Инфоурок / Иностранные языки / Конспекты / Умк по теория грамматике
Обращаем Ваше внимание, что в соответствии с Федеральным законом N 273-ФЗ «Об образовании в Российской Федерации» в организациях, осуществляющих образовательную деятельность, организовывается обучение и воспитание обучающихся с ОВЗ как совместно с другими обучающимися, так и в отдельных классах или группах.

Педагогическая деятельность в соответствии с новым ФГОС требует от учителя наличия системы специальных знаний в области анатомии, физиологии, специальной психологии, дефектологии и социальной работы.

Только сейчас Вы можете пройти дистанционное обучение прямо на сайте "Инфоурок" со скидкой 40% по курсу повышения квалификации "Организация работы с обучающимися с ограниченными возможностями здоровья (ОВЗ)" (72 часа). По окончании курса Вы получите печатное удостоверение о повышении квалификации установленного образца (доставка удостоверения бесплатна).

Автор курса: Логинова Наталья Геннадьевна, кандидат педагогических наук, учитель высшей категории. Начало обучения новой группы: 20 сентября.

Подать заявку на этот курс    Смотреть список всех 203 курсов со скидкой 40%

Умк по теория грамматике


The plan of the lesson

The theme of the lesson: Morphemic structure of parts of the speech.

Morphological structure of word.

Aims of the lesson. Educational: To revise morpheme. To practice using the parts of speech.

Practical: To practice about morphological structure of word.

Cultural: To talk about morphemic structure.

Type of the lesson: New lesson

Method of the lesson: Palmer’s method (direct method)

Literature: Theoretical grammar.

Visual aids: slides, table, book.

The procedure of the lesson

  1. Organization moment.

  2. Greeting with duty.

  3. Explaining new theme: Let’s begin our lesson. All together write down the date and new theme. Today our new theme: Morphemic structure of parts of the speech and Morphological structure of word. Ok, let’s write our lecture

Morphemic structure of parts of the speech.

Morphological structure of word.

In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest grammatical unit in a language. In other words, it is the smallest meaningful unit of a language. The field of study dedicated to morphemes is called morphology. A morpheme is not identical to a word, and the principal difference between the two is that a morpheme may or may not stand alone, whereas a word, by definition, is freestanding. When it stands by itself, it is considered a root because it has a meaning of its own (e.g. the morpheme cat) and when it depends on another morpheme to express an idea, it is an affix because it has a grammatical function (e.g. the –s in cats to specify that it is plural). Every word comprises one or more morphemes. The more combinations a morpheme is found in, the more productive it is said to be.

Classification of morphemes

Free and bound Morphemes

Every morpheme can be classified as either free or bound. These categories are mutually exclusive, and as such, a given morpheme will belong to exactly one of them.

  • Free morphemes can function independently as words (e.g. town, dog) and can appear with other lexemes (e.g. town hall, doghouse).

  • Bound morphemes appear only as parts of words, always in conjunction with a root and sometimes with other bound morphemes. For example, un- appears only accompanied by other morphemes to form a word. Most bound morphemes in English are affixes, particularly prefixes and suffixes, examples of suffixes are: tion, ation, ible, ing, etc. Bound morphemes that are not affixes are called cranberry morphemes.

Classification of Bound morphemes

Bound morphemes can be further classified as derivational or inflectional.

Derivational morphemes

Derivational morphemes, when combined with a root, change either the semantic meaning or part of speech of the affected word. For example, in the word happiness, the addition of the bound morpheme -ness to the root happy changes the word from an adjective (happy) to a noun (happiness). In the word unkind, un- functions as a derivational morpheme, for it inverts the meaning of the word formed by the root kind.

Inflectional morphemes

Inflectional morphemes modify a verb's tense or a noun's number without affecting the word's meaning or class. Examples of applying inflectional morphemes to words are adding -s to the root dog to form dogs and adding -ed to wait to form waited. In English, there are eight inflections.


Allomorphs are variants of a morpheme that differ in pronunciation but are semantically identical. For example, in English, the plural marker -(e)s of regular nouns can be pronounced /-z/, /-s/, or /-ɨz/, depending on the final sound of the noun's singular form.

Content vs. function

Content morphemes express a concrete meaning or content, while function morphemes have more of a grammatical role. For example, the morphemes fast and sad can be considered content morphemes. On the other hand, the suffix –ed belongs to the function morphemes given that it has the grammatical function of indicating past tense. Although these categories seem very clear and intuitive, the idea behind it can be harder to grasp given that they overlap with each other. Examples of an ambiguous situation are the preposition over and the determiner your, which seem to have a concrete meaning, but are considered function morphemes because their role is to connect ideas grammatically. A general rule to follow to determine the category of a morpheme is:

  • Content morphemes include free morphemes that are nouns, adverbs, adjective, and verbs. It also includes bound morphemes that are bound roots and derivational affixes.

  • Function morphemes can be free morphemes that are prepositions, pronouns, determiners, and conjunctions. Additionally, they can be bound morphemes that are inflectional affixes.

Additional notes

First, roots are composed of only one morpheme while stems can be composed of more than one morpheme. Also, any additional affixes are considered morphemes. An example of this is the word quirkiness. The root is quirk, but the stem is quirky which has two morphemes. Second, another thing to take in consideration is that there might be affixes that have the same phonological form, but have different meaning. For example, the suffix –er can be derivative (e.g. wonder wonderer) or inflectional (e.g. small smaller). These types of morphemes are called homophonous.

A final factor to keep in consideration is to not be confused by monomorphemic words, which contain only one morpheme. For instance, some words might seem to be composed of multiple morphemes, but in fact they are not. This is why we have to consider form and meaning when searching for morphemes. For example, we might think that the word relate is composed of two morphemes, re- (prefix) and the word late, but this is not correct. It has no relationship with the definitions relevant to the word like “feel sympathy”, “narrate”, or “being connected by blood or marriage”. Furthermore, the length of the words does not determine if it has multiple morphemes or not. To demonstrate, the word Madagascar is long and it might seem to have morphemes like mad, gas, and car, but it does not. Conversely, small words can have multiple morphemes (e.g. dogs).

Morphological analysis

In natural language processing for Korean, Japanese, Chinese and other languages, morphological analysis is the process of segmenting a sentence into a row of morphemes. Morphological analysis is closely related to part-of-speech tagging, but word segmentation is required for these languages because word boundaries are not indicated by blank spaces.

The purpose of morphological analysis is to determine the minimal units of meaning in a language or morphemes by using comparisons of similar forms. For example, comparing forms such as “She is walking” and “They are walking” rather than comparing any of the previous sentences with something completely different like “You are reading”. Thus, we can effectively break down the forms in parts and distinguishing the different morphemes. Similarly, keep in mind that the meaning and the form are equally important during the identification of morphemes. For instance, agent and comparative morphemes illustrate this point. An agent morpheme is an affix like -er that transforms a verb into a noun (e.g. teach teacher). On the other hand, –er can also be a comparative morpheme that changes an adjective into another degree of the same adjective (e.g. small smaller). In this case, the form is the same, but the meaning of both morphemes is different. Also, the opposite can occur in which the meaning is the same but the form is different.

Changing definitions of morpheme

In generative grammar, the definition of a morpheme depends heavily on whether syntactic trees have morphemes as leaves or features as leaves.

  • Direct surface to syntax mapping LFG – leaves are words

  • Direct syntax to semantics mapping

Given the definition of morpheme as "the smallest meaningful unit" Nanosyntax aims to account for idioms where it is often an entire syntactic tree which contributes "the smallest meaningful unit." An example idiom is "Don't let the cat out of the bag" where the idiom is composed of "let the cat out of the bag" and that might be considered a semantic morpheme, which is composed of many syntactic morphemes. Other cases where the "smallest meaningful unit" is larger than a word include some collocations such as "in view of" and "business intelligence" where the words together have a specific meaning.

The definition of morphemes also plays a significant role in the interfaces of generative grammar in the following theoretical constructs;

  • Event semantics: the idea that each productive morpheme must have a compositional semantic meaning (a denotation), and if the meaning is there, there must be a morpheme (null or overt).

  • Spell-out: the interface where syntactic/semantic structures are "spelled-out" using words or morphemes with phonological content. This can also be thought of as lexical insertion into the syntactic

Study questions

1. What operation is called "morphemic analysis?"

2. What are the procedures for revealing morphemes suggested by Z. Harris and Ch.


3. What is a morpheme?

4. What is a morph?

5. What is an allomorph?

6. What are the criteria to classify morphemes?

7. What morphemes do you know according to the functional classification?

8. What types of morphemes are distinguished according to the criterion of number

correlation between form and content?

  1. Conclusion

  2. Set up the homework: Retelling the lecture

  3. Evaluation.

The lesson is over. Good bye!

The plan of the lesson

The theme of the lesson: The parts of the speech. Verb

Aims of the lesson. Educational: To practice using the parts of speech. To learn about verbs.

Practical: To practice about types of verbs.

Cultural: To talk about history of speech and verbs.

Type of the lesson: New lesson

Method of the lesson: Palmer’s method (direct method)

Literature: Theoretical grammar.

Visual aids: slides, table, book.

The procedure of the lesson

  1. Organization moment.

  2. Greeting with duty.

  3. Explaining new theme: Let’s begin our lesson. All together write down the date and new theme. Today our new theme: The parts of the speech. Verb Ok, let’s write our lecture ….

The parts of the speech.

A part of speech is a category of words (or, more generally, of lexical items) which have similar grammatical properties. Words that are assigned to the same part of speech generally display similar behavior in terms of syntax—they play similar roles within the grammatical structure of sentences—and sometimes in terms of morphology, in that they undergo inflection for similar properties. Commonly listed English parts of speech are noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun, preposition, conjunction, interjection, and sometimes numeral, article or determiner.

A part of speech – particularly in more modern classifications, which often make more precise distinctions than the traditional scheme does – may also be called a word class, lexical class, or lexical category, although the term lexical category refers in some contexts to a particular type of syntactic category, and may thus exclude parts of speech that are considered to be functional, such as pronouns. The term form class is also used, although this has various conflicting definitions. Word classes may be classified as open or closed: open classes (like nouns, verbs and adjectives) acquire new members constantly, while closed classes (such as pronouns and conjunctions) acquire new members infrequently, if at all.

Almost all languages have the word classes noun and verb, but beyond these there are significant variations in different languages. For example, Japanese has as many as three classes of adjectives where English has one; Chinese, Korean and Japanese have a class of nominal classifiers; many languages lack a distinction between adjectives and adverbs, or between adjectives and verbs (see stative verbs). This variation in the number of categories and their identifying properties means that analysis needs to be done for each individual language. Nevertheless, the labels for each category are assigned on the basis of universal criteria.

The classification of words into lexical categories is found from the earliest moments in the history of linguistics.


In the Nirukta, written in the 5th or 6th century BC, the Sanskrit grammarian Yāska defined four main categories of words:

  1. nāmanouns (including adjectives)

  2. ākhyātaverbs

  3. upasarga – pre-verbs or prefixes

  4. nipātaparticles, invariant words (perhaps prepositions)

These four were grouped into two larger classes: inflected (nouns and verbs) and uninflected (pre-verbs and particles).

The ancient work on the grammar of the Tamil language, Tolkāppiyam, dated variously between the 1st and 10th centuries AD, classifies Tamil words as peyar (noun), vinai (verb), idai (part of speech which modifies the relationships between verbs and nouns), and uri (word that further qualifies a noun or verb).

Western tradition

A century or two after the work of Nirukta, the Greek scholar Plato wrote in the Cratylus dialog that "... sentences are, I conceive, a combination of verbs [rhēma] and nouns [ónoma]". Aristotle added another class, "conjunctions" [sýndesmos], which included not only the words known today as conjunctions, but also other parts (the interpretations differ, in one interpretation it is pronouns, prepositions, and the article).

By the end of the 2nd century BC, this classification scheme had been expanded into eight categories, seen in the Art of Grammar, attributed to Dionysius Thrax:

Noun (ónoma): a part of speech inflected for case, signifying a concrete or abstract entity

  1. Verb (rhēma): a part of speech without case inflection, but inflected for tense, person and number, signifying an activity or process performed or undergone

  2. Participle (metokhḗ): a part of speech sharing features of the verb and the noun

  3. Article (árthron): a declinable part of speech, taken to include the definite article, but also the basic relative pronoun

  4. Pronoun (antōnymía): a part of speech substitutable for a noun and marked for a person

  5. Preposition (próthesis): a part of speech placed before other words in composition and in syntax

  6. Adverb (epírrhēma): a part of speech without inflection, in modification of or in addition to a verb, adjective, clause, sentence, or other adverb

  7. Conjunction (sýndesmos): a part of speech binding together the discourse and filling gaps in its interpretation

It can be seen that these parts of speech are defined by morphological, syntactic and semantic criteria.

The Latin grammarian Priscian (fl. 500 AD) modified the above eightfold system, excluding "article" (since Latin, unlike Greek, does not have articles), but adding "interjection".

The Latin names for the parts of speech, from which the corresponding modern English terms derive, were nomen, verbum, participium, pronomen, praepositio, adverbium, conjunctio and interjectio. The category nomen included substantives (nomen substantivum, corresponding to what are today called nouns in English) as well as adjectives (nomen adjectivum). This is reflected in the older English terminology noun substantive and noun adjective. Later the adjective was taken as a separate class, and the English word noun came to be applied to substantives only.

Works of English grammar generally follow the pattern of the European tradition as described above, except that participles are now usually regarded as forms of verbs rather than as a separate part of speech. Eight or nine parts of speech are commonly listed: noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun, preposition, conjunction, interjection and article or (more recently) determiner. Some modern classifications include further classes defined in addition to these. For discussion see the sections below.


English words have been classified into eight or nine parts of speech (and this scheme, or slight expansions of it, is still followed in most dictionaries):


a word or lexical item denoting any abstract (abstract noun: e.g. home) or concrete entity (concrete noun: e.g. house); a person (police officer, Michael), place (coastline, London), thing (necktie, television), idea (happiness), or quality (bravery). Nouns can also be classified into count nouns or non-count nouns, or both categories.


a substitute for a noun or noun phrase (them, he)


a modifier of a noun or pronoun (big, brave)


a word denoting an action (walk), occurrence (happen), or state of being (be)


a modifier of an adjective, verb, or other adverb (very, quite)


a word that relates a noun to another word or phrase in the sentence and aids in syntactic context (in, of)


a syntactic connector; links words, phrases, or clauses (and, but)


an emotional greeting or exclamation (Hurrah, Alas)


a grammatical marker of definiteness (the) or indefiniteness (a, an). Not always listed among the parts of speech. Sometimes determiner (a broader class) is used instead. Generally, the articles are not considered a separate part of speech, but are classified as adjectives. They modify nouns by limiting, in the same manner as a number ("the pen," "a pen,""one pen").

English words are not generally marked as belonging to one part of speech or another; this contrasts with many other European languages, which use inflection more extensively, meaning that a given word form can often be identified as belonging to a particular part of speech and having certain additional grammatical properties. In English, most words are uninflected, while the inflective endings that exist are mostly ambiguous: -ed may mark a verbal past tense, a participle or a fully adjectival form; -s may mark a plural noun or a present-tense verb form; -ing may mark a participle, gerund, or pure adjective or noun. Although -ly is a frequent adverb marker, some adverbs (e.g. tomorrow, fast, very) do not have that ending, while some words with that ending (e.g. friendly, ugly) are not adverbs.

Many English words can belong to more than one part of speech. Words like neigh, break, outlaw, laser, microwave, and telephone might all be either verbs or nouns. In certain circumstances, even words with primarily grammatical functions can be used as verbs or nouns, as in, "We must look to the hows and not just the whys." The process whereby a word comes to be used as a different part of speech is called conversion or zero derivation.

Functional classification

Linguists recognize that the above list of eight or nine word classes is drastically simplified and artificial. For example, "adverb" is to some extent a catch-all class that includes words with many different functions. Some have even argued that the most basic of category distinctions, that of nouns and verbs, is unfounded, or not applicable to certain languages. Modern linguists have proposed many different schemes whereby the words of English or other languages are placed into more specific categories and subcategories based on a more precise understanding of their grammatical functions.

Common lexical categories defined by function may include the following (not all of them will necessarily be applicable in a given language):

Within a given category, subgroups of words may be identified based on more precise grammatical properties. For example, verbs may be specified according to the number and type of objects or other complements which they take. This is called subcategorization.

Many modern descriptions of grammar include not only lexical categories or word classes, but also phrasal categories, used to classify phrases, in the sense of groups of words that form units having specific grammatical functions. Phrasal categories may include noun phrases (NP), verb phrases (VP) and so on. Lexical and phrasal categories together are called syntactic categories.


A diagram showing some of the posited English syntactic categories

Open and closed classes

Word classes may be either open or closed. An open class is one that commonly accepts the addition of new words, while a closed class is one to which new items are very rarely added. Open classes normally contain large numbers of words, while closed classes are much smaller. Typical open classes found in English and many other languages are nouns, verbs (excluding auxiliary verbs, if these are regarded as a separate class), adjectives, adverbs and interjections. Ideophones are often an open class, though less familiar to English speakers, and are often open to nonce words. Typical closed classes are prepositions (or postpositions), determiners, conjunctions, and pronouns.

The open–closed distinction is related to the distinction between lexical and functional categories, and to that between content words and function words, and some authors consider these identical, but the connection is not strict. Open classes are generally lexical categories in the stricter sense, containing words with greater semantic content, while closed classes are normally functional categories, consisting of words that perform essentially grammatical functions. This is not universal: in many languages verbs and adjectives are closed classes, usually consisting of few members, and in Japanese the formation of new pronouns from existing nouns is relatively common, though to what extent these form a distinct word class is debated.

Words are added to open classes through such processes as compounding, derivation, coining, and borrowing. When a new word is added through some such process, it can subsequently be used grammatically in sentences in the same ways as other words in its class. A closed class may obtain new items through these same processes, but such changes are much rarer and take much more time. A closed class is normally seen as part of the core language and is not expected to change. In English, for example, new nouns, verbs, etc. are being added to the language constantly (including by the common process of verbing and other types of conversion, where an existing word comes to be used in a different part of speech). However, it is very unusual for a new pronoun, for example, to become accepted in the language, even in cases where there may be felt to be a need for one, as in the case of gender-neutral pronouns.

The open or closed status of word classes varies between languages, even assuming that corresponding word classes exist. Most conspicuously, in many languages verbs and adjectives form closed classes of content words. An extreme example is found in Jingulu, which has only three verbs, while even the Indo-European Persian has very few verbs (fourteen of these simple verbs are thereafter used to form compounds); this lack of lexical verbs is shared with other Iranian languages, and Japanese is similar, having few lexical verbs. Basque verbs are also a closed class, with the vast majority of verbal senses instead expressed periphrastically.

In Japanese, verbs and adjectives are closed classes, though these are quite large, with about 700 adjectives, and verbs have opened slightly in recent years. Japanese adjectives are closely related to verbs (they can predicate a sentence, for instance). New verbal meanings are nearly always expressed periphrastically by appending suru (する?, to do) to a noun, as in undō suru (運動する?, to (do) exercise), and new adjectival meanings are nearly always expressed by adjectival nouns, using the suffix -na (〜な?) when an adjectival noun modifies a noun phrase, as in hen-na ojisan (変なおじさん?, strange uncle). The closedness of verbs has weakened in recent years, and in a few cases new verbs are created by appending -ru (〜る?) to a noun or using it to replace the end of a word. This is mostly in casual speech for borrowed words, with the most well-established example being sabo-ru (サボる?, cut class; play hooky), from sabotāju (サボタージュ?, sabotage). This recent innovation aside, the huge contribution of Sino-Japanese vocabulary was almost entirely borrowed as nouns (often verbal nouns or adjectival nouns). Other languages where adjectives are closed class include Swahili, Bemba, and Luganda.

By contrast, Japanese pronouns are open class – if they can even be considered a class – and nouns become used as pronouns with some frequency; a recent example jibun (自分?, self), now used by some young men as a first-person pronoun. The status of Japanese pronouns as a distinct class is disputed, however, with some considering it only a use of nouns, not a distinct class. The case is similar in languages of Southeast Asia, including Thai and Lao, in which, like Japanese, pronouns and terms of address vary significantly based on relative social standing and respect.

Some word classes are universally closed, however, including demonstratives and interrogative words.


A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (bring, read, walk, run, learn), an occurrence (happen, become), or a state of being (be, exist, stand). In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive. In many languages, verbs are inflected (modified in form) to encode tense, aspect, mood, and voice. A verb may also agree with the person, gender, and/or number of some of its arguments, such as its subject, or object. Verbs have tenses: present, to indicate that an action is being carried out; past, to indicate that an action has been done; future, to indicate that an action will be done.

In languages where the verb is inflected, it often agrees with its primary argument (the subject) in person, number, and/or gender. With the exception of the verb to be, English shows distinctive agreements only in the third person singular, present tense form of verbs, which are marked by adding "-s" ( walks) or "-es" (fishes). The rest of the persons are not distinguished in the verb (I walk, you walk, they walk, etc.).

Latin and the Romance languages inflect verbs for tense–aspect–mood (abbreviated 'TAM'), and they agree in person and number (but not in gender, as for example in Polish) with the subject. Japanese, like many languages with SOV word order, inflects verbs for tense-aspect-mood, as well as other categories such as negation, but shows absolutely no agreement with the subject - it is a strictly dependent-marking language. On the other hand, Basque, Georgian, and some other languages, have polypersonal agreement: the verb agrees with the subject, the direct object, and even the secondary object if present, a greater degree of head-marking than is found in most European languages.

Verb types

Verbs vary by type, and each type is determined by the kinds of words that accompany it and the relationship those words have with the verb itself. Classified by the number of their valency arguments, usually three basic types are distinguished: intransitives, transitives, ditransitives and double transitive verbs. Some verbs have special grammatical uses and hence complements, such as copular verbs (i.e., be); the verb "do" used for do-support in questioning and negation, and tense or aspect auxiliaries, e.g., "be", "have" or "can". In addition, verbs can be nonfinite, namely, not inflected for tense, and have various special forms such as infinitives, participles or gerunds.

Intransitive verbs

An intransitive verb is one that does not have a direct object. Intransitive verbs may be followed by an adverb (a word that addresses how, where, when, and how often) or end a sentence. For example: "The woman spoke softly." "The athlete ran faster than the official." "The boy wept."

Transitive verbs

A transitive verb is followed by a noun or noun phrase. These noun phrases are not called predicate nouns, but are instead called direct objects because they refer to the object that is being acted upon. For example: "My friend read the newspaper." "The teenager earned a speeding ticket."

A way to identify a transitive verb is to invert the sentence, making it passive. For example: "The newspaper was read by my friend." "A speeding ticket was earned by the teenager."

Ditransitive verbs

Ditransitive verbs (sometimes called Vg verbs after the verb give) precede either two noun phrases or a noun phrase and then a prepositional phrase often led by to or for. For example: "The players gave their teammates high fives." "The players gave high fives to their teammates."

When two noun phrases follow a transitive verb, the first is an indirect object, that which is receiving something, and the second is a direct object, that being acted upon. Indirect objects can be noun phrases or prepositional phrases.

Double transitive verbs

Double transitive verbs (sometimes called Vc verbs after the verb consider) are followed by a noun phrase that serves as a direct object and then a second noun phrase, adjective, or infinitive phrase. The second element (noun phrase, adjective, or infinitive) is called a complement, which completes a clause that would not otherwise have the same meaning. For example: "The young couple considers the neighbors wealthy people." "Some students perceive adults quite inaccurately." "Sarah deemed her project to be the hardest she has ever completed."

Copular verbs

Copular verbs (aka linking verbs) can't be followed by an adverb or end a sentence, but instead must be followed by a noun or adjective, whether in a single word or phrase. Common copulae include be, seem, become, appear, look, and remain. For example: "His mother looked worried." "Josh remained a reliable friend." Copulae are thought to 'link' the adjective or noun to the subject.

The verb be is manifested in eight forms: be, is, am, are, was, were, been, and being. These verbs precede nouns or adjectives in a sentence, which become predicate nouns and predicate adjectives similar to those that function with a linking verb. They can also be followed by an adverb of place, which is sometimes referred to as a predicate adverb. For example: "Her daughter was a writing tutor." "The singers were very nervous." "My house is down the street."

Adjectives that come after copular verbs are predicate adjectives, and nouns that come after linking verbs are predicate nouns.


The number of arguments that a verb takes is called its valency or valence. Verbs can be classified according to their valency:

  • Avalent (valency = 0): the verb has neither a subject nor an object. Zero valency does not occur in English; in some languages such as Mandarin Chinese, weather verbs like snow(s) take no subject or object.

  • Intransitive (valency = 1, monovalent): the verb only has a subject. For example: "he runs", "it falls".

  • Transitive (valency = 2, divalent): the verb has a subject and a direct object. For example: "she eats fish", "we hunt nothing".

  • Ditransitive (valency = 3, trivalent): the verb has a subject, a direct object, and an indirect object. For example: "He gives her a flower" or "She gave the watch to John".

A few English verbs, particularly those concerned with financial transactions, take four arguments, as in "Pat1 sold Chris2 a lawnmower3 for $204" or "Chris1 paid Pat2 $203 for a lawnmower4".

Weather verbs often appear to be impersonal (subjectless, or avalent) in null-subject languages like Spanish, where the verb llueve means "It rains". In English, French and German, they require a dummy pronoun, and therefore formally have a valency of 1. However, as verbs in Spanish incorporate the subject as a TAM suffix, Spanish is not actually a null-subject language, unlike Mandarin (see above). Such verbs in Spanish also have a valency of 1.

Intransitive and transitive verbs are the most common, but the impersonal and objective verbs are somewhat different from the norm. In the objective the verb takes an object but no subject; the nonreferent subject in some uses may be marked in the verb by an incorporated dummy pronoun similar to that used with the English weather verbs. Impersonal verbs in null subject languages take neither subject nor object, as is true of other verbs, but again the verb may show incorporated dummy pronouns despite the lack of subject and object phrases.

Verbs are often flexible with regard to valency. In non-valency marking languages such as English, a transitive verb can often drop its object and become intransitive; or an intransitive verb can take an object and become transitive. For example, in English the verb move has no grammatical object in he moves (though in this case, the subject itself may be an implied object, also expressible explicitly as in he moves himself); but in he moves the car, the subject and object are distinct and the verb has a different valency. Some verbs in English, however, have historically derived forms that show change of valency in some causative verbs, such as fall-fell-fallen:fell-felled-felled; rise-rose-risen:raise-raised-raised; cost-cost-cost:cost-costed-costed.

In valency marking languages, valency change is shown by inflecting the verb in order to change the valency. In Kalaw Lagaw Ya of Australia, for example, verbs distinguish valency by argument agreement suffixes and TAM endings:

Nui mangema "He arrived earlier today" (mangema today past singular subject active intransitive perfective)

Palai mangemanu "They [dual] arrived earlier today"

Thana mangemainu "They [plural] arrived earlier today"

verb structure : manga-i-[number]-TAM "arrive+active+singular/dual/plural+TAM"

Nuidh wapi manganu "He took the fish [to that place] earlier today" (manganu today past singular object attainative transitive perfective)

Nuidh wapi mangamanu "He took the two fish [to that place] earlier today"

Nuidh wapil mangamainu "He took the [three or more] fish [to that place] earlier today"

verb structure : manga-Ø-[number]-TAM "arrive+attainative+singular/dual/plural+TAM"

The verb stem manga- take/come/arrive at the destination takes the active suffix -i (> mangai-) in the intransitive form, and as a transitive verb the stem is not suffixed. The TAM ending -nu is the general today past attainative perfective, found with all numbers in the perfective except the singular active, where -ma is found.

Tense, aspect, and modality


A single-word verb in Spanish contains information about time (past, present, future), person and number. The process of grammatically modifying a verb to express this information is called conjugation.

Grammatical tense, Aspect (linguistics), Linguistic modality and Tense–aspect–mood

Depending on the language, verbs may express grammatical tense, aspect, or modality. Grammatical tense is the use of auxiliary verbs or inflections to convey whether the action or state is before, simultaneous with, or after some reference point. The reference point could be the time of utterance, in which case the verb expresses absolute tense, or it could be a past, present, or future time of reference previously established in the sentence, in which case the verb expresses relative tense.

Aspect expresses how the action or state occurs through time. Important examples include:

  • perfective aspect, in which the action is viewed in its entirety through completion (as in "I saw the car")

  • imperfective aspect, in which the action is viewed as ongoing; in some languages a verb could express imperfective aspect more narrowly as:

    • habitual aspect, in which the action occurs repeatedly (as in "I used to go there every day"), or

    • continuous aspect, in which the action occurs without pause; continuous aspect can be further subdivided into

      • stative aspect, in which the situation is a fixed, unevolving state (as in "I know French"), and

      • progressive aspect, in which the situation continuously evolves (as in "I am running")

    • perfect, which combines elements of both aspect and tense and in which both a prior event and the state resulting from it are expressed (as in "I have studied well")


The voice of a verb expresses whether the subject of the verb is performing the action of the verb or whether the action is being performed on the subject. The two most common voices are the active voice (as in "I saw the car") and the passive voice (as in "The car was seen by me" or simply "The car was seen").

Most languages have a number of verbal nouns that describe the action of the verb.

In the Indo-European languages, verbal adjectives are generally called participles. English has an active participle, also called a present participle; and a passive participle, also called a past participle. The active participle of break is breaking, and the passive participle is broken. Other languages have attributive verb forms with tense and aspect. This is especially common among verb-final languages, where attributive verb phrases act as relative clauses.

  1. Conclusion: Study questions

1. What are the most important features of verbs?

2. Why do some scientists say that verbs are "System of systems"?

3. Why do they say that verbs are morphologically most developed part of speech?

4. What are the criteria for classification of verbs?

5. What is the difference between finite and non-finite forms of the verb?

6. What verbs are called non-finite?

7. What verbs are called irregular?

8. How many basic forms of the verb do you know?

9. What is the difference between terminative and non-terminative verbs?

10. What is the difference between notional and functional verbs?

11. What functional verbs do you know?

12. What is the difference between auxiliary and link-verbs?

13. What are the peculiar features of modal verbs? Why are they called defective?

14. How many grammatical categories of the verb do you know?

15. Which grammatical category of the verb is the most intricate and why?

16. Do English verbs have the reciprocal and reflexive voices?

  1. Set up the homework: Retelling the lecture

  2. Evaluation.

The lesson is over. Good bye!

The plan of the lesson

The theme of the lesson: Noun. Pronoun.

Aims of the lesson. Educational: To revise nouns. To practice using noun and pronoun..

Practical: To practice about types of nouns and pronouns. To develop their

retelling, writing, speaking skills.

Cultural: To talk about history of nouns and pronouns.

Type of the lesson: New lesson, theoretical.

Method of the lesson: Palmer’s method (direct method)

Literature: Theoretical grammar.

Visual aids: slides, table, book.

The procedure of the lesson

  1. Organization moment.

  2. Greeting with duty.

  3. Explaining new theme: Let’s begin our lesson. All together write down the date and new theme. Today our new theme: Noun. Pronoun. Ok, let’s write our lecture ….

Noun Конец формКонец формы

Конец формы

A noun (from Latin nōmen, literally meaning "name") is a word that functions as the name of some specific thing or set of things, such as living creatures, objects, places, actions, qualities, states of existence, or ideas. Linguistically, a noun is a member of a large, open part of speech whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition.

Lexical categories (parts of speech) are defined in terms of the ways in which their members combine with other kinds of expressions. The syntactic rules for nouns differ from language to language. In English, nouns are those words which can occur with articles and attributive adjectives and can function as the head of a noun phrase.


Word classes (parts of speech) were described by Sanskrit grammarians from at least the 5th century BC. In Yāska's Nirukta, the noun (nāma) is one of the four main categories of words defined.

The Ancient Greek equivalent was ónoma (ὄνομα), referred to by Plato in the Cratylus dialog, and later listed as one of the eight parts of speech in The Art of Grammar, attributed to Dionysius Thrax (2nd century BC). The term used in Latin grammar was nōmen. All of these terms for "noun" were also words meaning "name". The English word noun is derived from the Latin term, through the Anglo-Norman noun.

The word classes were defined partly by the grammatical forms that they take. In Sanskrit, Greek and Latin, for example, nouns are categorized by gender and inflected for case and number. Because adjectives share these three grammatical categories, adjectives are placed in the same class as nouns.
Similarly, the Latin
nōmen includes both nouns (substantives) and adjectives, as originally did the English word noun, the two types being distinguished as nouns substantive and nouns adjective (or substantive nouns and adjective nouns, or short substantives and adjectives). (The word nominal is now sometimes used to denote a class that includes both nouns and adjectives.)

Many European languages use a cognate of the word substantive as the basic term for noun (for example, Spanish sustantivo, "noun"). Nouns in the dictionaries of such languages are demarked by the abbreviation s. or sb. instead of n., which may be used for proper nouns or neuter nouns instead. In English, some modern authors use the word substantive to refer to a class that includes both nouns (single words) and noun phrases (multiword units, also called noun equivalents). It can also be used as a counterpart to attributive when distinguishing between a noun being used as the head (main word) of a noun phrase and a noun being used as a noun adjunct. For example, the noun knee can be said to be used substantively in my knee hurts, but attributively in the patient needed knee replacement.

Definitions of nouns

Nouns have sometimes been defined in terms of the grammatical categories to which they are subject (classed by gender, inflected for case and number). Such definitions tend to be language-specific, since nouns do not have the same categories in all languages.

Nouns are frequently defined, particularly in informal contexts, in terms of their semantic properties (their meanings). Nouns are described as words that refer to a person, place, thing, event, substance, quality, quantity, etc. However this type of definition has been criticized by contemporary linguists as being uninformative.

There have been offered several examples of English-language nouns which do not have any reference: drought, enjoyment, finesse, behalf (as found in on behalf of), dint (in dint of), and sake (for the sake of).[8][9][10] Moreover, there may be a relationship similar to reference in the case of other parts of speech: the verbs to rain or to mother; many adjectives, like red; and there is little difference between the adverb gleefully and the noun-based phrase with glee.

Linguists often prefer to define nouns (and other lexical categories) in terms of their formal properties. These include morphological information, such as what prefixes or suffixes they take, and also their syntax – how they combine with other words and expressions of particular types. Such definitions may nonetheless still be language-specific, since syntax as well as morphology varies between languages. For example, in English it might be noted that nouns are words that can co-occur with definite articles (as stated at the start of this article), but this would not apply in Russian, which has no definite articles.

There have been several attempts, sometimes controversial, to produce a stricter definition of nouns on a semantic basis. Some of these are referenced in the Further reading section below.


In some languages, nouns are assigned to genders, such as masculine, feminine and neuter (or other combinations). The gender of a noun (as well as its number and case, where applicable) will often entail agreement in words that modify or are related to it. For example, in French, the singular form of the definite article is le with masculine nouns and la with feminines; adjectives and certain verb forms also change (with the addition of -e with feminines). Grammatical gender often correlates with the form of the noun and the inflection pattern it follows; for example, in both Italian and Russian most nouns ending -a are feminine. Gender can also correlate with the sex of the noun's referent, particularly in the case of nouns denoting people (and sometimes animals). Nouns do not have gender in Modern English, although many of them denote people or animals of a specific sex.

Classification of nouns:

Proper nouns and common nouns

A proper noun or proper name is a noun representing unique entities (such as Earth, India, Jupiter, Harry, or BMW), as distinguished from common nouns which describe a class of entities (such as city, animal, planet, person or car).

Countable and uncountable nouns

Count nouns or countable nouns are common nouns that can take a plural, can combine with numerals or counting quantifiers (e.g., one, two, several, every, most), and can take an indefinite article such as a or an (in languages which have such articles). Examples of count nouns are chair, nose, and occasion.

Mass nouns or uncountable (or non-count) nouns differ from count nouns in precisely that respect: they cannot take plurals or combine with number words or the above type of quantifiers. For example, it is not possible to refer to a furniture or three furnitures. This is true even though the pieces of furniture comprising furniture could be counted. Thus the distinction between mass and count nouns should not be made in terms of what sorts of things the nouns refer to, but rather in terms of how the nouns present these entities.

Many nouns have both countable and uncountable uses; for example, beer is countable in "give me three beers", but uncountable in "he likes beer".

Collective nouns

Collective nouns are nouns that – even when they are inflected for the singular – refer to groups consisting of more than one individual or entity. Examples include committee, government, and police. In English these nouns may be followed by a singular or a plural verb and referred to by a singular or plural pronoun, the singular being generally preferred when referring to the body as a unit and the plural often being preferred, especially in British English, when emphasizing the individual members. Examples of acceptable and unacceptable use given by Gowers in Plain Words include:

"A committee was appointed to consider this subject." (singular)

"The committee were unable to agree." (plural)

* "The committee were of one mind when I sat on them" (unacceptable use of plural)

Concrete nouns and abstract nouns

Concrete nouns refer to physical entities that can, in principle at least, be observed by at least one of the senses (for instance, chair, apple, Janet or atom). Abstract nouns, on the other hand, refer to abstract objects; that is, ideas or concepts (such as justice or hatred). While this distinction is sometimes exclusive, some nouns have multiple senses, including both concrete and abstract ones; consider, for example, the noun art, which usually refers to a concept (e.g., Art is an important element of human culture) but which can refer to a specific artwork in certain contexts (e.g., I put my daughter's art up on the fridge).

Some abstract nouns developed etymologically by figurative extension from literal roots. These include drawback, fraction, holdout, and uptake. Similarly, some nouns have both abstract and concrete senses, with the latter having developed by figurative extension from the former. These include view, filter, structure, and key.

In English, many abstract nouns are formed by adding noun-forming suffixes (-ness, -ity, -ion) to adjectives or verbs. Examples are happiness (from the adjective happy), circulation (from the verb circulate) and serenity (from the adjective serene).

Noun phrases

A noun phrase is a phrase based on a noun, pronoun, or other noun-like word (nominal) optionally accompanied by modifiers such as determiners and adjectives. A noun phrase functions within a clause or sentence in a role such as that of subject, object, or complement of a verb or preposition. For example, in the sentence "The black cat sat on a dear friend of mine", the noun phrase the black cat serves as the subject, and the noun phrase a dear friend of mine serves as the complement of the preposition on.


Nouns and noun phrases can typically be replaced by pronouns, such as he, it, which, and those, in order to avoid repetition or explicit identification, or for other reasons. For example, in the sentence Janeth thought that he was weird, the word he is a pronoun standing in place of the name of the person in question. The English word one can replace parts of noun phrases, and it sometimes stands in for a noun. An example is given below:

John's car is newer than the one that Bill has.

But one can also stand in for bigger sub parts of a noun phrase. For example, in the following example, one can stand in for new car.

This new car is cheaper than that one.

In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a word that substitutes for a noun or noun phrase. It is a particular case of a pro-form.

Pronouns have traditionally been regarded as one of the parts of speech, but some modern theorists would not consider them to form a single class, in view of the variety of functions they perform. Subtypes include personal pronouns, reflexive and reciprocal pronouns, possessive pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, relative pronouns, interrogative pronouns, and indefinite pronouns.

The use of pronouns often involves anaphora, where the meaning of the pronoun is dependent on an antecedent. This applies especially to third-person personal pronouns, and to relative pronouns. For example, in the sentence That poor man looks as if he needs a new coat, the antecedent of the pronoun he is the noun phrase that poor man.

The adjective associated with pronoun is pronominal. A pronominal is also a word or phrase that acts as a pronoun. For example, in That's not the one I wanted, the phrase the one (containing the prop-word one) is a pronominal.


Personal pronouns may be classified by person, number, gender and case. English has three persons (first, second and third) and two numbers (singular and plural); in the third person singular there are also distinct pronoun forms for male, female and neuter gender. Principal forms are shown in the table to the right (see also English personal pronouns).

English personal pronouns have two cases, subject and object. Subject pronouns are used in subject position (I like to eat chips, but she does not). Object pronouns are used for the object of a verb or preposition (John likes me but not her).

Other distinct forms found in some languages include:

  • Second person informal and formal pronouns (the T-V distinction), like tu and vous in French. There is no such distinction in standard modern English, though Elizabethan English marked the distinction with thou (singular informal) and you (plural or singular formal), and this is preserved in some dialects.

  • Inclusive and exclusive first person plural pronouns, which indicate whether or not the audience is included, that is, whether "we" means "you and I" or "they and I". There is no such distinction in English.

  • Intensive (emphatic) pronouns, which re-emphasize a noun or pronoun that has already been mentioned. English uses the same forms as the reflexive pronouns; for example: I did it myself (contrast reflexive use, I did it to myself).

  • Direct and indirect object pronouns, such as le and lui in French. English uses the same form for both; for example: Mary loves him (direct object); Mary sent him a letter (indirect object).

  • Prepositional pronouns, used after a preposition. English uses ordinary object pronouns here: Mary looked at him.

  • Disjunctive pronouns, used in isolation or in certain other special grammatical contexts, like moi in French. No distinct forms exist in English; for example: Who does this belong to? Me.

  • Strong and weak forms of certain pronouns, found in some languages such as Polish.

Some special uses of personal pronouns include:

  • Generic you, where second person pronouns are used in an indefinite sense: You can't buy good old-fashioned bulbs these days.

  • Generic they: In China they drive on the right.

  • Gender non-specific uses, where a pronoun needs to be found to refer to a person whose sex is not specified. Solutions sometimes used in English include generic he and singular they.

  • Dummy pronouns (expletive pronouns), used to satisfy a grammatical requirement for a noun or pronoun, but contributing nothing to meaning: It is raining..

  • Resumptive pronouns, "intrusive" personal pronouns found (for example) in some relative clauses where a gap (trace) might be expected: This is the girl that I don’t know what she said.

Reflexive and reciprocal

Reflexive pronouns are used when a person or thing acts on itself, for example, John cut himself. In English they all end in -self or -selves and must refer to a noun phrase elsewhere in the same clause.

Reciprocal pronouns refer to a reciprocal relationship (each other, one another). They must refer to a noun phrase in the same clause. An example in English is: They do not like each other. In some languages, the same forms can be used as both reflexive and reciprocal pronouns.


Possessive pronouns are used to indicate possession (in a broad sense). Some occur as independent noun phrases: mine, yours, hers, ours, yours, theirs. An example is: Those clothes are mine. Others must accompany a noun: my, your, her, our, your, their, as in: I lost my wallet. (His and its can fall into either category, although its is nearly always found in the second.) Those of the second type have traditionally also been described as possessive adjectives, and in more modern terminology as possessive determiners. The term "possessive pronoun" is sometimes restricted to the first type. Both types replace possessive noun phrases. As an example, Their crusade to capture our attention could replace The advertisers' crusade to capture our attention.


Demonstrative pronouns (in English, this, that and their plurals these, those) often distinguish their targets by pointing or some other indication of position; for example, I'll take these. They may also be anaphoric, depending on an earlier expression for context, for example, A kid actor would try to be all sweet, and who needs that?


Indefinite pronouns, the largest group of pronouns, refer to one or more unspecified persons or things. One group in English includes compounds of some-, any-, every- and no- with -thing, -one and -body, for example: Anyone can do that. Another group, including many, more, both, and most, can appear alone or followed by of.

In addition,

  • Distributive pronouns are used to refer to members of a group separately rather than collectively. (To each his own.)

  • Negative pronouns indicate the non-existence of people or things. (Nobody thinks that.)

  • Impersonal pronouns normally refer to a person, but are not specific as to first, second or third person in the way that the personal pronouns are. (One does not clean one's own windows.)


Relative pronouns (who, whom, whose, what, which and that) refer back to people or things previously mentioned: People who smoke should quit now. They are used in relative clauses.


Interrogative pronouns ask which person or thing is meant. In reference to a person, one may use who (subject), whom (object) or whose (possessive); for example, Who did that? In colloquial speech, whom is generally replaced by who. English non-personal interrogative pronouns (which and what) have only one form.

In English and many other languages (e.g. French, Russian and Czech), the sets of relative and interrogative pronouns are nearly identical. Compare English: Who is that? (interrogative) and I know the woman who came (relative). In some other languages, interrogative pronouns and indefinite pronouns are frequently identical; for example, Standard Chinese 什么 shénme means "what?" as well as "something" or "anything".


The use of pronouns often involves anaphora, where the meaning of the pronoun is dependent on another referential element. The referent of the pronoun is often the same as that of a preceding (or sometimes following) noun phrase, called the antecedent of the pronoun. The following sentences give examples of particular types of pronouns used with antecedents:

  • Third-person personal pronouns:

    • That poor man looks as if he needs a new coat. (the noun phrase that poor man is the antecedent of he)

    • Julia arrived yesterday. I met her at the station. (Julia is the antecedent of her)

    • When they saw us, the lions began roaring (the lions is the antecedent of they; as it comes after the pronoun it may be called a postcedent)

  • Other personal pronouns in some circumstances:

    • Terry and I were hoping no-one would find us. (Terry and I is the antecedent of us)

    • You and Alice can come if you like. (you and Alice is the antecedent of the second – plural – you)

  • Reflexive and reciprocal pronouns:

    • Jack hurt himself. (Jack is the antecedent of himself)

    • We were teasing each other. (we is the antecedent of each other)

  • Relative pronouns:

    • The woman who looked at you is my sister. (the woman is the antecedent of who)

Some other types, such as indefinite pronouns, are usually used without antecedents. Relative pronouns are used without antecedents in free relative clauses. Even third-person personal pronouns are sometimes used without antecedents ("unprecursed") – this applies to special uses such as dummy pronouns and generic they, as well as cases where the referent is implied by the context.

Theoretical considerations

Pronouns (antōnymía) are listed as one of eight parts of speech in The Art of Grammar, a treatise on Greek grammar attributed to Dionysius Thrax and dating from the 2nd century BC. The pronoun is described there as "a part of speech substitutable for a noun and marked for a person." Pronouns continued to be regarded as a part of speech in Latin grammar (the Latin term being pronomen, from which the English name – through Middle French – ultimately derives), and thus in the European tradition generally.

In more modern approaches, pronouns are less likely to be considered to be a single word class, because of the many different syntactic roles that they play, as represented by the various different types of pronouns listed in the previous sections.



our freedom



this gentleman



some frogs



no information



which option

Certain types of pronouns are often identical or similar in form to determiners with related meaning; some English examples are given in the table on the right. This observation has led some linguists, such as Paul Postal, to regard pronouns as determiners that have had their following noun or noun phrase deleted. (Such patterning can even be claimed for certain personal pronouns; for example, we and you might be analyzed as determiners in phrases like we Brits and you tennis players.) Other linguists have taken a similar view, uniting pronouns and determiners into a single class, sometimes called "determiner-pronoun", or regarding determiners as a subclass of pronouns or vice versa. The distinction may be considered to be one of subcategorization or valency, rather like the distinction between transitive and intransitive verbs – determiners take a noun phrase complement like transitive verbs do, while pronouns do not. This is consistent with the determiner phrase viewpoint, whereby a determiner, rather than the noun that follows it, is taken to be the head of the phrase.

The grammatical behavior of certain types of pronouns, and in particular their possible relationship with their antecedents, has been the focus of studies in binding, notably in the Chomskyan government and binding theory. In this context, reflexive and reciprocal pronouns (such as himself and each other) are referred to as anaphors (in a specialized restricted sense) rather than as pronominal elements.

  1. Conclusion: Study questions

1. What peculiar features of nouns do you know?

2. How many grammatical categories of nouns do you know?

3. What do you understand by regular and irregular formation of plural of nouns?

4. What means of irregular formation of plural meaning do you know?

5. Does English have the grammatical category of case?

6. What conceptions on the category of case do you know?

7. Is the category of case in English nouns is as stable as it is in your native language?

8. Is there a grammatical category of gender in English nouns?

9. What is the difference between the terms “gender” and “sex”?

10. Compare the gender meanings in English and your native language?

  1. Set up the homework: Retelling the lecture

  2. Evaluation.

The lesson is over. Good bye!

The plan of the lesson

The theme of the lesson: Adjective. Numerals.

Aims of the lesson. Educational: To revise nouns and pronoun. To practice using adjectives and


Practical: To practice about adjectives and numerals.

Cultural: To talk about numbers and comparisons of adjectives.

Type of the lesson: New lesson

Method of the lesson: Palmer’s method (direct method)

Literature: Theoretical grammar.

Visual aids: slides, table, book.

The procedure of the lesson

  1. Organization moment.

  2. Greeting with duty.

  3. Explaining new theme: Let’s begin our lesson. All together write down the date and new theme. Today our new theme: Adjective. Numerals. Ok, let’s write our lecture…..


In linguistics, an adjective is a describing word, the main syntactic role of which is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified.

Adjectives are one of the English parts of speech, although historically they were classed together with the nouns. Certain words that were traditionally considered to be adjectives, including the, this, my, etc., are today usually classed separately, as determiners.


Adjective comes from Latin (nōmen) adjectīvum "additional (noun)", a calque of Ancient Greek: ἐπίθετον (ὄνομαepítheton (ónoma) "additional (noun)". In the grammatical tradition of Latin and Greek, because adjectives were inflected for gender, number, and case like nouns (a process called declension), they were considered a subtype of noun. The words that are today typically called nouns were then called substantive nouns (nōmen substantīvum). The terms noun substantive and noun adjective were formerly used in English, until the word noun came to refer only to the former type, and the second type came to be known simply as adjectives.

Types of use

A given occurrence of an adjective can generally be classified into one of three kinds of use:

  1. Attributive adjectives are part of the noun phrase headed by the noun they modify; for example, happy is an attributive adjective in "happy people". In some languages, attributive adjectives precede their nouns; in others, they follow their nouns; and in yet others, it depends on the adjective, or on the exact relationship of the adjective to the noun. In English, attributive adjectives usually precede their nouns in simple phrases, but often follow their nouns when the adjective is modified or qualified by a phrase acting as an adverb. For example: "I saw three happy kids", and "I saw three kids happy enough to jump up and down with glee." See also Postpositive adjective.

  2. Predicative adjectives are linked via a copula or other linking mechanism to the noun or pronoun they modify; for example, happy is a predicate adjective in "they are happy" and in "that made me happy." (See also: Predicative expression, Subject complement.)

  3. Nominal adjectives act almost as nouns. One way this can happen is if a noun is elided and an attributive adjective is left behind. In the sentence, "I read two books to them; he preferred the sad book, but she preferred the happy", happy is a nominal adjective, short for "happy one" or "happy book". Another way this can happen is in phrases like "out with the old, in with the new", where "the old" means, "that which is old" or "all that is old", and similarly with "the new". In such cases, the adjective functions either as a mass noun (as in the preceding example) or as a plural count noun, as in "The meek shall inherit the Earth", where "the meek" means "those who are meek" or "all who are meek".


Adjectives feature as a part of speech (word class) in most languages. In some languages, the words that serve the semantic function of adjectives may be categorized together with some other class, such as nouns or verbs. For example, rather than an adjective meaning "big", a language might have a verb that means "to be big", and could then use an attributive verb construction analogous to "big-being house" to express what English expresses as "big house". Such an analysis is possible for the grammar of Standard Chinese, for example.

Different languages do not always use adjectives in exactly the same situations. For example, where English uses to be hungry (hungry being an adjective), Dutch and French use honger hebben and avoir faim respectively (literally "to have hunger", the words for "hunger" being nouns). Similarly, where Hebrew uses the adjective זקוק zaqūq (roughly "in need of"), English uses the verb "to need".

In languages which have adjectives as a word class, they are usually an open class; that is, it is relatively common for new adjectives to be formed via such processes as derivation. However, Bantu languages are well known for having only a small closed class of adjectives, and new adjectives are not easily derived. Similarly, native Japanese adjectives (i-adjectives) are considered a closed class (as are native verbs), although nouns (an open class) may be used in the genitive to convey some adjectival meanings, and there is also the separate open class of adjectival nouns (na-adjectives).

Adjectives and adverbs

Many languages, including English, distinguish between adjectives, which qualify nouns and pronouns, and adverbs, which mainly modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Not all languages have exactly this distinction and many languages, including English, have words that can function as both. For example, in English fast is an adjective in "a fast car" (where it qualifies the noun car), but an adverb in "he drove fast" (where it modifies the verb drove).

In Dutch and German, adjectives and adverbs are usually identical in form and many grammarians do not make the distinction, but patterns of inflection can suggest a difference:

Eine kluge neue Idee.

A clever new idea.

Eine klug ausgereifte Idee.

A cleverly developed idea.


Linguists today distinguish determiners from adjectives, considering them to be two separate parts of speech (or lexical categories), but formerly determiners were considered to be adjectives in some of their uses. In English dictionaries, which typically still do not treat determiners as their own part of speech, determiners are often recognizable by being listed both as adjectives and as pronouns. Determiners are words that are neither nouns nor pronouns, yet reference a thing already in context. Determiners generally do this by indicating definiteness (as in a vs. the), quantity (as in one vs. some vs. many), or another such property.

Adjective phrases

An adjective acts as the head of an adjective phrase or adjectival phrase (AP). In the simplest case, an adjective phrase consists solely of the adjective; more complex adjective phrases may contain one or more adverbs modifying the adjective ("very strong"), or one or more complements (such as "worth several dollars", "full of toys", or "eager to please"). In English, attributive adjective phrases that include complements typically follow the noun that they qualify ("an evildoer devoid of redeeming qualities").

Other modifiers of nouns

In many languages, including English, it is possible for nouns to modify other nouns. Unlike adjectives, nouns acting as modifiers (called attributive nouns or noun adjuncts) usually are not predicative; a beautiful park is beautiful, but a car park is not "car". The modifier often indicates origin ("Virginia reel"), purpose ("work clothes"), or semantic patient ("man eater"); however, it may generally indicate almost any semantic relationship. It is also common for adjectives to be derived from nouns, as in boyish, birdlike, behavioral (behavioural), famous, manly, angelic, and so on.

Many languages have special verbal forms called participles that can act as noun modifiers (alone or as the head of a phrase). Sometimes participles develop into pure adjectives. Examples of this in English include relieved (the past participle of the verb relieve, used as an adjective in sentences such as "I am so relieved to see you"), spoken (as in "the spoken word"), and going (the present participle of the verb go, used as an adjective in such phrases as "the going rate").

Other constructs that often modify nouns include prepositional phrases (as in "a rebel without a cause"), relative clauses (as in "the man who wasn't there"), and infinitive phrases (as in "a cake to die for"). Some nouns can also take complements such as content clauses (as in "the idea that I would do that"), but these are not commonly considered modifiers. For more information about possible modifiers and dependents of nouns, see Components of noun phrases.

Adjective order

In many languages, attributive adjectives usually occur in a specific order. In general, the adjective order in English is:

  1. Determiners — articles, adverbs, and other limiters.

  2. Observation — postdeterminers and limiter adjectives (e.g., a real hero, a perfect idiot) and adjectives subject to subjective measure (e.g., beautiful, interesting), or objects with a value (e.g., best, cheapest, costly)

  3. Size and shape — adjectives subject to objective measure (e.g., wealthy, large, round), and physical properties such as speed.

  4. Age — adjectives denoting age (e.g., young, old, new, ancient, six-year-old).

  5. Color — adjectives denoting color (e.g., red, black, pale).

  6. Origin — denominal adjectives denoting source of noun (e.g., French, American, Canadian).

  7. Material — denominal adjectives denoting what something is made of (e.g., woolen, metallic, wooden).

  8. Qualifier — final limiter, often regarded as part of the noun (e.g., rocking chair, hunting cabin, passenger car, book cover).

This means that in English, adjectives pertaining to size precede adjectives pertaining to age ("little old", not "old little"), which in turn generally precede adjectives pertaining to color ("old white", not "white old"). So, we would say "One (quantity) nice (opinion) little (size) round (shape) old (age) white (color) brick (material) house."

This order may be more rigid in some languages than others; in some, like Spanish, it may only be a default (unmarked) word order, with other orders being permissible.

Due partially to borrowings from French, English has some adjectives that follow the noun as postmodifiers, called postpositive adjectives, as in time immemorial and attorney general. Adjectives may even change meaning depending on whether they precede or follow, as in proper: They live in a proper town (a real town, not a village) vs. They live in the town proper (in the town itself, not in the suburbs). All adjectives can follow nouns in certain constructions, such as tell me something new.

Comparison of adjectives

In many languages, some adjectives are comparable. For example, a person may be "polite", but another person may be "more polite", and a third person may be the "most polite" of the three. The word "more" here modifies the adjective "polite" to indicate a comparison is being made, and "most" modifies the adjective to indicate an absolute comparison (a superlative).

Among languages that allow adjectives to be compared, different means are used to indicate comparison. Some languages do not distinguish between comparative and superlative forms.

In English, many adjectives can take the suffixes "-er" and "-est" (sometimes requiring additional letters before the suffix; see forms for far below) to indicate the comparative and superlative forms, respectively:

"great", "greater", "greatest"

"deep, "deeper", "deepest"

Some adjectives are irregular in this sense:

"good", "better", "best"

"bad", "worse", "worst"

"many", "more", "most" (sometimes regarded as an adverb or determiner)

"little", "less", "least"

Some adjectives can have both regular and irregular variations:

"old", "older", "oldest"

"far", "farther", "farthest"


"old", "elder", "eldest"

"far", "further", "furthest"

Another way to convey comparison is by incorporating the words "more" and "most". There is no simple rule to decide which means is correct for any given adjective, however. The general tendency is for simpler adjectives, and those from
Anglo-Saxon to take the suffixes, while longer adjectives and those from French, Latin, Greek do not—but sometimes sound of the word is the deciding factor.

Many adjectives do not naturally lend themselves to comparison. For example, some English speakers would argue that it does not make sense to say that one thing is "more ultimate" than another, or that something is "most ultimate", since the word "ultimate" is already absolute in its semantics. Such adjectives are called non-comparable or absolute. Nevertheless, native speakers will frequently play with the raised forms of adjectives of this sort. Although "pregnant" is logically non-comparable (either one is pregnant or not), one may hear a sentence like "She looks more and more pregnant each day". Likewise "extinct" and "equal" appear to be non-comparable, but one might say that a language about which nothing is known is "more extinct" than a well-documented language with surviving literature but no speakers, while George Orwell wrote "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others". These cases may be viewed as evidence that the base forms of these adjectives are not as absolute in their semantics as is usually thought.

Comparative and superlative forms are also occasionally used for other purposes than comparison. In English comparatives can be used to suggest that a statement is only tentative or tendential: one might say "John is more the shy-and-retiring type," where the comparative "more" is not really comparing him with other people or with other impressions of him, but rather, could be substituting for "on the whole". In Italian, superlatives are frequently used to put strong emphasis on an adjective: Bellissimo means "most beautiful", but is in fact more commonly heard in the sense "extremely beautiful".


Attributive adjectives, and other noun modifiers, may be used either restrictively (helping to identify the noun's referent, hence "restricting" its reference) or non-restrictively (helping to describe an already-identified noun).

In some languages, such as Spanish, restrictiveness is consistently marked; for example, in Spanish la tarea difícil means "the difficult task" in the sense of "the task that is difficult" (restrictive), whereas la difícil tarea means "the difficult task" in the sense of "the task, which is difficult" (non-restrictive). In English, restrictiveness is not marked on adjectives, but is marked on relative clauses (the difference between "the man who recognized me was there" and "the man, who recognized me, was there" being one of restrictiveness).


In some languages, adjectives alter their form to reflect the gender, case and number of the noun that they describe. This is called agreement or concord. Usually it takes the form of inflections at the end of the word, as in Latin:

In the Celtic languages, however, initial consonant lenition marks the adjective with a feminine noun, as in Irish:
Often a distinction is made here between attributive and predicative usage. Whereas English is an example of a language in which adjectives never agree and French of a language in which they always agree, in German they agree only when used attributively, and in Hungarian only when used predicatively.

Numbers and Numerals

This material describes how numbers are expressed by numerals in English and provides examples of cardinal and ordinal numerals, common and decimal fractions, and examples of differences between British and American English in expressing numbers. Some differences in the representation of numbers in English and Russian are also indicated.

For the purposes of studying, numbers in this material are written in words and figures. Recommendations on the use of figures or words for expressing numbers and examples of the use of numbers in various situations are given in Numbers in Situations in the section Miscellany.

Functions of numerals

A numeral is a figure, a letter, a word (or their combinations) representing a number. Cardinal numerals indicate number, quantity or amount and are used in counting. Ordinal numerals indicate order, that is, the order of things in a series. Numerals can be written in figures or words (2 or two; 25 or twenty-five; 17th or seventeenth).

Numerals function as nouns and adjectives. In a sentence, a numeral can serve as a subject, attribute, object, predicative complement, or adverbial modifier.

Ten students took part in the competition. Three of them received awards.

Twenty cars were sold on the first day. Five of them were sports cars.

There are 135 employees in this company. We talked to 45 of them.

How many cakes did you buy? – I bought five. I ate two.

Two plus four is six. Three times three is nine.

How old is your grandfather? – He is 72. He was born in 1940.


It is interesting to note that the numeral is not a part of speech in English. The word "numerals" in English sources refers mostly to figures (not words). Words like "three, six, twenty, forty-five, hundred, third, sixth, twentieth, forty-fifth, hundredth" are nouns and adjectives in English.

Compare English and Russian parts of speech:

There are eight parts of speech in English: nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections. (In some English sources, articles are included in this list as a part of speech.)

There are ten parts of speech in Russian: nouns, pronouns, adjectives, numerals, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, particles, and interjections.

Numerals: BrE and AmE

Both in British English and in American English groups of three digits in numerals of one thousand and higher are usually separated by a comma, counting from the ; 12,345; 378,925; 6,540,210.

Some manuals of style recommend writing four-digit numerals without a comma: 1570; 2358; 5625.

In numbers written as words in British English, the conjunction "and" is used before tens, or before ones if there are no tens, starting with hundreds: one hundred and twenty-three (123); four hundred and seven (407); three thousand five hundred and thirty-eight (3,538); seventy-three thousand and five (73,005); five million three hundred thousand and fifty (5,300,050).

Note the use of more than one conjunction "and" in large numbers in British English: two million six hundred and twenty-five thousand three hundred and ten (2,625,310).

In American English, the conjunction "and" is generally not used before tens or ones: one hundred twenty-three (123); four hundred seven (407); three thousand five hundred thirty-eight (3,538); seventy-three thousand five (73,005); two million six hundred twenty-five thousand three hundred ten (2,625,310); five million three hundred thousand fifty (5,300,050).

In British English, the conjunction "and" is also used before tens or ones in ordinal numerals above one hundred: one hundred and tenth (110th); three thousand and fifth (3005th). But "and" is not used in American ordinals: one hundred tenth (110th); three thousand fifth (3005th).

In this material, numbers expressed in words are written without "and" before tens or ones.

Digits, figures, numerals, numbers

The words "digit, figure, numeral, number" may present some difficulty for language learners. For example, you can say "the digit 3; the figure 3; the numeral 3; the number 3", but the meanings of these word combinations are not the same.

The word "digit" refers to any of Arabic figures from 0 to 9. Examples: the digit 4; the digit 7; a three-digit number; a group of three digits; use digits to write these numbers.

The word "figure" refers to a numerical symbol for a number and can also refer to the numerical value of a number. Examples: the figure 4; Arabic figures; a six-figure number; a figure of 3.5 million; round figures; write these numbers in figures and in words. The word "figures" can also mean "arithmetic": He is good at figures.

A numeral is a name used for denoting a number. Numerals can be in the form of any symbols denoting a number. In texts of general character, numerals are usually written as figures or words. Examples: the numeral 7; the numeral seven; ordinal numerals; Arabic numerals, Roman numerals.

The word "number" refers to quantity or amount (in various fields of application) and is one of the main concepts in mathematics. Examples: whole numbers; natural numbers; prime numbers; even numbers; odd numbers; large numbers; round numbers; negative numbers; the number 12; the number twelve; the number 165.

One of the meanings of the word "number" is "numeral". Because of that, the word "number" can be used in many cases where the word "numeral" is meant, for example, you can say "cardinal numerals" or "cardinal numbers"; "ordinal numerals" or "ordinal numbers".

Cardinal numerals

In formal nontechnical texts, numbers from one to one hundred, round numbers, and any numbers that can be expressed in one or two words are usually spelled out, that is, written out in words.

In less formal texts, as a general rule, numbers from one to ten should be spelled out, and figures can be used for numbers above ten.

Examples of spelling

one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10);

eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen (11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19);

twenty, thirty-seven, forty-two, fifty-one, sixty-five, seventy, eighty-three, ninety-eight (20, 37, 42, 51, 65, 70, 83, 98);

one hundred eighty-six (186); two hundred (200); three hundred forty (340); four hundred (400); five hundred three (503); eight hundred twelve (812); nine hundred one (901);

one thousand six hundred seventy-nine (1,679); four thousand (4,000); fifteen thousand (15,000); sixty-three thousand four hundred ninety-five (63,495); seven hundred eight thousand thirty-four (708,034);

five million (5,000,000); thirteen million nine hundred sixty-seven thousand one hundred eleven (13,967,111);

six billion three hundred forty-nine million twenty-five thousand six hundred eighty-two (6,349,025,682).

Examples in sentences

She has three brothers.

There are twelve students in my group.

How many feet are there in a mile? – There are 5280 feet in a mile.

Numbers at the beginning of the sentence should be written out in words. If you need to use figures, restructure your sentence.

Fifty-six workers were fired yesterday. – Yesterday 56 workers were fired.

Numerals used in the same function in a sentence are usually written either as words or as figures.

He wrote one hundred thirty essays, fifty-two stories, and seven novels.

He wrote 130 essays, 52 stories, and 7 novels.

Note: Multiples of one hundred

In less formal speech and writing, especially in American usage, four-digit numbers that are multiples of 100 are often named in the following way:

1100 – eleven hundred; 1200 – twelve hundred; 1500 – fifteen hundred; 1600 – sixteen hundred; 2300 – twenty-three hundred; 4400 – forty-four hundred; 5600 – fifty-six hundred.

In British English, such use is more common for round numbers between 1,100 and 1,900.

Note that 1000, 2000, 3000, etc., are pronounced as "one thousand, two thousand, three thousand", etc.; that is, such numbers are generally not expressed in hundreds.

Ordinal numerals

Ordinal numerals that can be expressed in one or two words are usually written as words.

Examples of spelling

first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th);

eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, nineteenth (11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th);

twentieth, thirty-seventh, forty-second, fifty-first, sixty-fifth, seventieth, eighty-third, ninety-eighth (20th, 37th, 42nd, 51st, 65th, 70th, 83rd, 98th);

one hundred eighty-sixth (186th); three hundred fortieth (340th); five hundred third (503rd); eight hundred twelfth (812th);

one thousand six hundred seventy-ninth (1,679th); nine thousand eight hundred fiftieth (9,850th);

two hundredth (200th); three thousandth (3,000th); five millionth (5,000,000th).

Examples in sentences

Generally, ordinal numerals are used as adjectives and stand before nouns. An ordinal numeral is usually preceded by the definite article "the".

The first story was interesting. The second was dull.

The thousandth visitor received a prize.

John Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States.

An ordinal numeral may have the meaning "another, one more", in which case it is preceded by the indefinite article "a".

We sent them two letters, but they didn't answer. We are going to send them a third letter today.

Note the following typical constructions with ordinal and cardinal numerals: the second lesson – Lesson 2 (pronounced "lesson two"); the fifth unit – Unit 5 (pronounced "unit five"); the tenth chapter – Chapter 10 (pronounced "chapter ten").

Note the use of Roman numerals (pronounced as ordinal numerals) with the names of kings: Henry V (Henry the Fifth); Richard III (Richard the Third).

Difficult spellings

Pay attention to the differences in the spelling and pronunciation of the following cardinal and ordinal numerals.

two, twelve, twenty, twenty-two – second, twelfth, twentieth, twenty-second;

three, thirteen, thirty, thirty-three – third, thirteenth, thirtieth, thirty-third;

four, fourteen, forty, forty-four – fourth, fourteenth, fortieth, forty-fourth;

five, fifteen, fifty, fifty-five – fifth, fifteenth, fiftieth, fifty-fifth;

eight, eighteen, eighty, eighty-eight – eighth, eighteenth, eightieth, eighty-eighth;

nine, nineteen, ninety, ninety-nine – ninth, nineteenth, ninetieth, ninety-ninth;

Note the pronunciation of "five, fifth" and "nine, ninth": five [faiv] – fifth [fifθ]; nine [nain] – ninth [nainθ].

Numerals like "eighteen" have two stresses: sixteen ['siks'ti:n]; eighteen ['ei'ti:n]. Depending on the position of the numeral in the sentence, primary stress may fall on the first or on the last syllable. For example:

He has SIXteen BOOKS. How many? – SixTEEN.

Numerals like "eighty" have one stress on the first syllable: twenty ['twenti]; sixty ['siksti]; eighty ['eiti].

Note the pronunciation of ordinal numerals like "twentieth": twentieth ['twentiiθ]; fortieth ['fo:rtiiθ]; fiftieth ['fiftiiθ]; seventieth ['seventiiθ]; ninetieth ['naintiiθ].


The numerator of the fraction is expressed by a cardinal numeral, and the denominator is expressed by an ordinal numeral. The suffixes "rd, th, ths" are not written in the denominator of the fractions written in figures (1/3; 1/5; 3/7), but such fractions are pronounced in the same way as fractions written in words (one-third; one-fifth; three-sevenths).

Common fractions are usually written out in words. Mixed numbers may be written out in words if short but are often written in figures.

Fractions are generally hyphenated, except in those cases where the numerator or the denominator is already hyphenated: "one-fifth" but "one twenty-fifth".

Some manuals of style recommend writing without a hyphen fractions in the meaning of nouns: a half / one half; one third; two thirds; three fourths / three quarters; four fifths.

Examples of spelling

1/2 – one-half / a half; 1/3 – one-third;

1/4 – one-fourth / a quarter;

1/5 – one-fifth; 1/8 – one-eighth;

1/9 – one-ninth; 1/10 – one-tenth;

1/12 – one-twelfth; 1/20 – one twentieth;

1/32 – one thirty-second;

1/100 – one-hundredth;

1/1000 – one-thousandth;

2/3 – two-thirds; 4/5 – four-fifths;

3/4 – three-fourths / three-quarters;

5/8 – five-eighths; 9/10 – nine-tenths;

7/36 – seven thirty-sixths;

33/100 – thirty-three hundredths;

65/1000 – sixty-five thousandths;

1 1/2 – one and a half;

1 1/4 – one and a quarter;

3 2/5 – three and two-fifths;

6 3/7 – six and three-sevenths.

Examples in sentences

This box weighs two-thirds of a kilogram.

He has already written three-quarters of his new novel.

A cent is one hundredth part of a dollar.

A milliliter is one thousandth of a liter.

Note: The use of "half"

Add one-half cup of sugar to the mixture.

The park is half a mile from here.

I had to wait for an hour and a half.

The fence was one and a half meters high.

I spent three and a half weeks there.

Decimal fractions

The decimal point (not a comma) separates the whole from the fraction in decimal fractions in English. Decimals are written in figures.

The digits to the left of the decimal point are usually read as a cardinal number, and the digits to the right of the decimal point are usually read as separate digits. For example, 546.132 can be read as "five hundred forty-six point one-three-two".

Examples of spelling and pronunciation

0.2 (pronounced "zero-point-two"); 0.001 (zero-point-zero-zero-one);

1.3 (pronounced "one-point-three"); 2.5 (two-point-five); 3.6 (three-point-six);

6.57 (pronounced "six-point-five-seven"); 8.024 (eight-point-zero-two-four);

17.84 (pronounced "seventeen-point-eight-four"); 99.99 (ninety-nine-point-nine-nine);

2056.831 (pronounced "two-thousand-fifty-six-point-eight-three-one").

If the whole before the decimal point equals zero, the zero is sometimes omitted in writing and not pronounced: 0.5 or .5 ("zero-point-five" or "point-five"); 0.029 or .029 ("zero-point-zero-two-nine" or "point-zero-two-nine"). It is advisable to write the zero before the decimal point in such cases.

In British English, a zero is usually read as "nought": 1.03 (one-point-nought-three); 5.206 (five-point-two-nought-six); 0.5 (nought-point-five); 0.001 (nought-point-nought-nought-one).

It is considered preferable to use decimal fractions with the words "million, billion" instead of the numerals with several zeros. Compare:

1,500,000 – 1.5 million (pronounced "one-point-five million"); 16,400,000 – 16.4 million (pronounced "sixteen-point-four million"); 3,200,000,000 – 3.2 billion (pronounced "three-point-two billion").

Examples in sentences

Generally, plural nouns are used after decimal fractions in English. Pay attention to the difference in the use of the decimal point (English) and a comma (Russian).

One meter equals 3.28 feet.

The distance between these objects is 23.6 miles.

The distance between these lines is 0.8 centimeters.

This container weighs 0.53 tons.

Singular or plural verb

When calculations are said aloud, the verb is generally used in the singular, for example, "two plus two is four; two plus two equals four; two plus two makes four". The verb "to equal" in this case is a little more formal than the verbs "to be, to make". Examples:

3 + 4 = 7 (pronounced "three plus four is/equals seven")

10 – 6 = 4 (pronounced "ten minus six is/equals four")

5 x 4 = 20 (pronounced "five multiplied by four is/equals twenty")

30 : 6 = 5 (pronounced "thirty divided by six is/equals five")

In the case of addition, the plural form of the verb is also used, for example, "two and two are four; two and two equal four; two and two make four; two plus two make four".

A singular verb is used when referring to amounts in the following way:

Three-fifths of a mile is a little less than one kilometer.

How much is 35 percent of 470?

Fifteen hours of waiting is too much.

In other cases, the choice of a singular or plural verb depends on the noun that follows the numeral. If the noun is singular or uncountable, the singular form of the verb is used. If a plural noun stands after the numeral, the plural form of the verb is used. Compare these examples:

Half of the house is occupied by his library.

Half of his books are about children.

A third (or One-third) of the equipment was replaced last month.

A third (or One-third) of the cars were bought on credit.

About 60 percent of the sum was provided by a sponsor.

About 60 percent of the students were absent on that day.

(See Agreement in the section Grammar.)

Hundred, thousand, million

The words "hundred, thousand, million" can be used with "one" or "a" (if "one" is meant). But only "one" is used before these words if they are followed by numerals in order to express an exact number. Compare these examples:

I saw about a hundred people there.

One hundred thirty-five people were present at the meeting.

The lake is about a hundred and fifty miles from the nearest city.

The lake is at a distance of one hundred fifty-two miles from the nearest city.

Their house is almost a hundred and ten years old.

Their house is one hundred ten years old.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

She wrote exactly one thousand words.

Can they pay a million dollars?

The price was one million two hundred thousand dollars. (Usually written as $1.2 million.)

The words "hundred, thousand, million" do not take the plural ending "s" when they are preceded by numerals in order to express an exact number. But the words "hundred, thousand, million" can take the plural ending "s" when they are followed by "of" + noun, in which case they have the meaning "a great number, a lot of". Compare these examples:

We need three hundred volunteers. – We saw hundreds of people there.

They sold two thousand cars. – There are thousands of books in her collection.

The company lost six million dollars. – The new radio program attracted millions of listeners.


Certain fractions and ordinal numbers containing the words "hundred, thousand, million" may sound alike in some cases. Note the differences in spelling:

three-hundredths (3/100) – three hundredth (300th);

two-thousandths (2/1000) – two thousandth (2000th).

The context usually makes the meaning clear. For example: Five-hundredths can be reduced to one-twentieth. Yesterday the five hundredth baby was born in our new maternity hospital.

Note: Billion and milliard

A billion is a thousand million in American English (i.e., 1,000,000,000), and at present the word "billion" is used in British English in the same meaning.

The word "milliard" is also used in British English for such numbers, but such use is becoming rare. The word "milliard" is not used in American English.

The word "milliard" is used in Russian in the meaning "a thousand million". The word "billion" is not used in Russian.

In older British usage, the word "billion" was used in the meaning "million million". A million million is a trillion in American English.

  1. Conclusion: Study questions

1. What are the most important characteristic features of adjectives?

2. Why do we have to differentiate the qualitative and relative adjectives?

3. How are the comparative and superlative of adjectives formed?

4. What adjectives form their degrees by both inflections and words more and most?

5. Are their adjectives that form their degrees of comparison by means of suppletion?

6. What do you understand by substantivization?

7. Are the words "more" and "most" lexical or grammatical means when, they form the

degrees of comparison of adjectives?

8. What adjectives form their comparative and superlative by root-vowel and final-consonant change?

  1. Set up the homework: Retelling the lecture

  2. Evaluation. The lesson is over. Good bye!

The plan of the lesson

The theme of the lesson: Interjection. Adverb. Article.

Aims of the lesson. Educational: To revise adjective and numerals. To practice using interjection,

adverb and article.

Practical: To develop students’speaking and writing skills..

Cultural: To talk about interjection, adverb and article.

Type of the lesson: New lesson

Method of the lesson: Palmer’s method (direct method)

Literature: Theoretical grammar.

Visual aids: slides, table, book.

The procedure of the lesson

  1. Organization moment.

  2. Greeting with duty.

  3. Checking homework.

  4. Explaining new theme: Let’s begin our lesson. All together write down the date and new theme. Today our new theme: Interjection, Adverb and Article. Ok, let’s write our lecture…..


In grammar, an interjection or exclamation is a word used to express a particular emotion or sentiment on the part of the speaker (although most interjections have clear definitions). Filled pauses such as uh, er, um are also considered interjections. Interjections are often placed at the beginning of a sentence.

An interjection is sometimes expressed as a single word or non-sentence phrase, followed by a punctuation mark. The isolated usage of an interjection does not represent a complete sentence in conventional English writing. Thus, in formal writing, the interjection will be incorporated into a larger sentence clause.

Interjection as a figure of speech refers to the use of one word. For example, lawyers in the United States of America traditionally say: Objection! or soldiers: Fire!.


Several English interjections contain sounds, or are sounds as opposed to words, that do not (or very rarely) exist in regular English phonological inventory. For example:

  • Ahem [əʔəm], [ʔəʔəm], [əɦəm], or [ʔəhəm], ("attention!") may contain a glottal stop [ʔ] or a [ɦ] in any dialect of English; the glottal stop is common in American English, some British dialects, and in other languages, such as German.

  • Gah [ɡæh], [ɡɑː] ("Gah, there's nothing to do!") ends with [h], which does not occur with regular English words.

  • Oops, an interjection made in response to the observation of a minor mistake, usually written as "Oops!" or "Whoops!"

  • Psst [psː] ("here!"), is another entirely consonantal syllable-word, and its consonant cluster does not occur initially in regular English words.

  • Shh [ʃːː] ("quiet!") is an entirely consonantal syllable.

  • Tut-tut [ǀ ǀ] ("shame..."), also spelled tsk-tsk, is made up entirely of clicks, which are an active part of regular speech in several African languages. This particular click is dental. (This also has the spelling pronunciation [tʌt tʌt].)

  • Ugh [ʌx] ("disgusting!") ends with a velar fricative consonant, which is otherwise restricted to just a few regional dialects of English, though is common in languages like Spanish, German, Gaelic and Russian.

  • Whew or phew [ɸɪu], ɸju ("what a relief!"), also spelled shew, may start with a bilabial fricative, a sound pronounced with a strong puff of air through the lips. This sound is a common phoneme in such languages as Suki (a language of New Guinea) and Ewe and Logba (both spoken in Ghana).

  • Yeah [jɛ(ə)] ("yes") ends with the short vowel [ɛ], or in some dialects [æ] or tensed [ɛə], neither of which are found at the end of any regular English words.


Drawing on earlier writings by Wilhelm Wundt,[2] interjections may be subdivided into primary and secondary interjections.[3]

  • primary interjections do not belong to and are not derived from any word category and also encompass onomatopoeia. Presumably, they originate from animal or human noises. Examples: Oops., Ouch!

  • secondary interjections in contrast are words with another meaning, most often substantives. However, as an interjection they are used by themselves and express mental attitudes or states. Examples: Damn!, Hell!


An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, adjective, another adverb, determiner, noun phrase, clause, or sentence. Adverbs typically express manner, place, time, frequency, degree, level of certainty, etc., answering questions such as how?, in what way?, when?, where?, and to what extent?. This function is called the adverbial function, and may be realised by single words (adverbs) or by multi-word expressions (adverbial phrases and adverbial clauses).

Adverbs are traditionally regarded as one of the parts of speech. However, modern linguists note that it has come to be used as a kind of "catch-all" category, used to classify words with various different types of syntactic behavior, not necessarily having much in common except that they do not fit into any of the other available categories (noun, adjective, preposition, etc.)


The English word adverb derives (through French) from Latin adverbium, from ad- ("to"), verbum ("word", "verb"), and the nominal suffix -ium. The term implies that the principal function of adverbs is to act as modifiers of verbs or verb phrases.[1] An adverb used in this way may provide information about the manner, place, time, frequency, certainty, or other circumstances of the activity denoted by the verb or verb phrase. Some examples:

  • She sang loudly (loudly modifies the verb sang, indicating the manner of singing)

  • We left it here (here modifies the verb phrase left it, indicating place)

  • I worked yesterday (yesterday modifies the verb worked, indicating time)

  • You often make mistakes (often modifies the verb phrase make mistakes, indicating frequency)

  • He undoubtedly did it (undoubtedly modifies the verb phrase did it, indicating certainty)

Adverbs can also be used as modifiers of adjectives, and of other adverbs, often to indicate degree. Examples:

  • You are quite right (the adverb quite modifies the adjective right)

  • She sang very loudly (the adverb very modifies another adverb – loudly)

They can also modify noun phrases, prepositional phrases, or whole clauses or sentences, as in the following examples:

  • I bought only the fruit (only modifies the noun phrase the fruit)

  • She drove us almost to the station (almost modifies the prepositional phrase to the station)

  • Certainly we need to act (certainly modifies the sentence as a whole)

Adverbs are thus seen to perform a wide range of modifying functions. The major exception is the function of modifier of nouns, which is performed instead by adjectives (compare she sang loudly with her loud singing disturbed me; here the verb sang is modified by the adverb loudly, whereas the noun singing is modified by the adjective loud). However, as seen above, adverbs may modify noun phrases, and so the two functions may sometimes be superficially very similar:

  • Even camels need to drink

  • Even numbers are divisible by two

The word even in the first sentence is an adverb, since it is an "external" modifier, modifying camels as a noun phrase (compare even these camels ...), whereas the word even in the second sentence is an adjective, since it is an "internal" modifier, modifying numbers as a noun (compare these even numbers ...). It is nonetheless possible for certain adverbs to modify a noun; in English the adverb follows the noun in such cases,[1] as in:

  • The people here are friendly

  • The show features dances galore

  • There is a shortage internationally of protein for animal feeds

Adverbs can sometimes be used as predicative expressions; in English this applies especially to adverbs of location:

  • Your seat is there.

When the function of an adverb is performed by an expression consisting of more than one word, it is called an adverbial phrase or adverbial clause, or simply an adverbial.

Formation and comparison

In English, adverbs of manner (answering the question how?) are often formed by adding -ly to adjectives. Other languages often have similar methods for deriving adverbs from adjectives (French, for example, uses the suffix -ment), or else use the same form for both adjectives and adverbs. Many other adverbs, however, are not related to adjectives in this way; they may be derived from other words or phrases, or may be single morphemes. Examples of such adverbs in English include here, there, together, yesterday, aboard, very, almost, etc.

Where the meaning permits, adverbs may undergo comparison, taking comparative and superlative forms. In English this is usually done by adding more and most before the adverb (more slowly, most slowly), although there are a few adverbs that take inflected forms, such as well, for which better and best are used.

For more information about the formation and use of adverbs in English, see English grammar: Adverbs. For other languages, see In specific languages below, and the articles on individual languages and their grammars.

Adverbs as a "catch-all" category

Adverbs are considered a part of speech in traditional English grammar, and are still included as a part of speech in grammar taught in schools and used in dictionaries. However, modern grammarians recognize that words traditionally grouped together as adverbs serve a number of different functions. Some describe adverbs a "catch-all" category that includes all words that do not belong to one of the other parts of speech.

A logical approach to dividing words into classes relies on recognizing which words can be used in a certain context. For example, the only type of word that can be inserted in the following template to form a grammatical sentence is a noun:

The _____ is red. (For example, "The hat is red".)

When this approach is taken, it is seen that adverbs fall into a number of different categories. For example, some adverbs can be used to modify an entire sentence, whereas others cannot. Even when a sentential adverb has other functions, the meaning is often not the same. For example, in the sentences She gave birth naturally and Naturally, she gave birth, the word naturally has different meanings: in the first sentence, as a verb-modifying adverb, it means "in a natural manner", while in the second sentence, as a sentential adverb, it means something like "of course".

Words like very afford another example. We can say Perry is very fast, but not Perry very won the race. These words can modify adjectives but not verbs. On the other hand, there are words like here and there that cannot modify adjectives. We can say The sock looks good there but not It is a there beautiful sock. The fact that many adverbs can be used in more than one of these functions can confuse the issue, and it may seem like splitting hairs to say that a single adverb is really two or more words that serve different functions. However, this distinction can be useful, especially when considering adverbs like naturally that have different meanings in their different functions. Rodney Huddleston distinguishes between a word and a lexico grammatical-word.

Grammarians find difficulty categorizing negating words, such as the English not. Although traditionally listed as an adverb, this word does not behave grammatically like any other, and it probably belongs in a class on its own.


An article (abbreviated ART) is a word (or prefix or suffix) that is used with a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun. Articles specify grammatical definiteness of the noun, in some languages extending to volume or numerical scope. The articles in the English language are the and a/an, and (in certain contexts) some. 'An' and 'a' are modern forms of the Old English 'an', which in Anglian dialects was the number 'one' (compare 'on', in Saxon dialects) and survived into Modern Scots as the number 'ane'. Both 'on' (respelled 'one' by the Normans) and 'an' survived into Modern English, with 'one' used as the number and 'an' ('a', before nouns that begin with a consonant sound) as an indefinite article.

Traditionally in English, an article is usually considered to be a type of adjective. In some languages, articles are a special part of speech, which cannot easily be combined with other parts of speech. It is also possible for articles to be part of another part of speech category such as a determiner, an English part of speech category that combines articles and demonstratives (such as 'this' and 'that').

In languages that employ articles, every common noun, with some exceptions, is expressed with a certain definiteness (e.g., definite or indefinite), just as many languages express every noun with a certain grammatical number (e.g., singular or plural). Every noun must be accompanied by the article, if any, corresponding to its definiteness, and the lack of an article (considered a zero article) itself specifies a certain definiteness. This is in contrast to other adjectives and determiners, which are typically optional. This obligatory nature of articles makes them among the most common words in many languages—in English, for example, the most frequent word is the.

Articles are usually characterized as either definite or indefinite. A few languages with well-developed systems of articles may distinguish additional subtypes. Within each type, languages may have various forms of each article, according to grammatical attributes such as gender, number, or case, or according to adjacent sounds.

Definite article

A definite article indicates that its noun is a particular one which is identifiable to the listener. It may be something that the speaker has already mentioned, or it may be something uniquely specified. The definite article in English, for both singular and plural nouns, is the.

The children know the fastest way home.

The sentence above refers to specific children and a specific way home; it contrasts with the much more general observation that:

Children know the fastest ways home.

The latter sentence refers to children in general and their specific ways home. Likewise,

Give me the book.

refers to a specific book whose identity is known or obvious to the listener; as such it has a markedly different meaning from

Give me a book.

which does not specify what book is to be given.

The definite article can also be used in English to indicate a specific class among other classes:

The cabbage white butterfly lays its eggs on members of the Brassica genus.

However, recent developments show that definite articles are morphological elements linked to certain noun types due to lexicalization. Under this point of view, definiteness does not play a role in the selection of a definite article more than the lexical entry attached to the article.

The definite article is sometimes also used with proper names, which are already specified by definition (there is just one of them). For example: the Amazon, the Hebrides. In these cases, the definite article may be considered superfluous. Its presence can be accounted for by the assumption that they are shorthand for a longer phrase in which the name is a specifier, i.e. the Amazon River, the Hebridean Islands. Where the nouns in such longer phrases cannot be omitted, the definite article is universally kept: the United States, the People's Republic of China. This distinction can sometimes become a political matter: the former usage the Ukraine stressed the word's Russian meaning of "borderlands"; as Ukraine became a fully independent state following the collapse of the Soviet Union, it requested formal mentions of its name omit the article. Similar shifts in usage have occurred in the names of Sudan and both Congo (Brazzaville) and (Kinshasa); a move in the other direction occurred with The Gambia.

Some languages also use definite articles with personal names. For example, such use is standard in Portuguese: a Maria, literally: "the Maria" [but this is not possible in Hindi names such as "the Sandeep," " a Sandeep". It also occurs colloquially in Spanish, German and other languages, and is sometimes heard in Italian. In Hungary it is considered to be a Germanism

Indefinite article

An indefinite article indicates that its noun is not a particular one (or ones) identifiable to the listener. It may be something that the speaker is mentioning for the first time, or its precise identity may be irrelevant or hypothetical, or the speaker may be making a general statement about any such thing. English uses a/an, from the Old English forms of the number 'one', as its primary indefinite article. The form an is used before words that begin with a vowel sound (even if spelled with an initial consonant, as in an hour), and a before words that begin with a consonant sound (even if spelled with a vowel, as in a European).

She had a house so large that an elephant would get lost without a map.

Before some words beginning with a pronounced (not silent) h in an unstressed first syllable, such as hallucination, hilarious, historic(al), horrendous, and horrific, some (especially older) British writers prefer to use an over a (an historical event, etc.). An is also preferred before hotel by some writers of British English (probably reflecting the relatively recent adoption of the word from French, where the h is not pronounced). The use of "an" before words beginning with an unstressed "h" is more common generally in British English than American. American writers normally use a in all these cases, although there are occasional uses of an historic(al) in American English. According to the New Oxford Dictionary of English, such use is increasingly rare in British English too. Unlike British English, American English typically uses an before herb, since the h in this word is silent for most Americans. The correct usage in respect of the term "hereditary peer" was the subject of an amendment debated in the UK Parliament.

The word some is used as a functional plural of a/an "An apple" never means more than one apple. "Give me some apples" indicates more than one is desired but without specifying a quantity. This finds comparison in Spanish, where the singular indefinite article 'un/una' ("one") is completely indistinguishable from the unit number, except where it has a plural form ('unos/unas'): Dame una manzana" ("Give me an apple") > "Dame unas manzanas" ("Give me some apples"). However, some also serves as a quantifier rather than as a plural article, as in "There are some apples there, but not many."

Some also serves as a singular indefinite article, as in "There is some person on the porch". This usage differs from the usage of a(n) in that some indicates that the identity of the noun is unknown to both the listener and the speaker, while a(n) indicates that the identity is unknown to the listener without specifying whether or not it is known to the speaker. Thus There is some person on the porch indicates indefiniteness to both the listener and the speaker, while There is a person on the porch indicates indefiniteness to the listener but gives no information as to whether the speaker knows the person's identity.

Partitive article

A partitive article is a type of indefinite article used with a mass noun such as water, to indicate a non-specific quantity of it. Partitive articles are used in French and Italian in addition to definite and indefinite articles. (In Finnish, the partitive is indicated by inflection.) The nearest equivalent in English is some, although this is considered a determiner and not an article.

French: Veux-tu du café ?

Do you want (some) coffee? (or, dialectally but more accurately, Do you want some of this coffee?)

See also more information about the French partitive article.

Haida has a partitive article (suffixed -gyaa) referring to "part of something or... to one or more objects of a given group or category," e.g., tluugyaa uu hal tlaahlaang 'he is making a boat (a member of the category of boats).

Negative article

A negative article specifies none of its noun, and can thus be regarded as neither definite nor indefinite. On the other hand, some consider such a word to be a simple determiner rather than an article. In English, this function is fulfilled by no, which can appear before a singular or plural noun:

No man has been on this island.

No dogs are allowed here.

No one is in the room.

Zero article

The zero article is the absence of an article. In languages having a definite article, the lack of an article specifically indicates that the noun is indefinite. Linguists interested in X-bar theory causally link zero articles to nouns lacking a determiner.[10] In English, the zero article rather than the indefinite is used with plurals and mass nouns, although the word "some" can be used as an indefinite plural article.

Visitors end up walking in mud.

Articles are found in many Indo-European, Semitic, and Polynesian languages but formally are absent from some large languages of the world, such as Indonesian, Japanese, Hindi and Russian.

Linguists believe the common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, Proto-Indo-European, did not have articles. Most of the languages in this family do not have definite or indefinite articles; there is no article in Latin, Sanskrit, nor in some modern Indo-European languages, such as the families of Slavic languages (not including Bulgarian, Macedonian and Torlakian, which are rather distinctive among the Slavic languages in terms of grammar) and Baltic languages. Although Classical Greek has a definite article (which has survived into Modern Greek and which bears strong resemblance to the German definite article), the earlier Homeric Greek used this article largely as a pronoun or demonstrative. Articles developed independently in several language families.

Not all languages have both definite and indefinite articles, and some languages have different types of definite and indefinite articles to distinguish finer shades of meaning; for example, French and Italian have a partitive article used for indefinite mass nouns, whereas Colognian has two distinct sets of definite articles indicating focus and uniqueness, and Macedonian uses definite articles in a demonstrative sense, with a tripartite distinction (proximal, medial, distal) based on distance from the speaker or interlocutor. The words this and that (and their plurals, these and those) can be understood in English as, ultimately, forms of the definite article the (whose declension in Old English included thaes, an ancestral form of this/that and these/those).

In many languages, the form of the article may vary according to the gender, number, or case of its noun. In some languages the article may be the only indication of the case. Many languages do not use articles at all, and may use other ways of indicating old versus new information, such as topic–comment constructions.


-a, -ja, -i, -u, -t, -të (all suffixes)




al- or el ال (prefix)




hendê, birrê


ha- ה (prefix)


ο, η, το
οι, οι, τα

ένας, μια, ένα


-(i)nn, -(i)n, -(i)ð, -(i)na, -num, -(i)nni, -nu, -(i)ns, -(i)nnar, -nir, -nar, -unum, -anna (all suffixes)



a, an



der, die, das
des, dem, den

ein, eine, einer, eines
einem, einen


de, het ('t)

een ('n)



yan, yat
ittsn, ittsnt


el, la, lo
los, las

un, una
unos, unas

algo, algún, algunos, alguna, algunas, alguien


o, a
os, as

um, uma
uns, umas

algo, algum, alguns, alguma, algumas, alguém


le, la, l'

un, une

du, de la, de l'


il, lo, la, l'
i, gli, le

un', uno, una, un

del, dello, della, dell'
dei, degli, degl' , delle


-a, -(u)l
-(i)i, -e, -(e)le (all suffixes)

un, o, una, un


a, az



Articles have developed independently in many different language families across the globe. Generally, articles develop over time usually by specialization of certain adjectives.

Joseph Greenberg in Universals of Human Language describes "the cycle of the definite article": Definite articles (Stage I) evolve from demonstratives, and in turn can become generic articles (Stage II) that may be used in both definite and indefinite contexts, and later merely noun markers (Stage III) that are part of nouns other than proper names and more recent borrowings. Eventually articles may evolve anew from demonstratives.

Definite articles

Definite articles typically arise from demonstratives meaning that. For example, the definite articles in the Romance languages—e.g., el, il, le, la—derive from the Latin demonstratives ille (masculine) and illa (feminine).

The English definite article the, written þe in Middle English, derives from an Old English demonstrative, which, according to gender, was written se (masculine), seo (feminine) (þe and þeo in the Northumbrian dialect), or þæt (neuter). The neuter form þæt also gave rise to the modern demonstrative that. The ye occasionally seen in pseudo-archaic usage such as "Ye Olde Englishe Tea Shoppe" is actually a form of þe, where the letter thorn (þ) came to be written as a y.

Multiple demonstratives can give rise to multiple definite articles. Macedonian, for example, in which the articles are suffixed, has столот (stolot), the chair; столов (stolov), this chair; and столон (stolon), that chair. These derive from the Common Slavic demonstratives *tъ "this, that", *ovъ "this here" and *onъ "that over there, yonder" respectively. Colognian prepositions articles such as in dat Auto, or et Auto, the car; the first being specifically selected, focused, newly introduced, while the latter is not selected, unfocused, already known, general, or generic. Standard Basque distinguishes between proximal and distal definite articles in the plural (dialectally, a proximal singular and an additional medial grade may also be present). The Basque distal form (with infix -a-, etymologically a suffixed and phonetically reduced form of the distal demonstrative har-/hai-) functions as the default definite article, whereas the proximal form (with infix -o-, derived from the proximal demonstrative hau-/hon-) is marked and indicates some kind of (spatial or otherwise) close relationship between the speaker and the referent (e.g., it may imply that the speaker is included in the referent): etxeak ("the houses") vs. etxeok ("these houses [of ours]"), euskaldunak ("the Basque speakers") vs. euskaldunok ("we, the Basque speakers").

Indefinite articles

Indefinite articles typically arise from adjectives meaning one. For example, the indefinite articles in the Romance languages—e.g., un, una, une—derive from the Latin adjective unus. Partitive articles, however, derive from Vulgar Latin de illo, meaning (some) of the.

The English indefinite article an is derived from the same root as one. The -n came to be dropped before consonants, giving rise to the shortened form a. The existence of both forms has led to many cases of juncture loss, for example transforming the original a napron into the modern an apron.

The Persian indefinite article is yek, meaning one.

  1. Conclusion: Study questions

1. What are the main features of adverbs?

2. Why the term "adverb" chosen to name this group of words?

3. What sub-types of adverbs do you know?

4. Do adverbs have any grammatical category? If the answer is positive which adverbs have it?

5. Why do some grammarians consider such verbal phrases as "give up", "dream about" within the adverbs?

6. What is the main problem within this group of words?

  1. Set up the homework: Retelling the lecture

  2. Evaluation.

The lesson is over. Good bye!

The plan of the lesson

The theme of the lesson: Prepositions.

Aims of the lesson. Educational: To revise interjection, adverb and article. To practice using


Practical: To develop students’speaking and writing skills and habits.

Cultural: To talk about Prepositions..

Type of the lesson: New lesson

Method of the lesson: Palmer’s method (direct method)

Literature: Theoretical grammar.

Visual aids: slides, table, book.

The procedure of the lesson

  1. Organization moment.

  2. Greeting with duty.

  3. Checking homework.

  4. Explaining new theme: Let’s begin our lesson. All together write down the date and new theme. Today our new theme: Prepositions. Ok, let’s write our lecture…..


Exercises on Prepositions

Prepositions are short words (on, in, to) that usually stand in front of nouns (sometimes also in front of gerund verbs).

Even advanced learners of English find prepositions difficult, as a 1:1 translation is usually not possible. One preposition in your native language might have several translations depending on the situation.

There are hardly any rules as to when to use which preposition. The only way to learn prepositions is looking them up in a dictionary, reading a lot in English (literature) and learning useful phrases off by heart (study tips).

The following table contains rules for some of the most frequently used prepositions in English:

Prepositions – Time

  • days of the week

  • on Monday

  • in

  • months / seasons

  • time of day

  • year

  • after a certain period of time (when?)

  • in August / in winter

  • in the morning

  • in 2006

  • in an hour

  • at

  • for night

  • for weekend

  • a certain point of time (when?)

  • at night

  • at the weekend

  • at half past nine

  • since

  • from a certain point of time (past till now)

  • since 1980

  • for

  • over a certain period of time (past till now)

  • for 2 years

  • ago

  • a certain time in the past

  • 2 years ago

  • before

  • earlier than a certain point of time

  • before 2004

  • to

  • telling the time

  • ten to six (5:50)

  • past

  • telling the time

  • ten past six (6:10)

  • to / till / until

  • marking the beginning and end of a period of time

  • from Monday to/till Friday

  • till / until

  • in the sense of how long something is going to last

  • He is on holiday until Friday.

  • by

  • in the sense of at the latest

  • up to a certain time

  • I will be back by 6 o’clock.

  • By 11 o'clock, I had read five pages.

Prepositions – Place (Position and Direction)

  • room, building, street, town, country

  • book, paper etc.

  • car, taxi

  • picture, world

  • in the kitchen, in London

  • in the book

  • in the car, in a taxi

  • in the picture, in the world

  • at

  • meaning next to, by an object

  • for table

  • for events

  • place where you are to do something typical (watch a film, study, work)

  • at the door, at the station

  • at the table

  • at a concert, at the party

  • at the cinema, at school, at work

  • on

  • attached

  • for a place with a river

  • being on a surface

  • for a certain side (left, right)

  • for a floor in a house

  • for public transport

  • for television, radio

  • the picture on the wall

  • London lies on the Thames.

  • on the table

  • on the left

  • on the first floor

  • on the bus, on a plane

  • on TV, on the radio

  • by, next to, beside

  • left or right of somebody or something

  • Jane is standing by / next to / beside the car.

  • under

  • on the ground, lower than (or covered by) something else

  • the bag is under the table

  • below

  • lower than something else but above ground

  • the fish are below the surface

  • over

  • covered by something else

  • meaning more than

  • getting to the other side (also across)

  • overcoming an obstacle

  • put a jacket over your shirt

  • over 16 years of age

  • walk over the bridge

  • climb over the wall

  • above

  • higher than something else, but not directly over it

  • a path above the lake

  • across

  • getting to the other side (also over)

  • getting to the other side

  • walk across the bridge

  • swim across the lake

  • through

  • something with limits on top, bottom and the sides

  • drive through the tunnel

  • to

  • movement to person or building

  • movement to a place or country

  • for bed

  • go to the cinema

  • go to London / Ireland

  • go to bed

  • into

  • enter a room / a building

  • go into the kitchen / the house

  • towards

  • movement in the direction of something (but not directly to it)

  • go 5 steps towards the house

  • onto

  • movement to the top of something

  • jump onto the table

  • from

  • in the sense of where from

  • a flower from the garden

Other important Prepositions

  • who gave it

  • a present from Jane

  • of

  • who/what does it belong to

  • what does it show

  • a page of the book

  • the picture of a palace

  • by

  • who made it

  • a book by Mark Twain

  • on

  • walking or riding on horseback

  • entering a public transport vehicle

  • on foot, on horseback

  • get on the bus

  • in

  • entering a car  / Taxi

  • get in the car

  • off

  • leaving a public transport vehicle

  • get off the train

  • out of

  • leaving a car  / Taxi

  • get out of the taxi

  • by

  • rise or fall of something

  • travelling (other than walking or horseriding)

  • prices have risen by 10 percent

  • by car, by bus

  • at

  • for age

  • she learned Russian at 45

  • about

  • for topics, meaning what about

  • we were talking about you

Prepositions are words which begin prepositional phrases.

A prepositional phrase is a group of words containing a preposition, a noun or pronoun object of the preposition, and any modifiers of the object.

A preposition sits in front of (is “pre-positioned” before) its object.

The following words are the most commonly used prepositions:























in front of










in spite of


up to



instead of








because of









with regard to





with respect to



    It is useful to locate prepositional phrases in sentences since any noun or pronoun within the prepositional phrase must be the preposition’s object and, therefore, cannot be misidentified as a verb’s direct object.


To the store is a prepositional phrase.

Store is the object of the preposition to, not the direct object of the verb drove.



Car is the direct object of the verb drove.

To the grocery store is a prepositional phrase.




A word that looks like a preposition but is actually part of a verb is called a particle.


Held up is a verb meaning “to rob.”

Therefore, up is not a preposition, and bank is not the object of a preposition.

Instead, bank is the direct object of the verb held up.


To avoid confusing prepositions with particles, test by moving the word (up) and words following it to the front of the sentence:

                Up the bank four armed men held.

If the resulting sentence does not make sense, then the word belongs with the verb and is a particle, not a preposition.

Note the difference:


The resulting sentence makes sense.  Therefore, up is a preposition.


The resulting sentence does not make sense.  Therefore, up is a particle in this sentence. 


The following examples illustrate the difference between prepositions and particles:


Some other examples of particles:

give in

turn in

pull through

wore out

broke up

go in for

put in for

bring up

found out

blow up

look up

make up

look over



A preposition is a word that indicates location (in, near, beside) or some other relationship (about, after, besides) between a noun or pronoun and other parts of the sentence. A preposition isn't a preposition unless it goes with a related noun or pronoun, called the object of the preposition.

Let's meet before noon.
Before is a preposition; noon is its object.

We've never met before.
There is no object;
before is an adverb modifying met.

Rule 1. A preposition generally, but not always, goes before its noun or pronoun. One of the undying myths of English grammar is that you may not end a sentence with a preposition. But look at the first example that follows. No one should feel compelled to say, or even write, That is something with which I cannot agree. Just do not use extra prepositions when the meaning is clear without them.

Correct: That is something I cannot agree with.

Correct: Where did you get this?

Incorrect: Where did you get this at?

Correct: How many of you can I depend on?

Correct: Where did he go?

Incorrect: Where did he go to?

Rule 2a. The preposition like means "similar to" or "similarly to." It should be followed by an object of the preposition (noun, pronoun, noun phrase), not by a subject and verb. Rule of thumb: Avoid like when a verb is involved.

You look like your mother.
That is, you look
similar to her. (Mother is the object of the preposition like.)

You look like your mother does.
like with noun + verb.)

Rule 2b. Instead of like, use as, as if, as though, or the way when following a comparison with a subject and verb.

Correct: You look the way your mother does.

Incorrect: Do like I ask. (No one would say Do similarly to I ask.)

Correct: Do as I ask.

Incorrect: You look like you're angry.

Correct: You look as if you're angry. (OR as though)

Some speakers and writers, to avoid embarrassment, use as when they mean like. The following incorrect sentence came from a grammar guide:

Incorrect: They are considered as any other English words.

Correct: They are considered as any other English words would be.

Correct: They are considered to be like any other English words.

Remember: like means "similar to" or "similarly to"; as means "in the same manner that." Rule of thumb: Do not use as unless there is a verb involved.

Incorrect: I, as most people, try to use good grammar.

Correct: I, like most people, try to use good grammar.

Correct: I, as most people do, try to use good grammar.


The rule distinguishing like from as, as if, as though, and the way is increasingly ignored, but English purists still insist upon it.

Rule 3. The preposition of should never be used in place of the helping verb have.

Correct: I should have done it.

Incorrect: I should of done it.

Rule 4. Follow different with the preposition from. Things differ from other things; avoid different than.

Incorrect: You're different than I am.

Correct: You're different from me.

Rule 5. Use into rather than in to express motion toward something. Use in to tell the location.

Correct: I swam in the pool.

Correct: I walked into the house.

Correct: I looked into the matter.

Incorrect: I dived in the water.

Correct: I dived into the water.

Incorrect: Throw it in the trash.

Correct: Throw it into the trash.

  1. Conclusion

  2. Set up the homework: Retelling the lecture

  3. Evaluation.

The lesson is over. Good bye!

The plan of the lesson

The theme of the lesson: Conjunction. Modal verbs.

Aims of the lesson. Educational: To revise Prepositions.. To practice using Conjunction. Modal


Practical: To develop students’speaking, reding, hearing and writing skills and


Cultural: To talk about Conjunction. Modal verbs. .

Type of the lesson: New lesson

Method of the lesson: Palmer’s method (direct method)

Literature: Theoretical grammar.

Visual aids: slides, table, book.

The procedure of the lesson

  1. Organization moment.

  2. Greeting with duty.

  3. Checking homework.

  4. Explaining new theme: Let’s begin our lesson. All together write down the date and new theme. Today our new theme: Conjunction. Modal verbs. Ok, let’s write our lecture…..

Conjunction (grammar)

In grammar, a conjunction (abbreviated CONJ or CNJ) is a part of speech that connects words, sentences, phrases, or clauses. A discourse connective is a conjunction joining sentences. This definition may overlap with that of other parts of speech, so what constitutes a "conjunction" must be defined for each language. In general, a conjunction is an invariable grammatical particle, and it may or may not stand between the items it conjoins.

The definition may also be extended to idiomatic phrases that behave as a unit with the same function, e.g. "as well as", "provided that".

A simple literary example of a conjunction: "the truth of nature, and the power of giving interest" (Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Biographia Literaria)

Conjunctions may be placed at the beginning of sentences. But some superstition about the practice persists.

Coordinating conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions, also called coordinators, are conjunctions that join, or coordinate, two or more items (such as words, main clauses, or sentences) of equal syntactic importance. In English, the mnemonic acronym FANBOYS can be used to remember the coordinators for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. These are not the only coordinating conjunctions; various others are used, including "and nor" (British), "but nor" (British), "or nor" (British), "neither" ("They don't gamble; neither do they smoke"), "no more" ("They don't gamble; no more do they smoke"), and "only" ("I would go, only I don't have time"). Types of coordinating conjunctions include cumulative conjunctions, adversative conjunctions, alternative conjunctions, and illative conjunctions.

Here are some examples of coordinating conjunctions in English and what they do:


presents rationale ("They do not gamble or smoke, for they are ascetics.")


presents non-contrasting item(s) or idea(s) ("They gamble, and they smoke.")


presents a non-contrasting negative idea ("They do not gamble, nor do they smoke.")


presents a contrast or exception ("They gamble, but they don't smoke.")


presents an alternative item or idea ("Every day they gamble or they smoke.")


presents a contrast or exception ("They gamble, yet they don't smoke.")


presents a consequence ("He gambled well last night, so he smoked a cigar to celebrate.")

Correlative conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions work in pairs to join words and groups of words of equal weight in a sentence. There are many different pairs of correlative conjunctions:

  1. either...or

  2. not only...but (also)

  3. may...but

  4. neither...nor

  5. both...and

  6. whether...or

  7. just as...so

  8. the...the

  9. as...as

  10. as much...as

  11. no sooner...than

  12. rather...than


  • You either do your work or prepare for a trip to the office. (Either do, or prepare)

  • He is not only handsome, but also brilliant. (Not only A, but also B)

  • Not only is he handsome, but also he is brilliant. (Not only is he A, but also he is B.)

  • He may be tired from sleep, but he still needs to work.

  • Neither the basketball team nor the football team is doing well.

  • Both the cross country team and the swimming team are doing well.

  • You must decide whether you stay or you go. (It's up to you)

  • Whether you stay or you go, the film must start at 8 pm. (It's not up to you)

  • Just as many Americans love basketball, so many Canadians love ice hockey.

  • The more you practice dribbling, the better you will be at it.

  • Football is as fast as hockey (is (fast)).

  • Football is as much an addiction as a sport.

  • No sooner did she learn to ski, than the snow began to thaw.

  • I would rather swim than surf.

Subordinating conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions, also called subordinators, are conjunctions that join an independent clause and a dependent clause, and also introduce adverb clauses. The most common subordinating conjunctions in the English language include after, although, as, as far as, as if, as long as, as soon as, as though, because, before, even if, even though, every time, if, in order that, since, so, so that, than, though, unless, until, when, whenever, where, whereas, wherever, and while.

Complementizers can be considered to be special subordinating conjunctions that introduce complement clauses: e.g. "I wonder whether he'll be late. I hope that he'll be on time". Some subordinating conjunctions (until and while), when used to introduce a phrase instead of a full clause, become prepositions with identical meanings.

The subordinating conjunction performs two important functions within a sentence: illustrating the importance of the independent clause and providing a transition between two ideas in the same sentence by indicating a time, place, or cause and therefore effecting the relationship between the clauses.

In many verb-final languages, subordinate clauses must precede the main clause on which they depend. The equivalents to the subordinating conjunctions of non-verb-final languages such as English are either

  • clause-final conjunctions (e.g. in Japanese); or

  • suffixes attached to the verb, and not separate words

Such languages often lack conjunctions as a part of speech, because:

  1. the form of the verb used is formally nominalised and cannot occur in an independent clause

  2. the clause-final conjunction or suffix attached to the verb is a marker of case and is also used in nouns to indicate certain functions. In this sense, the subordinate clauses of these languages have much in common with postpositional phrases.

In other West Germanic languages like German and Dutch, the word order after a subordinating conjunction is different from that in an independent clause, e.g. in Dutch want ("for") is coordinating, but omdat ("because") is subordinating. The clause after the coordinating conjunction has normal word order, but the clause after the subordinating conjunction has verb-final word order. Compare:

Hij gaat naar huis, want hij is ziek. ("He goes home, for he is ill.")

Hij gaat naar huis, omdat hij ziek is. ("He goes home because he is ill.")

Similarly, in German, "denn" (for) is coordinating, but "weil" (because) is subordinating:

Er geht nach Hause, denn er ist krank. ("He goes home, for he is ill.")

Er geht nach Hause, weil er krank ist. ("He goes home, because he is ill.")

Starting a sentence

Many students are taught, and one guide maintains, that English sentences should not start with conjunctions such as "and", "but", "because", and "so". Some hypothesize that teachers invented this "rule" to encourage students to avoid overly simple sentences. This superstition has "no historical or grammatical foundation". First-rate writers from across the English-speaking world regularly begin sentences with conjunctions, in even the most formal writing:

  • "But she must give security that she will not marry without royal consent, if she holds her lands of the Crown, or without the consent of whatever other lord she may hold them of."

  • "But we, or our chief justice if we are not in England, are first to be informed."

  • "So please you, step aside."

  • "Yet, if thou swear’st,Thou mayst prove false."

  • "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

  • "But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively."

  • "But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representatives from each State having one Vote; a quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice."

  • "And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof."

  • "And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate."

  • "And this power has been exercised when the last act, required from the person possessing the power, has been performed."

  • "But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground."

  • "Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

  • "So he took him to his own house, and dressed him up clean and nice, and had him to breakfast and dinner and supper with the family, and was just old pie to him, so to speak."

  • "And after supper he talked to him about temperance and such things till the old man cried, and said he'd been a fool, and fooled away his life; but now he was a-going to turn over a new leaf and be a man nobody wouldn't be ashamed of, and he hoped the judge would help him and not look down on him."

  • "Because no man can ever feel his own identity aright except his eyes be closed; as if darkness were indeed the proper element of our essences, though light be more congenial to our clayey part."

  • "Because, while the whales of this order, though smaller than those of the former order, nevertheless retain a proportionate likeness to them in figure, yet the bookbinder's Quarto volume in its dimensioned form does not preserve the shape of the Folio volume, but the Octavo volume does."

  • "So the inquiries can coexist, though there is much overlap between them."

  • "And it appears that it was this latter factor which underlay the dismissal of the appeal by the majority. But it seems to me that the question of whether it is fair, just and reasonable is better considered against the background of whether a sufficiently proximate relationship exists."

  • "But the earlier decisions in Pratap Narain Singh Deo and Valsala K. were not brought to the notice of the Court in the two later decisions in Mubasir Ahmed and Mohd. Nasir."

  • "And now we have Facebook and Twitter and Wordpress and Tumblr and all those other platforms that take our daily doings and transform them into media."

  • "So any modern editor who is not paranoid is a fool".

  • "Because, in the end, free markets and free minds will win".

  • "And strikes are protected globally, existing in many of the countries with labour laws outside the Wagner Act model."

Modal verb

A modal verb (also 'modal','modal auxiliary verb', 'modal auxiliary') is a type of auxiliary verb that is used to indicate modality – that is, likelihood, ability, permission, and obligation. Examples include the English verbs can/could, may/might, must, will/would, and shall/should. In English and other Germanic languages, modal verbs are often distinguished as a class based on certain grammatical properties.


A modal auxiliary verb gives information about the function of the main verb that it governs. Modals have a wide variety of communicative functions, but these functions can generally be related to a scale ranging from possibility ("may") to necessity ("must"), in terms of one of the following types of modality:

  • epistemic modality, concerned with the theoretical possibility of propositions being true or not true (including likelihood and certainty)

  • deontic modality, concerned with possibility and necessity in terms of freedom to act (including permission and duty)

  • dynamic modality,[2] which may be distinguished from deontic modality, in that with dynamic modality, the conditioning factors are internal – the subject's own ability or willingness to act

The following sentences illustrate epistemic and deontic uses of the English modal verb must:

  • epistemic: You must be starving. ("It is necessarily the case that you are starving.")

  • deontic: You must leave now. ("You are required to leave now.")

An ambiguous case is You must speak Spanish. The primary meaning would be the deontic meaning ("You are required to speak Spanish.") but this may be intended epistemically ("It is surely the case that you speak Spanish.") Epistemic modals can be analyzed as raising verbs, while deontic modals can be analyzed as control verbs.

Epistemic usages of modals tend to develop from deontic usages. For example, the inferred certainty sense of English must developed after the strong obligation sense; the probabilistic sense of should developed after the weak obligation sense; and the possibility senses of may and can developed later than the permission or ability sense. Two typical sequences of evolution of modal meanings are:

  • internal mental ability → internal ability → root possibility (internal or external ability) → permission and epistemic possibility

  • obligation → probability

Modal verbs in Germanic languages

The following table lists the modal auxiliary verbs of standard English. Most of them appear more than once based upon the distinction between deontic and epistemic modality:

The verbs in this list all have the following characteristics:
  1. They are auxiliary verbs, which means they allow subject-auxiliary inversion and can take the negation not,

  2. They convey functional meaning,

  3. They are defective insofar as they cannot be inflected, nor do they appear in non-finite form (i.e. not as infinitives, gerunds, or participles),

  4. They are nevertheless always finite and thus appear as the root verb in their clause, and

  5. They subcategorize for an infinitive, i.e. they take an infinitive as their complement

The verbs/expressions dare, ought to, had better, and need not behave like modal auxiliaries to a large extent, although they are not productive in the role to the same extent as those listed here. Furthermore, there are numerous other verbs that can be viewed as modal verbs insofar as they clearly express modality in the same way that the verbs in this list do, e.g. appear, have to, seem, etc. In the strict sense, though, these other verbs do not qualify as modal verbs in English because they do not allow subject-auxiliary inversion, nor do they allow negation with not. If, however, one defines modal verb entirely in terms of meaning contribution, then these other verbs would also be modals and so the list here would have to be greatly expanded.


Modals in English form a very distinctive class of verbs. They are auxiliary verbs like be, do, and have, but they are defective insofar as they cannot be inflected like these other auxiliary verbs, e.g. havehas vs. should*shoulds, dodid vs. may*mayed, etc. In clauses that contain two or more verbs, any modal that is present appears as the left-most verb in the verb catena (= chain of verbs). What this means is that the modal verb is always finite (although it is, as stated, never inflected). In the syntactic structure of the clause, the modal verb is the clause root. The following dependency grammar trees illustrate the point:


The verb catenae are in blue. The modal auxiliary in both trees is the root of the entire sentence. The verb that is immediately subordinate to the modal is always an infinitive. The fact that modal auxiliaries in English are necessarily finite means that within the minimal finite clause that contains them, they can never be subordinate to another verb, e.g.

a. Sam may have done his homework. - The modal auxiliary may is the root of the clause.

b. *Sam has may done his homework. - The sentence fails because the modal auxiliary may is not the root of the clause.

a. Jim will be helped. - The modal auxiliary will is the root of the clause.

b. *Jim is will be helped. - The sentence fails because the modal auxiliary will is not the root of the clause.

This trait of modal auxiliaries has motivated the designation defective, that is, modal auxiliaries are defective in English because they are so limited in their form and distribution. One can note further in this area that English modal auxiliaries are quite unlike modal verbs in closely related languages. In German, for instance, modals can occur as non-finite verbs, which means they can be subordinate to other verbs in verb catenae; they need not appear as the clause root.

Other West Germanic languages

The table below lists some modal verbs with common roots in English, German, Dutch, Low Saxon, West Frisian and Afrikaans. English modal auxiliary verb provides an exhaustive list of modal verbs in English, and German verb#Modal verbs provides a list for German, with translations. Dutch verbs#Irregular verbs gives conjugations for some Dutch modals.

Words in the same row of the table below share the same etymological root. Because of semantic drift, however, words in the same row may no longer be proper translations of each other. In addition, the English and German verbs will are completely different in meaning, and the German one has nothing to do with constructing the future tense. These words are false friends.

In English and Afrikaans, the plural and singular forms are identical. For German, Dutch, Low Saxon and West Frisian, both a (not the) plural and singular form of the verb are shown.

Etymological relatives (not translations)

The English could is the preterite form of can; should is the preterite of shall; and might is the preterite of may. (This is ignoring the use of "may" as a vestige of the subjunctive mood in English.) These verbs have acquired an independent, present tense meaning. The German verb möchten is sometimes taught as a vocabulary word and included in the list of modal verbs, but it is actually the past subjunctive form of mögen.

The English verbs dare and need have both a modal use (he dare not do it), and a non-modal use (he doesn't dare to do it). The Dutch, West Frisian, and Afrikaans verbs durven, doarre, and durf are not considered modals (but they are there, nevertheless) because their modal use has disappeared, but they have a non-modal use analogous with the English dare. Some English modals consist of more than one word, such as "had better" and "would rather".

Owing to their modal characteristics, modal verbs are among a very select group of verbs in Afrikaans that have a preterite form. Most verbs in Afrikaans only have a present and a perfect form.

Some other English verbs express modality although they are not modal verbs because they are not auxiliaries, including want, wish, hope, and like. All of these differ from the modals in English (with the disputed exception of ought (to)) in that the associated main verb takes its long infinitive form with the particle to rather than its short form without to, and in that they are fully conjugated.

Morphology and syntax

Germanic modal verbs are preterite-present verbs, which means that their present tense has the form of a vocalic preterite. This is the source of the vowel alternation between singular and plural in German, Dutch and Low Saxon. Because of their preterite origins, modal verbs also lack the suffix (-s in modern English, -t in German, Dutch, Low Saxon and West Frisian) that would normally mark the third person singular form. Afrikaans verbs do not conjugate, and thus Afrikaans non-modal verbs do not have a suffix either:

The main verb that is modified by the modal verb is in the infinitive form and is not preceded by the word to (German: zu, Low Saxon to, Dutch, West Frisian, and Afrikaans: om te). There are verbs that may seem somewhat similar in meaning to modal verbs (e.g. like, want), but the construction with such verbs would be different: In English, main verbs but not modal verbs always require the auxiliary verb do to form negations and questions, and do can be used with main verbs to form emphatic affirmative statements. Neither negations nor questions in early modern English used to require do.

(German, Afrikaans, and West Frisian never use "do" as an auxiliary verb for any function; Low Saxon and Dutch use "do" as an auxiliary, but only in colloquial speech in Dutch, whereas in Low Saxon it is of very common use, sometimes to a point where it is comparable to the way the English makes use of it).

In English, modal verbs are called defective verbs because of their incomplete conjugation: they have a narrower range of functions than ordinary verbs. For example, most have no infinitive or gerund.

Modal verbs in other languages

Hawaiian Creole English

Hawaiian Creole English is a creole language most of whose vocabulary, but not grammar, is drawn from English. As is generally the case with creole languages, it is an isolating language and modality is typically indicated by the use of invariant pre-verbal auxiliaries.[7] The invariance of the modal auxiliaries to person, number, and tense makes them analogous to modal auxiliaries in English. However, as in most creoles the main verbs are also invariant; the auxiliaries are distinguished by their use in combination with (followed by) a main verb.

There are various preverbal modal auxiliaries: kaen "can", laik "want to", gata "have got to", haeftu "have to", baeta "had better", sapostu "am/is/are supposed to". Unlike in Germanic languages, tense markers are used, albeit infrequently, before modals: gon kaen kam "is going to be able to come". Waz "was" can indicate past tense before the future/volitional marker gon and the modal sapostu: Ai waz gon lift weits "I was gonna lift weights"; Ai waz sapostu go "I was supposed to go".


Hawaiian, like the Polynesian languages generally, is an isolating language, so its verbal grammar exclusively relies on unconjugated verbs. Thus, as with creoles, there is no real distinction between modal auxiliaries and lexically modal main verbs that are followed by another main verb. Hawaiian has an imperative indicated by e + verb (or in the negative by mai + verb). Some examples of the treatment of modality are as follows: Pono conveys obligation/necessity as in He pono i na kamali'i a pau e maka'ala, "It's right for children all to beware", "All children should/must beware"; ability is conveyed by hiki as in Ua hiki i keia kamali'i ke heluhelu "Has enabled to this child to read", "This child can read".


French, like some other Romance languages, does not have a grammatically distinct class of modal auxiliary verbs; instead, it expresses modality using conjugated verbs followed by infinitives: for example, pouvoir "to be able" (Je peux aller, "I can go"), devoir "to have an obligation" (Je dois aller, "I must go"), and vouloir "to want" (Je veux aller "I want to go").


Like in other Romance languages, modal verbs in Italian (verbi modali or verbi servili) together with the preterite (passato remoto) possess the perfect form (passato prossimo), where they have the peculiarity to preferably inherit the auxiliary verb from the verb they hold. Although, when used alone, the auxiliary of modal verbs is always avere ("have") – Italian language can use both avere ("have") and essere ("be") as auxiliaries. Modal verbs in Italian are the only group of verbs allowed to follow this particular behavior, forming so a distinct class.

For example, the perfect of potere ("can") is avere ("have"), as in ho potuto ("I could"); nevertheless, when used together with a verb that has as auxiliary essere ("be"), potere inherits the auxiliary of the second verb.

E.g.: ho visitato il castello ("I have visited the castle") / ho potuto visitare il castello ("I could visit the castle") – but: sono scappato ("I have escaped") / sono potuto scappare ("I could escape").

Italian modal verbs that follow this particular pattern are: potere ("can"), volere ("want"), dovere ("must"), sapere ("to be able to").

Mandarin Chinese

Mandarin Chinese is an isolating language without inflections. As in English, modality can be indicated either lexically, with main verbs such as yào "want" followed by another main verb, or with auxiliary verbs. In Mandarin the auxiliary verbs have six properties that distinguish them from main verbs: They must co-occur with a verb (or an understood verb).

  • They cannot be accompanied by aspect markers.

  • They cannot be modified by intensifiers such as "very".

  • They cannot be nominalized (used in phrases meaning, for example, "one who can")

  • They cannot occur before the subject.

  • They cannot take a direct object.

The complete list of modal auxiliary verbs consists of

  • three meaning "should",

  • four meaning "be able to",

  • two meaning "have permission to",

  • one meaning "dare",

  • one meaning "be willing to",

  • four meaning "must" or "ought to", and

  • one meaning "will" or "know how to".


Spanish, like French, uses fully conjugated verbs followed by infinitives. For example, poder "to be able" (Puedo andar, "I can walk"), deber "to have an obligation" (Debo andar, "I should walk"), and querer "to want" (Quiero andar "I want to walk").

The correct use of andar in these examples would be reflexive. "Puedo andar" means "I can walk", "Puedo irme" means "I can go" or "I can take myself off/away". The same applies to the other examples.

  1. Conclusion

  2. Set up the homework: Retelling the lecture

  3. Evaluation.

The lesson is over. Good bye!

The plan of the lesson

The theme of the lesson: Syntax.

Aims of the lesson. Educational: To revise Conjunction. Modal verbs. To practice using Syntax.

Practical: To develop students’speaking, reding, hearing and writing skills and


Cultural: To talk about What is syntax? How to use syntax?

Type of the lesson: New lesson

Method of the lesson: Palmer’s method (direct method)

Literature: Theoretical grammar.

Visual aids: slides, table, book.

The procedure of the lesson

  1. Organization moment.

  2. Greeting with duty.

  3. Checking homework.

  4. Explaining new theme: Let’s begin our lesson. All together write down the date and new theme. Today our new theme: Syntax. Ok, let’s write our lecture…..


In linguistics, syntax is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of sentences in a given language. The term syntax is also used to refer to the study of such principles and processes. The goal of many syntacticians is to discover the syntactic rules common to all languages.

In mathematics, syntax refers to the rules governing the behavior of mathematical systems, such as formal languages used in logic. (See logical syntax.)


From Ancient Greek: σύνταξις "coordination" from σύν syn, "together," and τάξις táxis, "an ordering".

Early history

Works on grammar were written long before modern syntax came about; the Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pāṇini (c. 4th century BC) is often cited as an example of a premodern work that approaches the sophistication of a modern syntactic theory. In the West, the school of thought that came to be known as "traditional grammar" began with the work of Dionysius Thrax.

For centuries, work in syntax was dominated by a framework known as grammaire générale, first expounded in 1660 by Antoine Arnauld in a book of the same title. This system took as its basic premise the assumption that language is a direct reflection of thought processes and therefore there is a single, most natural way to express a thought.

However, in the 19th century, with the development of historical-comparative linguistics, linguists began to realize the sheer diversity of human language and to question fundamental assumptions about the relationship between language and logic. It became apparent that there was no such thing as the most natural way to express a thought, and therefore logic could no longer be relied upon as a basis for studying the structure of language.

The Port-Royal grammar modeled the study of syntax upon that of logic. (Indeed, large parts of the Port-Royal Logic were copied or adapted from the Grammaire générale.) Syntactic categories were identified with logical ones, and all sentences were analyzed in terms of "Subject – Copula – Predicate." Initially, this view was adopted even by the early comparative linguists such as Franz Bopp.

The central role of syntax within theoretical linguistics became clear only in the 20th century, which could reasonably be called the "century of syntactic theory" as far as linguistics is concerned. (For a detailed and critical survey of the history of syntax in the last two centuries, see the monumental work by Giorgio Graffi (2001).)

Modern theories

There are a number of theoretical approaches to the discipline of syntax. One school of thought, founded in the works of Derek Bickerton, sees syntax as a branch of biology, since it conceives of syntax as the study of linguistic knowledge as embodied in the human mind. Other linguists (e.g., Gerald Gazdar) take a more Platonistic view, since they regard syntax to be the study of an abstract formal system.[6] Yet others (e.g., Joseph Greenberg) consider syntax a taxonomical device to reach broad generalizations across languages.

Generative grammar

The hypothesis of generative grammar is that language is a structure of the human mind. The goal of generative grammar is to make a complete model of this inner language (known as i-language). This model could be used to describe all human language and to predict the grammaticality of any given utterance (that is, to predict whether the utterance would sound correct to native speakers of the language). This approach to language was pioneered by Noam Chomsky. Most generative theories (although not all of them) assume that syntax is based upon the constituent structure of sentences. Generative grammars are among the theories that focus primarily on the form of a sentence, rather than its communicative function.

Among the many generative theories of linguistics, the Chomskyan theories are:

Other theories that find their origin in the generative paradigm are:

Categorial grammar

Categorial grammar is an approach that attributes the syntactic structure not to rules of grammar, but to the properties of the syntactic categories themselves. For example, rather than asserting that sentences are constructed by a rule that combines a noun phrase (NP) and a verb phrase (VP) (e.g., the phrase structure rule S → NP VP), in categorial grammar, such principles are embedded in the category of the head word itself. So the syntactic category for an intransitive verb is a complex formula representing the fact that the verb acts as a function word requiring an NP as an input and produces a sentence level structure as an output. This complex category is notated as (NP\S) instead of V. NP\S is read as "a category that searches to the left (indicated by \) for an NP (the element on the left) and outputs a sentence (the element on the right)." The category of transitive verb is defined as an element that requires two NPs (its subject and its direct object) to form a sentence. This is notated as (NP/(NP\S)) which means "a category that searches to the right (indicated by /) for an NP (the object), and generates a function (equivalent to the VP) which is (NP\S), which in turn represents a function that searches to the left for an NP and produces a sentence."

Tree-adjoining grammar is a categorial grammar that adds in partial tree structures to the categories.

Dependency grammar


A syntactic parse of "Alfred spoke" under the dependency formalism

Dependency grammar is an approach to sentence structure where syntactic units are arranged according to the dependency relation, as opposed to the constituency relation of phrase structure grammars. Dependencies are directed links between words. The (finite) verb is seen as the root of all clause structure and all the other words in the clause are either directly or indirectly dependent on this root. Some prominent dependency-based theories of syntax are:

Lucien Tesnière (1893–1954) is widely seen as the father of modern dependency-based theories of syntax and grammar. He argued vehemently against the binary division of the clause into subject and predicate that is associated with the grammars of his day (S → NP VP) and which remains at the core of most phrase structure grammars. In the place of this division, he positioned the verb as the root of all clause structure.

Stochastic/probabilistic grammars/network theories

Theoretical approaches to syntax that are based upon probability theory are known as stochastic grammars. One common implementation of such an approach makes use of a neural network or connectionism. Some theories based within this approach are:

Functionalist grammars

Functionalist theories, although focused upon form, are driven by explanation based upon the function of a sentence (i.e. its communicative function). Some typical functionalist theories include:


So, what is syntax? You’ve probably heard of it before, but never really known what it was. Syntax is basically the structure of sentences. Sentences have to follow certain structural rules in order to make sense. You can’t just throw any words together to make a sentence!

Order words make sense need to… this doesn’t make sense!

Words need order to make sense…. Ahh! Much better!

So what is the structure of a sentence? How do we know what is supposed to go where? We all have tacit knowledge of sentence structure. This means we seem to instinctively know things but can't quite explain them. We can tell the first sentence doesn’t make any sense, but the second sentence is perfectly fine. So let’s investigate what sentences are made up of in order to understand the structure.



Sentences are made up of smaller phrases. There are several difference types of phrase that can be used in a sentence, but the two phrases which must be used in a sentence for it to make sense are a noun phrase and a verb phrase.

In a phrase, we must have a word which is called the head. This is the core of the phrase, what the phrase can’t exist without. So in a phrase like ‘the dog’ or ‘ran far away’, in the first phrase ‘dog’ is the head because it is the main part of the phrase, and in the second phrase ‘ran’ is the head because it is essential for the phrase to exist. We can have ‘dog ran’, which isn’t grammatical, but this still makes sense since we can understand that the dog ran. But we can’t have ‘the far away’, this makes no sense to us!



So ‘the’ and ‘far away’ have to be given a name to distinguish them from the head. We call these modifiers. They modify the head and give it specific meaning. The determiner ‘the’ modifies the ‘dog’ because it lets us know which dog we are referring to. The phrase ‘far away’ modifies the verb ‘ran’ by letting us know the extent to which the dog ran.

Don’t worry, this will all become a lot easier with some practise. Let’s look at some types of phrases now!


Noun Phrase

A noun phrase is usually the person or thing that is performing the verb in the sentence. It may also be the person or thing that the verb is being done to in a sentence.

The person doing the verb in a sentence is known as the subject. For example, in the sentence ‘Tom pushed the car’, 'Tom' is the subject of the sentence as he is pushing the car. 'The car' is the object in the sentence as the car is the object that the verb is being done to. Both of these are noun phrases.

A noun phrase has to be made up of a noun, such as a name or a tangible object. Sometimes, a determiner is needed in a noun phrase, for example ‘a cat’, ‘the dog’. 'A' and 'The' are called determiners because they tell us which person or thing is involved in the sentence.


Syntax Trees


To explain sentence structures, we draw trees. Sounds silly, right? You’ll soon find out that it's a lot more complicated than it looks. Let’s start with this noun phrase. We know a noun phrase is made up of a determiner and a noun. First, we must label what parts of speech each of these are.


Next, we can draw two lines to join them together, creating a noun phrase!


If we look at a proper noun, we find it is a little bit different. A proper noun does not need a determiner, so we can go straight to making it another noun phrase!


Now, we can draw noun phrases for both 'Tom' and 'The Car' in our sentence! But we aren’t quite finished yet, now we need to talk about verb phrases.


Verb Phrases

Now that we have made some noun phrases, we can move on to verb phrases. The good news is a basic verb phrase can be made up of one word. The bad news is not every sentence has a basic verb phrase. For now let's look at the basic verb phrase.

So we’ve looked at the noun phrases of this sentence, now how does the verb phrase fit in? Well first, we identify the verb and label its part of speech.


Next, we can label it as a verb phrase. This is connected to the noun phrase 'The Car', so we connect them and write the label above. But why is this the case?




We need to link all of this together. In this sentence, we must join up all of the phrases to make a tree that says 'Sentence' at the top. But we can’t just simply join up the lines, we need a structure! In order to figure out the structure, we need to look at constituents and relationships in a tree next.



So, what is a constituent? A constituent is a word or a group of words that function together as a unit. Don’t be worried, this sounds scary but it’s actually really easy! We can figure out what words or groups of words are constituents by performing tests on them. There are four tests which can be used on any suspected constituent. These are: 

Omission – Create the same sentence but take away the word/words we are testing.

Replacement – Can we replace the word/words with just a single word?

Standalone – Can we form a question using the sentence, and the answer be the word/words being tested?

Movement – Can we move the position of the word/words in the sentence and have the sentence still make sense without changing the meaning? 

Let’s do some examples of these tests so you can see how they work.

First, omission. If we take the sentence ‘He sat down in the car’, we can use the omission test to figure out the constituents in the sentence. Let’s take ‘in the car’ as our constituent. If we take this away, does the sentence still make sense grammatically?

He sat down in the car.’

He sat down.’

The sentence still makes sense. Therefore, ‘in the car’ is likely to be a constituent; however we can’t be certain yet. It is always important to do more than one constituency test to figure out if the word/words are constituents. It could pass one and fail the other three!

Next, let’s do replacement. We take ‘He sat down in the car’ and replace ‘in the car’ with just one word. Useful words to try and use in a replacement test are pronouns (he, she, it, this, that etc).

He sat down in the car.’

He sat down there.’

The sentence makes sense once again! So ‘in the car’ has passed two constituency tests, but let’s try another test first, just to make sure.


Time for the standalone test. We need to form a question using the rest of the sentence, and have the answer only be the word/words we are testing.

Where did he sit down?’

In the car.’

Success! It surely must be a constituent now. But we’ll do the final test just in case.

The final test is movement. Can we move the words we are testing to see if the sentence still makes sense?

He sat down in the car.’

It was in the car that he sat down.’

Once again the sentence makes sense. Now we have done these constituency tests, we know that ‘in the car’ is a constituent of the sentence ‘He sat down in the car.’ But be careful, just because it is a constituent here does not mean it is a constituent in every other sentence.


Relationships in Trees

So now we can identify constituents, let’s go back to our tree. There are several important relationships in a syntax tree that we need to know about.

Domination – phrases can dominate words in a sentence tree. But how do we know which phrases dominate what? A tree has a hierarchical structure, which means that a node or label dominates all that is below it. Sounds complicated, huh? Just look at the picture below and we will explain everything.


We can see here that phrase A dominates phrase B and ‘in’. We know this because phrase A is above phrase B and it is above the word ‘in’. When a phrase is directly above something, we call this immediate domination. Phrase A immediately dominates phrase B and ‘in’, but it does not immediately dominate ‘the’ or ‘car’. But it is important to remember that even though it doesn't immediately dominate ‘the’ or ‘car’, it still dominates ‘the’ and ‘car’ because it is above them in the tree structure.


Naming Phrases

So, we looked before at verb phrases and noun phrases, but these aren’t the only types of phrases you can have in a tree. We can also have adjective phrases, adverb phrases and prepositional phrases. We’ll quickly talk about how these are different to the other phrases.

Adjective Phrases - since phrases are named after the head, adjective phrases are simply phrases where the head of the phrase is an adjective. So for example the sentence ‘The big red car drove away’ contains the adjective phrase 'The big red car'. This includes the adjectives 'big' and 'red'.



An adjective phrase can contain more than one adjective, so we can make 'big red' into a phrase.


Next, we join this adjective phrase to the noun ‘car’ to make a noun phrase. But that's not all, since we have to add the determiner ‘The’ to complete the phrase. From there we can continue to build up the tree.



Adverb Phrases - these work a lot like adjective phrases. They are found near to verbs (adverbs describe the verb after all), such as ‘immediately’ in the sentence ‘he sat down immediately’. They are very easy to recognise, and often form adverb phrases containing just one word: the adverb itself. But be careful, adverbs can appear in a sentence and not be an adverb phrase! They are often used to modify an adjective, such as ‘the immediately recognisable man’. Here, the adverb ‘immediately’ does not form an adverb phrase, but modifies the adjective in the adjective phrase ‘immediately recognisable’.

Prepositional Phrases - another type of phrase that is very common in sentence structures. They may seem complicated at first but they will get easier to recognise with some practise. If we take the sentence ‘The cat slept in the kitchen’, we can break it down and analyse it to see where the prepositional phrase is.


Having labelled each word with its part of speech, we can see we have the preposition ‘in’ in this sentence. So let’s start putting it together. Hopefully by now, you can see that ‘the cat’ is a noun phrase, and you can connect it. You should have seen that ‘the kitchen’ is also a noun phrase, and you can join it up as well.


Okay, so now let’s join up ‘in’. When we connect ‘in’ and the noun phrase ‘the kitchen’, we create a new phrase. This phrase is immediately dominating the noun phrase and the preposition ‘in’. Therefore, we have made a preposition phrase. The noun phrase ‘the kitchen’ is modifying the location of where the cat slept, meaning it is modifying the word ‘in’. So we know that ‘in’ is the head of this phrase, making it a preposition phrase.


But we aren’t quite finished yet! The preposition phrase ‘in the kitchen’ modifies the verb ‘slept’. So we now join up the verb ‘slept’ and the preposition phrase ‘in the kitchen’ to make a new a phrase. Can you guess what phrase we make here?


We make a verb phrase! This is because the verb is the head of the phrase and ‘in the kitchen’ modifies it. So now we have a noun phrase and a verb phrase left, and we can join them together to make a sentence.


Usually when you want to join a word to a phrase, the word you are adding will be the head of the phrase, meaning that whatever part of speech it is, the phrase will be named after that part of speech. So if we join a noun to an adjective phrase, we will make a noun phrase. And if we join a verb to a noun phrase, we will make a verb phrase.

Click here to try out an interactive tree exercise.


Co-ordinate Phrases

Co-ordinate phrases are rare phrases that do appear in English. You will have used them already, when you say things like ‘fish and chips’, ‘Max and Ben’, and pretty much any situation where you join two nouns together using the conjunction ‘and’. So how do we deal with these?


Here we have the sentence ‘Max and Ben ate their dinner.’ We have labelled the words, and we can construct the tree for the verb phrases, but we need to make a noun phrase for ‘Max and Ben’. So how do we make the noun phrase? Well, ‘Max’ and ‘Ben’ are both proper nouns, meaning that they don’t need a determiner. So here we just simply join ‘Max’, ‘and’, and ‘Ben’ together at the same time.



We can then label this as a noun phrase and join it to the verb phrase as a sentence!


But what if we don’t have proper nouns? Let’s take the sentence ‘The boy and the girl ate their tea.’ Again, we form the verb phrase, but what do we do to make the noun phrase? If you can work it out now, write it down and then check your answer with the tree below.


We created two separate noun phrases. We have the noun phrase ‘the boy’ and the noun phrase ‘the girl’, with ‘and’ sitting in the middle of them. Now, we can join them up like we did with the proper nouns, making a noun phrase that we can use to complete the sentence!




Well done, you've covered basic syntax! There is a lot more to it than this though: you can have different types of verbs; multiple levels of noun and verb phrases; sentences within sentences; passive sentence constructions; question constructions; a whole world of syntax awaits! A very good book about syntax, and the main one we use here at the University of Sheffield in our first year, is Analysing Sentences: An Introduction to English Syntax (3rd Edition) by Noel Burton-Roberts.For more information visit the finding out more page.

  1. Conclusion: Study questions

1. What types of linguistic relations between words do you know?

2. What relation is called paradigmatic?

3. What relation is called syntagmatic?

4. What is agreement?

5. What is government?

6. What is collocation?

7. Are there agreement, government and collocation in your native language?

8. What relation between words are called syntactic?

9. What relation is called predicative?

10. What is phrase (word - combination)?

11. What is the difference between a word and a phrase?

12. What is the difference between a word and a phrase and a sentence?

13. What conceptions on phrase (word-combination) do you know?

14. What are the criteria to distinguish the types of phrases?

15. What types of phrases do you know according to the syntactic relations between the constituents of phrases?

16. What types of phrases do you know according to the word-groups constituting phrases?

  1. Set up the homework: Retelling the lecture

  2. Evaluation.

The lesson is over. Good bye!

The plan of the lesson

The theme of the lesson: Sentence.

Aims of the lesson. Educational: To revise Syntax. To practice using Sentence.

Practical: To develop students’speaking, reding, hearing and writing skills and


Cultural: To talk about parts of a sentence.

Type of the lesson: New lesson

Method of the lesson: Palmer’s method (direct method)

Literature: Theoretical grammar.

Visual aids: slides, table, book.

The procedure of the lesson

  1. Organization moment.

  2. Greeting with duty.

  3. Checking homework.

  4. Explaining new theme: Let’s begin our lesson. All together write down the date and new theme. Today our new theme: Sentence. Ok, let’s write our lecture…..

Sentence (linguistics)

A sentence is a linguistic unit consisting of one or more words that are grammatically linked. A sentence can include words grouped meaningfully to express a statement, question, exclamation, request, command or suggestion. A sentence is a set of words that in principle tells a complete thought (although it may make little sense taken in isolation out of context); thus it may be a simple phrase, but it conveys enough meaning to imply a clause, even if it is not explicit. For example, "Two" as a sentence (in answer to the question "How many were there?") implies the clause "There were two". Typically a sentence contains a subject and predicate. A sentence can also be defined purely in orthographic terms, as a group of words starting with a capital letter and ending in a full stop. (However, this definition is useless for unwritten languages, or languages written in a system that does not employ both devices, or precise analogues thereof.) For instance, the opening of Charles Dickens's novel Bleak House begins with the following three sentences:

London. Michaelmas term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln's Inn Hall. Implacable November weather.

The first sentence involves one word, a proper noun. The second sentence has only a non-finite verb (although using the definition given above, e.g. "Chancellor sitting in Lincoln's Inn Hall." would be a sentence by itself). The third is a single nominal group. Only an orthographic definition encompasses this variation.

In the teaching of writing skills (composition skills), students are generally required to express (rather than imply) the elements of a sentence, leading to the schoolbook definition of a sentence as one that must [explicitly] include a subject and a verb. For example, in second-language acquisition, teachers often reject one-word answers that only imply a clause, commanding the student to "give me a complete sentence", by which they mean an explicit one.

As with all language expressions, sentences might contain function and content words and contain properties such as characteristic intonation and timing patterns.

Sentences are generally characterized in most languages by the inclusion of a finite verb, e.g. "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog".



A clause typically contains at least a subject noun phrase and a finite verb. Although the subject is usually a noun phrase, other kinds of phrases (such as gerund phrases) work as well, and some languages allow subjects to be omitted. There are two types of clauses: independent and subordinate (dependent). An independent clause is a complete sentence in itself, although it may not express a complete thought: for example, They did it.. A subordinate clause is not a complete sentence: for example, because I have no friends. See also copula for the consequences of the verb to be on the theory of sentence structure.

A simple complete sentence consists of a single clause. Other complete sentences consist of two or more clauses (see below).


By structure

One traditional scheme for classifying English sentences is by clause structure, the number and types of clauses in the sentence with finite verbs.

  • A simple sentence consists of a single independent clause with no dependent clauses.

  • A compound sentence consists of multiple independent clauses with no dependent clauses. These clauses are joined together using conjunctions, punctuation, or both.

  • A complex sentence consists of one independent clause and at least one dependent clause.

  • A compound–complex sentence (or complex–compound sentence) consists of multiple independent clauses, at least one of which has at least one dependent clause.

By purpose

Sentences can also be classified based on their purpose:

  • A declarative sentence or declaration, the most common type, commonly makes a statement: "I have to go to work."

  • An interrogative sentence or question is commonly used to request information—"Do I have to go to work?"—but sometimes not; see rhetorical question.

  • An exclamatory sentence or exclamation is generally a more emphatic form of statement expressing emotion: "I have to go to work!"

  • An imperative sentence or command tells someone to do something (and if done strongly may be considered both imperative and exclamatory): "Go to work." or "Go to work!"

Major and minor sentences

A major sentence is a regular sentence; it has a subject and a predicate, e.g. "I have a ball.". In this sentence, one can change the persons, e.g. "We have a ball.". However, a minor sentence is an irregular type of sentence that does not contain a main clause, e.g. "Mary!", "Precisely so.", "Next Tuesday evening after it gets dark.". Other examples of minor sentences are headings (e.g. the heading of this entry), stereotyped expressions ("Hello!"), emotional expressions ("Wow!"), proverbs, etc. These can also include nominal sentences like "The more, the merrier". These mostly omit a main verb for the sake of conciseness, but may also do so in order to intensify the meaning around the nouns.

Sentences that comprise a single word are called word sentences, and the words themselves sentence words.


After a slump in interest, sentence length came to be studied in the 1980s, mostly "with respect to other syntactic phenomena".

One definition of the average sentence length of a prose passage is the ratio of the number of words to the number of sentences. The textbook Mathematical linguistics, by András Kornai, suggests that in "journalistic prose the median sentence length is above 15 words". The average length of a sentence generally serves as a measure of sentence difficulty or complexity. In general, as the average sentence length increases, the complexity of the sentences also increases.

Another definition of "sentence length" is the number of clauses in the sentence, whereas the "clause length" is the number of phones in the clause.

Research by Erik Schils and Pieter de Haan by sampling five texts showed that two adjacent sentences are more likely to have similar lengths than two non-adjacent sentences, and almost certainly have similar length when in a work of fiction. This countered the theory that "authors may aim at an alternation of long and short sentences". Sentence length, as well as word difficulty, are both factors in the readability of a sentence. However, other factors, such as the presence of conjunctions, have been said to "facilitate comprehension considerably".

Browse Sentence Examples

Sometimes to understand a word's meaning you need more than a definition. At YourDictionary we try to give you all of the tools you need to really understand what the word means. Seeing the word in a sentence can provide more context and relevance.

  1. Conclusion: Study questions

1. What linguistic unit is called a sentence?

2. What are the main features of sentences?

3. What theories on sentence do you know?

4. What is the difference between primary and secondary predication?

5. What criteria are used to classify sentences?

6. What do you understand by structural classification of sentences?

7. What do you understand by the classification of sentences according to the aim of the speaker?

8. What do you understand by the classification of sentences according to the existence of the parts

of the sentence?

9. What is the difference between one- and two-member sentences?

10. What sentences are called elliptical?

11. What is “syntagmatically restored” and “paradigmatically restored”

elliptical sentences?

  1. Set up the homework: Retelling the lecture

  2. Evaluation. The lesson is over. Good bye!

The plan of the lesson

The theme of the lesson: The main parts of the sentence. Secondary parts of the sentence.

Aims of the lesson. Educational: To revise about Sentence.. To practice using The main parts of the

sentence. Secondary parts of the sentence.

Practical: To develop students’speaking, reding, hearing and writing skills and


Cultural: To talk about parts of a sentence.

Type of the lesson: Consolidation lesson

Method of the lesson: Palmer’s method (direct method)

Literature: Theoretical grammar.

Visual aids: slides, table, book.

The procedure of the lesson

I.Organization moment.

II.Greeting with duty.

III.Checking homework.

IV.Explaining new theme: Let’s begin our lesson. All together write down the date and new theme. Today our new theme: The main parts of the sentence. Secondary parts of the sentence. Ok, let’s write our lecture…..


It is common in grammatical theory to distinguish between main and secondary parts of a sentence. Besides these two types there is one more — elements which are said to stand outside the sentence structure. In starting now to study parts of the sentence in Modern English, we will begin by analysing the principle or principles on which this classification is based. There are two generally recognised main parts of the sentence — the subject and the predicate. As to the secondary parts, their number varies slightly. Among them wo usually find the object (with its subdivisions), the attribute, and the adverbial modifier. Other secondary parts are also sometimes mentioned — the apposition (its relation to the attribute is variously interpreted), the objective predicative, and occasionally some other parts, too. The reason for calling the subject and the predicate the main parts of the sentence and distinguishing them from all other parts which are treated as secondary, is roughly this. The subject and the predicate between them constitute the backbone of the sentence: without them the sentence would not exist at all, whereas all oilier parts may or may not be there, and if they are there, they serve to define or modify either the subject or the predicate, or each other. A linguistic experiment to prove the correctness of this view would be to take a sentence containing a subject, a predicate, and a number of secondary parts, and to show that any of the secondary parts might be removed without the sentence being destroyed, whereas if either the subject or the predicate were removed there would be no sentence "backbone" would be broken. This experiment would probably succeed and prove the point in a vast majority of cases. We will therefore stick to the division of sentence parts into main and secondary, taking the subject and the predicate to be the main parts, and all the others to be secondary.


The present table introduces the names for the parts of the sentence in the English language. It allows the student to get acquainted with the terms and to compare them with the correspondent terms in his/her mother tongue (either Russian or Estonian).

The Object

The Object is a secondary part of the sentence expressed by a verb, a noun, a substantival pronoun, an adjective, a numeral, or an adverb, and denoting a thing to which the action passes on, which is a result of the action, in reference to which an action is committed or a property is manifested, or denoting an action as object of another action.
Objects differ form one another

  • by their morphological composition, by the parts of speech or phrases which perform the function of object

  • by the type of their relation to the action expressed by the verb (direct/indirect)

Classification of object:

  1. Prepositional and non-prepositional objects

  2. Morphological types (noun, pronoun, substantivized adjective, infinitive, gerund)

  3. Direct/indirect, is applied only to objects expressed by nouns or pronouns. There are sentences in which the predicate is expressed by the verbs send, show, lend, give. These verbs usually take 2 different kinds of objects simultaneously: (1) an object expressing the thing which is sent, shown, lent, given, etc. (2) the person or persons to whom the thing is sent, shown, lent, given, etc. The difference between the 2 relations is clear enough: the direct object denotes the thing immediately affected by the action denoted by the predicate verb, whereas the indirect object expresses the person towards whom the thing is moved, e.g. We sent them a present. The indirect object stands 1st, the direct object comes after it.

In studying different kinds of objects it is also essential to take into account the possibility of the corresponding passive construction.

The Adverbial Modifier.

The term ‘adverbial modifier’ cannot be said to be a very lucky one, as it is apt to convey erroneous (wrong, incorrect) ideas about the essence of this secondary part. They have nothing to do with adverbs and they modify not only verbs.

There are several ways of classifying adverbial modifiers:

  1. According to their meaning – not a grammatical classification. However it may acquire some grammatical significance.

  2. According to their morphological peculiarities – according to the parts of speech and to the phrase patterns. It has also something to do with word order, and stands in a certain relation to the classification according to meaning.adverb,preposition + noun,a noun without a preposition,infinitive or an infinitive phrase

  3. According to the type of their head-word – is the syntactic classification proper. The meaning of the word (phrase) acting as modifier should be compatible with the meaning of the head-word.

Adverbial modifier of:

  • Time and frequency,

  • Place and direction,

  • Manner and attendant

  • circumstances,

  • Cause,

  • Purpose,

  • Result,

  • Condition,

  • Concession,

  • Degree

The attribute

The problem of the attribute.The attribute is a secondary part of the sentence modifying a part of the sentence expressed by a noun, a substantivized pronoun, a cardinal numeral, and any substantivized word, and characterizing the thing named by these words as to its quality or property.

The attribute can either precede or follow the noun it modifies. Accordingly we use terms prepositive and postpositive attribute. The position of an attribute with respect to its head-word depends partly on the morphological peculiarities of the attribute itself, and partly on stylistic factors.

The size of the prepositive attributive phrase can be large in ME. Whatever is included between the article and the noun, is apprehended as an attribute.


Apposition – a word or a phrase referring to a part of the sentence expressed by a noun, and giving some other designation to the person or thing named by that noun, e.g. For a moment, Melanie thought how nice Captain Butler was. 

??? Is it a part of the sentence or a phrase?


Parenthesis – words and phrases which have no syntactical ties with the sentence, and express the speaker’s attitude towards what he says, a general assessment of the statement, or an indication of its sources, its connection with other statements, or with a wider context in speech.


Хаймович, Роговская: Extensions – adjuncts of adjectives, adverbs and adlinks in a sentence. They differ from complements and attributes in being usually modifiers of modifiers, or tertiaries (Jespersen), e.g. The creature’s eyes were alight with a somber frenzy.


Connectives – linking-words considered as a secondary aprt of the sentence. They are mostly prepositions and conjunctions, e.g. She played and sang to him. They usually connect 2 words both or neither of which might be  regarded as their head-words. The words they connect belong to various parts of speech.


Specifiers – not adjuncts of definite parts of speech like complements, attributes or extensions. They do not link any part of the sentence like connectives. They are not parenthetical elements. So they make a distinct secondary part of the sentence. The name just indicates the function, e.g. I was only brilliant once.

  1. Conclusion

  2. Set up the homework: Retelling the lecture

  3. Evaluation.

The lesson is over. Good bye!

The plan of the lesson

The theme of the lesson: Types of complex sentence.

Aims of the lesson. Educational: To revise about The main parts of the sentence. Secondary parts of

the sentence. To practice using Types of complex sentence.

Practical: To develop students’speaking, reding, hearing and writing skills and


Cultural: To talk about parts of a sentence.

Type of the lesson: Consolidation lesson

Method of the lesson: Palmer’s method (direct method)

Literature: Theoretical grammar.

Visual aids: slides, table, book.

The procedure of the lesson

    1. Organization moment.

    2. Greeting with duty.

    3. Checking homework.

    4. Explaining new theme: Let’s begin our lesson. All together write down the date and new theme. Today our new theme: Types of complex sentence. Ok, let’s write our lecture…..

Complex Sentence Examples

A complex sentence contains an independent clause and at least one dependent clause. An independent clause can stand alone as a sentence and makes a complete thought and a dependent clause can not stand alone, even though it has a subject and a verb.

Complex Sentences from Everyday Life

The independent clause in each of the following sentences is underlined:

  • Because my coffee was too cold, I heated it in the microwave.

  • Though he was very rich, he was still very unhappy.

  • She returned the computer after she noticed it was damaged.

  • When the cost goes up, customers buy less clothing.

  • As she was bright and ambitious, she became manager in no time.

  • Wherever you go, you can always find beauty.

  • The movie, though very long, was still very enjoyable.

  • Evergreen trees are a symbol of fertility because they do not die in the winter. 

  • The actor was happy he got a part in a movie although the part was a small one.

  • The museum was very interesting as I expected.

  • Because he is rich, people make allowance for his idiosyncrasies.

  • The professional, who had been thoroughly trained, was at a loss to explain.

  • When she was younger, she believed in fairy tales.

  • After the tornado hit the town, there was little left standing.

  • I have to save this coupon because I don’t have time to shop right now.

  • Let’s go back to the restaurant where we had our first date.

  • Although my cousin invited me, I chose not to go to the reunion.

  • As genes change over time, evolution progresses.

  • I really didn’t like the play although the acting was very good.

  • Everyone laughed when he got a cream pie smashed in his face.

  • After twenty years, he still had feelings for her.

  • Some people tell me that money can’t buy happiness.

Complex Sentences from Literature

  • If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. - Henry David Thoreau

  • The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman stood up in a corner and kept quiet all night, although of course they could not sleep. - L. Frank Baum

  • Because he was so small, Stuart was often hard to find around the house. - E.B. White

  • He was like a cock who thought the sun had risen to hear him crow. - George Eliot

  • No man, in all the procession of famous men, is reason or illumination, or that essence we were looking for; but is an exhibition, in some quarter, of new possibilities. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • The path to my fixed purpose is laid on iron rails, on which my soul is grooved to run. - Herman Melville

Complex Sentences
with finite & nonfinite clauses

Complex Sentence Defined

A complex sentence combines a simple sentence (often called an independent clause) with a subordinate clause.  These sentences are the fundamental type used in academic writing--and thus a major feature in the reading and writing of ESL/EFL learners who are studying (or who wish to study) in the U.S. (or other English-speaking countries). 

Subordinate Clause Types

Complex sentences come in many varieties based on the types of subordinate clauses that are available in English.  In the Longman Student Grammar (and other studies of English grammar), subordinate clauses are divided into two major types: (1) finite clauses snf (2) non-finite clauses.  Let's go through these one by one. 

Finite Clauses

Finite clauses are the basic subordinate clauses that are the focus of most work with complex sentences and dependent clauses in ESL/EFL grammar/writing courses and materials.  The "finite" just means that there a full verb phrase--and that the clause has some type of "time" meaning.  Finite clauses include (1) adverbial clauses, (2) noun clauses, (3) wh-clauses, and (4) relative clauses.  In each of the following examples, the verb phrase is given in bold type to focus your attention on that feature of the clause.

Non-Finite Clauses

Non-finite clauses are built around verbs that do not have tense or modality--verbs that are not sentence verb phrases.  These are clauses with (1) infinitives and (2) participles (both -ed and -ing). 

Non-Finite Clauses & ESL/EFL Materials & Teachers

Some teachers prefer to call infinitives and participles phrases.  This terminology seems to be a reasonable response to a teaching reality: most learners have more trouble with the finite clauses than they do with non-finite clauses.  Moreover, sentences with infinitives don' t appear to be very "complex": I like to study grammar looks like a simple SVO with the infinitive as the direct object.  When teaching students how to write complex sentences, teachers are generally more concerned about the difficulties of getting the right verb tense (and all of it) in finite clauses; they don't want to complicate things by calling sentences with infinitives complex sentences.  Because one of the audiences for textbooks is the teachers who will use it, in a grammar textbook that I published titled Applied English Grammar, I decided to go with the tradition of calling infinitives and participles phrases.  I'm not sure I would make the same decision today, but I also do not think that it matters a great deal.  In one setting, I can talk about infinitive clauses and in another setting infinitive phrases.  I just advise that you be consistent in your usage--and that you follow whatever system is used in the textbook that you and the students are working with.

Sentence Types


First, the bad news. . .

There are billions of sentences out there that we might have to understand.


Next, the good news. . .

All sentences fall into just four categories.


They are:

Simple Sentence

Compound Sentence

Complex Sentence

Compound-Complex sentence



Let's take them one at a time.



A simple sentence is a sentence with one independent clause. 


Note what the definition does not say. It doesn't say that a simple sentence is short or easy to understand. It doesn't say anything about phrases. A simple sentence can have forty-seven phrases, but only one independent clause.


Let's look at an example:


I love simple sentences.

(That's easy enough. It is obviously one independent clause.) 


But look at this:


Being an English teacher with a penchant for syntactical complexity, I love simple sentences.

(It's longer, more challenging and contains bigger words, but it's still a simple sentence. Being an English teacher with a penchant for syntactical complexity" is a participial phrase. "With a penchant" and "for syntactical complexity" are prepositional phrases.)


Look at this:

Being an English teacher with a penchant for syntactical complexity, I love to read simple sentences upon getting up and before going to bed.

(Amazingly, it's still a simple sentence. I am piling on phrase after phrase, but the sentence still contains only one independent clause.)



A compound sentence contains two or more independent clauses.




I love conjunctive adverbs, but my students love each other.

(The independent clauses are in blue. This sentence contains no dependent clauses)


Sometimes a compound sentence contains more than two independent clauses.




I love conjunctive adverbs; my students love each other, and we all love holidays.


Sometimes longer linking words can be used.



I can name several conjunctive adverbs; consequently, my friends are impressed.




A complex sentence is a sentence that contains one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses.




Because life is complex, we need complex sentences.

(The independent clause is in blue. The dependent clause is italicized.)




Because people know that I am an English teacher,they make allowances for how I dress and what I say.


(This sentence contains four dependent clauses. The independent clause is in blue. Note that two of the dependent clauses are inside of and part of the independent clause. Don't be alarmed. That happens all the time.)




A compound-complex sentence contains two or more independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.





Because I am an English teacher, some people expect me to speak perfectly, and other people expect me to write perfectly.

(The dependent clause is underlined, and the independent clauses are in blue.)





Some people tell me that my grading is too tough, and others tell me that my assignments are boring.

(The independent clauses are in blue. The dependent clauses are italicized. Note that the dependent clauses occur within the ind

    1. Conclusion

Languages may be synthetic and analytical according to their______

grammatical structure

Any linguistic description may have a ____ purpose

practical or theoretical

According to their morphological composition we distinguish simple, derivative and compound_______


______ that can be counted have two numbers


Words fallen under certain classes are called ______.

parts of speech

We distinguish between _____ parts of speech.

notional and structural

_____ is generally associated with the article

The noun

_____ is a part of speech which points out objects and their qualities without naming them

The pronoun

The verb is a part of speech which denotes _________

an action

Verbs have ____which can be used as a predicate of a sentence

finite forms

_____ may be transitive or intransitive

The verb

The verb has _______ categories


____ is a word expressing substance in the widest sense of the word

The noun

Nouns fall under ____ classes


Pronouns as well as nouns have ____ cases


Many pronouns are characterized by ___ syntactical use


______ is a word expressing a quality of a substance

The adjective

Most adjectives have____.

degrees of comparison

Accordingly numerals are divided into __.

cardinals and ordinals

The numeral “one” is______ which indicates number or the order of person and things in a series.

a part of speech

An adverb may modify …, words of the category of state, adjectives.


Some adverbs have _____

degrees of comparison

There are _____ articles in modern English


The article is a structural part of speech used _________

with nouns

_____ may be primary and secondary


The conjunction is a part of speech which denotes connections between ____.

an object and phenomena

Usually ____ are not stressed and stand before the word they refer to.

the prepositions

The preposition is ____ when its meaning is emphasized


A conjunction may join one part of the ______ to another


______ have no independent function in the sentence


In the sentence _____ are used as parentheses

modal words

Sometimes modal words _______ as sentence words

are used

According to their _________ simple sentences are divided into two-member or one-member sentences


A two-member sentence has two members-_________

a subject and a predicate

A two member _______ may be complete or incomplete


A one-member sentence is a sentence having only one member which is _________

neither the subject nor the predicate

________ is the principal part of a two-member sentence

The subject

The predicate is ________ principal part of the sentence

the second

____is expressed by finite verb in a simple of a compound tense form

The simple predicate

___ consists of two parts: a finite verb and some other part of speech

The compound predicate

_____ is a secondary part of the sentence

The object

An attribute can be either in pre-position or in post-position to a ___


___ sentence is an sentence which consists of two or more clauses coordinated with each other

A compound

In a compound sentence the clauses may be ____


_______ consists of a principal clause and one or more subordinate clauses

A complex sentence

Clauses in a complex sentence may be linked in ______

two ways

_________ may contain two or more homogeneous clauses coordinated with each other

A complex sentence

A compound-complex sentence is a sentence _____ of two or more coordinated clauses one of which has at least one or several subordinate clauses


    1. Set up the homework: Retelling the lecture

    2. Evaluation.

The lesson is over. Good bye!


  1. Morphemic structure of parts of speech. Morphemic structure of the word……. 3

  2. The parts of speec. Verb…….…………………………………………………….. 6

  3. Noun. Pronoun…………………………………………………………………….. 16

  4. Adjective. Numerals………………………………………………………………. 24

  5. Interjection. Adverb. Article………………………………………………………. 35

  6. Prepositions……………………………………………………………………… 44

  7. Conjunction. Modal verbs……………………………………………………….. 52

  8. Syntax……………………………………………………………………………. 63

  9. Sentence…………………………………………………………………………… 75

  10. The main parts of the sentence. Secondary parts of the sentence……………….. 78

  11. Types of complex sentence……………………………………………………… 83









































Общая информация

Номер материала: ДБ-245924

Похожие материалы