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Participial Predicative Phrases

Participial predicative phrases differ in their structure.



They filed in, Mr. Bellby going first, and Soames escorting Winifred after an interval of one minute by his watch. (Galsworthy)

His knowledge of their language being derived from his public school, he did not understand them when they spoke. (Galsworthy)

Andrew lay with half-closed eyes his head resting near her. (Cronin)

Participial phrases are sometimes included by means of the preposition with or without, the latter function on analogy with the prepositions including infinitival predicative phrases.



Someone else was awake, sitting with hands clasped around his knees nearby. (Sillitoe)

With fenders spread like wings we scattered light through all Astoria... (Fitzgerald)

Cf. With no doors to hold it back, he nearly curled up and died at the shock. (Sillitoe)

And here are a few examples of absolute predicative phrases with the "non-verbal" leading element:



Captain Nichols dragged Strickland, bleeding from a wound in his arm, his clothes in rags, into the street. (Maugham)

COORDINATE PHRASES

In a coordinate phrase all the component parts are identical in their syntactic value. The number of its immediate constituents is naturally not limited. In terms of their grammatical organisation, phrases of this type may be subdivided into two groups: syndetic and asyndetic.

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Syndetic Coordinate Phrases

In syndetic coordinate phrases the components are joined by function words, so called, conjunctive words or coordinators.

It seems practical to distinguish the following among them:

I and II as well as HI both ... and but rather than either ...or

nor together with neither ... nor

not along with not (only) ... but (also)

or

Those in the first column are generally placed between the elements they join, those in the middle column may appear in that position and may also be found in split structures. Those in the third column are in two parts and as such are generally called correlatives; the first part appears at the beginning of the structure and the second between its last two components.

Examples of syndetic coordinate phrases are not far to seek.

In the white and black atmosphere stood Macgregor, a rather shamefaced looking Macgregor, without hat or coat, a damp and solemn Macgregor. (Aldridge)

A dull commiseration, together with a vague sense of injury crept about Soames' heart. (Galsworthy)

It is to be noted that in most cases the IC's of a coordinate phrase belong to one and the same morphological class of words. But instances are not few when the coordinate phrase is made up of words belonging to different parts of speech, as in:



Outraged and on edge, Soames recoiled. (Galsworthy)

The repetition of the conjunction in coordinate syndetic phrases is often accomplished for stylistic purposes. Consider the following example:



Your uncle Soames is a match for everybody. He's a very clever man, and good-looking, and wealthy, and most considerate and careful, and not at all old, considering everything. (Galsworthy)

Asyndetic Coordinate Phrases

Asyndetic coordinate phrases consist of two or more syntactically equivalent units.

The units so joined may be any of the parts of speech, function words, or more complex structures taking part in grammatical organisation. The joining may be accomplished by word order and prosody alone, indicated in writing by a comma or dash.

Among asyndetic coordinate phrases we often find structures with more than two constituents. Examples are:



And Soames was alone again. The spidery, dirty, ridiculous business! (Galsworthy)

She was unknown in Paris, and he but little known, so that discretion seemed unnecessary in those walks, talks, visits to concerts, picture-

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galleries, theatres, little dinners, expeditions to Versailles, St. Cloud, even Fountainebleau. (Ibid.)

They were peevish, crusty, silent, eyeing nothing in particular and moving their feet (Dreiser)

Instances are not few when the joining of the units in a phrase is accomplished by both syndeton and asyndeton.



Gazing at him, so old, thin, white, and spotless, Annette murmured something in French which James did not understand (Galsworthy)

She also noticed that he was smooth-shaven, good-looking and young, but nothing more. (Dreiser)

His master, big, surly and forbidding and with a powerful moustache, glared mercilessly. (Gordon)

The combination of her treachery, defiance, and impudence was too much for him. (Ibid.)

Closely related to coordinate phrases are the so-called appositives. In most cases appositive phrases are made up of two elements which may be: nouns, noun-pronouns and substantivised groups.

Terminal juncture in such phrases is optional. If there is a juncture it is indicated in writing by a comma or a dash. Examples are:

Ncom Ncomthe bird heron



the mammal whale

Ncom NpropProfessor Вrown



The river Thames

Nprop N — Bradley, the lexicographer N NP — Soames, the man of property The Republic of France

The of-phrase is added to a noun, not to define its meaning more accurately, but to indicate a class to which a thing or person that has just been characterised as an individual by the governing noun belongs. This pattern is not known in Old English. It has come into the language from Latin through French.

In Modern English all feeling for its origin has been lost for the common class noun after of can now be replaced by a proper name.

Revision Material


  1. Be ready to discuss the binary structure of English described as Minor and Major Syntax.

  2. Comment on different ways of expressing syntactic relations in Modern English.

  3. Review your knowledge of the grammatical organisation of noun- phrases, verb-phrases and adjectival phrases.

  4. Comment on object-predicate relations as expressed in structures of predication.

  5. Account for structural ambiguity in verb-phrases.

  6. Be ready to discuss structural ambiguity in premodification of nouns by nouns.

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Chapter XII
THE COMPOSITE SENTENCE


In combination of sentences into larger units we may observe two different types of grammatical relationship based upon relative position and interaction of sentences. These are co-ordination and subordination. This classification remains the prevalent scheme of the structural classification of sentences in the grammars of all types in various languages. A very important syntactic concept developed along with this classification is the concept of syndeton and asyndeton.

Sentences joined together by means of special function words designed for this purpose are syndetic, those joined without function words are asyndetic (or contact-clauses).

In terms of modern linguistics, the problem of the compound sentence has been treated in different ways. Some grammarians retain the traditional trichotomy, though the terms employed are sometimes non-traditional. Ch. Fries rejects the traditional classification and terms. Such attempts were already made by O. Jespersen in his theory of the three ranks. Following Bloomfield's ideas of the included position of a grammatical form, Ch. Fries substitutes for the traditional doctrine his theory of included sentences and sequences of sentences; the latter concept seems to coincide with what we find in Sweet's grammar1.

Ch. Fries' treatment of the compound sentence does not seem fully convincing. According to Fries, the so-called "compound" sentence appears to be primarily a matter of the punctuation of written texts, as in his mechanical recordings of speech only very few instances occurred with a clear 3—2—3 intonation before the words listed as sequence signals, i. e. signals of an independent sentence. This does not seem to agree with his classification of all so-called sequence signals and co-ordinating conjunctions together with subordination conjunctions as function words of the group J, i. e. as signals of inclusion, though with a remark that it has been done tentatively.

The attempts of the authors of the older scientific grammars to reject the concept of the clause as it was identified by some grammarians and introduce such notions as "half-clauses, "abridged"-clauses, "infinitive", "gerund", "participle" clauses may be observed in Bryant's2 grammar, treating verbid clauses. This trend has been supported by some structural linguists, who do not recognise the structural distinction between simple and complex sentences.

1 See: H. Sweet. A New English Grammar. Oxford, 1955, pp. 160-170.

2 See: M. M. Bryant. A Functional English Grammar. Boston, 1945, pp. 117- 125.

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Compound sentences are structures of co-ordination with two or more immediate constituents which are syntactically equivalent, i. e. none of them is below the other in rank.

Complex sentences are structures of subordination with two or more immediate constituents which are not syntactically equivalent. In the simplest case, that of binary structure, one of them is the principal clause to which the other is joined as a subordinate. The latter stands in the relation of adjunct to the principal clause and is beneath the principal clause in rank. The dependent clause may be either coordinate or subordinate.

The constituents of a composite sentence are organically interrelated and as such are not independent elements of a single syntactic unit1.

Our starting point in describing the multiplicity of ways in which English sentences may logically be combined in actual usage will be to distinguish one-member and two-member composite sentences.

This distinction is a reality in both, speech and writing, but it often has no formal markings other than intonation in the one case and punctuation in the other.

The linguistic essence of these two types of composite syntactic units is best understood when viewed in terms of their meaning and structural peculiarities.

As we shall further see, a major point of linguistic interest is presented also by the correlation of the verb-forms in the component parts of a composite sentence and its functioning in different contexts of communication.

It is noteworthy that when two sentences occur together as constituents of an utterance, their relationship is indicated by at least one and sometimes ail of the following features:


  1. the fact that one immediately follows the other in time suggests their natural relationship in both lexical and grammatical meaning;

  2. the use of certain linguistic devices in the first sentence may also suggest that another sentence shall follow;

  3. the use of some words in the second sentence may recall certain elements of the first and set up retrospective structural links with the latter.

Let us compare the following compound sentences which differ only in the order of their constituents:

  1. Now she is my colleague, two years ago she was my student.

  2. Two years ago she was my student, now she is my colleague.

The total meaning of (a) is not absolutely the same as that of (b).

We cannot fail to see that two sentences (a) and (b) differ in emphasis, which is due to relative position of the given utterances.

The same is true of all other types of composite sentences in coordination and subordination.

1 See: H. С. Поспелов. О грамматической природе сложного предложения. «Вопросы синтаксиса современного языка». М.— Л., 1960.

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We have seen throughout our previous discussion that the position of words in syntactic structures relative to one another is a most important part of English syntax. Relative position seems to bear relation to the meaning of sentences as well. That grammar must take account of "sentence-order" as well as word-order can hardly leave any doubt.

The simplest cases of two-member composite sentences are those of co-ordination — parataxis (Greek: para + tassein="to place beside").

A single idea expressed in two-member sentences of co-ordination makes itself most evident in the logical joining of predications with different subjects. Similarity or contrast of temporal relations is generally consolidated by conjunctions. Examples are not far to seek.

It was full late for the river, but the weather was lovely, and summer lingered below the yellowing leaves. (Galsworthy)

And she bent forward, and her fine light hair fell over her cheek. (Mansfield)

A wind had cleared the mist, the autumn leaves were rustling, and the stars were shining. (Mansfield).

The train gave a gentle lurch, they were off. (Mansfield)

Cf. Ukrainian: Пройшла гроза, і ніч промчала, і знову день шумить кругом. (Сосюра)

Russian: Земля освежилась, и буря промчалась. (Пушкин)

С чудесной быстротой, незаметно степь покрылась южной ночью, на потемневшем небе вспыхнул густой посев звезд. (Горький)

Composite sentences of subordination—hypotaxis (hypo "under" + + tassein = "to put in order") are different in their logical and grammatical organisation, characterised by subordinative expression of the syntactic relation between main and qualifying elements.

Instead of serving as complete sentences, qualifying elements are included in larger structures within the limits of sentences. Although they may be structurally rather complicated within themselves, they act as units on a higher level of structure.

By far the greater number of sub-clauses begin with a function word which signals the fact the structure to follow is an included element. There are two kinds of such function words (sometimes called includers):



  1. simple conjunctive words, whose sole function is to mark a structure as a certain type of sub-clause;

  2. relative pronouns, which, in addition to this function, have a further function within the structural pattern of the sub-clause.

It seems perfectly reasonable to distinguish here two lines of linguistic development: 1) one-member complex sentences and 2) two-member complex sentences with subordinate clauses1 (further abbreviated as "sub-clauses") of cause or result, purpose and time, conditional and concessive sub-clauses. Logically interrelated, with one idea or subordinated to another, the constituents of such sentences make up a single complex syntactic unit.

1 The traditional terms used in opposition to main clause and independent clause are subordinate clause and dependent clause, but students of language should be prepared to meet them under such names as included sentence (Fries) or included clause (Francis) adopted to emphasise the structural position of clauses of this sort.

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Examples are:

But she'd had heard his name until she saw it on the theatres. (Mansfield)

As soon as he had become a director, Winifred and others of his family had begun to acquire shares to neutralise their income-tax. (Galsworthy)

What can you do if you are thirty and, turning the corner of your own street, you are overcome, suddenly by a feeling of bliss absolute bliss! (Mansfield)

If Laurie agreed with the others, then it was bound to be all right. (Mansfield)

It was so big that the carter and Pat carried it into the courtyard. (Mansfield)

Although Bertha Young was thirty she still had moments like this when she wanted to run instead of walk. (Mansfield)

Cf. Ukrainian:

Тільки я з хати, так жінка біля них (проектів садиб колгоспників), як біля дзеркала, вертиться і свої доповнення видумує. (Стельмах)

Нехай іще зима, але я чую, чую в снігах квіток солодкий аромат. (Сосюра)

Вечори в роті, якщо солдати не йшли рити траншеї і тягти шпали, проходили в довгих, інтимних розмовах. (Гончар)

Всі по-бойовому настроєні, бо справа ж бойова. (Рильський)

Russian: Как только я про это услышал, я тотчас же распорядился обо всем.



Если дед уходил из дома, бабушка устраивала в кухне интереснейшие собрания. (Горький)

Пускай я слаб, мой меч силен. (Жуковский)

Here belong sentences with such descriptive relative subordination that give only some additional information about what has already been sufficiently defined. Examples are:



The sun, which had been hidden all day, now came out in all its splendour.

All because her heritage was that tragic optimism, which is all too often the only inheritance of youth, still half asleep, she smiled with a little nervous tremor round her mouth. (Mansfield)

Cf. Облачко обратилось в белую тучу, которая поднималась, росла и облегала небо. (Пушкин)

We also include here such borderline cases with sub-clauses where a complex sentence approaches co-ordination:



She is most attentive at the lesson, which you seldom are.

She did it like the clever girl, which she undoubtedly is.

He said no word, which surprised me.

Cf. Він не сказав ні слова, що мене здивувало.

Every morning before going to business he came into the nursery and gave her a perfunctory kiss, to which she responded with "Goodbye, father". (Mansfield)

Cf. Обе девицы надели желтые шляпки и красные башмаки, что бывало у них только в торжественные случаи. (Пушкин)

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Al! the above given types of two-member sentences in subordination stand in contrast to their opposites — one-member complex sentences where a subordinate clause goes patterning only as a developed part of the main clause.

The first to be mentioned here are complex sentences with relative sub-clauses, attributive in their meaning. In such sentences pronominal-demonstrative elements are organically indispensable and are readily reinstated in the principal clause. Examples are:



It was the same ship as that in which my wife and the correspondent came to England. (Galsworthy)

The fellow, with his beard and his cursed amused way of speaking son of the old man who had given him the nickname „Man of Property". (Galsworthy)

But at night in his leisure moments he was ravaged by the thought that time was always flying and money flowing in, and his own future as much „in irons" as ever. (Galsworthy)

Andrew took advantage of the moment to launch one of those lectures, rare yet odious, which made him sound like a deacon of a nonconformist chapel. (Cronin)

So she slept and dreamed, and smiled in her sleep, and once threw out her arm to feel something which was not there, dreaming still. (Mansfield)

Cf. Это был полк, в который попал Сережка. (Фадеев)

Книги, в которых были ярко описаны мужественные, сильные духом и волей революционеры, оставляли во мне неизгладимое впечатление. (Н. Островский)

Високий, ясний вечір був сповнений тих чар простору, того запаху безмежності, який властивий тільки вечорам цієї підхмарної країни. (Гончар)

Це був маленький болотяний пташок, які в нашій підгірській околиці показувалися дуже рідко. (Франко)

Further examples of one-member complex sentences are those in which a sub-clause expresses the object or the subject felt as missing in the principal clause, e. g.:



Aunt Juley was sure that dear Val was very clever. (Galsworthy)

Did not Winifred think that it was much better for the young people to be secure and not run any risk at their age? (Galsworthy)

What's done cannot be undone (Proverb)

Cf. Ukrainian:

Всі знають, що Платоша легкі і середні операції робить бездоганно. (Корнійчук)

Мільйони радянських людей ні на секунду не забували, що їх життя належить тільки рідному краєві та майбутньому людства. (Малишко)

Russian:


Стану думать, что скучаешь ты в родном краю.

Contact clauses consisting of a finite predication without connectives are more common in spoken than in written English, probably

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because the potential structural ambiguities may be resolved more easily by intonation than by punctuation. There is every reason to say, in general, that the more formal the context, linguistic or non-linguistic, the more likely it is that a conjunction or a relative pronoun will be present.



Compare the following:

The trouble is he can't help The trouble is that he cannot

you. help you.

Here is the man he told his Here is the man to whom

story to. he told his story.

Here belong also sub-clauses which extend some part of the principal clause: subject, predicative, attribute, object or adverbials with demonstrative pronouns, present or readily understood, e. g.:



All is well that ends well. He is the one you wanted to see.

COORDINATION

The process of coordination, simply stated, involves the linking of structures of equal grammatical rank — single words and phrases in elementary compound groups or independent clauses in compound sentences. The coordinative conjunctions and the correlatives serve to produce this coordination by joining the grammatically equivalent elements in question. Two or more clauses equal in rank can together be given the status of a single sentence. Such co-ordinated units make up a compound sentence.

It is overtly simple to describe the conjunctions as coordinators without certain qualifications. Even and is not purely a coordinator. Whatever the units it combines, and usually indicates an additive relationship, and sometimes it intensifies, or indicates continuous and repeated action, as in: She waited and waited. She talked and talked and talked. They went around and around. The words but and yet indicate contrast, opposition, or negation; so and for show several relationships, among them purpose, cause, result, or inference or and nor indicate what might be described as alternation, choice or opposition. Obviously conjunctions cannot be considered as empty connecting words, and there is always selection in their use in terms of style and purpose.

There is usually a sense of grammatical balance that characterises coordination, even if there is a logical inequality between the coordinated elements.

As a matter of fact, the only situations in which the process of coordination seems to combine elements of both grammatically and logically equal rank with significant frequency is at the level of single words and short phrases.

The traditional trichotomy — the classification of sentences into simple, compound and complex — arose in English prescriptive grammar in the middle of the nineteenth century on the basis of a simple-compound dichotomy, which can be traced to at least two non-grammatical sources. The first was the concept of the period (as a rhetorical unit expressing

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complete sense) and its parts, colons and commas, evolved by classical and medieval rhetoric. This concept was the guiding principle of English punctuation not only in the sixteenth century, before the appearance of the earliest English grammars, but also later, when the notion of the sentence came to be included into syntax proper (since the beginning of the eighteenth century).



The second non-grammatical source of this classification was the logical concept of simple and compound axioms or propositions, which furnished the basis for classifying punctuation units (periods) into simple and compound sentences, according to the number of "nouns" and "verbs", that is, subjects and predicates, contained within these punctuation units (in the grammars of the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth century).

Some English grammarians have abandoned the trichotomic classification introducing new descriptive terms such as "double" and "multiple" sentences (beginning with N e s f і e 1 d' s grammar in 1924), or later — the "duplication" and "combination" of the patterns (by J. Hook and Mathews and P. Roberts).

The concept of the trichotomic classification was also rejected in С. О n і о n' s and E. Kruisinga's scientific grammars. In O. Jespersen's works such syntactic structures are treated in terms of his theory of three ranks.

Following Ch. Fries, some structural grammarians introduce the terms "included sentences" and "sequence sentences".

Interesting observations in this part of syntax have been made by Soviet linguists. In L. І о f і к' s monograph1 we find a strictly formal analysis with a new dichotomic structural classification based on purely grammatical criteria of the syntactic relations between the predicative constituents of Early Modern English texts of the pre-Shakespearian period (compared with the corresponding constructions in present-day English). Our investigation, in which we have not followed traditional concepts and punctuation too closely, has led to the following results: of the four syntactic modes of connecting subject-predicate units (or clauses) in English I—coordination, II — relative annexation (cf. the German term "relativische Anknupfung"), III — subordination and IV — insertion (parenthesis), two are predominant in forming multi-clause sentences (which are opposed to single-clause sentences, according to the new dichotomic classification of sentences advanced by the author). These are subordination and insertion. These syntactic devices are particularly important because they serve to introduce clauses functioning only as parts of other sentences (unable to "standalone"), which is a relevant factor for a multi-clause sentence.

Coordination within a multi-clause sentence is a means of joining a series of parallel subordinate clauses in joint dependence upon a subordination centre in the leading clause, or a means of connecting two or more independent main clauses, which jointly subordinate, a common



1 See: Л. Л. И о ф и к. Сложное предложение в ново-английском языке. Л., 1968.

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member, mostly expressed by a dependent clause. In other words, coordination in this monograph is recognised as a syntactic means of connecting the constituent parts of multi-clause sentences only when it is made use of in the same way as in single-clause sentences, which contain a member in common subordinating or subordinated by coordinated syntactic elements. In all other cases independent coordinated subject predicate units are viewed as syntactically independent though contextually related sentences, regardless of the marks of punctuation which divide them.

Relative annexation is described by L. Iofik as a mode of connection which has no parallel in the single-clause sentence. Such connectives introduce sentences which are not subordinated to any part of the preceding sentence and are therefore viewed as semi-dependent contextually related sentences.

The patterns of multi-clause sentences containing more than two clauses (from three to twelve or thirteen) are based upon two fundamental principles of connection. The first is the principle of consecutive (step-wise) subordination, according to which in each clause (except the last one) there is a single subordination centre, nominal or verbal. It subordinates only one dependent clause. According to L. Iofik the resulting sentence-pattern may be described as a chain of clauses, in which there is one absolute principal clause, one absolute dependent clause (the last in the chain) and one or more clauses both subordinating and subordinated. The number of clauses corresponds to the number of syntactic levels in the multi-clause sentence.

The second principle is that of parallel (or homogeneous) and non-parallel con-subordination (i. e. dependence of two or more parallel or non-parallel clauses upon one, two or more subordination centres within the main clause). In the second sentence-pattern (represented by several variant patterns) there are only two syntactic levels as all dependent clauses are of the same level of subordination.

When both these principles are combined within one and the same sentence, the most complicated structures of multi-clause sentences arise. These structures represent combined or "mixed" patterns displaying features characteristic of both basic patterns — they contain more than two syntactic levels, with two or more subordinate clauses on different levels of subordination.

There is a certain interdependence between the number of clauses in a mult-clause sentence and the patterns employed to arrange these clauses within the sentence. These two basic patterns described arise on the level of three-clause sentences. On the level of four-clause sentences, the simplest combination, of two basic patterns, becomes possible. When the patterns are combined, there is always a common link between them — a clause belonging to both patterns.

The new assumptions and acute observations made in L. Iofik's investigation are of considerable linguistic interest as a distinctively progressive step in the development of syntactic theory. Some points of her significant and original argumentation are however open to thought and questioning. This concerns primarily the view advocated by the

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author in discussing the linguistic status of compound sentences, the existence of which in English can hardly be denied.

It seems more in accord with the nature of language to recognise coordination as a grammatical category organised as a complex system with many variant and borderline cases, where the role of conjunctions serving to unite certain syntactic units into a larger whole is extremely important and must never be lost sight of.

There is also little justification to dispense with the terms "principal" and "subordinate" clause introducing the term "predicative unit" instead. The latter seems to be ambiguous as commonly used with reference to the so-called secondary predication as well. Little is gained by this.

The formative words linking the parts of a compound sentence fall into clearly distinct types: 1) coordinative conjunctions, 2) conjunctive adverbs, 3) fixed prepositional phrases.

It is important to remember that sometimes there is no formal link binding the members together since the logical connection forms a sufficient tie and makes it abundantly clear. Upon close investigation, however, it will become clear that such apparently independent sentences are not absolutely independent and one of them implicitly stands in some grammatical relation to the other.

It will be helpful to identify linking words in co-ordination as follows:



  1. Copulative, connecting two members and their meanings, the second member indicating an addition of equal importance, or, on the other hand, an advance in time and space, or an intensification, often coming in pairs, then called correlatives: and; both... and; equally... and; alike... and; at once... and; not... nor for neither, or and neither); not (or never)... not (or nor)... either; neither... nor, etc.

  2. Disjunctive, connecting two members but disconnecting their meaning, the meaning in the second member excluding that in the first: or, in older English also either or outher(-or) and in questions whether... or with the force of simple or; or... either; either... or, etc., the disjunctive adverbs else, otherwise, or... or, or... else, in older English other else.

  3. Adversative, connecting two members, but contrasting their meaning: but, but then, only, still, yet, and yet, however, on the other hand, again, on the contrary, etc.

  4. Causal, adding an independent proposition explaining the preceding statement, represented only by the single conjunction for: The brook was very high, for a great deal of rain had fallen over night.

  5. Illative, introducing an inference, conclusion, consequence, result: namely, therefore, on that account, consequently, accordingly, for that reason, so, then, hence, etc.

  6. Explanatory, connecting words, phrases or sentences and introducing an explanation or a particularisation: namely, to wit, that is, that is to say, or, such as, as, like, for example, for instance, say, let us say, etc.

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Coordinative conjunctions are rather few in number: and, but, or, yet, for.

Sentence-linking words, called conjunctive advebs are: consequently, furthermore, hence, however, moreover, nevertheless, therefore.

Some typical fixed prepositional phrases functioning as sentence linkers are: at least, as a result, after a while, in addition, in contrast, in the next place, on the other hand, for example, for instance.

It comes quite natural that the semantic relations between the coordinate clauses depend to a considerable degree on the lexical meaning of the linking words.

The functional meaning of some of them is quite definite and unambiguous. Such is, for instance, the conjunction but implying contrast or dissociation between the related items; its meaning is so distinct that there can hardly be any item in the sentence to change the adversative signification as made explicit by this linking word.

Things are different however with copulative conjunctions, which are known to be synsemantic in character and may lead to structural ambiguity if the necessary meaning is not signalled by the meaning of other words in the sentence. This may be well illustrated by the functional use of the conjunction and which may imply various shades of meaning, such as result or consequence, cause or contrast.

Compare the following:



  1. They really fitted him, it was his first made-to-order suit,— and he seemed slimmer and better modelled. (London)

  2. But he, who for the first time was becoming conscious of himself, was in no condition to judge, and he burned with shame as he stared at the vision of his infamy. (London)

  3. The act was done quietly, and the awkward young man appreciated it. (London)

  4. She thought she was merely interested in him as an unusual type possessing various potential excellences and she even felt philanthropic about it. (London)

In examples (a), (b), (c), (d) the co-ordinated sentences are suggestive of causal or resultative meaning.

A prominent suggestion of contrast or adversative meaning may be observed in cases like the following:



He frightened her, and at the same time it was strangely pleasant to be looked upon. (London)

As a matter of fact most sentences are dependent on the context of preceding sentences or of situation for some of their meaning.



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