How to Analyze Grammar Phenomena 

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How to Analyze Grammar Phenomena

I. As I fumbled around for the matches, knocking things down with my quaking hands, I wished the sun would rise in the middle of the day, when it was warm and bright and cheerful, and one wasn't sleepy.

The sentence is complex with several subordinate clauses and is full of interesting and important grammar phenomena. But those specially underlined concern the following:

1) ....knocking things down with my quaking hands… is a participial construction used in the function of an adverbial modifier of attendant circumstances (or manner); another participle used in the construction is quaking which is a prepositional attribute to the noun hands.

2) ... I wish the sun would rise in the middle of the day…is one of the sentence patterns with Subjunctive II. What differs this sentence pattern from a more habitual one – smb wishes/wished/will wish smb did smth, was doing smth, smth was done is its emphatic character. According to the rule to make the sentence more emphatic one can use would + Infinitive after the expression of wish, but only if the subjects in both clauses are different and if the wish refers to the present or future – I wish/ wished, shall wish he/it would do/would not do it.

II. It was one of the saddest sights I ever saw.

Here we observe the superlative degree of the adjective sad – saddest where the letter d is doubled according to the formation rule. The noun sight is used in its plural form – sights showing that it is one of those numerous sights. Very often the speakers make a mistake using the singular form of the noun instead of the plural form because the word one misleads them as if it were pointing to a singular form.



Grammatical structure

Synthetic and analytical languages

Analytical forms (Tense and Aspect verb-forms; the Passive Voice; the analytical form of the Subjunctive Mood)

Endings: tables, smoked, my brother’s book

Inner flexions: man-men, speak-spoke

Substitutes: one, that, do

Parts of speech – the notional parts of speech: the noun, the adjective, the pronoun, the numeral, the verb, the adverb, the words of the category of state, the modal words, the interjection

The preposition, the conjunction, the particle, the article

Morphological characteristics: number, case, gender

Syntactical characteristics: the subject, object, attribute, predicative, prepositional indirect object, adverbial modifier

Morphological composition of nouns: simple, derivative and com­pound nouns

Productive noun-forming suffixes: reader, teacher, worker; dramatist, telegraphist; actress, hostess, heiress; madness, blackness, imperia­lism, nationalism

Unproductive suffixes: childhood, manhood freedom, friendship, development, importance, dependence, cruelty, generosity

Classification of nouns: proper nouns, common nouns, class nouns, nouns of material, collective nouns, abstract nouns

The definite, indefinite, zero article

Substantivized adjectives

Personal, possessive, reflexive, reciprocal, demonstrative, inter­roga­tive, relative, conjunctive, defining, indefinite, negative pronouns

The Verb

Grammatical categories: person, number, tense, aspect, voice and mood

Transitive and intransitive. The finite forms. The non-finite forms

Morphological structure: simple (read, live), derived (i.e. having affixes: magnify, captivate, undo), compound (i.e. consisting of two stems: daydream), composite (consisting of a verb and a postposition of adverbial origin: sit down, go away, give up)

The basic forms of the verb: the Infinitive, Past Indefinite,

Participle II.

Regular verbs, irregular verbs, mixed verbs

Syntactic function of verbs: notional, auxiliary, link verbs

Tenses: the Present Indefinite, the Past Indefinite, the Future Indefinite, the Present Continuous, the Past Continuous, the Future Continuous, the Future Continuous in the Past, the Present Perfect, the Past Perfect, the Future Perfect, the Future Perfect in the Past, the Present Perfect Continuous, the Past Perfect Continuous, the Future Perfect Continuous

The Passive Voice

Modal Verbs, modal expressions

Mood: the Indicative mood, the Imperative mood, the Subjunctive mood (Subjunctive I, Subjunctive II), the Suppositional mood

The Non-Finite Forms of the Verb (The Verbals): the Infinitive, the Participle I, II, the Gerund

The Predicative Constructions: Complex Object, Complex Subject – the Subjective, Objective Infinitive, Participial Constructions; the Nominative Absolute Participial Construction, the Prepositional Absolute Construction, Half Gerund

The Predicate: the simple predicate, the compound predicate (the compound nominal predicate, the compound verbal predicate (modal, aspect); the predicative (the objective predicative – They painted the door green)

The Compound Sentence

The Complex Sentence – a principal clause and one or more subordinate clauses: subject clauses, predicative clauses, object clauses, attributive clauses, adverbial clauses (of time, of cause, of purpose, of condition, of concession, of result, of manner, of com­parison), parenthetical clauses

The sequence of tenses

Indirect speech. Indirect questions

Punctuation: a comma, a full stop, period, a dash, brackets, colon, semicolon, inverted comas, exclamatory mark, question mark, quotation marks, dots

Homogeneous members

Phonetics. The classification of sounds


I. Monophthongs

1) According to the front-back position of the tongue (horizontal movement):

a) front: [i], [i:], [e], [æ];

b) central: [ə], [ə:];

c) back: [u], [u:], [/\], [o], [o:], [a:].

2) According to the height of the body of the tongue (vertical movement):

a) high / close: [i], [i:], [u], [u:];

b) mid: [e], [ə], [ə:];

c) low/ open: [a:], [æ], [/\], [o], [o:].

3) According to the position of the lips / degree of lip rounding:

a) rounded / labialized: [u], [u:], [o], [o:];

b) unrounded: [i], [i:], [e], [æ], [ə], [ə:], [/\], [a:].

4) According to the length/ duration:

a) short: [i], [e], [æ], [ə], [u], [/\], [o];

b) long: [i:], [ə:], [u:], [o:], [a:].

5) According to the tenseness of the vocal organs:

a) tense: all long vowels;

b) lax: all short vowels.

6) According to the position of soft palate:

a) nasal (before a nasal consonant, allophonic change);

b) oral (in other positions).

7) According to the energy discharge:

a) checked: short stressed vowels; long vowels followed by a voiceless consonant.

b) unchecked: unstressed vowels, stressed long vowels followed by a voiced consonant.

II. Diphthongs

1) According to the glide:

a) with [i] glide: [ei], [ai], [oi] ;

b) with [u] glide: [au], [ou];

c) with [ə] glide: [iə], [eə], [uə].

2) According to the direction of articulation:

a) closing: [ei], [ai], [oi], [au], [ou].

b) centering: [iə], [eə], [uə].



1) According to the state of vocal folds:

a) voiced: [b], [d], [g], [z], [v], [ð], [з], [m], [n], [ŋ], [l], [r], [j], [w], [dз];

b) voiceless: [p], [t], [k], [s], [f], [h], [θ], [∫], [t∫].

2) According to the position of the soft palate:

a) nasal: [m], [n], [ŋ];

b) oral: all the rest.

3) According to the place of articulation:

a) labial:

– bilabial: [b], [p], [m], [w];

– labiodental: [f], [v];

b) coronal:

– dental: [θ], [ð];

– alveolar: [t], [d], [n], [l], [s], [z];

– palato-alveolar: [∫], [t∫], [з], [dз];

– retroflex: [r];

c) dorsal:

– palatal: [j];

– velar: [k], [g], [ŋ];

d) glottal: [h].

4) According to the type of obstruction and manner of the production of noise:

a) occlusive /stops:

– plosives / oral stops: [p], [b], [t], [d], [k], [g];

– affricates: [t∫], [dз];

– nasals / nasal stops: [m], [n], [ŋ];

b) fricatives: [f], [v], [θ], [ð], [s], [z], [∫], [з], [h].

c) approximants:

– central: [w], [r], [j];

– lateral: [l].


sound – звук

vowel – гласный

consonant – согласный

monophthong – монофтонг

diphthong – дифтонг

front – переднего ряда

central – среднего / смешанного ряда

back – заднего ряда

high / close – высокого подъема / закрытый

mid – среднего подъема

low / open – низкого подъема / открытый

labialized / rounded – лабиализованный / огубленный

unrounded – неогубленный

short – краткий

long – долгий

tense – напряженный

lax – ненапряженный

nasal – носовой

oral – ртовый

(un)checked – (не)усеченный

stressed – ударный

unstressed – безударный

nucleus - ядро

glide – глайд

closing – закрывающийся

centering – центрирующий

voiced – звонкий

voiceless – глухой

soft palate – мягкое нёбо

articulation – артикуляция

labial – губной

bilabial – двугубный

labiodental – губно-зубной

coronal – переднеязычный

dental – дентальный / зубный

alveolar – альвеолярный

palato-alveolar – нёбно-альвеолярный

retroflex – заальвеолярный

dorsal – дорсальный / заднеязычный

palatal – палатальный

velar – велярный

glottal – фарингальный, гортанный

occlusive/stops – смычные

plosives / oral stops – взрывные

affricates – аффрикаты

nasal stops – носовые

fricatives – фрикативные / шумные

approximants – сонанты

lateral – боковые / латеральные

silent letter – непроизносимая буква

syllable – слог

intonation – интонация

phoneme – фонема

allophone – аллофон

phonetics – фонетика

phonology – фонология

word stress – словесное ударение

sentence stress – фразовое ударение

pitch – высота тона, звука

primary stress – главное ударение

secondary stress – второстепенное ударение

free/fixed stress – свободное / связанное ударение

prosody – просодия, супрасегментные средства организации речи

2.4. Lexicology

"Hey, " Sally yelled, " could you paint it canary yellow, Fred? "

"Turtle green, " shouted my mother.

"Mouse grey, " Randy suggested.

"Dove white, maybe? " my mother asked.

"Rattlesnake brown, " my father said.

"Forget it, all of you, my Buick is going to be peacock blue. "

(From A Five-Buick by P.Anderson Wood)

In the following extract a family are discussing which colour to paint their new car. It is obvious that the meaning of all these "multi-coloured" adjectives is based on comparison: the second constituent of the adjective is the name of a colour used in its actual sense and the first is the name of an object (animal, flower, etc.) with which the comparison is drawn. The pattern immensely extends the possibilities of denoting all imaginable shades of each colour, the more so that the pattern is productive and a great number of nonce-words are created after it. The pattern allows for vast creative experiments. This is well shown in the fragment given above. If canary yellow, peacock blue, dove white are quite "normal" in the language and registered by dictionaries, turtle green and rattlesnake brown are certainly typical nonce-words, amusing inventions of the author aimed at a humorous effect.


Stylistically Neutral words

Stylistically marked words

Informal (Colloquial words: literary, familiar, low; slang words; dialect words)

Formal (learned words: literary, words of scientific prose, officialese, modes of poetic diction; archaic and obsolete words; professional terminology)

International words

Etymological doublets


Etymological and stylistic characteristics of words



Productive/ non-productive affixes

Semantics of affixes




Shortening (Contraction)

Sound-Imitation (onomatopoeia)


Back-Formation (Reversion)


Semantic structure of the word

Types of semantic components

Meaning and context

Development and change of meaning

Transference based on resemblance (Similarity)


Broadening (Generalization) of meaning

Narrowing (Specialization) of meaning





The dominant synonym

Phraseology: word-groups with transferred meanings

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