NON-FINITE VERBS (VERBIDS)

§ 1. Verbids are the forms of the verb intermediary in many of their lexico-grammatical features between the verb and the non-processual parts of speech. The mixed features of these forms are revealed in the principal spheres of the part-of-speech characterisation, i.e. in their meaning, structural marking, combinability, and syntactic functions. The processual meaning is exposed by


them in a substantive or adjectival-adverbial interpretation: they render processes as peculiar kinds of substances and properties. They are formed by special morphemic elements which do not express either grammatical time or mood (the most specific finite verb categories). They can be combined with verbs like non-processual lexemes (performing non-verbal functions in the sentence), and they can be combined with non-processual lexemes like verbs (performing verbal functions in the sentence) .

From these characteristics, one might call in question the very justification of including the verbids in the system of the verb. As a matter of fact, one can ask oneself whether it wouldn't stand to reason to consider the verbids as a special lexemic class, a separate part of speech, rather than an inherent component of the class of verbs.

On closer consideration, however, we can't but see that such an approach would be utterly ungrounded. The verbids do betray intermediary features. Still, their fundamental grammatical meaning is processual (though modified in accord with the nature of the inter-class reference of each verbid). Their essential syntactic functions, directed by this relational semantics, unquestionably reveal the property which may be called, in a manner of explanation, "verbality", and the statement of which is corroborated by the peculiar combinability character of verbid collocations, namely, by the ability of verbids to take adjuncts expressing the immediate recipients, attendants, and addressees of the process inherently conveyed by each verbid denotation.

One might likewise ask oneself, granted the verbids are part of the system of the verb, whether they do not constitute within this system a special subsystem of purely lexemic nature, i.e. form some sort of a specific verbal subclass. This counter-approach, though, would evidently be devoid of any substantiality, since a subclass of a lexemic class, by definition, should share the essential categorial structure, as well as primary syntactic functions with other subclasses, and in case of verbids the situation is altogether different. In fact, it is every verb stem (except a few defective verbs) that by means of morphemic change takes both finite and non-finite forms, the functions of the two sets being strictly differentiated: while the finite forms serve in the sentence only one syntactic function, namely, that of the finite predicate, the non-finite forms serve various syntactic functions other than that of the finite predicate.


The strict, unintersecting division of functions (the functions themselves being of a fundamental nature in terms of the grammatical structure of language as a whole) clearly shows that the opposition between the finite and non-finite forms of the verb creates a special grammatical category. The differential feature of the opposition is constituted by the expression of verbal time and mood: while the time-mood grammatical signification characterises the finite verb in a way that it underlies its finite predicative function, the verbid has no immediate means of expressing time-mood categorial semantics and therefore presents the weak member of the opposition. The category expressed by this opposition can be called the category of "finitude" [Strang, 143; Бархударов, (2), 106]. The syntactic content of the category of finitude is the expression of predication (more precisely, the expression' of verbal predication).

As is known, the verbids, unable to express the predicative meanings of time and mood, still do express the so-called "secondary" or "potential" predication, forming syntactic complexes directly related to certain types of subordinate clauses. Cf.:

Have you ever had anything caught in your head? Have you ever had anything that was caught in your head? — He said it half under his breath for the others not to hear it. — He said it half under his breath, so that the others couldn't hear it.

The verbid complexes anything caught in your head, or for the others not to hear it, or the like, while expressing secondary predication, are not self-dependent in a predicative sense. They normally exist only as part of sentences built up by genuine, primary predicative constructions that have a finite verb as their core. And it is through the reference to the finite verb-predicate that these complexes set up the situations denoted by them in the corresponding time and mood perspective.

In other words, we may say that the opposition of the finite verbs and the verbids is based on the expression of the functions of full predication and semi-predication. While the finite verbs express predication in its genuine and complete form, the function of the verbids is to express semi-predication, building up semi-predicative complexes within different sentence constructions,

The English verbids include four forms distinctly differing


from one another within the general verbid system: the infinitive, the gerund, the present participle, and the past participle. In compliance with this difference, the verbid semi-predicative complexes are distinguished by the corresponding differential properties both in form and in syntactic-contextual function.

§ 2. The infinitive is the non-finite form of the verb which combines the properties of the verb with those of the noun, serving as the verbal name of a process. By virtue of its general process-naming function, the infinitive should be considered as the head-form of the whole paradigm of the verb. In this quality it can be likened to the nominative case of the noun in languages having a normally developed noun declension, as, for instance, Russian. It is not by chance that A. A. Shakhmatov called the infinitive the "verbal nominative". With the English infinitive, its role of the verbal paradigmatic head-form is supported by the fact that, as has been stated before, it represents the actual derivation base for all the forms of regular verbs.

The infinitive is used in three fundamentally different types of functions: first, as a notional, self-positional syntactic part of the sentence; second, as the notional constituent of a complex verbal predicate built up around a predicator verb; third, as the notional constituent of a finite conjugation form of the verb. The first use is grammatically "free", the second is grammatically "half-free", the third is grammatically "bound".

The dual verbal-nominal meaning of the infinitive is expressed in full measure in its free, independent use. It is in this use that the infinitive denotes the corresponding process in an abstract, substance-like presentation. This can easily be tested by question-transformations. Cf.:

Do you really mean to go away and leave me here alone? → What do you really mean? It made her proud sometimes to toy with the idea. → What made her proud sometimes?

The combinability of the infinitive also reflects its dual semantic nature, in accord with which we distinguish between its verb-type and noun-type connections. The verb-type combinability of the infinitive is displayed in its combining, first, with nouns expressing the object of the action; second, with nouns expressing the subject of the action; third, with modifying adverbs; fourth, with predicator verbs of


semi-functional nature forming a verbal predicate; fifth, with auxiliary finite verbs (word-morphemes) in the analytical forms of the verb. The noun-type combinability of the infinitive is displayed in its combining, first, with finite notional verbs as the object of the action; second, with finite notional verbs as the subject of the action.

The self-positional infinitive, in due syntactic arrangements, performs the functions of all types of notional sentence-parts, i. e. the subject, the object, the predicative, the attribute, the adverbial modifier. Cf.:

To meet the head of the administration and not to speak to him about your predicament was unwise, to say the least of it. (Infinitive subject position) The chief arranged to receive the foreign delegation in the afternoon. (Infinitive object position) The parents' wish had always been to see their eldest son the continuator of their joint scientific work. (Infinitive predicative position) Here again we are faced with a plot to overthrow the legitimately elected government of the republic. (Infinitive attributive position) Helen was far too worried to listen to the remonstrances. (Infinitive adverbial position)

If the infinitive in free use has its own subject, different from that of the governing construction, it is introduced by the preposition-particle for. The whole infinitive construction of this type is traditionally called the "for-to infinitive phrase". Cf.: For that shy-looking young man to have stated his purpose so boldly — incredible!

The prepositional introduction of the inner subject in the English infinitive phrase is analogous to the prepositional-casal introduction of the same in the Russian infinitive phrase (i.e. either with the help of the genitive-governing preposition для, or with the help of the dative case of the noun). Cf.: Для нас очень важно понять природу подобных соответствий.

With some transitive verbs (of physical perceptions, mental activity, declaration, compulsion, permission, etc.) the infinitive is used in the semi-predicative constructions of the complex object and complex subject, the latter being the passive counterparts of the former. Cf.:

We have never heard Charlie play his violin. Charlie has never been heard to plan his violin. The members of the committee expected him to speak against the suggested resolution. He was expected by the members of the committee to speak against the suggested resolution.

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Due to the intersecting character of joining with the governing predicative construction, the subject of the infinitive in such complexes, naturally, has no introductory preposition-particle.

The English infinitive exists in two presentation forms. One of them, characteristic of the free uses of the infinitive, is distinguished by the pre-positional marker to. This form is called traditionally the "to-infinitive", or in more recent linguistic works, the "marked infinitive". The other form, characteristic of the bound uses of the infinitive, does not employ the marker to, thereby presenting the infinitive in the shape of the pure verb stem, which in modern interpretation is understood as the zero-suffixed form. This form is called traditionally the "bare infinitive", or in more recent linguistic works, respectively, the "unmarked infinitive".

The infinitive marker to is a word-morpheme, i.e. a special formal particle analogous, mutatis mutandis, to other auxiliary elements in the English grammatical structure. Its only function is to build up and identify the infinitive form as such. As is the case with the other analytical markers, the particle to can be used in an isolated position to represent the whole corresponding construction syntagmatically zeroed in the text. Cf.: You are welcome to acquaint yourself with any of the documents if you want to.

Like other analytical markers, it can also be separated from its notional, i.e. infinitive part by a word or a phrase, usually of adverbial nature, forming the so-called "split infinitive". Cf.: My task is not to accuse or acquit; my task it to thoroughly investigate, to clearly define, and to consistently systematise the facts.

Thus, the marked infinitive presents just another case of an analytical grammatical form. The use or non-use of the infinitive marker depends on the verbal environment of the infinitive. Namely, the unmarked infinitive is used, besides the various analytical forms, with modal verbs (except the modals ought and used), with verbs of physical perceptions, with the verbs let, bid, make, help (with the latter — optionally), with the verb know in the sense of "experience", with a few verbal phrases of modal nature (had better, would rather, would have, etc.), with the relative-inducive why. All these uses are detailed in practical grammar books.


The infinitive is a categorially changeable form. It distinguishes the three grammatical categories sharing them with the finite verb, namely, the aspective category of development (continuous in opposition), the aspective category of retrospective coordination (perfect in opposition), the category of voice (passive in opposition). Consequently, the categorial paradigm of the infinitive of the objective verb includes eight forms: the indefinite active, the continuous active, the perfect active, the perfect continuous active; the indefinite passive, the continuous passive, the perfect passive, the perfect continuous passive. E.g.: to take — to be taking

— to have taken — to have been taking; to be taken —to be being taken — to have been taken — to have been being taken.

The infinitive paradigm of the non-objective verb, correspondingly, includes four forms. E.g.: to go —to be going

— to have gone — to have been going.

The continuous and perfect continuous passive can only be used occasionally, with a strong stylistic colouring. But they underlie the corresponding finite verb forms. It is the indefinite infinitive that constitues the head-form of the verbal paradigm.

§ 3. The gerund is the non-finite form of the verb which, like the infinitive, combines the properties of the verb with those of the noun. Similar to the infinitive, the gerund serves as the verbal name of a process, but its substantive quality is more strongly pronounced than that of the infinitive. Namely, as different from the infinitive, and similar to the noun, the gerund can be modified by a noun in the possessive case or its pronominal equivalents (expressing the subject of the verbal process), and it can be used with prepositions.

Since the gerund, like the infinitive, is an abstract name of the process denoted by the verbal lexeme, a question might arise, why the infinitive, and not the gerund is taken as the head-form of the verbal lexeme as a whole, its accepted representative in the lexicon.

As a matter of fact, the gerund cannot perform the function of the paradigmatic verbal head-form for a number of reasons. In the first place, it is more detached from the finite verb than the infinitive semantically, tending to be a far more substantival unit categorially. Then, as different from the infinitive, it does not join in the conjugation of the finite verb. Unlike the infinitive, it is a suffixal form, which


makes it less generalised than the infinitive in terms of the formal properties of the verbal lexeme (although it is more abstract in the purely semantic sense). Finally, it is less definite than the infinitive from the lexico-grammatical point of view, being subject to easy neutralisations in its opposition with the verbal noun in -ing, as well as with the present participle. Hence, the gerund is no rival of the infinitive in the paradigmatic head-form function.

The general combinability of the gerund, like that of the infinitive, is dual, sharing some features with the verb, and some features with the noun. The verb-type combinability of the gerund is displayed in its combining, first, with nouns expressing the object of the action; second, with modifying adverbs; third, with certain semi-functional predicator verbs, but other than modal. Of the noun-type is the combinability of the gerund, first, with finite notional verbs as the object of the action; second, with finite notional verbs as the prepositional adjunct of various functions; third, with finite notional verbs as the subject of the action; fourth, with nouns as the prepositional adjunct of various functions.

The gerund, in the corresponding positional patterns, performs the functions of all the types of notional sentence-parts, i.e. the subject, the object, the predicative, the attribute, the adverbial modifier. Cf.:

Repeating your accusations over and over again doesn't make them more convincing. (Gerund subject position) No wonder he delayed breaking the news to Uncle Jim. (Gerund direct object position) She could not give her mind to pressing wild flowers in Pauline's botany book. (Gerund addressee object position) Joe felt annoyed at being shied by his roommates. (Gerund prepositional object position) You know what luck is? Luck is believing you're lucky. (Gerund predicative position) Fancy the pleasant prospect of listening to all the gossip they've in store for you! (Gerund attributive position) He could not push against the furniture without bringing the whole lot down. (Gerund adverbial of manner position)

One of the specific gerund patterns is its combination with the noun in the possessive case or its possessive pronominal equivalent expressing the subject of the action. This gerundial construction is used in cases when the subject of the gerundial process differs from the subject of the governing


sentence-situation, i.e. when the gerundial sentence-part has its own, separate subject. E.g.:

Powell's being rude like that was disgusting. How can she know about the Morions' being connected with this unaccountable affair? Will he ever excuse our having interfered?

The possessive with the gerund displays one of the distinctive categorial properties of the gerund as such, establishing it in the English lexemic system as the form of the verb with nounal characteristics. As a matter of fact, from the point of view of the inner semantic relations, this combination is of a verbal type, while from the point of view of the formal categorial features, this combination is of a nounal type. It can be clearly demonstrated by the appropriate transformations, i.e. verb-related and noun-related re-constructions. Cf.: I can't stand his criticising artistic works that are beyond his competence. (T-verbal →He is criticising artistic works. T-nounal→ His criticism of artistic works.)

Besides combining with the possessive noun-subject, the verbal ing-form con also combine with the noun-subject in the common case or its objective pronominal equivalent. E.g.: I read in yesterday's paper about the hostages having been released.

This gerundial use as presenting very peculiar features of categorial mediality will be discussed after the treatment of the participle.

The formal sign of the gerund is wholly homonymous with that of the present participle: it is the suffix -ing added to its grammatically (categorially) leading element.

Like the infinitive, the gerund is a categorially changeable (variable, demutative) form; it distinguishes the two grammatical categories, sharing them with the finite verb and the present participle, namely, the aspective category of retrospective coordination (perfect in opposition), and the category of voice (passive in opposition). Consequently, the categorial paradigm of the gerund of the objective verb includes four forms: the simple active, the perfect active; the simple passive, the perfect passive. E.g.: taking — having taken — being taken — having been taken.

The gerundial paradigm of the non-objective verb, correspondingly, includes two forms. E.g.: going — having gone. The perfect forms of the gerund are used, as a rule, only in semantically strong positions, laying special emphasis on the meaningful categorial content of the form.


§ 4. The present participle is the non-finite form of the verb which combines the properties of the verb with those of the adjective and adverb, serving as the qualifying-processual name. In its outer form the present participle is wholly homonymous with the gerund, ending in the suffix -ing and distinguishing the same grammatical categories of retrospective coordination and voice.

Like all the verbids, the present participle has no categorial time distinctions, and the attribute "present" in its conventional name is not immediately explanatory; it is used in this book from force of tradition. Still, both terms "present participle" and "past participle" are not altogether devoid of elucidative signification, if not in the categorial sense, then in the derivational-etymological sense, and are none the worse in their quality than their doublet-substitutes "participle I" and "participle II".

The present participle has its own place in the general paradigm of the verb, different from that of the past participle, being distinguished by the corresponding set of characterisation features.

Since it possesses some traits both of adjective and adverb, the present participle is not only dual, but triple by its lexico-grammatical properties, which is displayed in its combinability, as well as in its syntactic functions.

The verb-type combinability of the present participle is revealed, first, in its being combined, in various uses, with nouns expressing the object of the action; second, with nouns expressing the subject of the action (in semi-predicative complexes); third, with modifying adverbs; fourth, with auxiliary finite verbs (word-morphemes) in the analytical forms of the verb. The adjective-type combinability of the present participle is revealed in its association with the modified nouns, as well as with some modifying adverbs, such as adverbs of degree. The adverb-type combinability of the present participle is revealed in its association with the modified verbs.

The self-positional present participle, in the proper syntactic arrangements, performs the functions of the predicative (occasional use, and not with the pure link be), the attribute, the adverbial modifier of various types. Cf.:

The questions became more and more irritating. (Present participle predicative position) She had thrust the crucifix on to the surviving baby. (Present participle attributive


front-position) Norman stood on the pavement like a man watching his loved one go aboard an ocean liner. (Present participle attributive back-position) He was no longer the cocky, pugnacious boy, always squaring up for a fight. (Present participle attributive back-position, detached) She went up the steps, swinging her hips and tossing her fur with bravado. (Present participle manner adverbial back-position) And having read in the papers about truth drugs, of course Gladys would believe it absolutely. (Present participle cause adverbial front-position)

The present participle, similar to the infinitive, can build up semi-predicative complexes of objective and subjective types. The two groups of complexes, i.e. infinitival and present participial, may exist in parallel (e.g. when used with some verbs of physical perceptions), the difference between them lying in the aspective presentation of the process. Cf.:

Nobody noticed the scouts approach the enemy trench. — Nobody noticed the scouts approaching the enemy trench with slow, cautious, expertly calculated movements. Suddenly a telephone was heard to buzz, breaking the spell. — The telephone was heard vainly buzzing in the study.

A peculiar use of the present participle is seen in the absolute participial constructions of various types, forming complexes of detached semi-predication. Cf.:

The messenger waiting in the hall, we had only a couple of minutes to make a decision. The dean sat at his desk, with an electric fire glowing warmly behind the fender at the opposite wall.

These complexes of descriptive and narrative stylistic nature seem to be gaining ground in present-day English.

§ 5. The past participle is the non-finite form of the verb which combines the properties of the verb with those of the adjective, serving as the qualifying-processual name. The past participle is a single form, having no paradigm of its own. By way of the paradigmatic correlation with the present participle, it conveys implicitly the categorial meaning of the perfect and the passive. As different from the present participle, it has no distinct combinability features or syntactic function features specially characteristic of the adverb. Thus, the main self-positional functions of the past

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participle in the sentence are those of the attribute and the predicative. Cf.:

Moyra's softened look gave him a new hope. (Past participle attributive front-position) The cleverly chosen timing of the attack determined the outcome of the battle. (Past participle attributive front-position) It is a face devastated by passion. (Past participle attributive back-position) His was a victory gained against all rules and predictions. (Past participle attributive back-position) Looked upon in this light, the wording of the will didn't appear so odious. (Past participle attributive detached position) The light is bright and inconveniently placed for reading. (Past participle predicative position)

The past participle is included in the structural formation of the present participle (perfect, passive), which, together with the other differential properties, vindicates the treatment of this form as a separate verbid.

In the attributive use, the past participial meanings of the perfect and the passive are expressed in dynamic correlation with the aspective lexico-grammatical character of the verb. As a result of this correlation, the attributive past participle of limitive verbs in a neutral context expresses priority, while the past participle of unlimitive verbs expresses simultaneity. E.g.:

A tree broken by the storm blocked the narrow passage between the cliffs and the water. (Priority in the passive; the implication is "a tree that had been broken by the storm") I saw that the picture admired by the general public hardly had a fair chance with the judges. (Simultaneity in the passive; the implication is "the picture which was being admired by the public")

Like the present participle, the past participle is capable of making up semi-predicative constructions of complex object, complex subject, as well as of absolute complex.

The past participial complex object is specifically characteristic with verbs of wish and oblique causality (have, get). Cf.:

I want the document prepared for signing by 4 p.m. Will you have my coat brushed up, please?

Compare the use of the past; participial complex object


and the complex subject as its passive transform with a perception verb:

We could hear a shot or two fired from a field mortar. → Л shot or two could be heard fired from a field mortar.

The complex subject of this type, whose participle is included in the double predicate of the sentence, is used but occasionally. A more common type of the participial complex subject can be seen with notional links of motion and position. Cf.: We sank down and for a while lay there stretched out and exhausted.

The absolute past participial complex as a rule expresses priority in the correlation of two events. Cf.: The preliminary talks completed, it became possible to concentrate on the central point of the agenda.

The past participles of non-objective verbs are rarely used in independent sentence-part positions; they are mostly included in phraseological or cliche combinations like faded photographs, fallen leaves, a retired officer, a withered flower, dream come true, etc. In these and similar cases the idea of pure quality rather than that of processual quality is expressed, the modifying participles showing the features of adjectivisation.

As is known, the past participle is traditionally interpreted as being capable of adverbial-related use (like the present participle), notably in detached syntactical positions, after the introductory subordinative conjunctions. Cf.:

Called up by the conservative minority, the convention failed to pass a satisfactory resolution. Though welcomed heartily by his host, Frederick felt at once that something was wrong.

Approached from the paradigmatic point of view in the constructional sense, this interpretation is to be re-considered. As a matter of fact, past participial constructions of the type in question display clear cases of syntactic compression. The true categorial nature of the participial forms employed by them is exposed by the corresponding transformational correlations ("back transformations") as being not of adverbial, but of definitely adjectival relation. Cf.:

...→ The convention, which was called up by the conservative minority, failed to pass a satisfactory resolution. ...→ Though he was welcomed heartily by his host, Frederick felt at once that something was wrong.


Cf. a more radical diagnostic transformational change of the latter construction: ...→ Frederick, who was welcomed heartily by his host, nevertheless felt at once that something was wrong.

As is seen from the analysis, the adjectival relation of the past participle in the quoted examples is proved by the near-predicative function of the participle in the derived transforms, be it even within the composition of the finite passive verb form. The adverbial uses of the present participle react to similar tests in a different way. Cf.: Passing on to the library, he found Mabel entertaining her guests. → As he passed on to the library, he found Mabel entertaining her guests.

The adverbial force of the present participle in constructions like that is shown simply as resulting from the absence of obligatory mediation of be between the participle and its subject (in the derivationally underlying units).

As an additional proof of our point, we may take an adjectival construction for a similar diagnostic testing. Cf.: Though red in the face, the boy kept denying his guilt. →Though he was red in the face, the boy kept denying his guilt.

As we see, the word red, being used in the diagnostic concessive clause of complete composition, does not change its adjectival quality for an adverbial quality. Being red in the face would again present another categorial case. Being, as a present participial form, is in the observed syntactic conditions neither solely adjectival-related, nor solely adverbial-related; it is by nature adjectival-adverbial, the whole composite unity in question automatically belonging to the same categorial class, i.e. the class of present participial constructions of different subtypes.

§ 6. The consideration of the English verbids in their mutual comparison, supported and supplemented by comparing them with their non-verbal counterparts, puts forward some points of structure and function worthy of special notice.

In this connection, the infinitive-gerund correlation should first be brought under observation.

Both forms are substance-processual, and the natural question that one has to ask about them is, whether the two do not repeat each other by their informative destination and employment. This question was partly answered in the


paragraph devoted to the general outline of the gerund. Observations of the actual uses of the gerund and the infinitive in texts do show the clear-cut semantic difference between the forms, which consists in the gerund being, on the one hand, of a more substantive nature than the infinitive, i.e. of a nature nearer to the thingness-signification type; on the other hand, of a more abstract nature in the logical sense proper. Hence, the forms do not repeat, but complement each other, being both of them inalienable components of the English verbal system.

The difference between the forms in question may be demonstrated by the following examples:

Seeing and talking to people made him tired. (As characteristic of a period of his life; as a general feature of his

disposition) ---- It made him tired to see and talk to so many

people. (All at a time, on that particular occasion); Spending an afternoon in the company of that gentle soul was always a wonderful pleasure. (Repeated action, general characteristic) To spend an afternoon on the grass — lovely! (A

response utterance of enthusiastic agreement); Who doesn't

like singing? (In a general reference) ----- Who doesn't like

to sing? (In reference to the subject)

Comparing examples like these, we easily notice the more dynamic, more actional character of the infinitive as well as of the whole collocations built up around it, and the less dynamic character of the corresponding gerundial collocations. Furthermore, beyond the boundaries of the verb, but within the boundaries of the same inter-class paradigmatic derivation (see above, Ch. IV, § 8), we find the cognate verbal noun which is devoid of processual dynamics altogether, though it denotes, from a different angle, the same referential process, situation, event. Cf.:

For them to have arrived so early! Such a surprise!—— Their having arrived so early was indeed a great surprise. Their early arrival was a great surprise, really.

The triple correlation, being of an indisputably systemic nature and covering a vast proportion of the lexicon, enables us to interpret it in terms of a special lexico-grammatical category of processual representation. The three stages of this category represent the referential processual entity of the lexemic series, respectively, as dynamic (the infinitive and its phrase), semi-dynamic (the gerund and its phrase), and


static (the verbal noun and its phrase). The category of processual representation underlies the predicative differences between various situation-naming constructions in the sphere of syntactic nominalisation (see further, Ch. XXV).

Another category specifically identified within the framework of substantival verbids and relevant for syntactic analysis is the category of modal representation. This category, pointed out by L. S. Barkhudarov [Бархударов, (2), 151—152], marks the infinitive in contrast to the gerund, and it is revealed in the infinitive having a modal force, in particular, in its attributive uses, but also elsewhere. Cf.:

This is a kind of peace to be desired by all. (A kind of peace that should be desired) Is there any hope for us to meet this great violinist in our town? (A hope that we may meet this violinist) It was arranged for the mountaineers to have a rest in tents before climbing the peak. (It was arranged so that they could have a rest in tents)

When speaking about the functional difference between lingual forms, we must bear in mind that this difference might become subject to neutralisation in various systemic or contextual conditions. But however vast the corresponding field of neutralisation might be, the rational basis of correlations of the forms in question still lies in their difference, not in neutralising equivalence. Indeed, the difference is linguistically so valuable that one well-established occurrence of a differential correlation of meaningful forms outweighs by its significance dozens of their textual neutralisations. Why so? For the simple reason that language is a means of forming and exchanging ideas — that is, ideas differing from one another, not coinciding with one another. And this simple truth should thoroughly be taken into consideration when tackling certain cases of infinitive-gerund equivalence in syntactic constructions — as, for instance, the freely alternating gerunds and infinitives with some phasal predicators (begin, start, continue, cease, etc.). The functional equivalence of the infinitive and the gerund in the composition of the phasal predicate by no means can be held as testifying to their functional equivalence in other spheres of expression.

As for the preferable or exclusive use of the gerund with a set of transitive verbs (e.g. avoid, delay, deny, forgive, mind, postpone) and especially prepositional-complementive verbs and word-groups (e.g. accuse of, agree to, depend on, prevent from, think of, succeed in, thank for; be aware of,


be busy in, be indignant at, be sure of), we clearly see here the tendency of mutual differentiation and complementation of the substantive verbid forms based on the demonstrated category of processual representation. In fact, it is the gerund, not the infinitive, that denotes the processual referent of the lexeme not in a dynamic, but in a half-dynamic representation, which is more appropriate to be associated with a substantive-related part of the sentence.

§ 7. Within the gerund-participle correlation, the central point of our analysis will be the very lexico-grammatical identification of the two verbid forms in -ing in their reference to each other. Do they constitute two different verbids, or do they present one and the same form with a somewhat broader range of functions than either of the two taken separately?

The ground for raising this problem is quite substantial, since the outer structure of the two elements of the verbal system is absolutely identical: they are outwardly the same when viewed in isolation. It is not by chance that in the American linguistic tradition which can be traced back to the school of Descriptive Linguistics the two forms are recognised as one integral V-ing.

In treating the ing-forms as constituting one integral verbid entity, opposed, on the one hand, to the infinitive (V-to), on the other hand, to the past participle (V-en), appeal is naturally made to the alternating use of the possessive and the common-objective nounal element in the role of the subject of the ing-form (mostly observed in various object positions of the sentence). Cf.:

I felt annoyed at his failing to see my point at once. «→ I felt annoyed at him failing to see my point at once. He was not, however, averse to Elaine Fortescue's entertaining the hypothesis.<→He was not, however, averse to Elaine Fortescue entertaining the hypothesis.

This use presents a case known in linguistics as "half-gerund". So, in terms of the general ing-form problem, we have to choose between the two possible interpretations of the half-gerund: either as an actually intermediary form with double features, whose linguistic semi-status is truly reflected in its conventional name, or as an element of a non-existent categorial specification, i.e. just another variant of the same indiscriminate V-ing.


In this connection, the reasoning of those who support the idea of the integral V-ing form can roughly be presented thus: if the two uses of V-ing are functionally identical, and if the "half-gerund" V-ing occurs with approximately the same frequency as the "full-gerund" V-ing, both forms presenting an ordinary feature of an ordinary English text, then there is no point in discriminating the "participle" V-ing and the "gerund" V-ing.

In compliance with the general principle of approach to any set of elements forming a categorial or functional continuum, let us first consider the correlation between the polar elements of the continuum, i.e. the correlation between the pure present participle and the pure gerund, setting aside the half-gerund for a further discussion.

The comparative evaluations of the actually different uses of the ing-forms can't fail to show their distinct categorial differentiation: one range of uses is definitely noun-related, definitely of process-substance signification; the other range of uses is definitely adjective-adverb related, definitely of process-quality signification. This differentiation can easily be illustrated by specialised gerund-testing and participle-testing, as well as by careful textual observations of the forms.

The gerund-testing, partly employed while giving a general outline of the gerund, includes the noun-substitution procedure backed by the question-procedure. Cf.:

My chance of getting, or achieving, anything that I long for will always be gravely reduced by the interminable existence of that block. → My chance of what? → My chance of success.

He insisted on giving us some coconuts. → What did he insist on? → He insisted on our acceptance of the gift.

All his relatives somehow disapproved of his writing poetry. → What did all his relatives disapprove of?→ His relatives disapproved of his poetical work.

The other no less convincing evidence of the nounal featuring of the form in question is its natural occurrence in coordinative connections with the noun. Cf.:

I didn't stop to think of an answer; it came immediately off my tongue without any pause or planning. Your husband isn't ill, no. What he does need is relaxation and simply cheering a bit, if you know what I mean. He carried out rigorously all


the precepts concerning food, bathing, meditation and so on of the orthodox Hindu.

The participle-testing, for its part, includes the adjective-adverb substitution procedure backed by the corresponding question-procedure, as well as some other analogies. Cf.:

He was in a terrifying condition. →In what kind of condition was he?→He was in an awful condition. (Adjective substitution procedure) Pursuing this; course of free association, I suddenly remembered a dinner date I once had with a distinguished colleague → When did I suddenly remember a dinner date? → Then I suddenly remembered a dinner date. (Adverb-substitution procedure) She sits up gasping and staring wild-eyed about her. → How does she sit up? → She sits up so. (Adverb-substitution procedure)

The participle also enters into easy coordinative and parallel associations with qualitative and stative adjectives. Cf.:

That was a false, but convincing show of affection. The ears are large, protruding, with the heavy lobes of the sensualist. On the great bed are two figures, a sleeping woman, and a young man awake.

Very important in this respect will be analogies between the present participle qualitative function and the past participle qualitative function, since the separate categorial standing of the past participle remains unchallenged. Cf.: an unmailed letter — a coming letter; the fallen monarchy — the falling monarchy; thinned hair — thinning hair.

Of especial significance for the differential verbid identification purposes are the two different types of conversion the compared forms are subject to, namely, the nounal conversion of the gerund and, correspondingly, the adjectival conversion of the participle.

Compare the gerund-noun conversional pairs: your airing the room to take an airing before going to bed; his breeding his son to the profession - a person of unimpeachable

breeding; their calling him a liar ------ the youth's choice of

a calling in life.

Compare the participle-adjective conversional pairs: animals living in the jungle living languages; a man never

daring an open argument --- a daring inventor; a car passing

by ---- a passing passion.


Having recourse to the evidence of the analogy type, as a counter-thesis against the attempted demonstration, one might point out cases of categorial ambiguity, where the category of the qualifying element remains open to either interpretation, such as the "typing instructor", the "boiling kettle", or the like. However, cases like these present a trivial homonymy which, being resolved, can itself be taken as evidence in favour of, not against, the two ing-forms differing from each other on the categorial lines. Cf.:

the typing instructor → the instructor of typing; the instructor who is typing; the boiling kettle → the kettle for boiling; the kettle that is boiling

At this point, the analysis of the cases presenting the clear-cut gerund versus present participle difference can be considered as fulfilled. The two ing-forms in question are shown as possessing categorially differential properties establishing them as two different verbids in the system of the English verb.

And this casts a light on the categorial nature of the half-gerund, since it is essentially based on the positional verbid neutralisation. As a matter of fact, let us examine the following examples:

You may count on my doing all that is necessary on such occasions. You may count on me doing all that is necessary on such occasions.

The possessive subject of the ing-formin the first of the two sentences is clearly disclosed as a structural adjunct of a nounal collocation. But the objective subject of the ing-form in the second sentence, by virtue of its morphological constitution, cannot be associated with a noun: this would contradict the established regularities of the categorial compatibility. The casal-type government (direct, or representative-pronominal) in the collocation being lost (or, more precisely, being non-existent), the ing-form of the collocation can only be understood as a participle. This interpretation is strongly supported by comparing half-gerund constructions with clear-cut participial constructions governed by perception verbs:

To think of him turning sides! ------ To see him turning

sides! I don't like Mrs. Thomson complaining of her loneliness. - I can't listen to Mrs. Thomson complaining of her


loneliness. Did you ever hear of a girl playing a trombone? —Did you ever hear a girl playing a trombone?

On the other hand, the position of the participle in the collocation is syntactically peculiar, since semantic accent in such constructions is made on the fact or event described, i.e. on the situational content of it, with the processual substance as its core. This can be demonstrated by question-tests:

(The first half-gerund construction in the above series) → To think of what in connection with him? (The second half-gerund construction) → What don't you like about Mrs. Thomson? (The third half-gerund construction) → Which accomplishment of a girl presents a surprise for the speaker?

Hence, the verbid under examination is rather to be interpreted as a transferred participle, or a gerundial participle, the latter term seeming to relevantly disclose the essence of the nature of this form; though the existing name "half-gerund" is as good as any other, provided the true character of the denoted element of the system is understood.

Our final remark in connection with the undertaken observation will be addressed to linguists who, while recognising the categorial difference between the gerund and the present participle, will be inclined to analyse the half-gerund (the gerundial participle) on exactly the same basis as the full gerund, refusing to draw a demarcation line between the latter two forms and simply ascribing the occurrence of the common case subject in this construction to the limited use of the possessive case in modern English in general. As regards this interpretation, we should like to say that an appeal to the limited sphere of the English noun possessive in an attempt to prove the wholly gerundial character of the intermediary construction in question can hardly be considered of any serious consequence. True, a vast proportion of English nouns do not admit of the possessive case form, or, if they do, their possessive in the construction would create contextual ambiguity, or else some sort of stylistic ineptitude. Cf.:

The headlines bore a flaring announcement of the strike being called off by the Amalgamated Union. (No normal possessive with the noun strike); I can't fancy their daughter entering a University college. (Ambiguity in the oral possessive: daughter's daughters'); They were surprised at the head


of the family rejecting the services of the old servant. (Evading the undesirable shift of the possessive particle -'s from the head-noun to its adjunct); The notion of this woman who had had the world at her feet paying a man half a dollar to dance with her filled me with shame. (Semantic and stylistic incongruity of the clause possessive with the statement)

However, these facts are but facts in themselves, since they only present instances when a complete gerundial construction for this or that reason either cannot exist at all, or else should be avoided on diverse reasons of usage. So, the quoted instances of gerundial participle phrases are not more demonstrative of the thesis in question than, say, the attributive uses of nouns in the common form (e.g. the inquisitor judgement, the Shakespeare Fund, a Thompson way of refusing, etc.) would be demonstrative of the possessive case "tendency" to coincide with the bare stem of the noun: the absence of the possessive nounal form as such can't be taken to testify that the "possessive case" may exist without its feature sign.

CHAPTER XII
FINITE VERB: INTRODUCTION

§ 1.The finite forms of the verb express the processual relations of substances and phenomena making up the situation reflected in the sentence. These forms are associated with one another in an extremely complex and intricate system. The peculiar aspect of the complexity of this system lies in the fact that, as we have stated before, the finite verb is directly connected with the structure of the sentence as a whole. Indeed, the finite verb, through the working of its categories, is immediately related to such sentence-constitutive factors as morphological forms of predication, communication purposes, subjective modality, subject-object relation, gradation of probabilities, and quite a few other factors of no lesser importance..

As has been mentioned elsewhere, the complicated character of the system in question has given rise to a lot of controversies about the structural formation of the finite verb categories, as well as the bases of their functional semantics. It would be not an exaggeration to say that each fundamental


type of grammatical expression capable of being approached in terms of generalised categories in the domain of the finite verb has created a subject for a scholarly dispute. For instance, taking as an example the sphere of the categorial person and number of the verb, we are faced with the argument among grammarians about the existence or non-existence of the verbal-pronominal forms of these categories. In connection with the study of the verbal expression of time and aspect, the great controversy is going on as to the temporal or aspective nature of the verbal forms of the indefinite, continuous, perfect, and perfect-continuous series. Grammatical expression of the future tense in English is stated by some scholars as a matter-of-fact truth, while other linguists are eagerly negating any possibility of its existence as an element of grammar. The verbal voice invites its investigators to exchange mutually opposing views regarding both the content and the number of its forms. The problem of the subjunctive mood may justly be called one of the most vexed in the theory of grammar: the exposition of its structural properties, its inner divisions, as well as its correlation with the indicative mood vary literally from one linguistic author to another.

On the face of it, one might get an impression that the morphological study of the English finite verb has amounted to interminable aimless exchange of arguments, ceaseless advances of opposing "points of view", the actual aim of which has nothing to do with the practical application of linguistic theory to life. However, the fallacy of such an impression should be brought to light immediately and uncompromisingly.

As a matter of fact, it is the verb system that, of all the spheres of morphology, has come under the most intensive and fruitful analysis undertaken by contemporary linguistics. In the course of these studies the oppositional nature of the categorial structure of the verb was disclosed and explicitly formulated; the paradigmatic system of the expression of verbal functional semantics was described competently, though in varying technical terms, and the correlation of form and meaning in the composition of functionally relevant parts of this system was demonstrated explicitly on the copious material gathered.

Theoretical discussions have not ceased, nor subsided. On the contrary, they continue and develop, though on an ever more solid scientific foundation; and the cumulative


descriptions of the English verb provide now an integral picture of its nature which the grammatical theory has never possessed before. Indeed, it is due to this advanced types of study that the structural and semantic patterning of verbal constructions successfully applied to teaching practices on all the stages of tuition has achieved so wide a scope.

§ 2. The following presentation of the categorial system of the English verb is based on oppositional criteria worked out in the course of grammatical studies of language by Soviet and foreign scholars. We do not propose to develop a description in which the many points of discussion would receive an exposition in terms of anything like detailed analysis. Our aim will rather be only to demonstrate some general principles of approach — such principles as would stimulate the student's desire to see into the inner meaningful workings of any grammatical construction which are more often than not hidden under the outer connections of its textual elements; such principles as would develop the student's ability to rely on his own resources when coming across concrete dubious cases of grammatical structure and use; such principles as, finally, would provide the student with a competence enabling him to bring his personal efforts of grammatical understanding to relevant correlation with the recognised theories, steering open-eyed among the differences of expert opinion.

The categorial spheres to be considered in this book are known from every topical description of English grammar. They include the systems of expressing verbal person, number, time, aspect, voice, and mood. But the identification and the distribution of the actual grammatical categories of the verb recognised in our survey will not necessarily coincide with the given enumeration, which will be exposed and defended with the presentation of each particular category that is to come under study.

CHAPTER XIII
VERB: PERSON AND NUMBER

§ 1. The categories of person and number are closely connected with each other. Their immediate connection is conditioned by the two factors: first, by their situational semantics, referring the process denoted by the verb to the


subject of the situation, i.e. to its central substance (which exists in inseparable unity of "quality" reflected in the personal denotation, and "quantity" reflected in the numerical denotation); second, by their direct and immediate relation to the syntactic unit expressing the subject as the functional part of the sentence.

Both categories are different in principle from the other categories of the finite verb, in so far as they do not convey any inherently "verbal" semantics, any constituents of meaning realised and confined strictly within the boundaries of the verbal lexeme. The nature of both of them is purely "reflective" (see Ch. III, §5).

Indeed, the process itself, by its inner quality and logical status, cannot be "person-setting" in any consistent sense, the same as it cannot be either "singular" or "plural"; and this stands in contrast with the other properties of the process, such as its development in time, its being momentary or repeated, its being completed or incompleted, etc. Thus, both the personal and numerical semantics, though categorially expressed by the verb, cannot be characterised as process-relational, similar to the other aspects of the verbal categorial semantics. These aspects of semantics are to be understood only as substance-relational, reflected in the verb from the interpretation and grammatical featuring of the subject.

§ 2. Approached from the strictly morphemic angle, the analysis of the verbal person and number leads the grammarian to the statement of the following converging and diverging features of their forms.

The expression of the category of person is essentially confined to the singular form of the verb in the present tense of the indicative mood and, besides, is very singularly presented in the future tense. As for the past tense, the person is alien to it, except for a trace of personal distinction in the archaic conjugation.

In the present tense the expression of the category of person is divided into three peculiar subsystems.

The first subsystem includes the modal verbs that have no personal inflexions: can, may, must, shall, will, ought, need, dare. So, in the formal sense, the category of person is wholly neutralised with these verbs, or, in plainer words, it is left unexpressed.

The second subsystem is made up by the unique verbal


lexeme be. The expression of person by this lexeme is the direct opposite to its expression by modal verbs: if the latter do not convey the indication of person in any morphemic sense at all, the verb be has three different suppletive personal forms, namely: am for the first person singular, is for the third person singular, and are as a feature marking the finite form negatively: neither the first, nor the third person singular. It can't be taken for the specific positive mark of the second person for the simple reason that it coincides with the plural all-person (equal to none-person) marking.

The third subsystem presents just the regular, normal expression of person with the remaining multitude of the English verbs, with each morphemic variety of them. From the formal point of view, this subsystem occupies the medial position between the first two: if the verb be is at least two-personal, the normal personal type of the verb conjugation is one-personal. Indeed, the personal mark is confined here to the third person singular -(e)s [-z, -s, -iz], the other two persons (the first and the second) remaining unmarked, e.g. comes come, blows blow, slops stop, chooses choose.

As is known, alongside of this universal system of three sets of personal verb forms, modern English possesses another system of person-conjugation characterising elevated modes of speech (solemn addresses, sermons, poetry, etc.) and stamped with a flavour of archaism. The archaic person-conjugation has one extra feature in comparison with the common conjugation, namely, a special inflexion for the second person singular. The three described subsystems of the personal verb forms receive the following featuring:

The modal person-conjugation is distinguished by one morphemic mark, namely, the second person: canst, may(e)st, wilt, shalt, shouldst, wouldst, ought(e)st, need(e)st, durst.

The personal be-conjugation is complete in three explicitly marked forms, having a separate suppletive presentation for each separate person: am, art, is.

The archaic person-conjugation of the rest of the verbs, though richer than the common system of person forms, still occupies the medial position between the modal and be-conjugation. Two of the three of its forms, the third and second persons, are positively marked, while the first person remains unmarked, e.g. comes — comestcome, blows blowest blow, stops stoppest stop, chooses choosest choose.

As regards the future tense, the person finds here quite


another mode of expression. The features distinguishing it from the present-tense person conjugation are, first, that it marks not the third, but the first person in distinction to the remaining two; and second, that it includes in its sphere also the plural. The very principle of the person featuring is again very peculiar in the future tense as compared with the present tense, consisting not in morphemic inflexion, nor even in the simple choice of person-identifying auxiliaries, but in the oppositional use of shall will specifically marking the first person (expressing, respectively, voluntary and non-voluntary future), which is contrasted against the oppositional use of will shall specifically marking the second and third persons together (expressing, respectively, mere future and modal future). These distinctions, which will be described at more length further on, are characteristic only of British English.

A trace of person distinction is presented in the past tense with the archaic form of the second person singular. The form is used but very occasionally, still it goes with the pronoun thou, being obligatory with it. Here is an example of its individualising occurrence taken from E. Hemingway: Thyself and thy horses. Until thou hadst horses thou wert with us. Now thou art another capitalist more.

Thus, the peculiarity of the archaic past tense person-conjugation is that its only marked form is not the third person as in the present tense, nor the first person as in the British future tense, but the second person. This is what might be called "little whims of grammar"!

§ 3. Passing on to the expression of grammatical number by the English finite verb, we are faced with the interesting fact that, from the formally morphemic point of view, it is hardly feature






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