A separable verb is a verb, composed of a lexical core and a separable particle. In some sentence positions, the core verb and the particle appear in one word, whilst in others the core verb and the particle are separated; the particle cannot be referred to as a prefix because it can be separated from the core verb. German, Dutch and Hungarian are notable for having many separable verbs. Separable verbs challenge theories of sentence structure because when they are separated, it is not evident how the compositionality of meaning should be understood; the separation of such verbs is called tmesis. The German verb ankommen is a separable verb, is used here as the first illustration: The first two examples, sentences a and b, contain the "simple" tenses. In matrix declarative clauses that lack auxiliary verbs, the verb and its particle are separated, the verb appearing in V2 position and the particle appearing in clause-final position; the second two examples, sentences c and d, contain the so-called "complex tenses".
The following two examples are from Dutch: The Dutch verb aankomen is separable, as illustrated in the first sentence with the simple present tense, whereas when an auxiliary verb appears as in the second sentence with present perfect tense/aspect, the lexical verb and its particle appear together as a single word. The following examples are from Hungarian: The verb letesz is separated in the negative sentence. Affixes in Hungarian are separated from the verb in imperative and prohibitive moods. Moreover, word order influences the strength of prohibition, as the following examples show: English has many phrasal or compound verb forms that are somewhat analogous to separable verbs. However, in English the preposition or verbal particle is either an invariable prefix or is always a separate word, without the possibility of grammatically conditioned alternations between the two. An adverbial particle can be separated from the verb by intervening words. Although the verbs themselves never alternate between prefix and separate word, the alternation is seen across derived words.
Separable verbs challenge the understanding of meaning compositionality because when they are separated, the two parts do not form a constituent. Hence theories of syntax that assume that form–meaning correspondences should be understood in terms of syntactic constituents are faced with a difficulty, because it is not apparent what sort of syntactic unit the verb and its particle build. One prominent means of addressing this difficulty is via movement. One stipulates that languages like German and Dutch are SOV languages and that when separation occurs, the lexical verb has moved out of the clause-final position to a derived position further to the left, e.g. in German The verb kommt is seen as originating in a position where it appeared with its particle an, but it moves leftward to the V2 position. An alternative analysis of the structure of separable verbs dispenses with the notion that the constituent is the fundamental unit of syntactic analysis. Instead, the catena is taken to be primary.
The following dependency grammar trees illustrate the catena-based analysis: The verb and particle form a catena when they are separated in the first two trees, they form a catena when they appear together as a single word in the second two trees. The principle of compositionality is hence understood in terms of catenae; the catena is the basic meaning-bearing unit, not the constituent. The four Hungarian examples from above are analyzed in terms of catenae as follows: The particle le is separated from its verb when the negation appears. Despite this fact, the particle still forms a catena with its verb in all four trees; these structures are therefore consistent with the catena-based understanding of meaning compositionality. The fundamental meaning bearing unit is the catena, not the constituent; when a prefix can be used both separably and inseparably, there are cases where the same verb can have different meanings depending on whether its prefix is separable or inseparable. In German, among other languages, some verbs can exist as separable and inseparable forms with different meanings.
For example, umfahren one can construct an opposite meaning: The infinitive form umfahren is only identical in its written form. When spoken, the non-separable form is stressed as umfahren, whereas the separable is stressed as umfahren; the same happens in Dutch, related to German and English. Sometimes the meanings are quite different if they have correspondences in the cognate English verbs: Examples: https://web.archive.org/web/20060624073433/http://www.ucl.ac.uk/dutch/grammatica/separable_verbs.htm
A finite verb is a form of a verb that has a subject and can function as the root of an independent clause. In many languages, finite verbs are the locus of grammatical information of gender, number, aspect and voice. Finite verbs are distinguished from non-finite verbs, such as infinitives, gerunds etc. which mark these grammatical categories to a lesser degree or not at all, which appear below the finite verb in the hierarchy of syntactic structure. Verbs were said to be finite if their form limited the possible person and number of the subject. In some languages, such as English, this does not apply; the finite verbs are in bold in the following sentences, the non-finite verbs are underlined: Verbs appear in all sentences. This sentence is illustrating non-finite verbs; the dog will have to be trained well. Tom promised to try to do the work. In many languages, there can be one finite verb at the root of each clause, whereas the number of non-finite verbs can reach up to five or six, or more, e.g.
He was believed to have been told to have himself examined. Finite verbs can appear in dependent clauses as well as independent clauses: John said that he enjoyed reading. Something you make yourself seems better than something you buy. Most types of verbs can appear in finite or non-finite form: for example, the English verb go has the finite forms go, went, the non-finite forms go, going and gone; the English modal verbs lack non-finite forms. It might seem that clause must contain a finite verb. However, sentences lacking a finite verb were quite common in the old Indo-European languages, still occur in many present-day languages; the most important type of these are nominal sentences. Another type are sentence fragments described as minor sentences. In Latin and some Romance languages, there are a few words that can be used to form sentences without verbs, such as Latin ecce, Portuguese eis, French voici and voilà, Italian ecco, all of these translatable as here... is or here... are. Some interjections can play the same role.
In English, utterances that lack a finite verb are common, e.g. Yes. No. Bill!, Thanks. Etc. A finite verb is expected to have a subject, as it does in all the examples above, although null-subject languages allow the subject to be omitted. For example, in the Latin sentence cogito ergo sum the finite verbs cogito and sum appear without an explicit subject – the subject is understood to be the first-person personal pronoun, this information is marked by the way the verbs are inflected. In English, finite verbs lacking subjects are normal in imperative sentences: Come over here! Don't look at him! And occur in some fragmentary utterances: doesn't matter. Don't want to; the poor system of inflectional morphology in English makes the central role that finite verbs play be not so evident. In other languages, finite verbs are the locus of much grammatical information. Depending on the language, finite verbs can inflect for the following grammatical categories: Gender, i.e. masculine, feminine or neuter Person, e.g. 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Number, e.g. singular or plural Tense, i.e. present, past or future Aspect, e.g. perfect, progressive, etc.
Mood, e.g. indicative, imperative, etc. Voice, i.e. active, middle, or passiveThe first three categories represent agreement information that the finite verb gets from its subject. The other four categories serve to situate the clause content according to time in relation to the speaker, extent to which the action, occurrence, or state is complete, assessment of reality or desired reality, relation of the subject to the action or state. Modern English is an analytic language, which means it has limited ability to express the categories by verb inflection, it conveys such information periphrastically, using auxiliary verbs. In a sentence such as Sam laughs a lot,the verb form agrees in person and number with the subject, by means of the -s ending, this form indicates tense, aspect and voice. However, most combinations of the categories need to be expressed using auxiliaries: Sam will have been examined by this afternoon. Here the auxiliaries will and been express future time, perfect aspect and passive voice.
Highly-inflected languages like Latin and Russian, however express most or all of the categories in one finite verb. Finite verbs play a important role in syntactic analyses of sentence structure. In many phrase structure grammars for instance those that build on the X-bar schema, the finite verb is the head of the finite verb phrase and so it is the head of the entire sentence. In dependency grammars, the finite verb is the root of the entire clause and so is the most prominent structural unit in the clause; that is illustrated by the following trees: The phrase structure grammar trees are the a-trees on the left. The b-trees on the right are the dependency grammar trees. Many of the details of the trees are not important for the point at hand, but they show that the finite verb (in bold each t
A modal verb is a type of verb, used to indicate modality – that is: likelihood, permission, capacity, suggestions and obligation, advice etc. They always take base form of verb with them. Examples include the English verbs can/could, may/might, will/would and shall/should/ought. In English and other Germanic languages, modal verbs are distinguished as a class based on certain grammatical properties. A modal auxiliary verb gives information about the function of the main verb. Modals have a wide variety of communicative functions, but these functions can be related to a scale ranging from possibility to necessity, in terms of one of the following types of modality: epistemic modality, concerned with the theoretical possibility of propositions being true or not true deontic modality, concerned with possibility and necessity in terms of freedom to act dynamic modality, which may be distinguished from deontic modality in that, with dynamic modality, the conditioning factors are internal – the subject's own ability or willingness to actThe following sentences illustrate epistemic and deontic uses of the English modal verb must: epistemic: You must be starving.
Deontic: You must leave now. An ambiguous case is; the primary meaning would be the deontic meaning but this may be intended epistemically Epistemic modals can be analyzed as raising verbs, while deontic modals can be analyzed as control verbs. Epistemic usages of modals tend to develop from deontic usages. For example, the inferred certainty sense of English must developed after the strong obligation sense. Two typical sequences of evolution of modal meanings are: internal mental ability → internal ability → root possibility → permission and epistemic possibility obligation → probability The following table lists the modal auxiliary verbs of standard English and various senses in which they are used: The verbs in this list all have the following characteristics: They are auxiliary verbs, which means they allow subject-auxiliary inversion and can take the negation not, They convey functional meaning, They are defective insofar as they cannot be inflected, nor do they appear in non-finite form, They are always finite and thus appear as the root verb in their clause, They subcategorize for an infinitive, i.e. they take an infinitive as their complementThe verbs/expressions dare, ought to, had better, need not behave like modal auxiliaries to a large extent, although they are not productive in the role to the same extent as those listed here.
Furthermore, there are numerous other verbs that can be viewed as modal verbs insofar as they express modality in the same way that the verbs in this list do, e.g. appear, have to, seem etc. In the strict sense, these other verbs do not qualify as modal verbs in English because they do not allow subject-auxiliary inversion, nor do they allow negation with not. Verbs such as be able to and be about to allow subject-auxiliary inversion and do not require do support in negatives but these are classified as modal verbs because they inflect and are a modal construction involving the verb to be which itself is not a modal verb. If, one defines modal verb in terms of meaning contribution these other verbs would be modals and so the list here would have to be expanded. In English, modals form a distinctive class of verbs, they are auxiliary verbs like be, do, have, but unlike other such verbs, they are grammatically defective. For example, have → has vs. should → *shoulds and do → did vs. may → *mayed, etc.
In clauses that contain two or more verbs, any modal, present always appears leftmost in the verb catena. Thus, modal verbs are always finite and, in terms of syntactic structure, the root of their containing clause; the following dependency grammar trees illustrate this point: The verb catenae are in blue. The modal auxiliary in both trees is the root of the entire sentence; the verb, subordinate to the modal is always an infinitive. The fact that modal auxiliaries in English are finite means that within the minimal finite clause that contains them, they can never be subordinate to another verb, e.g. a. Sam may have done his homework; the modal auxiliary may is the root of the clause. B. *Sam has may done his homework. Fails because the modal auxiliary may is not the root of the clause.a. Jim will be helped; the modal auxiliary will is the root of the clause. B. *Jim is will be helped. Fails because the modal auxiliary will is not the root of the clause; such limits in form and syntactic distribution of this class of verbs are motivation of the designation defective.
Other constructions are used for such a "missing" form in place of a modal, including "be able to" for can, "have to" for must, "be going to" for shall and will. It is of note that in this way, English modal auxiliaries are unlike modal verbs in other related languages. In English, main verbs but not modal verbs always require the auxiliary verb do to form negations and questions, do can be used with main verbs to form emphatic affirmative statements. Neither negations
Exceptional case-marking, in linguistics, is a phenomenon in which the subject of an embedded infinitival verb seems to appear in a superordinate clause and, if it is a pronoun, is unexpectedly marked with object case morphology. The unexpected object case morphology is deemed "exceptional"; the term ECM itself was coined in the Government and Binding grammar framework although the phenomenon is related to the accusativus cum infinitivo constructions of Latin. ECM-constructions are studied within the context of raising; the verbs that license ECM are known as raising-to-object verbs. Many languages lack ECM-predicates, in English, the number of ECM-verbs is small; the structural analysis of ECM-constructions varies in part according to whether one pursues a flat structure or a more layered one. The ECM-construction is licensed by a small number of verbs in English: Tim believes him to be innocent. – Exceptional case-marking of the object/subject him. We judge them to be ridiculous. – Exceptional case-marking of the object/subject them.
The prosecutor proved her to be guilty. – Exceptional case-marking of the object/subject her. They want us to be respectful. – Exceptional case-marking of the object/subject us. The strings in bold are the ECM-constructions; the pronouns are marked with object case morphology, but they function semantically as the subjects of the infinitival verbs to their right, i.e. they acquire their theta roles from the verb to their right. Many ECM-verbs allow the same meaning to be expressed with a full object clause, e.g.: Tom believes that he is innocent. – ECM-construction alternates with full clause. The prosecutor proved. – ECM-construction alternates with full clause. They want. – ECM-construction alternates with full clause. Since the meaning across these clauses remains consistent, one tendency has been to view the ECM-material as a type of small clause, analogous to the full clausal counterpart. On this approach, the object forms a constituent with the infinitive to its right; the primary trait of the ECM-object/subject is that it is not a semantic argument of the matrix predicate, which means that it is not semantically selected by the matrix verb.
In this area, ECM-constructions should not be confused with control constructions, since control predicates semantically select their object. An interesting aspect of ECM-constructions concerns the underlying structure. There are two basic possibilities in this area: a more layered one; the following trees illustrate the "flat" analysis. For each example, both a constituency-based analysis of a phrase structure grammar and a dependency-based analysis of a dependency grammar are shown: The phrase structure grammar trees are the a-trees on the left, the dependency grammar trees are the b-trees on the right. Both types of analysis show a flat structure insofar as the material in bold consists of two separate sister constituents; the object/subject pronouns are shown as dependents of the matrix verb each time. The two do NOT form a single constituent with the predicates to their right; the alternative, more layered analysis of these sentences might be as follows: The constituency-based trees are again on the left, the dependency-based trees on the right.
The material in bold now forms a single constituent. This is accomplished in the constituency trees by adding the clause node S, in the dependency trees, it is accomplished by subordinating the ECM object/subject to the particle to. One can now debate; the more layered analysis has the advantage that it accommodates the insight that the subject/object constituent is a semantic argument of the infinitival verb. The flat analysis has the advantage that it is more consistent with data delivered by operational considerations: the object morphology on the pronoun, the ability of the object/subject to become the subject in the passive counterpart, the obligatory appearance of the reflexive pronoun when coindexation occurs with the subject, the inability of constituency tests to identify a clausal constituent; the more layered analysis is favored in the GB framework and a variation of it obtains in current Minimalism as well. The flat analysis is the one preferred by dependency grammars. Accusativus cum infinitivo Control Dependency grammar Phrase structure grammar Raising Small clause Chomsky, N. 1986.
Barriers. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Bresnan, J.. 1982. The mental representation of grammatical relations. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Cowper, E. 2009. A concise introduction to syntactic theory: The government-binding approach. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Falk, Y. 2001. Lexical-Functional Grammar: An introduction to parallel constraint-based syntax. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications. Lasnik, H. 1999. Minimalist analysis. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers. Napoli, D. 1993. Syntax: Theory and problems. New York: Oxford University Press. Ouhalla, J. 1994. Transformational grammar: From rules to principles and parameters. London: Edward Arnold
Part of speech
In traditional grammar, a part of speech' is a category of words which have similar grammatical properties. Words that are assigned to the same part of speech display similar behavior in terms of syntax—they play similar roles within the grammatical structure of sentences—and sometimes in terms of morphology, in that they undergo inflection for similar properties. Listed English parts of speech are noun, adjective, pronoun, conjunction and sometimes numeral, article, or determiner. Other Indo-European languages have all these word classes. Beyond the Indo-European family, such other European languages as Hungarian and Finnish, both of which belong to the Uralic family lack prepositions or have only few of them. Other terms than part of speech—particularly in modern linguistic classifications, which make more precise distinctions than the traditional scheme does—include word class, lexical class, lexical category; some authors restrict the term lexical category to refer only to a particular type of syntactic category.
The term form class is used, although this has various conflicting definitions. Word classes may be classified as open or closed: open classes acquire new members while closed classes acquire new members infrequently, if at all. All languages have the word classes noun and verb, but beyond these two there are significant variations among different languages. For example, Japanese has as many as three classes of adjectives; because of such variation in the number of categories and their identifying properties, analysis of parts of speech must be done for each individual language. The labels for each category are assigned on the basis of universal criteria; the classification of words into lexical categories is found from the earliest moments in the history of linguistics. In the Nirukta, written in the 5th or 6th century BC, the Sanskrit grammarian Yāska defined four main categories of words: नाम nāma – noun आख्यात ākhyāta – verb उपसर्ग upasarga – pre-verb or prefix निपात nipāta – particle, invariant word These four were grouped into two larger classes: inflectable and uninflectable.
The ancient work on the grammar of the Tamil language, Tolkāppiyam, argued to have been written around 2,500 years ago, classifies Tamil words as peyar, vinai and uri. A century or two after the work of Nirukta, the Greek scholar Plato wrote in his Cratylus dialog that "... sentences are, I conceive, a combination of verbs and nouns ". Aristotle added another class, "conjunction", which included not only the words known today as conjunctions, but other parts. By the end of the 2nd century BC grammarians had expanded this classification scheme into eight categories, seen in the Art of Grammar, attributed to Dionysius Thrax: Noun: a part of speech inflected for case, signifying a concrete or abstract entity Verb: a part of speech without case inflection, but inflected for tense and number, signifying an activity or process performed or undergone Participle: a part of speech sharing features of the verb and the noun Article: a declinable part of speech, taken to include the definite article, but the basic relative pronoun Pronoun: a part of speech substitutable for a noun and marked for a person Preposition: a part of speech placed before other words in composition and in syntax Adverb: a part of speech without inflection, in modification of or in addition to a verb, clause, sentence, or other adverb Conjunction: a part of speech binding together the discourse and filling gaps in its interpretationIt can be seen that these parts of speech are defined by morphological and semantic criteria.
The Latin grammarian Priscian modified the above eightfold system, excluding "article", but adding "interjection". The Latin names for the parts of speech, from which the corresponding modern English terms derive, were nomen, participium, praepositio, adverbium and interjectio; the category nomen included substantives and numerals. This is reflected in the older English terminology noun substantive, noun adjective and noun numeral; the adjective became a separate class, as did the numerals, the English word noun came to be applied to substantives only. Works of English grammar follow the pattern of the European tradition as described above, except that participles are now regarded as forms of
In linguistics, a copula is a term for a word that links the subject of a sentence to a subject complement, such as the word is in the sentence "The sky is blue." The word copula derives from the Latin noun for a "link" or "tie" that connects two different things. A copula is a verb or a verb-like word, though this is not universally the case. A verb, a copula is sometimes called a copulative or copular verb. In English primary education grammar courses, a copula is called a linking verb. In other languages, copulas show more resemblances to pronouns, as in Classical Chinese and Guarani, or may take the form of suffixes attached to a noun, as in Korean and Inuit languages. Most languages have one main copula, although some have more than one, some have none. In the case of English, this is the verb to be. While the term copula is used to refer to such principal forms, it may be used to refer to some other verbs with similar functions, like become, get and seem in English; the principal use of a copula is to link the subject of a clause to a subject complement.
A copular verb is considered to be part of the predicate, the remainder being called a predicative expression. A simple clause containing a copula is illustrated below: The book is on the table. In that sentence, the noun phrase the book is the subject, the verb is serves as the copula, the prepositional phrase on the table is the predicative expression; the whole expression is on the table may be called a verb phrase. The predicative expression accompanying the copula known as the complement of the copula, may take any of several possible forms: it may be a noun or noun phrase, an adjective or adjective phrase, a prepositional phrase or another adverb or adverbial phrase expressing time or location. Examples are given below: Mary and John are my friends; the sky was blue. I am taller than most people; the birds and the beasts were there. The three components do not appear in that order: their positioning depends on the rules for word order applicable to the language in question. In English the ordering given is the normal one, but here too, certain variation is possible: In many questions and other clauses with subject–auxiliary inversion, the copula moves in front of the subject: Are you happy?
In inverse copular constructions the predicative expression precedes the copula, but the subject follows it: In the room were three men. It is possible, in certain circumstances, for one of the three components to be absent: In null-subject languages, the subject may be omitted, as it may from other types of sentence. In Italian, sono stanco means "I am tired" "am tired". In non-finite clauses in languages like English, the subject is absent, as in the participial phrase being tired or the infinitive phrase to be tired; the same applies to most imperative sentences like Be good! For cases in which no copula appears, see § Zero copula below. Any of the three components may be omitted as a result of various general types of ellipsis. In particular, in English, the predicative expression may be elided in a construction similar to verb phrase ellipsis, as in short sentences like I am. Inverse copular constructions, in which the positions of the predicative expression and the subject are reversed, are found in various languages.
They have been the subject of much theoretical analysis in regard to the difficulty of maintaining, in the case of such sentences, the usual division into a subject noun phrase and a predicate verb phrase. Another issue is verb agreement when both subject and predicative expression are noun phrases: in English, the copula agrees with the preceding phrase if it is not logically the subject, as in the cause of the riot is these pictures of the wall. Compare Italian la causa della rivolta sono queste foto del muro; the precise definition and scope of the concept of a copula is not precise in any language. For example, in English though the concept of the copula is most associated with the verb be, there are many other verbs that can be used in a copular sense as well. For example, The boy became a man; the girl got excited by her new toy. The dog grew tired from the activity, and more tenuously The milk turned sour. The food smells good. You seem upset. Predicates formed using a copula may express identity: that the two noun phrases have the same referent or express an identical concept: I want only to be myself.
The Morning Star is the Evening Star. They may express membership of a class or a subset relationship: She was a nurse. Dogs are carnivorous mammals, they may express some property, relation or position, permanent or temporary: The trees are green. I am your boss; the hen is next to the cockerel. The children are confused. Other special uses of copular verbs are described in some of the following sections; some languages use different copulas, or different syntax, when denoting a permanent, essential characteristic of something and when denoting a temporary state. For examples, see the sections on the Romance languages, Slavic languages and Irish. In many languages the principal copula is a verb, like English be, German sein, Mixtec kuu, Touareg emous, etc, it may inflect for grammatical categories like tense, aspect a
In linguistics, a light verb is a verb that has little semantic content of its own and forms a predicate with some additional expression, a noun. Common verbs in English that can function as light verbs are do, have and take. Other names for light verb include delexical verb, vector verb, explicator verb, thin verb, empty verb and semantically weak verb. While light verbs are similar to auxiliary verbs regarding their contribution of meaning to the clauses in which they appear, light verbs fail the diagnostics that identify auxiliary verbs and are therefore distinct from auxiliaries. Light verb constructions challenge theories of compositionality because the words that form such constructions do not together qualify as constituents although the word combinations qualify as catenae. Most light verb constructions in English are sometimes called stretched verbs; some light verb constructions include a preposition, e.g. They did the review of my paper first. Sam did the cleaning yesterday. Who got such intense criticism?
Susan is getting much support from her family. I am going to have a nice nap, she had a smoke. We had a boring conversation. Are you giving a presentation at the conference? They gave the kids a hard time. Who will give you a hug? Who made such a severe mistake? I made the first request. Sam has taken a shower. Why is Larry taking a nap? We should take a break soon. Have you taken advantage of that opportunity. I haven't taken that into consideration; the light verbs are underlined, the words in bold together constitute the light verb constructions. Each of these constructions is the main predicate of the sentence. Note that the determiner a is NOT part of the light verb construction. We know that it is not part of the light verb construction because it is variable, e.g. I took a long/the first/two/the best nap; the light verb contributes little content to its sentence. Many light verb constructions are similar in meaning to a corresponding full verb, e.g. a. Sam did a revision of his paper. – Light verb construction b.
Sam revised his paper. -Full verba. Larry wants to have a smoke. – Light verb construction b. Larry wants to smoke. – Full verba. Jim made an important claim that.... – Light verb construction b. Jim claimed that... – Full verb a. Mary is taking a nap. – Light verb construction b. Mary is napping. – Full verbAlternative formulations such as these lead to the insight that light verb constructions are predicates just like the corresponding full verb alternatives. There can be, nuanced differences in meaning across these alternative formulations; the light verb constructions produce possibilities for modification that are less available with the corresponding full verb alternatives. Many verbs that serve as light verbs can serve as auxiliary verbs and/or full verbs depending on the context in which they appear. Light verbs are similar to auxiliary verbs insofar as they contribute functional content to the clauses in which they appear. Light verbs, are not auxiliary verbs, nor are they full verbs. Light verbs differ from auxiliary verbs in English insofar as they do not pass the syntactic tests that identify auxiliary verbs.
The following examples illustrate that light verbs fail the inversion and negation diagnostics that identify auxiliary verbs: a. He did call Susan yesterday. B. Did he call Susan yesterday? – The auxiliary did inverts with the subject. C, he did not call Susan yesterday. -- The auxiliary did. He did the review of my paper yesterday. B. *Did he the review of my paper yesterday? – The light verb did cannot invert with the subject. C. *He did not the review of my paper yesterday. – The light verb did cannot take not as a postdependent.a. He has opened the window. B. Has he opened the window? – The auxiliary has inverts with the subject. C, he has not opened the window. – The auxiliary has takes not as a postdependent.a. She had a smoke. B. *Had she a smoke? – The light verb had cannot invert with the subject. C. *She had not a smoke. – The light verb had cannot take not as a postdependent. Light verbs differ from full verbs in that light verbs lack the semantic content that full verbs have. Full verbs are the core of a predicate, whereas light verbs form a predicate with another expression with full semantic content.
This distinction is more difficult to illustrate, but it can be seen in the following examples involving reflexive pronouns: a. Jim1 took a picture of himself1. – The light verb took requires the reflexive pronoun to appear. B. *Jim1 took a picture of him1. – The light verb took prohibits the simple pronoun from appearing.a. Jim1 took a picture of himself1 to school. – The full verb took allows the reflexive pronoun to appear. B. Jim1 took a picture of him1 to school. – The full verb took allows the simple pronoun to appear.a. Sally1 gave a description of herself1. – The light verb gave requires the reflexive pronoun to appear. B. *Sally1 gave a description of her1. – The light verb gave prohibits the simple pronoun from appearing.a. Sally1 gave me a description of herself1. – The full verb gave allows the reflexive pronoun to appear b. Sally1 gave me a description of her1. – The full verb gave allows the simple pronoun to appear. The indices indicate coreference; the reflexive pronoun must appear with the light verb, whereas the full verb allows the simple pronoun to appear as well.
This distinction has to do with the extent of the predicate. The main predicate reaches down into the noun phrase when the light verb appears, whe