Non finite form of the verb




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OUTLINE
INTRODUCTION

PART 1. FORMS OF VERBS

    1. Finite form of the verb

    2. Non – finite form of the verb


PART 2.

2.1 Infinitive

2.2 Participle

2.3 Gerund
PART 3. CONSTRUCTIONS

3.1 Infinitive constructions

a) Subjective construction

b) Objective construction

c) Non – finite construction

3.2 Participial constructions

a) Absolute construction

b) Objective construction

c) Subjective construction

3.3 Gerundial construction

1.1 The verb is a part of speech, which denotes a process or state. All verbs have

two forms: Finite Forms and Non-Finite Forms (also called Verbals or Verbids).[. Навчальний посібник з граматики для студентів 3 курсу факультету іноземних мов: Меркулова Т.К., Кузьміна В.С., Набокова І.Ю., Липецька 2010.]

A finite verb is a form of a verb that has a subject (expressed or implied) and can function as the root of an independent clause.[ Greenbaum, S. and R. Quirk. 1990. A student's grammar of the English language. Harlow, Essex, England: Longman.] An independent clause can, in turn, stand alone as a complete sentence. In many languages, finite verbs are the locus of grammatical information of gender, person, number, tense, aspect, mood, and/or voice.[ Cowper, E. 1992. A concise introduction to syntactic theory: The government-binding approach. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.] Finite verbs are distinguished from non-finite verbs, such as infinitives, participles, etc., which generally mark these grammatical categories to a lesser degree or not at all, and which appear below the finite verb in the hierarchy of syntactic structure.

The finite verbs are in bold in the following sentences, and the non-finite verbs are underlined:

^ Verbs appear in almost all sentences.

This sentence is illustrating finite and non-finite verbs.

The dog will have been trained well.

Tom promises to try to do the work.

In many languages (including English), there can be just one finite verb at the root of each clause (unless the finite verbs are coordinated), whereas the number of non-finite verbs can reach up to five or six, or even more, e.g.

^ He was believed to have been told to have himself examined.

Finite verbs can appear in dependent clauses as well as independent ones:

John said that he enjoyed reading.

Something you make yourself seems better than something you buy.

Most types of verbs can appear in finite or non-finite form (and sometimes these forms may be identical): for example, the English verb go has the finite forms go, goes, and went, and the non-finite forms go, going and gone. The English modal verbs (can, could, will, etc.) are defective and lack non-finite forms.

It might seem that every grammatically complete sentence or clause must contain a finite verb. However, sentences lacking a finite verb were quite common in the old Indo-European languages, and still occur in many present-day languages. The most important type of these are nominal sentences. [Downing, A. and P. Locke. 1992. English grammar: A university course, second edition. London: Routledge] Another type are sentence fragments described as phrases or minor sentences.

A finite verb is generally expected to have a subject, as it does in all the examples above, although null-subject languages allow the subject to be omitted. For example, in the Latin sentence cogito ergo sum ("^ I think therefore I am") the finite verbs cogito and sum appear without an explicit subject – the subject is understood to be the first-person personal pronoun, and this information is marked by the way the verbs are inflected. In English, finite verbs lacking subjects are normal in imperative sentences, and also occur in some fragmentary utterances.

Come over here!

Don't look at him!

^ Doesn't matter.

Due to the relatively poor system of inflectional morphology in English, the central role that finite verbs play is often not so evident. In other languages however, finite verbs are the locus of much grammatical information. Depending on the language, finite verbs can inflect for the following grammatical categories:

No

Categories

Forms and examples

1

Person




  • The first, e.g. I’ll bring a cake and we’ll have tea together.

  • The second, e.g. Do you take sugar in your tea?

  • The third, e.g. She doesn’t enjoy yachting.




2

Number




  • Singular, e.g. Ted sings pretty well.

  • Plural, e.g. His parents sing well, too.




3

Tense




  • Present, e.g. Dinosaurs don’t exist now.

  • Past, e.g. They lived millions years ago.

  • Future, e.g. I doubt if they will exist in future.




4

Aspect




  • Indefinite (Common / Simple), e.g. Helen does a lot of work at the weekend.

  • Continuous, e.g. Peter is doing his yoga exercises at the moment.




5

Correlation




  • Perfect, e.g. Have you seen “Gone with the Wind”?

  • Non-Perfect, e.g. I saw it last year.




6

Mood




  • Indicative, e.g. Joan has been learning Spanish for three years.

  • Imperative, e.g. Let’s do this work together, shall we?

  • Subjunctive, e.g. If you had




7

Voice




  • Active, e.g. Marge cooks all the meals herself.

  • Passive, e.g. All the meals in the family are cooked by their mother





Finite verbs play a particularly important role in syntactic analyses of sentence structure. In many phrase structure grammars – for instance those that build on the X-bar schema – the finite verb is the head of the finite verb phrase, and as such it is the head of the entire sentence. Similarly, in dependency grammars, the finite verb is the root of the entire clause and is thus the most prominent structural unit in the clause. This is illustrated by the following trees:



The phrase structure grammar trees are the a-trees on the left; they are similar to the trees produced in the Government and Binding framework. [Eroms, H.-W. 2000. Syntax der deutschen Sprache. Berlin: de Gruyter.] The b-trees on the right are the dependency grammar trees.[ Finch, G. 2000. Linguistic terms and concepts. New York: St. Martin's Press.] Many of the details of these trees are not important for the point at hand, but they show clearly that the finite verb (in bold each time) is the structural center of the clause. In the phrase structure trees, the highest projection of the finite verb – IP (inflection phrase) or CP (complementizer phrase) – is the root of the entire tree. And in the dependency trees, the projection of the finite verb (V) is the root of the entire structure.

1.2 A non-finite verb (sometimes called a verbal) is any of several verb forms that are not finite verbs; that is, they cannot serve as the root of an independent clause. The non-finite verb forms found in English are infinitives, participles and gerunds; additional such forms found in some other languages include converbs, gerundives and supines. Non-finite verbs are typically not inflected for tense, and compared with finite verbs usually display less inflection for other grammatical categories as well.[1] They also typically lack a subject dependent. A typical finite clause is based on a single finite verb, but it may in addition contain one or more non-finite verbs, building a verb catena with the finite verb.

Since English lacks inflectional morphology to a large extent, the finite and non-finite forms of a given verb are often identical. In such cases, one has to examine the environment in which the verb appears to know whether it is finite or non-finite.

The following sentences each contain one finite verb (underlined) and multiple non-finite verbs (bolded):

^ The proposal has been intensively examined today.

What did they want to have done about that?

Someone tried to refuse to accept the offer.

Coming downstairs, she saw the man running away.

In languages like English that have little inflectional morphology, certain finite and non-finite forms of a given verb are often identical, e.g.

^ They laugh a lot. - Finite verb (present tense) in bold

They will laugh a lot. - Non-finite infinitive in bold

Tom tried to help. - Finite verb (past tense) in bold

Tom has tried to help. - Non-finite participle in bold

Despite the fact that the verbs in bold have the same outward appearance, the first in each pair is finite and the second is non-finite. To distinguish the finite and non-finite uses, one has to consider the environments in which they appear. Finite verbs in English usually appear as the leftmost verb in a verb catena. For details of verb inflection in English, see English verbs.

Present Participle / Participle I

Past Participle / Participle II

Infinitive

Gerund

Participle

VERBALS
^ CLASSIFICATION OF NON-FINITE FORMS OF THE VERB (VERBALS)

My friend doesn’t like either borrowing or lending money. (gerund)

It wasn’t wise of Martha to agree to that job. (infinitive)

Nobody saw the boy leaving the house. (participle I)

Things seen are mightier than things heard. (participle II) [. Навчальний посібник з граматики для студентів 3 курсу факультету іноземних мов: Меркулова Т.К., Кузьміна В.С., Набокова І.Ю., Липецька 2010.]

PART 2

2.1 ^ GENERAL CHARACTERISTIC OF THE INFINITIVE

double nature = verb features + noun features
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