Independent elements of the sentence
§ 113. Independent elements of the sentence, as the term implies, generally are not grammatically dependent on any particular part of the sentence, but as a rule refer to the sentence as a whole. Only occasionally they may refer to a separate part of the sentence. The independent element may consist of a word or a phrase. Its position is more free than that of any other parts of the sentence and accordingly it may occur in different positions in the sentence.
There are two groups of independent elements:
I. Direct address. A direct address is the name of a person (or occasionally a non-person) to whom the rest of the sentence is addressed. It may be emotionally charged or neutral, but semantically it does not influence the sentence.
I’m sorry, Major, we had an arrangement.
Jenny, darling, don’t say such things.
How’s the world, good friend?
II. Parenthesis. As to its meaning the parenthesis may beofseveral types:
a) It may express the speaker’s attitude to the relation between what is expressed in the sentence and reality (perhaps, maybe, certainly, of course, evidently, oh, Goodness Gracious, etc.).
Undoubtedly you are both excellent engineers.
Surely he had too wide a mouth.
The cottages were, in fact, boxlike and rather towny.
Oh, we can’t go.
b) It may connect the sentence it belongs to with the preceding or the following one expressing different relations (first, firstly, secondly, finally, after all, moreover, besides, by the way, on the contrary, that is (i.e.), for example (eg), etc.).
I was listening and thinking. Besides, I wantedto tell you something.
After all, he'd only been doing his duty.
Finally the whole party started walking.
c) It may specify that which is said in the sentence or express a comment (according to my taste, in my opinion, to tell the truth, in other words, as is known, by the way, etc.).
According to your theory, we’re in a mighty soulful era.
To tell you the truth, the total was more than a thousand francs.
As a rule a parenthesis refers to the sentence (or clause) as a whole.
Frankly speaking, he had been amazed at his failure.
This streak of light was, in all likelihood, a gleam from a lantern.
Sometimes, however, a parenthesis refers only to, a secondary part of the sentence.
Miss Barlett might reveal unknown depths of strangeness, though not, perhaps, of meaning.
As to its morphological nature, a parenthesis can be expressed by:
1. A modal word:
perhaps, no doubt, indeed, certainty, in fact, evidently, maybe, etc.
Perhaps they would go soon.
2. An interjection:
oh, ah, eh, dear me, by God, Good heavens, etc.
You like the outfit, eh?
Dear me, I had no idea you were such a determined character.
3. A conjunct (that is, an adverb combining the function of a parenthesis with that of a connector):
finally, anyway, consequently, besides, moreover, otherwise, etc.
But there’s no chance here. Besides, he couldn’t make two ends meet on the job.
4. A prepositional phrase:
in my opinion, in short, by the way, onthe other hand, on thecontrary, at least, to one's surprise, etc.
In my opinion you are wrong.
You can’t make me! In short, I won’t do it.
5. An infinitive phrase:
to tell the truth, to be sure, to begin with, to do smb justice, etc.
That was, so to speak, another gift for you.
To do that lady justice, Miss Spencer bore the ordeal very well.
6. A participial phrase:
frankly speaking, strictly speaking, generally speaking,etc.
Generally speaking I think you’re right.
7. A clause (see the item on parenthetical clauses).
As it was, Nell departed with surprising docility.
§ 114. The words in an English sentence are arranged in a certain order, which is fixed for every type of the sentence, and is therefore meaningful. We find several principles determining word order in a sentence, so that word order fulfils several functions -grammatical, emphatic, orcommunicative, andlinking. These functions are manifested in different arrangements of the parts of the sentence.
The grammatical function of word order
§ 115. The main function of word order is to express grammatical relations and determine the grammatical status of a word by fixing its position in the sentence. There exist two ways of arranging words - direct word order and inverted word order.
Direct word order
§ 116. The most common pattern for the arrangement of the main parts in a declarative sentence isSubject - Predicate - (Object), which is called direct word order. Direct word order is also employed in pronominal questions to the subject or to its attribute.
Direct word orderallows of only few variations in the fixed pattern, and then only for the secondary parts. Thus if there are two objects, the indirect one precedes the direct one, or the prepositional follows the direct one. Thus the pattern has the following form:
The birds have come.
Ann has seen this film.
The boy gave me no answer.
The boy gave no answer to me.
As to other secondary parts of the sentence, such as attributes and adverbial modifiers, their position is less fixed. Usually those words that are closely connected tend to be placed together. Accordingly secondary parts referring to their headwords are placed close to them, or are incorporated into, or else frame them up. Thus attributes either premodify or postmodify or frame up their headwords: a bright morning, the problems involved, the scene familiar to us, the happiest man alive, the best skier in the world.
Adverbials and different form words seem to be the most movable parts in the sentence. Their mobility is partly accounted for by their varied reference to different parts of the sentence.
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