ТОП 10:

Free and Bound Use of Grammar Forms


Grammatical forms are generally used freely according to their own meaning and their use is determined by purely linguistic factors, such as rules of agreement, syntactic construction, etc. in such cases their use is not free but bound. For example, in English the singular or the plural form of a noun preceded by a numeral depends upon the number of things counted: one table, twenty one tables; in Ukrainian the agreement depends on the last numeral: один стіл, двадцять п’ять столів. The rule of sequence of Tenses is another case in point: the use of the tense in the English subordinate clause is bound. If the past Tense is used in the principal clause, the Past or the Future-in-the-Past must be used in the subordinate clause instead of the Present or of the Future, e.g. He says that he speaks English – він каже, що знає английську; he said that he spoke English –віон сказав, что він говорить английською.

This purely formal rule of the sequence of tenses does not find its reflection in translation as no such rule exists in Ukrainian and the use of the tense form in the dependent clause is free and is determined by the situation.

It should be borne in mind that in reported speech – in newspaper articles, in minutes, in reports and records – this rule of the sequence of tenses is observed through the text: the sequences are governed by the Past Tense of the initial sentence – he said, it was reported, they declared, he stressed, etc.

To conclude, only free forms are rendered in translation and bound forms require special attention.


Types of grammatical transformations


As has been said, divergences in the structures of the two languages are so considerable that in the process of translation various grammatical and lexical transformations indispensable to achieve equivalence. These transformations may be classed into four types: 1) transpositions; 2) replacements; 3) additions; 4) omissions. This classification, however, should be applied with reservation. In most cases they are combined with one another, moreover, grammatical and lexical elements in a sentence are so closely interwoven that one change involves another, e.g.


As they leave Washington, the four foreign ministers will be traveling together by plane.

Усі чотири міністри закордонних справ летітимуть з Вашингтону разом.


The following types of transformations have been resorted to in the translation of this complex sentence:

1. The complex sentence is translated by a simple one (replacement of sentence type);

2. The word order is changed (transposition);

3. The subordinate clause of time is rendered by an adverbial modifier of place (replacement of member of the sentence);

4. The meaning of the predicate and of the adverbial modifier is rendered by the predicate (both lexical and grammatical transformations – replacement and omission);

5. The meaning of the definite article is rendered lexically (addition).

The above analysis shows that all the four types of transformations are used simultaneously and are accompanied by lexical transformations as well.



Transposition may be defined as a change in the order of linguistic elements: words, phrases, clauses and sentences. Their order in the TL text may not correspond to that in the SL text.

This change of order is necessary to preserve fully the content of the utterance while observing the norms of the TL.

In considering the universal categories of definiteness and indefiniteness mention has been made of the two main parts of the sentence from the point of view of communication, viz. the known (theme) and new (rheme) elements of the utterance and their respective place in English and in Ukrainian sentences. It should also be noted that the traditional word order in English is Subject – Predicate – Object – Adverbial modifiers while the common tendency in Ukrainian is to place adverbial modifiers at the beginning of the sentence to be followed by the predicate and the subject at the end, e.g.


Strikes broke out in many British industries.

У ряді галузей промисловості Великобританії спалахнули страйки.


Transposition can also be effected within a complex sentence. The arrangement of clauses in English is often governed by syntactical hierarchy, whereas in Ukrainian precedence is taken by logical considerations, e.g.


He started back and fell against the railings, trembling as he looked up.


Поглянувши вгору, він здригнувся, відскочив і, весь тремтячий, прихилився до огорожі.




The substitution of parts of speech is a common and most important type of replacements. Every word functions in the language as a member of a certain grammatical clause, that is, as a distinct part of speech: noun, verb, adjective or adverb. But the S and T languages do not necessarily have correlated words belonging to the same grammatical class. In such cases replacements or replacements + additions are necessary, e.g.


an early bedder – людина, яка рано лягає спати;

to cutvote somebody – отримати більше голосів на виборах, ніж …

The Times wrote editorially…- У передовиці газета Таймс писала…


The adverb is translated by a noun modified by an adjective.

A frequent use of nominal and phrase predicates with the key notion expressed by a noun or an adjective often results in the replacement of a noun by a verb.


A professor of Essex University was critical of the Government social security policy.

Професор Ессекського університету критикував урядову політику соціального забезпечення.


Semantically link verbs are highly diversified. Sometimes it is hard to draw a clear demarcation line between a nominal predicate and a case of secondary predication.

The door at the end of the corridor sighed open and sighed shut again.


Двері у кінці коридору ледве чутно відчинилися і знову ледве чутно зачинилися.


A phrase predicate is replaced by a verbal predicate.

Adjectives derived from geographical names are usually replaced by nouns as such Ukrainianadjectives evidently tend to express some permanent characteristic trait but not a temporary one, e.g.


Chilean copper – чілійська мідна руда but Chilean atrocities – звірства в Чілі.


Degrees of comparison also sometimes cause replacements. Such adjectives in the comparative degree as more, less, higher, lower, shorter, etc. are often translated by other parts of speech.


More letter bombs have been rendered harmless.

Було знешкоджено ще кілька листів з бомбами.

Another linguistic phenomenon which frequently causes replacements in translation is the use of nouns denoting inanimate things, abstract notions, natural phenomena and parts of the body as subjects – agents of the action.


Election year opens on in America which is more divided and bitter than at any time in recent history.

Цього року відбуватимуться вибори в Америці, яка ще ніколи не була такою роз’єднаною й розлюченою.


As a matter of fact the subject in such constructions is purely formal. Actually it expresses adverbial relations of time, place, cause, etc.

Parts of the sentence often change their syntactical function in translation thus causing a complete or partial reconstruction of the sentence by means of replacements.


The White House correspondents have largely been beaten into submission by the President.

Президент брутальним натиском змусив підкоритися більшість кореспондентів при Білому Домі.


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