The individualizing function 

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The individualizing function

The object in question may be presented as a unique thing with the hearer’s attention focused on its distinguishing features, which are represented with the help of a particularizing attribute. The object is singled out from the class it belongs to. The particularizing attribute can be expressed by:

a) adjectives in the superlative degree

e.g. This is the easiest way out.

b) ordinal numerals

e.g. I have forgotten the first word.

c) attributive relative restrictive clauses

e.g. I need the book I bought yesterd ay.



In most cases the zero article performs the same functions as the indefinite one. The difference is that the combinability of the latter is restricted to the group of countable nouns used in the singular form, whereas the zero article combines with uncountable nouns and countable nouns in the plural.

e.g. It was a large room with many windows.

The toasts were in champagne.

Still there are situations where the zero article is used in its specific functions which are different from those of the indefinite article. When used with the zero article, the noun loses its general grammatical meaning of thingness to a certain degree and acquires the meaning of qualitativeness. For example, the nouns “day” and “night” used with the zero article stand for “light” and “darkness” rather than time units.




We should distinguish between TIME as a universal non-linguistic concept and linguistic means of its expression which can be lexical (today, tomorrow) and grammatical (the category of tense). The grammatical category of tense may be defined as a verbal category which reflects the objective category of time and expresses the relations between the time of the action and the time of the utterance.

The category of tense is universally recognised. There has never been any argument about the existence of this grammatical category in Modern English. Nobody has ever suggested to characterise the distinction, for example, between wrote, writes, and will write as other than a tense distinction. But the questions of how many tenses there are in English and what each of them means is one of the most problematic in modern linguistics. It is also necessary to analyse the mutual relations between tense and other categories of the English verb.

The main divisions of objective time appear to be clear enough. There are three of them, past, present, and future. However, it doesn’t mean that tense systems of different languages are bound to be identical. On the contrary, there are wide differences in this respect.

In English there are the three tenses (past, present and future) represented by the forms wrote, writes, will write, or lived, lives, will live. However, some doubts have been expressed about the existence of a future tense in English. O. Jespersen discussed this question more than once. The reason why Jespersen denied the existence of a future tense in English was that the English future is expressed by the phrase "shall/will + infinitive", and the verbs shall and will which make part of the phrase preserve, according to Jespersen, some of their original meaning (shall an element of obligation, and will an element of volition). Thus, in Jespersen's view, English has no way of expressing "pure futurity" free from modal shades of meaning, i. e. it has no form standing on the same grammatical level as the forms of the past and present tenses. However, this reasoning is not convincing. Though the verbs shall and will may in some contexts preserve their original meaning of obligation or volition respectively, as a rule they are free from these shades of meaning and express mere futurity. This is especially clear in sentences where the verb will is used as an auxiliary of the future tense and where, at the same time, the meaning of volition is excluded by the context. E. g. I am so sorry, I am afraid I will have to go back to the hotel — (R. WEST) Since the verb will cannot possibly be said to preserve even the slightest shade of the meaning of volition here, it can have only one meaning — that of grammatical futurity. Moreover, in Modern English the verbs “shall” and “will” are used in their contracted form (‘ll), which proves they are not modal verbs.

So the three main divisions of time are represented in the English verbal system by the three tenses. According to one point of view, the category of tense is closely connected with the verbal category of aspect which describes the character of the action – common or continuous. Each of the tense-forms may appear in the common and in the continuous aspect. Thus we get six tense-aspect forms.

Besides these six, however, there are two more, namely, the future-in-the-past and the future-continuous-in-the-past. They do not easily fit into a system of tenses represented by a straight line running out of the past into the future. They are a deviation from this straight line: their starting point is not the present, from which the past and the future are reckoned, but the past itself. With reference to these tenses it may be said that the past is a new centre of the system. The idea of temporal centres propounded by Prof. I. Ivanova as an essential element of the English tense system seems therefore fully justified in analysing the "future-in-the-past" tenses.

A similar view of the English tense system has been put forward by Prof. N. Irtenyeva. According to this view, the system is divided into two halves: that of tenses centring in the present, and that of tenses centring in the past. The former would comprise the present, present perfect, future, present continuous, and present perfect continuous, whereas the latter would comprise the past, past perfect, future-in-the-past, past continuous, and past perfect continuous. The latter half is characterised by specific features: the root vowel (e.g. sang as against sing), and the suffix -d (or -t), e.g. looked, had sung, would sing, had been singing. 4 This view has much to recommend it. It has the advantage of reducing the usual threefold division of tenses (past, present, and future) to a two-fold division (past and present) with each of the two future tenses (future and future-in-the-past) included into the past or the present system, respectively.

The above mentioned theories seem to be inconsistent to a number of grammarians. They (Ilyish, Smirnitsky and Yartseva) treat tense and aspect as different grammatical categories. Theyrestrict the amount of tense-forms to three (present, past and future) which correlate with two more distinct categories - the category of aspect and the category of order (time correlation).

The category of aspect is a system of two-member opposemes such as woks-is working, has worked- has been working etc. showing whether the action is taken in its progress, or development; or it is simply stated; in other words whether it is continuous or non-continuous.

Ivanova suggests that aspect cannot be separated from tense, it is like tense-aspect system. But if we take infinitive we find aspect is not linked with tense as the Infinitive does not indicate tense. E.g. to write- to be writing, to have written- to have been writing. So, the infinitive proves that aspect can be and is separated from tense.

The categories of tense and aspect characterize an action from different points of view. The tense shows the time of the action while the aspect shows its development.

According to the category of aspect verbs are divided into a) terminative (limitive) – the point of the end of the action is vividly seen (to bring, to stop); and b) durative (unlimitive) – to carry, to play, to look for. Another division is into static (statal) and dynamic (actional). Static verbs have no aspect opposemes. To this group of verbs we refer:

The category of order is a system of 2-member opposemes such as writes-has written, wrote-had written, writing-having written etc., showing whether the action is viewed as a prior to (perfect) or irrespective of (non-perfect) other actions or situations. Smirnitsky was the first to draw attention to the fact that opposemes like- writes-has written represent a grammatical category different from that of tense. If we take a close look at the perfect, we can see that it conveys the meaning of priority & precedence.

Ex. She has come (priority to the situation in the present);

She had come before Mrs. B. called me (priority to the act of Mrs. B. called me) & etc..

From these examples it’s clear that the perfect serves to express priority, whereas the non-perfect member of the opposemes (as to write - to have written) leaves the action unspecified as to its being prior or not to another action, situation or point of time.

Smirnitsky calls this category time correlation (категория временной отнесенности). But if we take any example where the perfect is used we’ll see that all the events will be set in a certain order, the actions don’t take place at the same time but follow each other in a certain succession. So, it’s more comfortable to name this category as the category of order.

All the opposemes of this category are exactly alike with regard to the content. They have the same particular meaning of perfect & non-perfect order united by the general meaning of the category of order. In this respect all the opposemes are identical. When we describe an action prior to some action in the past, both actions must be mentioned, & the notion of priority is obvious. But when an action prior to the present is described, the present need not be mentioned, since it’s the act of speech.

Thus, any verb-form can be characterized by the following temporal categories: tense, aspect, order. E.g. has been doing – present tense, continuous aspect, perfect order.





What Is the Infinitive Form of a Verb? (with Examples)

The infinitive form of a verb is the verb in its basic form. It is the version of the verb which will appear in the dictionary.

The infinitive form of a verb is usually preceded by to (e.g., to run, to dance, to think). The infinitive form is not always preceded by to. Look at these examples:

I need to run every day.

(The infinitive form with the word to is called the full infinitive or to-infinitive.)

I must run every day.

(After certain verbs, the to is dropped (more on this below).)

I run every day.

(This is not in the infinitive form. This is a finite verb, i.e., a verb functioning as the main verb.)

Note: The word to is not a preposition. It is often called the sign of the infinitive.

An infinitive is a non-finite verb. In other words, it cannot be the main verb in a sentence.

An infinitive can be used as a noun, an adjective or an adverb.

Examples of Infinitives as Nouns

Here are some examples of infinitive verbs as nouns:

To dance was her passion.

(The infinitive is the subject of was.)

Compare it to this:

Dancing was her passion.

(This proves that the infinitive to dance is being used a noun.)

Here is another example:

He likes to hunt.

(The infinitive is the direct object of likes.)

Compare it to this:

He likes hunting.

(This proves that the infinitive to hunt is being used a noun.)

Examples of Infinitives as Adjectives

An adjective modifies a noun to tell us something about the noun (e.g., its colour, type, or number). You have to bear this in mind when working out how infinitives function as adjectives. Here are some examples of infinitive verbs as adjectives:

Give him an ornament to polish.

(The infinitive modifies ornament. This means it is functioning as an adjective.)

Compare it to this:

Give him an ornament that he can polish.

(The clause that he must polish is an adjective clause. This proves that the infinitive to polish is being used an adjective.)

Here is another example:

I need a volunteer to take the minutes.

(The infinitive modifies volunteer. This means it is functioning as an adjective.)

Compare it to this:

I need a volunteer who is prepared to take the minutes.

(The clause who is prepared to take the minutes is an adjective clause. Therefore, the infinitive to take is being used an adjective. Note how to take is grouped with the minutes. This is an infinitive phrase.)

An infinitive that acts as an adjective usually appears immediately after the noun it is modifying.

Examples of Infinitives as Adverbs

An adverb usually modifies a verb to tell us when, where, how, in what manner, or to what extent an action is performed. You have to bear this in mind when working out how infinitives function as adverbs. Here are some examples of infinitive verbs as adverbs:

The officer returned to help.

(The infinitive modifies the verb returned. This means it is functioning as an adverb.)

Compare it to this:

The officer returned so he could help.

(The clause so he could help is an adverbial clause. This proves that the infinitive to help is being used an adverb.)

Here is another example:

He will complete the mission to set an example.

(The infinitive modifies the verb will complete. This means it is functioning as an adverb.)

Compare it to this:

He will complete the mission so he can set an example.

(The clause so he can set an example is an adverbial clause. Therefore, the infinitive to set an example is being used an adverb. Note how to set is grouped with an example. This is an infinitive phrase.)

Bare Infinitives (When Not Preceded by To)

Most infinitives are preceded by to, but after certain verbs, the to is dropped. The most obvious example is when an infinitive follows can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, or would (i.e., a modal verb). For example:
More examples (bare infinitives shaded):

He should go home.

(This is called a bare infinitive.)

They might finish by Wednesday.

Bare infinitives also follow other verbs. The main ones are feel, hear, help, let, make, see, and watch. This time, there is a direct object involved. For example:
More examples (bare infinitives shaded):

Mark helped his friend finish.

(The "special" verb is helped. The direct object is his friend.)

I watched them bake the bread.

(The "special" verb is watched. The direct object is them.)

Use the Infinitive Form As a Name for a Verb

When discussing grammar, the infinitive form is used as the name for a verb. For example:

The verb to play has the participles playing and played.

In the present tense, the verb to be has the forms am, is, and, are




The gerund is a non-finite form of the verb with some noun features. It is formed by adding the suffix -ing to the stem of the verb. Similar with the infinitive the gerund serves as a verbal name of the process but its substantive quality is more strongly pronounced than that of the infinitive. As a matter of fact the gerund cannot perform the function of the paradigmatic verbal head form for a number of reasons. In the place it is more detached from the finite verb than the finite verb than the infinitive semantically tending to be far more substantival unit categorically. Then, as different from the infinitive it doesn’t join in the conjunction of the finite verb. Unlike the infinitive it is the suffixal form which makes it less generalized than the infinitive in terms of the formal properties of the verbal lexeme.

The grammatical meaning of the gerund is that of a process. Thus to some extent it competes with nouns of verbal origin, e.g. translating -translation, describing - description, arriving - arrival, perceiving - perception, helping - help. Nouns, however, tend to convey the fact or the result of an action, which in certain circumstances may be something material, whereas gerunds convey the idea of action or process itself.


Show me your translation: it is neatly done, and there, are no mistakes in it.

You will enrich your vocabulary by translating from English into Russian and vice versa.

If the meaning of the gerund is nearly the same as that of the noun, the former emphasizes the process, and the latter - the fact:

Thank you for helping me.

Thank you for your help.

It is natural that the verbal character of the gerund is more prominent in transitive verbs, owing to their combinability and their passive forms.

Morphologically the verbal character of the gerund is manifested in the categories of voice and perfect and syntactically in its combinability. Thus the gerund may combine: a) with a noun or pronoun as direct, indirect or prepositional object, depending on the verb it is formed from; b) with an adjective or a noun as a predicative; c) with an infinitive.Gerunds can be modified by adverbs and prepositional phrases function­ing as adverbial modifiers.The nominal character of the gerund reveals itself syntactically, mainly in its syntactical function, partly in its combinability.

Like a noun, it can function as subject, object, or predicative.

Seeing me he stood irresolute, his eyes dark and mournful-subject (Hansford Johnson)

I remember laughing aloud –object (Du Maurier)

She was angry with herself for letting her voice become hoarse.- prepositional object


Peter’s hobby is seeing all new films. (predicative)


When it is an attribute or an adverbial modifier, a gerund, like a noun is preceded by a preposition.


There is a chance of catching the train.

Don’t forget to call me up before leaving London.

I reached my goal in spite of there being every reason against it.


The fact that the gerund can associate with a preposition is a sure sign of noun features.

Like a noun, but unlike the other non-finites, it can combine with a possessive pronoun and a noun in the genitive case denoting the doer of the action expressed by the gerund.


Excuse my interrupting you.

I insist on John’s staying with us.


It combines with the negative pronoun no in the idiomatic construction of the type: There is no getting out of it.


The grammatical categories of the gerund


As already stated the gerund has only two grammatical categories, those of voice and perfect.



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