SYNTAX – THE PHRASE
Definition: The phrase is a syntactic unit consisting at least of two notional parts of speech, such as: a difficult problem, a beautiful woman, two boys, playing children, broken cups, to walk slowly, etc.
Phrases in contemporary English may be classified according to their structure and the leading word.
1) Classification of Phrases according to Their Structure
According the their structure phrases in contemporary English may be unextended and extended. In case when phrases consist only of two parts, we call them unextended, such as:
new houses, high mountains, sleeping child, flying birds, etc.
But when phrases consist of more than two words, we call them extended phrases, such as:
a telegram received some days ago, an island discovered in the eigh-‘ teenth century, a territory occupied by the enemy’s army, etc.
2) Classification of Phrases according to the Leading Word
- phrases in which the leading word is a noun.
a short story, a nice child, John’s mother, the roar of the ocean, etc.
- phrases in which the leading word is an adjective.
Fond of swimming, rich in oil, low in quality, large in size etc
- phrases in which the leading word is a numeral
two workers, two of the workers, ten children, ten of the children millions of people, etc
- phrases in which the leading word is a verb
to send a telegram, made of silver, written in pencil, etc.
- phrases m winch the loading word is a pronoun
Some of the children, all of them, any of the boys etc
- phrases in which the leading word is an adverb.
badly wounded, well enough, fully satisfied, etc
SYNTACTIC RELATIONS BETWEEN THE COMPONENTS OF THE PHRASE
There exist following syntactic relations between the components of phrase in contemporary English; agreement, government, adjoining, and enclosure.
1) Agreement is a method of expressing a syntactical relationship between the components of a phrase which consists in making the subordinate word take a form similar to that of the word to which it is subordinate. In contemporary English the use of agreement is limited, it is particularly found in the category of number and the demonstrative pronoun this and that
A book – two books / This book – these books / That tree – those trees
2) Government is the method of using a certain form of subordinate word which is required by its head word. It is also seldom found in contemporary English. The only thing that may be called government is the use of the objective case form of personal pronouns and the pronoun who when they are followed by a verb, such as:
Help me, Meet them, Ask him,
Whom did you see in the street?
Note. There is a great tendency to use who instead of whom in Modern English. For example, instead of saying Whom did you see?, ‘English people prefer to say Who did you see?
3) Adjoining is the main method of expressing a syntactical relationship in contemporary English due to almost disappearance of case endings. So not only the relation between the components of the phrase consisting of a) verb + adverb, but also between the components of phrases consisting of b) noun + noun, c) adjective + noun, d) pronoun + norm etc. is denoted by adjoining, such as:
- a) to go slowly, to speak quickly,
- b) army life, wooden spoon,
- c) long stories, high houses,
- d) our country, her name,
4) Enclosure is also widely used in contemporary English. It is the case when some element of a phrase is enclosed between two parts of another element of the phrase. The most widely known case of enclosure is the putting of a word between an article and the noun to which the article belongs, such as: an interesting book, a beautiful landscape, the then president, the above-cited passage, etc.
Definition: The sentence is a unit of speech that expresses a more or less complete thought and has a definite grammatical structure and intonation.
Sentences can be classified according to two principles:
1) according to types of communication;
2) according to structure.
1) Classification of Sentences according to Types of Communication
According to types of communication sentences are divided into the following groups: Declarative sentences, Interrogative sentences, Imperative sentences, Exclamatory sentences.
1- The Declarative Sentence Definition:
A declarative sentence is a sentence which expresses a statement. Examples:
He leaned forward and stared out of the window. John Galsworthy is a great English novelist. The Second World War broke out in 1939, etc.
Declarative sentences can be (a) in the affirmative or (b) in the negative form.
- a) The sky is cloudless today. The Sun rises in the East. The weather is fine. The child is sleeping in the next room,
- b) I am not a driver. He has not seen her this week. It is not raining now. She cannot speak Spanish. etc
A declarative sentence is uttered with a falling intonation such as;
I have never been to New York.
The United States of America is the most democratic country in the world.
2- The Interrogative Sentence Definition:
A sentence which expresses a question is called an interrogative sentence.
Do you live in the city ? Is your family large? Have you got many English books at home? Who is shouting in the next room? Is your friend’s family large or small? Your uncle is a painter, isn’t he?
Interrogative sentences may be of different types, depending upon the question they denote. There are the following types of questions in contemporary English: general questions; special questions; alternative questions; disjunctive question.
A question which refers to the whole sentence and requires the answer yes or no is called a general question.
1 -Doyou speak Spanish?
-Yes, I do.
-No, I don
- -Areyou a teacher? ‘
– Yes, 1 am -No, I am not.
General questions are called Yes/No questions in the grammar books recently printed abroad but we prefer to use the traditional term, general questions.
A general question always begins with a) an auxiliary, b) modal or c) a link verb.
- a) Have you sent the letter? Is the child sleeping? Has the ram stopped7 Did she return home late?
- b) Can you speak Italian? Must he go at once? May I use your dictionary?
- c) Is she a teacher? Are you a driver? Was she a doctor?
A general question is spoken with a rising intonation, such as:
Are you a student? Can you speak English?
A question which refers to a definite part of the sentence and begins with an interrogative word is called a special question.
Interrogative sentences begin with an interrogative pronoun as (a) who? what? whose? which? or (b) an interrogative adverb, such as when? where? how? why?
- a) Who is that woman? What do you want? Whose father is that man ? Which of these boys is your brother?
- b) When will the delegation arrive? Where does your aunt live? How could you cross the river? Why are you late?
A special question is spoken with a falling intonation, such as: Who is m the room? Whose book is it? Where does your family live?
Note: Special question is called questions with question words or wb-questions in the books published abroad recently, but we prefer to use the traditional term special questions.
3-An alternative questions
A question which consists of two or more general questions used for choice is called an alternative question.
Do you live in the village or in the city? Does he study English or German at school? Have they got a letter or a telegram? Is he a teacher or a doctor? etc.
An alternative question is spoken with a rising intonation in the first part and a falling intonation in the second part, such as:
Do you want to go to the park or stay at home?
4- A disjunctive question
Definition: A question which consists of two parts – a statement and a short general question is called a disjunctive question.
(a) If in a disjunctive question the statement is in the affirmative, the short general question is in the negative, – (b) if the statement is in the negative, the short general question must be in the affirmative form. Examples:
- a) She speaks English well, doesn’t she? He is a driver, isn’t he? The boy can play tennis well, can’t he? You have got a telegram today, haven’t you?
- b) He can’t speak English well, can he? You didn’t learn English at school, did you? He is not an engineer, is he?
Note: Disjunctive questions are called tag questions in the books published abroad recently, but we prefer to use the traditional term – disjunctive questions.
The first part of a disjunctive question is spoken with a falling intonation and the second part with a rising intonation, such as:
You have got a letter from your friend, haven’t you?
3- The Imperative sentence
A sentence which is used to induce a person to fulfil an action is called an imperative sentence.
So an imperative sentence is used to express (a) a command, (b) a request or (c) an invitation, etc.
(a) Stop talking at the lesson.
(b) Come to see us on a Sunday.
(c) Do come to my birthday party!
When an imperative sentence indicates a command, it is spoken with a falling intonation, such as: Come to the board.
But in case, when an imperative sentence indicates (a) a request or (b) an invitation, it is spoken with a rising intonation, such as.
- a) Shut the door, please!
- b) Come to my birthday party.
A sentence expressing some kind of emotion or feeling is called an exclamatory sentence.
Exclamatory sentences can be of two types: Secondary exclamatory sentences; 1) primary exclamatory sentences. 2) secondary exclamatory sentences
Every sentence i.e., (a) declarative, (b) interrogative or (c) imperative may become exclamatory if any of them is coloured with some kind of emotion or expresses a feeling besides its predicative meaning We call such sentences secondary exclamatory sentences.
- a) You can’t do anything to me!
- b) What can he possibly do to you!
- c) Tom, save me!
Primary exclamatory sentences always begin with the words a) what or b) how. The choice of these words depends upon the word that is emphasized; if (a) a noun is emphasized, what is used, but if (b) an adjective or (c) an adverb is emphasized, how is used. Examples:
- a) What a beautiful landscape it is!
- b) How beautiful the landscape is!
- c) How fast the train is going!
- Classification of Sentences according to Their Structure
According to structure sentences can be: I. simple; II. composite.
- The Simple Sentence
A sentence which has only one predication is called a simple sentence.
Man eats. Birds fly. There are six continents in the world. Everybody has two hands. Wild animals live in the forest, etc. Simple sentences can be divided into three subgroups: 1) simple unextended sentences; 2) simple extended sentences; 3)simple sentences with homogenous parts.
1) Simple unextended sentences
Definition: A simple sentence which consists of only the subject and predicate is called a simple unextended sentence, such as:
The Sun shines. The Earth is round. The letter has been written. The child is sleeping. etc
2) Simple extended sentences
Definition: A simple extended sentence is a sentence in which besides the subject and the predicate one or more secondary parts are used.
My family lives in the village. The delegation arrived in the city yesterday. I sent a long letter to my friend some days ago, etc.
According to their structure simple sentences can also be divided into: 1) one-member sentences and 2) two-member sentences.
1) One-member sentences
Definition: A sentence which doesn’t contain a subject and a predicate, but consists only of one part is called a one-member sentence.
Evening. Morning. Come on. Forward. Fire. Stop, etc.
2) Two-member sentences
A sentence which has a subject and a predicate is called a two- member sentence.
I have seen her today. She has written a long letter to me. Children like eating ice-cream. My brother won a prize at the chess tournament, etc.
A two-member sentence may be complete or incomplete.
It is complete when it has a subject and a predicate.
Brown lives in London. They have finished their work, etc.
It is incomplete when one of the main parts or both of them are missing, but can easily be understood from the context. Such sentences are also called elliptical sentences and are mostly used in colloquial speech, especially in dialogues.
1) -What is your father s name?
2) -Where do you live?
-In the village.
3) – What do you want?
In the above given short dialogues the words in bold type are elliptical sentences, because in the first case the subject (my father’s name) and the link verb (is), in the second case the subject (I) and the predicate (live), in the thud case the subject (I), the predicate (want) are missing.
Elliptical sentences can be built up on the basis of: (a) the subject, (b) the predicative, (c) the object and (d) the adverbial modifier.
-Who is in the room?
- a) – Nobody.
-What is he?
- b) A painter.
What do you want?
- c) a book
-Where does your family live?
- d) In the city.
3) Simple sentences with homogenous parts
Definition: A simple sentence which has (a) two or more subjects to one predicate, (b) two or more predicates to one subject (c), two or more objects to one predicate etc. is called a simple sentence with homogeneous parts, such as:
- a) Tom, Brown and Nick are my schoolmates.
- b) I can read, write and speak English.
- c) My sister washed the plates, the forks, the knives, the cups after dinner.
PARTS OF THE SIMPLE SENTENCE
Parts of the simple sentence are divided into two groups: 1) the principal; 2) the secondary parts.
1) The principal parts of the simple sentence
The subject and the predicate are called the principal parts of the sentence
Definition: The subject is the principal part of the sentence which denotes the doer of the action expressed by the predicate-verb, such as:
Tom works at a large factory. The child is sleeping upstairs. The subject can be expressed by:
1) a noun in the common case.
The meeting finished soon. The agreement was signed yesterday.
2) a pronoun – (a) personal, (b) demonstrative, (c) defining, (d) indefinite, (e) negative, (J) possessive, (g) interrogative.
- a) I want a bath before going to bed.
- b) This is a friend of mine.
- c) Everybody was present at the meeting.
- d) Father, someone wants to see you downstairs.
- e) Nothing will come out of it.
- f) Hers was a student’s mind.
- g) Who is working in the garden?
3) a substantivized adjective
The rich were my enemies. The unemployed organized a large demonstration some days ago.
4) a numeral – (a) cardinal or (b) ordinal Examples:
Fifty cannot be divided by seven.
The first was my brother.
5) (a) an infinitive, (b) an infinitive phrase or (c) an infinitive construction.
- a) To see is to believe.
- b) To be a rich man is not always happiness
- c) For me to see her that day was impossible
6) (a) a gerund, (b) a gerundial phrase or (c) a gcrundial construction.
- a) Eating was farthest from my desire.
- b) His coming was a surprise to me
- c) Annette’s being French might upset him n hit
7) any word used as a quotation
“Beneath ” is a preposition. “Nobody ” is a negative pronoun.
8) a group of words which is one part of the sentence, i.e. syntactically indivisible unit.
Bread and water is the plainest and cheapest possible food
Note: In such cases the homogenous subjects are not to be confused where two persons or things are meant and consequently the predicate must be in the plural
The red and the white rose are both beautiful.
The subject expressed by the pronoun it occupies, a special place in contemporary English. So it must be treated separately.
It as the Subject of the Sentence
The pronoun it functions differently in contemporary English, it may be used as a notional subject and as a formal subject.
When the pronoun it represents a living being or a thing, it is a notional subject.
As a notional subject the pronoun it has the following meanings:
1) it stands for (a) a definite thing or (b) some abstract idea. In this case it is called personal it.
- I have bought a book. It is in my bag.
- Their love has cooled It was getting cooler and cooler day by day.
2) it points out some person or thing expressed (a) by a predicative noun or (b) refers to the thought contained in a preceding statement. In this case the pronoun it has the demonstrative meaning and it is the demonstrative subject.
(a) It was Tom
(b )It was a large garden with a stone wall around.
In certain cases the pronoun it is used as a formal subject, denoting no person or thing. Here the following must be distinguished.
- the impersonal it; 2. the introductory or anticipatory it, 3. the emphatic it.
1.The impersonal <It> is used
1) to denote natural phenomena, such as:
It often snows in winter.
It is windy today.
It is hot in the room.
It is dark outside.
2) to denote (a) time and (b) distance, such as\
- a) It is ten minutes past nine. It is evening already.
- b) It is two miles from here to the beach.
Note. Sentences with the impersonal it very often correspond to Azerbaijani one- member sentences. In such sentences the pronoun it isn’t translated into Azerbaijani, for example
It is late – Gecdir.
It is hot – Istidir.
It is cold – Soyuqqdur.
But the following type of sentences, however correspond to Azerbaijani two-member sentences, for example:
It is snowing -Qar yağır.
It is hailing – Dolu yağır.
It is raining – Yagif yağır. ,
2) The introductory or anticipatory it introduces the real subject, such as:
It was impossible for him to visit her that Jay.
It is no use disguising the fact.
3) The emphatic it is used for sake of emphasis, such as:
The construction it is/was is used to emphasize (a) the subject, (b) the object and (c) the adverbial modifier in the complex sentence.
- It was Pete who saved the child.
- It is the book that l bought two days ago.
- It was yesterday that I met her.
Definition: The predicate is the second principal part of the sentence which denotes an action, state or quality of the person or thing denoted by the subject.
The predicate, as a rule, contains a finite verb which expresses the categories (a) of tense, (b) voice, (c) mood, (d) aspect, (e) person and (f) number,
- I go lo work in the evening, (present indicative)
- The letter was sent yesterday, (passive voice)
- The Earth is round, (indicative mood)
- The guests are having dinner, (cont. aspect)
- It is windy today, (common aspect)
- The table is round, (third person single)
It is common to classify English predicates in two ways:
1) according to their meaning;
2) according to their structure.
- Classification of Predicates according to Their Meaning
According to their meaning predicates in contemporary English are divided into the following groups:
1) the actional predicate; 2) the statal predicate; 3) the qualificative predicate, 4) the double predicate.
1) The Actional Predicate
An actional predicate is a predicate which expresses various actions.
The actional predicate, as a rule, is expressed by a notional verb and denotes different actions, such as: Ali stepped forward. Lord Henry came over and examined the picture. The child broke the cup, etc.
2) The Statal Predicate
A statal predicate is a predicate which expresses temporary state characterising the subject.
The second component of this type of predicate is expressed by (a) the adjective, (b) the participle or (c) the stative adjective.
- a) Joe was delighted with the laundry.
- b) I’m so tired, I can ’/
- c) He was asleep when a sharp knock came at the door.
3) The Qualificative Predicate Definition:
The qualificative predicate is a predicate which expresses the quality or distinctive sign characterising the subject.
The second component of this type of predicate is usually expressed by an adjective.
The man was young and strong. The lady was beautiful. The girl is charming, etc.
4) The Double Predicate
The double predicate is the predicate which has double nature.
The double predicate expresses an action and a state at the same time. Such predicates consist of two components: a finite verb and an adjective or a participle.
She returned home very tired. The sun struck hot on us. My sister married young.
2) Classification of Predicates according to Their Structure
According to structure we distinguish two main types:
(1) The simple predicate (2)The compound predicate
- The Simple Predicate
The simple predicate is expressed by a finite verb (a) in a simple or (b) a compound form, such as:
- a) The delegation arrived late at night. They recognized me.
- b) I have sent a telegram to my friend. She has been waiting for you since the morning. The thief had been arrested before noon.
There is a special kind of predicate which is expressed by phraseological units like to get rid, to take care, to pay attention, to lose sight, to have a wash, to give a push, to pay heed, to lose one’s heart, etc.
I went to the bathroom and had a good wash before going to bed.
The door didn’t open.
I gave a push and it opened.
We changed our way and got rid of him.
The nurse took care of the child.
We treat this kind of predicates as a subdivision of the simple predicate, as the meaning of such units is equal to a single word.
- The Compound Predicate
The compound predicate consists of two parts: a finite verb and some other part of speech which may be a noun, a pronoun, an adjective, a verbal (a participle, a gerund or an infinitive).
The first part expresses the verbal categories of person, number, tense, aspect, mood and voice. The second element is the significant part of the compound predicate, it denotes the mam idea of the predicate.
The compound predicate may be 1) nominal and 2) verbal.
1) The Compound Nominal Predicate
The compound nominal predicate indicates (a) the state or (b) quality of the person or thing expressed by the subject or (c) the class of persons or things to which this person or thing belongs to, such
- a) I am tired. The cup is broken.
- b) The child is clever. This novel is interesting
- c) He is a driver. It is a dictionary.
As to its structure, the compound nominal predicate consists of a link verb and a predicative The link verb denotes the verbal categories of person, number, tense, aspect, mood and voice.
In contemporary English only one verb is purely used in the function of the link verb. It is the verb to be. It has lost its concrete meaning completely and is used as a link verb in the compound predicate, such as.
I am a teacher. He is a driver.
We are doctors. They are engineers.
Besides the verb to be the following verbs are also used in the function of the link verb in a compound nominal predicate. They are the following: to grow, to remain, to get, to fall, to turn, to seem, to look, to feel, to appear, to run, to work, to taste, to keep, to smell, to stand, to go, etc.
All these link verbs, as a result of their historical development, have partly lost their original meaning. As in the following sentences:
Years past and she grew old. He sighed and remained silent. Suddenly she got nervous. The child soon fell asleep in my arms. Having seen me the girl turned pale. The room seemed stuffy. It was mid-spring and the garden looked very beautiful. The eggs went rotten.
Many of these verbs can be used both as notional verbs, i.e. as verbs of complete predication preserving their concrete lexical meaning and as link verbs.
Compare the following:
She was a young and beautiful girl.
Years pass and my mother grows older.
She looks very nice in her new dress.
The man turned pale and said nothing.
All my dreams had come true.
Suddenly his face went tense.
Nobody was at home to meet me.
We grow cotton in our republic.
She always looks at me indignantly.
She crossed the street and turned to the left.
My friend will come to ‘ see me.
I went to the beach yesterday.
According to the meaning link verbs may be divided into Iwo groups
1) link verbs of being or remaining;
2) link verbs of becoming.
The first group comprises such link verbs as
to he, to remain, to keep, to continue, to look, to smell, to stand, to sit, to lie, to shine, to seem, to prove, to taste, to /eel etc
She is ill now. The old woman sighed and remained silent. The lady seems pleased with her life. The old man lies dead already. The dinner tasted flat. The Asian powers stood aloof. He felt exhausted with physical fatigue. The dinner tasted flat. etc.
The second group comprises such link verbs as to become, to get, to grow, to turn, to come, to go, to leave, to run, to make, etc.
The conversation became uninteresting after a short time. Nancy got influenced Dorian Gray grew pale as he watched her. Hallward turned pale.
The significant part of the compound nominal predicate is called predicative.
The Predicative can be expressed:
1) by a noun in the common case, occasionally by (b) a noun in tin genitive case, such as:
- a) He was a well-known painter.
- b) This cap is my mother’s.
2) by an adjective, such as:
The day was beautiful. The child is nice, by different pronouns, such as:
It was she The book is mine You are nobody She was herself again.
It must be carried in mind that the pronoun in the function of a predicative is always in the nominative case, but in contemporary English there is a tendency to use personal pronouns in the objective case, especially it is the case with the personal pronoun I, such as:
-Who is at the door?
It is me.
4) by a numeral (a) cardinal or (b) ordinal, such as:
- a) I am almost eighty.
- b) He was the first to break the dead silence.
(5) by a stative adjective, such as:
I am afraid l can i return on time.
6) by a prepositional phrase, such as:
My TV set was out of order.
7) by (a) an infinitive, (b) infinitive phrase or (c) an infinitive construction, such as:
- a) To see is to believe. To decide is to act.
- b) His first act was to shut the door.
- c) The best thing is for you to move in with me.
8) by (a) a gerund, (b) gerundial phrase or (c) gerundial construction, such as:
- a) My brother’s favourite sport is swimming
- b) The main problem is not having bad manners or good manners, but having the same manner for all souls.
- c) The topic of our discussion was our going on a picnic.
9) by (a) Participle I or (b) Participle II, such as:
- a) The landscape was fascinating that day.
- b) I was surprised at the sound of my own voice,
10) by an adverb, such as:
It was enough to stay at home. It was necessary to help the refugees
2) The Compound Verbal Predicate
The compound verbal predicate can be divided into two types according to the meaning of the finite verb; 1) The compound verbal modal predicate; 2) The compound verbal aspect predicate.
1) The compound verbal modal predicate
A predicate consisting of a modal verb and an infinitive is called the compound verbal modal predicate.
The compound verbal modal predicate shows whether the action expressed by an infinitive is considered as possible, impossible, obligatory, necessary, desirable, etc. These shades of meaning are denoted by the first component of the compound verbal modal predicate.
The compound verbal modal predicate may consist of the follow – mg components.
1) a modal verb and an infinitive, such as:
I can drive a car. This medicine may soothe your cough. He must go to the bank to get some money. Children ought to respect their parents. You needn’t finish that work today. You should go there immediately, etc.
2) modal expressions (a) to be + to infinitive, or (b) to have to infinitive, such as
(a) I was to go to my friend and to see him.
(b) You have to go to the post office to send the letter.
(3) modal expressions and an infinitive. Here belong the expressions: to be able, to be obliged, to be bound, to be anxious, to be capable, and to be going to with an infinitive, such as:
I am able to carry this box.
They were obliged to stop their journey because of the storm.
She is capable to drive a car.
I am going to leave for Ankara.
4) a verb with a modal meaning and an infinitive
Here belong such verbs as to want, to intend, to hope, to wish, to long, to try, to desire, etc. Such as:
I want to go to Istanbul. We intend to finish our work today.
She hopes to get a letter from him. The children are longing to see their father, etc.
2) The compound verbal aspect predicate
Definition: A predicate consisting of a finite verb and an infinitive or a gerund expressing the beginning, repetition, duration or cessation of the action is called the compound verbal aspect predicate.
A compound verbal aspect predicate consists of such verbs as to begin, to start, to continue, to stop, to finish, to cease, to commence, to go on, etc. and the phrase would+infnitive (without to), used+infinitive (with to).
She began/started to learn/learning English in her childhood.
He continued speaking for a long time.
They went on discussing the problem. My bones ceased to ache soon.
She had stopped asking questions.
I often would visit/used to visit my aunt in my childhood.
- Mixed Types of the Predicate
Besides the above mentioned types of the predicate, i.e. the compound nominal predicate, the compound verbal modal, and the compound verbal aspect predicates, there exists a type of predicate in which there are elements of two types of predicates, such as:
- a) The compound modal nominal predicate, (b) The compound aspect nominal predicate, (c) The compound modal aspect predicate.
- a) He was to be the first to come.
- b) I began to feel hungry after a long walk.
- c) I had to begin living by myself.
Agreement of the Predicate with the Subject
In contemporary English, as a rule, the predicate agrees with the subject in person and number (a) singular subject requires a predicate in the singular and (b) a plural subject requires a predicate in the plural.
- a) I was alone at home when she came. She goes to work in the morning. The child needs a good care.
- b) The farmers are in the field now. We have got a telegram today.
The following rules of agreement of the predicate with the subject should be observed:
1) The predicate is used in the plural when there are two or more homogeneous subjects connected by (a) the conjunction and or (b) asyndetically, i.e. without a conjunction.
- My father and mother have left for Istanbul
- The teacher, the principal were present at the meeting.
Note – If two or more homogeneous subjects are expressed by infinitives, the predicate used in the singular, such as:
To work and to rest in time is necessary for everybody alive.
2) when the predicate-verb preceeds a number of subjects, it is often in the singular, especially if the sentence begins with (a) here or (b) there.
- a) Here was experience and culture.
- b) After a heavy ram there was standing water and mud everywhere.
If the subjects are of different number, the predicate agrees with the subject that stands first, such as:
There was a table and six chairs in the room.
There were two men and one woman in the yard.
3). If two homogeneous subjects in the singular are connected by the conjunctions not only but (also), neither nor, either or, or, nor, the predicate is used usually in the singular.
There was not only a boy but also a girl in the car.
Neither the hotel nor the club was comfortable.
Either my father or my brother is coming to help me.
If the subjects are of different person or number, the predicate agrees with the subject next to it.
Neither I nor my brother is guilty.
Neither your brother nor you are guilty.
4) When two subjects in the singular are connected by the conjunction as well as, the predicate is in the singular.
The girl as well as the bay was beautifully dressed.
The mountain as well as the valley was very picturesque.
But if the subjects are of different person or number, the predicate agrees with the subject that stands first, such as:
The teacher as well as the students was present at the meeting, or
The students as well as the teacher were present at the meeting.
5) If the subject is expressed by (a) a defining, (b) an indefinite or (c) a negative pronoun, the predicate is in the singular.
- a) Everybody/Everyone was glad to see her everything was clean.
- b) Sontebody / Sonteone is knocking at the door.
- c) Nobody blames you, love (Brain). No one was kinder to me at that time than Rose Waterford (Maugham)
6) If the subject is expressed by an interrogative (a) who or (b) what, the predicate is usually in the singular.
- a) Who is at the door? Who has said it to you? Who was that man you were talking to?
- b) What is the time by your watch? What does it mean’? What has happened?
But if the question refers to more than one person, the predicate may be used in the plural, such as:
Who are shouting outside? Who were those men in white coats?
7) If the subject is denoted by a relative pronoun, the predicate agrees with the antecedent in the main clause.
The boy who is in the yard is my friend.
The boys who are in the yard are my friends.
The book which I bought yesterday is very interesting.
The books which I bought yesterday are very interesting.
The letter that came this morning was from a friend of mine.
The watch that you gave keeps perfect time.
8) If the subject is expressed by a noun in the plural denoting time, measure, or distance, the predicate is in the singular when the noun represents the amount or mass as a whole.
Two hundred miles is a huge distance. Thousand dollars is
the sum I need at present. Thirty five years is a long time, I think.
9) If the subject is expressed by a collective noun denoting a group or collection of similar individuals taken as a whole, such as, mankind, humanity, etc., the predicate is m the singular.
Mankind is all of the people in the world.
Humanity is better than you think of it.
10) If the subject is expressed by a norm of multitude, the predicate is, as a rule, used in the plural.
The weather was warm, and the people were sitting at their doors. (Dickens).
The police are all over the same.
The cattle were grazing in the fields.
As I know, clergy do not marry.
11) If the subject is expressed by one of the collective nouns, such as, family, crew, army, team, company, hand, etc., the predicate can be used either in the singular or in the plural, depending upon the sense they denote; (a) if the collective denoted by the noun is taken as a whole, the predicate is in the singular, but if the persons who form the collective are considered separately, the predicate is in the plural.
- a) My family is large. The crew consists of five men. Our team is in good form now. The jazz hand was playing a piece of light music when I entered the restaurant, etc.
- b) My family are early risers. The crew were sitting at the table having dinner. The team were on their way to the stadium. The band were tuning their instruments before starting to play, etc.
12) İf the subject is expressed by a word-group consisting of two norms linked by the prepositions with or together with, the predicate- verb is in the singular.
An old woman with a child was sitting beside me The teacher with his pupils was standing in the corridor The dot tor together with the patient was alone in the room.
13) If the subject is expressed by a word-group many a. the predicate-verb is in the singular.
There is many a slip between the cup and the lip (Proverb). _ Many a young person has experimented with drugsş
14) If the subject is expressed by a group of words denoting arithmetic calculations – (a) addition, (b) subtraction, (c) division , the predicate-verb is usually singular.
- a) Five and five is ten.
- b) Ten minus five is five.
- c) Fifteen divided by three is five.
Multiplication presents an exception; here the predicate-verb may be in the singular or in the plural, such as:
Thrice two is/are six.