-subject posi- 
tion. Within sentences and major divisions of multiple sen- 
tences, four principles of punctuation are grammatically significant. 

First, clausal adjuncts or complements (including those within 
which clauses are contained) are best followed by commas when 
they precede the subjects of the larger clauses which contain them, 
unless they are short and the construction is quite clear without 

If the language policy of the United States in Puerto Rico 
had been more judicious in those early years, the present 
position of English on the island would be more satisfactory. 

After serving as pastor of a Moravian church on St. Croix for 
many years, he retired and returned to Winston-Salem 
in 1948. 

How long the communal life of these tribes will continue, only 
time can tell. 

A clausal adjunct or complement which follows an adjunct fol- 
lowed by a comma should often dispense with its own following 

In log-cabin days, when a family moved into a new neighbor- 
hood the people of the community would gather and in a 
matter of hours would construct a house at practically ncx 

If you don't hear from me again before you start, when you 
reach Columbus be sure to telephone me and let me make 
arrangements for you to see the Dean immediately. 

No comma is used after pre-subject adjunct clauses functioning 
as clause markers in assertives. 

Not since Wilson nosed out Hughes had the country seen such 

an upset. 
Only when Spain lost control did the island experience freedom 

of religion. 

Punctuation between coordinates. A second principle of 
punctuation within sentences and major divisions of multiple sen- 
tences is that contained coordinates not linked by one of the coordi- 
nators and, but, or, and nor must ordinarily be separated by punc- 
tuation. The basic mark for the purpose is the comma. 

472 The Sentence and Its Parts 

It was a cold, wet day. 

We visited Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. 

When the contained coordinates have commas within themselves 
and the multiple unit is either first or last in its sentence, semi- 
colons are likely to be used to separate the coordinates. 

At the airport to meet us were the principal of the high school, 
an energetic and enthusiastic man; the president of the 
school board, well fed and grayish; and the secretary of 
the Chamber of Commerce, obviously a professional greeter. 

Hyphens are used between coordinates in two-word numerals from 
twenty-one to ninety-nine, and in prepositive modifiers such as 
Spanish-American in the Spanish-American war. Where numerals 
are used in highly reduced coordinates without coordinators, they 
are sometimes set side by side with no punctuation at all. 

He's five feet ten. 

It's almost twelve thirty. 

It is generally best not to punctuate where coordinates linked by 
coordinators occur within sentences and major divisions of mul- 
tiple sentences. 

It is true that being ordinary is not only the natural way of 
life for most of us but the surest safeguard against being 
hurt by our fellows. 

Startling theories of geology ruined the comfortable chro- 
nology of Bishop Ussher and reduced the history of man to 
an inconsiderable second of infinite time. 

We were disturbed because the man was obviously drunk and 
his companion was somewhat less than sober. 

Punctuation to set off loose adjuncts. A third principle of 
punctuation within sentences and major divisions of multiple sen- 
tences is that loose adjuncts must ordinarily be set off by punctua- 
tion. The basic mark for this purpose is the comma. Loose-adjunct 
status is normal for adjuncts of interjection, direct address, reason 
for speaking, and evidence. 

Well, why don't you try another store? 

Are you reading, Milton? 

The water is wonderful today, in case you're interested. 

He grew up in Virginia, judging by his speech. 

Stress, Syllabification, Intonation, and Punctuation 473 

Main clauses used as adjuncts in upside-down construction are 
treated as loose; so are most gerundial-clause adjuncts with ex- 
pressed subjects, most combinations of the preposition for and a 
declarative-clause object, and most clauses subordinated by al- 

She isn't exactly poor, you know. 

Behind us stood about a dozen young men, most of them 

workers from the steel mills. 
Mother would enjoy a trip to Juniata very much, for after 

all she grew up there. 
Automobiles are much more dangerous than planes, although 

they have less spectacular crashes. 

Half modifiers, half appositives, and half coordinates are gen- 
erally treated as loose adjuncts and set off by commas. 

In institutions of this type professional training begins in the 
third year, after the student has achieved a solid back- 
ground in mathematics and the sciences. 

The political capital, Washington, is the capital only in poli- 

The Americans, or "North Americans/' knew almost nothing 
about Juarez. 

Year dates attached to names of months or to month-and-day 
dates, and names of larger containing geographical or organiza- 
tional units attached to names of smaller units, are usually set off 
by commas. 

On July 10, 1956, the building was finally opened. 
Parkersburg, West Virginia, has the nearest airport. 
His address is simply Department of English, Earlham Col- 
lege, Richmond, Indiana. 

From the point of view of grammatical analysis, loose-adjunct 
status is assigned somewhat arbitrarily in some of the construc- 
tions just noted. The year date in July 10, 1956, for example, would 
seem to be an identifying modifier of what it follows, and therefore 
deserving of tight-modifier status. When 10 July 1956 is written, 
as is done increasingly, there is no punctuation, though the older 
the tenth of July, 1956, retains punctuation. Actually the com- 
plexity of dates and (even more) of many addresses makes punc- 
tuation necessary for clarity, just as in the spoken language pauses 

474 The Sentence and Its Parts 

are necessary. The written language distinguishes direct address 
more unfailingly than the spoken. Spoken incredulously, with high 
pitch and strong stress on reading, the following sentences are 
likely to be indistinguishable in the spoken language. 

Are you reading, Milton? 
Are you reading Milton? 

In any normal context, of course, there is no question whether 
Milton is the person spoken to or the seventeenth-century poet. 
The distinction between tight and loose construction affects struc- 
ture and meaning basically in pairs such as the following. 

In institutions of this type professional training is begun in 
the third year, after the student has received a solid back- 
ground in mathematics and the sciences. 

In institutions of this type professional training is begun in 
the third year after the student has received a solid back- 
ground in mathematics and sciences. 

In the first of these sentences, the third year is the third year in 
the institution; in the second, it is the third year in a sequence 
beginning after a solid background in mathematics and sciences 
has been achieved. 

Dashes replace commas in setting off adjuncts which are genu- 
inely parenthetical and have the form of main clauses, and in set- 
ting off adjuncts which themselves contain commas. 

An officer said that the dead man's family he was known to 

have a mother and sister living would claim the body in a 

few days. 
Of the three great public agencies of transportation the bus, 

the train, and the plane the bus brings the traveler closest 

to the life of the country he passes through. 

Dashes also tend to replace commas for loose adjuncts which begin 
repetitively, and also for loose adjuncts with half-appositive re- 
lationships to the nucleuses to which they attach. 

Hayes was an extraordinarily enlightened man-enlightened 
both in his attitudes toward the problems of his profession 
and in his views of the world beyond his profession. 

With the dogs barking furiously at him, he renewed his shouts 
of "Ave Maria" the proper thing to do when you ap- 
proached a strange house in that region. 

Stress, Syllabification, Intonation, and Punctuation 475 

Curves compete with dashes in the uses mentioned here. Curves 
are usable to inclose quite clearly what occurs where commas 
would be confusing and dashes a little strong. 

Zephir hated to leave King Babar, Queen Celeste, the Old 
Lady (his teacher), and his beloved Arthur. 

Here the curves tie his teacher together visibly and relate the unit 
to its context, somewhat as the hyphens in modern-language teach- 
ing, a single-level house, all-wool suits, and the fast-changing customs 
relate the units they tie together. Curves can also inclose sentences 
and series of sentences. 

Colons function as introductory marks before loose adjuncts 
ending their sentences. 

In time everyone organized: boys and girls in schools, busi- 
nessmen and scholars, friends and neighbors, old settlers and 
newcomers, vegetarians and teetotalers, those who survived 
a blizzard and those who grew roses. 

On this mesa the Indians found the hope of all suffering and 
tormented creatures : safety. 

In particular contexts, adjuncts are sometimes assigned loose 
status for the sake of clarity of construction or of improved rhythm 
or of special effect. It is generally wise to set off clausal adjuncts 
interrupting the nucleuses of the larger clauses within which they 
are contained. 

We all realize, when we face the facts, that local control over 
schools and teachers can have disastrous effects. 

Adjuncts of various other types are often set off to prevent them 
from being related too closely, in reading, to what follows them. 

Jerry had a year of school in Mexico. Ever since, he spends 

all his vacations there. 
After that, school in the States seemed a little dull. 

Sometimes what could be the second coordinate in a double unit 
is set off by commas as a way of showing that something that 
follows attaches not just to it but to two constructions. 

The mother is more nervous, and also a little more exacting, 
than the father. 

476 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Impinging modifiers are sometimes set off for similar reasons. 

The most likable, if not the most dependable, student in the 
group is the boy from Iowa. 

The second of what could be two coordinated subordinate clauses 
is often set off with commas. 

If you like the house, and if you don't think the rent is too 
high, you'd better go ahead and take it. 

Commas often indicate that the closer of two grammatically pos- 
sible relationships is not the intended one. 

Wrestlers avoid fights with little men who are trying to prove 
something to themselves, by simply allowing the little men 
to have their way. 

I talked to the man that seemed to own the sailboat, and 
learned that it was leaving for St. Kitts in an hour. 

Inclosing commas indicate outermost layer of modification in the 
following sentence, which would be misread without them. 

We read, most of the time, because reading is one of our bad 

A comma changes the character of the question in the following 

Do you speak Spanish, or Portuguese? 

Without a comma this question may be taken as equivalent to do 
you speak either Spanish or Portuguese? Considerations of rhythm, 
and of distance between marks, will determine whether the commas 
indicated in the following sentences are used or not. 

She'll marry him one of these days, even though she knows 

he never will have any money. 
He gave an excellent examination, involving thought as well 

as memory. 

Desire for special effects of afterthought or, at the other extreme, 
exceptional emphasis often lead to setting off items for which 
tight construction would seem normal. 

It's quiet here, today. 

Given reasonably favorable conditions, and good will, we can 
hope to get real results. 

Stress, Syllabification, Intonation, and Punctuation 477 

Punctuation separating the parts of nucleuses. The 

fourth principle of punctuation within sentences and major divisions 
of sentences is that ordinarily the parts of nucleuses subjects, 
predicators, and complements should not be separated or inclosed 
by punctuation. Thus long subjects are usually not followed by 
punctuation, or long complements preceded by it, whether or not 
pauses occur in the spoken language. 

The loneliness of his early life, the constant nagging of his 
mother, and his long-continued bad health combined to 
produce in the boy a considerable distortion of personality. 

The group includes a small number of devout churchmen, a 
few people who see no place for religion in modern life, and 
the usual majority of people with no very clear opinions in 
the matter. 

But adjuncts set off by commas often interrupt nucleuses, espe- 
cially in careful and formal styles. 

A few minutes later the people at the next table, who had 
looked familiar to us from the first, asked us whether we 
were from Portland. 

Main clauses used as complements of be are preceded by commas. 

He fulfils the community's ideas of what a good teacher should 
be; that is, he keeps the liking and respect of his students 
and enters into the life of the town. 

And of course when direct quotations are incorporated in larger 
clauses punctuation occurs. 

Then she asked me, "Have you visited Houghton before?" 

But if the quotation is fragmentary and is woven smoothly into 
the larger structure, only quotation marks occur. 

Edward is probably right in saying that grammars are "cook- 
books the best cooks never consult." 



The terms that are listed in quotation marks in what follows are 
not used in this grammar. 

ABSOLUTES. Words that normally function as sentences, or 
like nucleuses of sentences, not as components within clauses. 
Ouch, hello, and yes are examples. 

" ABSOLUTE PHRASES." This term is sometimes applied 
to gerundial clauses with expressed subjects for example, this 
being the case used as adjuncts within larger clauses. 

" ABSTRACT NOUNS." This term is sometimes used of 
quantifiable nouns such as goodness and ignorance. 

"ACCENT." The term stress is employed here. See Vowel 


"ACTIVE VOICE." See Voices. 

ADJECTIVES. Words (1) characteristically used as preposi- 
tive modifiers of following nouns and as complements after be 
and (2) characteristically modified prepositively by adverbs. The 
syntactic behavior of enormous in the following sentences can il- 

The neighbors have another enormous car. 
The neighbors 7 new car is enormous. 
Our own car is rather enormous too. 

lu the nounal unit an enormous silver buckle, only enormous is an 

"ADJECTIVAL CLAUSES." This term is widely used of 
subordinate-interrogative clauses attaching to nounal heads, as 


A Glossary of Grammatical Terminology 479 

who really know the city does in we spent the day with friends who 
really know the city, and also of clauses of the same type used as 
loose adjuncts as who really know the city is used in we spent the 
day with the Robertsons, who really know the city, where who refers 
to the Robertsons though the interrogative clause does not really 
modify the Robertsons. Sometimes clauses of other types are also 
called "adjectival" because they attach to head nouns: for exam- 
ple, the declarative clause that Horton would enter the race in the 
announcement that Horton would enter the race was poorly timed. 

ADJUNCTS. Clause components syntactically outside sub- 
ject-predicator-complement nucleuses, and so (in terms of layers) 
outer modifiers of the predicators. Thus in but Pve always put hard 
work off too long, George there are four adjuncts: but, always (which 
interrupts the nucleus and even the predicator), too long, and 
George. I is subject, have put is predicator, hard work and off are 
complements. Adjuncts can also attach to isolates, as George does 
in yes, George. 

ADVERBS. Words belonging to the most miscellaneous of 
the part-of-speech categories, including words characteristically 
used as adjuncts (as occasionally is used in I get to New York oc- 
casionally), as prepositive modifiers of adjectives and other adverbs 
(as quite is used in it wasn't quite right and too in he makes his points 
too undiplomatically), and as prepositions (as through is used in 
the highway goes through Lexington). 

"ADVERBIAL CLAUSES." This term is widely applied to 
clauses of a variety of patterns used as adjuncts within larger 
clauses (as when I left is used in Dawson was there when I left) and 
as modifiers of adjectives and adverbs (as than I do is used in you 
argue more convincingly than I do). Adjuncts composed of preposi- 
tions and subordinate-declarative objects are often classified as 
adverbial clauses also : for example, until he died in Jones taught 
high-school Latin until he died, 

AFFIXES. See Formatives. 

ANOMALOUS SPELLINGS. Spellings of frequent occurrence 
which nevertheless go against the basic principles of the spelling 
system: for example, the ea of bread and the ou of cousin, which 
employ two-letter representations for short vowel sounds repre- 
sented in conformity with the spelling system in bred and buzzing. 

480 The Sentence and Its Parts 

"ANTECEDENTS." This word is often applied to words 
and multiword units to which pronouns refer. 

APPOSITION. See Principals and Appositives. 

ASPECTS. Almost all verbs distinguish common and pro- 
gressive aspects. Progressive-aspect forms employ be as auxiliary 
and follow this auxiliary by gerundials; common-aspect forms lack 
this construction. Thus the tries of Landon tries to be diplomatic 
is a common-aspect form contrasting with the progressive-aspect 
is trying of Landon is trying to be diplomatic. 

ASSERTIVES. Clauses belonging to a cluster of patterns 
used, like declaratives, to express fact and opinion but differentiated 
from declaratives in form. Thus assertive what a day that was! is 
roughly equivalent in meaning to that was a phenomenal day but 
the clause pattern is clearly distinct. 

"ATTRIBUTIVE ADJECTIVES." This term is often ap- 
plied to adjectives that modify following noun heads, as new 
modifies typewriter in I need a new typewriter. 

AUXILIARIES. Within phrasal verb forms the final word 
indicates the verb to which the whole unit belongs and the preced- 
ing words, or reduced words, are auxiliaries. Thus in I've been 
looking at the magazines the phrasal verb form have been looking is a 
form of look, used with subject I and complement at the magazines 
as look itself might be used, and have and been are auxiliaries of 
tense and aspect. Auxiliary-verb status is best confined to the be 
of passives, the be of progressives, the have, will, and (in formal 
use) shall of perfect and future tenses, and the do of expanded 
forms. A kind of auxiliaries occurs also in phrasal comparative and 
superlative adjectives and adverbs in which more and most and 
less and least function much as er and est function in such forms 
as bigger and biggest and sooner and soonest. 

CAREFUL STYLES. See the Introduction. 

CASES. Among the nouns and pronouns changes in form 
are common accompaniments of changes in syntactic function. The 
personal pronoun I has four case forms in three cases: nominative 
I, objective me, possessives my and mine. The nouns have com- 
mon-case forms that function both where nominative pronoun 
forms are used and where objective forms are used, and possessive- 

A Glossary of Grammatical Terminology 481 

case forms that are used without change both before heads and 

I'm looking for George. 

George is looking for me. 

My car is parked in front of George's. 

George's car is parked behind mine. 

There is no reason to speak of accusative and dative cases in 
modern English or to speak of nominative and objective cases in 
connection with modern-English nouns. Possessive seems prefer- 
able to genitive as a name for the case here represented by George's, 
my, and mine, though neither term is completely satisfactory. 

CLAUSES. Syntactic units in which predicators function as 
heads. Clauses always include subjects, expressed or implied. Often 
they include complements and adjuncts also. The main declarative 
is conveniently regarded as the basic clause pattern. Other main- 
and subordinate-clause patterns can be regarded as transforms of 
the main-declarative pattern, among them the pattern of verbid 
clauses with infinitival and gerundial predicators. 

CLAUSE EQUIVALENTS. Words and multiword units that 
lack clause structure, stated or clearly implied, and yet are given 
the kind of status clauses are given. Absolutes such as ouch and 
yes, the latter sometimes in combination with adjuncts (as in yes, 
John), are commonly treated as main clauses are treated and given 
sentence status; so are such phrases as good morning, which is not 
felt as a reduction of any clearly formulated clause. Clause equiva- 
lents are grammatically quite different from reduced clauses. Thus 
when ten twenty answers the question what time is it? it is under- 
stood as a reduction of the declarative it's ten twenty, not as a true 
clause equivalent. 

CLAUSE MARKERS. This term is here applied to words 
and longer units which syntactically distinguish clauses of other 
types from main declaratives, as the use of who distinguishes who 
said that? from, for example, John said that, and as the use of are 
in front of the subject distinguishes are the pictures upf from the 
pictures are up. 

COACTUAL SUBJUNCTIVES. Present subjunctives used in 
main- and subordinate-imperative clauses without rejection, even 

482 The Sentence and Its Parts 

provisional, of actualization. Thus the be of be diplomatic and that 
of it is important that you be diplomatic do not imply that the 
speaker lacks hope of diplomatic action from the person spoken 
to and can therefore be called coactual. 

"COGNATE OBJECTS." This term is sometimes used of 
such semantically repetitive adjuncts as the one in he died a pain- 
ful death, where a painful death is syntactically equivalent to the 
one-word adjunct painfully. 

COLLECTIVE NOUNS. Nouns that name groups and have 
basic forms sometimes felt as singular and sometimes as plural. 
Family and team are examples. 

"COLLOQUIAL STYLES." This term is often used much 
as informal styles is used here. See the Introduction. 

See Aspects, Cases, Modes, Persons and Numbers, and Voices. 

PRONOUNS. Many adjectives and adverbs, and the pronouns 
much, many, little, and few, have comparative forms employed 
when modifying than clauses are used or implied with them, and 
superlative forms much like the comparatives but unlike them in 
construction. Thus big and soon have the comparatives bigger and 
sooner and the superlatives biggest and soonest. More and less are 
employed in phrasal comparatives such as more industrious and 
less industrious, and most and least in phrasal superlatives such as 
most industrious and least industrious. 

COMPLEMENTS. In minimally complete sequences in which 
they function as predicators, many verbs require not only sub- 
jects but also complements, which in the basic declarative order 
follow them. Thus in John likes noise there is no minimal complete- 
ness without the complement noise or some similarly used word 
or multiword unit. In John makes people angry minimal complete- 
ness, with makes meaning what it does, requires the two comple- 
ments people and angry. In Harriet is in New York minimal 
completeness, with be meaning what it does, requires some such 
complement as in New York. 

COMPLETERS. Many words require completers. Comple- 
ments are completers of certain verbs, objects are completers of 

A Glossary of Grammatical Terminology 483 

prepositions. Many contained modifiers are really completing mod- 
ifiers. For example, in I'm dubious about the second point the prep- 
ositional unit about the second point is a completing modifier of 
dubious, which requires something of the kind, expressed or im- 
plied, when it is used with the meaning it has here. 

COMPLEXES. Words which contain clear noninflectional 
formatives, themselves without word status, in combination with 
words (as un is combined with tie in untie) or with other forma- 
tives (as vitri is combined with/?/ in vitrify). 

"COMPLEX SENTENCES." This term is often applied to 
sentences which include subordinate clauses other than verbids. 

COMPOUNDS. Syntactically unified combinations of two 
words infrequently more than two words, as in nevertheless 
which are given the status of single words and written without 
hyphens or spaces intervening. Highway and afternoon are exam- 
ples; high school, on the other hand, maintains phrasal status in 
spite of the fact that high and school are not separately modifiable 
as they are in high price, where a very high retail price is a normal 
enough expansion. The normal meaning of the question is spark 
plug one word or two? is is it written solid or notf Spark is obviously 
a word, and so is plug: the question is whether the combination 
is given the status of a single word in standard written practice. 
We cannot ignore standard written practice. 

"COMPOUND PREDICATES." See Split Clauses. 

"COMPOUND SENTENCES." See Multiple Sentences. 

CONDITIONAL SENTENCES. Sentences including adjunct 
clauses of condition and main nucleuses expressing the conditioned 
result. Conditional sentences are of two types. Noncommittal con- 
ditional sentences characteristically have common-mode predica- 
tors, as in if we take the boat to Guadeloupe next Friday, we'll have 
five days there. Rejected conditional sentences characteristically 
have hypothetical-subjunctive predicators, as in if we took the boat 
to Guadeloupe next Friday, we'd have five days there. 

rogatives following declaratives for which they request confirma- 
tion. Thus in there are planes to Guadeloupe, aren't there? the 
reduced interrogative aren't there? asks confirmation for what 
precedes it in the same double sentence. 

484 The Sentence and Its Parts 

"CONJUGATION." This term is often used of the inflec- 
tion of verbs. 

"CONJUNCTIONS." This term is often applied to a syn- 
tactically miscellaneous category made up of (1) the four basic 
coordinators and, but, or, and nor and the precoordinators both, not, 
either, and neither which sometimes accompany them; (2) clause- 
marker adverbs such as when, how, and if when they mark sub- 
ordinate-interrogative clauses; (3) prepositions such as after and 
because when they are used with declarative-clause objects (as in 
after he died) ; and (4) clause-marker that when it marks subordi- 
nate-declarative, subordinate-imperative, and subordinate-asser- 
tive clauses. Sometimes conjunctive adverbs such as therefore and 
nevertheless are also included in the category of "conjunctions." 

CONJUNCTIVE ADVERBS. Nonprepositional adverbs which 
relate without explicitly coordinating as the coordinators do and 
without marking clause types. Thus in though Mathews came to the 
University to work in contemporary literature, he has nevertheless 
taken course after course in English language the conjunctive adverb 
nevertheless is an adjunct in the main clause and relates the sub- 
ordinate clause marked by though to the main nucleus. Neverthe- 
less is much like but semantically but it does not coordinate. In 
Mathews came to the University to work in contemporary literature, 
but he has nevertheless taken course after course in English language 
the coordinator is but. Conjunctive adverbs often reinforce co- 
ordinators, and most of them can come later in their clauses than 
either coordinators or clause markers normally come. They also 
have considerable use at the first of sentences and of major com- 
ponents in multiple sentences, without other linking words. 

cators, complements, adjuncts, and isolates are often divisible into 
components of other types, performing the "contained" syntactic 
functions. Thus the greeting good morning is an isolate composed 
of a contained modifier and a contained head. The contained func- 
tions are contained head and contained modifier, principal and 
appositive, preposition and object, and coordinate. 

COORDINATES. The components making up multiple units 
are coordinates. Thus in Nancy speaks Spanish, Portuguese, and 

A Glossary of Grammatical Terminology 485 

French the complement is a multiple nounal unit made up of the 
three coordinates Spanish, Portuguese, and and French. 

COORDINATORS. The function of coordinator is a sec- 
ondary one performed by words that also perform major or con- 
tained syntactic functions. In the multiple sentence Jorge doesn't 
like to speak English, but he understands it the adverb but is an 
adjunct in the second main declarative and a coordinator. In 
Nancy speaks Spanish, Portuguese, and French the adverb and is a 
contained modifier of the noun that follows it and is also a co- 
ordinator. The basic coordinators are and, but, or, and nor; pre- 
coordinators often employed with them are both, not, either, and 
neither. Conjunctive adverbs often reinforce coordinators, as too 
does in I was told, and George was too; but they are also used where 
there is no syntactic coordination, as too is in if I was told, George 
certainly was told too. 


COPULATIVE VERBS. Verbs that take adjectival comple- 
ments with half-modifier relationships to their subjects. Be, be- 
come, and seem are among the verbs that commonly function in 
this way. Thus in the visitors look unhappy the adjective unhappy 
is the complement of look but it also has a relationship to visitors 
much like the relationship it has in the unhappy visitors. 

"CORRECTNESS. 77 Such terms as right and wrong and cor- 
rect and incorrect are avoided here. Standard and nonstandard do 
not suggest feelings of virtue and of vice and therefore seem 
preferable terms for use in dealing with the same inevitable dis- 

used for combinations of precoordinators such as neither and basic 
coordinators such as nor. 

"COUNTABLE NOUNS." See Pluralizer Nouns. 

DECLARATIVES. The main declarative is here defined as 
the clause pattern used in giving the most ordinary main-clause 
expression to facts and opinions. Subjects are normally stated 
and precede predicators; if there are complements, these follow 
predicators. There is more variety in position for adjuncts, though 
most adjuncts are not movable very freely. The subordinate 

486 The Sentence and Its Parts 

declarative is identical with the main declarative in pattern except 
that a clause-marker that, corresponding to nothing that would 
occur if the main-declarative pattern were employed, is added or 
(except when subordinate declaratives are made objects of certain 
prepositions) can be added. Thus in I don't believe the room is big 
enough the subordinate declarative the room is big enough is syn- 
tactically suitable for use as a main declarative without change, 
and as a subordinate declarative can be begun by an added clause- 
marker that. 

"DECLENSION." This term is often used of the inflection 
of nouns and pronouns. 

"DEPENDENT CLAUSES." See Subordinate Clauses. 

DETERMINATIVE PRONOUNS. Pronouns which function 
both as prepositive modifiers of nounal heads (as these, other, 
several, and one function in these ducks, the other ducks, several 
ducks, and one duck) and, except the, a, and every, without stated 
heads (as the same words function in whose ducks are thesef in 
your ducks are bigger than the others, in several have gone up the 
creek, and in I'd like to buy one). The, a, and every are exceptional 
among the determinative pronouns in requiring stated heads. 

DETERMINERS. Among prepositive modifiers of nounal 
heads, special notice must be given to the determinative pronouns 
and to one-word and phrasal possessives used similarly. This is 
especially true when determinative pronouns and possessives 
modify basic forms of pluralizers and unite with them to form 
units freely usable in such nounal functions as that of subject. 
Thus this garage, the garage, any garage, no garage, our garage, and 
Mr. Goodman's garage are all freely usable as subjects as garage, 
new garage, and brick garage, lacking determiner modifiers, are not. 
This, the, any, no, our, and Mr. Goodman's are all full-determiner 
modifiers of identification. Partial-determiner modifiers of identi- 
fication (other and fourth) occur in our other garage and the fourth 
garage. Determiner modifiers of number occur in three garages 
and several garages. 

DIPHTHONGS. See Vowel Sounds. 

"DIRECT OBJECTS." This term is commonly applied to 
nounal first, or only, complements of verbs other than those which, 
with closely related meanings, also take adjectival complements 

A Glossary of Grammatical Terminology 437 

that are half modifiers of their subjects. Thus in such training 
makes men the word men is described as a direct object, and so is 
the word boys in such training makes boys into men; but in boys 
become men the word men is not so described 

DIRECTION OF PREDICATION. Particular subject-predi- 
cator-complement sequences commonly show semantic relation- 
ships of particular types, and these are commonly determined by 
the predicators. Thus in children like dogs in contemporary English 
the predicator expresses favorable emotion which the subject feels 
and the complement inspires. In dogs please children the subject 
inspires the emotion and the complement feels it. Passives reverse 
basic directions of predication: we were hit by a truck is opposite in 
direction of predication from a truck hit us. Reversal of direction 
of predication occurs under other circumstances also, as in some- 
one opened the door and the door opened. Something very much 
like it occurs when, for example, the adjective desperate means 
now feeling despair, as in I was becoming desperate, and now causing 
despair, as in the situation was becoming desperate. 

DISTRIBUTIVE SINGULARS. Bend your right knee has a 
distributive singular, your right knee, when it is spoken to a group 
of people, such as a class in physical training. Your right knees 
might seem more consistent here, but on the other hand it might 
seem to suggest a plural number of right knees belonging to each 
person. Distributive singulars occur with relative infrequency in 
careful and formal styles. 

"ELLIPSIS." See Implied Components. 

"EMPHATIC VERB FORMS." See Expanded Verb Forms 


EXPANDED VERB FORMS. Present-tense and past-tense 
forms employing do as auxiliary, used (1) emotionally, as in I do 
like that music! (2) in many clauses negated by not, as in Mary 
doesn't like it and in don't be silly, and (3) where do provides a 
needed clause marker, as in did Genevieve get theref and in neither 
did I. 

EXPLETIVES. This term is applied here only to the there 
which takes the subject position in sentences such as there are 
many beautiful beaches and which is the total stated subject in 
reduced clauses such as are theref 

488 The Sentence and Its Parts 

EXTREMITIVES. Exceptional syntactic patterning some- 
times accompanies feelings of extremeness. Thus in Warren is too 
small a town modification by extremitive too pulls small in front 
of the determiner a. 

"FACTITIVE VERBS." This term is sometimes used of 
verbs of influencing or affecting that take nounal first comple- 
ments followed by nounal or adjectival second complements of 
result or effect. Thus makes can be called factitive in its use in 
it makes me sad, and elect in its use in they elected Susan secretary. 
The construction is of course essentially the same where the second 
complement is adverbial, as in such training makes boys into men. 

"FINITE VERB FORMS/ 7 This term is sometimes used 
of verb forms employed in common or subjunctive modes, as op- 
posed to infinitival, gerundial, and participial verb forms. 

FORMAL STYLES. See the Introduction. 

FORMATIVES. Recognizable noninflectional components 
which occur in words but are themselves without word status in 
contemporary English. Formatives include (1) prefixes, such as 
the un of unlucky; (2) suffixes, such as the y of lucky; and (3) non- 
affixal formatives, or stems, such as the aristo and the crat of 


GENDER. Contemporary English does not have true gram- 
matical gender. But in modern English choice among the third- 
person-singular pronoun forms he, she } and it is normally on the 
basis of personality and sex or the lack of them, and choice be- 
tween such nouns as boy and waiter on the one hand and girl and 
waitress on the other is ordinarily on the basis of sex. Thus a kind 
of gender does make itself felt, if not true grammatical gender. 

"GENITIVE CASE." See Cases. 

GERUND I ALS. The ing forms of verbs are here called ge- 
rundials. Thus playing is classified as a gerundial both in playing 
the piano is Randolphs greatest pleasure and in Randolph is happiest 
playing the piano, a distinction between "gerunds" and "present 
participles" not being attempted. Gerundial verb forms are re- 
garded as constituting a mode, like subjunctive verb forms. Ge- 
rundial nouns and adjectives are also recognized here: thus living 
is classified as a gerundial noun in a living room, which is equiva- 

A Glossary of Grammatical Terminology 489 

lent to a room for living, and as a gerundial adjective in a living 
soul, which is equivalent to a soul that is living. 

GLIDES. The consonantal initial sounds of yet, win, and rock 
(represented phonemically by /j/, /w/, and /r/) and the closely 
related vocalic final sounds of toy, now, and car (represented by 
/i/, /XT/, and /r/) are called glide sounds here, and the letters y, 
Wj and r are called glide letters. 

MODIFIERS. Many words and multiword units which often are 
classified as appositives, coordinates, or contained modifiers seem 
better classified, instead, as adjuncts with secondary functions as 
what are here called hah 7 appositives, hah 7 coordinates, and half 
modifiers. In this use half is roughly equivalent to quasi. This 
double classification sometimes seems necessary because the units 
given it come too late to be true appositives, coordinates, or con- 
tained modifiers: their sentences have gone ahead without them. 

Fve done such things myself. 
Mary was there and Sarah. 
The leftovers were eaten cold as a midnight supper. 

Here the subjects are I, Mary, and the leftovers; and myself, and 
Sarah, and cold simply come too late in their sentences to be parts 
of subjects that seem quite complete without them. In the follow- 
ing sentences the subjects include what are primarily adjuncts in 
the preceding ones. 

I myself have done such things. 

Mary and Sarah were there. 

The cold leftovers were eaten as a midnight supper. 

It seems necessary also to assign adjunct status to all words and 
multiword units which are given inclosing punctuation in the 
written language. Some of these have secondary relationships of 
the kinds here described as hah 7 apposition, half coordination, and 
half modification. 

One student, the best in the class, questioned the analysis. 
Mary and Sarah too, for that matter went to entirely too 

many parties that week. 
Some of the students, eager to raise their grades, practically 

memorized the historical chapters. 

490 The Sentence and Its Parts 

HEADS AND MODIFIERS. In the commonest type of syn- 
tactic combination, a word-or-multiword unit, a head, combines 
with another or others, a modifier or modifiers, and determines the 
syntactic character of the total combination. Thus new houses has 
the syntactic potentialities of houses, not those of new: houses is 
head and new modifier. Houses of that kind has the syntactic 
potentialities of houses also : houses is head once again, and of that 
kind is a prepositional unit used as modifier. Reduction is respon- 
sible for the theoretical difficulty presented by such a sequence as 
several of the houses. Here several is head and of the houses is mod- 
ifier, but several is a reduction of several houses, which would be 
undesirably repetitive with of the houses following as modifier "of 
the whole." Upside-down construction offers further complica- 
tions. That kind of houses exists alongside houses of that kind, and 
has kind as head and that and of houses as modifiers. Informal he's 
sort of nice carries upside-down construction a step farther: sort is 
head in the complement and of nice is prepositional-unit modifier, 
and yet the whole unit sort of nice has the grammatical potentiali- 
ties, not of sort but of the adjective nice. Predicators are a special 
type of heads, modified by subjects and complements within nu- 
cleuses and by adjuncts syntactically outside them. Nonclausal 
transforms make this clear. Thus the clause that children like dogs 
of never forget that children like dogs can be replaced by the non- 
clausal transform children's liking for dogs, and in this transform 
the head word is liking, which obviously corresponds to like in the 
clausal equivalent. Subjects and complements trade places in pas- 
sive reversals, where a local dentist owns the building becomes the 
building is owned by a local dentist; predicators hold their ground. 

HYPOTHETICAL SUBJUNCTIVES. Verb forms of the four 
past tenses are employed in the subjunctive mode, with time 
values different from those of the common mode, to indicate un- 
reality and improbability. The subjunctive past of / wish I had 
red hair (indicating unreality) has the same time value as the 
common-mode present have of I'm sorry I have brown hair; and 
the subjunctive past left and past future would miss of if I left 
next week, I'd miss two examinations (indicating improbability) 
have the same time value as the common-mode present leave and 

A Glossary of Grammatical Terminology 491 

present future will miss of if I leave next week, I'll miss two exam- 

"IMMEDIATE CONSTITUENTS." This term is often used 
of what are here called simply components. Thus in people with 
talented children have problems too the clause components are the 
subject people with talented children, the predicator have, the com- 
plement problems, and the adjunct too. Within the subject the 
components are the head people and the modifier with talented 
children. Within the modifier the components are the preposition 
with and the object talented children. Within the object the com- 
ponents are the modifier talented and the head children. The exam- 
ple is a simple one, but it does illustrate the necessity of doing 
syntactic analysis step by step. 

IMPERATIVES. Main imperatives normally give main-clause 
expression to requests and desires. 

Be quiet. 

Everyone be quiet. 
Heaven help us! 

The predicators in such clauses are here said to be in the sub- 
junctive mode. Subordinate imperatives are like main imperatives 
in force and like them in the mode of their predicators, but are 
distinguished from them by the use of a marker that such as de- 
claratives commonly employ and by the normal occurrence of 
stated subjects. That everyone be quiet, in it is important that every- 
one be quiet, can serve as an example. 

IMPINGING CLAUSES. Clauses that are used as the words 
or multiword units in which they terminate are ordinarily used. 
Thus in he'll take us heaven knows where the clause heaven knows 
where, in patterning a main declarative with a clause-marking 
adverb used as a grammatically exceptional complement, is used 
as an uncharacteristic second complement of the main predicator 
will take, much as where is used in the incredulous he'll take us 
where? or as somewhere is used in the declarative he j ll take us some- 

IMPLIED COMPONENTS. It is necessary to recognize the 
force of unstated components at many points, though this recogni- 

492 The Sentence and Its Parts 

tion should not involve actually adding these components. Thus 
when it serves as answer to where* 's the car? the prepositional unit 
(and sentence) behind the Club is the complement in a main de- 
clarative whose subject and predicator are both implied. We can- 
not be sure of the exact form the implied subject would take if it 
were stated : probably it would be it, but it might well be the car 
if emotion were involved. In he has a wife to support the one-word 
verbid clause support has an implied subject suggested by the 
main subject and an implied complement suggested by the main 
complement; in he has a wife to support him the verbid clause 
support him has an implied subject suggested by the main com- 
plement. In a woman I knew was my friend spoke next the implied 
subject of was is suggested by a woman: a stated subject here 
might be that, who 7 or (whether we like it or not) even whom. 

"INDEFINITE PRONOUNS." This term is often applied 
to a somewhat miscellaneous group of words here called deter- 
minative pronouns, sometimes with nounal pronouns such as 
someone thrown in. 



"INDIRECT OBJECTS." This term is commonly used of 
what are here considered simply nounal second complements pre- 
ceding first complements in their clauses. Thus you is commonly 
considered an indirect object in Til give you an answer tomorrow, 
while to you in I'll give an answer to you tomorrow is likely to be 
viewed quite differently in spite of the fact that it serves the same 
syntactic purpose. 

INFINITIVES. Infinitives are here regarded not as "verbal 
nouns" but as modal forms of verbs just as subjunctives are. The 
to which often precedes infinitives is here regarded as a preposition 
with verbid-clause objects, like the to of June objects to being told 
the truth about her boy friend, where the verbid clause has a ge- 
rundial predicator. It is of course true that the to which precedes 
infinitives often occurs where prepositions are otherwise not usual. 

INFLECTION. The varieties of inflection recognized here 
are as follows: in verbs, inflection for voice, aspect, mode, tense, 
expansion (with do), and person and number; in nouns and pro- 
nouns, inflection for case and number; in adjectives and adverbs, 

A Glossary of Grammatical Terminology 493 

inflection for comparison. Obviously the different varieties of "in- 
flection" listed have very different grammatical values. Thus the 
singular man and the plural men perform the same syntactic func- 
tions, but the possessives man's and men's most characteristically 
perform the basically pronounal function of determiner modifiers 
of nounal heads, as in men's goals in life. The term inflection is 
applied very broadly here. Thus went is classified among the in- 
flected forms of go, though in origin and in form it belongs rather 
with wend, and such a phrasal form as will blow (as in I'm afraid 
all our tires will blow out on the trip next week) is classified among 
the inflected forms of blow exactly like blew (as in two tires blew 
out last week). 

INFORMAL STYLES. See the Introduction. 

"INTERJECTIONS." This term is sometimes applied to 
relatively emotional words (for example, ouch) of the kind here 
classified as absolutes, and sometimes to emotional isolates in 

INTERROGATIVES. Main interrogatives are main clauses 
constructed according to syntactic patterns that are character- 
istically used to elicit facts or opinions from those addressed. The 
clause markers employed in main interrogatives are character- 
istically (1) pronouns or adverbs from a list of seven (sometimes 
with heads or modifiers) and/or (2) verb forms placed in front of 
the subjects, these verb forms also being from a restricted list. 
Subordinate interrogatives employ clause markers of the same 
types: for example, when in I have no idea when Jane studies and 
had in had they taken proper precautions, they would have had no 
difficulties. Subordinate interrogatives make much less use of 
marker verb forms than main interrogatives do, but their list of 
marker pronouns and adverbs is longer and includes the pronoun 
that when it competes with who and whichj and such adverbs as 
if, although, than, and as. What are here called subordinate-inter- 
rogative clauses include clauses sometimes called adjectival and 
adverbial: when Jane studies, for example, in the days when Jane 
studies are few and far between and in we're always surprised when 
Jane studies. Many subordinate-interrogative clauses, and some 
main-interrogative clauses, have no question force. What are often 
called interrogative pronouns, interrogative adjectives, and in- 

494 The Sentence and Its Parts 

terrogative adverbs are here called clause-marker pronouns and 

"INTRANSITIVE VERBS/' This term is sometimes applied 
to all verbs except transitives: copulatives such as the be of Pm 
ready, obliques such as the insist of she insists on paying, ter- 
minants such as the work of Mrs. Phelps works too. 

ISOLATES. Words (such as yes, ouch, and the danger of signs) 
and multiword units (such as good morning and the no smoking of 
signs) which are used as sentences, or total communications, but 
which have no clearly implied clause structure. Sometimes, as in 
yes, John, isolates are modified by adjuncts much as nucleuses in 
clausal sentences are. 

"KERNELS." This term is applied to stripped-down nu- 
cleuses. For example, in young boys are often exceptionally skillful 
drivers in spite of an occasional lack of prudence what is here called 
the nucleus is young boys are exceptionally skillful drivers but what 
would be called the kernel is boys are drivers. 

"LEVELS OF USAGE." See the Introduction. 

"LINKING VERBS." See Copulative Verbs. 

LONG VOWEL SOUNDS. See Vowel Sounds. 

LOOSE ADJUNCTS. All sentence components requiring in- 
closing punctuation in the written language. A wide range of con- 
structions is included, among them such adjuncts of direct address 
as Jack in that's right, Jack and such subordinate-interrogative 
clauses as who taught me phonemics in the third man, who taught me 
phonemics, was deeply concerned about plus junctures, which does 
not mean the same thing as my third phonemics teacher was deeply 
concerned about plus junctures, the "man" being third in some other 
sequence and perhaps first or even fifth in the speaker's series of 
teachers of phonemics. 

MAIN CLAUSES. "Independent" clauses, though the inde- 
pendence is commonly no more than grammatical. Clauses whose 
patterning makes them freely usable as sentences: why did he re- 
sign, for example, but not why he resigned (as in do you have any 
idea why he resigned?). 

formed by subjects, predicators, complements, adjuncts, and iso- 

A Glossary of Grammatical Terminology 495 

MARKERS. See Clause Markers. 

"MASS NOUNS.' 7 This term is often used for what are here 
called quantifiables, or for some of them. See Quantifiable Nouns. 

MODES. Five modes are recognized here: common (or "indic- 
ative 73 ), subjunctive, infinitival, gerundial, participial. Participial 
verb forms are not used as predicators, except with auxiliaries, 
expressed or implied, in phrasal passive-voice forms and perfect- 
tense forms and these phrasal forms belong to other modes. In- 
finitival and gerundial forms are similarly used with auxiliaries 
in phrasal forms belonging to other modes, but are also used alone 
as predicators. The four predicating modes are characteristically 
used in clauses of various types, as follows : 

1. Common mode, in declaratives, interrogatives, and asser- 


2. Subjunctive mode: (1) coactual subjunctives, in impera- 

tives; (2) hypothetical subjunctives, in declaratives, in- 
terrogatives, and assertives. 

3. Infinitival mode, in verbids. 

4. Gerundial mode, in verbids. 

"MODAL AUXILIARIES." Such verbs as can, may, and 
must are often called modal auxiliaries. No modal auxiliaries are 
recognized here. In she must not have understood you, for example, 
it seems best to regard must as the main predicator and not have 
understood you as its negated complement. This is an analysis com- 
parable to that which would be given for she seems not to have 
understood you or she gives every indication of not having under- 
stood you. 

MODIFIERS. See Heads and Modifiers. 

"MORPHEMES." See the Introduction. 

"MORPHOLOGY." The internal structure of words, or the 
analysis of it, in terms of formatives and inflections. 

MULTIPLE CONTAINED UNITS. Coordinates combine 
to form multiple units of varied types within sentences. Thus in 
I saw him before and after the meeting the adjunct before and after 
the meeting has as its first component a multiple preposition, be- 
before and after, in which the first coordinate is before and the sec- 
ond is and after. In he y s six feet three the complement six feet three 

496 The Sentence and Its Parts 

is a multiple unit in which the first coordinate is six feet and the 
second is three , obviously a reduction of three inches. 

MULTIPLE SENTENCES. Often two or more main clauses 
are together given the status of a single sentence, as in it was rain- 
ing, and I had a bad cold. Sometimes clause equivalents function 
as components in multiple sentences also as in yes, I do, where 
the clause equivalent yes is coordinated with the reduced clause 
I do. The term compound sentences is often used for what are 
here called multiple sentences but does not suggest the relation- 
ship of coordination binding the component clauses or clause equiv- 

"NOMINALS." This term is sometimes used of nouns and 
of other words and multiword units used nounally. 

"NOMINATIVE ABSOLUTES." This term is sometimes 
applied to gerundial clauses with expressed subjects, used as ad- 
juncts within larger clauses. 


Conditional Sentences. 


NOUNS. Words (1) characteristically usable as subjects, 
complements of transitive verbs, and objects of prepositions and 
(2) characteristically modifiable prepositively by determinative 
pronouns and by adjectives, except that proper nouns are char- 
acteristically used without determiners and have only limited use 
with adjectival modifiers. 

"NOUN CLAUSES." This term is often applied to subordi- 
nate clauses, verbids commonly excepted, used in nounal func- 

NOUNAL FUNCTIONS. The functions of subject, comple- 
ment of a transitive verb, object of a preposition, head in a nounal 
headed unit, and coordinate in a nounal multiple unit. 

NOUNAL PRONOUNS. The pronouns that are strikingly 
like proper nouns in their syntactic behavior. Thus the nounal 
pronouns he of he's hopeful and everyone of everyone's hopeful are 
much like the proper noun John of John's hopeful in the syntactic 
uses to which they are put. The determinative pronouns are quite 

A Glossary of Grammatical Terminology 497 

different in characteristic behavior. Yet there are frequent parallels 
in particular situations as, for example, when it and that are 
used almost interchangeably in I know it and / know that. 

NUCLEUSES. Minimal sequences made up of subjects, pred- 
icators, and complements, or of such of these as occur. In some- 
times I snore a little the nucleus is made up of the subject J and 
the predicator snore. In come in! the nucleus is made up of the 
predicator come and the complement in. In of course small things 
have always made sensitive people unnecessarily sad the nucleus is 
made up of the subject small things, the predicator have made, the 
first complement sensitive people, and the second complement un- 
necessarily sad. The heads in nucleuses are the predicators: in the 
last example, have made, which in the meaning expressed requires 
two complements. Nucleuses are minimal in the sense that they 
contain only minimal sequences of components. The components 
themselves are often relatively complex. Thus the subject small 
things is more complex than things, and the predicator have made 
than make. 

NUMBER. See Persons and Numbers. 

OBJECTS. See Prepositions and Objects. 

"OBJECT COMPLEMENTS." See Complements. 


OBLIQUE VERBS. Verbs that take adverbial complements, 
including prepositional-unit complements. The look of look there! 
and look at that! is an example, the insist of he insists on being told 
all the details is another, and the be of she isn't at home and she 
isn't here is a third. 

PARTS OF SPEECH. As described here, the parts of speech 
are categories of words set up on the basis of different patterns of 
use in sentences. Noninflectional internal characteristics such as 
the use of certain affixes do not carry us far enough, and in any 
case must always be checked against patterns of use. Inflections 
do not carry us far enough either, and these too must be checked 
against patterns of use. Almost all verbs do follow distinctive pat- 
terns of inflection, but must does not inflect at all and yet must be 
classified as a verb because the verb forms which follow it are 
clearly not full predicators in the clauses must occurs in. 

498 The Sentence and Its Parts 

Horton must have been an exceptionally good teacher. 
Horton clearly was an exceptionally good teacher. 

For many nouns, inflection is rare or nonexistent. This is notably 
true of such quantifiables as nonsense, fun, and furniture. Adjec- 
tives such as extinct do not inflect, nor adverbs such as here, nor 
isolates such as ouch, nor pronouns such as the. The real basis of 
part-of-speech classification is characteristic syntactic behavior. 
PARTICIPIALS. The term participle is here applied only to 
past forms (or, in the case of irregular verbs such as cut, spread, 
and run, to basic forms used where distinct past forms are ordi- 
narily used) employed with auxiliaries expressed or implied, in 
passive-voice forms and perfect-tense forms. 

We were stopped at the door. 

I wouldn't have come back. 

I've heard him criticized severely. 

In the third of these sentences, criticized must be described as a 
reduced passive infinitive with auxiliary not stated: the relation 
to I've heard people criticize him severely is clear. Words of par- 
ticipial origin in other uses seem best classified as participial adjec- 

He's a disappointed man. 

The job simply isn't finished yet. 

What are often called present participles and present perfect par- 
ticiples are given gerundial classification here. 


PAST TENSE. See Tenses. 

PERSONS AND NUMBERS. Under some circumstances, 
predicators are affected in form by the person and number of 
their subjects. Three persons (first, second, and third) and two 
numbers (singular and plural) are recognized at some points. The 
verb be makes more distinctions than other verbs do, and since be 
is the auxiliary both of the passive and of the progressive the effects 
of this complexity are far reaching. 

I am we are 

you are you are 

he (she, it) is they are 

In the plural the only effect of the person of the subject comes in 

A Glossary of Grammatical Terminology 499 

formal futures employing shall as auxiliary in the first person. 
Much of the time, verb forms are indifferent to person and num- 
ber. Played, for example, is not affected by the person-and-number 
force of its subject. Common person-and-number forms occur 
alongside more specialized forms at some points. 

I play we play 

you play you play 

he (she, it) plays they play 

Here play is common person-and-mimber and plays is third per- 
son singular. Pluralizer nouns generally have differences in form 
distinguishing singulars from plurals, but some of them (such as 
sheep and Portuguese) use their basic forms as plurals also, with- 
out change. Quantifiable nouns are assigned singular force. Adjec- 
tives are not affected by number. Thus they're Spanish contrasts 
with they're Spaniards and they're Canadian with they're Canadians, 
Canadian being both an adjective and a pluralizer noun. Some 
pronouns are affected by number and some are not. Thus this 
street contrasts with these streets } but any can replace both this 
and these here. At a few points a distinction between two and 
more than two is made, as when both of the boys contrasts with all 
of the boys. 

PERSONAL PRONOUNS. The set of pronouns made up 
of 7, you, he, she, it, we, they, and their "inflected" forms. 

PHONEMES. The vowel and consonant sounds distinguished 
in the spoken language or, in this grammar, in the form of it 
being described. The term is sometimes extended to include mat- 
ters of pitch, stress, and pause. The analysis of vowel and con- 
sonant sounds followed here is that employed in the Kenyon and 
Knott A Pronouncing Dictionary of American English. 

PLURALIZER NOUNS. Nouns that have plurals. Quanti- 
fiables do not, and proper nouns do not: this basic principle is 
not affected by the fact that many nouns are both quantifiables 
and pluralizers, as noise is in too much noise and too many noises, 
or by the fact that proper nouns in general can be made into 
pluralizers freely, as Mary is in there are three Marys in the class 
and Johnson in the Johnsons are in New York. Most pluralizers 
can be described accurately as "countables," but some cannot. 

5QO The Sentence and Its Parts 

7 bought three trousers is hardly standard, for example, or I've lived 
in three outskirts of the city. 


"PREDICATES." This term is often used of sequences in- 
cluding what are here called predicators, complements, and ad- 
juncts. Clauses are often thought of as structures generally 
divisible into two major components, subjects and predicates. 
Some adjuncts, however, are often called "sentence modifiers" 
rather than parts of predicates. This is especially likely to be the 
case with adjuncts which precede the subjects in their clauses and 
adjuncts which are inclosed in punctuation in the written lan- 
guage The concept of the predicate is avoided here. 

MENTS." See Complements. 

PREDICATORS. In minimal sequences used in expressions 
of fact and opinion and begun by the pronoun I in contemporary 
English, one of the most unmistakable of all subjects and there- 
fore an especially satisfactory representative subject the second 
component is the predicator. 

I am sick. I make Hinton angry. 

I like noise. I work. 

The predicator is characteristically a verb in part-of -speech classi- 
fication. Expressed or implied, predicators are heads in all clauses, 
main and subordinate, and are modified by subjects and comple- 
ments within nucleuses and adjuncts syntactically outside them. 

PREFIXES. See Formatives. 

PREPOSITIONS AND OBJECTS. These terms are both 
used here of syntactic functions, not of part-of-speech classifica- 
tions. Thus in I was with him the complement with him is said to 
be a prepositional unit in which the adverb with functions as 
preposition and the pronoun him as object. In prepositional units 
the prepositions normally determine the syntactic potentialities 
of the units. With him occurs, for example, in I went to town with 
him, in I argued with him, in the boys with him are from the College 
too, etc. where him alone would not be usable. But it is easier to 
think of prepositions as relators, like possessive inflection, than as 
heads in relation to their objects. The words that function as 

A Glossary of Grammatical Terminology 501 

prepositions are transitive and copulative adverbs from a limited 
list. Actually, copulative prepositions are few, but as is one in 
everyone regards him as honest and for in we took your approval for 
granted. Phrasal prepositions must be recognized too: examples are 
in spite of and because of. Objects of prepositions are often clausal: 
for example, in after thinking it over I decided you were right, 
where the object of after is a verbid clause, and in after I thought it 
over I decided you were right, where the object of the same preposi- 
tion is a declarative clause. 


"PRETERITE TENSE." This term is often used for what 
is here called simply the past tense. 

or more spellings or sets of spellings represent the same phoneme 
(or, exceptionally, phoneme cluster) in considerable numbers of 
words, the spelling or set of spellings most in accord with the basic 
system developed in English is here called primary and the other 
or others secondary. Thus when sweet and suite are both pro- 
nounced ,/swit/ the spelling ee is a primary spelling for /i/ and 
the spelling i-e is a secondary spelling. 

multiword units duplicate the construction of what precedes them. 
Thus in our friend Martin is here in Boston the noun Martin repeats 
the construction of our friend within the subject our friend Martin 
and the prepositional unit in Boston repeats the construction of 
here within the complement here in Boston. Our friend and here 
are principals, Martin and in Boston are appositives. In it's hard 
to please Harriet the subject is the apposed unit it to please Harriet, 
in which it is principal and to please Harriet is appositive. Post- 
ponement of the appositive without loss of appositive status is 
possible because it, without reference to anything already present 
in the context, is immediately understood here as simply a repre- 
sentative of the real content of the subject, which will be stated 
later in the sentence. In I've made that mistake myself the situation 
is different. I is the subject, and is an entirely adequate subject in 
most contexts, so that the sentence is taken to proceed with I as 
subject, have made as predicator, and that mistake as complement 
and myself can only be an adjunct with half -appositive relation 

502 The Sentence and Its Parts 

to the subject, not a true appositive within the subject. Words 
and multiword units which approach repetition of construction 
but require inclosing punctuation should also be described as half 
appositives, not true appositives. Thus in the governor of the ter- 
ritory, Nuno de Guzman, was distinguished even among the con- 
querors by his greed and his cruelty the status of adjunct and 
half appositive, not of true appositive, should be assigned to 
Nuno de Guzman. 

"PRINCIPAL PARTS OF VERBS." This term is commonly 
used of sets of three verb forms made up of (1) the basic form, 
(2) the common-mode and subjunctive past, and (3) the participle. 
For all regular verbs, and for some irregular verbs, the last two 
forms are the same. Examples follow, all of them for irregular 
verbs except the first two. 

play, played, played lead, led, led 

rent, rented, rented shut, shut, shut 

keep, kept, kept speak, spoke, spoken 

have, had, had grow, grew, grown 

spend, spent, spent go, went, gone 

Since s forms are regular for almost all verbs and gerundial forms 
are all regular (except for loss of a syllable in the spoken language 
in such forms as chuckling} and phrasal forms are regular without 
exception, the "principal parts" display all the unpredictable in- 
flectional changes for almost all verbs. But there are advantages 
in simply listing all the one-word forms in standard use, separating 
present forms from pasts. 

rent, rents, renting: rented 

have, has, having: had 

grow, grows, growing : grew, grown 

be, are, am, is, being: were, was, been 

shut, shuts, shutting: shut 

come, comes, coming : came, come 

can: could 


PRONOUNS. See Determinative Pronouns and Nounal Pro- 

A Glossary of Grammatical Terminology 503 

"PRONOMINAL ADJECTIVES." See Determinative Pro- 

are nouns that have individual applications without the use of 
determiners. Mary and Panama are examples. Proper names in- 
clude proper nouns but also include multiword units, with and 
without determiners, that have been given fixed individual ap- 
plications, often officially. The United States Steel Corporation is a 
proper name within which there are no proper nouns at all. When 
determiners occur in proper names they are not really variable. 
Thus the cannot readily be replaced by some in the Suez Canal 

QUANTIFIABLE NOUNS. Nouns such as courage, bacon, 
and scenery which normally have no plurals and take determina- 
tives of quantity such as much and not determinatives of number 
such as many and one. 

QUESTIONS. Sentences, and main divisions of multiple 
sentences, intended to elicit expressions of fact or opinion from 
those addressed. Main interrogatives commonly have question 
force, but sometimes they do not. Question force is often achieved 
by nonsyntactic devices of intonation and/or manner, and some- 
times circumstances alone produce it. The line between medita- 
tive statement and question can be very thin in such a sentence as 
you'll be in Lexington tomorrow, in syntax a main declarative. Such 
a clause equivalent as this book can apparently be given question 
force by situation alone, or by situation and manner. 

RANGES. See Time Ranges and Time Spans. 

REDUCTION. See Implied Components. 

tional Sentences. 

"RELATIVE CLAUSES." "Relative" pronouns and adverbs 
are here classified as clause markers in subordinate-interrogative 
clauses, with references of pronounal type to what precedes them. 
Thus in the congress for which Morelos had given his life soon ceased 
to exist the interrogative (or "relative") clause for which Morelos 
had given his life includes a clause-marker (or "relative") pronoun 
which that refers to what precedes, the congress, as it would in the 
corresponding main declarative Morelos had given his life for it. 

504 The Sentence and Its Parts 

REPETITIVES. Words such as poohpooh, shillyshally, and 
hubbub, in which components are repeated with or without varia- 

by such pronouns as any and the, in meaning hardly distinguishable 
from plurals. Thus in the automobile has changed American life, 
obviously the automobile is not a particular automobile prominent 
in the context but a representative, typical automobile, and the 
meaning of automobiles have changed American life is essentially 
the same. 

REPRESENTATIVE WORDS. Words used in reduced con- 
struction to represent themselves plus other words or sequences 
of words. Thus in my wife's car is in very good condition, but un- 
fortunately mine isn't the long possessive pronoun form mine repre- 
sents my car and the is which follows it represents is in very good 

"RESTRICTIVE MODIFIERS." Punctuated "nonrestric- 
tive" modifiers are classified as adjuncts here. Most of what are 
here described as contained modifiers are restrictive, though 
some for example, the poor of poor George and her poor husband 
really are not. 

"RETAINED OBJECTS/' Nounal complements of passive- 
verb-form predicators are sometimes called "retained objects." 
An example is the time of we weren't given time. 

SAMES. The problem of identifying phonemes, words, and 
clause structures is sometimes difficult, especially if the point of 
view is that of the hearer or reader. Thus the /t/ of writer is com- 
monly quite distinct phonetically from that' of ten, so that writer 
and rider may be indistinguishable to the hearer without help from 
context. The rowed of we rowed up the river almost to Lowell cannot 
be distinguished from rode, by the hearer, without the help of con- 
text. You boys drive carefully can be taken as a declarative or as 
an imperative unless intonation, manner, and/or situation make 
clear precisely what is intended. The problem is different when the 
question is whether sound is the same word in we sounded him out 
and he sounded favorable: here the answer is a matter of historical 

SCHWA. The "obscure" unstressed vowel sound which in 

A Glossary of Grammatical Terminology 505 

democrat occurs in the second syllable and in democracy in the first 
and third syllables. 

SECONDARY SPELLINGS. See Primary and Secondary 

tions performed by words or multiword units which also perform 
major or contained syntactic functions: the functions of half head 
and half modifier, half principal and half appositive, half coordi- 
nate, coordinator, and clause marker. Thus in the boys went away 
satisfied the adjunct satisfied performs the secondary function of 
half modifier of boys, and in who said that? the subject who per- 
forms the secondary function of clause marker for the interroga- 

SENTENCES. Main clauses not incorporated in larger clauses, 
or main-clause equivalents similarly unincorporated, or series of 
two or more main clauses or main-clause equivalents united in 
multiple sentences that are given the status of unincorporated 
single main clauses. The written language marks sentences clearly, 
beginning them with capital letters and ending them with periods 
or equivalent marks; the spoken language makes a less unambig- 
uous use of pitch and pauses. In spoken English many sentences 
are left unfinished and others show nonstandard mixing of pat- 

"SENTENCE MODIFIERS." See Predicates. 

SHORT VOWEL SOUNDS. See Vowel Sounds. 

"SIGN OF THE INFINITIVE." See Infinitives. 

SIMPLEX WORDS. Words which do not contain either 
other words or clear noninflectional formatives. 

SPANS. See Time Ranges and Time Spans. 

SPLIT CLAUSES. Clauses with components that function 
in two nucleuses or even in two clauses. Examples follow: 

After twenty years poor Jones is triumphantly emerging from 
the wilderness of English phonemics and doggedly preparing 
to enter the jungle of English syntax. 

Jones has always been an industrious though unimaginative 
student of language. 

In the first of these sentences there is splitting after is, which 

506 The Sentence and Its Parts 

serves as auxiliary both for emerging and for preparing. The adjunct 
triumphantly and the complement the wilderness of English pho- 
nemics continue the clause in one direction; the adjuncts and and 
doggedly and the complement to enter the jungle of English syntax 
continue it in another. Like is, the initial adjunct after twenty 
years and the subject poor Jones belong to both of the continua- 
tions that follow the split. In the second sentence the noun student 
serves as head in two complements, one a part of the main nucleus, 
the other a part of a highly reduced interrogative clause begun 
and marked by though. What are commonly called Compound 
predicates" are split clauses in which splitting occurs between sub- 
jects and predicators, as it would in the first sentence above if is 
were added before doggedly. 

"SPLIT INFINITIVES." When to has verbid-clause ob- 
jects with infinitival predicators, there is a feeling that the infini- 
tives are undesirably "split" if adjuncts are allowed to separate 
them from this to. 

STEMS. This is a convenient term for nonaffixal formatives 
such as the fif of fifth, which is obviously a variant of five, and the 
demo and crat of democratic. Complex stems can conveniently be 
recognized too : for example, the permiss of permissive. 

STRESS. See Vowel Sounds. 

STRINGS. This term is here applied chiefly to units made 
up of two or more clear components whose relationship is not 
clear: for example, such a name as Robert Morss Lovett. All unified 
sequences of components can be regarded as strings. 

"STRONG VERBS." This term is sometimes applied, for 
historical reasons, to most of the irregular verbs whose pasts are 
distinguished from their basic forms by differences in vowels 
rather than- by the addition of /d/ (or /id/ or /ad/) or /t/. 

STYLES. Formal, careful, and informal styles must be rec- 
ognized within standard English. See the Introduction. 

SUBJECTS. First components in the nucleuses of declara- 
tives. One of the most unmistakable subjects, and therefore a good 
representative of the category, is the nominative pronoun form I. 
It is not really possible to describe subjects as words or multiword 
units "about which something is said." In the following exchange, 

A Glossary of Grammatical Terminology 507 

for example, the subject of discourse is "Winston," but the gram- 
matical subjects are quite different. 

"What has happened to Winston?" 

"An uncle of his died and left him some money. 77 

A tremendous variety of internal forms is to be found among sub- 
jects. Thus in Take It Easy isn't running today the subject is the 
proper name Take It Easy, which in internal form is felt as a main- 
imperative clause. 


SUBORDINATE CLAUSES. Clauses (1) whose syntactic 
patterning makes them not freely usable as sentences, at least in 
standard written practice, and/or (2) whose incorporation within 
larger clauses is smoother than is ordinary for main clauses. Thus 
the when I got home of it was almost eight when I got home is not 
very satisfactorily usable as a sentence, and the / can go of Tm 
sure I can go is incorporated within the larger statement quite 
smoothly as completing modifier of sure. 


"SUBSTANTIVES. 77 This term is often used of nouns, 
nounal pronouns, and multiword nounal units. 

SUFFIXES. See Formatives. 

SYNTAX. The internal structure of sentences, or the anal- 
ysis of it, in terms of words and combinations of words. 

TENSES. Eight tenses are recognized here: a set of four 
present tenses, including the present itself; and a set of four past 
tenses, including the past itself. Only two tenses have one-word 
forms the present, and the past. Auxiliaries of tense include only 
have in the various perfect tenses and will and, in limited formal 
use, shall in the various future tenses. 

rent rented 

have rented had rented 

will rent would rent 

will have rented would have rented 

The eight tenses represented here are (1) the present, the present 
perfect, the present future, and the present future perfect; and 

508 The Sentence and Its Parts 

(2) the past, the past perfect, the past future, and the past future 
perfect. Eight tenses occur only in the common mode; the sub- 
junctive has six, the infinitival two, the gerundial two, the par- 
ticipial one. Time relationships normally determine choice among 
tenses, but the tenses are differently used in the different modes. 

TERMINANT VERBS. Verbs used without complements. 
Snore is a good example. Verbs that are normally transitive, copu- 
lative, or oblique often are used terminantly. Stop is used ter- 
minantly in the bus stops here. Look is so used in she refuses to look, 
though here it can be said that a complement is implied. 

TIGHT ADJUNCTS. Adjuncts not inclosed in punctuation 
in the written language. In nowadays Clara always sees movies 
twice the adjuncts nowadays, always, and twice are all tight ones. 

TIME RANGES AND TIME SPANS. As these terms are 
used here, time ranges are the divisions of time with which tenses 
are normally concerned and time spans are the segments of time 
with which particular verb forms are concerned in particular uses. 
Thus the progressive present perfect verb form have been watching 
has a time range of indefinite length in the past, extending to the 
moment of speaking. As the form is used in I've been watching 
"The River" on TV this evening, the time span actually covered is 
an hour and a half or less only part of the picture may have 
been seen terminating at the moment of speaking or in the last 
few minutes or perhaps within the last hour or so. 

TO WITH INFINITIVES. See Infinitives. 

TRANSFORMS. Syntactic patterns that closely resemble 
other syntactic patterns (which can conveniently be considered to 
be more basic) but that are nevertheless distinct in form and 
use. Thus the main interrogative was Jane there? is conveniently 
regarded as a transform of the main declarative Jane was there. 
All clause patterns except that of the main declarative can be re- 
garded as transforms of the main declarative, as can some non- 
clausal patterns for example, his dislike for fame, which obviously 
parallels he dislikes fame closely but has a prepositional completing 
modifier such as nouns have much more generally than verbs do. 
Clauses with passive-voice predicators can be called transforms of 
clauses with common-voice predicators, though the term reversals 

A Glossary of Grammatical Terminology 509 

seems preferable here. / gave him the book can profitably be consid- 
ered a transform of / gave the book to him, and an economics teacher of 
a teacher of economics. It is possible to regard the cold roast as a 
transform of the roast is cold, and even to consider that in we ate 
the roast cold there is transformation of the roast is cold; but the 
value of such analysis is less clear. 

TRANSITIVE PREPOSITIONS. See Prepositions and Ob- 

TRANSITIVE VERBS. Verbs used with nounal first com- 
plements. Make is transitive both in he makes too much trouble and 
in he makes all his colleagues angry. Even be seems best classified 
as transitive in the uses in which it takes nounal complements 
regularly, as in the three girls are sisters. 



VARIANT FORMS. When sets of forms occur where the 
basic patterning of the language calls for single forms, the forms 
making up a set can be called variants. Thus among the deter- 
minative pronouns the forms a and an divide determiner-modifier 
functions performed by more typical any: any door and any en- 
trance, but a door and an entrance. Again among the determinatives 
the forms no and none divide functions performed by more typical 
all: all boys and all of the boys, but no boys and none of the boys. 
Among the verb forms will is strikingly variable : it is sometimes 'II, 
sometimes wo, and sometimes will. Among the formatives, in such a 
complex as length it is clear that the stem leng is a variant of the 
word long. Spoken-language variation is a great deal more common 
than written-language practice suggests. Thus, ordinarily, the the of 
the stove and that of the others are phonemically distinct, and the 
can of / can drive is usually distinct phonemically from that of 
/ can go as well as from the stressed can of of course I can. The long 
of longer has a /g/ the basic-form adjective lacks. Differences in 
dialect are of course responsible for a tremendous amount of 
spoken-language variation that the written language ignores. In 
a broad sense, all "inflected" forms are variants of their basic 
forms. Was and will be can be considered syntactic variants of be, 
the first occurring, for example, with the adjunct yesterday in I was 

510 The Sentence and Its Parts 

ready yesterday, and the second occurring with the adjunct to- 

VERBS. Words whose characteristic function is that of pred- 
icator and whose most distinctive prepositive modifiers are com- 
mon-case and nominative personal-pronoun forms such as 7. 
Almost all verbs inflect in distinctive ways also. 

VERBIDS. Subordinate clauses with infinitival and ge- 
rundial predicators. Subjects are implied more often than they are 
stated, and they are objective- and possessive-case forms more 
often than nominative. Verbid forms with infinitival predicators 
are often identical in internal syntactic form with main impera- 

People think you gave up the trombone to make 'peace with 

the neighbors. 
Make peace with the neighbors. 

"VOCATIVES." This term is sometimes used of adjuncts 
of direct address. 

VOICES. Most verbs have passive-voice forms employing 
the auxiliary be and participial heads. The use of these indicates 
that the normal direction of predication is reversed. Thus the 
house was built by my grandfather is a reversal, with passive-voice 
predicator, of my grandfather built the house, in which the predi- 
cator built is a common-voice verb form. Sometimes common- 
voice predicators are used with reversed direction of predication 
also. Thus the meetings begin at eight has as subject the complement 
of they begin the meetings at eight. What is here called common voice 
is often called "active" voice, but the forms so named are often 
used to predicate events and states of affairs rather than actions, 
as in the meetings begin at eight, where the subject is not an actor 
and it is not possible to add mention of an actor, the meetings begin 
at eight by the chairman not being standard construction, 

vowel sounds and most consonant sounds are voiced; that is, they 
involve vibration of the vocal cords of the type most noticeable, 
perhaps, in the voiced /z/ of zoo as compared with the voiceless 
/s/ of sue. The voiceless consonant sounds of contemporary 
American English are /h/, /p/, /t/, /k/ ; //, /O/, /s/, and /$/, 

A Glossary of Grammatical Terminology 511 

the last occurring both separately and in the combination /t$/ 
which is sometimes regarded as a single phoneme. 

VOWEL SOUNDS. Any treatment of the vowel sounds of 
modern English that