The sequence of tenses
§ 60.The rules of the sequence of tenses are one of the peculiarities of English. The sequence of tenses is a dependence of the tense form of the predicate in a subordinate clause on the tense form of the predicate in its principal clause. The rules mainly concern object clauses depending on principal clauses with the predicate verb in one of the past tenses, though it holds true also for some other subordinate clauses (such as subject, predicative and appositive ones).
The rules are as follows:
1) a present (or future) tense in the principal clause may be followed by any tense in the subordinate object clause:
2) a past tense in the principal clause is followed by a past tense in the subordinate object clause.
Thus the past indefinite or the past continuous tense in the subordinate clause denotes an action, simultaneous with that of the pripcipal clause. They are translated into Russian by the present tense.
For a moment she did not know where she was.
Joanna noticed suddenly that I was not listening.
Had she not hinted what was troubling her?
He had thought it was his own son.
People had been saying he was a madman.
My first thought was where they were now.
The past perfect or the past perfect continuous in the subordinate clause denotes an action prior to that of the principal clause. Both of these forms are translated into Russian by the past tense.
I perceived that something had happened.
I wasn’t going to tell her that Megan had rung me up.
I knew well enough what she had been doing.
Up to that moment I had not realized what they had been trying to prove.
The fact was that his sister Rose had married beneath her.
She had a feeling that she had been deceived.
The future in the past tenses in the subordinate clause denote an action following that of the principal clause.
I hoped she would soon be better.
I told Caroline that I should be dining at Fernley.
What she would say or do did not bother him.
The fact remained that none of us would see them till late at night.
The sudden thought that Nell would not come at all flashed through his head.
The fact that the action of the subordinate clause follows that of the action in the principal clause may be also indicated by other means.
She said she was going to see him the same night.
§ 61. The rules of the sequence of tenses concern subordinate clauses dependent not only on the predicate of the principal clause but also on any part expressed by a verb or verbal:
I received from her a letter saying that she was passing through Paris and would like to have a chat with
She smiled again, sure that I should come up.
She turned her head slightly, well aware that he was watching her.
In complex sentences containing more than two subordinate clauses the choice of the tense form for each of them depends on the tense form of the clause to which it is subordinated:
I guess you told him where they had come from and why they were hiding.
As far as I can see he did not realize that very soon all would be over.
Besides the complex sentences described above the rules of the sequence of tenses are also found in all types of clauses and simple sentences reproducing inner speech (conventional direct speech).
§ 62. As already stated the rules of the sequence of tenses concern object, subject and predicative clauses. In all the other clauses (attributive and adverbial ones) the use of tenses depends wholly on the sense to be conveyed:
Clyde thought of all the young and thoughtless company of which he had been a part.
He lifted the heavy latch which held the large iron gate in place.
She only liked men who are good-looking.
I was thinking of the day which will come only too soon.
He was standing where the creek turns sharply to the east.
At the moment he was standing where he always had stood, on the rug before the living-room fire.
She felt gay as he had promised to take her to the pictures.
You see, I could not follow them as I’m rather shy.
Mr. Direck’s broken wrist healed sooner than he desired.
He knew the job better than I do.
She had been a wife for even less time than you have.
In my youth life was not the same as it is now.
§ 63. The rules of the sequence of tenses are not observed in the following cases:
1) when the subordinate clause describes the so-called general truth, or something which the speaker thinks to be one.
Up to then Roy never realized that our Solar system is but a tiny speck in the infinite Universe.
The other day I read in a book that everything alive consists mostly of water.
She was very young and - and ignorant of what life really is.
2) when the subordinate clause describes actions referring to the actual present, future, or past time, which usually occurs in dialogues or in newspaper, radio, or TV reports.
Margaret, I was saying to you - and I beg you to listen to me – that as far as I have known Mrs. Erlynne,
she has conducted herself well.
“Before the flier crashed,” the operator said ten minutes later, “he gave me information. He told me there
are still a few men alive in these mountains.”
I did not know he will be here tomorrow.
3) when the predicate verb of the subordinate clause is one of the modal verbs having no past tense forms.
She said I must come at once.
I thought you should come too.
The category of voice
§ 64. Voice is the grammatical category of the verb denoting the relationship between the action expressed by the verb and the person or non-person denoted by the subject of the sentence. There are two main voices in English: the active voice and the passive voice. There are also other voices which embrace a very limited number of verbs: reflexive (wash oneself), reciprocal (embrace one another), medial (the book reads well).
The active voice indicates that the action is directed from the subject or issues from the subject, thus the subject denotes the doer (agent) of the action:
We help our friends. - Мы помогаем нашим друзьям.
The passive voice indicates that the action is directed towards the subject. Here the subject expresses a person or non-person who or which is the receiver of the action. It does not act, but is acted upon and therefore affected by the action of the verb.
The contrast between the two voices can be seen from the following examples:
The difference in the meaning of the forms helped - were helped, had asked - had been asked, saw - was seen illustrates the morphological contrast between the active and the passive voice.
Of all the verb categories voice is most closely related to the syntax of the sentence. The interrelation of the active and the passive voice on the syntactical level can be presented in the following way:
A sentence containing a verb in the passive voice is called a passive construction, and a sentence containing a verb in the active voice is called an active construction, especially when opposed to the passive construction.
The subject of an active construction denotes the agent (doer) of the action, which may be a living being, or any source of the action (a thing, a natural phenomenon, an abstract notion).
The subject of a passive construction has the meaning of the receiver of the action, that is a person or non-person affected by the action.
The object of an active construction denotes the receiver of the action, whereas the object of the passive construction is the agent of the action. The latter is introduced by the preposition by. If it is not the agent but the instrument, it is introduced by the preposition with.
The cup was broken by Jim.
It was broken with a hammer.
Formation and the system of forms in the passive voice
§ 65. The active voice has no special means of formation. It is recognized by contrast with the passive voice, which is composed of the auxiliary verb to be and participle II. Thus the passive verb forms are analytical, the tense of the auxiliary verb to be varies according to the sense. The notional verb (participle II) remains unchanged and provides the whole analytical form with its passive meaning.
The category of voice applies to the whole system of English verb forms, both finite and non-finite.
The voice forms of the verb
The verb to get occurs as a passive voice auxiliary, emphasizing the result of the action denoted by participle II.
They got married last year.
I got hurt in an accident.
The active voice
§ 66. The active voice is widely used with all kinds of verbs, both transitive and intransitive. The meaning of the active voice depends on the type of verb and the syntactical pattern of the sentence.
1. The active voice of transitive verbs presents an action as directed from the subject and passing over to the object, that is from the doer (agent) of the action to its receiver.
John made a boat for his brother.
They are building a new railway.
We are talking about the new film.
One of the characteristic features of English is that verbs which were originally intransitive may function as transitive verbs without changing their morphological structure, with or without changing their lexical meaning.
They ran the distance in five minutes.
Frank will run your house.
James stood the lamp on the table.
2. The active voice of intransitive verbs shows that the action, directed from the subject, does not pass over to any object, and thus the verb only characterizes the subject as the doer of the action.
He came here yesterday.
The boy can run very fast.
You acted wisely.
He slept eight hours.
3. The form of the active voice of some transitive verbs, often accompanied by an adverbial modifier, does not indicate that the subject denotes the doer of the action. This specific use of the transitive verb is easily recognized from the meaning of the subject, which is a noun denoting a non-person, and by the absence of a direct object after a monotransitive, non-prepositional verb. In such cases the verb is used in the medial voice.
The bell rang.
The door opened.
The newspaper sells well.
The novel reads easily.
Glass breaks easily.
The place was filling up.
It said on the radio (in the article) that the weather forecast is favourable.
The passive voice
The use of tense, aspect and perfect forms in the passive voice
§ 67. As seen from table II, verbs in the passive voice may acquire almost all the aspect, tense and perfect forms that occur in the active voice, except for the future continuous and perfect continuous forms.
The examples below illustrate the use of the passive voice in different aspect, tense and perfect forms.
Common aspect, non-perfect
Students are examined twice a year.
They were examined in June.
They will be examined next Friday.
Continuous aspect, non-perfect
Don’t be noisy! Students are being examined.
The students were being examined when the Professor came.
Common aspect, perfect
Our students have already been examined.
They had been examined by 2 o’clock.
Everybody will have been examined by 3 o’clock.
The passive voice of different verbs
§ 68. The passive voice in English may be found with different types of verbs (mostly transitive) in various verb phrases; monotransitive (non-prepositional and prepositional) and ditransitive. The subject of the passive construction may correspond to a direct, an indirect object, or to a prepositional object in the active construction. Accordingly we discriminate a direct passive construction, an indirect passive construction, and a prepositional passive construction.
Monotransitive verbs are numerous and almost all of them can form a direct passive construction. These are the verbs: to take, to do, to make, to build, to discuss, to translate, to hate, to love, to meet and a lot of others.
A new railway is being built near our town.
“A Farewell to Arms” was published in 1929.
You will be met at the station.
Phrasal transitive verbs, that is, such verbs as to blow up, to bring in, to bring up, to carry out, to put on, to see off, to turn down, etc. are also often used in the passive voice.
The plan was successfully carried out.
The boats are being brought in.
Originally intransitive verbs may form a direct passive construction, as in these examples:
This distance has never been run in five minutes before.
He thought of the lives, that had been lived here for nearly two centuries.
In the vast majority of cases, English transitive verb + object corresponds to the same type in Russian. There are a number of transitive verbs in English, however, which correspond to Russian verbs followed by an indirect or a prepositional object, or sometimes an adverbial modifier. These verbs are:
Sentences with these verbs are rendered in Russian by means of the indefinite personal constructions with the verb in the active voice, or if the doer of the action is mentioned of a personal construction with the verb in the active voice.
A direct passive construction is used in the sentences of the type:
1. J. F. Kennedy was elected president in 1960.
The woman was called Brome.
We were kept busy most of the time.
The walls were painted blue.*
* For details see in Syntax, § 55.
2. He is said (believed, known, reported) to be in town.
He was seen to enter the museum.
He was seen leaving the museum.*
* For details see in Syntax, § 53.
3. The direct passive of verbs of speech, mental activity, and perception is used in complex sentences with the formal subject it.
Restrictions to the use of the passive voice
1. Though in many cases there is an evident correspondence of the active and the passive voice construction it is by no means a one-to-one correspondence. There is a certain group of monotransitive verbs which are never used in the passive voice at all, or in some of their meanings; they are: to have, to lack, to become, to fit, to suit, to resemble.
There are semantic reasons for this constraint, as these verbs denote not an action or process, but a state or relation.
John resembles his father. (John looks like his father.)
He lacks confidence. (There is no confidence in him.)
Will this suit you? (Will it be suitable for you?)
The verb to hold can be used in the passive voice only with reference to human activity; for example: The conference was held in April. However, in a sentence like The auditorium holds 5000 people the verb does not denote human activity. The sentence means There can be 5000 people in this auditorium.
2. No passive construction is possible, if the object is a that-clause, an infinitive or a gerund.
John said that everything was all right.
John enjoyed seeing his native town.
Passive constructions with ditransitive verbs
§ 69. Ditransitive verbs take two objects, usually one indirect and one direct. Accordingly they admit of two passive constructions.
The referee gave Mary the first prize .
Mary was given the first prize by the referee.
The first prize was given to Mary by the referee.
The subject of the first passive construction (Mary) corresponds to the indirect object of the active construction, and the construction is therefore called the indirect passive construction. The direct object (the first prize) is retained unchanged after the passive verb and therefore, is called the retained object.
The subject of the second passive construction corresponds to the direct object of the active construction. In this case the indirect object becomes a prepositional one. The preposition to may be omitted.
The agentive by-object corresponding to the subject of the active construction is very rarely used in either type of construction. Of the two passive constructions the indirect passive is by far the most common. As there is no indirect passive construction in Russian, sentences with this construction are translated into Russian by means of the indefinite personal construction with the indirect object in the front position.
The indirect passive construction gives greater prominence to the direct object, whereas the direct passive construction emphasizes the indirect object: The first prize was given to Mary implies that it was not given to anybody else. The construction may be translated in two ways, by an indefinite personal active construction or by a passive construction: Первую премию дали Мэри or Первая премия была дана (присуждена) Мэри.
The presence of the by-object makes it of great communicative value.
©2015-2020 megaobuchalka.ru Все материалы представленные на сайте исключительно с целью ознакомления читателями и не преследуют коммерческих целей или нарушение авторских прав. (1335)
Почему 1285321 студент выбрали МегаОбучалку...
Система поиска информации
Мобильная версия сайта
Нет шокирующей рекламы