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
An auxiliary verb is a verb that adds functional or grammatical meaning to the clause in which it appears, such as to express tense, modality, emphasis, etc. Auxiliary verbs accompany a main verb; the main verb provides the main semantic content of the clause. An example is the verb. Here, the main verb is finish, the auxiliary have helps to express the perfect aspect; some sentences contain a chain of two or more auxiliary verbs. Auxiliary verbs are called helping verbs, helper verbs, or auxiliaries. Below are some sentences that contain representative auxiliary verbs from English, Spanish and French, with the auxiliary verb marked in bold: a. Do you want tea? – do is an auxiliary accompanying the main verb want, used here to form a question – see do-support.b. He has given his all. – has is an auxiliary used in expressing the perfect aspect of give.c. He cogido tu lápiz. – he is an auxiliary accompanying the main verb coger, used here to form a compound verb, the perfect present in Spanish. Have grabbed your pencil ='I have taken your pencil.'d.
Das wurde mehrmals gesagt. – wurde'became' is an auxiliary used to build the passive voice in German. That became many times said ='That was said many times.'e. Sie ist nach Hause gegangen. – ist'is' is an auxiliary used with movement verbs to build the perfect tense/aspect in German. She is to home gone ='She went home/She has gone home.'f. J'ai vu le soleil. – ai'have' is an auxiliary used to build the perfect tense/aspect in French. I have seen the sun ='I have seen the sun/I saw the sun.'g. Nous sommes hébergés par un ami. – sommes'are' is an auxiliary used to build the passive voice in French. We are hosted by a friend; these auxiliaries help show tense/aspect, or form passive voice. Auxiliaries like these appear with a full verb that carries the main semantic content of the clause. Auxiliary verbs help express grammatical tense, aspect and voice, they appear together with a main verb. The auxiliary is said to "help" the main verb; the auxiliary verbs of a language form a closed class, i.e. there is a fixed small number of them.
They are among the most occurring verbs in a language. Acknowledged verbs that can serve as auxiliaries in English and many related languages are the equivalents of be to express passive voice, have to express perfect aspect or past time reference. In some treatments, the copula be is classed as an auxiliary though it does not "help" another verb, e.g. The bird is in the tree. – is serves as a copula with a predicative expression not containing any other verb. Definitions of auxiliary verbs are not always consistent across languages, or among authors discussing the same language. Modal verbs may not be classified as auxiliaries, depending on the language. In the case of English, verbs are identified as auxiliaries based on their grammatical behavior, as described below. In some cases, verbs that function to auxiliaries, but are not considered full members of that class, are called semi-auxiliaries. In French, for example, verbs such as devoir, aller, vouloir and laisser, when used together with the infinitive of another verb, can be called semi-auxiliaries.
The following sections consider auxiliary verbs in English. They list auxiliary verbs present the diagnostics that motivate this special class; the modal verbs are included in this class, due to their behavior with respect to these diagnostics. A list of verbs that function as auxiliaries in English is as follows: be, could, dare, do, may, must, ought, should, wouldThe status of dare and ought is debatable and the use of these verbs as auxiliaries can vary across dialects of English. If the negative forms can't, don't, won't, etc. are viewed as separate verbs the number of auxiliaries increases. The verbs do and have can function as full verbs or as light verbs, which can be a source of confusion about their status; the modal verbs form a subclass of auxiliary verbs. Modal verbs are defective insofar as they cannot be inflected, nor do they appear as gerunds, infinitives, or participles; the following table summarizes the auxiliary verbs in standard English and the meaning contribution to the clauses in which they appear.
Many auxiliary verbs are listed more than once in the table based upon discernible differences in use. Deontic modality expresses an ability, necessity, or obligation, associated with an agent subject. Epistemic modality expresses the speaker's assessment of likelihood of reality. Distinguishing between the two types of modality can be difficult, since many sentences contain a modal verb that allows both interpretations; the verbs listed in the previous section can be classified as auxiliaries based upon two diagnostics: they allow subject–auxiliary inversion and they can take not as a postdependent. The following examples illustrate the extent to which subject–auxiliary inversion can occur with an auxiliary verb but not with a full verb: a, he was working today. B. Was he working today? - Auxiliary verb was allows subject–auxiliary inversion.a. He worked today. B. *Worked he today? - Full verb worked does
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
Michael Quinion is a British etymologist and writer. He ran a website devoted to linguistics, he graduated from Peterhouse, where he studied physical sciences and after which he joined BBC radio as a studio manager. Quinion has contributed extensively to the Oxford English Dictionary as well as the Oxford Dictionary of New Words, he has since written Ologies and Isms and Port Out, Starboard Home: And Other Language Myths, published in the US as Ballyhoo and Spuds: Ingenious Tales of Words and Their OriginsHis most recent book is Gallimaufry: A Hodgepodge of Our Vanishing Vocabulary. He wrote two books about orcharding and cidermaking, one titled Cidermaking, the other, A Drink for Its Time, published by the Cider Museum in Hereford, where he served as curator. Quinion is the author and webmaster of World Wide Words, a site that documents the meaning and derivation of English language words and phrases, it covers a wide range of issues, including etymology, neologisms, writing style and book reviews.
This site explores International English from a British viewpoint. The website features a large database of word-related topics, weird words, articles on word and phrase origins, answers to questions from site visitors, it offers a free weekly newsletter, which contains the latest additions to the database one week before they are posted on the website. The time delay allows for newsletter subscribers to respond with additional insights and comments, some of which may be included on the posted articles. On 18 October 2014, Quinion announced that in future his newsletters would be published less because writing a scheduled weekly newsletter had become arduous. In early 2017, Quinion sent out a message to newsletter subscribers stating that for unspecified personal reasons he was suspending publication of World Wide Words. On 4 March 2017, Quinion released to subscribers confirmation that the newsletter would be permanently ended due to his personal circumstances as well as his own changing personal interests.
A recurring theme in Quinion's articles is the criticism of false etymology. Such popular etymologies have the effect of obscuring the true origins of a word or expression by providing a misleading and unsubstantiated story explaining its origin. Quinion's Port Out, Starboard Home deals with many such etymologies. A Drink for Its Time: Farm Cider Making in the Western Counties 1979 Cidermaking 1982, 2009 Ologies and Isms: A Dictionary of Word Beginnings and Endings 2002 Port Out, Starboard Home: And Other Language Myths 2004 Gallimaufry: A Hodgepodge of Our Vanishing Vocabulary 2006 Ballyhoo and Spuds: Ingenious Tales of Words and Their Origins 2006 Why is Q Always Followed by U?: Word-Perfect Answers to the Most-Asked Questions About Language 2009 World Wide Words Michael Quinion personal page
In English, possessive words or phrases exist for nouns and most pronouns, as well as some noun phrases. These can play the roles of nouns. For historical reasons, this case is misleadingly called the possessive, it was called the genitive in fact expresses much more than possession. Most disagreements about the use of possessive forms of nouns and of the apostrophe are due to the erroneous belief that a term should not use an apostrophe if it does not express possession. In the words of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage: The argument is a case of fooling oneself with one’s own terminology. After the 18th-century grammarians began to refer to the genitive case as the possessive case and other commentators got it into their heads that the only use of the case was to show possession.... This dictionary cites a study in whose samples only 40% of the possessive forms were used to indicate actual possession. Nouns, noun phrases, some pronouns form a possessive with the suffix -'s; this form is sometimes called the Saxon genitive, reflecting the suffix's derivation from Old English or Anglo-Saxon.
Personal pronouns, have irregular possessives, most of them have different forms for possessive determiners and possessive pronouns, such as my and mine or your and yours. Possessives are one of the means by which genitive constructions are formed in modern English, the other principal one being the use of the preposition of, it is sometimes stated that the possessives represent a grammatical case, called the genitive or possessive case, though some linguists do not accept this view, regarding the's ending, variously, as a phrasal affix, an edge affix, or a clitic, rather than as a case ending. The possessive form of an English noun, or more a noun phrase, is made by suffixing a morpheme, represented orthographically as's, is pronounced in the same way as the regular English plural ending s: namely as when following a sibilant sound, as /s/ when following any other voiceless consonant, as /z/ otherwise. For example: Mitch /mɪtʃ/ has the possessive Mitch's luck /lʌk/ has the possessive luck's /lʌks/ man /mæn/ has the singular possessive man's /mænz/ and the plural possessive men'sNote the distinction from the plural in nouns whose plural is irregular: man's vs. men, wife's vs. wives, etc.
In the case of plural nouns ending in -s, the possessive is spelled by only adding an apostrophe and is pronounced the same. In the case of singular nouns ending in -s, the possessive was traditionally spelled by adding only an apostrophe, but this is now discouraged in American and Canadian English: the possessive of cats is cats', both words being pronounced /kæts/ the possessive of James is nowadays most spelled James's and pronounced -, but the possessive of Jesus is still spelled according to the older tradition of adding only an apostrophe and is and was pronounced the same. Singular nouns ending in s can form a possessive by adding's, as in Charles's; the Chicago Manual of Style recommends this more modern style, while stating that adding just an apostrophe is correct. The Elements of Style and the Canadian Press Stylebook prefer the form of s's with the exception of Biblical and classical proper names and common phrases that do not take the extra syllabic s. For more on style guidance for this and other issues relating to the construction of possessives in English, see possessive apostrophe.
More the's morpheme can be attached to the last word of a noun phrase if the head noun does not end the phrase. For example, the phrase the king of Spain can form the possessive the king of Spain's, – in informal style – the phrase the man we saw yesterday can form the man we saw yesterday's. Both John's and Laura's house and John and Laura's house are correct, though the latter is more common in idiomatic speech. See § Status of the possessive as a grammatical case below. Scientific terminology, in particular the Latin names for stars, uses the Latin genitive form of the name of the constellation. Unlike with other noun phrases which only have a single possessive form, personal pronouns in English have two possessive forms: possessive determiners and possessive pronouns. In most cases these are different from each other. For example, the pronoun I has possessive determiner my and possessive pronoun mine; the archaic thou has thine. For a full table and further details, see English personal pronouns.
Note that possessive its has no apostrophe, although it is sometimes written with one in error by confusion with the common possessive ending -'s and the contraction it's used for it is and it has. Possessive its was formed with an apostrophe in the 17th century, but it had been dropped by the early 19th century to make it more similar to the other personal pronoun possessives; the interrogative and relative pronoun who h