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Phrases and their characteristics

Phrases and their characteristics

Words can be organized into bigger units – phrases:
1 2 3
(The opposition) (demands) (a more representative government.)
- the sentence consists of 3 phrases:

1. noun phrase
2. verb phrase
3. noun phrase

Identification of phrases:
● substitution: It demands something…
● movement test: A more representative government is demanding by the opposition.
(voice – active → passive)

Embedding – when we place a set of brackets inside another set it means that one phrase is embedded inside another
e. g.: They passed the table with the two men.
- the sentence can be understood in two ways:

A [They] [passed] [the table[with [the two men]]] (-two men were sitting at the table)

B [They] [passed] [the table] [with[the two men]] (-two men passed the table)

Syntactic rules of phrases: subject, verb, object

Type of phrases:
1. noun phrase
2. verb phrase
3. adjective phrase
4. adverb phrase
5. prepositional phrase

Noun phrase
● simple: Determinative + Head Noun
the book; my brother; this year
● complex: Determinative + (Pre-modifier) + Head Noun + (Post-modifier)
her below-the-knee skirt; heavy rain driven by gales
/d./ / pre-modifier / /HN/ /pre-m.//HN//post-modifier/

Verb phrase
[auxiliary verb] + lexical verb
● Finite VP (show distinction of tense and can include modal auxiliaries)
(určité slovesné tvary)
● Non finite VP (neurčité slovesné tvary)
- non finite VP is represented by these forms: infinitive, present participle (-ing), past participle (-ed)/irregular

simple (show, shows, showed)
perfect (has/have/had shown)
progressive (am/is/are/was/were showing)
passive (is/are/was/were shown)
perfect progressive (has/have/had been showing)
perfect passive (has/have/had been shown)
progressive passive (am/is/are/was/were being shown)

Adjectival phrase
e. g.: old, poor, so lucky, good enough, desperately poor
- some with pre-modifier → expressing degree of quality
- some head adjectives can take a complement (answer a question – “In what respect is the adjectival quality to be interpreted”):
guilty of a serious crime
subject to approval by
slow to respond
Syntactic rules:

1. predicative (je tá časť vety, kt. vypovedá o podmete)
That’s right. He is drunk. He is totally crazy.

2. attributive (prívlastok je vo verb phrase)
What shall we do with a drunken sailor? He is a deeply sick man.

Adverb phrase
e. g.: there, quietly, pretty, soon, fortunately, enough

Syntactic rules:
A: Modifier in adjective phrase or adverb phrase:
These two were pretty much horribly spoiled.
He was a little creature with sweetly expressive face.
/pre-mod. by adverb//adjective/

B: Adverbial:
She smiled sweetly. They sang soothingly well.
AP / pre-mod. //AP/

Prepositional phrase
Mostly consists of a preposition followed by a NP (called prepositional complement)
e. g.: to town; in the morning; on the right; of the first day; in a street with no name

Nouns – Number

Regular plurals
The plural of most noun is made by just adding –s to the singular. But there are some special cases:
- If the sg ends in consonant + y, the pl is normally made by changing y to I and adding –es: baby – babies
- If the sg ends in vowel + y the plural is made by adding –s: day – days
- Proper names ending in consonant + y usually have plural in –ys: Do you know the Kennedys?

Singular and plural irregular and special

▪ plural of nouns ending in sh, ch, s, x, z
- plural is made by adding –es: church – churches, buzz – buzzes
- noun ending in a single –z have plural in –zzes: fez – fezzes

▪ plural of nouns ending in o
- same have ending in –es: potato – potatoes, negro – negroes
- vowel + o → -s: radio – radios
- same have ending in –s: photo – photos, commando – commandos, logo – logos, solo – solos
- a few common words ending in –o can have plurals in –s or –es: buffalo, mosquito

Irregular special plurals

1. irregular plurals in –ves:

calf – calves
elf – elves
half – halves
knife – knives
self – selves
leaf – leaves
life – lives
loaf – loaves
shelf – shelves
thief – thieves
sheaf – sheaves
wife – wives
wolf – wolves

- dwarf, hoof, scarf and wharf can have plurals in either –fs or –ves
- other words ending in –fe are regular

2. other irregular plurals:

child – children mouse – mice ox – oxen tooth - teeth
food – feed man – men penny – pence woman - women
goose – geese louse – lice person – people

- The regular plural penny can be used to talk about separate penny coins (and one-cent coins in USA). Pence is used to talk about prices and sums of money.
- Some British people use pence as a singular.
- Persons is sometimes used in a plural of person of official language.
3. plurals same as singulars

- some words ending in –s do not change in plural:
barracks, crossroads, headquarters, means, series, species, works, Swiss
- some singular uncountable nouns end in –s → they have no plurals:
news, billiards, draughts (and some other names of games ending in –s), measles (and some other illnesses)

- most words ending in –ics are normally singular uncountable and have no plural use: mathematics, athletics, physics
Too much mathematics is usually taught in school.
- some words ending in –ics can also have plural uses: politics, statistics
Politics is a complicated business. BUT: The unemployment statistics are disturbing. (konkrétna štatistika)

(The acoustics in this room are awful. – konkrétna akustika)
- other nouns which do not change in the plural are craft (meaning “vehicle”): aircraft, spacecraft, hovercraft
- Chinese, Japanese and other nationalities nouns ending in –ese
- sheep, fish, deer and the names of some other living creatures (especially those that are hunted or used for food)

- dozen, hundred, thousand, million, stone (14 pounds), and foot (12 inches) have plurals without –s in some kinds of expressions
- Dice (used in board games) is originally the plural of die which is not now often used in this sense. In modern Eneglish dice is gene rally used as both singular and plural.
- Data is originally the plural of datum, which is not now used.

4. foreign plurals:

analysis – analyses (Latin)
appendix – appendices (Latin) /appendixes
bacterium – bacteria (Latin)
medium – media (Latin) /mediums
cactus – cacti (Latin) /cactuses
fungus – fungi (Latin) /funguses
criterion – criteria (Greek)
phenomenon – phenomena (Greek)
formula – formulae (Latin) /formulas
vertebra – vertebrae (Latin) /vertebras
kibbutz – kibbutzim (Hebrew)

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