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Verb Phrase


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Verb Phrase

  1. 1. Grammar 1- Inst. Josefina Contte The structure of verb phrases There are four major kinds of variation in the structure of verb phrases. • Tense: Present or past • Aspect: unmarked ( also called simple), perfect, progressive, perfect progressive • Mood: indicative, imperative or subjunctive • Voice: active or passive Finite verb phrases and nonfinite verb phrases Finite verb phrases: • can occur as the verb phrase of independent clauses, • have tense contrast, ie distinction between present and past tenses, • there is person and number concord between the subject and the finite verb phrase. He is here. Tom reads the paper every morning. • Finite verb phrases have mood, which indicates the speaker's attitude to the predication. Indicative mood is used to state a fact or ask a question: He was here. I am hungry. She will bring her books. Imperative mood is used to issue a command or make a request: Be here at seven o'clock. Bring your books with you. Subjunctive mood is used to express doubt, wish, belief, or improbability: If the moon were made of blue cheese, it would smell. I wish I had something to eat. Both the imperative and the present subjunctive consist of the base form of the verb: Come here at once! The committee suggests that he come in tie and jacket The Subjunctive Mood Types: • Present subjuntive: I insists that the Council reconsider its decisions. I insists that the Council' decisions be considered. • Past Subjunctive: If she were leaving, you would have heard about it. Uses of the subjunctive a) Mandative subjunctive: used in a that-clause after an expression of demand, recommendation, proposal, surprise, intention ( ie we insist, prefer, request; it's necessary/ desirable; the decision, requirement, resolution) The employees demanded that he resign<AmE> / should resign <BrE> b) Formulaic( or optative) Subjunctive: used in certain expressions God save the Queen. Long live the king. Heaven forbid that... c) Were-subjunctive:hypothetical in meaning and used in conditional and concessive clauses and in subordinate clauses after verbs like wish and suppose. If I were a rich man, I would.................. I wish the journey were over. Just suppose everyone were to act like you.
  2. 2. Nonfinite verb phrases: • The infinitive {(to) call) • the -ing participle (calling), and • the -ed participle (called) In main clauses, they can occur only where a finite verb is first element in the verb phrase. However, they can occur in other elements in the main clause, such as subject and object. Finite verb phrases He is smoking Non-finite verb phrases To smoke like that must be dangerous. I hate him smoking. He entered the office, smoking big cigar. Simple verb phrase consists of only one verb, which may be imperative , present, or past. Work harder! He works hard. He worked hard. Complex verb phrase consists of two or more verbs, as in John has worked hard. John may work hard. In complex verb phrases, the auxiliaries followed a strict order: a) Modal, followed by an auxiliary: He must go. b) Perfect (auxiliary have), followed by an -ed participle : She has finished her homework. c) Progressive (the auxiliary be), followed by an -ing participle: He was talking. d) Passive (auxiliary be), followed by an -ed participle: The castle was built in 1745. Tense and time distinctions English has two tenses: present and past. The present tense normally refers to present time and past tense to past time: She is quite well today Yesterday she was sick. Simple present uses: (a) State present: 'eternal truths', timeless statements. Two and two make four. Onions smell. We live near Toronto. (b) Habitual present: events that repeatedly occur. They often have adverbs like every day, etc: We go to France every year. He loves going to the theater. (c)The instantaneous simple present used to refer to a single event with little or no duration that occurs at the time of speaking. Restricted to certain uses such us: commentaries: Moore passes the ball to Charlton demonstrations: I now place the turkey in the oven. Exclamations:Here comes the winner! performative declarations: We thank you for your recent inquiry. Simple present for past (a)Historic present: is characteristic of popular narrative style, in personal stories and in jokes with verbs expressing directional movement (come, go) and with verbs describe speaking ( say, go) And the daughter comes home from school one day and says, mum I want to be like you. And the mum goes, ok dear. (b) used with 'communication verbs' tell, hear, learn, write, etc to suggest that the information communicated is still valid; John tells me that you have been abroad.
  3. 3. Simple present tense for future (a) when there is a temporal adverbial in the clause to suggest that a future event is certain to take place The plane leaves for Chicago at eight o'clock (b) in conditional and temporal clauses introduced by if, unless, after, before, as soon as, when, etc He'll do it if you pay him. I'll let you know as soon as I hear from him. Simple past it denotes definite past time, ie what took place at a given time or in a given period before the present moment. (a) Event past: single definite event in the past The Normans invaded England in 1066. The plane left at nine o'clock. (b) habitual past: past events that repeatedly occurred We spent holidays in Spain when we were children. (c) state past: single unbroken state of affairs in the past I once liked reading novels. Uses of the simple past tense (d) attitudinal past is related to the attitudes of the speaker rather than to time, used to refer more politely to a present state of mind Did you want to see me now? (e) hypothetical past is used in some dependent clauses, especially if-clauses to show 'unreal' conditions I wish I had a memory like yours. (f) indirect speech or thought She said she knew you. I thought you were in Paris. Aspect It refers to the manner in which the verb action is regarded or experienced. Is the event/state described by the verb completed or is it still continuing? • Perfect aspect events or states taking place during a preceding period of time. • Progressive aspect an event or state in progress or continuing Present and progressive aspects can be combined with either present or past tense: • Perfect aspect, present tense- refers to past actions with effects that continue up to the present time We have written to Mr Stevens, but he has ignored our letters. • Perfect aspect, past tense – refers to actions in the past that are completed at or before a given time in the past John had lived in Paris for ten years (when I met him) • Progressive aspect, present tense – situation in progress I'm looking for my purse. • Progressive aspect, past tense- actions in progress at an earlier time I was just coming back from London.