The subject is expressed by a group of nouns, which form a single idea, unit
Where is my hat and gloves?
Considering the subject – predicate agreement there is a strong tendency to agree the verb predicate with the communicative center:
Fools are my theme! (Byron)
But sometimes there may be hesitations: stars was / were our only guide.
The form of the predicate depends on the syntactical construction in which the noun is used: in this case there is no general rule:
the teacher as well as the students was...;
either... or - the form of the predicate is defined by the second noun;
both... and... - the predicate is in plural;
It’s I who am to blame.
It is dictionaries that are needed.
The category of tense
The category of tense is considered to be an immanent grammatical category which means that the finite verb form always expresses time distinctions. The category of tense finds different interpretations with different scholars.
According to one view, there are only two tenses in English: past and present. Most British scholars do not recognize the existence of future. It is considered to be a combination of the modal verb and an infinitive used to refer to future actions. However, there are some examples in which we have to recognize the existence of pure futurity in English.
eg. He will die in a week.
I shall be twenty next Friday.
In traditional linguistics grammatical time is often represented as a three-form category consisting of the “linear” past, present and future forms. The meaning of the category of tense is the relation of the action expressed by a finite verb to the moment of speaking. Present denotes coincidence, past denotes a prior action, future denotes a posterior action which follows the moment of speaking.
According to the concept worked out by Prof. Blokh, there exist two tense categories:
1. The category of primary time provides for the absolute expression of the time of the process denoted by the verb. The formal sign of the opposition is with regular verbs, suffix -ed and with irregular verbs, phonemic change. The suffix marks the verbal form of the past time leaving the opposite form unmarked. An additional reason for identifying the verbal past - present time system as a separate grammatical category is provided by the fact that this system is specifically marked by the ‘do’ forms of the indefinite aspect.
The specific feature of the category of primary time is that it divides all the tense forms of the English verb into two temporal planes: the plane of the presentandthe plane of the past, which affects also the future forms.
2. The category of prospective time.
The contrast which underlines this category is between an after-action and non-after-action. Future is the marked member of this opposition. The category of prospect is different in principal from the category of primary time while the primary time is present-oriented, the prospective time is purely relative. The future form of the verb shows that the denoted process is prospected as an after-action relative to some of the action or state or event, the timing of which marks the zero level for it.
A certain modal colouring of the English Future can' t be denied, especially in the verbal form of the first person. The future of the English word is highly specific as its auxiliary are verbs of obligation and volition. In some modal uses of the verb “shall and will”, the idea of the future is not expressed at all. Within the system of the English future tense peculiar minor category is expressed which effects only the forms of the 1st person. It is constituted by the oppositions of the forms will, shall + inf. expressing voluntary or non-voluntary future. And it may be called the category of futurity option. The view that shall and will retain their modal meanings in all their uses was defended by such a recognised authority on English grammar as Otto Jespersen.
When speaking of the expression of time by the verb, it is necessary to strictly distinguish between the general notion of time and the lexical denotation of time.
Time denotations can be absolutive and non-absolutive:
The absolutive time denotation distributes the intellective perception of time among three spheres: the sphere of the present, with the present moment included within its framework; the sphere of the past, which precedes the sphere of the present by way of retrospect; the sphere of the future, which follows the sphere of the present by way of prospect.
Examples of absolutive names of time: now, last week, in our century, in the past, in the years to come. These expressions give a temporal characteristic of an event in reference to the present.
The non-absolutive time denotation does not characterise an event in terms of orientation towards the present. This kind of denotation may be either "relative" or "factual".
The relative expression of time correlates two or more events showing some of them either as preceding the others, or following the others, or happening at one and the same time with them. Here belong such words and phrases as after that, before that, at one and the same time with, some time later, etc.
The factualexpression of time either directly states the astronomical time of an event, or else conveys this meaning in terms of historical landmarks. Under this heading should be listed such words and phrases as in the year 1066, during the time of the First World War, at the epoch of Napoleon, at the early period of civilisation, etc.
1. What does aspective verbal semantics express?
2. What does the category of aspect as a grammatical category show?
3. On what the category of aspect is based in English?
4. In Slavonic languages the category of aspect is lexical – grammatical. Why?
5. Why is the category of person and number closely connected with each other?
6. In the present tense the expression of the category of person is divided into three peculiar subsystems. Name them.
7. Which factors should we consider in the category of number in English?
8. Which two categories do exist according to the concept worked out by Prof. Blokh?
9. There can be two time denotations. Name them.
10. What kinds of non-absolutive time denotations are there? Give examples.
1. Match the sentences with the meaning of the verb in the present tense:
2. What verbs do not generally have a continuous form? run, look, hate, write, believe, hear, play, listen to, climb, be, understand, know.
3. Explain the number of the verbs:
1. The family is determined to press its claim.
2. Five hundred thousand pounds was donated to build a new hospital wing.
3. The jury are all staying at the Park Hotel.
4. The jury is ready to give the verdict.
5. Physics is a very difficult subject.
6. Its I who am guilty.
7. Both Ann and Tom were late.
8. Neither Jim nor Carol has got a car.
1. Головачева А. Н., Concise Theoretical Grammar (краткий курс лекций и практических заданий по теоретической грамматике английского языка), Сочи, 2006
2. Blokh M.Y., A Course in English Theoretical Grammar, 2008
3. Н.А.Кобрина, Е.А.Корнеева, М.И.Оссовская, К.А.Гузеева, Грамматика английского языка. Морфология. Синтаксис, 1999
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