The main grammatical notions 

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The main grammatical notions

The basic units of the language and speech: are the phoneme, the morpheme, the word and the sentence. The phoneme is the smallest distinctive unit. E.g. the phoneme [b] is the only distinctive feature making the difference between [teil] and [teibl]. Phonemes are always members of the phonetic system of a given language and the content of each phoneme is conditioned by its positioning this system. The sound system of a language is the subject matter of phonetics and phonology. The morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit. Un – fail – ing – ly for instance contains four meaningful parts i.e four morphemes. The word is the smallest naming unit. Any word may have one or more lexical meanings and at the same time it may have one or more grammatical meanings as well. A word which is devoid (лишенный) of meaning is not a word. But of course there is a connection between the meaning of a word and the thing it denotes, but the connection is indirect.

The scientific approach to the understanding of a language, as a means of intercourse states, that a set of sounds becomes a word only when it is connected with a reflection in our consciousness of objective reality. The meaning of a word is the expression of a concept of things fixed in sounds and a word from this point of view may be considered a form of concept’s material existence.

Now we return to the terms – lexical and grammatical meanings. The lexical meaning is a notion which is named in the word: E.g. a house means a certain concrete object where people live and at the same time it has grammatical meanings of case (common) and number (sing).

The verb to say denotes a concrete act of speaking and it has such grammatical meanings expressed by tense, voice, mood forms.

So the grammatical meaning is the generalizing meaning of words, comprising them into one and the same class, i.e. names of objects and substances for nouns, names of actions for verbs, names of quality for adjectives and so on. Grammatical meanings are expressed by means of grammatical forms such as suffixes and inflexions in grammatical meaning of number of the nouns in English and is expressed by the absence of the plural ending in singular and by the presence of “s” or “es” in plural.

If we compare such word forms as boys, tables, winters we notice at once, that though denoting quite different objects of reality they have smth in common. The common element is the grammatical meaning of plurality, which is expressed by the inflexion “s”. To the form of the words belongs not only suffixes or prefixes, stress and affixes, but also the forms of the verbs expressed by modal auxiliary verbs as well. We mean the formation of continuous aspect and the perfect tense of the verbs (to be, to have, shall, will).

Grammatical meanings characterize what class the words belong to – case and number are the characteristic features of the nouns, degrees of comparison – adjective; tense, voice, mood, person and number – verbs. The syntactical relations between the words are revealed with the help of grammatical meanings.

The sentence is the smallest communicative unit. The sentence is the objective expression of our thought in the stream of speech. It may consist of one word or more than one word. To investigate the structure of a sentence it’s semantics is the subject matter of syntax, a branch of the science called Grammar.

So to sum up: The phoneme, the morpheme, the word and the sentence are units of different levels of linguistic structure.

The phoneme is a unit of the lowest level, the sentence – of the highest. With regard to the level of linguistic structure there is no difference between a single unit and combination of units. If phonology studies the phonemes of language, it is also expected to study the combinations of phonemes in the language. The branch of linguistic that studies morphemes must also study the combinations of morphemes. If morphology deals with the words it should also deal with the combinations of the words.

So the units of each level can be analyzed as to their inner structure the classes they belong to in the linguistic system (otherwise, their paradigmatic relations), and the combinations of the forms in speech (or their syntagmatic relations).

So: the structure, classification and combinability of phonemes is studied by a branch of linguistics called phonology. The structure classification and combinability of words is the object morphology syntax deals with the structure classification and combinability of the sentences.





Pronouns are words which point to objects without naming them.

Morphological composition. They may be of different structure: simple(I, you, he), compound(myself, themselves), and composite(each other, one another).

Subclasses of pronouns and their functions. Semantically all pronouns fall into the following subclasses:

Personal pronoun s are noun-pronouns, indicating persons (I, you, he, we, they) or non-persons (it, they) from the point of view of their relations to the speaker. Thus I (me) indicates the speaker himself, we (us) indicates the speaker together with some other person or persons. Personal pronouns have the category of person, number, case (nominative and objective), and gender, the latter is to be found in the 3rd person only: masculine and feminine is he - him, she - her; neuter case-forms it - it coincide.

Possessive pronouns indicate possession by persons (my, mine, your, yours, their, theirs) or non-persons (its, their, theirs). They comprise two sets of forms: the conjoint forms - my, your, his, her, our, their, which always combine with nouns and premodify them as attributes and the absolute forms - mine, yours, his, hers, ours, yours, theirs, which do not combine with nouns, but function as their substitutes.

Reflexive pronouns indicate identity between the person or non-person they denote and that denoted by the subject of the sentence. They are: myself, yourself, herself, himself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselve.

Reciprocal pronouns indicate a mutual relationship between two or more than two persons, or occasionally non-persons (each other, one another) who are at the same time the doer and the object of the same action.

Demonstrativ e pronouns point to persons or non-persons or their properties: this (these), that (those), such.

Indefinite pronouns indicate persons or non-persons or else their properties in a general way without defining the class of objects they belong to, class or properties they possess. They are: some, any, somebody, anybody, someone, anyone, something, anything, one.

Negative pronouns as the term implies render the general meaning of the sentence negative. They are: no, none, nothing, nobody, no one, neither.

Detaching pronouns indicate the detachment of some object from other objects of the same class. There are only two pronouns of this subclass - other, another.

Universal pronouns indicate all objects (persons and non-persons) as one whole or any representative of the group separately. They are: all, both, each, every, everything, everybody, everyone, either.

Interrogative pronouns indicate persons or non-persons or tlieir properties as unknown to the speaker and requiring to be named in the answer. who, whose, what, which, who­ever, whatever, whichever.

Conjunctive pronouns (whom, whose, what, which, whoever, whatever, whichever) are identical with the interrogative pronouns as to their morphological, referential and syntactical characteristics. They refer to persons and non-persons. The difference between the two subclasses lies in that the conjunctive pronouns, along with their syntactical function in the clause, connect subordinate clauses to the main clause. They are used to connect subject, predicative, and some adverbial clauses, or rather to indicate the subordinate status of these clauses, as the sentence may begin with the clause they introduce.

Relative pronouns refer to persons and non-persons and open attributive clauses which modify words denoting these persons or non-persons. They are who, whose, which, that.



Notional formal


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