The verbal category of voice shows the direction of the process as regards the participants of the situation reflected in the syntactic structure of the sentence. Voice is a very specific verbal category: first, it does not reflect the actual properties of the process denoted, but the speaker’s appraisal of it; the speaker chooses which of the participants in the situation – the agent (the subject, the doer of the action) or the patient(the object, the receiver of the action, the experiencer) – should be presented as the subject of the syntactic construction. Second, though it is expressed through the morphological forms of the verb, voice is closely connected with the structural organization of the syntactic construction: the use of passive or active forms of the verb involves the use of the passive or active syntactic construction.
The category of voice is expressed by the opposition of the passive and active forms of the verb; the active form of the verb is the unmarked, weak member of the opposition, and the passive is the strong member marked by the combination of the auxiliary verb to be (or the verbs to get, to become in colloquial speech) and participle II of the notional verb. It denotes the action received or a state experienced by the referent of the subject of the syntactic construction; in other words, the syntactic subject of the sentence denotes the patient, the receiver of the action in the situation described, while the syntactic object, if any, denotes the doer, or the agent of the action, e.g.: The cup was broken by his daughter. Passive constructions are used when the agent is unknown or irrelevant, e.g.: He was killed during the war; The cup has been broken.
In the active syntactic construction the subject and the object both in the situation described and in the syntactic structure of the sentence coincide, cf.: His daughter broke the cup. One can say that in most cases the active and passive syntactic constructions actually depict the same situation presented differently by the speaker: in the passive construction the semantic emphasis is laid on the experience of the object, while in the active construction prominence is given to the actions of the doer; in many cases active and passive constructions are mutually transformative, cf.: His daughter broke the cup. - The cup was broken by his daughter. Besides the immediate “active” meaning as such, the active forms of verbs denote a wide range of various non-passive meanings, for example, processes which do not imply any objects at all, e.g.: The child cried; It rained; etc.
As was mentioned in Unit 10, the passive is more widely used in English than in Russian: not only transitive verbs, but almost all objective complementive verbs can be passivized, e.g.: The doctor was sent for. There is a small group of verbs, most of them statal, which are not used in the passive in English: to be, to have, to belong, to cost, to resemble, to consist, and some other.
Besides passive and active constructions, there are also the so-called “medial” voice types, whose status is problematic: semantically, they are neither strictly passive nor active, though the verb used is formally active. There are three “medial” voice types distinguished in English: “reflexive”, “reciprocal”, and “middle”. In reflexive constructions the action performed by the referent of the subject is not passed to any outer object, but to the referent itself, i.e. the subject of the action is the object of the action at the same time, e.g.: He dressed quickly. This meaning can be rendered explicitly by the reflexive “-self” pronouns, e.g.: He dressed himself; He washed himself; etc. In reciprocal constructions the subject denotes a group of doers whose actions are directed towards each other; again, the subject of the action is its object at the same time, e.g.: They struggled; They quarreled; etc. This meaning can be rendered explicitly with the help of the reciprocal pronouns one another, each other, with one another, e.g.: They quarreled with each other. In middle constructions the subject combined with the otherwise transitive verb is neither the doer of the action nor its immediate object, the action is as if of its own accord, e.g.: The door opened; The concert began; The book reads easily; The book sells like hot cakes. The same applies to the use of the active infinitive in the function of an attribute, cf.: She is pleasant to look at; The first thing to do is to write a letter. These constructions can be treated as a specific case of neutralization: the weak member of the opposition, the active voice form, when used instead of the strong member, the passive form, does not fully coincide with it in meaning, but denotes something intermediary - the state or the capacity of the referent as a result of some action. Some of these construction are closer in their meaning to the passive voice meaning (The book sells… = The book is sold…; The first thing to do… = The first thing to be done…); others are closer to the active voice meaning (The concert began), but in general their meaning is between the two.
The problem is whether the “medial” voice functions can be treated as rendered by separate voice forms of the verbs (the reflexive, reciprocal, or middle verbal forms). In Russian the “medial” voice meanings (up to fifteen types) are rendered lexically by a special group of “reflexive” verbs, derived with the help of the suffix –ñÿ/ñü, e.g.: áðèòü – áðèòüñÿ, ðóãàòü – ðóãàòüñÿ, íà÷èíàòü – íà÷èíàòüñÿ, etc. In English the “medial” voice types can be seen as specific reflexive, reciprocal, and middle uses of the active voice, verbal forms which constitute the non-objective (intransitive) lexico-semantic variants of regularly objective verbs.
There is a problem of distinction between the homonymous use of participle II with the link verb to be in a compound nominal predicate and participle II with the auxiliary verb to be as a passive voice form, e.g.: She is upset; The letter is written. In German there is a clear formal distinction between the two cases as two different functional verbs are used; werden and sein, cf.: Der Brief ist geschriben (the compound nominal predicate); Der Brief wird geschriben (the passive form). In English, the verb to be is used both as a link verb and as an auxiliary verb, which makes the two constructions homonymous.
The two cases can be distinguished on the basis of the categorial and functional properties of the participle: if processual passivity is meant (the participle denotes the action produced), the construction is passive; if the participle turns into an adjective (is adjectivized) and is used to describe the subject, it is a sentence with a compound nominal predicate. This can be stimulated or suppressed by the context; adverbial modifiers of degree or homogeneous predicatives can function as contextual “voice-suppressing”, “statalizing” stimulators, e.g.: She was very much upset; I was cold but too excited to mind it; action-modifying adverbials and specific categorial forms of the verb in the passive (the future, the continuous, the perfect) function as “processualizing” voice stimulators, e.g.: Do what she wants, or she’ll be upset (you will upset her by your refusal); The door has been closed by the wind with a loud bang. Still, some cases remain ambiguous, with the status of the participle wholly neutralized, especially the past participle of limitive verbs, which combines the semantics of processual passive and resultative perfect, cf.: I was impressed by his fluency; The job was finished at two o’clock; such constructions are sometimes defined as “semi-passive” or “pseudo-passive”.
VERB: NON-FINITE FORMS (VERBIDS)
As was mentioned in the previous unit, on the upper level all verbal forms fall into two major sets: finite and non-finite. The term “finite” is derived from the Latin term “verbum finitum”, which shows that these words denote actions developing in time.
Non-finite forms of the verb, the infinitive, the gerund, participle I (present participle) and participle II (past participle), are otherwise called “verbals”, or “verbids”. The term, introduced by O. Jespersen, implies that they are not verbs in the proper sense of the word, because they combine features of the verb with features of other notional parts of speech. Their mixed, hybrid nature is revealed in all the spheres of the parts-of-speech characterization: meaning, formal features, and functions. The non-verbal features of verbids are as follows: they do not denote pure processes, but present them as specific kinds of substances and properties; they are not conjugated according to the categories of person and number, have no tense or mood forms; in some contexts they are combined with the verbs like non-verbal parts of speech; they never function as independent predicates; their functions are those characteristic for other notional parts of speech. The verbal features of verbids are as follows: their grammatical meaning is basically processual; like finites, they do have (at least, most of them have) aspect and voice forms and verbal combinability with direct objects and adverbial modifiers; they can express predication in specific semi-predicative constructions. Thus, verbids can be characterized as intermediary phenomena between verbs and other non-verbal parts of speech.
The opposition between finite and non-finite forms of verbs expresses the category of “finitude”. The grammatical meaning, the content of this category is the expression of verbal predication: the finite forms of the verb render full (primary, complete, genuine) predication, the non-finite forms render semi-predication, or secondary (potential) predication. The formal differential feature is constituted by the expression of verbal time and mood, which underlie the predicative function: having no immediate means of expressing time-mood categorial semantics, the verbids are the weak member of the opposition.
It is interesting to note that historically verbids in English were at first separate non-verbal nominative forms, but later they were drawn into the class of verbs by acquiring aspect and voice forms, verbal combinability, etc.
The Infinitive is the most generalized, the most abstract form of the verb, serving as the verbal name of a process; it is used as the derivation base for all the other verbal forms. That is why the infinitive is traditionally used as the head word for the lexicographic entry of the verb in dictionaries.
The infinitive combines verbal features with features of the noun; it is a phenomenon of hybrid processual-substantive nature, intermediary between the verb and the noun. It has voice and aspect forms, e.g.: to write, to be writing, to have written, to be written, to have been written; it can be combined with nouns and pronouns denoting the subject or the object of the action, and with the adverbial modifiers, e.g.: for him to write a letter; to write a letter to someone; to write a letter very carefully. The non-verbal properties of the infinitive are displayed in its syntactic functions and its combinability. The infinitive performs all the functions characteristic of the noun – that of a subject, e.g.: To write a letter was the main thing he had planned for the day; of a predicative, e.g.: The main thing he had planned for the day was to write a letter; of an object, e.g.: He wanted to write a letter to her; of an attribute, e.g.: It was the main thing to do; of an adverbial modifier, e.g.: He stood on a chair in order to reach for the top shelf. In these functions the infinitive displays substantive combinability with finite verbs.
If the subject of the action denoted by the infinitive is named, in the sentence it forms a secondary predicative line with the infinitive. Syntactically, semi-predicative infinitive constructions may be free or bound to the primary predicative part of the sentence. The “for + to infinitive” construction in free use (either as a subject or as any other substantive notional part of the sentence) includes the infinitive and its own, inner subject, e.g.: For him to be late for the presentation was unthinkable; I sent the papers in order for you to study them carefully before the meeting. The constructions known as “complex object with the infinitive” and “complex subject with the infinitive” (the passive transformation of the complex object constructions) intersect with the primary predicative part of the sentence: the inner subject of the secondary predicative part forms either the object or the subject of the primary predicative part, e.g.: I saw her enter the room; She was seen to enter the room. The predicative character of the secondary sentence-situation can be manifested in the transformation of the whole sentence into a composite syntactic construction, e.g.: I sent the papers in order for you to study them carefully before the meeting. à I sent the papers so that you could study them carefully before the meeting; I saw her enter the room. à I saw her when she was entering the room.
In most cases the infinitive is used with the particle “to”, which is its formal mark; it is called a “marked infinitive” and can be treated as an analytical form of the verb. In certain contexts, enumerated in detail in practical grammar text-books, the infinitive is used without the particle “to” and is called a “bare infinitive”, or “unmarked infinitive”; the “bare infinitive” is used when it is combined with functional and semi-functional predicator-verbs to build the analytical forms of the finite verbs (the “bound” use of the infinitive) in some fixed constructions, etc., e.g.: Will you go there? Why not go there? I’d rather stay at home; etc. The particle, just like any other auxiliary component of analytical forms, can be separated from the infinitive by an adverbial modifier, e.g.: to thoroughly think something over. These cases are usually stylistically marked and are known as the “split infinitive”.
The gerund is another verbid that serves as the verbal name of a process and combines verbal features with those of a noun; the gerund, like the infinitive, can be characterized as a phenomenon of hybrid processual-substantive nature, intermediary between the verb and the noun. It is even closer to the noun, because besides performing the substantive functions in a sentence like the infinitive, it can also be modified by an attribute and can be used with a preposition, which the infinitive can not do, e.g.: Thank you for listening to me; Your careful listening to me is very much appreciated. The functions of the gerund in the sentence are as follows - that of a subject, e.g.: Your listening to me is very much appreciated; It’s no use crying over spilt milk; of a predicative, e.g.: The only remedy for such headache is going to bed; of an object, e.g.: I love reading; of an attribute, e.g.: He had a gift of listening; of an adverbial modifier, e.g.: On entering the house I said “hello”. In these functions the gerund displays nounal combinability with verbs, adjectives, and nouns, especially in cases of prepositional connections. As for the verbal features of the gerund, first of all, there is no denying the fact, that its meaning is basically processual, which is evident when the gerund is compared with the nouns, cf.: Thank you for helping me. – Thank you for your help; in addition, the gerund distinguishes some aspect and voice forms, e.g.: writing, being written, having written, having been written. Like the finites, it can be combined with nouns and pronouns denoting the subject and the object of the action, and with modifying adverbs, e.g.: I have made good progress in understanding English; She burst out crying bitterly; Her crying irritated me.
The verbal features distinguish the gerund from the verbal noun, which may be homonymous with the indefinite active form of the gerund, but, first, it has no other verbal forms (passive or perfect); second, cannot take a direct object, but only prepositional objects like all other nouns, cf.: reading the letters (gerund) – the reading of the letters (verbal noun); and, third, like most nouns can be used with an article and in the plural, cf.: my coming (gerund) – his comings and goings (verbal noun). In the correlation of the three processual-substantive phenomena, which constitute a continuum of transitions between the verb and the noun – the infinitive, the gerund, and the verbal noun, the infinitive is the closest to the verb, as it is more dynamic and possesses fewer substantive features, the gerund is somewhere in between the two, semantically semi-dynamic, and the verbal noun is the closest to the noun, semantically static, possessing practically all the features of normal nouns. They can be treated as the three stages of a lexico-grammatical category of processual representation which underlies various situation-naming constructions in the sphere of syntactic nominalization (see Unit 24), cf.: He helped us. à for him to help us à his helping us à his help to us.
Another difference between the gerund and the infinitive involves the category of so-called ‘modal representation’: the infinitive, unlike the gerund, has a certain modal force, especially in the attributive function, e.g.: There was no one to tell him the truth (= There was no one who could tell him the truth).
The gerund can express secondary predication, when the gerundial sentence-part, or the semi-predicative gerundial construction has its own, separate subject. The subject of the secondary predicative part of the sentence can be expressed either by a possessive pronoun or by a noun in the genitive case, if it denotes an animate referent, e.g.: Mike’s coming back was a total surprise to us; Do you mind my smoking?; it can also be expressed by a noun in the common case form or an objective pronoun, e.g.: She said something about my watch being slow. The gerundial semi-predicative constructions can be used as different notional parts of a sentence, cf.: Mike’s coming back was a total surprise to us (the subject); Do you mind my smoking? (object); I couldn’t sleep because of his snoring (adverbial modifier); The thought of him being in Paris now was frustrating (attribute).
Participle I (present participle) is fully homonymous with the gerund: it is also an ‘ing-form’ (or, rather, four ‘ing-forms’, cf.: writing, being written, having written, having been written). But its semantics is different: it denotes processual quality, combining verbal features with features of the adjective and the adverb; participle I can be characterized as a phenomenon of hybrid processual-qualifying nature, intermediary between the verb and the adjective/adverb. The triple nature of participle I finds its expression in its mixed valency and syntactic functions. The verb-type combinability of participle I is revealed in its combinations with nouns denoting the subject and the object of the action, e.g.: her entering the room, with modifying adverbs and with auxiliary verbs in the analytical forms of the verb; the adjective-type combinability of participle I is manifested in its combinations with modified nouns and modifying adverbs of degree, e.g.: an extremely maddening presence; the adverb-type combinability of the participle is revealed in its combinations with modified verbs, e.g.: to speak stuttering at every word. In its free use, participle I can function as a predicative, e.g.: Her presence is extremely maddening to me; as an attribute, e.g.: The fence surrounding the garden was newly painted; and as an adverbial modifier, e.g.: While waiting he whistled.
Like any other verbid, participle I can form semi-predicative constructions if it is combined with the noun or the pronoun denoting the subject of the action; for example, complex object with participle I, e.g.: I saw her entering the room; complex subject with participle I(the passive transformation of the complex object constructions), e.g.: She was seen entering the room. In addition, participle I can form a detached semi-predicative construction, known as the absolute participial construction, which does not intersect in any of its components with the primary sentence part, e.g.: The weather being fine, we decided to take a walk; I won’t speak with him staring at me like that.
In complex object and complex subject constructions the difference between the infinitive and participle I lies in the aspective presentation of the process: participle I presents the process as developing, cf.: I often heard her sing in the backyard. – I hear her singing in the backyard.
The absolute homonymy of the gerund and participle I has made some linguists, among them American descriptivists, the Russian linguists V. Y.Plotkin, L. S. Barkhudarov, and some others, treat them not as two different verbids, but as generalized cases of substantive and qualitative functioning of one and the same “ing-form” verbid. Particularly disputable is the status of the semi-predicative construction, traditionally defined as the “half-gerund” construction, in which the semantics of the “ing-form” is neither clearly processual-substantive nor processual-qualifying and it is combined with the noun in the common case form, e.g.: I remember the boy singing in the backyard.
The dubious cases can be clarified if the gerund and the participle are distinctly opposed as polar phenomena. In gerundial constructions the semantic accent is on the substantivized process itself; the nominal character of the verbid can be shown by a number of tests, for example, by a question-forming test, cf.: I remember the boy’s singing (his singing). - What do you remember?; the noun denoting the subject of the action semantically and syntactically modifies the gerund – Whose singing do you remember? In participial constructions the semantic emphasis is on the doer of the action, e.g.: I remember him singing. - Whom do you remember?; the present participle modifies its subject, denoting processual quality. In half-gerund constructions the semantic accent is on the event described, on the situational content with the processual substance as its core, cf.: I remember the boy singing in the backyard. – What do you remember about the boy? This case can be treated as the neutralization of the opposition, as a transferred participle, or a gerundial participle.
In the attributive function, the semantic differences between participle I and the gerund are unquestionable: the noun modified by participle I denotes the actual doer of the action, and the participle denotes its processual qualification; the meaning of the gerund in the attributive function is non-dynamic; the difference can be demonstrated in the following tests, cf.: a sleeping girl à a girl who is sleeping (participle I); a sleeping pill à a pill taken to induce sleep (the gerund).
Participle II, like participle I, denotes processual quality and can be characterized as a phenomenon of hybrid processual-qualifying nature. It has only one form, traditionally treated in practical grammar as the verbal “third form”, used to build the analytical forms of the passive and the perfect of finites, e.g.: is taken; has taken. The categorial meanings of the perfect and the passive are implicitly conveyed by participle II in its free use, for example, when it functions as a predicative or an attribute, e.g.: He answered through a firmly locked door (participle II as an attribute); The room was big and brightly lit (participle II as a predicative). The functioning of participle II is often seen as adverbial in cases like the following: When asked directly about the purpose of her visit she answered vaguely. But such constructions present cases of syntactic compression rather than an independent participle II used adverbially, cf.: When asked directly ß When she was asked directly… Thus, participle II can be characterized as a verbid combining verbal features (processual semantics and combinability) with the features of the adjective.
Like any other verbid, participle II can form semi-predicative constructions if combined with the inner subject of its own; they include complex object with participle II, e.g.: I’d like to have my hair cut; We found the door locked; complex subject with participle II(the passive transformation of the complex object constructions), e.g.: The door was found firmly locked; and absolute participial construction with participle II, e.g.: She approached us, head half turned; He couldn’t walk far with his leg broken.
The meaning of the perfect is rendered by participle II in correlation with the aspective lexico-grammatical character of the verb: with limitive verbs participle II denotes priority (“relative past”) while participle I denotes simultaneity (“relative present”), cf.: burnt leaves (‘the leaves have already been burnt’; relative past) – burning leaves (‘the leaves are burning now’; relative present); hence the alternative terms: participle I – present participle, participle II – past participle. With unlimitive verbs this difference is neutralized and participle II denotes simultaneity, e.g.: a brightly lit room. In addition, participle I and participle II are sometimes opposed as the active participle and the passive participle, cf.: the person asked (passive) – the person asking the question (active); though participle II also participates in the structural formation of the passive and the perfect of participle I, e.g.: being asked, having asked. This, together with the other differential properties, supports the status of participle II as a separate verbid.
The adverb is a notional part of speech denoting, like the adjective, property; the adjective, as has been outlined in the previous unit, denotes properties of a substance, and the adverb denotes non-substantive properties: in most cases the properties of actions (to walk quickly), or the properties of other properties (very quick), or the properties of the situations in which the processes occur (to walk again). In other words, the adverb can be defined as a qualifying word of the secondary qualifying order, while the adjective is a primary qualifying word.
The adverb is the least numerous and the least independent of all the notional parts of speech; it has a great number of semantically weakened words intermediary between notional and functional words; this is why its notional part of speech status was doubted for a long time: the first grammarians listed adverbs among the particles.
Adverbs are characterized by their combinability with verbs, adjectives and other adverbs, which they modify. They perform the functions of various adverbial modifiers: of time (yesterday), place (there), of manner (secretly), etc. The adverbs which refer to whole situations are defined as situation-“determinants”, e.g.: They quarreled again.
There are certain contexts in which adverbs combine with nouns and perform a peculiar function of mixed adverbial-attributive character, e.g.: the trip abroad, his return home, the then President of the US, etc. This is the result of the nominalization of syntactic constructions (see Unit 20) in which the correspondent adverb functions as a regular adverbial modifier, cf.: his return home ß he returned home; the then President of the US ß the person who was the president of the US then.
In accordance with their form, adverbs are divided into simple and derived. There are few simple adverbs, most of them are of a functional or semi-functional character, e.g.: more, very, there, then, here, etc. The characteristic adverbial word-building affixes are the following: simply, clockwise, backward,ahead, etc. The most productive derivational model of adverbs is the one with the suffix ‘-ly’. It is so highly productive that practically every adjective has its adverbial counterpart, e.g.: simple - simply, soft – softly, etc.; some linguists, for example, A. I. Smirnitsky, consider them to be not adverbs but specific forms of adjectives.
The other structural types are compoundadverbs, e.g.: sometimes, downstairs, etc., and stable adverbial phrases or composite phrasal adverbs, e.g.: upside down, at least, a great deal of, from time to time, etc.
There are certain controversies among linguists about the status of phrases like from above, before now, until then, etc. They are sometimes treated as stable adverbial phrases (phrasal adverbs), but this approach can be challenged, because the members of such word combinations are not semantically blended into an indivisible idiomatic unity. More plausible is the following approach: some adverbs are freely combined with prepositions and, since combinability with prepositions is characteristic of nouns, they make a peculiar set of partially substantivized adverbs (“adverbids”), i.e. their lexico-grammatical status is intermediary between adverbs and nouns.
There is a large group of adverbs homonymous with words of other parts of speech, both notional and functional. Some adverbs are adjective-stem conversives (zero-derived adverbs), cf.: a hard work – to work hard, a flat roof – to fall flat into the water, etc. Among the adjective-stem converted adverbs there are a few words with the non-specific –ly originally inbuilt in the adjective, cf.: a kindly man – to talk kindly. Since there are no other differential features except for their positions, these words can be defined as “fluctuant conversives”.
Some of the zero-derived adverbs coexist with the ‘-ly’-derived adverbs; the two adverbs are in most cases different in meaning, cf.: to work hard – to work hardly at all. If their meanings are similar, the two adverbs differ from the point of view of functional stylistics: adverbs without ‘-ly’ are characteristic for the American variant of the English language; additionally, there is some research showing that adverbs without ‘-ly’ are more often used by men than by women, cf.: He talks real quick - He talks really quickly.
Some adverbs of weakened pronominal semantics are connected by fluctuant (positional) conversion with functional words; for example, some adverbs are positionally interchangeable with prepositions and conjunctions, e.g.: before, since, after, besides, instead, etc. Cf.: We haven’t met since 1996. – We haven’t met since we passed our final exams. - We met in 1996, and haven’t seen each other ever since.
Adverbs should not be confused with adverb-like elements, which are interchangeable with prepositions (and sometimes prefixes) and when placed after the verb form a semantic blend with it, e.g.: to give – to give up, to give in, to give away, etc.; to go down the hill - to download, to downplay - to sit down, to bring down, to bend down, etc. These functional words make a special set of particles; they are intermediary between the word and the morpheme and can be called “postpositives”.
Traditionally, adverbs are divided on the basis of their general semantics into qualitative, quantitative, and circumstantial. The qualitative adverbs denote the inherent qualities of actions and other qualities; most of them are derived from qualitative adjectives, e.g.: bitterly, hard, beautifully, well, etc. The quantitativeadverbs show quantity measure; genuine quantitative adverbs are usually derived from numerals, e.g.: twice, three times, tenfold, manifold, etc. The circumstantial adverbs denote mainly the circumstances of time and place (they can also be defined as “orientative”), e.g.: today, here, when, far, ashore, abroad, often, etc.
Taking into consideration various hybrid types of adverbs of weakened nominative force, it is important to subdivide adverbs on the basis of their semantic value into the following groups: “genuine”, ornotional (nominal) adverbs of full semantic value and semi-functional (pronominal) adverbs of partial semantic value. Quantitative adverbs belong to the group of semi-functional adverbs by their own pronominal (numerical) semantics. Qualitative adverbs include, on the one hand, genuine qualitative adverbs, e.g.: bitterly, hard, beautifully, well, etc. and on the other hand, a group of semi-functional words of degree, quality evaluators of intermediary qualitative-quantitative semantics. The latter include adverbs of high degree (intensifiers), e.g.: very, greatly, absolutely, pretty, etc.; adverbs of excessive degree, e.g.: too, awfully, tremendously, etc.; adverbs of unexpected degree, e.g.: surprisingly, astonishingly, etc.; adverbs of moderate degree, e.g.: fairly, relatively, rather, etc.; and some other groups. Circumstantial adverbs are also divided into notional and functional. Notional (genuine) circumstantial adverbs are self-dependent words denoting time and space orientation, e.g.: tomorrow, never, recently, late; homeward, ashore, outside, far, etc. The functional circumstantial adverbs, besides the quantitative (numerical) adverbs mentioned above, include pronominal adverbs of time, place, manner, cause, consequence, e.g.: here, when, where, so, thus, nevertheless, otherwise, etc. They substitute notional adverbs or other words used in the function of adverbial modifiers in a sentence, cf.: He stayed at school. – He stayed there; many of them are used as syntactic connectives and question-forming functionals, e.g.: Where is he? I do not know where he is now.
Thus, the whole class of adverbs can be divided, first, into nominal and pronominal, then the nominal adverbs can be subdivided into qualitative and orientative, the former including genuine qualitative adverbs and degree adverbs, the latter divided into temporal and local adverbs, with further possible subdivisions of each group.
Like adjectives, adverbs are also subdivided functionally into evaluative and specificative. When used in their evaluative function, adverbs (qualitative adverbs, predominantly) distinguish the category of comparison and have five morphological forms: one positive, two comparative (direct and reverse) and two superlative (direct and reverse), e.g.: bitterly – more bitterly, less bitterly – most bitterly, least bitterly. Their superlative degree form can also be used either in the absolute sense (to denote absolute superiority) or in the elative sense, denoting a high degree of the property, e.g.: The youngest kid cried most bitterly of all. – The kid cried most bitterly. When used in the specificative function, adverbs are unchangeable, e.g.: We meet today; We came ashore.
The adjective expresses the categorial meaning of property of a substance, e.g.: hard work. That means that semantically the adjective is a bound word of partial nominative value: it can not be used without a word denoting the substance which it characterizesE:\t_gram_09\online_read\bgpu\lectures UNIT 17.htm - _ftn1. Even in contexts where no substance is named, it is presupposed (implied) or denoted by a substitutive word “one”, e.g.: Red is my favourite colour; The blouse is a bit small. Have you got a bigger one? When the adjective is used independently it is substantivized, i.e. it acquires certain features of a noun (this issue will be addressed later in the Unit).
Adjectives are distinguished by a specific combinability with the nouns which they modify, with link verbs and with modifying adverbs. The functions performed by the adjective correlate with their combinability: when combined with nouns, adjectives perform the function of an attribute (either in preposition to the noun modified or in post-position if accompanied by adjuncts), e.g.: a suspicious man; a man suspicious of his wife; when combined with link verbs they perform the function of a predicative (part of a compound nominal predicate), e.g.: The man was very suspicious of his wife. Usually, constructions with the attributive and predicative use of the adjective are easily transformed into each other, as in the examples given. But there are adjectives that can be used only attributively, e.g.: joint (venture), main (point), lone (wolf), live (music), daily (magazine), etc.; there are adjectives that are used only predicatively (usually adjectives denoting states and relations), e.g.: glad, fond, concerned, etc.; in addition, the predicative or attributive use may differentiate homonymous adjectives or different lexico-semantic variants of the same adjective, cf.: a certain man - I’m certain that the report is ready; ill manners – I’m ill.
Formally, adjectives are characterized by a specific set of word-building affixes, e.g.: hopeful, flawless, bluish, famous, decorative, accurate, inaccurate, basic, etc. As for word-changing categories, the adjective had a number of reflective categories in Old English: it agreed with the noun in number, case and gender; all these forms were lost in the course of historical development and today the only morphological category of the adjective is the immanent category of comparison.
The category of comparison expresses the quantitative characteristics of the quality rendered by the adjective, in other words, it expresses the relative evaluation of the amount of the quality of some referent in comparison with other referents possessing the same quality. Three forms constitute this category: the positive degree, the comparative degree, and the superlative degree forms of the adjective. The basic form, known as the positive degree, has no special formal mark, e.g.: tall, beautiful; the comparative degree is marked by two kinds of forms; synthetical forms with the suffix “-er” and analytical forms with the auxiliary word more, e.g.: taller, more beautiful; the superlative degree is also formed either synthetically with the help of the grammatical suffix “-est”, or analytically with the help of the auxiliary word most, e.g.: tallest, most beautiful. The synthetic and analytical degrees stand in complementary distribution to each other, their choice is determined by syllabo-phonetic forms of adjectives and is covered in detail in practical grammar textbooks. Also, there are suppletive forms of the degrees of comparison, e.g.: bad – worse – worst.
In the plane of content the category of comparison constitutes a gradual ternary opposition (see Unit 3). To be consistent with the oppositional approach, the category of comparison can be reduced to two binary oppositions correlated with each other in a hierarchy of two levels in the following way:
Degrees of comparison
positive degreecomparative + superlative degrees
(absence of comparison, (superiority)
equality/ absence of equality) taller, tallest; more, most beautiful
taller; more beautiful; worse tallest; most beautiful; worst
On the upper level the positive degree, as the unmarked member, is opposed to the comparative and superlative degrees, as the marked forms of the opposition, denoting the superiority of a certain referent in the property named by the adjectiveE:\t_gram_09\online_read\bgpu\lectures UNIT 17.htm - _ftn2.The weak member, the positive degree, has a wider range of meanings: it denotes either the absence of comparison, or equality/inequality in special constructions of comparison, e.g.: He is tall; He is as tall as my brother; He is not so tall as my brother. On the lower level the comparative degree is opposed to the superlative degree. The comparative degree denotes relative, or restricted superiority, involving a restricted number of referents compared, normally two, e.g.: He is taller than my brother. The superlative degree denotes absolute, or unrestricted superiority, implying that all the members of a certain class of referents are compared and the referent of the word modified by the adjective possesses the property in question to the highest possible degree, e.g.: He is the tallest man I’ve ever seen. The superlative degree at this level of the opposition is the strong member, being more concrete in its semantics
The opposition can be contextually reduced: the superlative degree can be used instead of the positive degree in contexts where no comparison is meant, to denote a very high degree of a certain quality intensely presented, cf.: She is a most unusual woman (She is an extremely unusual woman); It was most generous of you (It was very generous of you). This kind of grammatical transposition is known as “the elative superlative”. Thus, the superlative degree is used in two senses: the absolute superiority (unrestricted superiority) and the elative superiority (a very high degree of a certain quality). The formal mark of the difference between the two cases is the possibility of indefinite article determination or the use of the zero article with the noun modified by the adjective in the superlative degree, e.g.: It was a most generous gesture; a sensation of deepest regret.
The same grammatical metaphor is used in Russian, cf.: óìíåéøèé ÷åëîâåê, ñ îãðîìíåéøèì óäîâîëüñòâèåì, etc.; it must be noted, though, that the Russian elative superlative is usually expressed by synthetic forms of adjectives, while in English analytical forms are most often used.
The quantitative evaluation of a quality involves not only an increase in its amount or its intensity, but also the reverse, its reduction, rendered by the combination of the adjective with the words less and least, e.g.: important, less important, least important. These combinations can be treated as specific analytical forms of the category of comparison: they denote what can be called “negative comparison”, or “reverse comparison” and are formed with the help of the auxiliary words less and least; the regular synthetic and analytical forms denoting an increase in the amount of a quality may be specified as “direct comparison”, or “positive comparison” forms. Thus, the whole category of comparison is constituted not by three forms, but by five forms: one positive degree form (important), two comparative degree forms, direct and reverse (more important, less important), and two superlative degree forms: direct and reverse (most important, least important).
The reverse forms of comparison are rarely studied within the category of comparison; this can be explained, besides purely semantic reasons, by the fact that reverse comparison has no synthetical forms of expression, and by the fact that the grammatical meaning of its forms is not idiomatic: the auxiliary word retains its own lexical meaning. Still, if the analytical means of direct comparison, whose idiomatism is also weak, are considered to be grammatical forms of the adjectives, there is no reason to consider the forms of reverse comparison free word-combinationE:\t_gram_09\online_read\bgpu\lectures UNIT 17.htm - _ftn3.
Adjectives are traditionally divided on the basis of their semantics into two grammatically relevant subclasses: qualitative and relative adjectives. Qualitative adjectives denote the qualities of objects as such, e.g.: red, long, beautiful, etc. Relative adjectives denote qualities of objects in relation to other objects; such adjectives are usually derived from nouns, e.g.: wood – wooden, ice – icy, etc. The ability to form degrees of comparison is usually treated as the formal sign of qualitative adjectives, because they denote qualities which admit of quantitative estimation, e.g.: very long, rather long, not so long, long – longer - longest. But this is not exactly the case. First, there are a number of qualitative adjectives which have no forms of comparison because their own semantics is either inherently comparative or superlative, or incompatible with the idea of comparison at all (non-gradable), e.g.: excellent, semi-final, extinct, deaf, etc. Second, some relative adjectives, when used figuratively, perform the same semantic function of qualitative evaluation as qualitative adjectives proper and in such contexts acquire the ability to change their form according to the category of comparison, cf.: a golden crown: a relative adjective ‘golden’ is used in its primary meaning – a crown made of gold; golden hair: a relative adjective ‘golden’ is used in its figurative meaning – hair of the colour of gold; one can say: Her hair is even more golden than her mother’s hair. On the other hand, a qualitative adjective may be used in the specificative function as a relative adjective, specifying the property of some objects in their relations to the other objects, e.g.: a hard disk – the basically qualitative adjective ‘hard’ in this context specifies the type of the disk in relation to other types: hard disks - floppy disks. In such cases qualitative adjectives do not form the degrees of comparison. Thus, the grammatically relevant subdivision of adjectives should actually be based not on their general semantics, but on their semantic function: the basic semantic function of qualitative adjectives is evaluation, and they normally form the degrees of comparison; the basic semantic function of relative adjectives is specification, and they normally do not form the degrees of comparison. Still, when used in the evaluative function, both qualitative and relative adjectives form the degrees of comparison; when used in the specificative function, neither qualitative, nor relative adjectives form the degrees of comparison.
Among the words denoting substantive properties there is a set of words denoting states, mostly temporary states, that are used predominantly in the predicative function and are united by a common formal mark, the prefix ‘a-’, e.g.: afraid, afire, alike, etc. (cf.: the suffix ‘-o’ in Russian - õîëîäíî, òåïëî, âåñåëî, etc.) Their part of speech status is rather problematic. Traditionally they are referred to as “predicative adjectives” or a subtype of adverbs. In Russian linguistics such linguists as L. V. Scherba, V. V.Vinogradov and others state that these words constitute a separate class of words, a part of speech called “the category of state words”, or “statives”; their status as a separate part of speech in English is supported by B. Ilyish. There are some arguments, though, which may challenge this point of view.
· Semantically the statives have no categorial meaning of their own: adjectives denote not just qualities but, as was shown above, properties of substances, and that includes stative properties too; the statives are not at all unique semantically, the same meaning can be rendered by regular adjectives, e.g.: cases alike = similar cases.
· They have the same adverbial combinability and combinability with link verbs as regular adjectives, e.g.: The cases are absolutely alike.
· The similarity of functions can be demonstrated in coordinative groups of homogeneous notional sentence parts expressed by statives and regular adjectives, e.g.: Both cases are very much alike and highly suspicious.
· As with regular adjectives, they can be used in an evaluative function in a limited number of contexts and can even form the degrees of comparison, e.g.: These cases are more alike than the others.
· The prefix ‘a-’ can not serve as sufficient grounds for singling out this group of words in English, because in English there are statives which have no such prefix, e.g.: sorry, glad, ill, worth, etc. (The suffix ‘-o’ is not a unifying property of the statives in Russian either, cf.: æàëü, ëåíü, etc.)
· Besides, it is a closed set of words and rather a restricted one: there are no more than 50-80 words in this group; it is not characterized by openness, like all the other notional parts of speech.
Thus, we can infer that words denoting states, though possessing important structural and functional peculiarities, are not a separate part of speech, but a specific subset within the general class of adjectives.
At the beginning of this Unit the possibility of substantivation of adjectives was mentioned: some adjectives can transgress the border between the two classes and can acquire some features of the noun. Strictly speaking, substantivation is a type of conversion - a lexical word-building process of zero-derivation. When adjectives are fully substantivized, they make a new word, a noun, which is connected with the adjective only etymologically. Conversion of this type often takes place in cases of one-word ellipsis in stable attributive word-combinations, e.g.: a private ß a private soldier, a native ß a native resident. These nouns acquire all the forms of constitutive substantive categories: number, case, article determination, e.g.: privates, natives, private’s, native’s, a private, the private, etc. (Cf.: similar substantivation cases in Russian: ðÿäîâîé, áîëüíîé, etc.)
There is also a group of partially substantivized adjectives which are characterized by mixed (hybrid) lexico-grammatical features: they convey the mixed adjectival-nounal semantics of property; in a sentence they perform functions characteristic of nouns; and they have deficient paradigms of number and article determination (they are not changed according to the category of number and are combined only with the definite article). They include words denoting groups of people sharing the same feature – the rich, the beautiful, the English, and words denoting abstract notions – the unforgettable, the invisible, etc. The former resemble the pluralia tantum nouns, and the latter the singularia tantum nouns. They make up a specific group of adjectives marginal to the nouns and can be called “adjectivids” by analogy with “verbids”.
This type of word-building has become particularly productive in modern English, involving adjectivized past participles, which exhibit “triply” mixed meanings, e.g.: the newly wed, the unemployed, etc. And these tend to acquire more and more substantive features in the course of time, e.g., one can say the newly-weds, or an unemployed.