Tuesday, 12 March 2013

3 Things to Know About Finite and Nonfinite Verb Phrases

1) Finite verb phrases show contrast in the meaning expressed by the verb. For example, they show contrast in:

a) Tense - He plays football. / He played football.

b) Number and Person - He plays. / They play. / I am. / You are.

c) Allow the expression of facts, possibilities, wishes, and other contrasts of mood - He asked the car to be moved. / It was moved.

2) If there is a series of verbs in the verb phrase, the finite verb is always the first. For example:
I was being paid. / They have been asked.

3) Nonfinite forms do not express contrasts of tense, number, person, or mood. They stay the same in clause regardless of any grammatical variation which may be taking place alongside them. There are three nonfinite forms in the verb:

a) The -ing participle - I'm going. / They're going. / He was going. / Going home, I/we/they felt concerned.

b) The -ed participle - I've asked. / He was asked. / They were asked. / Asked to come early, I/you/we arrived at 3.

c) The base form used as an infinitive - They might see. / I'll see. / He wants to see.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

5 Things to Know About Irregular Verbs

1) There are less that 300 irregular verbs.

2) Most irregular verbs change the vowel of the base to make their past or -ed participle forms. This is called vowel gradation. For example:

meet-met / take-took / speak-spoken

3) The -ed ending is never used in a regular way with an irregular verb. It is often not used at all - won, met, cut, sat - An important pattern with some verbs is the use of a variant form, in which the 'd' sound of the ending changes to a 't'. For example:

burned - burnt / spilled - spilt / kneeled - knelt.

4) Burned is more common in American English than British English. The 'd' and 't' forms do not convey the same thing. The 'd' form emphasises the duration of an action - it burned for weeks. Whereas the 't' form would be more appropriately used when saying - ow, that burnt me.

5) There are seven classes of irregular verb:

a) There are about 20 verbs whose only irregular feature is the ending used for both past and -ed participle forms: have - had / send - sent / burn - burnt - burned.

b) There are about 10 verbs whose past tense is regular, but their -ed participle has an -n ending and a variant form in -ed: mow - mown - mowed / swell - swollen - swelled.

c) There are about 40 verbs that have the same ending for both the past and -ed participle forms, but they are irregular because the vowel of the base form changes: keep - kept / sleep - slept / teach - taught / sell - sold.

d) There are about 75 verbs that have an -n ending for the -ed participle form and an irregular past form. The vowel of the base also changes: blow - blew - blown / take - took - taken / see - saw - seen / undo - undid - undone.

e) There are about 40 verbs that have the same form throughout: cut / let / shut / broadcast / outbid.

f) There are about 70 verbs that have no ending for both past tense and the -ed participle. The vowel used in the base changes: spin - spun / mislead - misled / sit - sat / stand - stood.

g) There are about 25 verbs that have no ending, the past and -ed participle forms are different, and the vowels change with each form: swim - swam - swum / begin - began - begun / go - went - gone.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

3 Things to Know About Regular Verbs

1) The forms of a regular verb can be predicted by rules. 

2) There are thousands of regular verbs.

3) Regular full verbs appear in four forms, each have a different role in the clause.

a) BASE FORM: A form with no endings. This is sometimes called the infinitive form - go / look / run / discover / remember.

b) -S FORM: These are made by adding an s ending to the base form - looks / cuts / runs / tries / passes / pushes.

c) -ING PARTICIPLE: These are made by adding ing to the base - visiting / begging / panicking / creating.

d) A form made by adding -ed: This ending is found in the past form and in the -ed participle form - passed / stopped / died / barred / rented / funded

Saturday, 2 March 2013

3 Things to Know About Verb Phrase Structure

1) The verb element in a sentence comprises of one or more words that make up the verb phrase. For example:
I SAW a cat. 
I HAVEN'T SEEN anything. 
DID I SEE that? 

2) The verb phrase consists of at least one main verb and can have up to four auxiliary verbs. For example:
a) kiss.
b) is kissing.
c) has been kissing.
d) must have been kissing.
e) must have been being kissed. (This is rare).

3) Three types of verb can occur with the verb phrase.

a) Full - Or lexical - These have a clearly statable meaning and act as main verbs:
run, jump, go, look, want, think, find.

b) Modal auxiliary - These express a range of judgments about the events and can only be used as auxiliary verbs:
will, shall, may, might, can, could.

c) Primary - These can be either main or auxiliary verbs and there are three of them - BE, HAVE, DO. For example:

Main use: 
They ARE happy. 
She HAS a dog. 
They DO sums.

Auxiliary use:
They ARE going.
She HAS seen it.
DO they go?

There are certain other verbs that do not fall clearly into these types. 

Friday, 1 March 2013

7 Things to Know About Concords

1) A concord is a way of showing that two grammatical units have a certain feature in common.

2) The most important is the third person in the present tense. This states that singular subjects take singular verbs or plural subjects take plural verbs. For example:
My boy watches television in the evening.
My boys watch television in the evening. 

3) The verb 'be' shows first person concord between the subject and verb in the present tense, using 'am'. This verb is the only one to display past tense concord, with the first and third persons, using was. For example:
I am tired. I was tired. He was tired.

4) Three types of concord:
a) Grammatical concord - This occurs when elements formally agree with each other. For example, a plural concord for plural subjects.
b) Notional concord - This is when the verb agrees with the singular or plural. For example: Two miles is a long way. The verb is singular because 'two miles' is seen as a singular entity. 
c) Concord of proximity - This is when a verb agrees with the number of a nearby noun, rather than the real subject. For example: No one except his football team agree that it was a goal.

5) Concord can be confusing and people are uncertain about it. Traditional grammars insist on grammatical concord, but usage often favours notional concord. Concord of proximity often occurs in spontaneous speech, but is condemned in writing. 

6) Usage is particularly divided over 'none'.
None of the pens is/are on the table.

The plural is more commonly used, but the older tradition insists on the singular. 

7) When two nouns are linked as a subject, you need to decide if you want to consider them as one or two separate entities.
Law and order is/are now established.