Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

(18) Verbs and their Formal and Semantic Properties.

(Finite, Non-finite; Auxiliaries, Modals, Lexical Verbs; Verbo-nominal Groups; Phrasal Verbs, Verbs of Perception, Causative Verbs).

(18.1) Morphological Properties of Verbs

(18.1.1) Derivational Morphology

- verbal suffixes: -ise (recognise), -ify (magnify)

- some verbs homonymous with nouns: act, challenge, flood

- some verbs homonymous with adjectives: clean, secure, etc.

(18.1.2) Inflectional Morphology

(a) finite verb forms: reflect the subject-verb agreement in person and number

(b) non-finite verb forms (infinitive, gerund, participle)

(1) regular flexion > productive/open class: 4 verbal forms

(2) irregular flexion > unproductive/closed class: 4 or 5 verbal forms

- irregular means of flexion manifested only in the past participle/passive participle forms

- bare form: null suffix

- 3rd per. SG present tense form: -(e)s suffix <> homonymous with the regular plural of N, observes the same rules for pronunciation/spelling x no change of the word-final -y

- present participle/gerund form: -ing suffix <> the same rules for pronunciation/spelling as the grading of ADJ/ADV

- past simple/past participle/passive participle: -ed suffix <> pronounced [id] after [t, d], pronounced [t] after voiceless consonants, pronounced [d] after voiced consonants and vowels

(18.2) Verb Classes

(1) lexical verbs: an open system

(2) primary auxiliaries: be, have, do

(3) central modals: can/could, may/might, shall/should, will/would, must

(4) marginal modals: used to, need, dare, ought to, etc.

(5) modal idioms: had better, would rather, be to, have got to, etc.

(6) semi-auxiliaries: have to, be about to, be going to, etc.

(18.2.1) Specification of Lexical Verbs

- form all the four flexion forms, either regularly or irregularly (past/passive participle)

- manifest all verbal grammatical categories (tense, aspect, mood, voice; person, number)

- need do-support (question, negation)

(18.2.2) Specification of Auxiliaries

- allow contractions (x modals to a lesser extend x lexicals not at all)

- take the negative particle not (like modals x unlike lexicals)

- invert in questions, do not need do-support

- occur in question tags, questions of surprise, short answers

- require a verbal complement (when not used as lexicals)

- have no independent thematic frame, do not influence valency

(18.2.3) Specification of Modals

- inert elements = lack of inflectional morphology: no 3rd per. SG present form/no gerund/no participle/no to infinitive

- do not form passive/imperative

- suppletive forms for infinitive: can > be able to; may > be allowed to; must > have to, etc.

(18.3) Auxiliaries – Be/Have/Do

(18.3.1) Be

(1) lexical

= to exist (typically with the existential there phrase): there's no smoke without fire

= to be situated (+ adverbial): the key is under the mat

= to take place (+ adverbial): the farewell party was yesterday

(2) copula

+ adjective as the other part of the predicate: the different is negligible

+ predicative noun: the whole thing is a fraud

(3) auxiliary

= progressive aspect

= passive voice

(4) modal

+ infinitive: he says we are to start at once

(18.3.2) Have

(1) possessive

- BrE: AUX (have you got a book? I haven’t got a book)

- AmE: LEX (do you have a book? I don’t have a book)

(2) perfect (aspect): AUX (have you written a letter? I haven’t written a letter)

(3) agent (verbo-nominal structures): LEX (do you have a look around/shower/lunch?)

(4) modal: LEX (there has to be some means)

(5) causative (+ past participle): LEX (where do you have your car serviced?)

(6) conditional (had + better): AUX (you’d better be going)

(18.3.3) Do

(1) lexical

(2) do-support

- formation of negation

- of question

- of negative imperative (don’t hesitate)

- means of emphasis (do sit down!)

(3) prop-verb

- pro-form of the predicate in question tags, questions of surprise, short answers

(18.4) Modals

(18.4.1) Can/Could

- ability: he can play piano

- permission: could I smoke in here?

- possibility: anyone can make mistakes

(18.4.2) May/Might

- permission: you may borrow my car

- possibility: the road might be blocked

(18.4.3) Shall/Should

(1) shall

- intention: we shall overcome

- insistence: he shall be punished

(2) should

- obligation: you should do as he says

- distant possibility: if you should change your mind, let me know

- 1st per. conditional: we should love to go abroad if we had the chance

(18.4.5) Will/Would

(1) will

- willingness: he’ll help you if you ask him

- polite request: will you open the window?

- future: I’ll write as soon as I can

- prediction (future continuous): he will be still reading his paper

- prediction (future perfect): the guests will have arrived by now

(2) would

- polite request: would you open the window?

- characteristic activity in past: every morning he would go for a long walk

- present conditional: he would smoke too much if I didn’t stop him

- probability: that would be his mother

(18.4.6) Must

- obligation: you must be back by ten

- logical necessity: there must be a mistake

(18.5) Verb Classes – Semantic Criteria

(1) action verbs

(a) human activities: move, hurry, walk, carry, laugh, play

(b) mental processes: think, wonder, puzzle, guess, count, calculate

(c) changes of state: develop, grow, increase, improve, change, mature

(d) momentary actions (individual actions of short duration): hop, jump, stab, prick, tap, knock

(2) state verbs

(a) physical states: feel, hurt, ache, itch

(b) perceptions: see, hear, smell, taste, feel

(c) mental states: know, understand, believe, doubt, hope, think

(d) emotions: like, love, detest, envy, hate, prefer, wish, want

(e) human external relations: contain, involve, concern, measure, cost, resemble

(f) having and being: belong, own, depend, seem, appear, need

(18.6) Verb Classes – Morphological Criteria

(1) one-word verbs

(2) phrasal verbs composed by verb + adverbial particle

- V + adverbial only: out

- V + adverbial homonymous with PREP: in, off, on

- V + adverbial homonymous with other word class: back

- distribution of the adverbial particle within a phrasal verb: optionally follows either the verb or the nominal object/obligatorily follows the pronominal object (she couldn’t get off her ring or she couldn’t get her ring off/she couldn’t get it off)

- distribution of the preposition within a V + PREP collocation: obligatorily follows both the nominal or the pronominal object (she got off her bike/she got off it)

(a) idioms: the phrasal verb produces a new lexical item with a meaning different from the sum of the meaning of the verb and the respective adverbial particle (make up [invent], put off [= postpone], put out [= extinguish])

(b) collocations: the verb and the respective adverbial particle retain its individual meanings (turn over, put back, look out)

(c) intensifying collocations: fasten up [= fasten], drink up [= drink], break up [= break]

(d) + often the verb and the respective adverbial particle have both the idiomatic and the literary meaning

(3) phrasal verbs composed by verb + preposition

- idioms: look after (a baby), look for (one's glasses), take after (one's mother)

(4) phrasal verbs composed by verb + adverbial particle + preposition

- do away with (sth unpleasant), go in for (a hobby), look forward to, etc.

(18.7) Verb Classes – Syntactic Criteria

- criterion: whether and what kind of complementation the verb requires to form a grammatical structure

- E: verbs formally unmarked for transitivity

- CZ: transitive verbs unmarked x intransitive verbs most often marked by the particle se (bend x ohnout/ohnout se; heal x hojit/hojit se)

(1) modal verbs + VP (the boy can come)

(2) copula verbs + NP/AP

(a) the type be

- incl. verbs of perception: look, feel, smell, taste, sound

- incl. verbs of modal meaning: seem, appear, prove, turn out

- incl. state verbs: remain, stay, keep, continue, stand, rest

(b) the type have

- complemented by a noun with an active meaning

- incl. have, make, take, get, put, pay, etc. (have a rest, give a chuckle, make a fuss)

(c) the type become

- incl. turn, grow, get, go, come, fall, etc.

(3) intransitive verbs + 0 (laugh, cough, groan, shudder, die)

(4) monotransitive verbs + NP/AP/PP

(a) V + NP (she read a diary)

(b) verbs of movement + AP/PP (the tramp leaned towards the girl; he arrived tired)

(c) reflexive verbs: the subject co-referential with the object (distinguish/disguise/content oneself)

(5) ditransitive verbs + NP NP/NP AP/NP PP (he told the girl a story; the music drives me mad; he wrote a letter to her)

(18.8) Verbo-nominal Groups

(18.8.1) Formation and Use

- verbs: have; do/make; give/take; get, put, pay, tell, bear, draw

- a "weak" verb complemented by a nominal object with an active meaning

- a verbo-nominal predicate can be expressed by a verbal predicate by using the same verb from which the nominal part of the construction was derived: to have a wash > to wash

- verbo-nominal predicate: points out an individual occurence of the action concerned

- verbal predicate: describes the action as a whole, as a process in general

- E: verbo-nominal groups

(a) + allow a modification not possible with a verbal predicate: have a good look at sth, have a nice swim, have a long run [in the theatre]

(b) + avoid the use of object necessary with transitive verbs: do the cleaning, make inquiries, make arrangements

(c) + form a perfect meaning (point out a single occurence of the action)

(d) – restriction: cannot be passivised

- CZ: constructions of equivalent meaning formed by affixation of the respective verb

(18.8.2) Types

(a) the nominal part of the construction formed by conversion

- verb converts into noun

- some of such converted nouns restricted to use in the verbo-nominal predicates only

- have a wash/a shave/a chat

- give a kick/a polish/a push

- take a look/a walk/a glance

- make a fuss/a guess/a search

- get a move on/a jump on sb

(b) the nominal part of the construction formed by derivation

- to do reviewing, to make a conclusion, to bear resemblance

(18.9) Causative Verbs

- OE: intransitive x causative V distinguished by their morphology

- some remains: lie/lay, sit/set, fall/fell, rise/raise, drink/drench

- ME: periphrastic forms with the causative meaning

- make/have/let/get/force/induce/compel/impel sb. to do sth

- structure: causative V + the agent of the following infinitive [different from the subject of the preceding V] + to infinitive (the wind caused the fire to spread to the adjacent buildings)

(18.10) Verbs of Perception

- see, watch, observe, notice, witness, hear, feel

- structure1: V of perception + bare infinitive = the action as a whole > perfect aspect (I saw it happen = ... how it happened)

- structure2: V of perception + -ing form = the action in its process > continuous aspect (I heard the outer door banging in the wind)

- restrictions: in their primary meaning of sense perception do not form the continuous –ing form x the continuous aspect expressed by the use of can (I can’t hear you, speak up)

- x the continuous –ing form used to express a gradual change: I am hearing it better now/I am seeing it more clearly now

- x the continuous –ing also used with the action meaning: I am seeing him to the door/the cook is tasting the soup [ochutnávat]/I am feeling the surface [ohmatávat]


Dušková, Libuše, et al. Mluvnice současné angličtiny na pozadí češtiny. Praha: Academia, 2003.

Svoboda, Aleš, and Mária Opělová Károlyová. A Brief Survey of the English Morphology. Ostrava: Ostravská univerzita, 1993.

Other Sources

Veselovská, Ludmila. Přednášky a semináře: Morfologie 2. ZS 2003/04.

Veselovská, Ludmila. Přednášky a semináře: Syntax 1 a 2. ZS a LS 2003/04.


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