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The synsemantic character and overlapping relations observed in va rious types of composite sentences bear immediate relevance to their lexico-grammatical organisation, the potential valency of connectives introducing sub-clauses, in particular. Conjunctions, adverbs and conjunctive phrases perform contained syntactic functions of a remarkable variety of types.

That is well known, for instance, as a clause-marker introducing subject, object, predicative, attributive clauses and adverbial sub-clauses of purpose; in adverbial clauses of result, time, condition and concession that is fairly common as correlated with other pronominal or adverbial words: so ... that, for all that, now that, but that.

The use of that is common in emphatic patterns with it is ... that.

It is to be noted that the traditional classification of conjunctions into coordinative and subordinative must be taken with some points of reservation. Instances are not few when clauses introduced by subordinative connectives and clauses to which they are joined are equal in their functional level. This is the case, for instance, with descriptive attributive clauses or, say, clauses introduced by the coordinative conjunction for that very often functions as absolutely synonymous with the subordinative because.


In some patterns with the subordinative conjunction though the opposition between hypotaxis and parataxis comes to be neutralised. The conjunction though can introduce independent sentences. Terminal punctuation and initial capital letters will make it clear in the written language.

The potential meaning of a given category is, in fact, the sum of the common parts of its actual meanings in various contexts of use. An attempt to identify some potential meaning without considering all the actual occurrences of the category will be futile.

Certain specialised parts of actual meanings are not covered by a potential meaning statement, although in characterising the distributional value of a given category these parts are just as significant as the more general components.

It is also important to remember that not all the general potential meaning of a category will be relevant in each occurrence.

This, however, must be taken with much reservation, for indeed it is hardly possible to make potential meaning statements that would apply to each occurrence of a certain category. The meaningful segmentations may vary from sentence to sentence.

A distinction that is relevant to one occurrence of the pattern may sometimes have no bearing at all on another use.

Borderline cases will be found in clauses introduced by the conjunctive word while used in some contexts with the implication of contrast rather than temporal relations.

Difficulties of grammatical analysis sometimes arise in sentences with the coordinative conjunctions yet and so.

Variation in the functional level of clauses introduced by such connectives is always signalled by the lexico-grammatical organisation of the whole sentence, the meaning of the connective word itself, in particular. What may sometimes be ambiguous in the written language is made clear in spoken language by the terminal pauses of intonation which will always show how the components of the utterance group themselves in each context.


There is another type of syntactic addition which gets along without any connection at all. Clauses juxtaposed in this way are not attached to one another in any grammatical way, they simply abut against each other, they make contact but are not connected. Grammar books differ in identifying the linguistic essence of such syntactic structures. According to the traditional angle of view, they are classified in most languages into compound and complex sentences.

A different approach is found in N. S. Pospelov's 1 treatments of asyndeton in Russian syntax where asyndetic sentences are viewed as a special syntactic category with no immediate relevance to subordination or coordination.

1 H. С. Поспелов. О грамматической природе и принципах классификации бессоюзных сложных предложений. «Вопросы синтаксиса современного русского языка». 1956, pp. 338—345.


This angle of view has been taken also in other books and work-papers on this specialised topic. 1

The multiplicity of ways in which asyndetic sentences are formed in many if not all languages gives, however, every reason to say that sentence-patterns of this type in all the variety of their lexico-grammatical organisation can hardly be adequately described on the whole as irrelevant to subordination and coordination.

Our survey of asyndeton in Modern English with its own semantic traits and features of syntactic arrangement gives sufficient evidence to point out that in some types of asyndetic composite sentences subordinate relations are quite prominent.

The first to be mentioned here are patterns with the attributive clauses, sometimes referred to as "contact-clauses", because what characterises them is the close contact between the antecedent and the clause, e. g.:

You don't care about them! They're not the gimcrack things you and your friends like, but they cost me seventy pounds!" (Galsworthy)

It's a pretty large thing I'm going on to and I'll need a lot of clever medical advice. (Cronin)

That the criterion of subordination is relevant to asyndetic sentences may well be illustrated by object and conditional clauses. Examples are:

He knew there were important ideas working in the other man's mind. (Cronin)

Old Jolyon said he would wait ... (Galsworthy)

I'm afraid there's no doubt about it. (Galsworthy)

Had I been a mere clod, neither would I have desired to write nor would you have desired me for a husband. (London)

Observe also the following examples of asyndeton where the close contact between two clauses is suggestive of causal relations:

Timothy was very poorly, he had had a lot of trouble with the chimney sweep in his bedroom; the stupid man had let the soot down the chimney. (Galsworthy)

" Why, yes", she answered, as the music stopped, trying to keep an even tone to her voice. She was glad they were walking toward a chair. (Dreiser)

In other types of asyndetic composite sentences the meaning of result or consequence is quite prominent, e. g.:

Warmth, softness, light, a sweet scent, all those things so familiar to her she never even thought about them, she watched that other receive. (Mansfield)

She had put on so much weight he would scarcely recognise her. (Cronin)

Asyndetic sentences are fairly common after the introductory it is, e. g.:

1 See: Грамматика русского языка, т. 2, ч. 2, 1954, pp. 382—384. Л. П. Зайцева. Типы бессоюзных сложных предложений в современном английском языке. Автореферат канд. дисс, Л., 1955.


It is an apple she wants, not a pear.

A similar case is found in patterns like: What is this I hear?

As can be seen from the above examples the semantic relations between clauses are signalled only by the lexical meaning of the words making up the sentence. And this is one more example to illustrate the interaction between vocabulary and syntax which must never be overlooked in grammatical analysis.

A word will be said about asyndetic sentences in which the relative pronoun as a subject can be dispensed with (the so-called "apokoinou" principle).

"There's a gentleman downstairs wishes to see the lady", said Alderson. "It's her father, I think", he added quietly. (Dreiser)


Represented speech is a common device in narrative writing. Syntactic structures with represented speech differ in their grammatical organisation and stylistic value.

Intended to express the character's feelings and thoughts, psychological traits or mental state of mind through the writer's narration, they are most expressive and affective.

Represented speech (free reported speech) does not give the speaker's exact words as they were uttered. In quotation marks, it does not report the speakers words from the author's point of view either as the case is in indirect speech. Reporting an utterance indirectly by back-shifting the verb it omits the reporting clauses which are conventional signals of indirect speech.

There are two points to remember about the grammatical organisation of such syntactic structures:

  1. the use of the tenses, the future-in-the-past in independent sentences, in particular, which is distinct from the direct speech, and the use of personal pronouns;

  2. the use of exclamatory nominal sentences as distinct from indirect speech.

Represented speech is fairly common in 20th century literary prose. With some writers it has developed into a special manner of style. Structures of this type are skilfully used by creative writers. The use of free indirect speech for describing "interior monologue" has become a very widespread, if not standard practice in the fiction of the 20th century. In Galsworthy's novels, for instance, they are so effective and add so much to the artistic value of his writings that merit special consideration. They are always "in character", well befitting the personality and social standing of the character. We find here interrogative, vocative sentences, rhetoric questions; structures of this kind are not infrequently introduced into various dialogues, where the direct and indirect speech are used alongside with represented speech. Translation from one form to another lends variety to narration.


Examine the following extracts from J. Galsworthy to see how skilfully these stylistic resources of syntax serve his pen:

"Bonsoir, monsieur!" How softly she had said it. To know what was in her mind! The French they were like cats one could tell nothing! But how pretty! What a perfect young thing to hold in one's arms! What a mother for his heir! And he thought, with a smile, of his family and their surprise at a French wife, ana their curiosity, and of the way he would play with it and buffet it confound them! The poplars sighed in the darkness; an owl hooted. Shadows deepened in the water. "I will and must be free", he thought. "I won't hang about any longer. I'll go and see Irene. If you want things done, do them yourself. I must live again live and move and have my being." And in echo to that queer biblicality church-bells chimed the call to evening prayer.

Few things are so subjective as the use of represented speech. By a skilful use of its various patterns the writer is able to imply with emotive shades of meaning his own attitude concerning the person spoken to or of.


Nounal-verbal contrast, viewed in terms of functional interaction of these two major classes of words, is an interesting object of linguistic investigation in any language.

Noun and verbs are organically related and constantly aiding to and supporting each other in communication. Nominality must naturally be distinguished differently in different languages. English shares this feature with a number of tongues, but its development has led to such significant idiosyncratic traits as merit special attention.

In present-day English the tendency to compactness through nominality is brought into particular prominence.

The variety of grammatical forms in nominalisation may be well illustrated by the following:

  1. the extensive use of one-member sentences;

  2. the use of infinitival sentences as independent units of communicative value;

  3. the frequency value of noun-adjunct groups (premodification of nouns by nouns);

  4. compression of different types of subclauses by nominalisation (gerundive, infinitival, participial nominals and absolute nominal phrases). This makes it possible to do without a subclause which would be otherwise necessary.

  5. different types of sentence patterning in syntactic structures introducing the direct speech.

Nominality of this latter type presents a special linguistic interest as relevant to some obvious "peripheral" changes in present-day English syntax and its stylistic aspects.

Syntactic compression is obviously relevant to such problems of modern linguistics as semantic aspects of syntax, the problem of implicit predication and flexibility in syntactic hierarchy. The trend to activising compression leads to laconism and lends variety to speech.


Semantic interpretation of syntactic structures, problems of implicit predication, surface and deep sense structure are still in a rudimentary stage of investigation. The two aspects of syntactic description — "semantic syntax" and "syntax of surface structures" — are organically related to each other but none should be brought to the front at the expense of the other.

In terms of content there are homonymous structural patterns of sentences, i. e. patterns identical in their grammatical organisation and different in terms of content. And on the other hand, one semantic sentence pattern may be expressed by different formal sentence patterns.

Involving vocabulary in studying syntax helps to distinguish the semantic markers which signal the necessary meaning in each case.

Ambiguity is commonly narrowed down by the context, linguistic or situational. There are also cases when it is resolved on a span larger than a sentence.

Implicit predication in composite sentences is often suggested by the violation of direct logical relationships between the explicit parts of the sentence. This is the case, for instance, in syntactic structures with annexation, sentences with overlapping adverbial relations, syntactic structures introducing direct speech.

In compression by nominalisation a sentence dispenses with a sub-clause which results in closer cohesion of its elements and greater con-density of the whole sentence structure.

This relative compactness of the English sentence and the use of various condensers as its synonymic alternatives is one of many syntactic features that shows the analytical character of Modern English.

Synonymic correlation of sub-clauses and their nominal condensers merits attention in terms of grammatical aspects of style.

Nominals functioning as synonymic alternatives of verbal sub-clauses are in most cases well adapted to their purpose in different spheres of application.

It will be helpful to distinguish between one-member and two-member structures of the secondary predication:

Participle I

She came in and sat down at her place, feeling exceedingly watched. (Dreiser)

He stood in the road, with the sun shining on him.


Participle II

Wholly depressed he

started for Thirteenth Street. (Dreiser)

His rifle fell by him and lay there with one of the man's fingers twisted through the trigger guard



Brian laughed to think of it. (Sillitoe)

Drouet was waiting for Carrie to come back. (Dreiser)


He wound up by saying he would think it over, and came away. (Dreiser)


Absolute Back in the hut, he

Phrase switched the tuning dial

from its allotted wavelength to find some music, hoping no plane would choose to send and SOS while he wasn't listening. (Sillitoe)

The nominal tendency merits consideration in the use of prepositional phrases.

The multiplicity of ways in which such phrases may be combined in actual usage permits a very large numbers of patterns to be built in present-day English. On different linguistic occasions a prepositional nominal phrase can perform different functions, secondary predication, in particular.

A remarkable range of uses will be observed in nominal phrases with the preposition with.

With (AS. with, against, towards, opposite).

In general, with renotes a relation of proximity, contiguity, or association. In various applications with-phrases may indicate: 1) opposition, being equivalent to against, as to fight with the enemy; 2) association of a reciprocal kind or by way of participation in an action or transaction, as to talk with friends; 3) association in the way of comparison, equality or sameness, as in on equal terms with another; 4) association as object of attention or concern, as in patient with children; 5) association by way of alliance, assistance or harmony, as on friendly terms with all nations; 6) association in respect of sphere; hence in the estimation, sight or opinion of, e. g.: their arguments had weight with him; 7) causal connection, as in to perish with hunger; eyes dim with tears; 8) attendance by way of manner, purpose, result, condition, etc.; 9) association by way of possession, care, or attribute, e. g.: to arrive with good news; 10) association by way of addition, as in he came with his students; 11) association in the way of simultaneity, as in change with years; 12) separation.

Examine the following sentences when the nominal phrase is used with the implication of various adverbial meanings in secondary predication:

The country was still living on its capital. With the collapse of the carrying trade and European markets, they were importing food they couldn't afford to pay for...

With shipping idle, concerns making a loss all over the place, and the unemployed in swarms, it was a pretty pair of shoes! Even insurance must suffer before long... (Galsworthy)

Unconsciously she had assumed a modern attitude, with one leg twisted in and out of the other, with her chin on one bent wrist, her other arm across her chest, and its hand hugging her elbow. (Galsworthy)

His rifle fell by him and lay therewith one of the man's fingers twisted through the trigger guard, his wrist bent forward. (Hemingway)


Some grammarians emphasise that nominality: a) helps impersonality and offers advantage to scientific English; b) that it is easier to write and c) that it is thus natural for those who are more concerned with what they say than with how they say it 1. The latter statement is however open to doubt and questioning.

It would be wrong to say that nominality is a simple substitution. It is also not a variable which can itself vary without causing variation in the other significant factors of style.

Numerous examples can show that nominal structures are often most affective, colourful and well adapted to their purpose in pictorial or otherwise emphatic style. They are less vivid and dynamic than verbal sentences, yet still graceful and strong.

Compare the following:

Birds were singing. Birds were in varied song.

Apple-trees were blooming. Apple-trees were in fullest bloom.

He thought deeply. He was in deep thought.

She was all trembling. She was all in a tremble,

She was all fluttering. She was all in a flutter.

The pool, formed by the damming of a rock, had a sandy bottom; and the big apple tree, lowest in the orchard, grew so close that its boughs almost overhung the water; it was in leaf, and all but in flower its crimson buds just bursting. (Galsworthy)

His cousin June and coming straight to his recess! She sat down beside him, deep in thought, took out a tablet and made a pencil note. (Galsworthy)

She was all in a tremble of excitement and opposition as she spoke. (Dreiser)

...Roses on the veranda were still in bloom, and the hedges evergreen... (Galsworthy)

He crossed the floor and looked through the farther window at the water slow-flowing past the lilies. Birds were in varied song... (Galsworthy)

A word will be said, in passing, about transpositions of English nouns into adjectives where they are ready to do another duty. We mean rendering the idea of quality through the relationship of one object to the other:

a) the so-called "genitivus qualitatis", synonymous with adjectives proper and often used to obtain expressive nuances for special stylistic purposes in pictorial languages, e. g.:

Fleur sat down; she felt weak in the legs. The ice seemed suddenly of an appalling thinness the water appallingly cold. (Galsworthy)

b) nominal phrases N + Iself — a stylistic alternative of the absolute superlative degree (so-called "elative"), e. g.:

Mr. Pickwick is kindness itself.

You are patience itself = You are most patient. She was prudence itself = She was most prudent.

Phrases of this sort are more forceful and expressive than the respecitive adjective in the superlative degree. Such structures of predication

1 See: T h. Sebeok. Style in Language, 1960. pp. 210—211. 19


are good evidence of the fact that quality in some cases can be expressed more effectively by a noun than an adjective. c) noun-phrases all + N:

She is all patience, you're all activity. She is all goodness (Cf. She is very good). He is all nerves. (Cf. He is very nervous).

Direct speech is often introduced by nominal phrases of different types. The preference for such compactness is now commonplace.

A few typical examples of such compactness where predication with verbs of saying is implicit are:

"Come on, my lad, let's have you down". And again: "Are you goin' to get down or aren't you?"

"I'll fall" his arms bare and the neck slippy with sweat.

"No you won't". (Sillitoe)

(...he said, his arms bare and the neck slippy with sweat)

..."What's your name, love?" A straight answer, as if she didn't mind telling him: "Edna". (Sillitoe)

"Hey up, kid," only a glance. (Sillitoe)

(he took a glance and said)

..."Shall we go along here" pointing to where the footpath forked, through a meadow and up the hill. (Sillitoe)

(...she said pointing to...)

And here are a few examples of nominal sentences with the absolute use of verbal nouns (nornina actionis or nomina acti) transformed into independent sentences of communicative value, in patterns like the following:

One smile, and she stopped arguing.

A cry, or had she dreamed it? (Galsworthy)

One push, and he was standing inside, breathless, wiping his feet. (Sillitoe)

The tendency to word predication nominally rather than verbally is decidedly on the increase in present-day English. This outstanding feature characterises the modern English sentence as a whole.

A sentence dispenses with a sub-clause which undoubtedly results in closer cohesion of its elements; such cohesion is equivalent to a greater condensity of the whole sentence structure grouped around one single nexus of subject and predicate. The relations of at least some sentence elements to this central nexus are often of rather complex character.

The student of English as a foreign language finds many difficulties in mastering the peculiarities of various types of compression in sentence structure different from practice in other languages.

The difference between the synthetic and analytical grammatical structure is well known to be reflected in syntax. The position of the words in the sentence is grammaticalised to a much higher degree in analytical than in synthetic languages. But the highly fixed word-order is not the only syntactic feature that shows the analytical character of Modern English. This is also reflected in the relative compactness of the Modern


English sentence and the use of various condensers as its synonymic alternatives.

The idiomatic character of compactness in the grammatical organisation of the English sentence is different from practice in other languages.

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